Ecwid | E-Commerce Shopping Cart Ecwid: shopping cart when and where you need it Thu, 16 Aug 2018 13:02:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How to Create a Content Plan for Instagram: A Beginner’s Guide Thu, 16 Aug 2018 12:57:28 +0000

Instagram’s visual, mobile-only format prompts get millions of people to make impulsive purchases from their feeds every day. Selling on Instagram is easier than ever before — you just need to show up with awesome content regularly.

Amateurish users can spend over an hour crafting a single post. Most of us can’t afford such a luxury. A content plan will save you time and frustration so that you can get to Instagram’s top benefit: selling!

What’s inside:

What Makes a Great Content Plan?

Your content plan documents your advertising posts, as well as the entertaining and informative materials that you plan to distribute through your marketing channels.

It creates consumer trust by:

  • Ensuring consistent messaging
  • Creating a positive image of your business.

It reduces your confusion, stress, and marketing costs by:

  • Building automated interactions with your existing audience and acquisition of new customers
  • Saving your time
  • Documenting marketing goals, working content to meet them and analyzing content performance.

Simply, a content plan prevents you from nail-biting when it’s time to publish a new post. With your plan in place, you always know what to post to get your likes and sales, and the right time to do it.

A great content plan is:

  • Structured and informative
  • Written in clear language
  • Planned at least month ahead, preferably 90 days.

In this post, we’ll look into different content plans, using a new Instagram profile launch as an example.

Note that it can be challenging to promote a new Instagram profile organically and fast. Those who are most effective create viral content or sell hot, trending products. Both are hard to achieve.he They depend on followers spreading the word about products without extra effort on their side. Typically, it takes an experienced ecommerce merchant to create and execute a program like this.

If you gauge that the genuinely "hot, new" appeal may not work for you, you can always order sponsored posts from Instagram bloggers to speed up your page promotion from the start.

How to Design a Content Plan

A content plan consists of regular, planned content that is open to additional topics that arise while the standard content plan is being rolled out. Add these posts, advertisements when opportunities arise. Typically, these include congratulations on holidays, changes in the store open hours, ideas stemming from recent news topics and more.

You can make a content plan in excel, pdf, or even a simple notebook. There’s also a more professional way to do it: use mobile apps like Later, CoSchedule, Evernote,, etc. Among other key features, they notify you about upcoming publications. They even automate the process for you.



Write your Instagram content plan in simple and clear language. Here’s an example of what you can do using a fictional cosmetic brand):

  • 13.05.2018, 8:00. Good morning. Corresponding pic to set the mood, unobtrusive advertising of your products.
  • 13.05.2018, 13:00. Presentation of new arrivals.
  • 13.05.2018, 16:00. Poll: how often do you refresh your cosmetic bag?
  • 13.05.2018, 19:00. Presenting promotional offers for loyal customers.
  • 13.05.2018, 22:00. History of cosmetics.

You can easily understand just by looking at these topics, exactly what you need to prepare.

When you start to create a content plan, pay attention to the activity peaks of your followers. There’s no sense in working away when everybody is asleep or too busy.

Related: How to Develop a Visual Theme for Your Instagram Business Profile

Making Content Plans for Different Purposes

If you are just starting out with your Instagram profile, your content plan will include two parts.

Part #1 will work during the first 1-2 weeks and include the following items:

  • Company information: history, employees, contacts
  • Proposed products description, its advantages, materials, production technologies, features, cost
  • How to buy your goods: making choice, order, payment, delivery.

Instagram post example

An example of a post with company info

As your brand evolves, you can make Plan #2 with the selected topics. We cover long-term content planning below.

How long should your content plan be?

It’s enough to make a content plan for a month and then add to it every week.

You can make a separate content plan for summer vacations, Christmas (or other) holidays, the beginning and end of an academic year, etc. Don’t forget to develop your content strategy beforehand. For example, if you own an online store of carnival costumes for kids, you should start working on your content plan in the end of summer.

Content types for online stores

The buyer journey in your store takes these steps:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Purchase
  4. Feedback.

Ideally, you need to create content for each stage. For example, if you have an apparel store, take a bunch of product pictures and make a collection to showcase your product line. This step creates initial awareness of your products.

Ideally, you should have content that meets a prospect’s needs while he or she browses the internet looking for more information about your product and your competitors as well. Users’ guides, competitive comparisons and more serve this purpose. You can also develop content for your customer’s purchase and feedback stages. Feedback surveys can provide critical ways to improve the buyer’s journey.

Next, you need to distribute content to categories. Try to combine your promotional posts with informative, entertaining, and educational content.

The general rule of content attraction is to provide four useful or fun posts to one promotional or selling post. Consumers read 11 to 13 pieces of content before they directly contact a merchant. The free content you provide that helps them understand and use the product builds goodwill towards your brand.

Try to spread content out among the following categories:

  • Promotional: new product arrivals, lucrative offers, promotions, discounts, a bonus program.
  • Educational: tips, life hacks, masterclasses, advice for the use and care of your products.
  • Informative: company news, achievements, plans.
  • Entertaining: interesting facts, historical and pop culture references, jokes, events from the life of celebrities, surveys, quizzes.

entertaining Instagram post example

An example of an entertaining Instagram post

For every promotional piece, you should have sent three non-promotional ones. Shoppers and prospects must feel they can trust your brand. Consistent, upbeat outreach reassures them that your business puts needs of the customers first.

Spice all that up with information about yourself as a business owner. Your photos and exciting stories will make your Instagram profile more "social" and approachable. However, don’t overdo it, because diving deep into your personal life can look obsessive and inappropriate.

Still hot to add your sports or family photos? Here are examples of how to blend personal photos in your business profile:

  • If you are into sales of souvenirs, you can post some pictures of original craftsmen’s works from your vacation location.
  • Do you sell kids’ clothes? Share your child’s photo, dressed up in the new wear from your catalog.
  • Do you make custom furniture? Readers will be curious to see what kind of kitchen or furniture you have in your place.

personal Instagram post example

This personal post is relevant to the profile’s main topic — design

Pictures and texts: use 80/20 rule

Instagram’s model of prioritizing visual content like photos and movies has rewarded it well . Text written under the image has just a secondary purpose: they’re limited to 2000 characters, these posts reveal only two lines

You don’t need to spend a lot of time on writing too long posts. But on the other hand, you will need to make some effort to get your customer interested. Every post should be accompanied by an intriguing photo and short, engaging, clean description.

Related: 10 Free Ways to Get More Followers on Instagram

Content Plan: Examples

Let’s get more into specific. These ready-to-go examples of content plans should help you shape yours.

A content plan for a brand new account

Let’s make a content plan for the new online handcrafted soap store. At our starting point, the profile is already filled with store info, the catalog is clearly structured by categories. We just need to schedule content for the next few days.

Step 1. Decide on the frequency and time of posts.

You will need to maintain close contact with the potential buyer from the beginning. That’s why we will update our feed no less than three times a day.

The best time to start posting is the weekend because your followers are not busy with other things. But weekends won’t work for breaking or crucial new.The best time to post during the weekend is after 11 a.m. On weekdays, start to post usually at 7-9 a.m. Almost everyone checks his/her feed on the road to work/study.

Step 2. Record the main theses: types of publication, their volume and other details.

Step 3. Enter the data in the table. The content plan will look something like this:

content plan example

Step 4. Describe necessary photos. The image size should be 1080px by 1080px to look great on retina screens. Also pick filters, a color palette, and effects and stick to them. , it’s a brief description, the use of filters, inscriptions.

Step 5. Add popular hashtags. You can add up to 30 hashtags but research shows that 2 to 5 hashtags are ideal. You don’t want to come across as spam. Post the hashtags separately from any comments you have in your post.

A content plan for the existing profile

Let’s prepare a 2-3 week content plan for the online store of the phone cases. To keep up the audience’s interest, you can get away with just one publication a day. It’s best to alternate content types:

  • Informational
  • Advertising
  • Gadget news/life hacks.

Week #1:

  • Advantages and disadvantages of different materials for case production
  • 10% discount for genuine leather covers and cases in your store
  • How to care for the case so that it serve as long as possible
  • Video: phone case hacks for travelers
  • A total fashion look featuring one of your phone cases
  • Customer review.

Week #2:

  • How to choose a phone case for a specific phone model in your store
  • Personalized phone cases: how to place an order correctly
  • The review of the new Samsung phone and available cases for it
  • Video: crush test, drop a phone in one of your most reliable phone cases
  • Eco-friendly phone cases: how to choose one
  • How to paint your phone case: tutorial.

Week #3:

  • Phone cases that look good with a wedding outfit
  • Examples of covers that local and foreign celebrities have
  • Special offer: buy a phone case and get a free microfiber cloth
  • Tutorial: How to decorate a phone case for Christmas
  • A customer review
  • What locations you deliver to.

A content plan for the holiday season

Let’s make a content plan for the holiday season in the online store of custom bakery and pastry products. Let’s assume we’ll post once per day.

Your customers will start browsing for your products organically as they need gifts. Just remind them of your brand. Combine advertising, informational, personal and professional components in each post:

  • How to serve a table for Christmas. A cake to order is the best decoration for the New Year table.
  • How to stay fit after the holidays. Dietary sweets in our online store.
  • Making a holiday for kids. Gifts. Sweets. Cakes for children: light and fresh, with fruit and berries.
  • How to DIY beautiful decorations for a cake. Learn in our video tutorial or simply order a cake from our online store.

holiday Instagram post example

A beautiful holiday-themed Instagram post

A content plan to make sales fast

Let’s analyze this content plan type by the example of an online furniture store. Particularly if this is a new store, he main goal is to increase sales fast.

By analyzing the activity of users on different days of the week, we find out that weekdays work better for informative and advertising content, and weekends are for entertaining. Let’s open Instagram Insights (for business profiles) and check at what time on different days your subscribers are most active.

Focusing on the information received and our task, we compose an approximate weekly content plan:

  • Monday: Afternoon. Advertising post with seasonal discounts. A photo collage/a gallery of the most popular products.
  • Tuesday: Evening. How to care about furniture made from leather, suede, and textiles properly. Products from the store are used to illustrate materials.
  • Wednesday: Morning. Informational post. A new armchair for a living room. Product pictures.
  • Thursday: Afternoon. Company’s news. Now you can make custom orders. Measurements are free of charge. Photo of furniture in a creative interior.
  • Friday: Evening. Entertaining content. Interesting facts about the history of upholstered furniture. Relevant products from your store.
  • Saturday: Invitation to order in an online store. Brief information about the assortment, shipping, prices.
  • Sunday: Customer reviews and photos.


A straightforward, but cool post can work well

Related: How to Use Instagram for Business: New Tools and Proven Practices

Measuring the Results

Measurement is key if you want to save marketing dollars and increase reach to your ideal prospect. Your content performs on several levels of the sales funnel:

  • Grows awareness
  • Gets your followers engaged
  • Generates leads
  • Makes sales

So, your metrics should help you analyze content performance on all these stages. On Instagram, keep an eye on:

  • Profile visits and tags of your profile in other accounts, the use of your branded hashtags (= awareness)
  • Likes, comments, tagging friends on your posts (= engagement)
  • Followers (= leads)
  • Purchases (with Shoppable posts or via the link in bio).

Set clear goals for each metric and review the profile performance each week. Then, choose top performing posts and think of why they did well. Consider replicating them.

You can do the same to create a content plan for any other social media platform or website where you share content. If you have your own effective content planning methods, we’d love to hear about them. Add a comment below so we can see what you’re doing!

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Sell on Instagram: How Ecwid Merchants Can Now Reach 1 Billion Shoppers Wed, 08 Aug 2018 14:57:09 +0000

Now, you, too, can give your customers a new way to shop on Instagram and learn more about your products with a single tap.

In the spring of 2018, Instagram made social posts shoppable. Stores clamoring to sell on Instagram finally got their wish.

Instagram shoppable post

If you’ve been on Instagram at all lately, you’ve likely seen Vans enticing skaters with checkerboard-patterned shoes and Forever 21 making back-to-school shopping screen-tap easy. One small business owner, Justin Wong, the founder of So Aesthetic Shop, made $12,000 in a month selling Harajuku-style fashion items.

While at this point these brands seem far ahead of most small businesses, I guarantee their success started with just a few people in a room, biting their nails, staring at the computer screen… possibly as you are now.

New outreach opportunities can be nerve-wracking. Still, small businesses should consider reaching the relatively untapped Instagram user market early. This could be your best chance to become an early adopter. Capturing selling on Instagram could be sweet, particularly if you missed other digital gold rushes.

When it comes to Instagram shoppable posts, the only way to test the waters is to dive right in. The good news is, with Ecwid’s help, small business can do it with almost no budget.


  1. Why We Love Instagram for Small Business
  2. How Instagram Shoppable Posts Work
  3. How to Sell on Instagram With Ecwid
  4. Shopping in Instagram Stories

Why We Love Instagram for Small Business

We’ve been researching the prospect of selling on Instagram since they first began whispering about it last fall. We’re glad we did as Instagram has grown a whopping 25% just since September 2017.

More enticing facts:

  • Instagram now has 1 billion users, 200 million of whom go to a business profile every day.
  • 80% of Instagram users follow a business on Instagram.
  • 55% of users have purchased products discovered on Social Media.
  • Instagram profiles that win the highest rates of engagement have just 1,000 followers, not 2.8 million like Lego or Vans’ 12.3 million. That means that Instagram users appreciate small businesses and take the time to like and comment, more than they would for the corporate giants.

While at first only large brands had the opportunity to sell on Instagram, Ecwid has been working to bring this awesome opportunity to small businesses through Instagram E-commerce.

Below you’ll find out what shoppable posts are, how you can benefit and how to set up the Sell on Instagram sales channel in your Ecwid account. Don’t want to wait any more? Head over to Ecwid Control Panel and follow the steps.

Start selling on Instagram

How Instagram Shoppable Posts Work

Instagram Shoppable posts allow followers and customers to easily find out more about the product. Shoppers can complete their buying journey, from discovery to checkout, without ever leaving the Instagram app. Your shoppable posts come right up in their Instagram feed.

Instagram users are used to tagging friends. Selling on Instagram by tagging products is not much different, except rather than people, products get the tags. If you’ve been on Instagram recently and tapped a post, you may have noticed that a little shopping bag comes up in the lower left corner as does a price tag over the object.

From here users clicking on the tag will be served to a page that contains a product description, similar items featured on the same post and other shoppable posts from the brand.

Then, if the consumer taps the "Shop Now", they’ll go directly to the product page in your Ecwid store. Despite all of these steps, to complete a purchase, the shopper never has to leave the Instagram channel they love. Ecwid’s Sell on Instagram feature lives on Instagram.

how instagram shoppable posts work

After publishing 9 shopping posts, businesses also get a persistent Shop tab on their Instagram business profile. It allows customers to tap to view all products on a post. Businesses ready to push their shoppable posts to wider audiences can buy Instagram ads.

How to Sell on Instagram With Ecwid

You probably already know that Facebook bought Instagram in 2012. Using its current commerce structure for Instagram, Facebook keeps costs low for itself and centralizes users’ store information.

Given this framework, right now, the only way to activate the Instagram shoppable post feature is to have a product catalog on your Facebook business page. In other words, your Facebook shop will be the source of your products seen on Instagram. (Remember, what your prospects eventually see really all gets put together in the cloud.)

Your Facebook catalog products must comply with Facebook’s Commerce Policy. The policy limits items to physical products rather than services or digital products. Also, sellers cannot stock certain goods: animals, weapons, tobacco items and more.

If you have an Ecwid store with a paid plan (Venture or higher), you can use the Facebook integration to set up a shop on Facebook easily.

With your store stocked, keep in mind that to sell on Instagram, there are a few eligibility requirements you’ll need to check off before you can get started:

To get started with shopping on Instagram, you will need to:

  1. Make sure your product catalog is synced with Facebook Shop. For Ecwid stores, simply use the Sell on Facebook integration to bulk sync your catalog with Facebook Shop. Again, the reason is that Instagram pulls your Facebook product feed through.
  2. Connect your Instagram account and Facebook Product Catalog. You can easily add the Instagram sales channel to your Ecwid store, which connects the product that you have in Ecwid to your Instagram business profile. To do this, head to your Ecwid Control Panel → All sales channels → Sell on Instagram, then click "Connect Instagram".

    how to set up Instagram shoppable posts

    You’ll need to log into your Facebook account page to authenticate your Instagram account.

    how to enable shoppable posts on Instagram

    Once completed, Instagram must review your account before you can access the shoppable Instagram posts feature (this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks according to Instagram. We have to be patient; it’s a brand new system for Instagram). Once you’re approved, you’ll see a notification in your Instagram business profile.

  3. Tag your first product. When you have the product feature enabled on your account, you’ll find the option to tag products on the screen where you normally add your caption and other information. Selling on Instagram depends on these tags.

Shopping on Instagram in Stories

Instagram will continue to hone the feature after the launch. Currently, they are expanding and testing Shopping in Instagram Stories with product stickers.

How cool is that? This feature is currently available to select businesses but Ecwid is sure to make it easy for your to integrate as soon as it is released to the rest of us.

Beginning can be the roughest part of any new project, but, as you start exploring the opportunities involved with reaching Instagram’s 1 billion users, remember Benjamin Franklin’s words: "Once begun, half done."

Begin today bringing your products to the dedicated Instagram users craving a convenient in-app shopping experience!

Start selling on Instagram

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10 Hot Eco-Friendly Product Ideas to Sell Online Tue, 07 Aug 2018 13:40:38 +0000

Being environmentally conscious is no longer exclusively an ecologists’ thing. Research shows that 74% of the US population are concerned about the environment.

Though fewer people say they try to "go green" all the time, many of us make an effort to minimize our ecological footprint at least somewhat. More people are interested in making more eco-friendly decisions, which often means buying reusable things, items made of recycled materials, or products containing natural ingredients.

Though you won’t surprise anyone with tote bags and reusable coffee cups anymore, that in no way means you shouldn’t sell them. However, we suggest checking out some trending eco-friendly products that can replace things we use on a daily basis — things everyone needs and wants to buy.

If you’ve spotted more eco-friendly product ideas, don’t hesitate to contribute them in the comments section.

Product Idea #1: Steel Straws

Plastic straws aren’t recyclable, and they are harmful for the marine life. Stainless steel straws are a great alternative to them. On top of that, they have other nice perks. Cool metal makes cold drinks even more refreshing and gives you a fancy look even if you’re drinking juice while working at your desk. Customers may be interested in a whole set of them, and don’t forget to provide a small cleaning brush.

product ideas

Steel straws also come in different width and length (Image:

Product Idea #2: Rechargeable Batteries

Batteries contain different chemicals and some of them are toxic and pollute soil and water. Rechargeable ones save space and money and help to minimize that harmful effect. If you sell electronics or any other things that work on batteries (like toys), you should definitely try to add this trending product to your store.

Product Idea #3: Safety Razors

2 billion razors are thrown away each year. To minimize that number, some suggest turning to more traditional variants like steel safety razors. That way, only the blade itself is swapped out, as opposed to cartridges and disposable plastic razors. Moreover, this hot product might catch the attention of retro-loving people — let’s face it, those chic old-school razors have something.

product ideas

Safety razors may look not only retro, but chic too (Image:

Product Idea #4: Mineral Sunscreen

Don’t mistake sunscreen for a summer-only trending product, because dermatologists say we should protect our skin from UV-rays every day. That’s why people should have it in their regular cosmetics bag. However, chemicals in sunscreen are dangerous for corals and ecosystems. If you sell cosmetics, add mineral sunscreen to your store: it is  as effective as chemical sunscreen, but kinder to marine life.

Product Idea #5: Beeswax Wrap

Plastic wrap is everywhere: we cover food with it or use it to wrap sandwiches, cheese, meat, you name it. Beeswax wrap does the same, but without hurting the environment, and it’s also reusable. Great alternative for an item people use every day in their kitchens.

product ideas

The Beeswax Wrap Co. sells wraps with different prints

Product Idea #6: Natural Cleaners

Products people use around the house contain a lot of environmentally harmful chemicals. Even if your customers aren’t ecologists, they still care about their health, and cleaners made of natural ingredients work for them too. Less collateral damage means more satisfied customers, so this product idea is definitely worth your attention.

If you want to make a natural cleaner yourself, you can find various recipes online. For example, this one looks quite simple.

Product Idea #7: Eco-Friendly Glitter

Fine, maybe glitter isn’t the thing people use on a daily basis (why not though?), but everyone wants to feel pretty from time to time or indulge in sparkling stuff on festivals and parties. Moreover, it doesn’t seem to be getting out of fashion any time soon. Regular glitter harms the oceans with its plastic particles, but biodegradable, cruelty-free and vegan glitter lets people shine guilt-free.

product ideas

@ecostardust sells glitter that looks like regular one, but makes a difference in terms of the environment

Product Idea #8: Eco-Friendly Toothbrushes

You probably remember that it’s best to change toothbrushes every three months, which means more non-recyclable waste. You can actually sell better products: there are toothbrushes made of wood, bamboo, or biodegradable materials. It’s great to care about the environment while caring about your health, isn’t it?

product ideas

Bamboo toothbrushes don’t cost much and make a great option for a business on a budget

Also read: 11 Trending Product Ideas for 2018 that Require Minimal Investment

Product Idea #9: Eco-Friendly Phone Cases

Phone cases have been a trending product for a while as almost everyone owns a smartphone these days, and they want to keep it safe.

Well, now is the time to upgrade this product idea. Give your customers a chance to leave a positive impact on the environment — sell cases made of upcycled, biodegradable, or compostable materials. Put on notice wooden cases, they look and feel nice, while giving a good protection from scratches.

product ideas

Not only does @pelacase sell eco-friendly cases, they also add thank-you notes to orders

Product Idea #10: Eco-Friendly Diapers

Disposable diapers often end up in landfills, where they emit methane, a greenhouse gas. What’s more, they take about 500 years to decompose, and they do not degrade well in landfills. If your targeted audience includes parents, offer them cloth diapers — they are more cost-effective — or hybrids, diapers made primarily from biodegradable and compostable materials.


Hopefully, this list of product ideas will help you diversify your storefront or inspire you to do your bit for the planet. Pay attention to the details: if you add nature-friendly products to your store, don’t disorient your customers — always use plastic-free packaging.

Please, share your experiences in the comments: do you sell eco-friendly products? If you do, which items are more popular based on your observations? Maybe you have some advice for those who would like to get involved? Let us know!

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5 Ecwid Updates for Better WordPress E-Commerce Thu, 02 Aug 2018 08:56:15 +0000

You all know how big WordPress is — 30% of all websites are running WordPress. It’s important for Ecwid to be the best fit for those WordPress users who want to sell on their sites.

Our official WordPress e-commerce plugin is what we use to make the Ecwid experience of WordPress sellers especially good. Here, I will list the most noticeable improvements we’ve added to the plugin this year.

Ecwid Is Now Friends With Gutenberg, a New WordPress Editor

Gutenberg is getting more and more popular and will soon be the default WordPress page editor. To make sure Ecwid users are ready for that, we added Gutenberg support to our e-commerce plugin for WordPress.

Now, if you edit a page in Gutenberg, you can see the new Ecwid block in the editor toolbar: "Add Store" and "Add Product." They can be used to add a product catalog, single product widget, or a "Buy Now" button to the WordPress pages and posts in a simple, user-friendly interface.

Adding a store

Adding a product widget

Learn more: Gutenberg E-Commerce: Build Your Store in the New Code-Free WordPress Editor

A New Tool: Migrate from WooCommerce to Ecwid

Some sellers copy their products to Ecwid from WooCommerce, other shopping carts, or a local database or spreadsheet. We’ve made it easier.

You can now see a separate Ecwid block under Tools → Import in the WordPress admin backend — it allows you to import products and categories to your Ecwid store from WooCommerce or an external CSV file.

Dozens of merchants have already used this tool to copy their WooCommerce products to Ecwid, so we continue working on it.

A New Beautiful Shopping Bag Icon

We’ve added a new floating shopping bag widget that displays a cart icon along with the number of items and subtotal in the corner of the screen.

This way, the shopping bag’s always visible — buyers can click it to check their cart contents and proceed to the checkout. It’s possible to customize its position, layout, and icon to fit your site better. Enable it under the "Ecwid" section in your WordPress admin backend: Appearance → Customize → Ecwid.

Ecwid Menu Is Now a Part of the WordPress Menu

Historically, the Ecwid store management dashboard displayed navigation within the central page content when you open it in your WordPress admin backend. So you open the "Ecwid" menu in your WordPress admin and then navigate through the store admin pages inside that general "Ecwid" page.

We’ve improved this process: now the store admin navigation menu is included in the WordPress admin menu. You can find management, settings, apps, and other sections right in the WordPress left-hand navigation sidebar.

The WordPress native menu has been extended with Ecwid navigation (on the left)

This aligns the Ecwid plugin navigation with the general WordPress navigation and provides a more natural way to find the right page of the store dashboard. Also, it frees some space in the page’s central area, which makes it more convenient to manage your store, especially on mobile devices.

E-commerce Tips Show Up in the WordPress Admin Dashboard

We’ve added a new Ecwid block to the WordPress admin dashboard — it features helpful e-commerce articles from the Ecwid blog.

The block refreshes itself automatically when we publish a new blog post. You can find fresh product updates, tips, and recommendations from the Ecwid team there.

That’s all for now, but we will continue improving our plugin to bring you more cool updates by the end of 2018. Show up in the comments section below to share your thoughts on this news. ᕕ(ᐛ)ᕗ

Also read: Top 15 Free WordPress Themes For Your E-commerce Website

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4 Сontent Marketing Strategies to Beat the Content Overload and Engage Your Customers Thu, 26 Jul 2018 12:19:00 +0000

Every minute thousands of pieces of content are produced. Big brands, small companies, people that don’t even know what to achieve with their content marketing efforts are all producing content like never before in the history of humanity.

People are getting more and more content savvy and can tell the difference between good content and bad content. The winners are companies that know how to stand out with their good content. In this article, you’ll read about 4 content marketing strategies that will set you apart from your competitors.

Related: How to Promote Your Online Store With Content Marketing

Why Create Content?

For you as an e-commerce business owner, a good content marketing strategy could take different meanings depending on your goals.

To increase awareness, you can rely on keyword-optimized blog posts, a video ad series, user-generated content on social media, or any kind of content suitable to your customer acquisition channels.

To increase sales and customer retention, you can have your own newsletter or even a magazine addressing the core issues your customers are facing.

a content marketing example

Net-a-Porter publishes a magazine called "Edit" which is about 30 pages and includes their advertising

The key to an effective content marketing strategy is to know your customers well and have a clear customer journey map. If you’re offering skincare products, you don’t necessarily need to offer coupons or discounts to increase sales. A comprehensive guide on having the perfect skin (your customers’ ideal state) would do the trick. Convince people that being in your list gets them one step closer to having great skin.

There’s a Big Gap Between Crappy Content and Good Content

People are frequently exposed to bad content. In fact, they see so much bad content that they can immediately detect good content.

Here’s how: people consume so much bad content that does not address the core issues as it should. They are left high and dry in their quest to find answers for their issues and get frustrated. Once you address those issues accordingly, they’re going to worship you.

What seems to be a frustrating foray for many business owners and content marketers (standing out) will in fact be an advantage. So you don’t need to be set back because of content overload if you know how to produce content that addresses core issues.

But first, before you get down to work and produce another piece of content, you need to keep the following tips in mind.

The Art of Making a Difference

Any genius technique could be ineffective once it’s crudely overused by imitators. Blogging used to be much easier and more fun some years ago. You published a short piece, distributed the link in social media and some blogging entries, and you would have good traffic just from that. But today, with the huge number of enthusiastic bloggers, getting the same results is much more difficult.

These days, everybody is blogging — it’s rather a cliché now.

This is why you always need diversity in your strategy even if you invented that strategy. For your content strategy, there are many ways to differentiate yourself from imitators. Here are a few of them:

1. Use different content formats

Like any other investment in your life, you shouldn’t focus all your might on one content format.

Video, for instance, is not well explored by companies. Over the past years people have grown more interested in video content, so much that in 2016 one Facebook executive predicted that the platform "will be probably all video" in five years. Results of a survey show that people pay "full attention" to video content and want to see more videos in the future. Plus, YouTube as the second biggest search engine deserves special attention from businesses.

Here’s an example of the videos Redsbaby makes for their Redsbaby Bounce model:

Podcasts are also an effective means of building an engaged audience that will restlessly wait for your next episodes if you’re interesting enough. Podcast subscriptions on iTunes alone reached 1 billion in 2014, and the number keeps rising.

A good example of the use of podcasts in e-commerce is well shown by The Spoon. They have two amazing podcasts to educate and engage their audience with: Smart Kitchen Show and the Weekly Spoon. Here’s an interesting episode from their Smart Kitchen Show.

When you consider the fact that mobile internet users make up 51.2% of all internet users worldwide (that is 3.7 billion unique users), it is crucial to try and make content that is easily consumed on mobile.

Social messaging is one of these content types. Buffer’s State of Social Report 2018 shows that "there are now more people using the top four social messaging apps (WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and Viber) than the top four social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn)". Yet only 20% of marketers have used social messaging for marketing.

the use of messaging apps for marketing

Only 20% of marketers use social messaging for marketing

Videos, podcasts, and social messaging seem to be great choices for diversifying your content formats.

2. Have a tailored voice

When one of his followers asked Ben Settle, the great email copywriter, how to have a voice in writing in a Q&A session, he answered that you should write the way you speak, with all the tonal nuances, expressions, pauses, etc.

When people read your stuff, it should be like they hear your voice in their heads too.

Yet this is what most people neglect and as a result their content turns bland and uninteresting.

I’m not saying that you should always sound the same, use the same adjectives, and have a static writing style anywhere (after all, each platform and publication has some instructions) — people would find that boring — but depending on your audience and platform, you can try to sound excited, lively, bored, etc., just like when you talk.

people. So if your audience is into a sassy style of writing, you need to adopt it. Speak/write in a language that’s interesting for your audience.

The same is true about the kind of content you produce. As Jimmy Dally explains, actionable (how-to) content could be a great choice, but in many cases, publishing only tactical how-to guides will result in missing strategic-minded people (decision-makers).

What you need to do is produce strategic content (models, frameworks, principles, opinions) that appeal to your strategic readers so that you can attract them too. A CEO, for example, is more interested in an article on why having a customer journey plan is the answer to almost all their company’s problems, rather than a step-by-step guide on developing a customer persona.

A content type spectrum

A content type spectrum

3. Publish original research

BuzzSumo analyzed 1 million blog posts on the web and found out that 75% of them had no external backlinks, and 50% of them had two or fewer Facebook interactions (likes, comments, shares). Yet one type of content that got a lot of links and shares was "well-researched and evidence-based" blog posts.

Everybody knows the value of original research. Google’s Matt Cutts has always preached the importance of original research for link building and SEO in general. Any link to your research content will have a positive effect on your overall domain authority.

But apart from SEO benefits, original research establishes you as an authority on the topic and cuts through the rehashed content that is being produced restlessly by imitators.

According to Andy Crestodina, there are 5 types of research in content marketing:

  • Experiments
  • Observation/analysis
  • Aggregate existing research
  • Online survey
  • Phone survey

tyoes of research-based content for marketing

One of the easiest ways to produce original research is gathering the existing data from different sources. Maybe there is already a body of work that you can use and produce new data from and then do original research.

For example, I did an analysis on the top 50 business websites of SimilarWeb, a web analytics company, and tried to find answers to 7 questions about their conversion-focused homepage elements:

  1. How many of the top websites have calls to action (CTAs) above the fold?
  2. What CTA types are used above the fold?
  3. How many of the top websites have multiple CTAs?
  4. Do the websites use any social proof (trust icons, testimonials, case studies, etc.) on their homepages?
  5. What social proof types are most prevalent among top websites?
  6. Do they use any videos on their homepages?
  7. Do they offer any content in exchange for visitors’ email addresses?

the most common CTAs

The most common CTA types among top business websites are "More info" and "Sample" types

Related: How to Сreate, Test and Promote Powerful Landing Pages

4. Invigorate your content with various topics

A little creative vigor goes a long way in your content. Just like content type, tone, and language, people are used to reading the same content topics everywhere. But if you can incorporate interesting topics and news in your content, people will be more excited to read.

The idea of entertaining people while giving them information and advertising to them is called "infotainment" in copywriting. One of the staunch advocates of such a content type is Ben Settle. As he explains in a blog post for Copyblogger, infotainment gives your audience a "great-tasting hot dog" but "nourishes them like broccoli." In other words, your content can be both entertaining and informative (about your product).

So instead of listing the features of your product in a sales letter to your email list, why not give them something exciting and connect it with your product?

Here’s an example from Ben’s own emails:

email copy example

Ben frequently refers to pop culture (which is exciting) and is a master of connecting his stories with the information about his products. Needless to say, if you don’t know what topics are interesting for your audience, consider doing market research or hiring a consultant to do it for you.

Finally: Nothing Beats Trust

One of the factors that people consider before they decide to get engaged with your content is whether you’re trustworthy or not. As the founding father of internet marketing, Ken McCarthy, says:

Trust may be the single most important word in business. I’m not talking about blind trust. Healthy skepticism is one of the most important tools in the entrepreneur’s tool kit. I’m talking about being trustworthy. Literally: worthy of trust. And no, I don’t mean a new sales technique or copywriting tactic. I mean being worthy of trust.

And as explains in a post on becoming an independent consultant, one of the most effective ways to gain people’s trust is helping them transform to their desired states, and the more valuable that desired state is to someone, the more they’ll be willing to pay for help getting there. So do everything you can to help your readers get one step closer to their desired states, whether it’s a more profitable business, a healthier body, a more organized house, more confident social interactions, etc.

Finally, a good website design is key to content engagement. Check out the most common web design mistakes in GoodFirms’s comprehensive web design research, and avoid them. As they have noted, "if your conversion rate is low and and bounce rate is high, be sure that you’re in sheer need of redesigning your website."

Further reading: New Ecwid Design Settings: Dozens of Customization Options, No Coding

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Why You Should Sell Unprofitable Products: Profit Margin in Assortment Planning Wed, 25 Jul 2018 07:03:20 +0000

The higher the profit you make from products, the more compelling it is to sell them. At least, that’s how it seems at first blush.

This guide explains why inexpensive products with a low profit margin should also show up in your online storefront. You’ll find the answer to a tricky question: how can you increase sales by selling low-margin products?

Why a High Profit Margin Is Not Always Profitable

Different goods produce different profits. Pricey ones are not always the most profitable, and cheap ones are not always the most unprofitable. To understand that, we’ll need to digest a bit of theory.

Another word for profit from a specific product is profit margin. It is what you get after deducting all the expenses: manufacturing costs, shipping, storage, etc.

Say, you bought a chair that cost $50, then you brought it to your warehouse for $10, and shipped it to the customer for $15. This exact chair costs $200 in your shop. In this case, the profit margin will be $200 – $15 – $50 – $10 = $125.

The profit margin depends on the markup: the higher it is, the bigger the profit margin you will get.

All products can be divided into three groups depending on the received profit:

  • Low-margin products: These are inexpensive and daily-demand goods like hygiene products, underwear, household chemicals, baby food, accessories. The markup on them is less than 20% (of the costs).
  • Medium-margin products: Other necessity goods like wine, seafood, cheese, electronics, building materials. The profit margin for such goods starts from 50%.
  • High-margin products: Expensive and exclusive products like branded things, gold, jewelry, flowers. Not meant for everyday usage, they pay off by a profit margin that is higher than 100%.

product pricing

Non-precious tassel earrings on Alibaba

product pricing

Similar tassel earrings on River Island are 20x more expensive

Selling only high-margin goods doesn’t guarantee that your store will be profitable. For example, if you make just one sale from a high-margin product per season, you will go broke rather than make real money. At the same time, low-margin products can give a high monthly profit due to a massive turnover (people buy them often and in big amounts).

Your product range should contain products that are different in both price and profitability. Build your pricing policy by taking into account the target audience, the prices of competitors, and other factors.

How to Balance Your Product Catalog by Profit Margins

Your customers should have a choice in your store: if they only find cheap or expensive products, it’ll be hard to make a purchase decision.

Usually, products in online stores are split into categories. If you sell hair care products, then these categories can be shampoos, conditioners, balms, and sprays.

Each category in your store should feature several products, from cheaper to more expensive.

Here’s how you can price your products to get more conversions:

  1. Estimate the price range for each category. For example, you sell chairs. The cheapest one costs $50 and the most expensive one is $500. So this will be your price range. To estimate the lowest and the highest price in each category, check out competitors’ prices and keep your targeted audience in mind.
  2. Segment your products. Goods in each category could be divided into three segments: low, medium, premium. Low-margin products are inexpensive and bring little profits.

So your chairs cost from $50 to $500. Therefore, the low segment in your store can contain products from $50 to $100, the medium segment will unite products from $100 to $300, and the premium segment will include products with a higher price.

product pricing

IKEA chairs of different price segments show up in the same category

Even if you have a store with a highly specialized range of products, you still need to have goods in all price segments, not just cheap or expensive ones. That allows customers to have a more extensive choice and satisfy different demands.

Your prices should grow along with the quality. It means that if your customers choose a more expensive product, they should be sure that the quality corresponds with the price.

Which products in your store should make up the core of your product catalog — cheap or expensive? To learn that, you need to decide on your store segment: low, medium, or premium.

For example, you can hardly find high-quality couches made with the best materials in a discount shop. But if a store positions itself as a top-notch furniture brand, you are guaranteed to find much higher prices and a different product range.

At the same time, the stock couch can cost both $100 and $500, while the luxury one can cost $1,000 and $5,000. Such a price range widens both the choice and your target audience so that the higher price range could reach not only people with a high income, but also customers with an average salary.

There are three types of stores according to the price ratio:

1. Discount Stores

The minimum and maximum prices in these stores are lower than the corresponding prices of competitors. A typical audience consists of people with a low income. Price ratio:

  • 50% — low segment
  • 30% — medium segment
  • 20% — premium segment

2. Stores With Average Prices

Product costs do not differ from similar positions among competitors. The typical audience is people with an average and above-average income. Price ratio:

  • 40% — low segment
  • 40% — medium segment
  • 20% — premium segment

3. Premium Stores

The minimum and maximum prices in these stores are higher than the corresponding prices of competitors. Claim: "Quality cannot be cheap." The typical audience is people with a very high income. Product ratio:

  • 20-30% — low segment
  • 30-40% — medium segment
  • 20-40% — premium segment
  • 10% — luxury products

For example, you have a discount shop with prices from $30 to $100. That means about 50% of the goods should be in the field from $3 to $10, 30% of the products in the range from $10 to $80, and the most expensive goods, from $80 to $100, should make up about 20% of your catalog.

In order to correctly break down all the products by price, you need to:

  • Understand your store price segment
  • Create product categories
  • Make sure that each category is presented by low-, medium-, and premium-segment products.

Helping people to find a suitable product with a reasonable price is not the only goal of price segmentation. It has a big impact on your profits. Let’s puzzle out the examples:

  • Too many cheap items in your store. You have a furniture store in the low price segment. You sell all couches for $150. First, that can be bad for your brand image: customers might think that you offer only low-quality products. Second, your profit margins won’t be enough; even if you make 10 sales per week, your profit will be insignificant. Finally, your target audience will be only people with a low income, which means you neglect people with a slightly bigger salary who are ready to pay $300-400 for a couch.
  • Too many expensive items in your store. If you sell only expensive items, it will deter people with an average income, although they could be your customers.

What about the demand?

While creating the assortment, you should also consider the demand. Therefore, the store should have these product segments:

  1. Priority products. They should make up about 20% of your product catalog. They have a substantial markup and are sold often enough. Examples are alcohol, delicacies, sausages, coffee for a grocery store, or designer coats for a clothing store.
  2. Essential goods. These goods should make up 40-60% of your assortment, since they are bought the most and in large quantities. These are low- or medium-margin products. For a grocery store, it will be bread or pasta. For a clothing store, these are basic T-shirts. Usually, they provide low profits. However, some entrepreneurs can build their business by selling just basic products.
  3. Seasonal goods. Selling these products is profitable only in certain seasons. For example, you can find more sunscreens in summer than a beauty store usually has. Keep this segment below 20% of the complete assortment.
  4. Others. These are low-margin goods that are needed for the convenience of buyers, the uniqueness of the assortment, and other purposes. It’s reasonable to allocate not more than 20% of your whole assortment to them.

Typically, a store has products with a high sales rate but a small profit margin, and goods with a low sales rate but with a high profit margin. This distribution allows you to maintain a balance between what customers want to see in your store and what is beneficial to you.

How to Use Low-Margin Products to Grow Profits

Even if your primary strategy isn’t based on selling a vast quantity of cheap products, you should add some low-margin goods to your product grid, as they perform some important functions:

  • Customers tend to buy products with medium prices, avoiding the cheapest ones. So having cheap products next to more expensive ones will make the latter more appealing.
  • Low-margin products can help you to stand out among competitors and attract interest. For example, you can buy tea in a tableware store, but another doesn’t offer it.
  • Low-margin goods can make purchases more convenient. By selling related products with a low margin, you can upsell the basic goods in your store for your customers.

So this is how exactly you can use low-margin goods to increase your final profit and improve sales of high-margin products:

1. Increase your average order value with cross-selling

Just offer your customers additional items to buy. For example, you can show up a separate content block like: "People also buy with this product" or "You may also like" in the shopping bag area. A call center operator can also offer additional products during the call to confirm the order. For example, it is worth it to tell your customer about the covers and protective glass for their smartphone in stock, if they forgot to order these items before.

product pricing

Cross-selling with a cheaper product

2. Find out "catalyzer" items

There are categories of low-margin goods which are in high demand and can attract your customers. You can start offering high-margin products with these "catalyzers" to increase final profit.

For example, seeds are not costly at all, but if customers regularly come to your store for them, they might order soil, fertilizers, and other goods needed for planting and growing plants.

To find out the exact "catalyzers" in your online shop, you need Google Analytics. Check the customer journey through the website before they made a purchase, and pay attention to the product pages they visited.

3. Arrange small lots for wholesale

The best way to make a profit is to sell low-margin items by packs. For example, many online stores sell socks in small wholesale lots.

product pricing

Cropp sells a pack of five socks

4. Offer your product in bundles

Just combine low-margin goods in sets with medium-margin and high-margin goods. For example, you can sell each item of fall protection for bikers separately, or you can combine it into one big set (helmet + elbow pads + knee pads + gloves).

product pricing

An example of a product bundle

Key Takeaways

So to segment all items of your online store by price and get the maximum possible profit from it, you need to:

  1. Determine the price segment for your online store and split all the goods from each category into inexpensive, average, and expensive.
  2. Figure out the most profitable and priority goods, products that will ensure turnover, and goods that will attract customers and create your brand image.
  3. Develop a strategy for working with low-margin goods so that their availability can raise profits rather than lower them.
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Practical Ways to Use Blogging to Improve E-Commerce Sales Tue, 17 Jul 2018 11:33:09 +0000

If you want to drive more online sales, starting a blog is a good way to go.

And it is not only because some recent stats show that companies with winsome blogs enjoy up to 97% more inbound links. It is also because acquisition, conversion, and retention need you to engage with your customers and to keep them engaged until they can no longer resist coming back for more.

In e-commerce, traffic translates to conversions, and followers translate to loyal customers. Starting a blog is a sure-fire way of attaining a steady influx of both.

Before you dip into practical tips and tricks for making it work, don’t forget to actually start a blog and add a shopping cart to monetize your content.

1. Show How Your Products Can Affect People’s Lives

The first rule of rule of learning how to start a blog has always been, and always will be relevance.

It’s only natural that what you post on your e-commerce site will never wander away from your main topic. Sure, you’ll be writing about your products and exploring their numerous features and benefits in detail, but that’ll only provide you with a few dozens of attractive headlines. And you’ll need more.
Besides relevance, another blogging pillar is evergreen content.

And what’s more evergreen than people’s everyday problems, worries, and nuisances?

So, write about that. You should already have a list of pain points for every solution that you offer, and each of them can make a solid blog post that’s both engaging and informational. All great products affect people’s lives in one way or another, and it’s on you to elaborate on that effect.

Apple news

All great products affect people’s lives in one way or another

2.Weave an Engaging Brand Story that Makes You Irresistible

When two companies offer the same solution, what are their unique selling points?

A USP always reflects a company’s mission statement, a proposition value that’s different from all other contenders in the same niche. Your company has it too, and if it hasn’t been done already, why not create a compelling story around it now? Or if not a story per se, then a mood, a tone or a message?
These are all elements of the brand narrative, the unique identity of your store.

In blogging, this is achieved with many different elements that must come together to invoke a certain emotion in prospects and customers, similarly to brand positioning and awareness. It should include everything from design and imagery to content type and format to the language and tone of writing.

Needless to say, this must not affect the accuracy of the information in your posts. It should only provide a different feel, which will be unique to your brand and custom-tailored to your ideal buyer persona’s preferences. Is it luxury or mindfulness? Adventurous spirit or artistic sensibility? Go figure it out.

Nike brand story

Highlight your mission statement

3. Create Lots of Unique Outside-the-Box Ways to Use Products

If you’re selling light bulbs, your customers will hardly be interested in reading about how they work. They already know how to use them too, so there’s really nothing special or innovative to write about, right? Well, that depends on your approach and creative curiosity. It depends on your ability to inspire.

Even before it burns out, a light bulb can be used in many different creative ways, though its purpose is always the same. There’s a juicy headline for your next post — 5 Unusual Uses for Light bulbs. And, after it finally burns out, the ingenious, though mostly decorative ways to repurpose it are numerous.

Always think outside of the box, whether you’re creating a new product or trying to sell it.
In terms of blogging, this is very, very important. Because there’s only a handful of topics for every product, you have no other option but to put on your thinking cap, tap into your creativity and reinvent the wheel just one more time. And when you’re short on ideas, reach out to your customers for help.

10 new uses for coffee filters

Inspire your audience to use your products

4. Use Lists of Product Combos for Different Scenarios to Cross-Sell

If you’re selling clothes instead of light bulbs, you’ll admittedly have a much easier job. Still, every e-commerce business relies on cross-selling techniques, which shows that every e-commerce business already knows how to connect the dots when it comes to separate, seemingly incompatible products.

These products make a brilliant material for longer blog posts and listicles.

It’s easy to write a spring fashion guide that reviews products ranging from clothes to hair jewelry — they all belong to the same fashion line, and were designed to make a great outfit. But you can always make a twist, suggest something fresh and quirky, and pair items that typically wouldn’t go together.

A Fashion Guide for Business Travellers, for instance. It would include sleek suits and dress shoes, but would also offer comfy slippers. And business travelers need both.

Give ideas

Connect the dots to cross-sell

5. Sell an Appealing Lifestyle and Community Through Your Content

You can write about your cosmopolitan experiences all you want, but there will still be at least one doubting Thomas who will find it hard to believe. Selling a lifestyle that people want to buy is not without its difficulties, but there’s an alternative — something authentically posh, but still convincing.

It’s called influencer marketing.

In blogging, it works like this — you reach out to a celebrity or an influential social media star that reviews and recommends products from your niche and send them a sample. If they like it, invite them to write a guest post for your blog. In return, offer outbound links or join them in an affiliate program.

Give ideas

Reach out to a celebrity for a product review

6. Use User-Generated Content to Create a Buzz around New Products

If there’s anything better than influencer marketing, it’s user-generated content.

In fact, 92% of consumers turn to people they know for referrals above any other source, while 88% of them trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from their personal contacts. When you’re buying something online, you need to make sure it really works.
User-generated content adds credibility to your claims because it’s provenly objective.

Starbucks UGC

Starbucks regularly encourages its customers to post shots of their coffees

It can be successfully used for new products as well, to create buzz and reassure buyers that they’re worth trying them out. If you send samples to a number of your loyal customers, you can generate and publish this content prior to launch, thus rewarding loyalty and driving sales at the same time.

Whenever in doubt, start a blog. When it comes to e-commerce conversions, it always works like a charm.

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How to Pick a Payment System For Your E-Сommerce Store Fri, 13 Jul 2018 11:21:34 +0000

When you start an e-commerce business, you should think carefully about how to accept payments online to meet customer needs and manage the cash flow of your business effectively. The payment methods will also determine the facilities your business will need.

Typical payment methods used in a modern business context include cash, checks, credit or debit cards, money orders, bank transfers, and online payment gateways such as PayPal.

Unless you’re running a shady side business that only accepts suitcases full of cash, you’ll need a reliable method of accepting online payments on your website. It means you should choose a payment processor and payment gateway.

How Online Payment Systems Work

It is often hard to understand how the payment process works and what the difference is between a payment processor and a payment gateway. Let’s try to find out.

There are four parties involved with every credit card transaction:

  • The customer
  • The merchant
  • The acquiring bank
  • The issuing bank.

The aim of every transaction is to transmit money from the issuing bank to the acquiring bank according to the agreement between the customer and the merchant. The payment processor and payment gateway help to connect all four parts of the payment chain.

The payment processor executes the transaction by transmitting data between you, the merchant, the issuing bank, and the acquiring bank. It also typically furnishes you with the credit card machines and other equipment you use to accept credit card payments.

A payment gateway securely authorizes payments for online stores. This is necessary because it is prohibited, due to security reasons, to transmit transaction information directly from your website to a payment processor. This gateway is kind of like a guard, or a middle man, between the customer’s information and the banks.

What to Look for in a Payment Gateway

The payment gateway you choose will not only impact the overall customer experience but also determine your casual workflow. Of course, you don’t want a gateway that regularly creates problems for you and your customers. The choice is hard but let’s look at the main factors to make a right decision.

PCI DSS compliance

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a security standard issued by the five largest credit card companies (American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, and Visa) to protect cardholder data and help reduce data breaches. Regardless of your size, if you want to accept card payments, you have to be on good terms with the standard.

Check whether a payment processor complies with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), otherwise, you may be at risk for data breaches, fines, card replacement costs, costly forensic audits, and investigations into your business, brand damage, and more if a breach occurs.

Effective fraud prevention

Payment security is the vital factor for Payment Gateway. According to The Nilson Report, merchant losses to fraud have been increasing in recent years and it will be even worse in the near future. Moreover, if you have a small business, you are even more vulnerable. Whereas larger companies are more likely to have anti-fraud practices, fraudsters aim at the small business that may not have any protection.

Let’s look at a few of the most effective methods to check transactions and prevent fraud:

  • Address Verification Service (AVS): When customers purchase items, they need to provide their billing address and ZIP code. An AVS will check if this address matches with what the card-issuing bank has on file. As part of a card-not-present (CNP) transaction, the payment gateway can send a request for user verification to the issuing bank.
  • Card Verification Value (CVV): The CVV (or Card Verification Code ) is the 3- or 4-digit code that is on every credit card. It helps to ensure that only the actual physical holder of the card can use it remotely and that someone who has only got the card number and some personal information cannot provide this value without the actual card.
  • Flag Large Transactions: Fraudsters will take a shot at making large transactions before the stolen card is blocked. Such transactions may require the manual approval from the merchant before proceeding.
  • Payer Authentication (3D Secure): 3D Secure adds another authentication step for online payments. Payer authentication, also called Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode, is a cardholder authentication measure that secures online transactions for customers. This method allows cardholders to create a PIN (secure code) that can be used during checkout to confirm the user’s identity. By implementing this, merchants are provided chargeback protection and lower interchange rates.
  • Risk Scoring: The tool uses statistical models designed to recognize fraudulent transactions based on a number of rules. During the checkout, the model determines if the transaction fraudulent. A higher probability of a transaction being fraudulent indicates that you should verify the order. Risk-scoring tools provide a case-by-case evaluation and will flag transactions based on the rules you choose such as AVS failure test, IP range, use of anonymous emails, billing address, and others.

Make sure that the payment gateway is at least integrated with 3D Secure and complies with the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) we mentioned before.


Money means a lot for any business, so it is better to check twice whether you can afford the payment gateway you are about to choose. Some may have better features, but they will also come with a greater cost.

At first, find out whether a payment processor charges a monthly fee or a flat per-transaction fee. Your choice depends on your business activity, but in any case, go through the full terms to be sure there are no hidden fees.

Payment method coverage

Accepting any form of payment your customer may use is the best way to gain more money. Of course, traditional credit and debit cards are still the most common online payment method, but digital wallets and other alternatives such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are becoming increasingly popular every single day.

How to Accept Payments With Ecwid E-Commerce

When it comes to online payments, your customers want flexibility. In order to be able to provide them with convenient payment options, you need to choose e-commerce software that is integrated with many different payment systems. Ecwid E-Commerce is an example of such software, supporting over 50 payment providers to process your transactions.

With so many different options, you could spend hours pouring over the details of different providers.

We wanted to make this part of the process a little bit simpler for you, so we’ve gathered a few of the most popular payment systems that integrate with Ecwid, outlined some of the advantages and disadvantages, and even outlined the setup process for each one. Easy, right? Right.

If you’re looking for a payment system that’s not outlined here, please be sure to check out our full list of online payment systems that you can use in Ecwid.

Payment  Icons-02

Credit cards

Credit cards are by far the most popular payment method. Card payments online are similar to using a payment card in stores. Here’s what happens:

  1. The buyer chooses the payment card. The store redirects the customer to the payment gateway.
  2. The buyer puts in the card number, card name, and CVV (the special security code on the back of the card).
  3. The buyer clicks "Pay," and the money is debited from the card, after which the buyer automatically returns to the store page and the payment system informs the store: "Okay, the payment was accepted." Money goes to your account on the same day.

Before you choose an option(s) for credit card processing, it’s important to know that different processing companies have different fees and rates, typically on a per-transaction basis.

Be sure to know the fees before selecting an option, as well as from which countries you can accept payments. If you are selling products with restrictions (like guns, drugs, etc.), you may also be limited in your credit card payment processing options, as some companies do not permit these types of transactions.

With Ecwid E-Commerce, it is possible to pass through the checkout on the checkout page of your store — without redirecting customers to the payment gateway. Technically, the charges are still processed on the payment processor side, but the customer stays in your store when entering the payment information. It’s available with Ecwid Payments, Square, Stripe, American Express, PayFlow Link, Payments Advanced, and PayPal Payments Pro Hosted.

Ecwid Payments

Ecwid Payments is the quickest and least expensive way to accept credit cards, debit cards, and direct bank payments in your store. With Ecwid Payments your customers can proceed to payment on the checkout page, without going to the payment gateway page. It makes your checkout process really fast and comfortable for customers.

Ecwid Payments is powered by WePay and provides trusted payment processing. At the moment, Ecwid Payments is available for merchants from the US, Canada, and the UK.

Advantages: fast and easy way to accept payments within your website. Payments and orders are automatically synced, so you can keep track of your business all in one place.

Disadvantages: limited to the United States, the UK, and Canada.

Cost: starts from 2.1 % + 0.2 GBP per transaction. Check your rate here.

How to set it up in Ecwid → 


Square is a payment-processing gateway that allows users to make a payment directly on your site without having to navigate to an external portal. Square is currently available for the USA, Canada, Australia, the UK, and Japan in US, Canadian, and Australian dollars, British pounds, and Japanese yen.

Advantages: fast, easy checkout process directly on your site.

Disadvantages: limited to United States, Canada, Japan, and Australia.

Cost: the fee for all payments processed via Square is 2.9 % + $0.30.

How to set it up in Ecwid → 

If you want to accept physical debit and credit cards on your smartphone or tablet, just use an Ecwid app for Square POS. You can run your online and offline transactions through Square and create a synchronized online store from the Square POS inventory. Check the detailed instructions on how to connect Square POS to Ecwid.

American Express

Thanks to our Amex Ecwid integration, you can set up an American Express payment gateway without having to write a single line of code into your site. This option is open to legal residents of the United States and its territories ages 18+ who are eligible cardholders.

Advantages: Securely accept credit cards directly on your site without having to redirect to a new portal at checkout.

Disadvantages: Only works for American Express card members with businesses within the United States.

How to set it up in Ecwid → 


Bancomer is Mexico’s largest financial institution allowing users to accept payments in Mexican Pesos, Euros, and U.S. Dollars. This online payment method is an idea for Spanish-speaking business operators and shoppers who are located in Mexico.

Advantages: Targeted to Spanish-speaking demographic and built-in capability to process Mexican Pesos as a form of payment.

Disadvantages: If your store’s currency isn’t the same as your Bancomer account’s currency, your payment gateway won’t work.

How to set it up in Ecwid → 


Stripe is a customizable payment method that’s optimized for both desktop and mobile. Stripe payments work in 25 countries, including the USA and Canada.

Advantages: 100+ currencies accepted with customizable checkout process, very easy setup with Ecwid.

Disadvantages: Not all countries are included. Check the availability for your country in the list.

How to set it up in Ecwid →

Payment  Icons-01

Electronic Payment Systems

Electronic Payment Systems are even faster than credit cards. The buyer chooses a payment via electronic purse, is automatically redirected to the payment site, enters username and password, and confirms the payment. Then you get money into your account.


Ecwid works with a suite of PayPal solutions such as Standard, Express Checkout, Advanced, Payflow Link, and Payments Pro. That being said, there is a variety of ways you can approach setup. We’ll look at PayPal Standard as an example.

Advantages: Seamlessly integrates with online sites for fast, easy payment, and 100% secure checkout. Allows users to make purchases in a variety of currencies. One of the most versatile payment processing options.

Disadvantages: PayPal has lengthy terms of service, and it has the ability to freeze your account at almost any time. There is also a blurred line on what PayPal deems "obscene" material, which can restrict the sale of certain products they consider inappropriate.

How to set it up in Ecwid →

Payment  Icons-03

Manual Payment Methods

If you want to accept cash, checks, or wire transfers, just write the instructions for your customers.


The simplest way to charge your customers is obviously getting the money cash. It is possible if you offer delivery or in-store pickup. When this payment method is used, a customer is not asked for any payment details at checkout aside from the standard address form.

Advantages: a simple way to get money for the orders.

Disadvantages: you’ll get the payment only after delivery and the customer may just not appear for the order.

How to set it up in Ecwid →

Purchased orders and checks

Purchased orders allow your customers to buy your items using a document issued by a buyer to a seller that notates the types, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services. Essentially, it’s a kind of contract between you and your buyer. When using these, the customer is asked for a PO number, Company name, Buyer’s full name and Job position at checkout. They are then electronically transmitted over the Internet.

Offline check payments require the check Owner’s full name, checking account number and bank routing number. You can use them for any kind of check payments you like.

Picking The Right Payment System: The More the Merrier

As you can see, there are many, many different options to consider–but the bottom line is that you should use as many payment options as possible so your clients have a wide variety of options.

For instance, it’s good to have PayPal as a payment method, but some people might not have a PayPal account. They want to pay via credit card instead. When you enable multiple payment options for users, you help them complete the checkout process as quickly and painlessly as possible–and via the option that best suits their unique needs.

Still Looking for an Online Payment Option?

If you didn’t find what you were looking for in this list, be sure to explore the countless other integrations we have to offer. The right payment processing resource will depend on your location, demographic, and unique business needs, so be sure to take the time to fully explore your options.

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Should You Copy, Rewrite, or Create Product Descriptions from Scratch? Wed, 11 Jul 2018 12:04:35 +0000

The big question every e-commerce business owner has before the launch is how to fill product pages with descriptions. How do you write informative, neat copy for each product and at the same time stand out from competitors?

It is not about general product characteristics — material, size, color, and others. It’s about content that complements the photo, shows the specifics, and distinguishes the features of products and creates the "face" of the store.

There are three ways to get product and category descriptions, each of which has both pros and cons. Let’s have a closer look.

1. Take Copy from a Supplier’s Website

In order to resell products in an online store, you can use the information from your supplier (pictures in high resolution from their website, specifications, a provided description). Most distributors prefer this.

ecommerce product descriptions

ecommerce product descriptions

Product descriptions on the wholesaler website

This is a unique text — it makes no sense for the manufacturer to take the description of their product from another website. Let’s check if there are other online stores that used the same description without changes.

SEO Review Tools confirms that there are plenty of duplicates:

ecommerce product descriptions

Enter a text fragment

ecommerce product descriptions

See how many times the copy was used by online stores

ecommerce product descriptions

It’s easy to make sure that the copy is exactly the same

The main advantage of this approach is that you don’t have to spend extra time or money working on the copy. When customers go to your website, they see an informative description, which is enough to make a purchase decision.


  • Search engines don’t index copy-pasted descriptions as a unique text. If a person just types a product name in the search, there’s little chance your website will be in the top results.
  • Therefore, it’s more likely that the traffic goes to your supplier or a bigger competitor store that posted the text earlier.

If you care for your brand image, think about your own style. A copy-pasted text doesn’t help here.

So it’s better not to copy the product description if you run a small niche store. Search engines will take your description for spam or ignore it at best. There are exceptions to the rule. For some reason, the search engines might decide that your website is the primary source. However, it’s a rare case.

Non-original content works for large stores with 100 000 product positions that have been around for some time. The search engines trust them. If you’ve just opened a store, it’s better to write your own texts. Eventually, it’ll pay off.

2. Rewrite the Original Copy

To rewrite a text means to upgrade/increase its uniqueness with little changes. Simply speaking, you rewrite the supplier’s text in other words. This method is old, and it has its supporters. There are even writers who have become very skilled at creating such content.

Here are a few tricks for rewriting a piece of text:

  • Rearrange the words in the original text. Even if you just change the order of the words, this text will be unique to the machine.
  • Get rid of empty talk. If you make the text shorter by getting rid of lexical redundancy, it will look neater and quite unique.
  • Add details. On the contrary, a text that is too short can be expanded with descriptive details and characteristics. The visitor gets more material to read, and search engine robots will reward this.
  • Replace words with synonyms. Sometimes people just replace the words to increase the uniqueness. No wonder every content exchange company has its own synonymizer app.

This is what a rewritten and abridged text may look like:

rewritten product descriptions

A reduced and revised description


  • There’s enough information to get a detailed overview of the product, weigh up pros and cons, and decide on a purchase.
  • Time saver. Fast rewriting gives you about 100-200 symbols per minute.
  • It decreases the effort. You don’t have to create something; you just rewrite the text.
  • Relatively unique content. You get almost brand new copy.
  • You don’t need to be trained to do this. Even a school kid can handle this task.


  • It looks like an original text, but it isn’t one — rewritten sentences and a different order of the words may trick a machine, but not a human.
  • If you hire a freelancer for cheap, you risk getting an illiterate text with grammatical and stylistic errors.
  • The quality of the text is low anyway because the aim is to raise its uniqueness, not to create a catchy product description.
  • Reputation risk for a brand, as made clear by the aforementioned points.

All in all, rewriting is still an easy, cheap, time- and effort-saving way of creating content for an online store.

There’s a so-called "heavy rewrite," when you make a product description out of several original texts found in the top search engine results. It has to do with a correct retelling of the already written and published. Plus, key phrases are used to optimize the text. Such rewriting is closer to copywriting.

3. Go for Customer-Centric Copywriting

You can use the supplier’s descriptions for your website, or you can rewrite texts, changing their form. However, you can also order a text from a responsible and talented freelancer. Copywriters can write product descriptions that will actually sell your products.

What is more, you can take copywriting into your own hands.

It’s rather easy and doesn’t require special training, but the quality of the text, in this case, is almost no different from a professional copywriter’s work.

First, find a source of inspiration — an established store with original texts. If you do your research well, you can find lots of inspiring examples. More and more sellers care about the uniqueness and quality description.

rewritten product descriptions

Just 3-5 sentences can make a compelling product description

Here’s a short checklist for writing product descriptions in your online store:

  1. Write as if you are explaining to a friend why you bought this product.
  2. Try to fit it into 3-5 sentences.
  3. Combine short and long sentences — it makes the text easier to read.
  4. Choose 2-3 key product characteristics and talk about them in 1-2 sentences: "The blade is made of forged hardened steel which has undergone double heat treatment. Thanks to this hardening, the ax will last for many years. '
  5. Follow the 'feature — profit' line: 'The wallet has a zip (feature) to keep the contents safe (profit).'
  6. Use calls-to-action, invite people to buy a product at once or take it for a spin.

Learn more: How to Write Product Descriptions That Sell

checking plagiarisms in product descriptions

Another way to check the uniqueness of your text in Grammarly


  • You get a new, unique text that engages emotionally and talks about product features.
  • A bit of humor draws attention to the product.
  • There’s no pushy sales language that often occurs in marketing copy.
  • It is memorable and easy to read.
  • It’s short and to the point; there’s no redundancy.


  • You need to use your imagination and put yourself in your customer’s place.
  • You need to know your product well and be familiar with how to use it. Then you’ll be able to write lively and helpful copy.
  • It’s time-consuming if you have a large range of products.

To Sum It Up

Copying text saves time, but it doesn’t promote your website at all; rewriting gives you cheap and relatively unique content but makes your store just another one. Copywriting is a perfect option and you can write texts yourself.

So practise! Even if you don’t succeed the first time, you’ll rock it at the fifth!

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Selling Furniture Online: A Practical Guide From a German Concept Store Thu, 05 Jul 2018 10:15:11 +0000

Furniture is one of the things that make you feel at home. If you own a home decor brand, you don’t simply sell things. You sell coziness, luxury, comfort. You sell the mood. This business requires diligence.

Full-time employees in the past, Lisa and Pat put all their passion into "various," an online store of industrial furniture made of stainless steel pipes. Working together as a couple and business partners, they made their first sale in under a week and are now developing ambitious plans for expanding their product line.

This guide is based on their best practices, and it was created for anyone eager to start a home decor venture online. It explains how to open your furniture store online, from crafting an idea to growing your sales.

Lisa and Pat

Lisa and Pat, owners of

1. Think Through the Сoncept of Your Store

A staggering 60.7% of respondents of the Franklin Furniture Institute survey agreed that they express themselves with the furniture they buy. As long as you invest enough in your products’ design, you’ll find your customer.

At the same time, there are over 87,000 establishments that already sell furniture of all kinds, according to the US Census Bureau. That’s a strong competition. To get your piece of the pie, you’ll need to tailor your products to a specific niche with a well-defined target audience.

Lisa and Pat started selling furniture online with just a single model, now known as "DUO HIGH". Steel pipes are at the core of the construction. This key feature let them add more products later while keeping their brand distinctive.

Find your typical style, your kind of language, your personal look, and try to create this kind of overall experience that fits your products. Our furniture is very simple, clean, monochrome, very "black & white".

selling furniture online various

Who would want to express themselves with your furniture? You can find out by defining your target customers. It’s best to do it before you start an online business. Everyone needs chairs, tables, and sofas in their homes, but you can waste a ton of marketing dollars trying to sell furniture to everybody.

Lisa and Pat have defined their target audience very well. It took them some time to figure it out, but in the end, they identified three groups:

  • Primary group: People who are interested in clean design, something special, often something custom made. Just bought/are in the process of buying an own property or apartment and want to invest in something durable that not everyone else has. Most of them keep not only the big brands like IKEA to a minimum but also try to work around typical design brands and rather invest large amounts of time and funds to find beloved, handmade, and individual items.
  • Secondary group: Young students who save up because they like the "various" style and use all their money to express their individual taste.
  • Third group: Shops, boutiques, hairdressers, gyms, wedding dress shops, and so on. All of them try to create a wonderful shopping experience for their clients away from the mainstream.

If you struggle to put your concept into words, refer to the Golden Circle model proposed by leadership expert Simon Sinek.

His idea will help you get a sense of your perfect brand formula that will make people really care about your product. In a nutshell, you need to answer three questions (in this particular order):

  • Why do you do it?
  • How do you do it?
  • What do you do?

Simon explains the importance of the Why question in a 5-minute video extract below. Watch it to avoid the most common mistakes when crafting your unique selling proposition.

2. Test Your Product Idea

Is your product something the world wants? You’d better make sure it is. There are many ways to evaluate your product viability:

Lisa and Patrick were lucky to recognize the demand without additional research:

"Friends and friends of friends always ended up in our bedroom to look at our wardrobe. After building a few more models for our friends we felt that there might be potential to sell them online."

The forecast was correct — they got their first "official" sale in less than a week. "We were so happy since it gave us huge confirmation for our business idea and the recent launch," Lisa says. So research is helpful, but don’t ignore your intuition.

3. Build a High-Class E-Commerce Website

Just like any other industry, selling furniture online has its pitfalls.

Most of the time, furniture is priсey. For merchants, it equals additional investments in customer trust. Those who shop for furniture online want to be sure it’ll look exactly how they like it in their homes. Your website should have everything in place to deliver enough information — and still be easy to navigate.

Let’s see how you can get a functional website.


Roughly speaking, site builders can be divided into web-hosted (like and self-hosted (like Wix).

With a web-hosted site builder, you can create an advanced and very customizable website. You’ll have to host it somewhere, though (at companies like Bluehost). Take this route if you see the big picture of your website from the beginning, and have some time and tech knowledge.

Alternatively, you can use a self-hosted site builder (like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, etc.). Most of them don’t require any technical knowledge: just select a pre-designed template, add your content, and you’re done in no time. They are less customizable, but you might not even need that with everything predesigned for you.

Adding e-commerce: no matter how you’ll build your website, you can add an e-commerce store powered by Ecwid. Sign up for free and take your product catalog with you to any site builder platform.

Here are some Ecwid features that’ll be helpful to furniture sellers:

  • Deep product customization options (see example)
  • Integrations with many shipping providers to save your shipping costs
  • Omnichannel tools: sell furniture on Facebook, Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, or even mobile apps within a single control panel.

With so many options out there, deciding on how to build your e-commerce website can be stressful. To learn more about the pros and cons of different platforms, read our guide to choosing the best site builder for your e-commerce store.

Here’s how Lisa and Patrick built their e-commerce website: "The Squarespace template helped us a bit to do so, but in the end we put hours and hours of work into it to have it like it is now. When we then added Ecwid, we basically started with a random design but then styled every single item of Ecwid to adopt it to this design by using the CSS code. Was definitely worth it!"

various storefront

"various", storefront

While the "various" store was built a while ago, now you don’t have to use CSS anymore to make Ecwid fit your style — thanks to 40+ new store design options and the next-generation storefront.


As furniture products are complex, your e-commerce website should be both informative and easy to use. Think long and hard about how you’ll structure your website content.

The web design strategy of the "various" shop is:

Reduce everything to the absolute minimum.

The store team recommends you to question for every single item whether it is really necessary and adds value. If you’re new to web design, pay attention to the following details:

  • Have a lean website structure (sitemap).
  • Use only two colors (for "various", they’re black and white).
  • Stick to one font, thin and small. Don’t use italic. Only a few words can be bold.
  • No heavy items.
  • Less text is more. Keep every sentence short but still relevant for your client and for SEO reasons. Avoid filler words.
  • Simple structure: use squares, texts, and photos separated by hairlines.

You need really good, high-class pictures, even more in a high-price range like the one we act in.

Website photography can make or break your sale, so take care of your product pictures. They should be clean, stylized, and expose your product’s benefits.

furniture product photography

"Since we offer so many options from measurements to color, our product is quite complex. That is difficult to understand for a client and also to put into a shop system. Try to design your product as simply as possible from the beginning and try to structure your website as lean as possible."

various product page

"various", product page

Store management

When building your e-commerce website to sell furniture online, pay attention to both storefront and backend. Unlike the rest of your website, your store admin is something you’ll be visiting every day.

Ecwid E-Commerce makes it possible to manage your store from any device. For desktop, it’s a Control Panel. If you’re off for your storage, street market, physical store, or simply on vacation, you can run your store from a mobile Control Panel app for iOS and Android.

ecwid control panel

Patrick and Lisa have tried both ways: "WE LOVE THE APP! It gives us the chance to see orders when we are not working / at home and have access to our computers. For Lisa it is some kind of security to be able to check the info about an order and / or a customer even when I’m on the go. And, well, we both are super excited about the notifications. Every time we get a push notification, one of us yells loudly 'NEW ORDER'!"

4. Think Through Your Shipping Strategy

This might not be the first thing on your mind. However, if you are going to sell furniture online, your shipments will be big, heavy, and, possibly, fragile. What a combo!

Lisa and Patrick have been through all that. Their products are made of steel pipes, and they ship all across the EU. So the couple took some steps to reduce shipping costs.

"For example, our model DUO HIGH has a weight of 20 kg (44 lbs), and SPACE HIGH weighs even more than 30 kg (66 lbs). But the measurements of 120 x 15 x 15 cm (47 x 5 x 5 inches) allow us to use normal parcel shipping, which enabled us to reduce shipping costs to a minimum at least."

various furniture

The сhoice of shipping provider can cut your costs, so don’t forget to compare different options. Ecwid integrates with dozens of shipping providers, and there are constantly new ones that arrive. For example, one of the latest integrations with DHL worked well for "various":

After realizing we would run more sales soon, one of the first things we did was sign up for a DHL business contract which allows you to benefit from bulk packages.

The price for shipping wasn’t the only problem. It’s packaging that provides the first impression of your brand — and when your products are over three feet long, making a great first impression becomes a real challenge.

"We had to find packaging that can handle the weight. And since all products are different, we needed packaging that could be used for all kinds of pipe lengths and weight. Since we don’t ship our furnitures readily assembled but as assembly kits, we ended up with highly stable carton boxes of 120 cm x 15 cm x 15 cm which can be extended up to 200 cm."

After all those manipulations, the couple even managed to offer free shipping in Germany. Learn why free shipping is a great marketing tactic, and let’s see some more.

5. Say No to Aggressive Marketing

As mentioned above, customers need to think for a while before purchasing furniture. Decision-making can take a long time. Many of Patrick and Lisa’s customers start thinking about their products even before they move house. They start researching, find them, but then move first and have other things to do until they purchase.

A client will get to you three times with different kinds of questions, will then think about his/her considerations, and often wait weeks or even months before the conversion. This is time-consuming and requires patience and kindness. You won’t simply sell within minutes or with aggressive marketing tactics.

Their #1 advice is to develop personal communication with customers to encourage them to make a purchase.

"We have very personal conversations to create a close customer proximity. That way we gain trust and provide the image of not just being any other store. We show them what we really are: a small team which is actually a couple, passionate design fans, trustable, approachable, not only random sellers but also consultants for design lovers."

While you can get famous for your stellar customer service, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing else to do to promote your store. When asked about their top-performing marketing channels, Lisa and Pat named (in no particular order):

various furniture on pinterest

"various" on Pinterest

"We’re currently setting up Facebook ads — remarketing in particular — with Ecwid’s integration and we’re confident it will increase sales," Lisa shared.

The couple has already given Facebook ads the first shot: "We ran our first trial for user acquisition and were able to boost visits of new visitors by using the carousel ad. We will do more and more on that within the next weeks. We will especially focus on remarketing in the beginning to increase the efficiency of all other approaches."

So if you’re going to sell furniture online, you definitely want to spread the word about your business through advertising.

6. Incorporate Custom Orders

The tastes, needs, and resources of your future customers may differ. Customization is a service that will keep your customer interested, even if he or she hasn’t found the right item in your catalog.

In "various", you can have two kinds of custom measurement services:

  • Products from the shop in custom size
  • Genuine made-to-measure items (fully custom models).

More than 80% of shop orders are in custom size. The share between all shop orders and custom is about 50:50. This is why we manufacture every item by hand and on request.

custom steel pipe furniture

An example of a fully custom order on various’ made-to measure showcase page

7. Keep New Products Coming In

Furniture sellers can’t boast a high purchase frequency. 95.1% of the Franklin Furniture Institute survey respondents agreed on the statement "I expect my furniture to last for many years." So how do you keep your business afloat?

Lisa and Patrick’s advice is to never stop innovation.

"We regularly add content and improve the website. But what’s way more important is that we run photo shoots on a regular basis to come up with new products. We recently also had a great idea for a new kind of product built from other materials (still a secret). Doing so will continuously attract new customers and make previous customers come back."

To Sum Up

Starting an online business requires a lot of effort. Thanks to Lisa and Patrick, we’ve managed to gain valuable insights about selling furniture online. So now you have a better image of what to expect. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Bet on design when creating your product line.
  • Make your e-commerce website informative, clean, and easy to use.
  • Invest in product photography.
  • Reduce shipping costs by studying different providers and packaging.
  • Master personal communication with customers to speed up their purchase decision.
  • Offer custom services to increase sales.
  • Constantly add new products and accessories to increase the purchase frequency.

We hope that we’ve covered the most important details, but you can ask Pat and Lisa in the comments section below. We also welcome all fellow home decor sellers to share their perspective in the comments section.

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Gutenberg E-Commerce: Build Your Store in the New Code-Free WordPress Editor Wed, 04 Jul 2018 11:44:36 +0000

A brand new publishing tool for WordPress is coming up. It will eventually replace the current default visual editor, which is no less than a revolution for the large community of WordPress writers, bloggers, and authors.

The Gutenberg editor rethinks the way you bring your most creative ideas to the web. Rather than messing with HTML and shortcodes, you can now express your point of view on the screen exactly as it exists in your mind by using content blocks of all kinds.

Thanks to Ecwid E-Commerce, you can now start selling online right from the Gutenberg.

Add a "Buy Now" button, a single product, a catalog of items, or a whole online store to any part of your webpage right in Gutenberg. No piece of code will stand in your way.

Gutenberg: Add Any Content to Your WordPress Page Without Coding has almost everything one can expect from a site building tool.

Its users can take full control over their website content, add flexible advanced functionalities (like mapping, user-submitted content, etc.), and boost their SEO. is friendly to every possible way of building page content, such as HTML, embeds, shortcodes, plugins, or widgets.

The flip side of this freedom is not having one intuitive path to follow. That can be a challenge for non-tech people. A conventional e-commerce website with used to mean quite a bunch of work for its owner. At least every once in a while, you would need a developer.

Well, not anymore — Gutenberg and Ecwid take coding out of the WordPress webpage editor.

The current WordPress editor

The current WordPress editor

The Gutenberg editor

The Gutenberg editor

Add any content to your webpage, including an online store, by simply arranging content blocks. Become a creator, not a coder.

Get the Gutenberg editor

Ecwid: Add E-commerce to Your WordPress Website Without Coding

Ecwid E-Commerce works smoothly on WordPress and Gutenberg to let you build your store anywhere your customers expect it. Still without coding.

Ecwid ecommerce for wordpress

Add an online store block to any place on your page

Are you getting significant traffic to your WordPress blog? Why not add a "Buy Now" button right in your blog post to monetize your traffic with product sales? With Ecwid E-commerce, you can add a store to your WordPress blog in minutes.

Are there fans of products like yours on eBay, Amazon, or Facebook? Wait for it… Just mirror your Ecwid product catalog there. Finally, if your audience loves all things mobile, turn your store into a native mobile app.

Ecwid ecommerce

Ecwid’s mobile store management app on the tablet and ShopApp on the phone screen

Our free WordPress plugin is a part of the Ecwid omnichannel story. Wherever you go, your Ecwid store goes with you. Start selling your products in a blink, without any special knowledge.

Get the Ecwid plugin for WordPress

Ecwid and Gutenberg: the Easiest Way to Start Selling on a WordPress Website

Ecwid and Gutenberg are a perfect alliance for growing your e-commerce sales on WordPress. Both tools are code-free and developer-free, so you’ll have a consistent experience without any hassle. As soon as you install both plugins, Ecwid will be integrated directly into the Gutenberg editor.

Combine rich content blocks with powerful Ecwid E-Commerce features:

Ecwid ecommerce for wordpress

Add a "Buy Now" button to your content block

Ecwid ecommerce for wordpress

Place a single product anywhere on a webpage

Ecwid ecommerce for wordpress

Or increase your sales by adding your whole product catalog

Organize your page content into a compelling story: add headings, bullet point lists, photo galleries, audio and video files, tables, buttons, spacers, widgets, embeds from social media, and so much more.

Gutenberg is slated to be included into WordPress 5.0, but you can try the plugin right now. As for Ecwid, our e-commerce plugin for WordPress is up and running, and we add more and more features to it every month.

Happy selling!

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Yana Frank: How I Made Multilingual Product Descriptions Convenient Thu, 28 Jun 2018 10:46:29 +0000

The author of this post is an Ecwid merchant. If you have an Ecwid e-commerce store and would like to share your expertise or give advice to aspiring online entrepreneurs, you can get published in our blog too.

Hello, fellow Ecwid merchants! My name is Yana Frank. The internet knows me as an illustrator, author, and blogger. I’ve been running my Ecwid store Miu Mau for many years.

As any merchant, I’m always trying to make my online store more convenient for my customers. Today I’d like to share a case study based on my experience with Ecwid E-Commerce.

My store is special. I sell in three countries to a very diverse audience using just one website, and I’ve managed to display perfect product descriptions in three different languages at the same time. No clumsy machine translations.

If you are selling (or are going to sell) internationally like me, then you are the one I’m writing this for. Come aboard!

My store, Miu Mau

My store, Miu Mau


I am an illustrator and a designer from Russia, and I’ve been living in Germany for 28 years. I’ve worked as an illustrator and have drawn comics, studied advertising graphics, and then worked as a designer, art director, and creative director in agencies.

I’ve been sharing stories about my life on my top 20 in the rating of all Russian blogs.

After I moved abroad, I created a personal website where I spoke about my life, my work, and my blog. I made the website multilingual since my readers speak several languages. They are German and English speakers from Berlin, as well as readers from Russia, Russian-speaking people in the EU, and readers from English-speaking countries.

The audience is so diverse that I let them switch the language of the website manually — English, German, or Russian.

Yana Frank online store

Readers can choose the language themselves — right under the logo


I used to run my Ecwid store separately from my personal website for a long time.

Ecwid supports over 50 languages. It can detect the language of a customer’s browser and switches the storefront language to it. That was quite convenient, but I wasn’t sure if it’d be enough for my audience, which had got used to having manual control over the languages on my personal website.

I decided to find out their preferences before adding my store to my website. So I asked my customers in a blog survey which option they preferred:

  • the store automatically switches to their browser’s language;
  • the store has an option to switch languages manually.

The majority said they wanted both! Surprisingly, automated switching to the browser’s language became a problem in some cases.

Imagine: You are an English native speaker and you live and work in Germany. Your browser language is set to German, but you prefer to read my blog in your mother tongue, and you select it manually. However, when you click on the online store tab, the store language switches to German.

So all the product descriptions are now in German too. It can be confusing — and you can’t switch back to English because it’s automated.

I have quite a large number of such readers, so I needed to make the translations work both ways. People wanted to have an option, and I couldn’t let them guess what the product descriptions say. If you want to make more sales, quality product descriptions are super important.


By default, a customer’s browser settings determine your Ecwid storefront language. You can enable or disable built-in Ecwid languages, or make your store always display in one language.

In my case, I needed both automated translation and manual switching to three languages. I decided to go to the Ecwid App Market.

Translatable Product and Category Descriptions

First, I installed the Translatable Product and Category Descriptions app. It allows you to add product descriptions in different languages. This app uses shortcodes or language blocks. They are used to show language-specific content to your store visitors. They look like this:

[lang=”en”]Your description here[/lang]

"Your description here" — here’s where I put product descriptions in English, German, and Russian. Then I added the three blocks in the description field in Ecwid.

multilingual product descriptions

The description in this language block is shown only to people whose browser’s language is German

Even though the store now was multilingual, it detected the browser’s language and showed one of the three descriptions automatically. Not exactly what my customers wanted.

Switching to the Tabber app

I tried the Tabber app that adds tabs to the product descriptions. It uses shortcodes that look like this:

[tab name=Your text]

"Your text" — here’s where I put languages’ names. The description itself comes after the shortcode. You can place tabs under the product image, in the sidebar, or across the bottom. I prefer the latter option.

So I put three different descriptions in separate tabs for every product in the store. Thanks to the tabs, my descriptions don’t look messy. Tabs are responsive, so they adapt to the screen width. You can also choose a tab theme and customize it.

multilingual product descriptions 2

Start a new tab in your product description by adding the special short code

The Result

I’ve reopened my store and already got positive feedback, and sales keep coming in. Now my customers can read the product descriptions in any language. When they look through the products in the store, they can manually choose the language of the product description.

This is how the product description looks now

Hopefully, my experience will help you to build a multilingual store that customers all over the world find convenient to use. As you see, being creative with apps and solutions helps even in tricky cases. Good luck!

Also read: International Business Online: How to Start Selling Globally

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Listen Up, We Launch the Ecwid E-Commerce Show Tue, 26 Jun 2018 07:05:00 +0000

Starting your own online business can be lonely at times. There are so many things you can do to grow, but what should you do first? Sometimes there is technical jargon that sounds confusing that you need someone to slow it down and explain it to you in a real language you can understand. Do you ever wish your good friend was in your ear telling what you should do first and what you can ignore?

Join us as we launch the Ecwid E-Commerce Show — a weekly podcast to deliver to your ears the real advice you need to move your business forward.

Over 1.5 million Ecwid merchants in 175 countries sell their products online and in-person and we want to share their stories with you. We will look behind-the-scenes of their business and their best e-commerce practices and what challenges they have overcome.

The podcast makes a good companion to our blog and virtual e-commerce library. Now you can keep learning, no matter where you are.

Apple podcast stitcher

The show is hosted by Jesse Ness, Marketing Manager at Ecwid, a digital marketer with over 10 years of experience in e-commerce and online marketing for platforms, agencies and his own side hustles.

Co-hosted and produced by Richard Otey — a marketing strategist with over 13 years in e-commerce with experience in payments, e-commerce design, SEO, SEM, and email marketing. His current focus is on the content production and helping e-commerce store owners with the customer journey by producing audio and live streaming to attract awareness and build consumer trust.

Richard and Jesse

Richard (on the left) and Jesse (on the right)

The show will live under the "Listen" tab of our new navigation bar:

New navigation

Tune in for the real-life stories of successful Ecwid merchants, expert advice of Ecwid partners and friends, and all sorts of e-commerce inspiration.

Jump to the first episode → 

Want to beсome a guest? Tell us why your story would make a great listen and your business will be promoted to the entire Ecwid community.

We’d love to hear back from you: share your feedback in the comments or on If you like our show, a rating and review would help to attract more ears and allow us to keep sharing with the Ecwid community.

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How to Become an Entrepreneur: 18 Ecwid Merchants Share Their Advice Tue, 19 Jun 2018 08:44:48 +0000

If you’ve ever thought about becoming an entrepreneur, you might have wondered what it takes. It might seem like a challenge — and it is. However, more than 28 million small business owners in the US alone will assure you that even though it’s demanding, it’s also possible and worthwhile.

Here at Ecwid, we believe there’s nothing more inspiring than the words of those who’ve found their way in different types of entrepreneurship. So let us pass the microphone to successful Ecwid merchants who’ll share their knowledge and answer a short but difficult question:

How Do You Become an Entrepreneur?

Elizabeth, Cloud 9Elizabeth Cieloch, Cloud 9:

Work out your costs accurately and ensure you price your products or services correctly from the outset. It’s so important not to undervalue your skills or your time, which is easy to do when you are starting out and trying to build your customer base.

Keep in mind, you don’t want to attract just any customer; you want to attract the right customer — people who appreciate the value of your products or services and are happy to pay accordingly, not those who value a bargain over quality.

Joriam PhilipeJoriam Philipe, JoJoJo:

There’s some kind of magic in prototyping, testing, asking lots of questions. Do it often and humbly accept whatever comes — especially the facial expressions of the testers. There will be a point when people are going to start asking if they can buy your shitty-looking prototype. It’s hard to doubt yourself after that.

Be weird. Be daring. Be the Mad Hatter. Nobody’s interested in another Italian restaurant, but everybody’s interested in an Italian restaurant underwater. The biggest risk you can take is not taking risks at all — people will smell boredom miles away, like a wounded gazelle in the savanna. Don’t let them. Be bold and unexpected.

Deepak SrivastavaDeepak Srivastava, Feedkart:

I would like to say: "One swallow does not make a summer." I am very lucky, I have the best business partner, who helps me in every situation. I attribute the firm’s success to the efforts of my partner Akshit Batra.

Sandie WongSandie Wong, Sweet Memories:

As an entrepreneur, I face challenges around every corner, but my energy and determination have definitely got me through many of the hurdles. Never stop learning!

Do you also want to become an entrepreneur? Do it today and create your free online store with Ecwid.

Stacey KentStacey Kent, Kentholz:

The biggest thing you need to realize is that it’s a hustle, you have to scrap and fight for it in the beginning. It’s never going to come easy, even if everything is online. Being resilient is absolutely the key and there is no substitute for putting in the hard yards.

In the beginning, do one thing and one thing well, and make sure every single customer is happy regardless of what it costs you. And most importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff, but look at the big picture and trust your idea.

Vladimir and SergeyVladimir Ilchenko, Artel "W":

I’ve loved miniatures since I was a child. They were my hobby for a long time, but at some point I understood the market couldn’t offer the miniatures I’d love to have in my collection.

Eventually, the efforts, the skills, and the love for miniatures resulted in Artel "W". Talented 3D-sculptor Sergei Rinkov and I joined forces and turned our hobby into a profession. Our team continues to grow and we make customers happy all over the world.

In my opinion, this is the secret to a successful business — you need not only willing hands and a talent, but also a passion. You have to be truly enthusiastic about your business, grow, and be the best because you love what you do.

DonnaDonna Samuel, Babyeze:

Being an entrepreneur requires a serious amount of sacrifice, with rewards only coming about after years of hard work. I answer emails at 2:00 a.m., stay open longer hours for customers who cannot make opening hours, and drive to their address if there are issues. It has been a hard struggle and I have learnt plenty whilst being in business, but there will be future hurdles to overcome and plenty more experience to acquire.

Bradley ElkinsBradley Elkins, Viba Hardware Inc:

Becoming an entrepreneur was something that happened when my skills, my passion, and a market problem came together at the right time. I have done online marketing for my entire career, and I have always loved home renovation projects and helping other people with their renovations.

Barn doors and rolling doors have become very popular, but it is difficult to find proper advice and a large selection of styles and sizes. Viba Hardware allows me to provide expertise and advice to solve my customers’ renovation problems; Ecwid provides me with the ability to offer a ton of custom options on my products so customers can get exactly what they need to complete their dream renovation.

Chris EverstenChris Evertsen, Karbon Speed:

Everybody has a moment in their life when they say: "What if… wouldn’t that be a great idea?" A key to any entrepreneur is to act on that impulse idea. That doesn’t necessarily mean diving in blindly, but acting in a quick, reasonable, and methodical manner, weighing the pros and cons of that idea.

Entrepreneurs are action takers, not bystanders. Every good idea that comes from that action should result in sales, and Ecwid makes that part really easy!

Out of ideas on what to sell? Here’s how an online entrepreneur can find trending products for their store.

Lasse LähteenmäkiLasse Lähteenmäki, Robin Ruth:

I’d say that there are 3 common denominators in the successful entrepreneurs I have had the privilege to meet: high stamina, working ethics, and a hunger to constantly learn new things. I’d say that if you want to become an entrepreneur, find out what motivates you in life and be ready to work 24 hours a day for it, and then add a couple of more hours to work even more, and the success will follow. You will enjoy every second of it.

John WatsonJohn Watson, Way Of Life Foods:

You have to be passionate about the service or product you are undertaking first and foremost. Without passion and drive, a business won’t nearly reach its fullest potential. Running out of steam along the way to keep at it when times get challenging and reality doesn’t live up to your expectations, can be detrimental — love what you do and what you provide to others, that is what will ultimately make you successful.

Kim LivingstoneKim Livingstone, Sand And Stone Jewelry:

You have to have heart and have the courage to be vulnerable. You have to work when you don’t want to and while everyone else is asleep. Be kind and give back, stay true to yourself, and you will succeed.

Becoming an entrepreneur is easier when you’re inspired. Here’s 10 TED Talks about doing business that can motivate you to go the extra mile.

Anna Anna Crommelin, Think Love Live:

Becoming an entrepreneur is not the hard part. I believe we are all creative and have that entrepreneurial spirit at heart. The hard part is taking an idea, putting it into action, and committing to the journey.

My business Think Love Live began with an idea in 2015: stylish, ethical, eco-friendly, and affordable clothes for all women. It took time and energy to bring this ideal to action, and I soon realized that I needed an entrepreneurial community to test ideas and to support the wins and the failures.

My advice is to be open, be fearless, and not to think people are out to steal your idea. Get out from behind that computer and ask for help. We need other people and I have found that a community of entrepreneurs is better than riding solo. You will be surprised how many people want to see you succeed. Good luck!

Liz RautenbachLiz Rautenbach, Gracious Bakers:

Have an original idea that you are passionate about. Act on it, don’t wait to be ready, the only time is now! Persevere at all costs even if you fail; stand up and try again. Your biggest success will be just one step beyond your biggest failure. The only real failure is the failure of not trying.

Amanda SpellsAmanda Spells, The Little Boathouse:

Being in business is easy, but being passionate and always looking to grow and find new ideas to grow your business, no matter how niche your market, is sometimes more challenging.

It’s the difference between having your own business and running it successfully and most importantly enjoying it too. Without enjoyment and fulfillment, your business is just a shop window like so many others, it’s what you do with it that makes it come alive, tell its story, and attract customers to visit and come back for more.

Leroy HiteLeroy Hite, Cutting Edge Firewood:

Find something you are passionate about and follow through on that idea. Success takes years of gritty hard teamwork.


Tenina HolderTenina Holder, Cooking with Tenina:

Never stop working. If you want something, just work harder than your competitors. And don’t forget, the customer isn’t always right, but they usually have just miscommunicated what they wanted!

Simone Da SilvaSimone Da Silva, We Wood:

Becoming an entrepreneur is by no means an easy option, as you will lose stability and some months will have you wondering if you made the right choice. The reward comes through the push. Push through the hard days and you will reach the good days, and the good days are what makes all the sweat worth it.


Let’s continue in the comments: what are the main characteristics of an entrepreneur in your opinion? What do you think are the most important entrepreneurial skills? We’d love to hear your ideas and we believe many aspiring business owners would too.

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Google Shopping: Now Fully Automated and Optimized With Ecwid Wed, 13 Jun 2018 17:44:24 +0000

As a merchant, you’re probably always on the hunt for the most effective ways of driving traffic to your store.

Hands down, Google is the largest and most powerful search engine in the world. We’ve made it a piece of cake to use that to your advantage.

Now, you can run automatically optimized Google Shopping Ads to market your products to shoppers at the moment they start searching.

The process of advertising your products on Google is easier than ever with the benefits of our new integration:

  • Fully automated advertising. Campaigns are built and optimized for you, completely hands-free.
  • Easy to use for everyone. Yes, even if you have little to no experience in e-commerce. Our step-by-step wizard will help you to set up a campaign and start selling.
  • Real-time stats and control over your campaigns. Listing your products is just the beginning. Our new solution is able to see granular performance data and make tiny tweaks to optimize your campaign, which saves you time and money

In this article, we’ll explain how the new Google Shopping integration works and how your Ecwid store can benefit from it. If you can’t wait to try the new functionality, feel free to go to the Control Panel and follow the wizard.

Connect to Google Shopping

Advertising on Google Shopping: Why You Should Use It

Google Shopping Ads allow you to create a paid advertising campaign, which displays your product information. This is an image, title, price, and your business name when people search for products online.

It looks like this:

Google Shopping ads

Product listing ads display at the top of search results, above search ads

Depending on your advertising budget and how frequently you want your Google Shopping Ads to appear, you can spend as much or as little as you like on these campaigns.

Creating a Google Shopping campaign can offer a variety of benefits to your online store, including:

  • Quality leads. You’re more likely to attract potential customers who are looking for exactly what you sell.
  • Increased site traffic. Ads funnel customers directly to your website.
  • Higher click-through rates. Customers are more likely to click on images than text when shopping.
  • Lower click costs. You can continually refine your bidding strategy for your campaign to spend exactly what you want to.
  • Reaching shoppers across the web. Your ads will be shown to people who are looking for your brand and products on, Google Images, and YouTube.

Three Steps to  Start Selling on Google Shopping With Ecwid

Launching your Google Shopping Ads requires zero special skills:

  1. Choose a target audience.
  2. Choose products to advertise.
  3. Launch your сampaign.

Setting up Google Shopping in Ecwid

That’s it! You’ve created a paid advertising campaign, fully automated and optimized right from your Ecwid Control Panel. There’s nothing more for you to do except tracking the results of your campaign in your store dashboard.

All Ecwid merchants on the Venture plan and higher can connect to Google Shopping.

To list your products with Google Shopping go to the Ecwid Control Panel → All sales channels → Google Shopping, then click Enable.

List Ecwid store products on Google Shopping

Google Shopping setup page in the Ecwid Control Panel

Then click Get Started in the welcome screen and complete all the necessary steps. Visit the Ecwid Help Center for more details. As always, the Ecwid support team is available to assist if you have any questions.

Google XML Feeds for Advanced Users

By all means, we recommend using our new automated Google Shopping solution. However, you may want to generate your products feed in Google format to manage your listings manually in Google Merchant Center or other marketplaces.

We are keeping this opportunity available for you. If you still want to manage your campaigns manually, generate and download your product XML feed in the Google Shopping format and upload it to your Google Merchant Center. This is also available under Sales channels → Google Shopping in your Control Panel.


Thank you for reading the whole piece — it means you are interested in selling on Google Shopping! We’ve prepared a special deal for the first 1,000 participating Ecwid merchants — a FREE $150 advertising credit voucher from Google!

Spend $150 within 31 days and we’ll automatically top up your account with an additional $150 worth of advertising credit. The offer is valid for new Google advertisers only.

Take advantage of the offer and let us know in the comment section what your experience has been with the platform.

Happy selling!

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