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What do you consider "good" pricing for a store?


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#1 Waterborn OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:09 AM

This topic came up yesterday with my partner and I would like to get everyone's feedback. We recently got some input that our prices were "too high" and that we paid too little for what we bought. Now I fully understand that all collectors want to buy at garage sale prices and sell at eBay "mania" prices. However, realistically, what do you folks feel is fair pricing for a store front? We currently base most of our pricing on DP, which can be high on some things, but is typically lower than going prices on sites like eBay, CTCW and other retailers in our area. And as far as what we buy stuff for, compare us to the Big Gorilla (Gamestop) and I think that we are more than fair, particularly given that GS dumps systems as soon as the next gen is released. The one thing that we thrive to do is support our customers. Being a sole proprietorship (the shop and all products are the property of Patrick, owner of Comically Speaking) we have the ability to adjust pricing on an individual basis and work better trades than most places like GS and P&T that have to follow a corporate pricing structure.

The point is, before setting up this shop, I heard a lot of people lamenting that there were no good vintage stores in the Boston area. In my own experience running around to the stores that do exist in this area, the main thing I noticed was the lack of good customer service at most of them. Our goal is to provide the best possible inventory of vintage gaming product while giving great service and an awesome customer experience over all. If you haven't been to the shop, it is certainly one heck of an experience with the combination of comics, memorabilia, cd's and now video games. Please do stop by and check it out if you are in the area.

So the final question is this: Does "good" simply mean "cheap", or are folks looking for a vintage gaming source that provides selection and customer service?

Any input is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Dane

#2 AJ_Maine_Man OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:03 AM

I'm kinda a cheapskate but here is my input. When I visited the store there was a couple of Atari 2600 games that I was interested in but ended up passing on them. One I remember was superman I'm not sure but I think it was 3 dollars.

maybe somekind of Buy 2-3 game for x amount of dollars for the more common games on systems would lead people to think there getting a good deal.

for some reason I'm always happier when buying from thrift stores when I work out a cheaper price per game for buying more of them.

#3 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:15 AM

I've bought from Collectors Cards and Games, Trade-N-Games, and 4Jays and I find they're within a couple of bucks of each other on rarer games and about the same across the board on the common carts. I don't see an online store for you so I can't compare so I really don't know whether you're more than the others. Are you an online store or brick and mortar only? Maybe a sample of some games and their prices would help.

#4 Yurkie ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:22 AM

I'm kinda a cheapskate but here is my input. When I visited the store there was a couple of Atari 2600 games that I was interested in but ended up passing on them. One I remember was superman I'm not sure but I think it was 3 dollars.

maybe somekind of Buy 2-3 game for x amount of dollars for the more common games on systems would lead people to think there getting a good deal.

for some reason I'm always happier when buying from thrift stores when I work out a cheaper price per game for buying more of them.


I think people are forgetting the fact that you are running a business, not a charity. I think it is super cool and rare to find a brick & mortar selling vintage games.
I wouldn't have a problem paying a premium. I don't think $3 for an atari 2600 is bad at all, regardless of how common it is. It would cost more that if you bought it off ebay and got rock bottom shipping.

I wish you the best with your business. Wish you where in Toledo, Ohio

#5 cybercylon OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:01 PM

I wish you were in SW PA. Could probably waste many hours window shopping.

I'd agree with AtariLeaf in that we would need to see a few example prices. In a brick and mortar store that sells that stuff around here... here how it goes.

Old systems, they will sell 3-4 times whatever they buy from you. So if they buy an atari for $10, they will sell it for $40. New systems would be closer to 3 times, but it can go more depending on the rarity.

Old Atari games.. they will buy back about 10-25 cents for commons (R1-R3), even if they have box and instructions. They will by back an R4 or R5 for a little more. Commons will be sold back to customers for at least $2-$3. R3 about $4. R4 about $5 to $6. The rarer it gets, the more inflated the sell price is relative to the buy price. So they might by your R6 for $1 to $2, but they will easily sell that for $15-$20. Beyond that, I can't say because you don't even generally find an R5 or an R6 in the wild around here.

A similar scheme applies to SNES and Genesis games (the ratio of buy to sell is again 3:1 to 4:1). No place seems to deviate from that around here.

An exception is one store that I go to will price things relative to their inventory. If they happen to get in 6 Mario RPG for the SNES that day, initially they will sell for less than they normally would.

When you get to the PS2 and XBox level, it's all a scam. I thought about selling off Digital Devil Saga 1 and 2, complete with sound tracks, outer cardboard box etc. No one around here will buy that back for more than $10 to $15, but they will probably slap a $60 price tag on it. See any games that go for about $7 to $10 around here? They probably bought them for 50 cents to a dollar.

Of course, when you get to the current gen, I generally find that stores will sell for at least 2.5X what they paid for it.

#6 Waterborn OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:52 PM

Thanks for all the input folks. I really do appreciate the perspective. A few notes to add to the discussion.

* We are a brick and motor business. The owner of the shop (Patrick) does sell some items on eBay, but usually only if they are multiple copies. He saves the good stuff for the store.
* As mentioned in my first post, we use Digital Press (DP) as our main price guide, sometimes cross-referencing with other online guides. We don't typically base our prices on auction sites like eBay as we know that these results are often grossly skewed one way or another.
* I really think our systm prices are very reasonable. Here are a few examples: Atari 2600 "Woody" - $25, Vader - $30, N64 - $35, N64 "Clear System" w/ EP - $50, Colecovision with working controllers - $60, Intellivsion - $50.
* We currently have a full range of 2600 games, including at least a dozen R7- R5. We price these very close to DP book, so Glib is at $90, Atari Video Cube at $40, etc.

We use all this as a starting point. As I mentioned, since we are a sole proprietorship, we have the flexibility to adjust pricing. If anyone from this site goes into the store and tells Patrick they know Dane, he will treat you right. I try to make time to be in the store as much as I can, but with my job, that is usually only 1 - 2 times per week for four hours or so.

I appreciate the fact that you recognize that we are ultimately a business yurkie. I do want to treat folks well, but if we simply give everything away, we won't be doing this for long. One of the things I would really like to do is develop an ongoing relationship with the collecting community in New England. Many of you know as well as I do that most of the shops in this area are run by folks who really don't care about the customer or service. So I guess the question is this:Is service, knowledgeable staff (i.e. me) and good selection good enough to get your guys to support the store, particularly when it comes to that special find you are looking for?

One cool thing about being in a comic book store is that many of our customers do not come in for the video games. However, when they see our display, you can see their eyes light up. Just like mine did when I first started collecting seriously a few years ago. Personally, I am in this for the love of the hobby and to provide a cool place for serious collectors to come, shop, hang out and talk games when I am there. I really don't make much off of this endeavor. Heck, typically I get paid in games for my collection, so I am certainly not looking to fleece anyone for a copy of ET or Pac-Man.

Anyway, thanks again for the input. I hope you all take the time to stop by and check us out at some point. If you do, let me know what you think and if you have any ideas on how we can make the place better for the serious video game enthusiast. Eventually, we are planning a major expansion into a 500 square foot back room for the video games. This is probably at least 6 months off, but it will come, as long as we can continue to justify the presence of video games and make a little profit in the process.

Dane

#7 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:06 PM

Those prices seem reasonable to me.

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#8 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:08 AM

Those prices seem reasonable to me.

Tempest


agreed

Its always going to be harder for a brick and mortar store to compete with an online store because of all the overhead costs but these prices are pretty fair.

#9 Evad97 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:56 PM

[As I finished writing this, I realized that it wasn't exactly relevant to the discussion but, well, I typed it so I'm going to post it.]

As I see it, a vintage gaming shop needs a couple of things. It needs quick turnover of inventory - if your shop is a museum, people will stop by to look but nobody will buy anything. Pricing needs to be reasonable - you need to make a profit but not in the "I'm going to hang on to this R7 until I get all that I can for it" but rather in the "I'm going to make a reasonable profit selling this because the person I'm selling it to will appreciate the deal and ultimately come back again."

The "come back again" (obviously) is key. My sense of things is that coming back does not always have to be about buying something. A vintage game shop needs new inventory constantly and the person who just got the decent deal might think about bringing you his/her (fill in the blank) collection rather than put it on these boards - provided, again, the return was reasonable. Nobody bringing a collection into a bricks and mortar shop should expect to get top dollar but - some reasonable money and (perhaps) a trade or two, might - again - keep people coming back.

The third thing I think a vintage game place should do is - without being pushy - guide the customer down some other avenues. I was recently given a Genesis - I've never had any relationship to the console nor any interest in collecting for it - until now. Admittedly, it will be a half-hearted attempt to collect for it but, I have had some good advice from my local game shop and know what to look out for at garage sales. I'll probably buy a few things from my local shop but ... well, I appreciate the genuine advice, too.

Ultimately, I think it's moving consoles that makes the most sense. If you sell consoles, then you will ultimately sell games. If you can get them in and flip them for a reasonable amount, people will continue to buy.

As for prices, I don't really know - but we all like to feel that we've had a deal.

E.

#10 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:25 PM

I think people are forgetting the fact that you are running a business, not a charity. I think it is super cool and rare to find a brick & mortar selling vintage games.I wouldn't have a problem paying a premium.

I think that entirely too many people tend to think towards the charity end unfortuantely. :(

I also am willing to pay a premium. When I walk into the DP store I know I'm not there to get the mega bargain of the century, and expect to pay a certain premium for the awesome experience of brick & mortar retro shopping, and being able to talk to some really cool people to boot. :)

#11 cybercylon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:29 PM

Then your prices seem pretty reasonable.

I'd rather pay extra for good customer service. A chance to see what you are buying and a reasonable return policy is worth paying extra for.

#12 Waterborn OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:39 PM

Once again, thanks to everyone for the great input. You have reassured me that we are moving along the right path at our shop. This endeavor is still in its infancy (approx 3 months) and has grown rapidly since I first started selling systems and games on consignment out of one small showcase. I agree that the key is a combination of creating a great experience through customer service and knowledge and backing that up with a good selection and constant inventory updates. I am really digging the process so far and look forward to more input from you and our customers.

One of the coolest things about being a part of this endeavor is some of the cool stuff that walks in the door every now and then. Check out this Sonic figure that we got recently. I actually claimed this one as I have a thing for the Genesis (see my other post about my new Genesis arcade cab).

Posted Image

#13 bust3dstr8 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:20 AM

You need to make enough money for it to be worth the floor space you are taking up. People may not realize
that a whole stand of 2600 games might make about $30 profit after you figure the time it takes to clean, check,
organize, etc.

A few of you may remember what Play N Trade Walpole was like a few years ago. The whole front of the store
was loaded with $1-$2 2600, 5200, Coleco, INTV $3 NES, GEN $5 SNES, SegaCD, Saturn, TG16. The high
demand and rare games where always at least half EBay prices. Many days you could walk out of there with
things like a complete Splatterhouse 2 GEN or a Bonk NES for $10. Well.....if you go there now you won't
see much anymore. They priced themselves right out of the bussiness and use most of the floorspace
for the more profitable newer systems now.

#14 nathanallan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:57 AM

Once again, thanks to everyone for the great input. You have reassured me that we are moving along the right path at our shop. This endeavor is still in its infancy (approx 3 months) and has grown rapidly since I first started selling systems and games on consignment out of one small showcase. I agree that the key is a combination of creating a great experience through customer service and knowledge and backing that up with a good selection and constant inventory updates. I am really digging the process so far and look forward to more input from you and our customers.

One of the coolest things about being a part of this endeavor is some of the cool stuff that walks in the door every now and then. Check out this Sonic figure that we got recently. I actually claimed this one as I have a thing for the Genesis (see my other post about my new Genesis arcade cab).

Posted Image

I have the same toy in my collection! Did you get the Knuckles one?

As a buyer and a seller, I don't mind getting a thing that is kind of hard to find at a premium, especially at a store. I understand there are bills to pay, and also understand that it will be as tested and maintained as well as I would have it to keep the person happy. I do actually have a store in El Paso, and yesterday I sold a N64 expansion pack (the little red-topped memory expander) for $6. I could have gotten more, but the guy had already bought a game and other stuff, so I decided this was a relations thing. My friend that I'm in it with thought I was being stupid and "giving it away" but I don't think so. I got a happy customer. He'll be back next time to my place first.

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  • znates_sonic.JPG


#15 Waterborn OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:44 PM

Didn't get the Knuckles one Nathan, I will have to keep my eye open for that one.

#16 bcprs1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:43 PM

You need to make enough money for it to be worth the floor space you are taking up. People may not realize
that a whole stand of 2600 games might make about $30 profit after you figure the time it takes to clean, check,
organize, etc.

A few of you may remember what Play N Trade Walpole was like a few years ago. The whole front of the store
was loaded with $1-$2 2600, 5200, Coleco, INTV $3 NES, GEN $5 SNES, SegaCD, Saturn, TG16. The high
demand and rare games where always at least half EBay prices. Many days you could walk out of there with
things like a complete Splatterhouse 2 GEN or a Bonk NES for $10. Well.....if you go there now you won't
see much anymore. They priced themselves right out of the bussiness and use most of the floorspace
for the more profitable newer systems now.


I cleared that store out of their entire 5200 inventory one day. All 5200 games were $2-$5 each. I ended up dropping over $100 and clearing a few shelves for them. I also picked up a few Vectrex games for $4 each. Pretty much the only early stuff they have left are a few common intellivision carts.

#17 christianscott27 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:48 PM

Separate the stuff, have a big table of loose commons for a couple of bucks and keep the obscure/rare stuff behind glass at DP prices. If you're a cheapskate like me you'll probably never want to drop $40 on a rare cart but would be fine with coming in and spending say $30 on a good sized pile of commons if I was just getting into a system. If you have a lot of stuff at low prices you have something for everyone, even the browsers. I always hated dealing with stores that have to whip out a guide or go to their computer to price a game I pulled out of their pile, thats just me.

#18 nathanallan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:25 PM

I have to ask this, how many times a day to you get called by telemarketers?

And have you been called by that guy that called me a horse trader, trying to sell me LED flashlight keychains with my log on it?? He was very pushy.

#19 Waterborn OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:57 AM

I have to ask this, how many times a day to you get called by telemarketers?

And have you been called by that guy that called me a horse trader, trying to sell me LED flashlight keychains with my log on it?? He was very pushy.


Hehe not sure on either point there Nathan, I don't usually answer the phones. :D

Christian, we do indeed have a $1 commons bin and as I mentioned before are pretty flexible on pricing, particularly if someone is picking up multiple items. So far I really feel we are doing things right and do appreciate everyone's input. Thanks again.

#20 bcprs1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:34 PM

Separate the stuff, have a big table of loose commons for a couple of bucks and keep the obscure/rare stuff behind glass at DP prices. If you're a cheapskate like me you'll probably never want to drop $40 on a rare cart but would be fine with coming in and spending say $30 on a good sized pile of commons if I was just getting into a system. If you have a lot of stuff at low prices you have something for everyone, even the browsers. I always hated dealing with stores that have to whip out a guide or go to their computer to price a game I pulled out of their pile, thats just me.



Christian, you thinking of a certain store up in New Hampshire?

#21 akator OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:52 AM

For a game store to be good, I expect for the merchandise to be:

(1) Clean. I shouldn't have to use a bottle of alcohol to remove drool, food, or cigarette tar from a previous owner.
(2) Respected. Games shouldn't be tossed into bins. Cases, boxes, and instructions shouldn't be thrown away because they "take too much space."
(3) Organized. Customers shouldn't have to look through every single title on the shelves to determine if what they want is there.
(4) Working. I don't care what the return policy is, any returns should be considered too many. Don't put damaged merchandise on the display floor.

Game store employees should behave properly, with the same standards expected from every other decent retail venue. There shouldn't be profanity, phone calls with friends/conversations with coworkers instead of helping customers, eating in front of customers, wearing name tags/uniforms on premises when off duty, sassing customers, making up bullshit about merchandise, lying about merchandise not being available so the store can close early, etc.. The things I've seen wouldn't be allowed at McDonald's, let alone anywhere else.

Too many game stores operate in ways that would considered substandard in any other retail industry. I've been to dozens of privately owned stores and too many are run like pawn shops and flea markets. If I wanted that kind of experience I wouldn't be shopping at a retail store. Out of the hundreds of game stores I've been to in my state, including corporate chains, franchises, and independents, I can count the good ones on one hand.

As far as prices... that's variable. If you're running a dump staffed by idiots, I expect the prices to be amazing. After all, it's going to take me an hour to clean each game when I get home. 25% of them are going to be returned because they are dead. I expect games from those establishments to be dirt cheap, because if they aren't there is no reason for me to go back with my business.

I will pay higher prices at a store that is clean, organized, and staffed by people who don't act like shitheads.

#22 nathanallan OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:12 AM

@akator, I totally hear ya, too many places act like it's a flea market or pawn shop. I run SMT like you say, though we don't have nametags yet :) I try to test and clean every frekkin cart, disk, cover, cable, part, piece, book, shirt, connector, controller, whatever before it goes up.

I have been told "Why should I clean the games?" Why?? You want people to think you're selling junk at these prices??? That's exactly what people think when they have to clean a game for a frekkin hour, that the person that sold it to them is a junk seller.

Please keep in mind that cart contacts seem to just get dirty by being in air, but I do my best. NEVER will SMT sell junk unless it's as PARTS!

#23 Waterborn OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 23, 2009 5:27 AM

I try to clean and test every game and system that comes through our store. We are always courteous and do our best to provide good customer service, which I feel we do better than any other store in our area. I hear you akator regarding your experiences with other video game stores. That kind of environment is precisely why I decided to get involved in this endeavor. I was sick of the crappy service, crappy attitudes, crappy product and crappy prices at the other vintage gaming stores in our area. I worked at GS before doing this and that store was one of the few that I have ever been in that actually had a decent crew of employees. They send folks our way who are looking games and systems that they don't carry. Outside of that one GS, there is only one store in NE that I have been to that doesn't feel like a flea market to me.

#24 akator OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:11 AM

I'm glad to hear there are some other decent stores around. If I ever make it up to New England I will be sure to stop by :)

Edited by akator, Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:11 AM.


#25 nathanallan OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:48 AM

I'm glad to hear there are some other decent stores around. If I ever make it up to New England I will be sure to stop by :)

or El Paso ;):thumbsup:




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