Tag Archives: Marketing

Store of the Month: December

6 Dec

Ho ho ho! Our festive edition of store of the month focuses on Tinkerbell Boutique, who also features in our video feature you can see here! We spoke to Gina about her Christmas preperation, her favorite ever Christmas present and a little bit more information about her business!

gina

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

It all started in June 2016 when I visited a boutique further afield and I decided it was something I would love to do; we don’t have any boutiques local so I thought it would be a perfect. I did a lot of research into wholesalers and placed an initial order of stock. I started in my conservatory and grew it slowly until I had no room so decided to rent a shop.

2. What do you see as the most important marketing tool for your business?

I have an online shop as well as a physical store. The freewebstore marketing features has helped me massively when promoting my stock, on Facebook and Twitter. I also hold regular ‘Prosecco and shopping nights’ at my shop and I promote this around my local community.

 

3. When did you start your Christmas preperation?

I started my Christmas marketing in September, mainly to get an insight on what stock people want to see and give them a chance to get their Christmas presents early!

4. What’s the best thing about owning your own store at Christmas time?

Having my own business allows me to have plenty of time off and having family time making memories. This wasn’t the case with my previous work – it makes Christmas time all the more special.

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

My mum as she has helped me throughout the whole process and has stood by me. She’s been a great support!

6. Being in the fashion industry, what’s the biggest challenge faced with constant fashion changes?

The hardest challenge is knowing what will sell! I do tend to advertise various items on my Facebook and let my customers choose which items to stock.

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

I chose freewebstore as it was straightforward and easy to use (even for me!), with lots of different store fronts to choose from. I have found the support amazing if I struggle with something.

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

To see into the future so I can see all the latest trends for the coming season!

crystal ball

9. Why is eCommerce important for your business?

If I didn’t have my website I don’t think I would be where I am today as it has helped promote and grow my company.

10. And finally, what’s your most memorable present you’ve received at Christmas?

The best present ever was a talking doll called cricket, you put tapes in her back! Memories…

Gina uses the ToyStore design. Would you like to be considered for the Store of the Month series? Email the freewebstore customer success team at successteam@freewebstore.com.

 

Store of the Month: November

10 Nov

Freewebstore are delighted to award the very hip ‘Team Dogz‘ store of the month for November. 👏

store of the month blue

Team Dogz live and breathe scooters and they’ve built up a solid following. We managed to speak to Steven from Team Dogz HQ, who took a break from the busy Christmas preparation to talk to us about the business.

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

My scooter business, Team Dogz, started in a little alcove under my parents’ stairs in the 1990s after I returned from university. I had a dedicated phone line put in, bought some stock, and started programming my website. I was selling different products then but the internet was very early days so you had to find your niche and then grow our product base as new opportunities arose. My parents were wondering for a while when I was going to take my education and get a proper job, but they stuck by me and in the end, both came to work for me!

What made you get into this line of work?

I have always wanted to work for myself, and after my Bachelor’s degree I went straight on and did an MSc in Entrepreneurship at Stirling University in the 1990’s. This was as much about not knowing what I wanted to ‘do-for-myself’ as it was in wanting to learn more about business. While I was there, however, I started learning HTML on-the-side and this gave me an insight into a new industry. I started my business in December 1997 so am celebrating 20 years! (woop, congrats!)

What do you see as the most important marketing tool for your business?

I sell products which children and early teens are interested in, so PPC doesn’t work for me because all the Children can click away but not purchase. However social media works well and YouTube videos of products are essentially free marketing once the video is created.

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

I mentioned earlier that both my parents came to work for Team Dogz, my mum for 4 years and my dad for 6. As you spend most your living life at work, it was great to spend this time with those you love the most. Unfortunately, in the past 20 years, both have died but I would dearly love to have either of them back.

Do you have any advice for new store owners?

Be prepared for hard work. You don’t need A grades from school but you do need commitment and a big work ethic. Some of us might make it look easy but I was often putting in 12-16 hour days in the early years and re-investing everything I could back into the business.

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

I started off hand coding my website, however technology got ahead of my skillset and I could not learn all there is to know in the world of programming as well as running a business. I have since used several shopping cart solutions but freewebstore is easy enough for any staff member to update these days and gives a lot of the flexibility we wanted. Freewebstore has also made behind the scenes tweaks for us so we have stuck with them for a number of years now.

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

To know which product is going to be most in demand. It takes several months for Team Dogz scooters to be made in factories far away and every Christmas I seem to sell out of something way too early!

Speaking of Christmas, how’s the preparation going? 🎅

We start planning for Christmas in July at the latest, our products are then manufactured in August and spend September on a boat arriving with us early October. Only a few people purchase this early but it is certainly when the kids start putting their Christmas lists together so we need to have our products advertised for sale to get their attention at this point. If we have got it wrong, which we always do with the quantities on various colors, it is too late come mid-October to get anything more manufactured and delivered in time.

Why is eCommerce important for your business?

A national or global reach from a single outlet, what more could someone want. We don’t have the financial capital to put stock into shops all over the country and their margins would make us more expensive. eCommerce offers us national reach and the ability to offer the customer a more competitive price, it’s a win-win.

And finally, do you have any celebrity customers or famous skaters buying from your store?

We have come across a few famous customers over the years. Data Protection and our own concern for our customer’s privacy would stop us from naming them. However, our scooter wheels were glimpsed on BBCs One Show the other week. Unusually they were being used as part of a walking frame for a dachshund with poorly back legs but it’s great to know they helped and a sale is a sale.

team dogz
Would you like to be considered for the Store of the Month series? Email the freewebstore customer success team at successteam@freewebstore.com.

 

 

 

50+ Free Black Friday & Cyber Monday Banners

24 Oct

Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend are one of the busiest times of year for online shopping. In 2016, Cyber Monday saw records being broken as the biggest day in history for U.S eCommerce with over $3.45 billion being spent online*.

The design team at freewebstore HQ thought we’d help you prepare for BFCM weekend by providing over 50 Black Friday and Cyber Monday banners – for free, of course.

Each download bundle comes with .ai and .png files so you can quickly add them to your freewebstore online store or edit them as you wish. Enjoy 🙂

Ribbon % Bundle x 54 (Landscape)

Ribbon-Example

Download Bundle

 

Circle Ribbon Bundle x 6 (Landscape)

RibbonCircle-Example

Download Bundle

 

Simple Bundle x 12 (Landscape & Square)

Simple-Example

Download Bundle
We hope that these banners will come in handy for the biggest sale of the year! From all at freewebstore – happy selling!

*http://fortune.com/2016/11/29/cyber-monday-2016-sales/

Our Gift to You…

13 Oct

Freewebstore is delighted to announce a platform upgrade; we’re giving each and every one of our 500,000+ users an SSL – for free! Better still, you don’t even have to lift a finger!

A lil’ bit more information…

77% of consumers are worried that their personal information could end up in the wrong hands(Global Sign). Having an SSL enabled on your web store will instill buyers confidence and increase sales.

Here’s an example of what your customers will see without you having an SSL enabled:

unprotected

This is an example of what your customers will see with our free SSL feature:

secure

Is it for me?

If you’ve got a web store and want your customers to feel fully secure increasing shoppers confidence then yes, this is for you!

Why are we doing this?

1. Love. We love our store owners and we want to give you EVERY chance of success possible. 💙

2. Added security and buyers confidence. 77% of consumers are worried that atheir personal information could end up in the wrong hands. This feature will reassure your customers this is not the case!

3. Improve your SEO. Google is making changes to their algorithms and this will start to take HTTPS as a ranking signal and, if stores are not SSL protected, this could have an impact on where the store sits on the search engine.

When will I be able to claim my SSL?

Freewebstore started rolling out the SSL feature across the board and this will be available to all of our users.

 

 

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

runner.jpeg

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.

Store of the Month: October

4 Oct

Freewebstore’s Store of the month time 😁😁. This month’s accolade goes to KitUK – premier supplier of kits and equipment for sports clubs in the UK. Jason, the store owner, took time out of his very busy schedule to answer a few questions.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I’ve worked in marketing for over 25 years. I’ve also played football to a semi-

image005professional standard, I’m a level 2 football & goalkeeper coach, a voluntary football manager and I’ve been involved (and still am), in amateur football for nearly 40 years! I say I’ve got two full-time jobs – my marketing career and my website! I’m also a season ticket holder at a premier league club and lifelong supporter, though I won’t say who! My wife has pretty much given up now on trying to get me interested in anything other than football!

Where did you get the inspiration for KitUK?

Sounds a bit odd now but I used to spend my time as a kid re-painting Subbuteo players kits, organizing football leagues, in between playing and watching football! So I suppose I always had an eye for design and a bit of an odd interest in football kits, which to this day, my friends and family don’t quite understand! There were only 3 TV channels back when I was a kid and most of what was on was absolute rubbish or repeats, so I did my own thing – and that pretty much meant something related to football 24/7! Even now I hate sitting around watching TV.

image004

I’ve always had an eye for design – all my kits on my website I’ve designed myself from scratch and bring them to life in a 360 degree customized kit builder. And I do all the marketing stuff myself which helps keep costs down a bit. When I left university I got into marketing – it was the one thing I really enjoyed (apart from football!) and I was never going to be an accountant! I now sell football kit and equipment to clubs across the UK – everywhere from Cornwall to Aberdeen and also Ireland. I have basically made a business out of a passion. I’ve also worked in marketing football teamwear for PUMA for pro and amateur clubs.

As a football coach myself, I could see how difficult is can be sometimes to buy kit and equipment. It’s quite a complex purchase and can be frustrating and time consuming – so I’ve set up to make life easier and more fun for clubs / teams / coaches to purchase football kit. I’ve been there as a customer myself and I understand the football kit industry inside out, because I’ve been involved in it all my life! I’ve got a bit of a habit of thinking I can do things better, then give it a go. But I’ve lived and breathed what I do for most of my life, so my inspiration comes from doing what I enjoy to the best of my ability!

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

You’re only as good as the effort you put into it. For me, it’s a passion – a hobby of mine. I’m part the way down the road now making this a viable business I can take a salary from and make a living, but I’ve a well paid, responsible full time marketing job that means I don’t have to rely on that while I build the business up and earn a living from.

I work really hard full time and I work as hard again on my website business! I like the fact that I’m in control and I don’t have to report to anyone and can make all my own decisions, right or wrong – and learn from them!

How do you market your product? Do you supply your kits to schools?

I’ve built up a marketing database, so most of my advertising is on email, Facebook and Google Adwords. I supply amateur football clubs and teams across the UK including schools, although I’m planning to do more with colleges and schools very soon! My biggest cost is marketing and you know what – I’ve had more business come from word of mouth and recommendations – but my business simply wouldn’t exist without marketing and lucky for me, I’m blessed with lots of experience there.

image006

If you could have a celebrity employee, who would it be and why?

Ha! I wouldn’t! Why? Because I know from experience they are expensive to hire and retain and can be high maintenance (not all of them I might add!) I’ve been involved in lots of photo shoots with pro footballers and with other celebrities outside of football and it’s a high cost / high risk strategy. Plus while I’m building up my business, there’s not enough budget. But you never know!

Your web store really does stand out. What tips would you give new store owners? Why do you feel good quality product images is key?

Thanks. I look back at what I’ve achieved and how much time I’ve put into building my website and I’m really pleased with it so far. But there’s so much more I want to do to develop it further. I wish there was more time in the day! The best advice I would give any new start-up / store owner is to do something you are really passionate about and enjoy. Keep negative people well out of your life and just go for it – life really is too short! It’s better to give it a go and it not work out than spend the rest of your life regretting not trying. The world is full of negative people who don’t / can’t / won’t make decisions – and not one of them are successful, at least I’ve never met anyone who is.

image007

I would also say be persistent and never give up – you need to be really resilient as it’s tough, especially in the first 12 months (I’m still not quite a full year into my website). Your website is your shop window – I spend more on imagery, photography, graphics and banners than anything else, so I’m a little unique from that point of view. I also think you need to be quite selfish and driven, but not stupid enough to recognize sound advice when you see it!

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

I prefer to work with local partners and suppliers and most are. Ones that aren’t I think it’s important there is a good relationship and honesty. That said, I chose freewebstore because customer service is something I value very highly in my life and freewebstore have been really good from day one. My site has quite a lot of technical add-ons and I’ve found the support ticket system really helpful. I like the layout and options freewebstore offers but my site feels like my own, not an off the shelf template. The other thing I would say the freewebstore platform is easy to manage and good value. I also like the fact that the people you speak to via the support tickets are based in the UK and not some overseas call centre who you can never get through to then wish you hadn’t when you eventually do!

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

Easy one that! I’d slow time down so we could all do more every day!

Why is eCommerce important for your business?

ALL my sales are via e-commerce. It gets me in front of customers I would never otherwise reach or speak with. Many of my customers are like me – they work full time and buy football kit in their spare time! I wouldn’t have a business if it wasn’t for online. The Internet is the best invention of the 20th Century as far as I’m concerned.

Tell us your best joke.

Sorry to disappoint. I don’t know any jokes and tend to forget them anyway, good or bad! I find the most funny things are the stuff you see and hear in everyday life. Good comedians don’t tell jokes, they tell a great story we can all relate to!

And finally, do you have any celebrity customers using the products you sell?

Actually, I do! I’ve had a few ex-footballers who are now coaching and have bought kit or football equipment off me. They tend to be quite modest, but I’ve checked them out quietly and were definitely who they said they were! I won’t say who though and to be fair, they aren’t household names – but if you know your football, you’d know them! Do they count as celebrities? Otherwise, no I haven’t!

Jason is using the boundless design and he’s done a fantastic job, the customizable kit section definitely adds a real cutting edge to his web store. If you would like to be considered for the freewebstore store of the month get in touch with our success team at successteam@freewebstore.com.

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.

sonja

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.

How to Write the Perfect Blog

28 Sep

How to write the perfect blog

Having a blog allows you to add crucial content to your store and boost your search engine rankings. It also allows you to add useful content for your shoppers that can keep them coming back for more. Here are tips on writing the perfect blog:

Informative, not ‘sales-y’

Blog posts should be all about providing information to your reader – not about trying to sell them something.  Capture your audience by allowing them behind the scenes. Share “a day in the life” and include photos your readers wouldn’t normally see. Why not blog about recent events or perhaps what it is that inspires you? Get into the mindset of your customers and write about topics that would interest and inspire them.

Be mindful of your SEO

Content on your freewebstore eCommerce website is vital to increasing your Search Engine Optimization which is key to your business. Once you’ve drafted your blog, proofread it to make sure you’re using your keywords. Include tags to your products or previous blog articles you’ve written. The more blog posts you write, the more content and links you’ll build up over time.  For expert tips on SEO why not read our SEO 101 blog?

Post regularly

Keep your readers interested by posting regularly and consistently. If you only post once in a while, your blog will become stale and uninteresting. Get into the habit of setting time aside each week to write content and collect photos for your blog. It may seem like a daunting task at first but once you get into the swing of it you will find it a pleasurable way to reach out to your audience.

Get social

Include social media sharing buttons on each blog post so that your readers can promote your post to a wider audience. Be sure to have a link on your blog back to your website to build up traffic and prevent your reader from becoming lost.

Promote your blog content across social media and be sure to include #hashtags when applicable but be sure to make your social media posts consistent with your brand identity.

Get blogging about your eCommerce website today with our store blog feature. If you’ve not yet signed up for your freewebstore you can sign-up here.

 

Happy Customers = Profitable Customers

14 Sep

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

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

1.  Easy Navigation

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

2. Your Email Address

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

3. Email Correspondence

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

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

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

5. Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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