April 24, 2017
Design is an important component in web development. This is probably something you can attest to. How many times have you ditched a site in the past after getting an unfavorable impression from its look? That’s natural. It’s what anybody would do after encountering a site that appears unattractive, confusing, or highly suspect.
This is why you want your e-commerce site to look appealing and professional. It’s a great way to welcome prospective customers and boost your odds of making sales. The fact is that you could have the most amazing product out there, but if your store looks lackluster or downright seedy, the regular consumer isn’t going to give you a chance at all. People are just programmed to judge based on appearance and, of course, to favor beautiful things.
How can you make your site visually engaging? A huge part of it is picking the right theme. Your choices, of course, are based on which e-commerce solution you’ve chosen to use. Two of the most popular options you have are BigCommerce and Shopify.
In terms of design-related features, they have similarities, of course. Both BigCommerce and Shopify have free and paid templates or themes for you to choose from, with their paid variants also having a similar price range. Besides this, both allow extensive customization of these templates as well, either through controls provided in the content management system or through tweaking at the HTML/CSS core.
Either brand will give you a nice-looking e-commerce site with your online shop window presenting your products in an enticing way. You have to understand though that while BigCommerce templates look decently attractive and professional enough, Shopify has the distinct advantage of being more established and boasting a wider and more varied array of template or theme offerings, both in the free and paid sets.
While preference is always subjective, many designers agree that Shopify themes are preferable to BigCommerce templates, with the former giving off a fresher and more contemporary vibe. This is probably due to the fact that Shopify uses independent professional designers to create their themes. In leveraging off independent designers, it is able to offer a wider selection of themes that are relevantly effective, which works to benefit the customer. Ultimately, if you’re looking for the “wow” factor, you’re more likely to find it among the Shopify themes.
It is also the common sentiment that while Shopify themes need less tweaking, they also present more room for exploring design changes — to the knowledgeable designer who is skilled at using a templating language called Liquid, that is. This allows HTML and CSS use as well as insertion of tags, operators, and other variables to come up with dynamic content.
Shopify may have the edge right now, but BigCommerce is hard at work updating their offering with premium options, all of which are mobile-friendly. For this reason, it’s best to keep up with developments from both brands to make sure that you don’t miss out on anything important.
If Shopify is the right choice for you, we offer conversions from BigCommerce (or whichever platform you use). Just contact us to get started. We will also give you an unlimited free trial, so you don't have to pay your monthly fees (in both places) until you are launched. You can keep that unlimited trial whether you work with us or not. If you want the regular 14 day trial, just click the banner below:
April 17, 2017
In the Volusion vs. Shopify contest, which will stand out? Here's a head to head comparison of the two based on a few critical factors.
Shopify has five pricing plans, ranging from the Lite plan which costs $9 per month to the Shopify Plus plan, the pricing of which depends on requirements.
Volusion, on the other hand, offers four plans. The cheapest, Volusion Mini, costs $15 per month while the most expensive is the Volusion Premium which will set you back $135 per month.
But if you look at the prices alone, you are looking at an incomplete story. Shopify may seem to offer the lower entry level plan at $9 but that plan only allows you to set up buy buttons on external media (Facebook, Wordpress, etc). With Volusion's entry level plan, you can set up your own online shop. However, there are a few crucial limitations, including the amount of products you can sell as well as the allocated bandwidth.
Out of the box, both platforms offer a few similar features including the use of templates, catalog creation, store management using a CMS, search optimization for products, and different payment platforms.
One area where Shopify stands out over Volusion is in the fact that the former has a blogging tool which you can use for your content marketing. It is possible to link your blog with your Volusion store but that can take a lot of technical work, making it less ideal for shop owners with limited skills.
Apps increase the functionality of an online store. Shopify boasts over 1,200 apps while Volusion pales in comparison, offering only 75 apps.
Shopify has over 70 payment gateways while Volusion has only 38. Out of the box, both platforms have their own payment solutions. Shopify's Stripe can be used by merchants from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Volusion Payments, on the other hand, is available only to American merchants.
Point of sale If you also have a physical store, it is worthwhile to compare Volusion and Shopify in their point of sale capabilities. Shopify can be used to process credit card payment and facilitate point of sale transactions. It is possible to do the same things with Volusion but as an added service. You also need to find hardware compatible with Volusion while Shopify’s works with iPads.
Shopify offers about 140 templates while Volusion only has 81. All of Shopify's templates are responsive while Volusion only has 23 responsive themes. And in terms of price, Shopify's templates are considerably cheaper.
Shopify's phone support is available to all plans. Volusion has online support available to all plans. If you need phone support for your Volusion plan, you need to be prepared to spend $35 per month.
If Shopify is the right choice for you, we offer conversions from Volusion (or whichever platform you use). Just contact us to get started. We will also give you an unlimited free trial, so you don't have to pay your monthly fees (in both places) until you are launched. You can keep that unlimited trial whether you work with us or not. If you want the regular 14 day trial, just click the banner below:
April 10, 2017
If you are planning to sell online and have conducted some preliminary research about available platforms you can choose from, you might have encountered PrestaShop.
What is PrestaShop?
PrestaShop is a leading shopping cart software available in the market today. It is open source which means that you can use it for free. All you have to do is to download the software from PrestaShop's website, make a few modifications, and your online shop will be up and running.
Although PrestaShop is relatively a new player in the shopping cart software industry, it has garnered widespread attention due to its functionality, speed, light weight and ease of use.
The shopping cart software can be personalized through the use of different modules including those for new products, translation, notifications for new orders, and for gift coupons and discounts.
What are some of the advantages of PrestaShop?
The most basic configuration of the software offers a wide variety of features ranging from search engine optimization to email follow up automation, from responsive or mobile themes to international shipping and payment options.
The software has a file size of just 5.5 MB which means it can be downloaded and deployed even by users with a sluggish internet connection. You or your administrator can customize the software based on your preferences. You can even add or delete integrated functionalities of PrestaShop using the admin panel.
Like Magento's MagentoConnect, PrestaShop has its own official marketplace where users can buy themes and other modules.
The software is user-friendly and very intuitive to use. You do not have to have a high technical ability in order to begin using it.
Because it is open source, PrestaShop can be downloaded for free — you do not have to pay a monthly fee. This makes it ideal for business owners working on a tight budget.
Finally, PrestaShop has a vibrant online community which you can turn to for guidance and assistance.
But despite these benefits, PrestaShop does have a few drawbacks which you may also want to consider before making a final choice.
For one, the modules can be quite expensive. Although the base platform is highly functional, these modules can improve the functionality of the software but often at a steep price.
Another disadvantage of PrestaShop is that it is more suited for smaller to medium scale enterprises because it lacks a multi-store feature.
Finally, compared with other shopping cart platforms like Shopify, PrestaShop's overall design needs a lot of improvement.
Should you choose PrestaShop or should you look at other available options, including Shopify? Carefully consider these pros and cons and weigh these against your needs and goals before deciding.
If Shopify is the right choice for you, we offer conversions from PrestaShop (or whichever platform you use). Just contact us to get started. We will also give you an unlimited free trial, so you don't have to pay your monthly fees (in both places) until you are launched. You can keep that unlimited trial whether you work with us or not. If you want the regular 14 day trial, just click the banner below:
April 03, 2017
The most important strategy for e-commerce is to have a high performing shopping cart. Use one, and practically everything you need to set up in order to secure success for your online business will be a breeze.
There are a lot of options for an open shopping cart available today, and you can expect more to emerge in the coming months. Therefore, if you’re in search of one to use for your online business, the selection process may prove to be rather challenging. After all, these products tend to offer similar features and functionalities. The only reliable way to distinguish them from each other is to observe their actual performance.
Now, when it comes to solid performance, the open source shopping cart solution called OpenCart is a highly recommended option. It boasts of an abundance of useful features, and along with this, it is user- and search engine-friendly. OpenCart is deemed ideal for beginners, particularly for its intuitive interface which allows users to have complete control over their store. This means you can easily experiment with different looks for your site to effectively entice customers.
This shopping cart solution offers the following features and functionalities:
Apart from this impressive range of features and functionalities, OpenCart logs high scores among internet merchants because it provides potential buyers the opportunity to give it a go before deciding to install. Plus, it offers free community and commercial support, as well as free user guides and video tutorials. OpenCart is also affordable, making it even more ideal for new businesses to use.
In the rankings game for open shopping cart solutions, OpenCart is often found second to Shopify, which remains to be the leading online shop builder in the world (powering over 300,000 online shops and generating over $20 billion worth of sales). Reviews claim it only falls behind Shopify by a few key features because Shopify has been quite successful in building relationships with other vendors such as theme designers and online tools providers, allowing the site to be a complete one-stop shop for the tools necessary for a successful online store. With that said, OpenCart still does a good job of delivering on its promises and meeting requirements.
If Shopify is the right choice for you, we offer conversions from OpenCart (or whichever platform you use). Just contact us to get started. We will also give you an unlimited free trial, so you don't have to pay your monthly fees (in both places) until you are launched. You can keep that unlimited trial whether you work with us or not. If you want the regular 14 day trial, just click the banner below:
March 27, 2017
Many SMEs (small and medium enterprises) find themselves struggling with their decision on which e-commerce solution to use, open sourced or hosted. Unfortunately, there is no absolute answer for the question. If you’re facing this dilemma, your choice would have to depend on your unique e-commerce situation.
In determining whether you should opt for an open source or a hosted e-commerce program, consider these three vital factors:
What other factors should you consider in making your choice? Support is always something that should be taken into account. Hosted solutions typically offer full support through numerous contact channels, while open source software programs don’t really offer any official support.
Upgrades are another concern. With hosted e-commerce programs, upgrades, both bug fixes and new features, are automatically implemented. Meanwhile, open source upgrades would have to be manually integrated by the store owner or the developer.
Open source works really well for those sites that require a great deal of flexibility and have a big budget as well as specialized PHP developers managing them, but, at the end of the day, hosted is what many developers recommend.
If Shopify is the right choice for you, we offer conversions from whichever platform you use. Just contact us to get started. We will also give you an unlimited free trial, so you don't have to pay your monthly fees (in both places) until you are launched. You can keep that unlimited trial whether you work with us or not. If you want the regular 14 day trial, just click the banner below:
March 20, 2017
Your choice of e-commerce platform is of critical importance in the successful and efficient creation, management, and maintenance of your online store. Many online entrepreneurs and web developers are often torn between Magento and Shopify, two of the most popular e-commerce solutions available.
In pitting Magento vs. Shopify, you’ll find many similarities in their offering, but their fundamental differences are also clear. To begin with, Shopify is a commercial product while Magento is a free, open-source software program. This means that you have to pay to use Shopify. Another difference is that Shopify is a hosted solution while you have to arrange for your own hosting with Magento. This means that before you can create your Magento store, you need to get hosting, as well as install, set up, and configure everything. That requires more advanced web development and programming knowledge.
The following is a Magento vs Shopify comparison based on vital categories:
Shopify has its strong points, as does Magento. Mainly, if you want the easier but more powerful solution, Shopify makes more sense with its hosting and fully managed service. If you’re after a free but effective product, Magento is the likely choice, but you do have to take care of hosting, maintenance, and other software or system setups that require higher level tech savvy.
If Shopify is the right choice for you, we offer conversions from Magento (or whichever platform you use). Just contact us to get started. We will also give you an unlimited free trial, so you don't have to pay your monthly fees (in both places) until you are launched. You can keep that unlimited trial whether you work with us or not. If you want the regular 14 day trial, just click the banner below:
October 02, 2016
September 06, 2016
Your choice of shopping cart for your e-commerce website can contribute significantly to the success of your business. Online consumers focus on the experience, and if your shopping cart makes purchasing too complicated, you will surely lose sales.
There is currently a long list of options for an online shopping cart; all of these options promise to deliver great services and create a positive user experience. But what qualities should you really look for in order to differentiate one shopping cart from another and determine what will work to your business’s advantage?
You know you’re working with the best e-commerce platform when it has the following qualities:
It should be easy to use for you and for your end users. Online transactions should always be easy; users are quite impatient and it’s no issue for them to find another site that offers similar products if your shopping cart is making the process too complicated for them.
It should accommodate different payment methods (PayPal and credit cards). Your business has everything to gain if your e-commerce store can accept different kinds of payments.
It should make setting up your store a breeze without compromising the look that you wish to use for your brand. Online e-commerce platform Shopify scores high in this department for having 100 optimized online store designs, which are all beautiful, a breeze to customize, and optimized to generate good conversion rates from your visitors.
It should be affordable yet packed with relevant features and functionalities. This is a huge advantage for new online businesses that are still working with a conservative budget.
It should be able to track and respond to orders effectively and in a completely organized manner.
The site should load quickly across different mobile devices despite being feature-heavy. Studies reveal that “75% of online consumers express annoyance over poorly performing websites and apps; meanwhile, 69% said they get frustrated with slow e-commerce sites, and 19% said they distrust such sites and apps.”
No need for external web hosting.
It should be able to grow as your business grows.
It should also come with a reliable support system despite being very easy to use for timely solutions to issues or concerns.
The best performing e-commerce platforms possess most of these qualities, but Shopify takes the number one spot in product reviews. Not only does it have all these qualities, but it even does so much more — and it’s cheaper than most other options. So if you’re looking for a solid e-commerce platform to use, study this option and discover how it can ensure success for your online business venture.
August 30, 2016
In choosing an e-commerce solution, you need to decide what suits your needs the best. There are several options on the market, so it’s best that you research to determine which would be the most suitable for your online store.
Two options that are very popular with many e-commerce entrepreneurs and are frequently endorsed by web developers are WooCommerce and Shopify. In comparing WooCommerce vs. Shopify, you can find out how they’re different from each other by exploring the pros and cons of each one.
A WordPress plugin that allows you to transform a WordPress site into an online store. WooCommerce provides an easy way for you to take care of such matters as inventory, payments, shipping, and more as well as access reports on both your products and customers. It works with almost any theme and easily integrates into an existing site. Its different features include products (unlimited number), inventory management, payment methods, coupons, shipping methods, reports, marketing, and tax support.
As mentioned, there are many WordPress themes compatible with WooCommerce. WooThemes was specifically designed for WooCommerce, but there are also many others that work with this particular plugin. There are also hundreds of extensions for expanding the functionality of WooCommerce in a variety of categories, including accounting, marketing, payment gateways, subscriptions, and many more. Some of them are product search, antifraud, future pay, affiliate software, recommendations, etc.
What are the advantages of using WooCommerce?
WooCommerce does have some points working against it, such as the fact that you’ll have to be responsible for your site’s security and maintenance. Customizing it is also considered to be at a higher level of difficulty.
However, if it is the right solution for you, it's important to get really good hosting. We recommend: WP Engine
An outright e-commerce platform that allows you to create and customize your own online store, Shopify has a multitude of store templates. Nonetheless, it also allows you to build one according to your own needs and preferences.
Shopify is a complete WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) CMS, allowing you control over every aspect. It also has a blogging platform that enables interaction with users through comments. It provides your own URL, website builder, a blogging platform, customizable and responsive features, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited products, more than 70 international payment methods, gift card support, shipping options, global tax support, analytics, built-in SEO, and 24/7 support.
Shopify has both free and paid themes with the most popular ones costing about $140. Many of the themes contain features like dropdown menus, zoom-in product images, subcategories, newsletter integrations, etc.
What are the advantages of using Shopify?
The thing with Shopify is that there is only one host, so it’s like you’re renting instead of owning, but that’s a minor caveat considering that setting up shop is so fast and easy. Using it is simple and you don’t have to worry about maintaining it yourself.
At the end of the day, when you pit WooCommerce vs Shopify, your choice will depend on what you value more. Both have their good points and make solid choices, but many designers endorse Shopify for ease, convenience, and excellent features.
If Shopify is the right choice for you, we offer conversions from WooCommerce (or whichever platform you use). Just contact us to get started. We will also give you an unlimited free trial, so you don't have to pay your monthly fees (in both places) until you are launched. You can keep that unlimited trial whether you work with us or not. If you want the regular 14 day trial, just click the banner below:
August 13, 2016
Yep, this is our first blog post for my new brand: Ultrafade. In case you were wondering, we specialize in helping Shopify store owners increase traffic to their website. Why Shopify? We've tried other e-commerce solutions over the past decade and have not found any that are as easy to use as Shopify. Not only is it easy to use, but the support and community surrounding it are superb!
If you're not convinced that Shopify is the best solution, then stick around. The next series of blog posts, we will be comparing Shopify to some of the other e-commerce solutions out there.
I'm going to keep this first blog post short because I'm starting to sound like an ad for Shopify which is actually not like me at all. I've spent the previous years prior to Shopify - complaining about other e-commerce solutions, so I guess I'm just excited that I don't really have a lot of complaints any more.
OK, I'm gonna go now even though I'm breaking the rule of thumb of 250 words or more for blog posts. Someday, I'll post about why that matters (and why I sometimes break the rules), but until then I need to start on my series.