So what are those big boxes at Target that spit out single pack cards? Well we efficiently refer to them as Gravity Feeds. They came about roughly 4 years ago and developed into multiple configurations over the years. The idea came from the early years of trading cards at Mass Market. If you can remember back into the 90's (Collective Soul, Reebok Pumps, Ren & Stimpy, Tecmo Bowl dang Bo was fast!) trading cards were most of the time found in plastic containers that you were only able to remove one pack at a time. More often times than not it would damage the cards inside. Not a great sales tactic, but the funny thing in this industry is that we think shrink (theft, stealing, ripping off, etc) is a very large percent. In actuality it is not nearly as high as one would think. Topic for another day!
Back to the gravity feeds, we wanted to come up with an idea that would market the product better within our section and consumers could see it with out being at the actual rack. So we developed a 14" tall gravity feed built on that old plastic box concept. The early on results were stunning, the gravity feeds were out performing traditional foil box by a crazy number. This was in entertainment titles only. So we branched over to sports, the lift was not nearly as high as entertainment but certainly still there. So why was sports lower? My perception is that because change is difficult and people are very much traditionalists. Its very difficult to get people accept something different than they are used to seeing, doing, buying, etc. Is it because its more difficult to search through for that one or two packs you want? Is it because you can not get the fourth pack down on the left stack of the box (I just pulled that number out....it is meaningless)?
I do all I can to make sure that from my end the ratio's are the same as the 24ct box. Moving forward you might start to see exclusive subsets, inserts, etc in only the gravity feed SKU. The biggest issue with the gravity feed is that the actual box is pricey. So the pack count has to be much higher and that increases every ones exposure on the product. If we lower the pack count then the gravity feed is not a feasible product anymore and the manufacturer would need to dilute the content or lower card count. Neither one is a viable option for us.
So question of the day....What would make you buy more Gravity Feed packs besides putting an actual dollar in the ninety-nine cent packs? Does an exclusive subset work (t-205, dick perez, MJ legacy, etc)? Does just having maybe 5-10 of the subset cards can only be found in the gravity feed work? What about a certain cut signature is only in the gravity feed? What about some of the short prints?
Off Topic--------I have been asked for some more background information on myself by numerous people. So here goes some tidbits for today: I am huge Cubs fan (Ryno rules my world), the Chiefs are my NFL team (our future is looking better), I enjoy the NBA (no real team for me, but I can be bought).
My favorite set of all time is Topps 1975 MLB, because it was totally different than years prior. Not to mention it had a lot of great player rookies yet still contained a good number of great players from the 60's. I view it as a set that was before its time.