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4/30/08: New Tools and Section Limits

It's about time we focus on some tools that will help Shopkeepers to better manage their shops, don't you think?

That's just what a new team of CafePress employees will be focusing on this year, and we're just about to launch their first wave of applications.

On May 6 (if all goes as planned) we'll be launching a few new tools aimed at helping Shopkeepers to efficiently manage and build out their shops. The tools we're launching have been requested by the community countless times over the past year, so we're thrilled to get them introduced and placed into action!

Along with these great new tools we'll also be adding limits to the number of sections permitted in each Premium Shop. After all, the more tools we offer to help Shopkeepers quickly build and add products to shops, the more important it becomes for us to manage how large shops can become before we have trouble supporting them.

Here's a list of all that's coming with this release, click on the link to read details for each:

You can also click here for FAQ's.

Section Limits

With this release we are going to be setting a limit to the number of sections allowed in Premium Shops - at this time the limit will be set to 500.

As it turns out this limit only affects .1% of all Shopkeepers. After this release you'll be able to view the number of sections in each of your Premium shops on the Shop Management page.

Example:

If your shop has more than 400 sections as of today you will receive an email from us shortly, it will tell you the number of sections you have in your shop/s and also identify your new "grandfathered limit" for that shop (in many cases significantly higher than the limit of 500).

We're setting these limits for two reasons:

  1. The more sections a shop has the more strain it has on the CafePress system. Each time a shop is called up the system has to load and be ready to serve up all the content of that shop - the more sections the more strain on the system.
  2. The new tools listed above will make it very easy to duplicate sections and add new products, and as a result make it easy to increase shop size exponentially in a very short amount of time - these limits will help us to control that growth and keep the site running smoothly.
Bulk Add Products

The Bulk Add Product tool will help you to add new product types to existing sections in your shop. For instance, if you decide you want to add the new Lapel Sticker to 10 sections in your shop you'll use this tool to choose the specific product and the sections where you want them added.

It'll work like this:

In the "Shop Management" section for each shop you'll see a new link titled "Bulk Add Products."

By clicking on "Bulk Add Products" a new window will open. You will then be able to go through the process of identifying the product you want to add, and where you'd like them added (all sections, a specific section, etc).

After clicking on "Preview Products" a new window will open which will allow you to preview the new products that will be added by the bulk add tool.

Once you have previewed the products you can choose to either "Cancel" the Bulk Add or go ahead and "Create Products". Clicking on "Create Products" will open another window which will update the new product count in real time- eventually displaying the total number of new products that were added.



Bulk Delete Tool

Bulk delete will allow you to delete product types throughout an entire shop, or in individual sections. For instance, if you decide you no longer want to sell the Boxer Shorts in your shop (or a specific section) you will be able to delete them without having to delete them from each and every section individually.

It works like this:

In the "Shop Management" section for each Premium shop you'll see a new link titled "Bulk Remove Products"

By clicking on this link a new window will open. You will then be able to go through the process of identifying the product you want to delete and where you want it deleted from (all sections, a specific section, etc).

After clicking on "Remove Products" a new window will open which will allow you to preview the products you are about to bulk delete.

Once you have reviewed the products you can choose to either "Cancel" the Bulk Remove or go ahead and "Remove Products". Clicking on "Remove Products" will open another window which will update the product deltion count in real time- eventually displaying the total number of products that were deleted. Pretty Simple!



Section Tools (Copy and Move)

Copy Tool

The Copy tool enables you to quickly and easily copy a section along with its products and section settings. This tool is will make it very easy to quickly copy a section and then assign a new image - with a few simple click you have a new line of products!

It works like this:
In the "Shop Management" section for each shop, under the heading of "Manage Sections and Products" you see a new button titled "Copy" in each section box - by clicking that button a new section a new identical clone section will be created.

You will then be able to select the new section and change the image - the result - a selection of brand new products!

That's all there is to it!

Move Button

One more mini addition - we're adding a "Move" button to the section box. This button will make very common task simpler. By clicking on this button you'll be able to move sections to new locations. Simple, and useful!



FAQ

Section Limits

How was the limit of 500 determined?
We wanted to set the limit at a fairly high round number, a number where the system wouldn't suffer from the "big shop breakage" issues we've seen in the largest shops. 500 turned out to be that number.

There was never a limit on sections before, why now?
Every time we want to offer shopkeepers tools to increase their level of productivity, we get hung up on the dangers of giant shops bogging down and breaking the system. Having limits allows us to focus on making things easier for all shopkeepers, instead of worrying about that 0.1% of shopkeepers that push the system the hardest.

Will limiting sections affect our sales?
Limiting sections simply limits the size to which an individual shop can grow. There should be no direct effect on sales whatsoever for existing shops. The limits should, however, improve system stability, hopefully leading to increased sales overall.

We're always being told to keep our shop fresh. Won't the new limits hamper our ability to do this?
Keeping shops fresh includes both adding new content and products, as well as pruning outdated and underperforming designs. The new limits shouldn't prevent anyone from keeping their shop up-to-date and fresh.

You refer to "big" shops, how big are these shops?
The size varies, but in many cases big shops are those with thousands, sometimes tens-of-thousands, sections.

If big shops break, why not put a limit on products instead of sections?
As it turns out, big shop breakage is caused primarily by having lots of sections, not lots of products. Limiting products wouldn't actually prevent breakage from occurring.

If big shops break, why can't CafePress focus on fixing that issue instead of putting a limit?
While we are committed to fixing the issue of big shop breakage, having a limitless system is dangerous. Limits provide a mechanism to stop scripters and spammers from overwhelming the system, and make it difficult for any one person to use up an unfair percentage of system resources. By having a reasonably high limit, we affect a relatively small number of shopkeepers, and still protect the overall business from abuse.

Will there be a notification or some type of message to let us know our shop is approaching the limit?
You will always be able to see your current section count on the Shop Management page for each premium shop.

Are these limits temporary?
While the limits may change over time, we are likely to continue with some form of section limits.

Does the limit include all sections, including sections within sections?
Yes, the limit includes all types of sections, including hidden and nested sections.

If I want to move some of my sections into a different shop, can I do that?
Currently, there is no mechanism to move sections from one shop into another. We do, however, hope to release such a tool in the future.

Is the limit of 500 sections per shop or per account?
The limit is per shop. There is currently no limit at the account level.

Bulk Add Products

How are the prices of new products determined?
Pricing is based on the section pricing defaults set in each section, as well as the prices of other products already created in your shop.

If I bulk add a thousand products to my shop, will I have time to correct sizing and color issues before those products are presented to my customers?
Products created using the Bulk Add Products tool are added to your shop immediately. You can, however, preview the products before adding them, which is a great opportunity to make note of any products that require individual tweaking.

I have products added to some of my sections and would like to finish adding them to the remainder of my sections. Can I use the Bulk Add tool to add products to only the sections where it needs to be added?
Yes, you can use the Bulk Add tool. The Bulk Add tool will not create products in sections where that product type already exists.

Bulk Delete

How quickly are deleted products removed from my shop?
Products are removed from your shop nearly immediately, though they may take a few minutes to shop appearing in your shop.