In recent weeks Good Smile Company has become the latest anime merchandise manufacturer and distributor to change the way they do business with customers and retailers outside of Japan. The changes that Good Smile are implementing will inflict a certain amount of pain on themselves and their consumers but in the long-term could be seen as acceptable losses because it could help reduce the amount of counterfeit and unlicensed goods that is being sold in their name.
Ever since Good Smile started selling its products overseas they have had official distributors, these have been based in Europe, USA and several regions of Asia, since establishing trade with these distributors they have also started to supply directly to some retailers. Good Smile dealing directly with retailers means that they make more money on this stock because there is no middle man but the retailers will tend not to order as much stock as the official distributors.
The problem with Good Smile selling directly to some retailers is that it damages sales of their official distributors, generally the retailers Good Smile supply to are the bigger companies, so this had made the largest negative impact on their distributors.
In recent weeks for some reason, likely either pressure from their distributors or just a need to simplify their management, Good Smile have decided to terminate all their dealings with retailers and from now on and their goods will only be available to retailers through their official distributors. To the retailers they have been stocking to this has been a very difficult time as in most cases they received very little or no advanced notice that their contracts (if they ever had them) are going to be terminated. The result of this has meant many of the affected retailers having stock available for pre-order but with no certainty that they would be able to obtain the stock at the listed prices.
Because Good Smile goods will only be available to retailers through official distributors they will now have more control over pricing as well as limit the amount of counterfeit goods are available, although none of this will be evident until the long-term. In the short-term there could be a rise in their prices as retailers are forced to change suppliers.
It has also become apparent that Good Smile could be about to change they way it does business in Japan, here they are their own distributor. Many of the larger Japanese retailers have received advice of Good Smile suggesting that they cease sales of Good Smile goods to outside of Japan, effectively stopping the export of their goods. The reasons for this are still unknown. Perhaps this could be to encourage consumers to buy their goods from retailers in their own regions, supporting their official distributors. Alternatively Good Smile could have plans to start selling outside of Japan at retail themselves, we will have to wait and see what comes of this.