Product Quantites & More Points

Played with the site design a bit more today, fixed a few bugs so you should be able to see if a product is out of stock immediately and if something is a pre-order and the number of pre-orders made on a product.

In addition, product quantities are now live.  They should be mostly correct (barring stocking errors) so there should be less overall confusion.

Lastly, we have now added  points for tagging products on the site.  Log into the site via your account, tag a product.  If it’s a tag we have already approved, it’ll automatically be added.  If it’s not, we’ll have to review the tag and approve it before you get your points.  You will get 5 points per tag approved.

Citadel Citizenship Reward Program

Well, after months and at least 3 unsuccessful attempts, we’ve finally got the Customer Rewards Program up and running on the site.  Each attempt to fix it has taken at least 4 to 5 hours, maybe even 8 hours.  A significant chunk of time on my side, never mind the developers we worked with.

Our first attempt was using the software built into the site already, attempting to use a variety of system options.  Unfortunately, the only way to do it that way actually broke the site. In addition, it wasn’t automated and once we got to a few thousand people, it really was a problem.  In this particular case, it was just me.

Our second attempt was a minor rehash of the first, attempting to use a hack around on the code to get it working.  Again, it didn’t work, though we had the developers working with us on this at the time.

Our third attempt, again with our developers was with a module load-in.  Now, this was supposedly a stable module that would work well and give us a customer rewards program with points instead of a fixed amount discount that the above two attempts were based on.  It was also more flexible, with the ability to discount specific products, provide variable points for all orders and even go backwards to older orders.  It was a great system – and incredibly broken once the developers started looking into it.  That took an business day, hacking around the system in an attempt to get things working before we threw our hands up.

The latest (and final) fix only took us 6 hours.  Quite an expensive module was purchased, which was supposedly all fixed up.  Guess what? It wasn’t – and we had to hack around the system again, loading up the actual points system and then fixing errors as they cropped up.  Including, worst of all, in our checkout.

Still, our customer rewards program is finally up and running.  We unfortunately do not have the ability to go backwards to give customers reward points for previous orders, but the system we did purchase actually has a bit more flexibility going forwards.  Among other things, we can:

  • give reward points for tagging and reviewing products
  • give variable rewards points for specific board games
  • award points for specific instances in the shopping cart (e.g. 2 of the same kind, or 3 games of a type)

And even better, points can be spent in a variety of ways including:

  • on specific products at a variable rate at a variable price (so points could be spent at a higher discount rate)
  • in the shopping cart to discount the entire order
  • for shipping – potentially allowing us to offer a second free shipping option

And those are just the one’s I’ve figured out.  The system is quite complex, and I’m sure I’m missing ways of giving points and spending them.  I’m quite excited, and I hope you are too at the ways we can improve our service.

Promotional Packages

So I’ve finally found some time to look into doing more promotional packages.  With my Dad visiting from out-of-country, I’ve had to devote most of my free time to keeping him occupied.  Well, that and the tea ceremony.  So work wise, I’ve been doing the bare minimum to keep the company running with nothing new added.

However, he leaves Thursday night which means I’ll have time once more to look into creating new product packages.  On that note, I’m looking for suggestions and recommendations.  What kind of games would you like packaged?

Site hosting and other problems

We’re currently looking at shifting hosting which should significantly increase the speed of the site and deal with a few other issues related to hosting.  However, one of hte issues we recently located was that we are currently using 120GB of bandwidth a month, which is rather significant considering our new hosting limits us to 50GB!

So for the next little while, the site will be running slower as we log where all our bandwidth is flowing and then figure out how to fix it.  In addition, we’re going to keep major changes off the site  as the shift over might ‘lose’ our code.

Site upgraded

So, we just upgraded the site again to the latest version of the software we are using, along with a few bug fixes.  We’ve tested the site and it should be mostly fixed, but if you come across any new bugs, do inform us!

Otherwise, a number of older bugs should now be sorted.

Category page changes

We just did a category page change on the Adventure and Card Game categories to decrease the total number of products per page when browsing into individual categories.  Hopefully, this makes it somewhat simpler for people to browse.

So changes include:

Adventure Games

Card Games

Next step – reviewing both the Family and Strategy Game categories to steamline further.

If you have any comments or suggestions on the site design and category hierchies, do inform us.

Customer Rewards Program

So, we’ve been considering putting together a customer rewards program lately.  The way the program would work is very similar to Chapters – customer would need to pay a membership fee to join the program, but would then gain all its advantages.

Some of the advantages we could see adding to such a program would be:

  • lower free shipping threshold
  • additional price discounts (3, 5 or 10%)
  • special sale days and offers to members

Here’s the question I have for you:

– would such a program be of interest?

– how much would you be willing to pay for it? what would you expect from such a program?

– which of the above three benefits is most important to you? least?

– is there any other benefit that you would want to see added?

A concrete example of the program could be a 5% additional discount with free shipping at $150 for $25.