Innovative TCG Singles Management by Gametronics LGS

by Guf

Local Game stores come in all shapes and sizes. Their owners often bring a variety of skills and knowledge from their previous background. This combination makes each game store unique and as an industry we often struggle to find unity. But what most Local Games Stores have in common is a desire to create a community, a safe space for fellow gamers and enough money to pay the bills. These goals consume our time and our financial resources and leave very little space for innovation.

But today I saw something new to me. A retailer daring to try something different. A retailer that took a look at the way stores handle TCG singles and then took a second look for a different way. That passion for perfection led Mathew Balcom from GameTronics, Nova Scotia to find a solution for a problem that all singles sellers face, how to decrease the labour costs of managing singles in store. Matthew has achieved the impossible, a singles collection that needs no sorting, a singles system that has allowed faster picking.

Matthew’s method is something we are all familiar with, barcodes and some nifty home made custom software. Each individual card purchased is entered using TCGplayer scan and placed in a sleeve with a unique barcode. Scanning the sleeve records that barcode as a unique identifier for the card and doubles as a location marker. The process is quick and simple, it takes no longer than it takes to scan two items at the register. The sleeved single is then stored in a 5000 count box, whose label corresponds to the location indicated in the first part of the barcode. The second half of the barcode matches a labeled deck box that is stored within. Each 5000 count box contains around 25 deckboxes. Each deckbox with around 80 cards

When an order is received, the unique barcode provides Matt with the exact location of the card, the tub it lives in and the specific deckbox to find it. I witnessed Matt picking an order in seconds that would normally take minutes, the sheer efficiency of the system warmed the heart of this old retailer. As he scanned the single out of his system, the location entry is removed from the product, and the sleeve and barcode are ready to be used again.

Some parts of the process are a little slower. Barcodes must be pre-prepared, everything labeled meticulously. Cards must be sleeved, and you still need to search through 80 odd cards for the one you want. But this system is demonstrable quicker and lowers the labour cost of selling singles. For some stores this will be a viable alternative to card sorting robots. For some stores this system may be nothing new but for me personally, it was something innovative and exciting.

After over a decade of selling magic singles, I am excited to never have to sort a box of TCG singles again.

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