The Week in RC, Edition 07.13.08
Slow news week in the biz, everyone seems to be busy working their butts off keeping food on the table. Seemingly, it gets harder every week in this industry.
Previously, I had touched on the issue of a “hobby grade” rc company truly getting their foot in the door of a big boxer like Wally World (and the absolute wealth it will bring that company). This week, I was lucky enough to have a discussion about said subject with one of the legends of our hobby/sport. He is one of the gentlemen that has been a “maker and shaker” since the early 80’s. Seems the only people that actually read this column (I think I’m actually back above 3 readers again!) are those in the industry. And from what I’ve been told, as bad as my writing may be, it does generate some water cooler fodder every Monday morning.
Anyways, I posed this simple question to said industry big cheese, “What exactly is it going to take for a hobby level company to get into Wally World?”. His answer was quite expansive, but I’ll hit the highlights-
1. Price point! Numero Uno on the list, in that person’s opinion, was simply meeting a specific price point. In this case, he stated that $49.99 might be the magic number. For Wally World money, a hobby grade company is going head-to-head against the “toy” level rc world, companies that make their living by being able to hit certain performance criteria at an unthinkably low price (and do quite well at that
task). Hello Tyco!
2. The offering is going to need a “kicker”. Whatever the hobby grade company offers to a big box retailer, is going to need something that separates it from the Tyco’s of the world, either in performance, styling, or something totally innovative. DSM would be one heck of a “value add” but can it be done at a Wally World price point? An “officially licensed product” like a Stewart or Gordon replica NASCAR racer, might also be very attractive to the buying office at Wally.
3. Push, push, push your brand name! Wally has been stocking “brand name” gear forever, and for good reason. Mongoose bicycles ring a bell? Known primarily for their high-end bmx racers in the 80’s, you can find low end models everyday at the big boxes. Pioneer? Pioneer sells, and has sold, some uber high end electronics. The big, well known brand names help sell products, period. Whether it be Losi, AE, Schumacher, Kyosho, Ofna or whoever, getting that initial PO from Wally will depend to a large degree on those companies convincing Wally corporate buyers that their name alone will separate consumers from their cash.
Before I sign off for this week, I am going to leak a tiny bit of “in house” news (sorry Brian). It sounds like BigSquidRC, in it’s continuing quest to pwn the rc media, might very well have some HUGE plans this fall! More to come on that one…..
Support your local hobby shops and tracks!!!!