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Bricklink Special Announcement: new owner

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Comments

  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,578
    Let me state first off that ( with no offense intended to BL sellers or buyers ) that I could care less whether BL lives or dies. As you would say, I have no dog in this fight at all. I stopped using BL years ago for the simple fact that I couldn't get what I wanted so I found a much more pleasing work around for obtaining the parts I wanted.

    I guess I'm looking at this whole thing from my stand point in a way that relates to my industry. Maybe I'm a little off but I'm close.

    Your first point I completely agree with. It's your second point that I think is incorrect. I don't think there is that much growth potential here besides a steady, average incline with an average number of people on the planet coming in and out of their dark ages as we say. The small sellers are the ones who are less sophisticated at business and generally don't know how to run a business or are hobby sellers that don't care too much about turning a real profit that are holding the larger sellers back. Dragging them down to a certain level of stagnant profit and perpetually keeping them there. Couple that with constant turn over of new BL stores starting the same lack of business sense all over again.

    Your point 2 assumes that small sellers will eventually run dry of inventory but Lego will always be making 1 x 2 plates so the availability of them on the planet will always increase so long as Lego stays in business. You are correct that things like 1 x 8 Sand Green bricks will probably be in short supply, but they are the exception rather than the rule adding to the overabundance of the common part.


    Your last point, it seems, assumes that there will be a huge explosion in demand for used Lego 1 x 2 plates when I really don't think that that is the case at all. The common parts will always be slow sellers right along with the oddball parts that just don't sell very well. To prove my point a little here is a link to the 1 x 2 parts page at BL. Some of the people literally have 5 used plates they are selling for .01. How do you make any money doing that? http://www.bricklink.com/search.asp?itemID=378&colorID=11 For comparison, you can buy these new for .10 from Lego and if your order is $75 or more, you get free shipping and great customer service too.


    I have no ambition to have a BL store, not in a hundred years. I'm just trying to understand the motives behind the used parts sellers here. If/when I get rid of my sets/spare parts. They are going to Ebay, sets by themselves or in themed lots and parts in bulk lots. It will be quicker than BL and probably at better prices. The set sellers and new parts sellers I do understand. You can probably make a little money undercutting Lego on the new parts. If you don't make money selling EOL sets, you're doing something wrong.


    Look at this auction. This is BL inventory right here. No one else would buy it. http://www.ebay.com/itm/STARWARS-INDIANA-JONES-CASTLE-TRAIN-LEGO-LEGOS-LOT-POUND-BULK-SETS-CLOUD-CITY-/230996581137?pt=Building_Toys_US&hash=item35c8781b11
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Oh boy, here we go, long quotes ahead. :)
    oldtodd33 said:

    I stopped using BL years ago for the simple fact that I couldn't get what I wanted so I found a much more pleasing work around for obtaining the parts I wanted.

    That right there should tell you that Bricklink has a problem. :)
    oldtodd33 said:

    Your first point I completely agree with. It's your second point that I think is incorrect. I don't think there is that much growth potential here besides a steady, average incline with an average number of people on the planet coming in and out of their dark ages as we say.

    If we disagree on that point, then yes, I see the problem. All we can really do is agree to disagree, which is fine of course. :)

    I believe that if you make the site approachable and easy to use, it will see a large influx of new customers, average consumers who are not die hard AFOLs. If you disagree, fair enough, then all our basic assumptions are going to disagree because of this point.
    oldtodd33 said:

    The small sellers are the ones who are less sophisticated at business and generally don't know how to run a business or are hobby sellers that don't care too much about turning a real profit that are holding the larger sellers back. Dragging them down to a certain level of stagnant profit and perpetually keeping them there. Couple that with constant turn over of new BL stores starting the same lack of business sense all over again.

    eBay and Amazon already have this problem with sets, and yet both markets survive just fine. More than once I've bought out a fellow seller because he/she foolishly listed too low. If the small sellers on Bricklink want to give away their inventory, the larger sellers can just buy them out.

    If these are retired parts, those parts can't be replaced, thus better control over the market is obtained.
    oldtodd33 said:

    Your point 2 assumes that small sellers will eventually run dry of inventory but Lego will always be making 1 x 2 plates so the availability of them on the planet will always increase so long as Lego stays in business.

    Not in every color... :) And this really isn't about 1x2 plates, I doubt anyone is getting rich of those, unless a very odd color used only a few times.

    What small sellers will run dry of is the harder to find parts. Not the UCS Falcon Radar Dishes, we all know those rare parts by heart, but there are many more that are rare, but not quite that rare, that will go away much more quickly if ordering parts becomes easier.
    oldtodd33 said:

    Your last point, it seems, assumes that there will be a huge explosion in demand for used Lego 1 x 2 plates when I really don't think that that is the case at all. The common parts will always be slow sellers right along with the oddball parts that just don't sell very well.

    The way you make it sound, nothing sells well on Bricklink. If so, why bother having a business there at all? Something must be selling if dozens of sellers do it full time for a living there, many with employees.

    Don't knock 1x2 plates, I've ordered those type of parts, by the dozens, from Bricklink, to put together the Olympic Ring instructions that were posted last year. Do I have some of them? Sure, but it isn't worth digging them out when they cost a few cents and can be ordered with other parts I don't have.

    That was the last project I did on Bricklink, it was a PITA... If the site allowed me to make a parts list and auto order everything from the lowest cost solution, I'd do FAR more buying on Bricklink.

    So +1 customer right there. As it is, I haven't placed a part order in 6 months off Bricklink, I did dozens last year. The site is horrible as it is.
    oldtodd33 said:

    To prove my point a little here is a link to the 1 x 2 parts page at BL. Some of the people literally have 5 used plates they are selling for .01. How do you make any money doing that? http://www.bricklink.com/search.asp?itemID=378&colorID=11 For comparison, you can buy these new for .10 from Lego and if your order is $75 or more, you get free shipping and great customer service too.

    Yes, but LEGO doesn't stock enough parts to be interesting, and if I have to go through Bricklink, I'd rather just buy everything there.

    Personally I think LEGO is missing an opportunity here to do something special with online parts ordering, but perhaps they have business planned it and it didn't work out via the numbers. Would be nice to know if they have done that however.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    oldtodd33 said:

    ^ There has to be a legal work-around for the price fixing, if it truly is. After all, BL is hardly the only place to buy Lego parts. I was more talking about the common parts like 1 x 2 plates. Other parts are less common like 1 x 8 sand green bricks, but the more common parts that don't sell well would be good for a fixed pricing strategy. Sets could follow the free market, they are the only way to make any kind of money on BL as far as I can see, especially used parts.

    Doing that also favours the big sellers. Why? because the small guy cannot compete on volume, so has to compete on price. He can fulfill smaller orders at better value, but even if he can fulfill an entire order at the same cost as a bigger seller then most buyers will go with the big sellers and add in a few more pieces (not on the wants list) to make shipping better value still.

    I also don't think that allowing price minimisation for orders will affect the stability of the market. In fact, bricklink already do it. For sets. It is a one click operation to search sorted by price. Of course, it would be better if you could sort by price plus postage. Has the bottom fallen out of the BL sets market because it can be done? Has the bottom fallen out on ebay and amazon and wherever else sets market because it can be done? The answer there is no. I don't see why it would be any different for parts.
  • jasorjasor United StatesMember Posts: 839
    edited June 2013
    rocao said:

    jasor said:

    So, there are stores that don't know what their price per piece threshold is? From a biz standpoint, that's pretty scary, especially if they rely on any of it for income.

    It's fine if you view these scenarios as overdramatized, but likewise I think the assertion that a thriving, successful marketplace would be "crazy" to not implement a new feature that reduces their profit in the short term, risks angering a large segment of their sellers, and has unknown affects on the long term is also overdramatic.
    Yep...I never said they would be "crazy" to not implement a new feature. I did say, however, that a feature easing the use of cost and time to a buyer would generate more sales (which would be good for sellers), even at a marginally less profit level.

    It's odd that Rebrickable hits the news page, basically offering this same feature, and there is no one running around with their hair on fire stating that they will have to lower all their brick prices. A feature that saves a buyer time/money will always be relevant. It will always win out. It will be profitable for whoever implements it successfully.

    We can agree to disagree, however. I'm totes cool with that.
  • Pacific493Pacific493 Member Posts: 379
    oldtodd33 said:

    ^ There has to be a legal work-around for the price fixing, if it truly is. After all, BL is hardly the only place to buy Lego parts. I was more talking about the common parts like 1 x 2 plates. Other parts are less common like 1 x 8 sand green bricks, but the more common parts that don't sell well would be good for a fixed pricing strategy. Sets could follow the free market, they are the only way to make any kind of money on BL as far as I can see, especially used parts.

    That is pretty much the definition of price fixing since BL would be setting the market price for particular goods and requiring anyone who signed up to sell through BL to agree to sell those goods at the prices that BL dictates. That violates Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act in the U.S. and is highly highly illegal. Unless you can change the law, there is no legal workaround.

  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,290
    edited June 2013
    ^^ Right, I was referring to bandit's comment about Bricklink being crazy.

    Regarding Rebrickable and the lack of attention, I think A) many people don't know about it yet, B) it's too early for there to have been an impact, much less noticed, C) with just three sellers the eventual impact might be immeasurably small.

    Regarding the feature's relevancy, I never said it wouldn't be relevant. It obviously would be welcomed by buyers. What we don't seem to agree on is the impact and whether all sellers will benefit. You say the impact is minimal, while I say it may or may not be, and the unknown nature would keep Bricklink away unless their goals changed. You say all sellers will benefit due to increased volume. I say there exist scenarios and sellers where volume isn't as important as profit margin.

    Once again, my overriding point has been that the feature is not likely and shouldn't be expected to come from Bricklink. It's much more likely to me that they will implement UI improvements and evaluate the resultant growth from that before introducing a feature like cost optimization.

    I'm not clear on what the business arrangement is between Rebrickable and the parts sellers, but I can think of several motivations for Rebrickable to implement this feature that don't apply to Bricklink.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    rocao said:

    What we don't seem to agree on is whether all sellers will benefit. You say they all will due to increased volume. I say there exist scenarios and sellers where volume isn't as important as profit margin.

    Of course all sellers won't benefit, almost nothing in the world benefits everyone, but that is as it must be.

    As for those sellers who want more profit margin, what do they offer that justifies that?

    I understand why a Cadillac costs more than a Chevy, it offers nicer features and thus sells at a lower volume thus has to have a higher profit margin per car.

    I get that.

    But why should someone selling a given part on Bricklink get a higher profit margin than someone else selling the same part on Bricklink? What do they offer?

    Well, they can offer two things:

    1. Better service (reflected through feedback). To get honest feedback however I do believe requires doing what eBay/Amazon did, remove buyer feedback (or at least buyer negative feedback), thus giving buyers comfort to leave negative feedback without risk of return feedback.

    2. Broader part selection thus reducing shipping costs. If you can buy a larger wishlist from a single seller or fewer sellers, the savings on shipping can go to the seller, thus higher profit margin.

    Part of the problem is it sounds like you feel, or these sellers feel, "entitled" to their profit margins due to an inefficient marketplace. The only people who actually want an inefficient marketplace are those with a vested profit interest in said market place.

    Example: The stock market...

    A number of years ago they went from quoting stock prices in fractions, such as 16 1/8 or 16 1/16 of a dollar, to going to cents. At the time there was much ruckus from those people who made profits on the bid/ask spread and market markets who took a small cut of the difference.

    So the bid might be 16 1/16 and the ask might be 16 1/8, giving a spread of 1/16 of a dollar, or 6.25 cents. By going to cents the fear was that the bid/ask spread would be 1 cent, leaving no money for the market makers and other Wall Street firms.

    Bunch of hot air from people trying to protect their turf is what it was, they are still making piles of money, more than they did before.

    I see the same thing here.
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,290

    Part of the problem is it sounds like you feel, or these sellers feel, "entitled" to their profit margins due to an inefficient marketplace. The only people who actually want an inefficient marketplace are those with a vested profit interest in said market place.

    Do you realize that Bricklink has a vested profit interest due to their commission model? As I said, maybe at some point this will be employed by Bricklink with the hope of accomplishing new goals, but in the meantime, if the status quo is kept and the business is expected to chug along, I wouldn't expect this change.

    Are you arguing that Bricklink should be efficient? If so, please define what you mean by market efficiency because there are different connotations.
  • LegoMom1LegoMom1 Member Posts: 652
    @LegoFanTexas said: I am outraged!!! About something... I'll get back to you on what, but I'm outraged! :)

    I'm confused!!! About the entire situation... And I won't be getting back to you on it as I'm too confused! :)
  • 19741974 Member Posts: 141
    edited June 2013
    LFT, I _really_ like your posts, but this really makes me wanna stand up :

    "But why should someone selling a given part on Bricklink get a higher profit margin than someone else selling the same part on Bricklink? What do they offer?"

    BL is like a mini internet, it's full of different sellers, It's not a single shop. It never will be as long as there's more then one seller

    I'm quite sure you got the hang of selling quite good, but you're knowledge of BL is lacking severely

    BL is just a medium to get different sellers in touch with different buyers. It'll never be uniform as you've suggested

    A place to buy bricks where one brick only have one price can only be done by TLG IF and only IF they dig up those old molds from the yard. Not going to happen ..

    I don't understand what's wrong with that the same brick can be found at different prices? I can find a book at amazon, whatever place on the 'net and in my local bookshop and the price will be all over the map. Such is modern trading :)
    LostInTranslationlegoprods
  • jasorjasor United StatesMember Posts: 839
    ^ Pretty sure I know what LFT actually meant, but waiting for reply. *Large drink and popcorn, plz
    kylejohnson11
  • 19741974 Member Posts: 141
    Oh, popcorn :) ..
  • HardradaHardrada Member Posts: 439

    When I thought that you could buy parts by the case, I figured prices would remain fairly stable. Now that I know you can't, I think this would actually push prices up. It also will push up volume, so even if it cuts prices by 30% for awhile, double the volume at 30% off is a huge win for Bricklink.

    But might not be for the sellers. The parts business is very work-intensive.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,439
    ^It is very much so, but if that is your only means of an income, then you have to do what you have to do. I don't think I would ever get into the parts game. I'm glad there are people that do though.

    As I said before, I would pay a premium for good service. This also holds true in purchasing items from reputable sellers. Feedback does mean a lot to people, especially me. If I found at part that was cheaper from someone with a 50 feedback rating, I would probably purchase one at a higher price from someone with a 10,000 feedback rating.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548

    I have not followed any of this thread (apologies to those involved in the intense discussion), but just had to say this...

    Every time I see this thread title I keep reading 'Brickset special announcement: new owner', instead of Bricklink. EVERY. DAMN. TIME.

    AAAAAAGGH!

    I tell you, it's like getting some form of shock treatment every time I view the forum. :oP

    Could someone change the title to 'BrickLINK has a new owner' or something, and get rid of the 'special announcement' bit (that's what trips the eye up).
    LegoFanTexas
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ Maybe I'm in secret negotiations with Huw to buy Brickset and this is the cover thread for that? ;-)

    Hmm....
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    edited June 2013
    Pitfall69 said:


    As I said before, I would pay a premium for good service. This also holds true in purchasing items from reputable sellers. Feedback does mean a lot to people, especially me. If I found at part that was cheaper from someone with a 50 feedback rating, I would probably purchase one at a higher price from someone with a 10,000 feedback rating.

    Assuming that both sellers are 100% positive, the size of the feedback score doesn't really tell you about whether or not they have good service, it just tells you that they have been in the game a long time and / or have a large volume of sales. You can get excellent service from someone with 50, you can get just about OK service from someone with 10,000. OK service doesn't warrant anything other than positive, so doesn't tell you whether the service was excellent or just acceptable.

    This is the whole problem of ebay style feedback that the whole world seems to use now. Positive means acceptable, neutral is meaningless and negative means bad. There is nothing to distinguish excellent from adequate.

    Going with the bigger store is similar to always buying from large supermarket chains that are everywhere rather than giving a new, small independent a chance. Especially if the small guy is cheaper, I'd go there.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,439
    If you read what I said, I made 2 separate statements. I didn't say that a person with a higher feedback score would provide better service. All this information provides me is a sense of security when ordering. I know we all have to start somewhere. I'm not saying the person with higher or lower feedback would or would not provide better service.

    Comparing someone on Bricklink or EBay with a Walmart, Best Buy or Amazon is not a fair comparison.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,439
    edited June 2013
    I have a small business and I know we provide better service than a large retailer, but that doesn't matter. People know what they are getting when they walk into a large retailer. It is hard to compete with that and the convenience.

    I just feel better buying from @LegoFanTexas or @samiam391 than someone that just joined the forum today to sell something on the Marketplace thread.
    FollowsCloselyLegoFanTexassamiam391Yellowcastle
  • jasorjasor United StatesMember Posts: 839
    i look at everything. Feedback is a part of it. With larger stores, you get wrangled into (xN) piece limits, lot limits, packaging fees, set minimum shipping...blah blah blah blah. It all depends on the order.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Pitfall69 said:

    I just feel better buying from @LegoFanTexas or @samiam391 than someone that just joined the forum today to sell something on the Marketplace thread.

    Well, yeah, but with that example it's a very easy decision to make. The real question is when does someone become "viable" to trade with? 30 days? 50 posts? 10 likes? 5 entries in the feedback thread? The answers are subjective of course, as we all have different levels.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    jasor said:

    i look at everything. Feedback is a part of it. With larger stores, you get wrangled into (xN) piece limits, lot limits, packaging fees, set minimum shipping...blah blah blah blah. It all depends on the order.

    Same here, plus it greatly depends on the money I'm spending. If I'm going to drop < $50, I'm not that worried, as credit cards will normally reimburse a challenge of that $ amount in the blink of an eye. As it creeps up to and beyond $100, the scrutinizing becomes exponential.
    Pitfall69jasor
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,439
    edited June 2013
    Lemme look at my stats...

    Well, it is official. I spend way too much time on this forum. Yikes.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    ^ Right there with you
    Pitfall69
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,439
    edited June 2013
    The good news is that I'm actively involved with the forum. The bad news is that out of my 3200 comments; how many of them are inane Star Wars quotes and stupid puns?
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    "The odds of a @Pitfall69 comment being a Star Wars Quote are approximately..."
    jasor
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,439
    "Never tell me th...." Wait a minute, I see what you did there.
    jasor
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,672
    I had a recent Bricklink like experience on Amazon. I was trying to order 5 cosmetic products, all 5 are available on Amazon but only by 3rd party sellers and at different prices. None of the sellers had all 5 but 3 sellers had 2 or more products. It took multiple browsers open and checking-out (without confirming the order) to figure out the cheapest way to get all 5.

    Number of items vs time spent, bricklink-ing my Blue Grocer was much more efficient (20min vs 2.5h) but I had the help of the BrickStore app :)
  • legoprodslegoprods SpainMember Posts: 445
    I just... gah, I'll say it. I just don't think buying and selling on Bricklink is as hard as people like to put it here.

    I been buying and selling for a year now, and I haven't encountered myself with many stores that have those "outrageous hidden fees" that everyone loves to talk about. Some do, but thats life and if you don't like it move on to the next store.

    Trying to make everyone do the same thing (even worse, price fix their items) is just not reasonable. That is what probably would kill BL over the new competitors coming. Or some eBay sellers don't set their shipping at 10$ over the actual price?

    With no offense, I do think many of the people arguing here don't have much selling experience over there. At least with parts.
    ColoradoBricksbluedragonBrickDancerKanohiBrickarmor
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,439
    I never had a problem with Bricklink either. I think we can all agree that it is dated. I created an account on my birthday 2001.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    ^ and ^^

    I don't have a problem with it either. It's dated and somewhat unapproachable to start. But all of us LEGO geeks cared enough to invest the time to figure it out.

    But of course, most the context in this discussion has been about making it approachable to the average Joe or Jane who wants to pop on and buy a few parts for Timmy. It's not that is is hard, but it is unapproachable and likely intimidating to the non-LEGO first time average internet user. Are they going to invest the time and effort to try and figure it out, or are they just going to bail?
  • legoprodslegoprods SpainMember Posts: 445
    ^ If its been just bought by someone else, I'd think they'll make some changes to it.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    Obviously. That's the whole point of this conversation
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    It's not that hard ... if you know how to use it. There are quirks that have to be overcome for some things though.

    Like if a kid has lost his Han Solo and Luke Skywalker heads. Han Solo's heads tend to be labelled as such. So a catalogue search (new users - check catalog rather than for sale which is set by default if you want to be more efficient) for Han Solo Head will find them. Yet, when it comes to Luke, if the head is 3626bpb408 for example, a head which only belongs to Luke, it does not have Luke in the title, so will not be found. So a different search will have to be used, you have to find the correct Luke first, then find the head in the inventory. Allowing something as simple as user defined tags would overcome that, but BL admins would never allow the public to add useful information, not without being held in a queue for a month before being checked by a category admin.
  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    edited June 2013
    Sure, if you spend the time, and get over its quirks it can be used effectively. I'm on 180 orders now in 2 years but for a long time my main hurdle was understanding wanted lists - everything in the instructions and language around them suggests it's for parts that are not available now, it's all about "notify me if...", whereas they are pretty much the first step to put together a set of parts you'd like to buy).

    I don't check splash pages and store terms because life's too short. Terms I regard as dodgy mean that shops don't get a second order. I mostly order from the 5-10 stores in the UK with excellent stock, prices, packaging and quick turnaround.

    But would I recommend BrickLInk to my friend who wants to buy a load of extra lightsabers for his kid. No way.


    By the way, an example of the kind of market that could be possible. Search Google for "LEGO lightsaber". You'll see a shopping link first, mostly ebay bundles of them, much higher prices than BrickLink. At least 5 people have bought 16 different coloured variants for $40. Probably bad for the sellers if they're on BrickLink too, but BrickLink should be looking to capture those sales.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,269
    ^^ Your missing head example is one that could be problematic for a first time user and one solution to that is to have a few simple How-To's. While the head may not be label "Luke" the minfig sure is so the How-To could be titled "Need a minifg part?" and it could suggest looking up the whole minifig, finding the one that matches and then viewing the inventory to find which part is needed. Something like that would take the same time, if not less, than the first time user just randomly poking around. It's just a matter of the main page of the new site being geared towards that type of customer and letting the people that know what they're doing skip past the "fluff" on the main page to get to the guts of BL.

    The site just wasn't built with any of that in mind.
  • Canuck26Canuck26 Member Posts: 55
    ^ I don't remember there being much of a learning curve but I was already fairly familiar with the names of parts and that helped a lot. The more I used the site, the more efficient I became at looking up my needs. Had there been short tutorials such as @graphite suggests, I would have saved myself plenty of time. For example, I didn't even know about wanted lists until I had used the site for about two months. I am very persistent but not all people are willing to be so.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ The fact that you're here removes you from being an "average customer".
    kylejohnson11Furrysaurus
  • jasorjasor United StatesMember Posts: 839
    My wife knows about the site, but is fringe on the AFOL side. She was going to try and surprise me with a bulk order. She pulled up BL, tried using it, gave up, and then told me I need to find a better bits and pieces place to buy parts....

    I would say she is above "average" customer level. To say "it works for me, and really isnt all that bad once you get used to it," is really not a validation.
    dougtsBanditcardgeniusTheLoneTensorYellowcastle
  • legoprodslegoprods SpainMember Posts: 445
    edited June 2013
    I agree, that is one of the main things that was discussed and will be implemented, or so we think. There has been talk about a new user tutorial, maybe an example of buying from a store, or those new user tutorials with text and arrows while you are shopping for the first time. Essential.

    BTW, I have submitted the Catalog change request for the name of that head, to add SW Luke Skywalker in the end, probably a human error after all. ;-)
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,290
    edited June 2013
    Where people are saying "average" customer, I think they mean "predominant". The predominant LEGO consumer buys LEGO sets. I don't doubt that a fair portion of that segment might be interested in buying parts if the process were known to them and it was easy. However I think the majority of growth would be from getting those customers to buy new & used, current & retired sets from Bricklink and not pieces. As luck would have it, it's also much easier to make buying sets user-friendly than it is buying elements.

    Advertise...
    Make buying sets easy...
    Make buying elements easy...
    ...
    way way down the line, consider cost optimization
    PROFIT!
  • legoprodslegoprods SpainMember Posts: 445
    Those are the two things that should be considered priority things. A new user tutorial along with advertising would get many new buyers "that actually sign up and buy" into the site. That's translated into profit, for everyone.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    Although, there is another big player in the new sets market - ebay. As a novice, would you buy from Ebay - looks great, trusted, probably already signed up, secure, easy to use/navigate, or Bricklink, horrible looking, hard to navigate, looks un secure (and possibly is)? Or what about Amazon - a bit more expensive.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ eBay also has buyer protection... I suspect the average customer is willing to pay 5-10% more for the same set from eBay because if it all goes wrong, eBay steps in.

    Yes, PayPal has some protection, but it isn't always the same. eBay's protection seems much more eager to make buyers happy.
  • jasorjasor United StatesMember Posts: 839
    rocao said:

    Where people are saying "average" customer, I think they mean "predominant". The predominant LEGO consumer buys LEGO sets. I don't doubt that a fair portion of that segment might be interested in buying parts if the process were known to them and it was easy. However I think the majority of growth would be from getting those customers to buy new & used, current & retired sets from Bricklink and not pieces. As luck would have it, it's also much easier to make buying sets user-friendly than it is buying elements.

    Advertise...
    Make buying sets easy...
    Make buying elements easy...
    ...
    way way down the line, consider cost optimization
    PROFIT!

    Yes yes yes. I dont know that anyone said to put cost optimization above Security, updated UI, and making all search a bit more intuitive.

    I would say BL's bread and butter on the cornered market is in ala carte vs set. They may sell quite a few sets, but that's not what makes them unique.

    Advertise...
    Make buying sets easy...
    **Security
    Make buying elements easy... (Through updated search/ UI)
    Advertise...
    Then definitely implement bells and whistles like cost optimization, recommended parts, forums, chats, messaging, etc etc etc.
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,290
    edited June 2013
    It wasn't said explicitly, and if they had to rank them, they probably wouldn't rank cost optimization first. But the sentiment that cost optimization HAD to be done under the presumption that customers expect and demand it and that Bricklink would be crazy not to implement it implied that it was approximately as important, which I don't agree with at all.

    With respect to your edit, I agree that security must be addressed. My list was speaking to how Bricklink could get the most bang for their buck as far as growing the customer base.

    Time to value (lower better): Advertising << Security < UI improvement

    Market potential (larger better): Advertising to people who don't know about Bricklink > UI improvement for people who don't use Bricklink because of the UI > Security for people who won't use Bricklink because of security concerns

    I know some people, such as yourself, would argue that security trumps all. I would agree that lack of security (and even just the perception of it) has the potential to be the greatest cause of a site's demise. But as it stands how many people know about the security issues, are concerned with the extent of it, and are staying away because of it?
    legoprods
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,439
    You guys gave me an idea. Tonight I'm going to have my wife find some stuff on Bricklink for me. I'm going to see if she can navigate through it without getting frustrated.
    legoprodsjasorkylejohnson11
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    ^^ You could argue that spending money on advertising when the site looks and feels the way it does is pointless, if not worse than pointless. People will hear about it, go, and then leave with a bad taste in their mouth. Many wont even give it a second chance after the UI/Security is improved.
    jasor
  • jasorjasor United StatesMember Posts: 839
    ^^^ cost optimization, at least from my POV, was always after all the other stuff that is common sense is done....otherwise, it's just trying to optimize a horrible existing system. To the point of people staying away from BL due to security issues...I would say more people than not who set up buying/selling accts there would know of it. How they want to live their life is up to them :P

    ^^ Good luck to her. Mine cared for about 10 minutes, and just gave me cash. haha. SURPRISE!

    ^^^ Exactly. Putting an ad in the paper with a picture of a turd, won't mean that you'll sell said turd. I mean...you might, there are some weird ones out there....but probably wouldnt do you much good to turn those ad dollars around.
  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 890
    rocao said:

    As luck would have it, it's also much easier to make buying sets user-friendly than it is buying elements.

    Advertise...
    Make buying sets easy...
    Make buying elements easy...
    ...
    way way down the line, consider cost optimization
    PROFIT!

    This is indeed is sensical, in certain situations anyway. Like in bricklink's prebuyout situation, where any new dev was going to take forever due to limited/no resources. Or a situation where one or two hobbyist devs are working in their free time, and resources and time are again limited and time to market is of utmost importance.

    But this no longer applies. In the current situation, backed by a billion dollar company, I see no reason for them to have to scrimp and save and apply trade offs anymore. Resources, time, and money are no longer an issue (or at least shouldn't be). While you can argue that cost minimization isn't as important as a straight up re-launch and redesign with a big marketing push (and I agree, but still think it's of utmost importance), there is no reason to think or expect it can't be rolled out and implemented in the same time frame as everything else. This isn't rocket science. This is easily doable in a short time frame with adequate and competent resources.

    If you have the resources, and If you're going to redesign and relaunch the whole thing, you do it right, from the get go, with all the major pieces in place. Your big mass market marketing push will be all for naught if half the new people come there and find it just as difficult as it ever was to order from multiple stores, and never come back. Do it right from the beginning, or don't do it at all.
    jasor
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