Version 2.1 EasyCart Released – New Feature List

WP EasyCart released version 2.1 update to its eCommerce plugin for 2014 and now we have some great new features to list along with several enhancements to an already feature rich product line.

Subscription Based System

subscriptions_640x415

The new subscription system allows users to build PayPal subscriptions with only a few clicks.  Add a new product to EasyCart, and you can simply designate it as a subscription and select the interval you would like subscribers to pay.

Once a customer clicks on the ‘Sign Up Now’ button, they will be taken to PayPal to handle all the particular needs of subscribing and managing that payment.  PayPal offers a full suite of management tools for the business owner to manage as well.

The subscription system will also talk back to your EasyCart installation and enter subscriptions into your administrative console.  You can see all the details of the subscription, including active status, sign-up dates, last payment dates, # payments completed and other customer information.

 

Quantity Based Shipping

shipping_quantity_640

Version 2.1 includes an additional shipping method that allows you now to build a rate table based on quantity of items in the shopping cart.  This will give more customers the flexibility to give rates to their customers and allow for more precise control over the shipping of their goods.

As with our normal policy, all shipping systems are included in our Full License version.  You get Price rate shipping, Weight rate shipping, Quantity rate shipping, Static method shipping, and live rates by UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, and Australian Post.  Lite License users have access to all of these except the live shipping rates.

 

DHL Shipping Calculators

Version 2.1 now includes DHL as a shipping carrier and can return live shipping rates for customers using this option.  As a popular European solution to shipping, we are sure this will be popular with the International EasyCart users!

Global Handling Fees

Version 2.1 allows you to enter a global handling fee, which will be added to whatever shipping rates you use.  We have always offered a per-product handling rate as well, but this new option will add flexibility to the system for many users.

Catalog Only EasyCart

Many customers have requested that the EasyCart system hide the ‘Add to Cart’ behavior and allow customers to simply browse their products as a catalog.  Now you have the option to do so!  Simply change a setting under the ‘Advanced Options’ to enable catalog only mode, and the customers can see all of your products and view their full details, but without the ability to add to a cart.

Internationalization Language & Currency Updates

language_640

With Version 2.1, we have integrated a new currency conversion system and language system that allows you to alter the entire shopping system quickly and easily.  If you are a user of WPML, we can now change the shop text, descriptions, titles and language elements when a WPML change is made.

So customers can adjust not only your website, but also adjust the entire shopping system and product data using the correct techniques.  We even can adjust currency using a simple currency conversion rate that you can control in the ‘Advanced Options’.

You will also notice there are new widgets available for customers to change currency in the store or change shop text translations quickly, but we find that many will want to use WPML to change the entire site globally and quickly.

We will be producing a tutorial video and demonstration website that showcases these capabilities soon!

 

EasyCart Review and Walk-Through

Sell-with-WP-Logo-Stack

The folks at Sell with WP have created a really nice objective review of the WP EasyCart software and eCommerce system.  The article is an in depth analysis of the entire installation process, major features, and pros and cons to the new software.

One aspect we really enjoyed about the article was the refreshing way they covered a large plugin like EasyCart in-depth.  Many reviews are very short and often compare apples to oranges, while this review actually compares it’s features with the way it is constructed in an overall sense.

For anyone who is new to eCommerce and plugins, this is a great walk-through on how to get the EasyCart setup, installed and configured, and what steps you should likely do in chronological order for a fast setup time.

While the folks at Sell with WP do work for a competing eCommerce platform, we felt they were still fairly objective in their review and show the strengths and weaknesses of  the software.  For more information and to read the full review, simply click on the logo above, or Click Here.

Marketing Strategies to Sell Online

One of the most popular questions any online business has with regards to selling products online is what marketing strategies are there and how effective are they.   We try to outline some of the popular methods below and hopefully help kick-start your online business.

One thing we have found is that there is no one way to market your site, and a good mix of all these methods is the best approach.  Try to cover your basis and be realistic about the approach you are taking and the expected results from that effort.  The question of whether or not it pays to do a marketing tactics is always the defining question and will vary depending on your given business, customers, and consumers.

 

Email Marketing

A very popular method with low cost and many times, low results.  While spamming the world with emails is probably not the best marketing method, it is not something you should over-look.  The biggest recommendation is to get followers who consciously sign-up for your newsletters and that you know are interested.  Have a section on your site for sign-ups, download your subscriber lists and import into popular online email programs dedicated to sending messages.

popular sites:  YMLP.com or ConstantContact.com

 

Pay Per-Click Advertising

Google Ad words is a marketing machine and can be very beneficial to the start-up business or online e-commerce system.  It gets your brand name out on search engine sidebars with visitors who have searched for specific content.  And best of all, you only pay if they click on the link.  You are getting your message in front of those who want to see it, leaving your site to do the selling if possible.  The best advice on these is to start with small budgets, and work your way up.  Be sure to use the search engines tracking code to ensure you are converting from those and watch out for the point of no-return, but a good $50 or $100 dollar investment a month will get a lot of visitors.

Common types of Pay Per-Click advertising methods are:

CPM – cost per thousands impressions or another said metric
CPC – cost per click
CPA – cost per certain action on your site

The most popular being CPC, it is a good compromise between impressions shown to users and those actually interacting and making it to your site through the ad.

popular sites:  Google Adwords or Bing Ads

 

Social Media Advertising

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and others can attract visitors and requires little effort other than posting a few hot topics about your business.  The hardest part about social media is you have to keep up with it.  Start by building a simple Facebook page for your business, get a small banner and logo going, links to your website, and a twitter page.  You can connect Facebook and twitter so that when you post on Facebook, it automatically goes out on twitter as well.  Be sure to spend some time liking and following those comparable businesses that you like and many will follow you back.  It doesn’t take anything cost wise, but it does take a lot of time.  Setup a schedule or a reminder on your calendar to post something of interest to keep the content fresh and consistently revolving.

Social media such as Facebook now have great promotional tools, and will show your ad across the Facebook network for fees.  Give it a test and put out $30 dollars on a few of your important posts and see if you can attract new customers and convert some users into customers.

popular sites:  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Digg, and others.

 

Local Advertising

Even though you probably are reading this to gain traction online, don’t forget your local advertising channels.  Some businesses still profit from pointing local customers to a website for viewing, inventory and to see any new items.  Radio, newspapers, and yellow pages are still good avenues to get your brand out to local customers.  While they may not convert on the website as much, why would they when they can come to your store, it still gives a convenient path for them to check in and see what is new.

 

Tracking Your Efforts

Once you have all your advertising channels in place, be sure to track your investments.  There is no way to see if your online social media campaign, email campaign, or Pay Per-Click campaign are working without tracking them, and Google adwords, Bing Ads, and yahoo make this easy using their tracking tools.  The best part is you do not have to use their proprietary tracking system.  Just use Google Analytics and put a small piece of code in your header and your site will begin tracking page statistics on where customers come from, what they searched for, what city they are from, how long they were on your site, and where they went once on your site.

To track a specific advertisement, simply use unique URL identifiers at the end such as ?adwords=101 and then you can analyze the results each time someone visits with that unique link.  Each ad can be tracked this way, and with the WP EasyCart shopping system, we track Google e-commerce results, so each order and product gets results back in analytics.  This way you can see not only which ads are clicked on, but which ones get converted the most.

This leads you to spending money in the appropriate marketing campaign that pays the most converters and therefore, makes you a successfull online marketing machine!