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How to Increase your Brand’s SEO

SEO has been something of a buzzword lately. But what is it? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and is described by wikipedia as “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.”

What that means for a business owner is, whatever search terms that resonate in your industry, you want to be at or near the top of the listings that appear whenever people put that term or phrase into Google. The more people that see your site, the more people will shop on it, and the more shoppers you have, the more sales you’ll get.

Follow these tips to maximize your SEO to see your webstore’s traffic spike, and the sales roll in.

Identify Keywords and Phrases

You need to figure out what key terms and phrases you want to trigger your appearance in a search. For example, if you’re a high-end shoe retailer, then you’d probably want to have an appearance when customers search for “High end shoes.”

Maybe you’re not ready to take on Nordstrom’s or Barney’s (the first and second results to appear on Google when you enter that phrase) and you still do a high volume of sales inside your physical store. In that case, your location can help you drive customers to online and offline sales, such as “High end shoes in Pennsylvania” or more specifically, “High end Shoes in Philadelphia, PA.”

Content-Driven Traffic

Whatever you determine to be key terms and phrases, maximize their use through fresh and engaging information on your web store. Running a blog is a great way to keep new content on your site. One thing you don’t want to do is force these keywords into the content. It has to seem natural, as it will turn off readers/shoppers, and will be recognized as a forced attempt at maximizing SEO by the search engines.

The more fresh content you have, the more traffic will come to your site. And, again, the more traffic you have is the more opportunities you have for sales.

Share on Social Media

Whatever new content you have, be sure to share it on any and all social accounts that you have associated with your store. These are just more channels for you to attract traffic. Sharing on Google plus, specifically, will directly help your ranking on Google’s search listings.

Blogs, news about your company, and new/featured products are the kinds of things that you want to share with your community. Social media is having more and more of an impact on ecommerce, so start sharing now.

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In other news

Ecommerce Product Description Best Practices

You can have the best products in the world, but if you can’t communicate that quality effectively, how are customers going to know? And, more importantly, how will they feel comfortable clicking that “buy” button? Here’s some tips and advice that will help you seal the deal.

Show Don’t (Only) Tell

We’re not here to tell you NOT to tell the story behind the product (in fact, look at the next point) but don’t ONLY tell. Include multiple high-quality images of your product. Show different angles, viewpoints and elements of your goods.

Remember, you’re selling online. Your customers don’t have the option to hold and feel and get comfortable with the item they’re about to buy. So do your best to recreate that in-store feeling by providing big, beautiful images of your goods. Provide 360 degrees worth of angles or, even better, make it a gif.

Tell The Story Behind the Product

Your business has a story, and so does your product. Tell it. For inspiration, check out Ayr’s blog, Editions. Ayr, a women’s fashion startup, releases new apparel every season, and additions to their line receive a one-paragraph story of the goals and thought process behind the design.

You don’t necessarily need to include such in-depth descriptions on every product, (you don’t want to get too wordy) but new and/or featured products deserve extra attention, and are worthy of a story behind their production.

Emphasize Uniqueness

Your competitors are going to have similar products, but there’s something about your inventory that makes you different. Whatever it is—the design, the manufacturing process, the price—make sure you emphasize this in your descriptions. If your customers don’t know why your products are better/different, what’s to stop them from going to the competitor next time?

Include an Obvious Call to Action

You’ve got the customer interested. They’ve looked at the product images, read the story behind the product, and really like what they’ve seen thus far. Now it’s just a matter of sealing the deal. You can push the customers over the edge by simply providing a “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” button within the page that features your product description. If they’ve made it this far, they’re already interested. Turn the opportunity into a sale with a strong call to action.

Allow Customers to Easily Share their Experience

If your customers have a positive experience shopping with you, they’ll be willing to share your product with their friends and family. Now they won’t write a blog about it, but if you provide simple buttons to like, tweet, pin and/or share, it will open their friends and followers’ eyes to your brand.

Word of mouth has always been a great sales/marketing tactic. Social media has given the opportunity to spread the message faster and to a wider audience than ever before. Take advantage of it!

The Bottom Line

You’re going to have competitors; it’s unavoidable no matter the industry. But you can set yourself apart with unique and effective product descriptions. Making that sale is the first step to turning a customer into a “brand ambassador.” Once they see why you’re the best option for them, they’ll keep coming back—and sharing with their friends.

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In other news

Best Practices for Ecommerce Design

You’ve got the best products, and pride yourself on completing your deliveries on time, every time. That’s a great start, but if you don’t attractively display your items on your website, how are your customers supposed to buy them? These best practices will ensure that the quality of your products is accurately displayed on your website, every time.

Show Don’t Tell

“This is the best shirt/coffee/makeup in the world.” Who wouldn’t say that about their own products? Displaying images of satisfied, real-life customers is a much better way to display the quality of your goods. If you have an active social media profile you can kill two birds with one stone here by displaying your Twitter or Instagram feeds in a section of your site.

Another strategy you can implement is to dedicate a portion of your site to a community and/or press section. The community section can feature the images of satisfied customers sent in through your social profiles, as a varition of—or enhancement to—the above recommendation. Any positive press or reviews from accredited reviewers should be displayed in a press section.

Basically, a good rule of thumb is anything positive said about your service or products from someone outside your company should be displayed on your website, or at the very least shared on your various social profiles.

Focus on What Makes you Unique

What is it about your products that makes them unique? Shoppers will have an almost infinite amount of places to buy a shirt, but why should they buy your shirt? Is it the materials? The manufacturing? The price? Any and all of these reasons should be featured.

This content can accompany the featured products that are displayed in a prominent section of your website. You should also include this in all of your product descriptions. You don’t need to tell the whole story of the first stitch of thread to production, but a brief “This hand-crafted gingham-style shirt was designed with the professional in a business casual office setting in mind.”

Tell Your Story

Product descriptions are one way to feature what makes you different than your competitors. Another way is to briefly tell your story. This should be in a different area than where your products are displayed, such as an “About Us” section.

Why did you get into retail/ecommerce? What is it about your products that shoppers won’t be able to find anywhere else? If you have a personal connection to the goods you sell (“After a Minor League Baseball career, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the game, so I opened John’s Sporting Goods”) these are the stories you want to share with your customers.

Make Shipping Options Clear

Different customers are going to have different shipping needs. Some may be casually browsing and don’t mind if their products don’t get to their house in a week. Others might be procrastination shopping (think: Holidays) and are willing to pay extra to get the item the next day.

Make sure any and all shipping options are made available to your customers as they’re checking out. The last thing you want is to lose a sale because the customer thinks they won’t get the product in time or—conversely—because they only see expensive shipping options.

Draw Attention to Sales

This is a tenet that goes across all mediums of retail. If you’re running a sale—show it. Shoppers have been haggling for the best possible deals for hundreds of years. This hasn’t changed just because you’re selling online now.

The Bottom Line

What’s the common thread here? Originality. Your website is more than just a place for customers to buy things. It’s a piece of your business, and your business is the only one like it out there. Stress what makes you different from your competitors, and this uniqueness will be recognized by your customers, who will become loyal to your brand and never think of shopping elsewhere.

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In other news

How to Make Blogs work for Ecommerce

The most important aspects of running a successful ecommerce business are quality products and dependable service. It doesn’t matter what else you do if you can’t deliver a good item within a decent amount of time. Outside of those essentials, however, are a number of different things you can do to increase awareness to your brand and, most importantly, increase your sales. One of them is maintaining an interesting and relevant blog.

A blog, you say? How is a brief article going to increase my sales? Well, consider it the law of averages. The more people that come to your website, the more that are going to shop for your products, and the more that shop are more that are likely to click “Buy.” But where does the blog come in? Creating a well-written blog is a great way to keep readers coming back, and turning them into buyers.

Take Into the Gloss and Glossier for example. ITG started as a popular blog that provides fashion tips, advice and articles featuring interviews with models and fashion professionals. It became so popular that the founders decided to venture into ecommerce with Glossier. Glossier has been a retail success and Into the Gloss continues, pointing readers to Glossier.

Of course, building a business off of a blog first isn’t the traditional route to ecommerce success. Ayr, the popular women’s clothing retailer, also maintains an active blog presence. Ayr’s blog is more image-heavy, telling the story behind its newest and most fashionable products.

What’s the connection? Both brands have gone beyond the norm of retailers, creating a sort of news room circulating content pertaining to their respective industries. This will help create an army of “brand ambassadors” who will go to your site for more than just a sale, and will in turn recommend your site and products to their friends and family.

Maintaining a blog and combining it with a social media presence will create a culture of brand loyalists that wouldn’t dream of going to your competitors, even if they have a similar product. If you’re selling sporting goods, blog about the importance of using the right equipment on the field. And if you’re products are being used in a high-profile way like, if we’re using the sporting goods example, by a Major League player or in the Little League World Series, you’re darn right you better write about and publicize that!

Look, we know that writing isn’t everyone’s specialty. If you don’t have the budget to hire a content marketing specialist, you can always find a freelancer for a reasonable price. If you do write it on your own, make sure you read over your copy several times, or have a friend do it. Having typos or simple grammatical mistakes is a great way to look unprofessional.

If properly executed, your blog will keep customers coming back to your store again and again. Just keep the content fresh and at a high quality and watch the traffic—and sales—roll in!

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In other news

Spree Commerce has been Acquired by First Data

The Big News

I’m excited to announce that Spree Commerce has been acquired by First Data Corporation. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the company, First Data is a worldwide leader in the payment space. In 2014 First Data was responsible for the following:

  • 74 billion transactions
  • $1.7 trillion in U.S. payment volume
  • 28% of all e-commerce processing worldwide

What’s Next for Spree?

We will continue to focus on technology solutions related to e-commerce. First Data has a worldwide distribution network with over 6 million business locations. We are already hard at work on developing new products for First Data based on Spree. We will be taking advantage of First Data’s financial and technical resources to bring the Spree technology to a worldwide audience. The Spree Commerce office in Washington, D.C. will remain open and we’re continuing to hire aggressively. The whole team is super excited and we’re looking forward to telling you more about it soon!

What’s Next for the Community?

First Data recognizes the important role of open source technology. They are fully supportive of our open source efforts and the Spree project will remain open source. We have an amazing open source community and that will continue for as long as there is interest in the Spree project!

In other news

Spree Commerce vs. Magento

About the Author

Allen Burt is the Founder and Managing Director at Blue Stout. Blue Stout is a digital production agency that builds custom commerce applications, like ecommerce shops and interactive mobile apps, for clients ranging from startups to billion-dollar public companies.

Prior to Blue Stout, Allen led two ecommerce startups and consulted corporate tech companies like Sprint and Bayer AG. He loves connecting business strategy with tech and frequently writes on both subjects on the Blue Stout Blog.

As technology advances, we continue to see things we are accustomed to take shape in a new technology which is smaller, faster, more compact.

We saw it with desktop computers to laptops, telephones to iPhones, satellite dish to HDMI streamers, the examples are all around us. Which means, this change is inevitably occurring in the ecommerce space, too. Ecommerce platforms are evolving, and following the trend in technology, getting more concise and efficient.

There are lots of options out there, and statistics show that Magento is the clear winner when it comes to the ecommerce platform market share. They hold about 26% of the total market.

Spree Commerce, on the other hand, is a relatively new choice. It’s one of the most promising and fastest-growing open source projects in the world with with over 630 contributors who regularly contribute to the code base and update software documentations.

In this post, we’ll compare the two platforms so you can see why we prefer to develop with Spree Commerce here at Blue Stout.

Open source and hosted versions

Both Magento and Spree offer open source versions that are totally free to download, which can be installed on a self-hosted server.

Magento Community Edition (CE) is the open source version released by Magento. Though, it has almost the same basic features and source code of their Enterprise Edition (EE), it still misses a lot of enhanced functionalities offered by Enterprise Edition like full page caching, and better scalability, among others.

Spree Commerce is also an open source platform, but it is much more reliable than Magento’s Community Edition, and has almost the same features provided by Magento’s Enterprise Edition.

Related: Open Source or Full Service Platform: Which Is Right For Your Ecommerce Business?

In fact, the cost of Enterprise Edition starts at $15,000 and can go up to $200,000 per year, whereas Spree as an open source software costs $0, which makes Spree Commerce more appealing from the get-go. The caveat here, of course, is paying for a developer to help you build on top of the platform, so your costs will depend on that individual or ecommerce development firm.

Backend User Experience

As your development team or contracted design firm works on building your store, depending on the platform you choose, they will have two completely different backend experiences. Magento offers many options to developers as core functions. This makes the backend cluttered and overwhelming. And because there are lots of options by default, it can even confuse some users and complicate the user experience unnecessarily. If your development team is having a hard time keeping products updated and current because of a unorganized backend, chances are it’s going to reflect on your frontend and, ultimately, your customer’s experience on your website.

In contrast, the backend of Spree is built around simplicity. The admin panel is lean and efficient. Comparing with Magento, Spree has fewer tabs and sub-menus. So, by default, it is less overwhelming and minimizes the options offered. This doesn’t mean that Spree has fewer options and functionalities. It means that Spree has a more minimal way of organizing its backend options and are arranged is to keep the developers streamlined and focused.

Which one sounds like a better user experience for developers?

The Framework Used

This is where it gets interesting. The language and framework used to build each platform is the most obvious example of technological evolution. Magento is written in PHP with some elements of Zend framework. Spree is built using Ruby on Rails, a web application framework created specifically for online businesses.

If you’ve been in business awhile or if you are fairly tech-savvy, you may know that PHP is a very popular language. Compared to Ruby on Rails, PHP is a much easier language to learn right off the bat. Because of this, PHP still dominates the ecommerce industry. But, just because it’s popular, doesn’t mean it’s right. PHP is actually not the most efficient language for ecommerce programming.

Let’s look at some comparisons between the two platforms in terms of efficiency:

Lines of Code

The main difference in efficiency between Magento and Spree lies within the difference in code. Magento has over 8.2 million lines of code whereas Spree Commerce uses only 45k. Why such a huge difference? Remember, Magento provides more functions as the core functions and Spree, by default, comes as a lightweight storefront. The extensions for Spree have to be installed and can increase functionality. These big difference in the initial sizes of the each code base makes an impact on operational and developmental processes. Here’s how:

Ease of Development

Unless you’re running a very simple shop with absolutely no customized elements or functionalities, you will need to customize the source code of your storefront. As PHP is a very popular language, finding PHP programmers is easy. However, just because a programmer knows PHP doesn’t mean that person can necessarily work well on Magento. Navigating through its complex setup can be tough. That means it is very likely, unless your developer has specific Magento experience, that there will be a learning curve for any developer you hire.

In contrast, Rails developers understand Spree much faster than PHP developers can understand Magento because the framework is more efficient and minimal. You’ll have much better chances of forgoing a large learning curve with your developer and saving yourself time and money.

Handling Requests

Whenever a server receives a request, it processes each request individually and generates a response. Servers can handle many requests simultaneously. When a server is oversubscribed with the requests, the server could suffer loss in performance, which may result in slowing down your ecommerce store.

Spree can handle more than double the number of requests per second than Magento can. In addition, Spree takes care of those requests almost three times faster than the Magento (413ms compared to 1203).

Code Requirements

Ruby on Rails is optimized for sustainable programming and productivity. And the code reflects that. It is structured in such a way that it cannot duplicate itself. That means your programmers don’t have to write code to combat duplicate errors. PHP is the opposite.

So, compared to Magento, Spree requires almost 10 times fewer lines of code to be written to achieve the same functionality. A larger amount of server-side scripting code can degrade the performance of your server and slow down your store. Since Spree requires fewer lines of codes to be written, it can speed up your website loading time, giving your customers a better experience on your site.

Payment Process Integration

Another important element to compare in ecommerce platforms are the available payment processor integrations. The limitations or lack of integrations should not determine which platform you use.

Why choose a sub-par platform just because they integrate with your preferred processor? Good news: you don’t have to. Compared to Magento, Spree supports more payment gateways out of the box. Magento supports integration with about 75 different solutions whereas Spree comes bundled with over 125.

In addition, Spree has recently upgraded VendPOS Integration for Wombat, its automated integration platform so that it takes only a few minutes to connect with leading VendPOS Integration. Read more about that integration here.

Make a Smart Decision

Obviously, both Magento and Spree are capable of offering every feature an online store needs. But in terms of speed, stability, scalability and third-party integrations, Spree stands out from its competitors. In addition, the pace of the open source contribution puts it in the Top 50 open source projects in the world. Don’t make a decision based on the state of your ecommerce business now. Think 5 years down the road. Which platform will scale with your business?

Our bet is on the platform that evolves with the efficiency trend.

To view this piece in its original format, visit the blog of Blue Stout.

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In other news

5 Emails to Customers that Will Boost Sales

Communicating with your customers is key to ecommerce success. But what should you send? Push too hard for sales and you risk getting marked as spam. Don’t reach out enough, and you risk losing sales that a simple email would have sealed for you. Here are five emails that you sould employ in your outreach plan today.

1) Thank you for your Order

There’s no tidier way to wrap up customers’ transactions than thanking them for ordering. It shows that you care that they got the order on time and as expected. Fail to do this and you fail to establish a bond with the customer. There’s no reason for them not to shop with a competitor in the future.

Also, It will also open up a dialogue in case they DON’T receive the item on time, or as expected. There’s no better way to lose customers than by disappointing them. By opening up the communications, you can fix the problem and they will buy from you again.

2) Order Status Updates

Keeping in line with some of the key points above, if you keep the communication open, it will alleviate fears from the customer. Telling patrons, “Order Confirmed” and “Your item has been shipped,” will put to rest any doubts that a problem happened in between the time they paid and the time the item they receive the product.

3) Product Review

Providing a quick and easy way for customers to review your products is another great method to enhance customer loyalty. If it’s not exactly as they wanted it, customers should be able to say so. Remember, you’re selling things based off a picture, so things might not be perfect every time. And if you notice a significant amount of customers complaining about an item, you can use the constructive criticism to either change how you present the product, or remove it from your inventory altogether.

4) Product Reorder Reminder

If you’re in the subscription business, this is key to gaining customer retention. You want to hit the sweet spot of sending the email late enough that it’s time to restock, but in enough time that the customer will receive the subscribed item(s) before the last order’s supply runs out.

For example, if you sell coffee, and customers orders a one-month supply, you’ll want to reach out to to them about three weeks after they received their last shipment. That way, you’re close enough to the point that it’s time to restock, but have enough time to get the coffee to their doostep before Day 30. Because if your customers are anything like me, you don’t want to mess with them without their coffee.

5) Personalized Recommendations

It never hurts to suggest an item or items that you think your customer might enjoy. Staying with the above example, if your customer orders dark coffee, and you just got in a new Brazilian Super Dark Roast, it couldn’t hurt to let your customer know you just got this product in.

During holiday sales, it couldn’t hurt to suggest some products that are out of your customers’ typical buying habits. At these times, patrons are looking to buy gifts, instead of typical orders, so you can cash in on the shopping rush with your existing customers. Just be careful doing this during normal times of the year, as it’s a good way to get your emails marked as spam.

Additional Tips and Tools

Sending these emails yourself will be fine when you’re first starting out. However, down the line you may want to look at a service like MailChimp or Mandrill that will help you send those emails. You can even automate these third-party services so emails go out at the moment of a desired action. For more best practices, including when and how frequently to send emails, visit our article, “How to Make Marketing Emails Work for You.”

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In other news

Spree Commerce vs. Shopify

Link: http://www.infigic.com/spree-commerce-vs-shopify/

About the Author

Kaartik Iyer is the founder of Infigic. Infigic is an ecommerce agency that develops with Spree Commerce. Infigic was started by experienced ecommerce professionals who have built succesful ecommerce ventures in the past and have started off this venture to help fellow ecommerce entrepreneurs. You can check out Infigic’s portfolio here.

There are many ecommerce platforms available, but the most important decision is to choose an ecommerce platform that’s best suitable to your store. The ecommerce platform not only influences the UI and customer experience of your store, but is also used for administrating assorted backend tasks. Here, we’ll talk about Spree Commerce and Shopify so that you can decide your ecommerce platform as per your business.

Spree Commerce is built using Ruby on Rails, which is the best for developing light, fast, and well-designed websites. Spree Commerce is free and also integrates with Wombat. Wombat connects your Spree and other ecommerce storefronts to any service. It intelligently routes orders and other information to make sure that the right data gets to the right place at the right time. Spree is a fully featured ecommerce platform written for the Ruby on Rails framework. It makes programming applications easier by making several assumptions about what the developers need to embark. If we talk about backend, the Spree admin panel is one of the most well-designed admin panels containing all necessary elements.

Now onto Shopify, a comprehensive ecommerce solution that allows you to set up an ecommerce store and sell products. It lets you organize them, customize your storefront, track orders and accept payments.

Shopify charges a monthly fee ranging from $29 to $179. With Shopify you can’t play around with the code, whereas Spree is an open source platform, allowing you to access and alter all the code (also you can download it at any time). Shopify is simple, provides all the elements a store looks for, it’s uncomplicated, but it’s missing out some additional features. In contrast, Spree Commerce allows you to pick the features you want, and use the ones you need.

Shopify stores are maintained and managed by Shopify itself. But with Spree Commerce, you’re the owner and manager of your store entirely. Shopify is preferably suitable for smaller stores. As most of the large stores look to host their own data, customize it extremely as per their needs and not pay commissions, Spree Commerce is more recommended.

Summary

Spree Commerce

  • Spree Commerce is free of cost
  • Spree Commerce is easy to conclude on and doesn’t call for specialization
  • Customization can be done excessively tailored to your needs
  • It provides extensions for additional functionality and bacedn is easily understandable
  • It’s open source and built using Ruby on Rails

Shopify

  • Shopify is easy to use
  • It allows less customization, good for small business organizations
  • No access to the code
  • Is a paid product

Now, you can choose the best ecommerce platform for you between Spree Commerce and Shopify. Infigic is a Spree Commerce Development company specializing in custom Spree Commerce development and Spree extension development solutions. Follow us on twitter @infigicdigital
for more updates related to ecommerce development.

To view this piece in its original format, visit the blog of Infigic Digital.

In other news

Turn your Customers into a Community

Customer retention is one of the keys to ecommerce success. In fact, one report states that increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits anywhere from 25% to 95%. But how do you keep your current customers buying again and again? Nothing’s fail safe, but one proven strategy is to use your social media profiles to create a rich and vibrant community.

Creating an active and engaging social presence will turn your customers into true fans, brand ambassadors that are eager to see your new product/company news and share it with their friends and family. Competitors can offer similar products, but creating a community gives you an advantage over the other retailers. Some of the fastest-growing names in ecommerce have put this theory to the test and have reaped the rewards.

While getting customers excited to buy your hot new item sounds simple enough, best practices include more than just posting about new products. Take surf and beach retailer Surfdome, for example. Surfdome, recently sold to Surfstitch for $16M, has nearly 50K Twitter followers.

How did they get there? Not by merely posting photos of new surfboards and wetsuits, but turning its Twitter account into a great follow for all fans of surfing. Scroll the feed, and you’ll see GoPro videos from surfers mid-action, photos of surfers making their way through ridiculously huge waves, and yes, the occasional link to a new product. They also make an effort to tie in a trending hashtag of the day with surfing/beach fun, like this one for #RelationshipGoalsin3Words:

What Surfdome has created is a “one-stop shop” for surf fans. They’ll get news, cool pictures and videos, and associate Surfdome as an awesome place to buy surfing and beach gear. Personally, I’m a little top heavy for surfing, but if it were my thing Surfdome would be a must follow for me, and I’d quickly become a fan of the brand, not thinking of going anywhere else for a new board or wetsuit.

Stumptown Coffee, generators of approximately $40 million in annual revenue, follows a similar path. While a GoPro video of someone sipping a Stumptown brew might not be quite as exciting as surfing a big wave, Stumptown’s Twitter feed is filled with fans tagging their favorite coffee brand, as well as retweets of satisfied customers.

While you can’t get much different than a coffee and surfing retailer, you’ll notice a similar strategy between Stumptown and Surfdome. They create the community first, and plug the products second. One guaranteed way to lose a Twitter and/or Facebook follower is to shamelessly share your products again and again.

Instead, whatever industry you’re selling to, post and retweet fun and interesting news relevant to that industry. If you’re a sports retailer, get in on the Little League World Series action. If you’re in the beauty and makeup industry, post about fashion. Creating an active blog doesn’t hurt, either, as it will provide you with another outlet to funnel brand fans to your site.

However you do it, they key to gaining customer retention is staying industrially patient and not over-posting about your own products. To paraphrase “The Voice” from Field of Dreams, if you build the community, the sales will come.

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In other news

PrestaShop vs. Spree Commerce: Dueling Online Storefronts

About the Author

Ivan is a content and marketing manager for 3llideas. 3llideas is a development agency with years of experience in ecommerce. 3llideas has launched Spree Commerce stores for businesses around the world, spanning a range of industries.

There’s a new dual amongst platforms that can bring any business online: PrestaShop vs. Spree Commerce. Sure, if you’re thinking of developing an online store, PrestaShop is one of the names you’ve heard before, along with Magento, another competitor to Spree Commerce.

What does PrestaShop have to offer that Spree doesn’t? Today, we’ll do a quick comparison between the two, focusing on each storefront’s key features, respectively. Whether you’re looking for a new online store altogether or you’re just looking for alternatives to PrestaShop, this article’s for you.

Price:

Both storefronts are free to download, both upon installation and use, thanks to both options being open source. So, both can be modified without much issue, in order to adapt to business requirements.

PrestaShop has a large amount of pre-built modules and themes, and can be installed within the PrestaShop store the same way as a WordPress plugin; upload, activate and configure. Spree Commerce involves a technical level of understanding because, despite a wide variety of modules and adaptations already built, you still need to be an expert in Ruby installation and development.

In PrestaShop, there’s a great volume of modules and themes, though most cost extra, while all of Spree’s extensions are free. Spree is cheaper, and provides the assurance that your store will be easily adapted for any future needs thanks to one of its key features: greater scalability.

Development and Expansion of Software:

We’ve already touched on this in the previous point, but let’s expand on it: the main difference between the two ecommerce platforms are the maintenance and development costs. Developments in PHP (PrestaShop’s programming language) require countless lines of code, which increase complexity, thus being less effective than Ruby on Rails (Spree’s.)

Obviously, your shop may already have enough with the extensions provided from PrestaShop, but you won’t be receiving a customized solution. And we know the importance of brand awareness for retailers: a store must always distinguish themselves from the competition.

Ruby on Rails provides greater power and flexibility with fewer lines of code, resulting in improved performance. Thanks to another point we mentioned earlier, the scalability of Spree, you can deal with traffic spikes without the risk that the system crashes due to the unexpected customer volume. Think of a Christmas rush to your site, for example, and know that Spree will be with you during your busiest—and most lucrative—time of year.

Community:

Both user communities are active and provide great support for troubleshooting. PrestaShop’s community is bigger, due to the CMS’ poularity, and the fact that it’s been on the market longer. Spree, however, has 635 contributors, more than double that of its rival. This results in faster resolution for bugs, with software updates being published more frequently for Spree.

Necessary Hardware Resources:

We’ve already mentioned that the initial investment in the software for either one of these platforms is zero, as they’re both free and open sourced. But what about the hardware resources?

Naturally, what will make the difference is the volume of the store itself, and the traffic it receives, so both will need more resources as your company’s popularity increases. Now, PHP needs more power on the server and more memory to run in comparable situations, so it will take a higher hosting plan if you want to be safe for the future. Spree Commerce, on the other hand, is fantastic in this regard, being remarkably scalable and ensuring the performance will be optimal throughout your company’s growth.

Startup:

When starting out with these platforms, we found that PrestaShop is quite similar to the installation of WordPress: you only need to upload the files to the server and run them. With Spree installation, the method is similar to running an environment for Ruby on Rails. At first you may face a challenge regarding programming knowledge.

But is this really a disadvantage? Not really, as you can be sure that your storefront’s ready to roll know matter how much change your shop requires in the future, because you can handle it without any problems.

You must have one point clear: both options are valid for an online shop, and you know you can sell on them both domestically and internationally. However, through personal experience and customer reviews we feel secure in making Spree Commerce our recommendation.

It’s a platform that allows further customization, is more scalable (thus mitigating future problems that you’d have with other storefronts), has extremely powerful features, and you don’t have to install anything other than its basic software. In short, Spree offers a solution that you’ll own completely.

Don’t have enough information about Spree Commerce? No problem, contact us today.

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