However, I'd like to hope that HTS.com won't be the only source for Star Wars in the future. Anytime a company has a monopoly on stuff, prices go up and quality goes down.
I hope that doesn't come to pass either. But if the Star Wars section has good sales, then I could see them start to open up to the possibility of selling exclusive items that they can't get any retail outlet to carry.
In fact, I think they should do something like this:
1) Put out a news post on starwars.hasbro.com alerting people to www.hasbrotoyshop.com
and say that exclusives to the shop are coming. This gets people to go and check out the Star Wars selection. If you can manage to sell one or two items and deliver them to the customers in a TIMELY manner then great.
2) After you've got a lot of the bugs worked out post a new message on starwars.hasbro.com and take a gamble - alert SW collectors that the HTS will have exclusive AT-TE and Cloud Car vehicles, but there will be a slight catch - production will not begin until a certain date and all pre-orders for these exclusives have to be in by that same date. The gamble comes in at price - say make the AT-TE $60 and the Cloud Car $25. Give discounts ($5) off a second one (or for each additional multiple of 2) - I'll explain why in a second...
3) Sit back and see how many pre-orders come in take the number of orders you get and then multiply that by 1.25 - that should be how many you make. Design cartons that fit two of each MIB vehicle.
4) Let your product runs come into some warehouse on the west coast via the slow boat from china. As soon as they touch down on US soil, run the Credit Cards for every person who ordered even multiples - print out mailing labels for them and slap the stickers directly on each case of 2. Don't waste your time re-packing stuff, just send them out like you normally would to retail outlets. After that, start opening cases to ship people their vehicles if they only bought one (or any odd number after that). Save the extra for exchanges in case anything got damaged - after a couple of weeks, put it on your website as "In Stock" or offer online retailers like StarWarsShop.com and EntertainmentEarth.com smaller quantities then what they would of had to order if it had been exclusive to their respective sites.
1) You only make a little more than what the market seems to need. Any design costs of the AT-TE will be helped/offset by the fact that for the Cloud Car, you used the same mold from the vintage line w/a new paint op.
2) Generate revenue directly for Hasbro w/o any middle-men AND if you quickly get people their vehicles after they've been made, you also make them happy.
3) Chance to instill confidence in ordering from your site.
4) If you don't get enough interest you can always cancell the item due to lack-luster pre-orders.
1) The estimated cost of $60 per AT-TE may cut into profits if fewer are ordered than expected. The fewer you make/made the higher your cost per item becomes.
2) If you have to cancel the vehicle due to lack-luster orders you do two things (1) you're basically broadcasting that the Star Wars franchise collecting fan-base isn't as big as everyone thinks and/or (2) you're alienating SW fans who pre-ordered from you hoping to get these two sought after vehicles.