Weekly Store Update: 17 March
We slid right back in the saddle for an amazing sale! Hey - we don't do anything halfway around here, and I'm sure you saw some prices that shocked you. Heck...they even shocked me. Make sure you check out this edition of our newsletter to find out about that, the latest Kickstarter releases and other updates. It's game time!
Welcome to our weekly newsletter! For our new readers I'm Eric, and Wendy and I run Stone Valley Games. This newsletter is our way to share both local and world-wide gaming news of interest that popped up last week. It also provides our subscribers, both local and remote, some information on the going's on around here so everyone feels like part of the action. At the bottom of this newsletter we show you the restocks, new items, and preorders added to the store last week. It's not too difficult to navigate, so let's get to it!
WE DEFINITELY SPRANG INTO FUN
Wednesday afternoon rolled around and as I was reverting the website back to regular prices and updating the webstore front page, I was happy to see so many game shipments ready to go. Obviously, folks saw and responded well to our sale, which is what we're always shooting for.
Even though we are a tiny operation, we have things honed to a fine edge when it comes to these sales. So much so that we were caught up on orders by COB Wednesday, and I think that's the first time we were able to catch up that quickly. Starting the sale early in the day had a lot to do with it, so we had the opportunity to process several orders before switching off for the night. Up until this sale we usually kicked it off at night and didn't get to the first package until the next day.
And, in every sale we learn something. This time I learned that my cyber security methodology of 'not' sending emails containing user names and passwords to new customers wasn't working. New customers were receiving these emails...which I actually had purchased a plugin to stop. Because, naturally, WordPress and WooCommerce (my solutions for the web page and store) don't have native options to do so.
I didn't hear it from the customer, I heard it from someone who saw the customer complain on a social media site. It's the life, and I'm glad folks are our eyes out there helping us. Anyway, what had happened was the toggle that controls that email had switched 'on'. Things like this happen when the plugins update themselves and I rarely notice unless something on the site isn't working right, or someone complains about something. You would think there'd be a better way...but there isn't. You'd think that, at the very least, the plugins would update and remain in the same state as before the update. Nope. So much for modern software engineering!
Anyway, I toggled it back and that was solved. And... that's about it. No issues with the website crashing, orders being dropped, running out of boxes or shipping supplies or anything like that. I believe I had a few inventory items off a bit, but I figure that's bound to happen with over 1,500 items for sale in a storefront / online store setup. All-in-all, I was happy with how everything went.
I hope you had a chance to jump in and grab something amazing during the sale! We generally like to have one big sale a quarter, so sometime in the summer will be our next one. I don't know if it'll be 'this' crazy (we had over 700 items on sale with 179 titles at a 70% discount!) but one never knows. Be on the lookout for some flash or pop-up sales in the meantime, and I'll announce those right here in the newsletter.
LOCAL CUSTOMER WINNER
In order to keep foot traffic down during the sale we host a local giveaway for when folks order and pick up curbside. Naturally we still have customers in the store, especially out of towners, but this has really helped us keep the focus on processing all the orders.
The game we went with this time was the "SVG Edition" of Merchants of the Dark Road. This edition includes the deluxe version of the base game, Patron's Provisions, Card Sleeve Set, Lumi Coins, and Coin Pouch. That's a $189 value! Well, we have drawn the winner, and it is Mack O! Congratulations Mack! We look forward to you stopping by again - to pick up your free goodies!
Thanks for everyone for putting your orders in, and after having spoken with many of you, we understand just how happy and excited you were for this sale. We love that!
KICKSTARTERS ARE KICKING
We just had three Kickstarter titles arrive! Sure, I had the webstore off while I was out of office so there wouldn't be too much to do as we transitioned into the sale and instead, we spent the entire transition time getting the new items set up! At least I got that done right before the sale kicked off, so let's check them out.
There's the new roleplaying game supplement Fateforge Creatures 2 book with associated adventures, and along with that from the same publisher came the highly thematic Vermin 2047. Vindication hit as well, and that is a perennial winner. We carried their very first Kickstarter, which went very quickly, and we have some wonderful bundles on hand. We don't expect this one to be here very long. Finally, there's the Excavation Earth Kickstarter for their most recent expansion It Belongs in a Museum and we have a few choices there too. You can see all of that in the New Items section at the bottom of this newsletter.
Don't forget, right before I left we also received The Everrain, and our bundle gives you access to some very unique game that will most likely not see US distribution. We also just received a shipping notice for Distilled, and that should be here by the time we print next week's Newsletter. So many unique and rare games, and we're excited to bring them to you!
THE NEW POST OFFICE PROCESS...SUCKS
We do our best packaging everything to get to you in once piece, and generally everything works out well. However, things still happen. We've seen some doozies too, and my favorite so far was the four inch perfectly round hole punched through the entire shipping box and all the contents inside. Look...we're good, but I don't think a shipping 'crate' would help prevent that!
When items are damaged in shipment folks often reach out to us for assistance, and we have enough experience in this to help. I can say the UPS has remained relatively the same for years and we're not having any issues with them. If they damage items, things are generally fixed pretty quickly. But that can no longer be said for the post office.
This is a recent change too. Up until this year they were fine. Now, however, it's basically impossible to get a claim thru. Some highlights of the change include the recipient physically bringing the damaged item to a local post office branch for them to hold thru the process. Then, the post office leadership decides if it's 'damaged enough' and if there's 'sufficient damage' to the transport box to approve the claim, which they will only do thru photographs. However, they won't take photos of the damaged spot, they only want photos of the entire item. So, for those who've claimed 'dings and dents' in the past...it's not looking good. We've had two claims filed with the post office this year and both have been initially denied and then denied in the appeals process too. In both cases there was obvious damage to the item and obvious damage to the shipping box. I am at a complete loss on how to get around a process as broken as this.
Ultimately, we just refunded the customers for those damaged items. That hurts. It's like we lost out on the money, the shipping costs, and the item itself. Like Uncle Lui...a triple loser. Anyway, just a head's up that claims thru the post office officially suck now. Naturally we'll still help folks with their claims, but based on our recent experiences we just don't think they'll end up being taken care of properly. I guess not everything can be unicorns and rainbows, but it's still a tad frustrating.
THE WRAP UP
Okay, enough news for this week! 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!
No Preorders added last week.
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