Monday, August 24, 2009

A Little Somethin' Somethin'

We started selling card singles this month. I hired an employee for the task, but it didn't take long before we had a simple and profitable strategy of buying cards that all employees could follow. The key to singles, like all product, is in the buying. They're selling very well so far, as customers learn we have them (after swearing we never would again). They've made up around 1% of our stratospheric CCG sales this month. Before you scoff, 1% of our CCG sales is like all the classic game sales or all the dice we sold in August. What store wouldn't want that?

Singles are another draw to the store, something that makes us (or any store) unique from its competitors. It differentiates us. Used role-playing books also played that role this month, with huge sales of mostly older, collectible versions of Dungeons & Dragons (non D&D sales are in the tank). Again, like CCG singles, used books aren't a giant money maker, but they make up another slice of our diversified pie and draw people from afar.

Other stuff that fits this category? Games Workshop has been reducing their SKU count in stores, trying to push items to direct order. I've been bringing some of this stuff back in, direct ordering a variety of items that sell as well, or better, than high turn 40K items. Meltaguns and Plasma guns, Imperial Guard Kasrkins, the new IG advisers, old school Tallarns and Valhallans, and even the various upgrade sprue packs as they come out. GW has decided to drop a lot of bits, but the stuff they've decided to continue selling direct, often sells just fine for us in the store.

They key, however, is having critical mass in whatever category you're trying to support in this way. We honestly couldn't spend another dollar on role-playing games. We have everything people will buy from us, so we can go used, or, like the order I placed this evening, indie. We carry every 40K item, but we can differentiate our store from a GW store with direct only items. I probably shouldn't take so many chances on miniatures, based on flagging sales, but I'm a sucker for a good sculpt, and I could rationalize that we've got a crowd of specialty miniatures customers that tend to be a lot of other product while perusing our lead.

What would I buy if I had a larger purchasing budget? Honestly, nothing. I would rather use it to upgrade more store terrain, replace one of our creaky terrain tables, buy a new display cabinet, or best of all, pay off debt.