Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Building the "Catalog"

One task that takes up a considerable amount of time at the LadyBug Shop is entering information about our products into our website catalog. Each time we add a new product to our inventory I take a digital photograph of it and Zoe or Rhonda writes a description of the product. We add these to the website by means of a form that is provided as part of our “shopping cart” software. Whenever we need to enter or edit information on our products, check customer orders, or undertake other administrative tasks, we enter our website using a special website access point that is password protected. (Since we work on the website at the same time as customers may be shopping on it you may occasionally notice our presence. A new product may suddenly appear for a few minutes with incomplete information, then disappear, and later reappear in complete form!)
While the product description needs to convey essential information about product price, size, materials, colors, etc. it also needs to written to “sell” the product. Thus whenever possible we try to provide other information that attract the customer’s interest. And we try to write the text descriptions in a friendly, informal and enthusiastic manner that we hope our customers will like.
With so many products on the LadyBug Shop website we have tried to make shopping more convenient by breaking the products down into categories—books, jewelry, apparel, kitchen decor, garden items, etc. In some cases, as our selection has grown, we have even introduced sub-categories, such as Necklaces, Bracelets, Rings, etc., in the Jewelry category. Often products fit into more than one of these categories. Fortunately, our shopping cart software lets us easily put a single product into multiple categories without re-entering the information for each category. We also have the ability to show “related” products which helps in “cross selling”. And we even have a product search facility, which you can find at the top of the home page.
For special holidays, to highlight items we have placed on sale, and to show customers those items that we feel are most popular or that have recently been added to our catalog, we have created special categories where we cross-list them so that they can be displayed in these special categories.

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