As part of our continuing series on how to open a trading card shop, we spent some time with Roger Barry from Magazine Exchange. Take a listen as he provides some tips to be successful in this industry as a shop owner and shares more about how Magazine Exchange can help a new shop.
Roger was also kind enough to answer some follow up questions for us:
Question: How do I get product for my store?
Roger at Magazine Exchange: “Getting product is easy. Brick and mortar retailers may in many cases purchase directly from manufacturers although many find it easier and more efficient to purchase from Authorized Hobby Distributors. When buying form a distributor you are not required to purchase in case quantities and in most circumstances you do not have to prepay, which is common with direct purchasing from a manufacturer.
“It is also very important to know your customers and purchase the right products in the right quantities for your store. If you try to purchase everything in the same quantities, you are going to have problems. If you have a lot of kids coming to your shops or set builders, maybe look at lower priced products and products that have larger sets. If you have high-end customers coming in looking for the thrill of expensive packs, work to stock those.
“Several times a year there will ultimately be some products that get ‘hot’ that collectors will be clamoring for. This happens usually because a rookie or rookies start performing well, the product was under ordered initially, it is just limited all around or it has some type of surprise content. With less to go around and demand heightened, that can make it tough to provide your customers the product at a price that works for your business. At that point, it may be best to just move on to the next products than spend all of your time trying to find these hot products at a price that makes sense for your business. At Magazine Exchange we work with our customers to find what those products might be to give you the opportunity to get in on those products before they get hot.”
Question: How do I grow the business once I get started?
Roger at Magazine Exchange: “We are finding that the most successful brick and mortar store locations are those that have become engaged with their collecting communities. Loving sports is a passion for many of us; as is collecting. The combination of these two passions is what drives the sports trading card business. You can become engaged with you collecting community by offering trade nights, case break parties, draft day parties, birthday parties, tailgate parties, etc. When you are hosting one of these organized in store events where one of your customers opens a pack of trading cards and gets a great card, the excitement is contagious. You can feel the atmosphere in your store become charged. When your collectors are fired up and engaged, you will find they will spend more time and money in your store.”
Question: Where should I advertise to get customers for my hobby shop?
Roger at Magazine Exchange: “Of course the ‘new’ way of advertising is social media. A mix of e-mail, Facebook, tweets and good old fashioned phone calls have been a very cost effective way of advertising for many shops. We find that a good message, a little creativity and not being afraid to become involved with your collectors goes a long way. When you engage with your customers and host organized in store activities, you will reap the benefits of word-of-mouth advertising. It remains the most powerful form of advertising there is.
“Also, do not be afraid to ask your distributor and the manufacturers for support of these organized activities or for advertising. Remember that you are not alone! Distributors and manufacturers are frequently willing to help with prizes for an event or even co-op advertising for it. There are a number of great distributors in our industry and they along with the manufacturers are more than willing to help you with your events!”
Another great service that partnering with an Authorized Distributor can provide is assistance with signage for your store. Roger partnered with Upper Deck to create a great electric sign that can really help to showcase the fact you are a direct reseller of Upper Deck products. Make sure to ask distributors what they may have available to help you decorate and merchandise your store.
Looking for more information on how to open up a trading card shop of your own? Check out the first stories on how to open up a shop here:
The information provided in this story is for assistance only and is not intended to be and must not be taken alone as the basis for an investment decision. Opening a trading card store, like any other business, presents certain risks for the business owner. Each reader of this information should make such investigations as it deems necessary to arrive at an independent evaluation of an investment.