How to Start your own store - Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums
Trading Area This area should be used for trading and swapping items.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-23-08, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
The voices told me to....
Hudson's Avatar
Hudson's Flag is: England
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Norwich
Posts: 833
Reputation: 1

Default How to Start your own store

Ok so as most of you are aware I recently closed my sold my estore, however I though I might share my experience with you all in the hope of inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs to go forth and start up for themselves. Iíve labelled this UK as Iím not sure on the rules for anywhere else.

First Steps

The first thing you need to do is research your market. This will have a great impact on the type of store you want to run i.e. if there are loads of clubs around you then you need to get yourself known. My greatest income came from my local club where I set up a small stool every week. They also let me sell at their tournaments. I sold £300 of stock in one tournament so itís definitely worth getting your club involved. They benefit from cheaper models, you benefit from regular custom and not having to go to the trouble of posting things.
Also with an estore things are ridiculously competitive this is why I would suggest staying well clear of ebay. The fees WILL take away from the small profits you are likely to make if youíre aiming to be the cheapest.

A typical online discount is anywhere from 10-40% off this will vary according to peoples postage rules, i.e. the store that offers 40% off will charge more for post against the store that charges 10% which will commonly offer free post.

I offered a flat rate of 25% off and fixed postage at £3.50 this made things easier all round as I didnít have to add weights to the online store (each item assigned a weight and this accumulated in the checkout to workout post cost) and customers could budget before using my store.

If youíre thinking for the bricks and mortar route, then discounts will be severely reduced as costs for premises are staggering and 10% will generally be a maximum. This will also keep sales slightly lower which is for the better as once trade is over 67k/annum you will be liable for VAT which is another profit eater.

But in my opinion it would be better to establish a good online presence and then venture forth from there.

Ok, so once youíve got to grips with your competitors and decided on your store strategy you now need to decide on the type of store you want i.e. official or unofficial. If your official it means you have an account with GW and are a registered trader with them (I will go through the criteria for this later) however being official means you are bound by certain restrictions:

Items sold must be brand new
Items must be as sold by GW i.e. on sprue unpainted
This list goes on in a rather large trade agreement

If you decide unofficial is for you then you are free to sell whatever you want but you wont be able to get your hands on those must have new releases

Becoming official

Becoming an official stockist is actually very simple you need to be over 18 (as you have to have a credit account weather you intend to use it or not) and be a bone fide retailer i.e. have a store (web or otherwise) then all you need to do is send an email to anyone at GW and ask for further information and they will put you in contact with a regional manager who will take you through the next stages.
To start with you need an initial order which is a minimum of £350 (before VAT) DO NOT GO MAD!!!! This is stock not your next apocalypse army your buying things to sell not keep so be very carfull I assembled 9000 points for my empire army in 2 months its so easy but do not do it. If you can buy things that people have requested.
After this a minimum order is £100 (before VAT) I started by oredering everything i.e if someone wanted a blister Iíd make up the rest of the order so it was in quick. This is not the way to go unless you know the other items will sell. Itís far better to get a £100 list of things then order it all and know its all sold. Otherwise it becomes hugely expensive ( I spend £3000 in 3 months on unsold stock) but this will depend on how you run the store I mean wayland games order in for each order however they will eventually build up enough stock not to have to worry it will depend greatly on your budget.
You will have a £2000 credit limit with GW to start with for which you get end of the month plus 30 days to repay i.e if you order on the 3rd of a month you get till the end of that month plus 30 days to pay it back. Also your initial £350 order can go onto this. Iíll warn you they will try to sell you the £1100 best seller range DO NOT BUY IT!!!!! You do not want three copies of LOTR but what you will sell in you area. Again this is down to research

Starting an Estore

This is where people will go there own ways! I am absolutely shite when it comes to computers and wouldnít know HTML from TTFN!! So when I knew Iíd have to start a website I was to say the least crapping myself however, I stumbled across a company called and they are fantastic for new starters you get free space and if you want can run your site completely free forever.

I opted for the free package and after a few easy steps was live and up and running. I left the store in the free stages for a month or two however as my confidence grew I bolted extras on. I paid for a domain and emailed free webstore to use this instead of the free one they supplied me with. They obliged very quick and it was completed.
As my stock grew I added extras onto the site and grew as I grew.

I whole heartedly recommend this company to any new starter (unless youíre a computer wiz and can make your own websites) they also have a design team for things like banners and custom website which are reasonably priced.

Starting a Shop

Ok so I didnít go this route and would recommend keeping clear of this option for at least 2 years of trading as costs need to be paid and once you take this step you are commited and it is now your life so I has to provide a living.

There are various shop websites about which will show shops for rent. As I didnít have a shop I cant really help here all I would say is try to aim for a short lease do not take out a 10 year lease unless your absolutely certain it will pay for itself over those 10 years you do not want to be in a position where your company fails and you owe 300k for a shop you no longer use.

Having a shop helps you get other games in your catalogue i.e Privateer press will not distribute to traders unless they have an actual shop so it can be advantageous to have one but it will depend greatly on your research.


Advertise Advertise Advertise Advertise

spend every waking hour pimping your store go absolutely everywhere! This is where your money is made. If no one knows about your shop how will they shop with you, the internet is massive so you have to be noticed, advertise on forums (jez offers very good rates for adverts send him a PM) print out flyers and wait around near GW shops (if they can make a profit to pay 7 people to work in their shop then there is a market there!

But yes you need to spend as much time as possible on this.

I emailed every single gaming club on the GCN network individually and it took me 3 months! This is what it takes to make sales!

You need to find all tournaments and get a stool there you want to sell everywhere and print business cards to give out with every purchase.

Setting prices

GW will give you an average of 45% off retail prices (then add vat) and your free to sell at whatever price you feel best, this will depend on the type of store you run and as such I cant really advise although:

Free post 10-15%
Cost post 20-40%
Fixed post 20-30%

Shop 10-15%

I would say that would be best

I hope this helps anyone thinking if starting up and I will have missed things but please feel free to PM me and I will try to help you in your quest to sell I might not have the best answer and but Iíll generally point you in the direction of someone who will know

Hudson is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-23-08, 07:11 PM
Senior Member
Concrete Hero's Avatar
Concrete Hero's Flag is: Wales
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Cardiff
Posts: 2,339
Reputation: 1


Very good advice!

I've recently been invited to my nearest Local Gaming Club so I'll have to make sure I have some flyers

But sending a throng of emails is what I was contemplating.

Concrete Hero is offline  
post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-23-08, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
The voices told me to....
Hudson's Avatar
Hudson's Flag is: England
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Norwich
Posts: 833
Reputation: 1


best thing to do mate i mean if you get 5 sales from 100 emails its worth it

just a word of warning though if you get an email back saying:

"oh nice one mate i'll have 3 battleforce" or something like that DO NOT ORDER THEM!!

you'll be surprised how many people will never speak to you once a request has been made the best thing to do is add them a link to the site and make them pay before you order it

i had a £150 nid order which i would've been numbered with if the guy had've just gone off but he paid in advance which ment by the time his paypal account had cleared he had his models

p.s hero your stock is in the post sent it 11:30am saturday

Hudson is offline  
post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-08, 01:07 AM
Senior Member
Izual's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 135
Reputation: 1


Izual is offline  
post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-08, 01:34 AM
Senior Member
gwmaniac's Avatar
gwmaniac's Flag is: USA
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Southern California
Posts: 2,564
Reputation: 1


Thank you sooo much. I have 2 1/2 years to go before I can start an Estore, but I better get planning!
gwmaniac is offline  
post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-10-09, 03:28 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 1
Reputation: 1

A few words of warning.

Turnover is NOT profit. A lot of people make this simple mistake. Let me give you an example.

Warriors of Rohan Trade Cost from GW @ £8.30 + 15% VAT = £9.54

Wayland Price = £11.25 (inc VAT)

So you 'make' £1.71

Except you dont.

Most new traders will be using PayPal to get the ball rolling. These guys will nail at least 2% of your profit in the blink of an eye. If you sell on Ebay kiss goodbye to a further 11-15%.

Ebay is the devil for retailing new goods.

Most traders will try to milk a quid out of you via postage. Fact. If they use a courier (not Royal Mail/Parcelforce Specials) then most likely the hike will be higher. Having said that as a small time trader you will find it hard to negotiate a good Next Day reduction.

Advertising on Google costs and you will need to get your name out there if you are not just Ebaying, Adwords is the best method at the moment and the competition for the Games keywords is not high. Having said that just think that if 100 people visit your shop and you are paying 10p per click thats £10 to deduct from all your sales for that period.

Sold your sold item and made £1.71 profit less handling charge from PP? You are now into the minus figures. Welcome!

Throw into this server costs or hosting, packaging, returns and refunds (the consumer has way more rights online) and you can see that retailing GW products, especially on Ebay is not a very attractive propostion.

UNLESS you have spending power and are prepared to attack the prices of the other vendors for a while to build up a solid customer base it's a gamble to invest a minimum order (now £500 +VAT) on something that will prodce a very slim margin.

Don't be a one trick pony either. If you only have one product income stream (Workshop) you vastly reduce the chances to sell to your visitors. Selling 100 items per day with a profit of £1.00 clean, is ok. It's a lot of work but you can live. Selling 10-20 items per day and making £1.00 per item means its time to work at McDonalds and earn real cash.


Check Your Margins
Investigate EVERY possible overhead
Be prepared to invest in marketing
Offer a better proposition that your competitors
Calculon is offline  
post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-09, 08:10 PM
jfoodmaster's Avatar
jfoodmaster's Flag is: USA
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Norton, Massachusetts
Posts: 47
Reputation: 1

This looks like an awesome and useful tutorial! I am just getting ready to jump into this online store thing myself! Thanks for the info! I'm gonna take your advice.

I was always under the impression that GW didn't want people to sell their stuff online. Is that true, or can I still order from GW as an internet reseller?
jfoodmaster is offline  
post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-14-09, 06:51 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 45
Reputation: 1


Lots of useful info on this thread.

First things first is that I think the start up costs of a proper business, and you must organise yourself as a proper business if you have any chance of getting anywhere in this market.

You will underestimate the effort required. Don't just compete on price. We (Wayland Games) set our pricing to create a sustainable growing business. It would be easy to set prices lower and at the point your turnover grows to require VAT etc it would be very easy to realise that costs are no longer being covered and no profit was being generated. So dont fall into the trap of not being able to forsee those costs.

The time taken to respond to customer queries is extensive and is very important. Time has a cost attached and isnt infinite.

Stock control is a massive issue. If your margin is small how will you build stock? The simple answer is that you cant, or you will be priced too low to allow the spend of aquiring new customers.

Thats enough free business advice from me
rich1231 is offline  
post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-17-09, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
The voices told me to....
Hudson's Avatar
Hudson's Flag is: England
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Norwich
Posts: 833
Reputation: 1


Originally Posted by jfoodmaster View Post
This looks like an awesome and useful tutorial! I am just getting ready to jump into this online store thing myself! Thanks for the info! I'm gonna take your advice.

I was always under the impression that GW didn't want people to sell their stuff online. Is that true, or can I still order from GW as an internet reseller?
untrue, GW still makes a profit from sales to traders, and if my numbers are still correct aroun 30% of GW sales are from independant traders so they're more than happy to have people selling their goods and online is a very viable option for most people.

other companies do however frown upon purely online sales as they think a customer should have the option of face-to-face contact

Hudson is offline  
post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-17-09, 08:59 AM
BlackTemplar93's Flag is: Germany
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Australia(unfortunately, it's way too hot)
Posts: 76
Reputation: 1

hey hudson thx very much 4 the advise....i still have 2 years to go until i can start my own shop and i have a few questions:
-when you buy the stuff at gw they give u percents off and when u sell it it has to be under the price at have to pay taxes and such, how much profit do you make when say buying for $1000(sorry for the $ im livin in australia )???
-is the store your job or do you have a real job as well???
-how do you make sure the customers are paying???

i hope u can help me with these questions...
BlackTemplar93 is offline  

  Lower Navigation
Go Back   Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums > HO Off Topic > Trading Area

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome