Thursday, August 20, 2009

More proof Sideshow Collectible's order process needs an overhaul

Ah Sideshow...what will it take before you realize the way you offer your products up for sale is woefully overdue for review at least and an overhaul at best. I guess getting screwed over by collectors on your site that never intend to follow through on pre-ordered purchases is a good start. Each newsletter that Sideshow ships out weekly is a laugh riot with tales of previously sold out items that are magically available for sale. Even despite the fact that there are potential buyers lined up on an item's wait list.

This week the San Diego Comic-con Star Wars exclusive Luke & Han as Stormtroopers 1/6th scale two pack is once again available for sale. First come, first served. Another "SOLD OUT" Sideshow wonder that is really not sold out after all. And in truth, never was.

This scenario happens again and again with just about everything Sideshow throws up for sale. Especially within the last year as the economy went south. A new offering sells out the day it's released and despite even filling a wait list, these items are almost always available suddenly months later. Not only that but Sideshow practically begs collectors to buy the newly discovered inventory and asks the affiliate websites to continually get the word out for them.

Look Sideshow, you clearly have a problem with too many wannabe collectors ordering on your site whose eyes are bigger than their bank accounts. At the same time, you have a significantly less legitimate collector pool committed to buy your wares. You need to create a new process to weed these deadbeats out of the pre-order process and allow the real paying customer to place an order without all the B.S. Personally, I'd be happy if you just fully charged us out of the gate for any pre-order. I get that purchase done and out of the way and I don't have to worry about getting blind-sided by you in the fourth quarter when you decide to ship a year's worth of pre-orders on top of each other. But I understand the liability issues of charging someone for an item that won't show up for probably two years.

The other answer is just as simple. Create some sort of elite level of membership on your site. Charge a nominal yearly fee but this status allows guaranteed access to pre-order your new products. You charge the fee to weed out deadbeats and pay for the technical tweak to tie an account to the elite status. Charge $40 or $50 but to make everyone feel good about it and reduce online bitching, you could then offer those paid accounts discounts later on. Maybe it's a discount on specific merchandise like only your SDCC exclusives or a refund of sorts at the end of a paid year or even $10 coupons quarterly.

Just do SOMETHING new for god's sake. Honestly, as a business aren't you tired of dealing with that deadbeat run around while also pissing off your best clients that can't be at their computer every hour of the day to place an order before it "Sells Out"?

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