Below are the nominees for the Diamond Retailer Best Practices Awards: Summer 2015, to be awarded during San Diego Comi Con. Retailers have until Sunday to vote on their colleagues in a variety of catagories.
This time round, the categories were Best Apparel Section, Best Statue/Model Display, Best e-newsletter, and Best Collecting Supplies Display.
Retailers who vote are also entered into a draw to win $250 worth of Diamond Select toys.
KINGS Comics – Sydney, Australia
Our e-Newsletter – the KINGS Comics Weekly Bugle, has been part of our business for over 15 years. It began by notifying our standing order (subscription) customers with a list of the week’s new releases, but quickly had many other aspects added including our very popular recommendations section. Originally sent as a basic text only newsletter with just a few hundred subscribers, it now boasts over 10,000! Our newsletter can also be viewed online using the links on our website or on any mobile device.
Over time and due to the increase in subscribers, we now use an online email program which provides us with advanced analytics and other information, so we can keep track of what works best for us. Subscribers can join via the link on our website or Facebook page.
Our current e-newsletter continues to list the week’s new releases and recommendations as well as details for competitions and cross promotions, and are all linked with graphics to either purchase through our website or link directly to our promotional partners. From time to time we have additional special editions which target specific series or are used to inform readers of the next big thing in the comic universe.
Our newsletter is a powerful selling tool and can also be used to gauge the reader’s reaction to new books and series. This gives us a good idea on how much to order on new books. We try and keep it as brief as possible but with the vast array of product available on a weekly basis, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to choose what goes in! The e-newsletter is a weekly task compiled by our Store Manager and is very time consuming, but we feel it’s invaluable to our business.
Illusive Comics & Games – Santa Clara, CA
Our e-Newsletter is the best because it releases every week, has at least a 25% Open Rate for readership (which is on the high average side), and is both entertaining and educational.
Also, we’re just awesome.
Space Cadets Collection Collection – Oak Ridge, TX
Here is an example of one of our newsletters. It is generated as an email to our customers and changes every week. We include pictures of new product, upcoming events, guest announcements, our day camp offerings, our weekly reviews, our weekly auction items and more. Every week our marketing director creates colorful new headers for each section. We think our newsletter is the best in the industry.
Best Collecting Supplies Display
Tate’s Comics – Lauderhill, FL
Tate has awesome collecting supplies fixtures in his main store; so much so that folks at Diamond’s home office remembered seeing it on a visit. The plans for building it required blue-prints and prototypes, and now it is an aspect of Tate’s that is unique, organized, and innovative.
Watchtower Comics – Houston, TX
I am nominating our store for the Best Collecting Supplies category. The first rule in retail is to maximize your space. Every square inch of your store is either being used to create the possibility of sales or it’s costing you money because it’s not being used. For this reason, our merchandising plans are always to creatively get the most out of our sales floor. We have combined our back-issue bins with strategically placed grid-wall to create & cross-merchandise our supplies. This puts the comic supplies conveniently in front of the comic customers while using our space wisely.
Best Statues / Model Display
Up, Up & Away Comics – Cheviot, OH
Our philosophy regarding successful retailing of statues is to treat the statue as an object of desire; always behind glass, always displayed with ample space given to each individual piece, and to offer a wide range of price points for every type of collector, and a really broad selection, with over 200 different statues on display at any given time. We also try to offer products that are only available at Up Up & Away! We’re the only Sideshow Collectibles retailer in Southern Ohio, as well as the only Walt Disney Classics Collection retailer. The Disney collectibles also appeals to a different clientele than our everyday comic collector.
Toy Traders – Langley, BC, Canada
Toy Traders is a very unique store. We are the largest independent toy store in Canada and the largest collectibles store in Canada. We carry a wide range of product…everything from baby toys, dolls, action figures, kitchenware, apparel, statues and more! A huge draw for our store is our displays and statues, as many people come from far away to see our store. We have many life size figures throughout the store, such as R2-D2, Probe Droid, R5-D4, C-3PO, Ewoks, Boba Fett, Princess Leia, Commander Cody, Commander Rex, Han Solo in Carbonite, Yoda, Gollum, Silver Surfer, Groot, Treebeard, T-800 Endoskeleton, Rorschach, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Spock, etc… We also have huge dioramas of a superhero city, Star Wars (Endor, Hoth & a 35 foot Death Star!), Transformers, G.I. Joe, & Masters of the Universe. The displays throughout the store are something we are very proud of, as it has taken us years and thousands of hours and action figures to put them together. Enjoy the pictures and come visit us if you are ever in Langley, BC!
KINGS Comics – Sydney, Australia
KINGS Comics is situated in a relatively busy location in central Sydney City with a bright and colourful shop frontage that stops people in their tracks. Our front window is dedicated to a Statues and Models display and has become the centrepiece of the store. Each shelf is carefully themed for the easy location of all related characters and is updated each week as new pieces arrive. We also have cubed gondola fixtures and wall glass cabinets placed around the store with even more statues – this makes customers move around the store enabling them to take in the array of other product available for purchase. We have also recently been featured on a national TV reality show “House Rules” which focused on our statue display which looked absolutely awesome on the screen!
Heroes and Villains – Hampton, VA
The display case was built in the store between customers about 20 years ago. It is designed to hold the busts and display retail products on the shelves below the busts. The display can be seen from the front windows of the store and has dedicated spotlights to highlight the details on the busts. It has glass fronts that have been removed to take the pictures, so they never require dusting. It has taken on a life of its own and customers spend lots of time looking and talking about the characters.
Imaginaire – Québec PQ, Canada
At Imaginaire, we take very special care of presenting and showcasing our figurines. We are proud of the selection we have to offer and concentrate on making our products visible as well as accessible to our clients.
We think our figurines deserve a place outside of their respective boxes. Therefore, many spaces are available to show them off, including shelves and showcases, even some that are visible from the outside of our store. Our clientele can visually enjoy our vast inventory including: Manga and Japanese Anime, Super Heroes, medieval, video games, science-fiction, novels, comics, and a whole lot more.
We closely follow the trends of the industry and we listen carefully to our customers. We offer products covering a wide range of prices, from the common inexpensive figurine to more high-end and limited pieces. The prized series such as Bombshell, Bishoujo, Real Action Heroes, Gentle Giant, First 4 Figures and many others garnish a big part of our in-store inventory.
We take a lot of pride in offering a wide variety of quality products. We try to respond the best we can to the needs and demands of our clients. As an independent company, it is a must for us to differentiate ourselves from the competition and to emphasize on the quality of the products we sell. Consequently, we are extremely proud to be nominated for the displaying of our figurines. This nomination among all the stores in North America is even more special because it testifies of the great care we take, and all the efforts we make in order to make our figurines enjoyable to look at.
Best Apparel Section
Urban Legends – Mesquite, TX
The center piece of our apparel section is a large Ikea shelf that we have hung rods in in order to showcase various shirts. Additional sizes of these shirts are stacked neatly behind each featured shirt. To the side of the display are the rest of our shirts and sweatshirts hanging on racks. We use blue hangers to denote shirts with women’s sizes so that they are easy to find.
Generation X Comics Bedford, TX – Moore, OK
We have a lot of apparel but I have several areas that I am particularly proud of.
Women’s apparel section. The size and scope of our apparel department justifies having a special section of shirts that are cut to flatter our women customers. Plus having that section makes our store more appealing to our casual customers.
Snapbacks & laplanders have proven to be very popular with our hat-wearing customers. Very cool and stylish.
Socks. Everyone loves the socks. I sell them like crazy at Christmas time but they are a regular staple all year long.
We also have a display of our specialty Hawaiian-style store shirts so our customers can show their store pride.
Not properly pictured are our six aisles of men’s shirts (over 1200 shirts) that range in size from Small to 4XL. We also have wallets, lanyards, character aprons, backpacks and hoodies that I couldn’t get into the shots.
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