Thursday 1st February 2007 Once again, postings to the blog have been non-existant this year - I have to give priority to "proper" work on the site and for customers, but it's also time i spent a bit of time updating things here too.
The January sale has come to an end, and it's been a great success - we've got some of the best prices in the country for CB radios, and looks like many people have realised this too judging by how busy we've been this month.
I did a nice little graphic for it which i've put here, cos i'll miss it once i've taken it off all the product category pages!
I'm just about to start work on reverting all the product descriptions and prices back to non-sale prices, but i am always keen on trying to give the best experience to my customers, so many of the prices are here to stay - some may go back up by a couple of quid, but i dont think any will be going back to their pre-sale prices - good news for all our website visitors!
CB Licence no longer needed
The CB world took another step forward (in my opinion) last month with the removal of the need for a CB licence.
When the removal of the licence was first talked about it was with the removal of the UK band (still the busiest of the two bands we have). They (the Radio Communications Agency, latterly Ofcom) ummed and arrred until eventully this was announced.
A couple of years ago, myself, the owner of a large truckstop somewhere up north and the directors of three of the main CB importers met with the RA in London. We put up pretty stiff resistance to the removal of the UK band - the truckstop guy had reems of paperwork and statistics they'd gathered by doing opinion polls of their customers (which also suggested less than 10% of CB users had a licence anyway!) and in response to the RA;s claims of the bands not being used, i was able to give me experience where most of my customers only use the CB at weekends, and when they do, they're in the middle of nowhere, or driving down the motorway in a convoy, or out working in a far flung field, and wouldn't necessarily have been heard from the RA's listening stations. This does not detract from their right to use the band, and the fact that they ARE out there.
They actually gave us some details and showed some photos of these listening installations - both fixed and those in their radio detection vans - man, that stuff is state of the art - those vans have a huge amount of computer and radio communications equipment in them - very different from the days of Buzby and their Commer vans!
I'm getting off the subject here - what i wanted to say was that i later found a press release on the RA website (this was still before they changed to Ofcom) stating that they had had a meeting with members of the trade (me and the guys) and that the immediate plans had been put on hold for a time. They never happened, so i guess i'd like to claim a bit of credit for that.
Photo Competition... the end
In the next day or so i'm going to change the long outdated Photo competition page - being honest again, this kinda fell flat on its face in the latter months! The first month i had something like 100 photos in, some real good ones, and prizes well well earned by the winners. After that though, the entries fell to only a handful of people, and with the number of prizes i was giving away, the entrants had a 60% chance of winning a prize!
I think it's because i'd done my email to the mailing list the first month, and had started to forget to mention it to customers purchasing on the phone, and it just lost momentum. I've put all of the latterly received photos together and sent prizes to the winners draw as per the photo competition rules, and will leave it at that for now!
Instead, i'm enlcosing a little sheet of paper with every order sent out, asking if anyone who has access to a digital camera whether they are able to take some photos of their CB stuff installed for use on the site.
For those who aren't familiar with CB - and that describes most of our customers - being able to see photos of how other people have mounted their aerials, or seeing a photo of a particular CB they may be interested in actually mounted in the same vehicle as they have got, can really make the difference between "not being sure" and having a good understanding of how things look/how they fit/how big they are, etc.
Midland rigs out of stock
Isn't it typical - i have a sale, where a couple of the most popular sets are deeply discounted and are selling a lot of units, and there's a delay at the factory, and i go Out Of Stock!
These were the Midland 78, the Midland 48 Plus, and the Midland 42 handheld.
I managed to get a couple of boxes of 78's - they arrived in the country by mistake - they were destined for Holland, but had been put on the wrong pallet! Luckily, as we're authorised and approved Midland dealers, i got first dabs on them, so (for the moment) i have stock of these.
A similarish situation with the Midland 48 Plus - i have managed to obtain more stocks from another distributor (athough i've had to pay more for them) so these are back in stock now - although this has only been 3 days i've had them, so again it's while stocks last.
The Midland 42 is a different story - they haven't left the factory in the far east yet - i think theres some delay with a coponent which has held production of the entire radio up. As soon as i know more, i'll update the product page, and probably post something on here.
I sold one of our american magmount aerials today, the Wilson Lil Wil - these aerials remind me of when i first started stocking them - they were called Little Willy then - to make it worse, it had that (and still has Lil Wil) written on the bottom of it. Sales have improved since the change (in late 1990's and it still makes me laugh), as i dont think many people wanted to tell the world that they had a Little Willy!
Regular readers will have noticed the change to this blog - it's now in three categories, that are viewable seperately, with the main blog page having all the blogs together.
OK, i'm probably making work for myself here but i wanted to seperate them, and be able to go into some of the more technical aspects of this sites development without making everyone read it - if you just want to read about the sites development, you can, if you just want to read about general CB stuff, you can, likewise my personal blog. Hopefully it'll work out well, but only if i get around to posting regularly!
New layout for product descriptions on the way
I've recently spent a lot of time improving the product description layout that i will be giving all our products (eventually). Among these are :
A new "In Stock/Out of Stock" and "Delivery Via:" box for each product which can be updated in real time - just to provide details of how an item is sent (and how quickly) and to imform of stock situation - out of stocks will have expected restocking date info.
Related products box, showing photo, title and short description of 6 items that are related to the product who's listing is being viewed, along with more info and add to basket buttons.
Many other subtle improvements and ideas being worked on too.
Both me and Mrs 4x4cb have had problems this month - she's got a vauxhall frontera (and regularly gets it in 4wd) but of late the gearchange has been difficult - i check the hydraulic clutch fluid level - its down, top up and better but not great - few telltale signs of fluid on the back of the carpet - yup, the master cylinders gone!
I'm alright with simple servicing, bodywork, electricals and welding but its been a long time since i've done a hydraulic clutch, so luckily a mate of a mate is gonna stick it in for us. We got a new cylinder from camberley auto factors in Leatherhead, or at least we shouldve done - the first one we were given was a brake master cylinder, and it wasn't even a Frontera one! As it happens it was a bit of a result as they did the right one for the same price as the wrong one (they'd typed in the wrong number and their product description very helpfully said "master cylinder") which ended up as £80 plus vat, instead of £125 plus vat - still blinking expensive in my book, but nowhere near as bad as it could've been!
I've got a water leak in the old T5 - gotta check it out this weekend, at the moment i'm topping up the coolant before every journey (yes, sometimes 3-4 times a day!) so i need to get it sorted pretty soon.