- Posted by Johanna on October 26, 2006 at 9:12 pm
- Category: Meta
I don’t know anything about Collectible Card Games, so I’m just kibitzing here to cause trouble, because it reminds me of other times spoiled retailers have complained about exclusives. But let me see if I can work this out.
A company creates a trading card game called Bella Sara involving horses aimed at girls 5-12. Because of that target market, they’re only selling it through big-name mass-market stores like Blockbuster, K-Mart, Toys ‘R’ Us, Wal-Mart, and supermarkets.
Even though I apparently missed out on the “oooh, horsie!” gene that so many other little girls have, this seems a genius idea for something to collect pictures of, with different qualities and abilities. There’s also an online component with unique card codes.
The CEO of the game company released an open letter explaining their retail decision, based on these factors:
* They cater to young girls and mothers.
* They are part of a chain of stores with outlets in several cities so that we can produce mass-market television and radio advertisements that direct customers to those stores.
* They are networked through an electronic data-management system that gives us prompt data on sell-through volumes by location.
This makes perfect sense to me. Go where the audience is, where you can mazimize your advertising dollar, and where you can get rapid sales feedback. He even expands the offer, if other stores meet similar criteria:
If you are a hobby-games retailer and you pride yourself on having a store that’s welcoming to young girls and mothers, and if you’re willing to give us weekly sell-through data, please contact us! We would be happy to sell to you directly through 2006, during our launch period.
Of course, this doesn’t stop some stores from whining:
It continually amazes me when hobby game manufacturers complain openly about not getting more women and girls into hobby gaming but then release everything that may remotely be interesting to the target pre-teen female customer exclusively to mass market. When will they wake up and realize that these consumers are more shopping savvy than most of the core gaming market and will travel to where the things they want most are sold? Give us the opportunity to sell your products and let us decide if we want to carry them.
This guy apparently thinks that all he needs for a female-friendly store is someone to shove product at him, and the audience will go out of their way to seek him out. It doesn’t work that way, I’m afraid. If he wants more women and girls in his store, it’s up to him to make sure that he’s truly got a welcoming store.
So many people think “oh, sure, females will be fine in my store” without realizing the message they may be subtly sending through decor or staff attitudes or product selection. If this guy is as self-centered in his store as he appears here, then maybe he’s not getting as many female customers because he’s unable to put himself in another’s position or mindset?
That line about “more shopping savvy” is a back-handed compliment. Why should women have to travel to find what they want? Why shouldn’t they have it easy for them, with product in locations they’re already visiting?
Most importantly, why isn’t this guy willing to do the extra work to qualify to buy direct if it’s so important to him to carry the product?