Create Shamanic Tambourines

How can it be without the most important, whose sounds with dances make servers and code work? That's why I decided to make tambourines. First of all, the service was created for yourself. In the first place, there was still a desire to make tambourines, to receive invaluable experience in production, communication with customers, to master the intricacies of sales and logistics of their own small unique product. And only then - making a profit. This is not just an online souvenir shop, but a well-established service for creating the most sacred in the IT world. Formation and development consists of 2 parts. Perhaps this experience will be useful to someone and will be useful in the future. For me, this is an openness to criticism and gaining invaluable experience from the largest IT community.

History of creation

One winter evening, I wanted to buy a tambourine, with some logos, drawings, emphasizing what I am doing. I mean IT topics. But to my great regret, I did not find anything. And then I decided to buy an ordinary musical tambourine and remake it. He started searching the online store for musical goods. The price did not please at all, and the idea itself was somehow forgotten, but not for long. While on vacation in one of the African countries, I saw a tambourine in an Arab shop. Bargained and I bought it. Upon arrival, I decided to redo it: he took off his old skin and pulled the fabric from his old pants, pasted an Apple apple, “held a ceremony” over all the equipment. Then I thought, what if I started selling such tambourines? And he began to develop the topic, namely, he was engaged in the search for the possibility of applying the image qualitatively,

All that I was doing can be described as a “domain analysis”. It included:
  • search for the optimal tambourine solution
  • search for tambourine suppliers
  • selection of fabric and paper for thermal transfer
  • shipping process in Ukraine
  • receiving orders through the site
  • search for similar services in Ukraine and abroad

After a while, the picture was already looming. Well, then in order.

The address and the site were chosen in tune with the name and topic, installed CMS wordpress & e-commerce, several plugins, including statistics, CNC, SEO. The base is quickly filled with tambourines and options. Wordpress - because it is a popular and well-supported, evolving engine. In addition, I already had experience and creating some projects on it. He allowed to make a quick start based on ready-made solutions. As later, it turned out to be one of the minuses. But more about that below.

The supplierfound a musical goods store, agreed on bulk purchases. We were offered tambourines with sizes of 8 ", 10", 12 ", which is equal to 20, 25, 30 cm, respectively. I later realized that the optimal size for both thermal transfer paper is A4 and for sending by New Mail delivery service - it's 10 "(25cm). And first, I bought tambourines of different sizes, looked at who and what orders, gained experience of orders.

There was a period when there were no tambourines, then we were looking for alternative customers. Up to the Pakistani manufacturer. There were negotiations and they were ready to send the order. The term is 1 week and the delivery cost is $ 100 for 50 pieces. They didn’t order it, due to the lack of such large volumes of sales.

Paper was foundfor thermal transfer - Barva Thermotransfer. Its price is relatively cheap, it is designed to be transported with an ordinary iron, it has a thermal indicator that changes color at a sufficient temperature, which is very convenient so as not to overexpose and burn the fabric. The paper is designed for printing with an inkjet printer in a mirrored form. Printing consisted of preparing a template in Photoshop in a mirrored form and going to the nearest kiosk for printing on our thermal paper.

Delivery.Initially, the sending was New mail and UkrPoshta. The latter disappeared immediately, after the first half-hour dispatch of standing in line + packing search, etc. ... The new mail has proved itself on the positive side. Delivery from the central region to anywhere in Ukraine rarely exceeded $ 2. We decided that delivery in Ukraine to the New Post office should be free and we adhere to this to this day. Thus, we believe that the contractual relationship between us and customers ends after sending the order by New Mail.

Payment.They chose a PrivatBank card because there was a convenient privat24 Internet banking management system, a wide network of self-service terminals, and the availability of credit cards among the population. Since some of the orders were from Kiev, we decided to take it not only on a PrivatBank credit card, but also on hand upon receipt. Later, documentation on the API connecting payment systems to the site was thoroughly studied and scripts were written that accepted payment through Privat24 and liqpay. The latter - provides the ability to pay with any credit card that has the right to Internet payments.

The cloth.The tambourines themselves were originally covered with "skin." By the way, this skin looked more like rough cardboard paper than leather. Therefore, what was my disappointment when I began to iron this thermal paper on a tambourine and this skin on a tambourine was pulled together, and rivets jumped out. It turns out that the skin is very tightened when heated and bursts. I just had to clean it and pull the fabric. The fabric was chosen cotton cheap, but of good quality and color nice on which the paint from thermal paper was well tolerated. Thus, trial and error was born the application process. The fabric was bought, cut into squares of approximately 30x30 cm, and a mirror image was applied to these square pieces of fabric by ironing. Then this square of fabric was pulled over a tambourine and cut off in a circle. Later, a printer with a CISS was purchased and the printing problem disappeared. Postcard brochures have been developed, on which there were words of gratitude for the purchase of a tambourine, instruction and catalog. Which in turn created a chain reaction of orders.

Advertising. Full SEO-optimization of each tambourine, each article was made. But the desired result of the sale of a larger number of tambourines was still not achieved. And then, they started creating ads on Ukrainian IT forums and blogs. Here it is worth noting the incredible fact when 5-6 sites, including a group in a popular social network, attracted 5 customers, and one local network forum about 30 customers per day. Here it was important to find the very middle ground. Google tools were used, keyword analysis was performed. Words buy a tambourine 2000 requests per month, and a tambourine admin30 inquiries. Contextual advertising was bought, which also had a fairly positive effect on the number of sales. They set a budget of $ 50 and the advertisement lasted about 3 months. This was due to a lack of competitors for keywords.

General view.This is a hobby, so the time has come when there simply was not enough time to service orders. After the main working day, in the evening I also had to make tambourines. Gradually, interest in the case fell. But then the same feeling appeared that made me move forward. I realized that for almost half a year, I have gained invaluable experience in sales and development of an online resource for the sale of a unique product, which has no analogues in Ukraine. In the evening, giving the next tambourine to the client, I listened to the words of gratitude for the excellent resource, which of course made me work further. There were orders from Belarus, when people ordered several pieces, as souvenirs to their homeland. Orders from Tyumen for the CISCO technology Olympiad as souvenirs and prizes. Orders from Moscow (about 10 pcs) for game-resource gifts.

After a break of 4 months, after the New Year's lull and the appearance of free time, under constant pressure from customers who wanted to play tambourines and said that “the service was cool”, “it’s a pity that it closed” and so on, I decided to start the site again . It is worth considering the fact that the site did not work for about 3 months (the paid hosting period ended) and yet, people found contacts somewhere: skype, mobile, mail. They called me with a desire to buy a tambourine.

I decided to completely redesign the CMS site. In the last site with wordpress - I did not like:

  • Heavy design and code
  • A lot of unnecessary and unnecessary
  • It was necessary to poke around in someone else's code in order to make the ordering system “easier”.
  • Much had to be mastered “from scratch” and therefore was not improved.
  • The store system itself did not satisfy me

But this time, given all the nuances and problems of the last site, I started development. For 2 weeks I created CMS, based on php, bootstrap 3, jquery / ajax, php + mysql. The concept is minimalism in design. Highlighting the main - tambourines, but endowed with a powerful functional interface.

User interface.Getting to the main page of the site, the user immediately saw the logo and under it a catalog of tambourines. The intuitive interface, after clicking on the "buy" button, the client immediately saw the "basket", with a list of tambourines. All that he changed: quantity or tambourines, additionally choosing the options “gift wrapping”, “fast delivery”. And this changed instantly in the Database through ajax requests. Which in turn did not create a burden on the client. The site itself has an adaptive design and was perfectly displayed both on a tablet, mobile phone and on Mac / PC. The order procedure has adapted - depending on the chosen delivery method, payment, type of tambourine. For example, if this is a personal tambourine, then fields are added to the form with the ability to upload your image, comment, etc. Each new order is assigned a unique 5-digit number, by which it was possible to track the status of the order. The procedure for generating an order number took into account current orders so that the number does not match. If a person indicates an email when ordering, which is already in the customer database, then the customer information is updated (name and mobile), and the general statistics of orders is summarized. The privat24, liqpay payment systems were connected, the order form, the customer’s basket, the order procedure itself were simplified, all New Post office addresses were pulled out from excel in csv and parsed in sql. Mail was connected to gmail, so that letters would not fall into spam. From the “track order” page, you can pay by alternative methods. then the customer information is updated (name and mobile), and the general statistics of orders is summarized. The privat24, liqpay payment systems were connected, the order form, the customer’s basket, the order procedure itself were simplified, all New Post office addresses were pulled out from excel in csv and parsed in sql. Mail was connected to gmail, so that letters would not fall into spam. From the “track order” page, you can pay by alternative methods. then the customer information is updated (name and mobile), and the general statistics of orders is summarized. The privat24, liqpay payment systems were connected, the order form, the customer’s basket, the order procedure itself were simplified, all New Post office addresses were pulled out from excel in csv and parsed in sql. Mail was connected to gmail, so that letters would not fall into spam. From the “track order” page, you can pay by alternative methods.

Admin interface. This part needs to be paid more attention, since it is a whole system of management and monitoring.

Statistics. Personal statistics of site visits are displayed for the entire period, per month and per day. Current tambourine balance, order / sales ratio. Current balance, income calculator. It takes into account how many tambourines are sold / bought, money is earned / spent.

Orders A list of orders with quick search in any of the fields. When you click on any of the buttons: payment is accepted, the order is sent, the line changes color depending on the status of the order. The status also changes automatically if payment has been made through private24 or liqpay payment systems.

Customers Customer base, with their orders, amount.

ContentManagement of a catalog of tambourines with convenient sorting of draggable, hide-buttons, prices.

Settings General site settings, site SEO-pages, id & key payment systems, prices for additional services. Definitions of the discount threshold and its amount. And much more.

Redesigned postcards. Now they are printed on photo paper, their size is A5. They come with each tambourine, tied to a golden corset rope. Contain a mini-catalog, words of thanks, instructions for use.

How does it work?New order - a letter arrives from the site about a new order (either to the mail of a laptop or to the mail of a mobile phone). Sometimes an SMS from the bank comes along with a payment notification. I look at the order information. I can go to the admin panel and see the orders, if the order is paid, it is marked in yellow. I print an order card in order to send an order on New Mail on this card. I print an image of a tambourine, cut it out. I transfer it to the fabric. I pull the fabric on a tambourine, cut it off. I pack. I’m taking my bike to New Post. I get the TTN number. I enter it in the admin panel with one click. I click on the button and the order is sent. Thus, the status of the order changes and a letter is sent to the client with the TTN number, thanks and a link to the New Mail website to track the order.

To summarize

The service has been working for 1.5 years. The total number of sales is more than 300. 70% of buyers are girls, usually gift orders. The peak of sales is spring, February 23rd, or professional holidays and corporate parties.

A lot of orders from Russia (but the complexity of delivery). 40% - tambourines with personal images (logos of companies and representative offices).
I will be glad to hear comments and suggestions, and I will also be happy to answer all questions.

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