Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Pricing Philosophy / Price Reduction on Kitty / Price Parity on Viz

You guys know that, when I put my business hat on, I don't like gimmicky sales, savings clubs, buyers points, bargain bins, and other bait and switch techniques many retailers use to get your attention and money. Our philosophy has always been to have fair pricing everyday (for everyone) backed up by good service, which is why we only run 3 or 4 sales a year and are very deliberate with our pricing policies. In order to provide good service and keep enough inventory to fill most orders next business day, we need to keep things at a certain pricing level. Also, from a business perspective, I have no desire to participate in the recession generated 'race to the bottom' that some other retailers seem to want to engage in. We'd like to be around and continuing to serve Anime fans for years to come, and selling things at a loss to attract customers is definitely not the way to run a business for the long term.

All that said, we've always had a policy to pass on any major pricing agreements we are able to negotiate with a studio or vendor direct to you. While the wholesale level pricing for most Anime products has been pretty much fixed for the last couple of years (or tied to the exchange rate in the case of imports), we've encountered two pricing events recently that are worth mentioning:

1) It's amazing what you can accomplish with a rock hammer and twenty years. We have finally been able to bring you a better deal on Kitty titles (Media Blasters Adult line), and as a result we've reduced the price on ALL Kitty Adult DVD titles across the store by 8%. This is not a sale or other gimmick or temporary promotion, but a permanent price reduction, so no need to miss the rent next month to load up, the new lower prices will be there whenever you need them.

2) Viz has moved their wholesale DVD distribution from Simon & Shuster over to Warner Entertainment in an attempt to get their titles better penetration among big box retailers. While the wisdom of this move is debatable, it's done and Warner started shipping Viz DVD back lists and new releases to retailers today. When the move was first announced we knew there would be trouble because, frankly, Warner doesn't like to do direct business with retailers that won't buy a couple million bucks annually, and while we do a good volume of Viz, it's impossible to come close to those levels on one Anime line. Anyway, we worked on them for two months and got them to authorize us for a direct account anyway, which gives us the best wholesale pricing level available on Viz products. The problem is that Warner has a really bizarre pricing schedule based on the retail price column a particular product falls into. It varies from item to item and even the best column is not as good as the former pricing we received through Simon and Shuster, so in essence the move to Warner equates to a pretty big wholesale price increase on Viz products for all retails. We've pained over it for awhile and decided NOT to raise our prices to you but instead maintain the same price structure we've always applied to Viz's DVD releases.

Good news on pricing comes in different packages.

And there is another caveat with the Warner deal. Warner makes all retailers sign an agreement not to ship ship titles to customers prior to the street date. Now you know how we feel about that, so we're going to play that one by ear for awhile, if you know what I mean. -_^

1 comment:

Jimmy said...

Thanks a ton for the update, this is why I continue coming back to you for my anime and manga addiction :)