Brian's blog

Volusion V5 Feature of the Day: Full Featured Reporting

With Volusion V5 (how’s that for a redundant name for a release?), merchants will have full control over their store’s reporting tools. Gone are the days of being stuck with “one-size fits all” canned reports. If you don’t the what’s offered out of the box, just create your own. How’s that for functionality? Robust indeed.

This feature is a ground breaker. To my knowledge, no other hosted cart offers fully customizable reporting tools from within the admin panel. I tip my hat to Volusion for continuing to define the phrase “robust shopping cart solution.” With every new feature released, Volusion adds more and distance between themselves and their closest rival. Hey MonsterCommerce. See that cloud of dust in front of you? That’s Volusion.

Volusion V5 Feature Of the Day: USPS Label Printing

So far the members of the eCartReviews forum are batting 1000 in guessing what will be included in V5. This could only mean one of two things; the merchants have psychic powers or Volusion really listens to their client’s requests. The latest feature to be announced is USPS label printing. This will allow a merchant to create USPS shipping labels right from the admin panel. This will tighten up Volusion’s shipping interface and make life easier for their clients. Great feature!

It will make my life easier. Currently, I export the data from my three Volusion stores in Endicia and Dazzle to create pre-paid USPS shipping labels. Perhaps this feature will cut out that extra step and USPS shipping solution? Who knows? I’m sure more details will follow.

Volusion V5 Feature of the Day: Abandoned Cart Tracking

Hot off the presses from Volusion!

They are releasing details of V5 (version 5) slowly - one new feature a day. The first feature announced was abandoned cart tracking - with live cart records.

This is great news for all the former MonsterCommerce clients now with Volusion (there are many and ranks grow everyday). Many of these merchants grew to love this functionality while with MonsterCommerce.

It helps stave of issues with conversion. For instance, you can see if people bail out of the cart after the shipping charges are presented (price too high? Bye bye). Knowing how customers act at each step of a check out process is VERY handy. While you might not think this is handy with Volusion's one-step checkout, believe me - it WILL come in great for sales conversion tracking. Volusion merchants will be able to track and tweak and boast conversion.

Volusion Poised To Release Version 5

Volusion is about to release version 5 of their award winning shopping cart solution. This is according to Volusion's customer forum, where the following was posted by a Volusion representative:

We are still testing V5 and it will still take more time to ensure everything is ready since we have added a lot. We appreciate your patience during this process. We are going to start sharing some of the new features coming in V5 tomorrow. We will only answer questions about each feature in the forums as we announce them. We will not be able to answer questions about new features over the phone, via live chat or via email. We are doing this because the forum moderators will be checking with the developers directly to ensure the answers are as accurate as possible. Thanks for your understanding.

SEO Tip for Merchants – Domain Age

The Importantace of Domain Age

SEO (search engine optimization) is the most important area of concern for most merchants. Succeeding in SEO campaigns makes product sourcing, customer service and order fulfillment look like mere child’s play. However, if you focus on SEO and maintain a consistent (and constant) marketing campaign, the payoff can be huge.

SEO efforts need to start before you even open your store. This brings me to the first SEO tip for merchants: domain name.

New merchants tend to focus heavily on having a domain name that is crock full of keywords, describes what the store sells and is easy for customers to remember. All of these are good ideas but one key component is missing, domain age.

Selecting a Gateway and Merchant Account Provider

Selecting a Gateway and Merchant Account Provider.

Every online store that wants to accept credit card payment needs both a payment gateway and a merchant account. The tricky part is selecting which company (or companies) to go with. You can use one company for a gateway and another for your merchant account but that might over complicate things. I suggest taking the one-stop shopping approach. Most merchant account providers also offer merchants a payment gateway. I use both Paymentech and Authorize.net and I’m happy with both.

If you’re in the market for a merchant account, you be best serve to contact these two companies:

Corezon: The Cart Solution Spammers of the Year

I like to kept up to date with new shopping cart solutions and the same can be said of improvements of existing carts. What I don’t like is spam and cart solutions that spam my mailbox.

The worst offender is a solution called Corezon. They spam online stores hoping that the merchant will jump ship and switch to their cart solution. Heck, they took the time to spam you so you should at least look at them right? Wrong. This company and their shady marketing practices can go ef themselves. Why such strong language? I’ve been spammed by these aholes for over a year now. With every example of spam I receive, I try to “unsubscribe” from their mailing list. I follow the instructions in the footer of their spam message. Alas, the response I get every time can be found below:

Optimizing Images and Code To Reduce Bandwidth

A member of our forum has added an excellent post on how to reduce bandwidth by optimizing product images and website code.

Here's the link:

Optimizing Images and Code To Reduce Bandwidth Forum Post

I use this tool to check my store's load time:
Site Report Card

This is something that every merchant should be cognizant of. Slow load times can kill your sales conversion rate.

Thanks to Modular Merchant for making this great post.

SEO Tool Box: Every Merchant Needs One

SEO should be a primary focus of all online merchants. You really need to grasp the basics of optimizing your store so you can capitalize on increase traffic and exposure. SEO can be very complicated and people make it their life’s work. Merchants don’t have to be experts – just know enough to keep their stores in good search engine placement. What merchants need is a SEO blueprint for their store and a good SEO toolbox to draw upon.

In terms of blueprint, there are three tenants of SEO for the online merchant are:

1. Use a good shopping cart solution that IS search engine friendly.

e-Commerce Link Directory

eCartReviews has started an e-commerce link directory. This directory is a way to store links to all the companies discussed on this site and forum. Also included is an area for e-commerce merchants to post a link to their store. The stores are filed by solution so to help other merchants see what different solutions can do.

The directory can be found here:
eCommerce Directory

So come on in and suggest your link today!