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Old 11-26-2004, 04:53 PM   #1
Farmer
 
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Default International Shipping

This is the tale of books well travelled - too well travelled, I suspect. I will mention at the start that matters were well resolved in the end and for that a thank you to SJ Games. Perhaps, though, this tale will prompt some thought about improvements in the future.

A small but active group of gamers and GURPers we have given patronage to well over a hundred titles over nearly two decades of GURPing. Other selections such as Car Wars and Killer were, for me at least, the entry point to the world of SJ Games.

In a hopefully typical antipodean style we have accepted that it takes time to arrive in paradise - not everyone is equipped with Kangaroos and Wombats to ensure speedy and secure delivery. Of this we are accepting and not a little overly smug.

The world has changed in two decades and so too our expecatations. No longer do we curse the local telephone company for the quality of lines, when trying to negotiate a connection to a bulletin board at a breathtaking 1200 baud. No, today we rile if the delay measures more than milliseconds! News and information arrives instantly and our smug isolation in paradise becomes a forlorn exclusion on the other side of the world.

New and wonderful products are promised and delivered. We wonder whether we will be able to participate in the fever of release and our patience is rewarded when we find, lurking in the depths of Warehouse 23 (well, actually, very prominently available and bordering on the neon), a reasonably priced solution to our international delivery.

Our pre-order desires whetted and fulfillment promised we return to our smugness in the expectation that we could have our paradise and read it too.

I am a veteran of international trade. From humble beginnings to nationwide management I have financed and banked the bizzare and the bountiful. I am familiar with the process of import and export. When my money was digitised and sent rapidly over the pond, my expectations grew of the imminent arrival of my new reading and gaming pleasure. My joy was further bouyed with a cyber confirmation from the halls numbered 23.

1 week.

2 weeks.

15 days.

15 days? I could have flown around the world 6 or 7 times by regular commercial routes in that time. Where had my fnordian pleasures been? Did the USSS intercept them - that would not have been unprecedented? Would I have to visit the secret chambers beneath Uluru? Well, perhaps it wasn't worth the effort to discover this secret when, afterall, I had my prize.

Peace was not available on the 19th day, though. A fellow GURPian-down-under was still anticipating an arrival. His plastic had been reduced a day later than mine, and we accounted for the vagueries of weekends on all and sundry, but 18 days was still just another day.

The exchange of emails picked up the pace. There was nothing that could be done, we were told. We have no way of tracing the package, was the response. For speedy or traceable service you should have chosen the arm-and-a-leg courier option, it was suggested. It is far too soon to consider a refund or a replacement, was the counsel. If you dishonour the card drawing we will disenfranchise you, was the warning.

21 days.

28 days.

Long enough? Apparently so. Apparently 28 days is time enough to be sure that something has not travelled a route that can be achieved in less than 28 hours. And, so, a replacement was sent and nearly a fortnight later - more than 40 days since it began - it arrived and the matter drew to a close. The original - months later - is still lost (along, I might add, with the labour of your signatures!).

If you've read this far then you've more than paid a fair price in compensation and proven an unusual committment to your customers. I am not surprised.

With that said, though, I implore you, SJ Games - Steve, even - to please consider removing a delivery option which fails to offer any method of tracking, confirmation or determination of results. Whilst expectations are lowered when the cost is lowered they never sink to the point of expecting nothing which is only just below the level of that particular service.

There are better means of international distribution that offer a more attractive pricing than the direct courier. Regular airmail post would, at least, allow for tracking and verification of delivery. Every article entering Australia requires a custom clearance and can be tracked from that clearance. That in this case such information could not be obtained from those contracted with the delivery is indictment enough of the service being poor and unworthy of your custom.

Thank you for your time and thank you for your wonderful books.
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All losses are restored and sorrows end."

Last edited by Michaela; 11-29-2004 at 09:11 AM. Reason: To avoid confusion over the use of the word 'distribution'.
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Old 11-29-2004, 09:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: International Shipping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmer
With that said, though, I implore you, SJ Games - Steve, even - to please consider removing a delivery option which fails to offer any method of tracking, confirmation or determination of results. Whilst expectations are lowered when the cost is lowered they never sink to the point of expecting nothing which is only just below the level of that particular service.
We terribly sorry that you had such an unpleasant experience with our International Mail option. However, this delivery period is not typical. Most international orders arrive within 2 weeks.

The great frustration of international shipping is that there are no options that are both good and cheap. International Mail is cheap, but not great. UPS Expedited is great, but definitely not cheap.

Quote:
There are better means of international distribution that offer a more attractive pricing than the direct courier. Regular airmail post would, at least, allow for tracking and verification of delivery. Every article entering Australia requires a custom clearance and can be tracked from that clearance.
Airmail may be trackable in Australia, but it isn't in the US. It also isn't available for the majority of international orders we ship (they're too big). We discontinued offering US Postal options for international shipping because we couldn't calculate the exact shipping cost or assign a method during order checkout. Some of our long-time customers will remember the horror of shipping rates based on price (40% of order total) rather than weight and unpredictable shipping times of between a week (for small, light orders) and six months (for stacks of books).

We would love to be able to improve our international economy shipping method, but we simply don't have access to anything better that's in the same price range.
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Old 11-30-2004, 01:59 AM   #3
Farmer
 
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Default Re: International Shipping

Thank you for your response, Michelle. It can't have been easy reading through my doggerel :-)

Quote:
However, this delivery period is not typical. Most international orders arrive within 2 weeks.
I'm curious about this. Since the process has no tracking, how are you able to provide this information and, if it's correct, why could no action be taken on a missing item in less than 4 weeks?

If UPS having figures to back the claim it would be interesting to see them, particularly if it was broken down by region (it might, for example, show longer times in some regions which may be useful to post on your help page).

Quote:
International Mail is cheap, but not great. UPS Expedited is great, but definitely not cheap.
I can only discuss my experiences. When working for both Australian and International banking groups I found that the service varied from courier company to courier company and those who were good at one thing were not always good at another. I'm sure you regularly review your shipping arrangements but, if I may be so bold, perhaps testing a few companies with a greater presence in the regions to which you are shipping might prove fruitful?

I know that when we used to send secondary copies of documents through such services we were able to track deliveries up to the point of deposit into the foreign mail system and we could obtain specific information if a 3rd party mail system was to be used in the process. Such details might help customers to be better informed of the process and would be a good addition, in my view, to the very good help file that you already promote highly to purchasers.

Quote:
Airmail may be trackable in Australia, but it isn't in the US.
Standard Airmail isn't, but it is an option and, when *goods* are exported they always obtain customs' clearance and that data can be tracked.

A week ago I airmailed to the US a box of stuffed toys (kangaroo and wombat, as it happens) as gifts for a friend's new baby. The customs' declaration is in line with international agreement on the form and does contain a specific tracking number (this is even more apparent in the current terrorist environment).

It would make sense, though, that the US would be far more concerned with what is entering the country than leaving, and that could certainly explain the differences.

Quote:
We would love to be able to improve our international economy shipping method, but we simply don't have access to anything better that's in the same price range.
Fair enough. Might I suggest at least, then, that you mention the 2 week time figure (or more specific per region if available). When I paid for the premium product of the Deluxe Set I would have considered (as would my friend who had worse fortune) spending some extra to ensure prompt delivery.

In any business transactions problems will arise and it is more the measure of the company in their ability to resolve the problem than anything else. SJ Games continue to do very well in that regard.

Once again, thank you kindly for your comments.
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Old 11-30-2004, 09:34 AM   #4
Michaela
 
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Default Re: International Shipping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmer
I'm curious about this. Since the process has no tracking, how are you able to provide this information
Customer feedback.

Quote:
and, if it's correct, why could no action be taken on a missing item in less than 4 weeks?
While it usually takes about two weeks, it does sometimes take a week or two longer (particularly if it's a big package, or there is inclement weather between here and there) and most "missing" packages show up during that time.

Quote:
I can only discuss my experiences. When working for both Australian and International banking groups I found that the service varied from courier company to courier company and those who were good at one thing were not always good at another. I'm sure you regularly review your shipping arrangements but, if I may be so bold, perhaps testing a few companies with a greater presence in the regions to which you are shipping might prove fruitful?
Well, the "regions to which we ship" is pretty much the whole planet. That's one of the strengths of UPS International Mail. Since it utilizes the destination country's own postal system, we're not limited on the countries to which we can ship.

Quote:
Fair enough. Might I suggest at least, then, that you mention the 2 week time figure (or more specific per region if available). When I paid for the premium product of the Deluxe Set I would have considered (as would my friend who had worse fortune) spending some extra to ensure prompt delivery.
Displayed at the top of the "pick a shipping method screen" during check-out:
"If you choose to have your order shipped via U.S. Postal Service or UPS International Mail, please allow at least 4 weeks for delivery."
I'm afraid we can't be more specific than that, given the high level of variability and that the delivery data can't be guaranteed.
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Old 11-30-2004, 01:26 PM   #5
Farmer
 
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Default Re: International Shipping

Thank you again for your response, Michelle.

Quote:
Well, the "regions to which we ship" is pretty much the whole planet. That's one of the strengths of UPS International Mail. Since it utilizes the destination country's own postal system, we're not limited on the countries to which we can ship.
I was more considering the time it might take to deliver the package into that foreign postal system in the first place. The utilisation of the foreign postal system does not begin until the package arrives into that country. Of course, it was just a suggestion :-)

Quote:
Displayed at the top of the "pick a shipping method screen" during check-out:
Yup. I was merely suggesting adding it to the Warehouse 23 Help page, since the other methods of shipping listed there have time frames but the UPS international mail does not.
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Farmer
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"But if the while I think on thee, dear friend
All losses are restored and sorrows end."

Last edited by Farmer; 11-30-2004 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 11-30-2004, 08:56 PM   #6
Kyle Aaron
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Default Re: International Shipping

Quote:
Originally Posted by W23Goddess
Well, the "regions to which we ship" is pretty much the whole planet. That's one of the strengths of UPS International Mail. Since it utilizes the destination country's own postal system, we're not limited on the countries to which we can ship.
The whole planet? You know, about six years back I was offered a job cooking at the NZ Antarctic Station. I turned it down, and one of the many reasons for that was that it'd be too hard to communicate with the world - get rpgs, for one thing. Was I wrong, then?

Should have done it. Would have looked great on my resume:)
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Old 11-30-2004, 11:38 PM   #7
Farmer
 
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Default Re: International Shipping

Quote:
You know, about six years back I was offered a job cooking at the NZ Antarctic Station.
Back in the early/mid 90's I knew, via Fidonet, a fellow who was working in Antartica. He had his own Fidonet Point to collect Netmail and Echomail and keep in touch with the rest of the world :-)
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Old 12-01-2004, 09:04 AM   #8
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Default Re: International Shipping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bob
The whole planet? You know, about six years back I was offered a job cooking at the NZ Antarctic Station. I turned it down, and one of the many reasons for that was that it'd be too hard to communicate with the world - get rpgs, for one thing. Was I wrong, then?
If the New Zealand postal system delivers to the station, then quite likely.
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Old 06-22-2020, 07:51 PM   #9
johnnydoughert
 
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Default Re: International Shipping

It is difficult to classify the warehouse providers especially in US and Australia. In my opinion, if you need to go global with warehousing, I would recommend you using BRI 3pl services. They have the scale and volume to answer your needs. For your convenience, I ranked them in terms of revenues.

Last edited by johnnydoughert; 06-28-2020 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 06-23-2020, 11:53 AM   #10
philreed
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Default Re: International Shipping

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnydoughert View Post
Hi Admins! First off excellent resource. As always when trying to educate oneself, forums really are the way to go. I know this is an old post and I just want to ask if you are still shipping in this time of the year where a pandemic is going on right now?
The warehouse team is shipping, though packages can take longer these days. And not everything ships out from the warehouse quickly. Please see this page:

http://www.warehouse23.com/closed
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