Company Growth as seen in product lines

Over the last few years (5 and a half and counting); we’ve grown as a game tore.  When we first launched, we had 700 products listed on the site and all of them board games.  Now, we have 3,000 products in-stock at any one time spread across most of the game accessories.

It’s an interesting thing to watch and it’s an obvious indicator of success.  Here’s a timeline based on our growth into the different categories:

The Timeline

2007 – Board Games

2008 – Accessories (dice and deck boxes mainly)

2009 –RPGs (Shadowrun, Savage Worlds, etc)

2010 – Wargames

2011 – Miniatures

2012 – Miniature Supplies

Of course, this isn’t an exact timeline.  We grow in spurts, sometimes adding categories together, other times slowly adding to existing categories to flesh them out further.  In 2012, we’ve fleshed out the Miniature and RPG sections quite significantly; and over the years we’ve added more and more board games.  We probably still have 70% of our stock in board games, but in time we’ll continue to expand into other areas of the game trade.

What dictates rates of expansion?

Capital. As we make profits from our main lines, we can then dedicate some of that profit to acquiring new stock.

Customer Interest / Special Orders. Sometimes, we expand into a particular product line because of special orders from our customers.  As we bring in / source specific products, often we end up bringing in an extra copy or two for the store to test interest from other customers.

Turn Rates. At the end of the day, each new category needs to make us money.  Each category has to sell through such that we aren’t adding inventory that will eventually become sale fodder.  While new categories are given a bit of leeway as they build a customer base, eventually all categories have to be profitable.

On Categorising Games

I’ve recently been playing with the backend of the site in preparation for a review of our sales / margins / turn rates and a redesign of the website.  Among other things, I’ve been trying to categorise our income streams a bit further from ‘Accessories’, ‘Games’  & ‘Shipping’.  In that process, I’m also trying to figure out what is usable for us as a backend category and what customers use when searching for games (other than just a pure search function of course).

We start running into an interesting problem of categorising when you realise that many games can fall into a strange in-between category.  Here’s a few examples:

Dominion / Thunderstone / Ascension

All driven by cards, so technically a card game.  However, our distributors often have them listed as ‘Board Games’ when we search / hunt for them to repurchase.   And in many ways, they seem to be creating their own ‘category’ of games – deck-building games.

Dust Tactics & Tannhauser

Dust Tactics is a miniature game, and that seems to be the general consensus – it’s very similar to other major miniature games (Warhammer 40k, Blood Bowl, etc) in that you can purchase individual squads and ‘build’ your army for each mission / event.

What do you call Tannhauser though or Okko? Miniatures or board games? The base set is packaged as a board game; but each expansion is an individual unit.

Living Card Games & CCGs

Theoretically, these are two different categories with slightly different models.  However, from a distance they all seem the same – card based games that have regular releases that can be added to the base game and/or other expansions to create new decks.

Wargames

Now here’s another interesting category.  What’s a ‘wargame’.  If we accept that Okko is a board game and not a miniature game, should it then be a ‘wargame’ or another category entirely? An ‘adventure game’ maybe? If so, what do you consider an adventure game?

Realistically, many of these categories only matter to us internally but some thought would be useful.  After all, if I start looking at the ‘wargames’ section and seeing the turn rates are low; it might just be because Tannhauser and it’s associated items are selling poorly and not the rest of our ‘wargames’.