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Top 5 checks eCommerce Businesses must do today

12 Oct

As eCommerce sales are set to rise by 25% this holiday season (source: PwC), business owners selling online are preparing for what is set to be their most lucrative time of year.

Here is my top 5 tips that should be on your checklist for increasing sales this season:

1. Mobile ready

With smartphones accounting for nearly 70% of Thanksgiving Day traffic and 53% of all orders last year (source: thejibe) you really can’t afford for your website to look bad on a mobile device. Traditional websites designed for desktops are clunky and hard navigate on mobiles – reducing your chance of converting a sale. ECommerce platforms like freewebstore design web stores using the mobile first technique. Their checkouts ensure payment and shipping input fields are optimized for use on a mobile, that buttons reachable by thumb and that the correct keyboard appears when filling in forms (whether text, number or email). If you aren’t sure what your eCommerce website looks like on a mobile, now is the time to check.

2. Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint

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It seems fewer consumers will shop on Black Friday than in previous years. Research from PwC suggests thirty-five percent of consumers who plan to shop during Thanksgiving week say they will do so on Black Friday, down from 51 percent last year. However, do not be fooled into thinking Black Friday promotions are on the decline. The Independent suggests it is highly likely that Amazon will slash the price of some of its own products – including the Echo and Echo Dot speakers, the Fire stick, Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers. Reductions on the Xbox One and the PS4 are also likely.

The key message to take home is – if you’re current, your customers will expect a Black Friday Event from you. Make the most of the publicity and plan your event over a longer period not just a one day event.

3. Omnichannel

Business Insider suggests creating a strong, cohesive, multi-channel operation can make or break your business. Their research concluded that shoppers who engage with retailers on multiple channels make purchases more often. Think social media, blogs, (if you don’t have a blog on your eCommerce webstite, StoreBlog is a great one to use and is available to freewebstore users), or perhaps up your game in-store. If you don’t have a bricks and mortar store, exhibit at a trade show, Christmas Market or a pop up store. Solutions that link online, offline and mobile shopping are set to shape the future of eCommerce.shopping.jpeg

4. Promote

Make sure your store and the products you sell are on everyone’s minds throughout the holiday season. Up your email marketing efforts. Send out an email to your mailing list (not forgetting a second email to remind them) or post it on social media. Go to where your potential customers are gathering. Try to think of creative ways to reach them there.

5. Planning

It goes without saying that you really should prepare to avoid disappointing your customers. Decide on your promotions and make sure you have the right stock levels. Don’t turn what could be a great earner, and great promotion into a bad PR exercise.

On set with Sonja Elisa

29 Sep

A brief insight into our day with the impressive freewebstore eCommerce store owner, Sonja Elisa, for an upcoming video feature. 

I had the opportunity to visit Sonja’s creative studio, in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, Barcelona.  Observing Sonja’s passion for her work, her creative flair and determination it’s clear to see why she is the premier supplier of boutique silk accessories in Barcelona.

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Sonja showcasing one of her products

I had the opportunity to learn more about Sonja and her story of becoming a successful business owner. Having been in the corporate world for a number of years, traveling all over the world and dealing with all that corporate life threw her way, the lifestyle was having an impact on her work/life balance. With Sonja’s creativity, passion for fashion and determination to ‘go it alone’ – it was always in the plan to own her own fashion line. However, it was one opportunistic moment built the foundations for her business – deciding on a present for her brother’s wedding! Wanting to give her brother a unique gift for his wedding, Sonja designed a silk bow-ties gift set.

After receiving raving reviews Sonja started to design a range of products and research ways to enter the market and she hasn’t looked back since! Sonja’s bespoke silk products now reside in numerous boutiques across Barcelona, fashion markets and, most importantly, her very own freewebstore eCommerce store 😉

Once Sonja told us her story (which will be available to view soon) it didn’t take long before the enthusiasm for creating bespoke designs and products kicked in, and I got to watch the process of creating a silk scarf. Each of the scarves she has designed has a unique story behind it and the process from start to finish was (surprising to me) very therapeutic. This particular design was inspired by a recent music video Sonja had seen and the end product was fantastic.

It was great to meet Sonja, who risked the security and relative comfort of ‘corporate life’, to follow her dream of starting her own fashion brand. I hope Sonja’s success inspires many more entrepreneurs in the future.

Matt.

Sonja’s video feature will be released soon. Please follow our YouTube, Facebook and Twitter channels.

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.

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!

 

 

 

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.

Have a watch of Scout’s story here.

Image by: kadams-photography.com

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.