Jeffrey & Mary Kern
Customer Stories
The Collectibles Café

Jeffrey & Mary Kern, Founders of The Collectibles Café

Spotlight on The Collectibles Café

While attending the Las Vegas eBay Radio conference in June, I met Jeffrey and Mary Kern, owners of The Collectibles Café store on eBay. As an avid comic book collector, I was excited when they handed me a business card with a superhero design on the front. I knew we’d have lots to talk about.

The most common application for Terapeak's substantial eBay data set is to optimize sales activity on eBay, but it's not unheard of for customers to use Terapeak research for brick and mortar retail or other online sales channels as well. Jeffrey and Mary use Terapeak in yet another way. They monitor market trends on eBay to choose what items to source—and how to price them—for sale at comic book conventions.

Few live events draw crowds at the sizes that comic book conventions do, yet convention vendors have a very short time frame in which to monetize heavy foot traffic and recover their exhibitor fees and travel costs. "We exhibited at the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con in Chicago last month,” Jeffrey explains, “and were up until two a.m. two nights in a row packing very large pallets for our booth—about 1,900 pounds of inventory. This was a crazy experience for us professionally. There were about 100,000 attendees at the convention."

With little time for experimentation, vendors like the Kerns need to have a confident and efficient approach to pricing items.  There are two types of pricing references the Kerns consider when devising the asking price for the collectibles they sell. 

Mary describes how they apply eBay analytics,

Terapeak is invaluable—the best tool for the job—for understanding the sales potential for any given collectible.​  We check the current going rate, meaning what asking prices are shown on eBay currently, and we also review historical pricing and sales data (what price something has sold for) according to Terapeak research.

Recently Jeffrey and Mary made the tough decision to put their eBay activity on hold in order to focus on live events. "We have a 100 percent positive feedback score on eBay,” he says, “and we would never want to compromise customer service while we're on the road—so we took the majority of our items off of eBay for the time being to prepare for two major conventions. We’ll re-open our eBay store later with a slightly different focus."

When the Kerns are ready to return to selling online, The Collectibles Café is headed into multichannel territory. Jeffrey says that their plan is to specialize on each platform. "We're updating our main website,” he says, “and our eBay store will have a more modern look and feel thanks to Frooition. We intend to leverage eBay's strengths in the vintage market while listing new condition items and modern collectibles on Amazon."

In November, meanwhile, Jeffrey and Mary will have a booth at the Wizard World Tulsa Comic Con in Tulsa, Oklahoma—an event expected to attract over 50,000 attendees. In 2015, The Collectibles Café will be exhibiting at many more major conventions throughout North America.

Mary and Jeffrey offer these parting comments, “Our growth as a company could not have happened without solutions like Terapeak. From selling a few items online in 2011 to launching stores on eBay and Amazon and selling directly to consumers at conventions this year, market research helped us make the right decisions for our business.”

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