Wednesday Wisdom Issue #4: Finding Support

Each week, we’ll be giving you tips, tricks, & tutorials geared towards being an e-commerce store owner or web designer. Have an idea for something you’d like to see me cover? Submit it here!

This week we’re talking about not being a one-man or one-woman army when it comes to running your store. It’s important to know where you can find support particular to BigCommerce, and encourage you to start learning what you’ve always wanted to through communities, social media, and forums.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCfX3Avd-5o&rel=0

Login to our forums here, and start connecting with your fellow store owners!









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New & Improved Webinars to Help you Sell More

At the beginning of this year, I took over conducting the webinars for BigCommerce, and split our “Getting Started” into a basic and advanced version. Thanks to our awesome participants and some honest feedback, they’re going to evolve yet again.

Starting the week of July 9th, I’m going to be rolling out a new Getting Started webinar that is just the basics you need to start your store:

  • Logging into your store
  • Adding a few products
  • Setting up your shipping & tax settings
  • Making sure you have a payment gateway

These four, easy steps are the minimum that you need to have a working store on BigCommerce.

From there, all our topics will help you sell more: design, promotions, marketing, etc. So, in addition to having the Getting Started webinar weekly, I’ll also have a more advanced webinar aimed at helping you take advantage of all the amazing features that your BigCommerce store has to offer. The content will differ each week, and range from essential parts of your store (like creating product options & sets), to more “fun” topics like using analytics to understand your customers better (and in return, raise your conversion rate). Our new and improved webinar series is designed with your growth in mind. As your business grows, your needs become more complex and our advanced webinars will introduce you to tools and resources that are already built into the platform.

This week, I will offer our last two sessions of the “Getting Started with BigCommerce” Basic & Advanced webinars, though you still will be able to find them on our knowledge base here. Then, starting on the week of July 9th, the new webinars will be available.

July 10th @ 10a CT: BigCommerce 101: Just the Basics – Register

Learn about the basics of beginning your store on BigCommerce. I will cover the first four steps for you to start selling your products in your BigCommerce store.

July 11th @ 2p CT: jQuery Sliders (nivo, jQuery Panel 2.0, and AD Gallery) – Register

In this webinar, we’ll cover how to install three of the most popular versions of the jQuery sliders available right now in your store. I’ll also cover how to change the pictures from the standard ones in the code that we give you in our support articles to your own pictures. This webinar is designed for more advanced users familiar with HTML, CSS, and some photo-editing software. You certainly don’t have to be a Photoshop expert, but it will make your life easier if you’ve had some experience with some sort of software that will help you edit and resize your pictures.

I hope to see you at these webinars the week of July 9th. Of course, I am always looking for suggestions on what you would like to see in these webinars. Feel free to send them my way via comment, form submission, or tweet.









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Designed to Sell Using BigCommerce

This week we are featuring Erica Sara Designs custom jewelry for everyone including special pieces for athletes of all kinds.

Erica first began designing jewelry when she was ten years old and she turned her childhood hobby into a thriving online business. While working in the fashion industry, Erica continued to create custom pieces for her friends who helped her grow her business by word of mouth.

Erica decided to sell online because it was the fastest way to get up and running and increase her reach significantly. BigCommerce offered a way for Erica to bring her designs to the world without giving up all of her precious (and semi-precious) design time.

Erica Sara Designs currently sells worldwide and BigCommerce allows the brand to grow leveraging search engines, social media and word of mouth.









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You Spoke, We Listened: Unlimited Bandwidth Now On All Plans (For New & Existing Clients!)

One of the things we’ve really worked hard to improve on over the last few months is 1) collecting and 2) acting on feedback from clients around more than just features or functionality. After all, they’re just one part of the puzzle.

One of the biggest feedback indicators we’ve received recently is that you don’t want bandwidth limits on any plans (no surprise, right?). Well, the good news is that we’ve done something about it.

Starting last week, all plans for new and existing clients now include unlimited bandwidth, so no matter how much bandwidth your store uses you won’t be charged for it. Happy days!

Please note that we’re currently in the process of rolling out the changes, so you may still see a bandwidth limit imposed in your store (especially under the Statistics -> Storage & Transfer report) but that should go away some time in the next few days and of course you won’t be charged for any overages in the interim.









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Wednesday Wisdom Issue #3: SEO Basics

Each week, we’ll be giving you tips, tricks, & tutorials geared towards being an e-commerce store owner or web designer. Have an idea for something you’d like to see me cover? Submit it here!

Our Wisdom for you this week is something every e-commerce store owner should know about: SEO. While I don’t go over the complex stuff, I do talk about best practices with your Page Titles, Meta Keywords, & Meta Descriptions: what they are, where they are in BigCommerce, and some tips on creating your own.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5TfaUacgvw&feature=youtu.be

 

If you’d like to learn more, click here to find more information about SEO in general and on BigCommerce.









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Bound for Success with BigCommerce

Our store showcase uncovers a classic spin on technology with XHiBT cases. These handmade, book-bound cases are crafted to order and lend a touch of classic elegance to personal technology including iPads, iPhones and Kindles.

The team at XHiBT spent many years around the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and are equally as passionate about art and design as the technology that they have helped to build. Each case is a collaboration between Italian bookbinding artisans and Santa Cruz wood craftsmen (who have dedicated their talent to building world-class surfboards in the surfing capital of the world.)

The BigCommerce platform, and its ecosystem, enable XHiBT to put their passion into their craft and grow their business. By leveraging BigCommerce technical capabilities, marketing tools and superior customer support, they can focus on their vision and let customers showcase their personality.









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Selling Online Tastes Sweet with BigCommerce

This week’s store showcase is all about toffee (we may be developing a bit of a sweet tooth over here at BigCommerce.) This store is more than toffee – it’s about bringing shared experiences into peoples’ homes everywhere through “little pieces of conversation”.

Toffee Talk came from Catherine Hughes and Ellin Purdom’s memories of family celebrations where handmade toffee was a significant part of time together. Amidst all the buzz and awards that they have received, Catherine and Ellin are dedicated to keeping their brand artisanal and handmade to convey the emotional meaning behind their delicious confections.

As an online-only storefront with no brick and mortar location, Toffee Talk relies on the web and social marketing to spread the word about their yummy products. BigCommerce provides them with a simple backend and world-class support to keep them focused on getting orders out as fast as they come in.









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Wednesday Wisdom Issue #2: SSL Certificates

Each week, we’ll be giving you tips, tricks, & tutorials geared towards being an e-commerce store owner or web designer. Have an idea for something you’d like to see me cover? Submit it here!

This week’s Wisdom is about SSL Certificates. What they are, a brief overview of how they work, and the differences between the SSL Certificate you get when signing up with BigCommerce, and the one that you can purchase for yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDiABpqjgUM&feature=youtu.be









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3 Ways to Delight Your Customers through Great Order Management

Our guest post today is from Jagath Narayan, CEO/Co-Founder of Ordoro. Jagath has over 8 years of experience in supply chain management, helping companies become efficient with their order management and inventory management processes. Ordoro, his current venture, is a software platform that helps ecommerce merchants manage everything they need to do after an order is placed in their shopping cart. The Ordoro web-app is used by many BigCommerce merchants to manage orders and to keep stock levels in sync between BigCommerce and Amazon marketplace. Ordoro also offers shipping label printing, dropshipping and inventory management.

Contrary to what a lot of the get-rich-quick crowd would have you believe, running a web store is no simple task. One of the toughest parts of running a web store is dealing with eager customers who are unsure of their order’s status or have been waiting for a reply to their simple question for three days (we learned that one the hard way) or made an order only to find out that you’re out of the product they wanted. Well here are three things you, the ecommerce merchant, can do to delight your customers and avoid those unpleasant situations:

1. Notify your customers with a tracking number email as soon as you ship their order out.

It is hard to match the comfort and peace of mind that comes with knowing the item you purchased is making its way to your front step. Customers love being able to keep up with their order so when they receive an email that says “Your order is now shipped. Here is the tracking number,” they can rest easy.

BigCommerce knows this and they have made it incredibly easy to send tracking numbers to your customers. Just update the order status in your BigCommerce admin when the order has shipped and input the tracking number. BigCommerce will automatically handle the rest. It’ll inform your customers that the order has been shipped with a clickable tracking number.

If you are using a third party shipping system, make sure that your system is capable of automatically updating the order status and the tracking numbers into your BigCommerce account.

2. Reply to customers’ questions quickly.

This probably seems like a no-brainer, but when it’s 4:58 p.m. and you get an email on the tech support account asking about an order’s status, you might consider putting it off until tomorrow morning. What difference will 16 hours make, right?

Wrong.

We at Ordoro learned this the hard way.  We released our shipping app, we received a call on our support line asking about how to resolve a bug one user discovered. Through an error on our part, the call was marked as “Resolved” and the case sat unanswered for three days. Outstanding customer service is something our company hangs its collective hat on, so three days for a simple fix like that was pretty outrageous.

How can you avoid a mistake like that? You should define a clear process for replying to customer support requests. You don’t need any fancy software for this; you could make do with free tools like Gmail. Keeping track of emails is especially easy when using Gmail because they allow the use of tags to indicate different categories of mail.

But, if you’re looking for something even more sophisticated to keep your inbox organized, look into a system like Assistly (now Desk.com). We use this system at Ordoro and it has worked wonders in helping us organize our customer support process. The system allows you to create all sorts of filters that ensure each and every case gets handled and nothing falls through the cracks.

3. Keep inventory up to date to avoid back orders.

It is in everyone’s best interest to keep your inventory up to date. In the unfortunate event that a customer orders something that you no longer have in stock, the customer loses because you have their money and they don’t have the item they ordered. Your company loses because that customer will inevitably become annoyed and make sure everyone who follows them on Twitter and Facebook knows that your company took their money. Things might not get that bad, but at the very least, they’ll be much less likely to buy from you in the future.

You can avoid this kind of headache by making sure you have an effective inventory management system in place. A good inventory management tool will help you maintain accurate inventory levels and avoid these unpleasant stock-out situations. Whichever tool you pick, make sure that it is fully integrated to your BigCommerce store and can update the stock levels automatically.









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Organic Candy Sweetens their Sales with BigCommerce

This week’s store showcase brings you gourmet sweets in luscious flavors (think pomegranate and nectarine) from Torie Burke and Howard Slatkin.

Torie & Howard developed from the vision of two health-conscious designers who share a passion for delicious, all natural foods that soothe the soul and nourish the body. Like many busy professionals, their days were filled with design and their evenings were dedicated to their dream of starting their own specialty food company.

Armed with the collective experiences of pursuing careers, eating healthy, and enjoying fresh and natural foods, Torie & Howard realized that selling their organic hard candy online made it accessible to people don’t always have time to get to their local specialty food store. Torie & Howard are dedicated as individuals to healthy ingredients, protecting the environment and giving back and their brand reflects those promises. BigCommerce’s flexible templates allowed Torie & Howard to create a beautiful online shop that gives them the ability to sell their distinctive treats anytime – day or night.









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