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Old 09-09-2019, 11:00 PM   #11
Hoffman
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Re: Pre-Ordering on Canadian Sites - Mezco

Unfortunately we did have to go to up front payment on all orders, especially for items like this. In the past we ran into way too many cases of customers just not responding to invoices, leaving us with dead stock.

We don't want it to become a habit for customers, but we will still honour full refunds if an order needs to be cancelled prior to release.
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:15 PM   #12
kvu
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Re: Pre-Ordering on Canadian Sites - Mezco

toytards.com is an awesome site. i use them all the time and they don't require upfront payments.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:17 PM   #13
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Re: Pre-Ordering on Canadian Sites - Mezco

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Originally Posted by kvu View Post
toytards.com is an awesome site. i use them all the time and they don't require upfront payments.

Is that totally true?

Their policy reads:

"Our current payment system requires full payment for any pre-orders. However, if you wish to have the pre-order discount and pay after the product has been released, please send us your inquiry through email. We will send you a Paypal payment request for 20% non-refundable deposit for the pre-order item you wish to purchase."

I can guarantee that that 20% NRD is for exactly the reason I mentioned.

You'll find that most small stores will require payment up front. Not only for the risk factors that have been discussed, but also because the payment systems just don't allow it. When we allowed 'pay later' options, it required a lot of work-arounds and manual processing, and it could only be done by sending customers PayPal invoices.
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:05 PM   #14
MichaelScarn6969
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Re: Pre-Ordering on Canadian Sites - Mezco

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Originally Posted by Hoffman View Post
Is that totally true?

Their policy reads:

"Our current payment system requires full payment for any pre-orders. However, if you wish to have the pre-order discount and pay after the product has been released, please send us your inquiry through email. We will send you a Paypal payment request for 20% non-refundable deposit for the pre-order item you wish to purchase."

I can guarantee that that 20% NRD is for exactly the reason I mentioned.

You'll find that most small stores will require payment up front. Not only for the risk factors that have been discussed, but also because the payment systems just don't allow it. When we allowed 'pay later' options, it required a lot of work-arounds and manual processing, and it could only be done by sending customers PayPal invoices.
I totally get why smaller businesses have to do it. No arguments from me. When I started this thread I didnít think it was going to become a big thing. Just wanted to know if anyone knew of any Canadian sites where I might be able to secure the figure I want without having to pay up front. Again, I totally get why small business, such as yourself, have to put these policies into place.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:33 AM   #15
m.arndt
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Re: Pre-Ordering on Canadian Sites - Mezco

Sorry to disrupt this thread, but since Hoffman, you have been in this thread, any chance you might be able to shed some light on why does it seem like distributors are giving you guys (smaller online Canadian stores) the shaft when it comes to getting product?
It feels like the past year especially, you guys don’t get the treatment you deserve from distributors. Product arriving seems to be so slow this past year. MLs arriving several months after TRU and EB Games have sold out.

If this is the new normal, how else can a smaller online stores survive without asking customers to pay up front? I’d imagine preorder cancelations have skyrocketed this past year with product being held up so long by distributors
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Old 09-11-2019, 10:11 AM   #16
Hoffman
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Re: Pre-Ordering on Canadian Sites - Mezco

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Originally Posted by m.arndt View Post
Sorry to disrupt this thread, but since Hoffman, you have been in this thread, any chance you might be able to shed some light on why does it seem like distributors are giving you guys (smaller online Canadian stores) the shaft when it comes to getting product?
It feels like the past year especially, you guys don’t get the treatment you deserve from distributors. Product arriving seems to be so slow this past year. MLs arriving several months after TRU and EB Games have sold out.

If this is the new normal, how else can a smaller online stores survive without asking customers to pay up front? I’d imagine preorder cancelations have skyrocketed this past year with product being held up so long by distributors
Good question, which unfortunately does not have a super clear answer. But I can try to provide some context. Hasbro is definitely one company where there has been a marked shift, so I'll focus on them as an example.

Small companies can not get a direct account with Hasbro. Not only would it be unfeasible from a minimum order perspective, it just isn't an option. If you look into it, they direct you to specific distributors.

About 2-3 years ago there was an un-communicated but obvious change in how Hasbro handles solicitations. It used to be that the distributors could solicit well in advance, which in turn allowed retailers to confidently offer pre-orders.

At a certain point though, Hasbro instituted 'solicit dates', which applied to their direct account holders (which includes said distributors). It just so happens that this solicit date happens to coincide with the large retailers receiving their stock.

I can't say for sure that this was a strongarm tactic by places like Wal-Mart and Target, but it seems like an fair hypothesis. Regardless, it's an unfortunate reality.

To clarify though - I don't think it's the distributors giving us the shaft, I think it's Hasbro de-prioritizing them.

As for the Canadian retailers like TRU and EB Games, it's even less clear. I don't know if they have direct accounts with Hasbro or if they go through a Canadian distributor. I suspect that EB Games might be tied in with GameStop, but TRU may use a Canadian distributor. That, or they get some priority from Hasbro now that there is no TRU in the US.

We actually did use the Canadian distributor for a bit, but the issue with them is that they can't guarantee orders of specific waves. They kind of work in the old generic toy method of 'order a product line and get whatever case pack is available'. They were great when we got a wave early, but they also burned us on a couple of waves.

Using ML as an example, that is definitely part of the reason we have significantly cut back on what we offer and require up front payment. It would happen often that customers with pre-orders would run out to TRU to buy a wave and then dump their preorders. That can still happen, but generally those who are ok with paying up front are generally doing so because they just want to secure an order and not drive around looking for product.

I could make a positive argument that says that it's a good thing that the product are easier to find at retail these days, however it's also still the case that the retail stores may only get a case or 2 and then the product dries up. In Canada, every single product line is a total gamble.

Sorry for the long post. Hopefully there's a bit of useful insight in there. Feel free to ask me questions any time, I'm generally ok with sharing as much info as possible, as long as it isn't confidential or business sensitive.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:06 PM   #17
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Re: Pre-Ordering on Canadian Sites - Mezco

Please, no need to apologize for a long post (I certainly don’t find it to be a long post).
I, and I’m sure others, appreciate the information regarding what you’ve got to deal with when trying to make these figures available to us. It certainly helps provide some perspective on why paying up front for preorders is the norm now.
So I guess it would be safe to say that Mattel is doing the same thing as Hasbro with these solicit dates? Is that what happened with the DC Multiverse Lobo wave? Nothing in Canada yet, while that wave has been out for something like 6 months in the States with singles still available on Amazon.com, and even the full wave still in stock at BBTS as we speak.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:13 PM   #18
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Re: Pre-Ordering on Canadian Sites - Mezco

To be honest, Mattel has always been a mess. They don't care at all about small dealers.

As it pertains to Multiverse, prior to their last "relaunch", the distribution was actually relatively decent. But in the last year or two it hasn't been reliable at all. For us at least, it's one of those things we'll carry if it happens to work out, but it's never part of the plan.

Again though, it's a case of the distributors being at the mercy of Mattel. We were late ordering our Lobo cases, but we're finally getting them this week when WalMart has already received and sold through the next wave.

From a business perspective, it does make some sense why the big toy companies don't worry too much about the small dealers, but what they seem to fail to understand is that the distributors supply a broad network of retailers who are much closer to the customers, which probably actually gives much more relevant data in terms of what customers are actually interested in. It also creates a very negative availability perception for the customers.
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:08 PM   #19
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Re: Pre-Ordering on Canadian Sites - Mezco

Thanks for taking the time to answer Hoffman. It’s greatly appreciated
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Old 09-14-2019, 11:51 AM   #20
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Re: Pre-Ordering on Canadian Sites - Mezco

Very informative posts, Hoffman, we appreciate it!

I agree with your notion of people who preorder and don’t mind paying up front do it to secure product. I’m not a fan of driving around to find the figures that I want and don’t mind waiting a little longer knowing that I’ll definitely get what I wanted
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