Jump to content
Jhaierr

Buying online vs. buying locally

Recommended Posts

I've been buying more board games lately. Unfortunately, the difference in price between online stores and my local board game store are pretty wide: a $10 difference or even $25 on the bigger, higher-priced games. The local store appears to just have everything set at standard retail price. Meanwhile, I can easily find a lower price online with free shipping. I'm not even referring to Amazon. I mean like CoolStuffInc and other places online.

 

So... why should I buy locally? I have an urge to support a local business, but I honestly can't bring myself to pay this much extra money, repeatedly, when I can consistently save a non-negligible amount.

 

I do live in a larger city, and the store appears to get a great amount of customers. There were about 60-70 people there on Saturday evening.

 

What are your thoughts on this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Beast said:

I try to buy at my FLGS first to support it's play space, if it has one

 

This has been my thoughts for years.

 

But as my income has steadily shrunk with there being no possibility of increase and I become closer and closer to being a shut-in, I find myself doing more online. Come to think of it, I probably haven't been to my LGS in almost three years.

 

One thing you can do if you are a regular customer is point out to the owner of the  LGS how much more expensive his price is than the cost you could get it online and ask him if he'd be willing to give you a discount. If the item has been sitting on his shelf for a while, he might be happy to get rid of it even at a lower price. I had the one owner knock close to $40 off the cost of a box of Magic cards which he'd had on his shelf for more than a year. Though that was still more expensive than I would have had to pay online, the price was close enough for me to feel comfortable in paying the difference and I didn't have to worry about the item being damaged during shipping. At the time I had a good idea of what a LGS would have to pay for a box of Magic cards and he still made a healthy profit (~35%) even after knocking $40 off the price.

 

Of course that was when I was in his store once or twice a week. I wouldn't personally try to ask for a discount from an owner I'd just met but YMMV.

 

Another thing you can do is see if your LGS is selling stuff on e-Bay. Sometimes they'll be selling stuff you might want there for less than his store's retail price and might cut you a deal if you offer to buy it in person and save them the hassle of shipping.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/25/2019 at 7:16 AM, Jhaierr said:

I've been buying more board games lately. Unfortunately, the difference in price between online stores and my local board game store are pretty wide: a $10 difference or even $25 on the bigger, higher-priced games. The local store appears to just have everything set at standard retail price. Meanwhile, I can easily find a lower price online with free shipping. I'm not even referring to Amazon. I mean like CoolStuffInc and other places online.

The local store has additional Operating Costs. Most likely rent, for having a "store friendly location". Those prices have to be translated into sell prices. Also if you do sell less, you have to increase the prices. If you do not do that, your business will fail.

 

I got enough additional economics teachings to understand the reasons behind it and how it is unavoidable. I can even do the math for it. The actuall ratio at wich Operating cost is put on each item is a mater of experience data from previous years, however.

 

That online retailers negatively affect local stores is simply a unavoidable nature of progress. Local farming was hurt badly by refrigeration and transport improovements as well.

The difference of course is that not enough new (local) jobs are created with this latest transition of work. It is uncertain if the demographic change will counter this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Generally the books and games I want to buy aren't easy to find in stores locally (and that includes the area where I work, which is a major city over an hour away by train from where I live), but my first choice is to ask one of the shops if they can be ordered. Quite often they can't, so I then turn to smaller businesses on the internet.

 

Some of them are actual shops offering mail order, so buying from them is basically supporting someone else's local store; some are internet only but far removed from the likes of Amazon. Often they are people I've met at conventions and got to know through Twitter. Sometimes it works out surprisingly well: last week I ordered what I guessed were second-hand Champions supplements from a shop, but they turned out to be old stock... Shrinkwrapped third edition supplements including the GM screen for less than the original selling price, because the seller wasn't trying to inflate the cost and offer them as collector's items. So I ordered some more.

 

spacer.png

 

I don't have much money to spare, but where I spend it does matter to me and in recent years I've tried to move away from automatically seeking the greatest discount. Ultimately, if I can't really afford the price of a hobby purchase then either I save up and buy it in future, or else I don't really need it; but that's a personal choice and I would not suggest that it should be the one everyone makes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most local game stores do now have an online presence and the price online will often be the same as other online retailers.  I am with the suggestion that you check the FLGS online and see if they are price competitive online.  I would then see whether they might be willing to implement a collect at store option instead of postage...

 

I am sure the store is likely to want all the turnover if it can get and to increase footfall in the retail space.

 

Doc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most FLGS have to diversify and scramble to remain in business, much less profitable. For example, Portland's Guardian Games has one of the best play spaces I've ever seen -- lots of tables, -available snacks and drinks, the occasional special event, and an area set aside where people can buy beer and drink it while playing their games. I love the place and have occasionally bought RPGs and card sets there (usually for Munchkin).

 

That said, they can't carry a massive selection of RPGs. Their net also includes children's board games, family games, adult games like Cards Against Humanity, wargames (not a huge section, but with some very good games), miniatures (a lot of Warhammer gets played there), and even t-shirts and LEGO figures. They also have a corner of the store devoted to buying and selling Magic the Gathering cards (and a lot of CCGs get played there).

 

I do love that store. They also go to conventions, and I will buy from them there when I have money to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

Most FLGS have to diversify and scramble to remain in business, much less profitable. For example, Portland's Guardian Games has one of the best play spaces I've ever seen -- lots of tables, -available snacks and drinks, the occasional special event, and an area set aside where people can buy beer and drink it while playing their games. I love the place and have occasionally bought RPGs and card sets there (usually for Munchkin).

 

That said, they can't carry a massive selection of RPGs. Their net also includes children's board games, family games, adult games like Cards Against Humanity, wargames (not a huge section, but with some very good games), miniatures (a lot of Warhammer gets played there), and even t-shirts and LEGO figures. They also have a corner of the store devoted to buying and selling Magic the Gathering cards (and a lot of CCGs get played there).

 

I do love that store. They also go to conventions, and I will buy from them there when I have money to do so.

 

The one store within convenient driving distance which had a setup like that went out of business despite being packed for Magic two evenings a week, packed for Yu-Gi-Oh on Saturday afternoons, mostly full for D&D Adventurer's League, and random people playing various things and using at least some of the space the rest of the time.

 

I honestly don't know how places can keep the doors open if getting ~50 people in three times a week guaranteed can't do it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe they can't.  Online competition is a big deal in all retail, not just for FLCGS.  Amazon is squeezing retailers like Target.  Every brick and mortar store is frantically trying to find some combination of experience, immediacy, and community that will give them an edge over infinite-selection-delivered-to-your-doorstep-in-48-hours.

 

The FLGS here all provide play space, and each has its niche--there's the Yu-Gi-Oh/MTG store, the GW/Privateer/comic store, and the anime/boardgame store.  None of them are in ordinarily-great retail spaces that would draw in passing foot traffic; they're all in the cheapest habitable per-sf space they can find.  I strongly suspect they're doing online sales themselves as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have seen a lot of different game stores recently. 

 

The Last Grenadier in Burbank is where one goes for Minatures and "old stuff". They still have shrink wrapped rules sets 25-30 years old on the shelves. They also sell some model kits and have several very large open gaming tables for rent. The staff is a bit introverted, but helpful and are knowlegeable with minatures. However outside of D&D and some pathfinder, it's all miniatures rules and miniatures. the place is not well lit, has a stupidly high old style retail ceiling, and rbrything has a slight layer of dust on it.

 

The Village Geek, in McPherson, Kansas, is very much following the trends of the Modern Game Store. Clean, well lit, and has snacks and drinks for sale, and rental tables available. It used to service some miniatures war games, but now primarily sells board games, and collectible cards. It has a fairly complete stock of Pathfinder, and D&D 5th edition.It also has a very short wall section of Fantasy Miniatures. It sells no back stock, or consignment, so everything you see there is supposed to be on the shelf by the manager's orders.  The staff is very knowledgeable, and if it isn't busy, is happy to talk at length and answer questions. Recently they have started to buy and sell old video game cartridges , all in a glass case up fromt, and they do have a small selection of periodicals. There Operating hours are from 1pm, until Tooo late. And apparently they have a lot of folks come in after dinner to play. Tournaments are scheduled fairly often.

 

Turn Zero Games, at the corner of Wilton and Wilshire BLVD. This is my FLGS, within walking distance. It's a clean, but dimly lit retail space in a strip mall. most of the space it taken up with rental tables at $2 a head. They rest is Cards, and Card supplies and a few board games on the front walls. Their trade is mostly cards, and card supplies, but they have a corner for Pathfinder and D&D books, vinyl mats, miniatures and  paints.  everything is well organized, if a bit sparse, but apparently the turn over for D&D books is such, everything still smells new and still has sharp corners.  The staff is knowledgible, and helpful, and can easily be coaxed from their card game at the table next to the register.  after 3PM, the place fills with card players looking for a game or two before going home to dinner, as the croud is mostly Junior High and High School students. It's next door to a Yoshinoya, and a Pollo Loco, but they still sell a few snacks and drinks.  other than a few boisterous voices , the place is calm, quiet and well insulated.

Hope this helps?

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Scott Ruggels said:

I have seen a lot of different game stores recently. 

 

The Last Grenadier in Burbank is where one goes for Minatures and "old stuff". They still have shrink wrapped rules sets 25-30 years old on the shelves. They also sell some model kits and have several very large open gaming tables for rent. The staff is a bit introverted, but helpful and are knowlegeable with minatures. However outside of D&D and some pathfinder, it's all miniatures rules and miniatures. the place is not well lit, has a stupidly high old style retail ceiling, and rbrything has a slight layer of dust on it.

 

The Last Grenadier has been closed for over 3 yrs
yep lots of minis and rules for minis
that is the place where I bought the white box D&D rules back in 77
they where in Golden Mall in Burbank(kinda small)
then they moved to right across the street of the new big indoor mall at san fernado and magnolia
that place was HUGE and had a like 3 levels of basement just for gaming
then they moved east on san fernando about 5 block( kinda small lots of stuff stored there)
LG spent it's last yrs on Hollywood way south of magnolia(even smaller)
I now buy most of my gaming stuff at Game Empire Pasadena( they don't carry any Hero Games stuff as I'm the only 1 who buys that stuff
I have fill lots of hole in my collection with the used stuff they have gotten over the yrs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was most familiar with their Hollywood Way location, sorry to hear it closed 

 

In other ways, do you think that screen based entertainment have killed miniature wargaming as a hobby? I am thinking it’s true due to labor ( painting and stands), and expense, that people play online now. RPGs I think are making their come back, for social reasons, even if it’s Roll20. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On line outlets are able to reduce their price point due to volume.  A FLGS has to rely on people physically coming into the store and purchasing product.  They have a higher overhead and usually less of a variety of stock. 

 

The FLGS is not set up as just a retail outlet, it is a gaming center for people to come in, sit down and game.  Most of the gamers I know started playing at a FLGS, but then I am old and pre-social media.  Heck, pre-video game ?

 

Anyway, if you like to play games at a local game store, interact with many other gamers and see and learn new games first hand.  Then buy at your FLGS. 

 

If you mostly play at home, friends houses or other "private" venues, then you probably don't have any real reason to shop there.  

 

For myself I make it a point to game at my FLGS and always run RPG's at store events such as Free RPG Day, Halloween game night and so on.  I'm am not a super-D&D fan, but League night fills the store up every week and they keep adding tables.  It is also a great place to just sit and BS about gaming in general. 

 

For me it is worth buying at the FLGS because I get a healthy return on my investment, gaming wise. 

I can't can't say it it would be worth it for you.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Scott Ruggels said:

I was most familiar with their Hollywood Way location, sorry to hear it closed 

 

In other ways, do you think that screen based entertainment have killed miniature wargaming as a hobby? I am thinking it’s true due to labor ( painting and stands), and expense, that people play online now. RPGs I think are making their come back, for social reasons, even if it’s Roll20. 

 

I can't say for others, but I left miniatures when it stopped being a wargame as much as it was "collectable".  "Collectable" isn't actually the word I need, but instead of having a rule set and miniatures and people buying what they needed.  The game lines began introducing gimmicks to force you to buy more and more figures in order to stay viable in the game.  Each new round of figure "releases" would nerf the existing set just enough that you either spent another $100 for figures or resigned yourself to losing all the time.  

 

Instead of a game where you learned how to fight with the units you have, you were forced to continually lay out more $ to compensate for the gimmick of the week.   I still enjoy dragging out my old WW1 Naval, Age of Sail or Micro Armor on occasion.   But the new games (say 1990 to present) all push for a couple hundred $'s to start and then $50 to a $100 a month to stay competitive. 

 

TOO MUCH MONEY.  The younger crowd cannot afford it and us older peeps are burned out. 

 

Now RPG's can be played, and played well with only one book.  I know many people that even now only have the D&D PHB and play every week.  Face to Face, via a Virtual Game Space, at home or in a FLGS.  RPG's are a much more affordable hobby.  D&D's PHB is cheaper than a new console game and it has an unlimited replayability.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really prefer to support local stores but yeah, the prices aren't great and the selection isn't great either.  The problem is they have to pay employees and overhead, and they have only limited space or funds to buy things with, so they can't have everything no matter how obscure or rare on the shelf.  And I don't have much money to pay for anything to begin with.

 

From a publisher/writer point of view you get paid no matter where the books are purchased from, and local game stores don't carry independent publisher stuff so its hard to be too upset when folks buy online.  I even bring in books to offer them to sell on consignment and they're just not interested.  I get it: limited market, shelf space etc.  But still, local writers and publishers really should get some love.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Miniatures are still going okay. Privateer Press proved it was possible to make a viable miniatures wargame without forcing players to buy new figures through power creep. The various Attack Wing flavors also proved popular, though of course those don’t need painting. 3D printing seems to have made it much easier to develop miniatures for manufacture—seems like every boardgame on Kickstarter comes with a beautiful set. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Game Designers Workshop had the most ruthless and greedy business model since heroin dealers, what a rip off.  Entirely new editions every few years, requiring everything to be re-purchased, and the entire purpose was to sell more miniatures, not to actually sell games or entertainment.  Its too bad too because they actually put out some neat stuff despite this like Warhammer Quest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something else to consider might be a programme such as Bits & Mortar, where participating publishers provide a free PDF if you but their game at other than an online discounter. Evil Hat are especially generous in this regard, but others are involved. It can save a lot and provide additional convenience, although naturally it's for RPGs rather than boardgames.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

I was most familiar with their Hollywood Way location, sorry to hear it closed 

 

In other ways, do you think that screen based entertainment have killed miniature wargaming as a hobby? I am thinking it’s true due to labor ( painting and stands), and expense, that people play online now. RPGs I think are making their come back, for social reasons, even if it’s Roll20. 

While I love the old Combat Mission computer games and is basically ASL done right
I still have a ton of ww2 and modern armor and I am loving Cruel Seas(WW2 PTs up to DDs in coastal warfare)
as of late I just got back into  face to face rpgs(WOIN OLD)and I play a bit on roll 20

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Spence said:

 

I can't say for others, but I left miniatures when it stopped being a wargame as much as it was "collectable".  "Collectable" isn't actually the word I need, but instead of having a rule set and miniatures and people buying what they needed.  The game lines began introducing gimmicks to force you to buy more and more figures in order to stay viable in the game.  Each new round of figure "releases" would nerf the existing set just enough that you either spent another $100 for figures or resigned yourself to losing all the time.  

 

Instead of a game where you learned how to fight with the units you have, you were forced to continually lay out more $ to compensate for the gimmick of the week.   I still enjoy dragging out my old WW1 Naval, Age of Sail or Micro Armor on occasion.   But the new games (say 1990 to present) all push for a couple hundred $'s to start and then $50 to a $100 a month to stay competitive. 

 

TOO MUCH MONEY.  The younger crowd cannot afford it and us older peeps are burned out. 

 

Now RPG's can be played, and played well with only one book.  I know many people that even now only have the D&D PHB and play every week.  Face to Face, via a Virtual Game Space, at home or in a FLGS.  RPG's are a much more affordable hobby.  D&D's PHB is cheaper than a new console game and it has an unlimited replayability.

 

Never got into collectible anything
when I buy a game I expect all the info there and I do not have to buy/search for specific units and get bogged down with useless clutter
if the game has elite units I should pay for them and there is no difference in the model

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting there is one stuff I have to buy online: Shoes.

US 13, UK 12 or EUR 47.5 is what my feets require.

Indeed my mother used to call my shoes "baby coffins", because they are so large. Especially compared to hers.

 

Unfortunately the stores all seem to stop stocking shoes one size shy of that. Unless I am willing to drive an hour or so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Beast said:

While I love the old Combat Mission computer games and is basically ASL done right
I still have a ton of ww2 and modern armor and I am loving Cruel Seas(WW2 PTs up to DDs in coastal warfare)
as of late I just got back into  face to face rpgs(WOIN OLD)and I play a bit on roll 20

I have very few miniatures left, But I used to play a lot of 15mm Napoleonics, and 25mm  Donald Featherstone Skirmish rules, a 1/72 scale Tank game called brew Up, and GHQ Microarmour, as well as Mustangs & Messerschmitts,  as well as D&D in the days before Hero. After Hero my Wargaming Tapered off. Any Naval miniatures game was a rare thing, but I found them fun.   These days at least for me, that itch is scratched with online multiplayer like Post Scriptum. Warthunder, and a few others.  But only when I don't feel the guilt of Not producing things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...