Hello Spree friends!
In the spirit of transparency, please find below the current status report for the Spree Commerce open source project.
We’re proud to announce two new major Spree versions: Spree 3.5 for Rails 5.1 and Spree 3.6 for Rails 5.2 with ActiveStorage support out of the box.
A big thanks to all the Spree users for their support, Spree developers for their feedback, Spree contributors for their work and the core team of Spree Developers, QAs and PMs. Continue reading
Join us in New York City on June 28-29th for OpenCommerce Conf 2016: http://opencommerceconf.org/
It’s a 2 day event on E-Commerce with great speakers, Spree success stories, discussion panels for both developers and business people and of course drinks in the afternoon.
There are thousands of Spree store owners and developers all over the world invested in Spree over the years. Thousands of stores and developers rely on a lean, flexible, extendible Spree open-source software being developed. That is a large community and a foundation of all our open-source efforts.
Whether you’re just growing your business or you’ve been around the block awhile, receiving a negative review can be frustrating, intimidating, and a little nerve-wracking. However, if you attack the complaint strategically, you can turn the ticked-off customer into a fan for life, and stop future problems before they happen.
The quicker you can reply, the better. Whether it’s you or an employee, make sure someone is consistently checking the contact email inbox, Facebook, Twitter, and any other medium in which a customer can reach out. Reach out to the critic as quickly as possible, as it’s been proven that 71% of consumers who experience a quick and effective brand response on social media are likely to recommend that brand to others. And since more people are likely to reach out with complaints than compliments, ignoring these critiques is ignoring opportunity.
Don’t just apologize, and certainly don’t make excuses. If in any way possible, resolve the issue with the customer directly, in as friendly a manner as you can. For example, if their package is missing, send a replacement express, free of charge. Throwing in a gift card, discount or some other reparation isn’t a bad idea either.
If the complaint is legitimate, listen to it and see if you can fix the problem. This is even more crucial if you’re getting the same complaints from multiple customers. Eliminating the problem as quickly as possible will save you and your customers future headache by nipping the problem in the bud.
Behind organic search, email has proven to be the second-most effective way to gain customers. Building up your SEO and improving your organic search results can take awhile, but email can be effective immediately.
You don’t need to dedicate a majority of your time writing and sending emails to individual customers. Make it easy on yourself and use your transactions to collect a customer database, and contact them all as a group. There are many factors that will play into the effectivness of your email campaign, such as frequency and content, but this is a proven strategy that you can begin almost immediately.
The impact social media has on ecommerce is growing almost every day. Since it transcends platforms (desktop, mobile and tablet) most users check in many times per day, it’s easy to see why. And the best part about them? They’re FREE.
With that being said, not taking advantage of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest (a rapidly-growing force in ecommerce marketing) and more, will cause you to miss out on countless opportunities, opportunities that your competitors will be sure not to ignore.
We strongly recommend you set up various accounts for your business if you haven’t already, and post to them with consistency and relevance. It’s not just a great way to gain new customers, but to have your current ones buying again and again.
Maintaining a blog is a proven strategy for driving traffic to your site. It helps with your SEO, and keeps your website active in order to capture the attention of shoppers. Certain products may warrant a blog just to announce its arrival, or tell its story. It doesn’t have to be overly wordy or detailed, and not every item needs this special attention, but when well-executed, it will help drive sales.
Being active in blogs doesn’t always mean you have to do it yourself. Whatever your industry, it’s practically guaranteed that someone is writing about it. If your new product is deserving of a wider audience—for example, a new Little League bat that’s been proven to drive the ball 5% further—then reach out to these bloggers, and see if they’d be interested in covering your story.
The best ways to take advantage of points two and three? Insert a buy button directly into your blog, tweet or post. Promoting your product across all mediums is great; giving them a way to buy right then and there is even better. Your ecommerce website provider should give you a way to easily copy buy button code, so you can simply drop it into your third party site/profile.
Giving shoppers a way for them to win your hot new item is a proven strategy for generating buzz. Plus, contests are easy and affordable. This is where you can get creative, as there’s all kinds of contests you can use to create a giveaway.
The contest can be specific to your items/industry, like Eggo’s giveaway for the most creative recipe using Eggo waffles. Just be careful, as there as many “dont’s” for contests as “dos.” Make sure the timeliness, message, and steps to enter or win are clearly thought out and executed.
Count this tip as a double: Social media is key to harnessing today’s shoppers. And the best part about it? Setting up a social media account is completely, 100% free. If you haven’t set up Twitter and/or Facebook accounts for your company, we highly recommend you do so, as Facebook is the number one source amongst social profiles for sending shoppers to websites. Posting to these accounts is a great way to turn customers into a community, and create a legion of brand ambassadors.
Setting up Pinterest and Google Plus won’t hurt either, as Pinterest especially is making a huge impact on ecommerce. If you’ve heard not-such-great things about Google’s foray into social media, well you’re not wrong. However, it will help with your google search engine optimization, so even if you don’t see a lot of action on your Plus page, it’s still worth it to post there regularly.
Speaking of SEO, there are a multitude of different things you can do to improve this vital aspect of your business. The concept of SEO amounts to where you appear on a list from a search engine, the most common and most important one being google. Do a quick search for terms that should trigger your business’ appearance in the results.
Is it at or near the top of the list? No? Then you’ve got work to do. If you need help identifying these key terms, try a service like Google Adwords. This will show you the terms that you should optimize in order to drive traffic to your site.
You’ll also want to check out your website’s mobile experience by bringing it up on your smartphone and/or tablet. If your site doesn’t look clean (text/images are compressed, links are broken, etc.) then you’re going to get penalized by search engines, and you’ll be pushed further and further down the list of results.
Playing a huge part in the role of good SEO is content marketing. Make sure you’re updating your website content regularly, as search engines reward sites for fresh information. If you’re having trouble coming up with new products/content to put on your site, try running a blog that will be of interest to your shoppers.
You’ll notice pretty much everything we’ve mentioned you can do yourself, and most of it is absolutely free. It’s important to recognize your limits, but there’s plenty that can be done without hiring outside help or paying for expensive services.
If you hit a roadblock, google is just about the best tool out there for finding step by step instructions on the aforementioned services and advice. If you hit a snag, don’t worry, it’s almost guaranteed someone’s been there before, and provided instructions for people going through the same thing.
We’re excited to announce a new Spree Commerce Development Roadmap for 2016 along with a new Core Team. Future Spree open-source efforts will be coordinated and managed jointly by volunteers from Spark Solutions and Vinsol. They are all professional developers who are currently working on behalf of merchants using Spree and have hands on experience in Spree development, customization, maintenance and performance optimization.
After the acquisition announcement we asked the community to step up and these people have met the challenge. We have reviewed their objectives and strategy which can be summarized as follows:
The new Core Team is determined to support Spree developers around the world (mailing list, Slack channel, GitHub issues) in their daily efforts.
For general discussion and support inquiries please use:
Slack public channels: http://slack.spreecommerce.com
Spree Mailing List: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/spree-user
The new core members would like you to konw that in the spirit of free open source software, they are encouraging everyone to work together to help improve the Spree project. New Core Team members are welcome!
Stay tuned to the Spree Mailing list for more details to come!
A logo is a staple of your brand. However, it’s not the end all be all of your company’s success; that’s your products and services. With that being said, if you’ve put off adding a logo to your ecommerce website, or have had a “rebrand” on your to-do list, then follow the advice below to create a simple, effective, one-of-a-kind logo that will resonate with your brand’s identity.
Logos act as the face of your company; it’s likely the first thing customers will remember when they think of you. So it needs to be unique, simple, memorable and enduring, but not overdone. You’ll also need it to be versatile, as it needs to work across a variety of mediums; your online and offline storefronts, social media profiles, etc.
All of the above points play into the design of your logo, but there’s even more that goes into it. For example, the colors you choose for your logo have far more impact on its effectiveness than you’d probably imagine.
Here are some key statistics from logos used by the top 100 brands to think about, compiled by graphic design firm, The Logo Factory:
You need to make your logo recognizable, but as you can see from the above stats, more complex is not always better. The more complex the logo, the more it negatively impacts the flexibility of the logo when it pertains to different sizes and mediums. On that note, make sure your logo looks good in black and white, as well, since you don’t know where it may pop up.
We’ve given you some tips, but what if the time is now to create your new logo? You don’t need to hire a fancy designer and spend an arm and a leg. This is something you can try yourself first. Give these simple and inexpensive resources a try:
For more helpful resources for ecommerce entrepreneurs, visit our academy and give us a follow so you don’t miss out on our next update.