Happy Customers = Profitable Customers

14 Sep

There is no denying that customer service is a huge part of daily life in the eCommerce world; it’s what makes your customers happy and what makes your customers keep returning to your webstore.

Here are 5 quick tips on how to improve customer service on your webstore:

1.  Easy Navigation

If your customer has a problem or wants to return an item, then having “Contact” and “Returns” links in your main navigation helps your customer quickly find what they are looking for. In both cases your customer may already be quite irritated and making it easy for them to find these pages will increase usability and overall happiness.

2. Your Email Address

Some customers may want to contact you directly. It’s worth investing in your own domain email address such as support@yourdomain.com or info@yourdomain.com. Your customers may find  these more professional than a gmail, outlook or yahoo email address.

3. Email Correspondence

Keep your emails friendly and professional, it’s that simple:

  • Use customers names if available (Mr Smith, Miss Doe, etc).
  • Use your manners (Thank you, Please etc).
  • Check your spelling and grammar.
  • Do not use slang or text-speak.
  • Do not use profanity.

4. Social Media
Social media is fantastic for connecting with your target audience. Use it! It’s a great way to promote new products, special offers and events. It’s also a great way to keep in contact with your customers and sometimes the easiest way a customer can get in contact with you. Again, be friendly and professional.

5. Frequently Asked Questions

Sometimes a customer may have a quick question and having a Frequently Asked Questions page on your store can help a customer find that all important answer quickly. Having this page can also reduce the number of emails you get so why not create one?

For a more in-depth look at customer service read our walkthrough.

Do you have any great tips on customer service to share? Comment below 🙂

Store of the Month: September

1 Sep

The freewebstore Store of the month for September (September already!?!) is the creative, Barcelona based store SonjaElisa 🏆 You know the score, we caught up with Sonja for a chat about her business and how things are going so far 🙂

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1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your business, and where it all started

I’m a Finnish fashion designer living in Barcelona. I have been making things since I can remember, cutting, gluing and hand sewing before my mum let me use her sewing machine at the age of 8. After working for corporate for many years, I ventured into freelancing and started feeling the need to create again. I wanted to go back to making something handmade, where I could truly express myself, something I felt passionate about and that related to slow fashion. So I launched my own line, Sonja Elisa silk accessories, which I make in my Barcelona workshop. 

I make silk accessories for women, men, and kids. Products include scarves, shawls (silk paired with a warmer double layer), bow ties and pocket squares. They are all hand painted and hand sewn, each one unique in its kind, as no pattern turns out the same way. I love silk painting as it is flowing, organic and unpredictable, and each piece has its own magic!

2. What is the best thing about owning your own business/online store? 

The best thing is the freedom. I can manage the store easily on my own and in my own time, and it’s a great window into the global marketplace, through which I can connect with customers all over the world.

3. How do you market your product?

I mostly use social media (Instagram and Facebook), to showcase my work. I also attend occasional markets and makers fairs, and a few retail stores feature exclusive collections. My silk scarves and bowties are very unique in style so I try to find the best channels to reach customers that relate to the aesthetics and values of my brand.

 

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One of Sonja’s fantastic products: Men’s bow-tie

 

4. If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

 Sophia Amoruso, she has passion, drive, and edge. I find her story very inspiring.

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Sonja finds Sophia Amoruso’s story inspiring

5. Do you have any advice for new store owners?

Don’t try to get it perfect on the first go, it is only natural to evolve your store. If you don’t start you won’t know what you want to improve! Ask for help from the guys at freewebstore if you get stuck, freewebstore have a great customer support team. Also, BELIEVE in your idea and don’t give up or get discouraged, try to learn from critique and improve your products and branding.

6. Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform? 

Freewebstore offers a great combination of functionality, design, technical support and price plans. It’s super easy, fast and simple to manage, and contains all the tools I need in an online store platform.

7. If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

Mind reading! And teleportation. And telekinesis. Oh wait, did you say only one??

8. Why is eCommerce important for your business?

I think eCommerce is essential for my business, it’s the best way to be able to reach my niche customers around the globe, and not be limited locally.

9. And finally, do you have any celebrity customers?

I do have a few celeb artsy bow tie customers. For example Matthew Waldman, American designer, and artist; Janne Kyttänen, 3D artist and designer and Jari Karttunen, Finnish dance artist.

 

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Matthew Waldman is a customer of Sonja’s

 

Sonja is using the crystal clear design for her store and we definitely think she’s done a great job. If you would like to be considered for the freewebstore store of the month series then get in touch with our success team at successteam@freewebstore.com 

New Website 🎉

25 Aug

We’re delighted to be able to roll out our sparkling new website! The team has been working hard designing a new website that not only promotes our new store owners but showcases what a fantastic platform freewebstore is. We hope you like it…

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The aim for the new website is to:

1. Promote our fantastic store owners

It’s a given that if it wasn’t for our fantastic store owners, there would be no freewebstore. Our new website promotes and celebrates a selection of our successful store owners, with an aim of including a load more in the future! With a full video feature, testimonial and website link, it’s a great way to promote our freewebstore family.

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If you believe your online business deserves a video feature and promoted on our homepage, send an email to our customer success team at successteam@freewebstore.com.

2. A simple, clear message to show exactly what freewebstore is all about.

We have reduced the number of slides on our website to promote a clear message for everyone to understand – after all, we live with the mantra of eCommerce for everyone! The website is our opportunity to tell the world who we are, what we do and most importantly what you can achieve using freewebstore.

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3. Promote our fantastic free features

We’re sure you know all about the fantastic free features that freewebstore has on offer. If not, well, the new website is certainly the place to learn about our fantastic FREE features, clearly displaying all of our features available for free users and being transparent when it comes to what’s available for the premium users.

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Big thanks to the team who have helped with design and launch our new website, which you can check out here. There are a few hidden ‘easter eggs’ on the website – comment below if you can spot them 😉 

Store of the Month: August

7 Aug

Freewebstore’s Store of the month for August is the very glamorous Madame Sole Protectors. Our team got in touch with Sophie, the store owner, to talk all things business (oh, and which superpower she’d choose, of course!)

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1. Please tell us a bit about yourself your business and where it all started.

It all started when I was living in Mumbai and I took a pair of new Louboutins out for a spin and when I returned home the beautiful, delicate not to mention expensive red soles had been scratched to smithereens. I’m not going to lie I was mortified so searched the internet for something that could potentially protect my soles and maybe cover the existing damage.

I couldn’t find anything suitable and although I could get them re-soled I wasn’t going to leave my precious Louboutins at a cobbler so just lived with the fact that this was the price I had to pay for gorgeous shoes.

Fast forward a couple of years I found myself living in Shanghai and was gifted a new pair of Louboutins, I was not going to make the same mistake this time, oh no, I was in the manufacturing capital of the world, if I couldn’t find the product I required I was jolly well going to find someone who could make it for me. After scouring Chinese manufacturing websites and with a little help from a translator I found a factory who produced all items associated with shoes and it went from there. The lady I was in touch with spoke ok English and we managed to develop the product I desired together!

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My first order was for 500 pairs as that was the minimum but I didn’t sell any until I moved back to the UK a few years later, I just used them to protect my growing personal Louboutin collection.

2. What made you get into this line of work?

Since I was young I’d always had ideas for products and, although I never pursued it, it was in me!

I had been a trailing spouse for a number of years working to meet people in various companies, then I fell pregnant for a couple of years. Unfortunately, my husband and I split up and all of a sudden I was a single mother of a 6-month-old and 2-year-old living back in England thinking ‘what the hell am I going to do?!’

I didn’t feel I could do a 9-5 as I had two babies and couldn’t afford full-time nursery fees and remembered I had the 500 or so Sole Protectors upstairs & thought maybe I could sell them. So I did!

 

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Sophie and her family!

I started on an auction site and sold them all very quickly but this site was very expensive, so that plus the PayPal fees and it had so many rules on how you could market the product. I really wanted to make my own website and cut out that ‘middle man’ but I didn’t want to pay someone to do my website. I found freewebstore and it actually was completely free to set up the website using their existing templates and start selling!

I ditched the auction site and now only sell on my own website www.soleprotectors.co.uk

3. How do you market your product?

I mainly market my products on Facebook, I’ve got involved in many shoe appreciation groups and feel they love my product as much as I do and they love how the sole protectors can protect their beautiful soles from damage. We have great feedback using the rating feature on our freewebstore which I feel fills other customers with confidence when buying our product.  We now do clear sole Protectors as well as red sole protectors so are suitable for all types of designer shoes including jimmy choo, Valentino, and Irregular Choice as well as your everyday shoes for a little extra grip!

4. If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

 

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Baroness Michelle Mone would be Sophies ideal work partner

For sure it would be Michelle Mone of Ultimo! I heard her talk at a conference when I was 18 and I was in ore of what she had achieved; I really felt inspired.  She broke down doors to get to where she is today and I feel that someone like her would really help me get to where I would want to be in the future. She’s also fabulous so she’d fit in great. I just love her.

 

5. Do you have any advice for new store owners?

Advice to new store owners would be to ask for support from the freewebstore help desk if you need it, they are so knowledgeable and can save you so much time than trying to figure it out yourself. As they say ‘time is money’

6. If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

My magic power would be to click my fingers and everything be tidy and clean or done for you. Example .. ‘Click, the toys are tidied away, ‘ click, the dinners made ‘ Click! The washing up’s done’ ‘click, my sole protector orders are packed’ Think Disneys Mary Poppins, a spoon full of sugar! (Haha, great!)

7. Why is eCommerce important for your business?

Although we do supply a few boutique stores the large majority of our business comes from our eCommerce store. It is so important as it allows Madame Sole Protectors to reach a much wider customer base, not only in the U.K but abroad too. My web store is my showroom and I can add and delete products and information at any time. When people are looking for a product these days the first place they look is the internet and my store gives my business the opportunity to be found and noticed. I am very grateful for this.

I work from home and live in a little village, in a bid to support my local community and keep our local post office open, instead of having a franking machine I send all my items Royal Mail through the local Post office.

8. And finally, do you have any celebrity customers?

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Sophie presented with her ‘best new product’ award by Caprice at the mumtrepreneur award ceremony.

Well I can’t imagine the likes of Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian scouring the internet for sole protectors personally, they have people for that, however we are well informed that our sole protectors have been used in fashion catwalk shows and on the soles of pop stars in concerts to help prevent them slipping over in their designer heels during their performances.  Not to mention the one and only Caprice who awarded us with the Mumtrepreneur award for best new product last year. (congrats!!)

If you would like to learn more about Sophie’s fantastic business or to purchase some sole protectors then visit her website at soleprotectors.co.uk.

If you feel like you deserve to be Store of the Month, contact us at info@freewebstore.com with the subject ‘Store of the Month’ or visit us at freewebstore.com.

Store of the Month: July

10 Jul

Our store of the month for July is Rainbows and Sprinkles. Lucy took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to answer a few of our questions – take a look!

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1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your business and where it all started

I am full-time Mum to my son Oliver who will be 2 in September, it was during the first 6 months of his life that I was spending a lot of time at home during the cold winter months and was looking for something that I could start doing at home to make myself a bit of pocket money. I experimented with various different baby products until I decided to develop a handmade children’s clothing range from newborn – 4-5years. I found a lovely lady in Exmouth to work with me to develop these products and we started working together very quickly after that!

 

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Lucy and her family

 

2. Do you make the clothes yourself or do you have a team to produce these?

We all have our own part to play in making every garment. I now have a team of 4 ladies who all work extremely hard to make each piece. Everything is cut out, sewn and assembled by hand all in sunny Devon.

 

3. Do you have a physical store as well as an online store? How do you market your product?

We advertise through Facebook and then customers order through my freewebstore. I’ve done a few stalls in the past when the business was very young however, I can reach so many more customers via Facebook and my website that it’s not worth selling at stalls. However, I would love to have a physical flagship store one day.

4. If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

I would love Jo Malone to come and work with us! I love her work ethic and the reason so started her business is quite similar to mine. My aim is to be as successful as her – you’ve got to aim high!

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Jo Malone would be Lucy’s ideal celebrity employee!

 

5. Do you have any advice for new store owners?

If you have an idea just go for it! I thought about launching Rainbows & Sprinkles one evening and was so driven to make it work even though I had no background in textiles or clothing. It’s very cliche but you have to believe you will succeed. I was absolutely determined that Rainbows & Sprinkles was going to work, there was no other option.

6. Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform?

I think freewebstore is a fantastic platform. Almost all of my sales are placed on smartphones and my website adapts to smartphones so well and makes it so simple to use and navigate. I love the way my orders are set out and it makes them so simple to manage which is a massive bonus for me and If I ever have a concern or question, my emails are answered almost immediately which I think is just fantastic.

7. If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

I would love to teleport! I adore traveling and would love to see as much of the world as possible so definitely teleportation!

8. And finally, where do you see rainbows and sprinkles in 5 years time?

I have so many plans for Rainbows & Sprinkles in the next 5 years. We are always developing new products and introducing new prints – we are launching dresses in July and are discussing developing an older children’s range from 6-12y. I am also talking to a number of wholesalers at the moment to discuss various shops stocking out products and we are also working on moving from a made to order basis to an ‘in stock’ system to dramatically reduce lead times – we all know how fast babies and toddlers grow!

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Check out Rainbows and Sprinkles here. Interested in making a fantastic store like Rainbows and Sprinkles? Learn more here.

Feature Update: New Invoice Templates

6 Jul

Hello, store owners 👋 Some good news coming out of freewebstore HQ: We’ve added three new invoice designs for you all to use, no additional cost of course!

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Do you want to give your invoices a new look, freshen things up? Go take a look, they’re living in your control panel right now! Head over to Settings > ECommerce Settings > Invoice Settings and check them out.

P.S We’ve got some exciting things brewing so watch this space 😉

 
Log in to your control panel here or pop over to our website here.

Store of the Month: June 2017

15 Jun

Our store of the month for June is the very imaginative thebiggerpictureart.co.uk. We spoke to the store owner, Aimee, who told us how sibling rivalry drove her to excel in arts and crafts how traveling the world helped to inspire Aimee’s fantastic business!

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Please tell us a bit about yourself, your business and where it all started

I graduated from University with a degree in Photography back in 2011. Having begun to collate a portfolio of work I decided to go traveling to expand on this further. Outside of my studies I’ve always had a passion for design and can recall many a weekend building and inventing things in my Granddad’s workshop as a child.

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My studio, The Bigger Picture, is a combination of these passions for art and design. I hope that my work conveys some of the inspirational things I’ve been lucky to see and explore. Combined with a bit of imagination, people can take home a product that is unique and brings some of the wider worlds right into their homes

What made you get into this line of work?

Both my sister and I grew up with a love of arts and crafts, and I think the competition element of sibling rivalry drove me to try and excel in this! We both have careers within the creative industry now which is great to bounce ideas off of one another.

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Do you have a physical store as well as an online store? How do you market your product?

Although I have years of experience with customers, retail, and design, I am relatively new to the world of business and would like to establish myself as an artist with an online presence before contemplating a store. Marketing is an ongoing process using social media.

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If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

I think Dawn French would be fantastic to work with, it’s essential to surround yourself with fun and vibrant people if you want to keep the creative juices flowing. Dawn is also really active on twitter so I could put her in charge of social media!

 

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Aimee thinks Dawn French would be fantastic to work with!

 

Do you have any advice for new store owners?

If you really want it, you will make it work.There will be days when you question is it worth it? Will I ever get there?

The main thing to remember is ‘don’t give up!!’ And if you do, it’s never too late to start again. Cultural trends are constantly changing, so what didn’t work the first time might work better on another occasion.

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

Freewebstore has such a vast range of designs, and with the ability to make alterations you can have your website set up in a matter of days which is great when you want to show potential consumers the latest products available to them.

If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

I would like the ability to speak every language in the world fluently! Imagine being able to communicate with anyone and everyone, I bet you’d hear some amazing tales from around the globe. Of course, this would come handy if I go traveling again too.

And finally, tell us your best joke!

My dog used to chase people on a bike a lot. It got so bad, finally, I had to take his bike away.

 

Freewebstore at IRCE 2017

14 Jun

Freewebstore attended the Internet Retail Conference and Expo (IRCE) last week (6-9th June) and certainly made a big impression.

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The exhibition team; Stephen, Matt & Dan

The exhibition team of Matt, Dan and Stephen mingled with our existing global partners such as Mailchimp and TrustPilot whilst meeting new friends at Avalara, PriceWaiter, Curalate, EureQa many, many more.

You may have seen (if you’re following freewebstore on Twitter) that we had a foosball table set-up. This was a big talking point and had many American punters feeling nostalgic, taking them back to their college days. This was a great way to talk all things eCommerce whilst having fun – which is what we’re all about!

We’d like to thank everyone who stopped by to have a chat with us, we were honored to be able to meet many interesting, knowledgeable and genuinely nice people. Here are a few highlights of the event:

 

 

We were also delighted to be able to donate the foosball table to a fantastic youth club in Chicago, the James Jordan Boys and Girls Club. I’m sure the boys and girls of Chicago are going to have as much fun with the table as the attendees at IRCE did!

 

 

 

Postage Rules

26 May

It may seem like a minefield when you start out with your eCommerce website, weighing your products, getting quotes from shipping providers and then deciding what to charge for postage and packaging.

Let me stop you right there.

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Here at freewebstore we recommend keeping it simple! Choose one price and stick to it. Better still, offer free postage and include your postage fees in the cost of the item on your eCommerce website. If your business model is to undercut your competitor then be sure to see what they are selling at though. Customers like pricing to be simple.

Your customers will thank you for it and you will thank me for increasing your sales!

Introducing Apple Pay

23 May

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We’ve listened to customer feedback, conducted lots of research and, after a couple of late nights, we’re delighted to be able to introduce Apple Pay to our store owners!

Apple Pay is becoming more and more popular around the globe, with usage growing a massive 450% Y-O-Y! Our integration provides your customers more control, payment options and that added trust that comes with the Apple brand, this seemed to be the natural thing to do.

We’re here to give you a brief lowdown on who Apple Pay is available to and how to set up Apple Pay on your store!

What is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay offers an easy, secure, and private way to pay online with an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac, without having to create an account or log in. When you make a purchase, Apple Pay uses a device-specific number and unique transaction code, for added security.

More information on Apple Pay is available here.

Who can use Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is powered by our payment partner, Stripe. Store owners who have enabled Stripe on their store and are based in one of the following countries will be able to take advantage of Apple Pay on their stores:

  • USA
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Switzerland
  • France and;
  • Hong Kong

The number of countries Apple Pay is available to is increasing all the time. As soon as Apple Pay is available in more countries, we’ll be sure to let you know! If you do see your country listed there and don’t have a Stripe account, you’ll need to set one up in order to utilize the feature.

More information on Stripe and the other fantastic benefits is available here.

How can I set-up Apple Pay on my store?

Existing freewebstore users, no need to worry – it’s very, VERY straightforward to set-up Apple Pay on your storefront!

1. Log in to your control panel.

2. Head over to ECommerce > Checkouts section.

3. Select the ‘Edit Settings’ button on Stripe
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4. Make sure you have enabled Stripe > Select the ‘Enable Apple Pay’ button > Save Settings

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Yep, that simple! We’ve done the backend work for you so once you’ve selected the enable Apple Pay button, you’re good to go!

What will my customers see?

Ok, so only customers who have an eligible device, with the latest version of iOS and using the Safari browser will have the option to pay with Apple Pay. For those customers who do not meet the criteria, the ‘Apple Pay’ feature will be hidden from view, pretty cool eh?!

1. When your customer is ready to checkout they’ll be greeted by the ‘Continue to Payment’ page.
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2. Customers who have set Apple Pay up and are using an eligible device will see the option to checkout using Apple Pay, below the credit card option. Note: If your customer hasn’t enabled Apple Pay or is using an ineligible device, this option will not appear.

3. If they choose to select the Apple Pay payment method, a pop-up will appear highlighting the card used and the amount payable. The customer simply needs to enter his/her passcode or scan their fingerprint to authorize the payment:

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And there you have it – you’re all good to go!

We hope this has helped shed some light on our Apple Pay integration. We hope, by integrating with Apple Pay, that this provides more payment options for your customers (allow your customer to stay in control), reducing your abandoned carts and encouraging customer retention. Any questions, please write them in the comment box and we’ll gladly answer them 🙂

Happy selling!