Since this is the season in which we traditionally give thanks, not that we shouldn’t do it the other 11 months out of the year, I wanted to note four things (aside from health, friends, chocolate, etc) that make me thankful:
1) Other Retailers, both local and distant. While ‘tis true that life would certainly have remained simpler not having 3 other game retailers open up within 15 miles of us within the past year, I have found them in the area has made me focus more on our product mix and determine what elements of our marketing strategy to emphasize and what to de-emphasize. Result, our revenues did take a hit over the past year but have now climbed back to the point that they equal sales prior to the other stores opening in the area. From retailers more distant, I can usually find at least one idea or product to integrate into the store’s marketing mix every month, often moreso. Visiting the websites and physical locations or reading the blog posts or online musings from stores like The Fantasy Shop, Gnome Games or Black Diamond Games, among others, proves a useful 15-30 minutes of every week.
3) The Bits ‘n Mortar program. Bits ‘n Mortar doesn’t get nearly enough publicity as it ought but this consortium of small RPG publishers still has their program in place, allowing registered brick and mortar retailers to give a PDF of their products to customers when said customer purchases a hard copy of the RPG. We have customers who purchase Crucible 7 and Arc Dream RPG products specifically from us on a regular basis specifically because we participate in this program.
4) Munchkin (and Steve Jackson Games). The base Munchkin game still sells reliably week in and week out over a decade after it first released. Unlike some other game lines (cough-X-wing Miniatures, DiceMasters-cough), Steve Jackson Games manages to keep the almost the entire line in stock through distribution and, although they have run special sets through Target and Barnes and Noble, I have not seen them participate in any deep discounting or “Buy One, Get One Free” silliness such as appeared on the Target website last week.