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The Future of Pre-Orders
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TOPIC: The Future of Pre-Orders
#17618
The Future of Pre-Orders 8 Years, 2 Months ago  
I hope the Dwarven Forge Staff remember the problems people had with pre-orders on the river set wasn't the delay in and of itself (though I am sure people were not happy with that) it was:
1) The delay in shipping out once we were told the items had arrived
2) That some people got their orders long before others
3) That the orders were not shipped as we were told in the order they were recieved (those who had ordered certain individual pieces were shipped last)
4) Most importantly there was a lack of communication about these issues 1 to 3

I don't recall anyone complaining on the forum about intially running later than expected. The concerns/complaints start when soem people got theres and others still did not even have shipping number yet.

I think with the Lake set all this was fixed. Pre-orders are a good idea, especially if they allow for more product.
waza
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Caverns - 2 x Original, Passages, 3x Chasm, River, 3 x Lake, Lake Exp. DoE- Orig, Wicked, Room.
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#17619
The Future of Pre-Orders 8 Years, 2 Months ago  
I think the pre-orders are fine, so long as DF doesn't have goals of growing any larger.

Pre-orders like this work fine for a small community of dedicated fans. But casual customers are going to be already wary once they see the price -- when they are told they are pre-paying, they're going to be PARTICULARLY wary. Then, if anything DOES go wrong (and there are no guarantees), that might kill DF for them.

I know that when I'm buying something online, or making an eBay purchase, I pay very close attention to service and reliability. If someone is slow, or doesn't do what they said they would, I don't return. Places that show me they are trustworthy and reliable (like BigBadToyStore for example) get my business -- I check for new releases there, I pre-order with them. Places that deliver late, or are slow to communicate, I don't risk again.

If DF wants to grow, the pre-order situation, with or without the risk of problems, runs the risk of putting a ceiling on them...

L
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#17620
The Future of Pre-Orders 8 Years, 2 Months ago  
I didn't have a big problem with paying ahead of time. It was a little like giving DF an interest-free, short-term loan so they could continue to produce the products I love. Looking at it that way, it was something I was happy to do.
Yeah... I like the pre orders cause they make me feel " in a small but satisfying way " like an investor.
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#17621
The Future of Pre-Orders 8 Years, 2 Months ago  
I didn't have a big problem with paying ahead of time. It was a little like giving DF an interest-free, short-term loan so they could continue to produce the products I love. Looking at it that way, it was something I was happy to do.
Interest Free Loan? What do you mean, I charged Interest!

A raft for each River set, and 3 lizardman ambushers for each lake set!
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Dungeons - Rooms & Passages, 1.9 x Dlx Room, Wicked 1 & 2, Traps 1 & 2, Advanced, Orig Narrow, Floors.
Caverns - 2 x Original, Passages, 3x Chasm, River, 3 x Lake, Lake Exp. DoE- Orig, Wicked, Room.
Medieval Building - Orig, Exp. Sci-Fi - Starter, Passages, Alpha, 2 x Beta
Mini's - Skele War Band +, Orc Raid Party ++, Lizardmen Tribe
 
#17622
The Future of Pre-Orders 8 Years, 2 Months ago  
One possible solution is to provide a release date that is at least a month after the expected date when DF will have the items available. Then DF can ship them early most of the time (I doubt many would complain about getting stuff early!) and DF has a buffer to still get the product out on time when something goes wrong and causes delay.
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#17623
The Future of Pre-Orders 8 Years, 2 Months ago  
It looks like the consensus so far is to continue the pre-orders. I like this.

Projected shipping dates are based on a succession of events, and delays for those events can cause the shipping dates to be pushed back. Zoroaster's suggestion of making the projected shipping date one month beyond its expected arrival isn't a bad one. "Underpromise, overdeliver" is a good policy. People are happy when a product arrives on time, and ecstatic when it arrives early. Giving themselves more breathing space on the calendar is a good idea.

I think that some of the communication problems with the River & Walls set was that some complaints were posted on the forum rather than emailed to Jeff. The forum is a great place for discussion, but customer service question are best handled by direct communication, either by phone or email. Much of the remaining issues were that the staff did not and could not know exactly when things would arrive and ship. They got hit with everything but the kitchen sink on that shipment, and could not give answers they didn't have.

Time heals all wounds (and wounds all heels!), so I think that the people are happy now. Heck, having those Cavernous River & Walls sets makes ME happy, not to mention the Lake sets and the MBS.

So, I'd like to see the pre-orders continue, and if Dwarven Forge projects a shipping date that is overly conservative, no problem. I know these guys are 100% honest and trustworthy, and I'm more than willing to put my money where my mouth is. The pre-orders give Dwarven Forge the working capital to keep the process moving forward, and that's a good thing.

Den of Evil Wicked Additions may be the next product coming out, I think. I'd love to see it up for pre-orders. I may have to sell a kidney on eBay to do it, but hey, you only need one, eh?

:P
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#17624
The Future of Pre-Orders 8 Years, 2 Months ago  
Jeff, Stefan, Lori, et al:

WANNA KEEP DF?
KEEP PRE-ORDERS!

Until DF gets SOLIDLY footed again, to the point that they can dare venture into Stateside distributor and retail stores, and drop direct sales, YOU HAVE TO CONTINUE PRE-ORDER! BUT:
The ideas for much more conservative availability dates, for keeping all non-special editions as stock items (so we can get more later if we need 'em!), and for e-mail updates of pre-order status are ALSO necessary.

With those caveats in mind, the pre-order system for brand-new sets, where DF gets a chance to see what kind of demand is likely for a subject, is an excellent method for cheap, mostly-reliable test marketing and audience research. One pass through of a new set should give a good read on whether an item is "one-shot" or a new classic. Unless a new classic is a massive HIT, never commit to a SECOND Production Run in excess of ALL orders, as in, order enough to meet pre-orders plus 25-30% overage for last-minute add-on orders. Don't order more unless all of us loonies rave about it. THEN, make it a limited stock item until THAT shipment is 50-75% sold. IF it sells out in less than half the time required for a new restock order to leave the factory, THEN you know it's a full 'regular stock' item.
MAKE THIS POLICY CLEAR on the storefront.
Maintain communication with the customer base - both preorder regulars and forum regulars, and newbies. Even though WE know (now) there was NO 'conspiracy of silence' regarding the CR&W perfect storm, even I was starting to worry! So you know THAT was trouble brewing.

We all want DF to survive, thrive, and succeed. Do what you gotta do to ensure that, okay?

See ya!

Jim
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#17625
The Future of Pre-Orders 8 Years, 2 Months ago  
I didn't have a big problem with paying ahead of time. It was a little like giving DF an interest-free, short-term loan so they could continue to produce the products I love. Looking at it that way, it was something I was happy to do.
Interest Free Loan? What do you mean, I charged Interest!

A raft for each River set, and 3 lizardman ambushers for each lake set!

Good point. Don't forget the extra open water piece with the lake set.

As long as those little incentives are part of the program, then I'm all about it. Otherwise, I'd be inclined to limit my buying to Gencon, where I can forego the shipping costs and reduce the sales tax I pay.
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#17626
The Future of Pre-Orders 8 Years, 2 Months ago  
I wasn't sure where to post this, but since it's vaguely related to this topic, and this thread is getting a lot of attention, I thought I'd put it here.

How would people feel about a shift in 2007 or 2008 towards accessory sets instead of building sets?

SF is already due for furnishings, at least several varieties. Those could be done as expansion sets, with things built into walls and incorporated into the set itself. But they could also be done as accessory sets.

Fantasy, meanwhile, has broken us all. ;) Cavern river, lake, MBS, DoE -- wallet...straining...wife...running...out of patience....!

So fantasy fans could probably do with a break -- but that doesn't mean we want NOTHING.

Plus, with all the activity that's been going on, it's been a LONG time since DF has done any new accessories -- I think the treasure and magic items set was the last one, and that was AGES ago.

Thinking about "what's next" and what I'd like to see from DF that hasn't been done, I feel pretty content with the actual building sets. Sure, there needs to be a water expansion to finish up the lake, and sure there are other great ideas floating around.

But what we REALLY need -- well, things like accessories for DoE. And accessories for MBS, for that matter -- furnishings for a tavern, or an inn, or a blacksmith's, or an armory, or a peasant cottage... I'm still holding out for a Wizard's Study set, the only thing I've been wanting that hasn't been done yet. Bookshelves, a globe, an orb on a pedastal, maybe a big map on a wall, a magic portal...

So -- I'm curious what people think. Should Stefan relax a bit on the building sets and give us some blistered accessories a la the treasure and furniture sets? Goodies to put IN our environments, instead of to MAKE them?

And don't forget, the accessory sets, at $30-35, are MUCH cheaper than the building sets. And if you ask me, Stefan's accessories blow everything else away. I love Grendel, and Reaper has done some quality stuff, and Armorcast, and so forth -- but Stefan's tables are the best on the market. And that treasure/magic items set! The amphorae! The magic shield! The massive chest! There is just so much to love. I really feel like it's time to see something new in this category, now that the main building sets have received so much attention.

Anyone else feel this way?

If nothing else, I'd at least like to see ONE more accessory set from DF. ...

L
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#17627
The Future of Pre-Orders 8 Years, 2 Months ago  
For a general discussion of accessories (or furniture) vs building sets, why not a new topic over in "Ask Dwarven Forge"?
For ideas about specific sets, add threads in "Fantasy Master Maze Products" and "Sci-Fi Master Maze Products".

This is a good topic, but if it gets tacked onto another thread it becomes difficult to locate down the line. Three months from now, someone will want to reference the topic and won't be able to find it because it is "hidden" under an unrelated title.
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#17628
The Future of Pre-Orders 8 Years, 2 Months ago  
L, I'd love to see more accessories sets in 2007. Though I also want to see the Water Additions set soon too, as well as the Medieval Buildings additions. And I'd like to see the ice caverns and lava caverns sets people have talked about too. But I agree that right now I'm accessories would come in very nice.
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