PDA

View Full Version : GW Customer Experience Position



Kozuka
18-01-2014, 00:49
I happened to be browsing the GW Careers website today (ALOT of internal changes it seems), and I noticed this. I actually got quite excited.
I don't think this is ever something they have done before, at least not publicly. Depending on the outcome it could lead to interesting and positive developments with the way GW interacts with its customer base.


http://careers.games-workshop.com/2014/01/15/customer-experience-interim-2-years-nottingham-uk/

Reinholt
18-01-2014, 03:35
The biggest problem I see are the words "... in our stores".

GW's problem is not the experience in the stores. It's how they design and market their games, how they treat their independent retailers, and how they have treated the customer base from a corporate level. The least of my problems with GW is what happens in their stores. I actually read this as a negative sign: they remain clueless about what the real problems are.

Coldhatred
18-01-2014, 06:00
Well, Reinholt, I'd still say it's one of the myriad of problems they have right now, so I guess it's something. Is it low down on the list, heck yes, but it's something.

starlight
18-01-2014, 06:45
Interesting idea, lots of potential, we shall see...

anthrax1990
18-01-2014, 07:03
I think the stores could potentially be a serious issue for them in terms of customer experience. Everyone i know actively avoids going in there because of the pushy sales staff who won't leave you alone, and talk down to you assuming you don't know anything just because you don't frequent the store. The staff also pick up a random box for a new release, tell you how cool it is, put the box in your hand, get the one out of the display cabinet to show you - it's never even related to anything i'm in there for!

When i am in almost any other store (HMV for example) i come out with much more than i went in for because i have (a serious impulse buying problem) the time to browse without being hassled. In theory i should be a GW staffers wet dream, but if i *need* to go into the store i try to get in and out with what i need in as little time as possible.

Don't get me wrong, there are a few of the blokes who work there who ask if you need any help and then leave you alone, but the vast majority, over every GW store i've been to are way too pushy.

Anyway, the point of my post before ranting took over was that if somebody who is actively interested in the product they sell doesn't like going into their store, why would a new or potential customer return?

anthrax1990
18-01-2014, 07:07
EDIT: Double post

frozenwastes
18-01-2014, 08:02
They still don't get it. It's good that they are talking and thinking in terms of customer experience, but they're still thinking about their stores and the experience of buying the miniatures rather than the experience of the actual product itself. They want someone to investigate how customers experience GW selling to them rather than actual product experience. Ugh.

MiyamatoMusashi
18-01-2014, 08:48
How do they know it's going to take two years?
What if it's finished earlier?
What if it takes longer?
Will they start implementing recommendations before the two years are up?
Why the focus on the stores alone?
What if the stores are the problem?
Who has historically been tasked with providing this, aka. whose toes will they be treading on?

I could ask more but I have to rush...

lbecks
18-01-2014, 08:55
I guess GW finally realized they have some problems that they can't fix themselves. I wonder if the person who gets this job will be met with a big fat no when they tell Tom Kirby he needs to lower prices.

Darnok
18-01-2014, 09:03
So they want to change something, but despite running the whole thing have no damn clue on what to change? Yeah, that sounds promising... not. :eyebrows:

I'm also curious: if that job position is filled, and the work is done, we are talking about being in the middle of 2016. Maybe another year will be needed to implement the suggested changes - if they are in fact agreed to, which is by no means certain - and to possibly see the first results. By the end of 2017 those changes might see results that can be measured with reliable numbers. So... over three years from now? All of this, while the current state of things stays as is? Let me just raise another eyebrow...

ashc
18-01-2014, 09:29
Stores bigger problem is the one-man model. The poor person working it just doesn't have a lot of time to spend discussing customers needs and expectations. Also, it makes opening times incredibly unreliable, I have been bitten by that one a couple of times and it puts me off trying to go to store.

Sent from my GT-I8190N using Tapatalk

Typo
18-01-2014, 09:32
I'm always slightly dejected when the staff at my local GW leave/move/switch around, because it means I've got another few visits worth of training the newbies to not badger me with "would you like X Y and Z?" the moment I walk in the door. I understand they have targets, but I'm not the one they're going to reach them with - I come in for the occasional pot of paint, or new book, and that's generally it other than passing advice on painting methods. Unfortunatly the new staff don't seem to have much idea about that either :(

It's just as bad in other shops when someone comes up and asks if you need any help (No, I'll ask you if I need help - just leave me alone), but I've never been in a shop run by another company where you can reliably play what my friends and I have laughingly dubbed 'The Mississippi game', as in - how many Mississippi's can you count before being pounced on by a staffer. Highest count wins.

nosebiter
18-01-2014, 09:34
I may be naive, but isnt this sort of a job, something a company that owns a chain of stores, should do on a continual basis, ans not when s... Hits the fan?

Coldhatred
18-01-2014, 17:09
I just hope this ends up leading to other "revelations" for GW.

I was in my local GW store the other day and a group of three twelve year olds came in, and were thusly excited about "battling" on the tabletop. They then preceded to ask all the wrong questions fron GW's point of view like "Why does this box of five guys cost three times what this box of twenty costs?" and "What if I like these Ork dudes, how do I start with them? (in relation to the Dark Vengeance set). The store manager did his best to answer to the best of his ability and he did get them going with some boxes of miniatures, but they still have no rulebook, or army books. I asked the manager afterward how he felt about the experience and he told me, flat out, "I doubt I would have started nowadays at their age, even they can tell the prices for many things are didiculous."

But, price isn't the only problem, not by a long shot, they need to start treating their customers like customers instead of capitalistic zombie slaves, give them intelligent products, a great magazine, and an intelligent store model. However the price does need to come down by at least 25% or we won't be seeing new players in the hobby.

starlight
18-01-2014, 17:26
A fundamental issue is that GW refuses (refused) to allow staff to call the people spending money on GW stuff *customers*. The term is (was) *Hobbyists*. That behaviour alone tells a story...and it isn't a good one.

Wintermute
18-01-2014, 18:13
EDIT: Double post

Then why don't you delete it instead of editing it? :p

On topic, I agree with Reinholt. GW is focusing on their stores and this has been clear for a number of months now. They want to get more people into their stores in order to use hard selling techniques in an attempt to increase sales. This is partially what lies behind the upcoming change to WD going weekly because it's only being sold in GW stores and independents.

Marked_by_chaos
18-01-2014, 20:37
A fundamental issue is that GW refuses (refused) to allow staff to call the people spending money on GW stuff *customers*. The term is (was) *Hobbyists*. That behaviour alone tells a story...and it isn't a good one.

This is at the core of the problem. GW refer to the hobby when convenient, and then proceed to act as if "the hobby" experience and sale of models are unrelated.

The crux of the problem is that with a hobby people are far more invested than simple consumers of disposable goods. They care about the handling of ip and the aesthetic of their a army they care about the rules for their special snowflake models and they care about the health of the community.

In GW corporate speak you could substitute "hobbyist" for "junkie" and everything would read the same. They effectively think they have a mindless, price insensitive target market who are easily distracted by shiny new things.

My greatest concern from the "hobby" is that the rumours about the future of forge world and black library will destroy the greatest thing going for them. Their hobby driven integrity and degree of independence from GW central.

yabbadabba
18-01-2014, 20:55
This job is not what it seems, according to my reading. That it has a 2 year limit indicates a couple of things, including that the agenda for the role has already been set, and that, possibly, the company is looking to recruit another potential Mark Wells. GW has plenty of staff, past and present, who would and could do this job with their eyes shut and still make enormous improvements.

fenrisbrit
18-01-2014, 21:35
GW has plenty of staff, past and present, who would and could do this job with their eyes shut and still make enormous improvements.

Glass half full:

Any organisation needs fresh blood and new ideas.

Whatever the problems that are perceived to exist I would contest that this is a positive thing so long as the incumbent is given some freedom to challenge and improve....

Llew
18-01-2014, 21:39
GW seems to labor under the idea that their particular challenges are difficult to figure out. They're really not. And I agree with Yabba on this: they already have plenty of people they know who are very capable business people who could analyze the problems and propose solutions. On top of that, they'll have a really, really deep knowledge of how GW works, and would be better equipped to figure out what internal roadblocks need to be overcome to make the changes.

I don't think they're looking for a Mark Wells. I think they're looking for someone who they can point to as the source of their next planned big changes. (Someone who will, conveniently, not be around when the changes are implemented.)

Poncho160
18-01-2014, 21:48
Never really noticed it before, but it was painfully obvious that on black friday and the post xmas and new year sales, this, virtually every store on the whole high street and in all the shopping centers were having sales and were packed, apart from GW, and that is probably why all the GWs I saw over the xmas period were always kinda empty.

If they want to get people into their shops, GW need to follow the example of every other shop out there and start treating their customers with a little respect. Virtually everyone is pretty savvy when it comes to shopping and GW isn't selling themselves very well.

ihavetoomuchminis
18-01-2014, 21:48
But the most important thing for this job is to agree with everything Management says. "Yes man, oh yes, you're right, and i was wrong, keep doing it as till now".

Torga_DW
18-01-2014, 21:54
But the most important thing for this job is to agree with everything Management says. "Yes man, oh yes, you're right, and i was wrong, keep doing it as till now".

This. This is why i doubt it will lead to anything. The 'previous' white dwarf team were doing a good job. The 'current' white dwarf team are. The 'new' team will too. The problem is they don't write their own job description, management does. They've put out a great magazine in terms of what they've been told to produce - and they apparently wear the heat when customers don't like it. Shoot the messenger and all that.

Thorin Hubertson
18-01-2014, 22:07
There you have it:
"Working at Games Workshop
At Games Workshop we are looking for people who will do their best to understand the needs of the company and to put those needs first when they are at work."
That's exactly the problem. They do not write "do their best to understand the needs of the customer". To understand that, they do not need to recruit a new employee, they just need to read what is written on Warseer and similar sites. They do not have to change their shops in the first place, even if that is a beginning. They should rather have a look at their products (example: finecast!), at fluff changes no ones likes (example: Grey Knights that slaughter Sororitas!), and most of all, their prices.

Reinholt
19-01-2014, 00:33
The problems GW has are all solvable: I am sure many current employees, as well as many of us, have ideas about how to fix them.

However, just because the problems can be solved does not mean the problems will be solved. I think GW really needs two things to turn itself around: first, to get rid of the current management, and second, to get a clear eyed, unsentimental set of people put in charge, because there will need to be changes to the way many things are done that are going to involve a lot of bloodshed at the top and very different expectations of what a good job entails further down the chain.

Done properly, that would be a good thing and revive the company, but I don't think it will be done at all (unless it is forced upon them in a hostile takeover or bankruptcy proceedings), much less well.

This is why this kind of thing is a net negative signal to me: advising Kirby isn't going to change anything. He's part of the problem, not part of the solution.

TheFang
19-01-2014, 01:11
Can you imagine when the "Customer Experience" person presents the final report.

"Everyone in the room needs to be removed. We need to change the vast majority of our business practices."

No wonder it's a two year fixed term. The report will be a suicide note.

This is GW's fundamental problem. We can all come up with solutions, some of them are probably workable, but the GW management are ostriches to any view that conflicts with their reading of the situation. They need to focus back on the customer and kill the churn and burn approach.

paintadikt
19-01-2014, 02:09
@Reinholt, an entire clean slate of management might not be the best thing for the stock price or even for giving consumers confidence in the interim, people want change, but they will want some acknowledgement that the change will work. A managed coup could work, a hero of the people could emerge hahaha.

I disagree that the replacement must be unsentimental though, that seems to be what the management currently are, and they've hollowed out the GW hobby at many turns. I think the sentiment needs to permeate all of their company again. A love of the highlights of the hobby should be the requisite of their corporate rhetoric, the strength of these things should be their KPI's: Eavymetal , WD content, fluff, conversions, game synergy (not just a lack of synergy and then Jervis Johnson coming out in WD and saying well, just make up your own rules etc etc). Definately need a new CEO, thats a given

Reinholt
19-01-2014, 04:38
@Reinholt, an entire clean slate of management might not be the best thing for the stock price or even for giving consumers confidence in the interim, people want change, but they will want some acknowledgement that the change will work. A managed coup could work, a hero of the people could emerge hahaha.

I disagree that the replacement must be unsentimental though, that seems to be what the management currently are, and they've hollowed out the GW hobby at many turns. I think the sentiment needs to permeate all of their company again. A love of the highlights of the hobby should be the requisite of their corporate rhetoric, the strength of these things should be their KPI's: Eavymetal , WD content, fluff, conversions, game synergy (not just a lack of synergy and then Jervis Johnson coming out in WD and saying well, just make up your own rules etc etc). Definately need a new CEO, thats a given

Unsentimental: willing to fire people. It's practical and competent to understand the games and the customers; even if you have no strong personal attachment to them, the customers clearly do, and you need to respect that if you want them to keep giving you money. That is where GW's current management falls down. I don't demand management be gamers, but they do need to respect gamers, or it's not going to work. Imagine if the CEO of GM held people who drove cars in contempt...

paintadikt
19-01-2014, 07:30
Well I'm from Australia so he sorta does. But I take your point about what you meant by unsentimental. I don't think they need a strong leader to drive a cull though, just a revitalised mission statement and some hard work to win people back. noone can do it by themself, not even a small team (see: current and previous Aus govt.)

nosebiter
19-01-2014, 07:59
Unsentimental: willing to fire people. It's practical and competent to understand the games and the customers; even if you have no strong personal attachment to them, the customers clearly do, and you need to respect that if you want them to keep giving you money. That is where GW's current management falls down. I don't demand management be gamers, but they do need to respect gamers, or it's not going to work. Imagine if the CEO of GM held people who drove cars in contempt...

Looking at he rubbish cars they made, he clearly did ;-)

Ombragier
19-01-2014, 08:48
To understand that, they do not need to recruit a new employee, they just need to read what is written on Warseer and similar sites.
I think the problem with this is filtering all the stuff, that would ruin your business and the usual "Prices too dang high! They lost me as a customer forever! I quit!" (especially when they don't act). But having an ear open to the community, especially when you have an active and visible one like GW has in my eyes, that could be definitely used improve things. By visible, I mean things like blogs and forums everybody can read, even when you are not part of (that part of) the community (e. g. have an account).

anchorbine
19-01-2014, 19:20
It doesn't need to be a two year job. I could put together a viable and successful action plan in two weeks. They just need one single person who actually has a solid multi-store retail background and some understanding of what the hobby is all about to oversee their retail division. It's crucial though that they have the ability to implement the basic retail strategies needed to move the stores forward. Both short term and long term issues would be mind bogglingly easy to fix. A basic understanding of retail 101 would work wonders for GW.

If they simply want a two year critique, it's pretty pointless.

Coldhatred
19-01-2014, 23:26
It doesn't need to be a two year job. I could put together a viable and successful action plan in two weeks. They just need one single person who actually has a solid multi-store retail background and some understanding of what the hobby is all about to oversee their retail division. It's crucial though that they have the ability to implement the basic retail strategies needed to move the stores forward. Both short term and long term issues would be mind bogglingly easy to fix. A basic understanding of retail 101 would work wonders for GW.

If they simply want a two year critique, it's pretty pointless.

Very much agreed. It looks like they are looking for a new retail manager for North America, too bad that person can't do anything because it's all dictated from Nottingham.

azhagmorglum
20-01-2014, 11:33
It should be obvious that this role will require a huge amount of travelling on your own to find these opportunities, - See more at: http://careers.games-workshop.com/2014/01/15/customer-experience-interim-2-years-nottingham-uk/#sthash.5Bum8NCx.dpuf

DOes that mean the recruit will have to pay for his trips??:confused:

IcedCrow
20-01-2014, 13:25
I don't think it matters what GW does, the internet community will vomit its bile all over it.

GW needs new blood in its ranks. They also need people willing to tell those running the show wtf the real problems are and not just say yes all of the time. There have been a lot of firings and shakeups (from what has been said anyhow, I do not work for them so I do not know intricate details, only that a lot of the people that made the decisions to just push models and weren't actually gamers themselves were let go for not having a clue) so I will view this in a positive light and say that they are trying to figure out how to turn the ship around at least somewhat.

But I still stick by my statement when I say it doesn't matter what they do, the internet community will pour their venom all over it.

shelfunit.
20-01-2014, 13:56
I don't think it matters what GW does, the internet community will vomit its bile all over it...

...But I still stick by my statement when I say it doesn't matter what they do, the internet community will pour their venom all over it.

Only if it is completely the wrong thing to do, and the wrong thing to focus on. When (if) they focus on the correct things then they will be praised for it, sadly this has been lacking in the last 5+ years.

IcedCrow
20-01-2014, 13:58
That's just it... what are the correct things to focus on?

I think that's part of what this position is for, and I think that they need not hire yet another person that is not a gamer that has no clue about what its customers do with the game to tell them.

shelfunit.
20-01-2014, 14:12
That's just it... what are the correct things to focus on?

I think that's part of what this position is for, and I think that they need not hire yet another person that is not a gamer that has no clue about what its customers do with the game to tell them.

Probably why people have stopped buying their product suddenly. Now, I'm not saying that sending what looks to be a glorified mystery shopper around won't help in some way, but the things that generate the most complaints on forums would be a start.

1) Poor rules
2) Cost of entry to the systems
3) Continuing cost to participate (roughly 17/year for one army in a single system for a "popular" army just to continue to play with the models you currently have)
4) Lack of choice of games. (WHF, 40K, or Hobbit is it)

Reducing the pushy-ness of the sales people might make back a few s in sales from less people being put off by the staff excessively plugging extra rules/models/glue etc, but if those things are too expensive in the first place little real difference will be made.

IcedCrow
20-01-2014, 14:17
That's the hard sell to bean counters. A system where a customer only has to pay once and is set for their life and never has to buy another thing again. For a public traded company that will never fly.

Cost of entry is definitely valid. The quality of rules is dependent on the person. I spend a good amount of time at all of our stores as I run campaigns here that involve people from all of them and the majority of people recognize that while the rules aren't perfect, they are not horrible either. The competitive crowd are the people that typically have the major beef with the rules and they are in my experience the minority and that again is something that analysts know and pushed up as part of their data. (I have contributed to GW customer experience in the past)

The biggest issue is their pricing and their lack of engaging the player. By that I mean there are no events, nothing to get excited over. Just come buy our expensive models and then arrange your own events. Most gamers in my experience aren't wanting to do that. The buzz in the 90s and early 2000s was largely in part to world wide campaigns and their grand tournament circuit. They need to bring back engaging their players' imaginations.

shelfunit.
20-01-2014, 14:47
That's the hard sell to bean counters. A system where a customer only has to pay once and is set for their life and never has to buy another thing again. For a public traded company that will never fly.

Then for this publicly traded company it may be the thing that brings it back to earth with a bump ;)


Cost of entry is definitely valid. The quality of rules is dependent on the person. I spend a good amount of time at all of our stores as I run campaigns here that involve people from all of them and the majority of people recognize that while the rules aren't perfect, they are not horrible either. The competitive crowd are the people that typically have the major beef with the rules and they are in my experience the minority and that again is something that analysts know and pushed up as part of their data. (I have contributed to GW customer experience in the past)

We'll have to agree to disagree here - I consider the rules to be horribly bloated and the various armies to be fundamentally unbalanced. A solid, balanced ruleset will not suddenly turn everyone "competitive" and there are no reasons why a balanced ruleset cannot be fun. A game should be decided on tactics, not rules quirks and list gaming.


The biggest issue is their pricing and their lack of engaging the player. By that I mean there are no events, nothing to get excited over. Just come buy our expensive models and then arrange your own events. Most gamers in my experience aren't wanting to do that. The buzz in the 90s and early 2000s was largely in part to world wide campaigns and their grand tournament circuit. They need to bring back engaging their players' imaginations.

That and the fact you could buy more than 3 branded products in their shops at that time as well - you had considerably more choice of products in those days. If you don't fancy any of the 3 things GW sells in store now there is no point going there anymore.

EldarWolf
20-01-2014, 15:55
This screams "scapegoat!" to me...

Sureshot05
20-01-2014, 17:14
But we produce the best miniatures in the world, why are sales falling??



Failure to listen to the customers?



It must be the stores not selling them well enough.



No, I think listening to customers may be a bigger issue.



We need to bring in someone to revamp our stores, especially in time for the next Yearly Report



But Mr. GW, you're not listening



Good, now that is sorted, we now we need a space marine in a space marine in a space marine. It can lead the new edition! Release an upgrade for the unit in a seperate dataslate after the codex so we can charge for it. And we had best raise prices on the new sets as well.



How can you not hear me?!?!? AARRRGGGHHHHH!

I don't normally resort to spoof posts, but I think this summarises my thoughts on the approach.

yabbadabba
20-01-2014, 17:55
Cost of entry is definitely valid. Agreed, this is their biggest issue by a country mile. I think there is a workable solution which need not create a storm in the investors or a collapse in customers.

The quality of rules is dependent on the person. I spend a good amount of time at all of our stores as I run campaigns here that involve people from all of them and the majority of people recognize that while the rules aren't perfect, they are not horrible either. The competitive crowd are the people that typically have the major beef with the rules and they are in my experience the minority and that again is something that analysts know and pushed up as part of their data. (I have contributed to GW customer experience in the past)Agreed. This again can be easily solved in a variety of ways, some of which would mean no changes for GW other than a smple statement.

and their lack of engaging the player. By that I mean there are no events, nothing to get excited over. Just come buy our expensive models and then arrange your own events. Most gamers in my experience aren't wanting to do that. The buzz in the 90s and early 2000s was largely in part to world wide campaigns and their grand tournament circuit. They need to bring back engaging their players' imaginations. Here I disagre for a variety of reasons. The crucial issue here is who is GW envisaging as their customers, and what are they doing to engage with them. If it isn't posters on Warseer then its simply tough luck. However if Warseer posters are an important subset then they need to be addressed. What GW will never do is admit they are selling to any one particular closely defined demographic other than for legal reasons.

IcedCrow
20-01-2014, 18:02
Then GW needs to address their defined demographic. As it seems to obliviously be teenaged children living at home, that's something else said customer experience position may be able to bring up in his analysis report - that that model is failing.

ForgottenLore
20-01-2014, 18:04
The competitive crowd are the people that typically have the major beef with the rules

That isn't at all my experience at all. It is the story driven players that most recognize the problems with the rules. They want to just pick an army they like the looks or story of, grab some models they like and expect to have at least a snowballs chance of not being annihilated by turn 2. They're the ones that recognize when rules and fluff don't match, or that the rules are creating logically idiotic situations. It is the hyper-competitive sorts who who don't care about balance or how well designed the rules are. Their go-to statement is just "learn to play better". Many of them actually like rules that are unbalanced because they consider list building to be part of the competition and they get a little endorphin rush when they figure out a new, devastating combo. They are focused on the rules as a game, instead of a story, and so they don't care when the rules make it so that you can kill more enemies by only shooting some of your weapons but not all of them.

yabbadabba
20-01-2014, 18:07
Then GW needs to address their defined demographic. As it seems to obliviously be teenaged children living at home, that's something else said customer experience position may be able to bring up in his analysis report - that that model is failing. I don't know if the model is failing because there are other issues complicating the situation. But at the very least it might stop a good chunk of the "Oh why won't GW listen to me" posts on here.
The question shouldn't necessarily why that model is failing, but what they should be doing to improve sales and unit sales. If that means moving away from whatever model they have been followig to date, then that is the course they must take. If it means improving the offer for the current target demographic then so be it.

IcedCrow
20-01-2014, 18:08
Some of them are like that yes. HOwever, most of the competitive crowd I know and talk to would rather have a more variety but pen themselves into the cage of "but if I do that then I'll lose" so they go with the unbalanced builds out of what they feel is necessity.

But I guess everyone's experiences are different. Regardless... its an issue.

IcedCrow
20-01-2014, 18:09
I don't know if the model is failing because there are other issues complicating the situation. But at the very least it might stop a good chunk of the "Oh why won't GW listen to me" posts on here.
The question shouldn't necessarily why that model is failing, but what they should be doing to improve sales and unit sales. If that means moving away from whatever model they have been followig to date, then that is the course they must take. If it means improving the offer for the current target demographic then so be it.

Sure. But look at a couple of things:

if the current demographic are teenage kids - their price range is in many cases if you by retail (which should be their goal i'd think) many times higher than a new console.

Why not expand the demographic?

Things to consider anyway.

yabbadabba
20-01-2014, 18:14
Sure. But look at a couple of things:

if the current demographic are teenage kids - their price range is in many cases if you by retail (which should be their goal i'd think) many times higher than a new console.

Why not expand the demographic?

Things to consider anyway. Don't get me wrong, you are looking at a former staff member from early 90s to early 20's - to me anyone who can give it a go is a potential customer. I just sometimes question whether people realise that GW might not be on the same page as them, and are not going to say anything because it will lead to lost sales. And as they do not listen to the customer base anyway, the moaning is irrelevant in that regard.

Coldhatred
20-01-2014, 18:21
That isn't at all my experience at all. It is the story driven players that most recognize the problems with the rules. They want to just pick an army they like the looks or story of, grab some models they like and expect to have at least a snowballs chance of not being annihilated by turn 2. They're the ones that recognize when rules and fluff don't match, or that the rules are creating logically idiotic situations. It is the hyper-competitive sorts who who don't care about balance or how well designed the rules are. Their go-to statement is just "learn to play better". Many of them actually like rules that are unbalanced because they consider list building to be part of the competition and they get a little endorphin rush when they figure out a new, devastating combo. They are focused on the rules as a game, instead of a story, and so they don't care when the rules make it so that you can kill more enemies by only shooting some of your weapons but not all of them.

There is truth to this, but it goes both ways. There are degrees of players that enjoy competitive games that do care about balance, as there are story driven players who don't care too much about the rules.

ForgottenLore
20-01-2014, 19:10
There is truth to this, but it goes both ways.

Certainly. No one is completely at any extreme. However, excellent timing from another thread


It comes down to, for some it seems, I don't want to ever push myself...
In other words, he is saying just play better, the rules are fine.

ashc
20-01-2014, 19:12
There is truth to this, but it goes both ways. There are degrees of players that enjoy competitive games that do care about balance, as there are story driven players who don't care too much about the rules.

Very true that, Coldhatred. I am in a category where I like to field a force that adheres to the background well, but also plays relatively competitively; I hate when a really fluffy unit is severely gimped/hampered by poor writing; i won't field it no matter how fluffy it is.

Orrinocco
20-01-2014, 20:27
That's the hard sell to bean counters. A system where a customer only has to pay once and is set for their life and never has to buy another thing again. For a public traded company that will never fly.



I'm sick of this attitude about accountants and bean counters.
Oddly enough, we have less influence over things like this than people think.
We advise on project returns, based upon short, mid or long term views.
We do not just look at monetary returns either - we are fully aware of the effect of loss-leaders that have knock-on effects on other projects

Just completely fed up of my profession being blamed for decision making practices that are absolutely not what a good accountant will do

IcedCrow
20-01-2014, 20:37
No one ever said the company had "good accountants" either did they

Torga_DW
20-01-2014, 21:15
No one ever said the company had "good accountants" either did they

Because they're largely irrelevant to the situation at hand. They don't write game rules, they don't scuplt minis, and they dont tell the ceo how to run the company. I can't recall hearing any 'gw has misfiled their taxes and are facing serious penalties' type stories coming out, so i think its safe to assume that their accountants are decent if not good, and otherwise irrelevant to any of the discussions about gw.

ashc
20-01-2014, 21:18
Because they're largely irrelevant to the situation at hand. They don't write game rules, they don't scuplt minis, and they dont tell the ceo how to run the company. I can't recall hearing any 'gw has misfiled their taxes and are facing serious penalties' type stories coming out, so i think its safe to assume that their accountants are decent if not good, and otherwise irrelevant to any of the discussions about gw.

This is also my view. Let's not vilify whole groups of people who are nothing to do with the situation.

frozenwastes
20-01-2014, 22:21
It's a common business cultural thing to blame layoffs and other bad news on generic faceless beancounters. It's basically management keeping the workforce ignorant about who is actually screwing them over with mass lay offs, cuts to benefits, salary freezes, etc.,. And some people have been completely duped. Did Kirby take a pay cut? Nope, but lots of GW staff will continue to be laid off and people will attribute the source of the problem to faceless accountants rather than who is actually making the decision. Basically any time you see someone use the term "beancounter" it's because they're completely ignorant of what an accountant is and what they do. Or they are trying to deceive someone.

Thankfully in business at large, this trend is changing. Accounting has become more and more managerial and integrated into operations a lot more. GW could probably stand to have a very brisk assessment done by a qualified managerial accountant who is given access to every bit of data they could want.

Though they probably might be too late. When an accountant functions in a managerial fashion, they give the management the information they need to make decisions. Like five years ago when people were pointing out the new trend of price hikes and falling unit sales means that GW was giving up market share and losing their customer base. That would have been a good time to listen to what a managerial accountant had to say about unit sales volume.

Now though, GW is running out of options they can choose and might be forced into an option they do not like.

ForgottenLore
20-01-2014, 22:46
I don't really associate the term "bean counter" with accountants. To me the term is more a reference to anyone, but especially middle management types, who is obsessed with the quantifiable bottom line, but usually lacks the broader vision necessary to see how it all interconnects. Someone who can't see the forest or the dollar signs.

bittick
21-01-2014, 01:57
If this thing paid worth a damn, and I didn't already have a career, I'd be tempted to apply for the job, tell them what they want to hear, and travel the world on GW's dime.

Edit: This really looks like too little, too late, to me. GW has at least recognized there is a problem somewhere, but they're looking in the wrong place. They need to make the correct changes now, and they aren't doing that. I once heard speculation that GW managements' intent was to negotiate the sale of their company, to get it primed for takeover. By closing a bunch of stores (and their international HQ), they're reducing their expenses significantly. It looks like that might actually be the plan.

bolshie
21-01-2014, 02:37
Never really noticed it before, but it was painfully obvious that on black friday and the post xmas and new year sales, this, virtually every store on the whole high street and in all the shopping centers were having sales and were packed, apart from GW, and that is probably why all the GWs I saw over the xmas period were always kinda empty.

If they want to get people into their shops, GW need to follow the example of every other shop out there and start treating their customers with a little respect. Virtually everyone is pretty savvy when it comes to shopping and GW isn't selling themselves very well.

The difference is that the shops with sales, are having them for two reasons a) because they are getting rid of seasonal stock to clear the shelves for the new season stock, or b) because they have bought in stock specifically to sell it at the sale price - in the hope of upselling their actual stock. GW can't do either of these things because their stock is their stock all year round.

And it should be pointed out here that actually GW does have year round sales through the online discounters. Which if you believe one version of the sales policy are being used to service the post teenage market, while the shops focus on 'bringing in the young blood'. Which is a rather odd business plan, and possibly explains the high prices that accompanied it's implementation, as effectively they are selling their product to the majority of their customers at less than half price; to businesses that are only too willing to blame GW for their own failings.

bolshie
21-01-2014, 03:16
Cost of entry is definitely valid.

I'm not sure that is the issue.

The issue is that once you have paid the entry price, the game - as has been constructed by 'the community' particularly in the US - goes no where, and is too narrowly defined. This is not anything to do with GW, who have actively campaigned against this - with the roll off rule for rules disputes, through supplements, pushed narrative gaming etc - but for whatever reason 'the community' has fought against this to create a sterile gaming culture.

This is reflected in the language of the culture surrounding the game, it is reflected in the bickering back and forth over what units can and can't be used, in the tier system for armies, in the faux extremism of debate - complete with it's hierarchy of wisdom as to which edition you began playing, and the demi-Gods of the hobby on various podcasts and blogs - or indeed the real villains, the self proclaimed 'community' leaders who act as TO for certain high profile events.

The price in a sense is irrelevant. The issue is that 'the community' has so dis-empowered itself into a style of play that is ultimately so unsatisfying that the no one with any sense would want to put themselves through the pain of spending mainly time and partly money buying into the club, when they can spend less time and less money buying into an equally unsatisfying club in another game system.

bittick
21-01-2014, 03:32
The difference is that the shops with sales, are having them for two reasons a) because they are getting rid of seasonal stock to clear the shelves for the new season stock, or b) because they have bought in stock specifically to sell it at the sale price - in the hope of upselling their actual stock. GW can't do either of these things because their stock is their stock all year round.


Then GW are bigger idiots than I thought.

People buy more during the holidays. I don't know if they have Black Friday in the UK, but in the US it's a major sales event at the end of November. The idea is that you put on a large sale, to get people in the store. Some key items are even sold below cost, to get people in the store. Retailers move a huge amount of product during this time. GW should be having a major sale, with starter armies going at a fraction of the cost, and big ticket items as well. Necron battleforce, $30 (regular price $115). Necron Tesseract Vault, $50 (regular price $160). Necron Codex, $15 (regular price $33). Necron Army Bundle, 2000 points of specially selected things, $400 (regular price probably around $700 or so). Everything else 10% off. What happens is it makes someone decide they're going to buy that Necron army right gosh darn now. You make a smaller per-sale profit but you make a lot more of them. And invariably the person will buy other stuff that isn't on that good a sale. They will come back in a month when the sale is over and they'll want to buy another box.

It works for every other retailer there is. It would work for GW too.

bittick
21-01-2014, 03:34
I'm not sure that is the issue.

The issue is that once you have paid the entry price, the game - as has been constructed by 'the community' particularly in the US - goes no where, and is too narrowly defined. This is not anything to do with GW, who have actively campaigned against this - with the roll off rule for rules disputes, through supplements, pushed narrative gaming etc - but for whatever reason 'the community' has fought against this to create a sterile gaming culture.

This is reflected in the language of the culture surrounding the game, it is reflected in the bickering back and forth over what units can and can't be used, in the tier system for armies, in the faux extremism of debate - complete with it's hierarchy of wisdom as to which edition you began playing, and the demi-Gods of the hobby on various podcasts and blogs - or indeed the real villains, the self proclaimed 'community' leaders who act as TO for certain high profile events.

The price in a sense is irrelevant. The issue is that 'the community' has so dis-empowered itself into a style of play that is ultimately so unsatisfying that the no one with any sense would want to put themselves through the pain of spending mainly time and partly money buying into the club, when they can spend less time and less money buying into an equally unsatisfying club in another game system.

Yeah, that's it. It's obviously the players' fault that GW is losing sales at an alarming rate.

AlexHolker
21-01-2014, 03:40
The issue is that once you have paid the entry price, the game - as has been constructed by 'the community' particularly in the US - goes no where, and is too narrowly defined. This is not anything to do with GW, who have actively campaigned against this - with the roll off rule for rules disputes, through supplements, pushed narrative gaming etc - but for whatever reason 'the community' has fought against this to create a sterile gaming culture.

This is reflected in the language of the culture surrounding the game, it is reflected in the bickering back and forth over what units can and can't be used, in the tier system for armies, in the faux extremism of debate - complete with it's hierarchy of wisdom as to which edition you began playing, and the demi-Gods of the hobby on various podcasts and blogs - or indeed the real villains, the self proclaimed 'community' leaders who act as TO for certain high profile events.
What a load of rot. The only reason for the latter is GW's incompetence at the former. There would be no such thing as tiers if GW was any good at their jobs and made every army equally viable. There'd be no complaints about Strength D weapons if GW did their jobs and made a game where they weren't an "I win" button. A fair, balanced game would be better for everyone, because it would mean that people who want to play a fluffy army with a particular theme aren't dooming themselves to lose every game just because GW sucks at their jobs.

anchorbine
21-01-2014, 06:03
Then GW are bigger idiots than I thought.

People buy more during the holidays. I don't know if they have Black Friday in the UK, but in the US it's a major sales event at the end of November. The idea is that you put on a large sale, to get people in the store. Some key items are even sold below cost, to get people in the store. Retailers move a huge amount of product during this time. GW should be having a major sale, with starter armies going at a fraction of the cost, and big ticket items as well. Necron battleforce, $30 (regular price $115). Necron Tesseract Vault, $50 (regular price $160). Necron Codex, $15 (regular price $33). Necron Army Bundle, 2000 points of specially selected things, $400 (regular price probably around $700 or so). Everything else 10% off. What happens is it makes someone decide they're going to buy that Necron army right gosh darn now. You make a smaller per-sale profit but you make a lot more of them. And invariably the person will buy other stuff that isn't on that good a sale. They will come back in a month when the sale is over and they'll want to buy another box.

It works for every other retailer there is. It would work for GW too.

Not sure what type of retail you've been involved with, but your idea sounds like an absolute recipe for disaster. Further, the biggest problem with sales, is that once you start having sales, many people will simply stop buying until the next sale, effectively killing your business in the meantime. As posted earlier, many retailers clear out obsolete stock or bad buys, in order to restore their "open to buy", but there are quite a few businesses that do quite well without ever mentioning the word "sale".

The better idea, and they've started doing this in a small way, is to offer far better value on meaningful sets of models. The few holiday bundles they did offer had substantial savings. They need to do this for all of their armies, and people shouldn't have to wait 3 years for the rotation to reach their army.

If you think you need to create some excitement to get people into a store for the holidays, instead of crushing your margins, come up with some really cool 4th quarter items not generally available any other time. This is a successful strategy many retailers use.

And for the life of me, I can't figure out why GW is so adverse to selling anything in their store other then models. I am 100% sure, that if they introduced a basic black t-shirt with nothing more then an army logo on the shirt for every army, they'd add a minimum of 5,000.00 a year to each store. That would be more then enough to pay for their on call managers to work the two days they close every week. And it might even get "all play, no pay" guy to actually buy something in the store for a change.

Lord Solar Plexus
21-01-2014, 11:02
I'm not sure that is the issue.

Quite so - looking at the facts, the cost of entry is not as high as is often claimed, and people who believe that you need 50 models per unit contribute somewhat to the problem. It might well be that the perception alone is sufficient to explain some of the losses.



The idea is that you put on a large sale, to get people in the store. Some key items are even sold below cost, to get people in the store.
...
It works for every other retailer there is. It would work for GW too.


Indeed. That would not only help to move product out of the warehouses, it would also create a much much friendlier image.



there are quite a few businesses that do quite well without ever mentioning the word "sale".


But Games Workshop currently isn't one of those.

Brother Asmodeus
21-01-2014, 11:30
Driving traffic into stores via a magazine purchases. Dear Lord.

This says a lot about how GW still do not know how to market themselves properly or utilise the most massive tool offered to retailers, the internet. Tie that into a company who have entered the age of customer experience and having a strong brand and cannot achieve either. In fact they do not even try to. This role is a poison chalice for the person that takes it up. The problems are not based in their stores but in their management, policies and products.

They are far from dead, they may not even die but they are ailing very, very badly. Don't hate the players GW, hate your own games and blood do something about it...

Greyshadow
21-01-2014, 11:35
This is a good sign. Those posters who believe it is easy to run a multinational company employing thousands of people are completely and utterly mistaken. I think a company that sells miniatures in their own dedicated stores around the world is undertaking a very difficult enterprise. If it was easy more companies would be doing it. When trying to steer a ship this big you need very deliberate and well researched actions. They will need to find a suitably qualified and experienced person to do this though (skills and experience are what you need here - attitude alone won't cut it).

Lord Solar Plexus
21-01-2014, 11:36
There's nothing wrong with driving traffic into stores through magazine purchases a priori. We're hearing about a lot of changes to come, structurally, rules-wise, whatever, so this could as well just be one little piece of the puzzle.

goatmeat
21-01-2014, 11:53
Do GW not do their 3 for 2 offers on blisters and boxes any more? They were great sales, there was always a lot of excitement in the shops when they were on - and they never stopped me buying full price models the rest of the year, it was just a bonus to be able swell the ranks of a lot of units you'd always wanted to but it was never essential...and lots of other things too.

Herzlos
21-01-2014, 11:59
Do GW not do their 3 for 2 offers on blisters and boxes any more? They were great sales, there was always a lot of excitement in the shops when they were on - and they never stopped me buying full price models the rest of the year, it was just a bonus to be able swell the ranks of a lot of units you'd always wanted to but it was never essential...and lots of other things too.

They haven't offered those sorts of deals in a decade now.

bolshie
21-01-2014, 12:45
Then GW are bigger idiots than I thought.

People buy more during the holidays. I don't know if they have Black Friday in the UK, but in the US it's a major sales event at the end of November. The idea is that you put on a large sale, to get people in the store. Some key items are even sold below cost, to get people in the store. Retailers move a huge amount of product during this time. GW should be having a major sale, with starter armies going at a fraction of the cost, and big ticket items as well. Necron battleforce, $30 (regular price $115). Necron Tesseract Vault, $50 (regular price $160). Necron Codex, $15 (regular price $33). Necron Army Bundle, 2000 points of specially selected things, $400 (regular price probably around $700 or so). Everything else 10% off. What happens is it makes someone decide they're going to buy that Necron army right gosh darn now. You make a smaller per-sale profit but you make a lot more of them. And invariably the person will buy other stuff that isn't on that good a sale. They will come back in a month when the sale is over and they'll want to buy another box.

It works for every other retailer there is. It would work for GW too.

Odd that you highlight that comment and don't address the issue that GW does this all year around by selling it's product by online discounters.

bolshie
21-01-2014, 12:50
What a load of rot. The only reason for the latter is GW's incompetence at the former. There would be no such thing as tiers if GW was any good at their jobs and made every army equally viable. There'd be no complaints about Strength D weapons if GW did their jobs and made a game where they weren't an "I win" button. A fair, balanced game would be better for everyone, because it would mean that people who want to play a fluffy army with a particular theme aren't dooming themselves to lose every game just because GW sucks at their jobs.

Thank you for confirming the sterile language and cultural memes.

MiyamatoMusashi
21-01-2014, 12:58
Those posters who believe it is easy to run a multinational company employing thousands of people are completely and utterly mistaken. I think a company that sells miniatures in their own dedicated stores around the world is undertaking a very difficult enterprise.

All true.


If it was easy more companies would be doing it.

If it were beneficial more companies would be doing it.

GW are obsessed with the chain of stores that once offered them a competitive advantage, then the internet happened. Now, in this age of being able to buy anything instantly over the internet, their solution is to... force you to go into store to give them money for the pleasure of being advertised to, in the hope you'll buy something while you're in there, because that's a better experience than the internet, right?

Verm1s
21-01-2014, 13:37
La la la la la I can't hear you I can't hear you.

I wonder who's the more stubborn and entrenched.

Bittick: the players are kind of to blame, if you think about it. ;)

But they were provoked, m'lud.

Reinholt
21-01-2014, 13:48
This is a good sign. Those posters who believe it is easy to run a multinational company employing thousands of people are completely and utterly mistaken. I think a company that sells miniatures in their own dedicated stores around the world is undertaking a very difficult enterprise. If it was easy more companies would be doing it. When trying to steer a ship this big you need very deliberate and well researched actions. They will need to find a suitably qualified and experienced person to do this though (skills and experience are what you need here - attitude alone won't cut it).

I don't think this is a fair comment. You need to address three different things here:

1 - Is the individual thing someone is suggesting complicated? Even if running the entire enterprise would be a non-trivial endeavor, that doesn't mean GW is doing trivial things correctly.

2 - Many companies do sell things internationally. There are a lot of people doing it. There is nothing special about miniatures versus, say, shoes or car parts or whatever in terms of international commerce.

3 - GW's management does not deserve the benefit of the doubt: why is this the correct action this time (when all of their past actions have led them into the current situation), and are they researching the correct thing? Researching the exact brand of paint that would appeal to your customers to put on the vehicles you manufacture may, in a bubble, be valuable, but when the core issue is that your cars constantly burst into flames on the road, you have bigger problems you need to be solving first. My main complaint, which has been echoed throughout this thread, is not that GW cannot improve the customer experience in stores. It's that they have much bigger problems than that: no matter how nice the customer experience in stores is, a lot of their customers don't shop in stores and others aren't going to buy the current quality/price cross of products regardless of how good the store is.


Thank you for confirming the sterile language and cultural memes.

Don't blame the players for GW's flaws (the fact that the internet has bombastic people on it does not necessarily mean their complaints are off-target, even if they are jerks about it at times). Regardless of anyone's individual opinion, it's obvious that there is a non-trivial segment of the customer base who wants clear, unambiguous, balanced rules for the games. Many of these players are already defecting to other games and are one of the sources of falling profit for GW. Similarly, I don't see why fun and balanced rules are mutually exclusive. Your optimal solution, as a firm, is obviously having both be true.

After all, I've heard plenty of people saying they don't like powergaming or WAAC players, but I've never heard anyone who is pro-imbalanced codices and poor rules design.

Litcheur
21-01-2014, 14:19
Quite so - looking at the facts, the cost of entry is not as high as is often claimed

When people ask me about the cost of a guitar, I don't tell them the cost of the crappiest second-hand guitar I can find and divide it by 3 because, you know, 2 cords are enough. I only do that kind of things for GW core games...

Or used to. Yes, I used to tell them the cost of an half-sized super-elite Dark Angels force, like everybody does. Now, I tell them the bare truth : the mean cost of an average standard-sized force taken from a random army list. Because that's just what I always do with other games, so why would I lie to others (and myself) about the cost of WHFB...
Which means : 20 to 40 for HOTT, 40 to 50 for Bloodbowl, 100-120 for Dystopian Wars, 120-150 for Kings of Wars, and half a thousand for WHFB. :o

Yes, it's that bad. :D

Let's talk about a beginner who wants to start an Empire army. All in all a pretty average army, we're not talking about skavens, and we're not talking about dwarves either. The batallion is a pretty good value : 90 for 450 pts. You'd need about four of them to build a 2400 pts army. 360 for 1800 pts. Add one or two big kits (40-90) and the two mandatory books (95).

Darnok
21-01-2014, 15:40
Let's talk about a beginner who wants to start an Empire army [...] a 2400 pts army

And there you contradict yourself. A 2400 pts army is not what a beginner will get. You are looking at 1000-1500 pts - at most.

Herzlos
21-01-2014, 15:46
A beginner will be looking at getting whatever sized army they need to play in the local meta i.e. what their friends or group play. And if that's 2400pt, they'll be looking at a 2400pt army.

Yes they could get a smaller army, but if they can't get an opponent there's no point. Just like I could buy half a chess set, but I'd need to find someone to play half-chess with me.

Why the assumption that a beginner wouldn't want a full experience? When I bought into any other games I went with the standard army size, all of which were far cheaper than a standard GW army.

Darnok
21-01-2014, 16:02
I think you mistake the goal a beginner can set himself with what he will... you know, begin with. And a beginner has per definition no idea what the "local meta" is.

I guess we have different ideas about what a "beginner" actually is. In my opinion that is somebody who just starts with a GW game. An active group to be in is possible with that, but in my opinion by no means the norm. Somebody like that could start with the rules, templates, an armybook and a battalion of choice (assuming every normal household has a fef D6 and a tape measure); I would consider that something an actual beginner would get at the start. You have the basics covered, and can get a meaningful game with those models. In the case of Empire you could get all that for less than $250. Actually not too horrible... can you get a console with a single game for that? Because that would be the valid comparison with video games: you have the needed basics, and some actual game content.

Of course you wouldn't stop there. But the idea that somebody starts with an army of 2400 points is something I find... odd, to say the least.

Brother Asmodeus
21-01-2014, 16:04
This is a good sign. Those posters who believe it is easy to run a multinational company employing thousands of people are completely and utterly mistaken. I think a company that sells miniatures in their own dedicated stores around the world is undertaking a very difficult enterprise. If it was easy more companies would be doing it. When trying to steer a ship this big you need very deliberate and well researched actions. They will need to find a suitably qualified and experienced person to do this though (skills and experience are what you need here - attitude alone won't cut it).

This is not a start up company taking fledgling steps. This is the market leader. This is Coca-Cola, Apple but in the TTG world.

And you are talking about a company that believes in doing it by attitude alone. THIS IS why this is such a bad thing...

bittick
21-01-2014, 16:35
Not sure what type of retail you've been involved with, but your idea sounds like an absolute recipe for disaster. Further, the biggest problem with sales, is that once you start having sales, many people will simply stop buying until the next sale, effectively killing your business in the meantime. As posted earlier, many retailers clear out obsolete stock or bad buys, in order to restore their "open to buy", but there are quite a few businesses that do quite well without ever mentioning the word "sale".

Yes, because Black Friday is known for being a disaster for retailers all across the United States.

We all make assumptions in our analysis of events. But from time to time we have to look at our assumptions and see if they are correct. You appear to assume that demand is static, or at least inflexible. That generally regardless of cost, customers will buy the same amount of product ("once you start having sales, many people will simply stop buying until the next sale, effectively killing your business in the meantime"). In some businesses that is true. I'm going to keep using electricity pretty much regardless of what the price is. At the other end of the spectrum I'm only going to eat lunch once today regardless of how cheap you make the sandwich. The question is, how inflexible is the demand in the miniature games market?

GW has been pushing the high end of prices up for years. They've seen a consistent decrease is sales volume over that time, and may have now hit the point at which margin increases are offset by reductions in volume. So we know it's not inflexible. I also saw the enormous amount of orders that the original Apocalypse sales created. They got people to start brand new armies that they then went and never played.

The idea behind reducing costs to substantially lower levels for a short period of time is that you get sales you wouldn't otherwise get. I will never ever buy a Necron
Cosmic Pyramid Thing. I don't have a Necron army and it's way too expensive. But if I saw one on sale for $50 for one week only I would seriously consider it. It's the same thing that convinces people they "need" a huge high-definition TV. "But it's on SALE!" And yet stores sell those same TVs for higher prices throughout the year as well. If I want a new TV in February, then I'm not going to wait until November to get one. That's almost a whole year away.

You see, you aren't selling a few units at a discount to people who were going to buy those units anyway (Billy was going to spend $200 this year, now he spends $100 instead). You are selling a whole lot of units to people who weren't going to buy them otherwise (Roger spent $400 to start an Imperial Guard army, previously he was going to look around the store, see the prices and leave).


Odd that you highlight that comment and don't address the issue that GW does this all year around by selling it's product by online discounters.

And those online discounters have been enjoying better sales, because of the lower prices. Proof that it works. But that isn't something GW is doing -- they have been working aggressively to end online discounters for several years now.


Thank you for confirming the sterile language and cultural memes.

Understand this: customers have zero ethical, legal, or social responsibility to ensure the success of any particular business. It is not my duty as a customer to make sure that Ford has a good sales year. Businesses provide a service to the customer, not the other way around. If customers are unhappy, they complain. If there are too many complaints, bad word of mouth spreads and the company loses business. That's just how it works. Companies don't have a right to be in business. If they aren't responsive to their customers, they will fail.



I think you mistake the goal a beginner can set himself with what he will... you know, begin with. And a beginner has per definition no idea what the "local meta" is.

I guess we have different ideas about what a "beginner" actually is. In my opinion that is somebody who just starts with a GW game. An active group to be in is possible with that, but in my opinion by no means the norm. Somebody like that could start with the rules, templates, an armybook and a battalion of choice (assuming every normal household has a fef D6 and a tape measure); I would consider that something an actual beginner would get at the start. You have the basics covered, and can get a meaningful game with those models. In the case of Empire you could get all that for less than $250. Actually not too horrible... can you get a console with a single game for that? Because that would be the valid comparison with video games: you have the needed basics, and some actual game content.

Of course you wouldn't stop there. But the idea that somebody starts with an army of 2400 points is something I find... odd, to say the least.

That depends entirely upon the particular person. When I first started playing wargames it was in junior high with a friend. We pooled our money and bought some game books and a few miniatures. Dirty secret: it wasn't GW stuff. After a few years he got HeroQuest and we played that over and over at his house.

If that is what you mean by "a beginner", then you're absolutely correct. You can play on your kitchen table against your buddy no problem. I remember Coke Can Carnifexes and things like that. But these were things we discovered on our own. I bought the Battletech boxed set in like 1992 at a store that sold model airplanes in the mall.

It's a different scenario if you're talking about someone seeing a nicely painted army, approaching an experienced player, and saying "so how much do I have to spend if I want to get into this game?" In my experience they're generally asking about getting an army the same size as the example you're providing to them. I've told them that they can play small games and spend this much money. Their response is invariably "yeah but how much if I want an army like that?"

Comparisons to video games are not the same, because today a video game system is almost considered a home appliance. Most people under 40 have one. If I ask someone how much Call of Duty costs, they don't figure in the cost of the TV as well. "Well, you need one of them telee-visions to play it".

Herzlos
21-01-2014, 17:22
I'm regarding a beginner as someone with nothing of system X who would be buying from scratch, rather than necessarily someone who has never heard of wargaming.

For instance, I play about 4 games at the moment, and have all the 'hobby' stuff I need, but I don't have any WHF, so I'd be beginning there. Knowing my local scene the average army size is about 2000+ pts, I also know that in order to play pick-up games I need to match that. Even considering I don't need paints or glue and I'm not daunted with big construction tasks and have plenty of quick-painting methods available, I'm put off from WHF primarily on a cost basis. Compared to any other game/system, the cost to get in is huge. It's the same reason I wouldn't start a new 40K army whilst I've started new Bolt Action and Hail Caesar armies in 28mm since rejoining the fold.

I'd also expect most new players to ask the question: "how much of this do I need to start?" but then I'm taking it from the view of a 30 year old and not a 13 year old.

yabbadabba
21-01-2014, 17:32
I'm regarding a beginner as someone with nothing of system X who would be buying from scratch, rather than necessarily someone who has never heard of wargaming.

For instance, I play about 4 games at the moment, and have all the 'hobby' stuff I need, but I don't have any WHF, so I'd be beginning there. Knowing my local scene the average army size is about 2000+ pts, I also know that in order to play pick-up games I need to match that. Even considering I don't need paints or glue and I'm not daunted with big construction tasks and have plenty of quick-painting methods available, I'm put off from WHF primarily on a cost basis. Compared to any other game/system, the cost to get in is huge. It's the same reason I wouldn't start a new 40K army whilst I've started new Bolt Action and Hail Caesar armies in 28mm since rejoining the fold.

I'd also expect most new players to ask the question: "how much of this do I need to start?" but then I'm taking it from the view of a 30 year old and not a 13 year old. Then I would suggest that if you want to play WHF in particular then you need to examiine your local scene and try and get the parameters redefined. when I started working for GW, long after I started playing, we totally accpeted that gamers outside of the stores would play WHF with other people's minis. In fact it was, and still is, a great joy to see that variety in action. The shame came about with the fetish of officialdom that was a sales pitch from GW (makes sense) but was adopted almost fanatically by some parts of the community (serious worry).

If your idea of playing games is the tournament style approach, then I agree the start up costs can be daunting because the vast majority of such events will insist on GW only models, or something very close. I play WFB with a few mates and I have a dwarf army which is about 1/3 GW and about 1/2 Mantic. The GW stuff is the bits I had and could afford, the Mantic stuff is the equivalent of unit fillers. I have picked up bolt throwers and stone throwers made out of wood for about 6 for 4, and they look perfectly fine. I have not had a single problem with identification.

As a community we need to remember that GW expect us to go ahead and do whatever we have to to play games; they expect anyone who has some knowledge of the hobby to shop around and buy at the best price. If you and your fellow gamers are willing to do the same, the start up cost of any GW game can plummet.

frozenwastes
21-01-2014, 18:52
Why the assumption that a beginner wouldn't want a full experience? When I bought into any other games I went with the standard army size, all of which were far cheaper than a standard GW army.

The idea of getting the full experience is what GW uses to sell people who just got in into buying more stuff. Even if the person quits before they get there, they are presented with a full sized game as a goal to aspire to in order to help drive sales. if you look at what GW has done with the price of the mandatory products like starters, rulebooks, codexes, etc., you'll see that they are front loading the entry cost and then providing the idea of a full size game to keep people stringing along buying until they either get there and have the full game experience or quit.

And addressing this barrier to entry issue will be largely outside the scope of this position. I imagine the position will involve quarterly progress updates and if the person who gets this job starts talking about how the product itself needs to change or the front loading of army costs onto the rulebook or army books-- well, let's just say I have my doubts about them making it to the two year mark.

bittick
21-01-2014, 19:19
The idea of getting the full experience is what GW uses to sell people who just got in into buying more stuff. Even if the person quits before they get there, they are presented with a full sized game as a goal to aspire to in order to help drive sales. if you look at what GW has done with the price of the mandatory products like starters, rulebooks, codexes, etc., you'll see that they are front loading the entry cost and then providing the idea of a full size game to keep people stringing along buying until they either get there and have the full game experience or quit.

And addressing this barrier to entry issue will be largely outside the scope of this position. I imagine the position will involve quarterly progress updates and if the person who gets this job starts talking about how the product itself needs to change or the front loading of army costs onto the rulebook or army books-- well, let's just say I have my doubts about them making it to the two year mark.

Yeah, you should look at this position as a "tell us what we want to hear for two years" job. Your reports will probably be something like:

"I walked into GW (insert city here) today and the first thing I saw were two gaming tables. They were prominently displayed but no one was using them. This gave the store an empty appearance that made me think the game was not enthusiastically supported by the community. In addition the new releases were at the back of the store where it was difficult to locate. The newest releases and the biggest models should be prominently displayed at the center-front of the store, easily visible when you walk in. Gaming tables should be kept to the back corners of the store, easily concealed if they are not in use."

Litcheur
21-01-2014, 20:04
And there you contradict yourself. A 2400 pts army is not what a beginner will get. You are looking at 1000-1500 pts - at most.
Well... I totally agree with you. :D

Actually, I tell them that it's 300+200. 300 to get started (1k pts) then 200 to gradually increase the army size to 2400 pts. Because many people (wrongly) consider 1k pts battles to be ininteresting and only for beginners.

But in the end, it will still cost them (at least) half a thousand euros to get an average standard-sized army. :o

Herzlos
21-01-2014, 21:18
Then I would suggest that if you want to play WHF in particular then you need to examiine your local scene and try and get the parameters redefined. when I started working for GW, long after I started playing, we totally accpeted that gamers outside of the stores would play WHF with other people's minis. In fact it was, and still is, a great joy to see that variety in action. The shame came about with the fetish of officialdom that was a sales pitch from GW (makes sense) but was adopted almost fanatically by some parts of the community (serious worry).

My local club are fine with non-GW minis as is the guy I normally play against, and when I start WHF It'll probably be entirely non-GW. I was using WHF as an example here as it's something I've considered.

frozenwastes
21-01-2014, 22:11
I love how much officialdom has been shattered by GW's own withdrawal from community game support and organized play. People may talk about it being caused by customers wanting everything to be official, but without large gaming events, sanctioned tournaments and organized play, such a zeitgeist has no teeth. And no staying power.

If you showed up to a 40k game with alternate models in 2005, you were a pariah. The community was fanatically committed to everything being official and third party grand tournaments where non-GW stuff was allowed were just beginning to appear.

Now it's blown wide open. When people show up with a Scibor character all nicely painted up, people love it. Or if there army is heavily converted by third party bits or models from Chapter House, Anvil, Kromlech or others.

But the guy in this new customer experience position isn't going to see any of this. He or she is probably going to go to various GW stores around the world and talk to people are are largely exclusively in the GW ecosystem.

And if he does go to gaming clubs, what's he going to see? A huge variety of games being played from a wide array of manufacturers. People using third party resin accessory bits and complete miniatures from other manufacturers in their 40k and WFB games. And imagine reporting back to Kirby about the popularity of *that*.

yabbadabba
21-01-2014, 23:00
I love how much officialdom has been shattered by GW's own withdrawal from community game support and organized play. People may talk about it being caused by customers wanting everything to be official, but without large gaming events, sanctioned tournaments and organized play, such a zeitgeist has no teeth. And no staying power.

If you showed up to a 40k game with alternate models in 2005, you were a pariah. The community was fanatically committed to everything being official and third party grand tournaments where non-GW stuff was allowed were just beginning to appear.

Now it's blown wide open. When people show up with a Scibor character all nicely painted up, people love it. Or if there army is heavily converted by third party bits or models from Chapter House, Anvil, Kromlech or others.

But the guy in this new customer experience position isn't going to see any of this. He or she is probably going to go to various GW stores around the world and talk to people are are largely exclusively in the GW ecosystem.

And if he does go to gaming clubs, what's he going to see? A huge variety of games being played from a wide array of manufacturers. People using third party resin accessory bits and complete miniatures from other manufacturers in their 40k and WFB games. And imagine reporting back to Kirby about the popularity of *that*. You mean tell Kirby that things are like during the 80s and 90s when GW showed it's greatest expansion. Somehow I don't think that is going to bother him too much.

bolshie
22-01-2014, 01:38
And those online discounters have been enjoying better sales, because of the lower prices. Proof that it works. But that isn't something GW is doing -- they have been working aggressively to end online discounters for several years now.

That clearly is not the case as the number of discounters is growing, as is the level of discount they are offering.

As to 'proof that it works'. Well yes, it proves that GW's alleged policy of undercutting it's shops to supply the adult market, in order that the shops can focus on adolescents by offering them a gaming space, it does appear to be working. However, given the drop in revenue, and the restructuring of the company, announced in recent days, it is perhaps fruitful to define what is meant by a working.

As to "Understand this: customers have zero ethical, legal, or social responsibility to ensure the success of any particular business." I suggest you reflect on what was actually said.

MiyamatoMusashi
22-01-2014, 11:13
You mean tell Kirby that things are like during the 80s and 90s when GW showed it's greatest expansion. Somehow I don't think that is going to bother him too much.

Yes, but... it's a different world now. Using GW stores as a delivery vehicle for their products was a stroke of genius that bought them mindshare, allowed people to discover them by random chance, give them high street presence, made them known to other organisations and the media, gave people a place to play and meet other like-minded people, and - whether you subscribe to the accusations of dubious business practices or not - most towns with a GW found there wasn't enough of a market for other, non-GW games stores to survive; so for a lot of prospective wargames, in practical terms it was GW or nothing - and many of them never even realised there was any other option than GW. This was a brilliant move that no other company dared attempt (if they even thought of it) and GW achieved market dominance as a direct result.

That world is gone now, gone forever, with the advent of the internet. (Arguably it never really existed outside the UK anyway, but the mindshare achieved in the UK gave it impetus to become successful abroad even with fewer shops.) But now... mention wargames to the average person in the street and they'll whip out their smartphone, Google it, and find about three trillion wargames companies of whom GW are just one - and much of the vibe about them is negative.

In this brave new world, while there are similarities to the state of the market in the 80s, GW need to find a different stroke of genius to last time around, to achieve similar success. I'm not saying they can't do it (genius usually eludes me, as it does most of us, so just because I can't see how, doesn't mean it can't be done) but there really isn't any sign of it yet...

Athmos
22-01-2014, 19:55
What they would need is a large supporting internet community. Alas, they worked hard for many a year to eradicate it or turn it against them.
Where a lot of other companies benefit from Internet buzz, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, GW is actively spending money to suppress some of their fandom...

bittick
22-01-2014, 20:39
They clearly moved from a growth model to a protectionist model. Instead of trying to get more people interested in their game, they want to guard what they have. They send cease and desist letters to people who are talking about their game on the internet. That's idiotic.

yabbadabba
22-01-2014, 20:46
Yes, but... it's a different world now. Sorry I might not have made myself clear enough. In regards to gamers talking about other company products and bad mouthing GW - that has always happened, has always been a factor and I know of some senior managers who actually have factored in that most established hobbyists will not only actively moan about GW, but will also shop eslewhere. This isn't a threat now, this has always been a factor of GWs business - it's not a threat but yet another factor to consider.

The real question should be is this a market that would be worth investing in now, to compete within, or whether it is something that could continue to be the equivalent of GWs Vietnam. They have been there before, several times.

frozenwastes
22-01-2014, 23:57
What I was getting at is that the second this new customer experience person steps outside of the GW only ecosystem into the wider gaming scene, they're going to see the buzz and excitement about non-GW products and the proliferation of the the very thing GW fought three years in court to stop and failed. So the guy is going to have his quarterly update and what? If the person is smart, shut the hell up about it and concentrate on the GW-only ecosystem. This isn't about fun or enjoyment. This is about the customer's experience of buying Games Workshop's wonderful miniatures.

IcedCrow
23-01-2014, 03:02
That assumes the new customer experience person isn't already a gamer that is familiar with the gaming world in general and whats' around outside of GW.

anchorbine
23-01-2014, 04:39
That assumes the new customer experience person isn't already a gamer that is familiar with the gaming world in general and whats' around outside of GW.

The sad part of all of this, is that the current issues that plaque GW are so easy to fix. Mind you, the miniature market isn't what it was 30 years ago, competition and technology has changed. But if they had the right person in charge of their retail division they could easily move forward without all of this drama.

starlight
23-01-2014, 05:49
Indeed.

So what do you suggest?

Omniassiah
23-01-2014, 05:50
Sorry I might not have made myself clear enough. In regards to gamers talking about other company products and bad mouthing GW - that has always happened, has always been a factor and I know of some senior managers who actually have factored in that most established hobbyists will not only actively moan about GW, but will also shop eslewhere. This isn't a threat now, this has always been a factor of GWs business - it's not a threat but yet another factor to consider.

The real question should be is this a market that would be worth investing in now, to compete within, or whether it is something that could continue to be the equivalent of GWs Vietnam. They have been there before, several times.

Well there is a business rule of thumb that it takes 6 times the money to recruit a new customer as to keep an existing customer. There is a slightly more obscure one that says it takes 6 times the amount to regain an ex-customer from a bad experience as it does to recruit a new one. So If I was GW I would frankly forget about people like myself that in most cases has moved on from bad experiences. They just couldn't do anything that would keep them afloat and would get me back.

They need to concentrate on two things the transition from a new customer to a recurring customer and the transition from a recurring customer to either a long-term customer or changed-market ex-customer(one who left because of reasons not related to the product in anyway). Let the burned bridges stay burned and start working on making sure the ones they have left are good and solid.

frozenwastes
23-01-2014, 08:10
That assumes the new customer experience person isn't already a gamer that is familiar with the gaming world in general and whats' around outside of GW.

GW seems to have developed a corporate culture of contempt for gamers. I think it comes from relying on them as a cheap labour recruiting pool for store employees for a couple decades. I think it's far, far more likely that they will be more interested in someone with a retail or marketing background before any gaming familiarity.

starlight
30-01-2014, 21:43
Any last minute thoughts on this? The Posting closes tomorrow...

Fake Tom Kirby
31-01-2014, 00:04
I just want everyone to know I personally pledge to read every word of this report prior to throwing it in the trash, blaming you for the failure of GW, and making the same decisions I was going to make before I read it.

bittick
31-01-2014, 03:24
I just want everyone to know I personally pledge to read every word of this report prior to throwing it in the trash, blaming you for the failure of GW, and making the same decisions I was going to make before I read it.

Just as long as you know that I'm going to use this opportunity to get drunk at a bar near every GW store you send me too.

:)

Manicelf
31-01-2014, 13:25
There you have it:
"Working at Games Workshop
At Games Workshop we are looking for people who will do their best to understand the needs of the company and to put those needs first when they are at work."
That's exactly the problem. They do not write "do their best to understand the needs of the customer". To understand that, they do not need to recruit a new employee, they just need to read what is written on Warseer and similar sites. They do not have to change their shops in the first place, even if that is a beginning. They should rather have a look at their products (example: finecast!), at fluff changes no ones likes (example: Grey Knights that slaughter Sororitas!), and most of all, their prices.


I'd have thought that it was already part of someone's job to at least keep an eye on and report opinions and reactions on this and similar sites to management. Surely, they must look for some kind of feedback on what they are doing. I think that if GW management are fully aware of what's being said their position is either of these.

They think any negative views are only expressed by a very vocal minority but most folks love GW and everything it does.
They view their customers with utter contempt like "junkies" as someone already suggested.

I think 2. is the answer. They really don't care what anyone thinks.
I was in my 30s when I started the hobby and my first GW store experience was quite intimidating. The red shirts were very pushy. I was pounced on, talked at and had a Vampire Counts Spearhead box shoved in my hand within a few minutes. When I didn't buy it the staff member's behavior changed from being maniacally excited to completely uninterested. I took this opportunity to spend ten minutes looking around the store and during this time it became clear that if the red shirts did not know the person coming through the door they had the same routine. It was actually quite embarrassing. I was during this time approached by one red shirt who talked to me like a I was a customer. He asked me simple questions to find out what might interest me and actually listened to my answers. During my short time in the store it became clear through listening to the chatter between the staff that this particular employee was the butt of the jokes and generally viewed as the monkey. The black shirt was the main instigator of this and was way to important to acknowledge any of the walk in new customers/non-hobbyists.

Having worked in retail and now owning my own business it was everything I would not want my customers to experience. Apart from the house monkey who should have trained them all on how to treat customers.
Unfortunately, my experience has been the same to one degree or another in all the GW stores I've visited in the US and UK. I know not all GW employees are ******** but their sales policies sure do want them to come across that way.

IcedCrow
31-01-2014, 13:29
That's also a point of perspective.

I've seen the pushy GW sales person as described above, but for everyone of them there is the other GW sales person that isn't like that. However... we tend to remember the first type and then run with it when we discuss our experience because its irritating.

I would say that my experience in dozens of stores over the years has been that a handful have been super pushy and the rest have been considerate and helpful and non pushy... but no one gives those guys accolades, they just get painted with the car salesman image that the handful I've encountered paint them with.

Horus38
31-01-2014, 13:39
Having worked in retail and now owning my own business it was everything I would not want my customers to experience. Apart from the house monkey who should have trained them all on how to treat customers.
Unfortunately, my experience has been the same to one degree or another in all the GW stores I've visited in the US and UK. I know not all GW employees are ******** but their sales policies sure do want them to come across that way.

*low whistle* thanks for sharing. Despite being in the hobby for around 12 years I've never made it into an "actual GW Store", but that behavior is indeed embarrassing. I agree that the corporate sales mentality trickling down is the main culprit.

Edit: @IcedCrow - thanks for the counter point!

Shadey
04-02-2014, 05:31
In some ways, I think this would be a terribly interesting position. Mostly in that you could get first hand impression of how much if at all Kirby listens to his employees (keeping in mind disagreeing and not listening are two different things).

On the other hand, I suspect many of us already know how much he does listen, and that would neither be fun nor interesting.

Trasvi
04-02-2014, 06:39
In some ways, I think this would be a terribly interesting position. Mostly in that you could get first hand impression of how much if at all Kirby listens to his employees (keeping in mind disagreeing and not listening are two different things).

On the other hand, I suspect many of us already know how much he does listen, and that would neither be fun nor interesting.

I think it could be interesting as well.

What I really hope this person does, is become a customer.
Literally, start playing the game from scratch. Walk into a store, purchase Dark Vengeance, start playing. Paint, convert, go to a different gaming club of FLGS every week and get some time around customers.
Preferably with some method of payment control/reimbursement so that they are purchasing the products like a 'real person' would be, where they can feel the squeeze on their wallet.

There are two really important things I hope that get included in the report:
1) How GW customer service is *compared to other companies*. That means going to FLGS, heck even totally unrelated companies like Apple, to see what they do well.
2) Seeing what customer perception is of GW. Even if, ESPECIALLY if, the perception is completely divorced from reality; that is when you need to change the perception rather than the reality.

I reckon it could be fun. If I could afford to take a pay cut and lose 2 years of real career, I would actually be interested in it and I hope I could do a good job at the actual review, even if none of the advice was ever used.