Monday, July 8, 2013

GW Trend toward Direct Sales??

It's more likely than you may think.  Today news from Spikey Bitz (I add the Z because the Z makes it sexier) that the Wave Serpent from the Eldar Codex has gone out of print and will now be a direct order item.

Stolen from freshcoastgaming.blogspot,com

So what does this mean?  Coming from a retail background myself it would make financial sense for Games Workshop to gauge the popularity of specific units from new codex releases (i.e. what they are running low on stock in) and then go direct to the customer for beefier margins.  Look at it this way.  You produce a large brown phallic shaped object, we'll call it a Bildo.  It costs you $5 to make the veiny oblong and you decide it should retail for $20.  In order to reach a wider audience and ultimately sell more Bildos you allow independent retailers to buy the sweaty tube for $12, which they can then resell for $20.  Hey, you made a $7 dollar profit on the Bildo and didn't have to worry about logistics.  That Bildo is getting pretty popular!  You can't produce enough of them to keep up with the Bildo orders coming in from those independent retailers.  Wait a minute.  You know that people are literally throwing money at those independent retailers for your Bildo.   Why shouldn't they be throwing their money directly at you?  Screw those independent retailers.  Sure they give you free advertising and provide a place for your patrons to try out their new Bildos with their male friends, but fuck those guys! You can get a larger $15 dollar profit on those Bildos when you sell them directly, and you KNOW that it is hugely popular with tons of guys.  Hey!  Why not retail those Bildos for $22?  It's not so much that people will notice too much, and its not like those guys aren't going to buy and enjoy their Bildos so it's a win win.  AND SCENE.

You kind of get it.  Games Workshop is beginning their slow cut out of the independent retailer.  The way that they look at it, in the bizaro Games Workshop way of looking at things, is that they do not need the independent stockists any longer.  Mark my words.  It began with the slow closure of Battle Bunkers around the United States.  They know that they do not need to provide a gaming space to sell their products.  In fact, it might be detrimental to sales to offer gaming spaces in their shops.  Games Workshop is finally coming around to the fact that the demand for their products is such that they do not necessarily need a middle man to facilitate sales of these products.  These game stores will continue to have tables available to drive sales of other tabletop games, and with the large US tournament scene Games Workshop knows that there will be events to showcase the hobby.  I believe we will see this happening SLOWLY, with more and more hot selling items going to direct only sales.  This does leave the door wide open to second party game companies such as Privateer Press to make headway into the game stores and facilitate events but they have a LONG way to go.  Games Workshop is such fixture in the table top gaming community that Warhammer is almost a verb in the way that Google is.  It will be an interesting year and I for one, with many friends who make their living off of selling Games Workshop products, hope that Games Workshop takes a big step back and remember just who made this hobby what it was.  It isn't their pushy one man stores with the 10 year old brats whining to their mothers about what to buy them.  It's not their shitty website offering bundle deals that are more expensive than buying the products individually.  One click deal?  Thanks, assholes.  The thing that gets people into the hobby are the friendly local game stores.  The place where you walk in and SURPRISE, people are playing and talking about Warhammer.  The place where the owner knows your name and is GENUINELY happy to see you.  The place that runs tournaments because it's FUN.  That is what drives sales.  THAT is what creates excitement. Not bullshit bundle deals.  Not NEVER giving discounts.

So I will wait and see what the future of Games Workshop's relationship with the independent retailers holds.  In the meantime, I'll be visiting and purchasing the models that I love from my local game stores.  Because they sparked my love for the hobby and you know what?  I like being around them.

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