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January 28, 2012

Sunrise on Lake Winnisquam

I'm a morning person. I love to wake up early. I feel it's the best part of the day.

One of the advantages to waking up early is getting to see some of the spectacular sunrises here on the loch.

Since I live on the west shore of Lake Winnisquam, I get to see the stunning show Mother Nature puts on just about every week.

Here's one that happened in December of 2011.

Sunrise on Winnisquam.jpg

Posted by Tim Carter at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)

Ice and Sand

Here in New England the winters can be most interesting. You discover pretty quickly that ice can form on driveways and sidewalks with little effort.

One of the contributing factors is cold temperatures that cause road, driveway and sidewalks to be BELOW freezing even though the air temperature is ABOVE freezing.

At night, when the temperature drops, the liquid water flowing across the surfaces flash freezes.

Instead of using salt on the ice, sand is highly effective. It provides the needed traction you must have to walk and drive. You can put nice cleats on your boots for foot traction, but sand works well too.

The added advantage of sand is that it help aid melting because of its dark color. It absorbs some of the radiant energy of the sun on those bluebird days we get up here.

The other great advantage of sand is that it's recycled with ease in the spring. You just sweep it up and save it for next winter!

Posted by Tim Carter at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

January 4, 2012

Big Commerce Review - Open Tickets and Broken Features

I've been using shopping carts online since 1996. That puts me back in the Wild West days of the Internet. I was happy to discover Big Commerce several years ago, because I had always had issues with all the other carts I used. Heavy Sigh, I'm continuing to move sideways.

My faithful assistant Roger, deals with the cart and is in charge of entering tickets for bugs, errors, etc. Here's an email he sent to Lee Sellers, the Sales Manager of Big Commerce, back on February 10, 2011.

It's now been nearly eleven months, and we've not heard back from them. What a sad state of affairs. Needless to say, the bugs in the cart are not yet fixed. Here's the email:


Tim Carter indicated that I should email you with some of the long term tickets we have outstanding. Below are a few of the ones that are problems / bugs. Most of these are features that are offered as standard in your software, but they don't work.

Ticket EAK-930946
Created: April 9, 2010
Customer Statistics Reports

In the Statistic tab, under Customer Statistics, then Revenue by Customer. If you switch to All Times, our customer John Huster is shown with 100 orders. If you click on him and go to his account, you will see that he only has one order. Not the 100 that your report shows.

This was turned into a Bug Report OLDISC-1574 that Support said I could follow. However, the link provided requires a log in, so we can't track its process.

Ticket SLE-488283
Created: April 14, 2010
Bug Report:
Order Statistics

If you run a report for sales during a time period (for example January 2011), the report (Orders By Items Sold) shows that 12 of our Bathroom Remodeling Checklist were sold. The total for the 12 was $81.60 or $6.80 per Checklist. In reality, of the 12 sold, 8 were sold at the Sale price of $6.80 and 4 were sold at the regular price of $17.00. The report does not reflect the actual amount from orders sold. It just multiplies the quantity sold by one of the prices used during the month. So it is not a true reflect of Revenue nor orders. I was told by Support to export the data and sort it in a spreadsheet. What good is your software if we have to download reports that are built-in?

The bug report assigned to this actually deals with the customer problem shown in the above Ticket.

Ticket FFR-869109
Created: August 26, 2010
Import Tracking Number Order Status Change

In the Import Order Tracking Number screen there is an option to change the Status of the order after the import. There is a drop-down box to select the various options. Prior to August 2010, if you selected Completed for the new status, once the import was complete the order would change its statue to Complete. After that date, no matter what you select the order is changed to Shipped. Then I have to go into the Shipped Orders and change them to Completed.

This was assigned to a bug report on September 3, 2010. To date, it is still unassigned. And this is an option that has been in your program. It is not a new feature. An update caused it to quit working and it appears that nothing will be done to correct it.

There are other improvements needed in the Import Tracking Numbers, but those are requested features and I won't go into them. They have been mentioned in Ticket ZUO-990762, but are considered Enhancements.

Ticket BAK-652852 (also EXH-568789)
Created: March 4, 2010
Partial Shipments

In our store, we sell both physical and digital products. In the past (prior to March 2010) to ship the digital products, we were told by your Customer Support to go into Ship Items and ship the digital product. That way the customer would get the link to the digital product before the physical product shipped.

After a particular update, digital products no longer showed up in the Ship Items. I contacted Support and was told that since digital products don't ship, they were removed from the Ship Items. So now a customer who orders both types of products has to wait for the physical product to ship before he will receive the download link for the digital product. If the physical product is on backorder, the customer will have to wait for his downloadable product.

Digital products do ship. While they may not go on a truck or in an envelope, they are shipped to the customer. Therefore, they should be available for shipment. However, since they are digital downloads, the customer should get the link immediately when the order is placed. Not have to wait while the physical product is shipped.

Again, this are features that are built-in your program. They are not special features that we are requesting. We are just asking for the features in your software to work. Adding new bells and whistles (Ebay and Facebook) might be nice for those who can use it, but I bet everyone would like for the reports to work.

If you have any other questions regarding these issues, I will be glad to discuss them with you.



Posted by Tim Carter at 5:04 PM | Comments (0)

January 3, 2012

Big Commerce Review - Store Statistics BROKEN

I've been using Big Commerce as my shopping cart for several years. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied. But it has a massive defect and my requests, filed for over THREE years, have fallen on deaf ears.

What's my beef? Simple. When you ask the cart to return your Top 20 Customers, it brings back total garbage. I'd LOVE to reward my top customers with personal Thank You's, maybe a private Promo Code, or some other gift - that's if I knew WHO they were.

Here's but one example of how crazy the data is. Laura indeed bought things from me, but she didn't buy 19 things in the month of October, 2011.


Here's another one for you. This one is about Carolyn. Looks like she's a great customer, right? After all, she's ordered 159 times from me and spent over $6,500.00


Think again. She only has ordered twice and spent less than $150.00.


The problem with these grievous errors is that you start to lose faith in any other numbers at the cart. For example, are the total sales correct? What about the Best Selling Products? Are the ones the cart says are best sellers REALLY the ones people are buying the most?

Who's got the time to determine this using an abacus and the raw data? I expect a powerful shopping cart like Big Commerce to be right - especially with a trivial task of telling me what customers buy the most in any given date block.

Good grief Big Commerce, get it right!

Posted by Tim Carter at 2:44 PM | Comments (2)

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