Jump to content


Should Lego change the way they sell Track ?


100 replies to this topic

Poll: Should Lego change the way they sell Track ? (82 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you think it needs to change

  1. YES - Time for a change (76 votes [92.68%])

    Percentage of vote: 92.68%

  2. NO - I like it the way it is (1 votes [1.22%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.22%

  3. MAYBE - I'll think about it (5 votes [6.10%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.10%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 The Yellow Brick

The Yellow Brick

    Posts: 1192
    Joined: 10-June 10
    Member: 11404
    Country: England

Posted 15 November 2010 - 05:40 PM

The question 'Should Lego change the way they sell track be changed' is tossed around quite alot in the Lego world today and in my opinion. Yes it should.

Going back to 1966 and 1976 lego used to sell Straight and Curved rails seperatly,  

Posted Image  156 Straight track

Posted Image  157 Curved track


It was a great idea and it allowed us to buy as many pieces of track as we wanted.
Even 9V track was sold seperatly too

Posted Image4515 Straight rails


Posted Image 4520 Curved rails

However as we were introduced to the PF/RC system Lego started to package straight and curved tracks together, Which was an even worst Idea since Lego Gladiator and Ben 10.
having them sold together meant that if we wanted 20 straights we would be stuck with 20 curves to (and it would cost a fortune for something we didn't really want).

But now we are entering 2011 Lego is releasing the new Flexi track pack with 8 straight rails.
To me this is horrible because I simply hate Flexi track and I dont necessary need any of it.
I'm sure some of you will agree.
I don't understand after all these years why don't Lego just sell them separate again or just simply add them to Pick-a-Brick, That would be alot better so we could buy as many as we wanted (by just selling them in packs of four like they usually are) Then we wont have to buy something we dont want.

So my question is, Should lego change the way they sell Train Track ?

Edited by The Red Brick, 10 December 2010 - 09:37 PM.


#2 Duq

Duq

    Posts: 602
    Joined: 04-September 09
    Member: 7300
    Country: Ireland

Posted 15 November 2010 - 06:04 PM

YES.
As I've written in a number of posts. I'm sure curves have over the years not sold as well as straights. That should be a signal to production to produce more straights, not to marketing to try and force people into buying those curves.
So please Lego, go back to selling boxes of 8 straights.
If at first you don’t succeed, call it version 1.0

Posted Image

Posted Image Brick.ie - The Irish Association for Adult Fans of Lego

#3 JopieK

JopieK

  • Kneecap Buster


    Posts: 2412
    Joined: 04-January 07
    Member: 1180
    Country: Netherlands

Posted 15 November 2010 - 06:10 PM

Well, I would also hope that that cross point PF version will be available again. So stupid of LEGO to introduce something and then withdraw it again (I mean, what would be the reason that they will not sell that cross point anymore, I can understand them to just sell it in LEGO stores and/or at LEGO.com, but...).

New Member? Read This | Questions? Need Help?Ask Here
Site Guidelines | Eurobricks FAQ | Visual User Guide


Posted Image

-== Classic LEGO trains are the best ==-

Do you need replacement stickers for LEGO (reproductions and customs): ministickers.nl

What then about the LEGuanO?!


#4 Goldenmasamune

Goldenmasamune

    Posts: 152
    Joined: 11-February 10
    Member: 9522

Posted 15 November 2010 - 06:20 PM

At least the 8 pack straight and the flexitrack isn't as bad as the 8 straight and 8 curved.

With a few plates, you can make the flex track work as straight track.

#5 Mark Bellis

Mark Bellis

  • PaB price investigator


    Posts: 458
    Joined: 17-August 06
    Member: 910
    Country: England

Posted 15 November 2010 - 07:02 PM

Flexi-track is noisier than standard track but has less friction than standard curves, especially at a wide radius.
It is also good for double bends, which allow trains to go round an island platform, or step across by 16M in the profile of a point and reverse curve.

I have succeeded in ballasting, canting and sloping it too.  Here's a video of a train running on the result!  (Yes, I know it's too dark, and there will be some still pictures to follow!)

To be realistic, it would make no commercial sense for TLG to sell straights separately.  They need to get flexi-track used by people and then they'll see whether it is a good product, once AFOLs and TFOLs have given it a proper try.  At least all kids will be able to make a circuit this Christmas!

Mark
Mark J E Bellis - 8mm Scale LEGO Railways, Scenery and Technic. Visit My Brickshelf
Posted ImagePosted Image  Posted Image

#6 fred67

fred67

  • A builder, not a hoarder


    Posts: 2199
    Joined: 03-December 09
    Member: 8444
    Country: USA (GA)

Posted 15 November 2010 - 07:21 PM

View PostMark Bellis, on 15 November 2010 - 07:02 PM, said:

To be realistic, it would make no commercial sense for TLG to sell straights separately.  They need to get flexi-track used by people and then they'll see whether it is a good product, once AFOLs and TFOLs have given it a proper try.  At least all kids will be able to make a circuit this Christmas!

Mark
I agree with the former, but don't see what it has to do with the latter.

I don't like flex track.  Yes, it's got it's uses, but I don't want to buy a bunch of it every time I want straights.  Yes, I know it can be used to make straights, but it's butt ugly and only useful when you have "non-standard" curves.

And while I agree with the former, the fact is that I am going to start making my own out of 0-Gauge rails and 2x8 plates, both for straights and wider curves, and I'm going to be doing that because TLG is not selling it's customers what they want... almost everybody, whether AFOL, TFOL, or younger who has a train set they want to expand wants more straights than curves, period.

Their continuing trend towards "lowest common denominator" is quite annoying.  Soon all you'll be able to get is flex track since, hey, you can use it for straights and curves and then TLG only needs one mold!

#7 The Green Brick Giant

The Green Brick Giant

    Posts: 959
    Joined: 12-February 09
    Member: 5270

Posted 15 November 2010 - 07:35 PM

YES!

I was lucky and bought a ton of track from LEGO when the 9v was 75% off.  I got boxes for $4.75ish.  My only mistake is I bought too much straight and curved track and I wish I bought another cross track.

9v had cross and switch rains, I guess they didn't sell because I remember the double switch rain non 9v piece went on clearance rather quickly.

I really wish LEGO would take Trains more seriously or they could have just kept 9v around.  LEGO Trains right now aren't at all kid friendly.

#8 MojoLego

MojoLego

    Posts: 88
    Joined: 15-February 10
    Member: 9590

Posted 15 November 2010 - 07:44 PM

I am waiting for an entrepreneur with injection molding experience to step up and save us from Lego.  Its been done with train wheels and mini-fig weapons.  Track may be more complicated, but perhaps someone could start with simple straights and large radius curves similar to the old 12 volt track.

#9 tedbeard

tedbeard

    Posts: 1157
    Joined: 16-August 06
    Member: 905
    Country: Canada

Posted 15 November 2010 - 10:48 PM

View PostMojoLego, on 15 November 2010 - 07:44 PM, said:

I am waiting for an entrepreneur with injection molding experience to step up and save us from Lego.  Its been done with train wheels and mini-fig weapons.
The products you use as examples were all created to fill a gap that TLC was not filling. When Ben made his train wheels there were no comparable wheels being produced by TLC. When Little Armoury et al started producing weapons there were no comparable weapons. What you are suggesting goes a step beyond and sounds mighty Mega-Bloks to me.  :oh3:
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

#10 Goldenmasamune

Goldenmasamune

    Posts: 152
    Joined: 11-February 10
    Member: 9522

Posted 15 November 2010 - 10:56 PM

View PostMark Bellis, on 15 November 2010 - 07:02 PM, said:

Flexi-track is noisier than standard track but has less friction than standard curves, especially at a wide radius.
It is also good for double bends, which allow trains to go round an island platform, or step across by 16M in the profile of a point and reverse curve.

I have succeeded in ballasting, canting and sloping it too.  Here's a video of a train running on the result!  (Yes, I know it's too dark, and there will be some still pictures to follow!)

To be realistic, it would make no commercial sense for TLG to sell straights separately.  They need to get flexi-track used by people and then they'll see whether it is a good product, once AFOLs and TFOLs have given it a proper try.  At least all kids will be able to make a circuit this Christmas!

Mark

No commercial sense? Why wouldn't it make sense to sell a product that people want? If you mean it's because people wouldn't buy curved/flex track, it wouldn't matter if lego just simply didn't make so much of it.


Such as, make a ton of straight track, and maybe half as much of the other stuff.

#11 The Green Brick Giant

The Green Brick Giant

    Posts: 959
    Joined: 12-February 09
    Member: 5270

Posted 15 November 2010 - 11:02 PM

View PostMojoLego, on 15 November 2010 - 07:44 PM, said:

I am waiting for an entrepreneur with injection molding experience to step up and save us from Lego.  Its been done with train wheels and mini-fig weapons.  Track may be more complicated, but perhaps someone could start with simple straights and large radius curves similar to the old 12 volt track.


From what I have seen of how people make the MOC pieces is that they are rather small, I think tracks would just be too much.

#12 Toastie

Toastie

  • Good Spirited


    Posts: 296
    Joined: 27-July 10
    Member: 12260
    Country: Germany

Posted 16 November 2010 - 12:02 AM

View PostGoldenmasamune, on 15 November 2010 - 10:56 PM, said:

No commercial sense? Why wouldn't it make sense to sell a product that people want? If you mean it's because people wouldn't buy curved/flex track, it wouldn't matter if Lego just simply didn't make so much of it.

Such as, make a ton of straight track, and maybe half as much of the other stuff.

Well, here is my take - I am not connected to any of the LEGO high-balls, nor to any of the people who are allowed to talk to them, nor to any of the people who are talking to people allowed to talk to ... it is just my sense of what is going onPosted Image.

TLC is not was it was before, back then, in the good'ol days ... TLC is just that: A globally operating high-powered enterprise. They found their way: Make top-quality products (and yes, they had to learn the usual Chinese story ALL major global players appear to go through ...) and sell them for - well - a lot of money. Nothing wrong with that - I am spending way too much on LEGOs (as judged by the comments of the other members of the family), and chances are I'll keep doing it.

The thing appears to be that TLC is simply looking at what sells best, and then a sh*t load of TLC marketing Gurus are running their spread sheets to figure out how to maximize profit. My take is that they must have figured out the maximum revenue approach - and it appears to be flextrack and straights in one box.

I HATE that. I HATE plastic rails. Remember the "Make 9V survive" websites out there? Well - Gone.

They do what they want/need to do to maximize profit (as every other major company does and NEEDS to do, they have an endless payroll to compensate) and not what seems to be reasonable to AFOLs. It would be very helpful to show us numbers. I guess an educated community as this one would really have a much better time and understanding if numbers would show us: Sorry, if we pack flextrack and straights into one box then thinking costs + developing costs + molding machine costs + packaging costs + advertising costs + PUT YOUR PROFIT HERE costs are matching nicely with the amount of money that comes in. But they never will.

OK, ready to take the blows ...

Best regards,
Thorsten

#13 MojoLego

MojoLego

    Posts: 88
    Joined: 15-February 10
    Member: 9590

Posted 16 November 2010 - 12:45 AM

View Posttedbeard, on 15 November 2010 - 10:48 PM, said:

The products you use as examples were all created to fill a gap that TLC was not filling. When Ben made his train wheels there were no comparable wheels being produced by TLC. When Little Armoury et al started producing weapons there were no comparable weapons. What you are suggesting goes a step beyond and sounds mighty Mega-Bloks to me.  :oh3:

Does anyone really feel that Lego is properly meeting the needs of this category?  Lego does just enough to keep it going and not much more.  I am amazed at how individuals have cut up and modified track in order to create new layouts, especially large radius curves.  As with Ben's Bricks, I think that if someone made a large curve radius along the lines of Part 3230, the AFOL community would embrace it.

#14 fred67

fred67

  • A builder, not a hoarder


    Posts: 2199
    Joined: 03-December 09
    Member: 8444
    Country: USA (GA)

Posted 16 November 2010 - 04:46 AM

View PostMojoLego, on 16 November 2010 - 12:45 AM, said:

Does anyone really feel that Lego is properly meeting the needs of this category?
Interesting question, and I suppose it depends on which "category." The new train sets are selling really well; they have track expansions (straights/curves), turn outs, flex track... remember last Christmas all the current sets (at the time) sold out.  The category TLG cares about is the under 14 crowd... and they are meeting the needs of the kids getting into LEGO trains.

Unfortunately what it seems like is they don't really care about hanging on to those train fans as they get older, they make more getting newer buyers every year.  They tried the traditional train route, where you could buy so much separately - rolling stock, straight and curved track separately, separate engines (steam in various "plug and play" configurations).  It was great at the time, but it didn't work for TLG.  If they were properly meeting the needs of the category that keeps them in business, they would have made enough profit to continue it.

Now why it failed is subject to debate, but they didn't do a great job of marketing it.  I knew nothing about it.  I didn't start getting into LEGO at all as an adult until I bought my first train around 2001 or 2002... when I bought the Railway Express, I didn't know anything about it.  I bought two (they were clearance) because I didn't know that I'd ever even be able to buy more track or another motor.  Now, that may seem fine if you're just some average Joe, but I was a model railroader in N-Gauge before LEGO, and I knew nothing about LEGO trains... despite the magazines and conventions.  So yeah, I think TLG did a bad job of marketing.  I don't know how they could have done better, honestly.  There's only so much shelf space TRU will give them.  TRU has to pick and choose what they think will sell the best; did TLG even offer trains?  I don't know... TRU had a pretty crappy train section at that time (still do, AFAIK).

Quote

Lego does just enough to keep it going and not much more.  I am amazed at how individuals have cut up and modified track in order to create new layouts, especially large radius curves.  As with Ben's Bricks, I think that if someone made a large curve radius along the lines of Part 3230, the AFOL community would embrace it.
It gets depressing... TLG can only make so much product per year.  If they over produce, they end up like they did in the 90's, on the verge of bankruptcy.  Trains didn't save them, Star Wars did, and once they got back on track they knew they couldn't make the same mistakes.  At the same time I wish they'd produce more of what I like, I also feel the strain on my wallet and often curse them for making so many good products.

I wish we knew sales stats on various products, but it's probably trade secret.  How well did the Emerald Night sell?  Considering that many people would want at least 2 or 3 cars, if not more, wouldn't it be worthwhile for them to release the car separately?  Apparently not.  Is My Own Design good enough?  Yeah, if you want to spend $200 on a car from a $100 set.

So... the bottom line is TLG is a profit driven company.  A lot of fans are loathe to admit it, and some actually deny it, but there it is... if they make more profit releasing packs of curves and straights together than they would separately, then that's what they will do... as long as we keep buying it.  And we do.

#15 jonwil

jonwil

    Posts: 3135
    Joined: 12-January 07
    Member: 1239

Posted 16 November 2010 - 06:28 AM

View Postfred67, on 16 November 2010 - 04:46 AM, said:

I wish we knew sales stats on various products, but it's probably trade secret.  How well did the Emerald Night sell?  Considering that many people would want at least 2 or 3 cars, if not more, wouldn't it be worthwhile for them to release the car separately?  Apparently not.  Is My Own Design good enough?  Yeah, if you want to spend $200 on a car from a $100 set.
Ultimatly, its a question of how best to use the limited SKUs available in any given year (and its been explained many times why LEGO limits the number of products it releases). When it comes to a choice between using a SKU for a train car that will only sell to AFOLs (and not all Emerald Night purchasers will want more than one car per engine, myself included) and using it for a far more proffitable mass-market retail set, its a no brainer from a business perspective what to pick.

#16 Legoist

Legoist

    Posts: 581
    Joined: 25-February 09
    Member: 5397
    Country: Finland

Posted 16 November 2010 - 08:51 AM

YES

View Postfred67, on 16 November 2010 - 04:46 AM, said:

So... the bottom line is TLG is a profit driven company.  A lot of fans are loathe to admit it, and some actually deny it, but there it is... if they make more profit releasing packs of curves and straights together than they would separately, then that's what they will do... as long as we keep buying it.  And we do.

No I don't. I never buy a set of which I need only half of it, because I don't want to spend time trying reselling the other half of it. If they were selling two separate boxes for straights and curves, I'd be buying about 4-5 boxes of straights for each box of curves. Right now for the same need I buy a combined box, and then buy the rest of straights second hand.

I don't understand why some people subtly suggests that after acknowledging that TLG is profit-driven company we are supposed to accept being loss-driven customers. They don't do charity, we don't do charity either, the simple truth is that the dynamic just balances out on the long term so that the farther their sets are from what we really want, the less we buy (except on the early AFOLs years where the tendency is to over-buy). That's just how it works, they change their packages when it's convenient but then they have to change them again after a few years if customers aren't buying enough.

They do this all the time, and in fact they just did change, from straights+curves to straights+flexi. They removed curves because they know that the average customers of the train theme are generally currently unsatisfied by having to buy both. The idea behind combined straights+curves packs was not "evil" as in just forcing people to buy something they don't need (if they really wanted that, they'd sell combined Star Wars + Castle, or Lego + Duplo, just so that you have to buy twice as much every time?), but rather to provide a reasonable "layout upgrade pack". Except that it is (or was) reasonable only on a short term, now that it's been sold for so many years AFOLs are full of curves and have a hard time re-selling them (KFOLs are always much more, but trains KFOLs not so much, and they rarely go far with layout expansion), so they have to change the packaging to tilt the balance back towards curves, and with the arrival of the flexi they had a great idea with bundling it since it can count both as straight or curve depending on your need (but also of course, they might have a lot of manufactured flexi to sell, if people didn't buy it separately online).

It's definitely possible that they later go back to separate packs of straights and curves. In the RC era, we had a the straights+curves set, the switching points set, and the double-switching cross set = 3 track sets. So maybe another reason for combining them had been the number of total sets. Now the double-switch is dead, and if flexi doesn't become popular and disappears, it's not impossible they go back to straights set, curves set, switching points set = 3 sets.

It's understandable that they try to estimate what is convenient: selling X straigths + Y curves or Z straight+curves? But you cannot assume that Z > (X+Y)/2, at least it doesn't have to be forever, but people assume that it must be so because TLC has been selling the Z. Well that's not true... TLC makes its best GUESS but it doesn't even know how many it would have sold if they made the other choice. Just because they made the choice doesn't mean it's the right one, or that it will remain the right one forever.

#17 fred67

fred67

  • A builder, not a hoarder


    Posts: 2199
    Joined: 03-December 09
    Member: 8444
    Country: USA (GA)

Posted 16 November 2010 - 05:26 PM

View PostLegoist, on 16 November 2010 - 08:51 AM, said:

YES
No I don't. I never buy a set of which I need only half of it, because I don't want to spend time trying reselling the other half of it. If they were selling two separate boxes for straights and curves, I'd be buying about 4-5 boxes of straights for each box of curves. Right now for the same need I buy a combined box, and then buy the rest of straights second hand.
You're an anomaly... you must realize that.  It wouldn't have gone on so long if the majority of people felt that way.  I needed track just for my shelf displays... all straights; now I have a drawer full of curves.  I have ideas how to use them, reselling them wasn't a consideration... who wants curves?  They're not worth selling.

Quote

I don't understand why some people subtly suggests that after acknowledging that TLG is profit-driven company we are supposed to accept being loss-driven customers.
Nobody expects you to be a "loss driven customer."  People buy things that they think are worth it... buying a pack of straight and curves was more worth it to me than buying straights separately on BL.  If you want straights, you have little alternative, as TLG has no competition.  I realize there's more to it than that, I realize there's limited shelf space, and over all limited demand... there's a lot more to it than can reasonably be discussed on a forum like this... I mean, all they have to do is say "we have plans to do this because the customers want it... but we're too busy making higher profits on these other sets right now."

Quote

They don't do charity, we don't do charity either, the simple truth is that the dynamic just balances out on the long term so that the farther their sets are from what we really want, the less we buy (except on the early AFOLs years where the tendency is to over-buy). That's just how it works, they change their packages when it's convenient but then they have to change them again after a few years if customers aren't buying enough.
That's the way it should be, but that's not the way it is.  When their customers weren't buying enough 9V, they didn't change marketing strategy or ask the community what we wanted.  They set the rules... if you want LEGO trains, you buy their products... their major demographic in this situation doesn't share your concerns - they do not care about you as long as kids and their parents buy them more LEGO products than we are buying, and by all accounts, that's the reality.

It's nice to take the high road and say "let's boycott straight/curve packs!" But all that happens is the kids and their parents buy enough to satisfy LEGO.  And I don't believe for a minute TLG really cares about how much you can expand your layout with $15 track sets when parents are lining up to buy $120+ complete sets for their kids.

Quote

They do this all the time, and in fact they just did change, from straights+curves to straights+flexi. They removed curves because they know that the average customers of the train theme are generally currently unsatisfied by having to buy both.
I do not believe this for a minute.  This comes down to prices for manufacturing and doing what's easiest for TLG.  I would rather have the curves than the flex track; it looks terrible... now instead of just having terrible looking non-standard curves, all the curves will be terrible looking?  Are they going to continue selling the straight/curves?  I had assumed this was a replacement.  If they are going to sell both, then the arguments against selling straight separately are even worse.

Quote

The idea behind combined straights+curves packs was not "evil" as in just forcing people to buy something they don't need (if they really wanted that, they'd sell combined Star Wars + Castle, or Lego + Duplo, just so that you have to buy twice as much every time?),
First of all, I never claimed TLG was "evil."  I don't think businesses trying to make a profit are "evil."  They market and sell things in a way they think will make them the best profit; that's not "evil."

Second, that's a strawman argument... obviously star wars has nothing to do with castle themes, to imply that it's comparable to tying two types of compatible train track together is disingenuously silly.  If you want a comparable example, try buying a Darth Vader magnet by itself.  Try buying a Harry Potter magnet by itself.  They tie together figures you may want with figures you may not want despite the fact that most of us wouldn't want all three.  That's not evil, nobody "forces" us to buy anything we don't find valuable enough.

I'm not going to try to figure out what's going on the in the minds of LEGO marketing, but the bottom line is you have to understand TLG is a profit driven company; the decisions come from management, almost exclusively based on what marketing tells them... which is not what AFOLs want, it's what will make TLG the highest profit.

There's nothing wrong with that, there's nothing "evil" about it, but since TLG doesn't cater to Adults, it sucks for us, it's just one of those things we need to get over.

I want to add one thing - companies market things based on the ebb and flow of market demands.  You tell me I can use my money to influence companies?  I don't want to shop at WalMart, but they are the biggest retailer on the planet and affect a large number of products on the market; people demand cheap - most people don't think about the ultimate cost of cheap (like that a $35 pair of jeans is likely to last twice as long, if not longer, than a $20 pair).  People complain about being herded like cattle onto airplanes, but refuse to pay higher prices, and I'm stuck with that.

Edited by fred67, 16 November 2010 - 05:30 PM.


#18 Goldenmasamune

Goldenmasamune

    Posts: 152
    Joined: 11-February 10
    Member: 9522

Posted 16 November 2010 - 06:35 PM

View Postfred67, on 16 November 2010 - 05:26 PM, said:

People complain about being herded like cattle onto airplanes, but refuse to pay higher prices, and I'm stuck with that.

You get herded like cattle on airplanes anymore no matter what price you pay. Shoot, at least cattle don't have to be groped or have nude photos taken of them. then again, the cattle are already naked....

Oh, you can buy straights directly from TLC, but they charge over $2 per piece making it cheaper to just buy the curve/straight pack and throw away the curves.

#19 fred67

fred67

  • A builder, not a hoarder


    Posts: 2199
    Joined: 03-December 09
    Member: 8444
    Country: USA (GA)

Posted 16 November 2010 - 06:58 PM

View PostGoldenmasamune, on 16 November 2010 - 06:35 PM, said:

You get herded like cattle on airplanes anymore no matter what price you pay. Shoot, at least cattle don't have to be groped or have nude photos taken of them. then again, the cattle are already naked....
I know, right?  But it wasn't always like that - you used to be treated really well when flying.  The point is that overall, people demand cheap and cheap is what they got... I'm willing to pay more for better service, but the masses have spoken.  On some airlines it's possible to upgrade, and I've taken advantage of that (Air Tran, specifically), but overall you lose choice because of the lowest-common-denominator approach businesses take.

Quote

Oh, you can buy straights directly from TLC, but they charge over $2 per piece making it cheaper to just buy the curve/straight pack and throw away the curves.

And that's the thing - I'd be willing to pay more for straights, more than 1/2 the price of the combined pack for 8, and I'm sure a lot of other are - but not more than $16 when you get 8 straights!  So that's what I was saying... you can boycott, or you can say "well, I need straights, and the cheapest way to get them is still to buy the set and figure out something to do with the curves later."

And that's marketing... I get annoyed at it, but TLG knows what it's doing and nobody is forcing me to buy them.

I've seen some creative uses for the curved track... curved walls, interesting roofs... I'll figure out something, but the preference is, of course, to be able to buy straight separately.  And that's what this thread is about... in our opinions, should we be able to buy straights separately... I think we all want that.

You can argue about SKUs and shelf space... I don't care if it's LEGO exclusive, only online or at LEGO Stores... then it shouldn't be an issue.

I guess the thing is that it's my understanding that they have ONE mold that makes an equal number of straights and curves.  That was just plainly bad planning if that's the case.  But being that's how it is, and they know more people want straights, they sell the combined packs because they don't want to get stuck with them.  Even 9V tracks... I don't think people even get MSRP for 9V curves.

Edit: Do you wonder why the LEGO.com message boards don't have a train forum? I don't.

Edited by fred67, 16 November 2010 - 07:01 PM.


#20 Legoist

Legoist

    Posts: 581
    Joined: 25-February 09
    Member: 5397
    Country: Finland

Posted 16 November 2010 - 08:16 PM

View Postfred67, on 16 November 2010 - 06:58 PM, said:

I guess the thing is that it's my understanding that they have ONE mold that makes an equal number of straights and curves.  That was just plainly bad planning if that's the case.  But being that's how it is, and they know more people want straights, they sell the combined packs because they don't want to get stuck with them.  

If they used one mould for both, then it would certainly make it quite necessary for them to sell straights and curves in the same pack. I never thought of that possibility.

My point however was that TLG has been selling them together because they thought people on the average wanted them in the same amount, which carries a bigger profit as a consequence. Of course the profit is the real target, but you presumably increase the profit if you give people what they want. Not what they SAY they want (especially because the most vocals are we AFOL, and we're not the customer base)... what they REALLY want, which is what they speak with their wallets. If flyers would really value comfort more than cheap prices, flights would end up on average being more comfortable and expensive. "More or less" the market seeks balance, but at the same time let's not overestimate the capability of a company to make the best choices, because economy is not a science (despite what economists may like saying), and in fact TLG itself made bad choices in the 90s and had its share of business trouble. And on the other end, KFOL are not consciously making serious decisions when buying a set, and neither are parents who most of the time just buy what makes the KFOL happy, so even the "wallet votes" are pretty scrambled up at the end. But on the average of averages, TLG can check what sold well and what didn't, and guesstimate the hidden desires of their customer base.

It obviously is all complicated by factory constraints, such as the mentioned mould availability, manufacturing cost of each piece and so on... That is why I also added that IMHO the new straights+flexi set could be the result of having spent a lot of money into designing the flexi track (and maybe even manufacturing already) and not selling enough yet, so by bundling it with straights in place of curves they may justify the costs and hope it becomes more popular.

The granted fact is that with trains set on sales there has to be a way to get extra straights, curves and switches. Flexi can be used to replace the first two. How they bundle these together is not granted however, and in fact this year the bundle is going to change. My point is simply that this fact shows that there are so many variables (which themselves change over time) that we cannot say the way TLG is doing it now is the best way to sell them. They guess it's the best way now, but it can always change and they may be even wrong about "now". The only easy guess is instead which is the best way now to BUY these for ourselves, from each of us' point of view individually; and from my personal point of view the answer is just that they should sell them separately, half a box of straights and half a box of curves (actually, I'd like also a separate generic "bundle expansion" with straights+curves+switches if it would ever be possible).

Edited by Legoist, 16 November 2010 - 08:19 PM.


#21 fred67

fred67

  • A builder, not a hoarder


    Posts: 2199
    Joined: 03-December 09
    Member: 8444
    Country: USA (GA)

Posted 16 November 2010 - 08:53 PM

View PostLegoist, on 16 November 2010 - 08:16 PM, said:

My point however was that TLG has been selling them together because they thought people on the average wanted them in the same amount, which carries a bigger profit as a consequence.
If... IF that were the case, I wouldn't have as much of a problem with it, but they KNEW from experience with 9V that it most certainly is NOT the case.

Quote

Of course the profit is the real target, but you presumably increase the profit if you give people what they want.
It's not always quite true, though... as I said, you may not buy the track, but most people are going to say "I want straight track, the most cost effective way to get it is to buy the pack."  LEGO gives us just enough of what we want, but not exactly what we want.

Quote

"More or less" the market seeks balance, but at the same time let's not overestimate the capability of a company to make the best choices, because economy is not a science (despite what economists may like saying), and in fact TLG itself made bad choices in the 90s and had its share of business trouble. And on the other end, KFOL are not consciously making serious decisions when buying a set, and neither are parents who most of the time just buy what makes the KFOL happy, so even the "wallet votes" are pretty scrambled up at the end. But on the average of averages, TLG can check what sold well and what didn't, and guesstimate the hidden desires of their customer base.
Yes... yes... yes... while AFOLs are more consistent, it's the kids and buying by the parents that mess up the equation for AFOLs... and while we want to complain about it, we realize that TLG is giving people, on the whole, what they want... if it sells, they think people want it.  The problem is that the combo pack sells because there's no alternative, and it's still the cheapest way to get new straight track.

Quote

It obviously is all complicated by factory constraints, such as the mentioned mould availability, manufacturing cost of each piece and so on... That is why I also added that IMHO the new straights+flexi set could be the result of having spent a lot of money into designing the flexi track (and maybe even manufacturing already) and not selling enough yet, so by bundling it with straights in place of curves they may justify the costs and hope it becomes more popular.
Yes... the whole equation is more complicated than we can possibly cover on EB; I can complain about marketing killing 9V, but I don't know what people wanted... I only know what I wanted, and what a lot of AFOLs wanted... we're only a tiny fraction of the buyers.

I agree with everything else you wrote (no need to quote).

#22 Toastie

Toastie

  • Good Spirited


    Posts: 296
    Joined: 27-July 10
    Member: 12260
    Country: Germany

Posted 16 November 2010 - 09:18 PM

@fred67 and Legoist

I think you guys have a very decent and honest discussion going on here. All words have been said. I love to read what Legoist is arguing and I sure hope it would be like that. But I cannot agree more with this quote from fred67:  

Quote

... we're only a tiny fraction of the buyers.

That's it.


LEGOs are still out there because TLC is power-playing along profit line - otherwise they would have disappeared from the market radar rather sooner than later. That may include making a product more appealing to some communities, but the AFOL train community is - well - living in an unnamed coastal village in Armorica, a province of Gaul in the year 50 BC. Julius Caesar has conquered ... Posted Image oops, getting off-topic here.


Best regards and thank you very much for sharing your thoughts!
Thorsten

#23 pulipuli

pulipuli

    Posts: 8
    Joined: 03-February 08
    Member: 2651
    Country: Spain

Posted 16 November 2010 - 10:05 PM

YES

I think TLC knows that we all need more straigts than curves, and also they know there is a lot of people who is buying track for their new RC layouts. If they sold them separated, they would earn not as much money as selling them in packs :(

It's sad, I know. They should stop thinking only on money and think on their customers. I'm seriously thinking on a whole layout made with the cheaper Enlighten tracks, that are good enough for PF, and even if I put some copper tape on them, they would look lovely and realistic.
If they want to keep their customers, they shall better think on our needs.

#24 andythenorth

andythenorth

    Posts: 577
    Joined: 02-June 10
    Member: 11102
    Country: UK

Posted 16 November 2010 - 11:30 PM

Ach.  We wanted straights without curves.  

We're getting straights without curves.

Where's the problem?

Lego aren't going to do a retail box of straights only.  Amazon, TRU, Argos etc don't want to carry that much inventory on multiple products.  Lego need one box that will sell to kids/parents who want to expand a trainset.  Straights only don't meet that need.

Possibly AFOLs would stop whining / expressing their consumer preference if Lego would offer straights via lego.com.  And as has been indicated here before, if you call / email Lego customer service, they will (or would) do just that. But actually acting isn't as much fun as whining, right?  :devil:

I for one welcome my new flextrack overlord.
Making stuff in plastic and pixels: http://ttfoundry.wordpress.com/
Traumatic events in the life of a lego fan: http://www.lugnet.co...traumaticevents

#25 fred67

fred67

  • A builder, not a hoarder


    Posts: 2199
    Joined: 03-December 09
    Member: 8444
    Country: USA (GA)

Posted 16 November 2010 - 11:49 PM

View Postandythenorth, on 16 November 2010 - 11:30 PM, said:

Ach.  We wanted straights without curves.  

We're getting straights without curves.
Just bundled with something else we (I) don't want.

Quote

Where's the problem?
I need flex track like I need more curves.  IOW, I don't; and while it has uses, I would rather buy a set of flex track when I come across a problem that requires it.

Quote

Lego aren't going to do a retail box of straights only.  Amazon, TRU, Argos etc don't want to carry that much inventory on multiple products.  Lego need one box that will sell to kids/parents who want to expand a trainset.  Straights only don't meet that need.
I know.  One of the things I mentioned is that they should sell it in LEGO stores and shop@home if they have to.

Quote

Possibly AFOLs would stop whining / expressing their consumer preference if Lego would offer straights via lego.com.  And as has been indicated here before, if you call / email Lego customer service, they will (or would) do just that. But actually acting isn't as much fun as whining, right?  :devil:

So we shouldn't offer our opinions in a thread whose title begins "Should Lego....?"

And as has been mentioned earlier in the thread, $2/track makes it more worth it to just buy the pack... it's pointless.



Reply to this topic



  


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users