Last week the NY Times published an article about what's been happening with international shipping during the pandemic. It's full of words like "chaos" and "havoc" and "disruption." Besides just being fascinating, the article made me think about the last trade show that I attended in person: NY Toy Fair in February of 2020. At the time, the big concern was whether or not products manufactured in China would be a bit delayed prior to the 2020 Christmas shopping season. Oh, if only things had stayed so simple!
As it stands now, manufacturing and shipping disruptions have been building over the course of the past year, and the complex tangle of problems will not be going away any time soon. So what does this BIG global issue mean for our LITTLE local shop? Well, here are a few key points:
- We should have fewer stock outages on popular game titles, as I'm focusing heavily on making sure that our bestsellers are always available. On the flip side, you'll see fewer esoteric game titles on our shelves.
- Supplies of many products will continue to be erratic, and our ability to predict when (or whether) a particular item will arrive in the shop will continue to be... hazy. We'll give you the best information we can, but very often we will have a product on order, but we won't have solid information about when it will arrive in the store.
- You'll see some price increases this year. Every supplier that we work with has experienced big cost increases due to shipping and COVID-related manufacturing issues. For most of last year they (and we) have absorbed as much of those increases as possible, but we have reached a point where many cost increases are now being passed along the supply chain, and ultimately to consumers.
The upside is that through all of this upheaval, many of us in the retail industry have gotten better at doing the things that we do. For example, I now have superhero-level jigsaw puzzle acquisition skills, and can guarantee that we will ALWAYS have a very broad selection of puzzles in stock. Many of our manufacturing partners have put tremendous effort into providing us with now-essential tools like digital marketing assets and virtual product training. And the list goes on.
So rest assured that despite all of the challenges, we will never be without many, many awesome things to play with, at a variety of price points, for every age, and for all kinds of interests. Keep on playing, friends!