One Curious Business reader mentioned that
Very early on, with only the foggiest ideas of who my customers would be, what would sell, and what direction I wanted to take, I had to decide what
Each building was fictionally a “store” (department). Each store was going to have unique internal graphics. The main city image was supposed to have little flash animations and other graphical flourishes to make it look lively. The featured product boxes at the top of the page would display merchandise from whichever category (building) your mouse hovered over.
It was cool. It was clever. And it was beyond my reach. The boring, static image that resulted was more confusing than amusing. I reluctantly shelved the concept when the Sunshop 4.0 upgrade forced my hand, and now my departmental structure is a relic. Changing that isn’t trivial.
I want to implement subcategory flyouts. As you mouse over the category list in the navigation bar (navbar), the category description would attach to your pointer as bubble help. When you click on a category, its subcategories would appear as either a flyout or a dropdown menu. Since everything would be readily visible, I’d just need to rename and reorganize existing categories and shuffle a few products around. None of my product URLs would change, so my search engine page ranks (such as they are) would be unaffected. This is hardly a cutting edge idea. The drawback, of course, is the old familiar lament: No developer support. One company will do it for an hourly rate that’s almost triple what Eric has been charging me. I don’t think that’s a very good use of my limited money.
(In response to some
If I don’t break down and spend triple their value to implement the flyouts, then the quick-and-dirty remedy would be promoting all of my subcategories to the main category level. Everything is in plain sight on the navbar, and I don’t need anyone’s help to do it. There are two huge disadvantages to doing that:
- If every subcategory makes the cut, my navbar will grow from 17 buttons to approximately 44. That’s going to be one ugly navbar.
- Most of my product URLs would change, ruining their search engine rankings and making me revise hundreds of pay-per-click ads.
And so, as usual, I prefer to do nothing except complain. Superficially, it's just a cosmetic issue. Fixing my store's structure might improve my conversion rate a little bit, or raise the value of my average sale…but -- perhaps more important -- it would also loosen the shackles that my old categories impose upon my own mind. There is always value in thinking outside the old bounds.
Incidentally, the developer who turned me down last week suggested that an ad on a particular website might be fruitful. Yesterday I discovered that it would cost me $100 just to run this little classified ad. Ouch. Will I suck it up and pay the price? There must be someplace where one can find qualified developers for free (or cheaply). Maybe I will even resort to (yuck) Craigslist. Craigslist always feels like slumming. Nothing good ever comes of Craigslist.
Next week’s post will get into the nitty-gritty of actually reorganizing my store. What categories would I have if I were starting over today?
Daily visits unexpectedly spiked to 149 last Monday, then drifted back down throughout the rest of the week. I don’t know why.
Here are the numbers for this fiscal April vs. LY:
- Total income: +24.2%
- Gross profit: +30.5%
- Advertising: +115.6%
- Payroll: +76.1%
- Net income: -58.3%
The increases in advertising and payroll were just flukes of the calendar – and as long as I'm the only employee, I don’t mind seeing payroll rise anyway. The month still finished slightly in the black. Looking back over this reminds me yet again that one or two exceptionally good sales can turn a poor month into a decent month literally overnight.
Fun tidbit: Although YTD gross sales are up 83%, shipping fee collections are only up 55%. I’ve been reducing product weights to better match reality (which is much more difficult to get right than you would think) and I cut my invisible handling fee from 85 cents per order to 65 cents. If I can afford to, I’ll shave that by another dime or so after the May 12 postage increase.
- Rearranging the Deck Chairs (Part 2)
- Social Networking Sites
- Running with the Big Dogs
- The Zombie Store
- Legal Extortion
- Where Traffic Comes From