Product unfulfillment

So you’ve found a sg cd you want. And being a good fan and loyal patron, you decide to buy the cd directly from the artist, order it off the group’s website because they’ve been really carrying on lately about their newfangled UFO or UVH or URL or whatever it is (you see, it’s an entire bit during their sales pitch in concert). You flit over to their website and you order the cd … and you wait … and you wait … and you wait … perhaps nothing happens. You just wait and wait and wait some more until one day, many weeks later, your product arrives … maybe. This is what happened to me when I purchased the Nelons latest cd from Seraphim music late last year (and I continue to hear chatter that this particular purchase was one of the nails in the coffin of my anonymity, but that’s another matter entirely). Sometimes, though, that’s the good scenario. I’ve heard countless stories from readers who’ve had horrendous experiences trying to purchase product from sg groups. Tales of performers’ kids doing product fulfillment for the group after school … with predictably untimely results. Tales of people getting a phone call from the mother of one of the most popular stars in the business … their credit card came through all garbled and could she please have it again? Oh my.If groups want the benefits of direct sales online, they need to invest in the kind of infrastructure necessary to do it professionally (which includes a website that doesn’t look like it was a practicum project for your nephew’s high school web workshop). I’ll have more to say about this, I hope, in a few days, but for now suffice it to say that ’tis better to outsource product fulfillment or stay away from it altogether if you can’t handle it. A few groups seem to be on the ball. Mercy’s Mark had wireless credit-card processors at their table at NQC last year. Someone else whose email I can’t find at the moment wrote a while back to say they saw wireless card readers in use by another group recently as well. Fantastic, I say. Not so, the NQC merchandise booth at NQC, where it literally required three people to figure out how to handle the decades-old manual card-impress contraption (this does not fill one with confidence in the security of one’s credit-card number). Or the SN booth at NQC, where sales people seemed to be doing computerized credit-card transactions well enough but still asked for a hand printed form to be filled out that included my credit-card number, only so they could toss the portion of the form with the number on it in a box FULL of such stubs, on the floor, thoroughly unsecured and certainly not out of sight or reach of someone who might have designs on a box of full of gold in credit-card numbers and expiration dates. This kinda thing is just not acceptable in normal business. I know all about “be ye not of this world” etc, but when it comes to point of sale and product fulfillment, sg could use some worldliness.

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