Website Relaunch

It's 2018 and time for a new website. Our old website has been bogged down by dozens of issues, and trying to tackle those issues while keeping up the day to day maintenance on the business, while also working a 9-6 day job, has just proven to be too much. 

We've been in business since 2014 but initially only sold on BoardGameGeek. We received our first website order on July 7th 2015, and as of this writing, have received 1029 website orders to date. That's 1029 orders over 928 days, or around 1.1 orders per day. That's abysmal. We've always known our site needed a drastic improvement but while some improvements were made, others we never managed to get past.

We have over 3000 products but half of them don't have images and descriptions. We occasionally added more here and there but quite frankly the process was a pain, plus outsourcing to India meant frequent problems such as Onirim and Onirim (Second Edition) being mixed up. So we kind of just let the site hold onto over 1500 products with no information motivating a sale. Plus it's just a visual turn off.

Site navigation is crawlingly slow, making the process painful. You know you have a speed issue when even as the owner of the site you'd rather not have to try to visit. It's easier to check our internal inventory system then trying to just check the product page. Our conversion rate was 0.1%. An average eCommerce conversion is 1%-2%. We were under performing industry standards by a factor of 10-20x. Impressive in a kind of sad way.

Because of the platform we were on and our inventory management system, we were only able to update our inventory once a day. Not only that but even that once a day would frequently have timing out issues (it was a 3 hour sync), causing our inventory be out of date sometimes a few days behind. This led to frequent purchases that we had to cancel due to outdated inventory and being out of stock.

I can keep going but you get the idea. We had a website but oh what a website. So in late 2017 we finally decided to replatform and start again. It took some time but as of March 2018 we finally have a working site up and running. Admittedly with under 50 products, but that will rapidly change. Every created product will have a picture and description. We're slowly adding product attributes such as play time, mechanics, publishers etc. The speed is great right now and will be closely monitored in order to ensure that it stays great. The inventory is a live sync to our inventory management system, meaning that the delay between live inventory and the site is now measured in minutes instead of days. 

We're going to keep our current site going until we have enough of a product base loaded that it makes sense to switch, likely around the 1000 product mark. Heck, despite having over 3000 product listings on the site, we've only ever had sales on 719 distinct games anyway. So we'll be picking the most popular sale items we have and loading them up.

This is where you come in, if you've ever spent time on our site then first of all, thank you for putting up with us. And secondly, what do you want us to change? What would make your shopping easier, what would make you want to come back a little more often? We're in the process of redoing everything, so your feedback is welcome. We obviously can't do everything, but it can all go in a checklist. Some of it we may get to right away, and some of it might take some time. But at the end of the day, it's you guys who have continued to put up with the site and that means it's you guys whose feedback would be most helpful.

Drop us a line using the Contact Us, we'd love to hear from you.

Here's hoping to a game filled 2018,
Alex Radcliffe


  • Add a solo search category please and allow multiple condition search like new and good or excellent and new…etc

    Loren Larkin
  • Todd,

    Thanks so much for the detailed comment.

    1) Yes, adding more information is in the works. Some of it is easier than other to add but most of the ones you mentioned are on my to do list.
    2) Agreed and also in the works. I’m trying to see if there’s a “pretty and functional” way to do so rather than just leaving a link up.
    3) The wishlist notifications will slowly have links added to them. As far as items being in stock when you get those, that should hopefully be addressed with the new live updating of inventory.
    4) Yes on GA, not so much on Optimizely, will look into it and/or contact you directly.

    With best regards,

    Alex Radcliffe
  • Hi Alex, congrats on the new launch! Indeed, the previous site had its problems.

    From first impressions, the new site is far more engaging with larger images and more focused recommendations. A few immediate suggestions, however:

    1) Add info about the game in addition to the description on the game page (and possibly the thumbnails). BoardGameBliss, for example, has Designer, Publisher, Num Players, Playtime, and Suggested Age. I’d also request year published and especially version info. As it is now, you are not presenting a shopping experience that someone can use without referring to another source of information, reducing your customer base to those who already know exactly what they’re looking for.

    2) Add a BGG link to each game entry. Otherwise, you are forcing customers to leave your site with a multi-step process to search and find the details about a game. While it’s not ideal to have customer leave your site, in this case, making this process smoother like BoardGameBliss does with direct links to the game entry, images, videos, and reviews, would keep customers more engaged with your site and less prone to wander off.

    3) Improve your tools for pinging customers with wishlist inventory notifications. The previous experimental tool worked, kinda, as in I received the emails, but there were no links back to your site, and when I eventually managed to get to your site, the product was almost never listed in stock. I don’t know if that was an inventory glitch, or if someone was buying the items prior to me, but it was a poor customer experience from a potentially awesome feature.

    4) Are you familiar with tools like Google Analytics and Optimizely? These are tools for your website that allow you to see what customers are doing, to measure engagement and performance against goals (like putting items in the shopping cart), and to perform A/B testing that helps you understand which alternatives customers respond to best. I’m happy to advise further if you’d like to contact me directly.

    Best of luck! I think you are making a wise decision to upgrade your platform and web presence, and hope it goes well for you. Cheers!

    Todd F

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