In this episode of the Manage Comics Uncanny Thoughtstream, we review our 2021 Manage Comics Survey.  We sent our survey out the stores who use Manage Comics, and asked for their feedback, we got about 65% of our stores responding back.  The ThoughtStream video breaks everything down, but we’ll talk about a few parts here (and in particular a slide that got screwed up during the broadcast).

Overall, customers like Manage Comics, with 87% of responses being Yes your customers tell you they like your subscription system.

The system fared pretty positively with ease of use, ease of pulls, and ease of initial orders/FOC’s, although it is obvious that better handling of variant covers would help with ordering.

Stores use a variety of tools, but a fair majority are using Shopify/BinderPOS with 37% of shops accounting for that combo.

While nearly half of stores did not have eCommerce previous to 2020, more than 90% currently do have eCommerce, and 79% will continue post-pandemic.

New features: We asked about new features in three ways.  A list where we allowed up to 7 selections, a ranked list where we asked you to rank your #1, #2, and #3 choices, and a free form text where we asked what else we could do.

Top results:

  • 95% – FOC / New Release Listings
    • (51% email, 44% web)
  • 82% – Multiple Covers (A+B)
  • 62% – Grouped Titles
  • 51% – Automatic Subscription Recommendation
  • 38% – Full Integration with POS /eCommerce
  • 36% – Initial / FOC info with previous sales data
  • 33% – Custom emails based on other subscriptions
  • 31% – Ratioed Cover Pre-Orders (with custom pricing)
  • 28% Tiered Discounting
  • 28% Improved “check in process”
  • 18% Automatically push leftover product to eCommerce/POS system
  • 15% Customized Email Templates

When force ranked we saw slightly different results:

Choose your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices:

  • 98pts – Multiple Covers (A+B)
  • 60pts – Full integration with POS / eCommerce
  • 48pts – Grouped Titles
  • 42pts – FOC / New Releases Listing
  • 19pts – Improved Check-In process for intake16pts – Initial Order/FOC Info with sales data
  • 15pts – Ratioed Cover Pre-Orders (with custom pricing)
  • 9pts – Recommended products email
  • 7pts – Automatically push leftover product to eCommerce/POS system
  • 3pts – Tiered Discounting
  • 2pts – Customized Email Templates

Anything we missed?

There were only a small handful of other requests from our survey respondents.

  • Simplify Special Orders, allow for special order deletes
  • Tagging for street date, etc
  • Let customers add notes to their account
  • More customization (able to remove features)

Simplifying and improving special orders is something we should look at, however allowing for customers to delete special orders is on purpose. When you special order something for a customer, you are committing to that order, and they need to contact you to make sure you can cancel your order from the distributor (in most cases you can’t).

Tagging for dates etc is a planned enhancement for Geek Fetch.

Let customers add notes to their account – makes sense, we’ll look at this for the future.

Able to remove features – so far there is only one store requesting this, and it would require a significant rework.  We’ll ask this one on our next survey.

So what are we actually doing?

Manage Comics 2.0 is in active development, and we will be splitting into “Manage Comics Classic” and “Manage Comics 2.0”, with two slightly different products.  The new system is built off Shopify, and will have a lot of new features including:

  • FOC By Date
  • New Releases by Date
  • A/B Covers (non-ratioed to start)
  • Fully integrated with Shopify/BinderPOS
  • Automatic product creation in Shopify/BinderPOS
  • Improved check in process for intake

We’ve also built a fully functioning data warehouse which we’re building out other features like

  • Grouped Titles (family titles such as “All Heroes Reborn”)
  • Ratio information for variant covers
  • Improved solicitation information
  • Better data in general (better pictures, etc)

The full presentation:

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Video Episode: