E-Commerce Shipping

For the majority of your customer’s experience, you are in control. You make the ads, the website, take photos, and perform many other tasks to help your products and website appeal to your consumers. But once an order is placed, your product is handed off to someone so it can complete its journey to the consumers. This journey could make or break the entire experience for the customer so it’s important to have a good shipping strategy that helps create a good experience from start to finish.

How To Package Items

We all know that you have to package the item(s) before you send it to the customer. But there are some important factors to consider when picking packaging for your customers. The first thing you should consider is how heavy the type of packaging is. The heavier it is, the more expensive it will be. Lighter is better, but you don’t want to compromise the protection of the product. Consider how fragile your products are, and what types of padding you will want in the package. Many companies will use bubble wrap or packing peanuts to help keep the impact on the items to a minimum. There are also more eco-friendly ways to package items, such as using newspaper or recyclable materials. These are a great option because it helps your bottom line and shows customers that you care about the environment. It’s fine if this takes some time and different trials to make a final decision, it’s important and shouldn’t be rushed!

Types of Shipping

Listed below are different shipping options that you can consider using to send out your products. We will first cover a few general ways to ship, and then dive into shipping on Shopify, our favorite eCommerce platform.

Free Shipping

This is one popular option that businesses will use to help increase their number of customers. In the age of Amazon Prime many customers have come to expect this option which is absolutely something to consider. While this is consumer’s favorite option you have to be aware of how free shipping will affect your profit. It is important you know that you will be taking on the cost of shipping when you include free shipping to your customers. Many businesses will either make a minimum order price for free shipping, or they will increase the price of products by a small amount to decrease the profit lost. 

Real Time Shipping Rates

Many eCommerce websites now have different widgets or applications that can calculate the rate in real time for customers. Once the customer puts in their address, the program will consider how far the package needs to go, the speed at which the parcel is desired, and also the weight of the package. Using all three of these units the program will generate a price for the customer. They can adjust the price by picking slower/faster delivery and potentially choosing different items. 

Many of these programs will also give the estimated delivery date for the customer. Because of this it will help them know when their package will arrive if it is needed by a certain date. 

Flat Rate Shipping

Assigning one or two flat rates across your entire product offerings with a set price and delivery time. If you can’t afford free shipping and don’t have the time to setup real time shipping rates than this is the option for you. It’s a great way to save time without hurting your profits too much. 

Shipping on Shopify

As we know, a lot of ecommerce companies are hosted using Shopify. If you are unfamiliar with Shopify and would like to learn more, you can find out more here

To set up shipping in Shopify, the first thing you need to do is log into your store, and then head down to settings. Within this tab, there is a specific link to click to bring you to shipping. The first thing you will fill out, is the “Shipping Origin.” This is where your products will be sent from. 

There are three different types of shipping styles you can choose from on Shopify.

  1. Price Based Rates – These rates are based on the total amount of money spent in an order by customers. It will be a flat rate depending on how much the customer spends. Many times companies will offer free shipping if a certain total is hit. This will usually be between $25-$100 dollars for the order. Each site has a different preference. But this can sometimes encourage additional spending by your customers.  
  1. Weight Based Rates – Weight range rates are not as common, but it is still an important consideration when setting up shipping rates for your Shopify store. When setting this up, you set up weight ranges and this will have a flat rate for your customers. This is a good technique to use if many of your products are quite heavy. 
  1. Calculated Rates – The calculated rate is one of the easiest types of shipping to set up. When you click on this tab, you select what carrier and what type of shipping services you would like available for your customers. Then the carrier will create a calculated rate every time a customer checks out. This will be based on the weight of the package, where they want to send it, and what type of services they selected at checkout. Many businesses will choose this rate if they are fulfilling products by themselves. 

There are also third party shipping apps that can be used in conjunction with your Shopify account if the built in features don’t match your needs!

Final Considerations

We’ve covered a lot about shipping so far, but there are a few more considerations when setting up shipping for your ecommerce store. There are different duties and taxes that should be considered, especially if you are shipping internationally. Duty and taxes are usually paid for by the individual receiving the item, but there can also be fees directed towards the merchant as well. These fees will depend on the item, its origin, value, and other things. Consider what the fees will be before you open up new areas to ship to.

There are also restrictions both domestic and international you should be aware of. Certain products are not allowed to be sent to specific states or countries based on rules and regulations that are in place. When shipping to a country with these rules, a shipment could be stopped and held at customs. To avoid this, make sure to do adequate research on the shipping restrictions before you open up sales to new regions. 

Wrapping Up 

Shipping is one of the hardest parts of eCommerce to nail down. But once you strategize and give it some time, you will be able to find a system that works with you and your business. If you have any questions, please make sure to reach out to us.

Shopify Apps To Boost Your E-Commerce Store

Shopify is a complete commerce platform that a large percentage of business owners use to help grow their business. It has many great features and if you are considering a platform for your eCommerce business, it is a good option to consider. If you are looking for a complete overview of Shopify, we covered it here

A big plus of Shopify is that there are plenty of applications that can be used with it. There are actually over 2000 different applications that can be used with Shopify. There are applications for marketing, sales, customer support, inventory management, and many other topics. Some are free and others will additional costs on top of your Shopify account. A general overview of the app will be available in the Shopify App Store, and how much it will cost to use the app.

It can be daunting to choose what apps will work best with your business. In this article we are going to cover our top 8 applications that we like to integrate with Shopify stores. 

Top Apps:

Listed below are our top 8 applications to use with Shopify: 

Hubspot CRM

This is the app you need if you want to organize, track, and communicate with leads and existing customers. Hubspot CRM syncs with your Shopify store and collects the data associated with it. This will help you fine tune your email and marketing campaigns. 

Hubspot CRM tracks all of the interactions that you have with leads and customers, saving them under their own customer contact. In each contact you are able to create notes, track conversations, and schedule meetings to stay on top of everything. Hubspot will quickly organize and store this information in a timeline that is easy to interpret and understand. Hubspot CRM is completely free and will always be free. 

Aftership – Track & Notify

Aftership is a tracking platform that helps you keep customers informed on where an order is once they place it. You can create your own branded tracking page with photos, marketing banners, and other media to help to engage and upsell your customers. 

Have you ever had a customer contact you multiple times for an update on a package? Aftership allows your customers to sign up for shipping notifications. As the package arrives at different locations, it will provide your customer with up to date information either via email or text. This application will help to eliminate customer frustration while also enhancing the customer experience. The application has a free version that allows you to track 100 packages a month, and then it is tiered pricing after that. 

Consistent Cart

Consistent Cart is an all in one multi-channel marketing solution. Consistent Cart offers a plethora of features that are designed to be the only app you need for your marketing. These features are used to increase the conversions with your business. A few of the features that Consistent Cart offers are:

  • Abandoned Cart Emails
  • SMS Notifications
  • Push Notifications
  • Customer Thank You Emails 
  • Happy Birthday Emails
  • Many more options

Consistent Cart is free to download, and provides users with a 14-day free trial. After that you will be charged 29$ USD per month. 

Privy

Privy is a subscription-based application that provides pop-ups, flyers, bars, and banners that can show up on your website. You can use these to promote various parts of your business while consumers are browsing your website.

Privy provides you with real time reporting to let you understand what is effective for your consumer base. The dashboards will provide you access to a number of key metrics. Privy will help you better manage abandoned carts and hopefully increase conversion. 

Coin Currency Converter 

Coin is an application specifically designed to allow you to offer multiple currency options for your customers to pay with. The app can switch the currency automatically based on IP address or the consumer can use the drop down menu and choose what currency they prefer. 

The app supports over 193 different currencies that can be used by your store and customers. If you know you only have traffic from specific countries, you are able to edit the currencies available. The exchange rates for Coin are updated throughout the day using multiple financial resources. Coin also works with other Shopify applications to make the transition into your store easier. The app offers a 14-day free trial and then charges $4.99 per month. 

Xero

Xero is a cloud based accounting software that offers a plethora of options at a good price point. It is specifically marketed towards small and medium sized businesses. The program provides features such as invoicing, payroll processing, inventory management, and others. It is starting to gain popularity with more and more bookkeepers and accountants. Many are now Xero partners. 

Xero has three different types of plans that your business can use. Prices start as low as $9 USD / Month. 

Product Reviews

Shopify product reviews allows you to add customer reviews to products. This provides your customers with an area for them to write how they feel about your product. These reviews will help you engage with customers and receive feedback on products. Good reviews can also help encourage other consumers that are on the fence about the purchase. 

This application has theme-friendly designs and and easily allows for customization. It also provides you with the option to import or export reviews from a CSV file. This is a completely free application that will help you become more engaged with your customers.

Size Matters

If you sell any sort of apparel items on your Shopify store, you should install the Size Matters application. This is a completely free app that is designed to help you create size charts for the products on your website. 

When using Size Matters, you are able to create size charts without any advanced coding knowledge. You create each chart using the table generator that’s in the app. Once that is done you add a small amount of code and product tag to finish it off. When using the app you are able to create as many size charts as you need, there is not limit. You can also customize the look of the charts for better integration with the theme of your Shopify store. 

Takeaways

With such a large library of applications, it can be hard to decide which ones to use with your Shopify store. Hopefully this article will help you add some applications to your tool kit, and increase conversions and revenue for your Shopify store. If you have any Shopify applications you would recommend please leave them in the comments below. 
If you need any help with these applications, or have any questions, please reach out to our team at any time!

How To Choose An E-Commerce Platform

Setting up and building an e-Commerce business isn’t as easy as some people view it from the outside, some think you just upload products to the internet and you will start making money. Unfortunately starting an e-Commerce business isn’t that easy. There are a lot of different steps that you must go through and consider before you have a site up and running. One of the most important things to consider is the platform that you are going to use to host your e-Commerce site. In this article we are going to examine some of the factors you should consider when choosing your e-Commerce platform.

Pricing

This is one of the first and most important aspects that a business will consider when choosing the right platform. If you are just starting out, you probably have a limited budget and won’t be able to afford a costly monthly fee. Many e-Commerce platforms offer a tiered pricing system, many have a budget level that still offers the majority of the features. Then it will go up and more features will be unlocked with each step up. It’s important to compare the features you can get on each.

Depending on the pricing it will also affect the types of payments you will be allowed to process when customers are placing orders. Some platforms will accept certain types of payment, and others will not. Sometimes you have to pay extra to allow third-party payments such as PayPal. Look into the types of payments you would like to be able to process before choosing a platform. 

Mobile Integration

Phones have become a large part of our everyday life, and now it has become a part of our online shopping routine. It is important to consider platforms that allow an easy transition from desktop to mobile. Some perform this transition better than others, take a look at websites that are already running on platforms that you are considering. Compare the desktop version to your phone. 

Is it as responsive? Are all of the images still loading? How user friendly is it? Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes will help you enhance the experience on your own site. 

Plugins

Another important thing to look into when choosing a platform is the integration that it can have with other programs. These other tools and programs can help you run your business in a much smoother way. Shopify and Bigcommerce, for example, both have plenty of plugins to allow you to use other applications with your platform. Bigcommerce has a page showing all of the different plugins that are available, and which ones they recommend as well. 

If you have certain applications that you already use, or applications you know will be critical to your site, take a look at the platforms plugin options before committing.

Customer Service

As much as we like to think that this is a perfect world, it sadly is not, and not everything will go as planned. A site will go down, servers can freeze, payment can’t be processed, there is a whole number of things that can go wrong. This is why it is so crucial to read reviews and see how each platform deals with these situations as they arise. 

When reading about the customer service there are a few things you should consider:

  • How often are they available, is it all day everyday?
  • What methods can you use to contact the support team?
  • How quickly do issues usually get resolved?

Takeaways

It is going to take you a lot of time, money, and effort to set up your e-Commerce website. Make sure that this time and money isn’t being wasted! Nothing is more frustrating than setting up your website, and a few months later deciding to switch the e-Commerce platform that you’ve been using. The factors we listed above are just a few of the things you should consider. Make sure to take your time, and if you need any help, please let us know. 

Google Ads Academy

30 years ago the internet was a passing fad, it has since grown into a critical component of everyday life. All this growth has changed how many of us market online and the skills we need to do so. A key player in this game is Google. The tools Google provides for businesses, such as Adwords and Analytics, are popular resources that almost every business is now using. This has inspired Google to create a set of certifications to help individuals get better at using these products, and to help use them more efficiently for their business.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a popular web analytics tool created by Google. It provides you with information on traffic to your website, how consumers interact with your website, purchasing information, and many more topics. If you are new to Google Analytics, Google has created the Google Analytics Academy to help you start using this program for your online business. This is also a great tool for anyone in the marketing field to become more familiar with this popular tool. The Google Analytics Academy is the resource you need to be using if you use Google Analytics for your website analytics. The academy provides 6 different certifications that you can complete, starting from the very basics and moving up to the more complicated ways to use the program. If you are looking for additional information on Google Analytics you can find it here and here.

Google Ads

Google Ads is an online advertising program created by Google for the Google ad network. This includes the Google search engine, websites, and any mobile applications that Google has created. It allows companies to display short ads, product listings, videos, and other forms of advertising on the Google network. This network has a massive audience and could be very beneficial for your company. Like Google Analytics, there is a Google Ads Academy. There are multiple different lessons you can take to give you a better understanding of how to use the program and how it can benefit your business. Personally I think that the Google Ads Mobile, Search, and Display are the first few lessons that you should complete. You can find more info on Google Ads here.

Other Programs

Google offers additional programs on top of the Google Ads and Analytics training. Google has another academy known as Google Digital Academy. This program offers a wide range of programs to help companies to stay ahead of changes. They provide this information in videos on Youtube and articles that can be accessed online. Google also has a physical Academy space in London, so if you live in England or are visiting, it would be worth stopping in for a class or two. Are you still looking to learn more? Google has made a mobile application called Primer. The main focus of primer is to provide you with quick, easy, and interactive ways to continue learning new marketing strategies. It provides lessons on the ever changing marketing world, and also provides refresher lessons on more basic, but essential topics. There are over 18 topics available on Primer. The best part about Primer is that you can take the lessons anywhere and at anytime, you can even use the application if you don’t have service.

Wrapping Up

With the ever changing world of marketing, Google is going to have a significant impact on how you choose to run your online business. Google has multiple tools that can help take your business to the next level. Luckily they have made these products free, and the training and resources associated with them as well. If you have any questions about Google’s products and how to use them, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.

Selling Products on Instagram

Social media is one of the fastest growing and most powerful business tools that can be used at a relatively inexpensive price. When considering what social media platforms to invest time in, Instagram should be on the top of your list. It is a photo and video platform that was started in 2010, and has been growing rapidly ever since. Instagram has over a billion monthly active users making it as much a necessity as an opportunity for businesses.

Over the years Instagram has implemented updates and platform changes to keep up with competitors such as Snapchat and Facebook. Some of these updates have been made to help businesses sell products on the social media platform. We would like to introduce you to these business friendly updates to help your business get started selling on Instagram.

Instagram Business Account

The first thing you will need to do before you start to build your profile and sell products is to set up an Instagram business account. You can choose which type of profile you would like when first setting up your account, but don’t worry, a personal account can be switched to a business account at any time. A business account can become verified, have additional contact information, and can allow you to advertise on Instagram. Business accounts also give you access to features such as Instagram Analytics, which will help you track performance. These additional features will help you step up your game, and better understand the impact your posts are having on your audience. 

Below is Vans Instagram Business account. You can see that right next to the name it has a blue check mark which means it has been verified. This allows your customers to know which is the official account for a brand. Instagram now allows all business accounts to apply for verification just go to “Settings” then “Account” where you will find a form to apply for verification.

Instagram Stories

This is a separate feature that is now being used by most users that have an account on Instagram. Instagram stories are photos or videos that are available to view for only 24 hours. To use Instagram Stories, head to the top bar of your profile, from there you just need to click on the + button around your profile picture. From here you can take a new photo or video, or upload one that you have already taken. When someone else you are following uploads new content to their Instagram Story, you will see a multi-colored ring light up around their profile picture. Stories are a great way to interact with your audience on a less formal basis than the traditional posting formats.

So how can this feature be used to sell products? When posting an Instagram story, brands with more than 10,000 followers have the option to include a link in your post. When you do this, customers just need to “swipe up” and they will be taken to the corresponding link. Many brands will posts photos of products and link the URL to their online store. Brands will also use this feature to gain traffic to other parts of their website. Below is an Instagram Story from an action sports film company known as Teton Gravity Research. They are using the “swipe up” story feature to bring their audience to an article recently published on their website. 

Instagram Shoppable Posts

This is a relatively new feature that Instagram released in 2018. It is a feature that allows customers to complete their entire buying journey without even leaving the Instagram application. These posts are marked with a small shopping bag icon in the bottom left hand corner. Once having everything set up, tagging a product in a photo is just as easy as tagging a person in a photo. 

Pictured above is an Instagram Shoppable post from the backpack company Osprey. In the post there are two products that are being shown with the corresponding prices. To view the product, a customer simply clicks on the “view products” page. This will then pull up all of the products that are in the post, providing the customers an opportunity to view the products on your own website. The great thing about this shopping feature, is that it won’t make you leave the Instagram application, everything is done within it. 

So how do you start using the shoppable feature of Instagram? First you need to complete a few steps:

  1. You must be located in a country where the feature is currently available, there are currently 46 countries. 
  2. You need an Instagram business account
  3. Must have the latest version of the Instagram application
  4. Your business must sell physical goods that are in compliance with Instagrams merchant agreement and commerce policies
  5. Your business profile must be connected to a Facebook catalog. This can be created using a business Facebook page, Bigcommerce, or Shopify. 

If you meet the above requirements, you can add the Instagram channel to your Shopify or Bigcommerce at no additional cost. Then you enable the “Shopping Feature” under the Business Settings on the Instagram Application.

Link in Bio

Another very popular way for businesses to advertise products is by placing a link for customers to click in their bio. A business’s bio is located under the name of the business. It is where businesses can fill in any additional information they want, such as hashtags, business hours, location, or any other relevant information they want customers to see when visiting their profile. 

A business will create a post mentioning a certain product or line of new products and tell customers to click the link in their bio. This requires some effort from the customer, but if done well, it takes only a few taps of a phone screen and customers will quickly be on your website shopping your products. Shown below is a link that Stance Socks placed in their bio for customers to view products that are new for the Fall of 2019. 

Wrapping Up

Even though selling on Instagram is becoming easier, it is important that you are not only selling products to your audience. They are following your brand/business for a specific reason and don’t want to only see advertisements and posts about buying services or products. It is important to continue with the same content strategies you have created for your brand and expect to have success with in the future. It’s easy to overwhelm your customers with shopping related posts so make sure you strike a balance of genuine content posts and shopping posts. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to our team, we would love to help you out. 

How To Use Google My Business

Image result for google my business

Google My Business is a free tool for both businesses and organizations to manage the online presence that they have within Google, this also includes Google Maps and Google Search. In GMB(Google My Business) you add info such as your business name, hours, location, and you can show/respond to reviews. Editing and verifying this information will make it much easier for customers to find your business. Below we will be going over the benefits of Google My Business and how to set it up for your own business.

Benefits of using GMB

Manage Your Information – Google My Business allows you to manage the information that customers see when they are doing research on your business. You are able to verify your information through Google, which helps customers consider it more trustworthy. When people find your business on Maps or Search it is important that you have the correct information available. This will help to draw in more traffic to your business. 

Interact With Customers – With GMB you are able to read and respond to the reviews that have been posted about your business. You can also post photos to show off what your business does. 

Understand & Expand Presence – An important feature you can use is insights. This will show you how customers arrived on your website and where they are from. You can create & track Smart campaigns, allowing you to enhance the following of your brand. 

How To Set Up Google My Business

Setting up a Google My Business account is fairly easy, and doesn’t take that long. If you follow the steps listed below, it will allow you to maximize the benefit you can receive from GMB. 

Create A Listing – The first thing that you need to do is to create a Google My Business listing. To start this, you need to first sign into the Google account that you would like associated with the business, and then go to google.com/business. 

After that it prompts you to fill in information about your business. You will need to provide your business name, location, website, phone number, and business category. 

Verify Your Listing – This is a very important step, that is sometimes overlooked. Verified businesses on Google are more likely to be trusted compared to unverified businesses. There are many ways to become verified, we will cover some of them below. 

A common way to become verified, is by phone. If you are eligible you will see the “Verify by Phone” option when you go to verify your business. Google will send you a text to the number that you provided earlier in the process, from here you must enter the code that they sent to you. 

Another common way is by email. If you are eligible for this option, you will see “Verify by Email” option when you go to verify your business. Google will use the email that you provided and send you an email. When you open the email up there will be a link to click that will verify your business. 

Some businesses will be able to have “instant verification.” This is possible if you have already verified your business by using another tool called Google Search Console. 

Optimize Your Listing – Now that you’ve created your listing, it isn’t over yet. It’s time to finish creating your profile so it will be as beneficial as possible to all the people that look at your Google My Business profile. 

The first thing you should do is to go to the “info” section, and add as much information as possible. Make sure you have a profile photo, correct hours, your website url, phone number(s), and attributes for your business. An attribute would be a characteristic such as “free wifi”. 

Another thing you should do is add photos to your profile. This will help customers get a better idea of what you offer, and it can help to draw them in. For example, if you are a restaurant, add photos of the food, drinks, and the atmosphere. If done right, this will help to draw customers in. On your GMB profile, customers will also be able to add their own photos from experiences in your business. 

Another important aspect to add is the location of your business. On top of the physical address you can add the location on Google Maps, and show the street view from Google Maps. This will assist customers by giving them multiple reference points when looking for your business. 

You can edit your listing at any time by logging into your profile and heading down to the “info” tab. We suggest periodically checking on your GMB listing to make sure that all of the information is current. Sometimes business will forget to change things, such as Winter back to Summer hours of operation. There is also a Google My Business mobile application. You can download this to a mobile device to edit information on the go, add photos, and to view available insights. 

Wrapping Up

Google My Business is a simple and free tool that every business should be utilizing. It won’t take long to set up and fill in with information. Using the tips and tricks we’ve listed above should help your business receive more traffic and hopefully an increase in sales. If you have any questions, or need any help with this process, please let our team know. 

Slow Cooker Carnitas

Warm spices, fresh orange essence, and a low slow cook time makes this Slow Cooker Carnitas tender, juicy, and full of flavor. Perfect for tacos, burritos and more!

PREP TIME: 15 mins COOK TIME: 5 hrs 15 mins Servings: 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks 
  • 1/2 Tbsp oregano 
  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • Freshly cracked pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle pepper powder
  • 3 lb pork butt roast
  • 2 small (or one large) orange 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Dice the onion and peel the garlic cloves. Place the onion, garlic, and cinnamon sticks in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • In a small bowl, combine the oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, and chipotle powder. Cut the pork roast into 2-inch cubes. Place the cubed meat in a bowl and sprinkle the spice mix over top. Toss the meat in the spices until evenly coated. Place the seasoned meat in the slow cooker on top of the onion, garlic, and cinnamon.
  • Use a vegetable peeler to remove the thin layer of orange zest from one of the oranges. Squeeze about 1/2 cup juice from the oranges. Pour the orange juice over the meat in the slow cooker, than sprinkle the pieces of orange zest over top.
  • Place a lid on the slow cooker, turn it on to high, and cook for 5 hours, or until the meat is tender and falls apart.
  • Use tongs to stir and shred the meat, and remove the cinnamon sticks. Either divide the meat and liquid into smaller containers to refrigerate for later, or transfer the meat and some of the liquid to a skillet (preferably non-stick or cast iron). Cook the meat over medium flame until browned and crispy on the edges. Avoid stirring the meat too much as it will break down into tiny pieces. Use the crispy meat as a filling for tacos, burritos, nachos, or burrito bowls.

Source: BudgetBytes

How To Set Up BigCommerce

BigCommerce is an all-in-one e-commerce platforms that offers a wide variety of tools and solutions for businesses of all sizes. It provides users with a large amount of scalability and has some of the best built-in features of an e-commerce platform. BigCommerce can seem quite intimidating as a first time user, but follow the steps in our tutorial and you will have your website up and running in no time!

Step 1: Set Up Your Account

When first starting to use BigCommerce, they give you a 15-day free trial to try the software. To access this trial, simply go to the homepage and click the “get started” button in the top right hand corner. 

After that, you must fill out some information to get started. They will ask you for an email, a password, and some general information about your business. This will help BigCommerce set up your demo website. It only takes a few minutes after you submit all of the info to have your initial website created.

Step 2: Follow the BigCommerce Dashboard Tour

When accessing your new site for the first time, the BigCommerce dashboard will prompt you with the option to take a tour of your new dashboard. We found this tour to be very beneficial and will cover the basic layout of the software. It will cover topics such as marketing, sales, and how to manage orders for your business. 

Step 3: Store Name & Address

If these details were not entered at the start, the set-up wizard will prompt you to add this information. You can access this information by clicking on “Update Your Store Settings.” Under this section you will be able to add a name, address, phone number, and other contact information. 

In this section you are able to mark your site as “Down for Maintenance”. This will allow for your site to display this message until you are ready to unveil it to the internet and all of your prospective customers!

Step 4: Choosing Your Theme & Logo

The templates that BigCommerce offers for its users are known as “themes.” You are provided with two free themes. These themes are modern and responsible, but have fairly basic features. If you are looking for more options, there are themes that you can pay for. The price for paid themes range from a one time payment of $150 – $300 per theme. Paid themes offer more layout and options compared to the free options. If you are unsure about a paid theme, you can view what it would look like on your individual website before you purchase.

It is important to note that when you change from one theme to another, any customization will be deleted. This means that you will need to keep track of what you have been adjusting to your current  website before you switch to a new theme. 

On the left-side menu, right below themes, there will be a tab called “Logo.” Click this and it will allow you to upload your company’s logo. 

Step 5: Add Products

Now that you have set up your store to make it visually stunning, it’s time to add some products to the shelves.

To start this process, the first thing you need to create are the product categories you would like reflected on your online store. To add categories, click on “Product Categories” under the “Product” page. Your demo store will have some pre-loaded categories based on the type of store you chose. You can delete the ones you don’t need, and add others. Under each new category, you need to add a name, URL, and description to the category. 

Once you have your categories set, it’s time to add your products. First you need to click on the “Add” tab under the products drop-down menu. Once you click on this, you will see multiple different fields to add your product information. The most important aspects to add when first entering product information is:

Product Name 

Sku number 

Price

Product Image(s)

Item Weight

Item Variations

Product descriptions

After you enter a few products into your store, you can view them all in a list by “view” under the products drop down menu. Under this list you will also see the demo products that BigCommerce added, you can delete these the same way that you delete the preloaded categories. If you need any extra help loading products into BigCommerce, you can find more information here.

Step 6: Shipping Rates & Methods

It’s almost time to start selling products online, but you first need to figure out how you’re going to ship products to customers. To set this up, head over to “Store Setup” and then click on “Shipping.” 

The first set of information you are asked to enter is the businesses address. After that it’s time to set up what you would like to charge for shipping. Some business offer free shipping on all orders, or none at all. If you decide you want to charge for shipping, the easiest way to do it is by offering a flat rate shipping price. To set this up, you click on the “Flat Rate” shipping option, you can decide what you would like to charge for each order that you are shipping. 

While setting shipping up, you should also set up your payment options. BigCommerce offers its own payment processing service, or if you already have one set up, you can use that too. To find the payment options, click on “Accept Credit Cards & Paypal”. From here, if you would like to use BigCommerce’s payment service, you can set it up. If you already use Square, Paypal, or another merchant account, you can set it up below. 

Step 7: Store Information Pages

You are almost able to launch your website using BigCommerce! One of the last things you need to do is to fill out your store information pages. Having these pages will allow you to communicate your brand to customers and to help answer common questions. BigCommerce makes this process easy by providing a web pages section where you can customize information pages. A few of the most common store info pages are:

About Us

Contact Us

Shipping & Returns

Careers

Shipping

Returns

Order Status

Step 8: Launch Your Site

It’s finally here, the moment you’ve been waiting for! After following all the steps listed above, you’ve added enough information to launch your e-commerce website. Click on the orange button that says “Launch Your Store.” After you press this, your store will be live and you can start selling products! 

Choosing Your Plan:

Once you’ve decided that you want to host your website through BigCommerce, it will be time to decide what plan is right for you. Three different monthly plans are offered, standard, plus, and pro. BigCommerce also has an enterprise option, this is a custom option for larger businesses that are looking to take their growth to a new level. All of the plans have different features to help suit small startups all the way up to large corporations. You can find out more about the BigCommerce plans, here.

Additional:

BigCommerce offers helpful resources for consumers on their website. They send out a weekly newsletter that is filled with helpful tips, strategies, and news happening in the ecommerce world. If you are looking for more specific information, BigCommerce offers helpful guides that you can download, and free webinars to watch. All of these resources can be used to help better understand the software and how it can be used to benefit your business. To find out more about this additional information, click here. 

Wrapping Up

BigCommerce is a strong tool that can be used to take your business to the next level. It provides features that all businesses can use, at a top-tier price. The steps we have listed out above, will help you set up your website quickly and effectively. But these steps only scratch the surface of what BigCommerce is able to do. If you have any questions about setting up your new website with BigCommerce, feel free to reach out to our team.

The Magic of Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is a methodology that helps to draw customers into your business instead of you reaching out to them. When focusing on inbound marketing, you create helpful content that will attract qualified customers to your website. This content is usually in the form of a blog post, social media, or SEO. The idea of inbound is to present your business in a helpful way compared to the traditional outbound methodology of marketing. Inbound marketing forgoes the ways of the pushy selling techniques that consumers are all too familiar with. The content that you create will help to solve a customers problem or provide them with additional information that they are looking for.

The term inbound marketing was first coined by, Hubspot, and they have continued to help expand the understanding and methodology of inbound marketing. They have created the process of inbound marketing as attracting, converting, closing, and then delighting customers. Hubspot offers a lot of online courses to help learn inbound, this article is actually a form of inbound in itself. You can see some of their courses and offerings by clicking here.

Benefits of Inbound Marketing:

Increase Trust – This is one of the biggest benefits of inbound marketing. When customers view your content they gain valuable information, whether they knew they needed it or not. This helps consumers view your brand as a place where they can find useful content and not just spend money, ensuring they will return to your site over others.

Higher Quality Traffic – By creating specific content, you can draw in a more specific consumer demographic to your website. This will help turn your traffic into potential sales and revenue for your customers by bringing in less consumers that aren’t interested in your products/services.

It’s Inexpensive – That’s right, it’s cheap, at least for the most part. It doesn’t cost your company any extra overhead to produce videos, blogs, and social media content. Usually someone on the marketing team can take care of this, another option would be to bring on an unpaid intern to help create and manage this type of content.

Lasting Impact – Inbound marketing can help to create a lasting impact on your consumers. If a video or blog post stood out to them, they might bring it up in conversation or share it on social media. This again will help to bring more consumers to your website. It will also leave the customer thinking about your brand, and hopefully bring them back to your website.

It is important to note that success with inbound marketing campaigns will not come overnight, it will take some time. Make sure to keep creating content even if there is not a significant change in website traffic. After you have started to produce inbound marketing campaigns, it is important to analyze the results. This will help you better understand what types of content your consumers are most interested in, and what you can tailor future content to be about.

How Inbound Marketing May Be Used:

Since inbound marketing is so broad, there are a number of ways that it can be used in a business setting. Below are some examples of how to use Inbound Marketing.

An online kitchen store has been seeing a drop in customers that are visiting their site. They would like to draw more qualified customers to their website. Their marketing director created a few options to attempt to attract more qualified visitors. They suggested:

Write blogs on their favorite items in the store

Produce videos of new recipes

Send out a weekly newsletter with cooking tips

 

A small marketing firm is trying to consider new ways to inform its customers on the benefits and services that they offer. The firm decides to:

Post customer testimonials on social media

Write blog posts about current marketing trends

Create downloadable ebooks

Bi-weekly web seminars

 

Takeaways

Inbound marketing has grown to become an important aspect of the marketing mix for an e-commerce business. It helps to attract high quality visitors to your site and creates a better relationship with these visitors. This in turn will help to increase sales and revenue for your business, all being done at an affordable price. Not sure where to start? Reach out to our team and we would love to help you out.

Google Analytics Tools

Google Analytics is a powerful tool that you should be using in your marketing mix. It allows you to view a magnitude of data from your website that you can use to assist in making educated marketing decisions. There are so many options with Google Analytics that it can sometimes be overwhelming on where to start and what features are the most applicable to your business. Listed below are some of the features that we find the most helpful for any e-commerce business.

We have previously covered Google Analytics. If you need a general overview of the application, you can see it here.

 

Behavioral Flow:

This section can be somewhat intimidating if you are unsure what to look for. By using the behavioral flow feature on Google Analytics, you will be able to track your user’s step-by-step experience navigating your website. It allows you to see what pages they clicked on, if they backtracked, and where you might have lost them along the way. Using data from this section can help optimize the journey for your users and guide them to making a purchase.

A behavioral flows feature that I find specifically beneficial, is that it shows you the page that visitors started on. This can help you better understand where the traffic from your site is coming from. Whether that is from a marketing campaign, social media advertisements, or users clicking onto the homepage from Google.

Audience Reports

The audience reports gives you an insight into the users that are traveling to your website. It provides you with multiple variables that you can click on ranging from demographics, interests, and even the operating system they are running when visiting your site. Knowing this information about your traffic can help you make more direct connections with them and how you choose to represent your company.

There are many avenues in this section, but I think that one of the most interesting is the Behavior section. These reports provide a gold-mine for understanding how your audience is interacting with your website. It provides how recently they visited, the frequency of the users, the time they spent on the sight, the number of sessions, and multiple other things.

Custom Reports:

Do you consider yourself a Google Analytics pro? After using the software for a while it could be time to step your game up and try custom reports.

Using this feature of Google Analytics allows you to view your data exactly how you want to. To create your own custom reports in Google Analytics you just need to scroll down on the right side. It will provide you with multiple variables that you can customize to see the exact data that you want. Because of this it will help you save time by producing more efficient reports and provide you with the exact data that you’re looking for.

Additional:

If you are still trying to gain more Google Analytics experience, I suggest checking out the training certifications that Google offers. There are six different courses that cover a wide range of topics. The certifications combine watching short videos with step-by-step tutorials to help you gain the most out of each course. Upon completion of these courses you will be able to set up more complicated configurations, more complex data analysis, and more marketing tools to help grow your business. You can find an overview of the certifications here.

Takeaways

We hope this article showed you just the beginning of Google Analytic’s power. Utilizing these new features on Google Analytics will help you capture the full benefits and maximize your use of the application. If you need any assistance Google Analytics, feel free to reach out to our team.