Did you know? IBB never started out intending to be an online store. True story. I initially saw us (translation – me, myself and I) as a local consulting company, with the intention to host in-home parties for those ready to learn more about cloth. But it quickly became evident we needed a website – people look for an online presence to use for additional research (and late-night fluff-fulfillment!), manufacturers require evidence of a store presence, and, well, if we already had the inventory it would have been silly to just stare at it in our dining room.
Quite quickly the website grew – from five brands to ten to 20 and now we have an exciting 65 in store (soon to be 66, with the addition of Lunette menstrual cups arriving later today). We knew the website had a few hiccups and shall we say, ‘quirks,’ but we were able to work-around them. Unfortunately though, I didn’t realize just how makeshift our day-to-day invoicing and other workarounds had become until late 2011. You might know that feeling, where you don’t quite realize something is about to break until you find yourself looking around for the duct-tape and band-aids. Well that is kind of where our current website has taken us. I love her dearly, as she represents just how far we’ve come, but it is time she be put out to pasture to enjoy her last days trolling the fields for daisies.
So what’s next? In the coming weeks, we will roll out a brand new sparkly website, with several amazing bells and whistles -
- affiliate links to reward those who love to share the IBB-love
- automated Bitsy Bucks (I can hear your cheers from here!)
- automated registries
- easy-to-peruse navigation complete with search capabilities, breadcrumbs and ‘related items’
- automatic bulk discounts
- coupon code capabilities (double hooray for brand sales and flash parties)
- email addresses specific to inquiry type
- and more (yup!)
Back on the Ranch As I build the new website, please forgive if it takes a bit longer to reply to emails (more on emails in a minute) or respond on Facebook. I’m aiming for the new site to be up late-April, but so far it seems everything takes twice as long as planned.
The store will need to close for a day or two as we transition inventory from one site to another. Once we know these dates we will shout notice from the rooftops, so hopefully any last-minute diaper needs can be ordered pre-closure.
I know what some of you are probably thinking – what about Bitsy Bucks? No, they are not going away, and there isn’t a freeze period for accrual. But there is a temporary freeze on calculations. In other words, effective immediately, all Bitsy Bucks calculation requests should be shelved on ice (exception - any requests already received and pending in my inbox will be tallied as soon as I can). Once the new website opens, and accruals will tally automatically, it will just be a matter of going back and retroactively adding outstanding BB to your customer account. Closer to the new site release we will announce specifics on how this will all shake out.
On Emails We learned over the last few days that several customer emails are going MIA – both emails coming in as well as replies sent. The worst part of it all, no one is receiving error messages, so we have no way of knowing what is lost en route. If you have sent me an email and have not received a reply within two business days (business days = Mon-Fri) please resend. Depending on volume sometimes we do get behind and your nudge, and patience, is appreciated. If you still do not receive a reply feel free to post on Facebook that you’ve emailed. Hopefully we can connect on that medium if email is proving unsuccessful. As I’ve always said, I answer every email I receive (sans spamming/solicitations), bar none.
Thank you! We really appreciate all of the kind words and support our customers have offered over the last twenty-one months. Your patience with our current site's 'quirks' has been much appreciated, and we look forward to serving you at the new IBB online store in the very near future!
Be sure to stay tuned. After all, what is a new website without a party!