TCGplayer is launching TCGplayer POS Plug-In, a new tool connecting the online platform for collectibles to point-of sale systems, into beta with POS systems Shopify and Square, the company announced.  The tool will be available to select local game stores in March, with a broader roll-out expected later in 2021.  The company plans to expand the service to every POS system available for local game stores.

TCGplayer, the largest online platform for TCG collectibles, processed over 12 million orders on behalf of 2,500 game retailers in 2020.  The new service will integrate the TCGplayer services, which include in-store kiosks, collectible card image scanning software, channels for in-store and marketplace inventory management and pricing, and the TCGplayer marketplace, where collectibles are bought and sold, with POS systems that support in-store and online sales.

[Chedy Hampson]
We asked TCGplayer Founder and CEO Chedy Hampson what led the company to add this new service.  "The sellers, themselves; it's their feedback," he said.  "They have been using our in-store kiosk system that we built, absolutely loving it, and think it's a great way to get their shoppers access to all of the trading card game inventory.  It's been great freeing up their staff to let their customers buy from it and get those orders in.  The blocker has been that they have to manually, then, copy and paste information over to the point of sale and ring it up over there.  It doesn't perfectly stay in sync in that way.  We see this as a way to connect those sellers directly to the TCGplayer data, make sure the orders, the buy list, the returns, everything is connected inside the point of sale.  This is going to save them even more time, we believe, and give them a detailed business record of all those transactions."

"What this is really doing is that last mile of ringing the customer up, removing that manual process, and making sure that this becomes one entire connected system," Hampson continued.  "So if they want to ring up a Mountain Dew and a pack of sleeves, but they also want to ring the singles cards in sync, that can now happen.  It's all within one system."

POS Plug-In will eliminate the need for retailers to allocate separate inventories for the store and online sales via TCGplayer.  "Maybe their inventory for TCGplayer is separate from their inventory for in-store," Hampson explained.  "Now it can be connected; they can set prices on it; they can manage it.  When they do their buy list and purchase items off a customer, it will flow right into their inventory and be immediately available to sale for other customers."

The service will be free to use; the only revenue for TCGplayer is commission on online sales.  "It's a zero dollars fee, no flat fee. There's no installation fee.  There's no fee for anything that happens inside the store," Champson told us.  "We do charge a commission of sales that happen online if they're connected off to our marketplace.

The free-to-use model is a long game for TCGplayer.  "Because we have the online marketplace, our first thought is about leveling up these stores and getting them everything they need to run a great local business," Hampson said.  "If they don't run a great local business we don't ever have a chance of having them think about selling online.  This is our way of putting our actions front and center that we're going to build these incredible tools we're going to give to these stores.  We're going to hope that they change their lives and help them run better businesses.  Eventually, if that does prove out, then they can think about if they want to also sell online and take advantage of online sales."

The flexibility to use any of multiple POS systems will also speed adoption, Hampson believes.  "That gets to the hallmark of why we think it's going to be a success," Hampson said of the model.  "It's because we're not asking them to shovel or get rid of software choices they've made.  We're saying, ‘Hey, keep those software choices, keep those hardware choices, and just use us to enhance them,’ as opposed to most systems are, 'Hey, replace those entirely if you want to use us.’"

In a statement accompanying the announcement, Hampson boiled down the new retailer tool to his experience in game stores.  "Having spent a decade managing local gaming stores myself, I founded TCGplayer with the goal of developing a technology platform that could empower small businesses to simplify operations so they could focus on what really matters – their customers," he wrote.

TCGplayer has been in a rapid expansion mode, adding 100 employees in a one-year period (see "TCGplayer Hiring"), and recently recruiting its first Chief Marketing Officer (see "TCGplayer Adds CMO").