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I hope you have been enjoying a creative summer in your workshops. The past couple of months have seen a lot of changes to the business here in Hampshire. I’m sure the changes will make things easier for both customers and followers alike. This post contains some important information!
Having been laid up with a back injury for a number of weeks this summer, it has given me a lot time to consider the business and its various facets. During this time, I spent a lot of time streamlining the website and changing the look at feel – removed some products from sale, added some new ones and started adding new blog posts for you. This weekend has seen some further, more important changes.
After months of problems, research and study, on 2nd September, I received the necessary certificates to allow me to legally and responsibly ship Hampshire Sheen products and Intrinsic Colours worldwide. This will open up a much larger market, particularly in Europe and South Africa.
For the moment, I will continue to use FedEx as the preferred shipping company whilst I research others. Updates to the shipping regions and associated costs will be made to the website in time for Tuesday 5th September to enable customers overseas to place orders. As before, shipping fees are charged at cost price. See this post for more information about the shipping costs.
There are some exceptions to this though: Those Hampshire Sheen products already manufactured in the USA, Canada and Australia will not be permitted to ship from the UK to those countries. Products that are not currently made in those countries will be available to customers in those countries until such a time that they are manufactured there. Safeguards have been put into place on the website to ensure prohibited products are not able to ordered and paid for.
Countries in the EU must be charged VAT whereas non-EU countries do not get charged VAT. The website now calculates your tax liability and includes, or reduces the total amount depending on your shipping address.
Black Dog Workshop – Customers, Products and Bookings
The first ten months of the Black Dog Workshop have been good and with a good number of lessons and courses booked in, all of which were brilliant! However, the hosting and website function costs, such as the booking system etc, total nearly £600.00 or so each year, which is about the same as the M. Saban-Smith website. I have had trouble administrating both sites with a few orders on the BDW site falling short of the customer service standards I like to keep. On 3rd September, I moved the Black Dog website functionality over the MSS site to reduce these costs whilst keeping the booking opportunities available to those interested in lessons. The Black Dog website will remain as an information website and the goals of the workshop will remain the same, too.
Customer and order details, together with the products have been moved over to the MSS website as well, in order to keep everything under the one administrative roof. Black Dog customers, and workshop members can now easily benefit from the same features of the MSS website whilst introducing more features without having to spend more money on implicating them on the two sites. Unfortunately, a selection of emails were sent to those customers imported over from BDW to MSS, which I am sorry about.
I hope you will agree that moving everything under one roof will not only improve customer service for customers of the Black Dog Workshop, but will also save the business a considerable amount of money!
New MSS Site Design
It was only back in July that I redesigned the MSS website. Since then, I’ve sat and looked at it from a customer perspective and decided that I didn’t like. Again, on 3rd September, I redesigned the site to be cleaner, simpler and easier on the eye. It is not quite finished as I write this, but it is certainly usable.
More Features for Everyone
With the changes made over this weekend, the MSS site is now more professional looking than ever, but is also more benefit-laden. Everyone registered on the site can now:
- Buy any of the Hampshire Sheen and Intrinsic Colours, anywhere in the world (aside from the exceptions above);
- Check-Out even more quikcly by using PayPal Express;
- Earn ‘Shavings‘ reward points on everything;
- Order the apparel, gifts, stickers and patches;
- Become a member of the Black Dog Workshop for even more benefits and discounts;
- Book onto the courses previously only available on the Black Dog site;
- Enjoy from customer and member only discounts;
- Benefit from one single account on the site for all their dealings;
All in all, this has been the right thing to do. It already feels easier to manage having only one site to think about keeping a close eye on as far as orders are concerned.
If you have any queries, please contact me, or leave a comment below.