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Why the limits per customer on NASA sets?

Saturn rocket and Women of Nasa. Why the limits? Why does LEGO want to stop being buying more than they want?

Comments

  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 964
    Because they produced a finite number of sets and would like for people other than scalpers to be able to buy them at suggested retail price. With popular sets, especially this close to Christmas, scalpers will buy up large quantities and list them for sale on eBay, Amazon, Walmart, etc. for exorbitant markups.
    madforLEGOkiki180703mak0137TXLegoguy
  • danielnzlegodanielnzlego Member Posts: 28
    But this scenario is true of many sets, so how do they choose which ones to limit? Is it just IDEAS sets?
  • alaskaguyalaskaguy Member Posts: 198
    The limit on Saturn V was 5 when it first came out. It changed to 2 after it went to backorder status the first time.
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 964
    I have no inside information about how LEGO chooses which sets to place purchasing limits on. The distribution companies I work with typically have one or more people tasked with making such decisions based on prior sales of similar items, quantity available, and anticipated demand.

    The new Millennium Falcon has purchase limits in place, so it is not only IDEAS sets that may have limits applied.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO USMember Posts: 8,204
    IMO LEGO has the right to limit any set they choose. Though rarely do they stop people making multiple orders (though they could).

    Amazon limits orders all the time (and bans those that try to circumvent the limits), and as a result I'm guessing far more people get an item that is sought after vs 3rd parties likely buying them all (and likely to only to resell them right on Amazon).
  • omniumomnium Brickenham, UKMember Posts: 369
    I think all new sets should have a limit of 1 at launch, with the limit raised slowly thereafter.
    I know someone who bought 3 MFs as a long term investment. His investment would yield the same if he had bought them next year when the hysteria dies down.
    drdavewatford
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,242
    omnium said:
    I think all new sets should have a limit of 1 at launch, with the limit raised slowly thereafter.
    I know someone who bought 3 MFs as a long term investment. His investment would yield the same if he had bought them next year when the hysteria dies down.
    It would yield even more if he had waited, as he could purchase them closer to retirement and use that cash he has tied up now to invest in something else.
    omniumstlux
  • omniumomnium Brickenham, UKMember Posts: 369
    CCC said:
    omnium said:
    I think all new sets should have a limit of 1 at launch, with the limit raised slowly thereafter.
    I know someone who bought 3 MFs as a long term investment. His investment would yield the same if he had bought them next year when the hysteria dies down.
    It would yield even more if he had waited, as he could purchase them closer to retirement and use that cash he has tied up now to invest in something else.
    Absolutely. But he is like a lot of other investors out there who probably just saw the dollar signs and wanted in immediately.
  • LyichirLyichir United StatesMember Posts: 408
    edited November 29
    omnium said:
    I think all new sets should have a limit of 1 at launch, with the limit raised slowly thereafter.
    I know someone who bought 3 MFs as a long term investment. His investment would yield the same if he had bought them next year when the hysteria dies down.
    It doesn't really make sense for Lego to do that for all sets. Regular retail sets, especially smaller ones, almost never sell out at launch due to the much higher production volumes compared to larger D2C sets or Ideas sets. Placing a limit on those risks artificially limiting overall sales until the "hype" of a new set release has died down, at which point people who might have stockpiled multiples might no longer be interested in purchasing additional sets. It's a recipe for lost sales.

    Also, not everyone who buys multiple sets is doing so as an investment. Many sets ranging from smaller battle packs to larger modular building sets are basically designed to reward multiple purchases. An investor might be able to space out their purchases without any negative impact, but someone buying sets to build and display will no doubt be annoyed by an artificial limit forcing them to wait months to realize their goal.
  • omniumomnium Brickenham, UKMember Posts: 369
    edited November 29
    Lyichir said:
    omnium said:
    I think all new sets should have a limit of 1 at launch, with the limit raised slowly thereafter.
    I know someone who bought 3 MFs as a long term investment. His investment would yield the same if he had bought them next year when the hysteria dies down.
    It doesn't really make sense for Lego to do that for all sets. Regular retail sets, especially smaller ones, almost never sell out at launch due to the much higher production volumes compared to larger D2C sets or Ideas sets. Placing a limit on those risks artificially limiting overall sales until the "hype" of a new set release has died down, at which point people who might have stockpiled multiples might no longer be interested in purchasing additional sets. It's a recipe for lost sales.

    Also, not everyone who buys multiple sets is doing so as an investment. Many sets ranging from smaller battle packs to larger modular building sets are basically designed to reward multiple purchases. An investor might be able to space out their purchases without any negative impact, but someone buying sets to build and display will no doubt be annoyed by an artificial limit forcing them to wait months to realize their goal.
    Sure, maybe not every set, I suppose. But then they'd have to have some smart way or working out which to limit or not. I don't put much stock in their ability to do "smart" in this scenario ;-)

    And who says they would have to wait months to raise the limits? If a set doesn't sell out in the first week: raise the limit.

    Preventing fiascoes like we have today and stopping a few people buying multiple battle packs on day one would be a small price to pay, IMO. Smart battle pack buyers buy multiples when they go on sale anyway.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,034
    CCC said:
    Anything exclusive to S@H / Lego Store, then use a limit. Anything available at regular retail / supermarkets / toystores , don't limit.
    Right - it's not rocket science.
    gmonkey76davetheoxygenmanBumblepantsOnebricktoomanycatwrangleraduk
  • alaskaguyalaskaguy Member Posts: 198
    Why? As long as Lego is selling sets, it should sell as many as it wants to whoever it wants.

    Hell, for “highly anticipated” sets, it should put them up for auction in advance of “release”. Highest bidder declares how many he/she/it/they/zhe/xhe/whatever wants and pays. Next highest bidder does the same, and so on down the line. This is a very “fair” way to allocation production - those valuing the product the most (determined by bid) get priority and Lego possibly gets more per set than it otherwise would.
  • ceniackceniack Oklahoma CityMember Posts: 20
    ^ That would be a PR nightmare... they would loose more in goodwill and brand equity than they would gain in revenue or profit. 


    FizyxAanchirmadforLEGO
  • alaskaguyalaskaguy Member Posts: 198
    Yeah...all the Legions or Lego fans would.....go buy Megablocks? Maybe Lepin?
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,242
    Lego cannot handle fixed priced sales very well, especially around promotion times with heavy traffic. I cannot see them being able to auction items like that. 
    Shib
  • alaskaguyalaskaguy Member Posts: 198
    edited November 30
    They could easily outsource the function to someone who does. eBay would contract with them in a heartbeat. It could do all the front end work, and just pass order info to Lego for shipping, along with a wire transfer ever week to cover the sales, minus a small commission.
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,794
    Or... they could spend 30 second having their IT person add a limit...

    BumblepantsomniumcatwranglerShibgmonkey76davetheoxygenmanmadforLEGO
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,242
    Also it would have knock on effects across the entire product range. LEGO is already a premium product. If some of it becomes truly elitist then that will affect all product ranges when they are seen to be more interested in money grabbing than anything else.
    catwranglerShibstluxgmonkey76davetheoxygenman
  • HanzoHanzo VAMember Posts: 414
    alaskaguy said:
    Why? As long as Lego is selling sets, it should sell as many as it wants to whoever it wants.

    Hell, for “highly anticipated” sets, it should put them up for auction in advance of “release”. Highest bidder declares how many he/she/it/they/zhe/xhe/whatever wants and pays. Next highest bidder does the same, and so on down the line. This is a very “fair” way to allocation production - those valuing the product the most (determined by bid) get priority and Lego possibly gets more per set than it otherwise would.

    Finally a way to keep all the blue collar peasants out of my way when I want something.  You want that set for little Timmy? Tough shit I have more money, out of the way....
    eddiewFizyxShib
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,242
    alaskaguy said:
    Why? As long as Lego is selling sets, it should sell as many as it wants to whoever it wants.

    That is actually what lego is trying to do. It clearly doesn't want to sell 100 of something exclusive to one person, that is the point of the limit. So that argument actually reinforces why lego is using limits in the first place, to be able to sell as many as it wants to whoever it wants. It is just the the "as many" is a small number and not as many as some customers might want.
  • alaskaguyalaskaguy Member Posts: 198
    edited November 30
    It seems to me that the MOST reasonable thing to do, if a company wants to "be nice" to its "loyal customers" is simply to take non-refundable pre-production orders.  This would ensure that customers get the product upon release, at MSRP, AND have the added benefit to Lego of helping it produce to demand and avoid shortages.

    I mean - if I'm Lego, and I know I'm going to produce a set that I suspect is going to be hot seller, why NOT take customer money six months before the release date, all the way up through, say, 1 month before release date?  Let the scalpers buy as many as they want under this program. All that is going to do is sell more product, as the "real fans" can ALSO order and get the product at the same price.  It just seems like such a "duh!"  What is the point of creating a mad rush, overloaded services, stock outs and unpleasant feelings?

    FWIW, buyers in countries where non-refundable pre-orders would violate the law for some silly reason can always be excluded from the program ("Sorry, your address is not eligible for this pre-order program. Go complain to your government to changes its laws.").

    What I know is that not only would I have sent Lego money the moment they announced a release date for the Saturn V, I would have ALSO paid an extra 10-15% for the privilege of getting my order in six months early and being guaranteed shipment on the release date. And I would have been smiling about it too.



  • stluxstlux LuxembourgMember Posts: 1,471
    A system of non-refundable pre-orders would exclude all EU countries. We like our consumer rights, thanks.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,242
    alaskaguy said:

    I mean - if I'm Lego, and I know I'm going to produce a set that I suspect is going to be hot seller, why NOT take customer money six months before the release date, all the way up through, say, 1 month before release date?  Let the scalpers buy as many as they want under this program. All that is going to do is sell more product, as the "real fans" can ALSO order and get the product at the same price.  It just seems like such a "duh!"  What is the point of creating a mad rush, overloaded services, stock outs and unpleasant feelings?

    They will probably still have unpleasant feelings if they have to close the pre-paid orders way ahead of time if they cannot meet the existing pre-paid demand. Plus, this is likely to piss off people in countries where there is no pre-paid programme if stock destined for their country is diverted elsewhere to fulfill pre-paid demand.


  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,794
    The issue there is manufacturing bandwidth. They have X amount of capacity to handle all sets they have.

    Take MF for example. If they did what you suggested, the amount they would have had to make would have exceeded their overall manufacturing bandwidth and pushed out the manufacturing of other sets creating a delay/back order with them. 

    They can can not just take unlimited orders when they can not control for how many will be ordered, which may cause too many sets to be ordered in relation to actual manufacturing capacity they have. If they did that, for MF, there would have been plenty of people that would have ordered preorders that would then have a back order date.


    If if they instead went with, preorders and only based on what they were able to produce by the release date, thus limiting the availability, that would be no different than the model they have now of release it and then moving to backorder.

    Companies can not simply make unlimited sets to fulfill customer demand. They have to look at manufacturing constraints, other sets they are making and what sets they are ramping up on for the start of big releases.
    AanchiromniummadforLEGO
  • alaskaguyalaskaguy Member Posts: 198
    stlux said:
    A system of non-refundable pre-orders would exclude all EU countries. We like our consumer rights, thanks.
    That's fine - they don't have to access to the program. No reason that needs to affect the rest of the world.
  • alaskaguyalaskaguy Member Posts: 198
    edited November 30
    CCC said:
    They will probably still have unpleasant feelings if they have to close the pre-paid orders way ahead of time if they cannot meet the existing pre-paid demand. Plus, this is likely to piss off people in countries where there is no pre-paid programme if stock destined for their country is diverted elsewhere to fulfill pre-paid demand.
    Just no winning with some of you guys.  "Perfect" simply MUST be the enemy of "Good Enough".

    tamamahm said:
    They can can not just take unlimited orders when they can not control for how many will be ordered, which may cause too many sets to be ordered in relation to actual manufacturing capacity they have. If they did that, for MF, there would have been plenty of people that would have ordered preorders that would then have a back order date.

    If if they instead went with, preorders and only based on what they were able to produce by the release date, thus limiting the availability, that would be no different than the model they have now of release it and then moving to backorder.

    Companies can not simply make unlimited sets to fulfill customer demand. They have to look at manufacturing constraints, other sets they are making and what sets they are ramping up on for the start of big releases.
    Fair enough - some good comments in there.  OK, this can easily be adjusted for by providing a date for delivery based on when you order and the orders ahead of you, and the manufacturing capacity allocated to that particular set. In this case, there is still a difference, in that you are guaranteed a set - even if it is after the release date.  This is NOT the case now - where if you miss the initial run, and it goes into "backorder" - you may or may not end up getting a set (your back order may or may not get fulfilled).

    Even so - having the demand info from pre-orders would certainly help them make adjustments to manufacturing allocation as/if necessary and desired.  As it is now, they just have to guess.

  • HanzoHanzo VAMember Posts: 414
    There is no perfect way to handle these launches.  Easiest way as mentioned above is limiting high demand sets to one per VIP household until demand is met, then open it up.  That limit can be removed quickly depending on sales, it doesn't take them long to figure out if a set is selling well or not.  So if the limit is set and sales are flat, obviously they can remove the limit.

    The Falcon is a strange case though, people are still on waiting lists at stores and backordered online while supposedly third party retailers are set to get them in stock.  I personally do not believe any third party company orders should be fulfilled until the current backlog is cleared.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,242
    alaskaguy said:
    stlux said:
    A system of non-refundable pre-orders would exclude all EU countries. We like our consumer rights, thanks.
    That's fine - they don't have to access to the program. No reason that needs to affect the rest of the world.
    There is a reason, as world-wide production is affected. If they have to keep stopping production of other sets, or diverting sets destined for other regions, to fulfill pre-orders that they have taken then it will affect all regions.

    alaskaguy said:
    Fair enough - some good comments in there.  OK, this can easily be adjusted for by providing a date for delivery based on when you order and the orders ahead of you, and the manufacturing capacity allocated to that particular set. In this case, there is still a difference, in that you are guaranteed a set - even if it is after the release date.  This is NOT the case now - where if you miss the initial run, and it goes into "backorder" - you may or may not end up getting a set (your back order may or may not get fulfilled).

    Even so - having the demand info from pre-orders would certainly help them make adjustments to manufacturing allocation as/if necessary and desired.  As it is now, they just have to guess.

    From what I understand, making adjustments to manufacturing is not so simple as stopping production of one set and starting another. The runs have to be significant in size to make it viable and will often be done alongside complementary sets requiring the same parts to minimise downtime due to switching over parts, boxes, prints, etc. I also imagine they would have difficulty guaranteeing a delivery date for early pre-orders in a particular batch, unless they are very conservative about the date so that they do not miss the guaranteed deadline. If they have to make them in batches of say 50000 units to be viable, and cannot book in production slots until they reach say 35000 pre-orders in that batch, then times for those pre-orders will have to be guessed rather than accurately predicted.

  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,794
    ^^ I do agree that preorders do help with determining demand... sort of. It really captures the initial interest and first day “I must have the day it comes out” orders. What it does not capture are many bday, Christmas presents for little Johnny/Jill where parents may be waiting to buy. Now, one could argue that the sets that need preorders are really more of your AFOL type sets, but that is not quite always the case such as with the IDEA sets like Women of NASA or the orginal Minecraft IDEAS set. (Or whatever that line was called then). Basically, there may still be issues with stock and availability by anticipating too much or too little demand after the initial preorders, which can still cause shortages or gluts. It is true, though, a preorder system makes solid sense on a few key sets. For example MF, I believe is a solid example where a preorder system would have made sense, just so they could have gauges demand on a crazy pricey, and very unique set that really could swing various directions with sales.

    Where I do completely agree... it makes no sense on some of the highly limited runs. When there is still so much demand, put out another run, even if delayed and small based on people still requesting orders. I barely got the Curiosity Rover or RI, and those both went crazy fast. 

    I really think that is what need to be overhauled. I do not mind delays, but if I wanted Curiosity and could not manage to order it and it sold out, because of such a limited run... Lego is leaving money on the table and they are creating ill will. 

    In general ‘most’ sets there are simply no issues buying from Lego at least eventually.

    Do we know what the last set was that had such a small time window to order, was constantly back ordered and very hard to catch one? I am wondering if Lego has been resolving this recently or if this is still happening as of late. 
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,242
    tamamahm said:

    Where I do completely agree... it makes no sense on some of the highly limited runs. When there is still so much demand, put out another run, even if delayed and small based on people still requesting orders. I barely got the Curiosity Rover or RI, and those both went crazy fast. 

    I really think that is what need to be overhauled. I do not mind delays, but if I wanted Curiosity and could not manage to order it and it sold out, because of such a limited run... Lego is leaving money on the table and they are creating ill will. 

    It depends on why they are limited. If they are limited for a licensing reason, then it makes perfect sense to make the production amount allowed within the agreement and restrict sales via limits. There may be money on the table, but they are not able to take that money.

    But also, they could probably predict regional demand better. For example,  Mars Rover was easy to obtain in Europe, it was available for three months or more via S@H. Anyone wanting one during that time could order it. I bought one in late March, not because I wanted it, but to meet a threshold for a freebie. Whereas if they had predicted US demand would have been higher than Europe, they could have satisfied more US customers and not really had much effect on the European market. Women of NASA is still available here too (limit of 2).

    Then again, they seem to have been bitten when it came to exosuit. That sold out fast first time around and there seemed to be money on the table there based on the original sales, so they made loads more and then couldn't shift them needing the very long 'decomissioning period'.

    tamamahm
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,242
    Also I don't know how good there stock level / inventory software is but ...

     
    I've just taken this snapshot for Saturn V. It is backordered not in stock, but they say it will ship by ... tomorrow. That's faster than many orders placed for items that are in stock, as they often take a couple of days to ship regular orders, especially in December. Presumably it means stock should arrive tomorrow and then ship out the same day. It'll be interesting to see if it changes to in stock tomorrow or goes to another date for backorders (in that all arriving stock goes towards fulfilling existing backorders).
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 964
    ^Or it might go to "out of stock" later today, if people jump in and order enough to take the entire shipment.
  • daewoodaewoo TexasMember Posts: 39
    I like the policy of a VIP early buy (with a limit) that we have seen for some models.  This allows the VIPs first dibs on anticipated sets.  Investors don't like that, of course, because they can't horde the whole supply to artificially run up the price.  That's 100% fine by me. 
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,794
    Agreed @CCC. My post was already far too long to add in other potential cases.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 8,047
    100 happy customers with 1 product bought each are much more valuable to a company than 1 happy customer with 100 products bought.
    And 99 unhappy customers with 0 products, and 99 complaints...
    FizyxeddiewstluxBumblepants
  • KingAlanIKingAlanI Rochester, NYMember Posts: 1,493
    Everything has a limit of 5 except that which has a limit of 2. Usually they don't mind repeated orders, but they probably would for a few sets like Women of NASA, and this gives them discretion
    I can see how it makes sense big picture/long term even if costs them a few sales (or a few higher priced sales)
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,242
    KingAlanI said:
    Everything has a limit of 5 except that which has a limit of 2. Usually they don't mind repeated orders,
    They do if you go over the limit for any set. They get cancelled. Even Batman CMF when they have been put on clearance.
    SumoLego
  • KingAlanIKingAlanI Rochester, NYMember Posts: 1,493
    Never happened to me, maybe UK S@H is stricter?
    Or, in my case, it was items that stayed on sales and deals, so they were probably glad to get rid of them even in large quantities.
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 78
    CCC said:
    KingAlanI said:
    Everything has a limit of 5 except that which has a limit of 2. Usually they don't mind repeated orders,
    They do if you go over the limit for any set. They get cancelled. Even Batman CMF when they have been put on clearance.

    I've seen them cancel repeated orders by the same person, but I also haven't seen them cancel orders to the same address, which they also threaten to do it you go over the limit.  It probably helps that my sister and I have our own separate VIP accounts, but there's still been a few high demand sets we weren't sure we were both going to be able to get when we wanted to.
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 964
    A phone call to customer support might get you around quantity limits, depending on the set. When I ordered the Christmas ornaments on sale a couple months ago there was a limit of 5, but one would not add to my cart. Turned out that one was sold out, but they let me order 20 of another one (that also had the limit of 5 on the website).
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