Anyone else tired of the "you have to buy it now" culture that's developed?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by TheBeastman, Apr 28, 2021.

  1. bufferunderrun

    bufferunderrun Well-Known Member

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    i don’t think so because we already have experienced how a movie can revitalize a franchise, the bay movies through bad reception by hardcore fans were helpful to bring new life to the transformers fanbase. How many of those whose theirs first iteration with transformers was the bay movie will have started collecting or will start once they reach autonomous incomes?
    10-15 year from now we will see a new weave of reboot with Hollywood diving into the old series we will have new transformers movies we will hate, a new Star Wars trilogy die hard fans will shot upon, back to the future, Harry Potter, a series of marvel movies hell I’m starting to think and be scared is almost time for a new lord of the ring movie trilogy.
     
  2. StrifeZ

    StrifeZ Well-Known Member

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    So I went to Target for unrelated shopping today, and I swung by the toy asile because I was there. What I saw just drives my latest argument home about retailers and ordering a bit more.

    What as one the shelves? Well a few things. Two cases (at least) of the latest Studio Series waves (so B-127, Mirage, Blurr Repack, BB Starscream), Kingdom Deluxe Wave 2 (but no leaders or Voyagers. And.... *drumroll please*.

    NO LEADERS except four Studio Series Scavengers. Four. A leader class released over a year ago, just before Covid hit. They also had a bunch of SS Bonecrushers still.

    I then go to the other target in the area (for other reasons). It's actually on the other side of the town. They don't have any new stuff, but what do they have other than... you guessed it... another FOUR Studio Series Scavengers.

    So within two targets in one town, there is a total of eight identical $50 figures, first released over a year ago.

    And it gets better!

    At that first Target I look at the Marvel Legends they have on the rack. They have the new wave with AI Iron Man. I look through the offerings.
    Iron man
    Iron Man
    Iron Man
    Iron Man.

    I keep looking.
    Ironman
    Iron Man
    Iron Man.

    I'm not sure about case assortment for Marvel legends waves, and if Marvel does single character cases, but there were one or two of some of the other characters of that wave and 7 identical AI Iron Mans.

    So herein we have two examples of what I was discussing.

    (1) The order for the Studio Series Scavenger leader wave was so big (once, at these stories, I remember there being well over 10 of them), that even over a year later, they are on the shelves. That disincentiizes Target from ordering more leader class cases because as far as their metrics are concerned, they have unsold Leader class figures already. Scavenger may be old news to us versus like, SS86 Grimlock, but Target's metrics will just see "Studio Series Leader Class - $49.99 - Unsold".

    (2) Either Hasbro is distributing or Target is getting, an absurd number of Iron Mans. Not surprising - he's one of the most popular MCU characters and his figures always sell well thanks to the MCU. Especially considering the other figures of his wave:

    [​IMG]


    4 characters in a movie that isn't out yet (and frankly, mostly boring designs, but hey MCU), a random Iron-Man Captain America hybrid. And finally a pretty straightforward Iron Man, the 80th anniversary mold no less, in yellow and red this time.


    So I'm not quite sure if the entire line = 1 case (in which case there were 7 cases worth of Iron Man), or 1 case = 8+ figures, and they double or triple pack a popular guy, or if Hasbro was pushing Iron Man only cases, but it just goes to show how there is overexaggerated retail presence for certain reliable sellers. And because of that, for the same reason as (1), if Target sees "Marvel Legends - $22.99" lingering, because they have a bunch of Iron Mans and characters with a movie thats not yet out still on shelves, they won't place orders for anymore. And to them that's a failure, which is why there are so many Iron Mans, because he has a better chance of selling than Xialing, who nobody knows as a character yet and has a pretty boring design (for a kid's POV) compared to Civil Warrior, Iron Man or Death Dealer.

    This just once again, backs what I was saying: preorder to lock in, and skip the gamble that it's there. And thus "buy it now culture" is as resolved as it's going to get in a the modern business model where inventory that lingers is a failure.
     
  3. RodimusRex

    RodimusRex Well-Known Member

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    What's frustrating is the stuff you can't preorder.

    In particular Cobra Island and MOTU exclusives at Target but then you have insane sell-outs like today's Powercon exclusives.

    Even yesterday's SS86 reveals are sold out at Amazon already. How's a casual collector supposed to get an order in if they discover the figures a day late? They don't know about BBTS and may not have the same level of trust we do.

    The entire system is just not designed for a 40 year old who hasn't collected TFs in 25 years or a child to navigate. I have friends who see me post about TF toys and immediately say, "Where do I buy that?" And the answers: "preorder" or "you're too late" turn them off from becoming new collectors.

    The manufacturers and retailers may be serving us (barely and if we adapt) but they aren't growing our numbers with brand new adult collectors.
     
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  4. MasterScale

    MasterScale Loose, comes with baggage...

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    So much yes. And then when you add that to rare/exclusives and what not. Just... ugh. This year has pretty much made me give up exclusives. Let me repharase that - I gave up chasing exclusives and hitting refresh for over an hour to obtain them.
     
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  5. StrifeZ

    StrifeZ Well-Known Member

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    This is absolutely true. There is really no space for the casual collector who doesn't know all the options available to him or the windows to pre-order. You have to be on the game, or not playing the game right now. There is no middle ground. And it's not sustainable in that fashion in the long term (that said, I've had my BBTS account since 2002 and the first thing I bought there was Korean RID Brave Maximus, for a now hilarious $125... or rather my Mom did).

    So what's the fix?

    Hasbro is already doing the right thing by advertising Pulse on the boxes of figures and instructions (I think). They need to go further and include flyers inside retail figures along the lines of "Can't find something or want to see what else we got in Transformers? Go to Hasbropulse.com!" Pulse needs to be their focus. I'm not sure how that'll go over with retail partners (probably fine, since Pulse is niche), but their business goal should be to shepherd people there. That's part 1.

    Part 2, is as I said, Pulse needs to become the retailer of last resort. When a new wave of any of their lines comes out they need to say "This will be available to order from 6/1/2021 to 1/1/2022, and will ship on 9/1/2021 and 3/1/2022, or while supplies last". That's a six month window to for customers to find out a thing exists, place an order, and two deadlines for Hasbro to put bulk orders in production, and ship them in bulk (which will be more economical than running production). And then after the last order date, the figure is retired and that's it. But if you place your order for anything in that wave within its 6 month window, you are guaranteed to get it at the next shipping date (if it isn't in stock).

    That's pretty much the only realistic fix, because retailers will not change their business model. If anything they are likely to change it more in the anti-consumer direction. This won't directly effect Transformers collectors, because our franchise sells very well. But looking at Target, a lot of lines do not. In particular the expensive Lego set glut that badly weighed down Toys R Us in its waning days, seems to have translated to its new major retail partners. I'm not sure how Lego is still one of the largest toy companies in sales in the world. It's tried to make up for the loss of TRU but engaging in ever more licensed products that it once spent actual decades actively avoiding. But the stuff is just piling up. And there are other lines too. McFarlane DC just doesn't sell. WWE perennially shelf warms. Disney and video game character seem to garner no interest.

    Target particularly, but also Walmart actively decided to expand their toy offerings in the wake of TRU's demise, but it's hard to see the business payoff to them. As a sector, toys did VERY well in 2020 as kids and parents stayed at home more. The old thing of video games displacing toy buying was factored in many years ago at this point. But that is clearly uneven in what part of the sector. It's the same thing with Home Improvement, which had a great year in 2020, but was internally uneven (gardening and lawncare did ultra-well, for example).

    Squaring this circle is a tough problem. But I don't think there is any realistic solution whereby more product sits on shelves year round, unless Toys R Us really comes back in a form similar to the original TRU (or slightly smaller), and not an in-mall shop. And that's unlikely. And even if they started tomorrow, it'd be a decade before they had more than a few dozen locations.

    That leaves either Amazon becoming the retailer of last resort - which they won't do, or Hasbro Pulse, which they should do. And if we're talking about non-Hasbro properties, unfortunately, there probably isn't an answer unless all manufacturers make a pulse analog or enter into partnership with someone else (even BBTS) that they designate as their retailer of last resort.
     
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  6. worldsgreatest

    worldsgreatest Well-Known Member

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    Came in here to whine about the Power Con exclusives. Any idea how long they lasted?

    I was literally getting my second shot when they went up and tried refreshing to an error page.

    Figured it was because of Walmart and not site traffic. And WHEN did they go up at BBTS? Sheesh. So lame.
     
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  7. RodimusRex

    RodimusRex Well-Known Member

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    Apparently, people came in and filled shopping carts and those people didn't all checkout and carts emptied 15 minutes later. This happened a few times.

    Apparently, BBTS got them up at 12 EST and they sold out in 10 minutes or so. I didn't realize BBTS was live until the Powercon site loaded.
     
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  8. RamenJunkie

    RamenJunkie Well-Known Member

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    This is really a whole new issue. It's come so frustrating that frankly, I have kind of given up. I have 3 more months of pre orders sitting at Ami-Ami, and like 2 at Amazon, one of which I may cancel. None of it is Hasbro product. I just don't care anymore, it's not worth the stress, I have plenty of stuff already and a lot fo the new stuff is just rehashing the same things.

    Even seeing new stuff in the pipe from Hasbro, from Transformers to Marvel stuff, all I can think is, "They will make a better version of this same thing next year", or "Part of this team/group/whatever will end up being impossible to find, so why bother."
     
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  9. bufferunderrun

    bufferunderrun Well-Known Member

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    lego actually manufacture it’s own products for what i know they have 2 owned factories in Europe, 1 in Mexico and 1 in china, at any time they feel they can open a preorder on their website and do a rerun of any of their product; plus they have a strong retail channel with both the website and lego physical stores.
    hasbro on the other hand use oem manufacturer and pulse is region restricted something that leave me baffled in 2021.
     
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  10. StrifeZ

    StrifeZ Well-Known Member

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    Just want to follow up on something a couple people mentioned earlier: that rather uncool "because (cancellations) haven't really happened to me, there is nothing wrong" accusation.

    Over the past 10 days Amazon has progressively canceled my pre-orders for Marvel Legends' Villains wave. First Lady Deathstrike, then Arcade and today the Red Skull. God Emperor Doom will be next I'm sure. Quite lame! However within seconds, I turned around and put in pre-orders at BBTS. They're a dollar more than Amazon and no pre-order price guarantee, but sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some.

    Point being in that in this specific case, BBTS is acting as the retailer of last resort - the thing I said Pulse simply must become - when my preferred pre-ordered fails. You can't always do that with Transformers, but often you can. Furthermore it's just as likely that BBTS will get their stock way late, because that is their way, and Pulse itself will actually restock this wave, like they do all Marvel Legends, and I'll pick it up there.

    The system isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But it is easy and low stress. The missing component is making that $50 a year pulse membership fee guarantee you the opportunity to (pre-)order any figure put up on it within a set availability window (9 months from initial release in my examples above). Of course, non-Hasbro franchises are SOL for that plan.
     
  11. Canbot

    Canbot Well-Known Member

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    The thing I don't get us how the Bay movie, which got so much wrong of why TFs are awesome, somehow succeeded and revitalized the franchise (which was still doing okay by normal toy standards, just not at the level of 80s madness)...and the GI Joe movie, which was in many ways just as bad, didn't do anything at all to help that franchise.
     
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  12. Canbot

    Canbot Well-Known Member

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    I love the idea of pre-order windows on Pulse. Like, 3 months prior to release. I'm sure though there's a reason why they don't do this more often, and I'm sure it has to do with creating demand. If the adult collectors get their fix directly from Hasbro, what chance do other retailers have? It's not about supplying collectors, it's about making money. There must be a cash reason why they don't do this. I would definitely get back into the game with that system in place.
     
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  13. Canbot

    Canbot Well-Known Member

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    Lego is absolutely the best when itnvomes to that...anybody who wants a set, and follows their website, will get one. And if something gets popular enough to warrant aftermarket madness prices?...usually, they just reissue it. Look at the Saturn V rocket. It's not all products, mind you, but the adult focused collector stuff? Sure.
     
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  14. StrifeZ

    StrifeZ Well-Known Member

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    I think it should be:
    1: Prior to release (like they do now) for shipment 1, shipped around street date.
    2: Street date to 2 months after street, shipped around 4 months after street date.
    3: 4 months after street date to 8 months after street date, shipped around 10 months after street date.

    That gives you 8 months to figure out if you want it not with three guaranteed shipping windows.

    This is will be more expensive for hasbro, but I think it should be what Pulse buys you, even if it is increased $100 a year (or so) like Amazon Prime, which frankly it should be. Because Pulse with free shipping if you're a member is a ridiculous steal. Hell, Haslab Unicron as a $25 freight package that had the cost of shipping factored into its asking price was a ridiculous steal. I don't understand how they aren't bleeding money from it.
     
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  15. Effigy

    Effigy Well-Known Member

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    Because the GI Joe movies didn't have one good movie. The first Transformers movie had a Metacritic of 61. It was generally a liked movie. The ones after haven't been as good (until Bumblebee). The first GI Joe on the other hand had a 32. So it started with a generally disliked movie which set the tone for people. Basically it would be like if the TF 2007 movie never existed and RotF was the first movie, followed by DotM.


    upload_2021-5-26_19-2-18.png

    upload_2021-5-26_19-3-19.png
     
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  16. BlastOff682

    BlastOff682 Well-Known Member

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    In some cases, Yeah I do.

    Toy distribution has been so bad its come to this. I dont like how getting the new hot toy has to be one big race against the scumbag scalpers who want to swipe everything up. It's sad to think that mainline retail toys are considered a rarity when they shouldn't be.

    I wish we could go back to the old days where toy shelves were fully stocked with stuff so these things dont become the norm again
     
  17. RodimusRex

    RodimusRex Well-Known Member

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    ToyGuru essentially had a more recent video on how only the return of a TRU style outlet can fix all of this:

     
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  18. volatus

    volatus Aristocratic Airborne Decepticon

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    They are absolutely bleeding money on the free shipping thing. Pulse has no pile of loot feature so if you buy something, they pretty quickly box it up and ship it to you. They also have at least 2 US fulfillment centers, so an order of 2 deluxes may be them eating shipping twice. Seems like it's set up to encourage ordering and shipping single items, which is the least efficient for them.
     
  19. StrifeZ

    StrifeZ Well-Known Member

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    I'll watch this, but restarting TRU or something like it would be a major, billion dollar undertaking at this point, that would probably take at least a decade to reach the kind of business critical mass necessary to fill the void left by even end-stage TRU.

    Let's be clear about a few things on TRU though. A lot of people attribute the death of TRU to Brain Capital raiding it and loading it up with debt. That is functionally true, but TRU had also made massive conventional mistakes over the past 20 years as markets shifted that was going to doom it within a few years regardless. Or let me put it another way: had TRU not collapsed, the worst case scenario is that it would have either gone bust during the worst of the Covid pandemic like Lord and Taylor and other major stores did, and the best case scenario is that it would have badly teetered and been saved (for now) as a meme-stock by WallStreetBets for the very same reason they saved Gamestop and AMC.

    And let's be clear: the fundamentals have not changed with those two either. Gamestop and AMC are both royally screwed in the long term. TRU too, without fundamental business changes, would have been simply, a royally screwed big box store with less debt.

    A new TRU would have to be fundamentally different. Stores would have to be about half their former size and laid out similar to Ikea. The front half would be a claustrophobic maze (the claustrophobia IS the point... it encourages a closer relationship with product) of Toy rooms where children are encouraged to play with toys, interact with each other and see products displayed. It should be an attraction... a part where a child spends a minimum of half an hour every time they enter the store. The back half would be the actual toy store, but be laid out completely differently than the old high ceiling, warehouse like ToysRUs that it became. It would be themed sections, a closer, more intimate experience and with an overall tighter toy collection.

    There is an entire thread here about what TRUs looked like in the 1980s. How that became what the ended up being in the 1990s and 2000s is anyone's guess at this point. But it turned what should have been about joy into something clinical. Even mechanical. I'll tell you when I knew TRU was failing: when news of its bankruptcy was looming and I went there to scope out some Transformers, and in the same aile I was in, the only other customers was a mom and her kid. And that mom was being very stern with her kid, to the point of making a scene, because the kid was being a typical five year old. And she didn't care. She had no shame. There was no one else to see her be emotionally abusive to her kid, in the middle of a toy store, in an environment where Toys on the shelf might as well have been replaced with boring pottery or something. A functional toy store would bring out positive emotions, or at least inhibit negative ones from bubbling to the surface, in almost any adult. TRU did, because it became this very special thing. It was no different than Autozone. Tires, Transformers... same difference, right?

    Like Sears though, ToysRUs was ultimately screwed by executives who talked alot about what was wrong - much of what I wrote - but didn't really give enough of a shit to do something about it.

    I don't think Gamestop has a future, because consoles and PCs hard shifted to digital delivery in the last generation (about 65% of PS4s and PS5s sold are the ones that don't take Blurays) and that makes it unlikely the next will have drives to begin with. And a "shift to digital", to replicate Steam, or consoles existing internal only stores, seems ridiculous.

    But the pandemic in a way was a forced massed experiment in living digitally, relying on Amazon, relying on networking and showed the hard limits of it. People are social creatures, who like to move and interact with the world. Virtual is not a replacement for the real world, as much as pushers long pretended it would be.

    That makes a TRU-esque store that emphasizes interaction and social activities something that would have a point in a world with Amazon in it, and a world where Target and Walmart will continue to be their worst warehouse-style selves (particularly Walmart, the most trashy store ever conceived). It'll never be able to have the inventory of old TRU. But it would have better than anywhere else.
     
  20. bufferunderrun

    bufferunderrun Well-Known Member

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    the franchise itself is different while transformers is about robots that we can say are an evergreen among youngsters gijoe is about a bunch of military machos maybe that was good in the 80s when Raegan was the president, Rambo was a big thing at the cinemas and the cold war was in place bot nowadays they don’t appeal much. If you ask me maybe instead of gijoe they could have rebooted the MASK and have a better response.

    Well that is lego has a global coverage amd can produce and distribute its products basically without middleman while the other not that is their strong point.

    imho physical stores should taken in consideration only for the canonical windows of Christmas and at that walmart and the rest are good choice but hasbro need to go hard online power up pulse, make it global and use it as its main distribution channel supporting it with small owned production sites in Usa and Europe.
     
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