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Anyone here use the online Pick a Brick?

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Anyone here use the online Pick a Brick?

Postby Solo » Sun Jul 19, 2009 1:56 am

/me puts on Ambassador hat

I've gotten word that they're "in the process of updating the PAB assortment for next year" - and want to find out what type of parts you'd like to see more of, and what you think would be a good level variety. The example of what the sort of feedback they're looking for is 20% plates, 40% bricks, 5 % wheels, 10% door & Windows etc. - but I can pass on other thoughts too.
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Re: Anyone here use the online Pick a Brick?

Postby Andi » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:08 am

Is this for the online Pick a Brick?
The ambassador at 1000Steine asked for the same feedback, but made it sound like it would be for the PaB-Walls in the stores?
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Re: Anyone here use the online Pick a Brick?

Postby Solo » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:15 am

We haven't gotten a clarification yet, but from the wording it sounds like it's for specifically for the online assortment.
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Re: Anyone here use the online Pick a Brick?

Postby gfxguy » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:09 pm

Solo wrote:We haven't gotten a clarification yet, but from the wording it sounds like it's for specifically for the online assortment.


Yeah... this is such a terrible way to ask. I'm not how they could do it better...

As AFOLs, they need to more big-build colors in various bricks... so they don't necessarily need more bricks, but if they carried the colors that people, you know, actually WANT, that'd be great... light real gray and brown, brick red...

It's hard to just pull % out of my butt, because what I want varies too much over time. For me, I want more train parts to build MOCs and older models that they don't sell anymore. There's one piece I've needed, for example, that's available at PAB in every color except the one I need... and yes, LEGO released it in a set... on BL, that piece goes for $0.90 or so in the quantity that I need... that's like $60 bucks just to build the roof of the train, so I had to MOC the roof with other parts.

I guess if I could just say one thing, it'd bulk bricks in colors that buildings are actually made with.

It's hard to say percentages, because if I just said "more bricks," I'm sure I'd get more LEGO primary color (red, blue, yellow) bricks, when those are generally filler for many AFOLs.
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Re: Anyone here use the online Pick a Brick?

Postby theJudeAbides » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:50 pm

I, too, would like to see more "rare" colors when it comes to bricks and plates, but also would like to echo the "real" colors sentiment as well (there's actually a bit of a overlap at times). By "rare colors" I generally mean colors like dark green, dark blue, tan, brown, pink, and purple but am not referring to rarer (I call them "super rare" colors) like very light gray, the sand colors, etc... They are the colors that LEGO uses in small quantities in themed sets, but don't include (or include in small quantities) in their brick buckets. Note, this could be applied to both in store and online PABs.

As for part types, they should definately keep stocking all the standard sized (1xX and 2xX) bricks and plates in as many colors as possible. Other important pieces include slopes (in as many sizes as possible), wedges, wings, and tiles. I just looked at what is currently available online, and am generally impressed with selection.

For me, the main reason I don't order from the online PAB is the prices. It's not even a Bricklink issue either (although Bricklink sure doesn't help matters). When I look at the prices, I know that I could go to my local PAB and stuff more of a given part into a cup than I would get by spending the same amount online. They need to figure out how many of a given piece a skilled PABer (i.e. not someone who just dumps them in helter-skelter, but knows what they are doing) can pack into a cup and then divide by the cup price to get their total cost. For me, that is the biggest factor turning me away from the online PAB.
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Re: Anyone here use the online Pick a Brick?

Postby GIR3691 » Sun Jul 19, 2009 8:35 pm

Specifically, I'd like to see battle droid legs in the colors the droid torsos are available in. It's really annoying to make various bots with no legs. Also more windscreens. Lots more. In general, I'd like to see more of new elements put out in the PAB. I also agree with the rare colors that are used in bulk to make buildings like dark red tiles.

I've only ordered PAB online once, and did it gritting my teeth due to the prices and shipping cost. I only ordered the rare parts or new pieces I didn't own like the spaceman shirt torso and ice cream, which ended up being slightly cheaper than Bricklink.

EDIT: One more thing- army builders would probably flip to see soldier-like torsos in PAB, like the SPIII, Castle, and Pirates soldiers. As I understand it, licensed parts are unable to be PAB-ed, I'd be giddy as a schoolgirl if the Endor soldier torsos were added.
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Re: Anyone here use the online Pick a Brick?

Postby Solo » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:17 am

Good stuff, good stuff. Keep it coming people.
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Re: Anyone here use the online Pick a Brick?

Postby Crusader » Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:15 am

Not so much from an AFOL point of view, but as a parent, I think they'll sell more by adding more accessories and minfigs parts. Typically I use PAB to round off my shipping charges to the price bracket limit. In other words, if I'm ordering $20 of sets I'll order $5 of PAB since the shipping charges are the same.

Granted they have a half decent selection of parts now, but more hair options (Agent Trace hair in red for example), torsos, animals (like brown horses), weapons and food (like whole roasted turkeys) are always fun filler. I rarely order individual parts for a MOC from PAB, but I like to surprise my kids with a a little scene of stormtroopers enjoying ice cream cones when I can.
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Re: Anyone here use the online Pick a Brick?

Postby Draykov » Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:41 am

theJudeAbides wrote:
As for part types, they should definately keep stocking all the standard sized (1xX and 2xX) bricks and plates in as many colors as possible. Other important pieces include slopes (in as many sizes as possible), wedges, wings, and tiles. I just looked at what is currently available online, and am generally impressed with selection.

For me, the main reason I don't order from the online PAB is the prices. It's not even a Bricklink issue either (although Bricklink sure doesn't help matters). When I look at the prices, I know that I could go to my local PAB and stuff more of a given part into a cup than I would get by spending the same amount online. They need to figure out how many of a given piece a skilled PABer (i.e. not someone who just dumps them in helter-skelter, but knows what they are doing) can pack into a cup and then divide by the cup price to get their total cost. For me, that is the biggest factor turning me away from the online PAB.


Werd on all counts. The price of P-a-B online combined with the fact that I now have not one, but two LEGO retail stores in my part of the world means I'm much more likely to hit up the store or Bricklink.

As for parts, I'd like to see more modified plates and bricks, but as JA pointed out, other standard parts like brick, plate, slope, wedge etc. in a variety colors are very useful. I'd also like to see a bigger variety or even a cyclical replacement of wheels and tires (though, I'm sure they do that already to the extent that they can). This is probably a bit of a pipe dream, but I'd like a bigger variety of minifig parts...possibly even some created exclusively for Pick-a-Brick? Dare to dream. Classic-Space torsos in green, (bluish) gray, etc. perhaps? And I'm still waiting on this torso in a color other than red. I'm not giving up. Some of the pricier parts on Bricklink would be welcome too: specifically, flesh hands and generic smiley heads. Some spacier windscreens would be nice too...and again, if we're talking about the pipe dream of parts designed for P-a-B distribution, maybe some windscreens in trans yellow that were heretofore unavailable in that color. Ooh, and printed parts. For the love of Pete, if they can print the CS logo on a "vintage" fig, then crank me out some 1x2 blue bricks with that puppy! But even if we're talking something more realistic, more printed bricks, tiles and slopes would be great (especially if they were more computery, controllery in nature).

I realize I'm getting all CS fanboy here, but those are the kinds of Pick-a-Brick selections I come across in those dreams that begin with my pillow turning into a giant Belgian waffle...syrupy, buttery, spacey goodness.
Last edited by Draykov on Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anyone here use the online Pick a Brick?

Postby Solo » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:42 am

Good thoughts guys, but try to keep in mind they're trying to figure out how to best balance the pallet, not taking suggestions on specific items you want added.

The general consensus seems to be you guys want more standard building elements (basic and modified bricks, basic and modified plates, tiles, slopes, wedges and wings) in non-primary/"real world" colors - and more minifigure parts and accessories. Wheels, windows and doors are low priority. Lemme know if I'm off base.

Do you think the current assortment is balanced, just lacking in colors options? Or are there too many junk items available that you'd consider wasted inventory? I'm going to send this back later today so I'd like to get a bit more feedback before then.
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Re: Anyone here use the online Pick a Brick?

Postby Draykov » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:51 pm

Solo wrote:Wheels, windows and doors are low priority. Lemme know if I'm off base.

Do you think the current assortment is balanced, just lacking in colors options? Or are there too many junk items available that you'd consider wasted inventory? I'm going to send this back later today so I'd like to get a bit more feedback before then.


On the first point, yeah, I'd say that's accurate. Perhaps if they had a more frequent rotation of parts in the wheels, windows, doors category, it'd be more interesting/marketable. My opinion is that the current selection hangs out too long. I only need so many red door frames before I never need any more again ever, ya know?

On the second point, I don't build much with Technic angles and bushings (I don't build MOCs much period these days, unfortunately, but I'm still trying to turn that around). System sets include a lot more of those types of parts on average than they used to. As such, I think that kind of thing is wasted inventory. The same could probably be said of axles and pins too. That along with any shooty, flick-fire stuff is just a waste. Other than that, I'd say I'm pretty impressed, but I guess the overriding issue for me is that the turn-around on palette changes is pretty slow. I can put in one P-a-B Online order in a year and be good until the next palette change...and it seems like they've changed it up, what...twice? Maybe three times since its inception? If you can't give it all to me on demand (which is impossible), then switch it up often enough to keep it interesting and to keep me coming back for more. Keep the more basic parts in the rotation all the time in as many colors as possible, sure, but anything that's not a brick, plate or slope can be swapped in and out (at least as far as I, as a consumer, am concerned - I realize logistics might dictate otherwise).

So to reiterate and to answer your question more in the manner you're looking for: the existing palette is not bad, but if it's the same 6-9 months from now, I'll be less likely to shop at Pick-a-Brick online. It could also do with an injection of more modified plate/brick, more minifig stuff, more printed bricks, slopes and tiles.

GIR3691 wrote: As I understand it, licensed parts are unable to be PAB-ed, I'd be giddy as a schoolgirl if the Endor soldier torsos were added.


This torso ended up in the Custom Car Garage set (10200) and in the Online P-a-B not too long ago. It could happen witn other toros depending on the stringency of the license as it relates to that partiuclar part.
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Re: Anyone here use the online Pick a Brick?

Postby meeotch » Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:31 am

I tried to post this yesterday, but of course mySQL had problems and I lost it all. Anyways...

What I'd like to see, if there isn't something like this all ready, is a bulk purchase option on pieces that would be the foundation of any collection (bricks, plates, and slopes). By this, I mean that a quantity of 20, 50 or 100 might be the magic number, but the pieces could be in the polybags in that amount in bags that are pre-weighed by machines like the bags for sets are. That way, it costs (in labor) the same amount to put a single piece in the order as it would to put a bag of 20 pieces in the order, and price-per-piece could go down a bit.
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Re: Anyone here use the online Pick a Brick?

Postby Aharown » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:13 pm

meeotch wrote:What I'd like to see, if there isn't something like this all ready, is a bulk purchase option on pieces that would be the foundation of any collection (bricks, plates, and slopes). By this, I mean that a quantity of 20, 50 or 100 might be the magic number, but the pieces could be in the polybags in that amount in bags that are pre-weighed by machines like the bags for sets are. That way, it costs (in labor) the same amount to put a single piece in the order as it would to put a bag of 20 pieces in the order, and price-per-piece could go down a bit.


I agree. Specifically, basic bricks, plates, tiles and roof tiles. Lego used to do this, in fact. That way, large quantities of basic bricks in useful colours could be bought in bulk packs (I got most of my old light grey parts this way), while special parts could be offered on PaB.
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Re: Anyone here use the online Pick a Brick?

Postby theJudeAbides » Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:55 pm

You know, I was thinking the same thing the other day. It occurred to me that maybe the reason the prices are so high is because of people just ordering a few (1-5) of certain elements and the associated labor involved with.

Then I thought, well maybe if one ordered in bulk, the cost of labor vs the cost of the pieces would go down, and therefore the pieces would cost less. I imagine the reason the "real-life PAB" costs can be so low is because the only labor involved on LEGO's end is the dumping of the boxes into the bins and then letting the customer to the packing themself.

Therefore, I would think (as others mentioned) that if offered pre-packaged quantities (20, 50, 100, etc...), that the cost per piece could. Another option would be to offer "incentives" for ordering in bulk. For example, if you ordered more than 100 of a certain piece, you'd get 5% off; order more than 1000 and get 10% off. The individual numbers may need to be changed, but I think you get the picture.
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