Product designer: Interview with Matthew Randall
Alt-team was lucky to get an interview with Matthew Randall, the web manager of www.UniKeep.com website which offers smart solutions for keeping various types of products. One of the distinguished features of UniKeep.com is “Create Your Own Binder” tool based on Product designer add-on developed by Alt-team.
Matthew Randall has more than 5 years experience in building and managing e-commerce websites and UniKeep.com is his youngest but already successful project which was specially redesigned for e-commerce and launched a little more than one month ago.
This interview was conducted with Matthew Randall via email March 1-st, 2012.
Alt-team: How did you come up with the idea to add Product designer functionality to your online store business?
Mr. Randall: One of the things we’ve always wanted to do was to offer our customers the ability to fully customize our products, especially our UniKeep Binders. Unikeep.com is a division of Univenture, Inc. which manufactures and directly sells our products. So when we were looking for a new shopping cart platform for our eCommerce website, the availability of the Product Designer addon greatly influenced our decision to go with CS-Cart.
As the Web Manager for our company, I knew that it was time to upgrade our shopping cart. All I had to do was show Alt-team’s Product Designer to the CEO and it was an easy to get the resources to make the upgrade. I don’t think I would have been able to convince the senior management to invest in a new shopping cart platform if they hadn’t been so impressed by the capabilities of the Product Designer addon!
Alt-team: Why did you choose Product designer addon developed by Alt-team?
Mr. Randall: As a web developer, I’ve used Alt-team in the past for other addons and even some custom development. They have consistently provided extremely clever and elegant programming solutions to some very complex needs. Their support team is probably the best that I’ve ever dealt with. Their prices are very fair and the work they do always blows me away.
For example, I needed to create the ability to programmatically change the pricing structure of all my products according to a quantity discount matrix that included fine-tuned control over price-breaks for different product options, such as size and color. Just describing it is complex! But, from product entry in the admin panel, through the database and into the customer’s cart, Alt-team was able to provide a perfect solution that was delivered fast, at a great price and fully supported in case I needed any help.
I chose Alt-team’s Product Designer addon because I knew and trusted their skills and abilities. I knew from experience that if I purchased a product from Alt-team, it would be reliable and add value to my web store.
Alt-team: What do you like in Product designer and what features can be improved?
Mr. Randall: It’s intuitive to use. It has tons of great features. It’s infinitely customizable. Alt-team is constantly making improvements that are a snap to update. And most of all my customers love it! They love creating something of their very own that they can keep forever. That’s a very powerful way for my Brand to connect with customers.
Improvements? Well, it’s a little slow to load on my pages, but that might have more to do with my server than the addon. Also, it takes a good long time for us to download each order for pre-press. As I start to see more and more orders for UniKeep’s Create Your Own Binder, that time starts to impact our workflow. But as problems go, that’s a pretty good one to have! One other improvement that we need to have is slightly larger thumbnails, both in the customer’s cart screen and especially on the invoice. This would greatly improve our press operator’s ability to proof the print before putting any ink down.
Alt-team: You probably get messages from your customers, are your customers satisfied with Create Your Own Binder tool (Product designer addon) performance?
Mr. Randall: Here’s what our customers are saying about the Create Your Own Binder:
“I’ve tried using other similar tools, like Zazzle, but yours is actually easier to use. They have so many steps and pages that it gets confusing. I like having everything on one page.”
“My Binder looks great! I was surprised how fun and easy it was and even more surprised by how good it looked when I got it!”
Alt-team: How has Product designer functionality influenced your business?
Mr. Randall: UniKeep.com was redesigned and launched as an eCommerce site about one month ago. So this data is based on a very short period of time.
Overall, the traffic to our site has increased by 30.57% since we announced the Create Your Own Binder tool.
At 7.63%, the Create Your Own Binder landing page was viewed more than any other page on our site except the Homepage which received 13.94% of traffic. The Create Your Own Binder is the 9th most popular product on the site – and we’ve only had it a month!
These numbers are great, but there is no way to measure the improvement of our brand perception and reach with this added capability… That’s the real value of this product.
Alt-team: One of the difficulties in custom product business is printing custom works, what printing solution have you chosen?
Mr. Randall: We print our products in-house. All I have to do is download the customer’s design to a PDF and hand it to the press operator. Couldn’t be easier.
Alt-team: We would appreciate any wishes or recommendations to our team from you.
- An easier way to save designs. Customers can save their designs but it is a little confusing to them. First, they have to add it to their cart. Then they have to go back into their cart, find the “click here for more details” dropdown and look all the way at the bottom for a small “edit” button. Our customers sometimes make very elaborate designs and several have complained of losing their work (computer shut down, accidentally surfed away from the page, etc…). It would be nice to have a “Save” button that doesn’t take them away from the page and some easier way to recover saved designs.
- I would like to be able to edit customers’ designs from the admin panel.
- Keep up the good work!
Alt-team: From all our team we would like to thank you for this interview and your sincere answers. We'll definetly consider all your recommendations and promise to keep up the good work!
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