Jenn Haines: Prerelease Early Sale Promotion—Stock Up or Sell Out?

December 19, 2019 | 3 min to read

By Jennifer Haines, owner of The Dragon

Selling booster boxes of the new set on Prerelease weekend, along with their amazing Buy-a-Box promos, is a huge perk of being in the WPN. But how many booster boxes should you stock in that first weekend? Should you go deep and stock up for the future, or go light, sell out, and restock later?

There are a lot of factors that go into answering that question. And with today's news that, for Theros Beyond Death, the Buy-a-Box promo will include a special foil Nyx Land, we have all the information we need to start making that decision.

Here are the factors I'll consider for Theros Beyond Death.

 

1. Cash Flow

 

As we all know, cash flow is the primary deciding factor in how financially functional a business is. The main thing that would hold me back from the "stock up" approach is that I don’t want to tie up my cash flow.

I'll also think about what I expect other stores to do, especially stores that focus on online sales. Some stores take the "stock up" approach with "sell out" tactics—meaning, they'll make a huge order, then move through it quickly by making some moves that I'm not willing to make at my store.

That will affect how much of my own allocation I'm able to sell, and how quickly. But I'm going to make responsible decisions with the long-term health of my business in mind, and sometimes that means selling fewer boxes a little more slowly, to avoid tying up cash flow, staff resources, and storage.

Which leads us to:

 

2. Storage

 

Storage might be an issue, especially if the set doesn’t do as well as expected and we have boxes in stock for longer.

Storage is an issue for all stores, to varying degrees, as we often hold onto defunct product lines for longer than we should. If storage is an ongoing constraint for you, it’s time to examine what you have in there, and figure out what you can get rid of to prioritize more beneficial products.

Which, historically, has been new Magic sets. And that brings us to number three:

 

3. Historical Data

 

So, those are a couple of arguments for the "sell out" approach. What's the case for "stock up"?

Looking at my data for the last few sets, I can see that, for all but one set, I sold out on Prerelease weekend and had to reorder booster boxes before the release date. That tells me I am underordering.

So far, I’ve been able to rely on my distributor to have stock, but what if they had run out of stock for the release? Taking more boxes up front means that I don’t have to worry about distributors running low on stock if a set really hits.

I also know that after Prerelease weekend I will have lots of opportunities to sell packs through other means than full box sales, such as FNM booster drafts and individual pack sales. With that in mind, it would be advantageous to have more stock rather than less.

Looking at the historical data, I can see that taking my full allotment for Theros Beyond Death would mean having stock for only two to three months, and honestly that’s way better than a lot of the things collecting dust in my stock room.

 

4. Special Promotions

 

And there are added advantages to taking my full allotment as well. The Buy-a-Box promos have become a huge part of generating box sales, and are one more way that it pays to be in the Wizards Play Network. For Theros Beyond Death, the Buy-a-Box promo will include a special foil Nyx Land.

These gorgeous full-art lands are already coveted by the community. And, while the foil versions will be sought-after in packs, the Buy-a-Box guarantees one to players. So, start talking up these cards to your customers, and let them know the perks of buying a full box.

Due to a production error, shipping on foil Nyx lands is delayed. Estimated delivery dates below. Get more information here.

North America: January 17–22

Latin America: TBD

Europe: TBD

APAC: January 30–February 3

Japan: January 17–22

In writing this article, it’s become pretty clear to me that, for Theros Beyond Death, there's more nudging me toward "stock up" than "sell out." I consistently sell out on Prerelease weekend, and I know the product will sell over a relatively short period of time, and I can’t guarantee product will be available when I need it.

But of course all these things—storage, sales history, and so on—will be different for you at your store. Consider each of them, then make the call that's right for you.