We are moving!

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Need A Part is moving to a new warehouse in Grafton, Auckland.

We are suspending warehouse operations between Wednesday and Friday while we work on this transition.

Orders placed after 2pm on Tuesday 16th January will not be dispatched until Monday 22nd January.

We apologise for the inconvenience, and hope that your appliance can hang on a little longer.

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Christmas Season 2016

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Happy Holidays

Over the holiday season our operations will be slightly different.

Dispatch

Our stock is managed by New Zealand Post’s third party warehouse, Contract Logistics. This means that orders will still be dispatched through the holiday period although dispatching will not take place on statutory holidays.

Orders will be dispatched as normal up to Friday 23 December, and then on the following days:

  • Wednesday 28 December
  • Thursday 29 December
  • Friday 30 December
  • Wednesday 4 January
  • Thursday 5 January
  • Friday 6 January

Customer Support

Our customer care team is on holiday from Friday 23 December to Sunday 8 January, returning Monday 9 January. That means that any web enquiries, special order and backlist items will be quoted in the new year when we return.

Our email will be monitored for any urgent matters over this time.

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Moustache-o-Matic is back!

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Back in 2012 Jared and I decided to do Movember, despite possessing absolutely no moustache-growing abilities.

We were never going to get much support with our pitiful moustaches, so we decided to create the Moustache-o-Matic.

It’s a little web app that hooks into your webcam and uses facial recognition to stick a moustache on your face.

It was pretty popular last time around, and we’ve decided to re-launch it now that the technology works on mobile devices (sorry iOS users, only Chrome/Firefox for Android at this stage).

We invite you to get stuck in at mo.needapart.co.nz. If you can’t take a picture, you’ll at least want to browse the gallery.

Here are some of my favourites from last time…

Moustache on a cat

Moustache on a baby

Best use of props

Best costume

Most moustaches in one family

Most moustaches in one photo

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Temporary Shutdown

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Need A Part is moving to Auckland!

Sadly, these sorts of things don’t happen overnight.

We’ll get pretty close, though. Our warehouse operations will pause on Thursday afternoon, and resume again on Monday.

Get your order in before 1pm on Thursday 26th June and it will be dispatched as normal.

Orders placed after 1pm on Thursday 26th June will be dispatched on Monday 30th June.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!

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Email notifications: they work!

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As with any stock-based operation, we sometimes run out of things.

The trouble is, people buy parts because they need them, not because they want them, which makes our stock levels pretty erratic and hard to predict.

If we go out of stock, we give our customers the opportunity to receive a stock notification via email. As soon as more stock is scanned into our warehouse, an email is automatically sent out to customers to let them know.

notify

So, does it work? According to our latest figures, the answer is a resounding yes.

In the last 30 days, our stock notification emails have led to 109 visits and more than $2000 in revenue.

We sell products that are hard to get elsewhere, so it seems like people are happy to wait.

What do you think? Would you use this feature on a website?

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Registration on ecommerce sites: a thing of the past?

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This week we hit 3000 registered customers. You don’t have to register to buy from Need A Part, so we’re pretty stoked with that figure.

Evidently, 3000 people like us enough to make an account. Presumably they think they will use us again in the future. This is good.

…or is it?

Looking at our sales data, we can see 2846 unique registered customers. That means 154 registered customers have never actually made a purchase.

Why would you bother registering if you weren’t going to buy something? Perhaps people assume you have to register.

Of those 2846 registered customers, 1135 registered before making a purchase.

Yup. People think you have to register.

38% of our registered customers registered before making a purchase.

9% of all sales were made by people who registered before making a purchase.

In light of this, we’ll definitely be reviewing our checkout process. Currently, it looks like this:

Checkout

 

However, I suspect it’s not completely our fault. There was a time when ecommerce sites forced you to register, but that hardly ever happens these days.

Perhaps there’s still a lingering fear that a website is going to make you register, so you might as well get it over with. Or maybe some people just think that’s how the internet works.

What was the last website you visited that made you register unnecessarily? Did you go ahead with your purchase?

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NZ Post API Case Study

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The online team at New Zealand Post run a very interesting blog called Postmodern. They wrote an article about us, which we have reproduced for you below. The original is here.

We’re very grateful to Andy Abel at Need a Part for taking the time to talk to us about their experience with the APIs, and for giving us some pointers on where we could improve.

What does Need a Part do?

Primarily we’re an online shop, selling bits and pieces for household appliances. We deal in consumable items like vacuum bags and shaver heads, as well as simple parts like coffee machine seals, microwave plates and blender jugs. Our aim is to make parts and consumables more accessible to New Zealanders.

team

The Need a Part team, Andy Abel (left) and Jared Tasker (right).

What cart software are you using or did you build one yourself?

We built one ourselves. Our website has some fairly unique features, and we felt it was easier to build what we wanted than to customise someone else’s code.

Which NZ Post APIs do you use? What do you use them for?

I’m pretty sure we use nearly all of them!

Most integral to our operation is the Label API, which allows us to generate courier tickets on-the-fly during the dispatch process. For international orders we use the Ratefinder APIto ensure we’re using the correct product. [editors note: if you’d like information on the Label API please email us at developer@nzpost.co.nz]

All of the other APIs are used on the front-end to make the checkout process as simple as possible. We use the Address Suggest API in conjunction with the Address Details API to make filling out forms easier  [editors note: these are currently in closed beta]. We use theTracking API and Tracking Notification API to keep customers up to date with their orders.

Do you use other APIs?

The only other one we use is Google’s Map API. When used with data from the Address Details API, we can plot delivery locations on a map.

What have you found the advantages of using the APIs to be?

The Label API allows us to run the dispatch process entirely from our own system.RedClick is a great piece of software, but with the API we don’t have to worry about transferring data between programs, making the process that little bit smoother.

The APIs we use on the frontend allow us to vastly improve user experience. Nobody likes filling out forms, so we use the Address Suggest API to help with that. Once an address has been selected, we use the the Address Details API to return us the coordinates. We can then plot the delivery address on a map, which gives the user confidence that we’ve got their details right. Our target audience includes many people who may not have made an online purchase before, so we try to make them as comfortable as possible.

address-suggest

We’ve recently started using the Tracking Notification API to send an email to the customer when a delivery scan is reported. We were regularly getting calls from customers who claimed that a package hadn’t been delivered, only to find that someone else in the household had received it and not told them. Since we started the delivery notification emails we hardly ever get those calls!

What advice do you have for someone integrating the Post APIs into their own applications?

We don’t really have much advice, because they’re so easy to use. The documentation is good, and for those edge cases you can always get great advice from the team. We definitely owe Stuart a bottle of wine this Christmas!

What would you like to see changed in the Post APIs? Is there anything we could do that would make it easier/better for you?

Perhaps not in the APIs as such, but in the way the data is used. When a parcel goes missing, we ring up the call centre and they always ask, ‘Do you have 15 minutes to go through the claims process?’

That 15 minutes is spent asking us for information that has already been provided via the API. Evidently NZ Post has that information, but for some reason it is not shared with all departments. We challenge NZ Post to make your data work for you!

[editors note: point taken, and we’ll look at what we can do to make this less painful by using the data we already have.]

Anything else you’d like to add?

Earlier this year we discovered a bug in the Label API, where some inner-city postcodes were being charged a Rural Delivery fee. Our proposed solution was implemented extremely quickly. This is very reassuring!

Find out more

You can find Need a Part’s website at  www.needapart.co.nz. You can find out more about the New Zealand Post APIs at the developer centre. If you’re interesting in using the Label API please email us at developer@nzpost.co.nz – you’ll need to be have a New Zealand Post credit account to use the Label API.

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