Gary Ray of Black Diamond Games in Concord, CA is convinced that shopping early is the key to success when it comes to buying board games during the holiday season. He makes the case for his strategy, providing a rare glimpse into the retail and distribution side of the gaming industry.
“If you’re a consumer, or a store owner for that matter, you should shop early too, and I’ll tell you why.”
So why the rush? Gary points out a myriad of variables and complications that impacted 2014 season specifically, but are likely to be just as relevant for years to come.
Port Delays – While there’s always variability in the long ship ride from China, delays at West Coast ports had a big impact on product availability.
Poor Forecasting – Figuring out how much a game might sell is a guessing game at all levels of the supply chain, but is particularly difficult for publishers.
“Game publishers have been just, absolutely, terrible this year in forecasting demand. I don’t know what black magic they use for forecasting, but their mojo has eluded them in 2014.”
Increased Demand – The board game hobby is growing, but it may be outpacing the production and delivery infrastructures, making it harder to weather delays and accurately forecast.
Online Won’t Help – Although consumers count on online retailers to have stock when they need it, they’re subject to the same availability issues as traditional retailers.
“Our brick and mortar store has been the ‘last man standing’ on many products this year, according to people who only buy online who don’t mind mentioning we were their last resort.”
Gary suggests being proactive and pre-ordering through your friendly local game store (FLGS) whenever possible. Check out the rest of Gary’s blog post for more information, and make sure to read the comments section for some additional interesting tidbits.