Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Discuss Hornby Model Railway products and related topics here. This includes (Lima, Rivarossi, Jouef, Electrotren).
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Bufferstop
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Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:27 pm

Got my Railway Modeller through the post today. Steve Flint's editorial had me logging in to hornby.com as fast as my fingers could type it. Not only are they trying to persuade everyone to purchase from their own on-line shop, they are making noises about the worth of having traditional Model Shops, discount dealers even samples for review according to the comments Steve added from his own contacts with them and pretty much corroborated by Simon Kohler's Blog. Now this is what Bufferstop says:-
Get over there and read everything you can
Please post here any links to the opinions of others that you find.
Please add you own comments here, but no, name calling, libellous/slanderous accusations, opinions without the magic words "in my opinion", or calls to bring back hanging.
To be serious for a moment, the subject may be too important to have to lock the thread, so anything that might land us in trouble will either be redacted or the post deleted, and until I hear from the other mods and admins, my decision will be final. Can you tell I think you might get a bit annoyed with big H?
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GWR_fan
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Re: Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Postby GWR_fan » Thu Apr 09, 2015 12:41 am

John,
I must say that I was very impressed with the service on my first and possibly only dealing with the Hornby online website. This was the only place to get the concession BR teak livery coaches. However, firstly they were very expensive and secondly the shipping cost of GBP30.00 is ridiculous for just two coaches. Hattons will ship four heavy Heljan locomotives for the same amount, using the same carrier, DHL.


I tried to read the full blog but fail to see how Simon can write a few thousand words on whether or not a manufacturer should supply samples for review. He lost me in the paragragh where he says that magazines are unbiassed in their reviews and not under the thumb of those manufacturers who support the magazine with advertising dollars. Who is he kidding?

A magazine is a financial interest and to my mind should purchase review samples instore as do the rest of us. The cynic in me says that a manufacturer will provide a perfect example for the magazine to review and not a defective Friday afternoon production that many of us receive.

edgehillroad
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Re: Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Postby edgehillroad » Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:08 am

I seem to remember Dell Computers used to be sold only by Dell, these days Dell are almost extinct with only a few computers being advertised on line or anywhere else for that matter, I know of no one buying Dell these days. if Hornby head in that direction I fear for their future, as an ex retailer exclusive is a dirty word.

If this happens I would say Bachmann having had the baton handed to them will laugh all the way to the bank
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luckymucklebackit
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Re: Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Postby luckymucklebackit » Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:43 am

I find this a little strange, but without the full details (which we are unlikely ever to know) it is hard to make an accurate judgement. As I see it, the current model is that Hornby manufacture the product and sell it on to the model shop, presumably at a profit, calculated within that profit will be marketing and shipping costs (from the factory to the UK warehouse and, I assume, from the UK warehouse to the retailer). Someone within the trade would need to advise me on if Hornby charge shipping extra to the shop. The retailer then sells the item on to the public, again at a cost which covers his overheads and makes the retailer a profit.
Hornby will set a RRP which as nearly everyone knows is a nonsense as given the economies of scale, the likes of Hattons can sell at a lower price and still run a profitable business.
By removing from the supply chain, the retailer and his profit, and the shipping costs from the warehouse to the retailer, you would imagine that Hornby would be able to undercut the retailers handsomely, but assuming they pursue this course of action and hold the price at the current level they would (if we are all daft enough to pay the price) make a fat profit and Simon Kohler would be a very happy person.
The bottom line of course is that the model railway business is a luxury market, and it is entirely up to the individual how badly they need that Hornby model, personally I always go for the cheapest deal, and do not even look at the Hornby website because I know that 99% of the time it is more expensive than the big retailers.
Frankly the solution to this issue is entirely in the hands of the modeller, refuse to pay the initial price set by Hornby and eventually the price will fall, simple supply and demand, there is after all the potential for some big savings there.

Jim
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Richard Lee
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Re: Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Postby Richard Lee » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:06 am

Like GWR_fan I don't see buying from the Hornby website as a particularly good option for me. I live in a country that Hornby would charge £30 postage and packing for all orders under £100. Hattons and the other model shops that I have used charge much less than that.

Buying from model shops over the Internet allows me to order items from different manufacturers on the same order, which helps dilute the effects of overseas postage. I strongly suspect that Hornby are not going to start sell things from third parties, particularly not their direct competitors.

As far as I am aware, Hornby would be selling their current stock rather than items manufactured a few years ago. Sometimes old stock is more appropriate for my layout. For instance, a couple of years ago I bought a Southern Railway olive green M7 from a certain model shop. At the time, Hornby had not made any it that livery for a couple of years.

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Re: Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Postby Dad-1 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:08 am

Hi Bufferstop,

Perhaps it's changed, but I couldn't find much on their site ......
Mind you I don't know my way around it because I don't visit it much, perhaps twice a year.

I couldn't see any marketing strategy so simply can't comment, other than I buy on a mixture
of "Wanting", "Price" & "Availability" and I've not bought a new Hornby since the South Wales
tanks were released.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

Bigmet
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Re: Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Postby Bigmet » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:37 am

It's Hornby's business to operate exactly as they choose is the first principle, they will thrive or die by their own decisions. As for what they are trying to do, I can see logic in it. With costs rising fast at the manufacturing base, one way of holding customer prices down is cutting out a link in the supply chain, and from Hornby's perspective the one they can cut out is the retailer.

With online selling having developed so rapidly to the detriment of the high street retailer, this is unfortunate but hardly surprising. It also sheds new light on the decisions of the commissioning retailers like Hattons, Kernow and Rails. Saw this development coming and decided to source their own products.

The other 'have they lost the plot?' element concerns the product. My answer would be, don't think so! The K1 and J15 that I have just bought are corkers, the Thompson and Stanier non corridors are the right stuff, good and useful new wagons are available and their bunch of new model railway suppliers - I think there are six now - all appear able to do the job as well as Sanda Kan did. (The K1 is one of best OO steam constructions I have yet seen.) The 2015 announcements apeear to be well advanced and are excellent subject choices. In short the product to market supply is running better than the main competitor is achieving...

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Re: Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Postby GWR_fan » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:54 am

About three years ago a large American largescale train manufacturer with a history as long as the Hornby group, decided to limit sales to online. Dealers paid the same as online customers. Was it a success? Well, the company closed its doors on December 31st, 2013 after seventy odd years of trading.

Restricting sales online is the commencement of the slippery slope to oblivion. Kader are sitting back wringing their hands in glee patiently waiting to pick up the bones like they did with Sanda Kan for a few cents in the dollar.

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alex3410
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Re: Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Postby alex3410 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:56 am

i dont think they would ever limit to online only, allot of their target market is dependant on getting products in store but also can see why they are developing an online shop they would be silly not to!

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Bufferstop
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Re: Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Postby Bufferstop » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:42 am

I don't think Hornby have made the wording of their policy available on line, but there have been a number of briefings for press and traders, so we have to rely on the people who attended those briefings and who feel they should pass it on. They can only pass it on in their own words in précised form, that's why I think it important that anyone who is interested (thats us) should collect and pass on the published opinions of those who heard it first hand. In a case like this (where the primary source is hidden/obsured) it is essential to collect as many reports by secondary sources as possible, as they will inevitably put their own spin upon it, which can only be negated by comparing it with others. (The old idea of walking a straight line by tying a left hander to a right hander so that each cancels out the others bias.)

Now this is my opinion talking. Based upon what I have read I think Hornby is being naive and somewhat short sighted. Without advanced samples of the finished product, whether given, loaned or purchased by the reviewer, there can be no timely independent informed evaluation of the product, whether the review is published on line or in the press. The result of this will be at its least damaging, a slower uptake of the newly released product. Past history has shown that Hornby is capable of dropping some enormous clangers, the early informed opinion of others is their last line of defence. To me thinking otherwise smacks of arrogance which could lead to their demise. In the past they have been able to get by on the purchased goodwill of Hornby as produced by Meccano. They almost threw away the equally enormous goodwill of Triang/Rovex when they dropped the name. The current generation of "nostalgia purchasers" are as, or perhaps more, likely to have fond memories of Triang. The next generation are likely to have come from the time when Triang/Hornby was (as admitted by Simon Kohler) seen as passed it their Loyalty going via Airfix and Mainline to Bachmann and Dapol. We do live in interesting times.

John W
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b308
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Re: Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Postby b308 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:52 am

"Traditional Model Railway Shops" don't just rely on sales of new items to keep themselves in business so if Hornby did restrict to online only I still feel they'd keep going. If those that are moaning are just the box shifters then I, for one, couldn't give a damn, they reaped what they sowed...

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Emettman
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Re: Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Postby Emettman » Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:21 am

I don't see "lose the retailer" as any sort of strategy.

"Hornby" has massive public brand awareness, but this is maintained by massive presence: the name repeated over and over in boxes and displays in model shops. Lose that and the awareness will fade. I suspect quite quickly, and especially for that vital group: the newcomers to the hobby.

I don't know the relative costs, but I suspect that alongside or with a TV ad campaign when the new Thomas range comes out (I'm still reserving an "if": "I don't like it sergeant. It's quiet, too quiet") a junk mail shot to every home in the country might return benefit for expense.
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trainlover23
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Re: Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Postby trainlover23 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 12:22 pm

Here we go again the normal Lets bash Hornby brigade out in force. I followed the link and found nothing startling.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Postby Bufferstop » Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:26 pm

No Trainlover this isn't Hornby Bashing, it's an expression of concern for what is an institution, apparently making some very peculiar decisions. To me the reported remarks re "Model Shops" sounds awfully like the comments of the Hornby representative at the Great Gathering Gala. When wives, partners and significant others started commenting on a senior manager's lack of understanding, I find it hard to justify him remaining in that position. If the likes of Hattons, Kernow, Rails et al, or even a BBC news reporter with an understanding of crowd funding, are capable of commissioning a model from a manufacturer then a company who sees its customers purely as passive consumers is walking a very wobbly tightrope. Lets hope they can keep their balance
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Pennine MC
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Re: Have Hornby Lost the Plot

Postby Pennine MC » Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:27 pm

trainlover23 wrote:. I followed the link and found nothing startling.


Good for you. It's good to have opinions.


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