While the Diamond Retailer Summit is your chance to meet fellow retailers, company leaders, supplier representatives, and Diamond personnel one-on-one, it's also an opportunity to learn at workshops designed to help you build your business.
This year, our lineup of retailer workshops features 9 different panels! They're grouped into three separate traks, each containing three different workshops.
"When we sat down to review the format of this year's Summit, we took into account how much we, and the attending retailers, really seemed to get a lot out of our expanded slate of workshops last year," said Diamond Director of Marketing Dan Manser. "We modeled after last year's trak format, read through retailer feedback, and ended up with nine workshops falling into three categories for retailers to choose from."
So - if you're coming to the Summit with 2-3 people, we suggest you split up so that you get the greatest educational impact for you store. That way, your group can reconvene and go home with a wealth of new knowledge, insights, tips, tricks and more. (Please note that attendees are free to choose any workshop.)
Each trak will have a workshop going on during each workshop time slot. Workshops within one trak will be located in close proximity to one another for your convenience.
The Art of Managing Your Managers
Do you put off taking vacations out of fear of what will happen in your store while away? Do you operate more than one location and find yourself hopping from place to place? Hear from retailers who have cultivated good managers for their locations—and what qualities to look for in your single, most-trusted employee. Find the confidence to hand the keys over to your next manager for crucial responsibilities like ordering, staffing, marketing and more.
Moderator: Chris Powell, Diamond Vice President of Retailer Services
Panelists: Tim Stoltzfus, More Fun Comics & Games; Brandon Adamson, Fantasy Books
"Sometimes, people are promoted into management because they were great employees, or because there was an unanticipated opening that they step into out of necessity. It’s easy to forget, though, that managing other people requires an entirely different skillset. In order to nurture creativity and success on a large scale, owners and managers need to be in-tune with each other. As an owner or manager charged with the supervision of other managers, it’s crucial to maintain positive, practical relationships with your team, and I’m happy to discuss how you can make your workload easier to handle while meeting your organization’s goals." - Chris
Retailer Tips & Tricks: Making the Most of Diamond’s Ordering Tools
Retailers explain their tips and processes involved in managing the ordering cycles with Diamond, in addition to advice on shifting your sales and discounts based on the market. Learn how savvy retailers take advantage of Diamond’s tools - such as the PREVIEWS Catalog, New to Order, Final Order Cut-off, and Point of Sale - and their own sales and ordering practices to be more efficient.
Moderator: Dave Hawksworth, Diamond Field Sales Manager
Panelists: Mike Pandolfo, DR Comics
"Diamond's online services, in addition to changes with the PREVIEWS catalog, have made leaps and bounds toward allowing your shops to compete with big box stores. We know retailers have a busy schedule - so I'm glad to delve into the ways in which Diamond's tools can assist your store's marketing and sell-through with minimal time and effort." - Dave
Let’s Plan It: Personal Financial Planning for Your Small Business
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of being a successful business owner is having your finances in order. In the end, without solid financial planning, you won’t have a solid business. Hear from a Certified Financial Advisor Curt L. Stowers, PhD., who will shed light on accounting, taxes, retirement planning and more to help your small businesses prosper and face the future with confidence.
Moderator: Tim Kartman, Diamond Field Sales Manager
Panelist: Jenn Haines, The Dragon
Guest: Curt Stowers, PhD., Financial Planner
"Small business owners are so busy with day-to-day business tasks that they can neglect both their business’s financial planning needs as well as their own. I'm excited to have Curt Stowers share with us important details of small business planning that are too necessary to overlook." - Tim
Content Creation or Curation? Super-Sizing Your Social Media Success
Should you focus on creating content from scratch, or share content generated elsewhere? Both? Learn what direction will best help your store create excitement with your customers and grow your sales!
Moderator: Andrew Mueller, Diamond Consumer Marketing Manager
Panelists: Jamie and Teresa Colgrove, Packrat Comics; Megan Borges, Dragon's Lair Comics and Fantasy; TJ Rollins, Freakopolis Geekery
"Social media gives you the power to reach your customers in real-time. To be current. To be a friend and not just a business owner. You need to be part of that, whether it's creating your own content or sharing others'. Putting some time and effort into social media can pay immediate dividends." - Andy
The Word on the Street for Bringing in New Customers
If you are looking for new ways to bring more customers into your store, hear from retailers on some creative, unique strategies to diversify and broaden your customer base using word-of-mouth, cross-promotion, and other methods.
Moderator: Eric Hitchcock, Diamond Field Sales Manager
Panelists: Robbie LaBanca, Dragon's Lair Comics and Fantasy; Robert Young, Borderlands Comics; Tate Otatti, Tate's Comics
"Marketing and promotion are important and can also be one of the most rewarding and fun aspects of owning and operating your store. From my experience traveling the world visiting comic stores, I'm excited to dive into some of the innovative and unique ideas retailers have to attract new customers and keep them coming back." - Eric
The Science and Art of Visual Merchandising
Window displays are often the #1 element on whether foot traffic walks in or walks by. Table and end-cap displays can maximize your sales even further. Learn from a top notch, mass market visual merchandise director on how to shape the best possible first impressions from your visual displays of product in your store.
Moderator: Dan Manser, Diamond Director of Marketing
Panelists: Jay and Anthony, MaximuM Comics; Robbie LaBanca, Dragon's Lair Comics and Fantasy
"When a potential customer walks into your store, they are going to form an impression within 10 seconds. What sense tends to dictate that impression? Sight. You need to hook customers quickly and impress them visually so they’ll want to stick around, make a purchase, and come back. It’s easier said than done. I'm happy to talk details with a visual merchandising manager and hopefully retailers can take away a wealth of new information to make the most of visual displays in their stores." - Dan
Why Sell Young Adult?
Are comic shops taking advantage of one of the fastest growing publishing segments: Young Adult Graphic Novels? From Raina Telgemeir’s Ghosts to Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Marvel’s Incredible Squirrel Girl, is it time to add a YA section in your store? Learn from popular creators of YA graphic novels what clicks with this growing audience, how it differs from all-ages, or “kids,” and hear from comic store retailers on how they market and sell this growing category.
: Jenn Haines, The Dragon
Guest: Katie Cook, Comic Writer (My Little Pony, Gronk)
"The rise of the young adult format in graphic novels has been unprecedented with YA titles dominating best-seller lists and winning the highest honors among literary awards in the country. Joined by leaders in the industry, we will talk about the importance of recognizing the YA format among graphic novels, and the impact proper merchandising of these titles can have on foot-traffic and sales in your store.” - Ashley
What Can Comic Shops Learn from Bookstores?
Graphic Novels are just illustrated books, right? Hear from successful, independent book store owners about how they market and sell books—and how you can apply it to your growing book category.
Moderator: Kuo-Yo Liang, Diamond Book Distributors Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Panelists: Eric Kirsammer, Chicago Comics / Quimby's; Patrick Brower, Challengers Comics + Conversation
"It’s fairly easy to see that graphic novels are experiencing a rise in popular awareness; they are even being used in schools! I look forward to talking with successful bookstore and comic shop owners alike about useful tips and tools to employ to grow GN sales.” - Kuo
Get Prepped! Top Toys and Licenses
What’s hot in the world of toys? What should you be dedicating space to this year? The Purchasing staff from Diamond details the sure-fire hits and must-haves for the remainder of 2017 so you can get ready for your best holiday toy and merchandise season yet. Plus, listen as comic shop owners offer their insight into displaying, marketing and selling toys in your store.
Moderator: Tim Lenaghan, Diamond Vice President of Purchasing
Panelists: Steve Unverferth, Fantasy Books
"Making the most of a small retail shop means being smart about how you design the space and organize your merchandise according to trends and what's up and coming. Having the inside scoop as Vice President of Purchasing at Diamond, I am beyond pumped to contribute to a discussion with retailers on the must-have products this year and how to go about getting hot products in your stores in time for this holiday season." - Tim