SALES TO ASTONISH #14 - OCTOBER 2023
Sales To Astonish #14 October 2023
Having written this column for over a year now I am starting to notice some distinctive trends in my monthly activity throughout the year. I had touched on elements of this in previous instalments but in a nutshell the trends can be defined as simply as this
Busy months - January, March, May, October, November & December
Busy days - Monday & Thursday
Busiest hours - 6-8am Thursday
It will come as no surprise to regular readers that the busiest hours in the week immediately follow the release of new stock in the store on a Thursday. At a guess I would say that Monday is busy because people casually browse the website over the weekend and then make their purchases Monday lunchtime. And my busiest months largely are as a result of January and Anniversary sales and the run up to Christmas.
So my challenge to buck these trends has become something of a logic puzzle akin to The Seven Bridges of Konigsberg (Walk through a city while crossing each of seven bridges exactly once) - I can’t solve that and currently am wracking my head as to how to improve things on an hourly, daily and monthly basis.
One of the changes I’ve made in 2023 is to have three retail outlets for my stock you can find details here and I am currently looking for another potentially around Coventry/Rugby or in the opposite direction from Wellingborough eastwards down the A14 to Cambridge. If anyone knows of a retro emporium or vintage outlet in those areas please drop me a line
October on the face of things was one of the better months of the year so far. It may in fact be the best month of ‘23 once I know the sales positions from the aforementioned outlets next week. I was conscious that I needed to do something on weekends to mitigate against dropping conventions and markets so I decided to run a couple of weekend mini launches focusing on comic sets. Were I to have my time all over again there would of course be a lot that I would have done differently initially and I can’t believe that I didn’t consider introducing comic sets into the store from the point of launch. I love a set (and so it would appear you do) and the weekend mini launches went really well and increased sales and traffic on Saturday and Sundays - days which are decidedly hit and miss
I picked up a couple of collections in October totally around 3000 comics so the Thursday launches saw the start of some of that stock arrive on the website
To start October there was a big stack of modern day Avengers, Superman Annuals and Judge Dredd comics. Some of the minor keys in the Avengers run like New Avengers #9 (1st Black Order) sold in NM- @£6.50 as did many of the Superman annuals at £3 each but the real surprise was all the Eagle Comics Judge Dredd issues were snapped up between £2.50 -£3.00 an issue. Why? I’m pretty certain the fantastic Brian Bolland covers were the reason as there’s a dedicated fan base who appreciate his excellent work
The second launch in October was a mixture of Bronze/Copper age mid-grade Captain America issues and DC Annuals. Almost all the Captain America issues sold on the day of their release - there’s some lovely issues in the run from #200 - #300 especially those done by John Byrne. Batman annuals continue to sell well whenever I have them in stock. At an average price of around £3 an annual it’s a good opportunity to pick up some great self contained stories - the Elseworld issues go particularly quickly.
I followed up Cap with a load of Bat(man) specials and one-shots. There were lots of Elseworlds classics like Gotham by Gaslight and Holy Terror on offer along with some interesting Batman crossover specials - Spawn, Captain America and Punisher. The Batman/Judge Dredd Vendetta in Gotham special sold almost immediately and I could have sold another 4 copies during the day as people asked if I had multiples - sadly I didn’t
As we approached the end of October I used the final Thursday release to coincide with a 50% off sale on all horror comics for Halloween which also included any in the release. All the issues of Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden’s Baltimore series I had from 2012-2017 were snapped up for a little over £50. Some nice Vampi variants including a David Finch holofoil cover went for £5-£6 each and outside of horror comic sale lots of issues of American Flagg sold as people looked to complete their collections as did a nice run of Larry Hama and Marc Silvestri Wolverine.
I’m conscious that there are some among you that would like to read about sales of key blue chip issues but my current inventory doesn’t include any ‘big’ books. To improve my inventory offering is all part of the evolution of the business but I find nothing better than getting an order for seemingly a load of random issues and then you realise people are using the website to complete their wants lists - and that’s exactly why I set it up in the first place!
An easy to use website, good inventory, reasonable prices, open 24 hours a day and most importantly offering great customer service.
Yes there were a couple of days in October when I didn’t sell a thing, and the month did kind of fizzle out but overall it was a good month and hopefully a turn in the right direction as we head towards Christmas.
Still with me? Great! See you next month!