We don't paint websites. We create real working business solutions to your problems
Dec 2016
Case Study: Knot 2B Missed
John Ince
Case Study: Knot 2B Missed
Remember we don't paint websites, we create real working business solutions to your problems. Since we write code & our live WebApps actually work we can transform the way that you work. For Knot 2B Missed we analysed their time drains & optimised them reducing their workload from hours to minutes.
A Cautionary Tale
Knot2BMissed set out in business a couple of years ago. It all started with an idea, a eureka moment, that had it's beginnings in the usual inability to find something that you desperately want for your own needs. I'm getting married and would like some eco/green wedding invitations, something a bit out of the ordinary and a bit more memorable and crafty. My only choice is to do them myself and a successful business is born. Friends see the work of art created and start to place orders. They tell other friends and all of a sudden your on eBay and need your own website. But you've no real skill in webdesign and you're already working full-time. You've only weekends and evenings. However you seem to be earning more money in your part-time business than the day job. So you struggle setting up a goodsie style website, and spend most evenings and weekends answering queries via eBay and eMail, typing in wedding guest lists into a template you've hastily built in Microsoft Word. It takes you over 2 hours to do one set of wedding invitations in a word processor, making sure you don't inadvertently move that anchored frame or make a typo on the address. Basically a nightmare of a task. So with the manufacture process and the client interaction taking up your time, you're basically sinking in a pool of orders. Then, someone asks for a slight permutation and you really like it. I need this on my goodie website. Another headache. Bingo, the first baby is on the way! Less time, more orders, more water sinking the ship. Too much success and stress all based around a slow, cobbled together sales and manufacture process. Can relate to this. What do you do?
Out of the Box software to the Rescue or NOT?
It's a tale of two problems, marketing / sales and manufacture. So you reach for what you have with your limited budget. I'll grab a goodsie website for 40/month and struggle to set it up, struggle to add new products and basically struggle with the simple tools provided. Your NOT technical right? You want a none technical solution. It's hard, but you manage to get a friend involved who knows a bit of this computer stuff and you've a presentable website. Inflexible, a nightmare to update and pretty rubbish on mobile. Most of your work comes in via the contact form or someone sends an email with their requirements and you enter a sales dialogue. Mail back and too until you've a guest list attachment in your hands. Which leads nicely to the next headache. Microsoft Word. It's a great word processor but most simply are none expert. It's a struggle to create a document with frames (documents within a document) to format these pretty wedding invites. You've been told that you need to create a template, but you're not sure what that is, so you simply open, save as and type over. Now as an IT professional I'd love to say here, just create a template, write some VBA (a computer language inside Microsoft Office Products) and code to read your guest list and send to the printer automatically. It's what Microsoft would tell you. But here in the real world it's way beyond the scope of the average user. So there you have it. Hours of typing again to get to the point of printing out. The moral of the story here? You can use a hammer to chop a piece of wood in half, but it's far easier with a saw. Maybe the right tool, that saw, isn't as expensive as you think.
Help! The Client Approaches with Requirements
I've noticed that you have live retail webapps. I just add my products right? No webdesign right? BUT I'd like something like MoonPig... That can't be too much work right? Remember we get this all the time. We're experts at managing clients expectations and working within their usually tight budgets. We can extend the functionality in our base retail webapps specific to YOUR requirements OR if we think it could help others too maybe we can reduce your costs based on sharing the functionality with others. It's your choice. The key point here is that we've built in a great way to add new, specific functionality really easily.
Let the Customer Enter their Own Guest List
Congratulations, you've already identified your problem, well half of the problem. Wouldn't it be wonderful if your clients entered their own guest lists as part of the checkout process? So we coded the functionality. We already have advanced pricing options which would let clients choose the card paper, ribbon colour and change the image to suit. What was missing is the ability to customise the product with names, address, venue, etc. Would it surprise you that it only took two days to add this functionality? As the customer types the guest information we 'live place' on the actual card image, not flat but on a real blank card. The guest list is auto saved and the client is free to leave and return to create the sometimes lengthy lists in many separate visits. This puts the validation of the guest information into the customer's domain, no more typos or cut and paste into Microsoft Word errors. When the customer finalises the customisation it drops into our live basket as a regular order with an attachment.From the client perspective our normal checkout procedure handles the payment. From an admin's perspective the order appears in the purchases list along with the purchase details and the guest list attachment.
The Guest List Attachment and Printing
Here we hit the second half of the problem. Taking the guest list, transposing into Microsoft Word and printing. Let's handle the attachment first. You're probably thinking email attachment right? Wrong! The attachment is never meant to be opened, it's just a chunk of data that represents the guest list. An admin can open it in the purchases to view or modify the contents in the exact same way that the customer entered them. Using the visual dialog provided. No more editing data with word processors, there's a specific, easy, custom tool for the job. So what about the printing? Simple and one click. Just hit the 'Print' menu option and we superimpose the guest list onto our card template for each and every guest on the list. We put it into a print preview window too so you can further validate the layout. Print when you're happy. No more typing, struggling with moving boxes in Microsoft Word, no more copy and pasting guest lists. It's all now done in a couple of clicks. From hours to seconds.
A New, Easier Process is Born
From our clients perspective it's so, so easy. New orders drop live into our purchases section along with the payment. Remember our client's customer created the guest list by themselves and of course validated the content via our visual customisation. All our client needs to do is hit the 'Print' menu option and feed the printer card OR we can send the whole file automatically to the third party printers. More orders, less work. Work smarter, not harder.
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