Choosing a Design Theme for your eCommerce Site

The web design theme you use for your eCommerce site can have a major impact on your business. Whether this is positive or negative depends on how much research you put into your decision.

Consider your users: The number one criteria when choosing a theme is your user base. Many businesses that are trying to appeal to a young and trendy audience will have the most success with modern minimal templates. This style is currently in vogue and does not provide an abundance of distractions from your call to action. Flat themes typically feature light backgrounds and darker text, making your content really pop off the page.

A full-width template is a great option to achieve a very contemporary look. For a more traditional design, a boxed width design is another great choice. These templates include a border around your content and tend to be perfect for websites marketing to other businesses.

No matter what theme option you choose, you will have some empty space on your page. While it might be tempting to fill that negative space, it’s important to avoid over-saturating the user. If you have a lot to say, consider a simple link to another page where you can go more in-depth.

Choose the right header: A strong header sends a strong message. As soon as a user lands on your page, the header should be the first thing that draws their eye. A bold, bright image is truly worth a thousand words. You can tell an entire story about your brand with the right combination of graphics and text at the top of your page. If that story appeals to your user base, it will leave them hungry for more information.

You also want to be sure that your header leaves enough space for users to want to continue their journey through your site. A header that takes up half of your page might make your website appear underdeveloped.

Instead of extending your header vertically, you might want to extend its width beyond the rest of your content, guiding users from the literal big picture to the important details about your business. The right balance between the “curb appeal” of your header and the substance to back it up will be what keeps users interacting with your website.

Check out your competition: If your business has competitors with a successful website, take some time to navigate them. It’s never a great idea to use the exact page template as a competitor, noting their successful layout features will help you improve your own site.

Does your lead competitor place their menu above or below the header? How do they lay out their links or organize their products? All of these factors can contribute to their success and might be a huge help when deciding what your customers want to see for your business.

You should also consider the inverse, what does their site lack? Are there clunky or unnecessary features on the competition’s website? Avoiding their mistakes is a great way to give your site a superior layout.

Menu designs: Your menus are your user’s travel guide to the rest of your website. You need menus to point users towards your products and more information on what you offer as a brand. Whether you feature a simple dropdown menu or what a custom designed mega menu, making your site easy to navigate is key to retaining users and increasing visit durations.

Factors like whether you want to include subcategories to your menu can affect the ease of use for your website. A challenging menu will lead to increased bounce rates, but having too many subcategories can be confusing to users. Be sure to test your own menus and make sure they serve as an efficient gateway for visitors to understand you and your product line.

Branding: What is more important to you, your brand or your products? The idea of your brand is important, and how you feature it on your site will send a message to users. You definitely want your pages to prominently feature your brand logo so visitors will see and remember it.

If your brand is the focal point of your business, you will want that logo front and center. This works well for businesses that are selling a “lifestyle” that goes with their products. For markets like footwear, sometimes having a popular brand of shoes is more important than having shoes in general to consumers. These businesses will want to display that brand first and the products second.

If you want your products to speak for your brand, placing your logo off to the side or in a corner might be a better choice. This placement will give visitors an idea of who you are, while still maintaining your site design’s focal point to display your products. For businesses that want customers to display their product’s utility, or do not have powerful brand recognition, this product fronted design will focus visitors’ interest on what you have to offer.

 

Keep your business up to date with Genius eCommerce. Our experts compile news and tips on every facet of eCommerce so you can always find new ways to improve your site and your business.

The PPC Guidebook: How to Create an Audience For a Remarketing Campaign

One of the ten commandments of PPC: Thou Shalt Only Show Ads to Qualified Traffic. Search ads have keywords to keep them relevant. When keywords are well researched and smartly bid on, your search ads should only show to people who have some likelihood of purchasing your product.  Display ads have audiences. Setting your audiences is how you decide who will see your remarketing ads. If you set them up wisely, you can potentially make big ROI on relatively low cost per click campaigns. Today on The PPC Guidebook, we’ll be going through how to create an audience for a remarketing campaign.

In case you’re not already familiar, the display network is used for remarketing, which shows targeted ads to visitors who have been to your site before. This helps your store stay in a customer’s head, and hopefully, causes them to come back and make a purchase. But not all website visitors should be marketed to in the same way. The more targeted your messaging, the more effective it will be. That’s where audiences come in.  They allow you to sort your visitors into groups that make them easier to target. So let’s start setting up our remarketing audiences!

 

Setting up Your Remarketing Audiences

The first thing to do is click on the tool menu and select your Audience Manager.

How to Create an Audience For a Remarketing Campaign

My audiences are all targeting website visitors. They are set up so that I remarket to my visitors based on the platform they were interested in when they visited the site. To create a new one you go into audience lists and start with the type of user you want to target. Since all I target is website visitors I’m going to keep doing that.

How to Create an Audience For a Remarketing Campaign

Give your new audience a name, and then select the type of visitors you want to target. For my marketing campaign, I’m going after people interested in 3DCart. So I might set those two URLs as my 3DCart Development Page and my 3DCart Marketing Page. I could choose to go after people who visit either or both of those pages. When someone meets these conditions that you set, their IP address will be added to your remarketing list and they’ll be served the display add that you designate for this campaign

How to Create an Audience For a Remarketing Campaign

Next, you set how many people you want to see the add by setting a List Size and a Membership Duration. Similar to the way that we only want qualified traffic to see our ads, you can control your ad spend in another way by using these to limit the number of visitors that can be added to this list, and thus, the number of times your ad will be served. Then you finish up by clicking Create Audience.  

How to Create an Audience For a Remarketing Campaign

That’s how to create an audience for a remarketing campaign. Feel free to create as many custom audiences as you like. The more specific your marketing is, the more effective it will be in the long run. You can also A/B test audience settings against one another until you find the combination that work just right for your PPC campaign. Until next time on The PPC Guidebook, keep your marketing precise, and happy bidding!

The PPC Guidebook: How To Run a Split Landing Page Test

The world of pay per click marketing can be a confusing one at times, and you can end up wasting a lot of your ad budget if you don’t know how to use all the features that Google has available for you. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Welcome to PPC Guidebook, a Genius eCommerce series on how to run more efficient and more profitable PPC marketing campaigns. For today’s entry into the PPC Guidebook, we’re going to be talking about how to run a split landing page test.

If your PPC ads are placed correctly they’ll capture traffic, but a high click-through rate won’t necessarily turn into ROI if your site doesn’t convert that traffic. All kinds of elements go into that conversion rate, your site’s design, the ease of your checkout process, the quality of your products themselves, etc. The particular element that we’re going to focus on here is the landing page. The landing page is where your potential customers end up as soon as they click on your ad. If the landing page you’re using isn’t relevant to the customers you’re capturing with your PPC ad, you’re going to see a high bounce rate and a low ROI for your campaign.

It may seem simple to pick a relevant landing page for each PPC ad, but Google Adwords provides you a way to be sure you’re using the page that’s best suited to your ad. When you know how to run a split landing page test you can set two possible pages up against one another, and see which one converts better. The more tests you run, the more you’ll be able to hone your campaign, and the better your ads will perform.

How to Set It Up:

The first thing to do is select the campaign you want to test in, and then create a draft campaign which is a duplicate of that campaign. Let’s say that you want to send half of your visitors to my homepage, and half of your visitors to a category page, to see which performs better.

First, you create your draft campaign and name it. Once in your draft campaign, I navigate to your ads.

How To Run a Split Landing Page Test

You select the ads you want to include, then click edit and change ads. You change the final URL to the category page you’re testing against my homepage. You confirm this by clicking Apply.

 

Up in the top right, you click Apply and choose Run As Experiment. From the Create an Experiment settings you can choose both how long you want the experiment to run for, and how much traffic you want to send to each campaign involved in the experiment. A 50-50 split is typical for an A/B test.

How To Run a Split Landing Page Test

How To Read Your Results:

After your experiment has had time to run, you can take a look at your results. You’ll compare the outcome of your Control campaign (the one you already had running which leads to your homepage) and your Experiment campaign (the draft campaign which leads to your category page). You’ll be able to see which campaign led to more impressions, clicks, and conversions. To test the effectiveness of a landing page you’ll want to compare how many people clicked on the site and how many of them converted in either case. You’ll be able to recognize big changes in outcomes pretty easily, but if the variables are close, you may want to use a statistical significance calculator. Statistical significance is a calculation which is done in order to determine if the results of an experiment are likely to be due to a chance occurrence, rather than the factor of interest that you’re testing. These calculators are available for free online. You can even make your own with formulas in an Excel spreadsheet.

How To Run a Split Landing Page Test

I’ve run the click and conversions in the example above through a statistical significance calculator. The conversion rate is slightly higher in the Experiment group, but not enough to be considered statistically significant. That means we can’t rule out chance as a factor in these results and need to collect more data in order to be certain of what landing page works better.

How To Run a Split Landing Page Test

That’s a quick entry into the PPC Guidebook on how to run a split landing page test. Keep an eye on this series for more guides on running a successful pay per click marketing campaign. Happy bidding!

Why Your Business Needs To Use Social Media

In this day and age, social media is becoming a driving force in how people communicate with one another and especially with how businesses communicate with their audience. No matter the business, if you utilize a social media platform, your audience level is going to increase. On the other hand, if your business does not take advantage of any social media platforms whatsoever, then you are sorely missing out a huge chunk of audience engagement that could greatly increase conversions.

It’s important to note, however, that not all social media platforms work for every business. Each business needs to do research and look into each platform in order to determine which ones work best for them. For example, if your business is related to fashion, there are quite a number of social media platforms that can be used. Instagram, one of the biggest social media platforms available, offers those in the fashion industry a platform in which they can harness the use of visuals to increase their audience. On top of that, Instagram offers various ways in which businesses can engage with users to create a form of communication that benefits each side.

Pinterest is another platform the fashion industry can use in order to increase their audience. Also a visually based platform, Pinterest (and Instagram for that matter) allows for users to share their favorite images, clothes, shoes, jewelry, whatever it may be, and gives them a platform in which they can create their own Pinterest fashion-related accounts that link to their favorite designers, stores, influencers, etc for future reference or style ideas and tips.

For businesses that focus on news, or content that is more text-based rather than visual-based, other social media platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn could be the ones to go after. It is known that posts with images get more conversion than those without. However, although these aforementioned platforms aren’t known for their visual effects, they both allow images to be placed with their text in order to promote the content. With a good image attached to even better content, you can draw in consumers initially with the image and then keep them entertained, informed, and engaged with the content.

Before you create an account on any social media platform, there are a few steps that should first be taken.

Do Your Research

One of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to jump onto every social platform. This isn’t necessarily a huge mistake, but it is unnecessary. Each business does not need to be on every platform. The first step to successfully using social media is to do some research as to where your target audience is and how they engage with your competitors.

Post With the Intent To Inform and Share NOT Sell

Once you’ve determined your target audience and decided on which platform(s) you’re going to utilize for your business, you’ll want to start posting content. Keep in mind, however, that each post you make should NOT be for the sole purpose of selling. Consumers don’t want products to be shoved down their throats; that’s not the reason they’re on these social platforms to begin with. What they want is to engage with their peers and follow the businesses and influencers they like and admire in order to gain some sort of informative content that helps them with whatever it is they seek. A good tip to remember is to follow the rule of 7 to 1. For every 8 posts you make, seven should be to share and inform, 1 should be sell.

Take Advantage of User-Generated Content and Peer-to-Peer Marketing

According to PulpStrategy, 92% of people base their buying decisions based on what their peers are saying. If you want to gain traction within your industry, a great step to do this is to take advantage of user-generated content. Consumers find that content produced by their peers is more trustworthy than advertisements that are being fed to them. One way to benefit from this is to do some more research into who your customers are and what they are posting. If your customers have a high following and post something that is directly related to your business or your products, it’s worth reaching out and offering them a discount or a free gift if they post your product onto their social media platforms.

Fore more information on eCommerce business solutions and ideas, check out our other articles on Genius eCommerce and feel free to post your social media success stories and tips in the comments below.

Buff Up Your Ecommerce Storefront With These Three Hot Tips

Three Ways to Improve Your eCommerce Storefront

Running an eCommerce site takes guts and perseverance that many strive to obtain. The competition is steep and the payoff can be slow, but with the right attitude and strategy, you can turn your storefront into an eCommerce behemoth. In the end, it comes down to being diligent and paying attention to details. You need to understand your customer, and not just your customer, but people in general. On a psychological level, you need to comprehend exactly why someone likes what they like and how you can further incorporate that feeling into your site.

 

1Digital Agency has been surfing the world of eCommerce with ease since 2012, and we’re happy to share some of our knowledge with you. When it comes to running an eCommerce store, nobody knows the ropes better than us, and with three important factors, we can teach you to navigate eCommerce just like we do. There’s no point in stewing over negative sales or poor traffic. Instead, why not take action?

 

We’ve compiled a list of three sure-fire ways to bulk up your eCommerce storefront into a customer snatching machine. With these three steps checked off, you can assure yourself that your store is performing to the best of its abilities. Take a moment to read through them all and see if your store brings the necessary ammo to the battle of eCommerce.

NUMBER ONE: Organize and Consolidate Your Store’s Items

Have you ever been to a restaurant where the menu is twenty pages long? It’s stressful, right? You end up sifting through the options over and over, and if it were online, you might give up on your purchase altogether. When you have too many items for sale on the same page, you’re going to end up leaving your customers overstimulated and confused. It’s much less likely that someone will make a purchase with so many options to choose from, so make sure that your site is well organized.

 

What does this mean? It means that you need to stand firm on the number of options that your site offers, but also acknowledge that they don’t need to sit on the same page. It’s best to arrange your storefront so that as little items are presented at a time. This way, customers will be more likely to make a purchase. When you group your products and create separate category pages, you end up with a cleaner, more organized site that allows customers to shop without stress.

 

Another simple solution is to limit the number of items that are displayed on each page. If your customer has to click through a few pages to get to the item they want, that’s much better than being shell-shocked by a ton of items all at once. The whole idea is to present a clean and clear choice that won’t overwhelm your customers, so this is another viable option to meet the criteria.

 

NUMBER TWO: Quality Images

Visuals are the single most stimulating and important aspect of your website, whether it comes from your logo or the stock images you choose for your articles. This factors in even heavier when it comes to products; people trust a product that they can see. It is far less likely that you will make a sale if you have a blurry picture of your product, let alone a poor definition picture.

 

How can you utilize this tactic? Think big. Large pictures with product descriptions that display when the mouse waves over them are one of the best looking designs that tap into the visual cravings of your customers. Beyond this, it’s imperative to choose photos that are extremely high quality. People want to be wowed by the content on your site, and if they aren’t, they’ll go to a site that does it better. One of the best ways to get a customer to buy a product is for them to test it out, for them to play around with it right in front of them. Since you can’t do that online, letting them imagine the experience is the next best thing. A high definition photo of a product is the closest you can get to your customer toying with it firsthand.

NUMBER THREE: Product Positioning

Believe it or not, but the positioning of your products heavily affects the way that people consume them. Horizontal and vertical alignment both work differently, and studies have shown that horizontal product displays are far more likely to persuade customers to purchase. That’s an easy fix that will lead to more sales for your business.

 

If you look at brands like Netflix, you’ll notice that they utilize this method as well. Categories are separated into horizontal groupings, like “horror” or “my favorites”, and people are pretty used to this format. Like reading most languages, people tend to compartmentalize information easier from right to left or left to right. Utilize these simple psychological perks to better your business!

 

The problem with vertical alignment is that people don’t see the different columns as the same product, they assume that they’re meant to be different categories. Horizontal information is taken in easily and enables customers to take in several options instead of eyeing a single product from a column. This may seem like a smaller change that won’t bring about as much, but it’s these little things that stack up and vastly improve your sales.

 

Stay On Top Of Ecommerce Trends With Genius Ecommerce

We want to create an environment in which you and your business can learn, improve, and thrive. That’s why, here at Genius Ecommerce, we take the time to research and post informative articles that can help you be the best you. Updating your website to reflect the ever-changing world of ecommerce is always going to be a part of the game. With a brand new ecommerce storefront, you can stay ahead of the competition and draw in the sales that you crave. Always keep a lookout for new Genius Ecommerce articles that dabble in the topic; you’ll find our words of wisdom can shape your site into a money making machine!

 

eCommerce Customers: Real People With Real Valuable Thoughts

When trying to create a successful eCommerce business, you may be focusing on website speed, competitive pricing, and exposure of your website. But one very important element that some eCommerce business owners may overlook, is getting to know customers. When selling to people in a physical environment, it is easy to learn a lot of information about your customers quickly. You can do so by observing them, and asking them questions. But how do you learn about your customers from behind a screen? Surprisingly, you can do so by observing them and asking them questions in this format too. Why does it matter, though? Doesn’t the internet just transform every site visitor into a mere name, number, or sale? In a way it does, but each name belongs to a real person who has a reason as to why they purchased your products, or why they did not. Knowing the logic behind this reasoning, as well as additional information about your eCommerce customers, can improve your business greatly.

 

Conducting Surveys

It is important to learn from your eCommerce customers to better understand your own business. One key way to discover what your customers are thinking is by conducting a survey. You can use a free online service, such as SurveyMonkey, to create a survey that pertains to what you want to learn from your website’s visitors. Ask well-constructed, specific questions that are easy to understand in order to obtain the best results. If questions are unclear, respondents may be confused and answer them incorrectly. Refrain from using complicated words to further reduce potential confusion. Also, only ask the most important questions to prevent the survey from dragging on for too long. Surveys that have too many questions will often be abandoned by respondents before they complete and submit the survey.

Creating a proper customer survey will allow you to understand what your eCommerce customers think about your business.

In terms of distributing the survey, you can do so through a variety of different methods. These include embedding it into your website, sharing it on your social media platforms, and sending it out to your e-mailing list. Often times, customers are not interested in filling out surveys unless they have very strong feelings about your business that they want to be known. To maximize your number of respondents and boost enthusiasm, consider offering incentives to customers who complete the survey. These incentives may include discount codes, free shipping, or the chance to win a gift card to use on your site. Once you receive a large number of responses, take this newfound data and transform it into an understanding of how to change your business to better satisfy visitors.

 

Customer Analytics

In order for you to learn about the demographics of your eCommerce customers, Google Analytics is one of the best outlets available. It comes with an eCommerce tracking feature that will be of great importance to you. Reports under the “Audience” section offers the age, gender, language, and location of each customer. Analytics will also if they are accessing your site via desktop or mobile. All of this data is very important to your business as you can take it and use it to your advantage. For example, you can better tailor your site to a certain demographic that you notice have taken an interest to your site.

Utilizing Google Analytics will benefit your business greatly, allowing you to learn about customer demographics.

Other features of Google Analytics include the ability to see what customers are doing on your site. Found under the “Behavior” section, this data gives you an idea of what customers are searching for on your site and how they interact with certain site elements. This data will help you improve your user interface. The “Acquisition” section can tell you how customers found your site. With this information, you can focus on bringing in more customers through the methods that have proven most popular. Overall, Google Analytics provides it’s users with priceless customer data that business owners can use to their advantage. Analytics data allows merchants to improve their business and better understand who they are selling to.

 

Overall Benefits

In a brick and mortar setting, you can physically see your customers, and get to know returning buyers by talking to them each time they come into your store. Now you know that you can do the same online. Remember that eCommerce customers are real people with real thoughts and feelings about your store. And learning about these people and their opinions will propel your business further toward success. Perhaps you learn through a survey that site visitors think it’s hard to navigate your webstore. Take advantage of this new information and redesign your site to have a better user interface that makes it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for. Maybe you didn’t realize how many teenagers were buying from your site. Now you can use that information that you discovered through Google Analytics to start working on a marketing campaign geared toward teens. Start learning more about your eCommerce customers and your business will start to improve.

Getting Started with Your Shopify Website: Your “Going Live” Checklist

Guide to Launching a Shopify Website

After you’ve completed your design, put in your content, and installed all the apps and features that you want, what’s left to do before launching your Shopify website? This checklist takes you step-by-step through all the details you should handle and double check before officially launching your store.

Products

When you are going through your “Going Live” checklist for products on your Shopify website, your primary point of focus will be your inventory and product descriptions. First, check that your inventory levels are where you want them to be. Then, take a look at your product descriptions. Do products have the correct tax status applied to them? Do your products (if applicable) have correct weights? Do you need to add any images to specify variety within products? Do your products have optimized and non-duplicate meta information? Have you determined your gift card and discount policies? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then your products are all set.

Customers

This section is geared towards eCommerce business owners who have migrated their data to a Shopify website from a previous eCommerce platform. This can include customer data, so if you’ve changed eCommerce platforms, make sure you’ve imported previous customer groups. If you choose to do so, you can create customer groups for further organization.

Blog

If you are planning on having blog content on your site, double check that all the content to be listed is available. Then, there are a couple decisions you have to make in regards to your blog. Do you want customers to be able to comment? Have you added any featured images for your blogs? Do your blogs have unique meta information?

Content Pages

Content pages are an important resource for customers to find information on your business background as well as your business policies. Do you have an about us page? Do you have a contact us page (with an embedded contact form)? Do you have an FAQ and Terms and Conditions Page? Do you have a Shipping and Returns page? These are the most important content pages to include, but you should also double check that any sample or test pages that were used as filler in website development are deleted.

Themes

Before launching your Shopify website, you need to prepare your theme and content associated with it. First, make a backup and then also create a duplicate “test theme.” Another important tip is to add in language translations as a feature to your theme.

Website Navigation

Navigation is a critical feature on any website, not just an eCommerce website. It’s what allows the customer to easily move through the site from one page to another, and so before you take your Shopify eCommerce store live, double check that all of your navigation pages are working. So, make sure that your primary, secondary, and drop-down navigation menus are all available and working properly.

Payments, Checkout, Shipping, and Taxes

Before you launch your live website, Shopify fills in a testing payment option. So the first step to take is to determine your primary and secondary payment options, and also determine whether you want to add any manual payment options (paying offline).

Shopify’s checkout settings gives you a variety of options to choose how much information is given to and taken from the customer during checkout. In order to complete this part of the checklist, you need to determine which fields are required for customer checkout. You also will be prompted to determine what settings will be in place for abandoned cart emails, as well as making sure that refunding and privacy statements will be available.

Your comprehensive shipping plan needs to cover the following things: your shipping zones, what carrier you want to use, what shipping rates you prefer, and how to calculate shipping rates (based on weight or price). If you know there are times you will be offering free shipping, determine that now. Also, make sure your shipping label settings are complete and correct.

There are a handful of settings to determine for taxes. Do you want them added to the product price or added separately? Do you need to charge taxes on shipping? Are there tax overrides/exemptions for certain products or customers?

General Settings

This section is just small housekeeping details. First, make sure your images are optimized for your Shopify website. This will help your website performance and keep the images from slowing down the speed. Then, make sure your website’s homepage meta information is updated and grammatically correct. After that, make sure that you have inputted your Google Analytics account information into your Shopify information so that it can start collecting data as soon as your website goes live.

If you went through this comprehensive list and was able to check all the boxes complete, then you are all set to launch your business. After you go live with your Shopify website, it’s time to start watching your wallet grow. Did you find this article helpful or interesting? Share this to your social media and spread the word about Genius eCommerce!

Your Complete Going Live Checklist For Your Volusion Website

What To Check Before Going Live With A Volusion Website

ECommerce platforms like Volusion make it incredibly easy for anyone to build and operate their own eCommerce business. However, there are still things that a Volusion eCommerce business owner should double check before officially launching their Volusion website. This “Going Live” checklist is intended to help you stay on top of the details and have everything all squared away by the time you are ready to launch.

Link Functionality

If there is a broken link on your Volusion website, not only will your customers get a badimpression of your business, it also limits their ability to properly use the website. So prior to going live, it’s essential that you check all of the links within your website to make sure a customer can navigate through the website however they need to. Check each of your central navigation links and make sure they are going to the correct place. Then, check your header and footer links. Next, make sure all the category pages in your navigation is working properly, and that all of the products are listed under the correct category.

Information About Your Business

This is when you set up your content pages on your Volusion website that aren’t related to your products. Your customers are going to want to know more about you, and they will inevitably have questions they want to be answered. Content pages provide areas where customers can easily find the information they are looking for. There are four essential content pages to giving the customer adequate information about your business. First, your “About” page where you let the customer know who you are and the mission and values of your business. Second, your “Terms and Conditions” page, which should be easy for the customer to find and understand. Third, you need to adequately explain your shipping and return policy. Without making this easily known on your Volusion website, you can run into a lot of problems with unhappy customers in the long run. If your return policy is easy to find and easy to understand, customers will be happier with your service. Finally, the fourth content page you should add is your contact information. Double check to make sure that all of your contact information is correct so that customers can actually reach you.

Test Your Orders

If any functions relating to ordering products aren’t working, then your Volusion website becomes pointless. And if these functions aren’t working, you also won’t be making a profit. That’s why it’s imperative that you put these functions through extensive testing before going live with your Volusion website. Make a test purchase with each of the different payment options you are providing, and look over the order confirmation page you get for each respective payment option. Double check your shipping rates for the products and make sure that they are added correctly, and make sure that the tax calculator is working properly. Find out whether there are any inconsistencies or issues and fix them before your site goes live. Another important tip is to test your ordering ability on all the major web browsers to make sure each payment options works on each web browser.

Email Functionality

Customers rely on their email to get information about updated products as well as their order and shipping information. So it is critical that you make sure email is setup within your Volusion website and that it is working properly. Go into the “order confirmation” and “order shipped” email templates and make sure that they are all customized to your brand and your eCommerce business. You don’t want to give your customers any incorrect information about your shipping policies, so double check that all the information is correct (including contact information).

SEO Setup

Start working on your SEO and analytics before you’ve even launched your site. A great tool to help you out is the Google Analytics app so that you can view all your SEO data from the moment you hit the go button. Double check all of your page titles and also your meta descriptions to make sure they are clean, concise, grammatically correct, and also unique for each one.

General Maintenance

At this point, the biggest job left for your Volusion website is to double check your spelling and grammar throughout any and all content to make sure you don’t have any spelling or grammatical errors. This doesn’t just include product descriptions and content pages, you also need to check any buttons or headings or any text on your website. Double check that it is not only spelled correctly but that it is formatted to your liking. Another final job is to test your eCommerce store in all the major web browsers. There can sometimes be variation with how a web page appears on a particular browser, so determine if there are any issues and find a solution.

Now you are all set to go live with your Volusion website! Need help from an eCommerce platform developer before going live with your Volusion store? Email info@geniusecommerce.com for a professional recommendation!

Comprehensive Going Live Checklist For Your BigCommerce Website

What to Check Before Launching Your BigCommerce Website

Prior to launching your BigCommerce website, complete this Going Live checklist to make sure you have everything handled!

Apply A Theme

One of the benefits of an eCommerce platform like BigCommerce is that you can get your online store working quickly and easily by choosing one of their pre-made themes. Any customizations you want to make to your themes, you can do it through the Theme Editor available on the BigCommerce website control panel. BigCommerce uses “stencil theme” which are their newer versions of themes. The Stencil themes are designed for quality and responsivity, and that need only light editing for functionality. A tip to keep in mind before launching, is that if you made any customizations you have made to the Stencil theme you chose, it’s important that you backup any theme files you have if you’re considering changing or applying a new theme.

Add Products

Before adding products, make sure to manage your categories. BigCommerce especially takes advantages of categories as a management system in order to help your customers find products easier. Through the control panel, you can edit your product categories, adjust your navigation settings as necessary, and also change which products are listed under which categories. When you are ready to add products, there are a number of ways in which you can do it through your BigCommerce website. First, you can add products one-by-one into the product sections of your stores. Or, for your convenience, you can import a list of products by using a CSV file. BigCommerce can also provide you with integrations to companies who provide suppliers for products, in case you find something that can help expand your business offerings.

Set Up Payment Options

BigCommerce provides its merchants with a variety of options for collecting payment from customers. These options include PayPal or PayPal powered by braintree (a particularly popular option) and credit cards, or even selecting that your customers can pay by check. Other online payment methods available are Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, QuickBooks payments, and more. Other offline payment methods available are receiving it by money order, paying cash upon delivery, or receiving direct bank deposits.

Set Up Shipping Options

Through your BigCommerce website, you can select from a range of shipping options, but domestic and international. You should choose the shipping that is going to work best for your budget, for your customers, and also what will work best for your product. Is it heavier or bulkier, and would cost you more? Then you should choose an option like the “ship by weight” shipping method. If it’s a smaller item that doesn’t require much work for shipping, you can use a simple “flat rate per item” shipping method. They also use USPS through Endicia, which will let you print labels from your BigCommerce control panel.

Set Up Taxes For Your eCommerce Business

BigCommerce will calculate tax for you at the checkout of your BigCommerce website if you want to use their automated tax tool, but this is only applicable for sales in the United States. If you need to make more complex tax options, or you have tax exemptions you want to take advantage of, then there are manual settings available in the control panel.

Create Content Pages

Your customers want to know more about you than just what products you offer. Through the control panel, BigCommerce makes it very easy to add content pages to your website. This includes options like Shipping and Returns policies, FAQs, About Us pages, or creating a Contact Us form.

Connect a Domain

Throughout the process of building a BigCommerce website, you will initially be hosted through a bigcommerce.com domain. However, prior to making your store go live, you will need to purchase a custom domain. This you can easily do through your BigCommerce control panel. At this point, you should also link your email account associated with your eCommerce store so that it can be seamlessly integrated with the BigCommerce control panel.

Add An SSL

The last stop on the checklist is to purchase an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate (or Secure Sockets Layer certificate) is the standard security system implemented between a web server and a browser. THis is mainly used to protect your customer’s privacy and information to prevent things like their payment information getting stolen. BigCommerce does provide an SSL certificate through their server, but if you prefer to have your customers on your own domain during checkout, you will need to purchase an additional SSL certificate.

Before launching, an excellent tip is to allow others to preview your store. In the control panel, you will find a “preview code,” which you can give to certain people to access your site. When they visit your domain prior to official launching, they will see a box that says “Coming Soon” and a space to enter the preview code. Make any necessary adjustments or changes based on the feedback you receive from their preview. Now you are ready to launch! Simply scroll to the bottom of the Getting Ready Guide on your control panel and click Launch Store. Have any questions about starting a BigCommerce website or any other eCommerce platforms? Contact info@geniusecommerce.com and have a professional digital agency answer your questions!