Hi everyone, Andrew here.
Welcome to the newest incarnation of the A Strings website.
I know, it’s not even a year since the last major update/upgrade to our website, but a couple of factors steered us down this road.
When lockdown hit us back in March, we had no idea how A Strings was going to function. We knew that the doors had to close and we knew that we weren’t going to see customers in the traditional sense for quite a while.
Around early April the website started getting busy, which was great. The boys were on furlough and I was sat at the laptop from 8am processing orders for strings, capos, picks, etc. I would go into the shop for around 12pm, pack up the orders, go to the Post Office to drop off the post and then back to the kitchen table to reply to emails, Facebook messages, and start processing orders ready for the next day.
As time went on and the bigger boys in the industry started selling out of the more popular items, the website started getting orders for some larger items, guitars, amps, fx, etc. It proved to me how valuable the website could be, it also brought up a number of issues that I soon found were recurring and needed addressing once things calmed down.
My main issues of concern were:
a) Stock availability was too ambiguous - even though we had a live stock number against items that were in stock, we had an increasing number of orders for items that were out of stock and so much time was spent contacting customers who were expecting an item within a couple of days, to tell them that their item wasn’t available. In normal times we could expect to get new stock of an item relatively quickly, but factory shutdowns due to COVID messed up stock levels with our suppliers and I couldn’t be specific on lead-times.
b) More and more people were wanting to pay using Klarna - our recently adopted easy payment service that splits payments over 3 months or defers payment by 30 days. Although we offered Klarna, it wasn’t integrated on the website which meant customers would select the Klarna payment method and then... nothing. They’d get an email from me within 12-24 hours asking if they’d like an -application, by which time many of them had either gone elsewhere or changed their mind!
c) The search function wasn’t ideal and would regularly display irrelevant results, yet another reason for a customer to get frustrated and leave the site.
With all of the above in mind, at the end of June I received an email from the people we’ve used for our website and till systems to say that the platforms we’ve been using for the past 5 years are coming to their “end of life” in March 2021, which would mean populating a new till and creating a new website anyway!
The decision had been made for me, and I decided to get moving on finding a new solution immediately; something that would solve all of the issues above and help us move A Strings forwards in store and online.
Adam and Tom returned from furlough at the beginning of July and once I’d chosen the new platform, we got to work straight away and I’m delighted with the result.
Of course, it’s a work in progress - just like the shop. When I opened the shop here in Treforest back in late September 2013, we could have kept the doors closed for another 3 months quite easily, tweaking things, adjusting the layout etc. But it gets to a point when you just need to open the doors and let it do it’s own thing, and this is where we’re at.
I hope you like it. I’m thrilled with how it looks, how it feels and how easy it is to use. You may be pleased to know that the quantity discount feature for the guitar strings has returned... We have loads of new features at our disposal to integrate into the website, soon!
I’d love to know your thoughts and if you have any suggestions on how we can improve anything, please let me know.
If you currently have any orders with us either in the shop or online please don’t worry, we’re transferring everything over and have records of everything we can refer back to.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at any time.
I hope to see you soon!