Store owner complains about Kickstarter and Twitter and D&D

fikuvino

Villager
These kind of stores definitely used to be more common in the 80s and 90s, IME, but I guess some are still around. Where the store exists to some extent as a clubhouse for the owner and his friends and employees, and doesn't make a really good effort to be customer-friendly.

It's been an interesting thing, over the years, seeing this stereotype gaming store gradually be replaced, IME, by friendly, clean, well-lit, professionally-run shops.

That has been my experience, as well. The Simpsons "comic book guy" type of store is a lot less common than it used to be, at least in my area. I saw a lot more of that in the 70s and 80s than in recent years. I suspect that a lot of them went out of business once online sales became more common, because nobody likes dealing with an unpleasant, unprofessional store owner (or employee). I still encounter some store owners who just aren't very good at running a business, but I haven't encountered one who was unpleasant to be around in quite some time.
 

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fikuvino

Villager
It's quite possible that it's a matter of not wanting to open an account with yet another distributor. While the US largely is Wizards, Asmodee, Alliance, and Diamond, there are some secondary distributors.

Yep. That's one reason that I don't blame hobby shops that don't carry the products I want. There are all sort of issues underlying why they don't carry them, from distributor issues to the needs to maximize the monetization of shelf space. I think the shop owner who wrote the original article that started this thread was off base, but in the end it really isn't worth it to most shop owners to carry a wide variety of rpg games on their shelves, unless they are in a very specific market and location that supports that.
 

fikuvino

Villager
If you have 100 copies of professional looking product, I think you have a decent chance of driving around to 20 stores and getting 5 copies on their shelves, each. It will take a little wheeling and dealing, negotiating on what the retailer's cut is, and when you will come back to collect unsold copies. It would behoove you to be well dressed and groomed, smiling, with a gracious presentation. Doing a little research with some retailers ahead of time to give you reasonable expectations would be helpful as well.

There are a lot of boxes to check in the previous paragraph, which is strangely difficult for many people to perform.

Exactly.

In the end, shelf space is the most important thing that any brick-and-mortar retailer owns, and some shelf space is particularly valuable (end caps, for example). Any item that sits on a shelf is taking up space that another item could occupy, so whatever is most likely to sell - quickly and/or on a continuous basis - is going to be the primary focus. It can be hard to justify occupying that space with products that sell slowly. Products that don't move steadily also tie up money, which is even more of an issue for small businesses operating on slim margins.

Removing those risks makes it more likely that a new product will get placed in a store. Collecting unsold copies, or even doing something similar to consignment selling, helps retailers avoid the risks associated with investing their money in something that may otherwise sit on their shelves for a long time, steadily decreasing in value (since it is taking away from other potential sales during that time period). A professional appearance, demeanor, and presentation can go a long way towards gaining the trust of a business owner, as well.

Offering to run in-store game sessions where you teach people the game may be a selling point, too, with some retailers.

Having said that, placing an rpg in some individual stores might not do much to spur the sales or popularity of a system. In many cases, spending that time focusing on online advertising and promotion may be more effective.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
There are a number of excellent game stores that have been able to branch out into RPGs, Board Games, snacks & soda, food & beer, comics, gaming space, and collectables. Having the multiple revenue streams I can only guess greatly increases overhead but allows for a more stable, predictable income. Guardian Games in Portland and Mox Cafe in Seattle come to mind as examples. I've seen both have Kickstarted product, although I must admit that I haven't been to either in some time.
This is my buddy's new store. It's a cafe and game store.



download1.jpg
 


Waller

Hero
Yep. That's one reason that I don't blame hobby shops that don't carry the products I want. There are all sort of issues underlying why they don't carry them, from distributor issues to the needs to maximize the monetization of shelf space. I think the shop owner who wrote the original article that started this thread was off base, but in the end it really isn't worth it to most shop owners to carry a wide variety of rpg games on their shelves, unless they are in a very specific market and location that supports that.
My takeaway is it’s fine if they choose not to carry titles because it doesn’t work for them for whatever reason, but don’t then write an article complaining that those publishers seek out alternative or better ways to sell their games.
 

This is my buddy's new store. It's a cafe and game store.



View attachment 251056
That is exactly how I would design a gaming store! I love the menu, especially the drink names. It looks inviting, lots of light, areas to game, and even a variety of events. Plenty of merch to browse through and, hopefully, if I can't find what I'm looking for I will find something that interests me.

Well done to him! A long road to here, I'm sure.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
That is exactly how I would design a gaming store! I love the menu, especially the drink names. It looks inviting, lots of light, areas to game, and even a variety of events. Plenty of merch to browse through and, hopefully, if I can't find what I'm looking for I will find something that interests me.

Well done to him! A long road to here, I'm sure.
You have no idea. California and Los Angeles in particular are among the very worst places to start a business. He was jumping through hoops for more than a year in order to open up, and he's still jumping through more to get a liquor license so people can play and enjoy a glass of wine.
 

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