Online shops are like a two way street.
There are the customers who fall into two categories: those who intentionally drive to your store, knowledgeable of what products you have to offer, or those who are just ambling by, enjoying the scenic route, when something catches their eye in your shop window and they just have to pull over. Both are great parties to be in. Sometimes the latter becomes the former, sometimes the former tells her friends, who in turn become the latter.
As customers, we're all guilty of thinking that shopping online is a one man show. You go to a website, you peruse its items, you add 7 of them to your cart, you pro/con your favorites, you remove 5 of the items so your bank account won't huff in annoyance later, you pin the ones that you put back so you can dog ear them for later, and you checkout. That entire process just included you, right?
But there's another direction of traffic to consider: the (anonymous) shop owner (which.. in this case is me). I see things from the other side, but most of the time it also feels like a one man show. I get your orders, I cut the paper, I queue them for printing, I package them up, I address them, I mail them, and I mark the orders as shipped. Sometimes there's a step of customizing them in some way, but those are the usual steps on a typical Print + Ship Day. The visual of the conveyor belt from Brave New World comes to mind a little, but without all the social/religious connotations (Oh Ford).
But every now and then, my anonymity cloud is cleared, and I remember that there are real people ordering my products! And that, my friends, is a gratifying feeling. In the past week, I've gotten a few messages from customers who have just received their products and their enthusiasm is tangible, even through their email. And especially for the orders from the 52 Weeks of Hymns Project that are going to friends/loved ones going through tough times, I couldn't be more honored. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for using them for good!
So thank you for reminding me that there's more to my shop than just fulfilling orders. Sometimes it's easy to forget when you're on a tight deadline to make it to the post office by 4 that what you're shipping is actually something meaningful.
And as if it isn't obvious, I love getting emails about your orders or seeing pictures of where they end up! It really makes my day and helps prevent me from turning into a faceless cog ;)