Programming

Packing Slip Routing Optimization: How Our Expanded Warehouse Made Our Packing Slips Obsolete & How We Improved Them

We recently completed our warehouse renovation just in time for Memorial Day. I snapped a quick photo of the new space, which you can see we’re already utilizing: The big advantage of this new space is that we have almost 6,000 sq-ft more to dedicate to products. That means we can space products out better and reduce the usage of separate overstock areas. It also keeps the aisles and shelves more organized. Deciding on the new shelving layout and product flow was pretty easy. We… Continue reading

5/30/19

Programming Debt Paid

I’ve been working tirelessly the first half of 2019 because I saw a major goal in sight: for the first time since we launched the Detailed Image shopping cart in 2007, I could be caught up on all of my programming projects. Early in the year I set a goal to accomplish this by Memorial Day, giving me the summer to dial back and relax a bit. This morning I pushed out the code for my last project and hit my goal 10 days early!… Continue reading

5/17/19

A New Tool for Managing Busy Warehouse Days

Typically our busiest shipping day of the week is Monday. This is pretty intuitive, given that we’re shipping out orders from Friday afternoon through our 1 PM same-day cutoff on Monday afternoon. Three-day weekends during our peak season, such as Memorial Day, Labor Day, and (sometimes) July 4th, when we’re also typically running a big sale, are even busier. And as we’ve grown over the years, those peaks have become even greater proportionally. Essentially, it’s easier to find growth during a big sale in peak… Continue reading

1/24/19

Software as a Competitive Advantage

One of the best podcast interviews that I’ve listened to in a while is Tim Ferriss’ interview with Stripe founder and CEO Patrick Collison. Around minute 35 they discuss something that I find fascinating. Patrick says: We surveyed companies fairly broadly across multiple industries. And we just asked them what’s holding them back. And that’s a very imperfect methodology, of course, because it’s hard to know what the candidate answers there should be. And maybe those questions are – do they all interpret it the… Continue reading

1/9/19

In-Depth: Overhauling Our Dropship System

Like most online retailers, we don’t stock everything that we sell. Some items, like pressure washers, extractors, and paint thickness gauges are too bulky and/or too pricey for us to stock and ship. In these cases we “dropship” the item, meaning that when the customer orders it we then place an order with the manufacturer to have it shipped direct to the customer. While these orders are a small minority, they’ve been steadily increasing over the years. Our previous system mentioned to customers during checkout… Continue reading

8/27/18

Tuning out the Noise, When Not to Finish a Project, and Planning vs Doing

In the comments section of my last post Rob left a comment with some really good questions that I thought were worthy of an entire post. These are all things that I constantly struggle with, which makes them great questions to think about, write about, and discuss: How do you tune out the noise? How do you manage to avoid the Firehose of great ideas from every direction – colleagues, friends, yourself, the internet? There seem to be opportunities around every corner. I have a… Continue reading

4/11/18

The Great Detailed Image HTTPS Migration

In mid-January we finished migrating all of Detailed Image to HTTPS. We’ve now got the shiny “Secure” badge in Chrome on every single one of our pages: This project should have been simple, but it sure wasn’t, in large part due to the fractured nature of various organizations on the web and within Google. While the technical implementation is relatively straightforward, the business decision to do so can be downright scary. A Little Background When we launched our shopping cart in 2007 (and did major… Continue reading

2/6/18

Z.ips.ME 2.0 – Why I Updated Our Dormant Open Source URL Shortener

A Brief History Lesson Back in 2009 I created an open source URL shortener called Z.ips.ME as an alternative to using bit.ly and other services on Twitter. At the time, Twitter counted the characters in a link against your 140 characters, so link shortening was a big deal. I updated it a few times, the last being in April of 2010, and then…nothing. In 2011 Twitter rolled out their t.co URL shortener, minimizing the usefulness of a project like Z.ips.ME. Every link now counts as… Continue reading

6/6/17

Opportunity Cost

One of the concepts that we apply to our decision making almost daily is the idea of opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is defined as: the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. Often times a decision to tackle a new project doesn’t cost us anything monetarily, or the cost is negligible. Examples would be programming a new feature, trying out a new type of promotion, or even picking up a single new product for a product line we already carry…. Continue reading

4/11/17

Our New Customer “Self Service” System Is a Game Changer

The massive project that I referred to a few weeks ago is what we’re referring to internally as “customer self service” because it allows customers to instantly resolve a variety of issues without needing to contact our customer support team. It’s been live now for a few weeks and we can already see the huge impact that it’s going to have on our business. What It Does There aren’t very many online retailers with functionality like this, and I’m sure one of the reasons why… Continue reading

12/8/16