Marketing

BNBT #3, Habitat - shocking maths

Watched Britain's Next Big Thing episode 3 last night, designers trying to get a foot in the door at Habitat (150 outlets). For starters, if anyone still dares to say Britain does not have designing talent any longer, they better start watching this program. From frog-brackets (Debbie Evershed, selling them already at markets - through to the next stage) to modular seating (not gone through).

The eagerness

What made me shake my head various times during the program is - as mentioned last week - the eagerness some display to get that foot in the door with one of the big retailers, no matter what the costs!

One candidate who was introduced last week, pitching her sunsnoozer to Boots buying team, has gone through the next stage of discussions with the health and beauty retailer but nothing definite yet. Still, Brigitte Lydum as gone ahead and ordered 1500 units of her Sunsnoozer from her Srilankan manufacturer (that's a lot of boxes stored in her living room, as you can see during episode 3).

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It's down to Mr Retail himself Theo Paphitis to tell her to start thinking about how she's planning to sell the 1500 units if Boots decides not to take it on now - the sunsnoozer being a seasonal product, no much sun in Winter. A personal loan she took out for the order is at stake if she doesn't start asking Boots what their real and short term plans are. Being asked the samples is all she heard lately, not even a date of when the next discussion will take place based on the samples sent.

The maths

Beside the "I am in the next stage, so I'll just wait for things to happen" there are the maths.

Steven Bidduph pitched his Beeble footstool at the open day of Habitat. During his pitch he mentioned the retail price he had in mind the outlets would charge for his product - around £199.00 and him selling his footstool to Habitat for around £ 85.00.
This was immediately waved away by the buyers: we have to sell this under £ 100.00 so that means a purchase price lower than £ 30.00

Holey smoke! Supposing the £ 100.00 is including VAT (£ 83.34 ex) it is still lower than the purchase price the designer had in mind. I can imagine the overheads of a big retailer being quite large, but a mark up of 177% is jaw dropping. But again, a very delighted designer - he's gone through the next round and is already hard at work of getting his product price to the level habitat is expecting of him.

Simple maths now. There is of course economy in large numbers, but still. Steven still has to make his own profit. Suppose he manages to bring the purchase price for habitat down to £ 29.00 and habitat sells it for £ 99.00 (£ 82.50 ex VAT). Habitat's gross profit £ 53.50 per Beeble, Steven's profit per Beeble? Sincerely hope for him he makes at least a fiver out of it or perhaps even a tenner. Let's, for simplicity sake, make it £ 7.50 gross profit for him per Beeble. So he has to hope habitat sells all lot of Beebles. It will take at least 7 of them for Steven to make roughly the same money (gross) Habitat does on one.

What if he would sell the Beebles on his own? Retail price £ 95.00, on a higher production price (lower numbers in production) of £ 35.00. That would make his gross profit around £ 44.00 per Beeble. Meaning, he only has to sell 2 to reach the same gross profit he would have if Habitat managed to sell 7.
Another designer at Habitat's open day also got through to the next stage with her Hula lamps, but on the condition she will stop sell her products (charging £ 300.00 a piece) herself and grand habitat exclusivity on them - while they plan to sell them at a much lower price, more in line with other lighting articles they already carry.

The Long Tail

Getting through to the next stage during the open days at the big retailers in this program means a few things, one extremely important:
if big retailers can see there's a market for your design, product - so should you. Proof is in the pudding with the frog-bracket, Tracy Woods Eczema ointment and even the Hula's

Many other hopefuls fell at the first round, they didn't. I just can't get my head around the fact that especially now with more and more evidence of Long Tail commercial viable products - read "profitable in smaller numbers", it's still the big retailers many turn to instead of doing some simple maths and "going-it-alone". To me it's a no-brainer

Selling Online Basics (SO-basic)

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Since the second episode of BNBT I've been steaming ahead with my new E-guide: Selling Online Basics and it is progressing nicely. The more I see of BNBT, the more I'm convinced it is the basic online knowledge - absolutely not hard to learn - many are missing to take the step to "go-it-alone" with their products.
Give it another week or so and my guide will be ready. 

UPDATE 19.05.11: "Selling Online Basics" officially launched!


To retail or ecommerce

BBC has a new "business" program: Britain's Next Big Thing - launched last week. MR RETAIL himself, Theo Paphitis follows a group of small businesses, some working from their own kitchen or workshop, when they try to have their products accepted on the shelves of 3 big retailers: Liberty, Boots and Habitat

Boots

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This week's episode showed 10 hopefuls venturing in to Boots HQ. The one that amazed me most, just by one single revelation, was Tracy Wood, producing eczema ointment in her own kitchen in New Haven.

(Her story could have been my mum's story. Not that my mum created a natural product to ease eczema and walked into a big retailers HQ, more her story about also having a very young baby - me - with atopic eczema and the natural remedies she tried to ease this skin problem with. Sea salt and soft soap (groene zeep) for years and years. Boy, these remedies didn't half sting! But they did ease the eczema: sea salt - swimming in the North sea every single day during the summer holidays - and soft soap, rubbed - really rubbed! - in my skin during the winter months.)

During a quick take showing Theo and Tracy she revealed she was already selling the product, due to existing clients recommending her product to others.

"I've must have sold around 70.000+ jars from my own kitchen already."

Holy-smoke, that's a big buzz - even Theo was impressed.

I understand the image of having your own product on the shelves of one of Britain's biggest health and beauty care retailers gives - and at this point in the series it is still not known if Tracy will succeed in this - but 70.000+ sold already without any noticeable branding is IMHO quite an achievement.
(Looking at Tracy's website, which loads terrible slow and is kind of off-kilter I don't think this site generates many new contacts - Quirk SearchStatus only shows back links from her own domain and a single one from 123people, Google doesn't list a single link coming in. Her Facebook page has 2 posts and 30 members and I guess she just started on Twitter, first tweet of the 26 in total was 16.03.11, so hardly any Social Media presence at the moment).

Quantity in products or quality in profit?

So even without a decent web presence her natural products have created such a buzz among her clients, she's managed to sell 70.000+ single items.
Of course, this on its own does not make a new product Britain's' Next Big Thing - having 100 units of your product in every Boots shop would mean you have to at least produce 200.000 units. And of course there's economics in producing big quantities but how about the quality in profit on those same 200.000 units? My - and I think anyone's - guess is that Boots would take the biggest profit from it.

Tracy is only one of the many persons working from a small unit - kitchen, workshop, bedroom - nowadays. And not many will make it "on to the shelves" of Britain's biggest retailers. But in these days of the long tail, easy internet access and free software programs to help you market and sell your products online I'm wondering why many would still opt for increased quantities versus reduced profits in absurd large numbers of units?

Last night's broadcast gave me an extra incentive to create this new guide I have had in mind for the last few weeks "Selling Online Basics" with a bit more haste ;-)
There's a lot of people out there with great products that could do with a simple but effective step by step guide showing them how to keep the full profit in their own pocket.


API - connecting the dots (com)

Was email The electronic innovation of the late 80's, the wibbly.wobbly.web of the late 90's and Cloud computing of the late 00's, Application Program Interface must be The innovations now - do we actually have a name for this decennia yet, do we call this the 10's, tens or teenies?

Connecting dots

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Image taken from Narrow Boat Albert (book-reviews)

In the olden days sending products (read data) needed a lot of manual handling when transported from one area to another. Take for instance transport of goods over water.
Loaded into one boat, "sailed" as for as the water way would carry that particular boat, unloaded again to be loaded into another boat taking it over another water way as far as possible, unloaded/loaded again into another until it finally reached it ultimate destination. Cumbersome and taking a long time. Until larger water ways were connected by canals, reducing the amount of handling tremendously. (I'm rather a fan of the old travel ways using narrow boats, call me a romantic, but have you ever seen the breathtaking aqueducts built especially for this?)

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(Image again from Narrow Boat Albert blog)

Bringing the idea of connecting canals into the 21st century, API connects especially various Cloud computing programs with each other, reducing the number of times data has to be manually handled. Other - desktop - software programs use API also to extend their usefulness.

I regard Cloud Computing programs those software programs you can access anywhere where you have an internet connection, from blogs, email marketing, CRM to ecommerce sites and even online banking (Software as a Service). Accessible everywhere is great, but none or very few programs take care of all the essentials. Email marketing does not include your bookkeeping, blogs don't process your payments from clients and CRM's don't sell your products online.

Meaning, without the means of a API connection, the details of your contact/clients need to be handled many times over. Connecting programs - letting them talk to each other in bits and bytes - overcomes this cumbersome problem.

Take for instance our own secure webshop. Since mid last year we use Ecwid for this, the widget embedded in our blog (and main website also). Client decides to pay using Paypal.
With one click - place order - details of my client are captured in Ecwid, in Paypal and in Kashflow (our bookkeeping program we also started using mid last year).

If I want I can even transfer (one click again) details of this client from Kashflow into MailChimp and email further marketing messages to them. We don't use MailChimp for our email marketing at the moment, Octane HQ takes care of this (including none email marketing), but on the other hand I do have a MailChimp account and use this for a village project.

So, no more manually entering details in various (online) software programs, all done (almost) automagically through API.

Other connections

Of course, other online programs use the same principle. Tweet a message and add specific hash-tags and the same message appears in Facebook, LinkedIn etc. Publish a blog-post, and various API's will show an announcement on Twitter, Facebook to name but a few.

Then there are desktop software programs who, by utilising API, can upload data to all kinds of online programs. One I frequently use - this blog-post on Typepad is a fine example of it - is ScreenSteps Desktop. I can even publish the same article in other programs without having to lift a finger (well, I only have to tell ScreenSteps in which programs I want the post to appear).

Bringing it together

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At the moment I'm working on a specific guide to show how using various Cloud computing programs, all using API in one way or the other, can help you create an ecommerce project very quickly and efficient. My target group will be small business testing the waters of ecommerce, those who need to simply test a new product (digital or physic product) without disrupting their normal website or which could interfere (marketing wise) with their existing ecommerce presence.

For some of the programs in this guide I'll use free editions of award wining software, so even start-ups don't have to break the bank getting started with ecommerce. The beauty of using free edition first is that you can always upgrade to a more advanced edition (with more features and benefits) without having to start all over again.

Still looking for a proper name for the guide though, "connecting the dots (com)" might work here too ;-)

Do you have a favourite program that uses API? And how does it benefit the running of your business?


The ultimate "your site cannot be found cold call" stopper - StatCounter

For as long as we manage our own website, blogs and most other online presences we are using StatCounter for web traffic analytics.
StatCounter gives you much more indebt insight in various statistics than IMHO Google Analytics, specially the "visitor path".
I can give you plenty of examples, but that's for another post.

Beta (New) has just got better

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Since the launch of the Beta version, with brand new features making navigation between various projects simpler, I've switched from the old to the new StatCounter site.
During this short time, the good people of StatCounter keep improving the features, giving you more instant extra data.

The statistics of StatCounter has helped us improve our website, we keep an eye on most frequently used search phrases and implement those in our pages or, as happened a few times, wrote whole new pages/guides based on it. The "7 Easy Steps to Repair/Restore your parquet floor" is one of those examples - and within days this page was (and is) one of the most popular pages on our site (and bringing in new clients frequently).

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We know our website, blog and other presence often score high on many Google searches - and still you get, sometimes on a weekly base, those calls from SEO businesses.

"We couldn't find your website on Google, we can help you getting better found" - The Holy Script of all of them I think. My standard answer is always: well, fortunately for us, our clients and prospects can and do find us.

And now this new feature in the New StatCounter will stop them right in their track:

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Just a few examples (at the moment the ranking icon shows only when the searcher used the redirect - cached page).

So, SEO cold callers, be warned. We've now got even more proof you are telling porkies!


Intuit, very relevant? For whom?

Running a small business means, among other things, having to keep the books. Having a "business pondering" blog means writing about relevant programs which, often, make live for small business owners easier/simpler, especially bookkeeping/accounting software.
Writing about software means attracting request from various software programs.

A simple suggestion? Analysed? Relevant?

This morning I received the following email:

Hello,
I am contacting you from Intuit UK regarding a link suggestion for your website.

Intuit UK is a leading provider of business and financial management solutions for small organisations and their advisors including accountants and bookkeepers. The flagship product is QuickBooks, the accounting software designed to help small businesses succeed through taking the worry out of managing business finances. Having analysed your website’s content, we think that a link to QuickBooks would be very relevant and useful to your visitors.

Therefore we would greatly appreciate you placing a link to us from your http://www.thekissbusiness.co.uk page. Should you choose to link to us, our homepage URL is: (*)

Please let me know if you would like some further information regarding linking to QuickBooks and for more information about Intuit UK, please visit (*)

Look forward to hearing from you soon,
Thanks and best regards,
(name removed by me)

My reply:
Sorry, not a fan of Quickbooks and therefore it would not be fare to my readers.
(Plus most often if others ask for links from my site to a program/company they offer a "reward" or link love. Can't see anything you're offering - and that for a large business)

Karin H

Facts:

  • If you suggest something to someone, it normally means it is a benefit for that someone.
  • Anyone analysing my website's content knows - should know - it only links to software programs I use myself (or if I have no need for such a program myself but comes with the high recommendations of someone I trust and who uses the program his/her self).
  • Very relevant and useful to my visitors? Says who?
  • I'm sure you would be greatly appreciate if I hand out link-love, but why should I?
  • You heard from me pretty soon, but where's your answer?

More trouble with "big" software companies

Intuit is "rolling" out a SaaS version of Quickbooks - a beta version you have to pay for for the pleasure of helping them out finding the bugs (Duane Jackson of Kashflow had a field day with this and so did Dennis Howlet)
Next up is Sage, banning Duane from the GEW party - read all about it on Duane's and Dennis' blogs)

Imagine my chuckle when my comment on Duane' post about the ban turned into this tweeter question by him:

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How's that for proper analysing someones website - asking the competition to give out links?

Are the "big" software companies feeling the pressure of being overtaken by other - better, simper, cheaper, better value for money - software companies that they resort to shooting themselves in the foot? Not once, but continuously this week (which is Global Entrepreneurship Week for that matter ;-))

(* = links to the software and business home page removed - of course!)


Using ScreenSteps.Me for Octane HQ

ScreenSteps.Me is the latest addition to the multitude of ways ScreenSteps Desktop gives you to publish your articles/lessons.

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This "lesson" - made in ScreenSteps of course - will show you how you can use it when you have an Octane HQ account to add a new step in a follow up series (email) or a new email campaign broadcast.

Write the article/lesson in ScreenSteps

Utilise all the features SSD gives you, from image capturing (great tool!) to formatting, to write your message. In this particular example I'd already written a blogpost for our FAQ & News site, announcing drastic discounts on our two most popular floors which I wanted to turn into an extra newsletter for all our newsletter subscribers.

when you're article is finished, click the Share Button and select ScreenSteps.Me. After it has uploaded your article/lesson to your ScreenSteps.Me account (free) select Visit.

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Open the document you want to (re)use in Octane HQ and check if everything looks and feels ok.

Create new email campaign in Octane HQ

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Name your new campaign and go the "write your email" step

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In notepad I have my standard email template I use for these type of (short) messages and this template is copied in Source

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Copy HTML or Styled HTML from ScreenSteps.Me

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Add to existing source

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I then have to reshuffle the article title to where I always place the headline of the message

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But that's really all I have to edit, the rest is copied and pasted, including the images used, into the email marketing message.

Send yourself a test message

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Select your contact group you want to email it to, set the time to broadcast it and job done!

Simple - and effective.

ScreenSteps Desktop keeps getting better and better!

 

ScreenSteps - Documentation Done Right


You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave.

Like yours, my inbox frequently receives marketing messages from plenty of businesses; some are expected and welcomed, plenty are really just spam, others come from businesses you dealt with one time or the other and some have the audacity to state the email I receive is within the anti-spam regulation and all I have to do is opt-out. If you know me a little bit you know how I despise this opt-out practise, there is no way in the world a practise like that can ever create a happy new client.

Marketing messages from businesses you do know but no longer want

Then there's that other bug-bear of mine: email marketing messages you can't seem to get rid off. Why do some businesses make it so hard for their prospects/clients to unsubscribe? What's the use/benefit of that? I know nobody wants to see their email list decrease in numbers, but making it almost impossible to stop further emails coming in feels like the ultimate begging: please, please don't leave me!

Beginning last week I received an marketing email from BT (British Telecom) about the benefits of returning to them as client. Since for the last four years we're very satisfied with the tariff and service we receive from Your Connection whom take care of all our business phone lines (except mobile phones, which are taken care of by Digital World Direct, also providing us ongoing great service) I saw or see no need to switch back to BT. So I went in search of the unsubscribe link and finally found it in the small print almost at the bottom of the email. To my amazement the link brought me to a BT web page that stated the following:

"We will deal with you request to unsubscribe from our marketing list as soon as possible. In the meantime you might receive further emails from us."

Begging your pardon? Deal with my request as soon as possible? BT? Whom took over 3 weeks to connect our new home phone, doing something as simple as removing my email address from their list as soon as possible? Where the simplest - free - email marketing systems have the ability to do this automated the minute a subscriber clicks the unsubscribe link, why on earth does it take a company, who fames itself for quick and easy communication, so long I can receive further emails I don't want anyway?

Jumping through hoops

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True to their word on Friday another BT marketing message arrived in my inbox - grrrrr!
Found the unsubscribe link again, to discover this time I'd landed on quite a different web page where it's hard to make out where and how you can be removed from their list. It took selecting one out of two options, which brought up two new links to select between and finally two new options to let BT know for once and for all I do no longer want to receive their messages - I had to reread the sentence twice to make sure I had finally arrived on the correct option to unsubscribe. The sentence even included the wording: we do not like to see you go - no, that's why they make it so difficult to leave no doubt!

This whole episode of trying to escape from marketing messages you don't want any longer, reminds me of the lyrics from "Hotel California" by The Eagles:

"You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave."


So I'm now wondering when the next BT marketing email will arrive.


Quick update on Ecwid and ponderings on tasks

(as in: who does what and why you should keep it simple).

End of last month I wrote about Ecwid "the ultimate Ecommerce multiple outlet option". I'm still very impressed by the program.

Simple, simple, simple - and effective

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Adding products is very simple, adding products to one or more categories is simple and a great feature I was missing dreadfully in our old shop. Last week (09.09) we took the plunge and opted for Ecwid's Silver Account. So now we are charged a monthly fee for the pleasure (a small fee in my eyes).

Side-note on upgrading: the compare plans page of Ecwid shows the price in US $, purchasing the upgrade I was suddenly charged in €'s - that's having to make a calculation of the costs in £ twice. Can't see any reason for Ecwid to show only prices in $ when actually the invoice you receive is in €. (Could be that for US clients it stays in $, I don't know).

Anyway, back to the program itself and the extra benefits a Silver account gives you. The one most important, at the moment, is the "Discount codes" option.

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In the system you create your coupon code, give it a name, a discount % or amount, set the settings to always, once, returning clients only or simply for a single use and if there is a minimum amount your client must spend before the discount counts.
All in one little window - no fiddling to and fro between screens, sections or options.

You email/hand out the coupon-code to your prospects/clients and once they apply the code to their shopping bag - even before having to go into the check-out process - the promised discount immediately is "in the bag".

Simple and very effective.

Oh, and it took 1 minute to follow the simple step in Ecwid's knowledge Base to add the shop to our Facebook Fan Page.

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Without any big problems - getting used to any new program comes with some problems, tiny ones in this case - our brand new secure webshop has now found 4 outlets:
Typepad blog (in same design as our FAQ wooden floor blog)
Main website (in same design as our main website)
Landing pages (one simple new example for our Easiest Maintenance Program - Ever)
Facebook Fan Page

If that's not simple and effective I wouldn't know what simple is then!

Ponderings on Tasks (as in: who does what and why you should keep it simple and strict).

Bookkeeping is part of running your business and you either love it or hate it. When you love it - me, me, me - it's a task you rather don't delegate.
However, if you hate it and delegate the task, delegate the complete task. Don't have 2 captains on a ship, especially not if you outsource the task and pay for the time of your bookkeeper. It's bound to end in extra costs, extra - wasted - time to correct entries of the other captain.

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With the modern online bookkeeping programs you have to be very strict with yourself, 'cos it seems so easy just to log in to the program in a spare moment and add that payment to the system. Only for your bookkeeper to discover the bank balance (reconciled a week ago) in the system is out of sink.

Sounds like nitpicking? When you become "piggy-in-the-middle" of an email discussion between a "paid for" bookkeeper and the owner of a business (for whom you have done the books for a while) you'll know it will frustrate everyone. The owner, for thinking to reduce the time of the bookkeeper and do little bookings in the system, is frustrated for being "slapped on the wrist"; the bookkeeper is frustrated for having to unravel the accounts again and for the "piggy-in-the-middle": it's not my task any longer, so leave me out of it and get your proprieties and instructions right!

Set strict agreements for this task: who does what? If the owner does want to do some of the books make it absolutely clear to everyone what "some of it" contains and don't cross the line - ever. Accountability comes to mind - and effectively saving costs.

In those occasions I really consider myself lucky to have the "bookkeeper" bug in me ;-) I don't have to share the task with anyone and therefore I'm the only one accountable. Life can be simple.


Exhibiting? Stand out

Guest Post

Why Nimlok are First-Rate in Exhibition Stand Design.

‘Finding a quality exhibition stand design service on the internet is nowhere near as difficult as you would imagine. Like anything else in life, it is all to do with how you go about looking. True, there are plenty of exhibition stand suppliers out there, but they will not all be able to deliver you with the same high quality of product and many will be lacking when it comes to customer service...

However, when you are dealing with a supplier such as Nimlok, you can be sure of getting the very best in all areas. Not only do they offer you a great range of products, but their service really is second to none! A quality exhibition stand design team will work with their clients to ensure that they get exactly what they are after; and this is exactly how Nimlok work. If only all companies had the same intuitive attitude towards their customers!

Even in this fast-paced and technological age, word of mouth is still the best type of advertising. And if you are to discuss exhibition stands with anyone, then it will not be long before they mention Nimlok. This is simply because they have such a good reputation when it comes to providing a quality exhibition stand design service.’

(Guest post)

When we exhibited a few years ago, it was the design of our own stand that made our company stand out. You can read about our experience in these related articles:

To Boldly go... Learned to think bolder

How to have fun during a B-2-B exhibition


Absolutely simple - Ecwid, the ultimate Ecommerce multiple outlet option

It does not happen often I'm turning instantly lyrical about a software program. Happened only a few times in the last 6 years, Typepad, ScreenSteps and Octane come to mind. But it happened again with Ecwid (Ecommerce "Widgets") - a new breed of shopping cart software

When modern turns stale

Our existing webshop - implemented 3 years ago as substitute for Actinic - is an integrated part of our Accounting package from Mamut (Enterprise version). Then fitting the bill as a modern Ecommerce solution, now - compared with the newer cloud computing solutions all around us - more and more sluggish and lately even frustratingly out of date.

As always, you try to "hang-on" as best as possible, and kind of shrug off the restrictions the program keeps putting in your way to add versatility and improvements to the online shopping experience of modern online shoppers. But there comes a moment when you decide: enough is enough, we need another solution. Even if that means adding a bit more work to the bookkeeping by missing the automagicall link between online order and sales ledger.

Searching the internet for a better solution for us brought, of course, a multitude of options. Some fortunately offer a trial webshop or a trial period. Dividing time between normal tasks, other marketing projects and testing these options does tend to make one impatient. But help was at hand by means of a recent blog post by my online friend Martin Malden.

In his "A really good (and simple) shoppingcart for WordPress" Martin exclaimed his pure relief of finding Ecwid

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And I completely agree with Martin: it's superb (and free for the first 100 products you have in your "shop"). Opening an account is dead easy, you can even log in with an existing google account.
(Side-note: you do need to know a bit of css coding to understand how to customise the design of your "shop", and some of the documentation could IMHO be improved.)

It's more than a "shop" - it's the ultimate Ecommerce multiple outlet option.

You'll notice I keep placing the word shop between quotes - because it's more than just an online shop where you send your prospect to to do their shopping.

Imagine the following true facts of the last week: there's no promotion of the new "shop" yet, I've not even linked to it from our main website but already have managed to receive an order every single day! Why and how?

Shortening the Decision Cycle

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This single product you can buy straight of its landing page - a webpage from our main website dedicated only to our cast iron buffing block, nothing more nothing less. Before Ecwid there was a link to our existing webshop where this product is listed among other maintenance tools we sell.
When someone landed on this page and wanted to order this magnificent eco-friendly tool they had to leave the page, scroll down to the product in the webshop again to buy it. Steps that are now avoided (and we seem to be running out of buffing blocks quickly!)

With Ecwid you can simply copy the html code of any product in your "shop" and paste it in any other webpage, blogpost etc.

Imagine what this does for our other landing pages (simple DIY guides) - they too are already attracting orders.

Additional shopping

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The minute a visitor adds one of the product to the bag, the actual shopping bag appears. Try it for yourself if you like and then "open the bag".
You'll see a pop-up window with your ordered product, the delivery costs and tax specified, plus check-out options (including Paypal Express Check-out). But there is, for us and our new client, an even more important button there:

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Continue Shopping. This brings you, without leaving the page you were on, in the actual complete Ecommerce shop where you can fill your shopping bag with other products. Go on, give it a try. Have a browse!

The actual Ecommerce "shop" I call the "storage house", the back end of the webshop. There you admin the products, the prices, the product images, the Egoods files, the categories (and one product can be attached to more than one category), the delivery costs, the payment options, the outgoing emails to your new (or existing) clients etc etc etc.

The Front End of your webshop can be anywhere. Multiple outlets with either the complete range, one single category or even one single product.

It did take me more than 5 minutes to set it up, and it still does not replace our existing Mamut webshop, but we're getting there. Once all the categories are filled we'll start to redirect everyone to our new Ecommerce solution. And in the meantime the landing pages will no doubt continue to bring in new orders.
(And then we might even venture in the other option Ecwid has: linking our brand new Ecommerce solution with Facebook.)

Martin, thanks again for the tip.

And as for Ecwid - I grant them the Kiss Award.

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