Collectible toys are in—and profitable. Collecting profits from
such diverse and ever-evolving products is not child's play, however.
It takes effort and ingenuity. Those unschooled in the finer points of
retailing collectibles might end up with yesterday's fad on their shelves,
and they might even drive off customers without knowing why. Here are
10 ways you can reach out to the booming collectible market without breaking
Beyblade's Wipe Clean Book
1. Specialize. Pick a niche you enjoy and become knowledgeable
in it. Doll collectors, collectible card-game players and die-cast car
enthusiasts all have different interests. They want to deal with someone
who knows their field and speaks their language.
2. Think Nationally. Collectors go to great lengths
to fill gaps. Many think nothing about buying from a dealer on the other
side of the country. An inexpensive website and an eBay presence are ways
to establish a national clientele.
3. Take Consignments. Set up a section where your customers
can sell their treasures on consignment. You keep 50 percent of the retail
price. Your customer gets more cash to invest in collectibles. Or the
seller can take $1.50 in trade credit for every dollar of cash that you
4. Partner with Manufacturers. Many manufacturers offer
deals to preferred retailers. Having Decipher (ToyDirectory)
or BeyBlades host a tournament at your store, or Boyd's
Bears give a new arrival party, will bring in a lot of customers.
5. Sell Peripherals. Any collectible has associated
goods -- sleeves and boxes for cards, display cases for cars and dolls,
cleaning and preservation materials for all sorts of things. Customers
like getting these along with their collectibles. Encourage these "add-on"
6. Start a Newsletter. Let them know when that new release
is due, when that special event is happening and even what limited-release
items are nearly sold out. A monthly newsletter is a great way to do this
while building a customer database. An e-mail newsletter spares postal
7. Start a Club. Host a monthly gathering of collectors
at your store. Give them a chance to show off their teddy bears, dolls,
cars and cards to others with similar interests. Of course, keep the counter
open for sales.
8. Have a Locked Cabinet. What better way to market
as item as "special" and “exclusive” than by having it in a
locked cabinet? Post signs encouraging customers to ask to see what’s
inside. Use the opportunity when you have the cabinet unlocked to sell
a customer on an item’s features.
9. Sell Related Non-Collectibles. Adults buy the expensive
collectible toys, but they often bring a child in for cover. A girl uninterested
in limited edition Barbies may take a cheaper, standard Barbie. A boy
unable to afford an all-foil pack of collectible cards may leave with
a few dollars’ worth of cards from the bargain bin. All collectors start
10. Offer Repairs. Restoring broken treasures may not
substantially improve the bottom line, but it fosters loyalty. Check to
see if there is somewhere you can ship items for repair, or find a local
hobbyist capable of repairing toys.
Writer's Bio: When Mark Lardas says something
isn't rocket science, he knows. His career spans both space and e-commerce.
His down-to-earth interests include models and writing. He combines both
of these in articles for modeling magazines and as Boy's Life's