How to select a board game online and enjoy the process.
There are many advantages to buying board games online and this is true for most products; the major advantage is you have a large selection to choose from.
At a typical brick and mortar store a retailer has limited floor space to display products, whereas online there is virtually unlimited space.
Another advantage is being able to compare products easier and faster than driving around town from one retail outlet to another.
One often overlooked feature of online shopping is the product suggestions, when you are looking at a particular board game many websites will also have suggestions of other related products.
There will usually be 4 or more related games that are similar to the one you are browsing.
You could have a total Eureka moment when you see a product featured that is even better than the one you are looking at.
Okay so this is where it gets crazy when you go to a product suggestion there are even more suggestions, wow mind blown!
Everyone wants a bargain!
Another advantage of an online experience is that most websites will have any discount or other incentives like free shipping clearly displayed.
There is no waiting will a store employee goes away to “ask the manager for a deal.”
Also many online stores have built in incentives like orders over $99.00 get free shipping or buy this product and get this for half price, or in some cases volume discounts.
These incentives are often taken care of when you go to your shopping cart to checkout.
Speaking of volume discounts if you belong to a board game club take a moment to introduce yourself via email and you may be surprised at the discounts your club may receive.
Of course it goes without saying that this will involve the purchase of more than one board game.
Find out who you are doing business with!
When you are browsing websites that sell board games before you make an investment take a moment to scan their about us page.
This is important because it will give you some insight into the company or individual you are dealing with, if there is no About Us page you will have to enter at your own risk.
If the game store doesn’t want you to know who they are or what they stand for do you really want to give them your money?
It is like buying a product out of the back of a van in an alley!
This raises another point, somewhere on the website there should be a phone number and physical address with Contact Us information.
Websites that do not have this information is doing so for a reason.
It is all about the product description.
We are going to spend some time on product description because it is very important, the more detailed the description is the more informed you will be about your purchase.
Another thing that is important about product descriptions is if the online store owner really cares about you and your business they will inform you as much as possible.
If there is a product description that looks like this think twice “This is a great marble chess set with a 15” chess board” this is not an exaggeration, there are descriptions like that online!
Let’s look at that description above I have questions, what size are the squares? How tall is the chess King? What is the height of the chess board?
What is the King base width? Is the chess board marble as well or just the chessmen?
Why is this information important?
Because if you have other chess pieces already or will in the future will you be able to use the same chess board?
A thought about product images.
Another important element of the product description is the image or images that are included; there should be more than one.
In some cases only one image is necessary because the particular board game may be very straightforward and simple.
However if there are intricate details like hand carved chess sets, hand painted chessmen or other details there should be more than one image showing different angles to give you some insight.
Along with the image there should be a short description about what is be featured in the image, like pay attention to rounded corners on the chess board.
What if the description and images don’t answer all my questions?
What you should look for on the website is a Got Questions?
Most websites will provide one (usually towards the bottom of all pages) it will usually have a form that asks for your name, email address and a box to ask your question.
In most cases this works much better than a phone call because you have a paper trail of the conversation.
It also allows the person answering the email to provide more information in the form of additional images if available or additional detailed descriptions they may have acquired from the board game manufacturer.
The Contact Us page may also feature that form it depends on the website.
What if I live in another country? Is there international shipping?
Most but not all online stores will ship products internationally, let’s assume you live in Spain but the website is located in the United States.
Since every country is different as well as they postal laws, duties and more it may require that you get an international shipping quote from the website.
Again if it is reputable website there will be a Contact Us page that will have a form that will allow you to request an international shipping quote.
Time saving tip: When you are requesting a quote make sure you provide a complete postal address with the product SKU.
This can save you a lot of back and forth time; a retailer armed with all the information can get you a quote much quicker.
What type of guarantee is there if any?
This topic ties into the About Us page and an FAQ page more than likely there will be some type of guarantee spelled out.
If there is nothing again purchase at your own risk.
The way most guarantees work (or should) is if you are not completely satisfied and through no fault of yours or the shipping company your product is damaged then you should get a replacement or a total refund.
There should also be a policy if for some reason you don’t want the board game that you can return it, this however may involve you pay for shipping and in some cases there may be a restocking fee.
A word about shipping companies.
Once your board game leaves the game store the website owner no longer has control over how it is handled.
Most reputable stores would want to hand deliver it to your door with felt gloves but that is not reality.
However if the delivery guy is having a bad day and drop kicks your package then there may be some damage!
That is not to say all delivery companies are in the business of abusing your packages far from it, most delivery companies would fire a delivery person on the spot if they were caught damaging a package.
Regardless your new board game showed up at your front door and it is damaged!
Okay who is at fault?
It certainly is not your fault, nor should the store owner be blamed, so now what?
Important tip: If your board game shows up at your front door with obvious damage you can refuse the package.
But what if the damage is not obvious? But you open it and there is damage?
You should immediately take a photo of the damage if there is any when it arrives and you are going to accept it.
Then if you accept the package and open it and everything is fine no worries.
But if the contents are damaged take photos and email the company immediately.
Your photos will help the website owner file a claim with the shipping company, this ensures you get your replacement (if you want) quickly!
What happens if it shows up broken or is the wrong one?
If you are dealing with an online store that has a solid reputation then they will feature an FAQ (frequently asked questions) page.
This page will spell out all what ifs.
What happens if the board game shows up on time but is broken?
How is a return handled? In the event it is the wrong product?
A reputable store will want to solve all or any issues immediately, most will always be on the lookout for your complete satisfaction.
Important tip: If you do experience a situation with a board game a phone call to the company is fine, however the best means of communication is email.
The reason for this is there is a paper trail and eliminates any he said she said, everything is laid out in print.
The deal is done and you got your board game!
Congratulations, now it is time to open it up and start playing your favorite game, after you have examined everything and you are pleased, take a moment to let the store owner know.
This is important because you are now their board game customer and again a reputable company takes that very seriously.
There is sure to be a way you can leave a review of the product you purchased.
A relationship has begun; in the future you may want another product or need help with a current board game.
There are numerous occasions when there is an emailed received that reads “my dog chewed up my game piece that I bought 2 years ago, can I get a replacement?”
In most situations that request will fall on deaf ears but if you are an established customer then most reputable stores will bend over backwards to help you!
Finally a word about competition.
Competition to a degree is good for the consumer; no one wants to deal with a company that has a monopoly on products. (Clever huh? Board games… monopoly? Okay maybe not).
There is a lot of price match guarantees, we are the best in customer service blah, blah and more blah talk aimed at getting your business.
The bottom line is customer service really starts when there is a problem that arises, it easy to talk the talk but walking the walk may be different with some companies.
If you are on a website and you like a particular board game and you spent a few moments getting to know who you are dealing with via their About Us page etc.
But saw it on another website for a few dollars less, simply reach out via email and say “Hey I like your Mahjong Game Sets but saw it cheaper here” (provide link).
Aalmost all store owners will match or in some cases beat the price for you pointing it out to them.
However there are some exceptions and that is auction websites, which have products that are here today gone tomorrow.
These are websites where you have no idea what you are going to get and what to do if there is a problem.
The final word.
We sincerely hope this information is valuable to you and helps you understand how to buy a board game online.
It should be a fun process, after all that is what games are all about right?