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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 31 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: How to do preorders?  (Read 1689 times)
Robert Bohl
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Posts: 526


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« on: May 07, 2008, 12:30:33 PM »

I am (almost certainly) going to do preorders for the ashcan of Misspent Youth, which I am planning to release at Gen Con. How does one go about doing preorders? What do I need to know? What are the snags? How do I track who is owed what without its becoming a nightmare? What's the best way to put the fact that it's available for preorder out there, and how do I make it available?

I mean my simple gut instinct is to create a website, put a paypal button on it and print out all the Paypallings I get as I get them or something. I suspect there are probably better ways to do this, or things to keep in mind.
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Game:
Misspent Youth: Ocean's 11 + Avatar: The Last Airbender + Snow Crash
Shows:
Oo! Let's Make a Game!: Joshua A.C. Newman and I make a transhumanist RPG
iago
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Posts: 863


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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2008, 12:50:23 PM »

Your questions indicate you've already anticipated most of the snags.  I'd suggest maintaining a Google Docs Spreadsheet and copying the contact information (and number of copies ordered, if relevant) over into it each time a purchase is made.  By having it in Google Docs, it should be pretty easy for you to access that data wherever you are, which can be good if you find yourself at a convention and folks start asking if they can just get it delivered to them in person.
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Robert Bohl
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Posts: 526


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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2008, 01:35:07 PM »

Thanks Fred. The Google Docs idea is a good one.
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Game:
Misspent Youth: Ocean's 11 + Avatar: The Last Airbender + Snow Crash
Shows:
Oo! Let's Make a Game!: Joshua A.C. Newman and I make a transhumanist RPG
guildofblades
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Posts: 309


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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2008, 05:05:26 PM »

Thus far we have used a very informal pre order system. People e-mail us to express interest. We archive the e-mails. When the product is a week or two out from actual release, everyone that expressed interest gets an e-mail and a private purchase link with the pre order deal. They can then follow up on their pre order or not. Over time we've arrived at a fairly constant percentage we can count on following through on paying for the pre order.

The thing about taking payment for an item you intend to "ship" to the customer is there are standards with regards to how quickly you are suppose to ship that item. Failure to do so can put you into hot water several different ways. With possible mail fraud, Paypal and/or your CC company.

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Retail Group - http://www.guildofblades.com/retailgroup.php
Guild of Blades Publishing Group - http://www.guildofblades.com
1483 Online - http://www.1483online.com
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Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
http://www.guildofblades.com
iago
Member

Posts: 863


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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2008, 07:25:50 AM »

The thing about taking payment for an item you intend to "ship" to the customer is there are standards with regards to how quickly you are suppose to ship that item. Failure to do so can put you into hot water several different ways. With possible mail fraud, Paypal and/or your CC company.
Do you have any specifics on that?  And what if the timeframe is made explicit to the consumer at the time of purchase?
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guildofblades
Member

Posts: 309


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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2008, 11:35:26 AM »

Well, I don't have a handy reference, but if you claim to ship via the post office or you accept money via post of use the post office for the solicitation of your pre order in any fashion, I believe you are expected to ship your items within 30 days of taking the money.

Paypal has a consumer settlement period of 45 days. After that time period of the consumer gets screwed and they didn't raise a challenge, they have lost most of their recourse. And I think most consumer credit cards have a reasonable dispute period of 60 days. So if you take payment and do not ship and deliver in those time frames, you have eliminated most fair recourse options from your customers and I suspect many won't like that.

Many of the wargame manufacturers who do pre order deals usually take your pre order and credit card info and have a form either signed on paper or an online form that gives you the right to charge the card in some timeframe around the time the product will be manufactured/shipped. So pre orders might be collected for months (or in a few cases, I've heard pre orders collected for years), but you wouldn't actually charge the cards until you've collected your target pre order goals and its time to print and ship the item.

We don't like the liability of keeping customer financial data around, as such, so we collect pre orders via e-mail or by form submit, but its all just stored via e-mail on our end. When we're ready to move forward, we then give customers an online form to pay for the pre order deal or now that we have a CC terminal, we can take pre orders via phone also. But we would never charge on those until we are just a week or two away from actually shipping. Folks that have "pre ordered" then failed to follow through on pre orders have simply gone onto a no pre order list, where we will not accept or honor pre orders from those persons in the future. They thusly do not get counted as part of our pre order numbers.

Our longest game in pre orders has been Empires of History: WWII. Its been in pre orders for about 6 years. The maps are finally done, its going through play tests write now and I am laying out the nation sheets and prettying up the game rules presentation. I think we have about 450 pre orders. Traditionally we clear about 70 percent of pre orders. Though this one has been in pre order for so long, I think 50% will be more likely in this case. We're getting ready to print the box wrap shortly and should be releasing this title in about 6 weeks. That means in about 4 weeks we'll be contacting everyone who pre ordered and offering them an opportunity to purchase on the pre order deal.

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Retail Group - http://www.guildofblades.com/retailgroup.php
Guild of Blades Publishing Group - http://www.guildofblades.com
1483 Online - http://www.1483online.com
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Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
http://www.guildofblades.com
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