Re: Pre-orders, pro or con.

Armand Premo

I prefer to examine an item before I purchase it.I hate to buy a pig in a poke.Patience pays off,it will shortly appear on Ebay anyway.Armand Premo----- Original Message -----
From: SUVCWORR@...
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 1:05 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Pre-orders, pro or con.

As a small vendor (not a LHS), I buy directly from two manufacturers and through distributors for everything else. None of them with the exception of brass have ever required a deposit. That being said, I do selectively require deposits on orders. I have been stuck with large numbers of items from individuals who pre-ordered and then declined to accept the items. Usually locomotives. Anything they order now requires a non-refundable deposit. I am sure this is the reason other retailers require deposits. They have been burned too many times with refused large orders. Retailers cannot afford to tie-up cash in inventory that is not going to move quickly. As Bill said, there is a narrow window to move an item before it becomes stale and languishes on the shelf. Every dollar in stale inventory is a dollar not available to purchase the next release.

Cash flow is the name of the game.

Rich Orr

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Schneider <bschneider424@...>
Sent: Wed, Mar 21, 2012 10:28 am
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Pre-orders, pro or con.

At the risk of inflaming this issue, perhaps I can throw in some viewpoints

from a manufacturer's perspective.

First, as background, I have been involved in the hobby business since 1982

in retail, wholesale and manufacturing. When I started out as a hobby shop

clerk my primary job was to inventory kits that had sold and make sure that

they were re-ordered. Imagine that.... I also worked for one of the largest

distributors in the country, a company that prided itself in carrying large

amounts of inventory to supply their dealers when they needed to reorder

product. They were very successful at this for many years. They are no

longer in business.

Today's rolling stock market is significantly different at all levels. A new

product has a very short shelf life - sometimes two weeks or so at best.

Part of the issue is just the pure volume of new products coming out which

has made us all accustomed to new models every month. New products create a

huge (we hope) buzz, that immediately turns into "so what are you going to

make next?" often before the first product ships! Most dealers and

distributors that I talk to are happy if they quickly sell through all of

the cars that they get in on a run so that they can take that money and pay

for the next new thing.

As a result, most shops no longer try to re-order cars that sell out. Most

distributors (likely in response to this) also as a rule do not attempt to

re-order cars when they sell out. Manufacturers produce what they think (or

know) that they can sell, but can not afford to invest large amounts of

money in product that will sit on shelves collecting dust in the vain hope

that somebody might someday need.... one. All of this is feeding the

produce-to-order situation.

Something to bear in mind. Most products are still sold through distribution

(the dealer ordering from a wholesaler instead of direct from the

manufacturer). These distributors are in direct and regular contact with

their dealers and make every effort to fill every order that they receive.

Nowhere do we (or any other manufacturer that I know of) state that a dealer

or distributor can not order extra cars to carry in inventory to fill future

re-orders - we will be happy to make as many as needed! The fact is that

this often just does not happen, but the blame always seems to fall back on

the manufacturers for not making enough thus leading to the demise of the

hobby shop that can't get product, even if they never tried to order it.

I can’t speak for other manufacturers, but I can tell that you Rapido

produces fully 100% of product that we have reserved by the order deadline

(which is when we give the quantities to the factory). In addition, we

produce a certain percentage over that number to cover warranty claims or to

replace cars damaged in shipment. After a period the few cars that remain

are offered to distributors and dealers. It can often be very difficult to

sell them!

Finally, let me just mention the issue of deposits. With the exception of

"The Canadian" passenger train (a special case and out of scope for this

list) Rapido has NEVER asked for deposits on any pre-orders. Again, while I

can not speak for other manufacturers, I can not think of any instance

during my 15 years at the distributorship that a manufacturer that we

represented required a deposit from a retailer on a pre-order. Perhaps some

manufacturers are now doing this on direct sales, and I would welcome

correction on this if this is the case. If you have paid a deposit on any

Rapido products other than "The Canadian" then rest assured that we have not

seen a penny of it!

I will now don my bullet-proof vest and get ready to leave for the Valley

Forge RPM. Those of you attending can take pot-shots at me from Friday on!


Bill Schneider

Product Development

Rapido Trains Inc.

From: Allen Cain

Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 9:32 AM

To: STMFC@...

Subject: [STMFC] Re: Pre-orders, pro or con.

I agree 100% with Chuck's well stated complaints with the pre order process.

Add to this the risk of losing you money completely if the manufacturer,

distributor or LHS goes out of business. Stand in line to get MAYBE a small

percentage of your money back if they go into bankruptcy.

I have personally missed out on some Intermountain rolling stock that I

preordered through a reliable supplier when they apparently did not produce

enough to fill their pre-orders. And yes, I had paid for these when I

ordered them months in advance. Eventually I got my money back but even

that took a lot of time chasing down credit card charges to prove that I had

paid for them.

I too will order but not pre-pay for items that have not been reviewed and

commented on by knowledgeable folks who have actually seen them.

I may miss out on something but then this I just a hobby. And there is

always Ebay where about anything can be found from

shops/distributors/speculators do buy stock to sell. Humm, sounds like what

a Hobby Shop used to do. Realistically, this preorder business will

contribute to the demise of the local hobby shops who no longer can order an

item from distributor/manufacturer stock after they have been produced and

will move sales to on-line stores who can stock up by pre-ordering and sell


Allen Cain

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