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Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, August 17, 2012

More Ups & Downs

Fixing the SSL certificate popup last week did not restore normality. I still limped along with one sale per day until Wednesday, when seven sales inexplicably broke the drought. Wednesday alone exceeded all of last week, and five more sales on Thursday reassured me that it wasn’t a fluke. I don’t know why I went 15 consecutive days with sales below $100 when a normal day should be close to $150.

I barely managed to cover July’s vacation-reduced operating expenses. July’s modest inventory purchases are still touch-and-go. It’ll all be OK if normal sales hold up. Two good days do not a recovery make.


Another Sunshop user posted some code in the support forum that makes the realtime shipping modules return “commercial” (online) prices for Priority Mail rather than the full counter price that it has always grabbed before. Since this little price cut brings my Priority prices into line with my actual costs, I finally discontinued Parcel Post rates – something I’ve threatened to do several times over the years, since I never, ever ship via Parcel Post. I also cut my handling fee from 75 cents to 60 cents (padded mailing envelopes, at 55 cents apiece, are my most expensive packaging). I hope people will perceive it as a shipping rate cut, not a hike. But I also realize that virtually nobody will notice the difference.

My last experiment didn’t go so well, but I can easily resurrect Parcel Post if I notice resistance to Priority rates. Since Parcel Post doesn’t have an online rate schedule, Priority will actually be cheaper in many cases.


Remember the battle of the payment processors that I told you about a couple of weeks ago? Well, no sooner did I win concessions from my current processor than they came out with “good news”: "…all CDG merchants will be receiving the new CDG360 bundle upgrade for payments, security, and compliance effective September 1, 2012. This powerful upgrade will include a $100,000 breach insurance policy, business-wide risk assessment, customized security alerts, vulnerability scanning and more for an additional cost of only $15/month.”

Yup, it’s a PCI compliance fee – the lack of which had been CDG’s main competitive strength. There go the savings that I extracted two weeks ago. Fortunately, there’s an opt-out procedure. They promised to eventually provide a “HackerSafe” type of site seal, but it’s not part of the initial roll-out. That seal would be worth $15. If the TSA has taught us anything, it’s that the perception of security is paramount.

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