Improved customer relation is an oxymoron as Games Workshop has no interest whatsoever in retaining customers. Instead, they rely on churn’n’burn and kids with wealthy parents.
Brand awareness is also not something they’re trying to foster. Instead, they rely on word-of-mouth “free advertisement”. That might be a good argument for the brick’n’mortar stores, but do consider this: considering Games Workshop’s global footprint, the areas covered by their stores is minuscule. This tactic might work in the UK where they have the best coverage of stores, but it fails completely in the rest of the world. And the problem is: once it’s failed they have no backup plan...
“Only game in town” might have worked a decade ago. But now that several very large internet retailers have established themselves with good discounts on all products it’s becoming less and less of an advantage. And one that’s likely to disappear completely within another decade or so.
As for the low trade discount, this only serves to make the above problems even worse. Games Workshop seems to be losing ground steadily all over the world – particularly in areas with no stores. Why? Because no sane retailer would build a business mainly on Games Workshop products. Instead, they carry other products, further reducing awareness of Games Workshop games.
Worse, Games Workshop products are not a stabile income as you suggest. Rather, it’s an increasingly dwindling part of a stores income as more and more players deserts Games Workshop in favour of other games.
Here I agree with you.None of the above means I want to defend GW's current strategy. I don't believe they have innovated enough and I think they rely on limiting competition rather than outshining it; which tends to go badly wrong when it goes wrong. That said the vast majority of people who are suggesting a large reduction in GWs retail presence clearly don't understand the core reasons why GW maintains it at present and the damage reducing that quickly would do.
Thing is, I think that it has already gone horribly wrong and now we’re spectators to the death struggle of a once-upon-a-time great company. A company, I might add, we all used to love back then.
I don’t think any of us have ever argued that it wouldn’t be painful for them to restructure themselves – it most certainly will. But without that restructuring I see very little hope for them. It has to be done – the sooner, the better...