If it's a jungle out there in the collectibles world, collectors are the animals who make it up: birds of a feather, as it were. CollectorZoo, http://collectorzoo.com/, is hoping those collectors will find its unique cataloguing and valuation tools an irresistible lure for them to flock together on its site, which just launched its Sports Memorabilia Beta program in October.
"Our model is very different from a lot of the other somewhat competing sites out there," said Founder William Hatzichristos. In their Sports Memorabilia category, CollectorZoo is powered by content partners such as Steiner Sports Marketing & Memorabilia; Sports World Chicago; Wrigleyville Magazine; and F&W Media. The site offers an inventory management system; a valuation tool, and a marketplace, along with a discussion area called "Talk Shop Network."
"We decided to first develop an inventory management system for collectors and collectibles, while creating another revenue stream for our content partners, and that's what we're all about," explained Hatzichristos. "So we're not an auction site; however, we do have a social marketplace component."
But at the core of the site, CollectorZoo allows collectors, retailers, manufacturers, artists, museums, Sports Teams, and distributors to load their inventory, historic sales, and marketing message on the site. It also "allows collectors to build their inventory based on authoritative data," said Hatzichristos.
Some of their content partners will be able to list their inventory on the site as well. For example, CollectorZoo will host the inventory of Steiner Sports, which is a manufacturer, but also a retailer. And Steiner Sports would also supply CollectorZoo with its historic sales data, "to allow us to broaden other components of our site," said Hatzichristos, including its valuation tool.
The proprietary valuation tool is one of CollectorZoo's unique features, and according to Hatzichristos, it will also encompass the concept of "chain of custody": once we know the history of what was sold, how much it sold for, and possibly even in what region of the country it was sold, we're now able to develop this chain of custody for a particular item," he said. In the case of a collector who bought, say, a Derek Jeter jersey two years ago, he can find that item on the site, and then he'll be able to instantly add it to his inventory by one click of the mouse. "This brings another level of authentication to a collectible," said Hatzichristos.
CollectorZoo has a unique proprietary algorithm to value collectibles. In addition to including historical sales information from Steiner Sports, it will factor in other sales that happened on eBay, and other transactions from the CollectorZoo site, "and then we sort of stir it all in a pot and we come up with a fair value based on real sources," said Hatzichristos.
External influences may come into play as well: with the Derek Jeter example, if he hits a major milestone in his career, there may be an impact to the value of Jeter collectibles, and the valuation tool would account for that. The tool "allows this collector who has the inventory now to keep track of the value of his inventory similar to what he would do with a stock portfolio, where he could see the ups and downs, monthly, quarterly, or even daily," added Hatzichristos.
The site has essentially a "freemium" business model: free to use with a basic subscription, but "we will offer some enhanced services that collectors will be very excited about, like detailed reporting, discounts to trade shows, promotions that support the retail channel, and free merchandise," said Hatzichristos.
In addition to the offer and acceptance transaction tool, the site has a strong social component: For example, if you meet someone at an event, you can search for their name on the site and then have instant access to their collection. And more interaction takes place on the "Talk Shop Network" community area of the site. "Anybody, whether it's a merchant, a retailer, a collector, distributor, manufacturer...they can go on and create their own groups and talk to their community. We want that dialogue," said Hatzichristos.
Other plans for the site include things like offering a live videofeed from events such as Comic-Con, and adding more content partners. Some other partners the site has added include Model Power (diecast) and The Diecast Magazine. "Also, we are working on V2.0 based on an HTML5 platform to be introduced in early 2013," said Hatzichristos, who added that Comic Books will be the next category they hope to launch.
Ultimately, Hatzichristos hopes CollectorZoo will be the place passionate collectors gather. "eBay is a whole different crowd than what we're looking for," he said. "we're not an auctioneer...we're looking for the true collector."
(Bill can be contacted at: email@example.com or http://collectorshop.com/contact-us.).
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