Friday, December 22, 2006

Over at ICv2.com there is an article by a comics retailer on suggestions on getting comics into a shop on time. It is pretty interesting, so I am reprinting it in full. Take a gander.

"Chad Spano of Comic Lair on Shipping ReliefGet Product to Comic Stores on Tuesday
December 20, 2006

Chad Spano of Comic Lair in Trenton, New Jersey has suggestions to alleviate Wednesday hassles for comic retailers -- ship for arrival a day earlier is one of them:

I am writing regarding the many problems I am experiencing with regard to delivery of merchandise from Diamond and to make some suggestions for possible solutions to the problems many industry retailers seem to be experiencing. Every Wednesday has become a very stressful day, filled with consistent delivery problems. I have spoken with my Diamond rep on more than one occasion and was told that only multi-store accounts can have their product delivered on Tuesdays.

The reason I am bring this subject to light is because recently Diamond made some suggestions on how to receive your product at an earlier time on Wednesday. Their suggestions were: 1) Have your merchandise held at the UPS center for pick-up earlier on Wednesday, or 2) Get a UPS mailbox and have the items sent there, which of course increases the financial burden on the retailer. The "solutions" being offered by Diamond amount to nothing more than passing the burden of responsibility for timely delivery from them to the retailers.

The fact that retailers are being forced to deal with UPS exclusively is also a problem. UPS is a company with its own set of financial and logistical problems, all affecting the retailer's bottom line. As UPS raises shipping rates, retailer profit margins go down. In addition, retailers are forced to tolerate the ongoing problems related to UPS shipping and late/damaged deliveries, without being offered any alternate shipping options, such as other carriers. This could potentially improve the situation dramatically for both the retailers and Diamond, from both a cost and service viewpoint.

One proposed solution would be to offer pickup points where retailers could pick up their merchandise as early as they wanted on Wednesdays, thereby eliminating the UPS shipping and damaged merchandise problems permanently.

Another option, and one that should already be offered, is shipping via other services, like FedEx and USPS, who could potentially provide better service at a cheaper cost.

A third potential solution would be to give retailers the option to have their weekly orders shipped on Tuesday, with the condition that nothing is to be sold until Wednesday. The response from Diamond will probably be that there are many retailers who will begin selling the day the product is delivered, but that could be handled by implementing a rule which states that if you are caught selling on Tuesday, you would lose this early shipping option permanently. I do not know if something like this is even possible logistically for Diamond and the manufacturers who distribute through them, but I do think it is time for Diamond to help retailers find solutions to the problems they are experiencing.

The opinions expressed in this Talk Back article are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com."

It is fascinating to see that other retailers are dealing with similar situations and trying to find solutions. The wonderful Lisa from Sequentially Speaking: comic book conversations is also a retailer, and she has had many fantastic suggestions as well.

What I want for Christmas this year is for Diamond to get it's customer service back. The Grinch went and took it away, and I am hoping that Santa brings it back. Heh.

That's it for tonight. Just musing about Diamond and their shipping issues like a broken record.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree that Diamond needs to work on things - it's really a shame that they have those exclusive contracts so no one can compete with them. Right now I think the only real solution ever offered by Diamond on shipping problems is to switch the warehouse that handles your orders. Many retailers have asked for Tuesday shipping, but Diamond won't spare the manpower to police stores that sell before Wednesday, and there are a few sleezy guys out there ruining it for us honest folks. So, I highly doubt it will happen.

redlib said...

Heidi- This is my local comic book store guy- Chad. I've spent many a day hearing about his Diamond shipping troubles, and while I don't get there right on time like you do, it has effected my comics too.
So funny, I've told him recently about your blog and your letters to the big D.
Chad has several other NJ comic store retailers working on things- long time owners- so who knows what will happen. He's a good guy, very good to me, my con and the library--

Heidi Meeley said...

Lisa and Redlib- that is very interesting to hear.

Too bad a few bad eggs ruin for the rest of us. It would be nice for the retailers to be able to have their product in a timely fashion.

Thank you for all the great information. We shall see how Diamond does this week...