It's hard to believe 20 years have passed, and we pause to reflect on what happened that fateful day. In many ways it's a completely different world we live in today! However, there are responsibilities, so we pause but then drive on. Time waits on no one! We were so busy last week, with great titles added to the shelves and restocks too, not to mention newly added preorders. Priority one though, you should definitely check out our Game Giveaway!
Wendy and I hope this newsletter finds you well! We own and operate Stone Valley Games, and if you've been a customer of ours I hope our passion for what we do shines through! I don't want to dwell on September 11th, as it's a polarizing and sometimes triggering event, but as a military retiree it had a significant and personal impact on our familiy life. I tend not to dwell, but I do check my buddies around this date as not everyone has the same coping skills. So, if you know someone who's served, just check on them if you would.
Now, let's get to it! I'm Eric, and if you're new to the newsletter this top portion contains all of the news we collect thru the week. However, if you want to skip all of that you can jump down to the bottom of the post and see the restocks, new items, and preorders we laid in last week. There's not a lot of news this week, but you may want to read the next section before you skip on down - about our Board Game Giveaway!
BOARD GAME GIVEAWAY
We like to give away something every month. It's our way to give back to the community that keeps us afloat! When it came to September's giveaway I wanted to give away a copy of the recently released second edition of Waste Knight. I was discussing it with Wendy and the whole post apocalyptic theme came up...and next thing I knew Wendy had talked me into giving away three games: Waste Knight Second Edition, Posthuman Saga, and the Deluxe Edition of Moonshiners of the Apocalypse! It's a post apacalptic game-a-geddon!
So, we are going a bit crazy with the giveaway this month, but some lucky someone is going to win these wonderful games! Heck, if you already have one or more there's nothing wrong with signing up and if you win gifting the others...it is getting close to Christmas after all! Learn more about this wonderful Post-Apocalyptical giveaway, and enter HERE, we're drawing the winner on Saturday, 18 September!
A LITTLE HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS
As a gaming retailer I have a very good, albeit general idea of a wide variety of games. It's absolutely required in order to discuss games with customers who ask for advice; I like "this board game", or I have a group of "x" people, or my daughter is "x" years old... that kind of thing. It allows me to help people out. I am also up on industry news and have a decent idea what's being released based on my connections with publishers, distributors and the like.
However, I am too embroiled in day-to-day operations to be that deep in any particular title. No worries though, I've found that is what customers are for!
No, seriously, If I were to poll our customers they could probably wax poetic on so much detailed information surrounding the games they love it'd put a beat reporter to shame. That customer information is what I call "the pulse", and across my customer base I get a good idea on what folks are pivoting to, what interests them, and generally what's going on - as well as extensive inside information on the things that move them. I love it!
From our wonderful customers we also get the "you don't carry 'fill in the title here'? It's usually asked with an incredulous tone, like how in heck can I run a shop without that title?!
The answer generally falls into one of three categories. Sometimes it's a space issue, other times it's a logistics issue, and the third reason is the prohibitive sunk cost to catch up.
However, I had that concept tested last week. One of our remote customers emailed us about Dungeon Crawl Classics. How could we back Old-School Essentials and not carry the literal granddaddy? My ready reply was that since DCC was so tenured it'd be impossible for us to catch up for both space and financial reasons. They rebutted with the idea of just carrying the core book and work with the newer items when they released and not worry about the back catalog. Well...it was hard to argue with that, so this week you'll see we now carry the latest version of the DCC core book and we have a few DCC items listed in preorder. Let's give it a whirl, shall we?
Also, since we were on a Goodman Games kick anyway, and we already had the Original Adventures Reincarnated version of the Temple of Elemental Evil in preorder, I figured we'd go ahead an close the gap with the first five OAR books. So, you'll see some are in now and the rest will trickle in as they become available.
See, we listen!
SVG PRODUCT REVIEWS GO PRIME TIME
Many of you have left reviews for both our store and the products you've purchased on our webstore. Those reviews go a long way in helping others decide to shop with us, or purchase that particular game - and we're super appreciative of those reviews!
Now, the review system we use is a third party piece of software independent of our influence. While anyone can leave a review on anything in the webstore, I wanted to make sure paying customers had the opportunity to voice their opinion, which is why that reminder is sent out a week after the order closes. I wanted things this way so the reviews would be legitimate. What good is a review system that the owner can change? Not good at all I'd say.
Well, hindsight being 20/20 that was one of my better decisions.
While we have our products lined up in Google, and that may be how some of you found us to begin with - popping up in a Google Search, product reviews are a completely different matter. To have product reviews approved it takes an application process and Google vets not only us, but our review methodology and detailed data. Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I went ahead and signed us up. Spoiler alert...we passed!
That approval was the hardest part. Let me tell you, Google does not take it lightly and we hadn't been that grilled about anything...outside of annual tax season...on anything. There was multiple back and forth every day and every aspect of our operation was inspected. In any case, I can't tell you what a relief that was seeing the approval email!
That's when it dawned on me, something I hadn't even considered going into the request. If we would have been denied I'd have to make a decision. Continue using a review system helpful our site and nowhere else, or erase all of that history and use a different product review tool that connects more readily with Google. Almost three years, over 2,000 reviews... made me shiver.
However, everything worked out! We now enter the two to six week "onboarding process" where our data feed is inspected and they work closely with us to get everything just right. That's when I found out we have 2,140 reviews, because that's the initial number that was submitted in our first data report. Pretty impressive! I wonder what the final number will be once everything has been evaluated.
So, we know there will be a change at the checkout page 'opting-in' to the Google review process and a badge we'll display on the front page of the webstore. Other than that we're not sure what other integration is required - so keep an eye out for those changes.
Very soon the product reviews you leave here at Stone Valley Games will propagate to that same product in Google at large! Your review will then not only help others right here, but customers around the globe. Not too shabby!
THE WRAP UP
Okay, it's a light news week so let's wrap this up! Below are the Restocks, New Items, and Preorders added to the shop last week. You can click on the item to learn more, and many of the products have review and gameplay videos so you can see the game in action. If you're visiting our page and you'd like to keep up with our giveaways, sales, new products, and articles like this one just create an account here. Once created you will be subscribed to our newsletter and become enrolled in our loyalty system, instantly earning 50 Stones that you can use on your very first order. A Stone? One Stone is equivalent to One Cent. That doesn't sound like much, but you earn 2 Stones for every dollar spent and 5 for each product review, so though it may seem small, those savings add up fast! Redeem your Stones upon checkout, and they can save you up to 10% off your cart total. Loyalty Matters!