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 Post subject: The fundamental flaw in Matty.com's business plan
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:10 pm 
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Is it just me? It seems that the folks running mattycollector.com have a misconstrued definition of a successful online store.

I don't mean "Offer products customers want at a price they can afford and can receive in a timely manner." We all know they've twisted those concepts into knots (and made any it 'the fans' fault).

Common Sense Definition
Be fully stocked with the product your customers want.

MattyCollector Definition
Always be sold out of everything.

See, that's no much a "store" as it is a "gallery" showing collectors what they want and can maybe find on ebay.

Seriously, is it just me?

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 Post subject: Re: The fundamental flaw in Matty.com's business plan
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:15 pm 
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It's just you.

Get to the site on sale day (usually the 15th) and you have an excellent chance to purchase whatever you want that's on sale. I haven't been shut out of a Matty product since Trapjaw a few years back. Yes, it's "appointment shopping," but with a little planning you can get whatever you need.

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 Post subject: Re: The fundamental flaw in Matty.com's business plan
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:45 pm 
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I don't think it's ever a good long-term strategy to pleeple off your customer base so consistently. And matty.com really depends on us collectors and not the "moms and kids" of the brick and mortar store. I know that once JLU ends it's unlikely that I will purchase much from Mattel and certainly not from matty.com. It's a shame because I would really like to complete the Metal Men.

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 Post subject: Re: The fundamental flaw in Matty.com's business plan
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:59 pm 
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dpdodson wrote:
I don't think it's ever a good long-term strategy to pleeple off your customer base so consistently. And matty.com really depends on us collectors and not the "moms and kids" of the brick and mortar store. I know that once JLU ends it's unlikely that I will purchase much from Mattel and certainly not from matty.com. It's a shame because I would really like to complete the Metal Men.


So why not order Platinum and Lead when you place your December JLU order?...


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 Post subject: Re: The fundamental flaw in Matty.com's business plan
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:29 am 
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I think that if Mattel didn't have to deal with Digital River and whatever costs they incur for having stuff in DR's warehouse, they would be able to leave stuff on sale for longer periods of time rather than the customary 'take it off the site before the next sale starts' that they seem to be so fond of.

That said, I also think that the shopping experience through Matty.com has improved by leaps and bounds over where it was even a year ago. I've been able to get just about everything I want on sale day without problems (and the only thing I didn't get, the Legion set, was because I didn't have the money for it before it sold out...both times).

It's not a convenient system if you're not able to buy on sale day, or if you're someone who just happens to stumble across the site somehow, but they have made definite improvements.

Just my two cents.

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 Post subject: Re: The fundamental flaw in Matty.com's business plan
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:13 am 
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It may seem like common sense to have a fully stocked website (or brick-and-mortar store) at all times, but it's not good business sense.

Consumers are very fickle, and in rough times, they will naturally cut back on unnecessary expenditures. Action figures are a good example, but clothing is a better one. It's easy to put off the purchase of a new pair of pants or a shirt to see if the old one can last for one more season.

It costs money to keep goods in a warehouse or even a storeroom, and retailers have been cutting their inventories to keep fewer items in stock. It's a common business practice, and it's used more often when the economy is slow because it holds down costs.

It's important to remember that Mattel is not a retailer, it is a toy manufacturer. It hired Digital River to come up with e-commerce solutions, like how to design a website with a shopping cart and a secure payment system.

It's easy to compare MattyCollector.com with, say, Amazon.com because they are both e-commerce websites. But the companies behind those sites have different business models.

Mattel is using MattyCollector to try to establish a direct link to adult collectors. Granted, it's not a perfect solution. If Mattel used a third-party retailer to sell toys to collectors, the buying experience might be easier, but the costs would be much higher.


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 Post subject: Re: The fundamental flaw in Matty.com's business plan
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:56 am 
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There's something else to take into account. When Mattel started Matty they did intend to have at least some product available all the time. I think they discovered something the hard way, that most sales happen on the first day and that not nearly enough people take advantage of online shopping or waiting to combine shipping. I've read some things from retailers and manufacturers that allude to that (I recall a story with Hasbro talking about the ML Sunfire they sold exclusively through HasbroToyShop) but I can say that I sort of saw it first hand years ago. A friend and I were trying to get a screen printing business off the ground and we had one client that was a little over-enthusiastic. He loved the shirts we came up with for him and had sold 150 at a national convention in a matter of hours. Without saying a word to us he got a sixth of a page ad/news article in the front of a national magazine. The story had our address and price per shirt with shipping and told people to order directly from us. He told us about a week before the issue hit the stands and we went into panic mode. We didn't have a supply of shirts ready, we didn't have the money to get a supply of shirts ready and we had no idea how we would handle an inflow of orders from a national audience (later we discovered it was international as well). Well the issue hit the stands and we braced for the worst. During the first week we received a grand total of four orders (totalling six shirts) and that was it. Three orders from the states in the first part of that week and one from Japan at the end and nothing more. We kept waiting and waiting thinking the flood of orders was going to come in and lucky for us they didn't. That incident convinced us that we should just give up, if we couldn't sell product "on demand" we certainly couldn't afford to sit on ready made stock and hope to sell it through. Like Greg said above it's a completly diffent beast trying to sell the product yourself instead of having a retailer place an order and letting them worry about moving the product.


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 Post subject: Re: The fundamental flaw in Matty.com's business plan
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:34 am 
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Does Mattel even consider Matty.com a source of significant income? In other words, I guess what I'm really asking is... does Mattel really care that much about Matty.com?

I'm not asking this to be dismissive of them or to "hate" or to criticize them. I'm generally asking this as an honest question.

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 Post subject: Re: The fundamental flaw in Matty.com's business plan
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:44 am 
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I think several of you have a highly misconstrued view of how big of mattel's fan base we actually are.

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 Post subject: Re: The fundamental flaw in Matty.com's business plan
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:52 am 
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Backward Galaxy wrote:
Does Mattel even consider Matty.com a source of significant income? In other words, I guess what I'm really asking is... does Mattel really care that much about Matty.com?

I'm not asking this to be dismissive of them or to "hate" or to criticize them. I'm generally asking this as an honest question.

You would think if they bother to put money into it that it would be considered something... I don't buy this Mattel maintains stuff at almost no profit or a loss for our benefit. A company is out to make money, period. I don't expect them to take a loss on my account, my being all of us fans and consumers as a whole.

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 Post subject: Re: The fundamental flaw in Matty.com's business plan
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:21 am 
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tuning4k wrote:
Is it just me? It seems that the folks running mattycollector.com have a misconstrued definition of a successful online store.

They're not trying to be an online store. They're trying to be an Internet outlet for limited edition product that would not do well with a large production run.

That's why they're now leaning more toward the subscription-only model. There are going to be many figures that don't have any day-of stock in 2013. They don't want leftover stock that they can't get rid of. They essentially want to be a made-to-order business.


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 Post subject: Re: The fundamental flaw in Matty.com's business plan
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:28 pm 
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Mattel is in the business of producing toys, not selling them. It is up to their distribution channels to do that for them. What Mattycollector allows them to do is to build a portfolio of boys' toys in a category in which they were pretty much not in play after the demise of the original MOTU line. Having all these toys made also helps keep one of their strongest brand names current. In the event of a MOTU film, it would be easier for Mattel to have stores carry the line by saying that it has always been in the public's eye. How it was made available to consumers wouldn't matter to the store buyers.


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 Post subject: Re: The fundamental flaw in Matty.com's business plan
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:31 pm 
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Jim_Abell wrote:
There's something else to take into account. When Mattel started Matty they did intend to have at least some product available all the time. I think they discovered something the hard way, that most sales happen on the first day and that not nearly enough people take advantage of online shopping or waiting to combine shipping. I've read some things from retailers and manufacturers that allude to that (I recall a story with Hasbro talking about the ML Sunfire they sold exclusively through HasbroToyShop) but I can say that I sort of saw it first hand years ago. A friend and I were trying to get a screen printing business off the ground and we had one client that was a little over-enthusiastic. He loved the shirts we came up with for him and had sold 150 at a national convention in a matter of hours. Without saying a word to us he got a sixth of a page ad/news article in the front of a national magazine. The story had our address and price per shirt with shipping and told people to order directly from us. He told us about a week before the issue hit the stands and we went into panic mode. We didn't have a supply of shirts ready, we didn't have the money to get a supply of shirts ready and we had no idea how we would handle an inflow of orders from a national audience (later we discovered it was international as well). Well the issue hit the stands and we braced for the worst. During the first week we received a grand total of four orders (totalling six shirts) and that was it. Three orders from the states in the first part of that week and one from Japan at the end and nothing more. We kept waiting and waiting thinking the flood of orders was going to come in and lucky for us they didn't. That incident convinced us that we should just give up, if we couldn't sell product "on demand" we certainly couldn't afford to sit on ready made stock and hope to sell it through. Like Greg said above it's a completly diffent beast trying to sell the product yourself instead of having a retailer place an order and letting them worry about moving the product.



This I get mostly except for one thing. They would actually make more money if they kept at least a little of their most popular pieces in stock. Take MOTU for example. I can totally understand not keeping most in stock, but not the core characters. Say Teela or the Sorceress for example. But based on a few comments here and there from TG I believe it's simply to help the secondary market. If the scalpers can make money, then they'll buy up your limited stock.

I also don't get why the subs aren't already open for 2014. Maybe not already but they should be by christmas. It makes no sense to wait until the factory order deadline to start them up. Unless it's again to hype up the exclusivity and make their stuff seem "hot".


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 Post subject: Re: The fundamental flaw in Matty.com's business plan
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:31 pm 
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Titan Speck wrote:
This I get mostly except for one thing. They would actually make more money if they kept at least a little of their most popular pieces in stock. Take MOTU for example. I can totally understand not keeping most in stock, but not the core characters. Say Teela or the Sorceress for example. But based on a few comments here and there from TG I believe it's simply to help the secondary market. If the scalpers can make money, then they'll buy up your limited stock.


And they are experimenting with that this year. In MOTUC all five of the faction leaders plus Battle Cat, Panthor and Swift Wind are available all the time and have even gone through a couple of big sales and two of the Ghostbusters are also available on a regular basis. They also decided to keep all of the WWE figures for sale at all times, I guess to experiment with that model. And there are a few other items they seem to be keeping around just because they want to get rid of them like the Wind Raider, PKE Meter and Retro-Action stuff. As for helping the secondary market, the idea isn't to help the scalpers it's to help people with subs have the ability to sell-off figures they don't want so that they don't have to "take a loss" because Mattel made too many for the market, that's part of why they stopped doing new runs of figures. At some point they got some sort of idea of how many people were buying everything and they found a point where new people stopped joining in the purchases.

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I also don't get why the subs aren't already open for 2014. Maybe not already but they should be by christmas. It makes no sense to wait until the factory order deadline to start them up. Unless it's again to hype up the exclusivity and make their stuff seem "hot".


From what I read into the line planning from the Q&As and listing to Scott in interviews (he's on the .org's Roast Gooble Dinner a lot, usually a pretty good listen) the line is being planned now but nothing is neccessarily set until right before SDCC. Legally they can't go "subscribe now and we'll tell you how much you're going to pay later", so they're using the time to figure out just how much can be added in addition to the monthly figures and how much they can add outside of the subscriptions. MOTUC went from 1 sub figure, 12 figures, 4 variants and 4 "big" items in the sub this year to 1 sub figure, 12 figures and 4 variants and/or "big" items next year. DCIE went from a 1 "big" sub figure, a regular figure each month and 1 "big" figure every three months to 1 "big" sub figure and one regular figure per month. They're asking people to sign-up for a year's worth of product (6 to 9 months worth not even being seen or listed at the time of sale) and that can be a tough sell. Honestly, I think that they do need that time both to make a big presentation at Comic-Con and to figure out exactly how much people are willing to spend on a non-essential product in a year's time.


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 Post subject: Re: The fundamental flaw in Matty.com's business plan
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 4:42 am 
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Jim_Abell wrote:
Honestly, I think that they do need that time both to make a big presentation at Comic-Con and to figure out exactly how much people are willing to spend on a non-essential product in a year's time.

Not to mention the fact that they can barely get enough people to sign up after they've revealed a few of the figures that are in a given year's sub. If they opened up the 2014 subs for purchase now or even at Christmas, they wouldn't have anything to reveal about each sub's contents. People broogle and complain now that the three or four figures they reveal at SDCC isn't enough to commit to a sub; sales on a sub with absolutely nothing to reveal would be completely dead.


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