Between Heaven and Earth

A discussion on industries, online marketing, my board game store and the Internet in general

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Location: Vancouver, Canada

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More fun

Just had a talk with the partner, big changes occuring for the company. Can't really discuss much of it now, but I'm going to have to take a closer look at a lot of things soon.

Gods, it never ends.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ecommerce isn't bad!

It'd be interesting to see if anyone else gets as much flak from the industry for being an online store as we do. Certainly, we've gotten a third shut-out issue now, firstly from customers, then distributors and now a damn Con.

Damn it. Why don't these people understand that ecommerce isn't bad and more, we're here to stay. You either have to learn to adapt and become more competitive or you'll die. Trying to shut us out isn't going to work.

Oh and one more thing. The more games we sell, the better for the damn industry. Because guess what, we get the same prices so everyone down behind us - from distributors to publishers to designers get more money. The only person not making much is US.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Yeah, your website just needs to do some SEO and...

Okay, rant on.

If I hear the words 'SEO' and 'Just get on the first page of Google' from the mouth of another layma when they are talking about either (a) my business or (b) the website they just put up for themselves, I will bitch slap them.

I do this for a living. And I'm not a fly-by-night operator. I used to get paid a LOT of money for what I did, and I'm not even the best in the world. I spend more time reading up on this shit than you do - and 1 article in your damn business section of your paper doesn't count. Or magazine. Hell, 2 doesn't.

Search Engine Optimisation is a frigging complex thing when you really get into the details - the basic is really simple, the rest of it, is vastly complicated. I KNOW I just scratch the surface on SEO - and I've spent hours every week doing it. There are specialists who spend their entire working lives learning and doing this.

So blithely throwing words like that around is just asking for me to bitchslap you. E-commerce is no longer an easy get rich scheme. That was 10 years ago at a minimum. Nowadays, it's hard work and actual professionalism that will get you there, if you don't have an existing website.

End rant.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Long blog post on capitlisation

I won't repeat what I said, but the long blog post on capitlisation is up.

On another note - if you're thinking of operating costs, figure at least another $500 - 1000 (not including salary). And at least 3 months of no income just to set up the site.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Logistics of a board game store

Perhaps the hardest part of running this business has been the realisation that cash flow and logistics is playing a much larger part than actual marketing. I am going to have to look into it even more closely next year when Christmas starts rolling around, but there are quite a few products that went out of stck tha thsouldn't have for christmas and too many products that we have carried in others.

In fact, in some ways, while stocking up for Christmas was worthwhile in some spaces, it was a bad idea in others. And starting to do this in September was really a bad idea - the pick-up in sales really only starts in mid-November, never mind the start. So while holding a bit more stock is useful, it's not a good idea to hold that much more.

Again - that is for non-fast selling games. But in some ways, because the best sellers are all known (Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne), it's not that important either since all those games have nice quantities at the distributor.

The other side of the point is the time it takes to et games in - the speed of restocking. Since it takes at least a week generally for us to pick-up an order, we need to not only forecast but also stock adequate levels to deal with a minimum 1 week restocking period. And it'd probably be preferable to do 2 weeks. It would so help if our distributors weren't in Ontario and the US but.. meh.

I think next year, we have to sit down and do a proper logistics/trend analysis to understnad what games sell, how many and when to really get a handle of this stocking problem.

Friday, December 05, 2008

JW Inglis fundraiser

So we've been putting together a fundraiser for a while and it happened last night. I just heard from the organiser (VP of the PAC) that it went very well and people had a lot of fun. I'm hoping she has more information and she's promised to do a large order over the weekend as well.

So yes! If this works out really well, I might make it a point over the new year to actually put together this information and approach various PAC / PTA's in BC to see if they would be interested in something like this.

I think it would be a great new revenue source and frankly, a great way to introduce them to new games too. I might have to do a bit more groundwork in placing together a 'set' series of games, etc. but I think it could work out very well.

We shall see.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

Well, Christmas season has finally come. We are doing many more orders now compared to normal, and quite a few big one's. I spent half of today doing orders over the phone with customers, which is fine.

Except the system in Magento needs a little fixing 'cause it doesn't allow you to do PayPal in the backend and the Canada Post backend section doesn't work either. Which is annoying but livable I guess - I should stop using the backend and just do everything from the front-end. It'd work better I would think...

Ah well. Small changes, but at least we're seeing good sales now.

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