COMIC Constructive criticism needed for our online comic book store

Discussion in 'Entertainment' started by UrbanNation, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. UrbanNation

    UrbanNation New Member

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    My wife and I got hit fairly hard during the downturn of the economy and as a result we decided to open an online comic book store.

    We have always been avid comic book readers and had a few boxes to start off with. Since then we've invested quite a bit in the store through some of our savings. Though, we do not have a wholesale account yet; we are only selling back issues. If the store works out we do plan on opening a wholesale account.

    The sales have been ok, but steady as of late. We know it is not perfect so we are trying to get some constructive criticism on the actual site.

    What would make the site better? What should we change? Would we have better luck listing older comics or newer comics? Does the site look professional enough? Where can we get some back links? ...... ect

    If you're interested in taking a look at the site and giving us your opinion, please either post in here or PM me and I'll send the link.


    Thanks OT!
     
  2. Zero

    Zero Well-Known Member

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    first
     
  3. gts24

    gts24 hurfdurf OT Supporter

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  4. Zero

    Zero Well-Known Member

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    Fuck you! rAERRKLREKLEKGKLER
    still waiting for the link... :hs:
     
  5. UrbanNation

    UrbanNation New Member

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  6. Zero

    Zero Well-Known Member

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    ok well it looks like an average webshop. exactly what type of criticism are you looking for? layout? selection? i don't really care for the layout, but it's clean and easily navigated which is a bonus. the selection? hard to say, i'm sure there's a gem in there for anyone who looks. :dunno: go hard? make $$$? fuck bitches?
     
  7. UrbanNation

    UrbanNation New Member

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    I guess as a priority we're trying to make sure that there is nothing on the site that will turn most buyers away. If we get any tips to make the site better that will be a big help also.

    We constructed the site ourselves and did all the work uploading and listing the comics, incorporating the name, ect. We did have some help with the header-banner. An OTer designed that for us in the website forum and we are very happy with it. Plus, we still have about 1000 comics to upload.

    Thanks for your input. It was actually very helpful!
     
  8. DoctorDoom

    DoctorDoom Doom always keeps his word. OT Supporter

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    I'd put the standard "about us, contact us, FAQ" links at the top under the banner. You have some of that on the right, but I didn't notice it for a while.

    For the publisher links on the left, I'd try a different set of colors. Maybe instead of green, use black, and instead of red when clicked on, use the blue. Red tends to be harder to read on the screen.
     
  9. UrbanNation

    UrbanNation New Member

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    Thanks. I've been working on an "about us" page, but we didn't think about a FAQ page. That might be a good idea, because we can list how we grade the comics on that page. Plus you are right about the location of the information pages. It's in a bad spot. I've been thinking about moving it under the categories section on the left, once the "about us" page is done. I also agree about the colors. I just have to figure where we will be able to change them in the coding. That shouldn't be to difficult.
     
  10. DoctorDoom

    DoctorDoom Doom always keeps his word. OT Supporter

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    You could also put the FAQ link under each comic condition that's says "How do we grade?" or "How is this comic graded?".

    Moving the general info links to the left is also a good idea. Maybe under the top banner make new jpeg links for each publisher: "DC" with Batman in the background, "Marvel" with Spider-man in the background, etc.
     
  11. Hiero

    Hiero New Member

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    For me personally, the format seems a bit busy. I see "Monthly Specials for January", "Featured Products", "New Products for January", "Featured [More]", "Specials [More]" It's like I don't know where to look.

    Also the "Contact Us"/Information box is halfway down the page. Shouldn't that be around the top half of the website?
     
  12. Chitty Chitty Gang Bang

    Chitty Chitty Gang Bang OTCC

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    WIll come back to purchase stuff later.
     
  13. Kurt Wagner

    Kurt Wagner New Member

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    I just glanced at it, but under marvel you have a typo, it says "the incredible hilk"
     
  14. UrbanNation

    UrbanNation New Member

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    I'm off to work now, but we agree with most if not all of the all the responses so far and we really appreciate the feedback. I'm hoping to fix many of the problems mentioned over the next week.
     
  15. UrbanNation

    UrbanNation New Member

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    Thanks!
     
  16. UrbanNation

    UrbanNation New Member

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    We have been working on many of the suggestions received. We added an "About Us" page today. Though, it still needs work, at least it is active and showing. We also moved the informational links to the upper left where they are more easily viewable and removed the featured products all together. Plus we also fixed the spelling error.

    We know there is still plenty of work to do, but the site looks much better now. We are actually noticing that customers are now viewing more pages per visit, which is a plus.

    :cool:
     
  17. 0wn3d_productivity

    0wn3d_productivity OT Supporter

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    I took a look and have some suggestions and kudos to hand out as well.

    As mentioned above, nice clean layout that is easy to navigate. That being said, spice it up a little- you don't want it to be too busy but too plain isn't good either. I know you like the banner graphic, but I don't. Something with better art is called for here, and I'd consider images that sort of pop and grab your attention- that and disparate art style between Spiderman and Superman bugs me, but I have a background in graphic arts so I pay way more attention than most people. Consider shots from the movies as an alternative to artwork.

    The lefthand nav menu would look a lot more pleasing in another font (Comic Sans?).

    The inventory you have is pretty damn good for a brand new shop- and the prices are right too. I bookmarked it because I may be buying some silver age Spideys and now I have another good source :)

    I'd imagine new issues online could get pretty hectic, so make sure you can afford the time. Speaking of affording, remember that your online competition offers things like free shipping of books and bagged and boarded as well. Stuff like that can be expensive to do both in terms of dollars and time.

    You could add statues and busts if you like in small quantities until you find what sells. Join affiliate programs, even if you don't want to do affiliate work. Take Sideshow's affiliate program- you get lists of what is selling well and previews of what's coming out before it's released to the public. You can use this data to plan what you want to offer on your site (you could also get dealer prices if you buy in quantity). And it costs you nothing to join, so why not?

    You have a good, catchy URL that describes what you do perfectly. But how are you promoting the site? Think SEO, keywords and press releases, articles to promote. You have to make sure Google can find you and that can be tricky (but certainly can be done). People looking for an online comic book shop might only look at the first 15-20 Google/ whatever search engine results, so that's a goal to shoot for.

    Word of mouth is still powerful on the web as well. Develop an absolutely impeccable reputation among your clientele. You can push your rankings up quickly by joining forums and offering something neat and unexpected in their orders. You might go to Wally World and get a few packages of those Handful of Heroes thingies (little plastic army men, but superheros instead if you didn't know) and put a couple in with orders as a freebie. Some people put a candy in or something like that, but the candy is gone and forgotten while the little figures will have to be dealt with. 2 or 3 little figures that are neat and cheap will wind up being given to a child, or maybe brought to the office to sit on someone's monitor. The point is, people will see them regularly and will remember you every time.

    Get them to deal with you by speaking with them as if you were speaking to your boss (because you are) and offer them a discount or something else of value. This kind of thing will have your customers making threads about how great you are to deal with in the forums. Join lots of them. Never appear annoyed or come back at a customer because all it takes is one copy paste to make everyone think you're an asshole. People love to jump on bandwagons.

    Also, you could offer to find books people are looking for. People think comic retailers have magic sources that they can't access (kind of true if they buy at an estate auction really cheaply I guess). Take a commission on a sale when you find someone a book. I did this with a copy of Amazing Fantasy 15 I bought a few years back. The retailer happened to know Kurt Busiek and I bought his copy (he even gave me a signed copy of a Superman comic he was writing at the time :cool: ). The retailer took a cut of what I paid Mr. Busiek. Now I have a cool book and a cool story to go with it and I'll always remember the guy who helped me. You might not be able to find something like that, but then again, you might.

    Anyway, I hope you don't take my suggestions as negative- you did a good job. The graphic is probably fine, but I'm picky. The other suggestions should be considered because there is a lot of competition online for comics. I think you're going to be successful. Post if you need clarification or you could PM me.

    -Jim
     
  18. UrbanNation

    UrbanNation New Member

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    Jim, This is an inspiring post with more information then we ever hoped for when we started this thread. You are clearly very knowledgeable on the subject.

    As mentioned above, nice clean layout that is easy to navigate. That being said, spice it up a little- you don't want it to be too busy but too plain isn't good either. I know you like the banner graphic, but I don't. Something with better art is called for here, and I'd consider images that sort of pop and grab your attention- that and disparate art style between Spiderman and Superman bugs me, but I have a background in graphic arts so I pay way more attention than most people. Consider shots from the movies as an alternative to artwork.

    We'll keep in mind the idea of a new banner. Just out of curiosity, would be able to help with a new banner? And if so how much?

    The inventory you have is pretty damn good for a brand new shop- and the prices are right too. I bookmarked it because I may be buying some silver age Spideys and now I have another good source :)

    Thanks - We have a bunch more Spidies. I'll try and get some more uploaded today. BTW if you do place an order, please put "OT" in the comment section and I will take 20% off the order before shipping. This goes for all OTers! (We can only to give the 20% if paid through the merchant account with MC or Visa.) If you would like to pay through paypal, please e-mail us first and we'll adjust the prices for the 20% discount. We appreciate all the help received!

    You could add statues and busts if you like in small quantities until you find what sells. Join affiliate programs, even if you don't want to do affiliate work. Take Sideshow's affiliate program- you get lists of what is selling well and previews of what's coming out before it's released to the public. You can use this data to plan what you want to offer on your site (you could also get dealer prices if you buy in quantity). And it costs you nothing to join, so why not?

    We'd like to add statues and busts in the future and I actually had a wholesale account with Diamond Comics, years ago, long before I met the Misses. We're trying to wait before opening another one because of the minimum monthly purchase amount which can become quite costly if the inventory isn't moving fast enough.

    Though, the affiliate program you mentioned sounds very promising. We actually already signed up. Hopefully they accept us.


    You have a good, catchy URL that describes what you do perfectly. But how are you promoting the site? Think SEO, keywords and press releases, articles to promote. You have to make sure Google can find you and that can be tricky (but certainly can be done). People looking for an online comic book shop might only look at the first 15-20 Google/ whatever search engine results, so that's a goal to shoot for.

    We have been promoting the site mostly through Google Ad Words, Yahoo Search Marketing and Facebook ads. We also recently opened a Twitter account. I was thinking that we could add some friends and than post Tweets when we add new comics. Additionaly, we were thinking about using a few free sites to open cover galleries with each cover linking to our site. I figure it's a good way to get some backlinks. Another way we are adding back links is by adding the site to different directories, but this has proven to be very time consuming. Also, I have been working on a press release, but its not finished yet. We really do not want to release something cheesy. Plus we are still researching the best sites to release the PR.

    Word of mouth is still powerful on the web as well. Develop an absolutely impeccable reputation among your clientele.

    This is our number one priority.

    You can push your rankings up quickly by joining forums and offering something neat and unexpected in their orders. You might go to Wally World and get a few packages of those Handful of Heroes thingies (little plastic army men, but superheros instead if you didn't know) and put a couple in with orders as a freebie. Some people put a candy in or something like that, but the candy is gone and forgotten while the little figures will have to be dealt with. 2 or 3 little figures that are neat and cheap will wind up being given to a child, or maybe brought to the office to sit on someone's monitor. The point is, people will see them regularly and will remember you every time.

    Great Idea! I'll have to look into finding some inexpensive giveaways.

    Also, you could offer to find books people are looking for. People think comic retailers have magic sources that they can't access (kind of true if they buy at an estate auction really cheaply I guess). Take a commission on a sale when you find someone a book. I did this with a copy of Amazing Fantasy 15 I bought a few years back. The retailer happened to know Kurt Busiek and I bought his copy (he even gave me a signed copy of a Superman comic he was writing at the time :cool: ). The retailer took a cut of what I paid Mr. Busiek. Now I have a cool book and a cool story to go with it and I'll always remember the guy who helped me. You might not be able to find something like that, but then again, you might.

    Wow thats a great story. It is clear that you are a serious collector! Plus its always cool to have a story behind any comic book that is purchased.

    Anyway, I hope you don't take my suggestions as negative- you did a good job. The graphic is probably fine, but I'm picky. The other suggestions should be considered because there is a lot of competition online for comics. I think you're going to be successful. Post if you need clarification or you could PM me.

    Not at all. This post has been a great help and very motivational.
    :bowdown:
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  19. 0wn3d_productivity

    0wn3d_productivity OT Supporter

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    Glad to help :) Check your PM's by the way.
     
  20. UrbanNation

    UrbanNation New Member

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    OT, We have made many of the changes suggested and we believe the site is much better off for them. We're going to continue to work hard on updating the site. Plus, soon we will be able to offer the latest comics from DC, Marvel, Image and Dark Horse in addition the the back issues we currently offer. The new comics should be up on the site soon!

    As a small token of our appreciation, we created a 20% off coupon for OTers. The coupon is good for a year and will take the 20% off both the total and shipping. When you are checking out just enter it in the specified box. The coupon code is: OT2010


    :wavey:
     
  21. UrbanNation

    UrbanNation New Member

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    I just wanted to post a quick update on this thread. We actually went ahead and opened a wholesale account. It was a big step for us, but it means that we will be able to offer the newest comics at fairly low prices. It will cost us now, but should pay off in the long run.

    We made many of the changes that have been suggested and I believe they have made a difference.

    We're trying to focus our attention on both uploading products and SEO. We finally have over a 1000 listed, but we have so many more to list. :hsd:

    As far as SEO, we are having our ups and downs; though traffic seems to be constantly improving.

    And for those of you that placed orders, we greatly appreciate it and hope you are happy with the comics received!

    :wavey:
     
  22. CabbieNamedAxel

    CabbieNamedAxel OTCC|SF OT Supporter

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    so just curious, but could someone set up a weekly pull list and have it shipped out? would it be too outrageous?
     
  23. UrbanNation

    UrbanNation New Member

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    Just sent a PM.
     
  24. johnny

    johnny shit, baby

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    Decent store. I'll have to keep checking back. I just completed my collection of all the pervy Lois Lane covers from the 60s/70s, otherwise I'd be all over yours.
     
  25. RedDawg

    RedDawg Well-Known Member

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    do u buy comics or just sell?
     

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