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TGC The Game Crafter and Shipping costs

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Bertrand  Bertrand is offline
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TGC The Game Crafter and Shipping costs


Hello

I know there is some other thread about TGC elsewhere but I'd like to create this one here specifically for deck creators or buyers, because many decks I've seen recently try to use TGC, that's why it seems to be a better place than their messy "support forum" full of their own supporters who don't necessarily have the same concerns as decks creators and their own staff cutting short most discussion about shipping, plus I know they came here in the past to discuss about issues with their services and this forum has much more activity in the field of deck creation. This is really an issue because otherwise, TGC services for deck productions are really good for small batches or unique prototyping - not the best overall but the best game POD service much certainly.

If you are a deck creator :
- using TGC for selling decks or ordering their own decks
- planning to use TGC but reluctant because they have heard of shipping issues
- not using TGC specifically because of the shipping costs overseas
or a deck buyers who
- buy on TGC
- don't buy on TGC because of the shipping costs
then this discussion concerns you.

One thing to know is if you're US or North America based you may not be aware of the shipping costs issues we people from the rest of the planet are encountering with TGC.

To get an idea, know that buying a single 36 cards deck from TGC costs for France for instance 16 $.
How come ? Well since they're used to send Game Boxes or game parts etc... they send everything into a big cardboard box that can fit ten times what you're ordering.
(I'm not speaking here about their medium or big "game boxes", I'm speaking about the shipping package only).

This is a mainly a problem with small orders of one deck (or two decks).
It concerns creators for a small part (when ordering a prototype for instance) but mostly customers are affected by it.

For instance there's no way I could sell my decks to European customers through the gamecrafter as the shipping costs double the price of their buying for the cheapest decks.

Problem is they don't need a big cardboard box. We, as tarot users, buyers or collectors, know how much it costs to send a deck overseas ; we also know that we don't want to pay the same price for the shipping as for the item we're buying.

Shipping a deck with or without a tuck box can be done really safely with a solid bubble enveloppe, eventually a wrapping paper inside, and that's about it. It can be sent as normal mail with no specific trouble, is faster and CHEAPER.

When I asked TGC why they wouldn't propose such an option, they say it's because they are certain their packing and shipping options are the safest. Maybe... that doesn't mean many people would take the chance IF they had the opportunity to do so !

As more and more quality deck creators are trying to use the game crafter, I guess that making affordable shipping options available would maybe double the number of potential customers for deck creators.

As more decks are available through TGC and more people are potential buyers, we could :
- propose ideas for cheaper shipping solutions
- organize to pressure TGC to give us these options, not in a bad way but simply pointing how many people would use their services if this issue was resolved in an appropriate manner.

Maybe I'm overestimating the number of people concerned, but I'm sure that apart from tarot deck or oracles deck creators, there are many "any purpose" deck creators as well, and I'm pretty certain many customers won't buy any product because the shipping costs are too expensive.

If TGC offered you when you buy a single deck to choose between a "first class uninsured shipping" for 16$ or a "bubble wrapped at your own risk in case of damage" for - say - 7.50$ (please correct this figure if the estimation is wrong), what option would you choose ?

If you're a deck creator, wouldn't you feel it great to be able to offer to your customers an affordable shipping option that may multiply your sales by 2, 3, maybe 10 and spread your work to more and more people ? Even if you're US based and are not directly affected (or you think you ain't), imagine if people from overseas could actually afford buying your work !

edited to add : for even more testimonies there was a previous thread where these issues were discussed among other things.
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Caristia  Caristia is offline
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Thanks so much for starting this thread. I've had to pass up so many things I would like to buy because the delivery cost is too high, sometimes even twice the cost of the item itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bertrand View Post
If TGC offered you when you buy a single deck to choose between a "first class uninsured shipping" for 16$ or a "bubble wrapped at your own risk in case of damage" for - say - 7.50$ (please correct this figure if the estimation is wrong), what option would you choose ? !
I would be quite happy with the second option.

I've never purchased anything from TGC, but I would definitely consider it if the delivery cost was more reasonable. I don't think the huge box is necessary either.
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nexus7  nexus7 is offline
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Actually, artists are given the choice of deleting the large box and I have successfully done so. That at least need not be an issue now.
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Yes they can delete the large game box. Even so - as I think I said in another thread - I recently bought a deck with just a tuck box - which arrived in a HUGE shipping box with LOADS of brown paper crumpled around it.

I'm a buyer. I WILL not buy from them from Europe. When I am in Canada - SOMETIMES. But usually what I do is have them ship to a friend in the US, and she ships on to me.
Even doing that - with their US shipping and her repacking and sending the deck on - it comes in around half their charge to ship to Europe. ONCE - after I made a HUGE fuss - they sent me a deck to the UK, in a small box, for $8 - though I do know costs have risen since January. It was very well packed and perfectly safe. WHY they cannot do this as a matter of routine.... They came here to justify themselves, and failed, really. It is SUCH a shame, because the production is EXCELLENT.

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=170746
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Bertrand  Bertrand is offline
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Hello,

@Caristia : thank you very much, that is the kind of testimonies that might help TGC decide to take the right turn regarding shipping.

@Nexus7 : Thank you for this input. Indeed their "game boxes" are not the issue as poker sized or tarot sized cards within tuck box don't need them, they are sent in their tuck box, and even mini decks can be sent in a small plastic bag (although they can't be "published" on TGC without box but this is a marginal issue that I wouldn't discuss here).
Nevertheless, the shipping costs are high even when not using a big game box and *that* is the issue here, since decks are sent in an oversized and heavy cardboard box anyway - that's the one that could be replaced by a bubble enveloppe or a similar "eco friendly" packaging solution.
Here is a live example : if I order my "Palimpsest Lenormand" (36 poker sized cards in tuck box),
*first (default) shipping option is USPS Priority : 34.55$ (!) + optional insurance : 0.34$
*second shipping option is USPS First Class : 16.49$ + optional insurance : 1.70$
How come ? Well the estimated package weight for a single deck of 36 cards is...
14.33 oz that is 406 g !
I'm pretty sure the weight of a 36 cards deck is more around 60 to 90g, where does this extra weight come from ? Huge cardboard box.

Another example : For an order of 24 decks the declared weight for the cards was 8 oz (200g), the total weight paid due to the packing was : 2 kg - that is ten times the weight.
In that case I am rather pleased with the shipping option, because it is a big order (although Priority - while much more expensive - turned out to be actually slower than First Class, at least this time)

Anyway for such small and light items as cards when ordering one or two decks, there should be another option where package and shipping price is more affordable to enable deck creators to sell more decks and to enable customer to be able to afford those decks.

From my (rather small compared to TGC) experience in selling cards, I noticed that customers choose way much more often the "cheaper at your own risks" option than the "probably safer but more expensive".

@Gregory : thank you very much, I'll add the link to the previous thread in the first post here.
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Shipping to NZ


I ordered two decks from TGC yesterday and was charged 20 USD... thats USPS First Class.... Global which can often be slower was 45 USD... I canceled Global and refused insurance from the drop down menu's.

I have had worse.. I bought a deck from Mystic Medicine and was charged 24 USD! The package arrived and had actually cost 15 USD to mail, so I contacted them.... waiting to hear back.

Shipping is awful to NZ..... but because it is such a desert for the things I love, books and tarot and art stuff, I have to swallow it! The cost of books here in shops is phenomenal.... I used to think the UK was bad compared to the US!! A paperback here that would be 4.99 in the UK, (full price...) costs around 35-40 NZD!!! And we never get those great 2 for the price of 1 deals in WHS etc!

Grass is always greener I guess..... It is nice if vendors will work with you on shipping though rather than quoting some random figure.
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Is 16 USD for shipping overseas very unusual? (I am asking out of ignorance here.) When I buy a deck from Alida Store, they charge me $18 shipping to the US - sans a big cardboard box (not that I want a big cardboard box...).
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As a self publisher I have thought of going the game crafters route at one time or another. It does have its pros and cons. The upside is that you don't have to handle the ordering side. Believe me when I tell you that there are mornings when all I do is fill out customs forms, print shipping labels and put decks in mailers. Don't get me wrong I am in no way shape or form complaining about it rather just stating that filling orders does take a good deal of time. For the person that just wants to get the deck out then TGC is a great option, just for me I like knowing that the decks and boxes are as good as they can be when they are mailed out. TGC, while just fine, sometimes have sent things that look a bit POD.
They do charge the designer 30% to sell through them. Say you make a deck and I think it's about $12 to make a 78 card poker sized deck though them. If you sell that deck for $22 that means that for each deck sold at $22 the artist gets $7 minus what ever transfer fee there is to Paypal or where ever. When one thinks of how much time ( and money for supplies for decks not on the computer) goes into deck making it really is just doing it for the sake of doing it when you go through TCG. They don't offer much of a discount to designers buying in bulk so shipping their stuff out on your own is almost not worth it.

There are several other companies out there that POD and offer various sizes both larger and smaller and offer a bulk discount that allows one to go the route of taking care of the shipping by hand. Again that is allot of time but you can offer an international rate of say $7 and that covers most everywhere for the weight of a standard deck. It's all up to the designer and what their time is like. I do it because my schedule allows it ,and I enjoy sending out the decks to their new home.

I was wondering if a bulk order to someone here in the states and then shipping them out would work. Since it's only about $5-7 for several decks to be shipped at once here then splitting apart the order for the various people over seas. I would think it would bring the shipping down to about $7-$9 over the cost of the deck for overseas.
None of the shipping includes a tracking number or anything. those add to the cost as well. I remember a few months back someone nickel and dime-ing me on shipping for something because they were positive that shipping for a tarot deck could not be more then $1.50-$2. While shipping is not as cheep as one may think it certainly can be economized in some ways
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertrat View Post
Is 16 USD for shipping overseas very unusual? (I am asking out of ignorance here.) When I buy a deck from Alida Store, they charge me $18 shipping to the US - sans a big cardboard box (not that I want a big cardboard box...).
I don't know NOW - but I do know that it DOES work out cheaper for my mate in the US to receive from them, repack and send on to me. I'll check the next time we go this route.... Starlight - THERE you may be on to something; when my last mule was doing this, she would get several at once and even mailing THREE to me at the same time came in cheaper ! I cant' ask her to do this for AT though - she is a mate, and not into tarot.
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Bertrand  Bertrand is offline
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Hello again,

@desertrat : yes 15$ IS expensive, as starlightexp pointed out, one can send a deck for around 7$, especially when there are companies out there that do shipping for free for tarot decks, reducing the deck price is not an option most of the time as the creator margin is quite shallow when using the gamecrafter (even when one is bulk ordering, although it's not that bad).

@starlightexp : thank you for this input, I'd love to have more details about those other POD companies - maybe not in this thread though - because finding them and comparing them is quite a lot of work, I'd be grateful if you could share those precious informations - although I guess I'd better investigate locally, but I know the minimum orders are usually huge with the big (and less big) potential manufacturers around. Regarding this point, it should also be noted that when someone sells his deck directly, he instantly get the money, while money won through TGC takes one to two months to end in the creator's pocket. Maybe another solution for overseas creators to sell deck to US customers would be to get the order and send the decks from TGC at the low price ? That could be a way to circumvent the 30% too : when an order arrives, order from TGC and have it sent to the customer directly. Don't know if that could work though, plus it would be a hassle to handle their varying shipping costs.

@gregory and starlightexp : I really appreciate your input here, and potential workarounds, however maybe we should focus on the solution that could be put in place by TGC, not ourselves !
Also people who don't use their services as a place to buy decks because of their shipping costs, please keep adding your voice here !
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