What a wonderful Christmas we had! A bit of break from gaming business for some family time, what could be better?! You know though, business is going well too - and the games keep on flowing! We've got some news to share too, to include our imminent end of year sale! Come on in and check it out!
We hope your winter holidays are going well! It's been really nice here, maybe because things feel a bit looser than last year, but whatever the reason - we'll take it! I'm Eric, and Wendy and I own Stone Valley Games. This is our weekly newsletter, where we provide updates on what's going on around the store - and in some cases around the world. We have our news section up top here, and at the bottom we list the restock, new items, and preorders we laid in the store last week. Enough of an intro, it's not that complicated to maneuver the newsletter, so let's get to it!
A MOMENT IN TIME
We are always hopping around here! Busy, busy, busy! There are so many things to stay on top of, from customers to products, distribution sales agents to shippers. Website tweaks, maintaining products, shipping materials, and the myriad of other tasks that go into running the store. It is so very nice to take a moment and enjoy some time with family! So, while this might not be 100% gaming related, as a family owned and operated business, it's all about the family! For just a moment in time we were able to gather around the big table and enjoy a wonderful meal. A bit of a respite before we buckle back down again.
We hope you and yours are enjoying your winter holidays as much as we are! However, we know not everyone has the best experience during the holidays. If things are rough, just remember the long nights are already starting to get shorter, and we're swinging ever so slowly into Spring. So, even if things are tough now, there is always hope for positive change!
THE STATE OF PREORDERS
If you have a preorder set up with us, there's a very good chance you've received an update pushing that release further into the future. Based on numbers we've seen this year, there's about a 20% chance that the original preorder release date stayed true.
This is primarily due to the worldwide shipping issues we'd written about in previous newsletters. Additionally, COVID continues to be a driving force in reducing workforces in all areas of gaming production and transportation. Like a double whammy of delay!
Then, and we're not exactly sure why, but we have seen longer transition times between publishers and distributors. About two years ago we'd see about a three-to-five-day transition from publisher to distributor. However, this year that trend has swung much closer to the three-to-four-week mark. To translate that a bit, the publisher will generally set the release date on the same day they have it available to sell, which is usually about a week after they ship it to distribution. With this delay, even though the game has 'released', we still might not see it for up to a month. To make things a bit more confusing, items tend to pop up in Amazon on time. This is because Amazon has so many warehouses, they maintain that three-to-five-day transition while "regular" distributors have been sliding a bit.
We figured you'd appreciate a bit of our insight into the situation. I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your incredible patience with preorders over the last few years! I know how agonizing it is for that game to just keep slipping into the future! It's definitely not all bad news though. I also wanted to remind everyone that a preorder with us is a guaranteed game. It just may not be exactly when we first thought. I also have been able to maintain preorder prices, so even if the publisher raises prices (which has happened an unprecedented number of times in 2021), we've still kept prices the way they were when the preorder was made. We figure it's the least we can do with all the constant slipping and churn with the games!
THE END OF YEAR REPORT IS NIGH
I wanted to drop this teaser that we will once again present our popular End of Year Report - most likely not in next week's newsletter, but by the 9 January edition for sure. In it we discuss the most popular categories, products and games by sales numbers, and fill in factoids under the categories of Growing, Selling & Shipping, Giving Back, and Feeling the Love. Overall, it gives readers a snapshot of our 2021 operations in a single slide. We figure it's one more way we bring our local store details to our customers nationwide. You know, your friendly neighborhood store - no matter how far away you are!
2021 YEAR END CLOSEOUT SALE
Last week we mentioned that we may or may not host one more sale for 2021. Well, we've decided to do it! What we'll do is have a link to the sale at the top of the webstore that will whisk you to the sales page. That link will be 'hot' during the following schedule:
8 PM CET Sunday 26 December to 8 PM CET Wednesday 29 December
Monday 27 December: Closed to foot traffic
Tuesday 28 December: 1 PM CET - 6:30 PM CET
Wednesday 29 December: 1 PM CET - 6:30 PM CET
Local folks don't forget you can use curbside delivery - which might be a good idea for things you see here you don't want to miss out on! The key is to select 'local pickup' in your shipping options when you check out.
Now, in complete transparency, the items we list in this sale will be games and items we don't plan on restocking. At this point, we would much rather sell them to a loving home than count them in our end of year inventory. For tax purposes, you know. If you ever saw the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, these would be the games displayed on the Island of Misfit Toys! Seriously though, there's absolutely nothing wrong with any of these games, they just need a certain audience to snatch them up. So, make sure you pop in to see if there's something that catches your fancy!
THE WRAP UP
Okay, enough news for this week! While it was a bit slower than normal due to the distributors being off most of the week, there is still some very cool activity! Below are the Restocks, New Items, and Preorders added to the shop last week. You can click on the item to learn more, and many of the products have review and gameplay videos so you can see the game in action. If you're visiting our page and you'd like to keep up with our giveaways, sales, new products, and articles like this one just create an account here. Once created you will be subscribed to our newsletter and become enrolled in our loyalty system, instantly earning 50 Stones that you can use on your very first order. A Stone? One Stone is equivalent to One Cent. That doesn't sound like much, but you earn 2 Stones for every dollar spent and 5 for each product review, so though it may seem small, those savings add up fast! Redeem your Stones upon checkout, and they can save you up to 10% off your cart total. Loyalty Matters!
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