07 August, 2012

A rethink on Crowdsourcing.

When I put my Goblin Tarot decks up on Indiegogo last year, I followed along with the idea of including a "retailer" package. I decided that the idea of four decks for the price of 3 was a good reduction that might lure a few people in. It worked a bit, with three people taking up the offer.

I've seen a lot of other crowdfunded projects using the same idea. but until today, I hadn't considered the retailer side of things. Perhaps a retailer doesn't want multiple copies of a product cluttering up their shelves.

I've worked in BIG retail, ordering thousands of products to distribute among hundreds of stores...mostly electrical goods. In this sort of environment, you can get away with an initial bulk order, then a series of top ups to keep inventory at a stable level. But for small retail (the kind of place where you find the types of games I design), there needs to be a different thought pattern.

Two blog posts by Black Diamond Games have highlighted this for me...

Here and Here.

The whole idea of this retailer level package seems to have the old distribution model in mind...the distribution model where a game company just tries to offload as many of their games as possible into the hands of a distributor, and a distributor just tries to get as many of their products as possible into retail shopfronts. Occasionally someone thinks about the retailers needing to get these products into the hands of customers.

With this in mind, perhaps it would be better to provide a retailer support package for a crowdfunded endeavour rather than a higher number of products at a reduced price. I'm thinking about a couple of posters for a store, a quick start play kit, some colour flyers and maybe even a display stand. An advanced retailer support package might then move up to the increased inventory quantity and have some other merchandise related to the game (simple gimmicky stuff like keyrings or pens that could be given away as promotional items for the product). This is usually expensive, but it's the kind of thing that big companies use to promote their products all the time...because it drives sales.

The expense is an issue that the crowdfunding can be used to overcome. So maybe, it might just work.
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