Author Topic: Toy Locating? Could this be possible?  (Read 1320 times)

Offline speedermike

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Toy Locating? Could this be possible?
« on: June 26, 2008, 10:51 PM »
Mods, feel free to mive this, I put it here because it's the most active forum.

I was wondering if it would ever be possible for costumers to check a store's inventory on line.  For instance, before going out to 2-3 TRU's one could go online, go right into the store's day-to-day inventory and see which of those stores has the assortment that the perosn is looking for.  Sure, you'll never be able to track individual figures, but new assortments, ships, evolutions, and comic packs would be easy. 
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Offline Daigo-Bah

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Re: Toy Locating? Could this be possible?
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2008, 11:17 PM »
'Course, I'd love that, but I bet stores would hate to do it because it would eliminate the impulse buy.  You know, there isn't a figure you need in the toy section, but you just realized you're out of peanut butter or something.  Whereas if you confirm online that something's not in stock, you won't step into the store at all.
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Offline Greg

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Re: Toy Locating? Could this be possible?
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2008, 11:26 PM »
As good of an idea as it is, I don't think it will happen. If you know when Target has what you want, you won't go as often. When you don't go as often, then you aren't as tempted to pick up that new movie that you wanted to see, or try those new potato chips. For me, when I go on a toy run and start coming up empty handed, I'm lured into buying other stuff that I may or may not want.

For example, I went to Target last week. No toys to buy, so I picked up the new Coldplay album. If I knew when Target had the toys I wanted, I would only go to Target to buy toys. All of my music purchases would be reserved for iTunes, food purchases would be reserved for Food Lion or Lowes, etc. That would cost Target some business, so that's bad for them. 

Offline Nicklab

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Re: Toy Locating? Could this be possible?
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2008, 02:38 AM »
I think it's an interesting concept.  But in practice I think retail outlets would want some level of uncertainty to remain about the availability of some items. 

Witness exclusives.  They're really designed to drive up the level of foot traffic into stores.  Think about this:  you probably have one train you prefer to shop at.  Let's say that it's Target where you spend the bulk of your collecting dollars.  But all of a sudden word gets out that there's a new WalMart exclusive showing up.  So you start hitting WalMart stores on a regular basis.  Eventually you find your exclusives.  But during your trips to the stores you've spent  an additional $20 on figures and $45 on DVD's or whatever else.  This is why so many exclusives didn't get offered online for so many years.

Interesting thing on this front that I saw recently.  I was looking for the TFU Rancor and ran the DCPI number with an employee.  He searched the stores inventory system and came up empty.  But he was very cool and was able to search the inventories of other stores and gave me locations where the Rancor WAS in stock.  It might have just been a case of a cool employee, but hopefully it's the kind of customer service one can expect from a chain that wants to weather rough economic times.
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Offline speedermike

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Re: Toy Locating? Could this be possible?
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2008, 09:31 AM »
Great points, however, wouldn't this system be a selling point for a store like TRU? 

And while I undertsnd impluse purchases, as a father with two young boys, a house, Grad school tuition, college in the future for the kids, and an "approved" collecting  habit, impulse purchases are not somthing I really do.  In fact, I'm trying to gently teach my boys that if the store doesn't have what you "want", don't look for something else to buy, go somewhere else.
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Offline Darth_Anton

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Re: Toy Locating? Could this be possible?
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2008, 09:40 AM »
While there might not be a consumer system in the works, research on my current project uncovered that anyone with enough skill can hack into any of the retailers networks and track shipments and inventory.
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Offline JediJman

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Re: Toy Locating? Could this be possible?
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2008, 11:24 AM »
I don't think we'll have "real time" tracking like this in our lifetime or least not for a long time.  I doubt companies will make their shipping logs for distribution centers and stores public.  At best you might get a read on what's in stock as of 8am if a retailer chose to offer this, but who knows if a customer or employee bought it at 8:01?  Product can still sell between the time that you saw it online and the time you get to the store.

I think Target would be the most likely to offer something like this given their current aisle checking machines, but Target codes their toys under a DPCI, rolling several UPCs into one code.  At best, you would know that more TAC figures came in, but not which specific ones, unless they decided to totally revamp all of their item coding for some reason, and I just don't see a good rationale for that in the near future.

I think its far more likely that stores start selling more of their merchandise online.  Target has avoided smaller ticket items thus far, but I think they'll increase the menu over time.  Think about the advantages of ordering from one or more distribution centers versus the much smaller inventory available at a single store.  They could also adopt Wal-Mart's ship to store program, where you wouldn't even have to pay shipping. 
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Offline jedipurge

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Re: Toy Locating? Could this be possible?
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2008, 11:58 AM »
While there might not be a consumer system in the works, research on my current project uncovered that anyone with enough skill can hack into any of the retailers networks and track shipments and inventory.

And WHY haven't you shared this research with the rest of us?
www.jedidefender.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=17407.0
Oh never mind  :-*
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Offline ctonra

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Re: Toy Locating? Could this be possible?
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2008, 12:07 PM »
It is a very good thought and I for one would love it, But just think of what would happen if the info online was wrong?   How happy would you be if you looked on line and saw that a taget or walmart had the wave of figures you been hunting for, you drive 20 mins to it to find out it isn't there because of a system error, or someone else beat you there, or it is misplaced and they can't find it, or the wave box was packed incorrectly at the factory.  
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Offline Keonobi

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Re: Toy Locating? Could this be possible?
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2008, 03:10 PM »
I have the feeling the retailers wouldn't want to do this because of competitive reasons.  Behind the Customer Service Desk at Walmart (I read it while waiting to return something) is their policy that although guests are welcome, if they catch you doing anything that could be construed as checking prices or inventories for a competitor, that they reserve the right to kick you out.  If you can't do that in the store, what makes you think they'll put their inventory online for their competition as well as the public to see?
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Offline Rob

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Re: Toy Locating? Could this be possible?
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2008, 03:19 PM »
I was wondering if it would ever be possible for costumers to check a store's inventory on line.

I don't see why this should be limited to people who dress up like Qui-gon and head off to conventions.

Offline jedipurge

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Re: Toy Locating? Could this be possible?
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2008, 05:13 PM »
I was wondering if it would ever be possible for costumers to check a store's inventory on line.

I don't see why this should be limited to people who dress up like Qui-gon and head off to conventions.


That took me a while to get  :-[
Harmless is the most dangerous of perceptions, you never expect it to strike.-Purge