On paper, Early Access sounded great but the execution of it so far has been pretty underwhelming, IMO. As a new subscriber, I was curious to see how this new perk would play out but it seems to present its own unique problems that diminishes its potential. In the worst case, you can have your sub figures, EA stuff, and extra DOS sub items ship out as three separate shipments and triple up the already increased shipping costs!
Being caught up with my collection, I won't be needing EA most of the time, except for new out-of-sub items like a Weapons Pack. Still, I believe that subscribers deserve as many benefits as possible for going all-in, sight unseen, so I tried to think of ways that the EA experience could be improved...
1. Open the Access Window Before Subs Ship: Being able to get early dibs on some items the day before DOS is not impressive to me. Why not make the access date a day between the 5th-8th so that any orders placed can be combined with sub shipments? It shouldn't be a big deal to change the EA date. It could also simplify Matty's handling of orders and we'd get every monthly offering in one fell swoop!
2. Include Sub Items: I know, I know...What if someone buys all the Ram Mans? Just make it limited to 3 extras, regardless of how many subs we have, to facilitate those who may want multiples for customs or gifts. If anything, at least make the Army Builders available during EA. We probably won't need a bunch of Jitsu's but Horde Troopers just scream multiple purchases for nearly every collector!
3. Offer Sub Discounts: It makes no sense for a brand new figure to cost us $25 but older ones still go up to $27. That $2 discount, combined with point #1 above, would mean a lot to us and should translate to better sales.
4. Build an Early Access Library: Instead of taking down the monthly EA figures, like they do for re-issues, keep them up indefinitely after DOS until they truly sell out. Every month would add new figures to the EA page, giving subscribers an exclusive store for one day where every 2013 offering that's still in stock is available. It looks like leftover warehouse stock is worrisome to Matty, so why not give us the opportunity to buy remaining stock, at a profit to Mattel, instead of giving wholesale discounts to random retailers that we don't even know about? Plus, imagine how cool it would be to see a bunch of figures for sale in December instead of seeing "Sold Out" throughout the entire MOTUC catalog!
5. Offer Special Exclusives: No, not a full-blown MOTUC figure...Something small in a polybag. Perhaps a weapon or accessory (Like an clear icy sword for Frosta, Mosquitor's blood tanks, or Rattlor's Armor) for $6 or a mini-figure, like Kowl, Imp, or a Twigget, for $12. It could be a quarterly item or even Semi-Annually...Although a monthly weapon/accessory would be cool to see. I thought Power Con's secret accessory last year was a neat idea that could be expanded here!
Well, that's all that I can think of...What do you think?