Tuesday, September 1

September Could Be Slow

I'm expecting September sales to be fairly low, since I've no new games coming out, and I hope lots of people will be waiting to buy from me at Essen next month (and get the Sumeria 2-player expansion free with a purchase of Sumeria!).

So far, every month's sales this year has been better (sometimes a lot better) than the corresponding month last year. So far so good. But in fairness, last year I had a few hand-made copies of It's Alive! in April and May, then nothing until September when the professional re-print of It's Alive! arrived.

Last year's September was at the time my best month ever, more than twice the turnover than the previous June (which was the best I'd had so far). Of course it didn't keep the record long as October was when I went to Essen for the first time, and last October's sales were nearly five times September's, which remains my current record.

The It's Alive! re-print will have been out one year on Friday. Last September's figures were the result of the pre-orders and the initial stocking orders for It's Alive! With no corresponding new game launch this year I'm going to struggle to match last year's September figures this year. I've been considering doing a September sale to try to boost sales this month.

To make it worthwhile, the sale price has to be low enough to entice people to buy from me (not a local internet retailer), while still making me some money after I've paid the shipping and VAT. I figure I've got three options: free shipping, discounted games with full price shipping and discounted total (shipping and games). I'll consider these against example UK and US online pricing (I've used Games Lore and Board and Bits respectively as examples). I've used Carpe Astra as the example (it's in the middle of my game price range) and the middle price for Boards and Bits shipping ($8.50). Note that both online retailers offer discounted (or free) shipping if you place a large order, so me considering a purchase of just Carpe Astra is a little disingenuous.

Free shipping. My price for Carpe Astra: £22 (approx $36.30). Games Lore Price: £20.20. Boards and Bits price: $34.10. Makes the game more affordable for US customers (but still more expensive than buying from an online retailer in the US), and doesn't help UK customers at all (they can get it cheaper from a UK online store, or from a shop). I'd make a decent amount money on a UK sale (£22 - £3.14 shipping = 18.86 which is £16.40 ex VAT), less on a US sale (£22 - £8.30 shipping = £13.70 which is £11.91 ex VAT).

Discounted games, full price shipping. If I did 30% off: My UK price: £15.60 + £3.14 shipping = £18.74, My US price: £15.60 + £8.30 = £23.90 (approx $39.50 - almost full retail price!). Helps the UK customer, but doesn't help the US customer at all (since the shipping is not discounted and very expensive). I'd make a reasonably amount of money each sale (£13.56 ex VAT).

Discounted total. Say 40% off the total game and shipping price: My UK price: £25.14 * .6 = £15.08, my US price: £30.30 * .6 = £18.18 (approx $30). This would be a great deal for the UK customer, and a reasonable deal for the US customer. My ex Vat pricing would be £10.38 for a UK sale (more than a distributor sale, less than a shop sale), £8.59 for a US sale (in the same range).

So, I wonder. Would this work? Would I sell any copies as a result? Would I look desperate? If I decide to do it, then I can advertise it in my quarterly newsletter which is due soon, and on BoardGameGeek and Boardgame News.


Mal said...

"Would I look desperate?"

ARE you desperate? If not, I'd be tempted to hang in there and concentrate on maximising Essen in every possible way; before, during and after.

Jack said...

I'm not desperate, but of course I'd like more sales. More sales before Essen would be good, as well as more sales at Essen. This is an idea I'm considering for boosting sales before Essen.



Yehuda said...

Don't your distribution contracts prevent you from competing with them in this way?

If not, it's still probably a good idea.

Have you considered offering a partnership sale through your distributors/retailers. Tell them that you'll give a $5 (or whatever) rebate to anyone buying in September, or a free gift or something.

That way, you get the distributors and retailers doing the publicity and working for you.


Jack said...

I've not signed anything that prevents me from selling my games at whatever price I want, though if I continue to undercut shops I won't make any friends. A short-term thing like a 2-week sale shouldn't ruffle too many feathers, especially as the more people playing my games the more sales I'll get, hopefully (which will go through the stores and distributors).

The rebate is a nice idea, but when a shop sell my game I make very little money on it (the shop and distributor also get their cut), so I can't afford to give rebates in those cases.