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!

Store of the Month: May 2017

18 May

moblene

 

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A big ‘gratulerer’ to our store of the month for May, Norwegian furniture company Møblene!

Møblene is built up of a group of people who are dedicated to providing the best furniture at the best price in Norway.We caught up with Idar, Jan and the team at Møblene HQ to find out a bit more about the fantastic business!

Please tell us a bit about the business 

Behind Møblene.no you will find a group of dedicated people, who have been working with ‘value for money furniture’ for a long time.It all started with practical and affordable bunk beds for Norwegian homes. We have evolved as a team to deliver high-quality furniture at the right price. We value good design and this is reflected in our products and on our website.

We predominately work with our product development and design in Norway, but we also use global sub-suppliers in Europe and Asia.

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How did you get into this line of work?

For the industry itself, we had a wood processing factory which gradually grew into the furniture business, based on market requests. We progressed online with the help of our web designer who is the creative sort, with a broad range of skills, tools, and frameworks available.

In Norway, we call these people “Potatoes” because you can use them for anything!

 

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

We do have a showroom close to the factory and also have partners or resellers who sell our products.

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Outside of the Møblene office

We mainly resell a few models via retail chains, but more and more is sold via the internet. We truly believe that we have to “go digital or die”

How do you market your product?

Our marketing is mostly done through digital mediums; ads, banners, and campaigns. We use social media like Facebook ads, Online Newspaper banners, digital ads sites and the odd furniture convention.

On the digital side, we use banners and graphics to catch the attention of sleepy customers. It is a fluid way of working; you have both the need and ability to adapt and work fast. When we do conventions and reach out to customers in the physical realm, we need artifacts. Here we have large posters and banner, we print out newsletters and product booklets. Just as with online advertising, it is always a challenge to stick out from the crowd.

Learning to adapt to new media and tools is both interesting and necessary.

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

We would love to have a world class furniture designer working with our Smart Furniture team. This is one for the future!

Do you have any advice for new store owners?

Start creating your ‘brand identity’ as soon as you can. Having a brand framework available will give you guidelines which you will need to keep your brand consistent. This will be the foundations for so much more, and it will reduce a lot of cognitive loads later on.

Also, take advantage of all the functionality in freewebstore, but do not underestimate the design you can add yourself!

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

Freewebstore offers a soft start option and has a lot of functionality and designs that we find very useful.

FWS workflow template

The framework is very well balanced for both designers/coders and for those less savvy IT users. One of the main strengths of freewebstore is definitively how easy it is for anyone here at the office to add and edit products on the fly. With some decent coding skills, you can circumnavigate and complement the framework where needed. (freewebstore store builder)

Where you need help you simply ask, and will always get informative support, regarding code editing and any other questions. Seriously give your support staff a pat on the back, they are both friendly AND competent. (thank you very much!)

When we also have our payment gateway ready, the solution will be complete. Freewebstore is the way to go for us.

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

Be able to read people’s mind! We always strive to understand our customers better! (Also, teleportation would be pretty cool).

And finally, tell us your best joke!

With our flip up Smart Furniture, dust is history in children’s room, so here it goes:

A little boy came downstairs crying late one night. “What’s wrong?” asked his mother. “Do people really come from dust, like they said in church?” he sobbed. “In a way they do,” said his mother. “And when they die so they turn back to dust?” “Yes, they do.” The little boy began to cry again. “Well, under my bed there’s someone either coming or going.”

Many thanks for your time guys!

If you would like to learn more about Møblene and check out their fantastically crafted furniture head over to their website: www.møblene.no

 

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On Location with one of our Store Owners, Ti-Springs.com

17 May

Visiting one of our store owners, Scout, on location this week it is clear to see why Ti-Springs.com are so successful. The World’s number one supplier for titanium springs for mountain bikes, Scout is passionate about what he does.

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Having been a rider from a young age, Scout has successfully turned his love of mountain biking into his career; forming numerous partnerships with international race teams and supplying springs to the World’s fastest riders.

So, it really wasn’t difficult to convince Scout to get out on the trails at Fly UP 417 Bike Park to show us how well his product performs on the trails…and show us a few tricks!

Being an enthusiast, Scout knows the circuit. He gets inside his customer’s heads – he knows what they’re looking for and where they will be. He makes sure he attends the right trade fairs and competitions for his niche market.

Ti-Springs has a strong brand. From the company vehicles to his own clothing and accessory line, the company stands out from the crowd. Along with a strong brand are the professional product images on his web store, produced by his partner Kayleigh who also runs her own successful business. She certainly delivers the goods when it comes to product images – a store owner’s absolute dream!

A real winning formula, I wish Ti-Springs.com every success in the future. I left feeling privileged to have met Scout and his partner Kayleigh this week. They certainly inspired me to do more of what I love and it felt great knowing that freewebstore, in part, has helped to realize someone else’s dream.

Image by: kadams-photography.com

Let’s Talk Security!

16 May
With the recent cyber attack that has hit numerous organizations in the UK, most noticeable the NHS, cyber security is on everyone’s lips. We briefly caught up with Simon, our security chief, to get some words of reassurance!

1. What kind of security measures do freewebstore take?

We monitor our systems, logs and firewalls constantly, scanning for malicious activity.  Automated systems are in place to block any bad actors, and do so regularly.  Keeping our store owners and their customers safe is the Security Team’s top priority.

 

2. Will the latest cyber attack impact our store owners?

Not at all.  Our servers use the latest operating systems and are kept fully patched.  We remain on High Alert for the time being though, just in case.

3. What can I, as a store owner, do to minimize an attack?

 As far as your store is concerned, you don’t need to do anything, that’s the beauty of freewebstore!  Leave the technical stuff to us, so you can focus on running your business. For the computers you use daily, I’d recommend that you keep them up to date with the latest patches (Windows Update, etc) and try to run the latest version of your operating System where possible – especially if it was released more than 5 years ago. You should also run a modern browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, which automatically keep themselves up to date.

Phew! Thank’s, Simon…

A little bit more information on our store security can be seen below!

Are freewebstore PCI compliant?

 Yes. Security is of paramount importance to us and we take PCI compliance very seriously. Freewebstore undergoes annual assessments to validate our compliance. Continuous evaluation and risk assessment ensures that PCI compliance is at the heart of what we do.

We’ve partnered up with Braintree to provide a secure environment that goes above and beyond industry standards and guidelines:

Braintree – https://www.braintreepayments.com/developers/security

Prohibited Data Storage

We never store raw magnetic stripe, card validation code (CAV2, CID, CVC2, CVV2), or PIN block data.

Data Encryption

Cardholder data is stored using one of the most advanced encryption methods available. Multiple encryption keys are stored on different physical servers. A data thief would not be able to make use of information stolen from a database without also having the key. The data store where cardholder data is kept cannot be connected to via the internet.

Authentication and Session Management

All users have to authenticate each time they use the application and inactive sessions time out after 2 hours. Passwords are never stored directly in the database. In addition, all communication between merchants and us is conducted in a secure fashion using TLS (Transport Layer Security).

Penetration Testing

At least quarterly, automated vulnerability scans are conducted on our Card Data Environment. In addition, at least once a year we have extended external penetration testing conducted by outside sources.

Securing Access

Our network has been set up in a secure fashion with minimal access to outside networks. Only VPN access is allowed to our servers from whitelisted IPS.

If you want any more information on this please contact our team at support@freewebstore.com.

New Design Launched – Mammoth

3 May

New Design Launched – Introducing Mammoth

Introducing our latest design, Mammoth. Built using the latest coding technologies, and optimized for ultimate mobile performance, Mammoth is perfect for store owners who have a vast array of products and content.

Evolve your business now with Mammoth.

Key Features

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

Check out the design

 

Guest Blog: Let’s Take a Closer Look at Discount Coupons

3 May

Hi, it’s Myu again (real identity Laura) the proud owner of Collect and Play. This time the subject will be discount coupons which are very helpful to all stores out there. Once again I hope this article will be helpful to beginners and experienced sellers alike. Now let’s get started!

Creating discount coupons with a theme

You probably have seen discount codes out there – numbers and letters etc. But do you see any creative ones or ones that suit/fit the store and it’s products? I myself rarely encounter those and that is why I did a little experiment. I used character and series names and noticed that some coupons were more popular than others. So in other words, customers appreciate coupon codes that are related to the products they like and that is something store owners should make good use of. After all, it can make shopping a little more fun and you will see which code gets used the most.

Keep them guessing or not?

When you have coupon codes like Pichu, Pikachu, and Raichu, you may notice Pikachu gets used the most out of the 3. That is great but as a store owner, you decide how much discount each code gives. Pichu could, for example, give 5% off while Pikachu gives 10% off but only a few customers may find out that Raichu gives 15% or 20% off. So the question is, should you keep the big discounts a mystery or should you add the % to the coupon name? It really depends on how you handle the coupon rules. Do customers have to pay a certain amount to unlock a code or are the codes usable on all total amounts? If you don’t put up amount restrictions then you can keep the codes as they are and make it a bit of a fun discovery for customers. But if you set Pichu to the minimum amount of 5 euro or any currency then it would be good to give customers a hint by adding the % to the name so it becomes Pichu5%. Of course, you can decide for yourself what you prefer to do but a little testing and experimenting won’t hurt a bit.

A short article this time around but I hope it helped a bit. Be sure to stay creative with your store and I will bring you a new article someday. Also, any feedback is welcome on my articles.

Store of the Month: April 2017

11 Apr

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Our store of the month for April is the fantastic ‘Childrens Outdoor Toys‘. Andrew had a dream to become his own boss. He didn’t let poor health stop him from realizing his dream and, using skills and contacts built up over time, has built up a successful business.

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

Well, I’m Andrew originally from Shropshire in England, now living with my partner Sarah on the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire border with my 2 step son’s and our daughter who was 3 this week (the real cheeky monkey) and our little 11-month-old tea-cup chihuahua called Lucy.

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The real cheeky monkeys of the business!

I did spend 10 years in the army and after that, I worked in mental health. After 3 years I decided to be my own boss and started up a private medical company to cover children’s events and sporting events. Things went downhill with my health as I was treating a patient I could not get back up so I visited the doctors and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and severe arthritis and back problems. I thought it time to give up but found doing nothing was too boring.

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

With all the contacts I picked up over a few years I decided to sell sports equipment and children’s outdoor toys. We decided to go for active toys and sports to get children away from the T.V and Game Station and get out in the garden and be active!

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I have played lots of sports in my time so the choice selection had to be around something I knew a lot about to help in making sales. Also, I set up at home at first as I cannot get out much then we hired an office address.

I love selling active toys and sporting equipment knowing that I am helping another person’s life to be more active than my own right now.

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

At the minute we have an online store with a facebook store along with a pop-up store that my partner sets up either at fun days or a home shopping party. We are in talks to set up a retail unit but looking for the right location to be able to set up a good showroom.
At the minute I am enjoying taking the phone calls and processing the orders at home (if my partner is not in the office). I do a lot of blogging and Facebooking along with Twitter, just to help boost the sales.

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

It would be Alan Carr! He is soooo amazing, funny and he would be the best of people to jump around on our trampolines or play table tennis!
alan carr

Alan Carr would be Andrew’s perfect employee!

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

Never give up (as you have read above with my health). Giving up does cross your mind many times if you want something in life just grab it and be determined. If you fail, try again and again. I did…..

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

I did purchase from a supplier when I was selling on facebook and saw the platform they used, freewebstore. I looked into it but saw another platform I went with. It turned out not to be what we were looking for – 7th place on Google was NOT what we wanted. Now we’re with freewebstore and we are 3rd with our keyword children’s outdoor toys and we’re looking at increasing this.

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

I would like to have the power of healing – so I can see my daughters first day at nursery.

8. And finally, tell us your best joke!

I have given up on telling jokes! My little girl always says I am cheating when I tell her jokes. Oh and I won £2k for my last joke, would you believe it? Not really, I’m only joking… 😉

 

You can visit Sarah and Andrew’s shop just in time for summer by clicking here.

cheeky monkeys