Monday, April 13, 2015

6 Takeaways on TableTop Day

International TableTop Day has wound down at the store to a game of Castle Panic, some Magic players and a charity game of Cards Against Humanity (No, not charity for the players. Each player had to donate 5 cans of food for the local food pantry for a seat at the table) going on in the back, so now seems like a good time for some quick reflections on today’s event. So the following six items in no particular order:

1)      I’m tired, and so is my staff. We have spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 48 hours over the past month putting this event together and hosting it. We wanted to make sure that the players (whether or not they bought anything) had as good a time as we could present to them. That takes quite a bit of planning, more so than we brought to the two previous TableTop Day events.

2)      It was worth it and yet it wasn’t. We really did put in more planning and work on this event that we did the previous two TableTop Days and sales compared to a typical April Saturday showed it, with today’s sales up a healthy 40% above what I would expect. However, comparing today’s sales to last year’s TableTop Day sales, we had a statistically insignificant increase. So more work on the event, much more community outreach (4 media mentions the week prior to TTD) for the same amount of sales.

3)      We won’t know the full results for at least another week. All players received bounceback coupons, giving them a buck off a TableTop featured game or a game from our used section, for each game they played. These are good only next weekend so I want to track how many people come in to redeem them. I expect to see about 5 to 10 redeemed so would be ecstatic to get 10 to 20 back (typically coupons like this have very low redemption rates but I wanted to make sure that every player left with something with the store’s name on it.

4)      The TTD kit kinda worked. Unlike some stores, we had no promo hounds coming to the store specifically to get some of the promos, especially the Felicia Day Dead of Winter character pack, which as I write this sells for $30-$45 on line but I did have a couple of customers/players say that they chose to come to our store rather than play at one of the other local stores because they knew we had made the effort to get the promos. However, as I mentioned in a previous column, if a company wants to put a promo in the kit, they need to produce enough of them so that we can give them out to a reasonable number of players. Fantasy Flight Games, Steve Jackson Games and Looney Labs did good including 8-14 promos, Plaid Hat Games, Days of Wonder and Crash Games did not, only including 2 promo items. I know a lot of stores who passed on the kit and, unless there are changes, more will likely pass next year.

5)      Timing. The Perfection Fallacy came into play again. We received our kit on Thursday and I heard of some stores not receiving theirs til Friday, not nearly enough time to generate excitement in the store by showing off the promos to customers. Receiving them a week before the event and the poster 2-4 weeks would have allowed better use of those items TTD by stores.

6)      The Evolution Pack. North Star Games included a pack of items for their Evolution board game but with no explanation regarding how to distribute them. Was everything to go to one player or was the pack designed to get broken up and distributed to several players? I can figure out what to do with a single card but not with a collection of items like this.

Overall, I am happy with the results. Customers had fun and we had significantly higher sales. Already thinking about next year’s event and I hope the nice folks at TableTop are too.