Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Browser Compatibility, JavaScript and Cookies

As many of you know there are a number of browsers and computer types used for web access. The most popular is Windows (XP, 2000 and Vista) and Microsoft Internet Explorer (6 and 7).

To ensure best performance and the most secure shopping experience we recommend updating your browser to the most recent version supported by you operating system.

Please note that like most shopping sites www.yarnandfiber.com requires JavaScript and cookies to be enabled for correct operation of the site during checkout. JavaScript allows for local (browser) processing and two way communication between your browser and a web server. This is used for forms validation, shipping calculations and secure processing of credit cards and other information. Temporary cookies are used to allow web pages to be securely linked together, such as during a checkout process. This ensures we do not loose track of you during the checkout process.

For Microsoft Windows XP, Vista and 2000 we recommend:

Internet Explorer 6
Internet Explorer 7
Mozilla Firefox 2.03 or later
Netscape 8 (some of the security features can be annoying)

For Apple Macintosh we recommend:

Mozilla Firefox
Please do not use Internet Explorer 5.0 on the Mac

Users of earlier versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer may experience some problems as JavaScript, cookies and HTML 4.0 compatibility are required for correct site operation. If you are using a platform unsupported by Microsoft (such as Windows 95 or Windows 98) we recommend trying Firefox instead of Internet Explorer 5.0 which has serious limitations.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

New features at www.yarnandfiber.com

A few improvements have been made to the www.yarnandfiber.com website to improve your shopping experience. Apart from some cosmetic changes, like updated banner and background and a minor template change to increase available screen size we have added some important features.

When you log into your account you can now opt to choose "remember me". This saves a secure cookie on your computer that allows you to return to the site any time without having to log in. It is very secure in that we never remember customers credit cards or other financial information, in fact we never see this information and it is not stored in our reports or databases. Credit card and paypal information are sent directly to the respective banks clearing houses without us ever seeing it.

The main reason for using "remember me" is to securely save your shopping cart. Although we save annonymous carts (those for customers who have not logged in) these can become lost if you do not have a fixed IP address (most of us) and you exit your browser. Logging in to your account and having it "remembered" will allow you to take your time and do comparison shopping without needing to refil your cart each visit.

We have also added two new blogs, you are reading one, the other is a featured on our homepage and in the navigator on the right of the screen. We decided to use blogs and RSS feeds to help keep you up to date with what is happening at The Yarn and Fiber Company because they are so easy to maintain and keep curent. Installing our Google Toolbar button will provide quick access to the Yarn and Fiber Happening Blog right on your desktop.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Where is my shipment, it has been 5 days?

We ship next business day on most orders by USPS. Depending on where you live this can arrive in the next three days. If you live on the west coast, Canada, Alaska or Hawaii you are not going to receive a package with a few days unless you specify the more expensive Priority Mail option. Unlike some retailers we do not delay shipping, we get all orders out ASAP, even with free shipping!

Magazines, books and patterns are shipped media mail to keep the price of shipping low. Books and Magazines are quite heavy relative to their price and expensive to send regular mail. Media mail is very low priority and can easily take a week to arrive.

All holidays impact USPS delivery times. Christmas has a major impact, expect at least one additonal week unless you specify Priority Mail. Last Christmas we had shipments that took 3-4 weeks to arrive, causing us to double ship using priority mail to avoid disappointed customers. Expect some revisions to our sevice at Christmas this year to help avoid this problem.

Why was my Credit Card declined?

Apart from the obvious this may be dues to one of the following issues.

We use Cybersource for credit card processing. Recently Cybersource has had a few technical difficulties. If Cybersource is down it appears as a Credit Card Declined even though there is nothing wrong with your credit card.

We have experienced a recent trend with some credit card companies. If they believe that your credit card is being used in a manner inconsistent with you normal purchasing history, they will decline your card until they verify it with you. In this case you can call the number on the back of your card.

Please always feel free to call our retail store to have your credit card processed over-the-phone, then place your order on-line using the "purchase order" method. Alternatively you can use PayPal to make a credit card purchase as well as to use an existing PayPal account.

This does not make our site less secure. We will not double charge or double ship any orders because of typing errors or website problems. If you want to cancel, change or re-enter an order within a few minutes of placing the original order go ahead with confidence, we will notice it and contact you before the order is charged or shipped.

Also please note. We do not automatically process any credit card orders, all credit card payments are done manually and verified against our orders. Unlike retail stores we prefer payment by Credit Card to any other method as these are much easier for us to handle.

What aren't we a five star retailer on Google/Yahoo?

Much as we would love to have those five stars on Yahoo or Google Shopping there are a few roadblocks which have implications for you the customer as well as us the retailer.

To earn a five star rating it is true that you need good customer feedback. However to get the customer feedback you need to be a Google or Yahoo store respectively, and you need to have been one for 12 months.

It would be unfair to say you need to buy these stars but in reality you do, and the cost is quite substantial, and we do not want to pass this cost on to our customers. There are also many technical issues with using third party checkouts.

What is more annoying that buying a product on line and discovering a few days later that it is out of stock?

I doubt that many retailers do this deliberately but if your on-line website does not have inventory control it is unavoidable.

At CYDJ Designs we have developed a unique inventory control system that provides a warning to the customer when they select a low or out of stock product. This is done in real time and with a high degree of accuracy using a database co-ordinated with our retail store. BUT it only works if you are using our on-line checkout procedure.

Feeds supplied to Google or Yahoo shopping are at least 24 hours and up to 30 days out of date. If we were to allow 3rd party checkout we would have to manually reconcile purchases back to our inventory system, inconveniencing both ourselves and our customers, reducing service levels and increasing costs. Until we come up with a solution to this problem we will not be offering any third party checkout processes.

Credit Card Security and Shipping

Leaving credit card information when making any online purchase is for many a very daunting prospect. There are several things to watch out for.
  • Do you trust the vendor you are purchasing from, and how do you decide this?
  • Is the site protected by a trusted authority?
  • How secure is my information?
  • Will I really get the product I think I ordered?
  • What if I need to return it, how much is that going to cost me?

First off NEVER enter credit card details on a page that is not protected. The browser address bar should be showing https://thewebsitename and not http://thewebsitename and somewhere on the page should be an icon showing the trusted authority (if the page shows errors when you load it it is safe to assume it is not properly protected).

Carefully read the returns policy for the site. If in any doubt call the company by phone, all good web companies will take orders over the phone for nervous customers. Many times it is impossible to tell if a web site represents a real retailer or a part time clearance business run out of someone's basement.

If in any doubt use PayPal. It costs a little more for the retailer, which is why many do not accept it, but payment is done on PayPal's secure web server. Just remember to return to the site after payment and finish the checkout process. Many retailers will loose your order if you do not do this, thankfully CYDJ Designs has technology to recover the details of these sales and it will never be an issue when using one of our sites.

Whatever anyone says unless you know the product you are buying it might not meet your expectations when you order it on-line or from mail order. New products at cheap prices can be shop soiled or returns. Many stores will accept returns but deduct the cost of shipping in both directions, and shipping prices can easily be hiked to cover any apparent discounts, very common with many e-bay retailers.

Our websites are real 9-5 businesses. We do not charge for shipping (US and Canada) and offer a reasonable discount on list prices. We also accept returns on most products with no restocking or other fees (see website for details). How can we do this?

Firstly it really does not cost $9.95 to ship a few skeins of yarn. Many on-line retailers will disagree stating the costs of packaging and staff, however retail stores have considerably more overhead per sale than an on-line store. The overhead is already built into the retail price.

Secondly we created and manage our own websites. This saves us tens of thousands of dollars every year which we pass on to you the customer.

If you have any concerns about using our "Yarn and Fiber" site please contact us directly during business hours 10-5 EST Monday-Friday 603.898.5059 or email orders@yarnandfiber.com

  • We use the Thawte seal of trust to secure our sites
  • Credit card processing is by Cybersource
  • We accept paypal and also purchase orders from approved organizations
  • We ship most orders next business day using USPS in secure weatherproof envelopes

If you do experience any problems using our site please let us know at support@cydjdesigns.com


We decided to start this blog to help inform our customers, and potential customers, of what was happening with the CYDJ websites (currently www.yarnandfiber.com). Over the past 9 months we have had a few issues with our ISP and with our Credit Card processing portal. Right now everything seems to be working OK but this blog will let you know if we are anticipating any problems, or if we experienced any problems.

Our websites are maintained exclusively by CYDJ Designs, we do not use any outside resources as our staff comprises experienced software personel as well as experienced retail and craft industry personel. We currently have on staff 6 full and part time employees and a host of teachers for our Weaving, Spinning, Knitting and Crochet classes.

This blog will try to address any of our customers concerns and provide valuable information about the status of the websites and their use.

Our ever growing relationship with Google

Ever since we started the Yarn and Fiber website last year we have been great fans of Google. You will find our products listed on Froogle (now Google Shopping) and we make great efforts to keep up to date with the latest Google trends, keeping our sites search engine friendly. Expect to see us soon popping up in Google Earth, a wonderful program if you have not tried it yet, and in the local Google listings.

We have recently added a google toolbar button to the website. If you use Google toolbar this button allows you to search for products directly from the toolbar, and to view the latest Yarn and Fiber Happenings Blog.