Sunday, February 6, 2011

Small-Scale Shipping

We are not a large corporation with a huge staff. We are really small, in the "small-is-beautiful" sense, I hope. We've come out of a jewellery design studio background and the assembly and finishing processes for the oStylus are still being done by hand, at least for the foreseeable future. This explains why there's usually a waiting time on the order page.

Packages waiting to be mailed...

I wanted to write about this small size in respect to shipping problems. Being small but selling a lot means that we get inevitable complaints about why someone's oStylus has not arrived yet. "You said it would be 4 to 10 business days and it's been two weeks!" Well, we explain, business days don't include weekends. "It's been 15 business days!" We explain the postal estimates appear to be wrong in that case. We've even had a couple of shipments that have taken over 45 calendar days (Germany and Austria for some reason—one customer reporting back that customs had been holding onto theirs for several weeks.) With the 45 day cases we sent another stylus off immediately, only to be told a few days later that the original ones just arrived.

The vast majority of shipments arrive on time, but there are a few delays. We do our best to respond to these understandably irritated customers, sending them exact details about when the package was shipped, reiterating the postal estimates and so on. But when all is said and done and the oStylus arrives, all is forgiven and one customer even emailed "YOU ROCK!" which was nice to hear. Thanks, dude. So being small means we have great customer relations. But it also takes up a lot of time which we could spend making more oStyluses and promoting them.

So what are the solutions? Small steps, small steps... In Canada all the packages go out Expedited, so they are trackable. So in the US we have just added an optional trackable Expedited shipping level, although it's about twice as expensive as the usual US Air Small Packet rate. For the rest of the world, we'll just have to patiently answer the emails. The next level up is ExpressPost, and it's about $55, so we're not offering that anytime soon.

Today we are getting ready a lot of new shipments, and from the labels this truly is an international market. Countries include Japan, Australia, Thailand, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Israel, South Africa and of course the United States and Canada.

Added February 24: We now have a shipping problems page on the website.

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