Now Available: Simplify Customer Returns with Store Credit

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At 3dcart, we’re always looking for new ways to improve the shopping experience on both the merchant’s and customer’s end. As part of this continuing mission, we are pleased to announce that with a 3dcart account using our Professional Plus plan or higher, you can now offer your customers Store Credit.

Sellers know returns are a fact of life, especially during the holiday season. For larger stores, the number of returns can be overwhelming as customers attempt to exchange unwanted gifts. 3dcart’s Store Credit feature is perfect for handling holiday returns, as it greatly simplifies the process and has the added benefit of retaining the sale for your store. Instead of issuing a refund, you can keep your profits and your customer. Store credits will automatically apply to their next order or orders, up to the amount of credits issued.

3dcart’s Store Credit module allows you to automatically notify customers when you issue them store credits, with a customizable email template. Implementation is streamlined and simple. You have full control over the amount of credits you issue the customer and under what circumstances, so you can use store credits as a customer service tool or choose to reward repeat customers at your discretion. Complete Store Credit records are kept in your dashboard, including reference notes that you can leave for you and the customer to see.

For more information on how to use 3dcart’s Store Credit function in your store, visit this article on our knowledgebase.

5 Tips for Ecommerce Advertisers

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As an online retailer, how do you bring more searchers to your website? Especially, searchers that are ready to buy.

Here are five quick tips for creating winning search advertising campaigns. And if you’re a 3dcart customer, you can log onto your customer dashboard and click on “Marketing – Special Offers” to redeem $100 in free search ads from Bing Ads.

  1. Focus on ad copy. Provide searchers with a good reason to come back. Showcase your products and don’t show the same ad over and over again. Refresh your ad copy often, highlighting new products and top sellers.
  1. Use Bing Shopping Campaigns. Make sure your products show up everywhere searchers browse. Bing Shopping Campaigns give you more control over targeting, easier management of products, and deeper insights into performance data.
  1. Get more sales and leads with ad extensions. Ad extensions help make your campaign more effective and attract more relevant customers to your business. With ad extensions, customers can easily call or find your store, navigate to specific pages on your site, download an app and more.
  1. Get mobile-ready. Make your website mobile friendly so it’s easy for your customers to browse and buy on the go. Then, capture more visitors by targeting your ads to mobile devices.
  1. Stay up to date with new search terms. Interests and search terms are always shifting — keep up with the changes by reviewing and expanding your keyword list. Don’t neglect less-common keywords, which typically have a lower cost per click. Use Campaign Planner in Bing Ads to search for current, relevant keywords.

4 Ways to Write Blog Posts That Actually Get Noticed

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So you want to start a blog. From both a marketing and branding standpoint, that’s fantastic news! A blog is a resource you totally control and one you can use to express yourself, communicate with your audience, and promote whatever goods and services you have on deck.

The problem is this: with some 2 million blog posts written every day, how in the world are you going to stand out?

Lucky you, we’ve got 4 pretty good ideas.

Be a Disruptor

You’re a unique person with unique experiences and a unique voice, so it stands to reason that you should have something fairly unique to say to your readers. Say it. Be different. Approach tired subjects from a new angle or use a gimmick as a way to grab people’s attention (just make sure you have something of substance handy to help keep people interested once you have them looking your way).

  • Trying to figure out how to compete with all the how-to car mechanic videos on YouTube? Do you repairs dressed like a clown or with a bluegrass band playing live in the background.
  • Want to write about politics but fear the niche is saturated? Talk presidential debates or argue against the death penalty while baking cupcakes for the first every politically themed food blog.

Use Images

Did you know that including colored visuals increases your audience’s desire to read your blog by a whopping 80 percent? That’s a massive jump in readership, all because you made an effort to add pictures. It makes sense; would you rather sift through a blog about helicopter use in action flicks or simply snort back laughter while viewing an awesome graphic like this one:

1mage courtesy of http://DavidStilesBlog.com
1mage courtesy of http://DavidStilesBlog.com

Smart business owners know that people like the pretty pictures, too. Why else would nearly 75 percent of bloggers surveyed say that they already include some kind of image in their content?

Think Evergreen

You might be tempted to write about trending topics or current events in hopes that strategy will get you increased visibility, but there are major issues with that tactic.

  • When a topic is trending, it means that lots of people are writing about it, making it that much harder for you to rank and get noticed.
  • That topic might not even be in your niche, thereby weakening your brand (or at least not helping you grow it).
  • That blog will only be good right now and then it’s already outdated.

Evergreen content, on the other hand, is useful today, tomorrow, next year, and (hopefully) beyond. You can regularly repost your evergreen content on social media and breathe it back to life. Quite often, it’ll catch fire and start attracting traffic months after it was originally posted.

As digital guru Jeff Bullas wisely put it, “Evergreen is what sticks.” Evergreen content doesn’t go stale or become irrelevant. Write content that sticks and your blog will become a resource that really matters.

Solve Your Reader’s Problems

When I first started blogging, I looked at each blog as an opportunity to solve my own problems. My blog was going to help me get rich, become an authority in my field, get my name out there, boost traffic to my website… the self-serving list went on and on and on. All of those wants and desires are fine – after all, we’re not in business to fail, now are we? – but little did I know that I was going about achieving those goals in the worst way possible.

Focusing on yourself is a recipe for disaster. Very few people can carry off pure egotism with any kind of real success, and even those folks provide a service by being incredibly entertaining. And that’s the key – they’re solving their users’ problems by relieving their boredom. To write blogs that totally slay, you need to solve your readers’ problems, whatever those problems happen to be.

Are you ready to find success by problem solving using the power of the written word? As it turns out, winning may be just a blog post (or two) away.

This was a guest blog post from 3dcart partner, Trumpia.
Author Bio: 
Garret Henry – Garrett is a freelance writer, born and raised in the great state of Pennsylvania. He is passionate about all things marketing and SEO. You can find him on Twitter: @garrethenryllc1

Sources: http://www.onblastblog.com/, http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy#sm.00000u45lh2neod1hxdkvr0s8lzud, http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2015/27698/2-million-blog-posts-are-written-every-day-heres-how-you-can-stand-out, http://www.jeffbullas.com/2016/04/22/increase-authority-evergreen-content/, https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/blogger-analysis/

Click-through sales tax nexus guide for small businesses

Nexus Map

When it comes to sales taxes, “click-through” nexus is a term that small businesses increasingly need to know. As cash-strapped states look for new sources of revenue, more of them are using click-through nexus laws to tax online sales to out-of-state businesses. Small businesses need to know where and how these laws can create an obligation to collect sales taxes. Read more.

Understanding Same-Day ACH and the business impact

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It’s said that time is money—business is expected to move fast and you would expect your money to keep up. However, whether you realize it or not, the U.S. banking infrastructure does not move as fast as what you would imagine in a world where we can get deliveries within 24 hours. When we can get a giant package delivered almost within the same day, why can’t bank transfers do the same?

However, changes are coming. Soon, businesses and consumers will have the ability to access bank transfers that occur “same day”. But first, some background…

You are a business, a merchant. You move money in and out and around every day. What you may not realize is that every time you make a transaction that goes to or from a bank account, you’re using the ACH network.

What’s the ACH network?

In short, the ACH network is the “rails” connecting all U.S. bank accounts and financial institutions. Using ACH, money moves between bank accounts. Every time you pay for your utilities via your bank account and routing number (rather than your credit card information), you’re using the ACH network.

Today, an ACH transfer takes about 2-4 business days. The reason there is this delay is because the ACH network relies on the manual process of submitting a digital file once a day (i.e. a batch of the individual credit card payments, direct deposits, utility bill, etc.) at a financial institution. There is also a delay imposed from the banks so they can ensure that the funds coming from one bank account will in fact be in that bank account, etc.

When time is money, this is a long time to wait for money to clear into your bank account. NACHA, the managers of the ACH network have adopted a rule allowing for Same-Day ACH to improve the speed at which ACH transactions occur.

Understanding Same-Day ACH

Same-Day ACH is a new rule that allows for payments to occur within a much shorter time frame than before. NACHA—the managers of the ACH network—have implemented this rule to match the expectations of the market so money moves more closely to the speed of business.

Same-Day ACH doesn’t introduce any new technology into the process, but rather improves how the process is running. Remember that batch file we mentioned earlier? Same-Day ACH adds two more windows of submission to that file. So instead of that file getting submitted once, it will get submitted multiple times each day—so funds will get on their way quicker than before.

All transactions will not be Same-Day by default. For businesses wishing to operate more quickly, get access to funds sooner, there will be a fee charged by the banks for Same-Day ACH transaction.

Those fees are still TBD, since Same-Day ACH hasn’t started rolling out to the public yet. NACHA has required banks to implement Same-Day ACH in three phases.

Phase 1 – September 2016 (for payouts):  Ability to receive and process Same-Day credits becomes mandatory, and additional processing windows are added. The two processing windows are at 10:30AM ET and 2:45PM ET, with new settlement times at 1:00PM and 5:00PM ET.

Phase 2 – September 2017 (payout and collect payments): Ability to receive and process Same-Day debits—in addition to credits—becomes mandatory.

Phase 3 – March 2018 (a new settlement window): Must make Same Day ACH funds sent before the cut-off window available to the payee by end of business on the same day.

The way to best be prepared for Same-Day ACH, is to make sure you understand potential benefits and uses….

Same-Day ACH Benefits to Business

Leveraging the ACH network to power your business payments can prove cost effective and more practical than relying on credit cards alone. For example, if you’re running a marketplace like Etsy or Jane.com, it’s most efficient to pay out to your vendors using the ACH network. If you were able to have those payouts to vendors in just 1-2 business days rather than the standard 3-4 business days, you would not only have a more efficient operation, but you would also have happier customers who get paid speedily.

Certainty of payments: Same-Day ACH also offers the benefit of efficiency and time savings. For your accounting department, they won’t have to worry about waiting on money to come in to accounts payable.

Improved control with payroll: With Same-Day, since you’re not waiting the standard length of time for direct deposits, if you made an accounting mistake in payroll (an added zero or an incomplete file), then you could more quickly reconcile the issue.

Faster payouts for the gig, on-demand economy: Even with the flexibility in schedule offered by these roles, unfortunately that doesn’t mean your providers get timely payment. With Same-Day this turnaround time could be reduced and payouts get delivered quicker.

Consistency from on-time payment: If you initiate an ACH payment ON its due-date, that payment will be late since you’re waiting on it to clear for a few days. Same-Day ACH payments provide improved flexibility and certainty.

Since Same-Day ACH has yet to be released, the question remains how those banks offering up the service will enable its use; how will banks and financial institutions provide Same-Day ACH and what will it cost to use Same-Day?  Questions will surface, but one thing will remain true—any step toward faster payments is a step in the right direction.

This was a guest blog post from 3dcart partner, Dwolla.
At Dwolla, we believe that accessing the ACH network should be seamless and simple so you can get back to business and on with ensuring your customers are delighted. Our flexible ACH API, infrastructure, and expertise in bank transfers offer one of the nation’s most robust platforms. If you’re interested in Same-Day ACH (or standard ACH) we’d like to hear from you.

Lure Back Potentially Abandoned Shoppers with 3dboost

AbandonedShoppers

3dboost, a powerful tool for creating time-sensitive popup offers, debuted just over a month ago, and has already been widely adopted by hundreds of 3dcart merchants.

Praised for its ease-of-use and advanced features, 3dboost allows for unparalleled customization. Store owners can easily create compelling ads that perfectly match their website’s unique design, giving them the edge they need to boost sales and outperform their competitors.

Although 3dboost is a multipurpose popup tool, its “user-triggered” scenario, which allows popup ads to appear when a visitor’s cursor abandons your page, is one of its more awesome (and incredibly powerful) features. With a “user-triggered” popup, online merchants have a second chance at preventing shoppers from abandoning website, and securing sales they’d otherwise have lost.

3dboost makes it easy for store owners to create enticing offers with messages that reinforce value and create urgency. Offer a flat percentage off, free shipping, or any irresistible offer of your choosing, which will conveniently display if and when a shopper is about to leave your website. Jazz up your ad with a background effect, a buy button, and design options for added appeal, ensuring maximum effect.

You can start recovering sales and reducing cart abandonment for your own online store with 3dboost, today. For more information, visit the 3dboost app.

Womens Fashion Responsive Theme – A FREE Professionally Designed Theme from 3dcart

Here is a preview of our most recent theme “Womens Fashion” — a new, professionally designed responsive theme.

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If you would like to preview the live demo of our “Womens Fashion” theme, you can do so by clicking the link below. Check it out on your phone, tablet or computer; you’re sure to love it for the price, FREE.

3dcart’s Live Demo of the theme “Womens Fashion”

Stay Tuned! Additional New and Updated 3dcart Templates are coming soon!

Important Update: Google Shopping GTIN Requirements are expanding soon

After May 16, 2016, Google will require that all brand-name products that have an associated GTIN must be accounted for in product data feeds for Google Shopping campaigns. This means that you or your advertisers must ensure that GTINs are entered properly into product data feeds in order to run Offers in Google Shopping campaigns for those products.

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Overview

In 2015, Google began requiring Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) for products from a list of 50 brands.

Going forward into 2016, Google’s requirements for GTINs will expand beyond those 50 brands to include all products with a GTIN assigned by the manufacturer.

Why Google is making these changes

GTINs help Google understand exactly what you’re selling. When Google understands what you’re selling, Google can help boost your ad performance by adding valuable details about the product and serving the ad in a more relevant way to users. This also means that your ads can serve in more places on Google, YouTube, and Google’s partner sites.

Merchants who’ve added correct GTINs to their product data have seen 40% more clicks and exposure in more types of Shopping ad formats. Merchants who added GTINs to their feed saw an increase of up to a 20% lift in conversion rates .

What it means for you

If you sell brandname products that are sold by multiple merchants, you should take a close look at the new requirements and double check that your product data is correct and up to date.

If you sell used, custom, handmade, or vintage products, this change probably won’t impact you. You can still improve your ad performance by adding unique product identifiers to your product data where they’re available.

What you need to do

If you’re targeting Australia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, or the US, submit correct GTINs and the corresponding brand for all new, instock products that have GTINs assigned by the manufacturer.

Timeline

  • February 8, 2016: Warnings begin. “Missing GTIN” and “Invalid GTIN” warnings began to appear in your account for products that don’t meet the requirements. Please note that “Coupon code GTIN”, “Restricted usage GTIN” and“Ambiguous GTIN code” will not be enforced.
  • May 16, 2016: Disapprovals begin. You’ll start to see disapprovals in your account for products that don’t meet the requirements. After this date, you’ll need to meet the GTIN requirements to continue serving ads for your products.

How can I get correct GTIN values for my products?

GTINs also referred to as UPCs, EANs, JANs and ISBNs are used by the brandname

manufacturers of a product to uniquely identify it. They are the number printed on the product’s package in one of the following bar code formats:

GTIN Bar Code Formats

The majority of retailers and distributors use GTINs to identify brandname products in their inventory, fulfillment and accounting systems so if your feed currently does not include GTINs, you can likely get them from elsewhere in your organization. If you do not physically manage your own inventory, you can request a list of GTINs from your distributor or the manufacturer from which you purchase your products.

Important: do not create values for GTINs or purchase your own GTINs to fulfill this requirement as this will result in your offers being disapproved. If you believe an item was incorrectly disapproved or legitimately does not have a GTIN, you can request a manual review.