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Subject: Is Coolstuffinc a Victim of its own Success? rss

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Stephen Elliott
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Just an interesting topic of discussion. I'm a tried and true Coolstuffinc fanboy. I've spent a lot of money with them in the last 2 years. Their service is impeccable and their prices are almost always the best.

That stated, I had grown accustomed to a few "bonus features" over the last few years that appear to be significantly suffering recently. I noticed these changes around the time their additional physical store opened, which makes me wonder if they are now "too successful".

Things I grew to love that have changed:
(1) Same day shipping. I almost always paid the surcharge to "ship today". I am a victim of "wanting it now" when I see it. There were some issues with it (it didn't always make the cutoff), but I enjoyed the option. With the new location added, they have completely removed this option. Additionally, it seems like "next day shipping" is guaranteed, with all orders (even those placed very early in the AM), definitely NOT shipping that day. I find this interesting given that local pickup orders are still prepared quickly.
(2) Website inventory and "new arrival" updates. These appear to occur very late in the day now. Several times, my pre-order has shipped because the item arrived, but online inventory and the new item listing isn't updated until after-hours. Combined with point #1 above, when new items arrive, you might not know until the next day....and then get them shipped the day after that. This makes my spontaneous orders go out 2 days later than they used to.
(3) Distribution arrival times. It "felt" like Coolstuffinc used to get their product at the same time or before other etailers. Now, I'm more consistently watching other stores receive merchandise days before Coolstuffinc. Just watch the Fantasy Flight releases and see how much longer it takes.


Note: this is for discussion. Obviously, the points above are subjective and my opinions only. Also note that they are still my go-to etailer, even after these changes.

Edit: changed post to keep people focused on the point and not extraneous facts.
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fightcitymayor
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dargath wrote:
...I've spent > 25K with them in the last 2 years.


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A boy named Sioux
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dargath wrote:
25K with them in the last 2 years.

That's some kind of Games Workshop thing, right?
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Ryan Witt
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25k in two years wow

Collstuff is all I use anymore, don't have any complaints other than I wish they had a wearhouse in AZ.
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Ian Shonaman
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Quote:
I've spent > 25K with them in the last 2 years.


I had to re-insert my eyeballs after reading that.

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Stephen Elliott
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Yes. The grass is always greener. When I was younger and would've had the time to play more games, I did not have the funds. Now, I don't have the time. C'est la vie.
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Nate Walker
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dargath wrote:
I've spent > 25K with them in the last 2 years.


Oh yeah? Well this guy spent $230,000 on a gold shirt to pick up the ladies. So, there.

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Russ Spears
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dargath wrote:
(1) Same day shipping. I almost always paid the surcharge to "ship today". I am a victim of "wanting it now" when I see it. There were some issues with it (it didn't always make the cutoff), but I enjoyed the option. With the new location added, they have completely removed this option. Additionally, it seems like "next day shipping" is guaranteed, with all orders (even those placed very early in the AM), definitely NOT shipping that day. I find this interesting given that local pickup orders are still prepared quickly.

I think I only used this option once or twice, and that was usually to to try get it to ship to arrive before the weekend - for some reason Wednesday was my favorite day to order and that would place most scheduled deliveries on Saturday, which FedEx might or might not deliver on. So, I miss the option but not really enough to notice it.

dargath wrote:
(2) Website inventory and "new arrival" updates. These appear to occur very late in the day now. Several times, my pre-order has shipped because the item arrived, but online inventory and the new item listing isn't updated until after-hours. Combined with point #1 above, when new items arrive, you might not know until the next day....and then get them shipped the day after that. This makes my spontaneous orders go out 2 days later than they used to.

I had gotten bitten on multiple inventory updates before. I would place an order with a listed new release in the morning, then in the afternoon something else I was waiting on would show as being back in stock. So for me, a late in the stock update has been beneficial.

One website quirk I've noticed over the past couple of weeks is that if you look at the Sales > Boardgame page early in the morning, you can see what the Daily Sale game will be before it's listed on the front page.

I do appreciate how they're adding new features to the website since the revamp.

I too am a die hard CSI fan (only >$5K in 2 years, though). Over Christmas I placed a couple of order from Miniature Market for items CSI doesn't stock, so I've started paying more attention to MM. It's a close race on some games when it comes down to price, even factoring in the customer loyalty discounts. I just feel like I'm cheating on CSI when I browse MM prices.
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Robert Stetler
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hatemachine wrote:
Oh yeah? Well this guy spent $230,000 on a gold shirt to pick up the ladies.


The irony was spending that much on something you want your target audience to want to remove. And then finding they're indeed motivated to remove it - and then run away with it.
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Stephen Elliott
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I do like how Coolstuffinc uses Fedex for shipping, allowing for Saturday deliveries. Here in Memphis, UPS is horrible and Fedex is great. I do recognize that other areas of the country may feel different however.

Miniature Market is quickly becoming my second choice. Prices are almost identical. Shipping time to me is the same and they often get product first.
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Rich Keiser
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No, they are not.
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Jeff Michaud
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something else that has changed since they added (not moved) a 2nd Orlando area location.... no more sidewalk sale in December to get rid of dings/dents... last year (Dec 2011) I picked up some really good deals... this year they told me they simply sell dings/dents in store as they arrive in the Winter Park location

edit: and yea, that wasn't a typo... $25k in 2 years!!?? you've definitely maxed out your customer loyalty discount!
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Dave, or "Phineas" or "Tolstoy" or,
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dargath wrote:
Just an interesting topic of discussion. I'm a tried and true Coolstuffinc fanboy. I've spent a lot of money with them in the last 2 years.

Edit: changed post to keep people focused on the point and not extraneous facts.


HA! Too late!
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Serious? Lee
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dargath wrote:
Here in Memphis, UPS is horrible and Fedex is great.

That might have something to do with FedEx being based in Memphis.

I've ordered from both CSI and MM of late ($0.4K in the last two years just for the record) and been pleased with the delivery of items and service from both stores.
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Charlie Theel
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dargath wrote:
I do like how Coolstuffinc uses Fedex for shipping, allowing for Saturday deliveries. Here in Memphis, UPS is horrible and Fedex is great. I do recognize that other areas of the country may feel different however.

Miniature Market is quickly becoming my second choice. Prices are almost identical. Shipping time to me is the same and they often get product first.


Fedex delivers on Saturdays but not on Mondays so it's a wash in that regard.



Also, I can't fathom how someone could spend > 25k on board games. What percentage of the games you purchase do you actually get to play?


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Jason Bloody Purchase
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Maybe you should just buy coolstuffinc? Then instead of waiting for shipping you could just walk over to your warehouse...
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Jeff Michaud
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charlest wrote:
Fedex delivers on Saturdays but not on Mondays so it's a wash in that regard.

for some folks it's not a wash as they have Saturday's off from work but not Monday's

Quote:
Also, I can't fathom how someone could spend > 25k on board games. What percentage of the games you purchase do you actually get to play?


916 game's "owned" according to
http://boardgamegeek.com/collection/user/dargath?own=1&subty...
none "rated" though which could provide a hint of number played.

As for current value, I've tried with

What is your collection or friends collection worth?

and it's come up with

Quote:
BGG Data
Total Game Value (AVG): $ 33,108.02
Average Game Price: $ 36.83
Games with no price: 17 (Never Sold on BGG Market Place)

ThoughtHammer Data
Total Game Value: $ 21,037.11
Average Game Price: $ 36.59
Games with no price: 341 (Not Available on ThoughtHammer)

Total Games in Collection: 916

Estimated Value (Ceryon Method)
916 Games * Average BGG Value = 916 * $ 36.83 = $ 33,736.28
916 Games * Average TH Value = 916 * $ 36.59 = $ 33,516.44


so $25k is about 25% off current "value"
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Dave Lartigue
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So the problem is that you can only have stuff very soon instead of right now?
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Alejandro G.
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dargath wrote:
...
Edit: changed post to keep people focused on the point and not extraneous facts.


Too late. I can't get $25k out of my head.

...down payment on a house
...pay off student loans
...new car for the wife
...savings

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Stephen Elliott
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Legomancer wrote:
So the problem is that you can only have stuff very soon instead of right now?


Actually, the purpose of the thread was in hopes of eliciting conversation around how a (relatively) small but successful business can slowly lose some customer service features as it grows. Also, to determine if anyone else has noticed the same or similar shifts in focus.

There are ways to get stuff quicker (send it overnight for $ instead of getting the free shipping) which anyone could use, including myself. For me, that actually doesn't have a good return for $.
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Charlie Theel
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dargath wrote:

There are ways to get stuff quicker (send it overnight for $ instead of getting the free shipping) which anyone could use, including myself. For me, that actually doesn't have a good return for $.


But 25K worth of boardgames does have a good return for $?



Sorry, couldn't help myself.
 
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Stephen Elliott
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xpiredsodapop wrote:
[q="dargath"] ...


Too late. I can't get $25k out of my head.

...down payment on a house
...pay off student loans
...new car for the wife
...savings



Unfortunately, I do not post in public forums much. Consider it a learning experience. :)

I recognize and respect your differing values. At this point in my career I have the ability to spend in a manner that some would define as frivolous. It has not always been this way.
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Dustin Anderson
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sliponflange wrote:

Collstuff is all I use anymore, don't have any complaints other than I wish they had a wearhouse in AZ.


Amen to that!
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John Perry
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dargath wrote:
Yes. The grass is always greener. When I was younger and would've had the time to play more games, I did not have the funds. Now, I don't have the time. C'est la vie.


la vie.
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Dave, or "Phineas" or "Tolstoy" or,
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dargath wrote:
xpiredsodapop wrote:
[q="dargath"] ...


Too late. I can't get $25k out of my head.

...down payment on a house
...pay off student loans
...new car for the wife
...savings



Unfortunately, I do not post in public forums much. Consider it a learning experience.

I recognize and respect your differing values. At this point in my career I have the ability to spend in a manner that some would define as frivolous. It has not always been this way.


Please do not conclude that most here think you frivolous. I at least, somewhat envy your ability to explore this hobby that I would guess most here love as much as you do. As far as the values listed above, I believe they was just the realization of what most of us would need to spend it on, not necessarily what we would like to spend it on.

Ugh. Too much analysis on my part perhaps?
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