Happy New Years 2016!
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great Holiday Season. I waited a few days to send this newsletter so maybe it does not get lost in all the other New Year emails. Hopefully that works.
I have a lot to cover and I know you don't like long newsletters so let's get started. There is some important information and good topics in this newsletter! I have tried to make this newsletter short!
You should read it.
Some of you may recall from previous newsletters that ChrisLands is working on rewriting our system. Initially, we intended to redesign the front end, what your customers see, making it more robust and able to support new design techniques. As we worked on that front end, more and more of the administration had to be rewritten to support it.
It became a "bridge too far" not to rewrite the entire system. We are now knee deep into a complete rewrite. Truly the update of ChrisLands will be a complete new version. This is the reason we have not launched anything yet.
The new system includes:
- All the features ChrisLands has now.
- Your website supports any size display, from phone to monitor.
- Websites designed with the popular HTML framework, Bootstrap.
- Ability to use your own website designs if written using Bootstrap framework.
- All new administration.
- Better image integration.
- One page checkout.
- Search engine friendly URLs.
- More features to support search engine optimization.
- More reporting features.
- Multi-language support.
- Much, much, much more.
We have much completed but we have much more to do, so I will not publish a date, although we are shooting for summer 2016. I know we were planning on an earlier launch but with the added administration coding and with all the intricacies of writing code in general, we could not make it. I am committed to having it out as soon as possible.
We are doing our best to make it easy for current store owners to update to this new version. As we get closer to completing the new version, we will announce more.
V2 Fee Structure
At the launch of Version 2, ChrisLands will establish an entirely new fee structure for new stores. We have not established the exact amount yet but its quality and robustness will demand higher monthly fees and a higher setup fee.
As usual for ChrisLands, we will grandfather those who are already a ChrisLands' store owner at their current fee level. If anyone is interested in a ChrisLands store, I strongly recommend signing up before we launch Version 2.
The New Fee Structure Includes:
- More fee tiers versus the two we have now.
- No storage fees. See, not all bad.
- Setup and Monthly fees proportional to the quality of the system and service.
As always, ChrisLands is not going to go nuts with these fees. We always consider the needs of the bookseller when establishing fees but they will be much more realistic.
If current store owners determine it is better for them to update to the new fee structure, we will accommodate their request to change the fee structure for their store. In most cases, this will only apply to stores with a lot of listings.
ChrisLands is making the leap to the Cloud. After a very long and in-depth analysis and review, we have decided to move our system to a Cloud service provider.
Here are a few reasons to move to the cloud:
- Better use of resources.
- More reliability.
- Easier to add resources when needed.
- Better server platforms.
- Better storage platforms.
It is a long and complex process to make this transition and will take months to coordinate. We will notify everyone before we make the move. We have always updated our systems with very little or no downtime, this transition will be no different. When we make the transition, it will be like flipping a switch then all traffic will proceed to the new cloud service.
In order to optimize the Cloud configuration, ChrisLands will delete all closed store data during this move. After this, previously closed stores will require new registrations to start their store with ChrisLands again.
Eight Years Ago
This is a topic I never wanted to address, however, I must address it now. It has been nearly eight years since ChrisLands increased fees for current ChrisLands store owners. Our nearest competitors, that we know of, have far greater fees or have raised them multiple times in that time frame.
We still have stores paying monthly fees initially established in 2001. They may not be at the same level but they are in one of them. ChrisLands can no longer put this off and remain competitive, maybe even remain viable.
Nevertheless, ChrisLands remains conscience of our current store owners so we are not going to double or triple these fees. We are only increasing them a little to help offset the increased costs of various services we use that allow us to support all our store owners.
Also, not all stores will be affected. Only stores whose monthly base service fees are in one of the 2001 fee levels will see an increase in fees. If your monthly base service fees (not including storage, additional items fees, and the like) is $29.99 or more, you will not see any fee increase.
The following table depicts the only fee levels affected. Only the base fee is affected, all other fees (storage, additional items, etc) stay the same. If your monthly base service fee is one of them on the left it will increase as indicated.
- $12.99 increases to $17.99.
- $19.99 increases to $23.99.
- $24.99 increases to $27.99.
- All others remain the same.
This fee schedule begins on March 1. You will see this reflected in your March 27 invoice we email and be due on April 1.
We are truly sorry for having to take this step. There is still two months until March 1, if I get enough new stores between now and then, I could potentially delay this some more. But I truly would need your help to get enough stores!!
Increase Sales Tips
Over the last 14 years, I have written many newsletters. Some of those newsletters have ideas for marketing your store, managing your store, and using features of the store. I realized that not everyone reads my newsletters very thoroughly so I'm listing some topics and links in this section that may help increase your sale.
Just by doing a few things, you could potentially make more sales. If you are already doing some or all of these, good for you!
1. Use Images. It is a known fact that images increase sales. At least for your Featured Items and New Items that appear on your home page. Here is a newsletter for uploading images.
Upload Images Instructions
I highly recommend you size your images correctly. Often I see images uploaded that are way too large for the internet. Usually these are images using the default size set in the scanner or camera used. These default sizes can be adjusted.
An image that is about 500 pixels wide by a proportionate height works well. It looks good on the site, it creates a smaller image and thus loads quickly on the website. Even though the bandwidth of a lot of providers has increased, you are still pulling images over the Internet. Appropriately sized images is still a good idea.
You might look at using our Stock Data and Images. At your store as the store administrator:
Login -> Administration -> Inventory -> Stock Data
2. Use Featured and New Items. See here for some more information:
New and Featured Items Newsletter
3. Change the content of your home page periodically. I've written about keywords here.
4. Change your add to cart links to a button. We can do this for you if you like.
Call to Action
5. Accept Credit Cards through Amazon Login and Pay (US and UK Only). 250 Million users.
Amazon Login and Pay
6. Look at accepting credit cards through Braintreepayments.
7. Offer more ways to pay!
More is Better
We have a repository of newsletters and tutorials here:
Browsing through the newsletters might be informational.
We have a lot going on. I look forward to getting all this done so I can show you all how great things are going to be for all of you with ChrisLands!
Once again, Happy New Years! My wish for all of you is that 2016 is an amazing year for you!
Jaymes H. Sorbel