New City, New Beginnings!

downtown lancaster pa signIn an effort to position ourselves in a location that will better serve our clients both present and future, we’re very pleased to announce that as of yesterday, we have moved our office to downtown Lancaster, PA at 20 North Queen Street (Suite #201)!

We will be sharing office space with a company called Kinectiv who specializes in video work and branding. It’s a great opportunity, and we’re excited for the possibilities the future holds in this vibrant office space in a thriving downtown location.

Since our founding, we’ve been based out of Lebanon County and serving the surrounding areas. We thank you for putting up with us and providing us with plenty of exciting business adventures. Lebanon will forever hold a special part in our hearts! (Also to note for our current clients, your services will not change — only the address) We’re very excited to move forward in this new territory!

If you have any questions, drop us a note on our contact page!

Magento Site Maintenance

Magento is awesome at many things, but database efficiency is unfortunately not one of those areas – specifically log clearing. I recently did some maintenance on a site that had a 3Gb database — even for a medium-sized site this is quite large. I searched for the log tables & noticed that they were taking up a HUGE chunk of the database. So, I emptied them. After doing this simple task, the database size shot down to 300Mb — that’s a 90% decrease in database size! Now, I’m sure many cases won’t be this dramatic, but if you haven’t setup a cron job to automatically clear these log tables or manually go in & cleared them yourself in awhile, we’d highly recommend you do this ASAP. Below I’m going to show you how to do it. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, we’ll be more than happy to help you.

If you haven’t done it in a while (or if it’s never been done), we recommend do it manually. Here’s how that’s done:

  1. As always, before you start: make a copy of the database
  2. Log into phpmyadmin
  3. Find your database & open it (if you have more than one)
  4. Look for these tables:
    report_event catalog_compare_item
  5. Select them
  6. At the bottom where it says “With Selected”, select “Empty” (be very, very careful you DON’T select “Dump”!) and then hit “yes”
  7. You’re done!

Check your database size back in cPanel (or whatever control panel you use) & let us know your success stories in the comments below! Happy Magento Maintenancing!

A Lesson (or 2) From UX In The Real World

I was reminded today of a very, very important lesson this morning as I stopped by a local grocery store this morning to pick up a couple things for lunch. A new discount grocery store opened recently, and since I was right next store at the gym, I figured I’d take a minute to go check it out & grab some groceries. Now, I completely understand that with going to a discount grocery store prices comes the usual less-than-spectacular display, convenience, organization, and variety. I understand that – I was just there to grab a couple cheap things & go. So, I went about my business, and to be completely honest, for a discount grocery store, I was fairly impressed – it was clean, things were actually in order, and the staff were nice. I was having a generally good experience…until I got to the register. The employee asked me “would you like to purchase some bags for your items?”.

This threw me for a loop.

It’s one thing if you properly communicate as you enter the store that “hey, to keep prices low, one of our things is that we don’t offer free bags”, but to miss that and only find out at the cashier that this is how they roll – is something completely different.

So, lesson #1: Proper communication with the buyer. If you’re going to do things different than the usual accepted way, make sure they know it and are prepared before they either a.) enter the store and/or b.) enter the purchasing area (whether it be a checkout online or in a brick ‘n mortar store)
And lesson #2: Even if you’re known for being a discount company, don’t skimp on simple little cheap user experience things like a plastic bag. I know you want to pinch as many pennies as possible so you can “save the buyer more”, but skimping in areas like these negatively affects your reputation – they basically say to some degree “we care more about saving pennies than we do about you having to struggle to carry your items out”.

In the end, even if you’re known as a discount company and people aren’t coming to you necessarily for the best experience ever, at least have the courtesy to give them a $.03 bag or make sure it’s communicated well that you do things a little different.