• Build Your Store
  • NEW InstanteStore V8 Responsive Templates

    The InstanteStore team just launched another 3 NEW responsive and mobile friendly templates (yay!)

    Island Livin’

    The entire front page is a beautiful slider. Perfect for showcasing your product in use with gorgeous pictures.

     

    Simple Slider

    Comes with a top slider and lets you showcase your products at the bottom.

     

    Simple Starter V8

    Great for merchants who just want to show their products individually upfront.

     

    All our V8 templates are mobile friendly, responsive and customizable.

    Check them out and let us know if you need any help configuring these templates.

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • Things to Consider When You Want to Build an Online Store

    An online store is, in essence, not much different than a physical one. eCommerce merely occurs in a different medium. Building an online store requires all the same attitudes and prep-work. Hence, we’ll draw parallels to a real-world retail store.

    In a typical business, you need to:

    1. Write a business plan
    2. Finance your business
    3. Register the business
    4. Obtain the necessary licenses and permits
    5. Prepare a marketing strategy

    The same applies to any online business you plan to conduct online, whether a new one or an extension of your existing business.

    For existing businesses, there are two good reasons for taking your business online. For one, you can better serve your current customers by offering them an additional way to conduct business with you: online. Typically by credit card transactions through a payment gateway, such as Paypal or Google Checkout.

    Pie chart depicting market share

    Another compelling reason to have an eCommerce store is for those businesses that are seeking to grow market share ie. those who are looking for more customers than the ones who are already actively engaged in the business. Having an online store will allow you to expand your business boundaries, and reach a larger percentage of the total market.

    Mentality: Treat your online store with the same practical sobriety you would any other business.

    As a business owner, you will already be familiar with the discipline and effort required to launch, sustain and grow a business. You are less likely to entertain notions about simplicity or a mythical gateway to mountains of increased sales-yours for the taking.

    However, first time business people choosing eCommerce as your launch point might not be as clued in to the nitty gritty of running a business, and the effort it takes to make sales, and then repeat that consistently (or incrementally, or exponentially). It’s not difficult to get emotionally invested in the business without the right mindset that will see the project through to completion.

    Ever since DIY platforms began to rise in mainstream popularity, it’s become so very easy to get invested in the idea of eCommerce success.

    eCommerce platform phrase search trend

    Up to a point, the barrier to entry for eCommerce can indeed be very low. Much lower than that required for a physical storefront. Since there is no need to spend on a physical space, or purchase equipment and furniture, or practical business tools like a cash register, security system, or POS system.

    The costs begin to rise once you reach the point where your business needs to attract customers and start making sales, which is about 5 seconds after your online store goes live. Many might not realise what sort of an investment of time and money that requires.

    When a business opens its doors in a shopping mall, or a business park, the money and time that went into constructing an ideal physical outlet gets offset by the very nature of ‘location, location, location’ as there is immediate access to foot traffic. Other marketing activities like loss leader products, fliers and advertising can increase the amount of visitors of course.

    Rainbow coloured links in a circle

    The same is true for online stores, except that online, a new web domain doesn’t enjoy the benefits of location. New domains are almost completely isolated from the rest of the internet. It needs a lot of effort to build links that connect it to other entities on the web, such as social media word of mouth, paid links, search engines, or referrals from other websites in the form of PR or reviews.

    I feel this is an important consideration, because almost every one of my peers I have encountered who have ventured into eCommerce as their first business have struggled to get their new business off the ground. Many don’t get far beyond choosing a platform, getting hosted, picking a eCommerce template and creating a few social media profiles. Never-mind achieving significant milestones of successful enterprise.

    The ones to experience the latter have unequivocally governed their eCommerce sites as though it was a typical brick & mortar business, giving it the same attention any business needs in order to thrive.

    Meaning, if they needed private investment, or financial support from a bank they were prepared with the proper documents like a business plan or marketing strategy. They typically also conducted market research, giving them a clearer picture of their base demographic target, and how their product might meet the needs of different markets.

    This preparedness in turn afforded these merchants a degree of certainty about the probability of success not available to those who view eCommerce through the rosy filters of quick wins with disproportionate returns.

    Practicality: Build what you can yourself, understand what you cannot.

    Egyptian craftsmen at work

    As with our real life counterparts, some business people have both the time and expertise to shape their retail space as they desire, either with bricks and stones, or with code and pixels. Where this is not possible, skilled craftsmen are contracted for the job.

    For eCommerce, we have also the cheap and simple option of using a premade template to build online stores with. Being able to save both time and money on design/development costs is an almost irresistible reason to launch eCommerce stores with a premade template. Such templates offer aesthetic customization to match your preferences from options like colour and font, to placement of widgets like home page sliders and product page details.

    Nevertheless a template is always going to have the same basic form and function, and choosing a popular one means that browsing different online stores will be a familiar experience for visitors, at least in terms of look and feel. That said, it doesn’t appear to be a huge detriment to rule out using a template, at least at the beginning of your eCommerce journey.

    As your business grows, you might find that further growth demands more functionality, and you might also like to invest in deeper form at the same time. This might be the point you decide to hire the abovementioned craftspeople to get the job done for you.

    changes in form and function of mobile phones over time

    Naturally we like to recommend our own internal teams of designers and developers (geeks! the whole lot) for such tasks you might encounter.

    That covers the basic process of planning and setting up your online store. Next:

    Publicity: The sparks that draw attention and traffic to your store.

    The varying purpose of your online store – – based on whether yours is a new business, or a supplemental part of your overall business – – will determine what kind of activities you should begin to promote your newfound online commercial ability.

    Paid

    The primary mode for getting the word out is through direct marketing, which currently also plays the biggest role in driving eCommerce sales. You can choose between sponsored posts on social media networks, or display banners on participating publisher sites, and even have your promotions appear on search engine result pages. There are many platforms to do this on, the biggest and most popular being Google Adwords and Facebook Advertising.

    Collage of three different types of online ads

    Investing in paid activities requires that you devise a clear strategy for what you want to accomplish. It will help you determine how much you will spend to attract visitors to your site and make a sale, whether or not it will be worth it to lose money on a sale. Yes, there are such situations.

    For example, if a product is a one-off purchase, than you know customers are not going to return soon for, or that you cannot upsell or cross-sell, you will almost always want to make a profit on the very first sale. This means being more judicious about your spending per 1000 Impressions (CPM) of your advertisement, or your Cost per Click (CPC) and Cost per Acquisition (CPA).

    However a product that has repeat purchase potential – – toiletry or perishable goods, or something like a bicycle which you can then cross-sell accessories and equipment, for example – – could benefit from spending extra/making a loss on the first sale, because you’ll be able to get repeat sales to offset the initial loss.

    Email marketing

    If you already have a business up and running, and have access to a database of clients and prospects that you can email with promotions and additional sales collateral, then this is something you will want to do.

    checklist of email marketing process

    If you don’t have access to an email database you can direct your promotions to, then you’ll need to build one. eCommerce sites customarily do this by offering an incentive – – like a discount – – for visitors to sign up for newsletters via an email address. Registered customers can also opt-in to (or forget to opt out of) receiving newsletters. You can then create different types of promotions for different segments of visitors, like registered shoppers, the first time visitors, and those who are frequent buyers.

    Referrals

    Referrals count every time another domain mentions your business, and links to it. It can be in the form of an off-site review or press release about your store, or through affiliate marketing, whereby an affiliate takes a percentage of the sale price for each person sent your way that converts into a sale.

    example of an affiliate programme link

    Anecdotal evidence suggests affiliate traffic as being a high quality source of traffic, since the content they create is in line with what the reader is looking for, and the traffic they send your way can contain high levels of buying intent.

    Brand Building Advertising

    Different from the abovementioned direct response marketing adverts, advertising to build your brand isn’t hyper-focused on conversions and targeting or much data either. It aims to build your brand – – your online store – – as a reputable business. This can happen both offline and online, in the form of a print advertisement in a newspaper or magazine, or a commercial or radio spot, or a website take-over ad.

    The willingness of a brand to advertise is itself a signal to the public that the brand they are seeing is one that has confidence in its quality, that it knows it can afford the perceived costs of advertising by its current customer base, as well as the business it will receive as a result of the advertising campaigns the company runs.

    Felicity: Greetings from the eCommerce experts.

    Building your own successful eCommerce business requires the same dedication and persistence in effort that would be given to any other business. You may have the right mental acuity to keep your online store steered in the right direction, and have the chutzpah for marketing it, but, if find yourself in need building it, that’s where we come in.

    We don’t just provide the shopping cart software, which has the features and designs that any popular software has. The best thing about InstanteStore is that our team of craftspeople are also here to help business people construct custom eCommerce sites. The most recent examples of successful online stores we’ve helped build are RollingSmokeDiesel.com – – a diesel truck performance parts supplier, RafaelDuro.com – – the commercial website of a personal fitness coach, and DollarSeed.com – – supplier of organic plant seeds.

    different ecommerce sites designed by InstanteStore team

    Have a look inside the same InstanteStore platform that all our merchants use where you’ll gain access to all the functionality used to run all kinds of online stores.

    You can then communicate your needs with us and begin the process of getting your online store ready for a world wide web of potential shoppers.

    Free Trial banner

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • 3 Painless eCommerce SEO Stylings from a Wizard!

    Ah, search engine optimization. I have a strong love-hate relationship with the artform. I’m certain its true for anyone who has the will to dabble in the arcane craft of SEO.

    Alas! SEO for eCommerce websites is even more complicated and mystical than traditional SEO. In the everlasting quest for the holy grail of Google’s first result ranking, many throw our hands up in despair and resign from the task altogether. Some persist doggedly, adamant that SEO “must-be-done”.

    Fewer still go about it in a practical & time efficient manner, tackling the problem with a mixture logic and creativity, never actually enjoying it.

    Of course, InstanteStore comes with a built in “SEO Wizard” to help you take care of the back-end and technical aspects of SEO, like Schema implentation. There are still practices that you should undertake to build upon that foundation.

    I’ve been studying a whole bunch of eCommerce websites, so I’m sharing several good and bad trends I’ve noticed among merchants in 2016. The craft may seem mysterious in theory, but practically, the execution is often straightforward.

    What Search Engines Want

    The most common issue I notice when browsing shopping websites is the amount of duplicated content. This usually stems from having multiple product pages for variations of the same item. Fix it by making sure all variations (size, colour, material) are on the same product page and displayed via drop-downs or radio buttons. We know search engines are contemptuous of duplicate content, providing zero value to audiences. So let’s make this a forbidden practice. The tech exists for this fix, hence a technological obstacle is no excuse for it.

    Chalkboard saying No to duplicate content

    An even weaker version of the duplicate content affliction is copy pasting supplier product descriptions, often to the point where many merchants have the same exact copy. I’m glad to report that it’s not something I notice much anymore, but it does happen so I’m just letting you know: this is sooo forbidden, there should be a wall of “NOPE” around it. If your products suffer from contentimus duplicatitis, do whatever it takes to make it original. Hire a copywriter if you must to make sure your product pages don’t contain copy that anyone else has.

    It’s not efficient to create unique copy for thousands of product pages though. Instead, using your web analytics tool (you have one right?), pick your most popular product pages for original content.

    What People Want

    Another problem I often encounter is the worrying lack of search query optimization. Unless you sell iPads or a popular product, don’t use product names as your search indicator. Instead target the product type: tablets, insect repellent, autumn chrysanthemum arrangements, Halloween cookies, etc.

    Think about what the shopper is searching for-what they actually type into search engines when they begin their digital journey. This will help determine the kind of language used to reach your pages. So if your insect repellent is called “Bugone”, maybe people will be more likely to find it if you optimized for the search term: “bug spray”, or “insect repellant”.

    A google search query to demonstrate shopper intent

    Search engines (and people too) love it when a page matches the users intent exactly. It’s logical. So if a page matches a shopper persona, it should show up when a person in searching for information. If a page matches a buyer persona, it should be listed when the person is ready for product options.

    #Winning 2016

    Atop a meadow of clouds, perched firmly at the top of SERPS is Polyvore. It’s a fashion shopping site, where they know their audience well and the social tech they favour. They have thus given shoppers the ability to create bundles of products, making up their own styles that they can upload so other users can browse and shop. Users can also interact with other bundles and share them across social media.

    Image of user content Polyvore website

    I’m pleased to say that I’ve noticed an increase in merchants opting for user generated content. This is great for SEO because it means older indexed pages are regularly updated, letting search engines know that your pages still have activity and thus are still relevant. Up till recently, user generated content was mostly in the form of user reviews and testimonials. As companies like Polyvore show us, there’s more than one way to skin this dragon!

    User generated content is beneficial in several ways:

      Your community will contribute content of their own, cutting down a chuck of your workload. A community interaction is a healthy one.

      As mentioned above, new content keeps your pages refreshed and indicates activity to search engine bots. It’s why online forums do well at SEO.

      The community your create benefits from it as well because they get recognition for putting together popular outfit ensembles, creating an enjoyable user experience.

    J!NX clothing give their shoppers the ability to post pictures of themselves with their new loot, and earn rewards for it too:

    Image of user content on J!NX product page

    A quick and simple fix for user generated content is to add social media feeds to your most popular pages. This is a good strategy if you don’t have much engagement on your site but have a responsive audience on your social media channels.

    *Remember that people want to engage with brands they see, so don’t hold back. On social media you should be tagging your posts with relevant people, and make use of those #tags to get your content in front even people who would otherwise not be able to see your content.

    Which brings us to…

    Social Media Marketing. SEO is no longer confined to making search engines like your pages and content. It’s now more important to make your content visible (and popular) on different channels on the web, because people who engage with your content are indicting to search engines that your content is relevant. Hence the more people engage with it, the more priority search engines will give it.

    Picture of social media apps

    It’s the reason you’ll see outdated content on the first page of many results, because it was once the most popular result for a search, and nothing new has come along that is as popular, even if there are more relevant contemporary piece available.

    These channels include the various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube (yes!) as well as community forums.

    In the past, back-links used to hold a lot of weight in SEO ranking, so much that internet marketers hacked the system and created lots of artificial links a ranking boost. Given enough effort a page could rank number 1 on Google with a day or two. Naturally this led to a poor experience for the user, and so things aren’t as simple anymore.

    So my suggestion is this: the next time you are on Facebook, spend a few minutes to join a group relevant to your market and promote your own content with a link and a few words about it. I’m not even talking about a blog post-though it can be. I’m talking about a specific product. I say start promoting a product you personally use because it will help word your promotional post in a fluid and genuine manner. Use that as practice before writing about products you aren’t as passionate about and springboard yourself into a natural rhythm.

    I picture of 4 facebook ecommerce groups

    If you do this for a single piece of content on multiple groups, across various social networks, you will start to get in front of many eyeballs. That’s a great first step. Once your foundation is solid, audience engagement will be an easier obstacle to demolish. If you can only spare time to promote one piece of content to one group, once a week, that is infinitely more than getting zero social signals. So do it for as long as you can before losing yourself to the void…

    The key to tying social media with SEO is the user engagement. The goal is to have lots of people sharing your content over a short period of time, which is the “virality” factor that a social media marketer so intensely craves. It isn’t necessary to go all Ice Bucket Challenge every single time. What works in the long run is the cumulative effects of content promotion.

    Image of a person in green being dumped with a bucket of ice water

    As with anything digital, always be tracking and analysis your traffic, your search terms and your rankings. Figure out what’s working and replicate the process from there. A methodological process will ensure you start getting results faster.

    And that’s all folks!

    As you can gather, social interaction has a significant role in contemporary SEO, although many traditional tactics do still carry weight. It’s all about the ratio of importance the engines assign to each ranking factor.

    Doing SEO by bolstering my social media marketing efforts works well for me. It covers all my priorities: achieving KPI goals, what I have time for, and what I enjoy. Try something yourself and see what works best for you based on what you can manage to get done.

    Mastering SEO isn’t for everyone, but it doesn’t mean only the most seasoned practitioners are capable of conjuring clever spells. You’ll see that most of the time you’ll be getting incremental results over long periods of time. Once in awhile, stars align and magic wills itself into being without much help, resulting in a massive surge of traffic, engagement and popularity. It’s an incredible rush to see it happen before your eyes as weeks and months of work pay off all at once!

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • InstanteStore New 2016 eCommerce Templates Released!

    Image of 3 new 2016 templates

    InstanteStore V8’s first round of eCommerce templates are more image-heavy, designed to catch the attention of your visitors. If you don’t have suitable images to use on the front page, you can choose to remove the hero shot and featured images using the content editor.

    Right now, we’re in the process of integrating a free stock photo finder to make it easier for you to search for and find the right images to use for your store, so please look out for this really soon!

    A brief run-down of our first round of free shopping cart templates:

    Home Comforts (Prominent but not overwhelming hero shot, centred products, more products-4 per row)
    image of new instantestore template

    Sleek Motion
    image of new instantestore template

    Posterized
    image of new instantestore template

    Sand and Surf
    image of new instantestore template

    Smooth Rollin’
    image of new instantestore template

    Bags, Bags, Bags! (Very prominent hero shot)
    image of new instantestore template

    Harajuku
    image of new instantestore template

    Suzuka
    image of new instantestore template

    Luxus
    image of new instantestore template

    Lente (Prominent hero shot, featured image heavy)
    image of new instantestore template

    With our latest round of templates, we’ve listened to your feedback and added 5 new templates that:

    1. Bring back the left border panel
    2.  Are generally lighter on hero shots and featured images

    The result is 5 new templates that hew closer to the structure of our old templates that you might already be using, but that are fully responsive and also fresher and sleeker at the same time. These are great options for those of you who want to retain the “feel” of your current store while getting a fresh new look.

    Simplicity and Back to Basics both have the left border panel with categories and no hero shot at all, so that you can use either template directly without having to remove any images. Simplicity’s left panel lists all your main categories, while visitors can drill down into Back to Basics to reach the sub-categories within.
    BacktoBasics Template Image
    Simplicity Template Image

    Deeply Purple and Surf Left bring back the left border, while retaining more featured images (1 large hero shot and 2 featured images below). Deeply Purple’s left panel lists all your main categories, while visitors can drill down into Surf Left to reach the sub-categories within.
    Deeply Purple Template Image
    Template Image

    Tidal is a mix of the last 2 groups, with a single prominent hero shot.

    Tidal Template Image

    Let us know what you think about your new responsive templates in the comments section below, or on Facebook or Twitter!

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Social Psychology in eCommerce: The Gravity of Trust

    Andrea Peterson Trust Quote

    The Ultimate Value

    Trust is a vital concept when it comes to social psychology in eCommerce. Trust appears wherever risk, uncertainty and dependency exists, and is something online shops strive to earn from their shoppers. Consumers trusting an online retailer is important in establishing transactional behavior.

    It is a weighty concept that is often taken for granted because we believe we understand it, despite the range of definitions it carries. To consumers, doing business with an eCommerce merchant represents a step into the unknown thus creating positive trust-beliefs will help result in positive intentions (sales) from consumers.

    According to findings in “The Science of Shopping Cart Abandonment” by Charles Nicholls: 74.6% of new shoppers will not return after abandoning a shopping cart, and so persuading shoppers to complete a purchase on their very first visit is of utmost importance for long-term survival, and why nurturing initial trust is so crucial in this step of the journey.

    As Andrea Petersen stated in her Wall Street Journal piece:

     

    “It seems that trust equals revenue, even online.”

     
    Click Here To Find Out How InstanteStore Uses Features Like Abandon Cart Revovery To Help Our Merchants Sell More

    Understanding The Role Of Trusting Beliefs

    Each party of an eCommerce transaction looks to eliminate risk and uncertainty by finding ways to increase trust. We acomplish this by building beliefs about the beneficial characteristics of the vendor. These characteristics can be applied to beliefs about the competence, benevolence, integrity and predictability of an online store.

    1. Belief in competence is when a shopper believes that the merchant possesses the ability to deliver goods or services as promised, whether it is in terms of volume, delivery time, pricing or quality. Shoppers also want to know you are an expert who has the necessary skills to provide a convenient solution, and that you are dynamic– able to meet challenges that arise without excuses.

    We see this come up a lot in the world of eCommerce. Belief in your competence leads to a positive action towards your business, and that trust carries so much weight that when broken it leads to anger, frustration and reputation damage within the online community. On the flipside, if that belief is reinforced by actual competence, the goodwill generated has the potential to spread like wildfire, leading to more belief and further positive actions.

    2. Belief in benevolence is when a shopper believes the merchant is caring, morally conscious, responsive and is capable of goodwill towards him or her. A merchant that cultivates the belief of benevolence would not have the perception of taking advantage of the shopper by feeding their fears (eg. the fear of missing out), rather is one that acts in their best interest, that the service is not a scam, and is always willing to communicate matters with the client.

    3. Belief in integrity is when shoppers trust that a merchant is honest, credible and reliable in their dealings by being truthful and upfront about things like pricing and delivery times rather than forgoing the truth in order to make sales. Merchants that demonstrate integrity accept the responsibility of the good-faith placed upon them and is the standard bearer of fulfilling promises and ethical obligations, like keeping client information secure.

    4. Belief in predictability doesn’t actually have positive or negative values associated with it. It means that a shopper has the belief that your actions are consistent enough to the point that he/she can predict your behavior in a normal transactional situation, regardless of whether your actions are good or bad.

    A customer may have high belief in the predictability of Amazon to fulfill delivery of an order within 5 days. A high level of belief in predictability would also forecast that a confirmation email and invoice will be sent immediately after purchase. Having belief in the predictability of an online merchant also means that the merchant’s readiness to handle a client’s needs will never alter over time.

    These four beliefs complement each other and often one lead to another depending on the buying stage of a customer and what their current relationship is with your brand (fresh, has heard of you before or has conducted business with you before). The most important one is always the one that addresses the current fear of a customer and facilitates positive behaviors.

    If a customer fears being scammed, then their integrity belief is the most important. If the customer fears getting a bad deal like paying a higher markup price, then benevolence belief takes precedence. Fear that credit card details might be inadvertently stolen during the checkout process will rely on the competence belief that your technical ability to prevent such theft will address this issue.

    Belief in these characteristics leads to trusting intentions, which is when a customer shows the intention of relying on the merchant despite being unable to control the merchants actions. The amount of belief a shopper has will affect their readiness to perform trust related internet behaviors compared to traditional shopping instances, since online shoppers have less control over their experience such as handing over sensitive personal information, or not being able to immediately determine the quality of a product or service.

    These behaviors are actions like sharing sensitive information, adding products to cart or making a purchase by completing the checkout process, and are a natural consequence of their trust in or beliefs about the online store.

    Facilitating Trust

    Rather than allowing customers to bumble haphazardly through the trust-intention-action process, there are of course things merchants can do to guide them through it to assure them that their beliefs are in safe hands and their intentions will have positive results.

    Privacy Policy

    A privacy policy lets your customers know that you are ethical when it comes to collecting their personal information (integrity). As such they are more likely to be open to sharing their personal information with you (intention). When a customer is more willing to share information then they are naturally more likely to act on it (behavior).

    Not having a privacy policy in place on your online store can help you lose customers while being upfront about how you collect, store, and share personal data will allay the fear customers have about how their data is collected and used. They tend to be long walls of text filled with legalese that in a way discourage people from reading them.

    Twitter has a very clear and well formatted privacy policy laid out which you can find here. Making it easily accessible for the average user shows transparency, which is a concept closely related to being trustworthy.

    As the saying goes: those with nothing to hide hide nothing.

    Trust Seals

    Trust seals & SSL certificates suggest that a site provides technical security for payment forms to prevent middleman interventions or network eavesdropping.

    Koray Özpolat at the University of Rhode Island hypothesizes that the four factors surrounding the effectiveness of trusts seals are cart value, retailer’s sales volume, shopper experience and number of other trust seals displayed:

    Cart Value

    Trust seals are more effective towards the completion of higher value shopping carts.

    The value of a shopping cart simply means how much the total value of the products in the cart amounts to. Higher value purchases are more risky and thus entail a higher level of risk-aversion thus providing information pertinent to security and privacy helps reduce perceived risk.

    Retailer Size

    Online retailers with a smaller sales volume benefit more from the presence of the trust seal than larger online retailers.

    This is tied-in with an online store’s reputation. Someone who has never shopped on Amazon.com would have less concerns about the ability of the company to protect their information, becuase it is a well established marketplace that has served millions of customers worldwide. As such smaller eCommerce sites would be required to take even greater measures to address these concerns. Customers would naturally feel less comfortable shopping at your store if it is new or relatively unheard of.

    Past Experience

    The effect of trust seals diminish the more frequently a user shops at a particular online store.

    It means that trust is being developed over time, and with the benefit of having completed successful transactions before, the need to be convinced of trustworthiness is gradually eliminated as the customer updates his or her perception of the merchant.

    Varied Trust Seal

    The impact of trust seals on completing the checkout process has diminishing returns as the number of displayed trust seals increases.

    In other words, displaying all the trust seals you can get your hands on won’t do much to convince your customers to make a purchase past the first few unique or synergetic ones, such as a seal that addresses security together with seals the address identity and privacy. Having multiple seals that address the same concerns is pointless.

    In terms of shopping cart abandonment, the research found that the optimal number of seals to display is only 2 and that there is a reverse effect (u-turn) on trust with an increasing number of seals. Hence it is crucial to avoid information overload when displaying trust seals as it may cause confusion or skepticism.

    What’s interesting is a particular result from a study published by Christian Holst suggesting that the perception of security is more important to online shoppers than its actually technical security ability. The trust seals are often nothing more than certification of a site or company about its customer relations or business practices, whereas SSL seals are what suggest technical security on the site.

    Image: Baymard Study

    There are many places you might display your security certifications and credentials, on your front page, on a product page, or on the footer, but the most important location to build trust is at the checkout process, the page where a customer will enter their payment details. It is at this point that a person has the most alarm bells going off, so it is here that it becomes of utmost importance to build confidence in the ability to protect one’s privacy.

    Interaction with Customers

    It should be standard practice by now for an online business to be engaging with customers, both individually and as an community. From a trust perspective, it also manages to convey that you are a merchant possessing the positive belief characteristics mentioned above, that it is benevolent, competent, honest and predictable. These positive traits solidify customers trust which lead to positive trust behaviors.

    Interaction can occur through any channels your site has available, such as social media, email, phone, video calling, or even a support system on the site itself. It involves customer service, feedback, marketing and general socializing.

    A great example of customer-facing eCommerce is Dell’s built-to-order model, which was once a thing Alienware did. With this model they were able to build stronger and deeper relationships with their customers.

    This is interaction as well, since analyzing how your customers interact with your store (you) and understanding their shopping behavior and decisions can give you valuable data about how to better serve them. It can help you improve your design, user experience, content, and set pricing, which lead to increased shopping cart completion rates.

    Reputation Building

    By building a good reputation a merchant is able to bring about purchasing behaviors. Improving reputation will also improve beliefs because reputation is the anecdotal evidence/rumour that the merchant has positive characteristics, while trusting beliefs are first-hand, and as stated above, lead to intentions.

    The trend now is to prominently display customer testimonials as social proof about a good service rendered, and it is standard to have customer reviews on product pages, as these constitute a secondary reputation, that of the product you sell on your store.

    Brand recognition happens naturally, but should also happen through your own efforts with marketing campaigns. Consumers are also more likely to trust merchants that actively advertise their marketplace as it shows an investment in growth. It is unlikely that shoppers want to have business dealings with companies they think are in it for the short-term, as this will hamper an important part of transactions, which is after sales support.

    Linking to Other Sites

    Links to a reputable site can provide the extra push to assure customers that you run a reputable site. Quality outbound links suggests that you run a good company because you are good company, by way of transference.

    The initial trust a shopper has for an unknown store will be more strongly influenced by a better known domain when there is a connection (hyperlink) between the two. This transference of trust can be achieved in many ways, not just by linking to other domains, but also by connections to influential individuals within online communities such on social networking sites and forums.

    On online marketing forums such as the Warrior Forum, vendors and affiliates gain reputation by being active in the hyper-niche communities found within, creating trust and favourable reputations, allowing each other to cross promote their services, confident in the knowledge that each other are in high reputation standing among the public. After all, nobody wants to affiliated with shady dealers or those with a poor reputation – whether by perception or concrete.

    Reputation is also strengthened when there is a link between your online store and a physical location, which we cover in the next item.

    Contact Information

    Having a proper channel to receive inquiries and complaints goes a long way in creating trust. It shows your users that there is a real person running things, and that you are available to be contacted should the need arise.

    Some businesses choose not to disclose any contact details whatsoever, instead having a contact form to direct queries. Whether this might be a good practice for your business is something only you can determine by understanding your customer base. Others businesses are fully transparent, and it seems to work for them.

    The amount of information you are willing to share is totally up to you, however a Contact page should be the bare minimum, then adding social media links, email and then live chat support as the need arises. You may also want to add business hours and your address if it is applicable.

    Regular Content

    Being active in updating the content of your store instils a sense of comfort whereby a customer knows that he/she is not in a deadzone. Fear of being in an abandoned site will obviously lead to phenomenal bounce rates. Updating your inventory or updating the product information helps your store stay fresh and alive.

    Consider creating a content strategy for your products by mapping out time-periods for content updates. Several merchants I work with now choose to have a content cycle for individual products, which means not uploading all the content right away, but doing it over a period of time. For example uploading the product and details right away, then in week 2 adding a long-form product description or even a dedicated blog post about it, and in the third or fourth week uploading a video of the product as either a review, a tutorial, or the now very popular unboxing video format.

    Even if your store features products with slow development cycles, you can work around this by generating blog content and being active on social networks about your regular operations or by events, expos or roadshows you attend. These updates also have the benefit of conveying to your customer that you are a creator and community participant, not solely a profit maker- or: Benevolent.

    Depiction of internet security in relation to trust

    The social psychology of trust in eCommerce is about putting yourself in your customer’s seat, figuring out where your customers will have gaps in trust, then patching those gaps up. Empathizing with your consumers and their trust needs requires taking action on providing information to ease them into a trustworthy relationship with you.

    As you can see, understanding the fears and pain points of your eCommerce users is paramount in increasing conversions. Trust exists differently for different people at different stages of their buying journey.The tactics mentioned above will alleviate common fears most customers have when encountering a new online shopping store. They work in tandem by gradually reducing risk-aversion and increasing belief in not getting ripped off.

    The Bottom Line:

    Shoppers need to trust you to provide them with a reliable, safe and convenient service before they will ever conduct online business with you.

    If you found this post useful, please consider sharing our eCommerce blog with those who will also benefit from it. Do also comment with your thoughts/examples/horror tales below, or if you want a more private conversation you can reach me via Email. Thanks!

  • Build Your Store
  • What’s NEW With The InstanteStore v8 Admin Panel

    After several months of hard work, the team at InstanteStore is proud to announce the launch of our NEW Admin Panel.

    For NEW Merchants

    The new admin panel has been re-designed to provide a step by step process in helping merchants setup their online store.

    InstanteStore New Admin Panel For Free Trial

     

    New merchants will be able to see their setup progress as they complete each step from selecting the template of their choice to uploading their store logo, products and choosing their payment gateway to configuring their shipping.

    The new admin panel will also remind them to download the InstanteStore app so they’ll be able to manage their online store wherever they are.

    The InstanteStore app makes it real easy for merchants to snap pictures of products they wish to sell and have them added to their online store. In case of any challenges, merchants can reach our friendly tech support team by taking a picture, recording a voice message, taking a video or explain the problem by text.

    The key is better and clearer communication for us to answer your questions and solve whatever problems you encounter  with your store.

    Once merchants add in their domain, they can share their new store via social media with their family and friends to start getting the word out about their new ecommerce store.

    The setup process ends when a merchant selects the subscription plan of their choice and signs up proper.

    For EXISTING Merchants

    DON’T WORRY if your store doesn’t have the new admin panel yet as our team is batch migrating all existing merchants to the new InstanteStore admin panel starting from today.

    We don’t want you to end up with a fright as some are still using previous versions of the old admin panel.

    Your new Admin panel will look like this once the team completes migrating your store :

    InstanteStore New Admin Panel

    So What’s NEW with the admin panel?

    Completely RESPONSIVE so you’ll be able to view it on desktop and tablet easily.

    Key indicators like New Orders, New Customers, Visitor Trends and Stock are shown clearly.

    You’ll have the freedom to re-arrange your entire dashboard to the way you want the sequence to look with our NEW Customize Panel feature.

    Just drag and drop to re-arrange it the way you like it.

    InstanteStore Customize Panel

    Important Features are all located on the dashboard – Admin, Products, Design and Marketing.

    Close the ones you don’t need and focus on those that you use often for your business.

    Click on the hamburger menu at the top to minimize the left hand control panel for better viewing.

    We’ve added a Search feature so you can easily search for functions. There’s even a search feature in your Order Listing page to help you search for specific orders.

    InstanteStore New Search Funtion

    Reach us easily by creating new tickets right on the Admin panel. See the latest replies for your Support Tickets the moment they are updated by our friendly tech support team.

    InstanteStore Support Ticket And View Store

    View your store in Admin mode (View Store) and Publish changes easily.

    The new Admin panel is smoother, faster, responsive and customizable which aims to help our merchants save time and gain faster access to features they normally use.

    We hope you’ll like the changes we’ve made as the team worked hard to create new features and improve the solution to help you grow your business.

    We want to simplify the process to help you save time as you focus on running your online store.

    Don’t have a store yet? Why not start one today with our 15 day free trial now?
    Try it Now

    Let us know what you think about the new admin panel —> We’d Love To Hear From You

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  • Build Your Store
  • Practical Ecommerce Tips For First Time Sellers

    Starting an online business requires a good business strategy with a lot of planning. Knowing what needs to be prepared when setting up an online store and how to go about it is crucial to help you get your ecommerce business off the ground.

    My previous post covered how to setup an online store with InstanteStore which is pretty straightforward on how to complete the setting up process.

    This post will further explain what first time sellers need to do when creating an online store. Let’s begin.

    Decide Who Are Your Target Customers

    You may have in mind what you want to sell. But you also need to determine what kind of customers to target. These are the folks who are going to buy your products.

    It’s not about putting up a bunch of products online and hoping that the fish will bite. Different fish go for different baits. If you’re going to catch sharks, you won’t use worms as bait.

    Now back to your target customers. Who would they be?

    Parents? Mothers? Singles? Teenagers? Young working adults?

    Your site needs to cater to your target customer groups.

    What are they looking for? Why should they buy from you? What makes your product different or special compared to others? Is your site convincing enough?

    How are your customers going to find you? If it’s going to be via mobile, make sure that your site is mobile friendly and responsive so that it will look good on mobile and rank higher on search results. Google made it clear that mobile friendly sites will rank higher in search results.

    Compile Your Keyword List

    Look at your keyword list (yes, you must have a keyword list). It will give you an idea on who are the potential customers searching for your products in Google.

    If you’re not sure how to get a keyword list, just type in your general product name in Google. You’ll notice that Google will provide suggestions before you finish typing in the complete keywords in the search box. Note down those keywords.

    Google Search Suggestion

    Look at the search results that appear. It will give you an idea on who your competitors are and the keywords that they’re using which you should note down.

    Google Search Result

    Scroll to the bottom of the search results page and you’ll see related keyword searches. Note down those keywords as well.

    Google Related Searches

    You’ll end up with a list of keywords which you’ll sift through to see which are the ones that you’ll need to put on your main site, category pages, product pages, contact us, FAQ, etc.

    That keyword list will keep growing as you expand your search further.

    Create Your Site For Your Customers

    Once you’ve gotten a clearer picture on who your target group is, that will give you an idea on how to create your site with the look and content to appeal to your target group of customers.

    For instance, if you’re selling fashionable products, you would have more product images of your clothing, shoes, accessories with only information that is relevant to your target customer (ie. size, color, type, etc) displayed properly on your product pages. Pictures need to look amazing to sell.

    Threadless Product Page

    If you’re selling technical equipment, you would have more detailed content of the various components like length, electrical current, compatibility, safety features, etc.

    Bottom line, create your site for your target customers. Your site needs to answer their questions and meet their needs in order to be considered working well.

    You need to create an ecommerce solution onboarding process for customers with an amazing user experience.

    Start With A Simple Template

    Since you’re just starting out, you don’t need an elaborate template. Pick a simple template because the idea is you want to quickly build your online store to get it off the ground running.

    Threadless

    You can always change and customize the template later. As long as your products and the customer onboarding process (from the time they land on your site to checkout and product delivery) is smooth, you can work on tweaking the looks of your site as time goes by.

    No point spending a tonne of money on your template when you’re just starting out unless you have plenty of budget to burn.

    Pick A Good Domain Name

    One that is preferably SEO friendly and easy to remember. No point having a long and complicated domain name that no one can remember and have trouble spelling it out on mobile.

    When I say SEO friendly, it would be related to whatever you’re planning to sell on your store.

    Choose Your Products Well

    You may have a long list of products that you want to sell. Narrow it down.

    Start by populating your site with less than 100 products first. This will allow you time to focus on building your online store while you can add more products later.

    Do your research to see how well those products are selling and what kind of keywords are being used to find those products. Note down those keywords.

    Check Out Your Competitors

    Find out how much your competitors are selling those products including shipping charges and tax. See if you can offer a better price or better value to your customers.

    Perhaps free shipping for orders above $49 or $99? Shipping matters a lot when it comes to online shopping. You need a good shipping strategy to convince customers to complete their orders and cut abandoned cart rates.

    Please put your shipping upfront so customers don’t have to go all over the place trying to figure out how you charge shipping. Example : $5.99 shipping on all orders OR Free shipping over $29

    You can even put Free Shipping Over $xx in your homepage meta description so it will appear in search results.

    Your shipping policy page should be clear and easy to understand.

    Shipping Policy

    Titles And Descriptions Matter

    This is one of the places where sellers don’t really bother much on but it is extremely important. Your site will stand a chance of ranking better if you add in proper page titles, meta descriptions, product names, product and category descriptions matching keywords that are being used to find those specific products.

    As people tend to land on product pages when searching for products, you need to make sure that your page titles and descriptions contain specific keywords that people are searching for.

    Since InstanteStore simplified their Add Product page, you just need to click on Advanced Product Settings and select Product Meta Details for the field to appear in all the product pages so you can key in the relevant keywords.

    InstanteStore Advanced Product Settings

    Product Meta Details

    InstanteStore Product Meta Details

    Not sure how or what to put in your product meta description? Start by :

    [Product Name] is a [type of product] used for [reason].

    Add in the keywords related to your product and your page title as well.

    Important keywords should appear in your :

    – Page Titles
    – Meta Description
    – Category Description
    – Product Name
    – Product Description
    – Alternate tags for your Product Images

    Category And Product Pages Description

    Make sure your product pages don’t confuse visitors or turn them off. If you have quite a bit of content, consider showing them in point form so that it’ll be easier to read.

    The type of font you use matters. Choose fonts that are easy to read.

    Same goes for your category pages. You can add in banner images but make sure that they do not distract visitors. Add in some relevant content in your category page.

    Threadless Category Page

    Be consistent with your writing style and always put yourself in the shoes of your customers. How would they like to view your store’s products? Would they be comfortable reading what you’ve put up?

    Your Own Product Images

    Whatever you’re selling, it’s always good to upload your own product images. You don’t need to spend a lot of money having them taken by a professional photographer.

    Use any smartphone that comes with a good camera and add in a white background (white paper is fine) with proper lighting to take your own product images. Good product images will go a along way. Put in several product images showing different angles and your product in use.

    Name your product images properly. State whether it’s Side, Back, Front, Top or Bottom. See if you could include in some keywords as alternate tags for your images.

    New Balance Product Page

    If you really don’t have the time and need help with making your product images pop out, check out Pixc as we have a good partnership with them.

    Payment Methods

    Offer more than one payment method to cater to customers’ preference. Some may want to pay using offline methods like checks, bank transfer other than the standard credit or debit card processing.

    Include in logos of credit card and payment methods like MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, etc to make your site look more trustworthy.

    FAQ Pages

    If you don’t want a barrage of emails from customers asking you the same thing over and over again, please update all their questions and your answers in a proper FAQ page.

    Also put in answers for questions that people normally ask in Google that’s related to your products. You can add them in to the specific product or category pages.

    The idea is to answer questions that customers will normally ask by putting them clearly on your site to cut down unnecessary email correspondence.

    Your return policies and shipping policies need to be stated clearly on your site.

    Contact Us Page

    State your contact details clearly. Adding in a phone number and working hours will help for customers who prefer to speak over the phone instead of typing email.

    If you run a small brick and mortar store, do add in a Google Map.

    Google Maps Generator

    Sign up for Google My Business as it will help customers find you easily in search results.

    Start Working On SEO

    For first timers, you need to start working on your SEO the moment you start building your online store.

    Create a blog and add that to your site. Start adding relevant content to it by offering tips, advice, how-to articles with the relevant keywords that you’re targeting.

    Include in videos and images of your product being used.

    Share your content on social media but remember to add links back to your site or specific product pages.

    The thing about SEO is that it’s not a one time instant thing. It requires consistency to build by adding relevant content to your site, blog and social media using targeted keywords.

    That’s why it’s important that you start working on your SEO the moment you start building your online store where you place targeted keywords in your titles, descriptions, category and product pages.

    The Rundown

    Setting up an online store is more than just adding products, payment and shipping methods. It includes coming up with an onboarding process for your customers and building your online store with the relevant keywords and target customer group in mind.

    Having an overall view of what you need to work on and add into your store as you’re building it will help you get your online store off the ground when you’re ready to launch it.

    Knowing what your competitors are selling and being able to offer better value and a good user experience will help you win customer confidence in buying from you.

    It takes time to grow an online business but with the right foundation being built and consistent work put in to make your site better with more exposure, you’ll be heading in the right direction.

    If you’re a first time online seller or existing merchant who’s been selling online for some time, we hope some of these how to sell online ecommerce practical tips are useful to help you grow your business further.

    Don’t have an online store yet? What are you waiting for? Sign up for a 15 day free trial of InstanteStore now.

    Try it Now

    We welcome any feedback, questions or suggestions you may have on ways to improve the selling process and to make doing business better for you.

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  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Create An Ecommerce Solution Onboarding Process For Customers

    Creating an online store is easy but have you given much thought on how to create an ecommerce solution onboarding process flow for customers?

    As in how to lead your customers to do what your site was built to do – get them to purchase your products or service.

    It all has to do with design and user experience.

    If the design is fantastic but the user experience to purchase from your store is a nightmare, you’ll end up with high abandoned cart rates.

    The other main reason for high abandoned cart rates would be shipping which you could improve by checking out the solutions here.

    So what do you need to do?

    Put Yourself In The Shoes Of A Customer

    What would captivate them when they land on your site?

    Mobile Surfing

    What’s the first thing that should capture their attention and be the WOW factor to keep them curious enough to browse further?

    Remember, first impression counts A LOT.

    Your online store exist to point customers to your products. Nothing else.

    All other elements should not compete for the customers’ attention as it will only distract them from making the purchase.

    Stuff like your shipping policy, About Us company write up and all those additional info about your business can be placed in other pages.

    They’re not suppose to fight for attention with your products.

    Build A Site That Will Captivate Them

    Your front page is your site’s main real estate. Make full use of it.

    If customers had a look at your front page, will they be interested to explore your site further?

    Or will they head for the hills??

    Display clear, high quality images.

    They can be in the form of a hero shot (big picture banner) or smaller shots of your product in use.

    saks

    Take into consideration the design of your site. Does it have an appealing offer upfront?

    Does Your Store Design Answer Customers’ Questions?

    Ever landed on a site where the store design did not jive with whatever they were trying to sell?

    The result? Visitors leave as they don’t have the confidence to proceed further.

    According to eMarketer, there’s currently more than 2 billion smartphone users worldwide with the breakdown according to countries.

    Smartphone Users Statistics

     

    Lots of smartphone users = lots of mobile shopping.

    And this number will continue to grow as mobile penetration increases year on year.

    And what do mobile users usually do? They prefer to scroll down to see more instead of clicking all over the place waiting for the page to load.

    Oh, and don’t forget that users these days comprise of this extra special group of people called millennials. They grew up with mobiles. Know what captivates them.

    Show your best products on your main page that’s clear enough for them to understand and quick enough for them to make the decision to buy.

    You can easily add products to your front page on InstanteStore.

    Admin menu > Discounts & Specials > Specials > Front Page.

    Just click Get Product and select those that you want to put on your front page.

    Arrange their sequence by considering how you want your customers to view them.

    InstanteStore Frontpage

    Make your front page look awesome and design your site with your customers in mind.

    It’s All About Your Products

    Your product pages should focus only on your product.

    kayak

    Good quality product images is a MUST.

    You need to have several product images from different angles and also show your product in use.

    This is so that customers can envision themselves using your product.

    If you’re going to add in a video, show how your product is being used that will make people happy.

    A little tug on the emotion can help tip the scales in your favor.

    You’ll notice that most sites use white background. This is so that their product images can stand out more clearly.

    Keep the customer’s focus on your product by making sure your product images are top notch.

    Take into consideration page loading time and your site needs to display correctly across all devices.

    Add In Reviews And Ratings

    Positive reviews and ratings go a long way to further convince customers about your product quality.

    Again, online shoppers these days spend more time doing research and comparing products.

    Convince them that you have a better quality product with proof.

    These will come in the form of reviews and ratings. Make sure your site has these features enabled.

    Approach customers who have purchased from you by asking them for a product review.

    You can then have these reviews added to your product page after you’ve screened them through.

    Admin > Products & Categories > Products > Product Review

    InstanteStore Product Review

    Make Checkout Smooth And Fast

    Pretend to be a customer shopping on your own site with a mobile device to see what the experience is like.

    If customers have to go through many steps just to buy from you and the experience isn’t pleasant, it increases the likelihood of abandoned carts.

    Our ecommerce software has a revamped checkout design which you could apply to your online store.

    We built it to make the checkout process fast as customers just need to fill up one form.

    InstanteStore Checkout

    More info about our revamped checkout design here.

    Contact our tech team if you need help or have questions about the revamped checkout design.

    Delight Them When The Product Arrives

    The user experience doesn’t end when they pay for the product.

    Keep your customers in the loop. Send them an email letting them know once their order has shipped out.

    Put in a Thank You note or include in a free gift as a way of appreciating your customers.

    Thank You

    Include in a discount coupon or gift cert to encourage them to share with their friends for the next purchase.

    If they’re elated when they receive their product, high chance they’ll share it on social media which is basically free marketing for you.

    Constantly Review Your Onboarding Process

    You need to constantly review your onboarding process to make your site look better, load faster with an amazing user experience.

    The key is to WOW customers and remove as much friction away so that they can buy from you seamlessly and share your site with others.

    Your site design needs to convince them that you’ve got an awesome product and the buying experience should not frustrate or hinder them.

    Reviews and ratings will convince them further on top of good quality images.

    Even if they didn’t complete the purchase, the emails that you send out should convince them that you value their visit and again, bring focus back to the product that they’ve added to the cart with one link to go back to complete the purchase.

    If you need help coming up with a custom designed email to reach your customers, let us know.

    We’ll be launching brand new design templates that are mobile friendly and responsive very soon.

    However, if you need help sprucing up your current store’s design, let us know by contacting our tech support team.

    These are important factors to take into account when you’re building your online store or looking for better ways to improve your current customer onboarding process.

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  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • eCommerce Feature: Setup Facebook Social Store With InstanteStore

    Facebook Store Galore

    We’ve seen many online retail stores profit greatly from having social network linked shops. Selling products on Facebook has proven to be a very effective method to increase sales. Every eCommerce website builder should come with at least Facebook store integration.

    To be clear, there are even merchants who work right out of Facebook, with no other platforms/shopping cart software, because it works! Why else would Facebook have such powerful advertising and targeting options?

    In fact, Facebook has now moved towards an Ad-Centric model over organic growth. They know that they have the largest active user-base, and they know they have the targeting capabilities for merchants to make successful ad campaigns. However, that goes deep into a topic we shall save for a later time.

    Today, we’re going to focus on setting up our Facebook store via the InstanteStore shopping cart software. It’s a fully integrated solution, and it’s actually very simple to setup. This won’t take very long at all- hopefully everyone has explored the merchant UI completely, and are somewhat familiar with all the features available and their locations within the UI.

    We start by expanding the Discounts & Specials tab, and under SPECIALS, we choose the last option:

    Facebook Shop Panel


    That will bring us to the Facebook social shop feature page:

    fb2


    From this page we can start adding products to the Facebook shop either by entering the Product ID, the Manufacturer Number, or the Product Name.

    Another option is to click the InstanteStore Social Shop link to go directly to Facebook and setup the product listing there.

    By clicking the link, we are taken to the social shop login directory on Facebook, where we are requested to login via our  Store Domain OR our Merchant ID:

    InstanteStore Social Shop Login


    Integrate the social store app with your stores Facebook page:

    InstanteStore Add To Page


    InstanteStore Social Shop Integration


    Once the app has been added to the relevant page, we can then start populating the store with our products. The InstanteStore apps makes it simple enough to add items by choosing the Auto-Populate option.

    If preferred, it is of course possible to manually import products from the merchant dashboard by selecting the appropriate categories:

    InstanteStore Social Shop


    Select the checkout type and we’re done!

    *a note about checkout types: research has consistently shown that longer checkout procedures have increase drop-off rate. Keep this in mind, as in most cases, Facebook shoppers will want to be able to checkout on Facebook, and not have to take the extra step to go to an external site to checkout. Simplicity for the shopper = increased sales  

    That’s all it takes! Simple right?

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • eCommerce Store Increased Sales: 3 Visual Recommendations

    Research has shown that the more time people spend in a store, the more money we end up spending. So the goal is to get people to stay in our eCommerce shops for longer than initially intended. How do we achieve this?

    Most of it has to do with the design of our digital domain. Today we are tackling simple visual aspects that can make or break an online retail business: Layout, Product Images, and Positioning.

    Firstly, just like physical store, a good layout is required.

    Consider the physical (or is it virtual?) positioning of UI elements. It would be ill-advised to have only one search bar, but to place it at the bottom of the page would be completely futile. Utilizing our digital real estate effectively only requires that we design in a way that we ourselves interact with websites.

    Amazon.com has a great layout, after years of testing we can be sure one of the biggest online stores knows what it is doing.  Have a look:

    Amazon.com


    The search bar is easily accessible. Right off the bat we can see it, and if needed use it. The navigation bar is simple and to the point, offering the most pertinent links. There is a full width banner displaying the current featured deal.

    There are in fact TWO “Sign In” areas, one at the top navigation bar, and one located in the left column of the main stage, followed by popular categories.

    Amazon has chosen not to have their home page cluttered with any specific product listings, but instead offers a wider view of available options.

    Here is another store with just as well-made a layout:

    Good Store Layout


    Next, let’s have a look at this site:

    Bad Layout


    Notice the difference? Then let’s move along post haste.

    Keep the most important elements above the fold. Customers don’t want to scroll far down the page to see featured or best selling products. Imagine walking past an IT store and seeing outdated, overpriced, unpopular products on display right in front. Nobody would go in! Instead, place the Featured Products & Best-Sellers in prominent locations to help customers know what’s trending and what’s new.

    How about using dynamic navigation bars? The ones that follow customers around while scrolling up or down a page. While those can be effective, it’s best to keep it minimal for best results. Once it becomes intrusive it distracts from products and brings customers out of the immersion. That’s the last thing we want!

    Have a look at HyperDC WebStore for a good example of non-intrusive, non-distracting navigation bar.

    Remember: just because a fancy tech is available, that doesn’t mean it needs to be used. Oftentimes, simple is sufficient. Tip the scale a little and that could mean conversions out the window.

    Next: Good quality visuals are a must! That cannot be stressed enough. To keep it simple, here are 3 things to always keep in mind:

    Good Product Images Focus On The Product:

    Good Image

    Shows a clear, focused image of the product on display


    Very Good Image

    A large image of the product on top, while still showing several variants within the same image


    Unclear Product Image

    Example of an unclear product image. Could focus more on either the shoes or the shorts. Hopefully the product isn’t the turf!


    Good Product Image

    BONUS: This product image is great! It features a model wearing the outfit, which will appeal to shoppers, while also showing the entire ensemble in a standalone image by the side.


    Good Product Images Are High Res:

    Low Res Product Image
    Use low resolution images and we may as well chase shoppers away with a stick!


    Always Use A Standardized Background:

    StandardVsNon


    Finally, we also need to be aware of mobile usability. 

    It goes beyond responsiveness. The design should consider what elements are most important for mobile users. Mobile users are working with less real estate space. Thus, only useful information and UI elements should show up at any one time.  Sizes should be large enough to target without needing the nimble fingers of a seasoned e-sports competitor.

    If the majority of our audiences are shopping on mobile devices, then the design should reflect the needs of a mobile user. The checkout button should be positioned such that the majority of users will be able to tap it with only our thumb.

    How about the top navigation bar? Will it be aligned left or right? Fact is, it should be large enough to target without fumbling about, and since this is mobile, it should almost always be dynamic, following the page as it is scrolled up or down. This is to ensure immediate availability when a user needs to search for something, especially if it is triggered upon seeing a similar product.

    Positioning may not seem like a big deal, and most of us running ecommerce businesses don’t consider it at all, but it pays off in the long run.

    Amazon again, this time on mobile: 

    Mobile Well Done

     

    These three visual upgrades ensure shoppers have a better, more productive shopping experience. To reiterate, more time spent = more money spent. Good layouts and quality visuals are one piece of the puzzle, and so knowing your audience inside and out will make a world of difference in increasing time spent online.

    Study shopper habits and figure out how to make time spent in our specific online stores pleasurable. With analytics and tracking, nothing needs to be left a mystery. Analyze the numbers to see what’s working, change what isn’t, and it won’t be long before you start seeing higher times spent engaging with your eCommerce website

    Share personal suggestions or successes below so we can grow together!

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • eCommerce Solutions: Drive Sales By Appealing To Different Shoppers

    How we shop


    Men & women shop very differently. Women browse more & compare products meticulously, whereas men are more likely to simply rush along single-mindedly hoping not to get distracted from the original purpose of having ventured into a marketplace. An eCommerce shop then, should cater to the differences that abound among shoppers.

    It is known that consumers connect with products they can touch and feel. Naturally, this not possible with digital stores, so the next best option is to have images linked to products at every possible turn. We’ve covered the importance of great product imagery in another post. This time it’s about bridging this gap between consumers viewing products online & finally holding it.

    For a start, our online store design should be able to display a section for browsing that is rational & prominent, while also having a predictive search tool available, preferably one that has product image integration. (Most eCommerce solutions should have this function)


    Image Search Bar


    In the example above, the search function at the top of the page not only auto completes keywords, it also provides an illustration along with the product title. This is a good feature to integrate with search bars for any eCommerce website as speed is key when the shopper is Product Focused.

    Browsers on the other hand need to see a large selection of items, but what is a display that is rational?

    Have a look at the example below, the categories are segmented in clear, distinctive sections, that are RATIONAL: it is alphabetized, and more importantly the sub-categories are in the right locations. There is also a sorting function available- surprising overlooked in many web stores, unnecessarily alienating Browsers.

    Rational Display


    Some shoppers are more inclined towards Social Proof. Social proof is a good way to convince online shoppers that they are on the right track. When we see that many others have purchased a product before us, it affirms our faith in it, and reduces fear of buying an unpopular product. This ties in closely to branding.

    Consumers trust brands that are popular, the simple reasoning being: if the brand produced terrible goods, it would certainly not be popular, would it? It’s that mentality that we are banking on when it comes to Sold Counters, as seen in the image below.

    Product Sold Counter


    Another way to appeal to Social Proof shoppers is to include product reviews. This isn’t a new concept when it comes to online businesses. Everybody does it:

    Business Social Proof


    The above is an example of a business page providing Social Proof in the form of a client testimonial. For online retail shops, ratings & reviews on specific products are the way to go:

    Rating System


    reviewsys


    The tricky part is actually getting customers to evaluate purchases. There are two ways to go about this: either irritate & anger customers, or please & delight us. I’m sure we’d all agree the latter is desirable. From the second customers enter our store, till the one they receive a purchase, the experience has to be a positive one. (Once again, shopping cart builders should rightly have these basic functions)

    Customers that have a positive shopping experience are likely to give your business a glowing review TOGETHER with the product review. There is no harm in requesting a review from customers either, most of us are happy to provide goodwill for nothing when we are pleased with an experience. A gentle pop-up is sufficient, even if it only results in a rating, which is better than nothing!

    Social Proof is useful for every kind of shopper out there, from the Product Focused, Browsers, One-Time Buyers, and even Bargain Hunters, hence it is important to get it right.

    Bargain Hunters are similar to Browsers, in that they are browsing online stores, only these customers are always looking for the best deal available. Ignoring this need will ensure a significant loss of potential sales. Every business has promotions to drive sales figures, we can take full advantage of this by having a dedicated section for promotional items, whether they are discounts, free items, promo codes, or referral bonuses.

    Bargain Hunter Promo


    Bargain Hunter Promo 2


    This online business selling wine, has great offers for Bargain Hunters:

    1. New Customer Discount
    2. Biggest Savings Section
    3. Clearance Sale Section

    By enticing Bargain Hunters with a sign up offer, we are ensuring such customers become part of the fold, and by catering so well to such needs, we further ensure the return to our stores. Here we see two sections catering fully to this segment, titled GREAT DEALS. The best bit is the ability to sort by savings!

    Every online store has to start somewhere, and not every business owner has the immediate resources to cater to each & every need. However these are the few most common needs that don’t take great effort to be met, and represent a large chunk of the consumer pie. Serving these segments well will ensure a larger user-base & greater sales figures. Neglecting them will ensure loss of potential profits.

    As always, we welcome comments & suggestions, help us all learn to better serve our markets by providing ideas or success stories/examples! Have a great day!

     

  • Build Your Store
  • 5 Ways To Save Money On Your Ecommerce Business

    No matter whether you’re a first time merchant who’s just starting an online store or a seasoned seller that’s currently running your own successful online business, saving money should be a priority.

    Here are 5 ways to save money on your ecommerce business that every seller should consider :

    Use FREE Email Accounts

    While many email providers offer free email accounts for personal use, it’s better to use a proper business email account to portray a more professional image when communicating with customers.

    Zohomail offers up to 25 FREE email accounts per domain which is plenty for your expanding ecommerce business. Here’s a look at their pricing :

    ZohoMail Pricing

    Google Apps used to be free when it was first launched by Google but if you’re planning to use them, here’s a look at their pricing :

    Google Apps Pricing

    At $5 per user per month, you’re looking at paying $60 per year per user if you go on a monthly basis.

    Now if you had 10 email accounts with Google Apps, that’s going to cost you $600 per year plus tax just for email accounts!

    My advice? Go for Zohomail first and once you’ve fully utilized your email account usage, you can consider going for their paid package. They’re ad-free too.

    Oh, when I say free email accounts, I meant those that are FREE without any other hidden conditions.

    Not free for the first 3, 6 or 12 months and then you have to pay for the following year. Certainly not those that come with a tonne of distracting ads.

    Create Your Own Logo And Customize Your Own Templates

    Every dollar counts for startups. You don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands on a logo design or custom template when you’re just starting out on a limited budget.

    Your site can still look good provided you have GOOD product images.

    All you need is a white background, good lighting and an exceptional camera (most mobile phones have a good camera).

    There are a few ways to create your own logo design :

    – create your logo as a text logo by using a font of your choice
    – sketch out your logo and use FREE image editing sites like Pixlr to create it

    Pixlr
    – utilize the style font that’s available on free templates by changing it to your brand name

    If you don’t have the time, creativity, patience or sanity for any of this, you could get a professional logo design created for only $69.97 with unlimited revisions and a money back guarantee from our partners at Logo-Design-Studio.com

    They’ll provide you with the digital files without any additional cost once your logo is confirmed and will even help you upload it to your site on InstanteStore if you need them to.

    Our free templates are completely customizable so you can make some changes on the color and layout of your store on your own.

    However, if you’re unsure on how to do it, you can describe what you need done and our friendly tech support team will be able to guide you on how to make the changes.

    Before you contact tech support, please have a clear idea on what you want and list it down as accurately as possible to avoid a waste of time answering questions back and forth.

    Our new InstanteStore App Support Ticket feature improves communication by allowing merchants to send our tech team images, video, voice recordings and text. Please make use of that.

    Cut Down On Transaction Costs

    Many payment gateways may charge setup fees on top of monthly fees and transaction fees for every order processed.

    If you’re only targeting domestic customers, consider accepting online bank transfer, checks, cash or ATM deposit as offline payment methods.

    If you’re just starting out, stick with the most popular payment gateways like PayPal as they’re internationally recognized and will only charge you when a transaction is received so you won’t be burdened by huge setup fees or monthly fees.

    PayPal

    If you already have a running store with frequent orders, then you can compare and check with some of the payment gateways to see if they can give you a better offer or change package to one that will give you a better bang for your buck.

    The idea is to minimize the amount of fees that you’ll have to pay.

    Fine Tune Your Shipping

    Customers don’t like to pay high shipping fees. Better still if they can get free shipping.

    But on your end, one of the ways that you can help your customers save money is by lowering the shipping cost for them.

    And you can do so by fine tuning your shipping calculations.

    This will require some preparation on your end as you’ll need to measure your product weight, dimensions and packaging details to calculate the postage cost as accurately as possible if you’re setting manual shipping rates.

    Our ecommerce solutions is integrated with USPS, UPS, Fedex and Australia Post, so you’ll also be able to offer real time carrier rates to your customers.

    Think of the best way to save cost for them.

    Being cost effective with your shipping will help you and your customers save money in the long run.

    Be careful that you don’t end up with a loss on shipping charges.

    Watch Out For Chargebacks

    Chargeback are a real pain as sellers will have to pay a fine if the buyer wins.

    It happens when a customer raises a dispute on a charge on their credit card.

    Credit Cards

    While some chargebacks are legitimate, others could be a result of unscrupulous buyers wanting to take advantage of sellers.

    The usual would claim that they did not receive the product or was mislead when they bought the product or service that was not as described on the site.

    One of the ways to prevent chargebacks is to accurately describe your products with proper product images, description, pricing and information on your site.

    You’ll also need to prove that you’ve sent out the products to your customers by using tracking and documenting everything from order confirmation to invoices to packing slips and delivery confirmation.

    If you’re offering a service, you’ll need to show proof that you’ve provided the service after payment was made to counter the dispute.

    In Short

    While these are just some of the ways for a new online business to save money, it will at least help to stretch your budget a bit further.

    And if you’re at a loss on how to get it done, you can always contact us as we want to help you save cost and grow your business.

    While we can’t offer you the whole farm for free, we can provide you with advice and guidance to help you along the way.

    Let us know if you have any questions, suggestions or feedback as we work on making our ecommerce software better to add value to your online business.

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  • Build Your Store
  • How To Setup An Online Store With InstanteStore

    To be honest, setting up an online store doesn’t really take much time.

    It’s the preparation BEFORE the setup process that you need to think through and work on which will ensure that everything gets built properly.

    Otherwise, a lot of people won’t be able to complete creating an online store.

    Here’s the important to-do list to help you get an idea on what needs to be prepared and how to setup your online store with InstanteStore which will save you time.

    Get Your Product Info Ready

    This will consist of your Product Name, Price, Description, Images, Product Weight (for shipping calculation), Product Options (for products that require options like color, size, etc), Stock Count (in case you keep inventory).

    If you’re planning on selling downloadable or digital products, you’ll need to get the files ready.

    Here’s a look at the Add Products page which you’ll need to fill up with your product details :

    InstanteStore Add Product Page

    Need a bit more info on how to Add Product Images and Advanced Product Setting? Please click here.

    If you have a lot of products, please group them into categories. This will prevent your online store from looking like a mess when you build it.

    Those who are planning on selling only a few products don’t need to create any categories if all your products can be displayed on the front page.

    When I say a few, I mean 20 products or less.

    To see what your store looks like in public, click View Store.

    To Add Product in View Store, just click New Product.

    To have a look at all the products you’ve added, go to Admin page, click Manage Products (top blue nav bar).

    If you’re planning on selling more than 100 products and would like to Bulk Upload instead of adding them one by one, please prepare a product file.

    You’ll need to get all your product images ready and have their names stated correctly in your product file.

    Don’t worry if you don’t know how to bulk upload your file. Our friendly tech support can provide you with a sample file format to follow and walk you through the process if you’re not sure how.

    Which Payment Method To Use?

    Which payment gateway do you want to use to accept payment from customers?

    Have you done your research to compare the different payment gateways along with the rates and transaction fees that they charge?

    These are some of the popular payment methods that merchants normally use :

    InstanteStore Add Payment Method

    Are you also planning on using offline methods like accepting checks, money order, Cash On Delivery, etc?

    Some of the Offline Payment Methods that you can consider :

    InstanteStore Offline Payment Methods

    Our ecommerce solution allow merchants to use BOTH online and offline payment methods to receive payment from customers.

    For online payment gateways, you’ll need to set up your account with them FIRST and then key in your account details in InstanteStore to link your account.

    For your info, InstanteStore does not charge any transaction fees. Whatever you make goes to you.

    To set up Payment, go to Admin Menu > Settings > Payment & Shipping > Payment.

    Our shopping cart software is integrated with more than 80 payment gateways to service merchants internationally. Here’s the list.

    Planning Your Shipping Method

    Are you planning to ship domestically or internationally?

    Will you be using real time shipping rates or charging postage based on weight or order value or number of products?

    Are you going to offer free shipping?

    Will you be shipping from one location only or from multiple locations? You’ll need to be clear about these options in order to setup shipping.

    Here’s how to configure shipping in InstanteStore which you can read here.

    To configure Shipping, go to Admin Menu > Settings > Payment & Shipping > Shipping.

    If you’re not sure how to set up your shipping, don’t panic. Contact our tech support and let them know so they can guide you on how to set it up.

    Decide Which Template To Use

    You can pick the template of your choice by going to Admin Menu > Design & Content > Templates > Customize Templates

    InstanteStore Template

    See a template you like? Click Use ONLY This Template.

    The other button called Add To Split Test is for the InstanteStore Template Split Test feature. More info on that here or you can click on the video button below the question mark to find out more about it.

    All the templates are free and customizable. If you need to make changes to the template, just use the Template Editor (View Store > Template).

    InstanteStore Edit Template

    Those who are more technical can access the CSS (top right corner) to make more changes to their store template.

    However, if you want a custom designed template, InstanteStore can accommodate that to help you with your business branding. Custom designed templates start from $797.

    Please let tech support know along with any other custom feature that you would like for your store so they can advise a competitive quote together.

    Do You Have A Store Logo?

    If you already have a company logo design, you can upload it to your store.

    During the free trial, just End Tour, click on View Store (on the top blue nav bar) > Template.

    In the Template Editor, right mouse click on your logo to upload it.

    InstanteStore Template Editor Logo

    Large logos will need to be re-sized so that it’s able to display properly in the template of your choice.

    Don’t worry if you don’t know how to get a logo re-sized. You can use Pixlr or contact tech support and send them your logo file.

    If you don’t have a logo but need help creating one, go to Logo-Design-Studio.com and they can have one created for you.

    Have You Thought About Your Domain?

    Rule of thumb when picking a domain is to keep it short and easy to remember.

    Think about keying in your domain name on a mobile and you’ll get what I mean. The longer and more complex the domain name, the harder it is for someone to remember much less type it out on their mobile.

    Have a list of domain names and narrow it down. You can easily purchase the domain from domain registrars or ask InstanteStore to purchase on your behalf if you require our services for online store setup services.

    You can only add in your domain to your store AFTER you sign up proper.

    This is usually the last step once your store has been set up, tested and is ready to go live.

    Setting Up Your Email Accounts

    While some may prefer to use their own personal email accounts (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc), those who want their email accounts to reflect their business can consider Google Apps (chargeable per month) or ZohoMail (free).

    Zohomail

    Email accounts can be set up once your domain is registered with a ready site.

    That’s because part of the email setup process requires domain verification by the email provider.

    Please decide how many email accounts you require and what are their details (account name, password, email account) if you require our tech support to help you set up either Google Apps or ZohoMail.

    If you prefer to use Google Apps, you’ll need to pay for the subscription with Google separately.

    Google Apps Pricing

    Again, don’t worry as InstanteStore can help you set up these email accounts unless you’re planning on using your own personal email accounts.

    The Setup Process

    Creating an online store with InstanteStore is easy.

    New merchants who sign up for the free trial don’t have to worry as they’ll be guided by a tour.

    And in case you really don’t know what to do at the tour stage, a popup window will appear asking if you need any help.

    That’s where you can reach our friendly tech support team and they’ll be in touch to guide you through the setup process.

    InstanteStore Pop Up Help

    The tour covers 4 main areas that needs to be completed :

    – Add Products, Add Payment Method, Configure Shipping Method and Signup.

    The entire setup process won’t take you long to complete PROVIDED you’ve got ALL your information ready.

    It’s then just a matter of adding your products, putting them in the right category, adding your payment method and configuring your shipping.

    Then you run a few tests on your online store by pretending to be a customer to make sure everything is correct.

    Once you’re satisfied with your online store, please purchase your domain and request your domain provider to point your domain to our DNS Servers :

    Primary DNS:    ns.esolved.com
    Secondary DNS:    ns2.esolved.com

    After you sign up proper with InstanteStore, just go to Admin Menu > Settings > Administrator > Manage Domains to key in your domain and have it verified.

    If you need us to help you set up email accounts with ZohoMail or Google Apps, please contact our tech support by providing them the email account details.

    You can reach tech support by clicking on Help (top blue nav bar) > Support Ticket.

    That’s how you setup an online store with InstanteStore.

    If you run into any problems or have questions, suggestions or feedback, please let us know and we’ll be more than happy to help you.

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  • Affiliate Marketing
  • InstanteStore Partnership With iPay88 Will Benefit Malaysian Merchants

    Malaysian merchants who are planning to start an online business will be pleased to know that InstanteStore is integrated with iPay88 which is one of South East Asia’s leading payment gateway.

    InstanteStore is able to help local merchants who are starting a new business with an online store setup.

    Depending on what merchants require, we can custom design the template to fit the look and branding of a business.

    This saves merchants’ time as some prefer to have our ecommerce web designers set up their site’s design for them.

    Those who wish to find out more on how to set up an online store or who have questions on what they need to prepare beforehand can drop us an email and we’ll be happy to walk them through the process.

    Now every online store will need to have a payment gateway to accept payment from customers.

    Our partnership with iPay88 will help local Malaysian merchants who are keen on starting an ecommerce business.

    Malaysian merchants can consider the following plans that are being offered by iPay88 :

    SOHO Plan (Small Office Home Office)
    One Time Setup Cost : RM488 + 6% GST (WAIVED wef 19th July 2016)
    Yearly Maintenance Fee : None
    Able to accept local online banking and PayPal (Optional)
    Pay One Time Credit Card Processing Fee if wish to accept credit card payment
    One Time Credit Card Processing Fee (Optional) : RM900 + 6% GST
    Transaction Rate :
    Local Online Banking : 3.5% or minimum RM0.60 (whichever is higher) + 6% GST
    PayPal : 3.2% + 6% GST
    Credit Card : 3.5% + 6% GST

    Pay Total One Time ONLY RM517.28 for online banking & PayPal (WAIVED wef 19th July 2016) OR
    Pay Total One Time ONLY RM954 for online banking, PayPal & credit card processing

    SME Plan (Small Medium Enterprise)
    One Time Setup Cost : RM488 + 6% GST
    Yearly Maintenance Fee : RM500 + 6% GST
    Able to accept local online banking and PayPal (Optional)
    Pay One Time Credit Card Processing Fee if wish to accept credit card payment
    One Time Credit Card Processing Fee (Optional) : RM900 + 6% GST
    Transaction Rate :
    Local Online Banking : 2.9% or minimum RM0.60 (whichever is higher) + 6% GST
    PayPal : 3.2% + 6% GST
    Credit Card : 2.9% + 6% GST

    Pay Total One Time ONLY RM1047.28 for online banking & PayPal OR
    Pay Total One Time ONLY RM2001.28 for online banking, PayPal & credit card processing
    Pay YEARLY Maintenance Fee of RM500 + 6% GST

    Note :

    Merchants have the option to activate PayPal for both plans with no additional setup fee.
    Both plans offered by iPay88 are only for Malaysian merchants whose businesses are registered in Malaysia.
    Local online banking covers only Malaysian local banks with the exception of United Overseas Bank (UOB).
    Credit card processing covers all local and international credit cards that have a MasterCard or Visa logo.
    Merchants who wish to accept American Express must have a merchant ID with Maybank.

    Currently, SME Corp under the Malaysian government is encouraging local Malaysian merchants to set up ecommerce businesses.

    Hence they have an agreement with iPay88 to help subsidize the setup fee of RM488 for new Malaysian merchants who meet the following criteria :

    Terms and Conditions to qualify for SME Corp Promotion (subsidy waiver of setup cost RM488) :
    – Yearly turnover less than RM50 million
    – Number of employees less than 200 pax
    – Company paid up capital less than RM100,000
    – First time apply payment facility under SME Corp Promotion
    – Website must be up and running

    The SME Corp Promotion is applicable for both the SOHO and SME Plan.

    Merchant need to sign up for either plan first exclude setup fee payment of RM488.

    iPay88 will apply on behalf of merchant to SME Corp and will inform merchant whether their application has been approved or rejected by SME Corp.

    If the application is rejected by SME Corp, merchant will have to pay the setup cost of RM488 + 6% GST

    New iPay88 application by merchants will take around 3 – 5 working days to process.

    Once approved, merchants can start doing business.

    However, application for credit card processing for new merchants may take 1 – 2 months for approval.

    Don’t worry as iPay88 will offer assistance throughout the application process with the bank.

    Malaysian merchants who need help creating an online store and setting up an iPay88 payment account could contact us.

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  • Build Your Store
  • InstanteStore New Add Product Image Feature

    We’ve taken into account some of your feedback to make InstanteStore better for you.

    One of them was to make adding product images simpler, faster and better.

    The old way of adding product images used to look like this.

    Now, we’ve streamlined the process so that you can straight away add in your product images by either selecting or dragging them to the box.

    Just pick your best or highest quality images and our Image Handling System will display them in the right size on all your page and layouts.

    Sample Product Images

    Easily arrange the image sequence by dragging and dropping the uploaded images.

    Pretty straightforward stuff.

    Sample Add ProductsIf you need to upload more than 4 product images, please let us know.

    The team at InstanteStore has also streamlined the entire add and modify product interface so that features that are not normally used are collapsed by default.

    This makes it easier and faster for you to scroll through when adding or modifying your products.

    Merchants who require more features for their products have the power to choose which feature they would like to use by clicking on Advanced Product Settings.

    Advanced Product Settings

    Just check the boxes next to the features that you want to have when adding or modifying products.

    Advanced Settings

    That way, you can customize your interface to suit the needs of your store.

    We hope that these changes will help you save time as we work on making the selling process simpler, faster and more efficient.

    Please continue to send us suggestions, comments and feedback as we work hard to help you grow your business.

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  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • 4 Crucial Ways To Update Your Website

    Your website may be turning visitors away without you knowing it. When was the last time you made sure that your site was up to date?

    Here are 4 crucial ways to update your website which every business should look into urgently.

    Is Your Site Design Still Stuck In Time?

    Well, since we’re all still in the New Year mood, it’s a good time to make sure that your website looks like the year 2016. If it still has the 90’s or year 2000 look, you better be scrambling to get your site design revamped.

    Remember this?

    Ok, we do have a blue iMac but it’s now a decorative piece in the office for nostalgic purposes.

    Back to the now..

    No more ugly lines and borders right? Take it from Apple. They continue to improve the design and look of their website.

    Business owners who have an online presence needs to make sure their site looks up to date. Need major help? Give us a shout.

    Mobile-Friendly Please

    Last year in April 2015, Google announced that mobile-friendliness will be one of the ranking signals that it takes into consideration for Google search results.

    Well that makes perfect sense as mobile usage has grown by leaps and bounds.

    Users prefer to search with their mobile phones and they expect quality search results.

    Use Google’s mobile-friendly test to check whether your site fulfills their criteria or not. Let us know if you need help converting your site to be mobile-friendly with responsive design.

    Speed Up Your Website

    You know how annoying it is when a website takes ages to load. Users don’t like to wait.

    This could be due to a few reasons ranging from the site not being mobile-friendly, not responsive or it’s got too many heavy images that are not optimized.

    This needs to be fixed as your slow loading site could be costing you sales.

    Check your website with Google Page Speed Insights

    Are You Reaching Your Visitors?

    Your website needs to capture the email addresses of your visitors.

    Decide how you want to do it – when they land on your site or at checkout.

    That way you can email them updates about your latest products, services, launches, sales or to get their feedback.

    Just don’t overdo it unless you want your mails to end up in the spam folder.

    These are just the minimum requirements that each business needs to look into when it comes to updating their website.

    Project a professional image, make sure the site is mobile-friendly with responsive design, loads fast on any device and be able to capture visitor information to engage them.

    If you need help on any of these, just drop us a mail. Hope your New Year’s been great.

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  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • InstanteStore Partners With Pixc To Offer Awesome Product Images

    Product images. It’s important because it can either capture your buyer’s attention or turn them off. Before making the purchase decision, buyers want to get a visual sense of the product. And your product images can either make or break the sale.

    While the team at InstanteStore works hard to improve our ecommerce solution to help you sell more, we’re also happy to partner with Pixc who specializes in making product photos and images look awesome. They work hard to remove the background so that your product will stand out and have a more professional look and feel to it.

    Key points to consider for your product photos :

    Show High Quality Images

    Many sites have poor quality images or they just don’t look professional. Would you buy from a site that has poor quality product images which you can’t really make out or see the detail?

    Pixc Gallery

    Not bad huh? Those were some of the product images that Pixc worked on from their gallery.

    Here’s a look at their pricing :

    Pixc PricingIf you have a lot of product photos that needs working on, this will save you a lot of time to have it professionally done.

    Signing up with Pixc is easy as they offer a free trial to show you how good their kung fu is. Click here to create an account with them.

    Show Different And Detailed View

    Nike Air Max

    Instead of only 1 product image, sellers who show a few more different and detailed view of their products stand a better chance of convincing buyers to buy from them. InstanteStore allows up to 4 images per product with zoom option. More about it here.

    Draw Attention To Your Products

    At the end of the day, you want buyers to focus on your product because that’s what you want them to buy. While it’s important to make sure that your product images look good and professional, please ensure that your entire site complements the products that you are selling.

    If you need help with the look of your site, let us know and we’ll be more than happy to spruce it up for you.

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  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • InstanteStore Revamped Checkout

    Found something you like online? Buying it should be fast, easy and seamless whether you’re using a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile… until you encounter the dreaded multi page checkout!

    Well the team at InstanteStore got some feedback from merchants who wanted a much faster and cleaner checkout page so we’ve revamped the checkout process.

    The result? InstanteStore’s NEW Revamped Checkout design.

    checkout-screen

    Upon registering, the revamped checkout comes pre-filled with both Billing and Shipping Address. Shipping options are fully displayed for easier selection along with payment methods. Got a coupon or gift cert? Just add it in.

    Just in case buyers want to update their billing address OR change their shipping address, they could do so effortlessly WITHOUT leaving the page.

    checkout-screen-2

    That’s it! Everything is all on ONE checkout page. No more multiple pages to fill up wasting time going back and forth.

    Here’s a short video clip on how it looks :

    So let us know what you think about it.

    IMPORTANT NOTE : Please contact us if you want to have the new Revamped Checkout ACTIVATED for your store.

    If you have more suggestions and feedback on how best to improve the solution, please let us know. We enjoy helping you sell more.

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  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • New InstanteStore App Upgrades

    Hello everyone! We’ve been getting feedback about our InstanteStore App and our developers have been hard at work making the necessary changes to it. The new upgrades include an enhanced interface making the dashboard, product page, customer and order page look better.

     

    Instantetore App Order And Customer
    InstanteStore App Order And Customer

    Merchants can now easily add up to 4 product images in the product page by selecting from their mobile phone photos or they can take a photo of their product instantly. The product fields have all been simplified making it faster and more convenient for merchants to enter in their product details.

    InstanteStore App Add Product
    InstanteStore App Add Product

    Merchants who are constantly on the go will be pleased to know that we’ve added phone notifications to the InstanteStore’s App Settings. By turning on the notifications, merchants can choose to receive their order notifications either by per order, daily, weekly or on a monthly basis.

    InstanteStore App Setting Notifications
    InstanteStore App Setting Notifications

    The InstanteStore App upgrades are meant to help merchants add products easily and quickly to their store with their mobile phones using a clean and easy to use interface. Merchants can be notified of new store orders by setting the notifications they choose to receive.

    Anyway, if there are new features that we can add to help you sell more with InstanteStore, please let us know by sending us an email. We’re constantly working on new features to help you sell more or make your day-to-day operations easier.

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  • Cutting Edge Techniques
  • Google Material Design

    Google launched their new design guidelines somewhere middle of last year called Material Design because they wanted to come up with a new look and feel for all their apps. Since Google’s Android platform is being used in so many different devices and screens such as TVs, watches, mobile, automobiles, etc, they needed a streamlined design interface that is both intuitive, fluid yet responsive. Hence the Google Design team had to basically start from ground zero to create a better new design system.

    Lollipop

    Those who’ve tried out the new Android 5.0 Lollipop would definitely love the smoothness of Google’s Material Design at work. The look and feel of the user interface has improved tremendously. Users who are still using previous versions of Android may need to check whether their device are upgradable to the latest Lollipop version so they can experience the difference.

    tumblr

    In order to create a better design system, Google’s design team pretended to work for different brands to come up with a new material design look and feel for their sites – just to make sure that they can get it right and to show that the design system is expendable for 3rd parties. Users will notice the new Tumblr site has not only been redesigned but that its app works, looks and feels better on mobile as a material design app.

    Designers will need to learn the new material design system in order to design apps for 3rd party users. The demand for material design apps will increase as companies want to ride on the latest design language that will allow their sites and apps to run and integrate smoothly in both Android and iOS with the rise in consumer mobile usage.

    Material Design

    Remember when Microsoft launched Windows 8 and Apple released iOS 7 changing the look of their interface to flat design? So in short, Google’s Material Design may look like the continuation of flat design but based on their design principle, they are actually looking to nature to create designs with meaning instead of incorporating design from man-made objects. They want users to easily identify and connect with not just the design layout but the way it functions in a more natural manner.

    Colors are now more bold along with the fonts. You’ll notice the contrast and the fact that the interface is now more consistent, fluid and responsive when viewed on different devices.

    Check out the short intro video on Google Material Design to see what I mean :

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  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • Here Comes Mobilegeddon And Project Fi

    On 21st April 2015, Google launched its algorithm that will now rank mobile-friendly sites higher in terms of search rankings. So don’t be surprised if your site’s rankings change if you still haven’t mobile optimized your site to make it mobile-friendly. You can find out more info here.

    Previously, search rankings were the same whether you were searching from desktop, tablet or mobile. But with the recent algorithm change, only searches made via mobile will be affected globally and in every language. This makes sense as folks who do mobile searches will want to access sites that are mobile optimized for easier viewing and that loads fast on their devices. Hence non-mobile friendly sites will be pushed further down in rankings.

    Call it mobilegeddon as this will make a huge difference for businesses whose customers prefer to shop using mobile.

    Not mobile friendly = mobile search ranking may go down = less visibility = less sales
    Mobile friendly = mobile search ranking may go up = more visibility = more sales potential

    The recent change will further propel mobile ad spending by retailers and businesses that are keen to capture the mobile consumer market.

    Google’s Android Capturing Smartphone Market

    Android

    Did you know that Google’s Android operating system has captured the huge Latin American markets followed by Apple’s iOS?

    iOS

    The report by eMarketer shows Android clearly dominating the smartphone market in Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Mexico.

    Smartphone Owners Latin America

    Project Fi By Google

    Project Fi

    Google is serious about moving towards mobile as they launch Project Fi aiming to offer the highest quality and easiest connection for mobile users across all networks and devices. Offering a better, faster, smoother service working with hardware makers, leading carriers and users will allow a better level of global connectivity.

    The new technology they are developing aims to connect users to the best networks that are available be it WiFi hotspots, LTE carriers or cell networks – seamlessly. So if you’re making a call in a WiFi area, your call will go through WiFi and the moment you step out of WiFi coverage, your call will automatically transition to cell networks without the call being interrupted – same goes for when you’re surfing.

    Users who do not want to loose connection or be limited to only their carriers, location and connection speed wherever they go will find this service very appealing. Here’s the intro short video on Project Fi :

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  • Cutting Edge Techniques
  • Is Your Site Mobile Friendly With Responsive Design?

    With Google announcing to change their search algorithm to include mobile friendliness as one of the ranking signals, this goes to show their shift in recognizing the importance of mobile shoppers in ecommerce.

    Hint : Are you ready for the next shopping season?

    As more folks use their mobile phones to surf and shop for stuff, it’s important to ensure that your site is mobile optimized with responsive design. This ensures that your site not only looks good but is able to load fast and adapt responsively to the different screen size of phones and tablets.

    Having a mobile responsive layout means that only the necessary information is shown to users when they access your site with their mobile devices. That makes the page load faster as consumers want to get straight to the point with their devices.

    If you want to check whether your site is mobile friendly according to Google’s standard, just use their mobile friendly test by adding in your site’s URL.

    Mobile Friendly Test

    The choice to change is completely up to business owners as some may prefer to maintain their current website look without wanting it to be responsive. However, for those who are interested to have a complete website design revamp, just drop us a line and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • New InstanteStore Website Launched

    Well our brand new website sure looks like a breath of fresh air. We’ve taken the effort to do some massive spring cleaning so that visitors and customers won’t be overwhelmed with all the information that we previously had on the old website! We hope you like the new InstanteStore website design. It just went live a couple of days ago.

    New InstanteStore Admin Panel
    New InstanteStore Admin Panel

    New customers who sign up for free trial will also find our brand new Admin panel simplified. For those who are still using the old Admin panel, don’t worry as most of the functions have been condensed and simplified into the right side drop down list. Click on it to expand or condense the list.

    We’ll let you know when we are ready to migrate existing merchants who are using the old Admin panel to the new Admin panel. The aim is to let merchants have a quick glance on how their store is performing when they login to their store.

    We hope you guys like the new changes and design. Let us know your thoughts, feedback and suggestions. Till then, have a great week!

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  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • Is Your Site’s Color Scheme Helping To Convert?

    For those who’ve been selling consistently online, there’s always the need to find out what else can be done to further improve conversion. I’ve mentioned before on how important it is to have a good site that’s able to bring out or complement the type of products that is being sold and citing some of the top sites that we can learn from. Click here if you haven’t read it.

    To take it a notch higher, sites that look good would have taken the time to analyze their color scheme. As in what’s the best color for the Add To Cart buttons, which text color to use to emphasize importance and which color to grab buyer’s attention for pricing. Amazon is a good example :

    Amazon Color Scheme
    Amazon Color Scheme

    The usual colors that we normally take for granted usually carry some form of meaning. Test have shown that colors that normally converts are yellow, orange, red and green as long as they are not used prominently in other parts of the site. Hence Amazon uses yellow as their primary CTA (Add To Cart) while grey is used as their secondary CTA (Add To Wish List).

    So have a look at your own site and see whether your call to action text, buttons and pricing could use a little tweaking. Remember that color will affect the mood, feelings and emotions of buyers with the ability to make them feel comfortable enough to continue browsing and to encourage them to make a purchase.

    If you need help with your site’s design and template, just send us a ticket! Have a good one!

  • Cutting Edge Techniques
  • Introducing The InstanteStore Template Split Test

    We’re pretty excited to introduce our new template split test feature for all our merchants to try out. The new template split test allows them to gauge how well the template of their store is performing as compared to another or several other templates. Yup, you can choose and customize up to 5 different templates if you want! Decide which ones you want to go live and the system will do the rest.

    We’ve taken your feedback to heart when you requested for brand new templates and the flexibility to customize them. Now we’ve added a split test feature to our template system so that you can compare real life results in order to help you make better decisions for your online store.

    In case you’re worried that you’ll mess up your store, fret not. Merchants have the option to decide which templates to go live and which ones to stay in Admin mode (not viewable to the public but only to the store administrator).

    So if your customers or friends have been complaining that your website looks REALLY OUTDATED, it’s high time to try out some new templates to see which ones will improve the performance of your online sales. Don’t worry as you can always select your old template back (provided you don’t delete them off!).

    By the way, we’re not charging for this feature (yet!). It’s our way of helping our merchants sell more when they are able to see the results themselves and make their own decisions on whether to stick with their old template or to use any of our free new templates.

    So let us know what you think. We appreciate feedback, questions or suggestions on how we could help you sell more. Here’s a short video on how it works. Till then, happy selling!

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • 3 Reasons Why Amazon Looks The Way It Does And Gets Away With It

    Busy Online Store Front Page

    Many merchants try to make their stores look and work like Amazon or a competitor’s site without knowing exactly why those sites look and function the way they do. Copying a look or function without knowing the purpose of it could just be a waste of resources. Having a function just because it looks cool may not necessarily result in more sales.

    Amazon, for instance, looks and functions the way it does because of a few reasons.

    The Thing Is: Amazon Sells Everything, You Probably Don’t…But That’s A Good Thing
    Amazon sells millions and millions of products every year even though their product pages are not exactly easy on the eyes. This is due to the fact that their pages are not specifically designed to cater to a specific niche so compromises have to be made in terms of design.

    What You Can Do:
    For normal online stores which cater to a specific target groups, not paying attention to design could spell disaster. But, you don’t have to lose sleep over your website’s design, you just have to do enough to make it look the part.

    A simple yet functional design could do more good than a really good looking store that distracts shoppers from the ultimate objective – making a purchase.

    The Thing Is: They Have A Really Powerful Tracking Algorithm
    Amazon makes up for the lack of eye candy with with functionality which is constantly tweaked thanks to input from their super powerful tracking algorithm.

    This algorithm tracks everything from cursor movements to the amount of time a shopper spends at a particular section of a page. It also tracks search behavior and buying patterns of shoppers.

    This kind of real-time data crunching and analysis is out of reach to most ecommerce merchants. But all is not lost.

    What You Can Do:
    You can use the data which is already available to you from your shopping cart and combine them with tools like Auto-Responders For Abandoned Carts. Choosing to be notified when a shopper uses the Stock Availability Notification feature will help you gauge what people really want from your store. All these little snippets of data could collectively impact your store in a big way.

    Making more sales is not just about getting in more traffic but also about making full use of the traffic you already have. The latter would allow you to make more money without having to spend more to acquire additional traffic.

    But don’t just stop there, find out why a particular product is so popular at your store and emphasize that advantage in your advertising and promotions.

    The thing Is: The Amazon Brand Is A Traffic Magnet
    Amazon started out selling only books online way back in 1995. Thanks to their head start, they managed to build their brand name in a relatively blue ocean scenario.

    Which is why when they later diversified into selling almost everything from A to Z, their brand was easily associated with online shopping. So much so that some shoppers used to bypass Google and do their product searches on Amazon itself.

    With that kind of targeted traffic at their door step, they didn’t really need their site to look super nice. They just needed it to work really well.

    What You Can Do:
    Fortunately, Amazon is no longer the default site for online shoppers as other smaller stores have been scoring points on prices, customer service and so on.

    Through SEO, social media, PPC, WEB 2.0 and a more determined effort in offering a better shopping experience to shoppers, smaller online stores have been able to come away with some very valuable traffic and a share of that hefty online sales pie.

  • Cutting Edge Techniques
  • Tips To Capture Online Black Friday 2013 Shoppers

    Yup, it’s that time of the year again where everyone starts to get ready for the Thanksgiving weekend. Not so much on the amount of food that one will be eating as compared to the shopping frenzy that’s going to happen. Even before the pie crumbs hit the plate, I’m sure tonnes of people will be looking at their mobile phones and tablets to buy something that they’ve had their eyes on for the past few weeks or months!

    So get your store ready now. Because at the rate that mobile commerce shoppers are buying stuff, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention before they move on to other stores. While everyone may be complaining about the state of the economy, all that seems to change the moment Black Friday arrives! Even now, major retailers have started announcing that their stores will be open earlier and for others, they have started rolling out pre-Black Friday sales.

    Other than pricing, give consumers some really good reasons to buy from your store. If your products are made locally, then highlight it. People are more than willing to help support their own local economy. Let people know about the quality of your products and services and how it will make a difference to the local community.

    The idea is to create a good impression for people to recommend your store and products to others. Good customer service still counts. If your products are environmental friendly, then encourage others to do their part for the environment.

    Even in this season of holidays and celebration, being charitable will also help remind us to be thankful for our blessings. If you’re supporting a local charity that will help make a difference in people’s lives, don’t forget to inform customers about it.

    Then there’s the usual buy 2 free 1. Buy more and get either free shipping or free products to give away to friends!

    If you want to create a sense of urgency, let people know that items are limited. Either in size or quantity. So it’s either buy now or cry later since some shoppers will wait until Cyber Monday to clinch last minute deals.

    Remember to keep it short and sweet but relevant. Also make sure that your product images are light enough so that your pages will load quickly. In my previous post, I mentioned using JpegMini or online image editor Pixlr. Heavy images tend to slow down the loading time. And you know how impatient shoppers are these days.

    Keep your text to short sentences and product description in point form. Lots of people will be using their tablets and mobiles to shop. Start announcing your deals via social media. It’s also a great way to find out what consumers are looking for. If you’re able to meet their needs, they’ll come flocking to you.

    Happy selling!

  • Cutting Edge Techniques
  • Optimize Your Images Without Compromising Quality

    For those who have tonnes of images to upload to their store, it can get pretty annoying when you realize that your disk space is not enough while your bandwidth slows down due to heavy images loading on your site. One of the free solutions would be to use Jpegmini which is an online software to help crunch the size of your images without compromising the quality of the pictures.

    That way, you don’t have to worry about your images taking up a lot of disk space on your store. However, as with all things free, it does have a limit on the number of images that you can convert in a day. If you’ve got tonnes of pictures to crunch, consider getting the full version.

    Pixlr.com

    Alternatively, you could use Pixlr.com to change the size of your images. This is one of the most popular free online image editor on the net and is also easy to use.  Make use of both free online solutions as it will help you manage your picture sizes so that your website doesn’t become too heavy.

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • Get Your Products Reviewed. Reviews Help You Sell More.

    Hotel email marketing combo

    Product reviews are powerful tools to help you sell products. But they must appear genuine.

    In this article, we’ll look at how to go about getting product reviews and what to do when you spot negative reviews about your product.

    Last weekend, I stayed at a budget hotel in Kuala Lumpur when I went down for a sports event. It was recommended by a fellow runner who had stayed there a few times before. He said it was cheap, clean, conveniently located near the event venue as well as near food outlets. Additionally, the bus we chartered could stop and pick us up right in front of the hotel.

    Needless to say, word of mouth from a trusted source is the best sales tool. But just in case, I went and read a couple of reviews anyway because I wanted to read the negative stuff people had to say about the hotel. Yes, there were a couple of ‘issues’ but nothing serious. So in just a couple of minutes, I booked a room at the hotel through Booking.com.

    Anyway, yesterday, I received an email from Booking.com asking me if I would like to review the hotel I stayed at. Since I was happy with the hotel, I didn’t mind helping them out.

    Now, I received many invitations to review products and services but I rarely oblige even though I was satisfied with the service or the product. I can easily tell you why. It is the manner or the way the invitation was presented. Language, colors, images and layout all play a role in helping a potential reviewer make up his mind.

    Take a look at the screen shots below to see what I mean.

    Hotel review email request

    That was the request I received in email. The request was simple, not verbose. Not many colors used, to avoid being distracting. And the colors used were pleasant. Pay attention to how they highlighted the request confirmation text without being to ‘in-your-face’. Many other stores use red, for this purpose, to try to draw attention but I think soft-selling works best. And notice that they didn’t even need a promise of a reward.

    Hotel review form part 1

    Notice how the monotony of menu options is broken with a simple matrix structure. Light colors and radio buttons help soften the feel.

    Hotel review form part 2

    Take note of how the possible answers to question number 3 are displayed. Once again, the use of light colors and shapes in a cloud like structure is a nice way to keep participants interested.

    Hotel review form part 3

    Try to sneak in a members only invite or deal.

    Hotel review appreciation note

    And, of course, don’t forget to thank them. But that’s not all. You can still surprise those who spent 3 minutes of their time filling up your review form with a special discount offer.

    Hotel special discount email offer

    But what if there are bad reviews? Do you try to get them removed or just leave it there because there are many more good reviews.

    Bad reviews help keep things real. But if possible, try to see if you are able to reply or address those negative reviews or comments. I remember a sports shoe site that had someone thanking people for their positive reviews and offering those who left negative reviews a direct line to their customer service rep so the complainant could be personally attended to. But those are for serious cases.

    For minor issues, it is better to address them online so others can see how you deal with customers. If people have the impression that you take customer feedback seriously, they have more confidence buying from you.

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • How To Create And Use Videos For Your Store

    Sony video camera

    Videos are fantastic tools to help you garner a dedicated following, improve your authority ratings, turn your page into a resource and help you sell your products.

    In this post, we’ll look at:

    1. The tools needed to create videos
    2. Uploading your videos to YouTube
    3. Sharing videos
    4. Using videos made by others

    You do not have to be Steven Spielberg to make useful, entertaining and effective videos. All you need is a simple though-out plan, a decent video camera and a couple of other tools listed below. Naturally, you’re not going to be able to make videos with full-blown CGI effects displayed in Pacific Rim. But fret not if you have actors who are not able to display emotion in front of the camera; look how much Twilight made at the box office. 😉

    Here are the tools you need to create a video for your store or site.

    A Subject Matter  (Product, Service, Method, Explanation)
    You need a purpose for your video. You could be talking about the attributes of a product or how to use a product for best results. The purpose of the video is to inform and entertain, if possible. The ultimate aim, of course, is to convince the viewer that the product or service your are selling is worth buying (from someone who knows what he or she is talking about).

    Look at the Mercedes ad below. While entertaining, it subtly lets viewers know that their vehicles perform well in less than favorable road conditions.

    A Storyboard
    A storyboard is the most underrated part of the video making process. But it is actually quite important because it helps save time and resources.

    If you shoot without a storyboard, you might find out too late that you may have missed certain things.

    A storyboard is basically a sheet of paper that lays out the storyline of the video using rough scene illustrations, scene descriptions and audio elements (scripted monologue or dialogue, sound effects, music).

    A Suitable Location
    From your storyboard, you should be able to workout the kind of location you would need to shoot the video. Preferably, the location should be free from ambient noise.

    Now all videos can be shot indoors. For example, if you sell car wax, you would probably want to shoot a video on how to properly wash and wax a car. That usually has to be done outdoors.

    If you need to shoot a video outdoors, select a location with as little ambient noise as possible. Sometimes, the time of day can affect this (animal sounds – birds especially, traffic, neighbors shooting hoops next door). That said, time of day would also need to be taken into consideration when it comes to lighting.

    Actors & Props
    Also from the storyboard, you will know if you need actors and props. Don’t worry about using your friends and relatives as actors. Peter Jackson’s first feature film – Bad Taste – was made with the help of his friends shot on weekends over four years.

    No one expects Academy Award winning performances from a product video. In fact, slight glitches and mistakes help keep the video looking real and makes it easier for people to relate to them. But too many glitches can cause the video to irritate viewers. Keep that in mind during the editing process.

    A Video Camera
    You could even use your phone’s video camera feature to shoot a product video, provided is it one of the newer ones with anti shake and has decent capture quality for image and sound. A tripod or unipod may be useful in certain situations.

    Editing Software
    Both Apple and Windows have free video editing software which come packaged with their operating systems. Of course, if you can afford it, there’s always Adobe Premier Pro CC and Camtasia Studio.

    When editing videos, remember that humans have very short attention spans so keep it concise – 30 seconds to 3 minutes should suffice.

    Do not use a draggy voice for narration. You want to keep your videos both sounding and looking exciting, especially if you’re trying to sell something. But try not to sound like you’re high on something.

    If you want to add images to your videos, make sure they are copyright free or have a public copyright license like the Creative Commons (CC) license. A Creative Commons license is used when a creator of a particular piece of work wants to allow users the freedom to share, use, and even build upon that work.

    Free Music
    Music fill in the ‘gap’ in videos. But it is important to use music with permission from its owners. Alternatively, you can use royalty free music from sites like this.

    Uploading Your Videos To YouTube
    I’m just going to take the easy way out on this one and paste a link to this WikiHow page on How To Upload A YouTube Video.

    Sharing Videos
    The next thing you need to do is share your videos. Place them on your store, blog, Facebook and so on. Facebook automatically converts video links to thumbnails. But for your store and blogs sites, you can either place links to your videos on YouTube or embed your videos. You can also easily change the frame border size of your video to suit your page.

    Using Videos Made By Others
    This is where it gets a little tricky.

    Usually, if people upload videos to YouTube, they are meant to be shared publicly. This is why stores selling DVD and Blu-ray discs often embed official movie trailers from YouTube on related pages. Those trailers help video stores sell more discs and that’s what the movie makers also want.

    However, unofficial trailers and other fan or self-made videos may contain copyright material (audio and video). So, using those videos may get you in trouble.

    Also, you might want to stay clear of videos created by your competitors. That’s self explanatory.

    Sometimes, you can use videos which are seemingly unrelated to what you’re selling. For example, I’ve seen a certain sports outlet embed official G.I. Joe 2 and Fast 6 movie trailers on its site. The reason – one of the main actors was wearing a particular brand of apparel in both movies.

    That’s a pretty creative way of making 3rd party videos work for you. You also need a sharp eye and a quick mind to pull that off.

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • Have You Started Your Mother’s Day 2013 Promotion?

    Mother's Day Cupcakes

    This year, Mother’s Day 2013 lands on 15th of May. So what better way to get an online promotion out to all your customers, friends and contacts by sending out some newsletters and creating some buzz on social media?

    You don’t have to spend a lot of time typing out a long and boring newsletter. Just create one with lots of nice images of some of your best selling products.

    Mothers Day Promotion
    Mothers Day Promotion
    Credit : MyHabit.com

    And don’t just think about targeting people to get gifts for mothers. Expand the range so that people could think about getting something for mum AND on top of that something for themselves and their friends.

    There’s always plenty of reasons to shop when there’s a sale or promo on. Makes us feel less guilty somehow!

    And if it’s the wedding season (depending on where you’re at!), this would be a great time to promote your products as wedding favors and awesome wedding gifts (also depending on what you’re selling).

    Promotions could come in the form discounts, gift vouchers or even a free gift when you purchase up to a certain amount. If you need some help putting together an AWESOME banner or front page to spruce up your site, drop us a ticket and we’ll be more than happy to help. So gear up your Mother’s Day 2013 promotions if you haven’t done so and have a great time celebrating with family and friends while making mum happy. Enjoy!

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • Stock Photos: Use Them To Sell Dreams, Not Just Products

    Sports Shoe Ads Using Imagery To Sell Dreams

    If you’re selling items directed at a target market that already knows more about your products than you do, you may want to change your marketing approach, specifically the images or stock photos you use. Stores selling niche products like aftermarket mods for cars and bikes, organic supplements and dedicated sports products use this method.

    For example, a conventional online store selling running shoes might post a big banner of a hot selling running shoe model on their front page. However, a store selling a specialized trainer might post an image of an 8-lane track or a rugged off road path, depending on the ‘dreams’ or ‘wants’ of their target market and not necessarily their needs. The product image takes a back seat in that shot.

    This technique in not something new. If you noticed BMW’s ‘Joy is BMW’ ads, it would have been obvious that they were targeting a specific emotion. BMW’s target market already knows what to expect from the premium German marque in terms of technological ability. In fact, many are not even interested in that element. They are more interested in the exclusivity of the brand itself. So targeting a positive emotion would help their customers imagine where they want to be emotionally when using their product.

    Of course, do not just post up a ‘dream’ image without any CTA (call-to-action) messages. Every element on your store page must help persuade a customer to make a purchase at your store. Tell your customers what to do next ‘zone’. Don’t wow them with a nice image and then just leaving them hanging there. You’ve hooked them, now you need to reel them in.

    One last thing, if you’re using ‘free’ stock photos, make sure to read the usage rules carefully. Some are ok to use for free if you’re not using them to sell products or make money off of them. Some are ok to use for free if you mention where you got them from or mention the name of the photographer. Expanding on this, some images have watermarks, near the top or bottom, advertising the name of the photographer or source site. Users may use these images for free provided the watermark remains intact

    Free stock photos are usually low rez. You’d probably have to fork out some money for better resolution images but they need not be print quality images. Those require really high resolution.

    Stock photos for purchase cost anywhere from $1 to $100 each depending on resolution and type of license. The average cost of a 681 x 1024 image is less than $10. So it’s not going to burn a hole in your wallet if you decide to use a couple of them.

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • InstanteStore Introduces New Content Slider

    Here comes our brand new spanking content slider! The previous one was getting ancient so the team decided to create a better one for our merchants to use. With the new slider, all you need to do is to upload your own images and type in whatever text you want displayed on it. We’ve included a text editor so you could pick the font and color of your choice.

    Once you’ve gotten all your images uploaded and text added, just drag and drop the slides in accordance to how you would like them displayed on your website. Pretty neat eh? You could even add links to each slide so customers who click on any of them will be directed to the actual page on your site.

    What’s best about it? It’s totally free and available for all our merchants to make full use of. So get some pretty pictures ready and make full use of this feature to promote your online store products. Displaying a gorgeous slide show on your site just got easier and faster with our new content slider. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a ticket. Have a great week and happy selling!

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • Important Facebook Shop Tips To Take Note Of

    Being able to sell your products on Facebook is an added bonus for many online business owners. These days, many customers prefer to communicate with businesses via social media like Facebook and Twitter as they want faster results instead of the usual email. The fact that these social media sites are open to the public is good reason for businesses to ensure that they are offering excellent products and services to avoid a public relations meltdown.

    Anyway, for those who have yet to try selling on Facebook, just follow the easy steps to set up your Facebook Shop from the Admin panel. Here are a couple of important tips to take note of as well.

    Don’t Overdo It

    If your online store happens to have 1000 products (for example), please DO NOT upload all your products to your Facebook Shop. That will end up frightening away your friends and customers. What you could do is to select some of your best selling products to put up in your Facebook Shop. Remember now, Facebook is a social media platform. The focus is always to lead customers back to your online store so that they could see more product selection and to buy from you there. So it’s a bonus if they decide to buy from your Facebook Shop while catching up with the latest news and happenings.

    Have The Same Look And Theme

    Your store’s Facebook should have the same feel as your online store. Meaning that those who visit your Facebook site should not see something totally different from your online store. Customize the look of your Facebook with the same theme and look so that there is a branding consistency. This is to avoid your customers from getting confused. If you need some help with that, just drop us an email or ticket and we’ll be happy to help you any way we can.

    Put Up Promotions And Discounts

    Other than sharing the latest products and happenings in your store, remember to also put up promotions and discount codes for your customers to share with their other friends. Word tends to get out quicker when it’s shared via social media. So you may also want to shout it out on your Twitter account as well. Just remember to set the correct boundaries for your promotions and discounts as you wouldn’t want any customer to find some crazy loophole to take advantage of your business.

    Share And Add Value To Your Audience

    Lastly, when it comes to using social media, remember to share stuff that will add value to your audience. Share helpful tips and solutions that will interest people. For example, if you’re selling car products, offer helpful tips on how best to maintain your car. Fashion products? Offer advice on color coordination, latest fashion tips and clothing materials. In short, expand the information that is related to the products that you are selling. Keep it short and sweet.

    In short, your Facebook should be a convenient place for people to buy some of your top selling products as well as to reach you and get valuable tips and interaction. It’s also an extension of your online store which you could use to promote your brand as well. Happy selling!

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • Flatter Your Product Images By Framing Them Right

    Product Images Frame Shape Samples
    Frame Shape Examples For Product Images

    I remember reading a joke many years back about a guy who walked by a restaurant and stopped at the menu stand outside the front door. The images of the food looked so inviting that he could not resist having a meal there. Unfortunately, he was less than pleased with what he ate. He summoned the maitre d’ and said to him, “My compliments to the photographer.”

    Product images are an important element marketing. Having good quality images alone isn’t enough, it’s how we fit them in with the other elements our our websites.

    One the easiest ways to make your product images look more appealing is to frame them appropriately. If you look at car websites, especially the ones dedicated to sports marques, you’ll notice the cars are always framed in a landscape orientation. This, combined with the angle of the shot, makes the cars looks sleeker, lower, wider and thus, more desirable.

    From the image samples above, you’ll notice that the landscape orientation suits other items as well.

    Items like watches and pendants are presented much better in a square frame via close-up shots to highlight detail.

    Dresses usually look great in portrait. This makes the model look slimmer and taller, which is how most people want to look like, not just women.

    So, before you upload your product images, be sure to crop them in such a way that they utilize this simple tip. Try to standardize the frame shape and size of your images so they appear uniformed when displayed on your front and category pages.

    Store pages are not like Pinterest pages, which are not arranged in uniformed manner. Uniformed images on store pages allow viewers to quickly compare and assess the items they are viewing. This makes it easy for them to pick out what they like and proceed to checkout. Good user experience leads to more sales.

    But what about images on an image or content slider? Well, you can experiment with different slider shapes and different arrangements of images on slides. Take a peek at what other sites are doing and see what works best for you.

    Always keep in mind that all these tools are to be used to help persuade visitors to purchase products from your store and should never be used to distract them. So, don’t forget to add a call to action on your slides and link them to their related product pages.

  • Cutting Edge Techniques
  • Design Tips From The Top Online Shopping Sites

    What do some of the top online shopping sites have in common that draw tonnes of shoppers to buy from them? Nice pictures. Lots of nice, clear and colorful images. Less text. The design of their sites were made in such a way to put all the focus on the products. Whatever that is on the main page of their sites were placed there to capture the attention of shoppers the moment they land on the site. I’m not saying that everyone’s web store should all start looking like these top shopping sites as it would very well depend on what your own online store is selling but there are clear pointers that we could all learn and pick from these top sites.

    Fab

    Fab.com

    Fab is able to make any products look good. Call it creative photography but I definitely see the effort here. The style of the site is catered to the tonnes of products that they sell which is always changing so it looks fresh all the time. You’ll notice that they make full use of different sliders here and there to showcase some of their most popular products that people are liking or buying  on their site.

    Zulily

    Zulily.com

    Selling stuff for kids, babies and mums will require a lot of happy images that are bright, colorful and on the move.

    Sole Society

    SoleSociety.com

    Although this site only sells shoes, the images are clear, crisp and inviting. You’ll also notice that they use a lot of big picture sliders to showcase their shoes which makes it really easy and comfortable to browse and look around.

    One King’s Lane

    OneKingsLane.com

    Selling stuff for the home does not need to look boring. Consumers like to see plenty of suggestions on how the products will look good in their homes before they are convinced to even buy it.

    Rent The Runway

    RentTheRunWay.com

    Anything to do with fashion and clothing will always look good with real life models. Instead of a floating product, the effect is totally different when you have someone wearing it. The focus is on the clothes while the models are there to make the clothes look good.

    Beyond The Rack

    BeyondTheRack.com

    You’ll also notice that sites which offer accessories like watches or jewelry will usually have close ups and big pictures of their products against good background.

    SneakPeeq

    SneakPeeq.com

    Other than great images, beauty and accessory sites make it easy for shoppers to love their products and share them on popular social media like Pinterest easily. The site will clearly show how many likes they got for their products. Spreading the word around comes naturally and easily.

    These are some of the tips that will help your online store look and sell better depending on the type of products. If you have any interesting sites that you would like us to take a look at or want us to help customize for you, drop us an email with the site info and we’ll be more than happy to help. Till then, have a great weekend!

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • New Look vs Better Functionality

    Troop Inspection (Explored)

    A new year is almost upon us. Many of you would have budgeted to give your store a whole new look or at least a fresher-upper.  Though having a nice looking store helps in getting visitors to stay longer and browse along, having a store with customized features targeted at your customers can help you convert better.

    How Do You Know What Features To Add?
    Well, ask your customers or visitors. You can do this by creating a questionnaire and placing it on your site or include it with a newsletter. You can even ask them while on chat or phone. Many a time, you’ll be surprised that they want the simplest of features which you easily accommodate or turn on in our solution..

    Sometimes, visitors just want better pictures, bigger pictures but not so big they’d have to scroll all over to view the whole image, or more views of a product. There are some instances where shoppers would like to have an Easy Checkout option or view product videos.  However, some requests do require custom work to fulfill.

    Another way to find out what features you can add to your store is by sneaking over and having a peak at what your competitors have on theirs. However, just because they use a certain feature, does not mean it works. They could be just trying something new and doing a little split test to see if it works. Testing rules!

    You could also request that we have a look at your store and see what we can do to take it to the next level.

    One Shoe Does Not Fit All
    There is no one feature that converts well for every single store. The dynamics involved are just to great. So, there is no point in stuffing every feature you can find into your store. That would mess everything up.

    If a particular product does not need the Zoom tool for its image, don’t turn it on. If a product only requires 2 images from different angles, don’t upload 5. More is not always better. In fact, it might even be distracting. You want to hook your visitor in the most efficient way possible and convert them.

     

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Build Your Own Online Store With Proper Planning

    Too Beautiful to Eat?Building your own online store may be easy for some people but for the majority who are not so techno-savy, they will need all the help they can get. Before you jump on the bandwagon to start your own online business, here are a few things that you will need to consider.

    Have You Listed Down Your Business Plan?

    Obviously starting an online store based on a few napkin scribbles isn’t going to cut it anymore. BASIC items that you need to consider in your business plan would include your online store’s name, type of products that you wish to sell, pricing, shipping costs and payment gateway providers to use. Are you going to sell only within your country or offer to international customers? I can tell you honestly, most people will fail for lack of proper planning and execution. So please take the time to plan things out properly. For those who have gotten your plan together, here’s how easy it is to set up or build your online store. Watch the video below :

    What About Market Research?

    Is there a demand for the type of products that you wish to sell? And if there is, what makes your products better than those offered by your competitors? Are you going to do your own branding? If you’re getting your products directly from a drop shipper or supplier, how would you be able to market your products differently to appeal to certain groups that you’re targeting? And of course, there’s the keyword research which many people do not know how to do when it comes to SEO. Make sure you make the time to learn up some SEO so that you could have your store’s site optimized correctly. Are you also targeting a niche market?

    Your Store Needs To Look Good

    Please select the template that will best match the type of products that you are selling. Don’t be in a rush to build your own online store without taking into consideration the customer experience. If customers do land on your site, will they stay long enough to look through your store? Your site will need to capture their ATTENTION and INTEREST long enough for them to browse through your stuff.

    Social Media Setup

    Every business should have a social media outreach. Make sure you create a Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest account and have these ready to link to your store. Many businesses use social media to get the word out quickly about product launches, sales and to interact with their customers. You could also sell on Facebook with InstanteStore’s Social Shop. Here’s a quick video on how to set up it up :

    Mobile Commerce

    More and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to surf and make online purchases while on the go. Make sure that your online store is mobile optimized so that customers could shop online easily with their mobile gadgets. Not sure how to get that done? The video below shows how easy it is :

    Don’t be afraid to utilize our 30 days free trial to build your online store. If you have any questions on setting up your online store, we’re here to help. Drop us an email or send us a ticket.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • Set Up Online Store Tip – Get More Out Of Your Product Images

    Here are a few tips to help you set up online store to target your customers from the get go. Product images on an online store serve 2 purposes – to attract the attention of the shopper and to get them to execute a positive action. The latter is just a fancy way of saying we want shoppers to react by buying a product.

    So, how can an image can be used to influence an action? Well, that depends on what information is shared with the viewer. The type of information shared would depend on the type of product on display.

    When deciding on what kind of product image to display on your web store, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your customers and figure out what would grab their attention and what kind of information would they be looking for in such a simple thing as an image.

    Types Of Product

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Some product images do not really need to present that much detail about a product. Others do. It all depends on the product.

    Products such as jewelery or branded watches may benefit from closeup shots whereas dresses would look better if the shot captured the whole product. So before you set up online store, be sure to give factor some thought.

    Point Of View
    Jewelery and branded watches usually come with very fine details so a closer look at it from the very first view would probably be better than a zoomed out view. When you look at dress watches, what do you look for? I would guess it would be the face of the watch since that’s usually the nicest part of the watch.

    If shoppers would like an even closer view of a product, there’s always the zoom tool.

    With that in mind, it does not make much sense to have models posing with every single watch on a site with 90% of a product image real estate taken up by the model.

    It’s a different story with dresses. That’s a product shoppers would like to have a full view of because they’d like to imagine how it would look like on them. Which is why dresses and apparel in general usually come with more than just one view.

    Not Just About Product
    Over the years, we’ve got feed back from merchants carrying out their own experiments to see why certain products sell better than others. Sometimes, it’s got nothing to do with the products. Sometimes, it’s the model posing with the products which matters. I’m not kidding.

    If you’re selling womens’ apparel or mens’ sunglasses, try placing a not-so-hot selling item on a very hot model and see what happens. Both men and women like to imagine themselves as the hot model wearing those products so their eyes are usually drawn to those models. So if you find it difficult selling an item, think out of the box. It may not be the product, but the way it is presented.

    Brand Matters


    Some products sell because of the brand. Items such as branded handbags and watches fall into this category. Which is why brand names are prominently displayed in some product images. You can find out if brands make a difference by doing a little keyword research for a generic term like – handbag.

    From the results above, it is obvious that shoppers for such items place great value on brand name. Thus, it would be a good idea to display brand names on product images for these types of items to help get customers attention.

    If you’re thinking about tweaking your current online store or are waiting to set up online store from scratch, spend a few minutes pondering what kind of images would best suit your products so that they generate the results you want.

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • Online Store Tips For The Holiday Shopping Season

    sausage platterSaw the news that Target has already started advertising their Christmas shopping. Most people may think that was way too early (we’re not even done with Halloween or Octoberfest yet!).

    However, this should be a clear sign for online business owners to get their store ready for the holiday shopping season and not wait till the last minute.

    Please make sure that your store’ s SEO has been tweaked properly. If you’re unsure on how to get that done, click HERE for a reference to our SEO Wizard Green Thumbs Up article.

    Here’s a short list of stuff that you need to consider showing on your FRONT PAGE :

    – the LOOK of your store (let it have a holiday ‘feel’ and show clearly your BEST SELLING product images or the products that you want to promote)
    – make sure your product images are of GOOD QUALITY (should NOT be blur, too small or come in weird sizes)
    SALE prices or DISCOUNT percentage clearly shown (show how much customers will SAVE)
    FREE shipping or fixed price shipping
    GIFT recommendations (your target group of customers in mind – boys, girls, men, women, kids, family, friends, colleagues)

    Have a SOCIAL Plan ready to start getting the word out on what are the product offers that your store will be launching through your social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. This is also a great way to FIND OUT and engage your customers on what kind of products that they would like to see ON SALE or looking for. And it will also build momentum to your store’s Season Shopping Sale Launch. Remember, feedback is IMPORTANT so that you don’t end up wasting your time.

    Lastly, make sure that your store is mobile optimized (just click on the Mobile Commerce icon in your Admin panel and select the mobile commerce template of your choice). Not sure how it works? Here’s a short video about it.

    Why is it important? Based on the data by Techcrunch below, majority of users begin surfing with their smartphones which is then continued on to their PC followed by their tablets. So you want to make sure that your store is accessible to these smartphone users as they search, browse and shop online with their smartphones as a first point of contact.

    Credit Image : Techcrunch

    If you need any help or more advice on how to get your store ready for the holiday season shopping, do drop us an email. We’re here to help in any way that we can. Have a great weekend!

     

     

     

     

     

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • Pictures And Images Make a BIG Difference For Your Online Store

    Pumpkin carvingOctober is here! Halloween is just round the corner and so is Black Friday, Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. Yes, time to gear up your online store for the upcoming holiday season. Past month has been exciting with Apple launching their iPhone 5 which got everyone excited. Then there’s the never-ending saga on who’s suing who for patent infringements! Anyway, back to the main thing – Your STORE.

    Other than getting your social sites all set up (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Google+, Pinterest, etc) along with your SEO, have you ensured that your product images are of the best quality? Because you could have a terrific site with tonnes of traffic coming but if the fish ain’t biting, maybe it’s time to consider the look of your online store and product images.

    Questions that you need to consider :

    1) Is your front page attractive enough with the RIGHT product images and their SIZE?
    2) Are your product images CLEAR and of high quality?
    3) Is the current template that you are using for your store suited for the type of products that you’re selling?
    4) Is the layout helping to guide your customers to find out more about the product or to even click on it to buy?

    Drop us an email if you need help with your store’s template or are looking for some design advice. We’d be more than happy to offer our expert design advice for FREE. Or if you want to get it done FAST and without any hassle, you could try our Template Spruce Up Service for only $197.  Happy selling!

     

     

     

     

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • Are You Driving Potential Customers Away?

    So, your analytics report says you’ve got lots of traffic from all sorts of sources and you’re even ranking for competitive keywords by accident. Many a merchant would look at you with envy.

    But, something is amiss. Your sales figure is lower than Usain Bolt’s 100m world record. What gives?

    We’ve already touched on how to make your sites sticky and how to improve conversion in earlier articles. So, in this article, we’ll look at the things a little differently. We’ll try to help you figure out if you’re driving potential customers away. (more…)

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • Help! My Store Isn’t Ready For Christmas Shopping Online

    Get a hold of yourself! There’s no need to panic…yet.

    Now, they may be still time to get in some competitor and keyword research done for the Christmas shopping online event coming up in a couple of months. But if you are really short of time due to some unforeseen circumstances, there are still a few things you can do to make the best of what time you have left to prep your online store for the online Christmas shopping season.

    What you need to do is this:
    1 – Put teasers for your upcoming sales to create awareness.
    2 – Get your store’s holiday design ready.
    3 – Select the items you want to place on sale.
    4 – Use every avenue available method to drive traffic to your store.
    5 – Prepare for post holiday sales for bargain hunters. (more…)

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • Introducing Template Tuesdays

     

     

    Hello people!

    I bet most of you are all caught up with the Olympics right now. I know everyone at our office is. Yesterday, all the pantry talk was about the fiasco at the women’s fencing event. At lunch just now, we talked about chess becoming an Olympic sporting event in the future and the absurdity of chess players undergoing blood and urine tests for doping.

    I digress.  My bad.

    Right. As you know, we’ve been creating attractive free ecommerce templates which are more contemporary in design. Feedback has been relatively good. But we’ve also been getting very good suggestions. Lots of “could you do this” or “could you make it look more like that.”

    We really appreciate the input and the effort you guys put in to help us create better online store templates. 🙂

    Anyway, we figured why not get more people in on this so we came up with the idea of Template Tuesdays. All you have to do is post on InstanteStore’s Facebook page a website example or template that you think looks cool. We’ll pick one ‘inspiration’ every Tuesday, have our designers work some mojo on it and turn it into one of our free ecommerce templates by the end of the week.

    We had a pretty nice suggestion from Ms Camilla Walton so we decided to kick off Template Tuesdays with it. Besides, our designers are ‘trigger’ happy so this was a great way to give them their fix.

    Your Jewellery Template

    Like it? It’ll be implemented by the end of next week.

    As usual, please feel free to leave comments of suggestions.

     

     

  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • What Can We Learn From Apple?

    The recent hoo-haa about Apple’s latest iPad launch was massive. Everyone wanted a piece of it! Now let’s think for a moment. If someone had never heard of Apple or ever seen an iPad or ANY Apple products and you ask them whether they want it or not, chances are they would be clueless and would check it out online. Now the moment they WANT IT is when they SEE the images of the product along with the really AWESOME video of what that product can do for them. You probably had the same feeling the moment you saw the new iPad video when you checked out the fuss. Now level with me here. Is that the cheapest tablet? Not really. But what Apple did (other than create really awesome products!) is to appeal to WHAT CUSTOMERS WANT by marketing it in a way to capture their attention and make them want it. They made it look relevant to people’s lifestyle.

    If you could showcase and promote your products clearly and creatively to cater to the needs of customers, chances are they will buy from you. Of course market it in a way that they will find hard to turn down. Offer free shipping for purchases that are above a certain amount. It will put customers at ease knowing that they do not have to pay anything extra other than the product price. The shopping process should be fast and simple not complicated and long.

    Keep your site appearance SIMPLE. Make sure your web store is easy to navigate with proper categories and that your product images are shown clearly. Background preferably is white and products need to look really good in full color. You’ll also notice that Apple’s site has minimum text. Who wants to read tonnes of text when the images are enough?

    If you’re selling clothing, show some lovely models wearing them so people could get an idea on what it looks like. If you would rather just showcase your products without any models, make sure that the images are of high quality and not blurred. In fact, show a few different angles of your product so that customers could see the other dimensions. For instance, if you’re selling shoes, bags or any physical product, it’s always good to let your visitors see the top, side and bottom angle other than the front so that they can get an idea on what the actual product looks like.

    Don’t have the time but need a little help revamping your website look to make it more attractive? Our business partners Logo-Design-Studio.com are able to cater to your design needs.

    Bottom line, market your products to be relevant to people. If you’re selling toys or children’s clothing, make them look good by showing big beautiful images on your site with kids and parents wearing the clothing or using the products. It’s all in the way you DISPLAY your products. Of course this may require you to purchase some good quality images online but they are worth it so that you don’t get into trouble with copyright infringement.

    Apple’s product launch was able to build the momentum fueling the anticipation and curiosity of their customers. If you are planning to launch a new product for your store, set a target date and use social media like Facebook and Twitter to inform your customers ahead of time.

    And because the new iPad has better features, you can be sure that its predecessors would have their prices slashed as Apple begins to clear away old stock. So maybe you could offer a price cut for your other products when you have a new product launch. That could be something your customers could look forward to. Plan a few product launches throughout the year as that will refresh your store look and customers could always look forward to something new from you.

    These are just some simple tips that we can learn from Apple to apply to our own stores. Happy selling!