We're in our fifth year of business with several updates under our belt, but this is the most significant update in almost four years, with many other upgrades in between.
Four years is a very long time on the web, where user habits and search engines requirements continually evolve.
Over this time, how people use the Internet and how Search Engines look and rank our site have changed a great deal.
So has our store and the products we carry: what was state-of-the-art in 2011 is often technically obsolete in 2015. It was getting clunky, we had lousy graphics, and it wasn't what what many customers or search engines (Bing, Yahoo and Google) expect or need these days.
We're Mobile Friendly Tablets and Smart Phones!
Not being mobile friendly doesn't work anymore for our customers. We took (and will continue to take) lots of phone orders from people who couldn't place orders on devices with small or touch screens.
Almost all good sites do complete overhauls every 3 to 5 years and we'd made all possible upgrades on the new site. It was time to move forward.
The new SolarFlairLighting is mobile friendly and it works very different. That's why our Online Help Center includes lots of tools and better organizes other resources. An example: new FAQS on various topics including those on Using the Solar Flair Lighting.
Hurray! No More Mandatory Account Creation
Our security was state-of-the-art from a security perspective, but we could not customize the check-out process. We've eliminated mandatory accounts and are pleased to offer Guest Checkout.
The only time an account we'll ask customers to create an account is for certain large volume/dollar special orders; orders outside the 48 contiguous United States; and when a detailed proposal is necessary.
Discount Codes for Sales and Special Orders
This is one of the things we like best. Rebates are so retro and not in a good way. Another improvement to our new Checkout Car is that we can set discount codes for products. This will let us email customers announcements special discount codes for sales and also to create simple special orders faster.
Our customers and social media followers (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) will be getting a new discount coupon soon.
Other features include: product comparison charts to see key features of different but similar items without having to look at tons of different product descriptions; an online of solar tips, product spotlights.
The archive a growing library news, product tips and things to think about when what to consider when comparing products and maintenance tips instead of posting only to our off-site blog.
We'll keep our existing SolarLightingSmart.com, neglected a bit during this site's redesign. That site will get a face lift later this year and address a wider scope than just solar lights and garden products.
With our new Online Order Tracking tool, just enter your email and order number to find out the latest status of your order without having to call or email us. It's not meant to replace customer service, it's just another option for you.
We try hard to keep our customers updated as to the status of their orders via email and tracking notices from UPS, FedEx and even USPS. But email by nature is quirky: on rare occasions emails get lost in spam, one reason we like our improved email server so much.
Sometimes customers' email servers automatically put emails in spam or trash folders; and sometimes tracking notices from shippers or warehouses are unavoidably delayed.
We also always recommend that customers call us for important or time-sensitive issues at (866) 686-6903.
Changes to the Look and Feel of Solar Flair Lighting
Most changes relates to the devices now people use to view the store: the size of menus and text address how people use the Internet today.
Just as our mobile friendly design addresses table and smart phone users, the main design addresses that most people have bigger and much wider desktop screens than three years ago when our store had it's last major overhaul.
Some even use their TVs to browse the web. Our goal: to let everyone view the store and use the checkout cart more easily.
We Really Do Want Your Feedback!
Feel free to let us know what you think and what you'd like to see with our new Contact Form. And if something isn't working right, please let us know.
We've tested the site extensively, but some things do work differently once sites are moved from building/test servers to the internet.
Remember: we can't fix things if we don't know they are broken and we really do want you not only to enjoy buying from us, but to make it easy for you to do so. So let us know if there's a problem, or if you think we could do something matter. Your opinions really do matter to us.