Author Topic: Selling Out  (Read 1184 times)

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basementcalling

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Selling Out
« on: March 07, 2016, 04:04:01 PM »
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Are recent new items that sell out within a few dozen hours or a couple days of being listed a sign of good things happening for N scale, or a sign of a problem? I'm not counting eBay offerings in my overview, though perhaps I should. If so, I would tend to say it's a negative for the consumer if people are buying and then selling online at much higher prices. Sure some people make a windfall profit from being prepared and in the right place with the right stuff at the right time, but do we damage the hobby with the speculative nature of the new offering market?

I'm torn, as on the other hand I know it's a good for the manufacturer and dealer to sell all of a product and make quick profits, but is money being left on the table by shorter than needed runs that cost dealers sales? Also, is this a sign that prices are going to go up if the products are selling that fast? I know in a couple recent cases, restocks were obtained for items like the Bullshipper trailers, but they came at a higher price. That's expected.

Can these rapid sell outs be good for hobbyists if they lose out on buying new items because they are not familiar with the pre reservation method most companies now use to try to match production to demand (Which ain't working too well)? 

Are companies underestimating demand that badly? Has N scale grown more than those in the industry think? Or is this just a case of new items with a pent up demand being only partially satisfied by initial runs?

It's not just new trucks and trailers doing this. Tried finding an Atlas code 55 #7 or 10 turnout lately? Lots of the usual places are out of both, again, after just recently being restocked after a long absence.

It's a rough way to build a railroad.  :D
Peter Pfotenhauer

tom mann

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Re: Selling Out
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2016, 04:07:42 PM »
-1
The frustrating thing is that it's hard to predict just what will sell out, and when/if items will be produced again.

Lemosteam

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Re: Selling Out
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2016, 04:12:12 PM »
+1
Back in the day when I was only collecting, I had one rule:

If ya want it,  buy it NOW or ot will be gone.

Works for everything from new product to stuff at shows.

Yes I missed out on some things over the years because I hesitated, but better to have it than to miss it.

Upstate Gator

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Re: Selling Out
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2016, 04:14:14 PM »
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Manufacturers don't want to overestimate demand. Witness the CMW N scale buses being clearanced at Walthers for $5.98. MSRP was $29.98

I have learned the hard way that if there's an item I want and I see it, I should go ahead and buy it. For example, I don't know production runs on Intermountain N scale F3s, but if you missed the initial offering (GM&O for example), good luck finding a set.
Ben

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Selling Out
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2016, 06:55:17 PM »
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I think it's just better inventory control than before. Anyone remember when Conrail B23-7 engines were being tossed off the boat at $40 each? The recession pretty much shook loose all those guestimate production people. My guess is most items are produced with only a few dozen excess.
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Selling Out
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2016, 07:01:35 PM »
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I think it's just better inventory control than before. Anyone remember when Conrail B23-7 engines were being tossed off the boat at $40 each? The recession pretty much shook loose all those guestimate production people. My guess is most items are produced with only a few dozen excess.

No! But damn, I wish I had... Unless you're talking about the Bachmann ones.

basementcalling

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Re: Selling Out
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2016, 07:28:41 PM »
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I think it's just better inventory control than before. Anyone remember when Conrail B23-7 engines were being tossed off the boat at $40 each? The recession pretty much shook loose all those guestimate production people. My guess is most items are produced with only a few dozen excess.
Perhaps, Daniel, but is it really better for the hobby?  I'm sure it's better short term for the companies. Excess inventory is dead money these days, but how many sales are being lost the other way?
Peter Pfotenhauer

Ike the BN Freak

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Re: Selling Out
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2016, 10:00:01 PM »
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I remember Walther's dumping the Life-Like GP20s are $20-30 a piece, got a few then. Good for the buyer, not so good for the manufacturer.

But when that happened, I remember many folks saying they were just going to wait on the GP20s for the next fire sale

glakedylan

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Re: Selling Out
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2016, 10:08:42 PM »
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it would seem to me
that there are a number of people who buy online (or maybe even from a LHS) awaiting for the sold out
then offer them on the Bay site for msrp and more
i guess making a profit is part of what it is about
sincerely
Gary
"the gift is today ... the promise is tomorrow ... the freedom is that yesterday is past"

jdcolombo

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Re: Selling Out
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2016, 10:19:24 PM »
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I hate the pre-order system we now have, but it is not going away.  Like others have said, I now have a simple rule: if something is announced and I want it, I pre-order to make sure I get it.  That burned me on the Bachmann Berkshire, which turned out to be (1) not all that great and (2) easily available.  On the other hand, try finding an Atlas NKP RS3, or NKP SD9, or NKP . . . well, anything.

Rolling stock and structures are a little less crazy than engines; often you can wait on these items until they are stocked, but better not wait long.  And the exception is passenger equipment, which seems to be like engines.

As for whether this is better for the hobby, I think it probably has resulted in some manufacturers taking more "risks" with road names, because they can produce to the pre-orders and not get stuck with unsaleable inventory.  It seems to me that in the 90's, you'd see a lot of UP, SP, SF, BN, Conrail, NS and some historic roads (NYC, Milwaukee, CB&Q), but not a lot of other stuff.  Now we see all sorts of road names, but again, if you don't pre-order, you'll never see them again.  So all in all, the system has probably broadened the availability of certain things, though limited the TIME for which those things are available.

John C.

thomasjmdavis

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Re: Selling Out
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2016, 08:10:06 AM »
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I think the current manufacturing environment presents 2 issues.  First, I may not know I need or want something during the limited pre-order or manufacturing window.  During the time that Walthers was making steel mills, I was in an apartment and was working on a small module and collecting passenger cars for the day when I could have a larger layout.  Now I have a 14x28 space to devote to the layout, and have recently retired, but the steel mill is long gone, unless I want to shell out $750 in an online auction to get all the modules- assuming they are ever ALL available.  Maybe Walthers will rerun, someday, who knows....

Second issue (for me) is that fairly common items (even track) are often just not available for extended periods.

Hopefully, we will find that advances in RP technology and limited run production methods will address these issues.  But I also think that some manufacturers might want to rethink their practices in smaller scales.  At one point in time, I investigated buying a small manufacturing company specializing in N scale.  The owner shared with me that the stumbling block in terms of selling the company was the finished inventory, which was valued at $35000 wholesale.  It was not that potential buyers looking at the books did not see the value, but when they looked at the physical inventory- it occupied a single shelving unit- and they had trouble getting their head around that.  My point is that N scale inventory does not take up a lot of space- and the equation of inventory value per square foot is 6 times greater for N than HO, even with packaging.  I've had a hobby shop owner lament to me that their N scale customers complain that they devote so much more space to HO, not understanding that HO requires so much more space volume for an equal amount of product.  My point being, you might get a lot more N scale customers if you had some N scale inventory- and carrying inventory in N scale is less expensive than in larger scales.  And it makes it easier on a teenager, just getting started in the hobby, if they can go into a hobby shop and buy a B unit to go with the A unit they got for Christmas.  Or, for that matter, would make it easier on our friends and families to give US stuff we really want if they did not need to pre-order Christmas presents in March that might or might not be delivered sometime in the next 3 years.

Tom D.

"The difference between the difficult and the impossible is that doing the impossible is usually more fun." (my college design professor Russell Whaley)

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Selling Out
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2016, 08:18:53 AM »
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No! But damn, I wish I had... Unless you're talking about the Bachmann ones.

Nope, Atlas. This was pretty recession. That's how I ended up with 15 or so. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I had to renumber 1913. Haha
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Selling Out
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2016, 01:41:51 PM »
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Nope, Atlas. This was pretty recession. That's how I ended up with 15 or so. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I had to renumber 1913. Haha

Damn, am I jealous! I wish I had known at the time.

basementcalling

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Re: Selling Out
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2016, 03:11:58 PM »
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Damn, am I jealous! I wish I had known at the time.

Come on, Ed. Blue paint, especially Conrail Blue, covers pretty easily.
Peter Pfotenhauer

OldEastRR

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Re: Selling Out
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2016, 03:59:14 AM »
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Back in the day when I was only collecting, I had one rule:

If ya want it,  buy it NOW or ot will be gone.

I came up the same philosophy in the early '70s, from watching both N and HO stuff in catalogs and mag ads appear, then disappear forever. It's a truism especially for small companies or a guy working part-time making stuff in his basement. Then there are the larger HO companies that decided to dabble in N scale, but then pulled out of it after a very short time.