Logistics changeover completed and new shopping cart

Hi all,

Well, two major changes. After 8 hours of solid work, the entire inventory of board games and role-playing games has been completed and shifted over to our logistics company. We’ll be posting more information on this soon including their address for local store pick-ups.

There was a little hiccup during the move that damaged a few games. They are now added to the ‘Promotion’ bin as a discount. If you do receive a game that was damaged that we missed, as always, do inform us and we’ll make it right. The damaged games are

Also, there’s a new shopping cart in place. Do look it over, see how you find it. We’re hoping it works better and more smoothly for all of you when you are ordering your games.

Tao

No gift-wrapping, updated FAQ and pre-orders

A few changes on the site. As you may know, we are shifting to a 3rd party logistics provider who will allow us to ship orders everyday and allow pick-ups within the next business day. We are shipping our last batch of orders tomorrow at which point, our next shipments out will occur on Wednesday, July 2nd and be much more frequent from then on. Barring unforseen issues.

This has brought a few changes:

  • No more gift-wrapping as an option. Until we work out the best way to do this, we will no longer gift-wrap any board games
  • We also updated the FAQ with some of the most recent changes (gift-wrapping, etc.) and will update it again in a few days once everything is settled at the Logistics company
  • Pre-orders are no longer being taken as discussed. We will keep the vast majority of pre-orders with us to ship but for the moment, we will no longer be accepting pre-orders of products.

That’s it for now. Wish us luck on Sunday. We will be moving our inventory that day!

New posts

Hi all,

Just to point out we have a new post available on the site (currently hosted on the blog and the site) about shipping charges. For some reason, it breaks the code on the main site, so we are hosting it there for now.

Comparison Shipping Charges for Board Games within Canada

As a guide to how much shipping our board games would cost to different locations within Canada, we thought we would provide the following shipping estimates. These prices are estimates only and valid on June 22, 2008 and may be different depending on exact postal code and additional fuel surcharges.

An order of board games was used to compare shipping charges comprised of:

· Settlers of Catan

· Carcassonne

· Ticket to Ride

Current price for the order of board games on the site is CAD $91.85 before taxes and shipping. Retail price for these games would normally be approximately CAD $158.97.

As an explanation for the prices, Canada Post uses Regional and National shipping rate cards. Regional prices vary greatly within the Region itself (and generally are close to BC) while National costs are almost ‘flat rated’ to provinces in the East (Ontario, Quebec, NWT, etc.).

Regional Shipping Prices

Shipping Locations

Shipping Cost for Board Game Order

British Columbia

Prince George

$13.15

Kamloops

$12.23

Fort Nelson

$15.20

Yukon

Dawson City

$19.90

Whitehorse

$17.49

Northwest Territories

Inuvik

$19.90

Yellowknife

$17.49

Alberta

Edmonton

$15.38

Calgary

$15.38

Fort McMurray

$16.97

Saskatchewan

Regina

$15.38

Saskatoon

$15.38

Nunavut

Iqaluit

$38.11

Manitoba

Churchill

$19.90

Winnipeg

$17.49

Ontario

Thunder Bay

$17.49

Toronto

$17.49

Ottawa

$17.49

Quebec

Quebec City

$17.49

Montreal

$17.49

Newfoundland

Churchill Falls

$17.49

St. John’s

$17.49

Fredericton

$17.49

Nova Scotia

Halifax

$17.49

Prince Edwards Island

Charlottetown

$17.49

As you can see, shipping our board games to cities like Edmonton or Calgary or as far a field as Fredericton or Halifax is often still cheaper than purchasing at local board game stores. Even for single games like Settlers of Catan (MSRP of $54.99 and sold at $29.95), there are often savings on your board game purchase (in this case, about $7.55).

Inventory mistakes

Eeek! We just realised that there were some mistakes on the inventory count so that some games that we had in-stock were not showing up in-stock. As such, just an update that these games are in stock:

– Tide of Iron (original and expansion)

– Ticket to Ride (original, Europe and all expansions)

Shadows over Camelot (and expansion)

– And lastly, Red Dragon Inn

A few other less popular games were showing up as out-of-stock which have also been corrected. Our apologies!

Just some links

To some interesting articles and news:

Top 10 Board Games we secretly hate – amusing if true list. Oh how we need to show them some good games

Soccer Tactics WorldLocal Vancouverite and soccer player Gianni Patino endorses Soccer Tactics World -it’s always nice to see a local kid (literally in this case!) go big. And Soccer Tactics World is a ton of fun.

– Pitstop Cafe discusses the Mafia in board games – great suggestions on Mafia related board games (specifically Family Business and Ca$h n’Gun$)

Pre-orders stopped

Hi all,

We are putting a stop to all pre-orders for the moment. That means that you will not be able to pre-order board games any longer that are out-of-stock on the site. You can contact us to indicate that you would like to purchase the game, but will no longer be able to make orders for these.

Within the next few weeks, we expect to have a system to allow you to indicate your interest on the site directly. Look out for this new feature that should be coming very soon.

Logistics and shipping changes

Big changes in logistics. As many of you know, we have had occasional hiccups in getting orders out as both Alison and I work full-time jobs. We have not been happy about this situation and have been working behind the scenes for a solution. Quite a few options were looked into, including hiring an employee directly (big issues about accountability and responsibility), going full-retail (insufficient cashflow as yet) and finally, a 3rd party logistics company doing our shipping.

We decided to go with a 3rd party after we weighed and received quotes for all the other options. Thus, as of July 1, 2008 we will be working with a 3rd party logistics company based in Delta, BC who will do our shipping for us. This has some profound impacts on our business (most good!) which include:

  • shipping daily via Canada Post
  • fixed, 5 day a week local pick-up location
  • more regular, up-to-date information on the site with regard to order status
  • fixed ‘cut-off’ times for order changes
  • no gift-wrapping (this might be reintroduced in Nov/Dec if we are able to do so)

In the short-term, this means:

  • we will not be restocking until at least July 1, 2008 (to make the shift easier)
  • pre-orders will be stopped. A new system for customers to express interest in games will be created.
  • business as usual for all other orders

Accounting and business

One of the inviolable facts of business is that you need to do accounting. It is also the bane of my existence. Now, for those of you who are accountants, I hasten to add that it’s not that I don’t see the value in it, I just hate doing it myself.

It’s not just the pure bookkeeping aspects that drive me insane. Though making sure all our receipts are in order, making our inventory count adds up to our actual sales and inventory purchases (see my post on inventory) and well, all the other myriad details makes me almost wish I wasn’t allergic to alcohol. Or some days forget I am.

No, it’s figuring out Quickbooks. I know, one day, it’ll start working rickety-tick and I’ll bless it. I already did once while doing the scan for games that went up in price recently. Still, for the moment, it’s in the ‘kick it around till it works’ stage.

Still, in the time I’ve been working on it, a few suggestions come to mind (some, I might note, learnt the hard-way):

that inventory valuation tool is so useful for a retail business

never let your books slide because catching up is worst than doing it in the first phase

hire a professional – at least long enough to set up your accounts in the first-place

be systematic about it, it’ll save you time in the long-run

‘profit’ is great – but cashflow is even more important

June Newsletter

A number of important updates are happening this month and next, which we hope will be a good surprise for all of you. These changes include:

Review Contest Winner

We’d like to thank everybody who took part in the review contest, we was thrilled at the response and the quality of reviews that arrived. Some of you even had multiple reviews! The winner of May’s contest was Ryan N. for his review of the Princes of Florence. We will be e-mailing Ryann personally with his coupon code.


Site Design Changes

We have done a few minor changes to the site itself, but perhaps the most important is the inclusion of a filtered search function on the far left menu bar. We’re watching the results of the usage, but any comments you might have on it would be greatly appreciated. It’s been a huge project that we hope will provide the site with a lot more functionality.

Free Shipping increased to $175

One of the main changes this month is that we are increasing the minimum for our free shipping from $150 to $175. This is mainly due to an increase in shipping charges that we have been bearing till now. And yes, we will blame the rising cost of gasoline – our fuel surchages have gone from 1 to 2% of the base cost up to 25% some months and it doesn’t look to get any better anytime soon.