- Created on Thursday, 25 April 2013 17:29
|- Ryan Tedards @SportsCardNews|
|What's new at Topps? Nah, I'm not talking about Five Star Football. Quite honestly, products and that kind of information doesn't get my juices flowing. Packs were fun to open when they were $0.35 cents and I might get a Will Clark....... Let's get down to some things that do fire my imagination.|
I Can't Get No Satisfaction
Lower level employees at Topps are not going to overhaul customer service. It's not going to happen. They don't have that authority. Lower level employees don't have that type of power in the big scheme of things. I could tweet the Topps twitter account, send 20 emails, call a dozen times. Anything I or anyone else does will not impact the customer service at Topps until Top Level management prioritizes it.
This is Not For You
What about group breakers and rip and flippers? What if they get damaged cards or shorted hits? How do group breakers deal with shorted hits in the midst of a live video with paying customers? That has got to be a sticky situation during those breaks. Do they have to contact everyone involved in the break when they finally hear from Topps? Some group breakers might make up for the missing hits by giving away something or opening more product for those involved in the break. Doing so would take away some of the profits one could make on the group break.
What if you rip and flip and you get shorted some of your big hits or cards were damaged? We all know that cards typically sell really well right when the cards first come out. If you have to wait to get your damaged hit replaced then you might lose out on a lot of money.
Topps is not effectively able to communicate with its customers on a consistent basis and some dealers are finding the same problem. It hurts business for dealers when they can't get their problems and issues resolved. Even small time dealers can make huge orders because the margin is so thin on sports cards. It requires a big order to make a dent and have any impact in the business. Product is coming out every week and many small dealers spend thousands a week ordering new product.
Better Panini Man
Topps CEO Bounces: AKA Exit Strategy
They run a lean business over in New York. So lean that when O'Hara stepped down they made the Chief Operating Officer double as the CEO. Granted, it takes time to find high level talent and a search could be on going for a new CEO (7). But like I said, collectors don't care. In his ultra brief parting quote O'Hara mentions nothing about customer service. From redemptions, to communication, to damaged cards, Topps' customer service tastes like a piece of 1985 bubble gum. Running a lean business means keeping costs under control. Even if that results in some unhappy customers. The budget just doesn't call for going above and beyond the call of duty to make everyone happy (8).
Owner Dearborn likes to rip and flip: AKA Exit Strategy
Owner Tornante likes Dearborn: AKA Exit Strategy
So let's play: Who Would Buy Topps?
Ok. Done with that game for now. Let's get back to some of the issues at hand.
Products are Hit or Miss.
Taking a look at the recent offering of sports products - it's a hit or miss situation. Depending who you ask, reaction to the products can vary. I'll go through each of their products and give my biased take.
2013 Topps Series 1 Baseball - the flagship MLB Baseball brand. This is a widely produced set that generates lots of cash flow. I thought some of the insert cards looked decent. A lot has changed since 1990 when I first started buying Topps packs.
2013 Topps Turkey Red Baseball - sold exclusively online at topps.com. Nice little quick money grab where Topps can control the price. Look for card companies to do more of this. Anytime they can control all the costs associated with selling a product it bodes well for their wallet.
2012 Topps Supreme Football - this came out in late February. By that time I'm already trying to figure out who the 2013 NFL rookies will be. I have no idea if this product was any good or not.
2013 Topps Heritage Baseball - some collectors will really enjoy this set. There is a lot there to dig through and collect. I think it's a decent product and only wish they could go further with it. It's a mass produced and consumed set so it's hard for them to get too crazy with the ideas. I'd like to see a throwback product that really paid tribute to the vintage set in ways we haven't seen companies try before.
2012 Topps Valor Football - a set that was talked about and tweeted about for months before release. Boxes are still readily available. The sizzle and build up for the product didn't match the end result.
2013 Topps Gypsy Queen Baseball - When this set first came out in 2011 it was hot. Now..... not so much. It's pretty much Series One dressed up in Gypsy Queen style.
2013 Topps Tribute Baseball - I always think the cards look really nice from this set. Granted, I ain't the guy who is going to pony up the $350 for a box. I'll buy a couple singles on eBay.
2013 Topps Turkey Red Football - with 2012 rookies. Another controlled pull at the cash register. I really don't have a problem with card companies doing a money grab. It not like distributors and dealers are all non-profit saints.
2012 Topps Five Star Football - heard it was a good product with cards that weren't all chippy. Shoot. For $450 a box it better be nice.
(1) Wild speculation. It's late.
(2) eTopps and The Pit were ideas and the reported loss was on the watch of the old management. Dearborn and Eisner aren't card innovators. They saw how unprofitable eTopps was and put it in the shredder for good.
(3) With all this Gold Prizm buzz I think I pulled the highest selling NBA one to date.....
(4) The MLB has a history of dealing with American Companies. The fact that the big Panini balance sheet and big check book resides in Europe could have came into play.
(5) He has an equity stake so it serves his interest. Plus if the BOD is a paid gig then it's a check.