Your Opinions on an Online Shop and Customer Service

Discussion in 'Shop Discussions' started by NDS-Gear, Jun 16, 2011.

Jun 16, 2011
    • Member

    NDS-Gear New Member

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    Dear GBATemp,

    Back before NDS-Gear was founded as an online store a few years ago I used to frequent GBATemp a lot to understand more about DS multimedia cards. I actually bought a few from a variety of online stores back then and realised how horrid they were (dud cards / replacement procedures taking ages, shipping from Asia etc.). Long story short, that's why I set up NDS-Gear in the first place.

    We used to be U.K. based but are now U.S. based (officially selling from U.K. based locations is now considered illegal and we were always on top of that), and our goals are simple: have every card individually tested, answer all customer e-mails quickly, and actually provide a service. I'm willing to bet that 90% of stores out there don't bother with any of this and treat people's business as "cash and out", which is part of the reason why so many fake cards still exist on the market, frankly - they're a quick buck for stores that don't care about customer service.

    Here's what I want to ask, though: what would actually make you choose us over somebody else, and what are both our good and bad points? The goal is obviously to give a level of service that simply isn't matched anywhere. One disadvantage is a somewhat higher cost (especially as we're U.S. based and pay our taxes, not China-based and dodging everything) but we've had lots of testimonials from really satisfied customers, many of which shopped with us after trying somewhere else.

    I won't lie, the dream situation is where we get customers who shop with other sites (maybe bigger ones even!) and realise we're simply better - that's our entire growth strategy and to date it's worked. But it works even better when the actual customers and users let us know their opinions and we can act on them.

    So please, give us your thoughts and opinions. I'm also intending on PMing a 20% off voucher to helpful posters on this thread. [IMG]

    Many thanks!

    The NDS-Gear Team [IMG]
    • Member

    Bridgy84 Yub Nub

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    All i really want from a store like yours is for it to have a well designed storefront, sell only official cards, and have knowledgeable and friendly staff that is on the ball with helping a customer with issues. You are also doing a great thing by being active on this forum. We like having a presence here on GBAtemp. Being he cheapest is not always what i look for. Do your customers right and let it be known on here that you are a safe trustworthy and knowledgeable distributor and you should do well.
    • Banned

    Sausage Head Lord Sausage LXIX

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    What I like to see from a webshop is the following:

    experience,
    proper naming of products in listing,
    shipping-time at a maximum of 2 weeks,
    not over-priced products (if the average is €5.-, and the lowest is €2.50, i'd like to see it lower than average, but it doesn't need to be the lowest),
    proper, professional and cheap (or free) shipping,
    a quick set-up guide for newly purchased cards, and
    a professional design, not too flashy (even a blank layout is fine, really)

    (not everything in the list is for nds-gear specifically, and i'm not saying anything currently is wrong)

    what also is a critical point is (shoptemp specific) to not spam up the news page like some Asian resellers do, and preferably no flashcart related news (as we have that on GBAtemp already). i'd mainly like to see coupon information, discount notifications and such.
    • Member

    RoMee ??

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    After browsing your shop, here's a few constructive criticism

    1. better selection of flash cart, the only thing I saw that was worth buying was an acekard.
    You need supercard, ismart, cycloDS, etc. You don't even have the WOOD compatible R4i gold.

    2. prices, your prices is a little high when compared to other (more trusted) USA shop.
    example: realhotstuff sells acekard for $18 shipped, your final price after shipping is $26.90. That's way too high for most people.

    3. customer service..reply to emails in a timely manner

    right now there's about 2 USA shop and about 3-4 China shop I rather go to before I even consider NDS-Gear
    • Member

    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

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    I agree with him. If you provide a solid service, excellent and knowledgeable customer service you can get many new and returning customers. However, like Romee says, you seem to have a bit higher prices than a store such as RealHotStuff. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, but many people don't have as much money than a US customer. So, what I would do is see about getting cheaper shipping solutions, and perhaps small items with every order. Something like an extra stylus, or small SD cards with Non-SDHC flashcards (256 Mb or slightly more). Little things like that makes it more funtional out of the box. Your customers will appreciate it. I would even go so far to put offers up through email as well as Shoptemp.
    • Member

    NDS-Gear New Member

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    Many thanks to all of you for your replies. [IMG] Just reading through them and will attempt to address a number of issues.

    • Postage cost - This one is slightly tricky for us. Customers always want to know their shipments are dispatched quite quickly, and if anything gets lost in the post people expect replacements or refunds. What we've done with NDS-Gear is guarantee tracked mail with every order. For the USPS, flat-rate shipping for some of our cards (depending on weight) actually comes out to about $5.10 (we charge $4.95 for US shipping) so our goal is to simply break even on shipping but still offer the service. We offer reduced shipping to Canada, Mexico and the U.K. (we used to be U.K. based so want to take special care of our old customers there) but we typically spend maybe $0.50 less than the actual shipping cost on a light order and about par some of the heavier ones.

      So I guess the question is...is it worth having $1-2 (or free?) shipping at the expense of having orders tracked?
    • Card Variety - Our mission is to stock strictly genuine cards. Almost all DS cards are clones of one another so it's hard to figure out exactly who we'd consider 'genuine' and who we wouldn't. The general criteria is that a card's manufacturers must have a sole dedicated team behind them who incorporate original technology and support behind the card they sell. So for example, even though the iEDGE was originally a branch-off of the CycloDS team, we consider the iEDGE a genuine card as nowadays it differs a fair bit and offers standalone support. Cards we DO NOT / WILL NOT stock include the dreaded N5 card in DS/DS-Lite days, and any card that calls itself "R4i Gold" of which there are about a million.

      We're considering bringing in the Cyclo iDS as well as the Supercard DSTWO in the near future, but bear in mind (see next point) because we import everything above board and don't dodge tax or similar, we would likely be at least a bit more expensive. On the plus side, we take EVERY card out of its box and test it thoroughly before sending them to a customer, something I genuinely believe very few if any stores actually do (stores that claim to test typically test a few random ones out of each batch of 100 and call that 'thorough').
    • Prices - Our biggest idea is that our prices stay competitive with US based stores. RealHotStuff and DealExtreme, for example, have reputations for cheap products, but (no disrespect intended) you'd only need to look at their websites for about ten seconds to figure out they probably do not offer much in the way of support (from what I've heard, RealHotStuff are US based actually, although their website heavily suggests otherwise). The thing that also annoys us most about these sites, is that they tend to sell a mixture of genuine and imitation/low-quality cards - which means we occasionally get an e-mail saying "Why don't you sell N5's" or similar (don't even get me started on the R4i Blue Navi Avatar special edition or God knows what that was called, we laughed about that one for a long time), and I must admit I want to pull my hair out when I read things like this. Of course, I explain exactly why :-) Finally, I also note that some of our U.S. based competitors, most notably modchipcentral, have prices that are actually slightly higher than ours! That's irrelevant, though, because we've always been about the service - e-mails answered both before and after a customer makes a buy.

    Hopefully I've explained some of the things that I *think* make NDS-Gear a better place to shop, but naturally I've read all the forum posts and will attempt to make a move towards better things in the months ahead. [IMG] At the end of the day, I think I can speak for the whole team when I say we would MUCH rather get 100 sales from GBATemp forum members who are happy with their purchase, than 200 random sales where customers grab their products and we never hear from them again. This is the honest truth - the site was originally set up because online customer support was crap and we wanted to offer the opposite. Usually, the communities that enjoy these kind of things the most are the ones that are most appreciative of the extra efforts we make. [IMG]

    Have PM'ed you guys a note of thanks. Appreciate the support, and perhaps we'll see you on-site at some point in the future!
    • Administrator

    Costello Headmaster

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    yup, I agree. It's not always about the price, people need to realize that!
    • Member

    AceWarhead "Must Construct Additional Pylons"

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    Also have some fast support and replies, because some places don't even respond...
    Don't have stuff WAAY overpriced, too.
    • Member

    Armadillo New Member

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    Price, specifically shipping. Considering they are tested before being shipped, card prices are fine for me, Acekard 2i is £13.50 or so, cheapest I've seen them is £7ish, but as they are tested before shipping and being able to talk to people who can speak proper English, rather than broken English, if something wasn't right, I'd have no problem paying that.

    Shipping is another matter though. Assuming I'm reading right, Acekard 2i is £13.50 ($22) and shipping is £8 to the UK ($12.95). So I'm paying over 50% of the value of the card just for shipping, for something so small and of such little value, it seems excessive [IMG].

    From what you said, it doesn't seem like you can do much about it, but I'm really not fussed about tracking or speed. A cheaper option that lacks tracking and is a bit slower would do me fine. I have no need to know where it is every step of the way, as long as I got an email saying it's been sent, then that's enough updates for me.

    Also just from a quick check (I just threw something in the basket), it looks like you have to make an account? I really dislike that (on all shops, not just you), if I'm just going to be using a site once or even more than once, just not regularly, I just want to make my order, get an order number and be done with it. I don't want to make yet another account, with yet another user name and password to remember. Of course, if this is already an option (like I said, I only checked quickly [IMG] ) then just ignore this [IMG].
    • Member

    RoMee ??

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    a lot of you guys say price don't matter, but why do (almost) everyone rather buy from china instead of a shop in their country...... to save that extra $$.

    as for shipping the $5 price is too high.
    I sell and ship stuff through amazon all the time and shipping with tracking only cost $3 or less.
    and that's for things like PS games, DS accessories, etc.

    shipping flash cart within the US is only around $2

    here's a few reason why I won't shop at NDS-Gear yet

    1. limited selection of good flash carts
    2. NDS-Gear is not an established and trusted seller within the flash cart community
    3. overpriced flash cart, overpriced shipping
    • Member

    NDS-Gear New Member

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    I must politely agree to disagree with you there - as far as I know there are very, very few (are there any older than us?) stores that have stayed open for over four years. Admittedly we grew our reputation first in the U.K., but had lots of U.S. customers back then as well. [IMG]

    At the end of the day, though, you are 100% right - it is impossible for a U.S. based store (especially one where customer service exists) to compete with Chinese prices. If people are willing to forego card testing, customer service and a long wait time for their card, it IS possible to get cards cheaper. We might even be able to operate that way ourselves, but we choose not to.
    • Banned

    Sausage Head Lord Sausage LXIX

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    Wait for a few weeks/months, and I'll bet you'll be one of the 'buy 'em from these dudes' shops.
    I think the only problem right now is that nobody knows the shop well.
    • Member

    RoMee ??

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    It doesn't matter how long you stayed open, there's plenty of shop (who only sells cheap clones) that stayed open for years too.
    The point is (maybe with a few exceptions)no one even heard of you until you started spamming advertising on shoptemp and in this forum.

    Your price is higher than the competition, and you only have a few selection of flash carts, this is the USA not UK.
    the only thing worth buying from your shop is an acekard, and it's overpriced and comes in a cheap plastic packaging

    You ever wonder why walmart crushes their competition?
    Here's why, their price is lower than the competition, and they have the most selection of items.

    Do you know how many people come here and ask, "where's the cheapest place I can buy a flash cart"??.....Hundreds of times
    Do you know how many people come here and ask, "what flash cart shop has the best customer services"?...ZERO
    • Member

    NDS-Gear New Member

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    You seem to think I'm trying to be combative and claiming this isn't possible. If you re-read what I've written and assume I'm not trying to be aggressive, you'll understand I'm trying to ask you the NAME of the service so we can investigate and hopefully replace our current shipping method with that one (and thus lower shipping prices). [IMG]

    I still can't quite make out what service that is although I do recognise the USPS logo. If anyone knows the actual name of it, that would be highly useful to us and aid in possibly lowering prices.

    Cheers!
    • Member

    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

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    Might be flat rate envelopes.
    • Member

    RoMee ??

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    it's just a regular (bubble) envelope with first class postage and tracking
    But that doesn't matter, it's still extra $$ on top of a flash cart that's already over priced.
    Other shop are priced lower and ships for FREE

    Sorry if I sound rude
    • Member

    yusuo New Member

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    For me the most important thing is shipping time, I buy quite a few cards as I do it for alot of people and people whining a me about me not having there cards yet bugs the hell outta me.

    Second most important is customer service, a company that actually replies to my emails and hell if you have a contact number even better, I always prefer talking to a human then waiting for a digital reply.

    Third is price, im willing to pay a little (emphasis on little) over the average if the two above conditions are met, I recently bought a supercard dstwo for myself as i got a 3ds the other week, and requested that the firmware could be flashed to be compatible with 3ds 2.1.0-3E so when i received it I didnt have to work at getting it working, they replied within 2 hours and i ended up paying £5 more on that specific card then was advertised on most other sites. I didnt mind this as some sites charge to do all the flashing but the fact that they done it free of charge prompted me to spend a little more than i would of

    Thats my 2 cents
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    lightakejerry New Member

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    I would like to refer your suggestion in future,thanks you!
    • Member

    NDS-Gear New Member

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    Hey all,

    Just a quick update to let GBATemp know that thanks largely to feedback through this thread (and a month's time trying to sort out various "Delivery Confirmation" procedure with USPS) NDS-Gear have today halved our delivery prices to:

    $2.50 shipping for the first card (down from $4.95), and
    $1.00 shipping for each card thereafter.

    We have been able to do this WHILE keeping our guarantee to re-ship any order that becomes lost in the post, and still providing tracking numbers with delivery confirmation to our customers.

    Thanks for the feedback - we'll keep listening! [IMG]

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