Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Why new "Warhammer" shops is not the correct tactic to grow the customer base IMO (short rant)

So the new GW financials are out, and with it is Mr. Rountree's first statements about his vision for GW

But there is, to me, a logical flaw in some of his reasoning I am going to harp on briefly

Some take-aways from the report ARE
-Typical customer is teenage to adult male with free time and money
-They are rebranding GW Hobby Centers as "Warhammer" stores
-They have been doing a poor job of recruiting new customers, and changing this is a priority
-They need to open more GW stores, mostly using the one man model
-They are exploring new avenues to release their product

So on their own, all of these seem fine. The one man model does save a lot of money, whether you agree with the concept or not.

It is in concert these fail to make sense.

So lets look at what a Hobby center is
1- A one man GW shop is usually pretty small. I am talking about 2-3 gaming tables max (and maybe a demo table) and 2-4 hobby stations that are relatively small. As such, you have limited participation in the store at any time, and typically far less than an FLGS
2- GW stores, at least in the US, are usually poorly located to save on rent. This means low end strip malls. I have only seen one outside of the US in Marsielle France, and it to was small and on a side street and didn't feel very welcoming.
3- It only has WARHAMMER
SO if you want NEW customers, most likely everyone that manages to fit into the store is an existing customer. So that kinda fails there. And by renaming the store Warhammer, you have in a way made the store even less welcoming IMO. People accidentally walk into a Games Workshop. It has happened without fail EVERY TIME I have been in one. They see "Games" and either get confused or curious. But when people do stumble in with a young man with them, who gets a free mini for visiting, GW gets hook in. BUT People will not randomly wander into a WARHAMMER Store. What parent is going to make that mistake? It is in no way indicative to an outsider what the store is, and is a violent and off-putting name to them.
Sci-fi City in Orlando FL
Now for the other places this fails- size and target audience. A FLGS is typically BIG. At least they are almost always bigger than a GW store. AND they have tons of different products- comics, MTG cards, various war games, RPGs, comics and sci-fi/fantasy memorabilia. What this means is a high traffic flow of the target group "Teenage and Adult Males". How many Magic the Gather Players will walk into a "WARHAMMER" Store. The answer is none. BUT if they manage to see the models in an FLGS they may be able to get them. AND these are already people with a common interest. They have the tastes that GW customers all have. It isn't relying on random chance.
All those guys are MTG & D&D players meeting at the FLGS
So I agree with exploring new outlets for getting the hobby out their. Core box sets and the board games released into Target and B&N would be cool and make get some people to start checking out GW. BUT I feel that if GW doubled down on FLGS support, they would get the surge in both sales and new customers they are looking for. But if they focus on solely going to GW "Warhammer" stores and big retailers, I think they will find themselves not getting the new customers. Why? Well their target audience are all at the FLGS, playing different games and not seeing a lot of, or even any, GW products on the shelves because it just didn't make sense for the FLGS owner to try and push them anymore. Why would they as they got cut more and more out of the sales loop?