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Old 08-12-2010, 07:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default COMC: Why I love our shipping fees

Why I love our shipping fees

August 11, 2010 at 5:53 PM


There are many great sites out there for finding cards that people have posted themselves. So today I decided to find a bunch of cards of one of my favorite players.

Beckett Marketplace
I first went to the Beckett Marketplace and pretty quickly found 102 cards that I wanted. The problem was that they were all split across 35 different sellers. My total shipping came to $90.07.

With our service you always get combined shipping because everything is stored in our warehouse. For 102 cards my shipping would have been $28.25 on our site, and if I use a free account and wait until the last week of the month, I can get that shipping down to $22.80 with the bulk shipping discount.

Sportlots
Next I tried Sportlots where I found 52 cards that I wanted. Here the cards where spread across 19 different sellers. They really try to offer extremely cheap shipping. Yet the shipping still came to $24.37 for their budget service. With our service the shipping would have only been $15.75 and it would have been at least as good as their premium shipping service.

eBay
Finally I tried eBay where I found 25 cards that I wanted. Unfortunately the 5 sellers were asking $5+ for cards that I could get for $0.50 on the other sites. In any case, shipping would have $25.45 for the 25 cards. With our service shipping on 25 cards is only $9.

Summary
With other services shipping fees very quickly add up and are hard to keep under control. With CheckOutMyCards.com you can count on quality shipping for around a quarter a card. This is $0.25 to $0.75 per card less than the other sites. These savings allow buyers to pay less out of pocket while sellers are putting more into their pocket. Ahh… the magic of efficiency. I love this hobby, and I love working hard to make CheckOutMyCards.com a great service for my fellow collectors.


Why I love our shipping fees CheckOutMyCards.com Blog
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Yep. I never really understood why people complained about the shipping. I am understanding it more lately as I see people all the time complaining just to complain on just about anything. Unfortunately it appears it's becoming human nature to complain for the sake of complaining.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mwheeler27 View Post
Yep. I never really understood why people complained about the shipping. I am understanding it more lately as I see people all the time complaining just to complain on just about anything. Unfortunately it appears it's becoming human nature to complain for the sake of complaining.
It is the American way.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It is the American way.
I think you're right. It's not "human nature", it's "American nature".
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The big thing that people complain about is on large orders, comparing the S/H paid to the amount spent on postage. In most of those examples mentioned, the actual postage costs would come much closer to the amount charged for S/H.

Let me preface this with stating I am personally fine with COMC's S/H charges because I benefit from being a seller on the site and saving the 20% cashout fee by buying cards to have shipped to me. So this is more looking at things from a buyer perspective in general, not my personal perspective. Anyway, I usually have 100-400 cards shipped to me from COMC each month. Even with their bulk shipping special at the end of the month, that can still get pretty pricey. A couple weeks ago I had about 350 cards shipped, which cost me around $60 in shipping. The amount of postage they used came to about $12.00... USPS Flat rate shipping with signature confirmation. So that is 5 times postage cost paid for shipping.

So that is the equivalent of paying about $7.00 to have one card shipped on ebay. Any seller that charged that much would surely get at least a 1 star DSR rating and quite possibly negative feedback. Any seller on any site that charged $60 for S/H and then spend $12 to ship it would have an irate buyer on their hands.

Thats where the complaining comes from.

COMC's rates on single card and smaller multicard purchases are very reasonable. But anytime your S/H charges start ballooning to 2-3 times or more what the actual postage costs, IMO you are charging too much.

COMC's answer has always been that they have to pay their staff to pull and package all of the cards. While that is absolutely a necessary cost, what the company is offering their sellers is a FULL consignment service. Pulling and preparing cards to ship is very much a cost that falls under consignment service and thus should be paid for by the sellers fees. You can't have full consignment service without shipping the cards, and so those costs should be built into the consignment fees.

What they do right now is pass those fees along to the buyer. IMO all the buyer should be paying for is the cost of shipping and supplies used in shipping. If the current price structure for processing doesn't allow enough left over for finishing the consignment process, then fees should be raised. Making buyers foot the bill has never and will never make sense to me when we're talking about a consignment service that benefits the seller.

Again, I am personally fine with the structure because as a seller on the site, I just look at the additional S/H costs as the additional fees I SHOULD be paying at processing. Plus spending the money on other cards lets me not have to pay the 20% cashout fee. I am very happy and content with the system. But there are plenty of buyers on the site that don't sell and plenty more potential buyers in the hobby that have not yet been tapped into. Those people should not have to foot expenses that benefit the seller and are part of the consignment process. And anytime a buyer pays 3-5x or more what postage costs are, I'd say they have every right to complain about it.
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ohiomike View Post
COMC's answer has always been that they have to pay their staff to pull and package all of the cards. While that is absolutely a necessary cost, what the company is offering their sellers is a FULL consignment service. Pulling and preparing cards to ship is very much a cost that falls under consignment service and thus should be paid for by the sellers fees. You can't have full consignment service without shipping the cards, and so those costs should be built into the consignment fees.
You are dead on.

I love COMC and as an aspirant seller, the low costs are super appealing.

But you are right that it,s not the buyer who should get the bill in the end.

There must be a way to split the costs more accuratly. Maybe up the 'storage monthly fee' or something.
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Old 08-12-2010, 04:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If the storage fee goes up, I won't be selling on the site anymore.

If the shipping rates are cheaper than every other somewhat comparable site, I think COMC is doing a great job. Again, where else can you buy 400 cards you want from several different sellers and pay less in shipping?

I have always been in favor of the sellers sharing or paying for the shipping costs. But they need to do it on a "per card" basis and not by increasing the storage fees in my opinion. That is if they ever decide to do this.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I personally love the site. I dont even look at the cost of shipping when I get a package of 50-100 cards. Shipping at say $3 a piece on ebay, or even 25 pieces far exceeds what I pay on COMC. Also, I dont have to worry about not receiving items, leaving feedback etc. Just a much easier and more convenient process.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I am definitely not for raising storage fees as each $.01/month of storage fees costs me about 3-5% of my sales revenue which is a very sizeable chunk.

The buyer is paying a bit too much of the burden at $.25/card so I would suggest shifting the burden to the seller with an increase in the listing cost. This would help to reduce the influx of 2008 Bowman Baseball Commons and hopefully allow COMC to increase the average card selling price (and their revenue).

OhioMike - as per usual your feedback is eloquently stated. Postage on smaller shipments is a mute point, but I can understand the buyer looking at the $12 Express Mail Box and being upset when they paid COMC $60 for postage.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree with those that would be against an increase in storage fees. If storage fees ever went up for any reason, I'd probably have to end my seller account.

But the costs of gathering and packing cards for shipping are part of the consignment process and thats supposed to be what the sellers are paying for with the upfront per card fee and batch fees. If the current rates don't cover all expenses involved with the full consignment process they should be changed. As it stands now it feels like the rates are artificially low to entice more sellers and more cards to be processed and to make up the difference the buyers are footing the bill.

Again, I'm completely comfortable with how things are now for me personally and don't really think any seller on the site can complain too much about the S/H costs they pay when its going toward covering costs that sellers should be responsible for in the first place. But its the buyer only accounts that are the ones overpaying.

I know the other response to this will be that there is a minuscule % of buyer only accounts placing large orders where the S/H becomes unreasonable, so its a very minor problem. And that may be true. But don't try to act like it isn't valid criticism.

The BIGGEST competitive advantage the site has over all other online sites where you can buy cards, is the fact that everything is in one physical location, making the fact you are buying from multiple sellers a moot point. But instead of taking full advantage of this HUGE competitive advantage, it seems like the company just uses the multiple seller thing as an excuse for why the current S/H structure is fine and better than the alternative. So the value of their biggest competitive advantage becomes almost nothing, which is a shame.

Again, keep it the same or change it... doesn't matter to me personally. But sales would be better for the site if the S/H rates were cheaper, and that would benefit all sellers. And rates would be able to easily be reduced if all sellers were paying their full share for the consignment services they are utilizing, instead of the current system of splitting the costs of the consignment services between buyers and sellers.

And just an FYI, on sportlots you can buy 25 cards or 100 cards from me and your total S/H charges will be $2.50. Buy more than 100, even my entire inventory, and shipping is absolutely free. $0.00. (as long as we're writing fluff pieces highlighting why we love our own S/H policies, I feel like I may as well join in)
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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BTW - I just wanted to state that COMC is my favorite site to buy on and favorite site to sell on. I don't want to discourage anyone from using the site, as its a fantastic alternative to ebay in almost all ways, and a good alternative to most other sites in a lot of ways too. The criticisms I've laid out here are criticisms I've had of the site since joining, but the don't deter me from using the site or damper my enjoyment of the site. I simply want the other side of the argument laid out and point out why some people have complained. Its not baseless criticism. But with that said, I am currently the #5 buyer in terms of book value bought on the site, and am in the top 30 or so for selling... and have no plans to stop my pace of buying or selling anytime soon. The way the site is setup is almost perfect FOR ME. But I do think it could be better for others. Thats all I'm trying to point out. I absolutely love the site overall.
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:36 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Good healthy debate with valid points all around. Here is one other thing to consider when figuring out who is going to bare the brunt of the shipping cost. Lets say for example the fee to list a card goes up $.20 to cover all but $.05 of the shipping cost. If that is the case, I as a seller, am going to increase my minimum accepted amount by at least $.20. And by doing so, the buyer is still going to pay the same amount, if not more because of that. I sell a lot of $.50-.75 refractors and numbered cards, as I'm sure most others do. Those have always been my best sellers because there are always people out there looking to fill sets or collecting certain players or teams. If I have to drop $.45 each to list, it really doesn't make much sense for me to turn around and sell for $.50, or $.05 profit (not even taking into consideration monthly fees if they sit for a while). You will see sellers, like myself, stop sending in cards like that. On the other side, buyers would be thrilled to pick up those cards for, say, $.50 + $.05 a card shipped ($.55 total). Now if the fees were increase to cover the shipping cost, the cards will never hit the site, therefore, the buyers will not have them to purchase.

Getting into the higher $$ cards is a completely different story. If I were to take a $.20 hit on card that I sold for $5-10, no big deal. But when most of the cards bought and sold fall in the $.50-2.00 range, 10% extra in fees is an awful lot.

I hope all that made sense. Essentially what I was trying to say is that if the sellers are to be responsible for the processing cost, they will increase the price on their cards and buyers will ultimately end up paying the same. And in both scenarios, the extra money always ends up in the hands of COMC. Its just a matter of who gives it to them.
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:26 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohiomike View Post

And just an FYI, on sportlots you can buy 25 cards or 100 cards from me and your total S/H charges will be $2.50. Buy more than 100, even my entire inventory, and shipping is absolutely free. $0.00. (as long as we're writing fluff pieces highlighting why we love our own S/H policies, I feel like I may as well join in)
But who is buying 100 cards from just one seller? The advantage of the COMC is buying from multiple sellers and being shipped from one site. You cannot do that on Sportlots, I have tried. The only time you will save money on Sportlots is when you are completing a base set, you still have to spend time matching all your needs to one seller or the fewest possible.

And where did you come up with the $7 as a comparable shipping cost to Ebay? Most sellers charge a minimum of $3 and then add another dollar PER card! Unless you are buying lots on Ebay you are not getting anywhere near better shipping deal. To give a more honest figure base it on the number of sellers you purchased the cards from.
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:41 AM   #14 (permalink)
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But who is buying 100 cards from just one seller? The advantage of the COMC is buying from multiple sellers and being shipped from one site. You cannot do that on Sportlots, I have tried. The only time you will save money on Sportlots is when you are completing a base set, you still have to spend time matching all your needs to one seller or the fewest possible.

That SHOULD be an advantage. Having all of the cards in one physical location should mean some of the cheapest S/H relative to postage costs of any site on the web. Unfortunately, thats not always the case. As I stated, I just got sent an order where I paid in S/H fees five times what the company actually spend on postage. If a buyer paid an ebay seller five times the acutal postage cost, that seller would likely receive 1 star DSR ratings at a minimum and likely a negative too. Especially if multiple $50-$100 cash value cards were shipped WITHOUT even a penny sleeve on them, much less a top loader, as was the case in my most recent order.
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:54 AM   #15 (permalink)
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"eBay
Finally I tried eBay where I found 25 cards that I wanted. Unfortunately the 5 sellers were asking $5+ for cards that I could get for $0.50 on the other sites. In any case, shipping would have $25.45 for the 25 cards. With our service shipping on 25 cards is only $9."


25 cards ...1st card $2.00 + 24 cards @ .25cents = $8

I would suggest look around there are a few ebay stores selling with shipping like this.

Some have free shipping even.

Just saying your research little flawed.
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Old 08-13-2010, 08:43 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Beckett Marketplace
I first went to the Beckett Marketplace and pretty quickly found 102 cards that I wanted. The problem was that they were all split across 35 different sellers. My total shipping came to $90.07.
Most Beckett Marketplace sellers offer free shipping on any order of $50 or more. A lot of times if you are purchasing at least one fairly expensive card, you can have anything else shipped with that card for free.
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:39 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I would suggest look around there are a few ebay stores selling with shipping like this.

Some have free shipping even.

Just saying your research little flawed.
This implies you knew which cards they were looking for. They were searching for specific cards, not just random cards to see how much shipping was.
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:57 AM   #18 (permalink)
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This implies you knew which cards they were looking for. They were searching for specific cards, not just random cards to see how much shipping was.
Specific cards that they picked...that could have been picked because of their high shipping costs.
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Old 08-14-2010, 04:00 PM   #19 (permalink)
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There's also the other side of COMC's fees, which is the main reason that I have NOT signed up as a seller. I have quite a few parallels/rookies/inserts/GU/Autos. Probably close to 2000+ in baseball alone. If I were to send those to COMC in one lot, I'd be spending over $70 before I ever saw a single sale.

Would I make back my money? Probably. Does it take away the sting of having to shell out $70 before I ever see a dime? No. Does it make me go to eBay first (more buyers, no money out of pocket to begin with)? Most definitely.

I'm not saying that COMC is bad, I'm just saying that their fees currently deter me from using them as anything other than a buyer.
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Old 08-14-2010, 06:55 PM   #20 (permalink)
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For exactly that reason, I usually take my Sportlots sales money and use it to pay for my COMC submissions. That way I'm still not out of pocket any money.
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Old 08-15-2010, 04:26 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ohiomike View Post
That SHOULD be an advantage. Having all of the cards in one physical location should mean some of the cheapest S/H relative to postage costs of any site on the web. Unfortunately, thats not always the case. As I stated, I just got sent an order where I paid in S/H fees five times what the company actually spend on postage. If a buyer paid an ebay seller five times the acutal postage cost, that seller would likely receive 1 star DSR ratings at a minimum and likely a negative too. Especially if multiple $50-$100 cash value cards were shipped WITHOUT even a penny sleeve on them, much less a top loader, as was the case in my most recent order.
That is the main thing that drives me crazy with COMC. If they want to say how great there shipping is, step it up and ship my stuff all in toploaders and penny sleeves. Ive bought multiple cards in the $50-$150 range where they come in just penny sleeves and it drives me crazy. I get quite a few knicked up cards because of it. Overall though, I love the site and find some great deals. I just sent in a 260 card batch to them which I hope goes well as well.
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Old 08-15-2010, 08:34 AM   #22 (permalink)
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As someone who has recently gotten into the act of selling cards, I wanted to thank all you posters for the previous inputs. It's provided an education to those who have recently started selling.
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Old 08-15-2010, 08:42 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaClyde View Post
For exactly that reason, I usually take my Sportlots sales money and use it to pay for my COMC submissions. That way I'm still not out of pocket any money.
I've only sent COMC my first payment of 100 bucks. After that I've used site sales to fund my submissions and card purchases. My first batch was a smaller one, but also sent some better cards knowing that if they sold I'd have some funds available to do additional things with. Almost $13K later in sales, I'm still very happy.

I do agree though, I'd really like to see some type of additional teir for the larger shipment submissions. That being said, the end of month specials do help a ton and with everything spelled out, I tend to adjust my offers accordingly for stuff I'm looking to sell locally.
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:19 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Oh. Forgot. This was at the cheapest prices, which means it's 2 months from the time they get the cards before I can sell them. So, yeah.

Sorry, maybe I'm just not getting it. I dunno.
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Old 08-15-2010, 12:25 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by iluvfish2 View Post
I've only sent COMC my first payment of 100 bucks. After that I've used site sales to fund my submissions and card purchases. My first batch was a smaller one, but also sent some better cards knowing that if they sold I'd have some funds available to do additional things with. Almost $13K later in sales, I'm still very happy
Same story for me. I think I paid an initial $150 out of pocket, and might have used paypal to fund another $100 or so over time. So probably about $250 out of pocket to generate $15,000+ in actual sales, and many more to come. I'll take that all day long. Heck I've spent a combined $250 out of pocket to set up at some shows where I was lucky to do $500 in sales and probably lost money. I love the way COMC is setup for sellers.


Quote:
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I do agree though, I'd really like to see some type of additional teir for the larger shipment submissions. That being said, the end of month specials do help a ton and with everything spelled out, I tend to adjust my offers accordingly for stuff I'm looking to sell locally.
It makes much more sense for me to use sportlots to sell a majority of the cards I have to offer, since the majority (quantity wise) are cards I'm offering for $0.25 to $1. A new tier with an even longer wait time but an even cheaper price might persuade me to send in SOME stuff I wouldn't currently send, but its the storage fees that keep me from sending a lot of this low $ stuff. If the free storage mark were even $0.50 and under rather than $0.25 and under, I'd probably try sending in thousands of cards I wouldn't consider now. It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me to send in stuff and pay ~ $0.17 in processing (when I figure in shipping and batch fees) on cards that I own for between $0.10-$0.25 each and want to sell for less than $1. If I avoid the storage fee by pricing the cards at $0.25, I lose money. If I pay the storage fees and price the stuff at $0.50 and $0.75, the cards will be slow moving enough for storage fees to eat up any potential profits.

But just like some of their responses about the S/H criticisms, I don't think they are too worried about not processing or selling more cards that sell for under $1. THEY don't make much on the sales of these cards, so they aren't going to take action making it easier for sellers to make these small value sales. I think thats unfortunate, but I also can see their perspective too.

Ultimately, I think just using a mix of sportlots, COMC, and ebay is the best answer. No one site is going to be the "end-all be-all" to sell sportcards. But I'm happy with the current mix of the sites, and can say COMC is definitely the leader of the 3 in terms of sales dollars. So while they aren't perfect, they are probably as close to it as you could hope for.
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