3dcart Success Stories: Featuring Stockade

Stockade

Stockade is a family owned business of more than 40 years with a simple goal: provide creative people with top-quality products.

The company was founded by Ross and Colleen, who dived into the craft industry by making and selling a selection of wooden toys, games and piggy banks in the late 70s at craft fairs and gift shops across Canada.

It wasn’t long before the company expanded by selling individual wood parts to DIYers, and in 1988, Stockade relocated from Salmon Arm, British Columbia to a more central location in Guelph, Ontatio.

Sarah, daughter of Ross and Collen, recalls the exciting yet challenging aspects of running a business in the 90s: “After relocating to Ontario the toughest obstacle we found was keeping up with demand. The 90s were a crazy time for do-it-yourselfers. The economy was down and people were finding creative ways to make and save money. People were selling or making wooden toys for their own use and to sell at craft shows.”

Stockade’s customer base grew considerably as they began targeting a new craft niche: crafters and decorative painters. But although the business was experiencing great success, and boasted an online presence for more than a decade, they soon realized they needed a more powerful site to deliver the best shopping experience possible.

3dcart was recommended to Stockade by their marketing company, and their recommendation proved rewarding. “They were correct with their recommendation as 3dcart has all the features we can’t do without (ie: the promotion manager and discount quantity pricing) at no additional monthly charges.”

Today, Ross, Colleen, their daughter Sarah, and their awesome staff continue to supply Canadians with the best craft supplies available.

To find out more how Stockade grew from a small gift shop presence into a nationally-recognized brand, visit 3dcart Success Stories.

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Bean Bag Chairs and the Pursuit of Search Excellence

 

Sumo Lounge Bean Bag Chairs

Sumo Lounge’s bean bag chairs were the first of their kind. But it takes more than a great product to establish a lucrative retail business.

Over the past decade Sumo Lounge became a booming brand on the strength of powerful marketing. Creating a new product niche of high quality, affordable bean bag chairs filled a big gap in marketplace, helping establish the company as an extremely successful international e-commerce business.

Building on its tradition of scrappy marketing, Sumo Lounge is one of the latest 3dcart customers to tap into our in-house SEO services. From daily sitemap submissions and optimizing Google Shopping feeds to URL optimization and broken link cleanup, online stores like Sumo Lounge build the search traction they need to drive more traffic and, ultimately, more sales.

SEO (search engine optimization) isn’t just for bean bag chair shops. It’s a critical piece of the marketing puzzle for online businesses everywhere. Along with social media and advertising referrals, search traffic often plays a crucial role in how people find online stores, whether through Google or through more targeted search services like Google Shopping.

But SEO can be both time-consuming and technical. In the long run, it ends up becoming a full time job. For small online businesses that are already spread too thin, it’s extremely difficult to find the extra time to commit to it. Not to mention, it takes quite a bit of know-how to do a really comprehensive job on it.

We saw a lot of online stores struggling with SEO, which is why we decided to build a team in-house as a value-added service for 3dcart customers. Bigger, more established online merchants can get a lot from engaging our e-commerce marketing team to supplement search marketing specialists you might already have on your team. Think of it as a full, consistent SEO site scrub that includes detailed reporting to help you make sense of your investment.

Since they started on the 3dcart e-commerce SEO services late last year, Sumo Lounge has seen an upswing in traffic and sales stemming from better search rankings. The company’s online store for bean bag chairs is a potent example of how small businesses can use outside resources to fill specialized roles, keeping things lean, profitable, and growing.

May’s Partner of the Month: Avalara

Avalara and 3dcart

3dcart is currently partnered with over 200 eCommerce companies. We’re constantly on the lookout for vibrant, innovative partners that can bring state-of-the-art solutions and services to our customers.

For the month of May, our Partner of the month is Avalara.  Our team interviewed Whitney Williams, Partner Alliance Manager at Avalara, to help 3dcart merchants get insight into their company and solution.

  1. Please provide some general background and history on your company:

Avalara, Inc. is a leading provider of tax compliance automation for business.  For more than a decade, Avalara has pioneered innovations in tax compliance for businesses of all sizes. Today, we offer hundreds of pre-built connectors into leading accounting, ERP, ecommerce and other business applications. Avalara calculates $100 million in taxes for customers and free users every day, files hundreds of thousands of transactional tax returns per year, and manages millions of exemption certificates and other compliance related documents.

Avalara is a privately held company; our venture capital investors include Sageview Capital, Battery Ventures, Warburg Pincus, Technology Crossover Ventures, Arthur Ventures, and other institutional and individual investors. Avalara’s headquarters are in Seattle, WA and it has offices across the U.S. and London, England; Brussels, Belgium; and Pune, India

  1. What’s the main service your company offers?

Avalara’s Compliance Cloud™ solution for sales tax management helps businesses of all sizes achieve governmental compliance by automating and simplifying the process, including tax determination, exemption certificate management, and tax return preparation, filing, and remittance.

We work within a customer’s own financial, billing, ecommerce, or point of sale systems to automate manual processes, delivering cloud-based compliance services that are fast, easy, accurate, and affordable.

Avalara continually broadens and deepens its reach, combining powerful technology with deep content to provide businesses with a single user-friendly place to manage key governmental compliance obligations.

  1. Describe the integration and how long you’ve been a partner with 3dcart.

3dcart partnered with Avalara in 2009 to provide automatic sales tax calculations within the cart, streamlining the tax compliance process while saving time, reducing errors, and cutting costs. Avalara AvaTax™ works with an extension that plugs into 3dcart, so buyers get an accurate calculation automatically on every shopping cart checkout.

  1. What are the benefits for 3dcart merchants that use your solution?

While 3dcart integrates with various financial applications, the cart itself requires manual entry of sales tax rates for each jurisdiction in which products are sold. Avalara saves 3dcart merchants time, money, and helps mitigate their risk by automating the process. As a result, users no longer have to research rates, build tables or make tax decisions. Avalara integrates with 3dcart to take care of these complexities, and more. 3dcart merchants have the option to buy Avalara Avatax™ online, making it a breeze to quickly get started.

  1. What are your solutions’ biggest strengths?

Manually managing governmental compliance requirements can be difficult, expensive and time consuming, and businesses can face stiff penalties if they don’t get it right. Avalara removes this complex burden, giving customers more time to focus on driving their own business success

  1. How does your solution compare to similar solutions in the market?

Avalara prides itself in offering a complete end-to-end compliance solution for customers and provide each merchant a support representative to ensure they are taken care of every step of the way. We provide more than 500 pre-built integrations into a broad base of leading business application in addition to 3dcart. If your organization uses other accounting platforms or a POS systems, Avalara can grow with you. In addition, Avalara offers its AvaTax customers “Guaranteed Accurate” financial protection in the event of an audit.

  1. Any other thoughts for our readers, who are mainly e-commerce merchants?

When considering how to best manage your organizations sales tax, compatibility with your current software is important, but so is compatibility with a wide range of ecommerce and accounting software. You may not use the same tools forever, so versatility is key for your sales tax solution.

No matter how you choose to manage sales tax, the single most important consideration is how well your solution will scale with your business. Minimizing compliance “growing pains” ensures that tax rules won’t hold back your business.

3dcart Success Stories: Featuring Lukie Games

Lukiegames

Many online merchants have found success by pursuing their passion, and for Jesse and Sara Cover, that passion was video games.

Lukie Games, a gaming retail store that sells more than 45,000 games monthly, started out where many store owners’ eCommerce tales begin: eBay. In 2005, Jesse and Sara turned their hobby of selling used Nintendo video games on eBay into a business, a decision fueled by their brand’s growing reputation.

“It was more of a hobby—a way for my wife and I to expand our video game collection,” Jesse recalls. “When we moved down to Florida, the success we enjoyed on eBay was enough to support my decision to leave my career in IT.”

Steady growth on eBay, combined with the marketplace’s harsh transaction fees, led the couple to Amazon, where they could expand their customer base and sales potential. But despite their steady growth, it wasn’t long before Jesse and Sara came to the conclusion that they needed more control; they needed their own storefront, and greater control of their brand and customer shopping experience.

“Amazon was definitely a good resource for us, and Ebay was a great jumping off point,” Cover says. “But things really came to a head for the company when the Ebay fees started reaching between $20-30,000 a month. Amazon contributed another $8k of monthly expenses. You can build repeat business with both brands, but you always have to pay the fees. It was clear we needed to strike out on our own.”

In 2009, the couple started their hunt for the perfect shopping cart platform. Jesse required a cart that was not only compatible with his back end management platform, Stone Edge, but a cart that offered ultimate customization, openness, and flexibility.

Their search came down to two carts: Volusion and 3dcart. Jesse cites 3dcart’s positive customer reviews, transparency, and record of uptime as the main contributing factors for going with 3dcart.

Today, Lukie Games sells to more than 250,000 shoppers worldwide. Jessie identifies several key 3dcart features that have aided in his business’s success: Built-in SEO, Autoresponders, a Rewards Program, Wish Lists and Waiting Lists – and SearchSpring, which helped boost sales by 27%.

To read more about Jesse and Sara’s eCommerce journey, visit 3dcart Success Stories.

Want to share your own story with the world? Fill out our form to be featured on our website and/or blog. 

Stay tuned! We’ll be sharing more success stories soon!

From SunShop to 3dcart: Featuring Gridsport

gridpsort-migrationThe eCommerce industry is ever-evolving, and in order to compete in one of the most competitive markets, online businesses are forced to adapt and embrace the latest trends and technologies. Unfortunately, few eCommerce platforms offer merchants the necessary tools and services to succeed long-term.

At 3dcart, we’re dedicated to ensuring every business, whether small or large, has access to the latest, most innovative resources. Our SEO, social media, and design services, in conjunction with our feature-rich platform and 24x7x365 awesome technical support, allows businesses to grow and expand domestically and internationally.

Today we’d like to showcase a website that moved to 3dcart after 4 years with SunShop, Gridsport (www.gridsport.net).

gridsport.net

Gridsport is a retailer in the Auto Racing Industry, based in Indianapolis, providing drivers and teams with racing safety equipment, driver accessories, and custom apparel. Their customer base includes top level professional drivers in IndyCar, NASCAR, as well as amateur and youth racers.

So why did Gridsport switch from SunShop to 3dcart? Like many businesses that have moved to 3dcart, they needed a solution to Google’s “mobilegeddon.” With many eCommerce platforms failing to implement the latest trends, countless websites have found themselves daunted by the mobile friendly update. Fortunately, with 3dcart’s 100+ responsive template selection, Gridsport was able to easily upgrade to a mobile-friendly theme, utilizing and modifying design templates with great success.

In our interview, Bryan from Gridsport praised the 3dcart platform’s ease-of-use and SEO features, which have proven themselves critical in his business’ success. Furthermore, with the 3dcart platform, Gridsport is now able to manage and update products with extreme ease, a hindrance they faced at SunShop.

3dcart is proud to host Gridsport, a premier provider of racing and karting safety gear, featuring brands such as Alpinestars, Arai, Bell, HANS, Oakley and Sparco, and safety gear including helmets, race suits, driving gloves, racing shoes, racing team apparel as well as auto and karting accessories. Browse their store today and see why the top teams from IndyCar and NASCAR rely on Gridsport to outfit their crews.

If you’ve switched to 3dcart from another platform and would like to share your experiences, fill out this form here.

Stay tuned, we’ll be featuring another wonderful 3dcart powered website soon!

 

3dcart Success Stories: Featuring TruTech Tools

Trutechtools

3dcart has helped more than 17k stores find success in selling online, a number that has continued to grow with each passing year.

But while a large percentage of our 17k merchants have been with us since their start-up days, an even bigger percentage are clients who have switched over after a turbulent, unfortunate experience with another shopping cart.

Case in point: TruTech Tools, a veteran-owned and operated distributor of testing equipment for energy auditors, HVAC/R technicians, and home inspectors, is a quintessential example of how an ill-equipped shopping cart can stifle a business’s growth and potential.

Like every great story, the Akron, OH, based company boasts a tale of humble beginnings. Their first online store was designed by a high school kid – a point of origin that many businesses new to eCommerce share. Fueled by a desire to grow and expand their online presence, TruTech Tools joined forces with shopping cart provider Zen Cart – a decision they though would put them on the fast track for success.

Of course, like most things in life, things hardly turn out the way we anticipate, and they rarely go wrong in the way we expect. Jim Bergmann, CTO of TrueTech Tools, recalls his business’s motive for choosing Zen Cart. “As a small business, we looked for the lowest barrier to entry, and Zen Cart was free. But hardly anything is really free. We found there was a huge tradeoff for website novices in that there was no customer support.”

Without access to support and having very little experience in running a website, Jim had a tough time solving everyday issues. What Jim needed to succeed was guidance and best practices – something Zen Cart was ill-equipped to provide.

With frequent downtime plaguing their online store, Jim decided to look for another shopping cart, one that wouldn’t stifle or hinder his business’s success.

After researching his available options, Jim and TruTech found a home at 3dcart. Jim cites 3dcart’s 24/7 helpful Support Team, expansive learning resources, and solid platform as the primary reasons for choosing 3dcart. “3dcart was light years ahead of Zen Cart in terms of what we needed our software to do,” Jim says. “It was the perfect platform to continually learn more about running an online store. We wouldn’t be where we are today without it.”

In 2008, after just one year with 3dcart, TruTech Tools grew by a remarkable 1000%. And their success didn’t stop there: In 2009, sales increased by 200%, another 20% in 2010, and a whopping 35% increase in 2011.

Jim attributes his online store’s success to the power and scalability of 3dcart’s platform. “It doesn’t matter how great of a house you build,” Jim adds. “Everything comes down to how solid your foundation is. 3dcart has been that foundation for TruTech Tools, from our days as a small startup up until the present.”

To read more about TruTech’s eCommerce journey, visit 3dcart Success Stories.

Want to share your own story with the world? Fill out our form to be featured on our website and/or blog. 

Stay tuned! We’ll be sharing more success stories soon!

3dcart Success Stories: Featuring Boxiecat

Boxiecat

Subscription services are a fundamental selling point for countless 3dcart stores. Today’s customers demand more than a speedy checkout; they want to shop at reliable stores that can conveniently deliver their favorite goods when and where they need them.

Boxiecat, a subscription cat litter store, provides cat lovers with just that: set-and-forget, high-quality litter deliveries.

Josh Wiesenfeld, a life-long cat lover, founded Boxiecat in 2011 in response to an aspect of cat-care that he’d always found tiresome and rather expensive. “Cat litter is the one aspect of having cats that isn’t entirely enjoyable,” Josh explains. “Traditionally, getting litter is very inconvenient—it’s heavy to lift and lug, as well as a waste of time and gas. It’s an essential item but requires constant trips to the store. If you run low or (worse yet) run out, it can cause behavioral problems for your cat, and she will let you know she is displeased in very unpleasant ways.”

To meet the needs of everyday cat owners like himself, Josh set out to launch an online store that would allow customers to set-and-forget deliveries. “The market had a clear gap,” Josh recalls. “I knew I wanted to start the business—but nearly as exciting for me was the chance to become my own first subscriber.”

Josh comprised a detailed check list of essential criteria, including the ability to automate the payment and shipping process, and set out to find the right eCommerce platform to fulfill his vision. After thorough research, however, it soon became clear that only one shopping cart was offering everything Josh needed to launch his store: subscription capabilities, a scalable platform, secure hosting, 24/7 technical support, and connected order fulfillment through ShipWorks.

Having been with 3dcart since his start-up days, Josh can say with certainty that 3dcart really is everything a small business needs to succeed in selling online.

“As a business, 3dcart works hard at connecting with their customers on a much more personal level than you see in businesses today. That dedication helps ensure Boxiecat’s online storefront will be there to meet our subscribers’ needs.”

To read the entire story behind Boxiecat’s online success, visit 3dcart Success Stories.

Want to share your own story with the world? Fill out our form to be featured on our website and/or blog. 

Stay tuned! We’ll be sharing more success stories soon!

3dcart Success Stories: Featuring Corvette Mods

Corvettemods
3dcart hosts a wide variety of online stores, many of which started their journey with eBay and their online retail solution, ProStores.

Corvette Mods, an online store dedicated to selling interior, exterior and performance modifications for Chevrolet’s popular Corvette sports car, is one such business that made the transition from ProStores to 3dcart.

In 2007, Neal Balog, founder of Corvette Mods, started selling modifications and related products for Corvettes through eBay. But what started out as a listing of around 25 products quickly grew. Neal started expanding his advertising through simple marketing channels like forums, and it wasn’t long before his efforts generated tangible results.

“After we started getting the word out, the business grew,” Neal explains. “It was clear that we needed to expand from eBay and create our own site.” Because of his positive experience with eBay, Neal decided to launch a simple website with ProStores.

After three years of steady growth, including a catalog of nearly 1,500 different products, however, Neal was in need of a more feature-rich, powerful platform that could support his business’s booming growth.

In November 2011, Neal set out to find a shopping cart that could meet and exceed his expectations in an eCommerce platform.

Neal attributes a number of advanced 3dcart features and services to his business’s sharp retail edge:

  • The ability to offer gift cards and store credit
  • Built-in social media integratiom
  • Ease-of-use in updating, editing, and adding items
  • A knowledgeable Support Team
  • Affordable and effective SEO services

Today, Corvette Mods continues their fast track to success. After just three months of signing up for 3dcart’s SEO service, Corvette Mods posted: 48% increase in sales, 22% increase in store visitors, and 23% increase in page views.

“With some SEO firms, you don’t always know what you’re getting. Working closely with my representative, 3dcart shows me exactly what work they’re performing in relation to my website. I can see what kind of effects the program has on my site.”

To read the entire story behind Corvette Mod’s online success, visit 3dcart Success Stories.

Want to share your own story with the world? Fill out our form to be featured on our website and/or blog. 

Stay tuned! We’ll be sharing more success stories soon!

3dcart Success Stories: Featuring Custom Sports Sleeves

Customsportssleeves

3dcart’s richly innovative platform, industry-praised technical support, and results-proven services attract businesses of every shape and size, including everything from small craft shops to some of the biggest brands.

Custom Sports Sleeves, a top global manufacturer of sports compression gear, is one such business that has found tremendous success with 3dcart.

Compression arm sleeves first started making waves around 2000. NBA players like Allen Iverson sported them in an attempt to keep their arms warm and ready to shoot, but their usage wasn’t limited to reasons of practicality for long. Big sports brands like Nike and Under Armour took wind of the trend, and launched a series of limited products that appealed to fashion-minded young athletes.

Mike Josephs, however, noticing that the online marketplace for compression arm sleeves wasn’t nearly as diverse as it could be, took the opportunity to tap into what was proving to be an incredibly profitable trend. “Big brands sold compression sleeves in limited colors and youth sizes,” Mike explains. “We wanted to hit the market with a fully customizable alternative that served more demographics.”

Custom Sports Sleeves launched into eCommerce on GoDaddy’s shopping cart platform with more than 30 color options. But after only a year, Mike started recognizing troubling issues that indicated his partnership with GoDaddy wasn’t working out how he anticipated: he needed more features, simpler control, and a wider array of design options.

After a long, thorough search, Mike found his way to 3dcart, which he selected for three primary reasons:

  1. The ability to display color and customization options, a necessity for a business that focuses on customization. “With 3dcart, we can use color swatch imaging rather than redirecting them to a color chart,” Mike says. “That functionality eases the customization process.”
  2. Ease-of-use proved extremely invaluable in everyday tasks and website management, especially for business owners like Mike who had little experience with HTML.
  3. Built-in SEO tools helped CSS secure high organic search rankings for their key terms and phrases right from the start. “We still flirt with that number one position without much work on our end,” Mike says.

As Custom Sports Sleeve started finding new success with 3dcart, they turned their attention toward their website’s design.

“We’ve had more than one great experience with the 3dcart design team,” Mike recalls. “Our most recent redesign, however, has helped propel us to a record-high month in March.”

The redesign to Mike’s store focused on four key areas aimed at improving the store’s user-friendliness: enhanced top-category navigation, the implementation of drop-down menus, a new page layout for product listings, and sleeker branding elements to enhance the brand’s “athletic” feel.

Mike attributes 3dcart’s design work, built-in features, customer service, and easy integration with software such as Endicia to his business’s explosive growth.

To read the entire story behind Custom Sports Sleeves’ success in selling online, visit 3dcart Success Stories.

Want to share your own story with the world? Fill out our form to be featured on our website and/or blog. 

Stay tuned! We’ll be sharing more success stories soon!

From Volusion to 3dcart: Featuring Wedding Favor Discount

As online shopping continues to dominate the commerce landscape, more and more eCommerce solutions are launching to meet the needs of aspiring entrepreneurs. And while an expansive and diverse selection of platforms is a perk for merchants on the eCommerce hunt, it can also make the process uncomfortably reminiscent of finding a needle in a haystack.

Whether you’re an eCommerce veteran or are just starting out, odds are your research has brought you into contact with some of the more widely-used shopping carts of today: Magento, Shopify, Bigcommerce, and Big Cartel, to name a few. For many businesses, however, big names and even bigger promises have been their downfall.

In recent years, countless merchants have moved to 3dcart after months or years with one of today’s many platforms, driven away by one or more horrible experiences. Weddingfavordiscount.com, who spent over 10 years with Volusion, is one of the more said recent stores to join 3dcart’s community.

weddingfavordiscount

Wedding Favor Discount (www.weddingfavordiscount.com) specializes in unique wedding favor ideas such as personalized and themed wedding favors. Renowned for their high-quality products, competitive pricing and fast delivery, the Tampa-based favor business has prided itself on being a bride-favored store for more than 12 years.

Like many businesses, weddingfavordiscount.com moved to 3dcart in search of platform more robust and feature-rich.

“The main reason why we switched to 3dcart is that product prices and options are configured on the product level,” said Peter of weddingfavordiscount.com. “This is very important when you have over 1500 products, each with different quantity discounts and options. We update prices twice a year, which is an adventure with Volusion to say the least.”

Increasing efficiency for his business wasn’t the only factor that motivated Peter to leave his former shopping cart – cart abandonment was another serious issue plaguing his store: “The way Volusion shows discount prices in the shopping cart is misleading to customers, and resulted in abandoned shopping carts and unnecessary phone calls and emails from customers to clarify pricing.”

After moving to 3dcart, weddingfavordiscount.com immediately took advantage of the countless new features at their disposal, including 3dcart’s diverse and expansive collection of gorgeous themes. Furthermore, Peter accredited 3dcart’s dropshipping support as one of the many features that have helped his business save money.

Peter’s final words in our interview perfectly summed up his (hopefully) final eCommerce transition: “In summary, 3dcart not only costs us much less, but we have more flexibility than we had with our Volusion store.”

3dcart is thrilled to have weddingfavordiscount.com as a valued member of our growing community. If there are any new brides out there, head on over to Wedding Favor Discount and check out their personalized candles, key chains, jars, stickers, wine bottle stoppers, and much more.

If you’ve switched to 3dcart from another platform and would like to share your experiences, fill out this form here.

Stay tuned, we’ll be featuring another wonderful 3dcart powered website soon!