A Thank You, An Apology, and An Update
A Thank You
I'm totally blown away by the response to my X-Trans lightroom guide that I published earlier in the week. the response has been amazing, and some of you have sent some lovely kind words of support. It's the highest volume of traffic my store has seen and it's been hard just to keep up. So, a sincere thank you to everyone. I really am blown away by the response.
Unfortunately the high volume of traffic highlighted a few issues with the store. In particular there were two problems. One is regarding Firefox. If you were using Firefox there were problems with the shopping cart. This was a problem relating to the theme. Ive known about this issue for a little while and I've been trying to find a solution. It turns out that the answer was actually staring me in the face, and I think I have it fixed now. If you were trying to buy on Firefox and there was a problem, I'm really sorry, but I think it's fixed. I checked it myself, but I only have Firefox running on the mac, and I'm not 100% sure about the windows version.
The second problem that popped up was a weird one and took me a while to figure out. A couple of people reported that the shopping cart was asking to verify their location when they went to go to PayPal. This issue occurred if the customer's address was in one country, and they were in another. At first I thought that this was a weird PayPal policy, but then I discovered the reason was due to the stupid EU vat law that came in a while ago. EU law now requires that VAT be charged at the rate of the country that you are buying from. It also requires that sellers collect two pieces of "non-conflicting" information to verify their location. This is normally handled in the background by the shopping cart. Well, actually it's a plug-in service called Taxamo. The problem occurs if you're billing address is in one country and you are currently located in another. Because the law requires you to provide two pieces of information, the system will ask you to verify your location. This is to comply with EU law. Is this ridiculous? Absolutely.
Anyway, the system provides a way around this if you're getting stuck. I hadn't come across this problem before yesterday, and didn't even know there was a way around it. I've enabled the option to allow you to self-verify, so if you're in another country from your billing address, it should now work. I hope!
Running a store isn't easy. It used to be until they changed the EU vat law, but now the number of services that comply are far fewer. You used to have lots of options and it was relatively easy to pick the one that worked for you. I really wanted to switch my store over to Squarespace commerce, as it's visually really nice, but unfortunately it doesn't support proper Vat accounting. The same is true of lots of photo selling services too. I had to close my Smug Mug account because they don't support proper Vat laws, and I had to stop selling digital images on Photoshelter for the same reason.
I'm striving to give you the best experience, whether it's on this blog or via the store, and so it really pains me when customers have problems. Luckily that's been few and far between. I manage and maintain the store myself, and I have to do all the maintenance and updates myself. I'm not a web developer or a coder, and so it can be difficult some times. I'm not looking for sympathy or making excuses. I'm just letting you know where I'm coming from.
The system that I currently use for the store is WooCommerce. I use the system that I do for three reasons. First of all, it lets me have complete control. Secondly, it lets customers log back into their accounts and re-download their purchases. This is the big one for me. Most other systems send links that expire. I know from buying stuff online myself that this is really annoying, and so that's my main reason for sticking with Woo Commerce. Thirdly, it lets me fully comply with EU vat law.
Anyway, I just wanted to provide a little background and an explanation. I want the store to run as smoothly as possible and so I'm constantly looking at ways I can improve it. I'm also looking at making my e-books available via Kindle and Amazon as well. If this is of interest to you, please let me know. I want to gauge whether or not it is worth the effort. I will look at doing iBooks too, but that's a little difficult for an individual outside the US.
Once again, I want to thank everyone who's bought my guides and my presets over the years. And thank you to everyone who has provided feedback. I really do appreciate it.I will continue to do my best to improve the experience wherever I can.