NECA has a great fan following… perhaps almost too great. In fact, they have reached the point where they can no longer provide enough of their most popular items. The movie and cartoon TMNT toy lines have been more than just popular they are sell out items. They sell out not in days but minutes. This is to the large demand by fans and resellers online order Bots. These Shopping bots allow anyone to buy items online quicker than a human can. This is now the prevailing way to order online.
NECA’s limited run toys have evolved into toys that are instantly bloated in price on the secondary market. NECA fans are rabid for the items and downright nasty to the resellers that sell them at incredibly inflated prices. NECA has made several changes recently to their distribution models. Starting with the fall of Toys ‘R’ Us they created a collector’s area in Target stores. This has led to several Target exclusives. However this year, Walmart entered the fray.
The movie version Casey Jones and Ralph became instant online sell outs and sent collectors scrambling to every Walmart in driving distance to find the two pack. However so were the resellers and for the most part the resellers win. This has caused a lot of uproar against resellers or Scalpers in the fandom. However this has not some stopped the fans from buying the toys on sites like eBay and Mercari. It is a lose-lose situation and it is leaving collectors very upset. They just want to buy something however with no stores open online is the only option and that isn’t as simple as buying something it is a lottery.
Today’s Sales: Bots 1 Humans 0
NECA had some of their Two Pack exclusives online at 7am PST. In less than a minute, they were out of stock. Bots seem to be a prevailing theme in the Walmart release and todays online sale. The forums are filled with complaints of instantly selling out or in cart only to be pulled as out of stock just a quick. NECA has a serious problem with supply and demand. Not to mention this issues with online sales. Customers can not complete with the amount of bots online.
This is was very evident with NECA , Target and even Walmart’s fault in needing to have more security in place for the onslaught of robot orders that can fill the cart before you can hit enter. Shortly later the same day Target has released their TMNT exclusives online and where also sold out in under a minute. Some people said that the status only ever changed to sold out never even having the moment to buy them. In the sneaker community this has been well known for a while. If you want to buy an online drop you need to have a bot.
What are the other options for collectibles? Super7 already ran into these issues multiple times and put up systems to block bot orders. Not to mention their model of preorder supply is the only real way to deal with high demand items. Buy all you want and let the company make them to the demand. This has worked very well on items like Hasbro’s Regal Cobra Commander Compared to the catastrophic NTWRK drop. That is still available for pre order on Hasbro Pulse.
The newest HasLab project Sentinel is a model for demand to order production on collectibles. It has already hit its three expansion goals and over 10,000 preorders. NECA needs to take a page and do demand to order TMNT and other figures. This means a wait time from order to production that drives people nuts. But the other option is eBay after the fact.