Grand Opening of the new Pi Store
The Pi has a new online store and it is ready for business! The Pi Store has been operating for several weeks now in a trial mode, and with many successful transactions completed, we can state unequivocally it is a success! Renewing your Pi membership couldn't be easier or for that matter, safer.
How we got here
At the July 2005 Board of Director's meeting, Pat Fauquet talked about using an online store for her computer support service, and she suggested the Pi ought to look into doing the same. Dick Rucker and Bob Jarecke took up the challenge, and after some detailed research, they reported back that an online store offered by Presto Biz had some possibilities. They did the legwork, suffered a few setbacks, signed away their firstborn (just kidding) and before too long, we had a new online store.
Board Member Tom Carlson was the store's first paying customer. After feeding in the correct credit card information on a secure, encrypted Web page, he was signed up for another year of membership with an accompanying Explorer account. Lawrence Charters, as the Pi's Webmaster, was brought into the project also, and now, on the Pi's Web site, we have narrative about the Pi Store as well as all-important links to it. Finding the Pi Store is just one click away from the Pi Web site (http://www.wap.org/) and completing a transaction is equally easy.
How the Pi Store is working
Since the November 28th launch date, many successful transactions have been made. As of this writing we are averaging one sale a day, and, while that might not seem like much, that rate is well above the usual number of credit card charges we process each month. We hope the membership will find this venue a great opportunity to pay for memberships, electronic services and monthly CD-ROMs. We believe they will find it a fast, convenient and safe method for making payments to the Pi. Admittedly, things do not always go according to plan, and we did have one glitch when a member mistakenly hit the Pay button twice. He was charged twice for one membership, but we quickly caught the error and a check for the extra payment was in the mail within just days.
The Pi Store saves us money as well as time. With online transactions being verified in real time, payments are immediately deposited into our electronic account. The fee for each transaction is a saving over our previous merchant account charges, and even better, we no longer have to manually transmit credit card information to the bank. This saves our volunteer office staff valuable time. In the future, we hope to become even more automated so as to further reduce our office volunteer staff requirements. In the end, these loyal and dedicated helpers will be free to do other things for the Pi that will be more fun and personally more rewarding.
What is available at the Pi Store?
The Pi Store has several items listed. Both New and Renewal memberships are available. Associated with the TCS, we offer the Explorer Dial Up/Web site service and additional E-mail accounts. You will also find a full six-month listing of the monthly "Pi Fillings" CD-ROMs, and what is on each CD is spelled out in full. In the future we anticipate other "products" could become available.