FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

FAQS:  Frequently Asked Questions

Question:  I would like to discuss contracting you to help me set up a store.  I don't really know how much we have to talk about as I have very limited funds.  I don't really know what else to say in an intro email but write back if you can I would love to hear a professional opinion on my situation.

Response:  Your most likely source for a business loan would be a Small Business Administration loan.  These typically require that you put up roughly $1 for every $3 you are asking for as a loan.  Assume that the "typical" specialty comics book store requires at least $60,000 as an initial investment, they would expect you to have $15,000 in your own money to invest.

Similarly, landlords will be very dubious about signing a lease with someone with a low net worth.  Its frustrating, but its the way the retail world works.

The days of opening a new store with your personal collection, an initial order of new comics from Capital or Diamond and $5,000 in investment funds are long gone.  The likelihood of a store failing these days, with that sort of background, is extremely high.

I'd advise that you either work two jobs or find some way of accumlating at least $10,000 in seed money.  Then you'll be ready to start the process of opening a store.  In the meantime, I'd suggest doing as much research as you can on the business.  (And it IS a business, and one of the more difficult ones to be in that I know of!)

Working part-time for an existing comics store would be a good way to get familiar with some of the realities of being a specialty comics retailer as well as making some extra money.

You didn't mention how old you are, but I'd assume that you have time to accumulate funds and research the business.

Question:  My new USB scanner  isn't recognized by ComTrac POS?  What gives?

Response:  Make sure that you have scanned the proper barcode in the Scanner Programming Cheat-Sheet so that the scanner knows that it's looks to a USB port for its data.  If you don't have the cheat-sheet, click here to download it.

I saw your ad in the current Comic Book Retailer.  I was wondering if you have done any comic related web sites that I could check out.
 Have you done any work in the comic book mail order industry?  I am not satisfied with my present programmer and I am looking for a fresh start. Any information, suggestions or referrals are greatly appreciated.

We don't do custom websites at present. 
We have all we can handle between consulting with publishers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers; and providing specialized ordering and inventory control software for direct market retailers.
We are in the process of designing an integrated Internet retail interface for our ordering and inventory control system, but that will not be available until Summer of 2007.  This system will not run under Win 95/98/ME, but will run under all versions of XP as well as Vista.  We are working with several retailers on early beta versions of this system but are still early in the design process.

At the present time, all the primary data files in ComTrac Windows can be exported at any time to Excel files simply by selecting a menu option.  These exported files can be easily filtered by department, product status, etc.
Many of our software users have extensive Internet retail activities, but we find that since each retailer has strong feelings about how their website should be organized and how they want it to function (eg: real-time sales vs batch sales, etc.) it's better for us to focus on a smooth interface between a web store and the ordering/inventory system at the present time.
To be honest, most of the third party webstores available to retailers, especially ones using Php, are relatively ineffective in registering their presence with the major internet search engines, which defeats their primary purpose.