Monday, June 9, 2008

The P Word

The "p" word in selling in-hands whether on ebay or at a card show is pricing. I call it this because of the controversy that goes with it.

One school of thought is to use cardtarget's 7-day average for the price of an in-hand. Another is to charge whatever you want. Another is to base your price on the supply of each in-hand you bring to a show and there's another about factoring in your total expenses for a show.

I'm not going to recommend "the right way" to price your in-hands. That's up to you.

Just keep a few things in mind when pricing your cards:
  • You will most likely be the only dealer at the show selling etopps in-hands, thus having no competition.
  • Your customers may have never heard of etopps before so this is their first impression and pricing is a big part of that first impression.
  • They may not care what an etopps card sells for on ebay, whether in-port or in-hand. They wouldn't be at this card show if they were so gung-ho about ebay's prices.
  • Be prepared for the question, "how much do these cards book?" There is no book value for etopps cards and this may make a customer uncomfortable. Explain how you determine the price of your cards.
  • There's a lot of competition for a customer's dollar. Already their wallets get thinner from the admission charge and the cost of getting autographs.
  • Be customer-oriented. If you're asking $12 for a card and a customer offers $10, accept the offer. If the customer wants to buy $35 worth of cards, discount the cards so they're getting $5 back. In other words, use your prices as a starting point.
  • Be flexible. If a number of people show interest in your cards but walk away when they find out the prices of what they want, you may need to re-think your pricing strategy. There's nothing wrong with making a profit but there's nothing right about price gouging. You need to determine prices that will work for you without alienating your customers.
  • Know your bottom line. You paid for these cards with your money, paid for the table to be at this show and possibly the shipping of these cards to you from etopps. What is the lowest you will sell each card? If you can't answer this question before showtime, you may want to do some math beforehand.
There's nothing wrong with making a deal with others dealers at the show. This would happen at the end of a show, when customers have left and the dealers are left to pack up everything. You can still make a handsome sum by offering multi-card deals. Though I wouldn't recommend this if you plan to return to the same show the next time it is offered. Because you may have created competition for yourself.

One last thing: be most flexible with your autographed or graded cards. You'll have plenty of people asking how much you're charging for a Justin Upton autographed card but only few of them will reach for their wallets especially at an autograph show where they came to get the autograph in person rather than from a dealer.

1 comment:

Jbone said...

I saw in Beckett's bimonthly price guide prices for 2001 through 2004 baseball cards. It's the bigger guide that lists everything. I would suspect the other sports have similar pricing models in them too. They list the print runs in the guide too.

I enjoy reading your posts, keep it up!