Ah, the magic question! Let us count the ways:
- Set up a booth at an industry trade show
- Advertise in industry magazines and online buyer resources
- Engage in direct mail campaigns to targeted retailers
- Send samples to key buyers and then diligently follow up
- Pound the pavement getting independent retail stores to agree to carry your product
- Sell your product to retail product distributors who have existing relationships with retail chains and independent stores
- Establish a relationship with independent sales reps who are making sales calls to independent stores, retail chains, catalog retailers, etc.
- Offer your product online initially, thereby creating a buzz over time
A REALLY important question! There’s no magic formula- with a little research you’ll quickly see that retail prices are all over the map. There are many factors, however, that go into the pricing strategy.
Games for younger children tend to be lower in price. These products are typically found in Mass Market retailers, where price sensitivity is much higher.
Those with a large amount of intellectual property and/or components (Strategy, RPGs, CCGs, etc.) tend to be higher in price, as the value of the intellectual property and the physical components are higher.
The laws of a free market system are alive and well in the game industry, and the suggested retail price that you choose for your product is ultimately heavily influenced by your competition. Take a look at the retail prices that other companies charge for similar products, and you’ll get a good idea where your pricing should be in order to be competitive.
One last word of caution here- if you set a retail price for your product that is on the high side, you can always reduce the price in the future if the product isn’t flying off retail shelves. If you set your retail price too low however, you’ll have much more difficult trying to increase your price when you realize your profitability isn’t where it needs to be.
The short answer is “it depends”. The longer answer is that your sales efforts (independent sales reps, product distributors, or your own website selling directly to consumers) should be a function of matching the type of product your created with the retail channels you want to pursue (independent stores, mass market chains, web sales, etc.).
If your product is marketed to consumers who are usually buying similar products at specialty toy or hobby retailers, then your sales may be most effective if you sell through independent reps or product distributors who are focused on selling to independent retailers. If you have developed a product that is more typically found in mass market stores, then you will most definitely be best served if you can find a sales rep who has an existing relationship with mass market retailer buyers.
Warehousing and order fulfillment can take many forms. You can choose to use your garage, living room, and spare bedroom for warehousing your inventory, and then use your dining room table as a shipping desk. However, this method of saving costs on warehousing and shipping will get old really, really quickly.
Another form of warehousing and order fulfillment is the product distributor. If your product is designed for the Hobby Game category for example, look for a product distributor who sells a wide variety of similar products to independent hobby retailers.
There are also a vast number of companies that specialize in just warehousing and order fulfillment for all retail industries. These vendors typically offer menu pricing for their services, ranging from “pick and pack” order shipping, to handling special labeling requirements (large retail chains usually all have their own set of procedures to follow), EDI order processing, etc. These vendors can usually offer advantageous shipping rates as a function of the volume of shipping activity across all their customers.
Stick to what you do best (whatever that may be), and instead contract these functions to a professional who specializes in cost effective warehousing and order fulfillment.