3dcart Wins Shopping Cart Software Awards From FinancesOnline.com

3dcart Wins Shopping Cart Software Awards From FinancesOnline.com

Here at 3dcart, we take pride in the creativity and effort we put into developing our services. Our quest to help companies and individuals with setting up an efficient and reliable online store is not only a job for us, but a life’s mission. Today, we can be proud of our work once again, as 3dcart was revealed as the winner of the Best Shopping Cart Software Award and the Supreme Software Award from FinancesOnline, a well-known business software review platform.

In our 3dcart review, the team of SaaS experts who distinguished us with the award discussed in detail their positive experience with our software, particularly with our SmartCategories feature which classifies products automatically and in real time based on your own rules. They were also extremely impressed with our Facebook Store feature which lets you sell via your fan page and also helps your affiliates display products on their profile pages.

3dcart was also the winner of the Great User Experience Award as well as the Exceptional Customer Support Award for best shopping cart software services listed in the FinancesOnline review database. The FinancesOnline reviewers were particularly impressed with the well-balanced combination of usability, flexibility, functionality, marketing options, customization and integration offered by 3dcart. We sincerely appreciate that our users and reviewers notice the effort our team puts into making 3dcart intuitive and into providing the highest quality customer support services.

We are certain that the awards we’ve won will motivate us to work even harder on making 3dcart better and on always providing reliable and helpful customer support.

Captivate Your Visitors with a New Parallax Slider

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As an online merchant, you’re always looking for new and creative ways to attract your visitors’ attention and convert browsers into shoppers. With advances in website practices and technology, consumers have come to expect a level of sophisticated, refined design that exceeds the skill and/or budget of many small to medium sized businesses.

Beautiful graphics, high resolutions images, and engaging website tricks and techniques aren’t just a preference of today’s shoppers – their utilization and presence is practically demanded.

Parallax scrolling is one of the newer and more creative techniques to hit the web, with some of the biggest and most successful brands featuring this extremely effective graphical effect on their website’s prime real estate space. Parallax scrolling, a technique first used in video games in the early 80s, creates a graphical illusion of depth and motion where images in perspective move slower than elements in the foreground.

Implementing a Parallax Slider can provide your website with the following benefits:

  • Catch your visitors’ eyes with an enriched and vivid graphical presentation.
  • Promote engagement by giving visitors an active role in your site.
  • Encourages action by piquing curiosity and motivating further interaction.
  • Surprise or delight your shoppers with a fun or exciting presentation.
  • Increase conversions with a simple trigger that encourages click-through.

3dcart’s Parallax Slider, available for $800, includes installation of the slider and the custom design of 2 professional banners.

To view this feature in action, check out our Parallax Slider live demo.

For more information, visit the 3dcart app store.

Optic Eyes Responsive Theme – A FREE Professionally Designed Theme from 3dcart

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

optic-eyes-html5

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

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

How To Choose A Sales Tax Solution For Small Business Owners

Sales tax solved for small business owners

They may not have the high visibility of their big business counterparts, but over 90 percent of American businesses fall into the category of small businesses. The owners of these businesses often do it all — from marketing to shipping, filling out forms to depositing cash. The sheer number of government regulations and requirements can be daunting to these business owners. One of the most potentially confusing areas of regulation? Sales tax.

In this guide, you’ll learn about different types of sales tax solutions. Rather than pointing you toward any one solution, you’ll learn how to evaluate your business’s needs and how to identify the best way to solve your sales tax challenges.

Why change what we do now?

Which small business owners should consider a change to their sales tax solution? Many business owners are slow to change the way they do sales tax — people like sticking with what they know. But if any of the following applies to your business, it could be time for a change:

  • You sell goods or services, but haven’t yet registered to collect sales tax.
  • You registered to collect sales tax, but have not collected it or collect it inconsistently.
  • You collect sales tax, but have had difficulty completing sales tax returns.
  • You complete sales tax returns, but have to ask for extensions or incur late penalties.
  • You are considering expanding out-of-state, or have already begun your expansion.
  • Your company may start growing — or has already grown — to include attending tradeshows, drop shipping, or other out-of-state activities.
  • You’re paying a CPA or other accounting professional to file your sales tax returns.
  • You’ve started spending more time or money on sales taxes than you used to.
  • You’ve changed your accounting software.

Step one: learn about sales tax challenges

Before you take a closer look at specific solutions, it’s a good idea to have a general outline of the problem you’re trying to solve. Filing returns and remitting taxes can be a pain point for many small business owners. Whether they’re paying an accountant or make sales tax returns a DIY project, many small business owners find that filing requirements cost more time and money than they’d like. There are over 12,000 sales tax jurisdictions in the United States alone, and many don’t follow city boundaries, county lines … or even zip codes. Each jurisdiction has its own tax rate, and taxability rules are modified frequently. Because sales tax revenue is seen as low-hanging fruit, cash-strapped local and state governments have become stricter about enforcement and auditing in recent years. Service businesses often don’t charge sales tax at all because they believe services are exempt. While some states exempt most or all services from sales tax, an increasing number have started taxing a wide array of services.

Growth and expansion are the goals of every small business owner, but new sales tax challenges emerge with new business activities and a broadening customer base. Compliance activities can quickly expand to fill all available time, and even careful, math-oriented business owners can make costly mistakes.

Step two: evaluate your options

Options for sales tax compliance could include DIY solutions, hiring an accountant, or outsourcing sales tax tasks to automated software. For each solution you consider, keep the following questions in mind:

  • Does the solution give me flexibility to file returns manually or automate the process?
  • Can I rely on this solution to be error-free and prevent audit trouble?
  • Does the solution integrate with my existing accounting software?
  • Will this solution free up time so I can spend it on core business functions?
  • Is support available when I have questions?
  • Does the solution meet my budgetary needs?
  • Will this solution scale with my company’s growth? What about if we expand beyond our state, or even internationally?

Step three: choose your sales tax solution

After considering your options, it’s time to figure out which one will best meet the needs you outlined during the first step. Make sure to do a fair comparison of costs, keeping in mind that more automation (and less work for you) doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive. Compatibility with your current software is important, but so is compatibility with a wide range of ecommerce and accounting software. Remember, you may not use the same tools forever, so versatility is key for your sales tax solution. No matter what solution you choose, the single most important consideration is how well it will grow with your business in the future. Minimizing compliance “growing pains” ensures that tax rules won’t hold your business back.

Get Started.

Avalara Sales Tax Automation with 3dcart

To learn more about Avalara’s small business solutions for 3dcart, visit:
https://www.avalara.com/integrations/3dcart/

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!

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.

prevail-clothing-html5

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.