But more often than not we come across from actions that pisses me off as a customer, even when I have not been involved, and puts me on thw wrong foot as someone who makes his living out of (hopefully good) marketing. The story comes from Faeit 212, and in short goes like this:
- A long time Tau player is rightfully excited by the new codex and pre-orders $300 worth of greater good plastic.
- The day of the release he goes to the GW store, only to be told by the store manager that his order had not arrive. At this point, is worth mentioning the products were on the shelves and the manager just told him "those" are not yours.
- He goes back home, calls GW customer service who pretty much tell him to wait.
- Some days later he calls the store, they tell him they have a riptide so he asks them to save it (let's remember he has already forked out $300) and inmediatly drives to the store, only to find the riptide has been sold.
- At the moment he is awaiting a call from customer service to notify him his order has arrived.
Now you just need some common sense to realize all the terrible mistakes GW is doing; I hope this is just this manager/store but it could well be a country or general GW, which would be absolutely devastating.
- First of all, someone who pre-orders $300 is a customer you are desperate to retain. You as a company want him happy with the hobby for many more years. The temptation of selling boxes to people who just walk in the store is absolutely dumb: if they were curious people who saw the models in the storefront, sell them something else or tell them to come in a few days. If they are Tau players who know their stuff, rest assured they will get it from this store, GW direct or someone else. It doesn't matter, at all.
- This is pretenciously assuming you have an overwhelming degree of power over your customers, as no matter what you do to them, they will buy anyway. Let's not mistake engaged players for fools. No one likes to be treated like an idiot, and when they are, they will respond accordingly. This could result in a) not buying anymore from you but more likely b) getting the stuff alternatively. This includes second hand, ebay, proxies or even darker options like clones or chinese copies. Unfortunately, these exist.
- Last but not least, you are telling a customer that you don't have his order when the shelves are full of products. Apart of disgracing yourself and your company with a lot of bullshit, this is an illegal practice, at least where I live. A customer purchases under the promise of having access to his order on a certain date, and the products are threre. The store can't retain that stock.
We could go on for a while but I think the concept is clear now. So what should GW be doing instead?
- Apologise to all customers who are receiving their stuff late and do all you can to honor your promise. This means shifting stock/production, prioritizing pre-orders to store sales, etc.
- Start running some bog-standard CRM practices. It is extremely easy for GW to give away a model or two to customers who make these purchases, to give them the digital codex for free when they purchase the book, or to print a few tchotchkes for them (i.e. t-shirts, keychains, pens... stuff that costs you $0.30-$1.5). It's all about making the customers feel you care for them (which you should actually be doing).
- Clarify to their store owners what are they there for. Not to make money, not to treat people like idiots, no to spend their afternoon in a toy store, but to acquire new customers, teach them how to play, how great this hobby can be; to run competitions and events with long standing customers, to hear what they say and pass the word up to the HQs. To be ambassadors of the hobby, in a nut-shell. Sales will naturally flow, and make these stores a shitload more profitable than they are today. Without any doubt.
Please feel free to write your thoughts / comments below. Thanks!