Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Walkin' Willie's Discount Site - Nice Idea At The Time...

I've been buying comic books for 50 years and selling them for 24 or so - and you never stop learning. As can be seen in the previous blog post, I had a grand idea to hopefully increase traffic - and therefore increase sales - by reducing the price every day of any book that had been in inventory for a week. The amount of price reduction depending on the current price of the book and so on.

It was a nice idea - but it failed miserably. Didn't get the traffic and the sales plummeted - my guess is that people were playing a waiting game for books that didn't have some huge demand. Most of the books on the site were commons with very few to no keys - so if you are a potential customer why not wait, what does one have to lose? So that was lesson #1 - if you are going to have some price reduction strategy like that, you need to have books that will make folks squirm and get itchy trigger fingers. I've started eBaying some of the books and most of them are going for higher prices that what I had on the discount site - that was the clincher.

Lesson #2 is that if you are going to run some sort of discount comic book website, you need at TON of inventory - and I didn't have that. Oh, I sold some books over the years it was up but nothing on a consistent basis. If you are going to have a huge inventory like Mile High Comics, My Comic Shop, New Kadia, etc., then you need a staff to run it. At my (sort of close to retirement) age, I definitely didn't want to invest the capital needed to a) get a TON of comic books and b) hire the staff necessary to scan the books, put them into inventory, fulfill orders - all that crazy stuff.

Lesson #3 - you need to market like crazy and update inventory on a consistent basis - well... I didn't do that either. Starting to see a trend here?

So where does that leave good ol' Walkin' Willie's Comix?

First of all, the Walkin' Willie's Discount Site will come down in a day or two from the date of this post - after that you will be redirected to my regular website that I have had in different incarnations for years - since 1996. If you think I'm lyin' then check out the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, type in and prepare to cringe at the early days. The site from 1996 to end of 2000 was a static POS. The next one from 2001 to early 2009 was pretty darn good for a classic ASP site and it was by far my most heavily trafficked site to date. Next was a .NET site from March 2009 to the present with a makeover happening just a few months ago. But I digress...

Now back to what I'm gonna do. The Walkin' Willie's Comix website will carry CGC & CBCS graded comic books, raw comic books in FINE grade or better at great discounts and a few hardcovers and trades as I run into them in collections. The goal is to significantly reduce inventory I have in storage while increasing quality on the website. I don't want to have 30 racks of books - I want 30 boxes instead...of good stuff!

The discount inventory - along with 20 boxes or so of stuff that never made it to the web - will be blown out on eBay during the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016. The blowout has already started.

So the discount site will most likely close early Saturday morning - 10/3/2015 - still a lot of deals left if you are so inclined...and the prices are still decreasing every day.

So the bottom line is that a leaner Walkin' Willie's Comix will emerge out of this whole deal - one with reasonable goals, great merchandise, free U.S. shipping and whatever else can happen. BTW, the website is "responsive" which means it will work in a mobile phone as well as a desktop. Will constantly evaluate pricing as well - don't want to give stuff away but also don't want it to sit for years as well.

As usual, feedback and comments are welcome and solicited.