Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Marketwatch - February 27

As of today, February 27 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 180
Sell-Through: 58.33%
Average starting price: $2.26
Average final price: $10.92

Highest Single Card Sale: Allen & Ginter Presidential Candidates Barack Obama, $91
Highest Mult-Card Sale: 2008 Allen & Ginter Yankee Stadium Tribute Set, $125
Highest Graded Sale: 2001 Albert Pujols BGS 9.5, $99.99
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: Nolan Ryan Classic Baseball
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: None

Other best sellers:

* 2003 LeBron James
* 2008 Matt Cassell
* 2006 Rajon Rondo
* 2002 Henrik Zetterberg

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: 2008 Presidential Candidates Barack Obama - 21 bids

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The National Dilemma

I noticed there have been rumblings on the message board about the National this year involving it's marriage with econ and the etopps booth at the National.

For this post, I want to steer clear of the econ and focus more on the etopps booth at the National. Without a doubt, it's going to be interesting what etopps will decide to do.

Everyone knows that this industry starts and ends with consumers' disposable income. Considering what we know already - the worst economy since the Depression, record-high unemployment, record-high foreclosures, and not that many signs of an economic recovery happening around the corner: will people fork over their saved money at the National this year?

If there is a booth at this summer's National in Cleveland, it will be their third appearance at the National in Cleveland. Their third time. Who will want to buy etopps cards if they have attended the previous two shows in Cleveland? What will be the incentive(s) at the etopps booth to attract traffic (and hopefully) sales?

Unless attending the National is the vacation that a person is saving for as I write this, I can't see more traffic at the etopps booth than the Cleveland National traffic two years ago (with my own eyes). My guess is those who will be going to their first National this summer may show up at the booth to check out what's the deal with etopps. I can't see veteran National attendees doing anything but slowing down while passing the etopps booth, thinking "been there, done that."

While the only thing worse than having a booth at the National is not having a booth at the National, what if it was a different booth, an informational booth that had laptops and showed what the website looked like in addition to a few other things: displays of etopps cards from 2000 to 2009, a drawing to give away an in-hand each hour or a grab-bag give-away for those who sign up for an account.

Another possibility is to use the money that would be spent on the etopps booth and use it on a consultant who could market etopps on facebook, myspace and twitter, giving away in-hand cards every few days, announcing the etopps IPOs and revamping the website to make it more compatible with the above mentioned websites. And with today's economy, Topps may not even realize there are probably people who will do this consultation work for free to develop their portfolio.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Marketwatch - February 20

As of today, February 20 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 146
Sell-Through: 50.68%
Average starting price: $2.79
Average final price: $11.03

Highest Single Card Sale: Allen & Ginter Yankee Stadium Tribute Patch Card, $31.99
Highest Mult-Card Sale: 2003 Basketball In-Hand Set, $150
Highest Graded Sale: 2001 Ichiro PSA 10, $26.50
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: 2008 Allen & Ginter SB Champs Tom Brady, $175
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: None

Other best sellers:

* 2008 Matt Ryan
* 2003 LeBron James
* 2008 A&G Yankee Tribute Johnny Unitas
* Classic Baseball Roberto Clemente

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: 2003 Martin Brodeur - 9 bids

Monday, February 16, 2009

How To Use Twitter For Etopps In-Hands

Twitter is the fastest growing social media website in 2009. It is a microblogging site in which you can only answer "what are you doing?" in 140 characters. As of this writing, there are over 1.2 million accounts worldwide and it's growing in leaps and bounds.

So with this kind of a market, how do you capitalize on this to sell your etopps in-hand cards?

The first thing you want to do is get your feet wet. Create an account with your name, your real name that is. (Remember, web 2.0 is about transparency) If you provide your ebay or etopps username, make sure you have a photo of yourself, a head shot preferrably.

Like with other social media sites, your little biography can go a long way. Mention your interests: etopps, topps, sports cards, your favorite sports team(s), etc. The more you include what and who you like as a collector/seller, the more you'll be found by others do searches to find people like you who have the same interests as them. It works this way on myspace and facebook.

After sprucing up your bio (which can be more than 140 characters even though it says this in the account setting section), click on the "find people" link. This is where you can type in keywords that have something to do with the etopps cards you're selling.

Here's an example. Let's say you are selling Steelers in-hands. Type in the word "football" in the search box. I found 316 results with the ones having the most "followers" listed first.

When you "follow" another account user you will see all of their 140 character max "tweets" or posts.

There's something else extremely important about twitter. People include links to interesting things on the web and they usually begin with the letters tinyurl at the beginning of the URL address. Since there are only 140 characters, it's hard to squeeze in long website addresses for specific things. To show people an etopps listing, you need to download a tinyurl creator at (aptly)

At this website you want to download the program that will let you create a tinyurl on any website page by right clicking on that page and clicking the tinyurl creator option. When you do this, the tinyurl link is automatically copied on the clipboard function on your computer and you're ready to paste it into your tweet.

Let's use a real life example that I used for my new website. I sell superhero merchandise for kids. So my customers have mostly been these kids' moms. So I did a search for the mom bloggers and the moms who say they have kids in their bios. Earlier this week one of them tweeted that today was her 3-year old's birthday.

When you want to reply to someone for anyone to see, there's an 180 degree arrow button to click if you want to reply to that person. Since she was following me and I was following her already, I could "DM" (direct message) her which I did (in 140 characters). I wished her son a happy b-day and told her about my website and gave her a discount. She, in return, thanked me and bought 4 items.

This is the magic that can happen on Twitter.

For etopps cards, do a search with the keywords "gift" and "ideas" so you can help someone out who's asking for birthday ideas for a boyfriend, hubby, son, friend. Link them to your etopps in-hand listings and see what happens. You may not get a sale every time but at least you come across as being helpful, kind and human. Which is what everyone wants everyone else to be on twitter.

Once you have an account, follow me to learn more and I'll return the favor and see how you do.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Marketwatch - February 13

As of today, February 13 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 237
Sell-Through: 50.21%
Average starting price: $2.31
Average final price: $8.61

Highest Single Card Sale: Allen & Ginter Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, $122.50
Highest Mult-Card Sale: 2008 Allen and Ginter SB Champs Set, $135
Highest Graded Sale: 2001 Albert Pujols BGS 9, $63.95
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: 2007 Ryan Braun, $95
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: 2007 Joba Chamberlain BGS 9/10, $92.56

Other best sellers:

* 2008 A&G Yankee Stadium Tribute - Roger Maris
* 2001 Drew Bledsoe
* 2008 A&G John F. Kennedy
* 2008 A&G Hillary Clinton

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: Lot of 50 different in-hands including Dwyane Wade: 16 bids

Monday, February 2, 2009

Making An Exception The Rule

Here's an update from etopps that was posted this morning:

The following eTopps Football cards have printed, and are ready for delivery on 2/2/09:

2008 Football

James Hardy 2008
Matt Forté 2008
Joe Flacco 2008
Peyton Manning 2008
Michael Turner 2008
Eddie Royal 2008
Jonathan Stewart 2008
J.T. O'Sullivan 2008
Felix Jones 2008
Tim Hightower 2008
Brett Favre 2008
Steve Slaton 2008
Chris Johnson 2008
Matt Ryan 2008
Matt Cassel 2008
Rashard Mendenhall 2008
Drew Brees 2008
DeSean Jackson 2008
Kevin Smith 2008
Adrian Peterson 2008
Donnie Avery 2008
Steve Breaston 2008
Chad Pennington 2008
BenJarvus Green-Ellis 2008
Jamaal Charles 2008

* * * *
This morning in my inbox I received a couple of emails from etopps I wasn't expecting: the announcement of today's Basketball IPOs and an etopps basketball classic of President Obama.

What makes this so unexpected is the timing. We usually get these emails hours after the IPO release time of 1pm EST. Rather than making it an effort for us to look up what's going to be offered by clicking here and there on the site, etopps handed us the offering in our inboxes to let us know what's going on.

I remember before Mark took over the etopps reins that we had no idea what was being offered until IPO time. Between these two different marketing tactics, I'll take what we got today any time. And I really, really hope etopps will continue this trend moving forward for each week's IPOs with basketball, baseball and football and whatever they will offer in between these sports.

Another Obama card is smart. Whether people like it or not, it will sell in-hand easily and will receive more attention because it's a regular-sized in-action photo of Obama rather than a earlier picture of him.

If you haven't noticed, Obamania is in full-swing again since the Inauguration and for etopps not to take advantage would be foolish. They can cover their losses with the low-appeal basketball takes in with this card.

If you can sell both this basketball card and Obama's presidential candidate card in hand together, you will do well.