Thursday, September 17, 2015

Went nuts for Star Wars toys.

The amount of Star Wars toys I ordered was equal to an entire month of comic orders.

I'm getting the first of them in next week.  The least likely to sell, of course, and the most expensive -- Electronic lightsabers and blasters.

Anyway, ordering that much is pretty nuts.  There are a number of reasons not to do this, and then some dubious good reasons to do it.

Not do it:

1.) Margins suck. A little more than half as much as what I can get on most of my product. Which means I have to sell twice as much to make the same amount of money.

2.) I'll get them late and allocated. We literally were not even offered these toys until the day they were in the chainstores. From past experience, we will probably get only a part of what we ordered, and it won't be the best stuff.

3.) Shelf huggers. Many people don't realize that we don't get to order the toys we want. We order blind cases, and we get whatever assortment they deign to give us.

The price and timing of the toys isn't the biggest problem I face. The biggest advantage the chainstores have is the ability to write off or return "shelf-huggers." These are the toys in the case that are over-produced or no one wants. Sometimes, I swear, we get the leftovers. After the chainstores get their pick, what's left. The last Lord of the Rings case I ordered, I got 6 Gollums out of 12 toys, at a time when no one really wanted them.

It takes only a few toys out of every case not selling to make them unprofitable.

Reasons to do it:

1.) I think everyone is going to underestimate Star Wars. It's going to be the biggest thing ever.  The general rule of thumb I have is that when something is hot, you can't have too much. (The opposite of that is that when something is cold, whatever you have is too much.)

2.) The movie looks good. It looks like they are going about it in the right way. I really thought the Star Trek reboots were enormously entertaining and so I have faith in the director. Besides, as far as selling toys before December 18th, it almost doesn't matter. Toys sell in advance, usually. Though Star Wars has a long shelf life.

3.) Star Wars has an enormously long shelf-life. Forever, frankly.  It took me a couple of years to sell the last batch of lightsabers I got, but I ended up doing it.  Star Wars customers like all things Star Wars, unlike almost any other franchise where the customers are very picky (Star Trek being the most aggravating example...)  There are many more movies to come, so basically it doesn't matter how fast I sell these -- I will sell them eventually.

4.) I adjust the pricing a little on the toys -- charging slightly more for the hot characters. I don't like doing this, but I see no other way.  If you've been looking for Yoda for ages, and you have to pay a little more to get it from me, you'll probably do it.

 It's not so much the money, it's having the good characters in stock long enough to sell the slow characters.

5.) We'll probably be allocated.  This stuff won't come in all at once and it probably won't come in full orders, which means I can probably absorb them.

6.) The biggest and only reason that really counts.  I LOVE STAR WARS!!! 

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