Being a Better Customer – Open a Sub Box!

12Jan11

Part of comics activism on your part is understanding that your shopping habits have a big impact on the store or stores you frequent.  As many of you are aware, this isn’t a business where every store has every new comic 100 copies deep.  It simply isn’t feasible.  While a large amount of this work definitely is on the shoulders of the store, customers can do small things to help their local store out!  I’ll be discussing various ways you can be a better customer for your favorite store throughout the year, starting today!

My first tip: Open up a subscription box at your local store!  Sometimes referred to as a pull and hold box, the idea is that you let your local store know which monthly comics you would like to pick up each month, and they pull and reserve a copy so you can come pick it up at your leisure.  The rules governing these things vary a great deal from store to store, so be sure to check details with them.

How does this help your store?  Comic stores order well in advance of the release of the comics sight-unseen, and without the ability to return unsold copies.  These circumstances make correct ordering both very important, and rather tricky.  Subscription customers help take a little bit of the guesswork out of the equation.  Not only do they give us an idea of the demand for a given title, they also can help us gauge demand for related titles.  The number of subs I have for Batman helps me gauge how many copies of the Batman Holiday Special, Batgirl, Red Robin, and any number of Bat-related titles I can expect to sell.  My Walking Dead subs help me gauge demand for other horror comics, zombie comics, or even other Robert Kirkman projects.  Even if you only subscribe to a single comic, all data is helpful on our end!

Besides, at Keith’s Comics and More Fun Comics, a subscription gets you on our mailing list so you’re first to know about sales, special events, and other awesome things!

On the flipside of this, another thing you can do to help your local comic store if you have a sub box is to….close it!  By this I mean to say that, if you need to stop picking up your books, let your local store know.  Every decent store is run by a businessperson who understands as well as anyone that we all have financial and time constraints sometimes.  If you hit a situation where you can’t afford your sub books any longer, a simple five minute visit or phone call to let the store know you need to close your sub box is actually doing them a big favor.  The all-too-common alternative is when people simply disappear, and don’t pick up their books at all.  What happens is many of the books set aside for them could have been sold had the store known that the sub customer didn’t need them any longer.  The demand for books is highest in the first week or two, missing that window makes a big difference.  By letting your store know in a more timely fashion that circumstances are forcing you to cut back, you actually give them a better opportunity to sell the books you don’t need any longer.  I’ve had plenty of people that come in and mention they need to shut off their box, and I just let them know that they’re welcome to come back if things change again for them.  It is a win-win situation for all!

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