Store of the Month: December

5 Dec

Huge congratulations to our store of the month for December, Hip-Pose. We grabbed a few words with the store owner, Sam, to discuss her award-winning business, any tips she may have for new business owners and to find out what she wants for Christmas!

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

My daughter was diagnosed with hip dysplasia (DDH) when she was just 6 weeks old and put into a restrictive harness as treatment. When this didn’t work, she had major hip surgery and had to wear a full cast for three months. This was a difficult time, to put it mildly, but one of my pet peeves was that no clothes fit her and we’d get disapproving looks when out at about people jumped to conclusions when seeing a baby in the cast. So I designed and made some trousers to go with the cast and the nasty looks were banished! People didn’t notice the cast, the trousers kept it clean and dry and I enjoyed dressing my girl again. The idea of Hip-Pose was then born!

2. How did you get into it?

me-and-lucyMy daughter was also born with a rare genetic condition that caused severe disability. I made the decision to give up my career to become her carer but I had always wanted to run my own business, so took the opportunity in between hospital appointments and baby clubs to set one up! My Mum was a professional dressmaker, so sewing, designing and creating are in my DNA. This definitely helped in developing a range of clothes that can be worn through all stages of DDH treatment. If I had to pay for those design skills I wouldn’t have been able to afford it!

3. You’re clearly very successful, what kind of marketing do you do for your store?

Thanks!! At the start, I just relied on word of mouth. DDH only affects 1-3 babies in every 1,000 born so my market is definitely niche! I find that social media is a quick and effective marketing tool, I use facebook, facebook forums and love the pace of Twitter although it can sap your time if you’re not careful! I am now working with others who are marketing to the same audience for different reasons. Teaming up with others is helpful when I don’t have a big budget or much time. This year I also collaborated with a major baby brand to create a new product that I designed. Working with a big company really showed me how many plates I spin running my own!

4. You’ve won numerous awards, can you tell us about them?

picHip-Pose has won the Prima Baby award for Innovation two years running (winning Gold in 2015!) Competing against top high street brands was a real buzz! I was also a finalist in 2015 Mumpreneur UK and this year I won the Most Inspiring Business Parent award 2016 voted by Mum and Working.
I was truly humbled by that, as raising a child with special needs and starting a business with my unique brand hasn’t always been easy, so it was lovely for that to be acknowledged. I think winning awards goes beyond pride and marketing, though, it helps to establish that a brand can stand on its own. It is an entity in itself.

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

Start off with fewer products then you’d love to put out there and see what sells best then build from there. I listen to customers and have created products in response to demand but only when this also ties in with my brand and is not copying someone else. Lastly, keep true to yourself and trust your gut!

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

I needed an eCommerce platform that I could create and most importantly adapt at any time of the day or night myself. Having a limited budget, I have to be able to add products and content, change stock count and interact with my customers without going through a web designer every time. Plus as a working mum, I am often doing this in the evening! I’m not an IT person at all, so I was surprised and delighted that I was able to follow the instructions and develop a website that now sells worldwide. Hip-Pose clothes are being worn globally from the US to Oz and even in Greenland!

I couldn’t have reached all of these parents without freewebstore and from the positive feedback I get from them, freewebstore has helped me to help them.

7. Please, sum up your freewebstore experience

Great fun! I love the independence freewebstore has given me to launch and sell my unique brand globally. It’s helped me to create a successful business that’s really helping people and allowed me to develop Hip-Pose on my own without huge overheads. I love that the friendly support team are there at the click of a button to answer any techie questions I have and always help me.

8. And finally, what’s on your Christmas list, this year?

A clone of myself to do the washing up, answer emails and pack up orders!

Check out their amazing range of clothing and accessories for suffers from DDH here

Business to business transactions made simpler with freewebstore’s new checkout

24 Nov

Did you know that EU businesses with a VAT number only pay VAT on purchases within their own country?

If an EU business makes a purchase from a different EU country, the business does not pay VAT on the transaction and instead delays VAT payment to their own tax filing, in their own country.

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With freewebstore’s latest checkout, VAT registered companies based in the EU can now provide their VAT number to remove the VAT from their order. All EU VAT details are checked in real-time prior to the transaction being completed, ensuring that you’re always given an accurate EU VAT number.

Accounting for EU transactions is also made simple. Store owners are given the VAT number once the transaction is complete and EU VAT numbers are now available on all invoices.

Log into your control panel to enable freewebstore’s latest side-by-side checkout now.

Get started with freewebstore.com.

New Design Launched – ToyStore

16 Nov

New Design Launched – Introducing ToyStore

Introducing our latest design, ToyStore; the key to unlocking your youthful imagination.

Using the mobile first technique, incorporating a slideshow display and supporting multiple language packs, ToyStore is sure to woo your customers, all over the globe.

Key Features

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

Check out the design

 

Store of the Month: November 2016

7 Nov

A big congratulations (Herzlich glückwünsche) to our GREAT store of the month for November, tshirt4you.

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We spoke to the owner, Rebecca, to find out a bit more about the business.

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

I started my t-shirt business in Los Angeles 2007. I moved to Switzerland almost 7 years ago and started t-shirts4you online, with my partner Dustin Peter. We sell printed t-shirts for all occasions.

2. How did you get into it?

My mother owns a printing company and taught me how to print t-shirts, my graphic design college course revealed my creative side, so I combined it! 

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

Take high quality, appealing photos of your products. Find your niche product and make it your passion. Be patient!

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

It was completely free to test it out and I found it really easy to set up. I like the fact that freewebstore stays up to date with the latest trends and always launch new features.

5. Please, sum up your freewebstore experience

I started 3 websites; tshirt4you.ch, dress4you.ch, and einladungskarten4you.ch. We tested the market with different platforms. We now stick to the best running store tshirt4you.ch. I double my income each year.

6. Finally, tells us your best joke

What dress can’t be worn? Address (thankfully, your business acumen is better than your jokes 😉 )

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

Introducing our side-by-side checkout

2 Nov

The day has arrived… The freewebstore team is proud to announce the launch of the FANTASTIC side-by-side checkout!

Our team has been working day and night, gathering feedback from our users and engaging with experts in the field. We believe we’ve developed a checkout that we’re sure will improve YOUR sales.

 

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Our new streamlined side-by-side checkout

 

I’ll be discussing the reason as to why we’ve created it and talking about the fantastic benefits.

So, why have we created it?

Simply put, to improve YOUR conversion rates and reduce YOUR abandoned carts. Our shared values mean that if you’re happy, we’re happy. Increasing your sales and conversions will go a long way to achieving our shared goal.

Ok, what are the key benefits?

After many months of rigorous planning, development, and testing – we believe we’ve developed a checkout that is not only visually pleasing but will result in an increase in conversions.

Mobile First

Mobile shopping has increased year-on-year – over 62% of smartphone owners have made a purchase using their smartphone in the past 6 months (Justin Smith, 2016).

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Mobile view of the new side-by-side checkout.

  • The new side-by-side checkout has been designed using the ‘mobile first’ technique – resulting in a solid and fully responsive checkout, the pinnacle of mobile perfection.
  • Shopper’s payment and shipping input fields have been optimized for use on a mobile – using touch not click.
  • Buttons are reachable by thumb. We’ve kept the number of fields to an absolute minimum too and have reduced the length to 16 pixels wide on so that the page fits beautifully on a mobile.
  • We’ve used HTML 5 set correct input tries, which means that whether a text, number or email is required, the correct keyboard appears on mobiles.
  • Autocomplete tags for inputs have been introduced, meaning that shoppers can use autocomplete if they have typed their address in previously – saving time.

Security

The new side-by-side checkout is secured using 256-bit SSL encryption. This is clearly displayed with the aim of improving shopper confidence and reducing anxiety, with the aim of getting you that all important sale!  

Slick & streamlined design

The new checkout looks equally as good on the desktop as it does on mobiles!

27% of people abandoned their cart if the checkout was too long/complicated. The free flowing and smooth design will make sure even the laziest customer won’t have any complaints – increasing the chance of a sale!

  • Tab index on all HTML elements that the user can easily tab through the input fields
  • One colored button per section on the most important action means the user can easily identify what is next.
  • Customizable color and skins – to help fit in your with corporate colors and encourage creative freedom!
  • Displaying the costing at each stage of the checkout process – so to avoid the unwanted surprise at the end. 

 

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Cost breakdown, to avoid the unwanted surprises!

 

  • Additional Instructions (optional feature). Store owners can enable this input field to allow customers to input additional instructions and comments.
  • The ‘Add Coupon’ section is collapsed to prevent coupon harvesting. Thus increasing your profit margin.
  • Registered companies based in the EU can now provide their VAT number at checkout to remove the VAT from their order. VAT numbers are validated in real time and are made available to the store owner for accounting purposes, once the transaction is completed. 

Works great with Stripe

The new checkout is the perfect chance to make the most of the payment merchant Stripe.

Stripe allows for card payments to be made directly on your storefront, without the need to be transferred to a third party site. Embedding the Stripe platform into the new checkout adds to the fast and smooth checkout experience that will leave your customers wanting to order more and more!

 

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Stripe has been built into the checkout for even more convenience

 

Best of all – it’s completely FREE!

Yes, really! Our fantastic new side-by-side checkout is available to ALL of our freewebstore store owners at no additional cost!

How do I activate?

The freewebstore developers have done a fantastic job creating it – now they want you using it, we don’t want to upset them, do we?!

You can enable the fast, reliable and secure checkout in one click, by visiting your freewebstore control panel here.

Happy selling! 

Freewebstore Pumpkin Carving

24 Oct

The scariest time of the year is nearly upon us (what’s really scary is how fast it’s come along!) The freewebstore team decided to get into the ghostly spirit of things and carve out some pumpkins.

Glowing ‘jack-o-lanterns’ were traditionally put outside porches and windows to welcome deceased loved ones and to protect against nasty spirits. We’ve placed ours outside of the offices to protect freewebstore from the nasty internet demons.

We thought we’d share a few of the team’s ghastly efforts.

What have you done for Halloween this year? We’d love it if you shared some of your spooky creations.

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!

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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.

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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!

Firstly…

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.

Secondly…

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!

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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.

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

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So…

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.

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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!