Looney Labs Rabbits Mailing list Archive

RE: [Rabbits] no more hobby store.... I am sad

  • FromDavid Artman <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateMon, 06 Aug 2007 11:38:01 -0700
> I think the Friendly Local Game Store is nearly a thing of the past.  (What
> someone needs to do is build a chain that can offer Internet pricing in

First, there are stores doing this in my area and it seems to work out
great for them.
Sci Fi Genre was once Internet-only, but they found a warehouse space
with frontage (in a small strip mall) and did a little remodeling and
are able to be both brick-and-mortar and Internet-driven. 

Second, I think the key, going forward, for the FLGS is value-add:
* Knowledgeable service - Fire the snobs who think there's one true way
or who push their favorite games to the detriment of other games.
Instead, you want folks who know most/all of your products and can help
guide a customer to what best serves the customer's expressed desires.
(It should go without saying that service reps shouldn't ignore
customers to play games.)

* Community - More than just a few tables in back, supporting the local
game community means promoting events, posting a schedule of events,
having playtest copies of your games, getting to know your customers
personally. Go to EVERY local convention and demo your latest, greatest
products. Donate to local schools or youth centers (being sure to put
your store name on donations!). Host tournaments and secure product
support for them.

* Opportunity sales - If you have a gaming space, you BETTER have snacks
and drinks (better still if you also can offer alcohol or tobacco).
Consider stocking a few "key" office supplies like sheet protectors and
dry-erase pens, pencils and lead, lined and unlined plain paper, Zip-loc
storage bags, etc. Look at your game stock and your players and figure
out what sort of things someone might forget to bring but end up
needing, or what folks might need immediately after buying a new
game/product that they're going to go to Wal-Mart to get because you
don't stock it.

* Synergies - As much as possible, offer a broad product range for a
given intellectual property. If there's a DVD and video game for Product
FOO, stock it as well. If there's T-shirts and hats for I.P. BAR, stock
them. Try to be more of a one-stop shop than a specialty shop.

* Comfort - Good AC, warm ambient light, padded chairs, attractive
space, reconfigurable tables, pleasant but not distracting music,
sparkling clean. I have never been in a FLGS that has all of those
elements (but Sci Fi Genre is CLOSE--need some nicer chairs and a bit
better air flow and non-florescent lights).

Third, one of the issues FLGSs face versus the Internet is bulk pricing,
particularly with regard to collectible games. Someone who's into
HeroClix or Pirates is, generally, going to want to buy boxes of new
releases, not individual boosters. Allow them to do so, and be willing
to share some (or nearly all) of your volume discount.

In closing, the FLGS can survive the Internet so long as it works with
the Internet while still providing a strong reason to leave the house to
buy. The FLGS needs to become an attractive destination that encourages
folks to stay for hours, not merely a (inconvenient) marketplace.

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