USA Toy stock now available

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skifflebits
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Re: USA Toy stock now available

Post by skifflebits »

Spannerintheworks wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:09 pm
skifflebits wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 3:32 pm
That's really weird.

I was going to speculate on why that might be happening, then I realized I had no idea.

So I'll just keep it as "That's really weird."

It's almost like someone said, "You know, nobody in the US actually knows these are discount store sets..."
See, I'd lean that way OR understand an exchange/freight markup necessary to get them to the US....

But then:

In the UK: 3 figure price = TARDIS set $ < Dalek set $
In the US, per site: 3 figure Price > TARDIS set price > Dalek set $

That's the real headscratcher..... :?:
I think someone said "Hey, there are three figures in this one. We can charge $15 for each of them, right?" and the logic rolled from there.

At these rates, it will be cheaper for me to get them scalped from the UK even including international shipping.
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skifflebits
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Re: USA Toy stock now available

Post by skifflebits »

What's truly frustrating and disheartening is how my wishlist went from costing under $150 to costing nearly $300 in a blink of an eye.

I've gone from ready to click "buy" the moment they went on sale to now planning to wait a couple months to hope they go "on sale."
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Spannerintheworks
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Re: USA Toy stock now available

Post by Spannerintheworks »

skifflebits wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:16 pm
What's truly frustrating and disheartening is how my wishlist went from costing under $150 to costing nearly $300 in a blink of an eye.

I've gone from ready to click "buy" the moment they went on sale to now planning to wait a couple months to hope they go "on sale."
On that note, the fact they put up prices, changed the button to "Buy" on not just the new items but also Graham and the Doctor, but that the button does NOTHING for all the updated items is a bit sad, and definitely confusing. Imagine people who DON'T have a forum like this to clarify these items aren't out yet.

I'm hoping it all gets put right soon. Growing pains I get, but again, they probably would've gotten a bunch of advance payments already, and it'd be nice if things were more clear.
Last edited by Spannerintheworks on Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MaxHeadroom
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Re: USA Toy stock now available

Post by MaxHeadroom »

Seeing quality new DW figures finally being sold in the US again for reasonable prices caused me to get back into collecting after I stopped around 2017. I've had money set aside for almost the entire wave of products since the prices were announced (I planned on skipping the first dalek set since I already have the SFX dalek from that story). I would've understood if they raised the prices by $10 for each set. Actually they raised the prices by $20 for each set I still would've bought at least one or two of them. $50 for the three packs and $45 for the Tardis is simply comical though. It's only slightly cheaper then what scalpers sold the sets for last year.

I'm still a bit tempted by the second doctor and Tardis set because I don't have a figure of the second doctor from his era. I'll probably skip it though and use the money to buy some of whatever the person who priced these sets is smoking.

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skifflebits
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Re: USA Toy stock now available

Post by skifflebits »

I do hold out a shred of hope that those are the official MSRP, and Amazon rarely charges the official MSRP for anything. The final price we end up paying could be a fair bit lower.
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skifflebits
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Re: USA Toy stock now available

Post by skifflebits »

Wow. Mike's Comics recently posted a very long post on GB, explaining the backstory of the US pricing situation, and their negotiations with the new toy distributor. Sounds like this new distributor is laying down some strict conditions for retailers carrying the toys, and that is definitely keeping MIke's Comics from carrying these toys. It's an interesting read, if a bit opaque in places.

And it gives me no hope that we will be seeing some discounted prices on Amazon when they're finally released.

EDIT: The TL;DR - Mike's Comics isn't going to carry the toys because the new US distributor (UT is out) is making certain demands on sellers (that Mike's won't disclose). Mikes' wants to carry the toys, but the demands aren't in line with how they do business, and the company won't negotiate. Mike's hope they can negotiate something in the future. ALSO: The reason the prices went up on the buydoctorwhonow site is because the original prices were listed in error, and were (reportedly) even below wholesale price.
Seeing our name mentioned amid some of the speculation here, and find it's perhaps newsworthy enough to leave some comments.

I don't know if you have everything figured out with what you posted regarding the source of Doctor Who action figures to the US market, so will give what I should about what they represented to me.

My information is there is a new licensed source, and from what they lead me to believe they are the Amazon reseller. Email I sent to Character Group was very obviously forwarded to this group, so I have reason to understand they are allowed to work within some set of terms, and I have no direct understanding if that legally cuts Underground Toys out of the picture, or if they are operating in concert with other terms, or some other formation of the situation. However, Underground Toys also has given me a direct response they are no longer carrying Doctor Who toys and action figures, and I suspect they are not carrying any new Doctor Who product, and it may be a case where their license is expired, but, to that set of points, I am unsure.

Amazon prices were increased, I believe the new group said, after some (I don't know which) were listed in error, so some kind of correction probably took place, but they should answer for themselves. That may have been my doing, though, as they were listing prices below wholesale, and I explained it's a little tough to compete when the source offers them for less at retail than they were charging us for wholesale (which actually does happen in places elsewhere in the Doctor Who license at times)...but, they readily seemed to suggest that pricing was in error anyway, so it got adjusted, and to some point in the discussion were trying to prepare to take my order and get all their ducks in a row. If it sounds like some sort of discussions went on, they did. We thought we were entirely on our way, and I expected about a week ago to announce on our web site and blog we had the product in transit to us.

I sat down to send in an order...and found we had new email where we were then offered to operate within new terms they gave us after it seemed we had relations and we were ready to send them our order...perhaps quite a lot larger than they expected. For those who call us "small" above, let's also be clear, very early on, before exclusives destroyed things in part of the market, Underground Toys acknowledged we were their number three customer by dollars, (only two large chains were doing more at that moment, as I was given to understand,) and was trying to negotiate with us for larger discounts if we took on licensed product in the line outside of toys and action figures...but, really, that kind of thing never sold well enough for us to go through the required quantities of Doctor Who trash bins, ice cube trays, and whatever else was there, so we declined...but, small is relative, and where our service is personal, regardless of size, we had the great good fortune to have the opportunity to work with the Doctor Who community at large, and specifically with many of you. And we still do so. And from the quantities we acquired in limited and numbered runs like the SDCC Doctors, I've got an impression we handled a lot more than people seem to understand, perhaps partly because we really did try to sweat the details and get orders right for each customer and give personal service, and we never got into the bulk e-commerce stuff that others embrace. If we seem "small" because our customers still matter to us, then that's a good thing...I hope everyone good gets to look small that way. But, perhaps, that's neither here nor there, either, at least for the current piece of discussion at hand. We still appreciate each and every opportunity we had in the course of time, and tried hard to be worthy of your trust and custom, always.

However, the new terms for Doctor Who action figures are not, in our opinion, in harmony with the way we have successfully operated now for more than four decades. One specific requirement is definitely beyond the scope of our manner of transacting business, and we said so. Therefore, we made a decision, and at this time we are not yet handling this product line, in spite of also making clear we want to do so, and it is still a priority for us, and in spite of a door likely being open at any time if we choose to do so on those terms of theirs. We felt the terms restrain us from competing as we would choose and as we should for the sake of our customers, or to have the liberty to transact in certain ways on dated product in the fullness of time, if we felt a business need to make choices that still should not harm the brand in any way. There was discussion. We have certain concerns. We and the potential supplier each has a business to run. Decisions were made to stick to certain principles of business for now, it seems to me.

We are certain we could simply sit at the table and do profitable business in a volume to meet every requirement set for volume, and those requirements here were reasonable enough, even if new, so this is definitely a loss of money for us, but, as we understand them, the current terms restrain us from setting price freely.

I don't feel this is a door forever slammed shut. But, I'm certainly a bit taken aback that we are seeing terms never imposed by Underground Toys already in this relationship, and in fact, when they (UT) once discussed these things with us, we said we're in favor of competing for the benefit of customers and they should respect that...the USA arm of UT apparently felt we were important enough to consult and listen to, and for all the other things that may or may not have happened, they never looked at this area again in their dealings. That wasn't even an agreement, it just never got revisited because they listened and it settled the matter, and the discussion I had with them apparently was convincing on the facts...and, I don't doubt, facts were presented also by others.

In the future, if we can have a meeting of the minds somewhere, we want to carry these lines again, as soon as possible. But, we're not going to agree to something and then operate differently out of the light of day, either. We're not going to agree to something we feel we can't live with. We also understand relationships take two or more, and if the decision is to proceed without us, rather than adjusting as we feel we need, we may not carry the lines in the future with this US supplier.

It's possible for people of good will, and businesses, to disagree and not come to terms. Sometimes, the best deal you make is the one you don't make. And, we make different decisions than others because we are not everyone, or anyone, else. While I certainly hope for the situation to evolve and for the new supplier to come back to us, it may also never happen. In that case, we'll have done what we felt was best and right and necessary for us and for customers, much as we might wish things were immediately different. Wholesale pricing is reasonable enough, though we and our customers could always wish for a lower price, and the issue is not that we were getting a price at wholesale upon which we couldn't operate. A little bit, there sounded like some dust still settling, too, in a new relationship, and that's something that happens. There were finer points where I doubt we saw eye-to-eye, but different businesses should expect that can happen. So, for anyone wanting to parse our decision, there was a lot of peripheral stuff, we weighed in, and in the end it was one related set of definitions we decided wasn't a fit no matter how we looked at it, and after some work to clarify exactly what was being said, we were left with no doubts about meaning or language.

Like I said, things could evolve instantly. We'd like to be carrying these lines in their entirety. It's great stuff of which Character Group should be proud. But, with things as they are today, we're not carrying the Doctor Who 5" figures being released in 2020 and beyond through this current source, as a decision we feel our business needed to make in consideration of the latest version of terms presented to us, and on behalf of ourselves and our customers and our continuing in business.

Michael Salvo
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com
Link to original post: https://gallifreybase.com/gb/threads/cl ... t-12261444

Also, here's a followup to it.
There was no demand to take any one figure in any quantity, though there are certain relationships in business where minimums may apply, or minimums per item, or minimum initial orders. Between this and my other business, we have very many relationships, including direct accounts with the largest of publishers, and what I'll disclose is minimums don't seem to be a hurdle for us. I didn't feel pressured to take sets over singles or vice versa, or newer series versus older series figures. Or any particular item. It was entirely flexible in that fashion, and the only change, perhaps, from the way it was with Underground Toys in that fashion (excluding the nightmare of exclusives on every release after a point) is that we weren't being saddled with assortments of fixed quantities in cases of 12, and chase figures, etc. My expectation was to present an order that included every item, an expectation to need a re-order of larger size containing most or all items soon, based on what we know from the past should roughly be the size of our clientele, and the numbers involved would quite easily have surpassed the minimums that might be involved...though, if a relationship is established at this point, even if I expect to say much the same things, I might choose to temper ordering a bit more up front to rely more on re-orders, and feel my way through a bit more instead of jumping in with the same numbers...I was a little surprised at the terms added, and would be discussing things with my partner before acting, even if we did (literally) come to terms. I was handed what I understand to be a complete list of figures they believe is available through 2020, (not something we EVER got from Day One from Underground Toys on these lines, and which is also very definitely constructive to have received,) which is essentially what they had on their web site already, which they use as a portal to Amazon, if I have the understanding of it.

I had written both to Al Dewar here in this forum and to Character Group more than once and was never contacted in return about distributorship, which I frankly might have wished to discuss either in taking it on or in the way in which terms might be implemented by whomever was chosen. My focus really was on the retailing end, as I remember discussions, though feel pretty sure I did state something in a note to Character Group about distribution during the time the some robust quantities were going through Underground Toys but we were seeing problems in being allowed access to anything. But, they might well have hundreds of people or businesses who wanted the same thing, and, at some point, you can't contact literally everyone about everything or nothing gets done. My primary goal, though, is always about carrying the lines to best satisfy customers, and to do so in a way that works with everyone in the supply chain for a very long-term and stable growth...that would include CO and customers, always. Because someone has asked me already, I'll also say I have no factual basis to know that CO wouldn't be a good enough supply chain partner to stop me wanting to distribute these lines...in fact, they've really seemed to have quietly gone to bat for customer interests more than once, even if any relationship might have bumps in the road. But, as I believe they already have a contract with a new partner in the chain, the issue is completely moot. The issue is the relationship and terms of this new US supplier to the US market. To that, I can only say that I believe, immediately and for the foreseeable future (of decades, not just 2020,) we could participate constructively if we felt terms were agreeable to us. No, we are not demanding price to us be dropped or discounted or pro-rated or subsidized or anything at all of that nature...as that, too, has already been asked. Here, in this instant, we don't feel this opportunity is what we need. As we number our Doctor Who clientele in the thousands, with many very active still, it simply seemed right to explain the current status of this situation where many congregate, and perhaps temper some of the sentiments that can go, uninformed, into deep waters...which have not served us perfectly well in the past when they take the lead.

CO made a choice in how to distribute into the US market for now. For all the concerns being voiced here, please stop for a moment and give them credit when it seemed the situation allowed for at least making an effort to get things back into the US market.

I'm not slamming a door shut on any future relationship here. However, as I said above, terms that were presented weren't in harmony with our way of doing business with our customers, as we see it. And how we see it goes into the responsibility of making good decisions for ourselves. Like it does for all businesses. We're now into our 45th year and we're not just going somewhere because there's a bump in the road, and we're still carrying other Doctor Who merchandise as what we feel is a key part of what we do, even including backlist on this very line...we'll be here if there's a sense we're valuable to talk to, whether it leads to change or not, or if they already know they're going to adjust a little and do things in a manner we can work with. If it's an issue for you, by all means, present all of these things when you get the chance to the other players involved. I don't read every piece of information every day regarding these things since, frankly, I have a business to run...there are only so many hours in the day! But, at the very least, it seems CO has eyes and ears and makes some effort, so if they have someone in here to discuss it, chances are all the important concerns you're listing here will very much be heard.

For our part, we're probably looked upon as dinosaurs for never forgetting we are nothing without our customers. We give our word and do our best to keep it. Aside from data security, there's a reason not to go so e-commerce heavy. There's something right about dealing with a human, and on our side of the transaction in physically putting our hands on something before processing a charge. It's gratifying to get such instant support from people who have worked with us in the past for the efforts we made as partners with our customers. We genuinely appreciate that support, and continue to put forth our best effort, always, to honor and respect it in how we do business, and make decisions.

Michael Salvo
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com
Link to that original post: https://gallifreybase.com/gb/threads/cl ... t-12262265
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Theta Sigma
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Re: USA Toy stock now available

Post by Theta Sigma »

I'm hardpressed to think of any proprietor who gives as much of a damn about their customers and collectors in general as this guy. I'd order the new wave from him if he had them.
Formerly Thete, and Theta Sigma of DWT fora past...

Spannerintheworks
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Re: USA Toy stock now available

Post by Spannerintheworks »

So, we're a few days out from release and the American merch site still has not been further updated, no emails have been sent (Of course I went for updates), and Amazon does not have pre-release listings.

This can all be righted and for all I know will be 100% good as of 7/25, but I can't help but feel that there's some missed opportunity. Prerelease sales, better communication, more clarity/understanding on the price difference....

I want it to go right and I'm in Character's corner; I just wish everything was less....unclear in the lead up.

Come on guys, fingers crossed....

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skifflebits
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Re: USA Toy stock now available

Post by skifflebits »

I think this is down to the new distributor, not CO, so if there are fingers to be pointed, I think it's that them.

I'm also not surprised that they're not emailing anything out until the figures are live on the site. But I hope the toys go up on Amazon come 7/25, and I hope they send out some kind of notice. It would be a real shame if they didn't.
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Spannerintheworks
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Re: USA Toy stock now available

Post by Spannerintheworks »

skifflebits wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:30 pm
I think this is down to the new distributor, not CO, so if there are fingers to be pointed, I think it's that them.

I'm also not surprised that they're not emailing anything out until the figures are live on the site. But I hope the toys go up on Amazon come 7/25, and I hope they send out some kind of notice. It would be a real shame if they didn't.
Yeah, I suppose I should be clear that I'm not trying to be negative. I just wish it was less missed opportunities in the lead-up, especially with such a landmark change of transatlantic availability.

The lack of communication/clarity is just not what I'm used to; Again, hopefully just behind-the-scenes growing pains or scrambling to have it all good by release.

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