Saturday, September 04, 2010

All listings - Activate! (?)

Back in the Great Speculator Debate, I explained that my biggest issue with the process was that if these "hot" cards were out of stock in my inventory, they no longer loaded up into Google shopping, and therefore I would miss out on potential business from people searching for these cards.

There were several suggestions on how to deal with the issue, including never letting my inventory drop below 1 (which I find somehow a bit dishonest). The one best solution, I think, is one that I have been debating about with myself for a while.

I could, I believe, with a simple click of a check box, keep inventory active even when out of stock. This should mean that they would still get uploaded to Google, and would definitely mean that they would show up in any search within my store.

So, you may ask, why haven't I done this already? The reasons are many-fold:
  1. The biggest impediment is that, since I use only photos from my own "virtual collection" of Magic cards, if I have never owned a card before, I have no image to go with that listing. This is particularly a problem with foils, as I am nowhere NEAR close to finishing off my collection of those. As I explained in this post about potentially trading with me, I am fairly close to completing my virtual collection of non-foil Magic (my current needs list can be found here). So a giant hurdle I need to overcome is what to do with the listings I don't have pictures for yet. Do I make a "image forthcoming" placeholder for these? Do I raid images from or Gatherer? I'm not sure what to do for these.
  2. There are many stores out there (I suppose it would be unprofessional of me to name them) that list every possible card, even if they're out of stock. Most of these somehow tell you right away [like it will say "Quantity in Stock: 0" or something like that) but on some you can't even find out until you try to put the item in your shopping cart. Fortunately mine would show Quantity: 0, but not until you got to the listing. So if someone Google searches for something & sees my listing, then clicks on it only to find out I'm out of stock - would there be hard feelings, like they were somehow tricked into my store?
  3. Searches of my store (theoretically) would take longer. If I normally don't have a card in foil, only regular, then when you search for it you only get one hit. But if everything is active you'll be guaranteed at least two hits for any card since they started making foils. That's more stuff to filter through looking for what you want.
  4. Second biggest headache: I have trouble enough as it is keeping up with the current prices for what I DO have in stock - if I keep everything active I need to keep track of prices of stuff I don't even have available (or mislead folks if I just don't keep up with them). Perhaps I just have a policy that an out of stock item has a price of $0?
So, anyway, these are the hurdles I need to overcome before I make every card active regardless of whether it's in stock or not. Any and all comments & especially suggestions on getting over these hurdles are massively welcome!


pureval said...

I would not find a quantity of 0 misleading, I would assume you recently sold out. Would you bother putting up cards you are not likely to carry (power 9, rare promos)? If not that would make it a lot easier to avoid hassles.
Is there a way you can list foils and non foils on the same page? That would limit clutter and let people decide which version they like quickly.

Don said...

I believe I can list foil/non-foil together. That would help with another issue as well (limited # of items I can list in the store). Problem here is I get a lot of EDH'rs and they often come to search specifically for what foils I have in stock. If foil/non are together this sort of search won't work.

I do have listings for all cards Beta & up (for Cores) and Arabian Nights up for expansions. So, there'd be a listing for Beta Black Lotus, although it's unlikely I'll ever have one to sell. The listings already exist, so it would actually be more work at this point to get rid of them :-)

Leonardo Prado said...

I usually go check for old mtg cards, to see what the store could have for my collection, and it's really bothersome when I see a HUGE list and just 3 cards available to buy :(

BUT, if i can filter the listing to show just what are available, there will be no problem. You can keep all the items that I can actually buy on your store, it still appear on google listings and everybody get happy! :P