Cos & Effect and Changes Behind the Scenes

Posting has been relatively slow lately, as we’ve been busy with a number of projects; mostly behind the scenes updates that make running the business easier.  I thought I’d do a quick update on the most recent changes as well as do a quick Con report for Cos & Effect.

Cost & Effect

Cos & Effect is the new cosplay convention in Vancouver after Anime Evolution went defunct.   Overall, for a first year, the convention went well with quite a few attendees.  The fact that it was their first year showed in a few places – e.g. the promised ‘gaming lounge’ was completely inappropriate for gaming with knee-high tables. However, overall it seemed pretty well run and we had few hiccups.  I’m looking forward to next year when I hope the vendors have a dedicated room; increasing overall security for our stock.

Sales-wise, it was significantly lower than Anime Evolution.  It’s partially, I think, due to the fact that the con-attendees trended towards the younger end of the usual AE spectrum, thus reducing their overall budget.  Of course, not being directly related to Anime or cosplay either,  we generally see lower sales at these events. Generally, we do these events for the exposure more than sales so I’m not completely stressed by the lower sales.

Hiring

We’re currently in the midst of attempting to hire again for a part-time position.  Business has picked up sufficiently that I’d like Kaja to focus on some additional duties, which she is unable to do so due to the increase in sales (and added complexity of running both Canada Post & FedEx right now).

It’s been interesting – on our worst day last Friday, we had 8 interviews arranged and only 3 turned up.   We currently have an offer out and will know at the end of this week if it’ll be accepted.  Otherwise, we might just have to bit the bullet and not hire anyone till October where we can attempt to hire someone full-time.

Site Tweaks

You might have noticed a new pair of options to sort games via ‘Bestsellers’ or ‘Reviews’.  It’s a minor tweak, that we think has provided a nice new viewing / sorting option to customers.

Game Reviews

As many of you might have noticed, we requested some guest reviewers last week and had some interested applicants.  I expect to get the first review later this week up, let us know how they do and who you enjoy.  I’m currently planning for 1 review per week, potentially increasing if these reviews get a positive response.

Back-End Changes

We’ve also tweaked our backend design a bit, making it easier and faster to process our orders and to find specific orders.  We’ve also redesigned our PDF invoices so that they’re easier to read to make it easier to note multiple copies of games.

Next on the list is an automatic upload of tracking numbers for Canada Post & FedEx.  This will result in faster shipment reports for customers.

Anime Evolution 2010 Convention Report

On the Con in General

Anime Evolution (AE) 2010 was an interesting convention.  This year, they were back in UBC and the Gym that is close to the Student Union Building.  Now, for those of you who have never been to AE or any Anime convention, the major characteristics of the crowd are ‘large’ and ‘young’.

There were at least 5,000 attendees over 3 days, mostly in the teens to early 20’s.  Compare this to most gaming conventions where the majority are between mid-20’s to early 40’s.  The other aspect of AE is that  most con attendees (at least40%) are Cosplaying – in a wide variety of Anime related characters.  Mostly, I noticed a lot of Bleach and Naruto; being familiar with both those Anime.

The Vendors Room

Since the entire convention was spread out across UBC I didn’t get to see how the rest of the con went; but the vendor’s room was generally well trafficked.  Generally that is till about 4pm onwards; as con attendees wilted in the heat.  Unfortunately, a lack of air circulation and proper air-conditioning meant that the vendor’s room had a tendency to get warm.

Most of the usual suspects in the vendors room were back; so during quieter periods I wandered the hall talking to the other vendors that we knew.  We were again placed near the noisy pornographic book vendors.  Luckily, unlike last year; they weren’t as noisy and tasteless – at least most of the time.

Another interesting aspect for us were the number of game retailers at AE.   Last year, there were 2 others; this year there were 3 others.  All 3 sold board games as well, though not as their main focus.  Even with the greater competition (and at least one vendor dropping their price 3 times to a final discount of 35% off their posted price); we did better than last year.  Admittedly, we sold fewer games like Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan because of the competition.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the vendor’s room was ‘Ultimate Showdown‘ a card game created and promoted at AE.  It’s a storytelling based card game where players describe the actions / abilities of the cards they use.  It’s a fun little, cheap card game which you might actually see a lot more of; especially among casual gamers.

Gaming for Diabetes : May 1, 2010

We wanted to let you know about an event that will be held soon:

Gaming for Diabetes

Date & Time: May 1, 2010 (10am to Midnight) and May 2, 2010 (10am – 6pm)

Venue: The Royal City Curling Club; 75 E 16th Ave, New Westminster

Last year there were about 40 – 50 people who attended.  It’s a board gaming event – with everyone bringing their own games and then placing them out for peple to play / use.    As such, there’s a wide variety of board games for everyone.

Also, there’s always a 50/50 draw and a Silent Auction which holds quite a few good, fun games.

It’s also relatively cheap and for a good cause – $20 for Saturday and $15 for Sunday or $30 for the weekend.

If you’re going, make sure to say Hi! I’ll be there for certain on Saturday and quite possibly Sunday.