Thursday, 15 April 2010

A Topsy-Turvy Year

This year has been a strange one. The snow reduced business substantially early in the year and since then it has been up and down. There are "dead" days followed by really busy days. While overall sales are following the pattern of last year, they are definitely lower than expected, perhaps customers really are reining in spending now. I don't think it's just me, either; you can tell sales are low by the speed with which some orders arrive from suppliers, so I think we're all feeling the pinch.

So I have been busy looking at ways to develop business - firstly by adding Paypal Express to my website. I did have this some time ago but the interface between the website and Paypal Express was very unstable and caused a lot of payment failures, so I removed it while the kinks were worked out. It's now working very well, so I hope it will help with sales - customers who have previously used credit cards have switched to Paypal, so we will see.

I've also posted a few items on ebay as a test - my seller id is vsmusic2010. There are a few music sellers on there, so I will be selecting items carefully, picking the ones I think most likely to sell. The advantage of this for customers is that I can reduce the postage charge for smaller items, rather than the standard charge on the website. I hope it means I can sell more of these small accessories than previously.

A few weeks ago I had a long letter from my bank about PCI DSS compliance when taking card payments. I've read it several times and still don't understand it. I know I'm not particularly stupid - I used to be a HR Director and I do have a law degree, but why they can't write in English I don't know. Happily, my website hoster (EKM Powershop) has helped simplify things for me. As I don't have my own server or store card details, it doesn't seem to be much of an issue for me as I use third party systems which are already compliant, but I do have to do a self-assessment questionnaire.

We seem to spend a great deal of our lives doing risk assessments of some kind, don't we? As far as I can see, the self-assessment won't make a blind bit of difference. If there's a problem with a payment later, and I got the self-assessment wrong, then I'm screwed; if I got it right but something went wrong elsewhere, I'll still probably have to foot the bill and then sue someone else. Great.

Anway, time to get back to my parcels, need to get the post moving...