Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Warehouse Wednesday: To click or not to click…….

To click or not to click……

As many of our faithful customers know, Frantic Stamper has been in business for 15 years now, bringing  you an ever expanding array of paper crafting products.   We are often asked why we don't have a shopping cart, or when we will have one.  

I thought it would be a good topic of discussion for today.  

First let me say that we've pondered this question for at least 10 years… and we've made strides towards that goal, but have also had many set backs. In the past, we've hired offsite companies that were supposed to help us design and set up a "click to buy" storefront, but quickly gave up when faced with the monumental task of entering all the inventory into the system.  We've explored free shopping cart software (that make you do all the work yourself, which also mean fixing things that don't work right yourself).  We even hired a full time person a few years ago who ended up fleecing us and not getting much actual work done.  The "shopping cart project" has ben started so many times I feel like it's a Nascar race that never ends due to all the cars crashing into the wall on turn #1.  

Presently we are working with a local IT company that specializes in all that stuff.  We've upgraded our computers, are working on integrating our inventory management, and the 3rd step will be implementing a shopping cart.   But it's more than that…. it's a HUGE job that will require hiring at least one data entry person to input all the items, code everything so the cart can actually take orders.  

But there is more to the issue. 

For years, our customers have been talking to us by phone and email to place their orders.  We suggest products, we answer questions, we get to know you….. and you can't do that with a "buy now" button.  We like the personal interaction.   Will that be lost?  I sure hope not!    It's a double edge sword, a catch-22 if you will.  Ordering is easier with a shopping cart, but is it really? 
  • What if you forgot something?  Place a second order?   Right now, you just call us and as long as your oder hasn't left the building, we can add to it, change things, let you know if something is out of stock and give you suggestions for substitutions. 
  • What about shipping?  There is no way a "shopping cart" will know that even though this item is heavy, I can save you money on shipping by using a flat rate box… or that item x won't fit in a flat rate box and is best to ship by UPS. 
  • What if you have a question about size, color, shape?
  • What if you need 300 of something and we don't have it?  But I know we can get it quickly… or I know we have some coming in.  How will the shopping cart know that?
  • What if you want us to special order something we don't stock?
  • When will we ship your order?  Right now, we can look at the number of orders we are working on and tell you… but how will a cart know if we have 10 orders in line or 10,000 orders in line to be processed, and how long it will take us to finish them?
Where is the human touch?

So my question to our readers today is:   Do you LIKE the personal interaction we offer?  or would you rather order by clicking?   Do you like to talk to us?  Or do you prefer to "checkout" and be done with it?  



  1. Well I like the fact I send you our order by e-mail or by phone. And I think you provide excellent service. I had the opportunity to talk with Fran on the phone once for a command, and then she told me many things. What I like also to do so because if ever we do not understand, that we speak english and french, she can answer our questions because it speaks in both languages​​. And as is mentioned above, if we control and that we forget something, it is difficult to add to cart after passing the body of the website, while e-mail or phone, it is very easy to ask to be added!

    That is my point of view!

    PS: your store is great, why take the risk of changing things. Me, I like it like that! :)

  2. I prefer a shopping cart especially one I can save. I don't want to give the impression speaking on the phone isn't great but since I do most of my shopping late at night when my baby is finally asleep it makes my life tons easier.

  3. Barbara L.9:47 AM

    I like the personal touch. It's especially good when you can save on shipping! Good to talk to you, Fran.

  4. Carolyn11:51 AM

    I want a human to talk to, commiserate with, get ideas from;love the personl touch.

  5. I have not used the phone in option, but have e-mailed my order in. I love that. For me it is convenient to make a list of what I am considering in an e-mail, go through and add or delete and send the e-mail off. When I ordered, I got a personal e-mail back telling me when my order would be shipped etc. Sometimes automated is good, but I do like the personal touch that you maintain.

  6. I like the idea of both! However, if it means using a huge amount of time and resources then maybe automated is not the way to go! I do like speaking with Fran on the phone when I order. I have always gotten excellent service! Phyllis B.

  7. I like talking to Fran and having the inter action.

  8. I really like the fact that I can email my order in. I copy and paste into my email and voila! an order is done. I can save my email and change it and then send it. As sometimes happens, I send an email and then find something else thats so cool I have to have it. So I just send another email and Fran combines everything if possible.
    I have to say that Fran spoils me. I can email or call. Fran always always is there for any issue (which I expect she would be anyway if a cart happened).
    The only thing a cart can do right away is give me my total (more or less - the shipping may not be right). I can go either way...cart or no cart...but I dont want to give up Fran!

  9. Internet Commerce, and all of it's extras, always adds more cost to the bottom line, ends the personal customer service, which is what sets your Company apart from the others. Not having the shopping cart, will give more dollars to spending at CHA each year to offer us your wonderful selection of up to date new goodies at such good prices. Personally, I make my 'shopping trips' to your site, pen and pad in hand, and I think it makes me really think before purchasing, which is a win-win situation for both of us:) And I enjoy our back and forth emails, and occasional phone calls. It gives a feeling of a 'family business' and customer service which is rare these days.
    Much appreciated Fran, don't change a thing!
    Denise Phillips
    Victoria, B.C. Canada

  10. Linda Grady10:44 AM

    I like the convenience of making my selections and posting to a shopping cart - 1st choice. I only have to do it one time. But on the other hand, I also like to make my list, think twice/adjust and send by email. I always receive a prompt reply back with shipping info., etc. Either way is fine with me.

  11. I am totally against the "buy it now" button. I have been dealing with you, Fran, for a long time now and I would say your customer service has been the best. Some stores are going to self serve check out and I abosutely refuse to go through those check outs. Even if you get the shopping cart I know that you will be on the other end of the computer or telephone if a customer has questions, that will not change. I wish you luck with the extra work you might be incurring. If I lived there I would be there to do all your data entry for product. LOL.

  12. I love being able to just send you an email, but I have to say a shopping cart is a nice thing. And I'm sure it would save you some trouble on your end, which is worth it because you have so much great stuff!

  13. Brooke6:03 PM

    I agree I like being able to send you an e-mail and add things if I need to but there are times that a quick order would be nice.

  14. Debbie11:05 AM

    I buy most of my crafting supplies online and I like to be able to do it any time day or night. I don't need any personnel interaction but it would be nice have that option for those who enjoy it.
    I know I would be spending a lot more money every month if you had a shopping cart system so maybe it would not be good for me. :-))