PDA

View Full Version : UK Warseers: Your ideal online store



JohnnyFoxton
14-02-2009, 19:38
Hello everyone.

I run a reasonably successful online toy store in the UK. I have recently been approached by Games Workshop about opening up a trade account with them.

Before we commit to stocking such a large new product range, could anybody from the UK answer a few of the following questions?


What are your experiences with online stores? (no naming and shaming, please)

Do you think there is room for another online store in the UK or is the market too saturated?

How often do you shop online as opposed to at a GW bricks and mortar outlet?

What is the biggest factor in your choice of online store? (price, website presentation, word of mouth, etc.)

What would your perfect online store offer you as a customer? (within reason, no giving stuff away for free, for example!)

Please rate the following in order of importance to you:

*Free shipping
*Fast, next day delivery
*large discount from RRP
*Friendly customer service
*Ocassional sales and monthly offers, instead of a flat storewide discount

Thanks in advance for your input!

Alfie
14-02-2009, 21:01
What are your experiences with online stores? (no naming and shaming, please)
Generally pretty good. Never had anything not turned up or major problems. Only problem i did have was an order that took a while and communication with the online store was difficult (they took a long time to reply to emails )

Do you think there is room for another online store in the UK or is the market too saturated?

I would say that the market does have a large number of online shops and it could be difficult to get customers to move from shops they already use (assuming they have found ones they like). I cannot really say if it is too saturated. I use a few online shops and wouldnt be adverse to using another if the transaction went well. There would need to be advertising to get the word out.

How often do you shop online as opposed to at a GW bricks and mortar outlet?

I mix between a local game store and online. Though i probably spend more online (though i dont keep track to give an accurate figure)

What is the biggest factor in your choice of online store? (price, website presentation, word of mouth, etc.)

Biggest factor....first off it would be word of mouth, as this would make me visit the site. Then, when i visit the site - price and ease of use of website/shop (this would make me place an order) and service inc communication (as this would make me come back). I think a combination of all. I have used a website to buy models but i probably wont again due to the difficulty using the website (slow and not user friendly). I have also looked on websites people have recommended but not placed an order due to price. There lies the problem, there are enough online stores that if i use one i dont like there are enough to find another that i like.

What would your perfect online store offer you as a customer? (within reason, no giving stuff away for free, for example!)

Decent price (cheaper than bricks and mortar store..otherwise why use it), good service and communication.

Please rate the following in order of importance to you:

*Free shipping 3
*Fast, next day delivery 4
*large discount from RRP 1
*Friendly customer service 2
*Ocassional sales and monthly offers, instead of a flat storewide discount 5

Out of the above i put price first as i am not too bothered about speed of shipping (within reason), and while i like friendly customer service its online so it would the prices that would make me place the initial order as i wouldnt really get to speak to anyone (assuming it all goes well).

AmBlam
14-02-2009, 22:26
Nice layout with pictures of what I'm buying with the standard discount and I would probably buy off you. I'm not much of a fan of Paypal so please accept switch/maestro.

rev
14-02-2009, 23:05
offer more discount than the other guy and have good customer service and I'm yours.

rev

ToXin
14-02-2009, 23:05
Personally, I've always used online sales over GW on the principle of getting better service and a cheaper price, the ones that get repeat service have given what I consider to be a 'friendly' transaction and a good standard discount (usually with free shipping so there's no 'hidden' costs).

There's a lot to be said for a personalised response and good communication, I like recieving occasional e-mail updates on special offers, even when it's not something I'm specifically interested in I ususally pay a visit to the website to have a look if there's anything else that interests me.

My previously favoured web-sites have either changed hands and not updated, or gone by the wayside so I think there may be an opportunity for replacement by a suitable alternative. However, in the present climate, it could be a larger than normal risk for anyone entering the market without a reputation already built in more favourable climate...

My previous experiences:
all good, although 1 store changed hands and I don't get the sense that they are any use now. Anther 2 have gone more to the buy it now, or e-store instead of e-bay and super-bargains, but both I would certainly deal with again and recommend.

In a nutshell, a reputaion is hard earned and in the present economic climate difficult to establish. If you choose to go ahead, I wish you prosperity and hope that the best of those traits that make a repeat business enjoyable to conduct are quicky established. :)

scarletsquig
14-02-2009, 23:12
What are your experiences with online stores? (no naming and shaming, please)

Mostly good, with the exception of one that stole 100 from me.


Do you think there is room for another online store in the UK or is the market too saturated?

Yes, there's room especially if you want to export to Europe. At the moment GW product is very cheap for anyone that gets paid in Euros.

Plus, there's a lot of online GW stores that have stayed in business despite poor websites/ interfaces/ other problems, so it's a simple matter of upping your game to take them on.


How often do you shop online as opposed to at a GW bricks and mortar outlet?
Almot everything I buy is bought online, unless it's the odd bit of paint/glue/ white dwarf, or something unavailable to trade accounts (like most of the witch hunters range).



What is the biggest factor in your choice of online store? (price, website presentation, word of mouth, etc.)

1. Word of Mouth. Having been scammed before (there have been a lot of online warhammer stores that have gone out of business and taken their last month's worth of customer's money with them), if you want my business, you're going to need a good rep first. You've already got an established physical store, so that helps too.

2. Price. If you want to appeal to the European market, go free shipping and lower discount. UK market, paid-for shipping, bigger discount. Optimal route would be to have seperate websites for french/ spanish/ german and use GW's regional sites in those languages to translate the product names, along with hiring a freelance translator to write out all other text properly.

Additional discount on bulk orders is also a huge incentive, most offer it as soon as 100 of product is bought... I'm still waiting for one that will offer an extra discount on 500+ orders.

3. Presentation. The one I buy most of my stuff from has a very sharp and well-designed website with all payment options on the front page, easy to browse, with sections laid out in a simple clickable expandable menu on the side. Do NOT use fancy javascript widgets that cause images to hover over your mouse, or any of that nonsense.


What would your perfect online store offer you as a customer? (within reason, no giving stuff away for free, for example!)

- Extra discounts at the 100 and 500 level of purchase.
- Extra discount for paying by cheque (you have credit card and paypal fees that need to be paid.. pass the saving on to the customer if they use a payment method that avoids them).
- A loyalty scheme that isn't a scam... many webstores over the past few years have had attractive loyalty schemes, netting them many large purchases (for people to get the "gold level" loyalty status with the extra discount it offers), and then have closed down their business shortly after, meaning that they do not have to give anything back to their biggest customers.
- Well-laid out menu for all items, with box image, and a picture of the sprue (royalty-free images not ripped from the GW site are easily available online, with a bit of google effort).
- Lots of payment options. All credit/ debit cards, paypal and google checkout.
- Multiple delivery options, with accurate postage + packing fees... no rounding up! The store I currently buy from has this in place, and I appreciate the fact that they're not trying to mess me around. The second I get the impression that a place is trying to fleece me, I click elsewhere and never come back.


Please rate the following in order of importance to you:

1. large discount from RRP
2. Friendly customer service

And the rest, I'm not all that bothered about. As for a monthly sales thing, it's probably best to have a combination of a good chunk off RRP, combined with a 1-month only sale on a high-ticket product for an army that is being released that month (like an extra 5% off the battalion box)... that would provide an incentive to get some extra stuff alongside it, along with a slight "buy now, because it'll be going up in price next month" frenzy.

If you're taking out banner advertising, then monthly promotions are cool because you can provide a hook with whatever's popular that month. Also, if you tie promotions to the "new army" released that month, then you will benefit by proxy from White Dwarf's advertising. GW has it's business model nailed down, best to be on-side with it.

Sniper Kelly
15-02-2009, 00:40
What are your experiences with online stores? (no naming and shaming, please)
There is one retailer I use every time. Never had a problem with them.

Do you think there is room for another online store in the UK or is the market too saturated?
Can't really say.

How often do you shop online as opposed to at a GW bricks and mortar outlet?
I probably spend about 30 every 2 months. I never buy from GW stores as I don't feel comfortable in them.

What is the biggest factor in your choice of online store? (price, website presentation, word of mouth, etc.)
Reliability - knowing that your items will arrive quickly and well packaged.

Please rate the following in order of importance to you:

*Free shipping #1
*Fast, next day delivery#3
*large discount from RRP #2
*Friendly customer service#4
*Ocassional sales and monthly offers, instead of a flat storewide discount#5

The Ape
15-02-2009, 00:48
Bear in mind it will be very difficult to make a profit if you offer free postage AND a larger than average discount, especially with merchant fees, as the trade discount is good but not fantastic. You're best course of action is to compensate by having more items in stock than most stores so there is no delay in getting the order out-you're service will be your x-factor so to speak.

Personally, I have found offering a local pick up option to be a popular one

Earl_UK
17-02-2009, 20:55
*large discount from RRP

This is my Primary reason for buying outside of GW

*Fast, next day delivery

Yes i want my goodies Magically teleported to me before i have pressed the complete order button! ( delivery time on any mail order company is PARAMOUNT !!!)

*Friendly customer service

This is Manditory.

*Ocassional sales and monthly offers, instead of a flat storewide discount

I would rather have an alround good price over a specail deal.

*Free shipping

Its not free as its going to have to be built into the price regardless as your retail price will always have to take cost of sale into account.



My advice (i actually run one and work for another ;) )

Price Keen, Deliver fast, Comunicate well.

Offer a good range of delivery options i.e. (uk based) Courier/Parcel Force, Special, Recorded, First Class, Second Class.

Also quality Packaging no squashed boxes please.

Tonberry
17-02-2009, 21:48
Accepting paypal would be useful, as it could help first time buyers feel confident that their money is safe.
For me, free P&P is a winner. Of all the many ebay stores, I always buy from the same one. Reason? He offers free P&P on everything. Same low prices as everyone else, but manages free P&P, this may just be a personal thing but I'm sure it would help attract custom.
Finally, and if you can do it legally, a decent bits service. Especially on the stuff that's always out of stock on other sites, like plastic Mk IV heads and possessed wings.

marv335
18-02-2009, 00:40
Accept multiple payment options (paypal is handy, but CC is good too)
Decent discount, possibly stepped with larger discounts for larger orders.
My games club puts a 5-600 order in every couple of months so deals for large orders would be nice.

Tyron
18-02-2009, 02:39
The problem is too many online stores these days do the same deals, there is only one store I have found who are cheaper then everyone else.

For example most websites sell a tactical squad for 13.50, but this site I got to sells them for 12.80.

If you are willing to beat these kind of prices then you will make more money than everyone else. If you do the same discount then you are wasting your time.

Earl_UK
20-02-2009, 10:43
Be aware that as of next week indys will only be able to place 1 order a week with UK games workshop.

This will dramatically increase stock holding so as to be able to full fill potential orders if offer a next day service.

untimention
20-02-2009, 10:51
I have been using Online Stores over GW for years and i have used A LOT of them.

Dont waste your time advertising on facebook.. i notice more and more are and they are awful.

In answer to your questions



What are your experiences with online stores? (no naming and shaming, please)

Usually Spot on... packaging is good, communication is good.

Do you think there is room for another online store in the UK or is the market too saturated?

Always room however you need a unique selling point, one store i have used offers 1% cashback which is always nice.... Also offering other products that GW models could incorporate e.g. gamezone.... miniature bases etc

How often do you shop online as opposed to at a GW bricks and mortar outlet?

ALWAYS i never buy in store and i only buy direct only models from GW direct

What is the biggest factor in your choice of online store? (price, website presentation, word of mouth, etc.)

PRICE is key... i would mess around if your thinking of doing it go BOLD. most company's are offering up to 40% off so offering 20% and you will not have a good customer base. Also special offers, cash back etc play a major part.

What would your perfect online store offer you as a customer? (within reason, no giving stuff away for free, for example!)

Price, layout, information... why not inc the rules on the page as you would have the army books and codex as stock

Please rate the following in order of importance to you:

*Free shipping
*Fast, next day delivery
*large discount from RRP CRITICAL NUMBER 1
*Friendly customer service
*Ocassional sales and monthly offers, instead of a flat storewide discount


I would be happy to help further if you want to PM me as i have a lot of experience with dealing... and i was actually going to set up a store for Gamezone... def look into selling as officially no one in the UK sells them on a store

zedeyejoe
20-02-2009, 12:27
Well I think you would be entering a market where you would be competing on price, so why bother?

You hear horror stories of online traders who have carried on trading for years without actually delivering goods. Why do people place orders with them? its because they are cheap (mind you if they don't deliver, of course they can be cheap).

Sorry, I would look harder for a product line to sell and one that might make a bit of money.


Accept multiple payment options (paypal is handy, but CC is good too)

With a PayPal business account you can take credit card payments from customers who don't have PayPal accounts. So PayPal is also the abilty to accept CC's!

Osbad
20-02-2009, 13:27
What are your experiences with online stores? (no naming and shaming, please)

Generally good. Although I only deal with stores that have got a good reputation on t'internet already. So far I haven't been ripped off yet.


Do you think there is room for another online store in the UK or is the market too saturated?

Hard to tell. There are a lot of competitors out there. Personally speaking, unless you can beat wayland games (the current best offer I can find) or maelstrom games (very reliable and often cheap), or gwonline.biz (again, reliable and cheap) I wouldn't be tempted to try a new store.


How often do you shop online as opposed to at a GW bricks and mortar outlet?

I don't buy from B&M ever apart from the odd emergency pot of paint or brush. Or hardback books, because postage tends to be expensive and wipe out the online discount. All my models, and those of my 2 sons are bought on line at 20% or more discount. Or second hand off ebay or at shows. These are toys we're talking about, not fine art, so I want to see them priced accordingly!

I don't play in B&M stores, so don't feel any excessive loyalty towards them. They're a business not a charity, and if they aren't offering what I want at a price I want, I won't buy from them. I have to work hard to earn my money, so should they if they want any of it! ;)


What is the biggest factor in your choice of online store? (price, website presentation, word of mouth, etc.)

Primarily discount and cheap postage, but the website has to actually work and not be a complete mess to navigate. I can cope with ordering off a list by email, but prefer a simple clicky shopping basket type affair if possible.

Also, I MUST be able to pay by Paypal. I'm leary of giving a new website my credit or debit card details, and haven't written out a cheque in over a decade...


What would your perfect online store offer you as a customer? (within reason, no giving stuff away for free, for example!)

At least a 25% discount and free postage. I'm not interested in loyalty bonuses or gimmicks.


Please rate the following in order of importance to you:

My order of importance:

*Large discount from RRP (Absolutely essential. If you can't offer discount I may as well pick it up from my local GW on my way home. Or get 20%+ from your competitors.)
*Free shipping (desirable, but not essential if the discount is good enough.)
*Occasional sales and monthly offers, instead of a flat storewide discount (I'd prefer the simple discount, but I appreciate it is a good way to get rid of any overstocking etc.)
*Friendly customer service (should be taken as read - if you are unfriendly I'll walk away. Simple as. Good customer service is an obligation and not optional in service industries. I work in one, so I expect vendors to operate to the same standards I hold my own staff to.)
*Fast, next day delivery (optional extra, very unlikely to be used)

Good luck. And I hope you do well!

JohnnyFoxton
20-02-2009, 13:28
Thank you everyone for your replies. It certainly seems that prices are the most important factor in shopping online and quite understandable too.


most company's are offering up to 40% off so offering 20% and you will not have a good customer base. Also special offers, cash back etc play a major part.


Unfortunately I think you'll find that most companies offering "40% off" are lying or at least fabricating their figures. Why? Because the Games Workshop trade discount is only 35% for online stores!

It does seem the general consensus is, offer at least a 25% discount or don't open a store at all. When you only have a 10% profit margin to play with, it doesn't leave much room for credit card processing fees, buying quality packaging material, shipping costs, employee wages, paying VAT and all the other things that go along with running a successful business.

I think we will gracefully decline GW's offer of opening a trade account. Thank you to everyone who replied to this thread, by all means, keep it going if you wish! It's certainly an interesting insight into people's spending habits!

Osbad
20-02-2009, 13:46
It does seem the general consensus is, offer at least a 25% discount or don't open a store at all. When you only have a 10% profit margin to play with, it doesn't leave much room for credit card processing fees, buying quality packaging material, shipping costs, employee wages, paying VAT and all the other things that go along with running a successful business.

I think we will gracefully decline GW's offer of opening a trade account.

Not entirely surprised by your reaction. I suspect (although cannot confirm) that most online stores earn very little per unit direct profit and survive out of sheer volume and minimal overheads, and/or a sideline done in otherwise unproductive time. If you already were a B&M store selling GW, you could run a webstore on top without incurring extra stocking costs, which could make it work, possibly. It's not something to do on a whim though. Particularly if when GW operate a successful direct web store of their own - which guarantees that the only successful independent webstores are ones that offer significant discount in one way or another.

Charax
20-02-2009, 14:47
What are your experiences with online stores? (no naming and shaming, please)
Generally good


Do you think there is room for another online store in the UK or is the market too saturated?
There's always room for another, as long as you're distinctive.


How often do you shop online as opposed to at a GW bricks and mortar outlet?
Almost every purchase I've made in the last 5 years has been online.


What is the biggest factor in your choice of online store? (price, website presentation, word of mouth, etc.)
Price, without a doubt.


What would your perfect online store offer you as a customer? (within reason, no giving stuff away for free, for example!)
A wide range of products from different suppliers (I buy paints from at least 3 different companies - being able to buy them all at once without worrying about 3 or 4 loads of P&P would be useful)


Please rate the following in order of importance to you:
1) large discount from RRP
2) Free shipping
3) Friendly customer service
4) Ocassional sales and monthly offers, instead of a flat storewide discount
5) Fast, next day delivery

I don't care how long it takes to arrive, so long as the order's accurate, didn't cost much and I know when it'll be here (even if you say it'll be in 4 weeks)


Thanks in advance for your input!
No problem

t-tauri
20-02-2009, 17:23
If you're already operating an online toy store then you must have a chunk of the infrastructure already there? Do you get much repeat business? I'd guess if you've an existing customer base which is coming back to you then you could move GW starter and core products to them without having to discount too deeply.

It's only the internet savvy who are really pushing for discount. Most posters here will check ebay and a few online stores before committing to a purchase to get the very lowest price. Other internet users? If you've good advertising in the right places you might be able to get a decent market in the "mum and dad" buying sector.

isidril93
20-02-2009, 17:45
id love a new store...just mae sure yours is unique

also offring collector's range would help people choosing you over their nearest game store as they order a model and while they're at it another 2 regiments

Earl_UK
20-02-2009, 21:02
id love a new store...just mae sure yours is unique

also offring collector's range would help people choosing you over their nearest game store as they order a model and while they're at it another 2 regiments

Unfortunalty Games Workshop only have a hand picked catalogue available to Indys.

Large amounts of there product is only buyable at there stores or there own website.

If its not listed and Maelstrom or Buy For Less Online, its not available to indys. (not taking into account old stock etc)