I saw this in a post on 3++ Is The New Black, and quite frankly it's right. I've decided (and the entire MWC Crew) to repost it here because a) I want this message to be heard by GW, and b) It really struck a chord with my own growing frustration in the company and their current market decisions.
It's meant to be a protest about particularly the situation with prices in Australia, but I think the feeling and thoughts are pretty much universal here.
OK, I'll shut up and let the letter do the talking...
To Games Workshop,
Why? No seriously, why? I'm sure the excuse of cutting off Australasia and other countries (Canada, India, Korea, South American countries, etc.) to benefit the independent and GW store sales in Australia sounded good but unless you cut the prices here to not be a ridiculous 200% higher price than overseas, it's not going to happen. Let's look at this logically. You've stopped us from buying from stores like Maelstrom and Wayland with an embargo agreement in your Terms and Conditions (remember globalisation? how's that going btw?). Does this mean we are going to now buy at RRP in Australia or other countries? No.
There are other outlets overseas we can buy from which are still much cheaper (hi America), other companies which you cannot touch without raising a helluva lot of crap (hi eBay) and people who are willing to ship to us overseas (hello family and friends) without the 200% tax. We won't be getting as huge a discount as before but it's much better than buying here at RRP. The other option is of course going to be quitting which I imagine some people are going to do. Check out this thread on WargamerAU where a lot of people are indicating they are. The ultimate bottom line? Your bottom line suffers (more people leaving) and the retailers in Australia do not benefit.
Now I'm all for one in supporting the locals. I buy all my products such as spray paint, paints, plasticard, magnets, drills + bits, modelling putty, brushes, etc. from Australia. As an aside, do you actually stock good quality merchandise for all of those options? I don't see you selling plasticard, magnets, good sized drillbits, custom bases, etc. I'd be happy to pay a 5-10% premium on these objects compared to other stores to support your business but then again, I don't really want to support your business currently do I? The point of any business is to make a profit but the problem with your business model is you do not do this whilst concurrently supporting your customer base. We don't ask for much but a short list would look like...
Ultimately people in Australia and other countries go overseas for their Games Workshop products for a reason: it's significantly cheaper (I.e. half price). What motivation is there to therefore buy from our locals when you aren't treating your customers with loyalty and support? People will walk away and your bottom line will hurt. A simple solution: care about your customers. Change the Australian (and other countries) prices so they are at least similar to the UK and US. This doesn't have to be the exact same price but some parity would be greatly appreciated.
- not raising prices every year, without fail, regardless of the economic situation or inflation rates
- basing prices around the world upon exchange rates (I wouldn't be averse to paying 20% more in Australia compared to the UK or America locally but I am adverse to paying twice as much) - there are circumstances in each country that make operating there more or less expensive but you need a base retail price for your product which is then translated by exchange rates at a given time (i.e. quarterly) rather than a price set many, many years ago. It's part of being in a global market.
- regular and quick FAQs - you've done a fantastic job IMO of creating some pretty balanced books for 5th edition, fix the grey areas quickly.
- official erratas - man up and admit you've made mistakes (hi Tyranids) and work on erratas that are official and re-print the books with these amendments. Admitting a mistake and fixing it isn't a problem and I'd applaud you for it. Ignoring a problem is.
- fix Fantasy - you did it with 40k, why go backwards with Fantasy?
- don't think your customer base is moronic - the resin re-cast to be cheaper than metals whilst hiking prices, not fooling anyone.
Here's a quick example. If you could buy a similar product for $45 compared to $150, what would you do? How about if the product was the exact same but if you ordered it overseas it was $80 compared to $150 by the time it reached your door step? I'm pretty sure you'd want to take the cheaper option correct? For you as a company, you make your profit margin through the reseller regardless of where it is purchased. You may make more money off a direct sale at an Australian store compared to an Internet sale from the UK but you have already achieved the profit margin from the Internet sale already. The Australian stores may be hurting but this is down to the initial price you have set, not market trends. Simply put, you are alienating customers from a large and developing market.
I and many of the readers here obviously enjoy your game. We've played it through thick and thin (4th edition...) or come back thanks to an improvement game balance (5th edition) and don't want to leave. We will though sooner or later if you keep piling on idiotic choices on us. Other companies like Privateer Press did very well in the early to mid-2000s for a reason and people will migrate to other gaming systems if you continue to mistreat them and their loyalty.
As it stands I question why you do the things you do. Raising prices every year annoys me but I cannot complain too loudly as your products are a luxury item but you do not provide excellent customer service one usually expects with such goods. I certainly find minimal fault with your staff or when your product is damaged/faulty but your overarching business model seems counter-intuitive to maintaining a customer base. Even if you are getting a large amount of new customers imagine how much better off your company would be if you had maintained a significant portion of your repeat customers. The model you are running currently to me does not seem sustainable as your turnover rate in customers is just too high. I applaud your efforts in making 40k 5th edition a more competitive game but what you've done to Fantasy 8th edition doesn't bode well for the future.
Please, look to satisfy both the shareholders and the customer rather than just the former.
The Entire MWC Crew
P.S. Anyone who agrees with this, I would greatly appreciate this being re-posted on your blog so we might actually garner GW's attention and hopefully move forward together. That is the ultimate goal, I want Games Workshop to succeed as a company so I can continue to enjoy the gaming systems I do but to do that, Games Workshop must look at altering their business model in the long run to maintain a steady customer base.