Spring Cleaning: Five Ways to Improve Your Ecommerce Site

Spring is on the horizon, so you know what that means. Spring-cleaning time is coming soon too. This yearly refresh is more than just a reminder to dust your home; it’s also a chance to revitalize your ecommerce business, attract new customers and delight loyal shoppers. Here are five easy ways to improve your ecommerce site during spring-cleaning season.

1. Putting Old Goods on Clearance

You know the saying, “out with the old and in with the new.” That’s what spring is all about. So, take a moment to review your product offerings. Find the outdated merchandise on your site and offer it a discount. Be sure to promote these sales over social media and email marketing. As this stuff is sold off, you will have more room to add new items. This is also an opportunity to generate new interest in your e-store, especially as consumers come off the holiday hangover and start shopping again.

2. Switch to the Cloud

Are you still hosting your ecommerce site from an at-home server? If so, you are likely missing out on some of the benefits and functionalities of the cloud. Cloud-based ecommerce allows storeowners to scale their sites to accommodate more traffic. Even better, most cloud platform providers are plug-and-play, meaning you can change certain elements of the site without having to take a deep dive into coding. Many cloud-based ecommerce platform providers offer free website templates. Among other benefits his makes redesign a breeze! Especially if you want to change your website at will to match certain holidays and seasons—which brings us to…

3. Update Your Design

It’s a new year. Shouldn’t you have a new store design to match? Try updating your e-store design to attract customers. But don’t just change things willy-nilly. That won’t do anybody any good. Instead, take a moment to see how you can improve your store. Perhaps you need to update your checkout process to make it quicker and easier to use. Maybe you need to consolidate your FAQ, contact and about us pages for greater ease of use. Try putting yourself in a consumer mindset to see what needs to be changed and why.

4. Revamp Your Logo

Another idea is to give your logo a facelift. It’s entirely possible that your brand identityhas changed over the past year. You might have gone from a fun and fresh ecommerce page, to something a little more professional. Yet, your logo is still mired in a bubbly and silly history. If this is the case, try swapping your logo for something a little more mature, with muted colors and sleek lines. It could be the evolution you need to attract your target audience.

5. Prep Your Yearly Schedule

We all like to believe the New Year will be full of changes and surprises. To make it happen, take some time now to prepare for the next 12 months. After all, our calendar is cyclical. You already know when the big holidays will arrive and when the seasons will change. So, in a way, you already know when your hottest sales will occur and when your seasonal slumps will crop up. Lay in the groundwork now by writing down these occurrences and beginning to prepare for them. For example, you can anticipate your summer blow out sale and your holiday bundle deal long before they ever happen. By doing so, you can get ahead of your competition and set yourself up for success.

The bottom line is that spring is a time for refreshment. Why not rejuvenate your ecommerce store while you can? These five easy ways to improve your ecommerce site during spring-cleaning season will get you started.



Leading E-commerce Website Design Trends of 2016

The ultimate goal of e-commerce websites is to get the conversion. Even leading e-commerce sites work for the same goal. And for the accomplishment of the goal, it is essential to include the leading e-commerce website designs that are in the trend now.

We have chosen some of the most trending e-commerce website designs for this year that are going to remain alive for longer. Thus, in the case, you are anywhere near to plan an e-commerce website, here are the leading elements that must be taken care of while designing the same.

Above the Fold Web Design

Emerged as an essential newspaper design, above the fold design got extremely popular for e-commerce websites also. The element is added to offer the most important content of the web above the fold. With this designing element in action, the visitors are presented with the most important web element just after they open a website.

The dimension of the fold varies for responsive & non-responsive layout. The most common dimensions are from 1024*786 pixels to 1280*1024, after reducing the browser navigation bar, scroll bar, window element, etc.

Flat Design

image001

The giant search engine Google along with Microsoft and Apple are also in support of flat design. There is nothing new about flat design but have suddenly become one of the most important web design trends now. Flat design is in trend not only because it is eye-pleasing but also because it is easier to understand.

For developers, the good news is that it is easy to develop and make responsive as well. More to this, the extraordinary elements of the flat design help users to concentrate on the web content.

Tiled Navigation

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Tiled navigation is extremely popular among e-commerce sites as it offers a captivating experience to the users. E-commerce websites offer a preview of the products in the form of tiles using images. These product images are not only high in resolution but also much more appealing if compared with the text for the similar product.

Thus, titled navigation is all that website owners can get benefited from. No website can bear the loss wherein visitors come to their website and leave the same without completing the desired action. Tiled navigation can thus be used to grab the attention of the visitors, hold them for longer and appeal them to accomplish the desired purchasing action.

Large and Flexible Typography

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Making use of large, flexible typography for the content adds more to this element. Content, on the other hand, should be centered to make it more engaging.

Large and flexible typography plays an important role in creating a robust brand identity, which additionally attracts potential visitors over the website. Adding this element easily guarantees the popularity of the website among the visitors.

Hamburger Menu

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Hamburger menu helps website owners cut a lot of clutter on an e-commerce website and hide them behind these menus. These menus are used as an important element of mobiles only but today their usages have extended to desktop websites also.

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Hamburger menu is a wise choice for developers to save the considerable screen space. Besides this, improved user experience is an add-on when combining the effects of hamburger menu in any e-commerce website.

Good CTA Button

Call to action buttons are used for a variety of reasons. However, the main aim lies in getting visitors on the website and making them accomplish certain actions. These certain actions can let them to add a product to their cart, getting related information, downloading something or any other such stuff.

A good CTA is thus a chance provided to the user to accomplish any of the above-written examples. For the website owners, on the other hand, it is an opportunity to guide the users towards getting an easy conversion.

Hero Images

Vision is the strongest human sense and thus, the large and beautiful hero images are very much popular as the leading trend in the e-commerce website designing. Hero images have evolved to be a compelling element to grab users’ attention towards a website. Hero images above the scroll followed by a card based arrangement are slowly gaining the attention.

Most of the hero images are photographs that have some kind of relation with the content posted on the website. Such images drive the users towards the site. The soothing and pleasing colors of these images add more to the overall appearance of the website.

Rich Motion Animation

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Rich motion animation contributes to websites’ enhanced storytelling. This makes the browsing experience more interactive and entertaining for the visitors. Different websites make use of different animation techniques, and one of them is motion animation.

Human eyes are naturally drawn to motion, which makes motion animation a perfect element for an e-commerce website. Motion also enhances the visual hierarchy, thus making the websites more appealing for the visitors. This makes the picture more interesting over the websites.

Responsiveness

Responsiveness has become one of the leading trends for the e-commerce websites just after the Google changed the algorithm for not ranking the non-mobile friendly websites in the search result feed. The algorithm has come at a time when mobile e-commerce (only in the US) has a 30% market share, which is much more in other countries of the world.

As responsiveness makes it easy to access a website on any of the devices, it is very much important for website owners to invest in this element to extend the reach of their websites. Including the responsive technique is not all, do ensure to check the same through responsive design testing tool.

Large Photography and Videos

“A picture is worth a thousand words” finds excellent relevance with large photography and videos as one of the most important elements for website designing. In the web arena today, large picture and images rule the sites. In order to enhance the effect of these images, web designers and developers optimize the elements within the images to boost their impact over the visitors.

At one place where such designs hold the visitors for longer, they are also excellent to deliver the messages instead of writing any content, on the other. Thus, embrace the large photography and videos this year.

Conclusion

While these trends keep on appearing and getting replaced by the newer ones, here is the sum up of the most important web design element trend for the year 2016



Top 10 Free WordPress Themes for WooCommerce

How much were you prepared to splurge on your online storefront’s look and aesthetic appeal? 60, 80, maybe 100 USD? What if you could get a great look for your WordPress and WooCommerce powered store for the low, low cost of nothing?

That’s true, and that’s possible thanks to the brilliant and amazing theme developers of WordPress. The following themes could be the results of methodical experimentation with great design and good code, or they may have been created because the author is building up a portfolio and testing his/her own strengths in the current market.

Regardless, here are 10 WooCommerce-compatible WordPress themes, available to you for free:

1. Make

Make

Author: themefoundry
Available at: WordPress.org Theme Repository, Themefoundry.com

Make by Theme Foundry is simple and sophisticated.

The theme packs a Page Builder which is actually simple to grasp and work with (there are starter guides available for this theme). The design is clean and user-friendly: with no unsightly bumps in terms of navigation and general interface usability at all.

The theme is not only compatible with WooCommerce but also works very beautifully with other selling plugins Easy Digital Downloads. It’s also compatible with conversion-centered plugins like Gravity Forms and Nelio A/B Testing.

The theme is built with collaboration between experienced WordPress Geeks. It’s sharp and fast.

2. Mystile

Mystile

Author: Woothemes
Available at: Woothemes.com

The theme is developed on Woo Framework and it’s developed by Woothemes. There’s no chance of it lacking in any way or form for eCommerce.

Mystile has no support, but it does have custom homepage, lots of shortcodes, great design configurations, and designed specifically for WooCommerce. It’s WooCommerce widget-specific post types and templates are created for perfect integration with the rest of the design, along with product categories, descriptions, cart and checkout, user-accounts and profiles, et al.

For every online store powered by WooCommerce (1 million and counting), this theme is a must have, if only to see what truly amazing WooCommerce themes are supposed to be like

3. iTek

iTek

Author: Brian Harris, Zulfikar Nore
Available at: WordPress.org Theme Repository, WPStrapCode.com

iTek is pretty feature packed in terms of design, almost as much as a premium theme (but not quite).

The theme allows 4 menu locations (3 typical and 1 for social links), sidebar and showcase area for widgets, 3 custom-made widgets (Ephemera, Page Showcase, and a Recent Posts widget by iTek. The design incorporates parallax, great transitions and effects, and lets you tinker with background colors and images.

The theme supports WooCommerce and bbPress. It’s also capable of localizing global stores with Translation-readiness.

4. RestImpo

RestImpo

Author: Tomas Toman
Available at: WordPress.org Theme Repository, TomasToman.cz

RestImpo’s design tells a lot about the Czech theme author Toman’s artistic soul.

With a beatific design and accompanying customization options, RestImpo is multipurpose. It comes with multiple menu areas, couple of custom widgets, widgetized homepage, over 200 fonts, and social networking icons.

The theme supports right to left (RTL) languages while already packing localization friendly translations in Czech, Danish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish and more.

By this point, the fact that it’s WooCommerce compatible is only a ceremony.

5. Sparkling

Sparkling

Author: Colorlib
Available at: Colorlib.com

WooCommerce compatibility used to be a premium theme feature in Colorlib’s Sparkling theme. Not anymore.

This free theme is superbly designed and packs a pretty powerful punch in terms of clean code and compliance as well as fabulous Flat design built with Bootstrap 3. It is full to the brim with amazing features like full screen sliders, infinite scroll, FontAwesome icons, and endless color options.

The theme is WPML-friendly, retina-ready, and extensively documented. The authors also provide theme support for Sparkling’s free version.

6. Fruitful

Fruitful

Author: Fruitful Code
Available at: WordPress.org Theme Repository, themes.Fruitfulcode.com

Fruitful is free, fantastically coded, and fabulously designed by people who gave preference to brains over tackiness.

Packing lots of whitespace that doesn’t feel surgical, Fruitful has a nicely crafted theme options panel which lets you configure everything from backgrounds, headers and footers, logos and favicons, menus, fonts, and more. It has jQuery Flex and Nivo slider which are considerably better for SEO than the chunky ones people pay for. It supports both responsive and fixed width layouts

The theme is super easy to work with and compatible with WooCommerce and WPML plugins.

7. Vantage

Vantage

Author: Greg Priday
Available at: WordPress.org Theme Repository, SiteOrigin.com

Vantage is simple, efficient, and multipurpose.

This brilliantly coded theme packs a great Page Builder with responsive page layouts built-in, a MetaSlider plugin, a whole load of third party plugins already bundled and integrated within the theme.

It’s compatible with WooCommerce, and guess what. Priday actually, proactively supports his free theme.

8. Dazzling

Dazzling

Author: Colorlib
Available at: Colorlib.com

This is Sparkling’s sister theme from Colorlib.

The only difference between the two themes is layout and design. Otherwise, Dazzling packs the same superb featured slider, Font awesome icons, unlimited color options, infinite scroll, and more.

The theme is translation ready, WooCommerce compatible, retina-ready, and supported by theme authors, not to mention the thorough documentation.

9. Klasik

Klasik

Author: KlasikThemes
Available at: WordPress.org Theme Repository, KlasikThemes.com

The author intends this theme to be used more as a framework / parent theme than anything else. With a great base filled with a dozen amazing custom widgets, RTL support, WPML compatibility, and the nicely optimized (search engine as well as performance) code, the theme ensures smooth functioning and a UX-friendly wireframe for you to style with child themes and custom CSS.

There are 6 widget areas and the theme works well with all FontAwesome icons. The theme supports WooCommerce and WPML translations plugins too.

Klasik Framework is a base/starter theme for quicker WordPress theme development. Perfect to use as business, portfolio, gallery, blog, personal and any kind of websites. Theme features 6 widget area, 12 custom widget and simple Theme Option for full CMS control with easy Logo Upload, etc. Klasik

10. Unite

Unite

Author: Colorlib
Available at: Colorlib.com

Colorlib’s Unite takes the mantle as the theme we’ll close this post with.

Like Sparkling and Dazzling, WooCommerce compatibility is only newly available with Unite. But the theme’s artistically minimalist design, along with the usual plethora of full page slider, font awesome icons, infinite scroll, retina-ready interface, and translation ready files would have made the theme a great choice even without it.

Endnote

The themes listed above are taken from trusted sources only and checked for good, error free code and compatibility issues with the most popular plugins. So far, all of them passed the test, which is why they are here.



Magento Vs LemonStand: Comparison between two eCommerce platforms

E-commerce is one of the fastest growing industries across the globe. Thousands and millions of businesses are making the use of different online platforms to build a highly interactive and professional-looking eCommerce store. When it comes to the most innovative and contemporary eCommerce software, LemonStand is the first name that strikes to my mind. Although, it is a brand-new eCommerce solution, its advanced features, and highly flexible functions allow webmasters and site owners to create a fully-customizable e-store in a matter of few minutes.

LemonStand
LemonStand

LemonStand is a feature-rich platform that allows you to build an engaging and intriguing online store the way you want. It lets you customize the design of your store without constraints and heavy lifting. You can even customize your own checkout, without redirects to another website.

However, most of the business owners, especially those who are new in the web development industry don’t know much about this platform. To help you understand more about this software, we will compare the LemonStand with one of the most popular and flexible eCommerce software – Magento. It is a widely-used CMS platform that lets you build beautiful and functional online store with ease. It comes in two editions: Magento Community Edition (CE) and Magento Enterprise Edition (EE)

Magento
Magento platform

Magento Community Edition is an open source platform, which is free to download, install, use and modify. On the other side, Magento Enterprise Edition is a licensed software, designed especially for large scale businesses that need extra features and functions. In this comparison, we cover both the editions to help you make the decision quickly and efficiently.

Through this blog post, we will try to explore more about the LemonStand eCommerce software and help you make the best possible decision for your business.

Easy to Deploy

The first step with any eCommerce platform is to install and start up an online store. If you want to get an instance of Magento (both the CE and EE) up, you need an assistance of professional IT person.

Since, it includes installing and configuring one or multiple servers such as operating systems, database servers, web servers, and other system elements before running up a store, so you may need to hire a reliable hosting provider who can do all these stuff for you. But still, you need to manually set up your database server, upload Magento installation scripts, upload sample databases through FTP. But for large scale businesses, it becomes crucial and complicated to manage all these things effectively and efficiently.

On the other side, LemonStand is a Software as a service platform, so you don’t need to manage operating systems, set up databases and even don’t need to install software. All you need to do is to enter some basic information regarding your business on your site, and the LemonStand store automatically deployed in a matter of few minutes.

Winner: LemonStand

Apps and extensions

Magento is a great solution for those who wants to create a custom eCommerce store, without any coding skills. It offers thousands of beautiful and powerful apps and extensions to let you build anything. Since Magento Community Extension is open source platforms, you can get plenty of free or open-source extensions that can be used to extend the functionality of the store with ease.

LemonStand is a brand-new tool and site owners can already integrate with loads of apps through API and dropping code into a theme template to run their online business. In simple words, LemonStand doesn’t offer too many options to extend the functionality of the store.

magento-extensions

Usability

Running a Magento site is quite challenging when it comes to usability. Since Magento is one of the most primitive eCommerce platforms, the user experience also looks obsolete and outdated. In fact, most of the users find it difficult to run a Magento store (particularly novice users) due to the complicated user interface.

While, LemonStand is a newer platform, so they focused on providing the world-best user experience to their potential customers. In fact, some of the LemonStand users are finding it a simple and intuitive platform, allowing them to complete their task quickly and efficiently.

lemonstand-ecommerce-dashboard
LemonStand – Dashboard

Flexibility in developing eCommerce stores

Magento is a developer-friendly eCommerce platform, so you will get complete access to all of its code and database. Experienced web developers can easily customize the Magento store, without any hassle. And for large scale businesses, Magento is an ideal solution. But for effective results, you need to hire an experienced and professional development team that can help you develop your Magento store, without any pitfalls.

At LemonStand, you will get complete flexibility to develop your store, without any complexity. It includes a flexible theme engine that lets you customize each and every aspect of your store. Even, you can customize the checkout process, which is commonly locked down on SaaS platforms.

Plus, its powerful REST API and Webhooks support allow web developers to extend, integrate and even customize the functionality of the store with ease.

Habitat - Magento
Habitat was built using Magento

Implementation Costs

The cost involved in developing Magento store can vary from business to business. At Magento, you can create a simple and user-friendly website at an affordable price. But if you want more advanced functions and features, you need to invest a lot of money.

Since developing a Magento store is a complex; implementation cost for developing custom store could go beyond the 5 or even 6 figures and take many months to complete the project.

LemonStand is a cloud-based eCommerce solution; so it takes less time and effort to developing a custom store. This means you don’t need to spend a big implementation cost for developing a LemonStand store.

Charlotte Hosten Boutique - Built with LemonStand
Charlotte Hosten Boutique – Built with LemonStand

Technical Support

Technical support is one of the most crucial factors that can help you create an interactive store with ease. Magento Enterprise Edition is a licensed platform, so it offers robust technical support to their clients. Magento Community Edition is a free and open source platform, so there is no technical support for their potential customers.

Since, LemonStand is a modern eCommerce platform, so it tends to provide the quick and effective technical support to their customers. They try to provide the best technical and customer support that can help their customers to accomplish their tasks on time.

Security Risk

Security is also a crucial factor, especially for eCommerce websites where web customers to process payments online after buying a product for a particular e-store. Business owners who use Magento store are responsible for verifying whether their infrastructure is safe and secure or not. They also need to keep their customer data secure.   However, due to some regulations, such as PCI, it is quite difficult for site owners to keep their store safe and secure.

LemonStand takes care the security of your site because it a hosted within PCI DSS compliant infrastructure, which is audited by an independent Qualified Security Assessor. In fact, the platform never saves customer’s data and use SSL encryption on all web pages.

Conclusion

So, there is a huge difference between the LemonStand, Magento CE, and Magento EE eCommerce platforms.

If you are running a large scale business and selling a ton of products, you should use the Magento Enterprise Edition. If you want a flexible and user-friendly platform, I would recommend you to use LemonStand. It is a great platform for building a custom designed online store with ease.