Thanks to the popularity of big-budget Hollywood films featuring superheroes, local businesses are seeing a huge spike in demand from fans for action figures. One of those businesses is Cosmic-Con, which specializes in selling memorabilia from these superhero films. In some cases, customers from around the country are calling them, asking for some of the rarer, collectible action figures that might sell for hundreds of dollars.
“At first, we weren’t really sure how to ship them, but we eventually settled on a poly bag and box solution that works for us,” says William O’Reilly, the owner of Cosmic Con. What separates his local business is that much of the sales volume for these action figures comes from diehard fans who search out sites like eBay and Amazon for these collectibles.
That’s what gave O’Reilly the idea to come up with a custom packaging solution that could take this superhero fandom to a new level. He examined the various options that were recommended for toy manufacturers – window boxes, blister cards, clamshells, poly bags, blind boxes, tins, and acrylic display cases.
While the blister cards seemed to make the most sense from a retail perspective and came with a lot of recommendations from packing and shipping bloggers, Cosmic Con realized that it wasn’t a typical retailer. Customers didn’t expect to pick up or view the action figure before purchases – they knew exactly what they wanted and were ordering online. So the idea of transparent plastic dome attached to a piece of cardboard wasn’t as alluring as it might be for a traditional retailer, where customers want to see exactly what they are getting.
Instead, Cosmic Con decided to go with a hybrid packaging solution – a combination of poly bag and blind box. The poly bag would provide each action figure with secure airtight packaging. And then they could be inserted inside a “blind box” – a box without any windows on it (sometimes called a “surprise box”). The advantage of the blind box was that special graphics and branding could be placed on the box exterior to explain what was inside, turning each box into a collectible of its own.
These blind boxes could then be placed inside a regular square box container from the local post office, filled with packing peanuts, and sent off to customers with overnight or two-day delivery
Thus far, the response from fans and clients has been ecstatic. “These are hard-core fans, they expect you to show the same amount of passion for a product as they have,” says O’Reilly. “If you just put a product inside a plastic clamshell, it doesn’t look like a collectible anymore.”
Thus far, Cosmic Con has had success using this custom packaging for customers throughout Canada. From Vancouver to Halifax, the orders continue to come in on a regular basis. It’s gotten to the point, says O’Reilly, that his eBay seller’s page now includes photos of both the action figure and the unique collectible blind box.
“We can almost predict by now which superhero action figures are going to be popular, based on which films are coming out in the summer,” notes O’Reilly. That gives him and his team plenty of time to come up with some graphics and original branding to put on the box to surprise and delight his customers.