Dec 28, 2001
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Thank goodness for Kinkos. About once a week we get a call from a customer who's just purchased a PDF document from our online
Knowledge Store, just can't open it properly for some reason or another (usually an antique Mac). So we go online to Kinkos.com and use their KinkosNet service to have a copy printed out at a Kinkos near that customer and then hand-delivered to them.
However, there are a few drawbacks to using Kinkos you should know about:
1. It's a rotten, horribly confusing Web site. In fact Kinkos employees have told me, "Oh yes isn't it awful?" Expect to spend at least 30 minutes figuring the darn thing out the first time. (Later it can take as few as 5 minutes)
2. Kinkos offers two different services (both at Kinkos.com) which make little sense to me. PrinttoKinkos can accept credit cards and uploaded documents online ... BUT your only delivery option is via pricey Fedex to your own address. KinkosNet can accept uploaded documents online and will hand-deliver for free to a local address near whichever Kinkos on earth you choose. BUT KinkosNet won't accept online payment, and the stores are very, very leery of taking credit cards on the phone. (You have to fax over a signature and sweet-talk them into it.)
If you're selling a single document at a low price, then all of this service may not be worth it to you. However my average
pricepoint is over $100, and I've learned that if we can please a first-time customer, they will return and buy, and buy, and buy again. So now Kinkos is our Knowledge Store's New Best Friend.
BTW: Why not just print up a bunch of hard copies ahead of time and have them waiting to ship to problematic customers? It's definitely cheaper and easier than KinkosNet -- but only if you can pretty accurately predict demand ahead of time, and only if the document won't change much (some of our PDFs update every few
months), and only if you have the rights to do so (some of the products in our store are from other publishers). Still, for those emergency onesy-twosies, Kinkos is a great solution.