Last Friday, Upper Deck announced a new distribution program for its products that starts with items shipping in April. These moves were to strengthen and protect the company’s brands, while also streamlining
and better-defining the company’s channels of distribution.
In short, Upper Deck wants collectors to buy from shops, and distributors are to tailor to those shops and not sell direct to the consumer. Some of the specifics include the following:
"Authorized Upper Deck Hobby Distributors are expected to only sell
current sealed product to brick and mortar hobby shops that agree to
only sell it to end-user collectors. These Certified Diamond Dealer
brick and mortar hobby shops are NOT permitted to wholesale the product
to other retailers, to sub-distributors, or any other entity other than
the end consumer. Upper Deck is also creating a new class of trade
called UD Authorized Internet Retailers (AIR’s), for a select few
customers that operate a brick and mortar hobby shop, and also have a
presence on the internet. Upper Deck Authorized Internet Retailers have
been hand-picked by Upper Deck to represent our brands online, and may
be identified by looking for the Upper Deck AIR logo."
Mike Diamond, Upper Deck’s director of hobby sales, then answered some questions on the subject, all of which can be found HERE.
Some of the highlights are as follows:
- The program will start with the release of 2011 Upper Deck Football on April 12
- Collectors will no longer be able to buy through distributors.
"The job of our distributors is to help keep shelves stocked for our
hobby shops and authorized internet retailers," Phillips said. "Any of our distributors
found selling to collectors will be removed from our distribution
network. As a collector however, you will still have plenty of resources
to purchase product."
- A list of Authorized Internet Retailers will be coming soon.
- Only for current UD products. After 90 days, shops can sell as they please.
- Dealers must agree to the program or they cannot purchase the product.
- Program will be enforced through a Hobby Policy Enforcement Specialist.
All of these moved were made by Upper Deck in conjunction with UD's Certified Diamond Dealers (hobby shops), authorized distributors and legal team.