After years of research and months of development, all of us at IGA are proud to announce that we’ve punched a hole in the biggest wall for indie publishers: entry into distribution. There’s lots of details to follow, but the short answer is this: if you are an IGA Pro subscriber, your games are a now few clicks away from automatically being in distribution. No negotiations, no forms and waiting and meetings… just click the checkbox and it’s done.
Now, the details. Most of our members are familiar with consolidators, folks like Impressions, Hit Point and PSI. Those organizations are fantastic, and they deal with all of the major distributors. The thing is, the model they use requires purchase of a large quantity of games from you, the publishers, meaning they take on a lot of risk when they sign new clients and are hesitant to do so for smaller publishers unless you produce a mega-hit. Fortunately, the IGA stock model already works around that problem, so it was just a matter of finding distributors who would work with that model.
Enter Golden Distribution. Golden will be accepting a customized file format we’re generating for them, and every single item we list in that file will be available on their website to all Golden customer retailers. When a retailer purchases an IGA member game, Golden tells us, and we ship it out to them, and you get paid! We’re paying 33% of MSRP to publishers for games and selling at not much higher to distributors; our margin will mostly be used to cover the free shipping the distributors expect to receive.
We’re also signed as a supplier with Snakes and Lattes in Canada, though they will be taking a more pick-and-choose approach for the games they carry. We’re in discussions with several other distributors, which we hope to make progress on here at Gen Con, and will announce more about those negotiations as things get firmed up.
Additionally, we’re relaunching our retailer store, allowing retailers to purchase from our website directly. Retailers can sign up on our site and, once approved, purchase games at 50% off with free shipping for orders over $200.
We’ll also be announcing some plans in the coming weeks for how we’re going to use our 650-member-strong Minion team to convert their existing in-store demos into sales opportunities to help drive retail orders of your games.
Our first file dump to Golden, Snakes and Lattes and our other distribution partners will be made in September. This gives me time to round out convention season with Gen Con and finishing the processing from all of our summer shows, as I still have processing to do from Origins and Gen Con because this has been getting all my attention. It also lets me finalize and test the integration (the requirements of which change every time a new distributor signs on) and most importantly, gives you time to get your games set up and ready.
What do I do to get started?
Glad you asked.
First off, you’ll need to be an IGA Pro member. There’s no additional charge to be part of our consolidation offering — just the usual IGA Pro membership!
Second, we’ve got to have stock of your games. We’ve updated our Stock and Sales policies to address a few things that are going to be difficult for us to manage otherwise, but it shouldn’t impact most folks. Still, you should probably take a moment and refresh yourself on them if you haven’t sent us stock in a while. We’ll use this same pool of stock for distributor sales, convention sales, and supplying Minions, just like always. If you’ve already sent us stock, it might be a good time to check your stock levels and see if we have enough, or if we have your latest and greatest stuff.
Third, you’ll need to make sure we have all the correct details on your game. We’ll do our best to do data entry on the stuff we already have in stock, but not all of the items are easily ascertained, so your help would be appreciated even if we already have your items in stock. You can edit or create store items through the newly-updated Stock Item Editor on your Studio Dashboard. If you need help navigating the site changes, you can visit our new guidebook page on doing just that, which should help.
In particular, pay attention to the UPC/EAN (barcode) field and the SKU field. We strongly recommend that all of our publishers obtain a SMC (company code and SKU prefix) from the Hobby Manufacturers Association, which disambiguates SKUs from different manufacturers. However, if you don’t want to spend the $25, we’ve got you covered. IGA has registered its own SMC code, IGA, which you can use simply by clicking the Generate SKU link.
Also, some of the images for items that we pulled from Board Game Geek are a little blurry or not ideal for sales purposes. If you see a blurry, outdated or otherwise not-great image for your game, please upload a new one — remember, this is the face you’re going to show retailers interested in buying your game!
Lastly, you’ll need to activate the new permission, “IGA may sell stock at its negotiated price to distributors,” which you can do from that same page. This permission defaults to OFF, so it will require this step for all items.
While we were under the hood, we did some other stuff too.
We’ve also added the ability to set a Convention Sale Price separate from MSRP, for folks that are asking us to sell games at lower prices than MSRP at cons. Note that you’ll be paid off of this price if you change it, not off of MSRP. Also note that we may not be able to activate changes you make in time for Gen Con at this point, but they’ll be active for BoardGameGeek.con (have you bought your demo time yet?) at worst.
We also added the ability to request that we carry your games at conventions even if you’ll be exhibiting too. We generally recommend that you not turn this on, but if you want to, it’s now there. Look for it in the stock permissions section.
Have questions? Is it one of these?
Does IGA require exclusivity like other consolidators do?
Not at all. You can continue to sell on your own. However, we ask that if you already work with a consolidator, that you check your contract before activating the permission on IGA’s site. We will never knowingly violate an exclusivity arrangement you have with another consolidator, but it’s your responsibility to make sure you don’t do so. IGA is not responsible for contractual disputes that result from your violating any contracts you might have with other vendors.
Will IGA sell to (your favorite distributor)?
Yes, as soon as we can get set up. Each distributor has their own onboarding process, and we are still navigating them for some of the larger ones. I hope to talk to representatives from several of the larger distributors at Gen Con to try to ease that process, and we’re looking into getting a booth at the GAMA show in February to focus in-depth on building those relationships. We’ll also be talking about our new consolidation service at Gen Con’s Trade Day on Wednesday.
How much stock should I send?
For now, keep it to the same guidelines we had before — one cubic meter (roughly a pallet bay) in our warehouse. Please send games in master cartons unless they’re tuckboxes — some distributors require this and it may disqualify you from selling to them if you don’t do this. Plus, it’s a heck of a lot easier for us to maintain the warehouse this way.
We just doubled the size of our warehouse for the third time in April, and we’re expecting to have to expand again before the end of the year. As always, when we have more details about any potential expansion or move, you’ll be the first to know.
*Still* have questions? Well, okay.
Feel free to ask questions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our social media platforms. I do ask you to remember, we are working Gen Con this week, so please be patient if it takes a few hours to reply to your inquiry. We also respectfully request that you read the full distribution guide on our website before asking your question, in order to allow us to focus as much of our time this week as possible on crushing Gen Con for the benefit of all our members.