It's week three of our Sponsor Appreciation features. There's also a contest tied in with
all this, with tons of great prizes. You can find the contest
here, but take the time to check out the features as well! The
previous weeks interviews:
Alter Ego Comics -
Aisle Sniper - 04/14/04
week I talked with Joe from Killer Toys,
another of MROTW's much appreciated sponsors.
MWC - How long have you been in the action figure/collectibles business?
- Our company has over 25 years of experience in the action figure/collectibles
MWC - Do you have a brick and mortar store as well, or only an on-line store? How does having only one or both effect your business?
- We are only an online store/mail order company. We also try to get out and meet our customers by attending all of the major conventions. While we miss the daily interaction we could have with the collector/customer we feel that our high level of customer service and the fact that we save by not having retail space we can pass this value on to the collector. And the internet is always a great tool to interact via message boards, emails and instant
MWC - How did you get started?
The company started in 1979 by selling comic books and gaming cards, and like all trends the collecting and purchasing habits of our customers have also changed therefore our emphasis on the products we carry changed as well.
MWC - Do you collect as well? How does having a store effect your own collecting?
- One of the things we pride ourselves on is that our team is made up of specialists. Each team member collects/specializes in a certain genre or manufacturer. This allows us to share our knowledge with customers and to interact better with our customer base.
- What are your feelings on the current action figure and collectible market, and the forces at work in retail?
- We feel that we are going through a rapid growth period. The figures are getting to be better quality, better
licenses and better value for the money. While the retail “mass market” chain sales are down, the specialty market sales continue to increase and we feel that by having a high level of customer service, a knowledgeable staff and a vast product inventory, we can more than compensate for the smaller price differences that are found at the larger mass market retailers. The consumer is getting much more
savvy and more interested in purchasing their items from a professional retailer instead of a
Wal-mart type of environment, where product is mistreated, picked over and the sales person would not know a Spawn figure from My Little Pony.
- What do you feel sets you apart from other on-line retailers?
- Our commitment to customer service & satisfaction, our staff, our pricing, and our large inventory. It is very uncommon for an internet retailer to stock items that released several months ago, we have the
ability to stock items from many manufacturers including items that are out of print and out of stock from the manufacturer.
What trend did you completely misjudge? What really surprised you?
- Hellboy, while we thought it was going to be a great movie, we never estimated the response people would have to the figures…we first knew something was up when we saw the 18” rotocast figure in person, for the first time. This is one toy that completely takes your breath away when you see it…the detail is amazing. And on the other end we greatly estimated over the response of the Extreme Athlete series, these figures look GREAT out of the package, and we expected them to sell much quicker than they did. We felt that with the design they would appeal to a whole new customer base and that the demand for these would far exceed the supply and they would have appreciated at an extremely high rate on the secondary market.
MWC - What's coming up in 2004 that you think will be exceptionally cool?
- The Killertoys.com Gangsters Inc. Don Moncini figures…come on what’s cooler than a gangster and even better it’s a gangster with the Killertoys.com logo on it…but as far as main stream products go, there is a lot of great items coming from many different manufacturers this year…NECA has really stepped up to the plate this year with their offerings from their REEL Toys Division, also not to be out done is Sideshow and their line of 12 inch movie property related items along with great prop replicas…Mcfarlane is also putting out some great items, the 12” Alien and Predator should be a huge hit as well as the Monsters Series 3 lineup and now we finally get to see some Space Marines and Robocop in the new Movie Maniacs 7 line…
As a retailer, what's your biggest challenge?
Joe - To continue to offer great value and affordable high quality shipping…and at the same time to remain competitive with all of the smaller e-tailers out there that compete
solely on price…it’s hard to product a customized box designed to securely hold a set during shipping, to offer 24hr email support, and to provide a shipping method that allows for the customer to receive notifications when the item ships and the
ability to track their order while in transit and still have competitive pricing when there are e-tailers out there that rely on low pricing as their only means to attract business.
MWC - Anything else you'd like to comment on?
- We would like to thank Mike Crawford for all his support in 2003 and look forward to a bigger and better year in 2004. We would also like to thank our customers for without them
Killertoys.com would not be what it is today!
you right back Joe, for your continued support of MROTW. Next week I'll
have another sponsor interview - until then, make sure you enter the contest!