Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Singles prices.

Singles prices have always been tricky.

(This is really, really inside baseball, so some of you may want to skip.)

I want to price single game or sports cards low enough to encourage frequent visits, but not so cheap I actually lose money on them. Basically, the more people who buy, the lower in price I can be.

But lower prices don't always encourage frequent visits. Sometimes, it actually makes sense to raise prices with lower frequency. Probably the opposite of what most people would think.

But unwanted product is unwanted product, no matter how cheap.

So I'm constantly trying to find the golden mean.

Back in the sports card days, at first I could sell most of the singles I had. Then, as the customer got more selective, I'd sell mostly the stars. I had competition that would have oodles of certain stars, whereas I'd seem to sell out immediately.

I couldn't figure it out.

I arrived at a formula. Open a box of cards, make one stack of card that I KNEW I could sell, a second stack of cards I THOUGHT I could possibly sell, and a third stack of cards that I figured I'd NEVER sell.

If the first stack and half of the second stack added up to the retail price of the box, it was worth opening.

This got harder and harder to do, despite the 'inserts', which were extra cards that were 'special'. The year that Ichiro came out in baseball cards, I realized that customers were ONLY buying Ichiro.

Jacoby Ellsbury is another example. Local kid, "hot" rookie. I realized I had two boxes with his cards in them. Math told me, there was an average of one per box. The boxes were over 100.00 each, his Rookie card was worth between 10.00 to 20.00.

I waited until someone was willing to buy the box.

Meanwhile, I'd pretty much stopped even trying to sell singles.

Until now.

I think I've stumbled across the current best pricing for Magic singles. Which is only working because:

1.) There is interest in Zendikar signles and they are actually selling.

2.) I have plenty of stock.

3.) I can sometimes make an 'extra' sale, of supplies or packs. In this case, just getting customers in the store can make a difference.

I lowered my prices for most 'rares' to 2.00, from 3.00. I lowered my prices on 'uncommons' from .50 each, to 3/1.00. 'Commons' I kept at .10, because it ain't even worth storing and handling for less.

My rare 'rares' (4.00 to 20.00 each) I'm trying to price at two or three dollars cheaper than the online sites I go to.

All this has seemed to be a surprising success. I may not be making my normal margin, but I'm selling lots of stuff.

At least until the newness wears off.

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