Saturday, February 22, 2014

Flooping the Pig



The Adventure Time Card Game hit the shelves nationwide on Friday and, at least at our stock, sold out by mid-afternoon. We received our full order but I heard tales of stores getting allocated significantly. We did not order too heavily on it because, as is typical unfortunately, none of our customers asked about the game until the Tuesday before release.  After the first flurry of interest, sales in the Adventure Time comic had dropped to almost zero and, while the Adventure Time trade paperbacks sold, they didn’t turn at Walking Dead levels, but closer to that of Empowered, decent sales but nothing out of the ordinary.  Ergo, our pre-orders reflected the comparative lack of interest our customer base had shown in all things Adventure Time.  I figured six of each deck would last us for quite some time.  Boy, was I wrong.

So, we sent our order off to alliance and posted on Facebook and Twitter that the decks had released and would hit the shelves Friday.  Wham.  Within 2 hours we had a dozen posts asking about it and half a dozen or more calls.  On Friday, as mentioned above, our entire stock had sold out by mid-afternoon with one customer driving over an hour to pick up a copy. Happily for him, he called in advance and we set one back for him. Those who did not wound up out of luck until our restock comes in.

Imagine how we could have sold this given better communication and tools.  Maybe we received  emails mentioning it but none by themselves to make the product stand out.  Why not a promotional poster sent out weeks ahead of the release date?  Maybe a sign-up sheet sent as a PDF? Though I am not a huge fan of Games Workshop’s promotional strategies, they do send out sign up forms for what they consider major new releases. As long as I am dreaming, how about a demo copy of the game sent out a week or two or even three before the release to gauge interest? Having this sort of information helps drive pre-orders.  Pre-orders help the store, help the distributor, help the publisher, heck, they even help the customer by giving us an indication of how much interest there is in the product.  More interest means more pre-orders which means must less likelihood of an out of stock which means the customer is more likely to find the game on the store shelf.

Last year, Cryptozoic discussed some really impressive plans they had for promoting their product lines, with launch events for new releases and game days to continue to generate interest in their catalog titles, something Fantasy Flight Games already does to great effect for their LCG lines.  However, aside from making demo copies of their games available through Alliance Distribution at reduced cost and a long delayed game day promotion for the DC Heroes Deck Building Game, the cards for which just showed up a week or so ago, we haven’t seen anything in store. 
Cryptozoic has some great licenses, and some great games using those licenses.  Here’s hoping they get the promotional campaigns up and running to match those licenses as I really want to floop the pig with their games for a long time to come.