Sunday, September 1, 2013

Exclusive? Eh.



GTS Distribution sent out an email last week announcing that  they had secured the exclusive distribution to the first print run of Kittens in a Blender, now from Redshift Games (which ran a Kickstarter to get the game back into production waaaay back in the spring of 2012).  No indication as to when Kittens would re-release in the email.  It necessitated a trip to the GTS website to find we can expect it sometime next month.
Though I have heard good things about the company, I do very little business with GTS, maybe one order a year as I find that my three main distributors, plus some orders place directly with the manufacturer, suffice for the store’s needs.  I thought about upping my orders with GTS, just to have access to Kittens but have decided against it for the moment for the following reasons:
1.        It doesn’t dominate the category.  For all intents and purposes, WizKids and HeroClix form the collectable miniatures game category.  Since WOTC discontinued its D&D miniatures line, noting has challenged  WizKids in this segment of the market and, for better or worse, if you want to carry WizKids, you have to deal with Alliance. Same thing in the strategic board game category. Though it doesn’t dominate as it used to, Mayfair Games still outsells any other boardgame manufacturer I carry and Days of Wonder comes close.  If I want to say I carry strategic board games, I really need an account with Alliance.  Redshift Games, even with Kittens in a Blender, doesn’t come close to dominating a market segment.
2.       Customers aren’t asking for it.  Cards Against Humanity is a game that I view as an Amazon exclusive.  Despite the demand, the company chooses to sell solely through Amazon.   No problem with that, it is their game and their choice on how to sell it.  However, we had enough customers coming in asking for the game that we chose to buy it through Amazon, paying the full price, marking it up and reselling it to our customers.  Target has had a similar deal with Mayfair Games for the Star Trek Catan game for the past year.  Again, their choice.  In the last 6 months, I have only had one person ask for the Star Trek Catan game and they wanted to purchase it with their birthday discount.  If we had customers asking for ST:C, I would have started using Target as a supplier for it as well.  Would I have liked to stock it?  Certainly?  Am I bothered by the store’s inability to stock it?  A bit, but not enough to modify our channels of distribution to carry it.  That’s how I currently look at KIAB.  If I actively used my GTS account, sure I would stock it.  As it is, demand currently doesn’t justify it.