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Hornby model shop Tiers system


Phil Parker
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2 hours ago, berwicksfinest said:

Exactly very rarely the customer likes being told what to buy and how to do it

Which is why you influence the customer to do what you want them to rather than tell them. That's what happens the second you walk into a supermarket or go onto Amazon's website.

 

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2 minutes ago, darrel said:

My local model shop was bought by a new owner when the previous owners retired. Hornby refused to supply the new owner with stock as they said he was a new shop. He had to be in business for two years before they would supply him. 

Since he had nothing to sell for two years he went out of business. That means there is no longer a local model shop. So now I have to order online I ordered from hattons now Hornby won't supply them either. 

All I want to do is give Hornby money why make it so difficult. 


I can’t imagine that would be the case. Otherwise how would any new startup manage.

It is more likely that they wouldn’t extend credit facilities that the previous owner enjoyed, which can make restocking tricky if you don’t have the cash on hand.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, ruggedpeak said:

Which is why you influence the customer to do what you want them to rather than tell them. That's what happens the second you walk into a supermarket or go onto Amazon's website.

 

This forum influences my wallet every week.

:D


 

Edited by adb968008
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It seems a strange thing that Hornby view a stores website as a big thing when Hornby's own Amazon store is poorly laid out and doesn't list many of the items that it actually sells.  If running a website is so easy but such a deal breaker, time to get its own house in order first.

 

I think back my previous and current local model shops.  The former didn't have a website, the latter does.  Both had/have an owner who was at the end of a phoneline and would move heaven and earth to get you what you asked for.  

 

Given the choice between an owner who says 'leave it with me and I'll see what i can do' versus a website that simply says 'out of stock', i know which i'd rate as Tier 1.

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28 minutes ago, Widnes Model Centre said:

 

I very much get your point. We do have a very effective Mail Order and local delivery service which we introduced at the beginning of the pandemic. Thank you for the Bold Lettering, it has helped. Key word repeated here; invariably

These retailers invariably have an effective website

 

As I don't have permission from Hornby to quote and or reproduce any communication from them. Our email is worded differently.

 

 

 

Hmmm, having quickly read the release this morning I took it to be the same as that which had gone to retailers. It virtually is with the exception of the word 'invariably' previously being 'usually'.

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13 minutes ago, darrel said:

All I want to do is give Hornby money why make it so difficult. 

Surprised Comical Ali hasn't been along to tell us "other retailers are available"!!!:P

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10 hours ago, Phil Parker said:

Press release from Hornby:

 

Without doubt these last 15 months or more have proved incredibly challenging for us all due to Covid -19. As with many other manufacturers we have been faced since March 2020 with ensuring that our supply chain remained open and was able to meet the increased demand created by the abundance of leisure time that many of us faced when we were confined to our homes due to the lockdown restrictions.


Our overseas partners also faced some unprecedented challenges both in maintaining a demanding schedule of development but also the increased manufacturing requirements that we were asking of them.


It is unfortunate that as our new product plans, many of which had been laid out some two or three years previous were scheduled to come to fruition during 2020 just when Covid 19 struck. Just prior to the World going into lockdown the new Hornby model railway range, which included some truly amazing products, was launched and so successful was the new Hornby range that we were instantly faced with an immediate and unprecedented demand. Prior to the release and trying to learn from previous years experiences we created an allocation system which we hoped would prevent retailers placing large orders first and therefore by default reserving all the planned production. Although this allocation system worked to a degree it was far from being ideal, with the obvious limitations became apparent as 2020 unfolded, and because of this we believed that the system still needed to be refined.


As we moved into 2021 and acknowledging that the allocation system was not functioning as hoped we decided to introduce a Tier system with each of our existing retailers being placed in one of three tiers.


Tier 1 relates to those retailers that amongst other things maintain a clean and well laid out store and who promote several if not all of the Hornby Hobbies ranges, which includes as well as Hornby railways, Scalextric, Airfix, Humbrol and Corgi. These retailers invariably have an effective website and mail order service but more importantly they would also be able to provide help and guidance to their customers.


Those who have been nominated to Tier 2 tend to be the types of outlet that will also include heritage centres or museums. Those outlets designated Tier 2 must also be able to offer help, support and advice for their customers and are willing to promote Hornby products. Tier 2 retailers will include those on-line retailers who are also prepared to offer help, support and guidance to their customers.


Moving onto Tier 3. Amongst the retailers in this category will be those that may not have ‘bricks & mortar’ premises and more than likely trade mainly on-line with limited support. Such Tier 3 designated retailers may also manufacture their own branded model railway items which might possibly conflict with those produced by Hornby Hobbies Ltd. The Tier 3 store, if there is one may also be poorly laid out, untidy and consequently uninviting.


With such a tier system in place those in Tier 1 will quite naturally receive priority on deliveries especially where a product may be in high demand with low or restrictive quantities available. More importantly the Tier system will restrict the possibilities of orders being favoured to just one or a handful of accounts and therefore allowing for a more even and fair distribution.


The increased demand we have seen over this last year has been very welcome, but it has also had a knock on effect. To smooth production we have decided to restrict the manufacture of several of the new items so that our vendors can focus on efficiencies in an effort to improve their production and volume capabilities. This does mean that the release of some keenly awaited products will be delayed by up to 6 months from their original anticipated release date. We appreciate that in the short term this will cause a degree of disappointment, but in the long term we believe by relieving some of the pressure from our suppliers we will be able to return to a more consistent and reliable release date programme once the recalibration has been achieved.


Making such key and fundamental changes to our distribution operation has not been an easy task and we accept that for some our actions may not appear ideal but what is clear is that we cannot continue with the frustrations for both ourselves, our customers and the model rail enthusiasts that the old allocation system was undoubtedly causing. As is the phrase so common these days, the system is broken and it with such radical steps as has been laid out that we believe will result in a much smoother and less frustrating distribution of our products.
 

 

A word of advice guys: give up producing model railways and go in for politics. This sort of feeble c**p will find a much more gullible audience so much more easily.

 

What problem do you have with someone producing items that may,, very tangentially, compete with some of yours. Don't you think you are capable of dealing with that? Bit of a damning self-condemnation.

 

This all reminds me of Dawn French jumping into a puddle and finding that it is 5ft deep pothole.

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32 minutes ago, Phil Parker said:

 

Or maybe to quote from the original press release:

 

"These retailers invariably have an effective website and mail order service"

 

 

Less "the absurdity of the Tier system which is surely breaking down in front of our eyes" and more that the grading is more complex than you think. I'd expect any discussion over the status of a shop to be in private between the owner and Hornby and based on more than a single photo on the web. Even if it is a single photo that makes me want to visit the shop very much!

This may well be but not many ship overseas with reasonable postage cost.  Some who I would of ordered from, (as they had stuff I would like or wanted) ship to UK only. This is one of the reasons why I use Hatton's.   

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1 hour ago, Widnes Model Centre said:

 

Shop looks a bit different from the photo and when you last visited. We now have even more stock and a different layout, not to mention lots of Covid screens.

Tier2.jpg

OMG, haven't been in a model shop like that for ages. Must find myself a free day for a visit. 

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10 hours ago, Chris M said:

In other words. If traders want a full allocation of popular Hornby products they must also take all of the other Hornby brands as well. This will not be good for small specialist model railway shops. 
I heard that shops have to agree to not discount new items when they first appear. 
One local model shop I use has dropped Hornby because of their attitude to small shops. The owner seemed to be very angry with the way Hornby wanted to dictate terms to him.

 

The big two seem to have put the squeeze on Hattons . I’m neither friend or critic of Hattons but I do hope they continue to be a successful company.

 

Your post takes me back to my time in model retail. I always knew that there was more money to be made (quite a lot more) if I were to do more plastic kits and cars. But I did not go down that road because:

1) The premises were not really big enough;

2) I could not offer the expertise in those fields.

 

There was also another retailer in town doing those things. Why queer his pitch?

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16 minutes ago, Ouroborus said:

It seems a strange thing that Hornby view a stores website as a big thing when Hornby's own Amazon store is poorly laid out and doesn't list many of the items that it actually sells.  If running a website is so easy but such a deal breaker, time to get its own house in order first.

 

 

 

This is the most ironic point --- Their own website is just about useable now but they also choose to have a discounted Amazon store front(for the same items) which is an absolute disaster unless you know a few Amazon search engine tricks

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10 hours ago, GWR-fan said:

Surely a competent manufacturer will have some idea as to the volume of a planned production run and would convey allocations to their retailers. 

 

Quote:  "  Prior to the release and trying to learn from previous years experiences we created an allocation system which we hoped would prevent retailers placing large orders first and therefore by default reserving all the planned production. "

 

No responsible retailer is going to take pre-orders unless they haven an indication of what numbers of each item they have been allocated.  A responsible retailer would also not exceed their allocation.  Ideally,  expressions of interest should precede pre-orders.  This would give the manufacturer an idea as to the popularity of the item to predict a production volume.  I find it hard to believe that two or three large retailers would absorb the majority of the production run thus restricting sales to smaller retailers and that Hornby would have allowed this to happen in the past.  The excuse seems more like blame shifting and an excuse for their current method of online sales and listing discounted current release items through Amazon.

 

For some reason, the system is not allowing me to rate your post. But, for the record, agree/round of applause etc.

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9 hours ago, Enterprisingwestern said:

 

Big stick marketing, I thought we'd left that behind many years ago, it seems customer choice is going out of the window.

Re-introducing RPM next?

 

Mike.

Looks like they already have.

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6 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

For some reason, the system is not allowing me to rate your post. But, for the record, agree/round of applause etc.

That's because he is on the naughty step.

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10 hours ago, woodenhead said:

 The Tier 3 store, if there is one may also be poorly laid out, untidy and consequently uninviting.

 

 

 

Would be a bit of a worry for my local store last year (before I moved).

 

And yet for service and advice, they are amongst the very best out there.

 

Actually, there are many people out there who like untidy stores. They have the impression, often rightly, that they will find a hidden bargain. Going back a while (early 90s) some friends took me to just such a store in Marmande. There was still some Battlespace on the shelves. I did not bother with that although I should have done. But I did pick up a Marklin Hamo BB9200 which, at the time, was worth about FF1500 for less than half of that. I knew that a friend wanted one. Gerard very happily paid up the FF700. I got my reward in the form of a cab bash from Narbonne to Toulouse and back - coincidentally in a BB9200.

 

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2 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

 

Actually, there are many people out there who like untidy stores.

 

You really should visit Warley NEC exhibition...

 

As soon as the doors open, the crowds starts by looking at the floor for the bargains, as the morning goes on, they start looking at the tables, and by noon everyones reading the posters above them for whats coming next.

 

In the afternoon eyes drop down to the layouts and finally back to the floor dragging their loot behind them

 

here’s hoping 2021..

 

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9 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

Still, tis the way of the world these days and I don't blame business from looking to protect itself from the massive changes the internet has caused....

 

Yes, it's tough out there these days.

 

But Hornby is where it is, after 101 years, due to support from retailers. It is decent now just to drop them?

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2 hours ago, Widnes Model Centre said:

 

 

Having not read all the posts, we are willing to state our position.

 

We are in Tier 2. 

 

We stock Model Railways, Airfix, Scalextric, Humbrol and Corgi of the Hornby brands.

 

You will be very disappointed if you visit as we have no heritage or museum items on display. If Dan at Derails and ourselves compared ages, Dan would say... ‘you’re the museum pieces’. You have to laugh or we would end up in Tiers.

 

l know many on here have visited our shop. Do you think we are Tier 2 shop?

Just reading through thinking this doesn’t seem too bad then got to this post!

Barry- how are you guys in tier 2 you have all the brands stated as far as I recall in a well stocked and tidy shop (not to mention friendly and helpful when I-had an issue). I would be asking for a reassessment if I were you. I think VAR have got it wrong on this one.

 

On that point though how were the shops assessed and is it a continuous process or a yearly appraisal. Who at Hornby has the final say -is there a committee?

 

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9 hours ago, GWR-fan said:

Could the tier system also be a method to keep retailers "in line"?  From previous postings from retailers on other threads in the past it seems that Hornby's terms of service can be quite forceful as in the abortive attempt a few years back to restrict sales to international customers.   Failure to abide with those terms could lead to a recalculation of a store's tier rating or the perceived threat thereof.   

 

I think that the word that you are looking for is "bullying".

 

Problem with that is that Hornby are trying to bully a business that is at least 4x stronger than they are. That does not seem very sound tactics to me.

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30 minutes ago, TheSignalEngineer said:

OMG, haven't been in a model shop like that for ages. Must find myself a free day for a visit. 

Honestly you should I intend to pop in when I get back down to see my brother near there.

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9 hours ago, GWR-fan said:

How long will it be before "successful",  i.e., compliant tier 1 retailers are invited to join an elite band of premium retailers who will be given premium access to new items,  preferred retailer status for pre-order allocations and preferential discounts for meeting key performance achievements.  What of the smaller retailer who cannot compete with those "successful" dealers,  will they have their tier grading under threat?  Hornby tried their boutique high street retail network some years ago and from memory all of those elite sites have vanished from the trade. 

 

 

 

No, Hornby does not believe in learning from the lessons of history. They have taken on an expensive franchise space with John Lewis in Edinburgh.

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A funny way to treat your wholesale customers. Working for a supplier, I'd struggle to countenance treating my customers in the same way. It would also perhaps encourage my competitors to produce more of their own versions of my products. Still, Hornby must have a plan, and I'll still buy their products when I see something I like.

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8 hours ago, ruggedpeak said:

I assume between Lyndon and Simon they have a rough idea about modellers and shops??

 

Please tell us what gives you this impression?

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6 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

Yes, it's tough out there these days.

 

But Hornby is where it is, after 101 years, due to support from retailers. It is decent now just to drop them?

 

It it 'decent' the shop workers of BHS, Debenhams, Woolworths, etc should have taken the hit for cack handed / greedy / corrupt owners and venture capitalists?

 

Is it 'decent' that the people hit the hardest by bank branch closures tend to be pensionars

 

Is it 'decent' that the least well off in society are excluded from getting good energy prices because they are stuck on pre-payment meters.

 

Morally speaking, no its not right for Hornby to cut retailers adrift in the way they are proposing. Will that, or customer disquiet stop them from going through with it? hell no!

 

When society at large, and particularly those at the top of the financial system become obsessed with low prices and high share prices, what may be the morally right thing to do quickly gets ignored. A sad sate of affairs but we only have ourselves (as a society that is) to blame....

 

 

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