Update to Pre-Order Policy

We have now changed our pre-order policy to streamline our processing by charging all customers with pre-orders the entire cost of the order immediately.  There are a number of reasons for this, including the fact that we are already doing the same for PayPal customers and now, it’s the same for all orders.  This creates a much fairer environment for all concerned and makes it easier to keep track of what has / has not been charged.

In addition, the change in policy reduces the backend hassle / updates / inventory tracking that we are doing for all pre-orders. We no longer need to worry about charging customers for orders held for over a month with in-stock items and will speed up our processing of pre-orders when the pre-orders being to arrive.

Obviously, from a business perspective it also improves our cash flow for our business. We no longer have to ‘float’ the in-stock product with our funds and for pre-orders, we have a guarantee on the number that we need to bring in at the very minimum, which will allow us to increase our pre-order numbers.

If you have any questions about the policy, feel free to comment here on just contacting us direct.

 

 

Pre-Orders, Returns and Policy Changes

There recently has been a highly contentious thread on BGG on Return Policies for Online Game Stores.   I am not going to discuss the other store’s policies, though we thought we’d clarify our own thoughts on the matter and bring up a question that has been on our mind.

Return Policy

For those of you who haven’t read our Return Policy; it’s out of the norm it seems for the online game store industry.  I’ve rewritten it slightly to clarify some points that were clear in my mind but wasn’t so in the policy itself.

It seems that online game stores either provide returns 14 days from time of order (i.e. the count starts the moment you order) or when an order is received (after shipping).  The vast majority who do pre-orders do returns from 14 days from time of order; due to the potential concern it seems about returns for ‘older’ items held on the order.

I can actually see the reasoning behind that; but we’ve yet to have a customer ‘take advantage’ of our return policy in that way so far.  If anything has ‘cost’ us; it’s our willingness to take returns for opened products.  So far at least, we’re happy with our return policy as is and we’ll be keeping it as it is.

Pre-Orders

So let’s discuss pre-orders.  We like pre-orders; in fact, we go out of our way to encourage customers to make pre-orders by providing more points for pre-orders and creating a new section for them.  We’re in the process of putting together a blog list of pre-order release dates as well since it’s one of the major requests.

Why do we like pre-orders?

  • Indication of customer interest

Actually; that’s it.  Knowing what games are of interest to our customers helps us not order too many ‘dead’ games; which makes a big difference really.

There’s some talk of game stores ‘getting’ the capital beforehand – but we don’t charge orders till we ship them generally.  We allow for the possibility for this; but we generally don’t take advantage of it.

Policy Changes

Which does bring us to a potential problem.  We currently take pre-orders, do not charge the orders till they ship, and then take returns on these orders up until 14 days after receipt.  There are two issues here:

  • products ‘on-hold’; uncharged for months (in some cases like Catacombs, nearly a year!) that might actually be returned
  • inconsistent policies – due to the way PayPal functions, we can’t ‘hold’ an authorisation for very long and must charge the card immediately.  So some customers get charged and others don’t.

Which leads us to something we’ve been considering for a while – switching to charging all orders immediately to make it more consistent.

Why haven’t we?

  • potential customer dissatisfaction; though some indications are there that customers don’t even realise our policies of not charging or care
  • additional charges for cancelled orders and the need to refund customers

Of course, we could do it the way other online game stores do it; consider a sale final after 14 days of the order.  On the other hand, that brings its own host of issues including a counter-intuitive returns policy.  So what do you all think?