Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Exposure. Thanks for nuttin.

Once again I'm hearing the old 'exposure' argument from my business 'partners' further up the food chain.

Exposure of comics in the digital realm will lead customers to comic shops, they tell me.

This is one of those ideas that sound pretty good on the outside, but are complete bullshit.

I've heard it presented as an excuse for my suppliers to give special consideration to outlets bigger than me -- mass market or internet and now digital -- a hundred times over the last 30 years, and it has NEVER happened.

It doesn't work that way, except in the most general sense of -- the bigger the scene, the more likely I'll sell something. But what happens most often is, the smaller stores like mine actually develop the market until it's big enough for the larger entities to take over. NOT the other way around.

If the product is in bigger stores, than that exposure turns to sales in bigger stores. It doesn't make people turn around and go shop at the smaller store.

Exposure? I had hordes of folk in my store buying beanie babies, and pokemon, and pogs -- but as soon as they were through buying them, they were gone.

Comic exposure? With all the media attention and the big tent movies, anyone who doesn't know that comics are here has three slabs of concrete around their brains and nothing short of a wrecking ball will break through. (And yes there are a number of those people.)

It's much the same reasoning as the downtown festivals. "Sure, you lose sales on the day of the event, but you are 'exposed' to new customers!" I'm told, to which I want to say -- "Wait. They are there. They are downtown. Nothing is keeping them from buying on that day and they don't. But they will turnaround and remember you in a week and make a special trip to the store they passed over while they were there?"

Customers will buy where they see something and where they are. Fine. Don't pretend that it's good for me that Walmart has it....

Exposure. Blech.


Andy Z said...

Just read this nice piece on the conundrum:

Leitmotiv said...

When I was recently at the Christmas parade with my son, I remember looking at and remembering ZERO stores. I believe my exposure was on the parade and nothing else.