Tag Archives: Freewebstore

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!

july-store-of-the-month

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!

 

IMG_2263

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!

jo malone

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!

Rainbows and Sprinkles (1)
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!

invoice

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.

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: February

20 Feb

Our store of the month for February is fantastically elegant Pearls with Hanna!  We managed to grab a few words with Paul, the store owner about his and wife Hanna’s pearl business!

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-11-36-40

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

We are Hanna and Paul. We’re both 31 and have three children aged 13, 9, and 3.  The idea of Pearls with Hanna was born in the spring of 2016 when Hanna found a live feed of a lady in America selling similar items in the same format. She got chatting with various people about how they went about starting up their businesses and it looked to be a non-starter as everyone doing it was in America and their suppliers either didn’t cover the UK or had an 8 week lead time.

Not one to be deterred Hanna continued to scour the internet for quality suppliers and eventually stumbled across a lady called Liz from Northern Ireland, who had established suppliers in Japan and China and had the vision to become a UK wholesaler for sterling silver jewellery and saltwater Akoya oysters, soon after her company Les Bel Amour Global was born.
Naturally, we jumped on the bandwagon, pushed in our investment and used our already established network marketing to launch in October 2016. Pearls with Hanna was born!

2. The pearl craze seems to have taken off in recent months, can you tell us a bit more about this? How did you get into this?

The pearl craze has been somewhat of a global phenomenon! It has taken off like a rocket in the online marketplace with many distributors, using different suppliers on multiple continents. It’s a thoroughly addictive watch on the live feeds, the anticipation of the next colour pearl and if there will be twins or even triplets!

3. What kind of marketing do you to attract visitors to your store?

Our marketing is primarily Facebook. We add our videos into selling sites and encourage people to like and share the page and the feeds.
Word of mouth from our customers to their friends and families plays a large part to.

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-11-40-184. Do you have a physical store or do you operate solely online?

We are solely online at this pint in time but it is our overall aim to have our own shop!

 

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-11-36-55

Pearls with Hanna – range of products

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

Try to make your store as user-friendly, informative, and as eye-catching as possible! Don’t be afraid to try something new or change something to a different style – you can always put it back afterward!

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

We use Freewebstore as it is the preferred site of the lovely lady who set up our store for us to begin with.

7. Please, sum up your freewebstore experience

So easy to use and maintain, fast response to tickets and really helpful staff. Everything is there for you, so logically placed and easy to fiddle about with to get it how you want it!

8. And finally, tell us your best joke!

I dreamt of a beautiful walk on a sandy beach last night. I guess that explains the footprints in the cat litter this morning.

Take a look at the fantastic range of products at pearlswithhanna.co.uk

Let’s get social: Facebook

7 Feb

Digital media has massively changed the way businesses reach, inform and communicate with their audience, with social media being a ‘key player’ for businesses to engage with their audience. A massive 2.34bn people worldwide have a social media platform of some sort (Statista).

The first section of the ‘Let’s get social’ blog will briefly cover the benefits of having a general social media presence and will look more in-depth into one of the most popular social media platform, Facebook.

What are the benefits of social media?

I’m sure you’ll want to know the benefits of having a social media presence and how it may impact your business. Below are a few key benefits that social media can bring.

Increased Brand Awareness: Social media is a great way of increasing your presence in one single click. Getting a few shares on your post will share your brand to potentially thousands of new customers and allow you to easily monitor the engagement.

Real-time content vs pre-planned, scheduled content:  Unlike traditional marketing methods such as print, you can share and create real-time content and easily adapt your marketing efforts as and when you choose.

Learn about your users: You’ll be able to learn about your customer’s online habits and possibly find out new things about your main demographic. You can target specific demographics with new imaginative content that’s relevant to the right audience.

Feedback: Social media allows for instant dialogue with customers in real-time and helps promote customer service. Again, unlike traditional methods, you’re open to a two- way conversation and not just a one-way conversation.

A lil’ bit of spying: It’s more than likely that your major competitors will have a social media presence, this is a perfect way to monitor your competition and stay ahead of the game. You may notice something that your competition are doing well that may improve your own business or something that they’ve not done quite so well – something you can exploit. You can engage with your rivals audience through targeted ad campaigns to let them know that you’re the better choice!

Gather leads: Connect with your audience on social media and then move the conversation on. Gather email addresses by offering newsletters, contests etc. You can use the email addresses to lead your potential new customers to your website

This is just a snippet of the benefits that social media can offer your business, sounds great, right?!

Facebook

We start our ‘let’s get social’ series with Facebook. According to PEW research, 79% of online adults use Facebook (US) – a huge number! It’s a great platform to connect with new customers and help retain existing relationships.

What can I post on Facebook?

Build up brand loyalty by producing and sharing helpful and entertaining articles to help educate the user, the soft sell approach works best! If you’re seen as being active and engaging with users, you’ll increase your chances of getting custom over someone who has a limited/no presence.  You can also drive users to your web-store and increase your chances of another customer. Post content that has a link back to your site, such as:

  • Informative blog articles.
  • How-to guides.
  • New product launches (as seen below).
  • Entertaining and visual content.
screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-13-35-45

Your Facebook page is a great way to promote product launches to new and exisiting users.

However, it’s important to know that it’s not all about attracting new custom, retaining current customers is equally, if not more, important. Interact with your users, get involved in discussions and show them that you value their custom! A simple reply to a comment goes a long way to achieving this, as seen below:

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-13-35-01

Actively engage with your users & show them that they’re valued.

Encourage users to share their experience on Facebook page by comments, reviews and photos and interact with the posts! 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over advertising, so this is important to consider. Encourage customers to leave positive reviews on your store:

  • Offer an incentive for users to leave their feedback on Facebook, money off for example. (this is a freewebstore premium feature).
  • Inform your customers that you’re active on social media.
  • Encourage previous customers to share their product pictures.

Paid Facebook adverts are becoming the norm with most successful businesses utilising this feature. Now I know you’re thinking ‘what’s the point of spending money when I can post for free?’. The truth is, only 2% of organic posts reach their intended audience (Rob Peterson). So be prepared to splash a little cash to reap the full benefits. However, the costs are much cheaper than traditional marketing channels, such as print or adverts.

With information gained from Google analytics, Facebook analytics you can see who interacts with your content the most – then target Facebook users who fall under this demographic. Build up an audience that’s relevant to your business and are likely to interact and engage with your posts.

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-13-56-19

An example of the Facebook custom audience page.

You can create custom adverts via the ‘Adverts Manager’ tab. From there, it’s possible to create a custom audience (so that you know the posts are hitting your intended audience), select your objectives and set the budget you want to stick to.

If you need help on setting up the perfect Facebook business page, have a read of this helpful blog article here.

 A great opportunity

Social media is a great opportunity for businesses to interact online. I’m sure that the majority of you have a social media presence. However, of freewebstore 40,000+ active store’s – only 5.6% (!) have utilised the FREE feature and connected their store to social media platforms. It’s a big opportunity lost in terms of customer engagement. Head over to your freewebstore control panel > Marketing > Social Media and connect your store now and get social!

The next blog in the series will cover Twitter.

Store of the Month: January 2017

13 Jan

Our latest store of the month is one of our longest serving stores – the good, the bad and the robots, specialising in collectable toys. We caught up with the store-owner, Lee, to find out a bit more about his business.

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-11-17-03

1.Please tell us a bit about yourself

It’s really hard to explain yourself LOL. I love the movies, TV shows, gaming and music. I like walking my dog and I like good food and the occasional beer (ahem!).  I used to be a semi-pro magician but just don’t have the time anymore…! I live by the motto “ treat others how you would expect to be treated”, that goes for my friends, family and my customers.

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

My business sells niche toys/collectables. The bulk of my line is 1/6 scale figures with incredible detail of the body, face and tailoring. It all started way back in the 80’s really when I was just a kid…. I collected Star Wars, He-Man. I then had to grow up, get a job, get married etc but it was on my honeymoon, I stumbled across a comic book shop in the US selling the most awesome products. From there it just escalated!

3. You’ve got some pretty cool products – what kind of marketing do you?

The best marketing in the world is your own passion around your own products. If yoscreen-shot-2017-01-05-at-11-02-58u find what you are selling is in any way negative, you are selling the wrong stuff. Don’t pour money into bad advertising, use free channels like Facebook, twitter and such like. Don’t
just post an item, join the community groups set up for your products, chat to people, get involved. I don’t have a physical shop so I have to compensate for not meeting people face to face….

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

Stand out, be different, it’s a tough world out there. Do not think it’s as easy as setting up a shop front and watching the sales come in…. Be passionate, do your homework,  and love what you do.

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

Yes, without a doubt the most user-friendly interface out there! Great customer support and I love the way you are striving for new ideas and add-ons….Perfect!

6. Please, sum up your freewebstore experience.

Relaxed, simple, innovative….( do I get the £20 you promised me now? haha)

7. And finally, tell us your best joke

I met a girl the other day, she said her name was “ Matarka”

I said, “ that is an unusual name, you don’t hear that every day!”

She said “ Actually, I do”

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

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.