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View Full Version : Why don't retail stores do pre-orders for Star Wars toys?



Dr Zoltar
07-31-2003, 12:51 AM
I've been thinking about this lately. Kebco has the "1 of every figure club". So why don't retail chains like TRU, Target, or Wal-Mart offer a pre-order club for Star Wars figures? TRU had something like it during Ep 1. This is how I got my Mos Espa encounter cinema scene. I paid $5 down and the rest when it came in stock at my local store. Since TRU and Target have exclusives coming up, why don't they take pre-orders? I'd be willing to pay in full up front just to guarantee I'd get the new figs when they came in.

I'll play devils advocate and list a couple of reasons why they may possibly not want to:

1) The stores can't control what they get. Or more precisely, the store's corporate office doesn't want to put the effort into making sure each store gets what they need.

2) It's a pain in the butt. Maybe no one at the store level wants to do this for collectors. But you think they would if it's guaranteed sales.

3) Since some figures are short packed in certain waves, there is no way to guarantee they would get enough stock from Hasbro to satisfy collector needs. Has anyone communicated to Hasbro that collectors like wave cases of one of each new character?

Anyway, these are my ramblings. Anyone have any comments?

sith_killer_99
07-31-2003, 01:56 AM
Or:


There is no way we could tell what stores were shipped what product. There is no guarantee that stores get the products equally.

Direct from Hasbro. (See Thrawn's FAQ) Basically, they don't have any control over what goes where and they could care less.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, their distribution practices are unreliable and they could care less. Hasbro, as a corporation feels that they are too big and too important to oversee details like even distribution, and many stores miss entire waves of figures because of it.

"Those who believe they are too big for the small jobs, ofter prove to be too small for the big jobs!"

Hasbro, like the retail stores that sell Star Wars, only look at numbers! How many "units" did we ship today? How much money did we put on the books, everything else is irrelevant to them. I'm just surprised to see them admit it, more or less.

I have also noticed over the years that Hasbro does a lot of "disclaimers" like "no guarantee" and "subject to change"! I would love to see Hasbro hire an Efficiency expert and a Customer Service expert, and make them Vice Presidents! Maybe they could hire a couple of senior level people from UPS or Fed Ex to set their shipping straight.

BTW, Thrawn's recent FAQ with Hasbro is the best I've read in a long time and well worthy of the front page!

JM2C

Beast
07-31-2003, 02:01 AM
Note also that large chain stores (Wal-Mart, TRU, K-Mart, etc.) have large regional warehouses (TRU has 7, I believe) where shipments go to. That then get distributed to the individual stores. So Hasbro can't in that case, guarentee who gets what. Hasbro attempts to get the figures out to stores, it's not their fault if the store distrubution warehouses don't know how to properly distribute things. :p :)

MTFBWY and HH!!

Jar Jar Binks

Adam
07-31-2003, 04:16 AM
Note also that large chain stores (Wal-Mart, TRU, K-Mart, etc.) have large regional warehouses (TRU has 7, I believe) where shipments go to. That then get distributed to the individual stores. So Hasbro can't in that case, guarentee who gets what. Hasbro attempts to get the figures out to stores, it's not their fault if the store distrubution warehouses don't know how to properly distribute things.

Exactly. Distribution is NOT Hasbro's problem. It's your Wal-mart or Target, or Kmart's Distribution centers that are to blaim. Hasbro just makes them and ships them to retailers. It would be impossible for Hasbro to make sure every store got every single peice of product.

Dr Zoltar
07-31-2003, 11:39 AM
Gotcha. It's a shame really that major retailers don't do this. But I guess the amount of profit they'd make is not enough to off set the cost to set something like this up. I'll still going to bug my local retailers to do this whenever they solicit my opinion.

I've already mailed out the letters from this site to TRU, Wal-Mart, and Target as well.

SirSteve
07-31-2003, 02:06 PM
Yeah, this is an easy one... Retailers don't know what they will be getting. If they were full cases of one figure, that would be another story.

El Chuxter
07-31-2003, 02:10 PM
I know on the vintage line, Sears often sold sets of four or five figures through their catalog. However, given the case assortments of the modern line, it's doubtful this would happen. (Weren't vintage figures more evenly distributed in the cases?)

Also, those figures were usually in polybags IIRC. Few teen or adult collectors (even those of us who open) would want to sacrifice the card on all their figures.

JediTricks
07-31-2003, 09:16 PM
When TRU did those preorders, it was a disaster for them. Hasbro kept changing prices, release dates, and then even though TRU had solid numbers for each store, I was told specifically that Hasbro didn't send enough to fill orders of one type of preordered set, but sent plenty of the other set that almost nobody preordered (because it came in the same case) which backed up their shelves. When more of the hot set did come in, it was accompanied by more of that same unselling product which made it entirely unrewarding for TRUs to get these pieces.

Since Hasbro can't be sure of what a case assortment will be or if a piece will be cancelled until a long ways into the process, it seems very difficult for a retail chain to wish to deal with that. Also, it's easier for e-tailers to deal with this because their systems are automated and they don't have to deal with as many disappointed faces when people don't preorder and the item isn't available, they don't have to pay employees to wait on the customer while the paperwork is looked up and double-checked and whatnot.

Basically, it's a mess all around. The retailers make things difficult, Hasbro makes things difficult, the collectors make things difficult, and the scalpers certainly make things worse.


Chux, with the Vintage line, Kenner took longer between assortments and things moved slower to the point where it was easier to keep up with these things on paper. Now days, no toy line puts so much distance between 2 separate waves of figures, most lines live and die in 3 waves in the time it took Kenner to get the next wave out.