How a Creative Comic Shop Competes With Amazon

Star Clipper logo

Star Clipper, an outstanding comic shop in St. Louis, Missouri, has been around for 25 years. I can see why, if this kind of creative thinking in response to competition is typical. (I’ve not had the pleasure of visiting, myself, but clearly, I should.)

This year, they’ve created a presale price guarantee. If you commit to preordering a graphic novel from them (and leave a deposit), they will match Amazon’s price on “any graphic novel not yet released”. So you can get great prices and support a local shop. And while you’re in the store, you might find a few other things you can’t live without…

Has your local comic store done anything similar or engaged in other creative marketing or sales practices? Let me know in the comments.

8 Responses to “How a Creative Comic Shop Competes With Amazon”

  1. Jason Green Says:

    Well, my local comic store *is* Star Clipper and they were already my favorite by a fairly wide margin, but when their monthly newsletter came earlier this week with this announcement, my eyes just about popped out of my head. I mean, I don’t even order stuff off of Amazon, but I will be taking full advantage of this program and will probably end up buying a lot of stuff through Star Clipper that I probably wouldn’t have bought period before. Great move on their part, I think.

  2. chris Says:

    I applaud their effort. Hopefully this move won’t cut their profit margin so drastically that it ends up hurting them rather than helping…

  3. Johanna Says:

    If the orders that come through this program are, like Jason’s above, new business, then they’re not at risk of losing any money, right? And Amazon has been lowering its discounts lately, so they’re still making above cost.

  4. Scott M Says:

    If they pick up new business because of this (and new customers) then good for them. The flip side is if they already had a healthy graphic novel pre-order business, and it stays the same, they’ll make significantly less money.

    That said, I’ve been working on something similar (but not the same) for our store, and I’m kinda annoyed Star Clipper got there first. Good for them, though. :)

    Also, thanks for posting something positive about retailers. Not that it doesn’t happen in the comic-o-sphere, but I wish there was more of it.

  5. Johanna Says:

    You raise a good point — I’ve been a preorder comic periodical customer for decades now, but I’m a lot less likely to preorder a GN because there are many more choices of where to get it. Perhaps they’re hoping to convert GN buyers to preorder customers. Short version: I’m not sure comic shops have a lot of “GN preorder business”, so this may develop a new line for them. Or expand one.

    And ha! Good of you to admit you might be jealous! (Kidding. :) )

    To address your last point: Retailers have it incredibly hard, caught between all kinds of tough forces who don’t have a lot of loyalty to them (for good or bad reasons). I admire what they do while knowing I couldn’t. (I almost did.)

  6. Ralf Haring Says:

    Amazon’s discounts are still north of 40% on unreleased comics a lot of the time. The price is always in flux, but you pay whatever the lowest price was at any time between the initial order and when the item ships.

  7. Suzene Says:

    The shop where I worked had a loyalty program where every $10 you spent got you a voucher worth $1 in store credit that could be applied in part to the purchase price of certain items around the store, usually clearance items or the used GN wall (which was, frankly, a pretty sweet selection). The big bennie was their Black Friday sale, though — you could use vouchers for up to 50% of the purchase price of anything in the store for the first hour of opening, and there were various other deals throughout the day. It was like Geek Christmas came early every year.

  8. Comics A.M. | Rosenberg in, Beall out at Platinum Studios | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment Says:

    […] Retailing | Johanna Draper Carlson notes that the Star Clipper comics shop in St. Louis, Missouri, is offering a price guarantee on graphic novels: If you pre-order and make a deposit, they will match Amazon’s price. [Comics Worth Reading] […]




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