Saturday, February 22, 2014

Cardboard Commentary #48 (Retail Changes Please)

For those of you who follow my blog and my videos, you know that I break a retail product of some sort on a weekly basis. While I enjoy and look forward to each weekly break, I also sometimes dread it. Why you ask? Because retail products sometimes feel like a complete waste of money - hits are harder to find and the retail products just seemed too watered down. I would personally like to see a few small changes to retail products that could possible make the retail card buying experience a little better.


The typical retail break is around $20 for a blaster. Very low end products like Score are $10, and premium products like Certified are $30. When I go to the big chain store to buy cards, my typical upper limit on spending is $20... and that's even stretching it. Most of the products in retail will not yield something close to that amount. Upper Deck Series 1 in my opinion is the 'safest' bet because you can get Young Gun rookie cards that help bump up value.

All the other products in the $20 are very sketchy. Black Diamond is usually full of base, and maybe a triple diamond rookie, and you might as well just give your money away when you buy a blaster of Artifacts. For a little over $20 you can get two packs of hobby Artifacts, and your chances of hitting something good are exponentially higher. So that's why buying retail can be frustrating - as a seasoned collector, you just know there isn't going to be much there.

Panini for a while was releasing products like Pinnacle that at least held a jersey card per blaster box. But when you think about it, how much does it plain jersey card cost nowadays to get? Yep, not much. It might feel nice to pull a hit out of the blaster, but when think about what you just did, you just really paid $20 for a plain jersey card. That's not a good feeling usually.

So what can the card companies do to make retail products more worthwhile to purchase? I'm pretty sure the companies don't want to load them with hits. It would probably not be cost effective enough, and it would hurt hobby sales.

I propose that card companies add more retail exclusive cards to their retail products. I think retail exclusive cards could simply be different colored parallels or special insert sets. The cards themselves would not have to be expensive to create, but they would just need to be retail only.

If companies had cards worth a collector's attention in retail, they would find hobby collectors flocking to retail stores looking for those cards. It would be like some action figure collectibles on the toy side of things. Some action figures are 'short-printed', when action figure collectors find out which one are more rare, they fly to the stores to get them as soon as they can. The same thing could happen with cards.

As a dedicated Logan Couture collector, I know that there have been card releases from retail that I needed to add to my collection. One example comes from the recently released Titanium. The base card in hobby Titanium is shiny and silver, but the retail base isn't. To complete my collection of Couture cards, I needed both. This is really a minor example, as many people wouldn't chase the retail Titanium base cards, but if you extend this thinking and put cards that people really want to find in retail, they would certainly go and get them.

In a way, Panini has already done this with some of their products, particularly Panini Prizm. Panini has inserted a variety of good looking parallel cards into their Prizm products that have been fairly popular to chase. In fact, I find the retail version of Prizm much more fun and exciting than the hobby version. Sure, the hobby version has a couple autographs per box, but there really aren't too many parallels per hobby box. In retail, you get more colored parallels in a small blister pack than in an entire hobby box.

It really shouldn't take too much to make retail products better. As a collector who opens up retail each and every week, I want more for my money! The companies can rev up retail, but it just depends if they want to put that little extra effort into it. I hope they do, because retail products just aren't worth it too much of the time.

Let me know what you'd like to see from retail products in the comments section below!

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