Bringing Clarity to Our Guaranteed Shipping Options

In 2014 we made a big improvement to our shipping offerings by guaranteeing 3 day or less delivery to the 48 states at Ground rates. After launching USPS we learned pretty quickly that while Priority and First Class Package Service often arrive in 3 days or less, they often also don’t, and estimated delivery dates are not guaranteed by the USPS. We therefore decided to only guarantee FedEx services (and by guarantee, we mean we’ll refund the cost of shipping if the package doesn’t arrive… Continue reading


Maybe E-Commerce Subscription Boxes Aren’t Such a Great Business Model After All

A few years ago there was a huge trend around e-commerce subscription boxes like Birchbox, Quarterly, and the like. It seemed like the perfect business model: why put in all the effort to get a customer for a single transaction when you can get ongoing revenue each week/month/quarter? If you just get x subscribers paying $y per month you’re all set! I can’t tell you how many times this was pitched to us, especially by our shipping reps. I almost felt like the implication was… Continue reading


Why Does Amazon Seemingly Not Care About Box Size?

If you’re an Amazon Prime member I bet this has happened to you. You order something small or a combination of small things. The box that you receive is gigantic with a bunch of unnecessary packing material. This happens relatively frequently to me. The protein bars in that picture above I order somewhat regularly. Each and every time the box is a wildly different size, ranging from almost perfect to way off like that one. The more I thought about this, the less it made… Continue reading


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


Our Credit Card Form Redesign & Saved Card Feature

We first launched our own shopping cart for Detailed Image in 2007. In the time since the credit card form has gone largely untouched. Each time we did a design refresh we’d make sure it still worked and looked good, and we’ve upgraded the back-end portion of our credit card processing, but the front-end checkout form that customers use to submit payment information has always been the same. In part, this was because it got the job done. But it’s also easy to ignore: we… Continue reading


Head Count != Success

In the pre-internet world the number of employees that you had was seen as a measure of success. If a restaurant/store/office had more employees, it was considered to be doing well. The ability to automate or outsource was almost nonexistent. You dealt with increased volume by throwing more bodies at it. Hence, people = success. These days? Not so much, yet the prevailing wisdom has seemed to linger. Smart businesses automate, outsource, hire contractors and part-time employees, and then only hire full-time when it’s absolutely… Continue reading


Overhauled DI Packages, Just In Time For Spring

Grouping items together into a package and selling them at a special bundle price has a couple of huge benefits to any retailer: Customers know that they’re getting products that are compatible with each other, a challenge for new customers in many industries, including detailing Customers often save more than they could by buying the products individually Retailers can provide more value to the customer while still working within MAP pricing guidelines (minimum advertised price). This is why you always see Best Buy or Amazon… Continue reading


Why It Took Us 8 Years To Add Wishlists

Over on the Detailed Image Blog I wrote a post describing some new features that we added last week, including the addition of a wishlist, easier ways to reorder products, and more personalized product recommendations. The latter two are the most intriguing features with some creative potential for expansion, but the decision to finally add a wishlist after all of these years is probably more noteworthy. Back in 2010 we added a feature called Saved Carts. After adding items to your shopping cart, you could… Continue reading


Goodbye IE8! No Longer Supporting Microsoft’s Old Browser

If you visit the Detailed Image home page today using Internet Explorer 8, it’ll look like the screenshot above, including the message about how we no longer support the browser. This is a big deal for us, because prior to today we were still supporting IE8. It’s been almost three years since Google stopped supporting IE8. Many other businesses followed suit around the same time. IE8 was released in 2009. By 2012 it had outlived it’s useful life, but since Microsoft refused to produce a… Continue reading


Back in the Classroom!

It’s been a few years since I co-taught web venturing at James Madison University. My good friend was a professor there. I had given a few talks to his classes locally when he taught at Skidmore, and so he invited me down to give the same talk at JMU and eventually co-teach the class (mostly virtually via Skype with a few days spent in Virginia). Unfortunately the following semester I had to bail for personal reasons, and then subsequent semesters we could never quite sync… Continue reading