GW New Policy on Lord of the Rings

Posted: September 15, 2009 in Uncategorized
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I am used to purchasing from full-line game stores and a few internet sites. I recently placed an order with Skip Peterson of Legends in Time for a number of Lord of the Rings figures. He in turn contacted his distributors and found out that Games Workshop is changing their distribution policies. Essentially, only plastic box sets and a few multi-figure packs will be available to stores. Everything else in the LOTR will only be available from Games Workshop retail stores or GW mail order. I can understand that LOTR may not be selling as well as it was 2-3 years ago, but this seems a bit extreme. My fear is that it will discourage retailers from carrying any of the line, if some characters and figures are unavailable for them to sell. The other fear that I have is that LOTR may be going the way of other Specialist Games, meaning mail order only. The timing of all this seems a bit silly, since Games Workshop just released War of the Ring and the new Hobbit movie has started production.

In real life I am a professional marketer. I continue to be astonished by the marketing strategies employed by Games Workshop in the United States. Product, Price, Place and Promotion are the four P’s of marketing. I think GW has great Product, so they score one on that topic. Place is a mixed grade; the retail stores are interesting, but I am mystified how any of them stay open on a sales/square foot basis. Place also pertains to distribution and shipping. GW generally has done a good job of mail order; their handling of distribution and independent retailers has been a yo-yo of love/hate over the years. Price and Promotion are failures for them. They are pricing themselves beyond the means of many people to afford their products. Their promotions are new product focused only; the recent Space Hulk limited re-release has been a mixed bag from a consumer perspective. Their marketing strategies may work in the UK; they don’t work as well in the dispersed gamer population of the much-larger geography United States.

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