I really didn’t like the
website. It didn’t have enough functionality. It was three years old and
looked outdated. I made it myself because it was too expensive to have it done
professionally. The time was tight though; the Christmas sales season started,
which was an added stress.
In the beginning, it was
relatively easy. I was putting up new products, updating stock numbers, and
making sure new orders were sent out. Friends tried out the updated site and
all the functionality worked when I tested it out.
The site went live on
November 10. Sales were good, but some of the products couldn’t make it through
checkout. I also couldn’t update stock levels. By the end of the week, I
couldn’t tell if product availability was accurate. We were out of stock, but
people were still able to order on the site. I panicked and started to make
As sales increased, it was
chaos. We lost control of our stock, didn’t have an updated catalog, and couldn’t
adjust invoices for discounts. We made hundreds of manual adjustments and planned
to sort out everything after the new year though the problems were getting
We fell way short of our
sales targets. By the middle of January, we realized we didn’t have any real
idea of our inventory. We had customer returns that we couldn’t process and
people were contacting us to say their Christmas gifts were never delivered.
We never should have
launched so close to Christmas. We should have tested the new site more
thoroughly and made sure the payment systems were robust. We learned that no
matter how good our products were, we needed to have world class support
systems. This mess took us six months to sort out. We lost loyal customers and
we almost ran out of cash.