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 Post subject: So Mattel says "tell your retailer..."
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:56 pm 
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Today's various communiques from Mattel seem to recite a common mantra regarding how to change what we see on store pegs. "Tell your retailer..."

My response to that statement is "how?" The employees on the floor don't give a hoot, and won't pass on any questions or info from customers. (They'll say they will just to get rid of you.) Most of the store managers don't care much either, and even if they did, most have next to no control over incoming inventory, as it's all determined by computer at Corporate Headquarters. And we all know emails to Corporate Headquarters tend to go ignored.

And one can't vote with dollars for product that isn't there.

So, to Mattel I pose this question: How does one legitimately contact retailers?

C.

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 Post subject: Re: So Mattel says "tell your retailer..."
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 5:07 pm 
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Casimir wrote:
...And one can't vote with dollars for product that isn't there...

Heck, most of us can't vote with dollars for the product that is there! Well, we do when we leave the trinity sets, the Shining Knights sets and other pegwarmers on the pegs, but it's not the vote we would like to send to how much we like the line; just to the case ratios (or distribution, which I think is what the real question was that wasn't answered). Unfortunately, retailers take a 'No' vote for case ratios as a 'No' Vote for the entire line.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 5:10 pm 
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Here is the message I posted on 9/12/06...

We've been talking off & on about contacting the retail giants about the selection of toys for some time now. I finally took the plunge and looked up the appropriate head honchos that are responsible for the toys/action figures sold in their respective stores. Here are the addresses and people to write to if you're interested:

Mr. Ron Boire
Executive Vice President
Toys "R" Us, Inc.
One Geoffrey Way
Wayne, NJ 07470-2030

Ms. Gina Sprenger
Senior Vice President
Target, Inc.
1000 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Mr. Douglas J. Degn
Executive Vice President
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
702 SOuthwest 8th Street
Bentonville, AR 72716

KMart has been a difficult company to track down since their joining up worth Sears. Their Corporate HQ is:

Kmart Corporation
3100 W. Big Beaver Road
Troy, MI 48084
(This address may have changed since the merger with Sears - I'm checking out)

The biggest problem I see with our situation is the disconnect between the consumers and the retailers. We have the ears of the toy manufacturers, but the retail side seems oblivious to the desires of collectors.

As toy sales shrink because kids are becoming "tweens" earlier and earlier, I would think that pursuing the collector market would be to the advantage of the retailers - unless they plan to simply stop selling toys.

My letters have been business/sales oriented trying to explain the advantages to the retail management the profit potential they can capture if they take an active intrest in the collector/adult toy buyer market.

Honestly, I have not received so much as a form postcard, but I'm still writing and if more people start then perhaps they will take notice.


Way back when I said that Mattel has only limited input on what the retailers buy. I don't think anyone believed I was right - and I may well have not been - but they don't call them "buyers" for nothing. I think that Mattel would love to stretch out the mold costs of unique figures by having Target or TRU buy more of them than the trinity, but if the buyers only think the trinity is THE seller, then that's what they will buy.


Now, to be honest, in all this time of writing to the management I have never received any reply from any of the letters I have sent, but I keep sending them - sort of like Andy in Shawshank Redemption...

But I will now start writing to the store managers of my TRU, Target, Wal-Marts and K-Marts as well.

I really believe that in order for the retailers to take this serious is to keep up a consistent flow on the subject...


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 Post subject: Re: So Mattel says "tell your retailer..."
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 5:32 pm 
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Casimir wrote:
My response to that statement is "how?" The employees on the floor don't give a hoot, and won't pass on any questions or info from customers. (They'll say they will just to get rid of you.) Most of the store managers don't care much either, and even if they did, most have next to no control over incoming inventory, as it's all determined by computer at Corporate Headquarters. And we all know emails to Corporate Headquarters tend to go ignored.C.


You've hit the nail on the head, Casmir, and it's not just about toys, either. When I look around my store and see things that get ordered and things that get discontinued I constantly shake my head and wonder what's going on. I don't know if it's because the buyers are on a power trip and just order what they like or if the jobs rotate so much that no one really keeps track of what went on before them. Non-toy examples, 2XL and 3XL in men's printed tees sell out instantly because the store only gets 1 or 2 of each but the smalls and mediums are sent in at 5 to 6 and, usually, at least 4 each of those sizes end up on the clearance racks. The white spice racks that we constantly talk about here were a constant sell-through item at my store and most of the other Wal-Marts in the area (plus they had a mark-up of over 60%!) yet the corporate buyer decided not to buy them after the 2005 holiday season. I remember one year we got in a display pallet of carpet cleaner which did-not-sell, the item went on clearance about 6 months later and a year later we still had the product on clearance when corporate sent in *another* pallet of the same product at full price. Last spring all of the clothing buyers ordered the "wrong" product (for Wal-Mart customers, that is) and way too much of it in an attempt to get the apparel sales from Target, Old Navy and the like and we ended up clearancing it and taking a $65,000 loss in one day because of it and I'm just talking *one* store!

I'm not really sure how we should approach the situation. Glenn has a good point about physically writing directly to the buyers, but maybe the CEOs/COOs would be a better shot at getting a response?... The retailers understand *something* about the collector market otherwise they wouldn't carry the higher-end, collector Barbies and dolls and some of the more expensive die cast items (most notably the NASCAR stuff), the trick is letting them know that we'd prefer just to be able to buy the normal merchandise without them thinking that we *want* the high-end "collectible" type of merchandise... Maybe using comparisons to the exclusives like Toy Biz's boxed ML sets or Hasbro's Star Wars Battle Pack exclusives like the vehicle stuff they do each year?...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 6:51 pm 
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Sorry, I have no input, but I just have to say...EXCELLENT thread...!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:22 am 
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It would be nice if Mattel would give us an option of "direct to consumer"...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:39 am 
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they want money, plain and simple, and if they think something won't sell, they aren't gonna listen. heck, the only reason my wal*mart doesnt get DCSH anymore is because of a single bizarro. one bizarro! it's ridiculous! i hope DCUC fairs better, or I'm gonna have to move. though, my plan is to get all the batman figures i missed at big lots in a few months.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:00 am 
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Seriously, what store manager is going to do something if I go up to him and sayd "You know, I've been looking for this Justice League Unlimited Blue Devil figure forever. What can you do about that?" He's just going to respond with something like, "I'll let my toy department manager know. Check back often!"

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:50 am 
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Actually, this was the same response given by the McFarlane Sports Picks Manager when we asked about why Target no longer carried Sports Picks. My first thought was, it is your job (company, marketing, promotion, whoever) to get your product into stores, not mine. Second, in the case of the Sports Picks, I am sure Target was more than happy not to have idiots running through the store every morning at opening to fight over these things. I doubt 20-50 year old mostly men requesting that they carry a product helps much; in some cases, like Sports Picks, it might even justify their decision to drop a product!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:56 am 
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I think Mattel needs to jump in here with a 2-minute post as to how this can actually be accomplished.

Maybe it's part of the aisle branding plan they have for 2008.

Boy Wonder, are you out there? :)

Peace,

Chip

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:03 am 
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Glenn2000, that's amazing information! THANKS! So much better than telling an employee on the floor! I'm going to write letters right now!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:08 am 
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TRDouble wrote:
...My first thought was, it is your job (company, marketing, promotion, whoever) to get your product into stores, not mine...

There is wisdom here.

Misunderstanding or no, I must admit that I was taken aback by ToyGuru's reply to the question. I'm still formulating my response.

But yes, the contact info for the retail heads is really valuable. Thank you Glenn.


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 Post subject: Re: So Mattel says "tell your retailer..."
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:25 am 
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Casimir wrote:
Today's various communiques from Mattel seem to recite a common mantra regarding how to change what we see on store pegs. "Tell your retailer..."

My response to that statement is "how?" The employees on the floor don't give a hoot, and won't pass on any questions or info from customers. (They'll say they will just to get rid of you.) Most of the store managers don't care much either, and even if they did, most have next to no control over incoming inventory.


Exactly,do you know the LOOKS we get,or at least that I get when I as a
grown man of 45 complains nicely that I cannot find my toys in their store?
They seem to think I'm speaking Martian,and that they just single-handidly discovered aliens are living among them!!!! And your right,they
promptly tell me ANYTHING just to get me to move on.Lets face it,most
employees are doing their 9-5,{ or whatever},and collect their paycheck.
They are NOT worried about what toys I can or cannot find.
And although i desparetly want to buy these figures,and will do anything I
can to get my stores to carry them locally,I almost wonder if I do all the leg work for the MATTEL Company are they then going to cut me a weekly pay check??? I could use a job,especially if it has benifits to help me pay the cardiologist I'm seeing.
Frankly,I'm disapointed.I haven't seen anything past Mongel & Cyborg
Superman......
the Man-Bat1


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:29 am 
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too much stick, not enough carrot
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Yeah this is a total 180 switch, and not really one that is appreciated. Have to agree with the sentiments. Doesn't Mattel have entire divisions devoted to promoting their products? I can write 100 letters, but if there is no push to improve the case packouts, or work with retailers on their end it won't do a lot of good. We want to give Mattel our money. But I can only buy so many of the Trinity packs. *sigh*

I noticed they even used this canned response when AFHub asked about distribution overseas. That's really pushing it I have to say.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:54 am 
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texgnome1 wrote:
I noticed they even used this canned response when AFHub asked about distribution overseas.

Yeah, I noticed this too. Not the best, I agree.


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