We just changed our shipping, order & return policies page. The main alteration (beyond clarification and design changes) has been to introduce information and explicitly state a new pre-order policy.
Our pre-order policy has been to hold shipping of an order till all products in an order are available to ship unless otherwise requested by a customer. We are going to continue with this policy at the moment, as customers seem to prefer this method as they may then take advantage of the free shipping policies and ‘banking’ or ‘holding’ various board games for themselves.
However, we have introduced charges for all in-stock games for orders that will not ship for over a month. To clarify, if your order will ship in 2 weeks, you will not be charged until we actually ship the entire order. However, if your order is expected to ship in 6 weeks, we will charge you for any in-stock games that might be on your order.
The reason for this change has been to reduce our holding costs for pre-orders. When a customer places a $400 order with only one $20 product on pre-order, we are forced to ‘hold’ all $380 of in-stock product aside for him till the order ships. If this order ships within a month, this is not an issue. If the pre-order is for 6 months away (its happened), this is a very large quantity of product held aside. Especially when multiplied over 20-30 customers.
However, I’m not entirely satisfied this is the best option so far. Other options available at other game stores include:
- shipping the in-stock product immediately and charging additional shipping for the pre-ordered games when they are available
- charging for the full amount immediately
- not taking any pre-orders at all
I’m still considering if there are other options available, and if so, will they meet our business requirements as well as customer service requirements. If you have any ideas or suggestions, do offer them. We’d be grateful to hear from you on this.