3dcart Success Stories: Featuring Corvette Mods

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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!

Make Shopping Easy with the Product Comparison App

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Customers are more than ever on the hunt for bargains, discounts, and unbeatable prices, and thanks to the convenience of the web, have come to rely on comparison shopping to reveal the nitty-gritty truth behind real discounts and perceived deals.

Studies show that impulsive purchases are on the decline, with more and more shoppers taking the time to conduct preliminary research. According to recent eCommerce studies, 36% of consumers spend 30+ minutes comparison shopping before making a purchase, while 65% spend 16+ minutes doing so.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to helping customers find the right product at the best price without them ever having to leave your site. 3dcart’s Product Comparison app ensures customers a faster, hassle-free shopping experience, allowing them to find the perfect product and check out faster than ever before.

By providing customers with an easy way to conduct their research, you increase your likelihood of turning one-time shoppers into loyal lifetime customers. The product comparison app simplifies the shopping experience by allowing customers to compare information for up to 3 products directly from the product page. Details compared include:

  • Product name
  • Price
  • Review stars
  • Extra Fields 1-5

As an online merchant, you’re always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to simultaneously help your customers and your business. 3dcart’s newest app is an eCommerce tool small and large businesses will find of great aid, capable of significantly boosting customer satisfaction and conversions.

You can view a live demo of the Product Comparison app by clicking here or visiting our app store at http://apps.3dcart.com/product-comparison.html for more information.

The Product Comparison app is currently available for $500.

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Prevail Clothing Responsive Theme – A FREE Professionally Designed Theme from 3dcart

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

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If you would like to preview the live demo of our “Prevail Clothing” 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 “Prevail Clothing”

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

3 Ways ERP Integration Can Improve Shopper Satisfaction

Automated order and inventory management keeps customer concerns to a minimum and satisfaction levels high

Shopping Online

Let’s face it, in the competitive world of eCommerce, merchants can’t afford to be slow when fulfilling orders or updating their websites. Today’s shoppers are demanding that an online store’s “back of house” is working just as hard for them as the “front of house.”

To start, store visitors demand the most up-to-date information when browsing. That means accurate product information, pricing and inventory. When they make a purchase, they expect the order to be processed and delivered quickly. Lastly, they want to be able to check their order status online and obtain shipment details for tracking.

Keeping up with all of this data processing using manual processes will inevitably create delays that will frustrate your customers and have them shopping elsewhere next time around. Fortunately for eCommerce merchants, there are integration solutions available that can automate data entry and make your previously inefficient processes become efficient!

The optimal solution is the implementation of an automated, bi-directional integration between your ERP or accounting system and eCommerce store. An ERP integration solution will not only help to save time and lower costs, but it can also be leveraged to increase customer satisfaction. To further illustrate, here are 3 of the ways your customers can benefit:

  1. Access to Accurate Product Information and Inventory when Shopping

With your ERP system as the master data source, an integration solution can ensure that information such as pricing, product details, and inventory levels are in sync with your eCommerce storefront. This includes the following:

  • Items purchased online will be automatically be deducted from inventory when the order is fulfilled
  • Items with zero inventory in the warehouse or at the shipping provider will be listed on the website as “Not In Stock” or with a quantity of zero, effectively decreasing the number of backorders
  • Sales prices or discounts will be displayed accurately on the website and in sync with the ERP system when orders are posted and converted to invoices
  • Product additions or updates made in the ERP system will be automatically exported to the website

Consistently presenting accurate product and inventory information to visitors will increase their level of confidence in purchasing the right products at the right time and right price.

  1. An Expedited Order to Delivery Process

Orders from your eCommerce storefront are quickly retrieved and posted to your ERP system, triggering the items ordered to be picked, packed, and shipped to the customer. There are no delays in the posting of the orders and unlike a data entry clerk, the integration process runs 24/7. In addition, errors caused by inaccurate data entry are essentially eliminated. With no mistakes to clean up, order processing can continue at the same quick pace. Having a speedy order fulfillment process will ensure that customers get their purchases delivered on time.

  1. A Self Service Mechanism for Checking Order Status and Shipment Tracking

When an order has been shipped and updated in your ERP system with a tracking number, an automated process in the integration solution will retrieve the update and export it immediately to your eCommerce website. The customer will then be able to check the status of their order online and obtain information on the shipping carrier and a tracking number. This number can then be entered on the carrier’s website to determine when the shipment is schedule to arrive. With the ability to access order and shipment information online, the customer won’t have to pick up the phone or send an email to inquire about their orders. Your company will also benefit from maintaining low overhead costs by keeping call center/support resources to a minimum. It’s a win-win situation.

In the hyper-competitive world of eCommerce, merchants that can deliver positive customer experiences will be better positioned to generate customers for life. For this to be possible, merchants must integrate their ERP and eCommerce systems and do away with manual data processing methods. An automated integration solution will expedite order fulfillment, ensure that product information and inventory is accurate, and keep customers up-to-date with the status of their orders. Now is the time. Get integrated today!

 

About Matt Train and eBridge Connections

Matt Train is the Director of Marketing at eBridge Connections, a leading integration solution provider for eCommerce businesses worldwide. eBridge Connections helps 3dcart merchants by enabling automated, bi-directional data integration with back-office ERP and accounting systems. If you are a 3dcart merchant looking to increase your customer satisfaction levels, contact the integration experts at eBridge Connections to learn more about integrated eCommerce.

For more information, visit www.ebridgeconnections.com.

Boost Sales and Traffic with Affiliate Marketing

affiliatemarketingAffiliate marketing is a powerful sales channel that when implemented correctly, can drastically boost sales for your eCommerce business. If you’re not familiar with affiliate marketing, it’s a type of performance-based marketing where other websites will advertise your store. In return, you’ll reward affiliates with a percentage of every sale they send your way.

The success of your business isn’t dependent on just the products you sell, but the measures you take to spread the word about your store and generate traffic. An affiliate program will provide you with a network of customers who will serve as your personal brand ambassadors, an invaluable resource in an ever-growing, competitive market.

While affiliate marketing is a strong sales channel that can provide your business with many benefits, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before implementing this powerful sales channel.

Determine Your Affiliate’s Cut

While affiliate marketing seems like the perfect opportunity to let other people do the work for you, it’s important to remember that like all things in life, nothing is for free. Your affiliates are working to generate you traffic because you’re paying them. Take some time to accurately calculate what percentage your business can afford for affiliate marketing, thereby ensuring your affiliates walk away happy (and motivated) and your business maintains a profit.

What percentage you decide to commit to your affiliate marketing is entirely up to you.  Are you able to offer 7% commission for every sale? What about 15%? For every business, this number will vary, and as your affiliate marketing grows, you may find a need to either increase or decrease your commission rate.

Keep Your Affiliates Motivated

Maintaining an affiliate channel can be downright expensive, and after calculating the math, it may seem like you’re spending as much on commissions as you are on other marketing channels. But what you don’t want to ignore is the multitude of benefits your network of affiliates bring to your store: new customers.

The eCommerce market is as competitive as it gets, with thousands of new stores launching on a daily basis. Affiliates serve to not only bring you sales, but new customers, an absolute essential to surviving and thriving in eCommerce’s shark-filled waters.

But to have a successful affiliate marketing channel, you need to have motivated affiliates. That means dishing out a good commission that’ll keep your affiliates earnest and eager. Of course, as mentioned previously, the commission you decide on needs to meet your business’ budget.  Just don’t assume that any ol’ measly commission will get your affiliates working hard for you and your brand.

Ready to Start an eCommerce Affiliate Program?

If you’re ready to boost sales and acquire your own personal network of brand ambassadors, then it’s time to implement an affiliate program for your store. 3dcart’s Affiliate Program will provide you with everything you need to successfully tackle the affiliate marketing channel. 3dcart will not only keep track of the customers that make a purchase, but will automatically calculate the payout for the affiliate as well!

Best of all, 3dcart’s Affiliate Program is available FREE of charge for all 3dcart accounts. Click here to view our detailed guide for setting up your very own affiliate program.

Lean out your shipping costs with these 3 tips

Shipping
FedEx and UPS recently increased their rates. Merchants are now paying more ever! Here are some tips on how to lean out your shipping operation to reduce costs.

1. Audit your shipping fees

Any time a shipment is late, unshipped or misbilled, you’re entitled to a full refund on the costs incurred for that shipment. The catch is that you can only ask for refunds on specific shipments, which means you must audit each shipment for late delivery, misbillings, etc. This takes time. So much time that most shippers forego doing a thorough audit on shipping invoices, consequently missing most, if not all, of the refunds waiting to be collected.

Fortunately, there’s app available to 3dcart shop owners for shipment auditing. It’s called Share a Refund. It’s free to sign up, and secures all of the refund credits available within your FedEx and UPS accounts. Simply register, and provide your shipping account login info. Share a Refund does the rest: auditing, filing and reporting on the refund credits delivered back to you. The best part is that there’s no monthly fee. Share a Refund splits the refund credits delivered, and reports on the savings weekly. Take the no-risk move with Share a Refund. Put the auditing of your shipping invoices on auto-pilot.

2. Map expedited shipping service types to ground

When an order is specified to ship with overnight, 2-day air, or any other express method, and the destination is within the same shipping zone as your point of distribution, the service type can be mapped to ground (i.e. the cheapest delivery method available). In other words, the ground shipping service type is just as fast as overnight when shipping within the state or a neighboring state. So, by shipping ground, the shipment will arrive to the customer on the expected day, and your cost to ship that package will be reduced. This process is commonly referred to as the mapping of shipping service types.

Steps to deploy mapping of shipping service types:

  1. Build a spreadsheet with a list of states and the delivery estimates represented in the number of days.
  2. Get the delivery estimates for each of the states. You’ll be able to find a map within your FedEx or UPS account with color coding for your ground delivery estimates. Note: there will be some states with different delivery estimates (e.g. 2 days to northern California compared to 3 days to Southern California). For such cases, simply note the exception in your spreadsheet.
  3. Work with your warehouse manager and label generation team to implement the mappings as defaults. If you are using third-party shipping software to generate shipping labels, then be sure to work this logic into that system.

3. Avoid Over Maximum Limit fees

As simple as this point is, most warehouse teams don’t take the time to review overages on shipping invoices, and further build a model to ship an order in a way which avoids overage fees proactively. In general, a multipiece shipment (i.e. multiple boxes in the same shipment) is the cheaper option compared to a single box shipment which has Over Maximum Limit fees. Over Maximum Limit fees are assessed when a shipment exceeds a certain weight or dimensional limit. These limits are carrier, and service type specific. The best way to avoid these is to audit recent shipping invoices, looking for Over Maximum Limit fees, then implement a procedural guide to avoid Over Maximum Limit fees whenever possible.

Nick Hoffman Share a Refund


This guest post was written by Nick Hoffman. Inventor. Programmer. American business man, best known for owner and founder of Share a Refund.

6 Overlooked 3dcart Features to Improve Your Store

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As a 3dcart merchant, you’re probably well acquainted with the ins-and-outs of the 3dcart admin panel. Reports, promotions, gift certificates – countless tools and features have been added through the years, some at the personal request of our very own merchants.

But with so many built-in features available right at your fingertips, it can be easy to get caught up in the necessities and overlook the beneficial perks that come with every 3dcart account.

Let’s take a look at some of the awesome, free 3dcart features you may not be aware of and might potentially soon come to love.

1. Customize Your Store with Customer Groups

Customer groups offer a number of benefits that at first glance, may not seem very apparent. Have you ever wanted to offer an exclusive promotion to a group of just friends and family? Or create a discount category that only your “VIP customers” or “wholesale group” could access? Customer groups make this possible.

With 3dcart, you can easily restrict site content pages, products, or even entire categories to a specific group and create promotions that only a specific, desired group can take advantage of. Furthermore, you’ll also be able to utilize 3dcart’s price level feature. With price levels, you can easily sell products at different prices based on the customer that’s viewing them. For example, friends and family logged into their account may see product prices that are 20% cheaper.

2. Send Targeted Newsletters with SmartLists

3dcart’s SmartList feature is designed to simplify and improve your email marketing campaign efforts. The Newsletter SmartLists dynamically group customers or mailing list subscribers based on their history, making it easy to send out newsletters to all customers who ordered a specific product, placed an order within a specific date range, have a new (shipped, unpaid, cancelled, etc,) order, spent over a specific amount, etc.

There’s no need to comb through your orders to find the information you’re looking for. Either use one of our pre-created SmartLists or create your own. Sending criteria-specific newsletters really is that easy.

3. Search Fast with Your Admin Quick Search

While you’re probably familiar with your store’s front end search, you may not be aware of the convenience your admin quick search offers. With your admin quick search (located toward the upper-right hand corner of your admin), you can easily find orders, products, and customers, with a real time preview displaying results as you type.

Furthermore, your quick search will categorize your results as product, orders, or customers – ensuring your search is not only fast, but always accurate.

4. Increase Conversions with Autoresponders

An autoresponder is a powerful and effective email marketing tool which allows you to send a series of scheduled follow-up emails to your shoppers. These emails are sent when a specific, established parameter is met by a customer. For example, you may want to send a follow-up email with a special coupon to customers who purchased your newest product; or perhaps you’d like to notify or upsell your customers about accessories that’ll go well with their new purchase.

Autoresponders consist of two components: 1) The autoresponder, which is the actual email marketing campaign customers receive, and 2) the automation rules, which are the specific situation actions that need to be triggered for an autoresponder message to be sent.

Utilizing this simple yet beneficial tool ensures you get the best results possible from your email marketing efforts.  With an automated campaign, you can rest assured that no matter where you are and when an order comes in, measures are in place to bring you more conversions.

5. Resize Images with Ease

3dcart’s system automatically resizes your product images based on your settings specified in store settings (thumbnail, product page, and large image size). But if you’ve already uploaded an image(s) prior to specifying your settings and would like to resize it, you can do so right from your admin. Simply navigate to the file manager and from the “batch action” at the bottom of the page, select the size of your choice (large or thumb).

This feature isn’t exclusive to product images. Feel free to resize any image from the file manager – whether it’s for your home or site content page!

6. Run Multiple Daily Deals with the Daily Deal Group Function

3dcart’s Daily Deal feature is a big hit with countless merchants. But did you know that you could have multiple daily deals running at the same time? That’s right – you’re not restricted to just one daily deal!

The “Deal Group function” is a beneficial feature for stores that have multiple categories, such as men, women, and children, and would like to offer a deal specific to each category, or to merchants who would like to offer a daily deal to a specific customer group. Be aware that this feature is completely unrelated to 3dcart’s “Group Deal” feature – another awesome tool offered by 3dcart.

 

If you’re unfamiliar with any of these features, be sure to check them out. Log in to your admin panel and take advantage of the plethora of features 3dcart has designed with your success in mind!

Bella Responsive Theme – A FREE Professionally Designed Theme from 3dcart

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

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If you would like to preview the live demo of our “Bella” 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 “Bella”

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

3dcart Success Stories: Featuring Custom Sports Sleeves

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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!

How to Create a Members Only Site

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Have you ever wanted to create a site with specific areas for members only? Thanks to the features in 3dcart, you can customize your site to have a Members Only section. In the following article, we will discuss how to set the cart up in this way and why each feature or step is necessary.

  1. Create products that represent your membership tiers so that customers can sign up and pay for access

When creating a members only site, typically, you will want the customer to pay to get access. So the first step in customizing your site will be to add products to your site which will allow the customer to purchase the level of membership they would like.

This step is necessary if you wish to charge for your “Members Only” content. Alternatively, you could have the content be free and simply require them to register for the site. You will need to consider whether your primary goal is to make money off the content you are providing them, or increase your customer database so that you can broaden your marketing platform.

If you require detailed assistance with how to add a product, you can refer to the following guide: https://support.3dcart.com/Knowledgebase/Article/View/170/9/how-do-i-editadd-a-new-product-to-my-store

When adding your product, you will want to create a separate product for each tier of access.

NOTE: Do not create options for the tiers as your automation rule can only be linked to a product, not an option. You will require a different automation rule for each product to ensure that when the service is purchased, the customer is automatically added to the appropriate group which will save a great deal of time and labor on your part.

  1. Set up recurring orders module to renew the subscription based on the level the customer purchased

Recurring orders is not a standard feature of your 3dcart store but rather an app that can help you generate recurring streams of revenue by having customers sign up for subscription based products. Here is a link to some purchasing information about the module: http://apps.3dcart.com/autoship-recurring-orders.html

NOTE: To set up recurring orders, you will need to be using a gateway that supports Tokenization. For more information on this module and how to set it up properly, review the following article: https://support.3dcart.com/Knowledgebase/Article/View/628/14/can-i-have-recurring-orders-on-my-store

  1. Create groups for each tier of membership

To control which content the customer can see, they will have to be assigned to a group. This means that at a minimum you will need as many customer groups as you have subscription tiers.

Creating a group is a simple process. For a walk-through, you can refer to this guide: https://support.3dcart.com/Knowledgebase/Article/View/197/7/how-do-i-set-up-customer-groups

You can even set up a price level this group falls under. This will be useful if you want your group to have a different price scale for your products/services.

  1. Set up an Automation Rule that will assign the member to their corresponding group after they have paid for membership.

This part is only required if you wish to have the process of assigning the member to their corresponding group be an automated one. I would recommend it, however, as if and when your site gains many members, you will find it time consuming to manually review each member.

Here is a support article that will guide you through creating an automation rule: https://support.3dcart.com/Knowledgebase/Article/View/451/8/how-do-i-use-automation-rules

Things to make sure your rule has:

  • Order status should be “New”
  • Customer Group set to “All”
  • Order Amount is not needed for this type of rule.
  • Product:  Here you will set the product for the member level that you are setting the rule up for. So if you have 3 tiers of member access and this is for the first tier, select the product that allows you to purchase access to the first tier.

Automation Tasks:

  • Add Email to Autoresponder: You can use this to assign an email that will mail out when the order is made to join this member group.
  • Assign to Customer Group: Here you will select the group you set up for this tier of membership. In our example, we said this is for the first tier. Select the first tier group.
  • Flag Order: This is not needed unless you would like to flag the order so that you know it corresponds to this type of member order.
  1. Create special categories, products, etc. that will be visible to each group

This is very much like you would create any normal category or product, except that you will be restricting access to them and setting up pricing tiers later. Below are some guides to help you create Products and Categories:

To create a Category: https://support.3dcart.com/Knowledgebase/Article/View/178/9/how-do-i-use-categories

To create or edit Products: https://support.3dcart.com/Knowledgebase/Article/View/170/9/how-do-i-editadd-a-new-product-to-my-store

  1. Set up these areas to be restricted to their corresponding groups

To set up which of these categories, products, etc. are restricted to groups you can follow this guide: https://support.3dcart.com/Knowledgebase/Article/View/367/11/how-do-i-set-up-customer-group-security

A good members only site will contain content that will have members coming back each month for access, so consider your content wisely.

Some examples are:

  • Special categories that contain information (only accessible to members) and updated regularly
  • Special products or pricing discounts
  • Access to download special files (pdfs, images, etc.)

 

After having read this article, you have a general idea of how to create a members only site. Additional configurations are possible if you get creative but this should provide a solid framework.

If you need further assistance with creating this type of site, you can always schedule a Guru Session with one of our on-boarding team specialists.

Written by:
Jonathan Ferragut
On-boarding Consultant at 3dcart