The Beginner’s Guide To LEGO Star Wars Collecting 103: Buying Habits

Before delving into the various aspects of where to shop for LEGO Star Wars sets, it’s important to understand the different ways – and not just the different places – you can shop for LEGO. To do this properly you have to look at the different shopping habits that drive the collector to make a purchase.

Of the seven different kinds of shoppers, most LEGO Star Wars collectors would identify themselves as brand loyalists, whether it be to the construction brick from Denmark or a galaxy far, far away. Setting that allegiance aside, there are a number of other shopping habits that LEGO Star Wars collectors – for various reasons – don’t fit the bill for and can be excluded. By the very nature of the collecting hobby, people who like to while away a Sunday afternoon browsing in the mall aren’t likely to be drawn towards buying LEGO Star Wars sets. Likewise, the shopper who likes to research an item to find out all its strengths and weaknesses in order to get the best deal isn’t going to find a place in the emotive Star Wars community.

That leaves four different shopping types – the practical shopper, the bargain hunter, the negotiator and the impulse buyer – that LEGO Star Wars collectors can generally be identifed as falling into.

For the most part, LEGO Star Wars collectors – like the bulk of the consuming public – are practical shoppers. At its most basic, the nature of collecting involves checklists, researching, patience, and – above all – budgeting.

The practical shopper will understand the how and when of releases, what they can afford at any time, the ground rules for what they are collecting and that LEGO Star Wars collecting is want over need.

Such is the level of hype that when new sets are about to drop, LEGO barely has to lift a finger once the word has begun to spread within the LEGO community – and unlikely as this sounds, those collectors who will commit time and energy to ensure they get new sets on the day of release fall into the practical shopper category.

Being a very taxonomical and hierarchical toy, the core essence of LEGO and a systematic approach that committed collecting requires draws practical people. Not surprisingly the practical shopper group is the most common in the LEGO collecting hobby.

Secondmost is the bargain hunter. These types of LEGO collectors only buy when there are sales on and deals to be had and will often buy sets they aren’t collecting because they are part of a deal.

Due to the simple fact that LEGO rarely goes on sale – and when it does it’s not with a significant discount – these are the rarest of LEGO shoppers, but are the ones who will know when every double VIP Point offer is coming up, the dollar per brick ratio at a given time and what neighborhoods have the best garage sales, where all the good flea markets are, have joined multiple buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook and know how to get the most of out Craigslist.

The shopper who likes to negotiate the price they pay is a rare one in the LEGO Star Wars community as prices are generally established between LEGO and the retailer. Where a negotiator can find a place to demonstrate their purchasing preference is in the secondary market – particularly buying pre-loved sets. While a cashier at a big box store will rarely be able to deviate from the marked price, a seller on Facebook, eBay, Craigslist or Gumtree will have wiggle room. The acceptance of haggling when buying over these platforms generally comes from the sight unseen aspect of the purchase, and sellers are more open to discounts because of this.

The most detrimental purchase you can make is the one done under impulse, whether it be a polybag at the register, a split-second decision walking down the toy aisle, or an inebriated click while surfing the web.

While the additional cost of the Star Wars license makes producing impulse sets prohibitively expensive, LEGO generally steers away from these. Where LEGO does employ it to catch the eye of Star Wars fans is the gift with purchase promotion. These offers have limited periods of availability, and combined with strategic purchase thresholds, are designed to trigger impulse buy reactions.

Armed with the knowledge that you – and everyone else – fits into a mold means that you can alter your retail inclination to best suit your budget and timeframe, and ultimately be a better collector. Get ready to go shopping!

Entertainment Earth

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