Can someone please explain to me how toy distribution works?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Alucard77, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. Alucard77

    Alucard77 Kaon Gladiator Champion

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    I have been thinking this for a while. I would love someone in the know to explain this.

    I spoke to a TRU manager a couple of months back and she was saying that some stores are "test stores" for toys. The only trends I am sort of able to identify are:

    - West Coast seems to get stuff first. I am assuming that this is because the factories are closer to the West Coast.
    - There are test stores for TRU at least. It would be great to get a list of what those test stores are. Or I wonder if the "test" stores are constantly changed.

    Hunting in Brick and Mortar shops has become impossible so I figure some extra knowledge won't hurt.
     
  2. Arkitect76

    Arkitect76 Fanaticon

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    WUT? lol yeah I wanna know this cuz its crazy....one day theres nothing then all of a sudden....theres STILL nothing...
     
  3. mx-01 archon

    mx-01 archon Well-Known Member

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    The factories are in China (or at least, were. I think recently production was relocated to Vietnam).

    It might seem like the West Coast gets things a bit more quickly because shipping to/from Asia is handled often through the West Coast ports. There might be something more complicated than that, though. Canadian sightings tend to originate in the East (but not always. MP Rodimus showed up in BC first).
     
  4. Alucard77

    Alucard77 Kaon Gladiator Champion

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    Yeah, the MP stuff seems to originate in the east first. Deluxes in the west. I am trying to see if there is any pattern to the madness. That is why I would love for some TRU/Target employees to chime in if they knew.
     
  5. Dragonclaw

    Dragonclaw Comic Ink - Dublin, CA

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    Here's how it works for most, if not all, big retailers.

    Indivudual stores have all their orderring automated. Each item / assortment has a "trigger number". This is an algorithm based on how fast the item sells in an 8 week average, once the stock levels drop below that trigger in the store an order is generated for a case to be added to an upcoming truck. The trigger number also diminishes as "peg warmers" sit for even longer...the numbers and the guys at the corporate offices don't know / care that there are 20+ Tuner Mudflaps...they only see that the store has more than 20 TF deluxe figures and haven't sold any in weeks...may be time to cut the future orders down next time with Hasbro...

    There are central distribution hubs, giant warehouses full of product...with their own "trigger number". When they hit the trigger it generates an order for several pallets of the item they need...which is why stores in the same area will get stuck on a single wave for so long, The pallets they get are usually all the same wave.
     
  6. Steevy Maximus

    Steevy Maximus Movie Megs eats your soul

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    Here's the gist of it:

    Hasbro has factories in Asia (China, and more frequently now Vietnam) make the toys.

    Those toys are shipped across the Pacific in large container ships (they CAN airship, which they did in 2007 to get more Transformers product to market, but don't due to costs). This can take several weeks.

    Those toys are unloaded at ports along the west coast. From there, Hasbro sends the product to the various retail distribution centers who then ship those toys to the individual stores.
    As far as Hasbro is concerned, once they deliver the toys to the stores, their involvement in distribution is over. It is now up to the retailers to get product out there.
     
  7. Incepticon

    Incepticon Double Agent

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    Whereas in Canada 95% of all new releases are first spotted somewhere out east. It's very rare that BC or Alberta get first sightings. My best guess is that it has something to do with Canada requiring the figures to be shipped up from Hasbro's USA headquarters to their main east coast based Canadian headquarters so that they can adhere to our outdated & retarded "law" of requiring French inclusive packaging - something that they apparently print on-site here as opposed to having it done overseas.
     
  8. Orodruin

    Orodruin @deathformer TFW2005 Supporter

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    As for test stores, sometimes a new line gets a small market release to see how it does. Energon's Built to Rule line was like this. It was released in one metro area (I want to say in Ohio but I'm not sure) and no where else. Since it bombed horribly, they didn't do a full nation-wide release of the line. I don't know of anything TF related since then that had a test market like that though.
     
  9. Jadis

    Jadis Well-Known Member

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    What about toys that just don't sell? What happens to them? Do they get thrown away, shipped to discount stores, put back in the storage in the back of the store?

    Do the toys have a "display until" date? If so, what happens after that date?
     
  10. Dragonclaw

    Dragonclaw Comic Ink - Dublin, CA

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    Sometimes stores will sell their overstock to discounters like Ross and Marshalls, other times they donate excess to charities (Goodwill, Toys 4 Tots) or even send them overseas...every year in order to jump on sales immediately they print apparel for the winner AND the loser of all the sports championship games...the shirts that are wrong are sent to African countries as donations...someone in Africa thinks the Bills went on a great string of Superbowl victories :p 
     
  11. QmTablit

    QmTablit Disguise: Check. Robot...

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    I love living in Seattle.
     
  12. Alucard77

    Alucard77 Kaon Gladiator Champion

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    Now the big question. How can I identify which store gets what? What should I look out for?

    Is there any real learnings here?
     

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