Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Angry retailer tells me how he feels about Kickstarter, Paizo, Free RPG Day and his customers…

The biggest issue that I have run into with doing a Kickstarters is retailers. Many retailers seem to have a open hostility of the concept of Kickstarter and specifically what it means for their customer base and their potential retailing future.  Here is an email that I received from a retailer on sending him an email informing him about our Free RPG Day 2013 NeoExodus Adventure for Pathfinder Kickstarter and how they can become involved in this kickstarter. I have redacted some items to protect the identity of the retailer and their location:

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Kickstarter/Pathfinder/Paizo/In-store RPG players/Free RPG Day

None of these things generate any direct revenue at all, and effectively skip retailers like us. Printed RPG's are dead here in [REDACTED]. Digital downloads killed it. We accept that as retailers, and we have moved on.

It is an old story. RPG players take up a ton of space, make a huge mess. They sneak in bags of groceries, 2 liter bottles of soda and destroy our bathrooms. Any retailer will tell you that happens/will happen, or they have to constantly police that crowd with rules. They don't spend money anymore in our stores. As a group, they are gamer hobo's.

The smart retailer will be pushing Warmachine/Hordes, Magic, Yugioh, Cardfight, and Super Dungeon Explore. These publishers want us to sell there stuff with a good margin and don't compete with us.

RPG's used to be my #2 line, and now I am loathe to carrying. I play RPG's and so does my son and brother. From a player's perspective, it has never been better. Beautiful art, awesome content. From a retail side, it is over.

Pathfinder minis WERE going to be fantastic, until Paizo started selling them direct to players. That's like Wizards selling Magic singles on their own eCommerce website. Do you think that would fly?

From a business perspective, I think Paizo is brilliant. Skip the distributor, skip the retailer. What a huge margin. How about Fantasy Flight selling direct to Amazon this past holiday season? Like selling Netrunner at my cost with free shipping, gads. Paizo is no different.


Warhammer 40k can be purchased online from Paizo with a discount. Still trying to tell me you are not competing with me, and we should be pals?

Does Paizo want to have their own retail stores too like Games Workshop, and offer us a 35% discount on an over-priced line? "These are really neat things we are coming out with, get them direct from us, and wave them in front of everyone at your local hobby shop."

You want me to support Kickstarter? Come on, that is just silly. "Hey gamers! Go to Kickstarter, give us your limited amount of money, and spend nothing at your local hobby shop when it comes out. They won't mind if you play it in their game store and grow their brand, instead of what they are trying to sell you." I do mind, quite a bit.

Paizo is not on our side at all, and Free RPG day does not make money directly or in-directly to cover any of the lost money making opportunities of hosting it. Please take me off of your email list.

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Once again, I find this WHOLE situation silly. Our kickstarter specifically focuses on getting players into his store to get people excited about playing games, which in turn get the retailer excited about selling products.  I have heard so many retailers complain that 3PP for Pathfinder does not sell in their store because there is no interest. I handle that by giving free product on Free RPG Day and offering them a retail starter kit and a VERY reasonable price (only $25) so if the people who like the Free RPG Day offering they can sell them product AT THAT MOMENT. I am offering you the free product to get them interested AND the actual product line that will generate money for your store, and STILL you don’t think you can support this Kickstarter? Really?

I was looking at Fred Hicks Fate Kickstarter and I noticed that only 43 retail store had signed up for his kickstarter. We currently have 11 retail stores.  Good products with good support with good margins and still some retailer cannot be bothered because, using this retailer’s words, “As a group, they are gamer hobo's.”  When you think about your customers as hobos, what must they think about you? Better yet, I have the feeling they have said a lot about you by purchasing this products in other locations than yours.

There is no longer a “hostage economy” in the world. You are now competing with everyone in the work who sells what you sell. What are you going to do to make your store unique and different to stand out? Here is an opportunity to do just that thing with and investment on only $25. To bad that retailer didn't see it for what it was.  Talk to you later…