Magazine Article | December 12, 2014

Prospering On A Niche

Matt Pillar

By Matt Pillar, chief editor

You might argue that Diamond Comics Distribution isn’t a VAR, but its retail IT service model offers important lessons for the channel.

Diamond Comics Distribution, Inc. is the nation’s leading distributor of comic books, graphic novels, and pop-culture merchandise to more than 3,000 independent and small-chain retailers. The company has been in business for 32 years, serving a good portion of that time as the sole distributor in the niche industry it serves. If there’s a comic book or pop-culture specialty retailer in your neighborhood, it buys merchandise from Diamond Comics.

What’s that got to do with the retail IT channel?

Chris Powell, VP of retailer services at Diamond Comics, says everything. Powell oversees all of the customer service teams, including a staff of seven in a division of the company that serves as a veritable VAR within a merchandise distributorship. “Our unique role in a niche retail market gives us a certain responsibility to it,” he says. “It’s in our best interest to make sure retailers are as strong and successful as they can be, so we do more in terms of providing services, support, and education than most merchandise distribution companies would.” Those offerings include the sale and support of a commerce platform that’s custom-designed for the comic book and pop-culture retailer.