May 23, 2011 by beerogre
Richard, the CEO and webstore demi-god in charge of Wayland Games has issued a personal message to fans of GW and his customers, addressing the latest message from GW and other concerns.
Before we start, if you’d allow me to present a little background about Wayland before we get into the meat of the issue I’d be grateful.
We laid out our little web store back in August 2008, our beginnings were humble, with my brother and I packing orders in a spare room. It wasn’t ideal but it was what we had to start with and we grew and grew through the continued business of our loyal customers through four warehouses to our current location. In thirty three months we have gone from a spare room in Essex, UK with my brother and I packing boxes to a global operation with fourteen full time staff which is now positioned as one of the largest if not the largest independent hobby retailer in the world. We run our business today as we always have done, in a professional and ethical manner both within the letter and the spirit of the law. Almost all suppliers like us, customers enjoy our openness and service-oriented outlook and whilst we’re realistic enough to know we’re not by any means perfect we will always strive to improve to ensure our central tenet of great prices and better service.
Managing such growth has been far from simple; we have experienced growing pains like any business in any sector that has exploded in market share terms. Our growing pains have also been more painful as we continually seek to adjust to a shifting commercial landscape from our dominant supplier, Games Workshop. Like many of you, I believe that Games Workshop produce a fantastic product which gives endless joy to countless people. I am proud to be associated with them. Unsurprisingly, therefore, I read with real concern the statement by the CEO Mark Wells over the new trade terms which effectively prevents us selling Games Workshop supplied products outside Europe. Mark’s statement can be found here
Mark seems to be clearly of the view that on-line retailers ( and we are not purely that, of course given our bricks and mortar presence) “free ride” on the back of Games Workshop’s bricks and mortar outlets. We have sought over the years, and I thought with some success and recognition, to demonstrate to Games Workshop the value that we provide not just in terms of sales but also in terms of pre and after sales service (not to mention our activities at trade fairs), which is clearly equivalent to the service that is provided on the “ground” by bricks and mortar outlets. Quite aside from the legality of Games Workshop’s actions, we are confused by the commercial attitude of Games Workshop which hampers our ability to sell to hobbyists to the clear disadvantage of both Games Workshop (albeit maybe not their retail arm) and the hobbyists themselves.
I will not air anyone’s dirty laundry in public. Therefore, I am writing to Games Workshop separately (its board, lawyers and their principal shareholders) to share my concerns in greater depth. I hope that commercial common sense will prevail and that we can continue to work with Games Workshop to expand their market and bring a great product to as many people as possible at the best price possible. After all, Games Workshop not only has a clear responsibility to the market but also a clear responsibility to its shareholders (which, after all, could be you and me!).
In the meantime, we believe after the announced terms are implemented we shall be able to continue to offer all of our loyal customers the same product range that we offer today. There may be a small lead time to implement but we’ve been given a rather short period to react. We will comply fully and completely with the new terms and conditions of sale imposed upon us and will not contravene them in any capacity whatsoever (albeit we would not wish that to be seen as acceptance of their legality), all we seek to achieve is that customers both old and new are able to benefit from our view of the market wherever they are located. We all love our hobby.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be providing updates as to how the process of implementing these changes is coming along, the chances are we’ll use Facebook to disseminate this information as it is a great platform for customers to interact with us and each other.
We look forward to continue to serve you and we always will.
Keep on Wargaming.
If you have any response that you want to make, Richard reads our site and often contributes to discussions, so there’s a good chance he’ll read your comment.