SALES TO ASTONISH #12 - AUGUST 2023
SALES TO ASTONISH #12 - AUGUST 2023
Summer is always on odd time to sell comics, graphic novels, Roleplaying games and books - forms of entertainment that would traditionally be better suited to rainy days or deepest darkest winter.
The pattern that was established as far back as the end of June where Thursday is by the busiest day of the week by a country mile due to new product being launched in store and the remainder of the week (especially Friday-Sunday) is very quiet showed no signs of changing at the beginning of August The first Thursday launch of August saw more 90’s Batman comics sell really well along with variant covers and Fantasy Advertiser and Comics Feature magazines. By contrast I didn’t sell a single item on Friday 4th August and only took three orders over the weekend of 5/6th August.
A grim first weekend in August was offset somewhat by a great day at Northampton Comic Con and Toy Fair on Sunday 6th August. It was a busy Con from the time it opened though to 3pm. I sold a number of graphic novels, lots of X-Men and Wolverine back issues a copy of Amazing Spider-man Annual #2 in VG- @ £65, Spider-Punk #1 @ £12.50 and even some Vampi variant covers at £15 each. I chatted to some great people and even a couple who followed me on Instagram and were very complimentary about the videos I keep posting!! 😂
The second Thursday launch in August was a slightly smaller than normal offering due to having to spend a few days away in the North East due to a family emergency. It was a nice mix of modern Marvel and Indies and some Marvel soft and hardcover graphic novels. Having a launch without any real specific focus can be a bit hit or miss and this one proved to be a big miss. There were plenty of website visitors during the day but precious few sales. In fact it was a bit of a disaster! So much so that I put out a call for help on social media to say I was desperate for sales. It’s not something I am particularly proud of and something I have avoided doing for a while but the harsh reality is that without continued support I’m just not going to be able to carry on with The Unreality Store. After over three years of trading this is an incredibly difficult pill to swallow. There were a number of people who put in an order following on from the social media announcement and I cannot thank them enough. You know who you are 😎😎
I decided to follow the modern age theme throughout the month partly because I need to get hold of some 70/80’s as the store is running low on comics from those eras, but also because a while back I had picked up a small DC modern age collection. Big long runs of Harley Quinn and Detective Comics dropped into store during August. In past experience Harley Quinn back issues have always sold quite well but this time round they didn’t move at all. Conversely Batman and Detective comic back issues continued to sell consistently throughout the month.
I also sold a nice mid-grade run of Comico Grendel issues and a good number of independent comics from the likes of Eclipse and IDW.
As we reached the latter end of August I managed to get over 200 back issues into store on the penultimate Thursday release. I’m trying to make the Thursday launches as big as possible and with a wide offering to hopefully increase my sales rates. But I hadn’t really factored in the Bank Holiday!!
I should have remembered that sales take a massive dip around Bank Holidays so in order to try and mitigate against that drop I offered a 15% discount to anyone wanting to claim it off their next order by using the code GIVEME15. A few people used the code over the Bank Holiday weekend which was good to see but I did wonder whether at this point in time against the cost of living crisis where back issue comics are non-essential items, 15% off isn’t really enough to get comics into people’s shopping baskets. The challenge I face (and as a small business I am sure that I am not alone here) is that I try to keep my prices as competitive as possible and any discount off the headline price eats into what could be an already small profit margin especially on a comic that retails at £3-£4. Even with the introduction of the availability of a slightly larger discount website traffic and sales over the Bank Holiday were dismal and Tuesday 29th was quieter than Christmas Day and another day in the month where I made zero sales online
There was a brief rally on the final day of August which coincided with a Thursday release and most of the comics I picked up on a short trip to Doncaster sold - these included some mid-grade Bronze Age Superman issues and some Texas Chainsaw Massacre comics too. I find the horror related film comics like TCM, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday 13th and Lost Boys always move when I have them in stock as there is a solid fan base for these horror franchises
So August ended on a high note but with September a month which traditionally sees belts tightened as we pay off summer holidays, children go back to school and everyone has one eye on Christmas, can I raise my game and break the downward summer sales spiral? Join me in a months time…. 😎