Lots of New Features

Those of you who care to look at the little version number at the bottom of BoxCycle probably noticed that we’ve been making frequent updates recently.

As we gain more experience with buyers and sellers we incorporate this new knowledge into BoxCycle.  Most changes are fairly minor.  However,  we’ve also added some cool new features.  Some of these deserve a more fuller treatment, but for now I’ll just get them out there.

Other Boxes Are Available…

Buyers may now see this link at the bottom of some sellers’ listings.  Clicking on the link allows requesting specific boxes from the seller, even if they are not listed.

Some sellers have a very large inventory of boxes that changes frequently and it is not always practical for them to list everything and keep it current.  At the same time, there are buyers looking for specific box sizes that aren’t currently listed in their area. 

We have several solutions for this issue on our to-do list; this is the first one.  Now buyers can see which sellers have lots of unlisted boxes and have a way of determining if boxes they need are available.

Folded Dimensions and Pickup Guidens

A lot of buyers have trouble visualizing how many boxes will fit in their vehicle.  We’ve had people order 200 X-Large boxes and then say: “Only 18 fit in my car.”

As a first step of dealing with this isse we’ve added dimensions of boxes when they are folded to detailed box information.  We also created guidelines for how many boxes will fit in a vehicle and linked to it from buyer’s email.  The current guidelines are just a start and will improve with time.

Seller Lead Time

There are quite a few sellers for whom our current process doesn’t quite work.  Some of them recieve boxes regularly, but get rid of them nearly immediately.  Some have ability to gather boxes, but can’t stock them for a long time.   What they’d like to do is start saving boxes after there is an order for them.

The new Lead Time option allows sellers to do precisely that. It works much like Time to Ship/Availability in many online stores.  The seller specifies Lead Time in days.  BoxCycle displays it to buyers and requires buyers’ first pickup appointment to be at least this many days in advance.  The seller then has a known amount of time to get the boxes ready for an order.

Sellers who set Lead Time must set their inventory to a conservative estimate of boxes they can get within the Lead Time instead of boxes they have right away.  We hope that this functionality will allow many more sellers to participate without reducing quality of service for buyers.

Seller Listing Expiration Date / Vacation Mode

Although  we primarily target business sellers with a continuous supply of boxes, we do get quite a few listings from individuals who just moved and want to sell their boxes.  The problem with one-time listings is that people frequently do not update them when they get rid of their boxes outside of BoxCycle.  Some businesses with very sporadic supply of boxes also have the same problem.

This new feature allows sellers to specify at creation time how long they want the listing to remain active.  If a sellers wants to try to sell boxes for a week or two and then recycle them they can set the expiration date.  If they will list on BoxCycle along with other services, they can also set the expiration date accordingly.  While the date they choose will likely not be perfect, it will be much closer to reality than the forever listing that exists otherwise.

Expired listings aren’t removed; they are just hidden from buyers.  A seller can always login to reenable and otherwise modify their listing.  So, as a bonus, this feature can be used to place listings into vacation mode; something we’ve wanted to add for a while.

Buyer Buys Maximum Box Quantity

Buyers sometimes need more boxes than sellers have listed.  Furthermore, quantities listed by sellers are conservative and may be out of date.  It is quite possible that the seller has more boxes than the buyer purchased and the buyer would like them.

Our order confirmations for sellers now automatically indicate when buyer purchased all of a particular box type.  The email then encourages the seller to notify us if more are available and we can in turn ask the buyer if they’d like to add them to the order.

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