A Guide: Getting Ready for Black Friday

19 Oct

According to Fortune, online shoppers spent a staggering $4.45 billion on Black Friday in 2015. This is predicted to increase further this year. All the savings encourages big spending and it’s important to recognize the impact that Black Friday and Cyber Monday can have on your online business.

So, what exactly is Black Friday…

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and is historically seen as the first day of the Christmas shopping period. Many retailers offer huge discounts for one day only. Black Friday is followed by ‘Cyber Monday‘.


You’ve probably seen the videos of Black Friday in the brick and mortar stores. Well, shoppers are increasingly shopping online to avoid the chaos that ensues.Black Friday has become a largely online event and this year will be all about the mobile. Freewebstore stores are all fully optimized on mobiles, so you can breathe easily.

Black Friday is a great chance for online retailers, like you, to increase your customer base!

Here are some useful tips  to help get your store ready for the two biggest sale events of the year.

Firstly, plan ahead!

Start promoting your Black Friday discounts early – lot’s of people will begin to scope out potential bargains well before the actual day itself. Communicate with your customers and let them know that there are some awesome deals to be had. Build the hype and get your customers excited!

Make a plan of which products you’re discounting IN ADVANCE, instead of waiting until the last minute. Create a list of the products you’re discounting and at what time you’re planning the discount. Bear in mind that your promotion will only last a day, or perhaps the weekend, so keep it simple.  

It’s likely your store will be busier than usual if you’re offering discounted products. Do you have enough stock to deal with the mass influx? Are you available to respond quickly to customers if any problems occur?

Tips to get your store ready…

When it comes to the Black Friday sales, it’s a perfect way to show your customers that your store is current and that you’re doing well. It’s also the perfect chance to get rid of old stock. Avoid discounting products that you have no problem selling at full price.

Set up special offers, showcasing the savings available to the consumer. For current freewebstore users, this can easily be done by following [Control Panel] > [Manage] > [Product] > [Price Details] > [Offer Price].

Make sure you have appropriate stock levels! If you’ve informed your customers that you’re discounting a product and got them excited, only to have limited products – it won’t look great for your business! 

Freewebstore users, you should enable stock management on your store by [Control Panel] > [Settings] > [Stock Settings] > [Stock Management Status: Enabled]. This can then be controlled through [Control Panel] > [Manage] > [Stock].

A lot of new customers may choose to purchase from your shop for the first time. Make a good impression. Make an effort with packaging, make sure you communicate efficiently at each stage of the buying process. This is your chance to retain new customers! 

Get Creative! 

Run a marketing campaign before the sale itself. Get the shoppers excited. You can give away little snippets of what you’re offering – without giving too much away.Promote your sale with banners that can be easily shared across the social media platforms and via email. This would entice the curious folk out there to visit your site on sale day!


If you’re not keen on reducing any of your product prices, consider offering free delivery for one day only.

Customers see the word ‘free’ and are drawn to this. You can advertise this on social media and via email to get people excited!

Post Black Friday Strategy…

Track your progress, see how successful your sale has been – set up Google analytics. This can be done [Control Panel] > [Google Tools] > [Google Analytics].

Google analytics allows you, amongst a lot of other things, to see how your customers found your site, the keywords that worked best.

You can monitor how successful your marketing campaign has been, by analyzing how many users have been directed to your store via social media, for example. You’ll be able to see what worked and what didn’t work – and learn for the next time.

Additionally, you can see how many of your customers are returning customers and how many new customers you’ve gained. Collecting email address of Allowing you to follow up with the new users by a targeted email campaign.

This is a great feature to utilize, the best part about it – it’s free! 

Happy selling! 

New Design Launched – Timeline

17 Oct

New Design Launched – Introducing Timeline

Sophisticated and most definitely ahead of its time – our new template, Timeline, will provide your customers with an exceptional shopping experience.

Designed using the mobile first technique for optimal mobile experience – Timeline offers a stunning yet simple eCommerce design.

Key Features

  • Mobile Optimized
  • Social Media Icons Supported
  • Multiple Language Packs
  • Graphical Logo
  • Soft Add To Cart
  • Advanced Search
  • Featured Products
  • Offers & Promotions

Check out the design


Store of the Month: October 2016

13 Oct

Congratulations to our FANTASTIC store of the month for October, Risus Wholesale.


We spoke with the store owner, Vicky, to find out a bit more about the business:

Please, tell us a little bit about your business

We are an online toy and party wholesale business that supplies retailers, promotional companies, schools, charities and online sellers. We specialize in pocket money toys and cheap novelties but we also stock a wide range of party items such as inflatables and balloons. We also stock a wide of Christmas products that sell really well especially our stockings and hats.

More recently we started selling pre-wrapped toys for use as presents at Santa’s Grotto.

How did you get into it?

I bought a clearance box of toys for £50 which I sold on Ebay and used the profits from that to buy more clearance stock. Once I had saved up a few hundred pounds I was able to open an account with a major importer and my sales started flooding in. After a couple of years, I was able to leave Ebay selling and concentrate on my own website and this is where things really took off. Rather than getting orders of £20 -£30 I was regularly getting orders of a few hundred pounds! My range has now increased to over 1200 items and we are adding more daily.

What kind of marketing do you do for your store? 

We don’t do a lot of advertising as we have made efforts on our SEO work so we appear quite well for our chosen keywords on Google, this tends to bring in the bulk of our business. We do a little bit of advertising on Wholesale Forum websites and in PTA magazines.

What one piece of advice would you give new store owners?

Persevere. Success does not come overnight so keep at it and if you work hard and believe in what you do then success will come. I did not take a wage from my business for the first 2 years so had to work a second job ( I am also a chartered accountant) at the same time to pay the bills. Once the money was there and the business had grown sufficiently I was able to take a wage.

Have you had any feedback from your customers about your store?

Yes, plenty. The overwhelming response I get is that the store is easy to use and looks great.

”Quick service with as easy to use website and helpful staff when contacted. This is my second order placed and will not be my last”

Is there a specific reason you chose freewebstore as your eCommerce platform?

I did a lot of research and most people recommended that I build my own site but after researching how to go about this I soon realized that the time taken to do this was not going to work out for me. I needed something that I could use straight away with minimal input from myself. FWS fitted that bill and literally after only a few minutes I was up and running. I also like having the support as a backup so if anything does go wrong I don’t have to spend ages fixing it, I know there is a team there that will take care of it for me.

And finally, please sum up your freewebstore experience…

Can’t fault it and would definitely recommend to others. FWS has given me the freedom to work from home and raise a family at the same time and for that, I will always be hugely grateful.

Do you think you deserve to be our store of the month for November? Get in touch with us and tell us why🙂

An Insight into Affiliate Marketing with freewebstore

7 Oct

Hands up if you want an easy way to make a bit of extra cash, without forking out any upfront fees yourself… If you’ve covertly raised your hand at your computer screen (I won’t judge) then continue to read. If not, read anyway as I’m sure you’ll be convinced at the end of this article…

So what’s the secret? Well, it’s not actually a secret, it’s freewebstore’s fantastic affiliate scheme. With the extremely generous 15% commission, excellent ad management, and reporting facilities – it seems too good to be true. It’s not.

I’ll be highlighting the benefits of the affiliate scheme and be sharing tips on how to maximise your potential earnings with some handy insights!


Financial benefits. Freewebstore offers an extremely generous 15% commission for the LIFETIME of a referred premium subscription. Let’s just put that into numbers:

  • If your referee joins freewebstore for one year on the professional package you’ll earn a cool $54. 🤑
  • If your referee joins freewebstore for one year on the wholesaler package you’ll earn a staggering $270! 🤑 🤑

And the best thing is… If they keep subscribing, you’ll keep earning! Your commission will be paid directly into your PayPal account – or into your bank account (UK customers only).

You don’t need to do anything yourself, just let freewebstore provide the support and, of course, the fantastic product.


You’re in control. That’s the great thing about the affiliate scheme; you’re your own boss. You can control how much/how little you put in (obviously, we recommend putting a lot of effort in). You can choose which marketing channels to use and are most comfortable in – freewebstore won’t put any pressure on you.

It’s so easy to use…

Our affiliate scheme offers a plethora or advertising banners to suit all marketing channels, whether that be on social media or an advertisement on your website – freewebstore has you covered. You don’t even need to tell us you’ve referred someone, we will know who clicks on your link!

Additionally, we have a thorough and detailed statistics page, to help you keep track of your performance and how well your affiliate scheme is doing.


Whilst providing you with a fantastic report facilities, allowing you to keep track of all your referrals and, of course, the commission generated.



If you’re passionate about freewebstore (and let’s face it, why wouldn’t you be) then use this passion to educate your network and generate some extra revenue for yourself.

It benefits everyone, you’re happy as you’ve made yourself a quick buck, your referral is happy as they’ve got themselves a brilliant product and the company are happy as they’ve gained another user! Win, win (win).

If you’re a current freewebstore user, you will already have an affiliate account set up! Just visit your ‘My Account‘ section on your control panel.

However, even if you’re not a freewebstore user, you can sign up to our scheme here.

You can easily paste the HTML code into your website – we’d recommend placing it in the footer.

Now that I’ve convinced you to partake in the freewebstore affiliate scheme, it’s only right that I give you a few tips in order to get the most out of the affiliate schemes.

How to get the most out of the affiliate scheme…

Plan! Every business big or small should have a plan in place. Take a look at this useful article to help you in the planning stage here.

Don’t go for too many affiliate schemes. This one is open for debate, I know a lot of people who say it’s best not to ‘keep all your eggs in one basket’but it’s important not to go for too many, either. The temptation to try and earn as much money as quickly as possible is a hard one to avoid.

However, it is easier to focus on one or two products that you’re passionate about, as opposed to many different products you have no interest in. Your passion and enthusiasm will be picked up and rub off on your audience and would do half the job for you!

Don’t oversell and bombard the reader with tonnes of information. Instead, educate the audience on why they should sign up to this product. Provide an honest review, mention any negatives aspects too. Promote how successful this product has been for you and the benefits it could bring to them.

By promoting and recommending the product itself to your readers will help in the buying process – people love to buy from people they trust. In fact, 84% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products and services (Nielson).

There’s nothing worse than ‘sell, sell, sell’ – it’s not nice face to face so why would it be in the digital world?!

Be active! Get a blog, social media as well as a website. Note, the audience will vary on the different platforms you use, so don’t copy and paste content everywhere. Taylor this to the specific audience. For example, LinkedIn and Twitter will be different. Twitter will require you to get brief, straight to the point and regular updates. Marketing on LinkedIn will require you to engage differently, building up relationships with the audience, writing detailed articles etc. Remember, content is king.


Additionally, joining forums and learning off people embarking on similar campaigns will be beneficial. There are numerous platforms and forums to help provide you with useful hints and tips, such as affilorama and affiliate fix.

I hope this has helped you in your quest to affiliate stardom, if you have any comments or suggestions please post them below!

How to get your online store ready for Christmas

21 Sep

Summer might feel like a recent memory, but with Christmas just around the corner it’s important to start thinking about getting your online store ready for the holiday rush.

Internet shopping continues to rise year on year, so here are my top tips for getting your store ready for what could be your most lucrative quarter.Retro tin toy santa robot holding christmas present

Is your store ready?

Start by looking at the products on your store. Optimize images and give your site a festive feel. Images will play a big part in capturing the attention and hearts of shoppers. If your product photos are low resolution or have poor lighting, maybe it’s time to re-shoot them ready for the holidays. You might not want to upload them yet, but careful planning will take the stress out of what is going to be a busy time.

Check your site. Does it load well? Is your web address memorable? Are all the links working? Does your site work on all devices? Are your stock levels right?  Make sure there isn’t any ‘out of stock’ products appearing on your store. Show that your site is secure with an SSL certificate.

Are your product descriptions accurate and of a good length? If they aren’t, online shoppers may be wary of buying from you. All of this careful planning helps build up your SEO which will boost your Google rankings making it easier for shoppers to find you.

Make checking out easy

Your customers are going to be busy leading up to Christmas. According to a recent survey conducted by PwC, when it comes to online shopping, Americans value convenience above all else: 58% of survey respondents say convenience is the main reason they shop online, with price being a distant second at 32%. Don’t have your customers abandoning the checkout process out of frustration. After succeeding in the hard work of getting them there, losing conversions due to a complicated or lengthy form is far from ideal. Use a checkout that allows you to take payments directly on your store.

Have a plan

Calculate your projected sales figures and work hard to stick to them. Visit our 6 essential tips to increasing sales.

Build the hype. ..slowly!

Plan your marketing campaign but start subtle. Traditionally the Christmas buying season starts the day after Thanksgiving, but so many people have done their Christmas shopping by then. I’m not suggesting that you start customizing your store with Christmas trees and tinsel just yet! A great way to start your Christmas campaign is to start blogging about it. If you have enabled StoreBlog, you can blog about what you’re planning in the run up to the Holiday Season. Put teasers for your upcoming sales on your blog or Facebook store to create awareness. According to a recent report by Deloitte more so than ever, consumers plan to use the Internet to research holiday buys and 50% will use social media during their shopping process when it comes to holiday spending. Get your customers to leave feedback and reviews on your StoreBlog and Facebook store.

If you’re looking to promote discounts for those shoppers looking for a bargain, start to plan what coupons and sales you’re going to offer on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Money can be tight at Christmas and customers will be looking for a great deal.  

Use every avenue available to drive traffic to your store.  Get your advertising in the right place. Define your best customer and seek out the right way to reach them. During October and the early part of November, these won’t be Christmas related ads. You are planting shopping ideas and hints that will be harvested down the road.

Don’t have a big marketing budget? Utilize social media. A recent survey found that consumers have an appetite for social commerce, that fusion of online social communities with seamless purchasing capability. More than two-thirds of US respondents said social media influences their online shopping behavior.

Time to Get Festive

When you start to celebrate Christmas on your store is up to you but it’s essential that you aren’t the last store out there to start celebrating. Customize your store with some festive features to entice your customers. Winter Morning is a festive design for your store.  You can easily switch between your Christmas design and your January Sale design at the click of a button using the Saved Designs Feature. A word of warning though – if you have a high customer base, don’t make drastic changes to the navigation or layout right now. This can cause disruption to customers’ shopping flow. If the site has drastically changes from what customers are used to, it could cause confusion, frustration and lead to abandonment.

Get to the Christmas Markets – this is the best way to raise your profile and connect with your customers. See face to face what your customers are interested in. Wrap up warm, grab a coffee and have fun. Pick their brains about what they bought last year. What items make good gifts? What price ranges are they looking for? What is their average Christmas budget?

Monitor your stock carefully

Choosing the amount of stock you need over Christmas can often be difficult, especially if you are investing in seasonal products. On the one hand, you don’t want to miss out on a share of the market, but on the other you don’t want to be left with surplus stock in January that you can’t sell.  Look at what sold well last year. Finding a pattern could make ordering your stock each year much easier, so make sure you keep a note of everything.

Reach out to your customers about your most popular products – nervous customers will want reassuring that products will arrive on time.

Spread some festive cheer

Your average customer will recruit three other customers during the time they do business with you. What makes customers talk about you? Usually the way they were treated. Add a personal touch. Offer a helping hand. Give them personal attention. This could be a handwritten note in their parcel. Point out new items to customers on your blog. Sales and relationships go hand in hand.

Get your staff involved!

The holidays are a great time to have fun and a season of goodwill. Why not get your staff excited about Christmas and this will reflect in their attitudes. Organize a competition among your staff to create a Christmas card to send out with your customer orders. A personal touch will help your customers to feel valued and connected to your brand. Your staff can make a big difference to the success of our business over Christmas. Why not treat them to a Christmas lunch to say thank you for all their hard work, especially if you need them to work on days that most people usually have off like Boxing Day or New Year’s Day.

And finally…Don’t forget January!

No doubt if your Christmas campaign has gone well, you’ll be exhausted! Plan ahead and get your January sales with discount codes and coupons. Getting ready early will help you to jump on your competition and bring in the shoppers. Marketing plans take time to plan and work if they are to be successful. Bring it on!


Guide: How do I get Paid?!

7 Sep

You’ve completed your first sale. Great! However, you have no idea where your money has gone – not so great!

Don’t go all ‘Stewie Griffin’ on us; this short article will help put your mind at ease.

When setting up your freewebstore account, you’ll automatically be set-up to receive payments through PayPal. However, you are not limited to PayPal – there are many other payment providers you may wish to use. See for yourself!

Once a customer has completed their payment, the funds will appear in your account – you are free to withdraw! Simple as that.


Choices, choices…

As you’ve seen, there are numerous payment gateways to choose from for your convenience. We’ve provided a little bit more information on two of our most popular payment processors:

The old faithful…

  • PayPal – available in 190 markets around the world, with 24 currencies to choose from.

Freewebstore automatically set up your store through PayPal. Their platform builds on the existing financial infrastructure of bank accounts and credit cards to create a global, real-time payment solution.

Click here for more information.

The new kid on the block…

  • Stripe – Stripe allows shoppers to pay for goods directly and securely on the store with minimal clicks – processing billions of dollars a year!

Stripe aims to reduce lost sales due to unnecessary data entry, slow redirects, and general checkout friction. Stripe’s lean checkout philosophy has been proven to increase conversions and reduce abandoned carts.

More information is available here.


If you choose to go premium, users can opt to get paid offline, giving yourself the BEST possible chance of landing the sale. Some of the options available on the premium package:

  • Pay by invoice
  • Pay by bank transfer
  • Cash on delivery
  • Local collection

Hope we’ve cleared that up a bit for you. Now, don’t spend it all at once  ;)


Beginners Guide: Ideas for Products to Sell

2 Sep

Are you struggling to find a product to sell on your freewebstore store, or wondering which is the best route to go down? Don’t worry you’re not alone. It’s a hurdle many budding entrepreneurs are faced with.

Here, we’ve prepared a quick blog to highlight a few different options available to you, that will help to provide you with a few ideas.

Wholesale Marketplace

Wholesalers act as ‘the bridge’ between the manufacturer and the retail market. Sites such as ‘Alibaba’ and our recommendation DHgate are great for inspiration and to scope out possible products, providing a vast range of items.

Buying through wholesalers has its advantages:

  • Low cost in bulk
  • A wide choice of products to choose

Along with disadvantages:

  • Storage space – to qualify for cheaper rates, you’ll be required to purchase in bulk. This could be a problem if you’re working from home or a small office.

If storage space is a problem, drop shipping is the solution!

You’ll have no warehouse to run, no storage costs and reduce your level of commitment. However, this can be a problem when it comes to customer communication, as you’ll have to go back and forth between the company and the customer.

Read this article on how to find suitable drop shippers.

Opportunity Spotting in your Local Area

It may be worth having a walk around your local area and look for different ideas that could provide an opportunity online.

Have you got a cupcake shop around the corner that is ALWAYS busy but there’s no online presence in your local area? Bingo! There could be a gap in the market for you to exploit online!

Alternatively, if going global appeals to you more, keep your eye out on new trends.

Social Media

Sites such as Instagram and Pinterest are great for providing visual inspiration and providing product ideas. Look at different products that have been trending in recent months. If you’ve got an interest in a particular commodity, follow the industry leaders – use the ‘power of the #HashTag’ to search for ideas and inspiration.

Now you can use your new found inspiration and get started on your eCommerce journey here.

New Design Launched – Atlas

1 Sep

New Design Launched – Introducing Atlas

Steer your store on it’s voyage to success with our new template, Atlas.

Using the mobile first technique, which helps to provide optimal mobile performance – Atlas offers a clean and spacious design. The first four category images double as links, increasing the color and content – sophistication personified.

Key Features

  • Mobile Optimized
  • Social Media Icons Supported
  • Multiple Language Packs
  • Graphical Logo
  • Soft Add To Cart
  • Advanced Search
  • Featured Products
  • Offers & Promotions

Check out the design


6 Essential Tips to Improve Sales

26 Aug

“I’ve got my mind on my money & money on my mind” – we all know Snoop Dogg has money on his mind. Equally, for most of you when setting up an online store, the main motivator is making yourself some extra cash. We know it can be disheartening if your business is not doing as well as you expected – so we’ve compiled a few little tips for you to consider.

First up…

1. Plan and Set Realistic Targets

Before you start building your web-store, it is important to devise a strategy and set yourself REALISTIC targets.

Set yourself a long-term objective (500 sales by the end of the year). Break these down into manageable daily, weekly and monthly targets (10 sales by the end of the week). This can help to monitor the success and provides you with a clear direction for your business.

2. Attach an appropriate domain to your site

This seems like a given, right?! There are stores who haven’t and it’s been proven to affect sales. 92% of freewebstore sales come from those with a domain name attached. Attaching a domain name adds credibility to your online store and increases the trust of the visitor. Additionally, it’s important that you choose a suitable domain name, that’s not too wordy or inappropriate, however unintentional it may have been.

You can set up a domain name directly from your control panel > marketing > domain name.

3.Your web-store needs to be visually appealing and easy to navigate 

93% of consumers judge the website aesthetics above anything else.

First impressions count! If your web-store is unappealing to your audience and difficult to navigate, then it’s likely to increase the bounce rate – that’s one less consumer who may have been willing to spend! So…

  • Keep categories clear and use a different color for your background!
  • Use logical navigation layouts – don’t have your links the same color as your background color.
  • Blurry, oversized images make your website look unprofessional. Use the correct dimensions. If possible, use unique images.
  • Keep your content fresh. Returning customers  may think you’re not offering anything different if you have the same rolling image after 40 days. Add a blog and update weekly!

shite website edited

Although I’m pretty sure this is ‘intentionally bad’ – it’s still a big no, no. Don’t install too many widgets, don’t have too many contrasting colours, don’t make it too cluttered and make the navigation tabs clear and easy to read – it’s painful on the eyes!

4. Don’t give up after a few days! SEO can take a while to kick in

You’ve got a plan in place, made a cool looking website, however, you’ve not made as many sales as you’d expected. Fear not, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau once stated, “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet”.

93% of all online experiences start with a search engine. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a cost effective way of getting new customers to visit your store. However, the lucrative rewards from SEO (branding, an increase in website traffic etc.) can take a while to come forth. The Google spiders (don’t worry, you can’t see them :p) have become more sophisticated, with Google favouring websites that deliver what people actually want to see; natural wording and not keyword after keyword.

Freewebstore does plenty of automatic SEO to help all of their businesses (such as mobile-optimized sites). Here are some tips for you to improve your SEO ranking:

  • Content – make sure your content is filled with relevant information about your products. Longer, interesting articles seem to perform better by increasing dwell time. It’s important to do this in a manner that is easy to read for the user – small sentences, bullet points etc. Meta Tags are also important, although not as influential as they once were.
  • Use your own images – Unique pictures will help your website stand out.
  • Fix those broken links!! This not only improves your SEO ranking but also reduces the amount of hair your customers pull out after clicking on a dead link!

If you’re interested in learning more about SEO then check out this helpful video.

5. Get to know your audience through analytics

Visitors will leave a trail of information behind every time they access your site. Use it to your advantage. Get to know your audience through analytics.

google analytics

 Some of the key benefits of analytics are:

  • Help measure and track the progress of your business.
  • Provides you with information on where your visitors are located, so you can focus your marketing on those areas.
  • Understand the demographics: Which age range of your users have the higher conversion rates? Target those users with appropriate content.
  •  View the pages with the highest, bounce rates. These pages spell trouble – it’s likely that changes are needed!

Last but not least…

6. Interact with your customers

Let your customers know you’re there, that you exist. Answer their Facebook messages, tweet them, and respond to their e-mails and blog comments. You can respond with a personalised message. This helps with customer retention and shows that the customer is valued and important. Fantastic customer service and a great product = success.

Remember that customer retention is as important as customer acquisition, if not more so. It’s easier to convert sales from current customers than it is new customers – so don’t forget about existing customers! 

Hopefully, this has helped you out a little bit and allows you to get the most out of your freewebstore hosted web-store – and set you on the path to entrepreneurial success! Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint! Happy selling  🙂


New Design Launched – Vogue

25 Jul

New Design Launched – Introducing Vogue

Vogue is much more than an eCommerce template. It’s a template that catches your shopper’s eyes, drags them into your store and succeeds at providing a visual and flawless shopper experience.


Key Features

  • Mobile Optimized
  • Social Media Icons Supported
  • Multiple Language Packs
  • Graphical Logo
  • Soft Add To Cart
  • Advanced Search
  • Featured Products
  • Offers & Promotions

Check out the design