As promised, Volusion has raised the curtain on a handful of new rollouts. But, before we embark on an adjective frenzy to display our happiness for V13 updates like enhanced mobile capabilities, automatic tax rates, Volusion mobile apps and new storefront page editor, let’s cut to the chase and get into some first-hand details. We spent the past week playing around with the different features and here are our findings.
Enhanced Mobile Commerce
With more people than ever buying directly from the phone or tablet, ecommerce stores should be putting their best foot forward on mobile devices. In order to help storeowners cater to on-the-fly buyers, Volusion has rolled out a long-awaited mobile commerce update.
Aside from minor aesthetics enhancements, the main functionality upgrade appears during checkout. On the old checkout process, mobile users would go through the buying cycle via a mobile-friendly version of the site. Then, when time came to complete the order, customers were redirected back to the non-mobile version of the checkout page.
Now, shoppers will see a mobile-friendly version of the desired site throughout the entire buying cycle, from start to cart. While functionality of the product and category pages are relatively untouched, the checkout process is now much easier to manage. No longer will users be required to expand tiny, non-mobile friendly buttons to go from page to page. Instead, they’re served up a clean and seamless cart experience, which will inevitably get them through the process faster and increase conversion rates for site owners.
Furthermore, the upgrade gives owners the option to add custom field names for checkout pages, add custom contact information in the footer of checkout pages and the ability to display detected credit card type when customer enters credit card information.
How To Set-Up: To enable mobile enhancements, simply go into your Volusion admin dashboard, navigate to Design > Mobile, then under select ‘on,’ under Mobile Checkout.
New Storefront Page Editor
In the past, when Voluson users attempted to make seemingly easy aesthetics changes to their storefront, the process required an FTP upload or knowledge of HTML coding. Now, to help store owners offer timely updates and promotions, Volusion has unveiled the new Easy Editor for impromptu site alterations in both their store and admin area.
In the admin, the ‘What You See Is What You Get’ tool allows users to adjust HTML in product or category descriptions and article bodies with half the effort. For instance, say someone wants to add in a hyperlink to a specific product description, directing users to an associated item. Well, with Easy Editor, all they have to do is highlight the field, click Edit and a new toolbar will appear (similar to Word Press or Microsoft Word). Then, users can easily add in styling like hyperlinks, color, font adjustments and paragraph indentations – without having to know HTML at all, which had long been a drawback of field editing for our clients.
Another great way to use Easy Editor is when swapping out product pictures. Instead of having to use a FTP server as an intermediary between their site and computer, users can now add or replace pictures in the admin panel or storefront by selecting the ‘Insert Image’ icon and selecting the appropriate picture from their computer, or linking from a URL. From there, users can adjust the image further, by clicking ‘Edit,’ which allows them to resize the picture and add the appropriate tags. Adding updated product photos or pictures for Learning Center articles has never been easier.
Lastly, users can now make quick alterations to the hero image on their site, simply by hovering over them and clicking ‘Edit’. For example, if a site were running a Christmas-themed special for the holidays, this feature would hypothetically allow users to replace their generic banner with a holiday-themed banner, without having to use FTP.
For a full list of the added alteration options that will help your brand implement timely taglines and prioritized promotions for customers, read Volusion’s break-down of Easy Editor.
How To Set-Up: The features should be immediately implemented for up-to-date V13 users. Simply login to the admin interface, then browse around applicable areas and the Easy Editor options will become noticeable.
Automatic Tax Rates
In case anyone missed our blog post, Volusion has simultaneously solved all tax-related issues for eCommerce store owner’s, by rolling out their new Automatic Tax Rates calculator.
Essentially, the tool factors in all up-to-date tax variables on a customer-by-customer basis, coming up with the proper taxation for every buyer. As a result, store owners can focus less on managing variable tax rates per client and spend more time enhancing other aspects of their business.
How To Set-Up: To enable Automatic Tax Rates, log in to the admin dashboard, then go to Settings > Tax, then click ‘Settings.’ From there, users will be asked a few location-based questions, then whether they want to implement Automatic Tax Rates, to which they’d select ‘Use Automatic Tax Rates.’
Volusion Mobile Apps
Most ecommerce storeowners can’t resist dipping into their dashboard. After all, a wealth of information about their business is only a login away and having up to date insight on their store status allows owners to adjust according to demand. Now, proactive owners can access vital store information even quicker, thanks to Volusion’s new native mobile app.
Upon installing the app on their mobile phone or tablet, storeowners can easily access store specifics, such as orders, revenue, stock status and more. For most intensive purposes, the mobile app offers everything users get from their desktop version, aside from merchandising.
Considering how hard much time entrepreneurs spend on their phone already, the only problem this new rollout presents will be getting them off the darn things.
How To Set-Up: The Volusion app is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. To enable them, simply download, install and login with your store credentials.
Anyone who’s ever maintained an eCommerce store has surely been stumped when trying to implement up to date tax rates. Thankfully, Volusion has released a brand new feature that brings complete automation to this once arcane and manual process.
In just a few simple steps, this new feature eliminates the tedious work, leaving store owners with a completely automated sales tax tool.
For any owner who signed up after November 7, 2013, the upgrade is already in affect and sales tax headaches should be resolved. Woo-hoo! However, for users with an existing store pre-dating the roll-out, automated tax rates can be enabled by going to the admin dashboard, then going to Settings > Tax, then clicking ‘Settings.’ From there, they’ll be prompted with the quick, three-step process below and on their way to implementing up to the date tax rates for every order, without all the hassle.
Pretty easy, right? Not only do we love the ease of implementation, but we appreciate that it’s coming directly before the ensuing holiday madness – meaning that store owners can rest easy knowing that they aren’t over or under charging customers the right amount of sales tax.
Anyone who still has questions on Automatic Tax Rates, should make sure to watch this instructional video from the Volusion team on how implement the upgrade, step by step. If not, enjoy the hassle-free tax rationale and have a successful holiday selling season!
UPDATE: Both the iPhone and Android apps have now been fixed. You will need to download the newest version of the apps to restore proper functionality.
iPhone App: Available now!
Android App: Available now!
Remember when we designed, engineered, and created the amazing Volusion Snapshot App (for iPhone and Android) that brought the power of tracking your stores revenue to a mobile device? Well don’t worry! it hasn’t gotten any less amazing. HOWEVER, it will be down temporarily as some minor code changes on Volusion’s end has required us to make some adjustments to the app.
The updated Volusion Snapshot apps have been submitted for approval to both Apple and Google Play app stores.
Isn’t that a relief?
We apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing, but rest easy in knowing that the down time will be short-lived. We’re committed to constantly improving our Volusion Snapshot App in order to help you run your business as smoothly as possible- and while that sometimes means updates and fixes, it also means we’re always on the job with the goal of making your ecommerce life better, and more profitable!
Haven’t heard about Snapshot? Get in the know, man!
Volusion Snapshot (available in the iTunes app store and the Google Play app store) is a completely free and easy way to watch your sales add up throughout the year. We created Volusion Snapshot to be secure and simple and to provide you with the one piece of data we know you’re looking for: revenue. Volusion Snapshot provides current (refreshable) daily revenue figures as well as monthly data, annual data and year-over-year comparisons. Now you can watch your bottom line while you’re on the go without having to constantly log in to your Volusion dashboard. We’re giving you the gift of freedom.
In case you haven’t heard by now, Brand Labs has joined forces with some of the biggest names in online business to offer you the chance to win the ecommerce store of your dreams! One of those big names is Volusion and they were kind enough to post a shout-out about the contest on their blog last week.
Here’s the short version – The Ecommerce Economic Defense Initiative (EEDI) is an organization founded (by us) in order to allow several companies to work together to support to the ecommerce community at large. In order to accomplish that goal, the EEDI is offering over $60,000 in ecommerce prizes, including a $25,000 Brand Labs gift certificate! Think of that… you could make your online store everything you’d ever hoped it would be! You can use the prize in any way you’d like! We can redesign you store from top to bottom! We can custom program that unique feature on your website that would give you the edge over your competition! Together, Brand Labs, Volusion and the other EEDI partners will make your business the best it can be!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ecommerce Economic Defense Initiative Awards Over $60,000 in Prizes
The Ecommerce Economic Defense Initiative (EEDI) will award two separate ecommerce service grants in 2012 – each worth more than $30,000 – in their first-ever ecommerce grant competition.
Rochester, MI – Brand Labs – a studio specializing in ecommerce design, marketing, development and programming – has gathered together an alliance of online professionals with the proclaimed goal of “rescuing” the struggling economy by “utilizing the power of ecommerce.” The assembled group is called the Ecommerce Economic Defense Initiative (or the EEDI).
That’s right – Brand Labs will be exhibiting at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 at McCormick Place West in Chicago, Illinois! We’ll be in booth #1133 right next door to our besties, Volusion. Our biggest bigwigs, Kevin Harman and Dane Downer will be in attendance along with senior account managers Katelyn Stanis and Ryan Forrest. They’ll be working the booth all day and the dance floor all night. You should definitely drop by if you’re looking for some high-quality ecommerce knowledge or some wicked sick dubstep.
Also in attendance will be Pauline Turner, our creative director. She’ll be roaming the show floor and attending conferences as part of the Ecommerce Economic Defense Initiative street team. She’ll be accompanied by an impossibly large hippie who may or may not be some sort of ex-convict that we hired as a temp off of craigslist. If you see them, be sure to ask for the official EEDI swag that they’ll be handing out.
So if you’re an existing customer, but we’ve never met in person, come to booth 1133 and say hi! If you’re not a customer yet, come by to find out why you should be. As a matter of fact, no matter who you are you should stop by! We can tell you about the huge contest we’re about to launch. It’s really huge. Like change-the-course-of-your-business huge. It’s worth your time.
… and if you see the giant hippie, don’t look him directly in the eyes.
This is an actual, unretouched screen shot from our boss’s iPhone showing that as yesterday, The Red Hat Society’s online store had made $1,118 in April by using AutoResponderMax – that’s a 2,281% ROI. If you haven’t already clicked over to AutoResponderMax to start your free trial, then allow us to give you all the details…
We own and operate The Red Hat Society Store. That gives us a lot of first-person insight into the needs of the average Volusion retailer. That insight led us to build AutoResponderMax – the email marketing tool for Volusion. We built it to meet a lot of the communication needs we have with our own online store. The screen shot here proves that we were pretty successful.
What you see here is a shot of the AutoResponderMax Dashboard app for iPhone. (Which is totally free, by the way.) It shows April’s usage data. Stated simply, ARMax sent 2,154 event-triggered (and personalized) emails to Red Hat customers. A remarkable 70% were opened and 41% of those resulted in click throughs. Those are all really good numbers if your only goal is to build your relationship with your customers. If, on the other hand, you’d also like to make money, the real number to look at is this month’s revenue – $1,118. That’s over a thousand dollars of revenue that is directly related to emails sent by AutoResponderMax. The Red Hat Society Store is on the Plus Plan (the most popular level) which means that thousand dollars cost us exactly $49 – bringing us back to that incredible 2,281% ROI – except that it isn’t incredible. It’s credible – and provable.
We have trouble talking about AutoResponderMax sometimes because basically we always just want to say, “Try it, for crying out loud! The first 30 days are free and it’s awesome and it totally pays for itself over and over and it’s so easy and what are you waiting for? DO IT, DO IT, DO IT!“ Now, with this photographic proof that it works so dramatically well, we’re almost overwhelmed with the desire to reach out of the screen, grab your mouse and sign you up ourselves. Of course, that would be rude, so we’ll just strongly suggest that if you’re a Volusion retailer and you don’t have AutoResponderMax, you’re almost certainly leaving money on the table and that’s just crazy. Go sign up right now!
Brand Labs is about a lot of things, but our real bread & butter is custom ecommerce development. Yes, we design Volusion sites. Yes, we build ecommerce apps. We do a lot of things for a lot of online merchants, but custom development is the one thing we do that gives our clients an undeniable edge. We say “undeniable” because when your store has something that your competitors don’t have, you’re ahead of the game before the shoppers even arrive. By definition, you’re more prepared to serve their needs. You’re more prepared to earn their trust. You’re more prepared to win.
… but maybe you don’t think you need custom development on your site. After all, Volusion does a good job of providing a feature-rich platform. Why not just do what you can with what you’ve got? Well, off the top of our heads, we can think of ten reasons…
- You’re unique.
No matter what Volusion introduces, they don’t know you personally. They don’t know the exact thing that you need to express your individuality properly. They don’t know your particular value proposition. That’s not a failing on their part, it’s simply a fact. You are uniquely qualified to identify your store’s specific needs and to act on those needs.
- You’re not doing everything you can with your Volusion store. You know that smart phone in your pocket? You’re currently using about 4% of its total capabilities (we may have just made that figure up). That phone can do amazing things and you’re using it primarily to text people that you’re running late. Your Volusion store is like that. It can do amazing things that you’re currently not using. Are you using the Deal of the Day function? Is your mobile store set up properly? Are you doing everything that Volusion allows you to do out of the box? Probably not. So, if we may continue to use the smart phone comparison: even though your phone is capable of doing a lot of things that you aren’t using, you still paid extra to download Angry Birds because it was a specific need that you were able to identify and address (i.e. your deep need to throw birds at pigs). Custom development is like that. You should definitely try to use all of the great functionality that’s built right in to Volusion, but just because you’re not, that doesn’t mean that you can’t add some features of your own. Custom development for your Volusion store is just like apps for your iPhone.
- You’ve got ideas.
Just because we’re ecommerce experts (and Volusion is filled with ecommerce experts), that doesn’t mean that we (or they) have thought up every single thing than could ever possibly be thunk. You have insight. You have a plan. You know things about your business that we don’t, but we definitely know how to act on your ideas. Don’t let your ideas die in your head.
- You’re probably right.
You know that one thing that you think you know better than anyone else? That one annoying thing that seems so simple and would make your life as an ecommerce merchant so much easier? Or make your store more successful? You’re probably right. Why not fix it instead of just letting it drive you insane?
Read the rest of the list after the jump… (more…)
BTTF.net isn’t just the Internet’s leading dealer of Back to the Future-related merchandise, they also happen to be an old Brand Labs customer. We designed their current site and just recently we created a great new Deal of the Day page using Volusion’s built in functionality.
Deal of the Day is a proven way to engage your regular customers and encourage repeat visits, which is perfect for a site dedicated to a series of movies about returning and returning and returning.
If you aren’t currently using Volusion’s Deal of the Day, you’re missing a great opportunity to build loyalty and move product. You’re also missing the chance to…
… this is usually the point at which we’d say something clever and quote the movie or something like that, but you know what? For all of its deep impact on popular culture, Back to the Future is almost entirely devoid of catchphrases except for ones that only make sense in context, so we’ll just end here by saying:
Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
See? It just doesn’t work. Our apologies.
Ensuring that hipsters and nerds are not walking around topless, frightening the general populace with their pasty white skin and ironic shoulder tattoos, Old School Tees is more of a public service organization than a Volusion store.
If you’re looking for a wide variety of ways to prove to the world that you’re not likely to be running for public office any time soon, Old School Tees can hook you up. Perhaps a sexually suggestive Fred Flintstone shirt will do the trick. If not, the perhaps a mildly sacrilegious Big Lebowski tee? Either way, Old School Tees is ready to put something on your chest that’s quite a bit funnier than the large food stains that usually reside there.