Let's Talk It Out.

Posted on June 28, 2013 by Ben Harris

We should be celebrating the ridiculously fast sell out of Naughty Night Shift Nurse yesterday morning, and Hit the Road is doing solidly as well, but we need to address the checkout drama's of yesterday in a clear and respectable forum before we can happily move on.

Allow me to address the thing people seem to be focusing their anger on - our Q&A.

 

2. Will there be a problem with cart jacking?

We have never had that problem with our store previously, so we would presume not. The items in your cart will be held for you for 5 minutes when you Checkout so that you have plenty of time to traverse the payment gateway. Putting an item in your cart doesn't guarantee that it is yours until you hit that checkout button.

 

I deliberately worded this question precisely just in case the worst happened (and it did). I didn't want to give a solid guarantee that there wouldn't be cart jacking, we could only presume that there wouldn't be. I have to presume, because that is how it's supposed to work, and we have never had such a huge influx of customers all at once to ever previously replicate what was about to be thrown at it. It simply never had a chance to be battle tested by ourselves. Many people immediately jumped to conclusions though, that are just quite frankly, incorrect.

We DO have a cart hold! We didn't make it up. What I told you is exactly how it is documented to work, and I have found no actual evidence of it being otherwise. We have set up our own tests with multiple devices fighting over a test item and it worked exactly as advertised. We ran through the different scenarios of those that have told us of their experience, such as opening the checkout in a separate window, and regardless of what we did, it just worked. For as long as one of the devices had the item in the checkout, the others couldn't steal it until the 5 minutes had lapsed. Please understand, we are as perplexed by this entire ordeal as you are.

There are only a few scenarios that could make sense at this point.

1. The system simply can't handle that much of a simultaneous load. This is the part that we simply can't test. That was was a mind blowing amount of transaction attempts all at once and there is every possibility that it may break the logic of the hold conditions when you have 300 people fighting over 100 items within 2 minutes.

2. There was a communication issue between our shop software and PayPal. This seemed the most likely candidate originally, but it looks a little less likely. There were many people that had it nabbed out from under them while going through the PayPal procedure, which would indicate that the link between it and the checkout somehow lost sync. You would think though that this would be a symptom of scenario 1.

3. The cart hold process simply confused people. I don't mean that to be condescending! It was the one thing we took away from all of our testing - it is a bit confusing in action. The item will still show as in stock while the person is holding it in their cart, and the inventory is only reduced when all steps of the checkout have been completed. It sounds simple enough, but in the heat of the moment it would be very easy to understand how people would think they had nabbed a bottle when they hadn't. It works fine under regular conditions, but I would very much rather it communicated the situation better during the process in high traffic moments. Once again, a possible issue that could have been exacerbated by scenario 1.

Support calls have been logged so that we can hopefully get a definitive answer to this. We have over a month until the next launch, so hopefully we can get to the bottom of this before then.

For what it's worth though, we do apologise to all those that were inconvenienced by this. Obviously, we didn't intend for this to happen, and we also didn't expect such a huge turnout to really push the system to these sorts of levels in the first place. We still don't know what the actual sellout time was, but it looks like somewhere between 2-5 minutes. Did anyone really see that coming? We didn't even send out press releases because we thought it might drive the demand up too high!

As for more Naughty Night Shift Nurse - Yes! There will be more! We already had our lab scrounging up what they could so we could get some more out there, and they should be here for sometime in August. In fact it has developed further than that. We're currently awaiting some samples, but we may has some viable alternatives from our manufacturers for the missing components for Dirty Day Shift Doctor, as we intended it to be. The Nurse may have a partner for August.

As for the time of the next release, we aren't likely to stray too far from what we already do. Logistically, it is just far more of a hassle to launch in little bits all through a day, and there is never going to be one good time that is going to suit everybody. It's always midnight somewhere. We know this well, as everything limited that we buy from the US is typically a 1am alarm. We do have another idea though that should tick all of the required boxes. Once again, we have a month to sort it out.

I would like to thank those that gave us constructive criticism and have helped us to work towards finding a solution. If anyone else can provide us with a step by step of your experience, successful or unsuccessful. All information helps to narrow it down.

May I also please make a request for people to stop asking us for sneaky deals to get a bottle of NNSN. We really don't have any, and we don't want to have to keep turning you down. We appreciate the interest, but we have even turned friends down in order to keep this fair.

 


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