Welcome to Our New Website!
This month’s blog feels a bit like cheating, because although I’m writing it in September, it’s all about the new website which won’t be launching until 1st October! That means you won’t get to read this post in September, because obviously I can’t welcome you to the new site while we’re still using the old one. I hope you’ll be able to keep your excitement for my latest words under control for an extra couple of days – I’m sure you will!
In last month’s post, I gave you all fair notice that we were going to be moving to a new website provider soon. We have taken the opportunity to make some changes to the site which we hope will make it easier to use. I wanted to tell you about some of these changes.
Firstly, all the old customer accounts have been lost. There was a way to bring them across from the old site to the new one, but it was quite longwinded and I’m sure plenty of the older accounts were inactive anyway. Coming to a new platform seemed a good time to start afresh, so if you want to have an account with us rather than checking out as a guest, you’ll need to set up a new one the first time you make a purchase on this new platform. You’re not obliged to have an account – personally I really hate it when websites don’t allow guest checkouts, so I’d never force you to have an account here with us. There aren’t really any advantages to having an account to be honest, except that your contact details can be stored so that you don’t have to type them out every time you order!
You’ll be delighted to know that we have introduced ‘back in stock’ emails to the site. That means that if an item is out of stock, you can enter your email address on the relevant product page and you will be automatically notified when the product is back. We’ve been asked for that feature before and it wasn’t something our old website provider offered, so we hope you will find it useful here! Of course you can still send an email asking to be placed on a manual notify list as well if you want to, but I know the automatic notification feature is something that several of you have been wanting.
Our new website has a feature where you are not allowed to checkout if you have a ‘forbidden item’ in your basket. We get a lot of overseas customers putting Ancestral Supplements products into the basket and no doubt they feel quite smug when they checkout. Unfortunately, we then have to manually cancel these orders as we’re not allowed to ship animal ingredients outside the UK. It creates a lot of admin for us (and lost money, as we lose our transaction fees) and no doubt disappointment for customers. We were very pleased to learn that our new website host offers a feature where your country is removed from the list of options at checkout if you have a forbidden item in your basket. That should cut out a lot of aggravation on all sides!
We’ve finally got around to making a Frequently Asked Questions page, so do take a look at that. As the name suggests, it answers some of the questions that we are frequently asked and I’m sure we’ll add to it from time to time! I hope you will find it useful and perhaps it can count as a bonus blog post for this month, since I’m aware that you probably like the announcement blog posts less than the ‘proper’ ones!
We’ve made the site itself a bit easier to navigate, I think, so you should be able to find the products you’re looking for more easily than before. Unfortunately we’ve lost the ability to display our most recent blog posts on the home page, but you can click ‘Tiny’s Blog’ easily enough and the most recent posts will appear first. I believe there is a way that we can group related blog posts together, so I might have a bash at that at some stage. It seems like a useful feature – I just haven’t learned how to work it yet!
The best change, I think, is that our checkout will hopefully now work with iPhones. I know that the old checkout was a bit temperamental in that it would refuse to work with certain iPhones or iPhone browsers. We did have this investigated, but nobody could find a problem, so why it happened remained a mystery. I am hoping that our new checkout will work on a wider range of technologies and browsers. Please do be aware that as your technology ages it will lose functionality, so if you’re trying to check out on a seven year old phone and can’t, do have a go with a newer gadget! To my younger readers that will probably seem very obvious, but it is not something that would occur to my parents, so I thought it was worth mentioning!
Prices are now displayed to all customers inclusive of VAT. That is great news for our UK customers, as it means there will be no nasty surprises at checkout. It’s also good news for our overseas customers, because VAT will be removed from your order at checkout, so you’ll get a nice surprise when your payment total goes down!
On the subject of VAT, I want to digress for a moment and point out that we at Tiny Pioneer do not charge it to our overseas customers. Some unscrupulous businesses charge overseas customers the same price as their UK customers and keep the extra 20% for themselves. If a UK customer buys a £100 item from us, we are obliged to add an extra £20 to the price which is not ours to keep, but must be paid to the VAT man. If an overseas customer buys the same item, we do not charge them the extra £20, because they are not subject to UK VAT and we know that they will be charged import VAT when their order arrives in the destination country. Some greedy businesses choose to still charge the overseas customer the extra £20 and keep it for themselves, even though they know the customer will have to pay import VAT as well. We think this is unethical and we don’t do it.
Most of the other website changes are behind the scenes things that you won’t see, but that will hopefully make things better at our end.
Inevitably there are a few things that we will lose. Those little hearts at the bottom of blog posts are something I’ll miss, as it was really nice to see which posts were popular and I like that other readers could see them too. I’ll also miss the data about what pages have been most visited, what products have sold the most and so on. I am going to try to keep copies of it all, but I’m sure I’ll forget something! Apart from the customer accounts and the home page blogs, I’m not sure that much has been lost from your perspective, but if you do notice some glaring omission or you think of some improvement we could make, please do let me know.
Please be patient with us while we are learning to work the new system. There is only so much that we can learn in practice mode – the real test is when it goes live! There are bound to be a few things that we haven’t thought of or that seem a bit clumsy to begin with, but we’ll try to iron them out as we go along so that we can continue to provide you with a smooth and efficient shopping experience. There are loads of features that our new provider offers that we haven’t dared to try yet as well, so perhaps we will figure out how to work some of those in the coming months!
I want to thank you all for your continued support of Tiny Pioneer. I know I’ve said it before, but it really is so much more than just a business to me – I love it so much. I never could have believed five years ago that one day I would be moving to a whole new platform, sending parcels Tracked 24 like a real online shop, with people all over the world reading my blog posts. I’m so grateful and I genuinely hope that each visitor to the site finds some sort of reassurance, comfort or relief on our shelves or in the blogs. I am excited for this next phase in our journey together and I hope that many of you will still be visiting in another five years! I know I’ve never met any of you, but I do enjoy seeing familiar names pop up and if some of you disappear for a while, I often think of you and wonder how you’re getting on!
Wishing you the best of health,