Consulting Projects

Typical Consulting Projects

We've worked with a wide variety of clients in the Direct Market since 1984, including publishers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Most of our work is done on a project basis which means that there aren't any surprises when it's time to invoice. Call us for a free discussion about your problem, some potential solutions and typical project times and charges.

Our retailer-oriented consulting projects have covered every topic from site location and analysis to internal security. Our major concentration is on profit improvement, increasing sales without incurring fundamental operational problems. One retailer brought us in to identify why their sales levels inexplicably dropped after twenty months of steadily increasing sales. Another retailer wanted to discontinue or substantially modify their subscriber discount levels and wanted our help in developing a program which would improve their profits and cash-flow without antagonizing key customers.

No matter what your situation is, we've probably seen it before and can help you deal with it. There's no reason why the majority of comics retailers should work for a little more than minimum wage.

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Sample Retail Projects

* Starting Your First Store

* Customer/Subscriber Pin Maps 

* Customer Source Surveys


Quick Site Analysis (PDF)

This is an analysis of a particular community in terms of whether a viable specialty comics entertainment store can be located here or not. This sample report includes demographic maps, driving zone demographics, a break-even pro forma, a merchandise mix analysis, a projected initial inventory worksheet and a capital cost worksheet.  We have recently added quite a bit of supporting detail to this product.

* Detailed Site Analysis

* Store Evaluation (PDF)

We have been analyzing comics specialty stores for nearly twenty years.  Over that time, we've developed this extensive, seven-page form that covers just about everything that's relevant to analyzing an existing store.

This form covers:

* Site characteristics
* Merchandise Mix
* Marketing
* Computerization
* Store Performance

Just reading through the form should give you lots of ideas about looking at your store with fresh eyes.

* Competitor Analysis 

* Merchandise Analysis (PDF)

* Financial Analysis


Manufacturers and Publishers. We've done lots of consumer demographic research for our clients, gone out and interviewed structured groups of retailers to determine buying behavior and attitudes, and worked to determine the best distribution routes for their products.

Sample Manufacturer/Publisher Projects  (Under Construction)

* Consumer Characteristics for a Publisher

* Cross-Merchandising for Publishers

Distributors. Much of the work that we've done with distributors in the Direct Market has been involved with retailer education and evaluation, but we've worked with distributors on marketing and customer service issues as well.

Sample Distributor Project  (Under Construction)

* Retailer Preferences for Distributor Services (Under Construction)

Retailers as Gatekeepers
Unlike many other retail channels, the retailer is the gatekeeper for new product introductions.  Without solid retailer participation new products are likely to achieve marginal results or fail entirely.

We've found that retailers are reluctant to speak to publishers and distributors candidly, or that the retailers which they spoke to regularly weren't representative of the broader retail community. We have an excellent reputation with comics retailers, and have had great success in getting candid commentary for our clients. 

The Internet
We have done quite a bit of work with e-Retailing pop culture, comics and games on the Internet.  We've become familiar with what works at every level from the small store relying primarily on eBay auctions to very large, sophisticated Internet retail sites.

The Internet is an area of the pop culture/comics/games merchandising channel that's still really underserved, and offers both "brick-and-mortar" retailers and "pure" Internet companies real potential for growth.