As a retailer, we have certain advantages over publishers. For one, we generally aren’t reliant on any one product or even a single company for our existence. Sure, some companies are more important than others (it’d suck if FFG went out of business tomorrow) but overall, we can spread our risk around a lot more.
In addition, we are the end-seller; the last business entity before the product enters the hand of the customer, which sometimes gives us a very good view of demand in the market compared to publishers or distributors.
Out of Control
Unfortunately, that also means that there’s more than a few things that are out of our control. Stock, and stock shortage is the major one. This year in particular has been particularly bad – it seems like 50% at least of FFG’s product line is out of stock, Pandemic and it’s expansion was out of print for a while this year, King of Tokyo and Smash Up the same. Almost all the hot games that have been released in the last year and a half or so seem to have gone in and out of stock. It’s incredibly frustrating and bad for business.
Worst are the constant delays in production – slipped deadlines, bad information, price increases or stock shortages. Luckily, most customers don’t blame us for this – but it does happen.
Planning for Others
They say no plan survives contact with the enemy. Well, in business, no plan survives reality. Like in the army, the only thing you can really do is build flexibility in your plan and your business and keep a reserve for when things don’t go right.
Oh, and have a little Luck on your side.