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Companies prepare for Black Friday — where the industry’s creativity continues to show

Genonew

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor  | Commentary & Opinion

It’s not just a big sales day, it’a a whole lot of work — and, to some degree, an experience for collectors.

Black Friday is nearly here, and, for card companies, it’s a chance to add to the creative pieces collectors can chase. For card sellers, it’s  a chance to be creative with marketing and to ensure they are utilizing all of their sales potential as best they can.

These days, that’s not just a website or simple storefront for many dealers. It’s a multi-channel online approach that creates and fosters surges of traffic — as well as collector interest — throughout the biggest sales weekend of the year. It’s building an audience and an experience — and, of course, both of those things benefit a brand that can stick with collectors the remainder of the year.

How big can it be online?

“In the past, the website has averaged between two to three million pageviews on Black Friday,” said Chris Park of Sterling, Va.-based Blowout Cards.

And that’s just one of the company’s platforms.

blowout

For manufacturers, this is a chance to flex some promotional muscle with programs that help draw collectors into the traditional hobby shops with packs as incentives for purchases. This, of course, is not new for this year as Panini America has done it for the last few years — but the inclusions just keep getting more interesting as Santa hats, headbands, towels, player jerseys, autographs and more keep finding their ways into packs. For collectors who don’t have a card shop, the bonus program carries over to purchases on its website as well. Meanwhile, Panini’s marketing department has been promoting the possibilities for the last couple of weeks online as well as elsewhere.

These aren’t your mother’s or father’s approaches to buying sports cards. Heck, they aren’t even your way of buying cards a few years ago. (And some people say the sports card industry’s reach is dwindling. Hmmph.)

Panini isn’t alone in this regard as other companies are getting in on the marketing and promotion side of making cardboard holidays out of holidays — even if they are unofficial ones.

Using Blowout as an example, there are many ways one entity can sell every day or on Black Friday as long as one is plugged in online. However, even its Chantilly, Va.-based The Fantastic Store also will have its own promotions.

Beyond its website, Blowout’s crew will use social media — Facebook as well as its handful of Twitter accounts — along with email promotions and the other non-selling areas of its website during the event such as its message board where there will be ongoing contests and prizes. Oh, and, of course, to keep up with the latest trend of the last year or so, it will also use its online group-breaking presence, BlowoutTV.

Then, of course, the traditional selling begins — but not without even more promotion to draw collectors and, of course, their cash. It’s not a day that’s just about low prices.

“There will be hundreds more door-busters along with some crazy promotions all day long.” Park said. “In the past, they have included phone-in contests, $50-$500 Blowout Cards gift card giveaways, one-year subscriptions of choice to Beckett.

“And random collectors have received an email saying their box and case orders were free.”

With times tight for many, it’s good to see that’s even a possibility.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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MORE BLACK FRIDAY SPECIFICS … 

Other companies have their own plans for Black Friday. Here’s a rundown … and more will be added in the coming days.

Topps.com will have sales during the weekend that package wax boxes with free bonus items.

Upper Deck is supporting card shops as part of Small Business Saturday, giving promotional items and materials to selected card shops. Click here for more info.

MeiGray is offering gift vouchers with purchases of game-used memorabilia on its site. Click here for more info.

Steiner Sports is presently running early bird specials in advance of Black Friday sales. Click here for more info.

Bench Warmer Trading Cards has created a set of exclusive autograph cards for dealers to give to customers who purchase boxes. Click here for more info.

– SteelCityCollectibles.com will have specials throughout the day on Friday and teasers on Thursday along with free shipping on orders of $25 or more. More info here.

Dave & Adam’s Card World will have specials throughout the weekend only on its website. It has teased some already. More info here.

– Beckett Media will have specials for Online Price Guides and magazine subscriptions with discount codes available via email newsletter. More info on subs here.

– COMC.com is offering free promotions for its sellers and free shipping for orders of a certain size. For buyers, there are other perks and they have a shot at store credit shopping sprees. Click here for more info.

 — Legacy Sports Cards also will have specials online as well as some in its store. Click here for more info.

 Know of more specials that you think are of interest to collectors? Leave them in the comments below …

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