Bahr: How We'll Fill the Gap Between DOM and M19
By Michael Bahr, managing partner of Desert Sky Games
Just about everything related to Dominaria worked as intended.
We completely sold out of our advance booster boxes. Our Sunday Prereleases were less than twelve players each because that's all the product we had left. Globally, it was biggest Prerelease of all time. Yeah, it was a success.
But slowdown will always happen. The heat will cool on every release, even the best sets. Go all in on set releases and you may find yourself in a boom-bust cycle, where there's a deep trough between major releases.
So with Dominaria cooling off and Core Set 2019 still a month away, how can you keep the party going?
By managing inventory so that booster sets are earning every sale they can, then filling in the gaps with sales you wouldn't otherwise get.
Here are three things you can do to manage the gap between Dominaria and Core Set 2019:
1. Enable all possible sales of what's readily available in distribution.
A player should be able to buy any configuration of an in-print booster product from you. If you aren’t stocking enough to allow that, there is some number of sales you aren't converting on.
Have enough stock on hand to sell a booster pack, a bundle, a box, or even a case—some players do buy entire cases, and they tend to want sealed, untouched cases when they do.
2. Fill in the gaps with non-Standard product.
Right now, while we're between sets, it's the perfect time for the slew of upcoming non-Standard SKUs: Battlebond, Signature Spellbook: Jace, Commander Anthology Volume II, and Global Series.
Ancillary Magic roundup, as of May 28:
- Battlebond: Preview Events start June 2, Release Events June 8. Dual lands with no downsides, never-before-tried mechanics. See the full cardset here.
- Signature Spellbook: Jace: On sale June 15. New art for Brainstorm, Gifts Ungiven and more (first ever alternate art for Gifts). See the full contents here
- Commander Anthology Vol II: On sale June 15. Yes, in has the Breed Lethality deck. See all the decks here.
- Global Series: Jiang Yanggu & Mu Yanling: On sale June 22. Standard-legal in China. More information soon.
Not every player coming in the door will be asking for those specifically, but some will be, and some will buy.
3. Replenish TCG accessories.
There's no format rotation on black sleeves.
Accessories—particularly sleeves, playmats, and storage—are evergreen products and often remain front-list for months or even years.
Veterans tend to like premium storage solutions like high-end deck boxes; new players need the gamut and will try a little of everything. Carry both generic version and Magic-branded versions—many players like to keep accessories on-theme with the deck they use them for.
How does it all tie together?
Whether your store is small or large, your purchases for a Magic booster release are likely much larger than your typical volume. This means financial planning. Either you purchase for cash up front and make sure you're ready, or you purchase on net terms and make sure you can cover.
One guaranteed wrench in the works when that big autumn set invoice shows up is realizing you ran out of a few crucial colors of sleeves ahead of Prerelease. If you buy deep a month in advance, you're free to lean on those sales throughout the new release cycle and cushion the impact of big invoices.
Or when the customer with birthday money walks in the door and wants to host a bunch of Battlebond drafts for their friends. But you’re dry on ancillary sets, and now you’ll miss that sale. You get the picture.
We live in a pretty amazing time for Magic. There's always something in print for every type of player. But you can’t sell what you don’t have, so make sure you’re stocking enough of each.
And when you do have the goods, remember that smile and customer service so that the customer you just made happy will look forward to coming back.
Michael Bahr is the managing partner of Desert Sky Games in Chandler, Arizona. He served four years as a Level 3 Judge, holds a law degree from Arizona State, and spent seven years in government health care administration.