If you are a regular visitor to this website, you probably noticed a big change in recent weeks. After experimenting with another site, I decided to return to the site that I had previously. Following is a brief explanation and an examination of some of the features of the site now being used.

The site at www.lincolnformal.com that I had built for me a few years ago was a great e-commerce site. It featured just the dresses I had in my store and no more.

Many formal dress stores use a website that shows more than the dresses in their inventory. There are businesses that sell websites which display just about every single dress put out by a vendor.

For example, one of our favorite vendors is Jovani. On my original website, only the Jovani stores that are in my own inventory and in the boutique were listed on that site. These other companies that sell specialty sites do things a little differently.

Say you click on Jovani prom dresses on one of these specialty sites. You will see a display of every prom dress Jovani has available – not just the ones the store actually has.

There are some good and bad things about this concept. It’s nice because it shows customers not just the dresses physically in the store, but dresses that can be ordered for customers. It shows many more dresses than a store could show otherwise. Each dress page normally has the disclaimer indicating whether that dress is in stock at the store.

The problem with this type of site is that it can be confusing. It can be misleading. I lost count of how many prom shoppers came into Lincoln Formal Dress Boutique expecting to see a specific dress they found on our website that we don’t have in the store. Even if the dress page indicates the dress is not in stock, that disclaimer can be difficult to see. And also – how many people read the fine print.

So it was constantly uncomfortable having to explain the dress the customer wanted to see is not in the store but rather only available for order. One customer even left a somewhat negative Google review expressing frustration about not seeing all the dresses that were shown on the website.

This, along with a hefty cost for this site, was the reason I decided to go back to my original site. My web guy worked to update the site and after a few weeks of work it is updated and beautiful.

For the most part, the dresses on the website are actually the ones in the store. Even though fewer dresses will be displayed, hopefully this will be avoid any confusion.

One other big change – you can no longer actually purchase a dress on the site. I have it set up so that if you see a dress you are interested in purchasing, you are asked to send us a note to confirm the dress is actually still available. This is because our point of sale system is not linked to the site and does not remove sold dresses from the site. I have to manually go in and do that when sales are made. I want to make sure you don’t try to buy a dress that’s been sold. If I confirm the dress is available, I’ll arrange an online sale and ship the dress.

A few other changes were made as well. We added bridal to the site and did a re-design. I hope you like the original but new site.