Finding Your Niche
One of the differences in the comic market today and the one that
existed in the 1980's and 1990's is that it is next to impossible to make it
on a comic sales alone. Sure there are some stores that do it, but it is
nothing short of suicide to attempt it. To have a fighting chance, you need
to find a niche. Something that compliments the comics but also draws
people into your store. If you can offer something that no other store in
your area does, all the better. But ask yourself these questions before you
attempt to put in a new product line:
Question #1 - Is it a product that
there is a demand for? Ask your customers if they would be interested in
it. Also look at what other stores carry it and how much they sell it for
and how big a selection do they carry.
Question #2 - How much of a
profit can I make off this? Check to see what the retail price is and what
your price is. Can you return unsold merchandise or are you stuck with it?
Do you have suppliers who can provide you with more when you sell out?
Question #3 - How much space
will it take up and will the sales justify the space? All mall stores look
at sales by square foot. If you want to be successful you should do the
same thing. Figure out what it costs per square foot. That is take all
your expenses (rent, utilities, insurance, advertising and wages) and then
divide it by the amount of square footage of your store and by square
footage I mean area where you are selling. Do not count a basement or
storage area. This will tell you how much money each square foot should be
generating. The more the better. If a product is not bringing in enough,
then you should think about getting rid of it and bringing in something
When I was looking into carrying
new product lines, one that I chose was Japanimation. I had a good
selection of my own that I could use to start and there were no stores that
offered it for rent. I sat down and figured that it would take about 10
rentals to make a profit off a tape and then the rest was profit. They also
did not take up alot of space. It was a very successful product line for my
store. The only problem I faced was people not returning them. This was
for the most part fixed with getting a credit card and their information.
But I found that late fees were a very profitable part of renting. If you
made them reasonable, people had no problem paying them.
Some product lines that I
carried that also did well were candy and Magic: The Gathering cards. I was
between two grade schools so candy was an easy sell. I originally put it in
to attract kids to the store in hopes that they would start collecting
comics. I always put a selection of kid friendly comics near the candy.
Stuff like Disney, Harvey, Archies and stuff like that. It did get some
kids collecting but not like I hoped. But the candy was a big seller and
The Magic: The Gathering cards
were also a big seller. I found that there was more money to be made by
breaking a few boxes down and selling the individual cards. That was until
they started reprinting the cards. But I could not find another collectible
card game that would sell well.
Some product lines that did not
do well for me were comic t-shirts and action figures. T-Shirts were slow
moving and just a waste. I tried carrying popular characters, classic
designs and even anime t-shirts. They just were a drain on my money. Only
when I had a big sale to get rid of them, did they finally sell.
Action figures were a pain. I
had a hard time getting them in a timely manner and you quickly found out
that people only wanted to buy the rare ones and stick you with the rest. I
had to get creative with the pricing to keep from being stuck with a bunch
of figures that would not sell.
Anyway, think about different
product lines that will enhance your business and increase your profits. Do
some homework and make sure it makes sense to carry it. A little work can
save you alot of trouble later on.
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