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.