Puuuuuh, … that was a ride. 😉 In 2006 we started with the first order form written in PHP for the wiper hole covers, which were then still made of aluminum and painted by hand. Shortly afterwards, Cubecart came into play as a shop system. A lot of custom code was then implemented and payment systems, internet brands, etc. connected. This went through more or less unchanged until last year in 2020 – but it had some really unpleasant disadvantages. For example, the possibility to work with modern payment systems, to map cleanly multilingualism, to provide customers with a login area … and much more.
We have long “resisted” to change the system, because NEVER CHANGE A RUNNING SYSTEM but now that two-factor, Apple Pay and other technical necessities have slowed down the old system or made it unusable, it was overdue to do everything from scratch.
Renewing a 15 year old system – that meant for us:
- We have about 30,000 customer data migrated from the last 15 years – this is not really trivial in times of GDPR. All customers were written to and asked to confirm that we can activate the account – whoever does not want this will be removed. If you write to so many people who have probably not heard from us for years, you will have some queries in the form of e-mails – that too was correspondingly demanding. 😉
- The old database structure With all products, vouchers and order data, the structure was completely different – but we tried to transfer as much information as possible. This means that we have written migration functions for the important tables that clean up the correct information and port it into the new structure and then make it possible to integrate them into the new system via the import function.
But what has become better now?
- Product filter function. Setting up this function was a mammoth task. We looked at 3,600 data sets (vehicle models) by hand and cataloged them and compared them with our previous experience / data and measured values. The result is 1,000 – 1,500 (depending on how you look at it) manually assigned product relationships. Does the vehicle have a rear window wiper? Do we have the measure of the hole? Where is the same wiper installed? What color is the glass? Etc… We are very proud of this function, because it enables us to add new products quickly and easily and to react more quickly to changes and suggestions from our customers. So if you can’t find a vehicle, please write to us and we will correct the data record.
- No more generic articles for glass stoppers but all glass stoppers explicitly assigned to the vehicle -> This results in a five-fold increase in our product range. Means that we now display brands such as Hyndai, Dacia, Cupra etc. individually in the shop and thus reach five times as many customers as before.
- Stock status and availability – so everyone can see what is in stock before buying and how long it will take to ship – and we know where it is stuck and when it is time to mill new plugs. Our goal is to have the goods with the customer within 2-7 days. With worldwide shipping, that’s very sporty and we still don’t achieve this in all cases – but we’re not an Amazon either – but that’s a big step in the right direction and we will continue to optimize the processes.
- The new ticket system And the clear goal: No more popular inquiries unanswered / unanswered. In the past we unfortunately had problems maintaining communication. As long as nothing goes wrong it is pretty easy to answer emails – but if a machine breaks down, production runs incorrectly, the website spins and hundreds of emails come in, things go wrong pretty quickly. That should never happen again. Still, it probably takes a while to answer queries in such extreme situations – but they need to be answered. And that is exactly our goal: No request remains unanswered – everyone – WORLDWIDE – gets their goods / replacement stoppers / money back or whatever. Nothing is further from us than losing customers, postponing problems or forcing discrepancies just because we are difficult to reach.
- Modern Mobile first design – which finally enables us to deliver different templates for different devices and in different languages. This is a big step and we are happy to take advantage of it in detail even more than before. In terms of design, we follow our “less is more” motto and, in addition to the product range, now also reduce the appearance to the essentials – GLASS POTS – and so we are now entering the home page and hope you like it as much as we do. : D
There were problems?
- In any case. Unfortunately, the import of the old data did not go 100% smoothly. A comma error led, for example, to incorrect invoice amounts for old orders in the new system. Since we only need the information for statistical purposes – i.e. what was ordered by the customer in the past – this is not really bad, but unfortunately we forgot to issue the notification function about completed orders for around 100 customer data records so that these 100 customers have been successfully imported E-mails with completely wrong texts were sent out with incorrect data records, which of course caused great irritation.
- You can’t just press a button and import thousands of data – these have to be cleaned up beforehand and with more than 10,000 lines this is correspondingly slow. In total, we cleaned up data for roughly 3 months and then finally imported everything in small parts over a week. Nights until 5 o’clock in the morning were very “exhausting” and at the limit of what was reasonable for the family – sorry for that.
- The new systems do not run smoothly straight away. on 02/17/2021 we closed the old systems and activated the new ones on 02/18/2021. In the course of this, we also moved to a new, faster server in another data center with a corresponding failover. Functionally there were then some stumbling blocks – at first, for example, settings were incorrect and notifications were completely wrong. In the first week after the relaunch, almost everything still had to be adjusted, although we had worked on the test server in the months before. In the end, we had the biggest problems with the shipping software pzw. the plug-in of Deutsche Post – i.e. the integration of the correct postage in the correct place in the invoice PDF. Thanks to Johannes who finally solved this last week via custom code.
I am very proud of our team and want to Thanks to Marie, Markus, Tom and Johannes say who supported me in this huge campaign. Therefore, on the new website you will now find all the people who make cleant possible. The result of the restart is nowhere near perfect and it will take us a while until we can say that it is finished, but so far so good … I would say.