E-Commerce Spring Cleaning: 5 Tips to Refresh and Renew Your Online Store

Update Your Imagery

When was the last time you updated your homepage carousel banners? Or changed your featured products? Does your Facebook or Twitter page still have the original cover image you uploaded when you created those accounts? Now is the time to update your high-visibility photos and images to give your brand an instant new look and re-engage returning customers and social media fans.

Clear Out Old Inventory

The more products you have, the more difficult it is for shoppers to find the item they want to buy. De-clutter your category, search and brand pages by removing poorly-selling of low inventory products from their primary category, marking down their price and adding them to a Sale or Clearance section. You can use your BigCommerce store’s built-in reports or Google Analytics to identify products that either don’t sell very often or get a lot of traffic without any conversions. Clearing out products frees up dollars to invest in new inventory and will save larger stores valuable shelf space.

Refresh Content and Meta Tags for SEO

It’s no secret that search engines like fresh content. Make a plan to rewrite any text content on your homepage and category pages so that Google will re-evaluate your website’s organic value and relevance. I also suggest updating meta titles and keywords for major pages like your homepage, category pages, brand pages (if you use them) and top-selling product pages. When you’re done, make sure to login to your Google Console (Google Webmaster Tools) and resubmit your sitemap so that Google knows to come check out your new content.

Scrub Your Email List

If you do a lot of email marketing, it’s worth scrubbing your list of un-engaged subscribers every so often. Over time, some customers will stop opening your emails but won’t bother to unsubscribe, while others will change their email addresses, leaving you with ghost subscribers. This dilutes your open and click-thru statistics, making it more difficult to measure and compare campaign results. Most email providers allow you to search for un-engaged subscribers or create segments of subscribers who haven’t opened any emails for a period of time. If you’re hesitant to remove them from your list entirely, you can move them to a separate list that you target only for important messages like holiday sales.

Toss Out Bad Strategies

If you’re like me, you’re always testing new strategies, new marketing channels and new apps. If they aren’t breaking the bank, it’s easy to forget about them – whether or not they’re really working. Spring is a great time to review your business processes, marketing campaigns and 3rd party apps to see what has value and what doesn’t. By shedding old strategies that don’t add to your bottom line, you can focus in on what’s meaningful, save time and money, and put your business in a better position for peak selling seasons.

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Enhance Your BigCommerce Website with Duck Soup To-Go!

I’m excited to announce that you can now purchase on-demand design and store setup services for your BigCommerce website through our new online store, Duck Soup To-Go! From shipping rules to storewide banners, gift certificate design to Google Analytics setup, it’s never been easier or more convenient to order professional services for your BigCommerce store.

If you’re looking for a quick way to give your BigCommerce website a professional look, check out our downloadable layouts. We provide the HTML, CSS and instructions for adding beautiful pages or content areas to your store. These fully-responsive (mobile-friendly) layouts will work on both Stencil and Blueprint themes, and they’re designed to leverage your existing store’s CSS to perfectly match your design. Not comfortable doing it yourself? No problem! Add our installation service for a small fee.

Check out our new store at http://shop.ducksoupecommerce.com and let us know if there are additional services you’d like us to add.

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Avoid Gift Certificate Fraud in Your BigCommerce Store

Gift certificates are a great feature, especially for stores selling often-gifted products. However, online gift certificates can be a magnet for fraud. By changing the default gift certificate settings in your store, you can minimize the chances of getting hit with unwanted chargebacks.

Because gift certificates are sent immediately to the recipient upon purchase, scammers are known to buy gift certificates with stolen credit cards and then quickly turn around and use the gift certificate to purchase products from your store. Store owners, not realizing what has occurred, ship the orders out normally.

Then, a few weeks or months later, they receive a message from their payment processor that the original payment for the gift certificate itself has been reversed. This leaves the store owner without the products they shipped (when the gift certificate was redeemed), and without the money paid for the gift certificate itself. Meanwhile, the scammer has the products and can sell them online for 100% profit.
To minimize gift certificate fraud, you have two options. You can disable gift certificates entirely by going to Marketing in the left navigation and then clicking on Gift Certificates. Or you can make your gift certificates less appealing to scammers by changing the available gift certificate amounts.

By default, your store is set to accept gift certificate values of $1 to $1000 – the purchaser can enter any amount between those two amounts. However, you can change the setting to “Specify a list of allowed gift certificate amounts” and then type in a few set values like $25, $50, $75 and $100. Since fraudsters are looking to get the largest possible return for their efforts, they are less likely to pull this scam for only $100 in free merchandise. Additionally, you’ll have a much smaller loss should scammers target your store.

This post is an excerpt from my new book, 60 Killer BigCommerce Tips & Tricks for Managing Your Store Like a Pro, now available in paperback and Kindle format from Amazon.com.

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Get Creative with BigCommerce Customer Groups

If your store is on the Plus Plan or above, you’ll have access to a feature called Customer Groups. Customer Groups allow you to segment customers so that you can treat them differently. The most common use for customer groups is separating wholesale from retail customers so that you can give wholesale customers access to case-pack products or allow them to purchase at wholesale prices.

But you can use customer groups for a variety of creative purposes. Here are some ideas to get you going:

Use customer groups to give your best customers exclusive discounts

Create a VIP group with a discount on all or select products in your store. You could market VIP status as something shoppers can earn after placing a certain number of orders, or simply reward customers who have purchased frequently by reaching out directly and letting them know they’ve earned VIP status.

Use customer groups to offer a Free Shipping subscription similar to Amazon Prime

Create a product called “Free Shipping” and sell it for whatever price you’d like. Create a Free Shipping customer group and then set up a cart-level discount that gives free shipping to only people in that group. When someone purchases the “Free Shipping” product, add them to that group.

Use customer groups to give certain customers a “first look” at new products

Create a category named “Preview” or “First Look” and then create a customer group with a similar name that has access to that category. Make sure to uncheck that category from your default customer group so that regular shoppers can’t access it. Then use whatever promotional method you want to reward shoppers with “First Look” access. It could be ordering a certain amount, placing a minimum number of orders, taking a survey, sharing content on social media, etc.

Customer groups can be a powerful promotional tool if you think outside the box!

This post is an excerpt from my new book, 60 Killer BigCommerce Tips & Tricks for Managing Your Store Like a Pro, now available in paperback and Kindle format from Amazon.com.

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Create Custom Product Page Text with the BigCommerce Warranty Field

The following is an excerpt from my new book, 60 Killer BigCommerce Tips & Tricks for Managing Your Store Like a Pro, now available in paperback and Kindle format from Amazon.com.

One limitation of BigCommerce that some store owners find frustrating is the inability to create additional content fields for products. For example, you may want to have a 1-2 sentence overview of the product at the top of the page while keeping the full product description further down. Or you may want to display information like ingredients, a size chart or usage instructions separately from the main description.

There’s one field which can be used to display additional product content, and that’s the Warranty field. It’s unique per product and it accepts HTML code, making it quite flexible in terms of the type of information you can display.

You’ll find the Warranty field on the Other Details tab when editing a product. It doesn’t have a nice text editor like the product description field, but there’s a workaround if you need to add more than straight paragraph text and you’re not comfortable with HTML. Simply create your Warranty field text in the product description text editor and then switch to HTML view by clicking the HTML icon located at the far right of the bottom row of text editor icons. Copy the HTML and then paste it into the Warranty field.

Once you’ve added your content, you’ll probably want to hide or change the heading that says Warranty Information on the product page:
For Stencil themes, go to Storefront > Themes, click on Advanced and then select Edit Theme Files. You may need to make a copy of your theme if you haven’t already done so. To change the heading from Warranty Information to something else (like Size Charts or Ingredients), click on the lang folder and select en.json. Do a search for “warranty” and replace the text “Warranty Information” with your new text (within the quotes).

For Blueprint themes, go to Storefront and click on Template Files in the left navigation. Scroll down to Panels and click on the plus to expand the list. Scroll down to ProductWarranty.html and replace %%LNG_ProductWarranty%% with your desired heading text.

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