3dcart Shopping Cart Review

Toptenreviews.com recently updated our review with a fantastic video.

All of the 3DCart plans include a host of features for every aspect of running an online store. The service has unlimited potential when designing a custom store. With almost every aspect being adjustable, you can truly create the store just the way you want it. You can upload your merchandise in bulk, and add an unlimited number of pictures. We particularly enjoyed the advanced image gallery, which automatically resizes your uploaded pictures, and supports impressive zoom-ability.

Lack of Innovation in E-Commerce?

I read an article over at Exciting E-Commerce :

Joshua Goldman from Norwest Venture Partners gave a short introduction to Swooponomics at the Retail Innovation & Marketing Conference:

Parallel to that, several American innovators met at the First Round Capital E-commerce Summit.

The comments of the event organizer (“Change is coming to online shopping”)  corroborates much of what Exciting Commerce has been heralding since 2005 which was also self-evident at this year’s Live Shopping Days Conference:

“One of the things that’s surprised me the most over the last decade is how little transformative innovation has occurred in ecommerce.

eBay looks pretty much the same as it did a decade ago.  Amazon looks pretty much the same as it did a decade ago.  While the top 10 sites on the Internet have changed dramatically over the last decade, the top 10 online shopping sites on the Internet have not.

The traditional catalog/cart shopping model remains pretty much unchanged.  I’m not sure of the reasons why so little innovation has occurred – perhaps it is because of Google.

Specifically, the fact that online retailers had a scalable, measurable, and predictable source of customer traffic (through both SEO and Adwords) might have reduced the external pressures to innovate.

However, the online shopping paradigm is finally changing.  Indeed, I think we’ve seen more innovation in the last 10 months than in the last 10 years.
We’ve seen an explosion of interesting technologies and opportunities that seek to change online shopping”

The American innovators cover a wide range of methods and models from alternative payment systems down to game mechanics.

This is where I differ in opinion with Exciting E-Commerce and Joshua Goldman. Amazon looks the same way it did a decade ago for a reason. It works. Each day,  I speak with store owners who have grandiose ideas about how they want their online stores designed. At one point, I witnessed a site that was so puzzling that it dared users to figure out how to buy something.There seems to be this spark that gets lit under people where they feel they need to make sure their site looks nothing like an online store. This needs to end.

The Nielson Group put together a fantastic book, E-Commerce User Experience which is described as:

207 design guidelines to improve the usability (and thus the conversion rate) for e-commerce sites. Richly illustrated with 221 color screenshots of designs that worked particularly well or that caused problems for shoppers.

All the design guidelines are based on findings from detailed usability studies of twenty e-commerce sites with real users in the United States and Europe, showing what they did as they shopped on real e-commerce sites.

Covers the following topics:

  • Category pages (including homepages)
  • Product pages, product descriptions, product photos
  • Shopping carts, checkout, and registration
  • Search
  • Selling strategies, cross-sales, recommendations
  • Trust and credibility
  • International users
  • Test methodology used in this research; how to run your own usability studies

Guess what the verdict was… Sites like Amazon are functional and succesful because they cater to the way we, as humans, view and absorb information of the written variety.You can surely have an original, creative online store, but don’t create it without keeping your visitors in mind.

HOW TO: Build a Facebook Landing Page for Your Business

I usually don’t repost what other blogs have posted, but this was sipost from Mashable.com is simply perfect in execution:

Facebook is known for its uniformity. You can post all sorts of content, but the actual design and layout of your profile is the same as everyone else’s.

But with Facebook Fan Pages and the array of apps you can plug into them, there are a few ways you can customize what people see when they land on your Page.

You’ve probably seen custom Fan Pages like those of Best Buy and Victoria’s Secret. When you land there, you start on what is essentially a mini website within Facebook, instead of the Page’s wall or feed.

These are often used to promote deals, call attention to new products, or simply welcome visitors with an attractive branded splash page. Anyone with a Fan Page can create one, but it takes a little effort. Here’s how.

1. Add the Static FBML App

The tabs at the top of your Facebook Fan Page are apps. Some, like your wall and photos are built into Facebook. Others are essentially plug-ins where fans can view external content, like YouTube () videos, Flickr () photos, etc.

The app you need for your custom page is called “Static FBML,” located here. If you’re logged into Facebook, you can add it to your Page. It is essentially a blank canvas where you can add whatever content you want, including custom graphics and links via standard HTML.

2. Set Up Your Tab

Once you’ve added the Static FBML app, click “Edit Page” below your company’s profile image. This will bring up all your settings and apps. Look for the FBML app and click the “Application Settings” link.

The app can function in two ways: As a set of boxes, or as one dedicated profile tab. If you’re building a splash page, you’ll probably want to use it as a tab, so go ahead and make sure that the “Box” setting is removed, and the “Tab” setting is added. You can always experiment with boxes later if you find them more useful.

3. Add Your Content

Once you’re in tab mode, go back to your settings and click the “Edit” link under the Static FBML app. This opens a standard text field where you can add your content.

“Box Title” will be the name of your tab, so you’ll want to change it to something appropriate, like “This Week’s Deals,” “Special Offers,” or simply “Welcome,” depending on how you plan to use your Page.

The main text field is where your content goes, and you can add standard HTML to the page as you would any website, including images, text, links, and other formatting. No need for HTML, BODY, or HEAD tags.

Note that your images must be hosted elsewhere (on your company’s website, for example) and only referenced in your HTML code.

4. Make It the Default Landing Page

If you want this new tab to be the “face” of your business Fan Page, head back over to your page settings and edit your “Wall Settings.” There is an option for “Default Landing Tab for Everyone Else.” From that menu, select your new tab.

From now on, it will be the first thing visitors see when they arrive.

5. Engage Further With FBML

FBML stands for Facebook Markup Language, and it is the code used in Facebook applications to reference items on the social network, like user profiles, groups, feeds, and other data. If you’re really looking to integrate your landing page and get interactive with visitors, it might be worthwhile to learn this language.

[Reposted from Mashable.com]