Viability of 'Per Customer' Quantity Limitation by Domestic Importers

 
  gw0071 Deputy Commissioner

I wonder whether domestic producers/importers have ever entertained implementing a limitation of multiple sales of certain items?

Hear me out before this is written off as a counter productive/economically irrational concept

Some items - loco's in particular are unique, one off replicas. Popularity of these items should be largely predictable

It would be interesting to know what the sale statistics of unique, singularly occurring products are. Do these items attract multiple sales to individual buyers?

IMHO this would purely be in pursuit of profiteering on the secondary market. Check eBay at the moment for the basis of my argument

As things stands, the current situation is of no personal concern as I am generally organised enough to purchase early (sometimes prior to release) enough to avoid disappointment

However, such a restriction may lead to a greater number of genuine buyers being able to attain purchase in a mutually acceptable timeframe and put an end to product 'scalping'

The only counter argument I can imagine is the concept of production numbers being a precise amount reflecting fulfillment of pre-orders plus a slim margin. This doesn't to me explain why the particular examples I refer to generally sell out before landing, ahead of the more generic versions

Before you get all evil on me, I'm happy to have this standpoint disproven in the name of inciting debate

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  trawny Train Controller

Location: Victoria
Why as a business person would you restrict sales? A sale today of 5 items to one customer is better than 1 sale a week for the next 5 weeks to 5 customers. Less paperwork, one set of credit card fees, one package to mail to one address. Multiple items works better for manufacture.

Also some people do group orders with their friends.

Is there anything wrong with purchasing to collect and make money? It happens in other hobbies not just model railways.
  Poath Junction Chief Commissioner

Location: In front of a computer most of the time.
I've got an even better idea. Instead of allowing pre-orders on limited edition "likely to be desirable" models the importers/producers should just list the models one at a time on ebay and bypass the 'scalpers'. Lets use the Auscision AN3 "Ghan" loco as an example. Rather than let 250 people pre-order the models @ $295ea they should just keep it a secret, then when the models arrived this week put the first one on ebay and watch it sell for $1500. Then do another one that'll sell for $1450, and so forth. By the 50th model the price will be down to about the $500 mark as smart people will have waited a while, and then the price will drop to the expected $300 pricepoint as people figure out there's plenty of models still to be listed. After a while (probably after 150 are sold) people will start getting scared there might not be many more models left and the price will start to rise again. Auscision will be happy as they'll be getting 2-3 times the amount they'd have got selling vie pre-orders, the scalpers won't have made a cent, and you'll have that model you always wanted. Everyone wins! Well everyone except those who pre-order and make the production of models viable in the first place.

Simple fact is producers/importers are business people who do the maths and figure out the risk/reward (using supply v demand) of selling models. They're fully aware of the size of their intended markets and set their process accordingly to cover costs and make a profit (if profit is their intent...). Whether they sell 100 models at $300ea to 100 people, or 100 models at $300ea to just 4 people (ie 4 scalpers buy 25 each) is of no concern to you. You have plenty of time to get you pre-order expression of interest in to secure a model, if you miss out it's your problem not the producers/importers.

As to "mutually acceptable timeframe", the seller sets the timeframe. The wannabe buyer is in no position to dictate terms or timelines of sale.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Lets not forget the fact that the importer has to order a minimum number of models which usually means that a price needs to be set based on perceived orders for them.  At one time it used to be around 3000 models for a locomotive, within that there were allowances for different colour schemes for diesels & some steam, as well as different specific locomotive numbers, which often means someone misses out on their favourite.

The importer relies on getting the his production & all up front costs back as soon as possible in order to reinvest in new models.  To sell in small lots as suggested would be likely be a managerial & sales nightmare as against lumping the whole shipment at one price at the same time.   In the U.S owing to larger sales volume it was & may still be possible that a company is able to make a large order of a model that well exceeds the minimum number but is able to spread them out over several runs, that affectively reduces the overall price of the model, & generally allows for a steady price of the item over the various runs.  

That is still a risk & they would do their research well to ensure that the sales are viable over the longer term, usually there is no changes to the subsequent runs, with the exception being to loco numbers, & different road names & the like.

We do not have the numbers here to consider that.  Although some of the importers have advertised in recent times that many of their models are now being produced in limited runs/numbers so how that fits in is an unknown but maybe they have been able to reach some contractural agreement with their factories.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I am a South Australian, a per customer limitation on me purchasing goods is expressly illegal.
  hosk1956 Deputy Commissioner

Location: no where near gunzels
Good idea GW, I have a wife and 3 kids plus partners and grand kids, plus any number of friends with no interest in trains in any way, I can easily skip around the 'one per person' idea, buy in bulk and scalp on Ebay.
But I can see your idea being bad for a genuine modeller who  has a genuine need for 6 or 10 of one class to build up his operating fleet.
I had a local shop owner Trawny who was upset that I wanted to buy the whole 10 remaining items of stock, his argument was that what if other customers wanted any of them as well - true story.


Wayne
  Teditor Deputy Commissioner

Location: Toowoomba
Good idea GW, I have a wife and 3 kids plus partners and grand kids, plus any number of friends with no interest in trains in any way, I can easily skip around the 'one per person' idea, buy in bulk and scalp on Ebay.
But I can see your idea being bad for a genuine modeller who  has a genuine need for 6 or 10 of one class to build up his operating fleet.
I had a local shop owner Trawny who was upset that I wanted to buy the whole 10 remaining items of stock, his argument was that what if other customers wanted any of them as well - true story.


Wayne
hosk1956
I have run into the same thing with model railroading supplies, I use what I buy because I need it, but I have been told "you can only have x amount, I have to keep some for other customers", a long way down the track, they are likely, still sitting on the item.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
I have run into the same thing with model railroading supplies, I use what I buy because I need it, but I have been told "you can only have x amount, I have to keep some for other customers", a long way down the track, they are likely, still sitting on the item.
Teditor

Are they still in business?

They don't deserve to be.
  gw0071 Deputy Commissioner

Points taken. Thank you
  Kevin Martin Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
Good idea GW, I have a wife and 3 kids plus partners and grand kids, plus any number of friends with no interest in trains in any way, I can easily skip around the 'one per person' idea, buy in bulk and scalp on Ebay.
But I can see your idea being bad for a genuine modeller who  has a genuine need for 6 or 10 of one class to build up his operating fleet.
I had a local shop owner Trawny who was upset that I wanted to buy the whole 10 remaining items of stock, his argument was that what if other customers wanted any of them as well - true story.


Wayne
hosk1956
A valid point - if there were pre-orders. Otherwise first in, best dressed.

Kevin Martin

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