JAF Comics, previously known as Just Action Figures, started in 2012 as an online business only, selling across multiple marketplaces including Amazon and eBay as well as their own website.
The demand for a brick and mortar location quickly became apparent when over separate occasions, 10 to 15 toy and comic enthusiasts turned up to their headquarters assuming they could buy comics in store. This led to John Hohn, owner of JAF Comics deciding to open a physical store as well as maintaining their online presence.
By partnering with Linnworks over the last 10 years, the business has experienced 10x growth, starting in an 800 square foot location to now an 8000 square foot retail store. JAF Comics evolved from mainly selling toys and figures to now also selling comics. They are now a fully fledged comic shop.
Challenges: Manually managing inventory across multiple marketplaces.
Running a brick and mortar store and online shop that both sell the same products didn’t come without its challenges. When something was bought in the store, John and his team had to remove it online manually. It didn’t take long for them to notice this manual process wasn’t sustainable and could lead to many mistakes caused by human error.
On top of this manual process, John and his team didn’t have an automated tool in place to manage inventory across the other sales channels where they sold products — Amazon and eBay marketplaces.
“We would only list items on either eBay or Amazon depending on what it was, for books we sold on Amazon and eBay was more toys and loose figures, '' he said. “We couldn’t sell the same products on the same marketplaces at risk of overselling which would ultimately lead to unhappy customers”
Solution: One platform to manage inventory that JAF Comics can rely on.
John knew it was time to research the market and find a system that could save him time, provide better inventory accuracy and work seamlessly across both their brick and mortar store, online store and the marketplaces they sell on.
At the time of research, John was testing Linnworks for another business. The business was owned by a colleague of his wife, meaning he had the opportunity to try Linnworks out for himself. This other business was doing everything manually on spreadsheets and specifically hired people to solely manage inventory on a Google doc, costing money and time. It quickly striked John, “The cost that you're spending on people and resources can be covered with one piece of software.”
When John implemented Linnworks into his business, he was able to run his business and expand without worrying about missed orders or spending more money on overheads.
John said, “Linnworks literally changed and morphed the business to what it is today. It made the business scalable.”
During the testing period, John evaluated other providers but saw the value of Linnworks immediately. He said, “These providers couldn’t offer anything that Linnworks didn’t, so it was a no brainer.”
After 10 years of working with Linnworks, John has been part of its evolution. After a decade of updating features and continuously improving the Linnworks platform to help brands sell better, one thing remains the same for John: “It’s the great support we receive,” he says. “If I have an issue the team always works quickly to resolve it or provide helpful recommendations.”
John manages to keep retail and online inventory levels in sync by using Linnworks as the POS system for JAF Comics in the store, in addition to all online sales channels. So every time a customer buys a product, John’s team simply creates a new order, scans the item and as soon as it’s sold, the inventory level updates in the system. Linnworks removes the product from all other marketplaces the product is sold on including eBay, Amazon and JAF Comics’ website.
Linnworks provides John complete peace of mind. His time is freed up when it comes to delegating listings. John said, “I've always done my eBay listings through Linnworks, and I can have any employee do them with the confidence it will be consistent because it's all structured within Linnworks. They can't go rogue and select things they shouldn't or do things that aren't correct.”
For John and his employees, it’s as simple as going into a certain category. For example, choosing the books category, and then searching Marvel in the Linnworks platform shows all of the Marvel Comics up on eBay at that specific time.
Bulk updates such as pricing can be done in a few easy and simple clicks within the platform. Before Linnworks, John didn’t feel as comfortable letting employees update listings in bulk directly within eBay because there was a high chance of things being done wrong or not being done consistently.
Results: A huge jump in online sales with a solution that can handle it.
John’s company uses eBay promoted listings, a feature from eBay that the Linnworks platform supports. This feature allows businesses to increase their visibility and boost sales by creating and managing paid campaigns directly through Linnworks. In only two weeks, John saw eBay sales increase by 60% as a result of using the promoting listings feature.
With this only being the start, John is excited about the other sales opportunities this could open, while being reassured that Linnworks can handle the increased volume in sales.
“Our eBay business partner asked if we were prepared for the new business and I confidently explained we have Linnworks so I’m not worried at all,” John said. “We have the back end to support and handle an increased volume of sales.”
John summarizes how Linnworks is mission critical to the day to day running of his business.
“The software is worth the money that I’m spending. I couldn’t manage my business without Linnworks,” John said. It’s been great to see the changes and differences over the years and it’s always brilliant working with the team. We have all the data and information we need to inform business decisions at our fingertips. What more could we want.”
Along with figuring out new ways to make the most out of eBay promoted listings, John is always looking for new marketplace opportunities that integrate with Linnworks.
“I consistently go into the Linnworks app store and look at what other new channel integrations are available to see if it's something that we'd be interested in selling on,” John says. “I want to find other channels to sell on, but I won't do them unless they're integrated with Linnworks. It doesn’t make sense for me to sell on marketplaces where there isn’t a Linnworks integration because we want it to complement our existing set up, not have to be a workaround.”
Other plans for JAF Comics include moving their website to Shopify to tap into social commerce opportunities such as Facebook and Instagram and work with Linnworks to be selling everywhere their customers are.
John is excited about the ongoing partnership with Linnworks and what the future has in store.
“I’m looking forward to working even more with the Linnworks team and uncovering new opportunities.”