Friday, September 21, 2007

NOW DISCUSS :: Store Layout.

Hey Guys--Lately, we’ve been having a lot of conversations around the office regarding what we can do to make the store more browser-friendly, especially for first timers. We’ve come up with some good ideas, but are curious as to what you guys think. So how about it: what would you do?

26 comments:

Kris Black said...

I was in your store for the first time two fridays ago and I really liked it. If I could change anything I would say create a section for new releases. When the next week's stuff comes out, move the previous to the "old" new releases.

I really liked your layout and the feel of the store. I felt like I was at home walking around. Cozy and calm. Even relaxing.

You even had a section for Twomorrow's books and mags. How cool is that!

Kris
www.krisblack.com
www.thedollarbin.net

Cooper said...

As this blog becomes more popular, I think it'd be nice to see a section devoted to "staff picks" and copies of books talked about on here. If I get sold on checking out some Osamu Tezuka, it'd be cool to just walk in and hit the "blog" section to easily acquire the stuff (not that it's difficult to ask a cherubic and ever-so-helpful staffer...but we are talking first-timers, right? And then there's cross-promoting for the blog...Oooo...synergy goodness...)

Rich Barrett said...

Yeah, I was going to suggest a "staff picks" section too. It doesn't even have to be labeled that but some area calling out worthwhile books would be really helpful for first time customers that don't follow this stuff online and maybe haven't been in a comic shop in 10 years.

I know I got back into comics by picking up books that were showcased in this way in the big book stores like Virgin and B&N or even comic shops like Forbidden Planet in NY.

Andy Mansell said...

agreed-- we have the best stories and the best artists, now make them available. PS-- I LOVE the feel of the store at night. However Phil and the gang have the lighting is just right. The store feels so homey. I never waqnt to leave.

Two registers would be nice.

Also, I would love to see a few of the "unbelievably rare and expensive books on display-- maybe rotate-- to show off below the counter where the statues are. Just a thought or two.

and I've said it before, but for the record.... Open Mike night with Phil. If you guys asked, I'd pay cover to listen to him!

Dustin Harbin said...

Man, you just made Phil's week. I'm sure he's testing new material on Karla right now.

I think the Staff Picks idea is great--way back in the days of the recorded Heroes Hotline, each staff member would have a different pick each week. But this is better, and putting up books that we'd just reviewed on the blog, plus one or two "Best's" from most of the staff, would be great. Good thinking.

As far as a New Release section, Kris, do you think that would prevent people from browsing more? I know I've found a lot of new titles just because they were next to something I was looking for. I worry that if we let you off with just grabbing the new books that week and not browsing the whole rack, we wouldn't get as much of your money as we want.

Tom Williams said...

a section of books geared more towards strictly art would be great. stuff thats not strictly comics, but is in the same vein, like the spectrum series of scifi/fantasy art.

Todd Harlan said...

Good ideas so far everybody. Now, for those of you who are prose readers as well, let me ask you this: When you go into a bookstore, is there a particular section that you always check out first? If so, which one?

Chris said...

Although I do like the idea of a "New Releases" section, I have to agree with Dustin, about less browsing...I, for one, have picked up many more titles than I would have originally due to having to look through the entire selection looking for the new releases (I think it is a conspiracy to make me spend more money, and it is working...:)) Maybe having one section that showcases a particular artist or writer and his or her works, past and present?
As for Todds question...When I go into a Barnes or Nobles or such, I usually hit the magazine section first then to new releases.

Dustin Harbin said...

Hm. Now, one of the things we do with those endcaps--on either side of the back issues section--is highlight a particular creator or family of books (for instance, the Authority/Planetary books). Granted, it's not the most visible part of the store, and it's not like we change it each week or anything. But that might be a good thing to try there.

I'm not sure if it would work for us Todd, but when I go into a bookstore/record store, especially around the holidays, I definitely visit the stuff that's marked down. For instance, those tables at Borders with the BUY 2 GET ONE FREE books--occasionally they'll be something good, either for me or a gift. We've had mixed luck with marketing used and discounted books, but if there were a way to do it that looked good and actually drew customers to that section, that might be a good idea.

Todd Harlan said...

How about this, Chris--and everybody feel free to chime in--if you were coming into the shop for the first time, would you be more apt to browse if the layout of the store was similar to that of a bookstore? For example:

We're thinking of dividing the trade paperbacks--for our purposes here, think of it as our prose novel analogue--into superhero by title (no more dividing into DC/marvel/everything else) mystery/crime, fiction/literature, scifi/fantasy . . . etc.

Our goal is to get first timers to no longer confuse genre with medium, which happens daily. We want to make it as easy as possible for say, fans of Elmore Leonard and James Ellroy to come and and quickly find books like 100 Bullets and Criminal. The way the store is organized now, that would be difficult to do.

Todd Harlan said...

I agree, Dusty, a marked down section is a great idea. A caveat, however: I don't care how cheap a book is, if it's faded, or if the cover is falling off (you get the idea), I won't buy it. That section still needs to have a certain degree of appeal.

Chris said...

Todd, I like that idea of having it by character as opossede to company, If someone not very familiar with comics is looking for a specific character, they might not know which company publishes said character, probably less frustrating to be able to go directly to , lets say Superman, than to try and find which company publishes him.

Rich Barrett said...

When I go into small bookstores (if you can find them anymore) I enjoy when the owners have purposely put some books into a more prominent display because you know they enjoyed it themselves. The big bookstore do this too but usually with more obvious and less personal recommendations.

You could do a "If you liked this...then try this..." approach. "If you like Spider-man then try Invincible" or "If you like Daredevil then try Criminal" or even "If you like Lord of the Rings then try Bone" or "If you liked The Matrix then try The Invisibles" or whatever.

Robert Ullman said...

I have no comments, other than to say I really need to check out the store one of these years!

Andy Mansell said...

Back in the day (a year ago or so) I would always go the 1/2 priced wall. Everytime I go into the store, I STILL look to see if it has been reinstated. The other thing I always look to at Conventions and other stores are bargain runs bagged together. they don't have to necessarilly be cheap, but they are a bargain. Sort of an overstock sale. That is how you guys got me to buy berlin and Astro Boy.

Rich Barrett said...

Oh! VIP Reading lounge! With beverages!

dialhforhero said...

I think that I just fell in love with Rich Barrett thanks to his last post. Put a little of Phil's mood lighting on, and this could be your first foray into match.com territory.

Anyway. Regarding new readers, perhaps a section -- or just some flags of some sort -- that would indicate "from comic to movie". Spiderman would be obvious to pretty much anyone, but there are all sorts of OGN's that were or are about to be the source material for a film or television series, eh?

Also, a section -- or flags of some sort -- for some of our local artists / writers / what have you.

And while I'm reaching for those stars: a big Captain Carrot statue.

xox,

Tim Schleining

Jason Wheatley said...

I've also hoped for the return of some sort of "staff picks" section since I started working that the store.

Mainly because I like to force my opinions on people.

Dan Morris said...

But Jason you already do that without the use of a staff picks section!

Part of me wishes we had the wall with original comic art back. I remember there years ago being announced "Heroes Gallery" shows that never really went anywhere other than the Paul Pope thing. I'd kind of like to see that sort of thing. Also a creator spotlight shelf where maybe once a month we spotlight some cartoonist, writer, or artist that a staff member picks. I know we have that shelf with all those Alter Egos that could probably be moved.

Also I third the VIP lounge.

Mark said...

A regular bargain area would definitely get me into the store more often. You still had all those bargain bins when I first got back into comics, and they really helped feed the collecting urge.

Todd Harlan said...

Mark, are you referring to single issue bargain bins or the discounted trade paperbacks we used to have in the window?

Phil Southern said...

Thus far we have learned that everyone enjoys soft lighting, chairs and bargains. Where are the requests for the stair machines and juice bars? For shame, commenters, for shame...

I would like to requests chairs and soft lighting, as well.

with much luv,
Phil

Todd Harlan said...

Hey Phil,how about vibrating chairs and complimentary beer helmets?

Phil Southern said...

Nacho hats, please.

Daniel Von Egidy said...

Free hat

Mark Darnell said...

aside from most of the stuff said here, phil/open mike night, hell, id pay to see it, the new releases, staff picks, and discount sections sound awesome, my only suggestion is that yall take down those damn fantastic four posters, theyve been up since the first one came out, and did anybody enjoy that movie?

how bout a steam room?