Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Retail 101

My retail 101: you're there to sell stuff.

This should be pretty basic stuff. You don't make money if you don't sell stuff. Unfortunately, I saw this break down tonight, so I'm going to rant a bit about it.

Every Wednesday night I run board game night at the FLGS. I usually make a purchase at some point in the evening. Sometimes it's something I've decided to buy ahead of time, and sometimes it's something that catches my eye while I'm there.

Tonight I planned on buying an expansion for Memoir '44 that I don't have yet, but when I got there I saw they had a starter set for Arcane Legions behind the counter, along with a few booster packs. I asked if it was for sale and the clerk didn't know because he thought maybe it had been an ordering mixup and they weren't supposed to get it. I made it clear that I wanted to buy it, but he wouldn't sell it to me because he didn't know if he could.

There's two failures here, one from the employee and one from the manager, with the latter being the more important.

The failure of the employee was to do anything to find out if the product was for sale. He could have asked the other employee that was there at the time (I didn't realize until after that employee had left that he might have had further information), and he didn't call the owner/manager to find out either.

The failure of the manager was to train the employee in the importance of making sales, and to make that call.

As it was, I was a bit pissed off that I couldn't buy a product that was sitting right there. Pissed off enough that I decided not to make any purchase, even the one I had been planning to make originally. So, no sale instead of potentially two sales. Not a good result.

As an aside, I know that on other forums I've commented that I wasn't impressed by the marketing plan for Arcane Legions. I'm still not, but the guys at the D6 Generation have gotten me interested enough in the underlying game to give it a try.


Jabbott said...

What did you not like about the Arcane Legions marketing plan?

Fulminata said...

I still think that for miniatures gamers in general if you are only going to do part of an army pre-painted, then doing the rank and file would be better than the special characters. It's the rank and file that get boring to paint, and now that's all we paint if we want a fully painted Arcane Legions army.

The argument that the game isn't aimed towards miniatures gamers is a bad one. I realize that it's anecdotal, but out of a half dozen or so people I know that were even aware of this game, only one is not already a miniatures gamer, and he only knew about it because of the D6 Generation. Most of my gamer friends who aren't already into miniatures aren't even aware this game exists.

The semi-collectible element is also a negative, but it's distanced just enough from that model that it's not a huge issue.

Fulminata said...

Oh, and the youtube training videos are informative, but embarrassingly crude. If you're going to use sex to sell a game, at least do it with a little subtlety.

That's not what I was referring to when I made my original comment, but it just occurred to me as another example of not-quite-right marketing in regards to Arcane Legions.

Jabbott said...

Ya I agree with the idea that the rank and file should be the painted ones, not the special characters.

Jabbott said...

And ya those Youtube videos are pretty horrible; though fairly informative LOL

BlackDiamond said...

It's entirely the fault of the owner for not empowering the employee to make decisions. I once had the salesman at a chair store sell me his partner's chair because I liked it. That's empowerment.

We're carrying Arcane Legions. It's a confused mess. Unpainted for the most part. Collectible beyond the starter set, which is a great value, by the way. Not quite historical. Not quite fantasy. Not likely something I'll re-stock. It straddles too many fences.

Fulminata said...

I hope you know that Arcane Legions is "semi-collectible" beyond the starter. The infantry and cavalry packs are fixed, the only random ones are the painted minis, and they're only really random if you buy by the pack. If you buy by the case (which are supposedly labeled for retail) you are guaranteed a complete set.

Still not an ideal situation, but not as bad as some other distribution models. Like most models with a collectible element, it's a lot easier for a group to go in on it together than for single collectors.

I've yet to get anything past the starter set. I would probably be getting at least a bit more if I wasn't working on my Field of Glory models. While Arcane Legions is cheaper both in money and time to get started, I see a much greater potential return on investment given that historical minis will always be useful for gaming, at most needing a rebasing to switch between game systems.

Arcane Legions could easily be gone in a year or two.

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