Think about what it takes to run your ecommerce business. How many files, apps, and programs do you have running? If disaster does strike, whether it’s because of human error, or a technical fault, and you delete your products, customer data, web pages, blog posts, orders or inventory, this can cause a lot of stress and in more severe cases downtime. When a customer can’t access your website, or it’s not functioning properly, it will directly affect your revenue and your brand’s reputation.
So, how do you ensure that your business’s data is safely backed up and accessible in the event you need to restore it?
Here, leading backups app, Rewind discusses everything you need to know about backups to ensure your Shopify store is fully protected, no matter what…
What is a data recovery app, and what does it do?
Any online retailer that has experienced data loss knows that feeling of panic and desperation. At that moment, all you can think about is how to recover that data. If you don’t have a data recovery app, the process will be much more complex, and sometimes impossible.
A data recovery app runs continuously in the background to back up the data on your devices. Backups are stored in the cloud and are available on-demand. So if you experience data loss for any reason, you can quickly and easily restore it from a backup and carry on.
Of course, there are other ways to recover your data, but not all are reliable, cost-effective, or user-friendly. If you don’t have a data recovery app, you could restore your data from a hard drive or optical media backup if you have one. But this will depend on how regularly you backup your store, otherwise you’ll likely miss some files.
If you don’t have a backup, you might still be able to retrieve your files, but you’ll need to invest in data recovery software or take your device to a professional, which will, let’s face it, eat into your bottom line.
In either scenario, there’s no guarantee that your files are retrievable, and the likelihood is your file names and hierarchies will not hold—meaning you’ll have the data back, but it’s up to you to sort through it, rename the files, and put them where they need to be. If it sounds incredibly tedious and frustrating, it is. And depending on the volume of data you’re trying to restore, it can end up being expensive too.
All in all, a data recovery app is a more reliable method of protecting your systems and files as it helps you avoid the anxiety, time, and expense of restoring by other methods.
How and where is your data stored?
Your computers are equipped with hard disc drives (HDDs) or solid-state drives (SSDs), where data is stored locally. Because they are inside your computer, they are protected to a certain degree, but drops, impacts, or liquids can destroy them, especially in the case of HDDs.
SSDs use memory chips similar to the ones that store data on your mobile devices. They are generally more durable than HDDs, but after a few years of constant use, the potential for malfunction increases.
Lost data from SSDs and HDDs are recoverable if they have not been erased or overwritten. Usually, this means that if you delete a file accidentally, it’s still there on the system. The operating system continues to store the files in an inaccessible state until new data overwrites them. Suffice to say, the sooner you act, the better the restoration result will be.
What are the most common causes of data loss?
There are multiple reasons why and how data loss happens to ecommerce businesses.
But here’s a list of the most common reasons:
Hard drive failure: Whether it’s from overheating, physical damage or an aging drive, these can all cause a drive to fail.
Viruses or malware: Cybercriminals can and will exploit unpatched software and unprotected systems to gain access to your business and customer data. Others will use tactics like phishing to convince employees to give up their credentials.
Human error: Accidental or intentional deletion of files or systems can leave your business vulnerable. In fact, human error is responsible for 90% of all business data loss.
Disasters: A fire, flood, vandalism, power shortages, and terrorism can all lead to a loss of physical premises or anything that destroys the physical computer.
What is the cost of data loss?
Whatever the root cause of data loss, the results are always the same. The annual costs of data loss to businesses are difficult to measure. IBM and Ponemon Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach Report estimates an average of $8.64 million per incident. Almost half of that amount is directly because of loss of business – in other words, the time it takes for a company to recover from data loss, the work interrupted while systems are being restored, and the loss of trust from customers.
Smaller ecommerce businesses that lack the resources to recover from a devastating loss might be forced to completely shut down altogether.
How to prevent data loss?
When it comes to effectively managing data loss, a provocative prevention approach is best. This allows you and your business to be prepared for any eventuality, so you can avoid downtime and the expense of restoring your systems.
Your backup plan is the foundation of this. It’s best practice to have more than one copy of your backup, just in case your primary source fails. The 3-2-1 backup methodology suggests three copies, two of which are on different storage mediums and one stored offsite in case you lose your physical premises.
Another essential part of this plan is having a data recovery app, as it enables you to restore quickly from the cloud – meaning you won’t waste time trying to search for a backup copy or gain access to local drives to do so.
Of course, it goes without saying, data loss prevention should be built into your ecommerce business’s DNA and written into policies that all employees are trained on and follow.
Here are some strategies that you can start implementing right away if you’re not already doing so…
Having a data recovery app is a vital aspect of this plan, as it enables you to restore quickly from the cloud—meaning you won’t have to waste time searching for a backup copy or gaining access to local drives to do so.
Of course, data loss prevention should be built into your company’s DNA and written into policies that all employees are trained on and follow. Here are a few strategies you can put into play today:
Establish and enforce company policy around data privacy and security
What are the benefits of using a data recovery tool for my Shopify store?
Data recovery apps offer lots of great benefits, including:
Ease of use: Data recovery apps are designed to be user-friendly, meaning that just about anybody can be trained to leverage its features, even if you’re not the most tech savvy.
Time saving: As we discussed above, downtime is costly. But with a data recovery app you don’t have to worry. They give you the security of being able to restore your data quickly and easily.
Cost effective: Data recovery apps deliver incredible value. The low monthly subscription fee pays for itself when you consider the cost of data loss – from low productivity fines and data recovery fees.
Customisable return point: Your return point is critical, especially when you’re attempting to recover from a malicious attack. You’ll need to identify a point in time when your systems were clean so that you can restore from that moment. A data recovery app offers that level of customisation, minimising data loss and all associated costs.
Why should I install Rewind on my Shopify store?
Installing a data recovery app to protect your business systems brings with it a sense of security and peace of mind. Choosing the right solution for your needs is critical, as not all data recovery apps offer the same features.
With Rewind, you can restore information with just a few clicks. You can restore an individual item, a group of items, or your entire store.
Rewind backs up more item types than any other solution. This includes:
Products and product images
Orders and collections
Blogs and blog posts
Themes and theme files
Customer saved searches
(Certain plans may be ineligible to stores with higher product counts).
What’s more, Rewind automatically backs up your store’s data every 24 hours, so you always have an up-to-date backup to fall back on. If something goes wrong, simply restore your data from an earlier backup, and get back to business.
And, Rewind’s team of experts will help your store get back up and running as quickly as possible after a data loss. Available by chat, email, and phone, their support team are always on hand to help.
Need to backup your Shopify store?
If you’re a merchant, data loss is not a question of if, it’s a question of when.
Whether it’s a malicious hacker or simply human error, your store’s data could be compromised at any moment, costing you time, money and customer trust.
You can protect your Shopify store from data loss by performing a backup every day. Rewind makes this simple, all you need is to install it and forget about it.
Reach out to Velstar’s Shopify experts and install Rewind in no time.
Rewind’ssuite of apps offers data security and control for businesses looking to secure their data. With Rewind, you can backup, restore, and copy the critical information stored in your Shopify store.
If you want to go global, then Shopify SEO is essential.
It’s expected that the global ecommerce market will total $4.89 trillion this year. That figure is estimated to grow over the next few years, showing that borderless ecommerce is becoming a more profitable option for online retailers. With this in mind, it’s important that your international SEO strategy is fit for your ecommerce business’s needs.
First, let’s discuss exactly what international SEO is, and then look at the best Shopify SEO techniques to ensure you reach a global audience and expand your business with confidence.
What is international SEO?
International SEO is the process of optimising your Shopify store so that search engines like Google can easily identify which countries and languages you want to target. SEO efforts include but are not limited to targeting preferences, content localisation, and multilingual link building.
Shopify SEO best practices
1. Think like a local
When you’re entering new territories, there’s lots to consider. That’s why you should always start with initial market research. This is where Google Analytics comes in handy. Use this to review your current international organic search visibility and calculate which international regions you should prioritise, making sure you note down the different languages and currencies you’ll need.
Also, you’ll need to do some keyword research and competitor analysis in the relevant languages and locations. This is because key search terms are not universal, so what might be your main target keywords in the UK aren’t necessarily the same in the US or a country that doesn’t speak English.
And, keep in mind that although Google is the go-to search engine in most countries there are exceptions to this rule. For example, in Russia it’s Yandex and in China it’s Baidu.
So, now you’ve done your SEO research it’s time to technically structure your Shopify store.
2. Set up URL structures for international markets
Your URL structure sends a signal to search engines that helps determine the location and relevance of your site. There are three main URL structures:
Country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs)
ccTLDs use two-letter codes to indicate to search engines which country a website is registered. They target specific countries and regions, but not languages.
For example, Adidas automatically targets users in Germany with the following ccTLD: https://www.adidas.de
A subdomain is a domain that is part of a primary domain address. Subdomains include the country code at the beginning of the root domain name. They are created to organise and navigate to different sections of a Shopify store that may be extensive in content or different thematically. Subdomains can be used to create specific pages targeting particular countries and regions, which is useful if you’re operating in international markets and the language of your site needs to be adapted for each country.
For example, Gymshark use this subdomain to target France: https://fr.gymshark.com/
A subdirectory, otherwise known as a subfolder, houses a subset of your content. The subdirectory is located to the right of your root domain. For example, here’s Apple’s UK subdirectory: https://www.apple.com/uk
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for URL structures. The most important factor is that whichever structure you choose, you must stick with throughout your internationalisation efforts. Consistency is key when it comes to Shopify SEO.
3. Implement Hreflang tags
International Shopify stores have a lot of duplicated content. For example, your products may exist on yourshop.com, fr.yourshop.com and es.yourshop.com, which can significantly dilute your search engine rankings. This is where Hreflang tags come in handy. They are a HTML attribute that tell search engines when there are alternate versions of a page intended for different regions and languages.
4. Craft unique content
When it comes to your Shopify store’s content, remember the differences in languages and terminology.
Avoid using Google translate as this often generates incorrect translations and you could end up making some very embarrassing mistakes. Instead, consider employing a native speaker from the country you’re targeting to write highly relevant and unique content.
5. Link building and outreach campaigns
Finally, you need to build links in the countries you want to reach.
From guest blogs and online magazines, to social media collaborations and podcast appearances, it’s time to get your brand’s name out there. Get creative, the possibilities are endless!
Your Shopify SEO agency
If you have global domination in your sights and are looking to scale your Shopify business internationally, you’ll need to make sure you implement these Shopify SEO best practices discussed in this article. Not only will they boost your search performance in the regions you want to target the most, but they will also provide your customers with a better user experience, which will ultimately lead to more conversions.
As a leading Shopify agency, our team of SEO experts have helped hundreds of brands conquer internationalisation, and we can do the same for your business. Get in touch today!
Creating a community of like-minded customers replicates the traditional word-of-mouth marketing method, and the advantages of brand loyalty help you stand out in a crowded market. An active online community provides insights into customer preferences, increases customer retention, improves brand reputation, and decreases support costs – all of which lead to more customers and more revenue.
Building a following of loyal customers is a long-term tactic to create a sustainable brand. Think of brands like Skims that have nurtured a cult-like following of customers that jump on their latest products the moment they’re released.
Building a community is crucial for generating brand trust and loyalty that keeps shoppers coming back for more.
Reviews help add a layer of credibility and social proof, enabling shoppers to feel understood, provide a space to share stories, and build trust, all of which are important in building an online community.
Here, our partners at Okendo discuss everything you need to know about reviews and how you can leverage them to build and shape a loyal community.
Why reviews are integral to brand community
They help you build trust: reviews allow you to show shoppers how authentic you are by showcasing the real life experiences of your customers.
They help you deliver optimised customer experiences: reviews allow you to collect valuable feedback that can be used to create optimised customer experiences, from your customer service and internal processes to the products you offer.
They help you nurture customer relationships: reviews provide a way for merchants to engage with customers and also help identify how they should be engaging with them based on the reviews they leave.
They help you build word-of-mouth marketing: reviews enable customers to discuss a brand or product publicly online which generates buzz and encourages shoppers to share their own experiences.
How to build a community with reviews
Reviews help brands build and nurture a community by providing customer stories that resonate. Seeing their own wants and needs reflected in other shoppers can spark a connection between shoppers. More than that, reviews instil brand loyalty and increase customer retention, which can create a cult-like following of consumers that hang on every word you say.
Here are some actionable ways you can cultivate a community with reviews:
1. Use attributes
Attributes allow shoppers to filter through reviews on your website to find like-minded customers. As well as creating a personalised experience, this also provides you with valuable customer and product data that can be used to improve the products you create for your community.
2. Respond to reviews
When customers interact with negative reviews, brands have seen an 85% increase in conversion rates. Why? Because it helps the brand become more authentic and allows you to show off your customer service. But responding to reviews in general is a savvy tactic you should be doing. Consumers actually find businesses that respond to reviews 1.7x more trustworthy than those who don’t.
Identify customers that have left four or five-star reviews and offer them an incentive to share your brand with a friend. These will be some of your most loyal customers, which makes it more likely that they’ll recommend your products to their inner circle.
4. Reward customers for reviews
Rewarding customers who leave reviews helps you create a collection of UGC that cements your community when building customer loyalty. Customers are more likely to come back and purchase from you again if you offer them an incentive, like a discount code or a voucher for their next purchase.
You can take this one step further and offer a sliding scale of incentives based on the quality of a review. For example, a customer that writes a text review can unlock a 10% discount, while customers that leave a visual review can get 15% off their next order.
5. Make reviews visible
Don’t hide your reviews away! Make sure they’re visible across your site and on other marketing channels to encourage community and help build your word-of-mouth strategy.
Some places you might incorporate reviews include:
Okendo’s powerful features let merchants collect and display reviews across their site and throughout their marketing materials. Filter reviews by attributes to help customers find like-minded shoppers, generate UGC to showcase on your site, and offer rewards to customers who leave a review.
Okendo enables fast-growing consumer brands like Knix, SKIMS, and Zitsticka to leverage their most powerful asset; their customers. Okendo has all the tools brands need to capture and showcase customer-generated content including product ratings & reviews, photos and videos, and Q&A. Brands use this content to build shopper trust, drive conversions and maximise CLTV. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia and with offices in Miami, Florida, and a Shopify Plus Technology Partner, Okendo is trusted by over 3,500 leading direct-to-consumer brands.
Paying additional shipping fees and handling charges are just some of the main reasons why customers abandon their carts. The easiest way to avoid this is by offering shoppers a free shipping option at checkout.
Luckily if you’re on Shopify, setting up free shipping is easy! There are various ways you can set up free shipping choices in the shipping settings page on your Shopify admin dashboard. You can offer free shipping or discounted shipping choices in the following ways:
Free shipping codes
Often merchants are reluctant to offer free or discounted shipping because they fear this will eat into their bottom line. However, you can still take care of your expenses, in fact, you could even benefit from offering free shipping. For instance, you can avoid additional expenses by increasing the cost of your products. Customers are more likely to leave at checkout if they incur additional shipping fees rather than because of the price of a product.
How to offer free shipping over a fixed amount on Shopify
Here’s how you offer free shipping for orders over a fixed amount:
From your Shopify admin, click on Settings, and after that click on Shipping.
Click on Edit by the zone where you need to offer free shipping.
In the Price based rates segment, click Add rate.
In the Add cost based rate exchange, enter a Name for the shipping rate, and then enter the minimum and maximum value of the order.
Check the free shipping rate.
When you have completed the above steps, click done.
After you include a free shipping choice, eligible customers between the said order values will be able to checkout with free shipping.
How to offer free shipping over a set weight on Shopify
Here’s how to offer free shipping for orders over a set weight:
From your Shopify admin, click on Settings, and after that click on Shipping.
Click on Edit alongside the zone where you need to offer free shipping.
In the weight-based rates segment, click Add date.
On the Add weight-based rate section, enter a Name for the shipping rate, and then enter the minimum and maximum weight of the order.
Check free shipping rate.
When you have completed the above steps, click done
After you include a free shipping choice, eligible customers between the said order weights will be able to checkout with free shipping.
Your Shopify experts
After reading this article we hope you now understand how to set up free shipping on your Shopify store. However, if you still need help or would like to understand more about what Shopify can do for your business, get in touch with our team of ecommerce experts today.
There’s no denying that subscription ecommerce has grown enormously. In fact, according to McKinsey, the subscription economy has grown 100% year on year for the last five years.
As more and more businesses embrace subscriptions, big brands are taking note: Sephora, Walmart, P&G, Unilever, and many more have all launched their own subscription services. Rather than being a fad, subscriptions are here to stay. According to estimates, subscription services will make up 75% of direct-to-consumer brands by 2023.
The rise of subscriptions is hardly surprising when you consider the benefits. Not only does it meet customers’ demand for convenience, but it’s also a consistent source of recurring revenue from repeat custom for merchants.
However, despite the rise in subscription-based businesses and the whole host of benefits that subscriptions bring, there are still some ecommerce brands that aren’t convinced.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of 15 brands that have incorporated subscriptions into their business, and haven’t looked back since.
Santo Remedio (a Velstar client) combines scientific research with the latest nutritional expertise to provide supplements that help people live healthier lives. On each of the brand’s product pages, they give their customers the option of a one-time purchase or ‘subscribe and save’. Those who sign up for the subscription service have their products automatically delivered on a schedule of their choosing. Also, customers can change or cancel their subscription at any time based on their health needs.
What’s more, Santo Remedio has gone one step further by integrating the loyalty and rewards solution, LoyaltyLion, to provide subscribers with everything they need to stay satisfied and keep returning.
Oatly is the top-selling oat milk in the world, and has grown significantly in popularity over the years as consumers get more serious about their impact on the planet. Oatly’s dairy-alternative products aren’t just available online either, you’ll find them in large supermarket chains’ brick-and-mortar stores everywhere. But for those serious about a plant-based diet, the brand’s subscription service is perfect. All customers need to do is set up a subscription service via the website, and include how often they’d like to receive their oat milk.
Huel (human + fuel) is a meal replacement brand that offers its customers nutritionally complete food. Each of its products contains a balance of 26 vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential fats, carbohydrates, fire and phytonutrients. Customers can purchase products across a range of categories on a one-off basis or on subscription, which can be cancelled with no additional fee incurred. Also, customers can personalise their subscription based on their nutritional needs.
Founded in 2014 with a simple idea: women shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to feminine care. From 100% cotton pads and tampons to cramp-care and sexual wellness products, LOLA is reinventing how women talk and feel about their reproductive health. LOLA offers its customers the flexibility of a one-time purchase or sign up to a ‘subscribe and save plan’, where customers can save up to 18% off their orders. Also, LOLA’s subscriptions can be personalised to suit a customer’s menstrual cycle or sent every three or six months.
Personalised Co (another Velstar client) is a direct-to-consumer supplement brand, bridging the gap between technology and fitness. From 30-day personalised vitamins and customised protein powder to your very own nutritionist, they make it easier for people to live healthier and happier lives. Personalised Co’s customers can either browse products for one-time purchases or create personalised vitamin plans by taking a quiz. After the quiz, customers will receive vitamin recommendations unique to their health goals and answers, which are shipped in a box of 30 daily sachets. Customers can cancel their subscription plan any time at no extra cost through their account portal.
Founded over 20 years ago, Pixi has grown into a global beauty brand with a loyal following thanks to its natural, skin-loving products. For its most in-demand products, including toners and oils, it offers ‘auto-replenish’ subscriptions, which not only saves customers money but also ensures they never run out of their most loved products ever again.
Launched in 2015, FFS is a brand only for women that takes the inconvenience out of shaving. Once a customer signs up for the subscription service, they receive a new razor and replacement blades. From then on, the subscriber receives fresh new blades with every shipment at a date of their choosing.
Wild is on a mission to change the way consumers use and throw away bathroom products. It enables shoppers to buy deodorant and soap refills, while just using one case, again and again. When a shopper signs up to a subscription plan they can choose the scents they like, how often they want a delivery and save 20% on their first purchase.
Recognising that the supplement and pregnancy space can be overwhelming and confusing for ‘new-mums to be’, Premama Wellness wanted to simplify the system with their science-backed supplements at every stage of the maternity journey. Customers have the option of making a one-time purchase or signing up to a subscription service, which they can cancel whenever they want.
Nutravita is a leading nutritional brand, offering a range of affordable nutritional products and health and well-being accessories. All Nurtravita’s products are available on subscription, with a ‘subscribe and save’ plan providing everything from a 5% to 15% discount depending on the product the subscriber has chosen compared to the price of a one-off purchase. Also, length of subscription varies from 1 month to 12 months depending on the product, but all selected products are automatically shipped on the subscribers schedule, and they can cancel at any time without the fear of being charged extra fees to do so.
Who Gives A Crap originated from a crowdfunding campaign in response to the fact that 2.4 billion people don’t have access to a toilet. It offers shoppers both the option of a one-off purchase and subscription options with £5 discounts on first orders.
Freshly Picked was founded in 2009 by CEO, Susan Petersen after she discovered there was a lack of cute baby shoes that wouldn’t fall off her little one’s feet. From creating their first pair of leather moccasins to now selling over a million pairs worldwide, Freshly Picked has become the go-to-brand ‘for mums by mums’. This brand offers its customer a VIP subscription membership model called The Fringe. Subscribers have to pay a monthly fee and in return they receive exclusive offers, VIP early access to limited edition products, and monthly store credit. This credit never expires so subscribers can build it up over time, which keeps their brand top of mind for months on end.
The infamous cartoon cat, Pusheen, jumped onto social media in 2010 and has since built a cult following. For all Pusheen cat lovers, a subscription box was created named ‘The Pusheen Box’ containing officially licenced, first-edition and exclusive merchandise. The subscriptions box has proved hugely popular amongst fans, with 36% of subscribers signing up for the annual subscription plan.
Hubble is the first-ever contact lenses brand sold directly via an ecommerce subscription model. It offers subscribers FDA-approved daily contact lenses for $36 per month that are directly delivered to customer’s homes.
Black Rifle Coffee is a veteran-owned and operated roaster based in Utah, offering its customers multiple subscription options to choose from. This includes the ‘Sticker Club’ plan where subscribers get a limited edition set of 4 stickers with every shipment. Also, like many of the brands discussed above, Black Rifle Coffee gives shoppers the choice of a single purchase or ‘subscribe and save’. Subscribers can save up to 25% on orders, access free shipping and receive other exclusive discounts on partner brands.
Your Shopify subscription experts
Are you inspired to join this growing list of successful subscription brands on Shopify? Or are you still unsure whether a subscription-based model is right for your business? We can help. All you need to do is get in touch with our team of subscription experts and we’ll point you in the right direction.
Now more than ever, it’s important that you have a reliable, robust and high performing ecommerce platform to run your business on. That’s why so many merchants are switching to Shopify over other platforms like WooCommerce.
Out-of-the-box Shopify comes with many benefits, including 24/7 support and security, unlimited customisation possibilities, and a carefully curated third-party app store, which gives entrepreneurs the freedom and flexibility to build and grow their business.
Here we deep dive into why so many merchants are migrating from WooCommerce to Shopify, what steps are involved in a migration, and share some examples of brands who have made the move and are already reaping the rewards.
A comparison of WooCommerce Vs Shopify
Ease of use
At first glance, WooCommerce appears to be an easier platform to use than Shopify because many people know WordPress. However, it’s an add-on to a platform that’s a native content management system (CMS). A CMS has different requirements than an ecommerce site, so while Shopify was built as a dedicated online store builder, WordPress’s came as an afterthought.
Also, WooCommerce requires many plugins and applications to build a functioning ecommerce site, so even for the most tech-savvy entrepreneur, WooCommerce can seem like an intimidating platform. In contrast, Shopify has been built with merchants’ success in mind. From day one, you have everything you need to build a high converting website. And unlike WooCommerce’s plugins, Shopify’s apps have been professionally developed and tested to ensure they can handle every business task imaginable, whilst remaining incredibly simple to integrate.
Protecting yours and your customers’ data is paramount, and your business’s reputation depends on it.
However, WooCommerce isn’t PCI compliant like Shopify is, which means merchants have to keep updating their store to ensure their site is in line with PCI guidelines and protected against fraudsters and hackers.
24/7 customer support and service
When your business faces a problem, you want it resolved quickly. But for merchants on WooCommerce it’s difficult. This is because WooCommerce customer support isn’t readily available to troubleshoot issues or guide you to a solution. And if you’re wanting to add custom functionalities to your store, you’ll need to hire a ‘Woo Expert’, which can end up being incredibly costly.
However, with Shopify, you have access to 24/7 support and service, wherever and whenever you need it, day or night, via email, phone or live chat.
For ecommerce success, site speed is essential. If your site is slow, your customers will bounce, which will result in lost sales for your business. With Shopify, this isn’t a problem. Its page load speed is 2.97 times faster than any other platform on the market, so you can spend less time worrying about speed and more on growing your business.
In contrast, WooCommerce can quickly become overloaded with all the plugins, scripts and code necessary for it to function properly. It’s also important to remember that WooCommerce itself is a WordPress plugin, so it slows down your site the moment you install it.
Integration with multiple channels
More and more customers are using different channels to shop, which means merchants have more ways to sell their products than ever before. However, to do this successfully, you need a system that can create a truly omnichannel experience and connect all these channels together in one central place.
Again, on Shopify this isn’t a problem because you can manage your business on one simple dashboard, so you can easily access data from online and offline channels, including all your brick-and-mortar point-of-sale needs, inventory tracking, customer purchases, and much more.
However, WooCommerce uses a series of disjointed systems and plugins to allow merchants to sell on their website, brick-and-mortar store, social media and other marketplaces. This makes it difficult for businesses to remain competitive and access all-important customer data.
One of the biggest barriers to purchase is the checkout process. Merchants want to make this as seamless as possible, removing any friction to make it as easy as possible for customers to hit the buy button.
On WooCommerce, it’s difficult to customise the checkout process to suit your customers’ needs. For example, integrating multiple payment options, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, can be tricky to configure because of the platform’s clunky back-end. On Shopify this isn’t a problem – it’s simple to integrate third-party payment integrations in just a few clicks. Not to mention, Shopify Checkout is optimised for conversions, speed and customer experience, making it one of the most powerful checkouts in the world.
How to migrate from WooCommerce to Shopify?
Migrating from WooCommerce to Shopify is a big decision for your business, and when you’re ready to make the switch, it’s important that the process is as smooth as possible.
So, here’s how you migrate your data from WooCommerce to Shopify in three steps:
Step 1: Export your store data from WooCommerce
Step 2: Import your store data to Shopify
Step 3: Review and update your imported data
At Velstar our Shopify Development team has years of experience when it comes to Shopify migrations, so we’ll do all the work for you.
Brands that have migrated from WooCommerce to Shopify
Here’s just a few of the brands that have made the switch:
When comparing WooCommerce to Shopify side-by-side, it’s easy to see why so many merchants are migrating to Shopify. WooCommerce is a complex platform that requires a high level of knowledge to get the most out of it. Whereas, Shopify is simple to use, speedy, seamless, secure and scalable. So, if you’re looking for freedom to grow without having to worry about troubleshooting your technology, Shopify is the platform for you.
Get in touch with our team of Shopify experts today to give your business the platform it deserves. Let’s go!
Putting a product live on your Shopify store is easy, right? All you have to do is add your product image, description and price, and just like that, millions of customers around the world can buy your product.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The way you add a product to your Shopify store affects how it ranks in search engines, and ultimately whether your customers can find what you’re selling.
Here are a few simple tips and tricks you can follow to boost your store’s SEO and improve your products’ visibility:
Never underestimate the power of your product titles, particularly for SEO. For the best results, each product title should be as descriptive as possible and should include important information about the product itself, such as colour, size, and manufacturer if possible.
Here’s two examples of a product title for the same product:
As you can see, example 2 is longer and contains more detail about the product (it’s for women, it’s meme clothing, and it’s screen printed). This helps search engines like Google recognise how relevant your product is to a user’s search and ensures you rank for searches related to the keywords you have used in your product title.
Product descriptions are your opportunity to help your customers understand as much as possible about your products. This includes fabric, fit, special features, place of manufacturing, and so on.
When it comes to product descriptions, keywords are vital. But, be careful not to overdo it – no one wants to read content that’s jam-packed full of keywords and adds very little value.
When writing your product descriptions, focus on originality and readability. Customers prefer easily digestible content, that helps them understand the product in as few words as possible. Also, it’s imperative that you consider your target audience and what they want most out of your product.
We recommend using brief descriptions, followed by bullet points about the product’s key features. And why not go one step further and add reviews and user-generated-content to your product pages to make them really stand out?
If you need some inspiration, check out our client, Cosatto’s fantastic product pages – they tick all the right boxes:
It’s surprising how many merchants overlook the importance of high-quality images on their product pages. Images should be professional, offer a 360-degree view of the product and uploaded in an optimised format. Then, the image size needs to be reduced as much as possible so it doesn’t affect your page speed (but, be aware not to sacrifice the image quality in the process). Compression tools like tiny.png are great for this.
Product image alt text
Again, an enormous number of brands ignore the product image alt text. It’s a simple and easy task, so there’s really no excuse for not doing it. All you need to do is click the ALT button where your product image loads, then enter your text, which can just be a brief description of your product. Do this for every product on your Shopify store and watch your rankings rise to the top!
Product variants will differ based on your product offering in terms of size, colour, price, etc, but there are few things to keep in mind. It’s best practice to fill in as much information as you can in these fields. And, make sure each of your sizes has inventory tracked, so you don’t sell more products than you have.
For SKU numbers, these can be made according to your internal system or Shopify can automatically generate these for you. If your product has a barcode (ISBN, UPC, GTIN, etc.) click edit on the variant and enter it into the proper field.
Search engine listing preview
For every product you have, you must edit the search engine listing preview.
The title can either be the same as your product title or you can make it more keyword focused.
For your meta description, this can be the same as your product description, but keep in mind that it must be 160 characters or fewer.
And, your URL and handle should be short, snappy and include unique keywords from the product title.
This section is where you can choose which channels you want to sell your products on. Luckily for you, Shopify comes out-of-the-box with some great integrations such as Facebook, Amazon, eBay, Pinterest, which gives you more opportunities to reach your customers on multiple platforms. However, be aware that some channels like Amazon come with extra fees that will eat into your bottom line.
This is where you keep track of your products internally. For example, if you’d like to keep track of product type (jackets) or vendor (Adidas), you can do it all here. Some Shopify themes will have options to show your vendor entries on the collection or product page, but it’s best practice to enter the vendor and product type if you show it or not. This allows your products to be easily categorised by type or vendor in smart collections.
The organization section also tells you which collection the product is included in and has a tag field so you can add keywords. You can use these tags as a condition on a collection, for example, a product tag ‘footwear’ will automatically add the product to a footwear collection.
The organization tab is essential for seamless site navigation. Get this wrong and it will seriously affect your sales. That’s why it’s imperative to take your time with this tab and put some thought into it for optimal results.
While you might think the product editing page is simple, many merchants fail to take advantage of all its features and rush the process. However, if you standardise the process and approach your product pages strategically it will lead to better search engine results, boosted visibility and more sales.
If you need support implementing the process or want to learn more about how you can boost traffic to your Shopify store, then reach out to our SEO experts, today!
Ecommerce brought choice, price and convenience to the masses in its infancy. During a meteoric rise, the use of customer analytics, influencer marketing and personalisation cemented online retail as a truly dominant force. And over the last 12 months, ecommerce became the essential method of acquiring goods, right down to the basic necessities, as we were all locked in and the physical world closed for business. However, as 2021 shows signs of hope and we carefully return to the outside world, the overwhelming consensus is that we have some physical, tangible, real world catching up to do.
The question is where does this leave those brands who have sprung up online over the last few years, selling direct-to-consumer, purely on their own web stores. They have cultivated huge followings on social media, particularly Instagram, and have all the ads, analytics and conversion tactics in place to be a truly successful online merchant. But these are brands without, at least in the short to medium term, any plans for bricks and mortar stores. What may be missing, therefore, is any form of real connection to the physical world and the customers that inhabit it. Is there enough to build a brand on without in some way forming meaningful, human and emotional connections with those people buying?
Here, our partners at Peoplevox share 3 tactics that D2C brands can use to make an impact outside of their digital world…
Tactic #1 – Make your clothing brand into a members only community
The Couture Club is a fashion brand established in 2015, with designs created out of its city, Manchester UK. In case it needs spelling out: “Deciding on the name because every piece is individual and unique; ‘Couture’ and ‘Club’ because we wanted to build a community that in effect, not only join us by buying into our product and style but also into our culture and what we stand for.”
So much more than just another label, this business is built from the ground up as a membership community. By joining the club, you become entitled to exclusive gifts, VIP early access, priority tickets to special, one-off events, and other extras like birthday vouchers, gift cards, loyalty points. The clothes bring it all together – like-minded people sharing ideas and styles. Going a step further, rather than relying on the typical ‘influencer’ model for social media marketing, The Couture Club has invested in partnerships with people at the core of pervasive cultural moments: Deontay Wilder, Lethal Bizzle, Jesse Lingard. Pioneering sportsmen and musicians with whom the community has more deep-rooted connections than ‘just another Instagram account’.
Its club has values and stands for something. It is something you can be a part of, and get genuine value from. In this way, the brand was a living, breathing thing in the real world a long time before they eventually opened their flagship store.
Tactic #2 – Translate online influence into real-world pull
The pride of the Shopify pack, Gymshark is the master of ‘URL to IRL’ (the brand’s words). From its early days blowing up fitness trade shows with vast crowds, one-off local events, activations for key product launches, collaborations with athletes and culminating most recently with its first retail-focussed, month-long pop-up. The brand has developed a reputation for bringing energy to fitness everywhere it goes, inspiring growing audiences.
It’s through these events that the values of the brand become clear, and that community they work so hard to engage online becomes an experience offline. Their secret, perhaps, is the names they have aligned with the brand. Athletes, models and content creators, who have massive followings in their own right first and foremost, seem to create some kind of magnetic pull at these events, drawing fans from far and wide to meet face to face those they idolise and follow online. Even if it’s just for a picture for the brand’s socials! The net result is translating followers into footfall, first-time buyers into long-term customers, and product sceptics into brand believers.
Tactic #3 – Create a sensational unboxing experience
Our last play is a clean winner down the line. Federer-esque. Not only is it about brands turning something that looks good online into something that feels brilliant when it lands on the doorstep, this is full-cycle, brand-building user-generated marketability.
Pretty early on into the direct-to-consumer movement, brands like Dollar Shave Club, Harry’s and M.M. LaFleur took on the challenge of turning cardboard and tape into an on-brand, value-add experience. And it’s smart – the packaging is your first physical impression of a previously online only concept. So, whether it’s the quality and finish of the box itself, the layout and design without the box, a personal touch or handwritten note, or some extra freebies as a cherry on top, the things brands do to package the items ordered are the things that will live long in the memory. And because we live in the social age, by memory we mean that customer’s Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat or YouTube channel.
It’s also the golden change to reinforce with your new customer what your brand is all about. Ethical company with a sustainable outlook? This is the time to find creative ways to reduce waste and use eco-friendly materials. For high-end fashion boutiques that are all about luxury and sophistication, high-quality materials and elegant branding make a lot of sense. A minimalist basics brand isn’t really adhering to their own vibe if the box their clothes get delivered in has 10 sheets of paper and 4 compartments for foam peanuts…
It’s clear huge corporations are going to extreme lengths to track, measure and learn from both the offline and online activity of customers. Nike asks you what shoes you are wearing on its running app to inform regionalised merchandising strategies for their stores. Google tracks whether ads shown on a phone relate to physical visits using location tracking. Fast-growth brands on Shopify can’t compete with this, but they don’t have to. Instead, they need to continue pursuing these more human ways of bringing their brand to life. Social has allowed them to expand their audience at an awareness level, but it’s only when they can be translated into a real-world experience that they inspire loyalty, togetherness, that feeling a part of something that leads to brand ambassadors and customers for life.
Peoplevox, a part of The Descartes Systems Group, is a warehouse management system designed to address the challenges e-commerce warehouses face. It’s built with all the features needed to take you from scale-up to enterprise, ensuring you deliver remarkable customer experience with every order.
As climate change becomes an ever-growing concern, more and more entrepreneurs are putting sustainability and environmental demands at the top of their agenda.
Every day, new ecommerce businesses are launching with sustainability in mind. These direct-to-consumer brands try to minimise their impact on the environment, particularly when it comes to their manufacturing and distribution processes. From mindfulness about water usage and emissions to using recycled or naturally sourced materials in the creation of their products and packaging, these companies are committed to greener ecommerce practices and bringing about positive change to the environment.
To shine a spotlight on some of these brands, here’s a list of 35 ecommerce businesses on Shopify taking sustainability seriously:
We hope this list of 35 sustainable brands on Shopify has inspired you to get serious about sustainability and provided proof that you can scale responsibly.
More than ever, consumers are conscious of their impact on the planet and expect brands to deliver on sustainability across all aspects of their operations. By embracing eco-friendly practices, you will contribute to the health of the planet and your bottom line.
If you need further support, get in touch with our Shopify experts today!
For many merchants, the build-up to Brexit has felt like forever. But as of January 2021, the Brexit trade deal changes finally happened. Months later, many ecommerce businesses, brands and retailers still feel unprepared. In fact, 76% of small businesses, post-Brexit admit to feeling unsupported and confused.
With so much uncertainty, we wanted to set the record straight and help you understand what you need to do and how you need to do it, so we caught up with shipping experts, ShipStation to discuss exactly that.
What are the key things merchants need to consider for smooth shipping into and out of the UK, post-Brexit?
All ecommerce businesses need to provide the following information for items to pass through customs:
UK EORI Number
The importer’s EORI Number (if sending to another business)
Sender and recipient’s name, address and contact details
Item details (quantity, weight, value and description)
Country of origin
Harmonisation code (typically an eight-digit number)
Recipient VAT number (if applicable)
The above list is non-negotiable and missing them will lead to delays, fines, additional duties or failing to pass through customs entirely.
Collectively this information is really important. It tells customs what an item is, its value, where it comes from and where it’s going. For example, the EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number) number helps to identify the sender, while harmonisation codes are in place to standardise how customs operate across the globe.
Gaining an EORI number is easy and applying for one takes minutes via the UK Government’s dedicated portal. From small businesses to large enterprises, it’s imperative that you have an EORI number if you’re sending an item out of the UK commercially.
When it comes to harmonisation codes, you can search for these here. Simply describe what the item is and its code, VAT rate, duties and any other information that comes up.
What are customs forms and why do ecommerce businesses need them?
Sending any product out of the UK now requires custom declaration forms.
These forms vary slightly depending on your courier.
Royal Mail and DPD use two types – a CN22 or CN23 form
DHL, FedEx, and UPS use an EDI form
The CN22 form is used for items with a value of up to £270. Whereas, a CN23 form is for items valued above the £270 threshold and requires additional accompanying paperwork such as a commerce invoice or an appropriate licence. EDI forms operate in the same way.
Ecommerce business owners can access more information about UK customs here.
For UK merchants shipping goods to the EU, what are the VAT changes?
Now that we have a Brexit trade deal, and the UK is no longer part of the EU, things aren’t as simple as they used to be. UK businesses need to consider EU Import VAT.
To be clear, this differs from UK VAT. Currently, UK businesses only need to collect VAT on sales after they surpass the £85,000 threshold. These domestic limits do not change, though all ecommerce businesses should ensure they understand what their UK VAT obligations are.
EU Import VAT varies from country to country and depends on how your business operates, the value of the package you’re sending, and the item’s country of origin. We suggest seeking official tax advice when necessary to ensure your business is charging the amount of VAT and is meeting necessary legal requirements in every country you sell in.
So, when do UK merchants need to pay EU Import VAT?
There are a few things merchants need to consider:
Is your product item value less than €22? If the answer is yes, then you’re not subject to EU Import VAT. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this threshold may change as of July 2021, as currently there are low-value consignment relief thresholds in place.
Is your product item valued between €22 and €150? Here, EU Import VAT is due. This is often charged at 20% but can vary on the country.
Is your item valued at more than €150? Again, EU Import VAT is due, and additional import duties may apply.
If the item you’re exporting is alcohol, perfume or a specialist product additional excise duties may apply, no matter what the value of the item is, so always check!
Whilst this might seem like the easier option, it can lead to long shipping delays, payment refusals and disgruntled customers.
So, check whether you need to register for tax in the countries you’re operating in.
You collect EU import VAT and pay the courier
Just like with option one, the customer sees the delivery price, but you pay the VAT and other duties to the courier, not them. They often call this Delivered Duty Paid (DDP).
Again, check whether you need to register for tax in the countries you are operating in.
Are there any differences for merchants based in Northern Ireland?
If your ecommerce business is based in Northern Ireland and you’re shipping to the EU, then you will require an additional EORI number starting with XI.
However, duties don’t apply if you’re shipping from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland. This is because the shipment is treated as an ‘intra-community’ and not subject to extra charges.
For Northern Ireland to Great Britain, exports are treated as a domestic UK transaction. UK VAT is also still applied.
What does Brexit mean for the future of ecommerce?
Around the world, COVID-19 has accelerated the shift towards more online shopping. In the UK, it’s unlikely that Brexit will reverse this trend, but it is having an impact. As a result, your customers’ buying experience is of greater importance than ever, and is key to your growth.
The new customs and tax regulations can complicate the ecommerce journey, resulting in delivery disruptions and delays if you don’t get it right. For example, what’s an EORI number or harmonisation code, the difference between DDP and DAP, how to update your fulfilment and delivery process software, communicate with the customer, and set realistic expectations.
For many online retailers, Brexit can seem daunting, particularly smaller businesses and entrepreneurs just starting out. Understanding Brexit’s impact on the ecommerce industry and what is expected of you is critical to navigating your way through this post-Brexit era successfully.
ShipStation makes EU shipping easier by managing much of the new administrative procedures, but even if you decide to go it alone, remember that Brexit has happened and now is the time to act. Brexit related EU import VAT, customs charges and changes to how you ship items are here to stay.
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