Wednesday, October 5, 2016

DoradoFilms.Video - Status and Updates for 2016/10

It has been a very busy (roughly) 3 weeks!  I thought I would talk about a few things we have discovered so far from our Pre-Sale website.

  • Shipping charges are a big deal to people.  While this might seem to make sense, we were trying to be super transparent with our pricing and chose not to "mask" shipping fees inside of the product cost.  We made the mistake of estimating a total weight of 9 ounces for the entire order shipped to the customer.  We felt that was a safe estimate, not looking ahead of time at what the cost of shipping a 9 ounce package was through USPS for international.  The cost difference was staggering, about 9 dollars on average more expensive than 8 ounces.  We had to quickly get a bunch of samples together and try to choose the smallest weight we felt we could safely set for shipping.  We took a lot of flack online for our "shipping charges"... we did not mind fixing them as we would have paid the shipping fee directly to USPS and would not have been able to pocket any of the extra 9 dollars anyway.  Several assumed we were up to no good sadly, it took some PR work to build back some trust.  Good lesson learned the hard way.
  • Individually numbered products create interesting problems.  We have had to grope with the idea of "should we allow one user to order multiple products" in one fashion or another from the start of this project.  We thought it fair if we allowed multiple orders but you had to order it one by one.  However, we then came into the problem of shipping single boxes to the same address is more expensive (with box cost and shipping cost) than combining orders.  Our internal discussions prior to the launch settled on the disbelief anyone would want to order more than one and it wasn't a priority to fix.  We have since found out that is not the case and are in the process of having the shipping portion of the shopping experience re-coded.
  • Security is misunderstood.  We made sure that our entire pre-sale site was encrypted by SSL and made the conscious decision to NOT process any credit card numbers ourselves.  Braintree ( was a perfect solution for our project, however there has been an interesting PR problem that has grown from using this gateway.  People assume because of the way the process of checking out LOOKS that WE process credit cards.  We have attempted to clarify how this works several times, however it has not changed the trepidation of several and some very outspoken critics of the Pre-Sale in general.
  • Braintree has interesting quirks.  We have also discovered Braintree is an interesting solution that has some very specific quirks.  It took a while for PayPal to be integrated (which is very interesting to me as Braintree is a division of PayPal) and PayPal's checkout process is very problematic.  The shipping address has to perfectly match an address on file with PayPal, sometimes to the capitalization.  Also, we just (hopefully) fixed a recurring challenge for some customers where the Region / State of the shipping address has to be a 2 digit abbreviation in order for the payment to be accepted.  Several would write out the full state (like "Oregon", etc) and those orders would be refused by PayPal.  We don't know how much lost sales this has resulted in, but we are confident it has been frustrating for many.
We have several more little lessons that we have been finding along the way, but I wanted to share just a few of the big ones today.  Overall, we are pleased with the way DoradoFilms.Video has been operating thus far.  We would have had to price these Blu-ray's at about 50 USD (not including shipping) if we had used a marketplace like Amazon, Ebay, etc.  So, it is our hope that as we work through the little bugs and confusion our customers will continue to give us the patience and benefit of the doubt as we try to save everyone about 20 USD per Blu-ray.