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Subject: How much more for your local store? rss

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Heather Walters

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Personally I like to support local stores, but I also love deals.

I don't like it when I go into a little speciality store and see that they could have bought the item online from the same store I can, and still make 50% on it...

The game stores around here tend to all charge MSRP it seems, which is fine, I am willing to spend something for their trouble, space, and expertise. But still... $45 (plus $8) or $70...

For me if I can get a game localy for $5 or more after factoring in shipping costs I will do it. That means (so far in my short game carrier) I am buying bigger games (like Agricola and Caylus) online and smaller games (like Lost Cities, Carcassone, and expansions) at my local game store.

What about you?
 
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Green Knight Games
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Geeky_Farmer wrote:
I don't like it when I go into a little speciality store and see that they could have bought the item online from the same store I can, and still make 50% on it...

You're confusing markup with profit. Haven't you heard of overheads?
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Ville Vuorinen
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As a poor student I buy games with the lowest price I could get. That leads me to the situation where I order most of the games abroad - mostly from England and Germany. In Finland games can be very expensive so I must wait for discounts if I wanted to buy them from Finland.

I have bought only one game from my local store but that's because I live in small village (pop. 60 000) and here's only one decent shop.
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Will
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sbilbey wrote:
Geeky_Farmer wrote:
I don't like it when I go into a little speciality store and see that they could have bought the item online from the same store I can, and still make 50% on it...

You're confusing markup with profit. Haven't you heard of overheads?


Exactly. The game store is actually making probably the same or less profit than online stores.

An online store makes thier profit in quantity/scale. They make much smaller amounts of money per order, but they sell more per week. Some online stores are probably even run out of someone's home. For instance, online stores that discount to 35% they are likely making something around 10% over the cost of the game, and still have to pay whatever overhead they have (distributers give something around a 45% discount to retail/online locations, but it can vary a bit with quantity ordered per month). Also, they have a much larger potential customer base, people all over the country can order from them, compared to just part of a city being the potential customer base of a game store.



Whereas a local game store has to pay lease/rent, pay employees (and not just wages, in general it costs a business almost twice the actual salary to employ someone), pay to heat/cool the building, probably pay much more in fees to the county/city/state to run a publically accessible business in a place zoned for that, etc. They tend to sell far fewer games than most online places. I mean how many people in a city play board games compared to things like video games? The only thing that keeps many FLGs alive is things like CCGs. And even so, its very hard to run one at a profit.

So, to the end consumer, they may be paying much more, but its probably the same profit to the owner or even less profit than online places.

Note: I recognize all this and I still usually buy online, for me personally, I don't see enough benifit from my particular FLGS places in my area to pay that much extra, in fact I think the main FLGS in this area closed down, I don't think they ever hosted games or had things like that.

All of this means its critically important for FLGS places to attract and keep customers with other means than price discounts. For instance, hosting game nights, if they sell minis they can do painting classes, they can run contests, if they do CCGs they can do officially sponsered tournaments with prizes, they can do good customer service with personalized reccomendations, etc etc. If I had an FLGS like that, I'd be much more likely to support them with more of my business.
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Heather Walters

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sbilbey wrote:
Geeky_Farmer wrote:
I don't like it when I go into a little speciality store and see that they could have bought the item online from the same store I can, and still make 50% on it...

You're confusing markup with profit. Haven't you heard of overheads?


Oh, yes... And my local store is great! But when I look at a $70 game I know I can get delivered to my door for $20 less, it is hard for me to not buy it online...:shake:

I don't really talke advantage of what they offer. I don't hang out there, play there, use their sample games, or go to game night. Maybe if I did I would be more likely to spend the extra $20.

Probably hippocritical of me, as I sell produce at farmers markets and my hubby and I always remind ourselves the goal is NOT to be cheaper than the grocrey store.



 
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Jeff Michaud
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needless to say this is an age old debate on BGG with tons o threads on the subject but most of them buried of course (it used to show up under "General Gaming", this forum didn't exist then).... however no need to look, I used to tag them for a while (these days I don't follow general gaming forum mainly at all)... see those tagged threads at....

http://boardgamegeek.com/tag/buyingonline-vs-flgs

ps: I'm not saying to not continue this discussion, please do, strickly for reference... this thread won't get too burried either as I tagged it with the same tag, for reference as the debate really hasn't changed, and since it's not a matter of reason, no one that I know of has changed their view point
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Tim Seitz
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My FLGS, where we game once a month, does online auctions on eBay, and also does ding & dent copies at 50% off, so it's a pretty good trade. Instant gratification is worth a little extra.
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Ian Thatcher

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MY FLGS is coolstuff so for the most part i'm goint to always try and by my games from them. There are very few deals that occur that beat there prices where i don't have to pay for shipping.

I will note that i ordered from funagain during their spring cleaning clearance sale and i've ordered a couple of games off tanga. As a college student i have to go for the deals but given only a dollar or two more in price i'm sticking with coolstuff (plus i get the immediate satisfaction of having it in my hands)

I guess i get the best of both worlds I'm pretty sure there are a few closer shops to my location but that's usually where i end up playing my board games as well so it's become my shop.

So not sure about other online retailers (if they have area for their customers to play) but if you want to support my FLGS then shop at coolstuff
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Eric Carter
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My game buying has slowed significantly, therefore I'm a little more willing to pay full MSRP for a game, but just a little more likely.

--Eric
 
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Michael Garton
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My FLGS has a membership (15.00 a year) for 10% off in store purchases, yes everything starts at MSRP.

If he doesn't have it in stock, he will order it and sell to you at 15% off, no shipping cost, got to wait a few days as he adds it to his regular order.

He does a pretty good job of keeping me apprised of what's coming in, and he makes recommendations he thinks I'll like.

I don't play at his store much anymore, used to be in a weekly Bloodbowl league and played other games once or twice a month.

I know I can beat his pricing, but i can't beat the personal attention. Plus he gives store credit and I dump alot of T-store finds with him that I don't want to ebay.
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Barak Engel
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I am generally willing to pay a 25% markup over online pricing for the "shopping experience" of picking stuff up at a store (say $50 instead of $40). Note that this must include sales tax, which I currently do not pay for online purchases, and it is not offset by shipping because I generally buy enough to qualify for free shipping.

Since currently most online stores offer a 35% DISCOUNT on average - which translates to a "50% markup" on the other side - that means that B&M store prices are usually too high for my tastes.

Of course, this is a completely private price elasticity factor; others will be more or less sensitive to price as part of their decision making.
 
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Everett Warren
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Geeky_Farmer wrote:
What about you?


The store that I still consider my FLGS is still friendly and still a game store, but it's been more than a dozen years since I moved 330 miles away from it, so it's a little less than local.

I still supported them as long as I could, and spent some money whenever I'd go back to visit my parents, but cancer got my dad and my mom moved a couple hours north to be in the same town as my brother, so it's been about two or three years since I visited them.

There are a couple of shops near here ~ where "near" means an hour drive (or more) ~ but I don't tend to get down that way all that often.

I can't get pizza or Chinese food delivered here, but I haven't had an online store fail me yet.
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J.L. Robert
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Will, you have a great description of the differences between the two store models.

It's a shame that many people simply don't give a damn about any of it and are only concerned about their bottom line.

I split my money between online vendors (for OOP or very large purchases) and FOUR different LGS' (for smaller purchases or impulse buys). I don't buy very frequently, but I do pitch in when I can, and I do try to promote each of the stores.
 
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tim
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J.L.Robert wrote:
Will, you have a great description of the differences between the two store models.

It's a shame that many people simply don't give a damn about any of it and are only concerned about their bottom line.

I split my money between online vendors (for OOP or very large purchases) and FOUR different LGS' (for smaller purchases or impulse buys). I don't buy very frequently, but I do pitch in when I can, and I do try to promote each of the stores.
As you also appear to be concerned about your bottom line? Why is it you take your large purchases online? Why not spread the wealth out and prop up those local game stores?

If a store has a poor business model then it isn't going to survive, end of story.
 
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Will
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eightbit wrote:
J.L.Robert wrote:
Will, you have a great description of the differences between the two store models.

It's a shame that many people simply don't give a damn about any of it and are only concerned about their bottom line.

I split my money between online vendors (for OOP or very large purchases) and FOUR different LGS' (for smaller purchases or impulse buys). I don't buy very frequently, but I do pitch in when I can, and I do try to promote each of the stores.
As you also appear to be concerned about your bottom line? Why is it you take your large purchases online? Why not spread the wealth out and prop up those local game stores?

If a store has a poor business model then it isn't going to survive, end of story.

He said very large, and he talks about spreading his "wealth" to 4 FLGS.

Which poor business model are you referring to? The FLGS one of trying to survive with high overhead and having to charge more compared to online? Or the online one of having high discounts to attract more customers...

Anyway, I'm not sure what you are saying? Maybe I'm just dense.
 
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tim
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Yargo wrote:
eightbit wrote:
If a store has a poor business model then it isn't going to survive, end of story.

Which poor business model are you referring to? The FLGS one of trying to survive with high overhead and having to charge more compared to online? Or the online one of having high discounts to attract more customers...

The online model appears to be working for many sellers. Boards and bits added a warehouse in Ohio, they must be doing well. Boards and bits and many others have vastly expanded what they stock. More online stores than ever are stocking imports. My local store couldn't get me an import if I wanted them to.

I'm saying that the FLGS business model is a poor one. It can't compete with the online pricing and selection. All they can offer is value add like game space, demos, and advice. Those things are great but few games stores I have been in are really interested in that. Most of them make their money on comics, minis, and ccg's.

People like to argue that the loss of the FLGS means the end of gaming. I think online sales have done more to promote this hobby in the last 5 years than the brick and mortar stores have done in that same time frame.
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Tim Seitz
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eightbit wrote:
People like to argue that the loss of the FLGS means the end of gaming. I think online sales have done more to promote this hobby in the last 5 years than the brick and mortar stores have done in that same time frame.

I think you might have a point.

I wonder how much internet information about particular games (e.g., BGG) has affected that growth.
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tim
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out4blood wrote:

I wonder how much internet information about particular games (e.g., BGG) has affected that growth.

I have not yet met a game store clerk that could provide the level of information I can get here within an hour of posting a question. Not to mention the vast amount of stuff I can find already posted.
 
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J.L. Robert
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eightbit wrote:
J.L.Robert wrote:
Will, you have a great description of the differences between the two store models.

It's a shame that many people simply don't give a damn about any of it and are only concerned about their bottom line.

I split my money between online vendors (for OOP or very large purchases) and FOUR different LGS' (for smaller purchases or impulse buys). I don't buy very frequently, but I do pitch in when I can, and I do try to promote each of the stores.
As you also appear to be concerned about your bottom line? Why is it you take your large purchases online? Why not spread the wealth out and prop up those local game stores?

If a store has a poor business model then it isn't going to survive, end of story.


Well, Tim, if you need to ask...sometimes I will buy a larger quantity than the stores out here are willing to carry. And only one of the 4 carry any sort of OOP or used games, and, frankly, their selection isn't that hot.

I offer my support to all 4 stores. But why should I be personally responsible to propping up all 4 of them? On a civil servant's wages? I do my part; it's presumptuous to think I should do more.

Who said a local store is a poor business model? All 4 of my FLGS' seem to be holding their own in this economy. They're not rolling in the dough, but who really is out here in California?
 
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J.L. Robert
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eightbit wrote:
out4blood wrote:

I wonder how much internet information about particular games (e.g., BGG) has affected that growth.

I have not yet met a game store clerk that could provide the level of information I can get here within an hour of posting a question. Not to mention the vast amount of stuff I can find already posted.


Well, let's see...a store with MAYBE 4 employees who are expected to know a little bit about everything. Or a website with THOUSANDS of regular viewers, including people who SPECIALIZE in specific games.

Seems to be an unfair comparison. I don't expect you to know everything relating to your particular profession, either.

Some people PREFER to have a direct, personal shopping experience, and are willing to pay a premium for that relationship. You clearly are not one of them. That's neither right nor wrong, it's just a different way of doing things.
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J.L. Robert
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eightbit wrote:

People like to argue that the loss of the FLGS means the end of gaming. I think online sales have done more to promote this hobby in the last 5 years than the brick and mortar stores have done in that same time frame.


I think online shops have certainly put more games in the hands of gamers. But that does not mean that physical stores no longer serve a purpose.
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tim
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J.L. Robert you argue that people should support local stores yet you admit that you buy online for the same reasons many of us do.

I do buy games locally. I visit games stores every chance I get and I rarely leave a store without a game.

The reason I do most of my purchases online is selection as much as price. I own more games than most of the stores I've been in. I will not have them order me games. That makes no sense to me.

I think the FLGS model is broken. They need to do something to justify the extra cost. Most of them aren't willing/able to do that and that will be the reason they do not survive. Some are, I wish there was one like that near me.

One of the reasons often given for buying local is to have someone to talk to. My experience in talking with store clerks on the whole has been disappointing. Why do you defend their lack of knowledge? Would you go into a golf store and be ok with the guy you were talking to not knowing anything about current trends or products in golf?

I drove an hour each way 2 weeks ago to visit a game store when I was staying over night on a work trip. It was a typical hobby store with stuff scattered everywhere including dusty stock stacked in the aisles. There is no excuse for that. The clerk was playing a game on a laptop. I spent 30 minutes looking through the games haphazardly thrown on a shelf trying to find something to buy to justify the 2 hour drive. I left with nothing.
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Tim Seitz
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This is a function of long-tail economics. FLGS can not afford to stock the potential range of games educated gamers will be looking for.

It's much more cost-effective for them to stock the mass-market and popular games, ones most BGG gamers already own, and to stock items that are efficient to sell locally, such as Magic boosters. The rest of the tail doesn't have enough volume at the individual unit level. Collectively, it's much more efficient for us to shop for those things online.

It's the efficiencies of online shopping that have created the explosion of widely available games in today's market. When I was growing up, you could only buy what was available in the store, or maybe do a mail order from AH.

Middle-tier game designers should be rejoicing over the rise of online game stores. Previously, it would have been difficult for a game to breakthrough to cautious distributors, making publishing much more risky. Now, you can print a game and sell to a global market.
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J.L. Robert
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Tim, you must seem to be continually missing the fact that I buy OOP games.

I know my tates run with older games, particularly wargames. Over the past 2-3 years, I've bought probably 2-3 times as many older, collectible games as I have new and in-print ones. None of my LGS's will provide that kind of stock for me. Where else am I going to go? For OOP stuff, I have no choice BUT to buy online. I know I'm different than most with regards to online shopping, but that doesn't mean I snub my nose towards my local retailers, and it also doesn't mean I'm going to buy frivolously just to infuse them with money.

As for expecting my stores' staffs to know everything...I don't expect anyone to know product they do not carry, so I don't expect any of them to be too knowledgeable about AH and SPI games.

Also, I wouldn't want to tie up their time just chatting it up with them.clerk was too busy shooting the shit with a buddy of his. I wouldn't want to have someone else experience that kind of frustration, so I leave the buddy chat with those clerks I know for when (s)he is off-shift.

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