Can you guess the number one comment and request we get at the Gear Store?
If you guessed anything to do with shipping, you are spot on.
We've got a couple of updates to talk about today.
Current State of Shipping
Before we dive into the new things coming down the path, we'd like to talk about the current state of affairs in shipping. Are you aware that the shipping industry has been working at "holiday season" levels since the COVID pandemic struck? This level of demand has stressed every shipping system known - from fulfillment, to shipping carriers. We see the impact of the pandemic everyday in our business as we struggle to get shipments from the the manufacturing facilities, shipments through customers and the ports, truck deliveries to our warehouse, and fulfillment within our warehouse. While we can do much outside of our warehouse, but inside our walls, we can make changes in an attempt to deal with the ever increasing load of orders. We have added shifts and team members in an attempt to keep up with the increased fulfillment and shipping levels, but even with those increases, we have seen fulfillment times increase. We know that you are impatient for your orders, but ask that you understand the demands on the system. If you have questions about your orders, please contact our Customer Service team. In order to protect your sensitive personal data, they are the only ones that have access to order details.
Adding Shipping Countries
We are in the process of opening up the Gear Store to all world-wide fans of the BioWare games and the gear we create for them. This is a rather complex process for enterprise level shipping. So, it's not quite as simple as creating a label and slapping it on a box when you are doing shipping at scale. Because of that, we are going to be adding countries in controlled segments. The plan is to add a targeted group each week. This week, we are adding a lot of the European countries. If we don't have too many issues, we will keep rolling out a "continent" each week until we are completely set up for world-wide shipping. Our goal is to have full world-wide shipping capabilities in place within six weeks.
As of 4/6/2021, we have rolled out Europe, North America, Central America, South America, Oceania, and Asia.
If you ever want to see if your country is available to receive shipments, please check out the full list of countries on our Shipping Policy page.
Improving Options and Services
Right behind adding more countries, improving shipping costs or adding more shipping options/services to the store, is a frequently requested improvement. If adding more countries is complex, adding new services and influencing costs is probably one of the most difficult and perilous aspects of running an eComm business. There are so many ways to mess things up in the attempt to make things better. So we are spending lots of time looking for and vetting new shipping partners. It's all well and good to say, "lets just select the cheapest shipping option", but if the new service costs less, but ends up having tons of lost or damaged shipments - then we have a whole new issue on our hands. In either case, you, the customer aren't happy....but typically folks are even more upset when they don't get their item or it arrives damaged.
Our Goals For Shipping
It all sounds really simplistic, but this is what we want for our customers:
Cost effective shipping options - Let's be real. Shipping rates just keep going up and up. Shipping will never be cheap, but we endeavor to give you more options. That way you have the choice to pick Cheap (but probably slow), Good Value (a balance of cost and speed) and Fast (the most expensive option). It is our goal to be able offer more options so you can have these kinds of choices in your order process.
Easier Tracking, Damage Claims, & Returns - While we love our Customer Service team, they are often overwhelmed answering the thousands of questions they get on a daily basis - most of which could be easily dealt with by some simple technology solutions. We are in the process of testing a new bit of technology that will allow us to deal with the majority of these questions and issues with a few simple clicks on an app or in your browser. No more need to wait in Customer Service queues!
Access For All - We want to make our site available to the whole world...not just to view, but to actually order gear.! This is why we are adding countries each week and looking for new shipping options.
While it will take a bit to get all of these items off our wishlist and onto our actual site, we are committed to improving the shopping experience on the Gear Store. With that in mind, please continue to share your thoughts and ideas for improving the store experience with us.