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You Can't Sell What You Don't Stock
6 replies to this topic
Posted March 04 2008 - 10:01 AM
This follows on from my message in "Coupons and Bargains" for 4 March 2008. "TCM Archives: Forbidden Hollywood Collection Volume 2" -- as far as I know -- streeted today. I planned to buy two copies (have an overseas fellow who needs one). Would have loved to have given a brick & mortar establishment money today... but: None of the Best Buys in upstate New York show as having copies available on the shelf. Neither of the Borders stores locally list it as available. This isn't the first time I've searched for a reasonably well-promoted title and come up empty on local shelves... and it's getting tiresome. The reply I've gotten is "order it online." Folks, I don't live online, I live in the neighborhood. But I've now ordered this title online... elsewhere... cheaper. You've had your chance with this title, chain-buyers... and for me, you've blown it. You can't sell what you don't stock.
Posted March 04 2008 - 03:29 PM
You know, There is another side to it. Just because you stock it, dosent mean it will sell. I seriously doubt there were many people waiting in line at 5am to buy that. Stores dont have unlimited shelf space. This seems like a silly thing to complain about. Its seems like a pretty niche item.
Posted March 05 2008 - 10:10 AM
Your point is valid from the retailer's side... and I know it well. As well as being a consumer, I am a store manager (books, magazines, newspapers, groceries, etc); have been in the book business since 1982. As the buyer for my store's stock, I'm all too aware of the limitations of space and budget. I'd imagine I face more stringent restrictions than the chains with superstore-space and superstore-budgets Using this specific release, I'm wondering how it is that Warner Home Video got good enough sales on their first volume to not only justify a second but make it an even bigger and more attractive item... yet the b&m retailers (at least for this region) saw fit to ignore it. Were all the sales online? Moving from the specific to the general, this example above is just one of a number of recent decisions made by the buyers for national chains that leaves me wondering what's going through their minds. It's awfully easy to buy in a mess o'copies of the Latest Hit that will have people lining up at 5am. It's harder to figure out what some errant customer (like me) is likely to want. Those retailers that take the easy way out are ultimately cheating you of the chance to browse and try something new, something you didn't know existed. It's a loss you may never realize. And it's a loss for them, too.
Posted March 06 2008 - 02:57 AM
It's quite possible. I remember a LOT of ads on TCM between movies when the first volume came out. I'd guess that people who couldn't find it in stores just went online to get it.
Posted March 06 2008 - 06:11 AM
I was looking for something at Best Buy once...i think it was Patton. I asked if they got any in. Of course the guy didnt know what Patton was, and thats OK, he looked it up. Online only. I asked why doesnt the store stock 1 or 2 copies of a title i know wont waste that much space, and will sell to the one or two guys like me who want it. Why not cut back on the 500 copies of High School Musical, that did sit for over a month before they sent some back, and use a small portion of THAT space for older classics, for us classic movie lovers. While i am sure HSM was a big seller for the tweens...i felt it was unlikely to be sold out of in store before more copies could come in. I have gone in many times to look for something on release day to find the 2 or 3 copies they got sold already, but the 50 to 500 copies of ***whatever*** sit for weeks if not months. Bottom line, diversify just a little!
Posted March 06 2008 - 03:24 PM
Patton is a bit harder to defend than a collection of movies from the 1930's, but still, consider how many movies are out on DVD. Consider that fact the new releases that you say stores have 500 copies of are usually all stashed together in large center displays that are changed out weekly and probably sell at a higher gross. It all comes down to the bottom line and I think in general what these stores do makes sense. Ive had to order things online before, I admit its a bit of an inconvenience, but perhaps working in retail has given me an insiders perspective on how things work and just a bit more patience.
Posted March 23 2008 - 01:14 AM
This reminds me of a conversation I had a few years ago with the owner of Stereo East, which used to be the premiere Laserdisc store in Dallas. When DVDs came out they were into them in a big way, but they ultimately wound-up liquidating their stock. He told me they found out that the DVD buyer was different than the Laserdisc buyer. DVD buyers he said are most interested in the "hottest current release". While LD buyers would also buy the "hot" new releases there were certain titles (the example that he gave was "Raiders of the Lost Ark") that he could always count on selling 2-3 copies a month. I'm kind of surprised that Borders didn't have it as they have become my primary B&M source for "catalog" titles since Best Buy seemed to lose interest. They were, for example, the only B&M in St Louis that had copies of the Jack Benny "Charlie's Aunt" when it was released last year. I guess I have more of a "book buying" mentality when it comes to DVDs. (I call it that because I worked for a bookseller a long time ago and noticed this behavior in regular customers). I'll go out on a Saturday and browse the shelves. I'll make a mental note of what the store has in stock, buy what I feel like buying and remember what the store has so that I can return and buy it if I'm in the mood. For instance, I know that the local Borders has both "Jesse James" and "The Return of Frank James". I intend to get both of them "someday", but I'll wait until the time is right or there is a coupon that I can't pass up.
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