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MechJunkie

Question about retail miniature pricing

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Hey folks,

I was browsing the Reaper miniatures at one of my local game stores recently and something caught my eye. The price tags that the store put on were significantly higher than in the Reaper webstore; $1 more here, $2 more there. Some were even double the regular cost. Is this normal?

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My FLGS sells them at the same price as Reaper, but I have seen other stores mark them up a little bit.  

 

 

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Personally, I've never seen it.  Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, of course.  It would be a red flag to me about the store, because either they don't know the MSRP of their product, or are hoping their customers don't know. 

 

But, note that there are some Bones figures have a metal counterpart.  The price difference between the two could be double.

 

 

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I was actually wondering about this a little bit recently myself.  I was looking at the Bones Black drow that were at my FLGS, but instead of the 3.49 that they were being sold at on line, the store was selling them for 3.99. Not a big difference if I wanted to buy one, but if I start buying more it starts to Add up. I’d like to buy at my local shop to support them, but if they are going to sell everything more expensively, I’ll get it on line where I can get more for my limited hobby buck.

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MSRP means Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price. Most manufacturers don't control the pricing of their retailers. 

 

Usually, this is good, since retailers need to discount stock if it isn't moving. A higher price may indicate product that is locally high in demand, or difficult to get.

 

You're under no obligation to support your LGS, and some of them don't deserve our business.

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My former LGS marked them up a bit, but not unreasonably so. It wasn’t quite as much of a mark up as some amazon listings.

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Retail store pricing is tricky.  MSRP is exactly what was said, mfr's recommended price, but retailers are free to set their own price. (MSRP can, sometimes, be pretty arbitrary.  I work mostly with power equipment dealers, but there are some mfr's that have no logic between the cost to the dealer and the recommended price to sell to customers.  I have seen instances where filter A costs the dealer $3.50 and has an MSRP of $4, and filter B costs the dealer $3.25 and has an MSRP of $7.  in this situation Filter A could possibly be marked up by at least $2, and filter B would probably be either at MSRP or slightly below, 

 

In the past, many physical retailers may benefit from having a supply+demand advantage that means they can ask a higher price and receive it, especially in a niche market like gaming supplies.  There are a TON of pricing strategies for this, everything from a markup/off of MSRP,  basing your sales price directly on the cost of the item,  popularity based bumps, bigger bumps for cheaper items (if something normally sells for 1.50, most people won't care if I sell it for 2.00, even though that's a 33% markup, because the extra .50 isn't worth going somewhere else or ordering it online and waiting. (not always the case).  however if it normally sells for $50, and I bump it 33%, that's an additional 12.50 and that could loose me the sale, etc etc).  There's also a very common retail practice of rounding to the nearest .49 or .99.

The internet and the ease and popularity of internet sales makes this kind of pricing strategy very difficult for retailers now.  Price shopping is incredibly easy, and for luxury items like gaming supplies where you seldom 'have to have it right now' situations.

Many retail locations like to point to higher overhead versus online sales as a primary reason they have to charge more than online pricing. 

At that point you have to decide, is it worth the markup to help support your local store, or is it wrong of them to charge more than the reccomended sales price for an item 

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As a former toy/game shop manager on charge of ordering, I can say that most of what @Cygnwulf said above holds true, especially overhead.

 

How a retailer orders their stock is also an issue. Many people get into retail "because owning a game shop would be cool," or for other reasons that aren't necessarily predicated on an understanding of how retail works, so they don't necessarily know how to get the best deals. Distributors have the largest reach, so retailers find out about them most readily... But distributors also prioritize their largest customers and don't offer the best deals to small businesses. I know of several items I used to carry from a distributor that I researched ordering directly from the publisher and was able to drop my selling price while making a larger profit for my store, because the direct sale was a better deal than going through distribution. Some retailers don't want to or don't know how to do research like that.

 

Store overhead is also a huge consideration. Some of my shop's prices were higher than I wanted simply because we had to pay rent on our space. I know of one shop that charged higher than msrp for some items in part because his store was in a basement and temperature control costs were absurd.

 

Most of these wouldn't be huge markups over MSRP, but they would be noticeable. Even up to a 25% increase over MSRP would surprise me but not incense me. I likely wouldn't go back to that store, though.

 

Doubling MSRP is something of which I'd be decidedly skeptical.

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The Reaper packaging also has the MSRP in a coded format under the UPC code.  This code is two numbers followed by a letter (A, B, C, or D) and a '/'.  The two number indicates the US dollars portion of the MSRP, and the letter indicates US cents.  I only remember that 'D' represents $0.99, and can never remember the others.

 

I've seen retailers take a package labeled 07D and put an $8.00 price tag on it.  I'm cool with that kind of rounding, but I always try to compare the two.

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On 11/8/2019 at 11:47 AM, Sanael said:

Many people get into retail "because owning a game shop would be cool," or for other reasons that aren't necessarily predicated on an understanding of how retail works

 

Definitely. Failure rates of game stores are appallingly high, mostly for those reasons. Retail stores have several advantages over internet: impulse purchasing, immediate gratification, ability to inspect, and the society of people who show up regularly. Any successful store is going to have to capitalize on those advantages, because they're at a serious price disadvantage. This is not a moral issue; it's just economics. And the good stores do exactly that, by marketing exactly those things and setting up a friendly environment.

 

Among the many ways weak stores act to their own detriment is to allow dead stock to accumulate because "I don't want to lose money, and somebody will buy it at the MSRP eventually." Dude, if your stock isn't turning, you're already losing money. If you blow it out at cost or even below and replace it with something that will sell, you might make enough money to keep the doors open.

 

On 11/8/2019 at 11:47 AM, Sanael said:

 

Most of these wouldn't be huge markups over MSRP, but they would be noticeable. Even up to a 25% increase over MSRP would surprise me but not incense me. I likely wouldn't go back to that store, though.

 

Doubling MSRP is something of which I'd be decidedly skeptical.

 

I tend to feel the same way about hobby supplies. Which isn't really rational, since I'm perfectly willing to spend $1.50 for a soda in the same store that I could buy at the grocery store for $0.50 or less. Rationality is harder than you think. :rolleyes:

 

I'm usually not willing to spend full price for something expensive that I can buy for enough less elsewhere to make the extra effort worthwhile. When I spend time at the store (for paint club or whatever), I really do try to find things that I want enough right then to pay their asking price. I often succeed, but not always. But every once in a while (like last month), I'll drop ... mumble ... on something that's just too tempting.

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