So, here we are. After only two years and one false start, thanks to hundreds of hours of help from more than a dozen generous volunteers, Brain Spice has finally arrived in the digital sense!
A webstore was always part of the Brain Spice plan. We wanted a webstore that was fully integrated with our shop. It is important that customers can see what is actually in stock, and what isn't. We invested in an amazing cloud-based retail system for the shop that allows for this, called Retail Express. We could have bought the integrated webstore from them too. Yup. We could have.
So instead, I decided to try and save a few dollars. Now to be fair, I've made a lot of pretty darn good decisions in the last couple of years. This wasn't one of them.
Predictably, our first attempt at a webstore was a disaster. Let's just say that, with all the best of intentions from all parties, having our fully integrated Magento webstore developed overseas by wonderful people with zero familiarity of our shop's retail system, and only a slightly better grasp of English (but certainly better than my own grasp of Hindi)....and with a competent Australian third party arranging initial design, but then side-stepping hurriedly out of the picture.... well, what could possibly go wrong?
In late 2015, as the results of this ambitious international collaboration self-imploded in a spectacular cloud of communication errors and index corruption, I was forced to concede that it wasn't going to work. Letting go was difficult, but I was helped through the grieving process by the highly professional webstore development team belonging to Retail Express. REX delivered us a beautiful and healthy baby webstore in early 2016. I thought, couple of weeks to populate it, and we're finally there.....
Five months later, we were about 20% done. What an entirely unfair, ridiculously gargantuan task - how does anyone manage to populate a webstore? One desperate evening, I swallowed what was left of my pride, and pleaded for help on Facebook.
Then a miracle happened. We were overwhelmed with responses from people wanting to help. The following angelic folk have collectively entered more than two thousand product images and descriptions for us, and in their spare time no less. In no particular order, I would like to extend our heart-felt thanks to the these amazing people:
Tiffany Louise Baker
Shondelle & Peter Watts
As torturous as our path to online-hood was, this massive act of generosity has made our launch today especially special. It is the equivalent of breaking more than a dozen bottles of the finest fizzy wine across our webstore's bow. This thing doesn't dare not fly. Okay, now I'm mixing metaphors, just to show how much this means to me.
Hmm. Wine. .....Now where was I?
There are still some unpolished areas. About two hundred tricky items still need images and descriptions. Some of the categories and filters will need amending. And we haven't (yet) been able to fully implement our loyalty point system online, although rest assured, you are earning them with every purchase. You just can't spend them online.....yet. Give us a call, or swing by our shop in Bunbury, if you have a hankering to spend your points.
There are undoubtedly going to be some teething problems too. If you have any problems at all, don't be shy about it. Email me on Customer Support, and we'll get everything ship-shape for you as soon as we can. We want Brain Spice to be the best darn webstore in the 'verse. So your feedback and opinions are very much appreciated.
Right, time to go exploring! You go right on ahead. I've got another bottle stashed here somewhere....