The definitive source for information on collecting screen-used Star Trek props and costumes

Star Trek The Internet's premier source for information on collecting Star Trek props and costumes, as well as coverage of all major Star Trek auctions from the famous 2006 Christie's Star Trek auction, through the It's A Wrap Star Trek auctions on eBay and the Propworx Star Trek auctions. Star Trek Props is the best source for information of collecting original, screen-used props & costumes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's a Wrap 3 Month Report Card

OK, the It's a Wrap auctions have been going on for over 3 months now and so I thought it was time to give them a review. The auctions were supposed to last 6 months, but anyone who saw the History Channel special and saw that warehouse knows that there will be at least a year of these auctions!

I graded IAW on 6 categories:

1) Customer Support

2) Quality of Descriptions

3) Selection

4) Shipping

5) Web Site

6) Overall Improvement

No overall grade as heck, the mere fact that Paramount is letting this happen gives IAW a passing grade as we LOVE this stuff! (much to the detriment of some of our bank accounts).

So here goes.....

1) Customer Support

This is absolutely the biggest problems with the auctions. I have yet to speak to one winner who had NOT had problems dealing with IAW. Failure to return calls, failure to answer emails, not shipping for weeks, items not complete as advertised. Really, there is no excuse for this. Now I KNOW the guys in the warehouse have their hands full. They catalog, photograph, research and list all the items each week. They also have to manage orders and ship the items as well as answer customer support. So if they are overworked, then I have to put the blame squarely on the management of IAW. Not only does it appear that IAW is under staffed, at the warehouse, but they don't even have the right technology to make the process work. This isn't rocket science. Use Marketworks, Andale, Vendio or any number of products that can automate your eBay sales, integrate your web site and make everyone's life easier while saving a ton of time and aggravation!


2) Quality of Descriptions

Ok, at the beginning their titles were awful and it looked like they had no clue. The Orange Radiation Suit I won was titled "Star Trek Feature Film". Did they not know what the stuff was? Did they not know how to use eBay? Had they never listed before? Real simple stuff they were blowing, which was only more aggravating as this was eBay 101 and they had many people offer to help and they said no to everyone. Now over time, the titles have improved to the point that they are good.

The descriptions are good, but sometimes inadequate. While they do an excellent job researching each costume and noting what episode it comes from and even what scene, they should include a screencap to add legitimacy ( has an insane # of screencaps). Also, they need to understand how important the tagging is on costumes and research it more thoroughly. Take a photo of the tags and look for every tag!

3) Selection

Well, first one needs to appreciate that there is a ton of mediocre costumes and props mixed in with the gems at that warehouse. Not every piece is a hero costume or prop. But IAW has put up a nice mixture of both props and costumes, and the themed weeks are a nice touch. No one is sure how they get what they do to list on eBay, so they may not have control over this. But with the exception of the last two weeks, which have been very weak, the auctions have had some great items and enough of a diversity that there is something for everyone.

4) Shipping

Well, the quality of their packing is great. Everything arrives safely and well packed. The Certificates of Authenticity are nice and include a photo, a nice touch.

Unfortunately the amount of time it takes to get an item can vary from days (some people have gotten their items without paying for them) and weeks (my friend waited almost a month to get a set of patches!).

Again, this is lack of a technology system to manage this all. If they had one they could spit out packing invoices every day and ship in a timely manner.

5) Web Site

Let's ignore the fact that It's a Wrap is insane if they think anyone is going to pay $ 150,000 for the Andy Probert Painting or $ 100,000 for the Ceti Eel moles. Maybe at 10% of those prices they MIGHT sell. Plus every other item on the site is overpriced. They have sold only a few items.

The technology sucks because they can't update it every week. It is some type of static web site without any decent inventory management feature that doesn't allow fresh inventory to be circulated through on a weekly basis before being listed on eBay. The web site hasn't been updated in 3 months and so is useless basically.

In this day and age of Web 2.0 and Internet products that work, this is inexcusable.

6) Overall Improvement

How has IAW improved all categories over the first 3 months? Well, there customer service hasn't improved one bit. Their descriptions and titles have gotten better, as has their selection and they mixture any given week. The quality of the shipping has been good the whole time, though their timing is still erratic. The web site hasn't improved one bit. So I am giving them a "C" which is average by grading terms. Got better in some areas, didn't improve in others. GRADE C

So, while I won't give them an overall grade, I think their strengths and weaknesses are obvious. How would I recommend changing this?

1) More staff - They simply need more people if they are going to have such an inefficient system

2) Better technology - If they aren't going to staff up, then get a decent eBay management / eCommerce system. This will reduce the workload and make their storefront something worth going to.

3) Make customer service a priority. It isn't now. Unanswered emails, no efficient way of tracking an order. This is critical. People are getting tired of the nonsense.

Well, if you agree or disagree, post a comment and we will chat about it!



Kevin J said...

You are bang on with your review of IAW Alec. I have won three auctions and it seems the time to ship has improved somewhat as has some communication from IAW as I did receive tracking numbers for my last two items. Still, it takes weeks to get the item shipped and email queries continue to go unanswered. If there is only a few at IAW working on the auctions then they are doing a heck of job. They do need help though as there is much room for improvement.

Anonymous said...

I was lucky to meet the IAW people in London last January when they attended the Creation Show, enabling a rapport, especially as one of the girls working at the Warehouse is English. But allegedly it seems that they are only allowed to call if there is a skype phone available, all that money and the boss won't allow international phonecalls!!!