Archive for the ‘Online Retail’ Category

New Designs: Personalised Childrens’ Gifts

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

At Personalised Gift Ideas, we are thrilled to announce the arrival of our brand new Childrens’ Gifts designs. These designs are hot off the press and the items are now available for purchase.

Personalised Childrens’ Aprons

Cookie Taster Apron My Kitchen Apron Mummy's Little Helper Apron

With such colourful designs and your child’s name on the front, these red trim, Childrens’ Aprons are the ideal stocking filler for Christmas 2010 – see your child’s face light up as they think about all the cookies they could bake wearing their new apron!

Personalised Childrens’ Mugs

Personalised Pink Fairy Mug Personalised Yellow Digger Mug Personalised Photo Mug

We have a huge range of Personalised Childrens’ Mugs for you to choose from. Whether it be a photo mug you’re looking for, a Yellow Digger mug for your little boy, or a Personalised Pink Fairy mug for your little fairy, we have designs for all.

We’ve got lots of new designs in the pipeline and we’ll keep you posted!! Happy shopping!

Personalised Gift Ideas

Mailchimp Web Browser Problems

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

As you will all be aware, there have been many changes on the Personalised Gift Ideas website over the past few months. We are now sending more regular emails to our customer base, informing them of our latest offers, company news and new products. In order to reach your customer base effectively and to send out thousands of emails, many businesses use companies such as Mailchimp.

While sending last week’s newsletter, not only did we come across the usual html import issues which occur on a weekly basis, we also ran into some difficulty once the newsletter had been sent to our customers. Quite niavely, we assumed that once the html preview and test worked in Mailchimp and in your own email account (ie. Gmail), then it would work in all email accounts.

Little did we know how different each email provider is – the difference between viewing html coded image banners in Googlemail and Hotmail is quite remarkable. It’s difficult to comprehend that the same html coded email can appear so differently to different people, depending on which email provider they are using.

This however was not the main issue…. our main issue this week was that of web browsers. Having tested our email newsletter thoroughly and with different email providers as well, we sent the newsletter, as normal, only to receive an email from one of our web designers ten minutes later. The screenshot he provided us with, showed our email as a blank sheet of colour, even after clicking on the oligatory ‘Display Images’ which will appear at the top of the email.

We were puzzled at first… we had tested the email… it had worked perfectly in all of our email accounts… why on earth was it not appearing? We were somewhat panicking at the fact that this now ‘blank’ email had gone out to thousands of our customers.

After puzzling over this for some time, we realised that our web designer was using the web browser ‘Chrome‘, we were using ‘Firefox‘ and most of our customers would be using ‘Internet Explorer’ to view our newsletter. Therein lay the problem. The code which we had used was not being viewed properly in Chrome and Internet Explorer, only in Firefox. A quick edit of the header and footer tags was enough to change this mixed up email into the superb newsletter we had originally created. We just hope that our customers weren’t too puzzled by the mixed up images.

***TOP TIP:*** If you’re coding a newsletter for distribution through MailChimp, make sure you use DreamWeaver to construct your code – MailChimp likes this format.

It just shows you, not matter how prepared you are and how much you test html code and test your newsletter, when using a mass-email provider such as MailChimp, the problems can be never ending until you are able to work in the format which MailChimp requires.

To Streamline or not to Streamline… that is the question

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Today we’ve been asking ourselves the question: is it better to provide customers with a smaller range of products and for those to sell well, or is it more benficial to have a wider range of products, offering more variety and a greater choice?

It could be argued that the more products you have on your website, the better… however we are now of the opinion that it is perhaps in everyone’s interest (the company and the customer) to have a more select range of products. Minimising choice and therefore confusion is possibly a good thing for some online retailers, as when faced with a decision between 5 items, the customer may become bemused about which has the greatest benefits. If the customer has a choice of 2, surely the choice becomes easier, saving the customer time and offering a more pleasant shopping experience.

A good example is of Personalised Gift Ideas, which has a wide range of Children’s Money Boxes. We have just found out from our suppliers that some of these money boxes may be ‘discontinued’ in the coming months. We could view this news in 2 ways:

a) The news is very disappointing, as our money boxes are a great addition to our website and do sell very well in several categories

b) Take the positive from the situation: We are now able to streamline our range of Personalised Children’s Money Boxes and offer our customers a more select range of the money boxes.

Instead of having an extensive range of money boxes for our customers to search through, we will be offering a range of the most popular money boxes, making the online shopping decision making process far easier for our website visitors.

Do you agree with our opinions on this topic? Is offering a more select range far better than having a wide choice available? Or do you think that the more you offer, the more chance you have of encouraging website visitors to buy, therefore converting?

Argos offering same-day delivery – will it work?

Friday, August 6th, 2010

For this post, we thought that it seemed appropriate to open up a new category in our Wordpress Blog: “Online Retail”. After reading an article on 4th August 2010, which announced the news that the retail giant Argos is to be trialing a ’same-day’ delivery service in London, we thought the issue of ‘delivery times’ seemed relevant.

The article explains….

The retailer has teamed up with same-day delivery start-up Shutl for the trial, which will last six months. The service is available to customers with a central London postcode with prices starting at £4.95.

Eligible shoppers will be able to choose the Shutl delivery option on their reservation page, with the option to ‘Shutl now’ or ‘Shutl later’. The second option allows customers to choose a delivery time within a 48-hour reservation window.

Once they confirm their order, Shutl will send them a tracking email which lets them watch their delivery process in real time on a GPS-enabled map.

The service is being made available for a one-hour delivery slot between 9am and 9pm, seven days a week.

Our thoughts…

As a company who offers the fastest UK delivery for the skilled art of gold blocking coloured and HB pencils, we understand that fast delivery times is something which customers value.

Personalisation requires both high-tech machinery, skilled operators and of course, time. We quote a despatch estimate of 3-5 working days on most of our personalised items and believe that we offer an extremely high level of service to our customers.

The difference between Personalised Gift Ideas and Argos, is that obviously, the items which Argos are offering their customers can be put straight into the back of a lorry and sent to the customer, with little/no delay for personalisation, packing or gift wrapping. I think that for people who live in London, who stereotypically have busy lifestyles, this ’same-day delivery’ is a great idea, but do you think Argos will be able to uphold this promise to customers? Just think about the supply chain issues which are involved in making this sort of a decision….

  • Stock for a start – Think about how much stock the regional warehouses will have to hold to be able to uphold short lead times on Argos items around the busy streets of London.
  • Delivery Vans – A fair number of delivery vans will have to be put onto the roads to cope with the demand which Argos are expecting for their “Check & Reserve” service.
  • Complaints – When I read this story, I did immediately sense complaints. If Argos customers are only at home for one day and their delivery does not arrive… I don’t imagine they would be too happy with the new speedy “Shutl delivery” service.

To conclude…

Do you think that Argos will be able to uphold this delivery commitment? Do you think that online customers expect things to be with them far too quickly?

In our line of work, there are many people who are thrilled that their orders arrive within the week, but there are others who think that ordering personalised pencils on a Friday (last minute) and receiving them the following Wednesday is unacceptable. No matter what you do, there are always customers who will have different views towards delivery times…. but to offer ’same-day’ delivery could, in my opinion, be a bad move.

All thoughts are welcome as always.

The P.G.I Team

Personalised Gift Ideas

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