Hi gang, Bryan the owner here. As you can tell from the title of this article, there are changes to our preorder policies coming. The short answer is we are going to be reducing our preorder discount, which is never good news to convey. But before I get to the details, let me put on my transparency hat and provide some exposition.
First, let me interject that I’m Board is in excellent financial shape. Our sales have increased every year since we opened, and we are forecasting another increase in sales for 2017. We successfully took on additional expenses by moving to a larger location almost three years ago, and have been able to increase our product selection in several areas. We’re doing great, and the future is bright.
However, the logistics of the game industry have changed quite a bit since I opened the store about 6 years ago. For the most part, many of those changes have not been directly seen by consumers. The costs of raw materials have increased. Transportation costs have risen. Shipping companies such as UPS have recently changed the way they charge manufacturers and distributors, where both weight and bulk of a package are factored in to their delivery costs. At the same time those price increases have largely not impacted the price consumers pay for an item. With a few exceptions, the price of pack of Magic cards or a copy of an evergreen board game like Ticket to Ride has remained unchanged. So how are those costs recuperated?
- Occasionally, you do see an increase in the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) of a game. For example, Memoir ’44 (which contains a lot of plastic) went up in price by 20% about two years ago, and the Catan games went through a complete repackaging that also included higher MSRPs across the entire line.
- Sometimes, you see changes in the packaging which help reduce manufacturing costs. For example, you may have noticed that Fantasy Flight LCG core sets are packaged in smaller boxes and expansions are now packed in plastic clamshells instead of paper cartons (generally, plastic is less expensive than paper).
- But increasingly over the past five years, those costs have simply been passed directly to the retailers and distributors, without a change to the retail price. In fact, the majority of our most popular game manufacturers have increased their wholesale prices but left the MSRP alone. So, while the price you pay for a pack of Magic or a copy of Ticket to Ride has not changed over the years, the price I’m Board pays to purchase those items has increased. That means the small margin we make on each item becomes even smaller.
- And sometimes, it’s “all of the above.”
Coupled with these increased costs is our preorder discount, which has been at 20% off since we opened. Encouraging and incentivizing customers to preorder is an expense that I believe pays for itself in improved inventory management – one of the most vital aspects of retail sales. It helps us weigh relative popularity of upcoming products, which in turn helps us order appropriate quantities, and helps prevent us from over-ordering (which is a real profit killer). The hard truth is that, with our 20% discount, the remaining margin from these transactions is now too small to overcome the benefits. In effect, while we are not losing money on preordered items, we’re not really making any, either. And as much as I’d love to be the candy seller at the beginning of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, it’s no secret that I do need to make a bit of profit from the items we sell.
So, let’s get on to the changes. Effective June 1, 2017:
- Preordered games will be sold with a 10% discount.
- Subscriptions (our system of ongoing preorders) will be affected by this change.
- All preorders and subscriptions that release before June 1 will still be honored at 20% off.
- Existing preorders and subscriptions that arrive on or after June 1 will be affected by this change.
- Preorders of full displays of collectible game products will remain at their everyday 20% off.
Other discounting changes (and non-changes) effective June 1, 2017:
- Due to new pricing policies imposed by Games Workshop, our everyday GW discount will be 10% off. (See addendum below).
- Our non-stock discount will follow-suit to 10% off.
- Our birthday, report card, educator, and military discounts remain unchanged.
- Our everyday discount of 20% off for full displays of collectible games (MtG, Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, Destiny) remains unchanged.
Addendum dated May 31, 2017, effective June 1, 2017:
- Citadel-brand paints and modeling supplies will be sold at regular retail price.
- All miniatures gaming products displayed on the “black wall” in the rear of the sales floor will be sold at 10% off.
While I anticipate these changes will not significantly impact our overall preorders, I understand that, for some of you, this news may affect your decision to preorder items through I’m Board. We all know there are alternative sources for the products we sell, and I am confident we have proven ourselves to provide excellent value in several areas. Regardless, should you decide to alter any of your existing preorders through us, we certainly will not take it personally. Just give us a call at 608-831-6631 and a staffer will be happy to help.
Thank you all, again, for your patronage and dedication to I’m Board. I hope I’ve been able to provide an adequate reasoning for these changes. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bryan Winter, Owner