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 Post subject: Mattel Wants to Know - Do you want cheaper figures?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:28 pm 
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Daniel Pickett
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There has been a lot of discussion all over the internet about the rising cost of action figures and Mattel's subscriptions. Today Scott asked the question over on the He-Man.org boards - Would you want the return of $20 figures if it meant having to take away things like accessories, paint ops and/or packaging?

Quote:
I've seen a lot of comments today on Facebook about Fangman not being worth $25/$27.00. I wish it was less expensive to make these figures but reality being what it is, production/material costs have risen necessitating this price increase (that in all fairness we announced back in July!).

As we start looking at a potential 2014 line, do fans want the same quality/accessories and package we have now, or would you prefer we found ways to cost reduce the figures back down to $20.00? This would likely include things like very minimal packaging (i.e. a polly bag), no accessories and reduced deco.

What say you? Keep as is or go for a less expensive version of figures that can come in closer to $20.00? Just curious what everyone's thoughts are.

Scott


What do you guys think?


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 Post subject: Re: Mattel Wants to Know - Do you want cheaper figures?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:38 pm 
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shirtless hugger
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I will be the first to say it:

They'll consider polybagging He-Man figures, but when JLU collectors mentioned it as a way to keep costs down, they SCOFFED.

To answer the actual question, though, I will happily take my DCU figures in polybags/envelopes if it helps keep the cost down. Might even help save on shipping, too.

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Looking for: MOC trilingual Super Powers Flash, and any pre-production Super Powers Flash items (proof cards, prototypes, etc.). Basically anything that's Super Powers and Flash related, I am interested in.


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 Post subject: Re: Mattel Wants to Know - Do you want cheaper figures?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:30 pm 
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5th Horseman
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I've long been an advocate of bagged figures. I don't think retail-style packaging makes any sense in a non-retail environment. It adds to the total figure cost, the shipping cost, and just generates more waste. This gets into the whole MOC vs. loose figure argument though. Are they toys or collectibles, is it a hobby or an investment? Neither way will please everyone.


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 Post subject: Re: Mattel Wants to Know - Do you want cheaper figures?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:31 pm 
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Collector Inspector
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Joe G. wrote:
I will be the first to say it:

They'll consider polybagging He-Man figures, but when JLU collectors mentioned it as a way to keep costs down, they SCOFFED.


Bump.

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 Post subject: Re: Mattel Wants to Know - Do you want cheaper figures?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:53 pm 
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Hangin' with the big boys
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It's so hard to answer this question honestly without an example of what the figure would look like.

However...

Packaging matters very little to me. And by very little, I mean almost not at all.

Accessories also matter very little to me, because I can usually either create my own or re-purpose one from a different figure.

Most, if not all of my figures are displayed in the "waiting for the bus" pose, holding nothing.

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 Post subject: Re: Mattel Wants to Know - Do you want cheaper figures?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:20 pm 
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An Insider
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Packaging looks nice but ends up in the garbage. I would rather not pay for something I'm going to throw in the trash if I don't have to. I'm all for bagged figures.


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 Post subject: Re: Mattel Wants to Know - Do you want cheaper figures?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:58 pm 
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Dog Squeezer
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Ditch the inflated packaging.

C.

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 Post subject: Re: Mattel Wants to Know - Do you want cheaper figures?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:57 pm 
shirtless hugger
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Word.


But I don't see Mattel doing that. They're really saying "do we ditch the baby with the bathwater folks?"

They're going to axe the accessories and cut the deco budget down to nothing, when really...all we want is the packaging reduced.

If that's what they were considering, then that's all that would be on the table. They already know how much packaging costs. They already know if making packaging simpler would be enough to get prices down considerably, or not.

They're intentionally being vague here.

Honestly, these people have never delivered 100% reliable figures. And now they want to put the onus on us?

I honestly don't see a way to win, regardless of whatever answer the fans give. Say no, and we're accepting raised prices. Say yes, and we're accepting even more frustrating action figures.

*walks away and throws hands in the air*


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 Post subject: Re: Mattel Wants to Know - Do you want cheaper figures?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:35 pm 
PVC
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I can be very happy with bagged figures but I would like the accessories and the deco to remain. Accessories are a neat thing and I feel that they improve the value of the figures tremendously.

One of my issues with DC direct/collectables is the lack of accessories. I hate to see that happen to MOTUC for example.


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 Post subject: Re: Mattel Wants to Know - Do you want cheaper figures?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:07 pm 
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ABS
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There is no easy solution to this question.

While many people have said that they would be fine with moving to poly-bagged figures (but keeping accessories and deco), this would remove a solid chunk of customers who are solely MOC collectors. With the MOTUC sub numbers down, I don't think Scott could afford to lose this group of customers.

If they chose to remove deco hits, people complain that figures look cheap and are not even worth $20 (Just imagine what Rattlor would have looked like if they didn't paint any of the blue or tan scales). The same goes for accessories - In some cases the accessories make the figure (like Mekanek or Rattlor's neck extensions). Look at how maligned poor Stratos is for his lack of accessories, and he is a core member of the Masters!

Over on the .Org boards, the most common solution is keep the packaging, deco, and accessories but find a way to lower shipping. We all know that DR is paid a "handling" fee as part of our shipping cost that they will fight tooth and nail to keep. The fact that DR fails to list how much this fee is on the invoice is the reason that we pay taxes on shipping (California law states that handling fees are taxable, but when handling is not invoiced separately, the whole shipping charge is taxed). If DR listed their handling fee on the invoice, Mattel would not have to tax customers so much (for those customers that pay sales tax).

My Solution:
Keep the same number of figures, but release them every other month. Currently, it costs $9.90 US via USPS (Newgistics) to ship one basic figure (not including taxes) meaning that each subscription basic figure costs a little less than $35 each (tax not included. However, if they switch to a bimonthly schedule that ships 2 subscription basic figures every other month, the current rate via USPS for 2 basic figures is $11.05 US. That comes out to $61 US for 2 figures or about $30.50 each figure (almost a $5 savings).

Let's use a fake 2014 lineup of only 12 basic figures and that the subscriber figure rate ($25 a figure) and shipping rates stay the same as they are now:

Total for 12 figures (1 per month) + Shipping (no tax) = $418.80
Total for 12 figures (2 bimonthly) + Shipping (no tax) = $366.30

A difference of over $52!

However this does make it much more likely (if not definite) that foreign customers would be hit with customs fees. Also, this might enrage collectors who need a monthly "fix."

I think MattyCollector should really consider switching to a 2 figures every other month (bimonthly) schedule and make DR list their handling fee on the invoice to lower sales taxes. I think that would go a long way to making these figures affordable for more fans.


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 Post subject: Re: Mattel Wants to Know - Do you want cheaper figures?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:48 pm 
Wonderdog
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I'm all for poly-bagging the figures.


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 Post subject: Re: Mattel Wants to Know - Do you want cheaper figures?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:20 pm 
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obsolete and uniquely stupid subnic
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The packaging doesn't matter to me, but I don't like the sound of "reduced deco". Who knows what that could end up meaning.


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 Post subject: Re: Mattel Wants to Know - Do you want cheaper figures?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:49 am 
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5" Scale
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you guys do know, we would lose a lot of MOC collectors if they went to poly bags, right?

I open all my toys, but I will not ask to ditch the card back, just b/c my personal collecting habits wouldnt be affected.

Toys cost more now a days, I say leave it has is, fix DR if you can, but love the toys and packaging alone


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 Post subject: Re: Mattel Wants to Know - Do you want cheaper figures?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:26 am 
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Im all for cheaper figures.

Polybagged, a much simpler blister card, whatever. Packaging does not matter to me.

Accessories are a nice bonus, but again, if left out, I probably won't be overly concerned.

Decos is a tricky wicket though. I'd have to see an example of what they are proposing before saying if I would care or not.

But yeah, figures are now priced too high and have hit my ceiling so if they can lower the cost to me, I'm all for it.

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 Post subject: Re: Mattel Wants to Know - Do you want cheaper figures?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:39 am 
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my apartment smells of rich mahogany
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Some good things have been said already. I'll try and keep this brief. So once again Matty is asking our advice on their declining sales? Sorry if it isn't, but it kind of feels that way. As a 2nd year subscriber here are some of my main frustrations. I'll cover them before I start in on what they are asking. We all know DR isn't helping things with their outsourced CS, incorrect invoices and sporadic correspondences with Matty's subscribers. Nuff said on that. But my main frustration is shipping. I pay basically a Priority shipping cost and yet my package is sent Parcel Post? Why is it I can get a package from TX faster than one 2 states down from where I live? Not to mention that my package is half ass packaged most of the time. Let's move onto their new question of reducing cost. I have no problem paying a premium price, whether it is the figure or shipping. I just want to make sure I'm getting what I paid for. Matty is a online collectors club. So let's start seeing bang for our bucks. I'm a DCU guy and I can tell you that we're basically paying a premium for a $10 figure and no accessories. Which begs the question, what reduced accessories are they talking about when it comes to that line or are they talking about MOTU(as usual)? Lanterns being sent out without lanterns, villains being sent out without their sycthe's and other missing accessories that should be included with the figures or are we just paying for the pretty box it comes in? Instead of doing this, why don't they ship then in the white boxes in a plastic holder to accommodate the figure? Whenever poly bags are mentioned I can't help but feel cheapened as a consumer.


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