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Soapbox: About the Industry

Just-in-Time Pre-order Hell

by Sandy Antunes
Jul 01,2005

 

Just-in-Time Pre-order Hell

by Sandy Antunes

Sometimes I pre-order because otherwise, I'll _never_ get it. Other times, it's because I like shopping at a good store and figure I'll pre-order so I don't forget or miss out.

Now, too many shops use a bizarre parody of 'just in time' inventory that goes like this:

1) They order 1 copy of "Item X" because it's not a guaranteed hit.
2) They sell their 1 "Item X". No one else sees "Item X", so they don't bother to re-order.
3) They pat themselves on the back for making a good call and not 'overordering' "Item X"-- not realizing they missed sales because _they didn't have it on the shelf!_

Worse, even if you go in asking for something, they will think, "well, this is an odd item, so even though I have a request, I'll only order to fill that request so I'm not overstocked". Again, they lose sales because of no shelf copy.

The person that loved "Item X" tells their friends about it, sure, but those friends walk into the store, don't see it, and say "oh well".

If you have to ask the store to order it, most people figure they might as well just buy it online- it's easier and quicker than waiting for the store to get a copy then treking down to that store.

And then brick-and-mortar places complain about online sellers. What a _good_ store does, is _push_ product. Instead of passively waiting for customers to come and ask for what they want (which online stores do better), a good store makes recommendations.

If you have a good shop, pre-orders are often because the shopkeep has pre-informed you on something (or mentioned something you'd heard about and were curious about), and closed the sale by saying "hey, why don't you pre-order it, so as soon as it comes in you know you'll have a copy!"

Then, it's just like christmas! You go into the shop and *poof*, there's your present! Sure, you bought it yourself, but it's still fun! And the shop stays in business and gets to provide you with good leads for future products.

(A good shop will also use pre-orders as a barometer for likely sellers, and order extras.)

In short, I like my local shop that actually bothers to figure out what I like. I talked with the shopkeep once, about how far he'd go to sell to me based on how much I spend there each month (maybe $100 on average). After you subtract costs and overhead, he figured I bought his family dinner one night each month. So while he'd do normal good service to keep me, at 1 dinner/month, it's not like I should be demanding extra discounts or red carpets. Proportion is necessary.

So how should a shopkeep stock? Like any real-world issue, there's no pat answer. You don't automatically 'stock deep' or 'have everything' or 'cherry-pick'. You instead weight things, balancing customer needs with economic reality.

But really, you should never skip on a sale due to bad 'just in time'. TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg

What do you think?

Go to forum!\n"; $file = "http://www.rpg.net/$subdir/list2.php?f=$num"; if (readfile($file) == 0) { echo "(0 messages so far)
"; } ?>

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