Or, I should say one of the beauties … is that the bright idea we had one day a few years back for an online storefront full of graphic solutions has proven itself to be successful. Here’s just one example:
When I got to my desk this morning, one of the first emails I downloaded said “Thank you for your order”. I just love it when that happens, especially when it’s unexpected. When customers place an order on our webiste they receive an acknowledgement email and we receive a copy. So I immediately logged into the shopping cart admin area of our site and clicked on “check orders” to view a new job ticket complete with payment infmration and all the materials required to produce a new order for shelf talkers. The comments field included clear instructions for artwork we would be receiving from the customer.
While they could have chosen to submit artwork through our Client Intranet or via our FTP site, this customer chose to provide a link for downloading the files from their site. We will preflight the files, contact the client if there are any concerns (of which rarely there are), produce the job, ship it, and charge the card they provided. This usually happens without ever talking to the customer. Such is the beauty of e-commerce.
As we developed our site, their were doubters who didn’t believe we could sell design services and graphic solutions as if they were widgets. Even I knew the typical shopping cart system was best suited for selling a specific item, perhaps in a choice of size or color. But I also knew the concept could be applied to our graphic manufacturing business. Now, ours is the only site I have ever come across that includes hundreds of pre-specified graphic solutions — from logo design to complete trade show exhibits — complete with photos, project details, pricing and a “buy now” button.
We easily maintain the entire storefront — and gallery, newsletter, client intranet, and more — using a simple forms-based interface to add or edit products. This allows us to select inventory items necessary to build a given product. This might includes hours of design time at various rates, digital imaging media, laminates, substrates, or retail/POP hardware. We can add photos, cross-promote products, and assign recommended accessories to every item. Best yet our Quickbooks itel List can be easily uploaded for global price and inventory changes.
Other sites may leave it up to visitors to enter the square footage of a job to determine the price of a certain graphic — as if they might actually know — or worse yet just say “call for a quote”. Well, we got sick of providing custom quotes for every project that came our way. And we wanted clients to be able to review example projects to get an idea about the cost of various different solutions. And if they happen to find a product or project that meets their needs, why not give them the opportunity to buy it and get the job done, quickly, professionally, and cost-effectively? Just like what happened this morning…