On Friday, Bleeding Cool ran an article about Diamond's new Pull Box system, encouraging comic shop customers to manage their orders digitally. Brian, of Manage Comics, wasn't happy. He wrote to Bleeding Cool:
When I saw your post about the Pull Box app, I was initially sad, now I'm just angry that Diamond is going to once again screw retailers by offering an undoubtably substandard product. So I wrote about it — you may enjoy this.
At Manage Comics we're delighted that Diamond Comics Distributors has finally recognized the need for better online tools. We have reached out to them many times over the last 12 years with suggestions to improve their systems, first as customers of theirs with All New Comics, and later as a software provider for stores.
As the leading distributor for comic shops, with exclusive deals in place for most of the major publishers, we have long felt that they should be doing more to help retailers, and this move to create a system that integrates well with their system is a great step forward.
With that said, we know that Manage Comics will always be better than any software solution they come up with, we have it right in our mission statement.
The Manage Comics Mission Statement:
Manage Comics exists to create tools that help comic stores succeed by using technology to serve their customers better, and ultimately make more money.
Diamond understands retailers, we understand retailers and customers Manage Comics exists to create tools that help comic stores succeed by using technology to serve their customers better, and ultimately make more money.
Diamond has been working with retailers for decades, they do a fairly good job, but they don't work with end customers. Customers are a completely different ball game.
We listen to our users
Manage Comics has regularly sent out surveys asking what people think about our system. These surveys let us understand what we are doing right, what we are doing wrong, and how we need to change. Our retail partners and their customers shape our product. We publish our road maps and update them regularly.
We have been working on our subscription system since 2005
Diamond will have growing pains as they start building their system, our system has been in the works since 2005 and we have learned many lessons along the way.
We are an agile, iterative company who constantly makes changes to Manage Comics
The one thing that Diamond has demonstrated over the years is that they are slow to change, and they are overly cautious about change. For the most part, this is a good thing, but in the world of software development, if you aren't growing and changing with the needs of your consumers, your product will suffer. With Manage Comics, change (v 1.65) happens (v 1.67) regularly (v 1.70).
Diamond cares about promoting all stores, we care about you
Diamond's solution will be generic and branded Diamond, we care about your store. We use your colours, your logo, and we are building new templates as part of our roadmap of improvements.
In their initial screenshots, they've shown a sidebar that pushes your customers to search for stores in their area. We don't publish ads on our site, and we never will.
This is not their core business
Manage Comics is what we do. We're a marketing firm with an incredible software product that we love, and that our customers love. Our job is to make that product better, and we have dedicated staff whose job is to make Manage Comics better.
We know comics and marketing, they know comics and distribution
On the surface, this may seem like a minor difference, but it's not. One of our main roles is to help your store market itself better. Marketing helps you grow, and growth makes you more money, getting more comics into your store is just an expense if they don't sell (through marketing). We help people use other technologies like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to improve their stores.
- How to use Facebook to promote your comic shop
- How to promote an event for your comic shop on Facebook
- Why you need to use social media to promote your comic shop
- What to do with the Facebook page for your comic shop
- How to use Instagram for your comic book store
- 5 tips for creating a graphic novel of the month club
- 4 ways to use Twitter to promote your comic shop
We can offer things they can't
We know that stores use systems other than just Diamond, if you want to offer products that are not in Diamond's database, you can. Diamond will not allow this with their system.
We were here for you when comiXology went away
Diamond is rolling their system out "some time this year", that's great. We made sure that ours was ready to replace comiXology's pull list, and we've marketed to pull list customers.
We curate your products so customers don't drink from the firehose
We help you send out a custom email message every month that has a curated list of about 120 products. This means that customers don't have to search through 4000+ things to find what they really want, and this means that people add new comics to their list. Within the first 24 hours of the email going out, we see an average of 25% of the customers who get the email add at least one title to their list. Every. Single. Month.
We can help you get paid faster
Manage Comics was built on top of an invoicing system, that means that we can help you invoice your customers and have them pay for their comics before they enter your shop. We're putting a ton of resources into this feature right now and we plan on rolling out an all-new, automated billing system before Pull Box even makes its debut in April.
We plan on integrating with other systems
Our long-t term plans call for us to integrate with Lightspeed POS, Square POS, and Moby POS. Diamond will only integrate with their proprietary (and frankly, unintuitive) Comics Suite POS.
We are here for you
If you want to talk to us, we'll call you, we'll do screen shares with you, we'll personally set up your store, and personally import your customers and their subscriptions. Diamond will not, and can not offer those kinds of personalized services.
BTW, we now have 20 stores using Manage Comics; I'm aiming for 30 by the end of March and 50 by May. We're starting to see some interesting things, like I can fairly regularly predict what the best sellers will be on the Diamond Charts.
Current Top 50 across all Manage Comics stores
1 – Batman
2 – Doomsday Clock
3 – Dark Nights Metal
4 – Flash
5 – Star Wars
6 – Amazing Spider-Man
7 – Detective Comics
8 – Darth Vader
9 – Batman White Knight
10 – Action Comics
11 – Walking Dead
12 – Saga
13 – Justice League
14 – Superman
15 – Wonder Woman
16 – X-Men Gold
17 – X-Men Red
18 – X-Men Blue
19 – Astonishing X-Men
20 – Thor
21 – Old Man Logan
22 – Star Wars Doctor Aphra
23 – Mister Miracle
24 – Paper Girls
25 – Super Sons
26 – Deadpool
27 – Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man
28 – Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps
29 – Titans
30 – Star Wars Poe Dameron
31 – Invincible Iron Man
32 – Avengers
33 – Spider-Man Deadpool
34 – Doctor Strange
35 – Suicide Squad
36 – Nightwing
37 – Daredevil
38 – Harley Quinn
39 – Aquaman
40 – Teen Titans
41 – Star Wars Thrawn
42 – All New Wolverine
43 – Punisher
44 – Spider-Man
45 – Defenders
46 – Batman And The Signal
47 – Moon Knight
48 – Trinity
49 – Justice League Of America
50 – Weapon X