Big Changes at Fabric Online
Written By Tom Bird
This October we're implementing some massive changes at Fabric Online. Our main focus has been to streamline your shopping experience, and we're excited about even more additions on the horizon. We'll walk you through a few of the changes today, but our support team are always on hand to help if we've confused you terribly.
Our catalogue has had a bit of a facelift, which is probably the first thing that our regular customers will notice from today. Previously showed all of our fabrics and colourways in an endless list that seemed designed to do little more than make your scrolling finger sore. Now though, you'll find categories a lot more condensed, with individual colourways presented as options rather than individual products.
Shopping Made Better
Fabric Online, through our parent company Ambassador Textiles, have invested tens of thousands of pounds in a brand-new, tailor made IT system for our sales, support, warehouse and accounts teams. One of the features of this new system is that we will be able to keep track of every last roll of fabric in our warehouse, all barcoded up with their meterage logged.
Our website now integrates with this IT system, receiving updates regularly throughout the day, and so our stock has never been more accurate!
In addition to this, once you've placed your order it will be uploaded and processed through this new 'central' system. This means that our support team now have more information available to them regarding your orders, in real time, which should enable us to better help you if you ever need to pick up the phone or send us an email.
Please note that as of this moment there are a few fabrics still in need of booking in on this new system. Until that happens, which should be within the next few days, a few fabrics may incorrectly show as out of stock. This should be limited mainly to faux leather and faux fur fabrics.
As of today we've introduced our new quantity discounts for customers looking for larger quantities of fabric. Previously this has been done in a very hands-on case-by-base basis, but now you should automatically benefit from our bulk discounts.
The price we advertise in the catalogue is the best possible price obtainable (not including any trade benefits) obtainable after all bulk discounts. We're not trying to lure you in or trick you with these though, and you'll always see the price on the product page for the quantity that you've chosen before you even add the product to your basket.
We've also had to tweak our prices. In many cases prices have actually come down slightly, but in others, particularly the fabrics we manufacture and import ourselves, we've had to give them a bit of an increase. Some of you may be aware that rising container costs have made importing goods significantly more expensive in recent months. We've held off for as long as we can, but unfortunately we have to take action to stay in business. Any price increases have been capped at £0.50p per metre.
Prices may still fluctuate over the next few months, but we'll never charge any more than we have to.
We get asked about this one a lot. Sometimes you know how much fabric you need, but with the exception of Faux Fur we have only ever sold fabric in whole metre increments. From today the vast majority of fabrics will be available in 0.5 metre increments. If you need 1.5 metres you won't have to try and make do with 1 metre, or find something to do with the leftovers from 2 metres.
Faux Fur will still be available to purchase in 0.25 metre increments, and we may allow this for additional fabrics in future depending your feedback.
We've also made quantity selection a lot more intuitive.
No need to buy 2.5 metres of fabric as: two 1 metres and one half-metre, or 5 half-metres. You can enter the quantity exactly as you'd write it down.
The price you see is also the price you'll pay (unless you have a discount code, of course).
Free Sample Changes
Our free sampling facilities have also been tweaked slightly. Unfortunately we've had to exclude some products from the free sample offer - mainly faux fur fabrics - due to the relative cost of these types of swatches. That said, we've also increased the number of free samples that you can request at once from four to six. Additional swatches thereafter will be charged at £0.50p each.
The postage costs of our samples have also gone up. Carriage costs sadly seem to go up and up each year, and unfortunately we've had to compensate. Postage on samples has been bumped from £1.20 to £1.50. That said, our free carriage on samples promotions this year have been a resounding success, so we hope to run these for a few months throughout the next year.
We're still working on our sampling policy, and we plan to run a few different promotions throughout the next year to find out what works. If a better solution is found then you can look forward to us implementing it perfectly.
We've introduced a brand-new community section to keep you updated about new developments at Fabric Online, inspire your next projects, and provide a place to show-off your own creations. You're reading one of the first posts now, in fact!
One of the things we're most excited about in the new community section is something that we're calling #MyFabricOnline. Within the next few weeks we will begin asking you to submit your own creations - you can tell us a little bit about what inspired your project, any challenges that you had to overcome, and what you might do differently next time. We know that the community itself can be a fantastic teaching tool, and there are endless visitors who would be hugely appreciative of any advice and recommendations you can offer, whatever the topic.
Print to Order
We've definitely saved the best for last.
Print to Order (or P2O) is a revolutionary new service that we are offering at Fabric Online as of today. Some of you may know that digital printing in general has had a few revolutions of its own over the past few years. New developments have made digital printing onto man-made fabrics far more accessible and affordable, and we think it's about time our customers had the benefit.
In a nutshell, we've begun building a library of designs that you can choose to have printed onto any type of fabric, including popular favourites should as Boutique Velvet, Faux Suede, Anti-Pil Fleece, and some that you've never seen before on Fabric Online. 18 base fabrics are available for printing immediately, but we have over 40 in stock which will be added in the weeks and months to come.
You can even choose the size of the pattern repeat, allowing us to deliver a printed fabric that suits your exact needs.
Our sampling facilities have been extended to include all of the Print to Order fabrics and are available from today. Print to Order swatches are included as part of our free sample offer.
Throughout the next month and beyond we will be greatly expanding our Offers and Clearance section. All year round our parent company acquires vast quantities of fabric at clearance. These fabrics are usually sold on quickly to a small list of wholesale and trade customers. When we come across something that meets our standards, however, we will now also be listing those fabrics for sale here on Fabric Online. This will provide fantastic opportunities for you to grab good quality fabric at unbelievable prices.
From time-to-time we also make the decision to discontinue some of our own regular lines. These fabrics too will be available to purchase in our dedicated clearance section.
Customer Loyalty Programme
For quite some time now we've been trying to work out how best to reward our most loyal customers. We're still working on the finer details, but over the next few months you should expect to hear some news on this front. In the meantime, we hope that our pricing adjustments will make some of you very happy indeed.
Some of you may remember that we implemented Feefo reviews on our previous website last July. Unfortunately it didn't play well with our website, and the pandemic kept us too busy to really iron out those kinks. Feefo has been integrated into this new website from the ground up, in fact it was one of the first things that we did, so you can look forward to its return this month.
Despite only running for one month, Feefo proved to be incredibly helpful for buyers looking for help deciding on the right fabric for their needs. Feefo also allows you, as a customer, to hold us publicly accountable for our service. If we drop the ball, you can be confident that we have every motivation in the world to put things right as quickly as possible and improve on our service going forward.
Fire Retardant Fabrics
Some of you will be aware that we keep stock of certain fabrics as pre-treated FR variants. These have never been listed on our website though. Buying these fabrics has always been a bit of a hands-on chore, requiring you to make a requires by phone or email, and wait for us to get an order raised and ready for you.
Our new inventory system will allow us to provide these FR variants in a way that we have not been able to before. We will shortly be listing the fabrics that we keep in-stock ready-FR, purchasable in the same way as any other.
We're not quite ready to go live with these just yet, but in the coming weeks you should be able to find more and more FR variants available in our dedicated FR section.