As there's been so many changes and ongoing improvements here at Drone Authority, we felt it would be a good idea to put together a monthly update post to highlight any new website features, or just give you a general update on what we've been up to.
A quick update from us...
We've had quite an interesting first year of business and things have generally been very positive. We've seen our small family-run business go from strength to strength and we're extremely proud of how far we've come so far. Our ability to dispatch parcels same-day with a 100% record has remained untarnished due to efficiency improvements and as a result, our ability to dispatch 3-4 times as many orders than in the first year we started. We'll continue to make further efficiency improvements in the coming months.
We still have a long way to go of course - there's plenty of ideas that we want to develop further. Expanding our product catalogue still remains the number 1 key area where we'd like to improve on. We've been branching out to new vendors on a monthly basis and we have plenty of new vendors that we're looking to take on board in the coming weeks/months.
As always, if you have any suggestions about how we could improve our service, or even just some friendly feedback to say what we're doing is already great - we'd love to hear from you.
We're sticking with Shopify!
A few customers may be aware that we've been developing a Drone Authority clone using Woocommerce/Wordpress for the past 3-4 months and we've poured a lot of time and resources into this project in hopes to fix a few niggles that we had with the Shopify system (things like less granular control over the checkout process and inability to change a few core mechanics to our advantage, to name a few). Anyway, there were a few good reasons to want to change things up and we felt that switching to a more open system would help us achieve our end goal easier.
Well, after getting the new website prepped and almost ready to launch we started to have second thoughts... and for good reason. The further we delved into developing the Woocommerce based system, the more we realised how fragile the whole ecosystem is in comparison to the relatively rock solid Shopify... many core functions that we relied on and what we considered fundamental admin tasks that were straight forward in Shopify, required numerous third party plugins, all of which brought their own quirks and contrasting paradigms. Once we got the new website to a place where we were happy and we had feature parity with the existing site, it all felt rather 'hobbled together', to a point where we felt it would potentially break if so much as sneezed on it.
We had to just take a step back and think about the bigger picture and what it really was that we really wanted to achieve (a rock solid. easy to use and stable website fundamentally). After careful deliberation and taking into account the very many features that we already made use of in Shopify, we've decided to stick with what we have (the grass is not always greener!) and start pouring our efforts back into making the current website exactly what we need it to be. So with that said...
Here's a few new features we've implemented...
We've finally implemented a rewards system that we're happy with. The new system is provided by 'Smile' - we did play around with a few options and for a short while last year and had already trialled the 'Smile' system, but we wanted to be 100% sure on the system we were going to use long term so we didn't issue points that we'd ultimately have to migrate over to another system in future.
At the moment you'll earn 3 points for every £1 spent and you'll be rewarded with an extra 50 points for following us on Facebook/Instagram (if you haven't already). There's also a referrals options for recommending a friend - you'll receive 100 points for each friend you refer and your friend will also receive a 3% money off coupon. We're looking for reward for more actions in future, but for now we think this is enough to get us going.
Please note this is completely separate to our existing affiliates program, which we're soon going to be restricting to influencers only. Our existing system is only useful for refer at volume, as there's a minimum payout amount, whereas with this system, you'll earn points and be able to spend them much sooner, so it's better suited for one-off referrals etc.
As always, if there's any feedback you'd like to give, please just give us a shout. This is all a learning experience for us all and we're happy to take onboard suggestions.
This is something we've been holding off on for far too long now. Mostly because it was always at the back of our minds that we were ultimately going to move to a different ecommerce platform and we didn't want customers to create wishlists and then potentially have them deleted when we switched away. Now we've made a decision to stick with Shopify, we're free to start committing to features such as this.
The link to your wishlist page is in the main menu and you can find the 'add to wishlist' link under the add to cart button on every product page. You can use this feature whether or not you're logged in, but if you'd like to save your list for future, please make sure you're logged in as it'll then be saved onto your user profile.
This is something that we've wanted to implement for a long time but just kept getting put on hold due to other commitments honestly. For most of you, this feature isn't particularly exciting, but for those that require invoices for accounting purposes, this is a very welcomed update.
To access your invoices, you simply login to your account and head to the Orders section - from there you will notice that there's now an extra column containing the invoice download link for your order.
You'll also find the same invoice is available in the order confirmation email that's sent out immediately after placing an order with us.
We now have a universal product filtering system in place that makes it really simple to filter products by price, brand, type, stock availability or even colour and other attributes. We've already made most attribute filterable, but expect this feature to expand in the near future to allow more advanced filtering.
Live chat directly on the website
Whilst we've always offered Facebook Messenger support (and we still do!) - we now also have an inbuilt chat system on the website that allows our agents to interact with customers that don't necessarily have a Facebook account or perhaps just don't want the fuss of using Facebook Messenger to chat with us.
Instead, anyone can open a chat session by clicking the little 'speech bubble' icon in the bottom right corner and be connected with our customer support without any hassle or prerequisites. This new system allows us to better guide our customers to the products they require and make product recommendations more easily within the chat session (amongst other cool things!).
One very handy feature is that customers can now check on the status of an order without having to actually speak to an agent. Just click "Can I get an update on my order status" and the system will take a few details and then give you the current order status with current tracking information.
Not a huge update I know - but a handy one for anyone ordering from outside the UK. We now have a currency selector so you can view the relative cost in Euro and in USD.
That's it for now - we'll continue to work on improving the website in the coming weeks/months and we'll report back next month 😊