I sold my first copy of Bingo Card Creator on CD today, after having a long-running email exchange with a customer. A lot of people who aren’t the most technologically-savvy in the world prefer to have physical media, as its a) “real” in a way the download is not and b) proof against something going wrong on their computer (although, realistically, a three-second email to me will get their software and key back, but not everybody feels comfortable with that).
So I needed to get a CD to the US, and I needed it done reasonably cheaply, quickly, and with a minimum of work for me. Its certainly not worth sending me out to the video store to buy a CD or a stack of CDs (which I might never use), hand-write a license key on it, and then trudge it out to the post office, buy a padded mailer, and ship it abroad to the US, praying it doesn’t get a 25% tariff or get dropped in the freaking ocean like the last CD I sent to America (a friend’s wedding present, no less).
So I Googled “CD fulfillment”, and got cd-fulfillment.com . About ten minutes of research later I signed up with them, sent them a CD image over the Interweb, and now every time I get an order I just have to log into my account, fill out the order details, and hit “Send”. They take care of the burning, professional-quality labeling, invoice-printing (I get the actual money, they include a nice little letter), shipping, and whatnot. For $4.47 per CD at the quantities I’m likely to be using it as. I charge my customers a flat $5 for the CD option, and the extra $.53 is nominally profit although realistically I’m at a slight loss because of the time it takes to extract the correct information from the email I get from Paypal and put it into cd-fulfillment’s order form. Ahh well, if I end up getting annoyed at it I’ll *gulp* do some Perl magic.
How do you handle a return of a CD? Answer: you don’t. If a customer buys the CD and wants to use the 30-day guarantee, I will tell them to please dispose of the CD and I will take the loss ($4.47). There is no point even *thinking* about going to the post office for a five dollar item, and your customers will appreciate it immensely. This was our policy at Quill too for returns of, e.g., 3 packets of pens on a $500 order because someone else had already bought pens for that office: Oh, thats alright, why don’t you go ahead and give those to charity, we’ll credit your account.