We went through most of the Zetacreations toys and added a searchable „maximum diameter“ value, firmness, missing descriptions and lots of values we use internally to streamline the restock process. We also added the missing species for the bear for the species selection in advanced search.
Lots of housekeeping improvements that just can’t be dont for the entire catalog at once.
The very transatlantic shipping delays during this pandemic have forced us to often place a new order before the last one has arrived. It also means that more products are out of stock for a longer time until a shipment arrive. So over the last few days we have improved our internal tools to better cope with both these situations.
We are currently experiencing a known issue between the DHL module and the Amazon integration. This means that we have to create the postage for all Amazon orders manually.
Statistics is everything. It determines what we buy and thus how many new products and new product variations we can affort. It also means what products are popular enough to get an additional size or coloring. Our sales statistics have already handled times when a product was not in stock for the sake of predicting the near future. However it only looked at a given strech of time. We have now improved it to look further into the past if a product was out of stock a lot. Result: This means we can spend our money more wisely and not order more stock then we need.
We have also added code to better track what orders manufacturers are currently working on, are currently in transit and how lead times are affected by the current pandemic. Our tools now tell us not only how much of each product we have and we should have to cover the near future but also how many are already ordered and how long „the near future“ must actually be. Result: We can allow for customer toys more frequently. Even though we can’t make them arrive any faster, we can ask for customer variations to be ordered along more frequently and with less of a short time window.
In preparation to an upgrade to the latest version of our shop system,
we have changed to a much more capable search engine. You may notice that it’s slightly faster, displays recommed other search words and shows the number of search results for each such suggestion. We will have to tweak this in the following month to make sure it ignores certain stop words and add additional meta tags to many products, so they are easier to find.
Our product catalog has grown quite a lot and the categories we have chosen in the past have not quite kept up with the wide variety of offered toys.
So we’re currently in the process of updating out category system.
As a first step we have included sections for „paws and tentacles“.
There is also a new section „species adapters“, that has been removed from the „masturbators“ section to clafiry the distinction between penis sleves and muzzles.
We have also created a new section „Dragons“ and thus renamed „fantasy“ to „other fantasy“.
We are working on redesigning the landing pages „deep down“ and „by species/type“ We’re also considering moving everything that is not a species out of the „by species/type“ section to make it more consistent.
Cheaper shipping to USA during the Covid-19 crisis
Effective today DHL has reduced it’s penalty for shipments to the USA. Not only did we take the opportunity to reflect this in our lowered USA shipping fees but we also automated the update process of shipping fees in the shop.
Prices for parcels to locations outside Germany are now calculated more precisely on a per-Kilogramm basis instead of just 5 weight classes.
Obviously the automation makes it much easiser to remove the covid-19 related DHL fees when international flight resumes and there are enough passenger planed to take some mail along for the ride.
We no longer have to search for each of the 194 supported countries to update their prices individually. Since DHL increases their prices more or less yearly, this is a regular task and it is important that we don’t forget some remote island state. (Not that 3 very, very exotic DHL destinations are not supported simple because DHL knows about them but the shop system doesn’t.)
We just got our tables in the Eurofurence After Dark Dealers Den confirmed this weekend. The Dealers Den and also the After Dark Dealers Den will be considerably larger then last year and the After Dark portion will be easier to get to. Hopefully avoiding the long queues through the corridors and even the main lobby that we experienced last year.
We are also investigating the option of arriving with a larger truck and no trailer, dramatically cutting down on our travel time. We have already upgraded our motorized equipment to move around heavy stacks of wares to cut down on the time and effort to load and unload for the Dealers Den.
Again, there will be no YiffyToys Room Party this year as we have quite a large table in the AD Dealers Den.
The seating plan is not to be shared yet. So we will keep you informed in the month to come.
Every now and then we get reports that our emails are delivered to a user’s spam folder. We do have an SPF record stating what servers are allowed to send email from @YiffyToys.de -addresses but for many large email providers that is not enough. Particularly Google and Microsoft are increasingly picky. Being an adult oriented business doesn’t seem to help as many filters see that alone as a negative criteria. Last time we checked this was not possible with our MTA (email server). But now there is a new filter plugin and we have been able to finally add DKIM signatures to our emails. This SHOULD improve the situation from now on. The signatures clearly verify that our emails are from us and nobody else but us.
Sadly there is not terribly much more we can do to help here.
The developers of our shop software had broken the contact form a long time ago (At least July 2019). We did not manage to fix it on our own with suggestions by other people using other mail server software. It was broken for such a long time that we replaced the „contact“ link in the shop footer with our email address. We just installed the new, quarterly update this weekend and….. it’s finally repaired. They may have added a new issue, breaking it if non-ASCII characters are entered and they broke the update but at least it works at all. We changed the footer for „Contact“ to point to the contact form again and added the email link as „Email“, so you can choose both.
In addition to cash payment during events, EC/V-Pay/Girocard payments during events, bank transactions (lowest fees of them all), credit cards and Paypal… we are now also offering Amazon Pay as an additional payment method.
Everything should run smoothly. However we will still keep a close eye on the first orders. If you encounter anything unusual, please tell us, so we can fix it at once.
A lot of custiom and highly specialized PHP coding happened last night and this morning.
We have fixed a mistake in certain automatic emails, where the adresses
would not be shown. Sadly we don’t ever get to see the emails our shop
sends out (they don’t end up in our „sent“ folder or something), so this
was not noticed earlier.
More importantly, the shipping emails
now include the tracking numbers and they are even clickable. (A custom
functionality the shop software doesn’t offer by default despite having
tracking links in the administrative user interface.)
Improved Postage Labels
Also due to a bug some postage labels would include the name of the shop. This has been fixed right away after it has come to our attention.
Improved Administrative tools
We also changed some parts of the administrative user interface so allow status updates on an entire group of orders (e.g. orders that have been shipped or that have been printed for shipping) instead of opening each of these orders individually.
That doesn’t sound like much but it does save considerable time and removes repetitive tasks.