When it comes to offering online exclusive products, I dont really think any of the companies have truly hit their stride. I think this is a huge opportunity that needs to be explored, as the online stores need to be a bigger part of the model all around. Though it may speak to a move away from the current sales structure that include the many distributors, its clear that there is a market online.
For the second year in a row, Topps is adding an online heritage offering to its online repetoir – 2013 Heritage High Numbers. The box includes a 100 card set and one autograph signed on card.
Previously Topps has offered Turkey Red in football, as well as Mini Versions of the flagship sets in baseball and football.
These types of offerings usually sell out quickly, and as a result, can be sold above cost on eBay relatively quickly. The content is usually nothing to write home about in many of the cases, but supply is always smaller than the demand. This set of heritage high numbers offers on card autographs from what the sell sheet depicts, and if it is anything like other autographs out of this program, they will be nice cards.
Of course, no 2013 release would be complete without Yasiel Puig, and he will have cards in this product. Although the set will be offered as a whole, many of the cards should be broken up and sold quickly once the product is in hand. I like any set that has retro designs and on card autographs, and I wish that there were more products like this with a more extensive autograph checklist. We have seen sets like Archives do very well, but I would love to see a football version come back that features more cards similar to what we see in Baseball.
If it were up to me, each of the companies would have an online store that let you buy direct, as it would take out a lot of the shady business that this hobby is known to have experienced for popular products. These days, a company’s success almost 100% depends on the ease of doing business, and its unfortunate that there isnt anyone brave enough to explore building this out. I have to give Panini credit for selling some products on their store, but im not sure they are doing everything they can to market this type of exchange as much as they should be. Remember, distributors have a huge part in managing the day to day product allocations, and selling online would definitely cut into that relationship. Considering how deep some of the relationships go, I doubt there is a company out there who wants to bite that hand. All I am saying is that from a collector side of thing, its something I would like to see. Im not sure how advantageous it would be for the manufacturers at this point, but how much analysis has really been done? Im not sure much, if any.
Seeing that products like Heritage High Numbers sell well, why not expand that out? I would welcome it.