Spiffy Stores Fulfilments and Australia Post eParcel – A new partnership

We all remember the time we received our first order from our new online store and how we eagerly packed the parcel, wrote out a label and proudly took it down to the post office to be sent on its way.

This was the start of a new adventure, and with time and effort, it’s now grown to the point where packing all those parcels and sending them off can consume a significant part of the day. It’s not that we’re complaining about the success, but it would be really nice if it wasn’t such a chore.

This is a common story, that many new store owners experience as their businesses grow. Once the volume of your sales increases, you can start to take advantage of discount shipping rates by signing up with services such as Australia Post’s eParcel.

eParcel is used widely by many businesses, and it allows you to submit your parcel information electronically and to generate pre-printed labels and tracking information automatically.

Although there are many advantages to using eParcel, it can become a bit of a chore without some sort of direct integration between your online store orders and the eParcel system.

This is where the new Spiffy Stores Fulfilment integration shines. Once you have activated your eParcel account within the Spiffy Stores Toolbox, you can directly submit it to Australia Post with the click of a button. Your customer is automatically notified with the tracking information, and you’ll be able to check on the status of each parcel until it is successfully delivered.

Our new Fulfilment integration is going to save you so much time that you’ll have oodles of time left to invest in marketing your store. Our first users are already delighted and excited by the way this improves the way they run their businesses.

And we’ve also left the best news until last. This new addition to your Spiffy Store is not going to cost a cent extra. Every store can now add the eParcel integration absolutely free!

 

 

 

Automate your accounting with our new Saasu app

We’ve been hard at work on developing new apps, and we’re pleased to announce that the first app available is our new Saasu app!

Saasu is an easy-to-use, comprehensive online accounting system that gives you real-time access to all of your business’ critical information. With Saasu you can enjoy the freedom of viewing your business data on-the-go, and working where and when it suits you.

With Saasu – an Australian-owned company, you get a complete solution for much better value than other major suppliers. Here are just some of the ways Saasu can help unlock your business’ potential:

• Invoicing, Purchasing, Inventory, Payroll
• Reports, Automated Billing & Expenses, Multi-currency, Bank Account Management
• Time Tracking, Light CRM, Point of Sale, eBay Connector
• Flexible, secure and convenient online access to your data
• Expert support and more.

Getting started is easy

Our Saasu app allows you to export your orders automatically to Saasu, and create new invoices without any intervention.  This takes the pain out of doing your accounts, as one of the major jobs you need to do is already done for you!

You’ll be surprised how easy it is to get started with the Saasu app – with a few clicks, you’ll be up and running in as just a few minutes.  Our Saasu knowledge base article walks you through the process.

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Bitcoin payments now available.

bitcoin-e1466596991401We’re pleased to announce that starting today, all of our merchants can start accepting Bitcoin payments in their online store.

Our new Bitcoin integration is available through BitPay and CoinBase, and can be used alongside other payment services, like Afterpay and PayPal

We’ve had a lot of demand from our merchants to incorporate support for Bitcoin and we’re happy that we can make this integration available during this year’s holiday shopping season. 
 

Why accept Bitcoin payments with Spiffy Stores?

The main features are:

  • Ease of accepting international payments. Small online retailers and independent consultants often don’t sell their wares and services internationally because of expensive cross-border transaction fees. Bitcoin relieves the steep cost of going global, making cross-border payments easier, faster and cheaper.
     
  • Lower transaction fees. Per transaction fees for accepting Bitcoin are generally significantly lower than those charged for credit and debit card purchases. This is the biggest reason smaller merchants are latching onto Bitcoin payments.
     
  • Fraud prevention. Because people can pay businesses in Bitcoin without divulging personally identifiable information (names, billing addresses, etc.), they enjoy a level of identity-theft protection that credit cards simply can’t offer.
     
  • The ability to get paid quickly. Having cash on hand is often critical to survival for small businesses. Accepting Bitcoin payments can put cash within your reach faster than it does when you accept credit card payments.
     
  • No chargebacks. Bitcoin purchases are final, so there are no chargebacks and no returns, like those rife in credit card dealings, yet another way transacting in the virtual currency saves merchants money.
     

Wait… So what is Bitcoin?

Many people can find the concept of Bitcoin somewhat confusing. Quite simply, Bitcoin is an online financial network that people use to send payments from one person to another and it’s also a digital currency (also called Bitcoin!).

The bitcoin network functions without a central authority. The managing of transactions and the issuing of Bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network.

Here is an excellent article about all things Bitcoin, and here’s a video that sums up what bitcoin is very nicely…

Still have questions? Learn more about Bitcoin.

Ready to get started? Accept Bitcoin with Spiffy Stores now.
 
 
 
 

Do you have these important pages on your ecommerce website?

In addition to the nuts and bolts of your online store, like your product collections, there is other crucial content you must include.

Your customers need to understand how you conduct business and how it may affect them. Information such as your terms and conditions, shipping and returns information, and your privacy policy should be clearly laid out in policy documents and made available on your website.

Shipping and returns

Lack of shipping and returns information is a major source of frustration for online shoppers and can be the difference between a sale and an abandoned cart. Make sure your store visitors can find your shipping and returns policies quickly and easily so they don’t have to go through the checkout process to discover you can’t deliver to their area.

Privacy statement

As you’ll be collecting personal information such as name, address and payment details on your online store, you must publish a statement on your website detailing how that information is used. More information on national Privacy Principles can be found here for Australia and here for New Zealand.

Terms and conditions

You are required to display the terms and conditions under which you operate on your website. Terms and conditions should include elements such as your payment terms, refund and exchange policies, disclaimers and copyright claims.

All the above information should be available to your customers at all stages of the purchase process. Create separate pages for your policies and make each one accessible from every page of your website – by linking to them in the footer, for example.

Crate your own policy pages using our sample templates here.

Protect your customers and your business. Ensure you have the correct and legally compliant information you need on your ecommerce store.

NB: This article is for information only, it is not legal advice. Talk to a lawyer about the legal requirements and responsibilities of doing business.

Afterpay Now Available

afterpay-promoWe’re delighted to announce that all Australian retailers using Spiffy Stores can now offer lay-by type payments in their store using Afterpay… the latest craze in buy now – pay later services.

Afterpay offers simple, flexible instalment plans for online shoppers. Customers can choose how and when they pay for an order. After bursting onto the payments scene in 2015, they were listed this year on the ASX… achieving much in a short time. According to our latest available information, Afterpay now serves over 1500 merchants and over 250,000 consumers.

For consumers, Afterpay offers simple, flexible instalment plans for a period of 6 to 8 weeks. The purchase cost is split to 4 equal instalments paid every 2 weeks (for new customers the first instalment is due at the time of purchase, for existing – after 2 weeks). Late fees are applied to the consumers who don’t pay on schedule.

For merchants, Afterpay assumes the consumer credit and fraud risk. Funds are transferred to a merchant’s bank account within 48 hours.

Now that Afterpay is available, retailers using Spiffy Stores can now provide shoppers the ability to pay for items in fortnightly payments just by enabling Afterpay in their store’s preferences.

Afterpay joins a suite of over 60 payments options already available on the Spiffy Stores commerce platform including PayPal, as well as instant credit card payment gateways such as BPoint, eWay, Fat Zebra, Merchant Warrior, Payment Express, Pin Payments, SecurePay, and Stripe to name a handful. These services are all ready and available for use in all Spiffy Stores, allowing merchants to set them up effortlessly.

If you already have an Afterpay merchant account, it’s easy to set up your store to accept Afterpay payments. Just head over to our knowledge base for step-by-step instructions on setting up Afterpay in your store. For more information about Afterpay, visit their web site at https://www.afterpay.com.au

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All Spiffy Stores now use SSL encryption everywhere.

spiffy-stores-https-sslToday we’re moving forward with our plans for a more secure, safer Internet for everyone. We’ve decided that it’s time for an upgrade to the security on all Spiffy Stores, so we’re issuing free SSL certificates for every Spiffy Store.

In case you missed that… every page, every image, all content… everything on all ecommerce stores powered by Spiffy Stores can now be accessed using SSL encryption for free!

In the past we’ve used SSL encryption to protect a customer’s personal information in the checkout, and other traffic used unsecured HTTP transfer. This is the way most ecommerce websites work. We’ve decided however that we need to give our store owners a boost to help build customer trust as well as a small boost to their Google ranking.

Why does HTTPS help build trust?

When a potential customer visits your store, they look for visual cues that it’s safe to buy from you. Probably the most powerful indicator that your store is safe is the padlock icon that appears when your ecommerce store is fully encrypted. We’ve also been told they look for it whether they’re in your store’s checkout or not.

How does HTTPS help your Google ranking?

In August 2014, Google made the announcement regarding making HTTPS a ranking signal. So there’s a little boost for being completely HTTPS. Not only are you boosting your rankings with a secured site, but also you’re doing a favour for your customers by providing them a secure environment to view your products and make a purchase.

How can I encrypt my Spiffy Store?

We’ve already done it for you, and made it completely free! It’s super easy to fully encrypt your Spiffy Store, improve your store’s security, increase customer trust, and boost your SEO.

Before enabling SSL, you should also check out our knowledge base article on things you’ll need to take into account when enabling SSL.

All you need to do is log into your store, head over to the DNS & Domains section of your Preferences, and tick the Store-Front SSL Enabled option. If you have any issues, just let us know.

 

Restricting product visibility to members or wholesale customers

vip-customerNew feature… and free for every store!

So your business has been growing and you want to expand into the wholesale area or maybe you’re creating customised products for specific groups of customers. How on earth do you deal with that in your Spiffy Store?

We’ve found that a lot of small businesses are running into that exact problem, so we decided to do something about it.

The concept is pretty simple. When you enable customer accounts for your store, you can add ‘tags’ to all of your customer accounts to help you group and categorise them. For example, maybe some of your customers have a VIP status, so you could add a ‘vip’ tag to each of these accounts.

Now suppose you want to offer only these customers a special package deal. You can create this special product exactly like every other product, but then you add the ‘vip’ tag to the product in the Customer Visibility section.

Once that’s done, only customers who are logged in to their accounts and have the ‘vip’ tag will be able to see and buy that product. It won’t be visible to any other customers or guest users. Nor will it be visible to the search engines or product data feeds.

It’s a VIP product, so only VIP customers get to buy it!

And that’s it. Now imagine how you can extend this idea to support lots of different groups of customers and you can see how powerful this feature is.

For this feature to even show up you’ll need to do the following;

Finally, remember that this is a free feature and is included on every Spiffy Store plan.

A Major Spiffy Stores Toolbox Update

spiffy-presentsWe decided all our Spiffy Store owners deserve an early Christmas present, so we’ve rolled out a rather fab update to the Toolbox a little earlier than we’d previously planned.

We’ve been working on this for some time, but as it’s mostly an upgrade to our infrastructure code behind the Toolbox, we don’t think you’ll notice much of a change. However, the huge benefits for everyone are clear to see. We’ve positioned our code so that it’s far easier to upgrade and to extend, so you’ll see a more consistent interface, and we’ll be able to deliver new features at a faster rate.

So, it’s pretty much “Good news everyone!”

Along the way, we also decided to improve a few of the Toolbox features and we hope you’ll find these enhancements useful.

  • We’ve added custom filters to the products and inventory listings and they work just like the customer filters. You can view your products and variations using a wide range of filters to select only the items you want to see. No more hunting and searching for that elusive product. The information you need is now only a few clicks away. This is really going to help our larger store owners manage their inventories.
  • You can now add custom SEO page titles and descriptions to override the system generated versions for all products, pages, articles and collections. If you want to tweak your site settings to make sure the right descriptions are picked up by the search engines, then you’ll want to use this feature.
  • The Menu Items are now using some new code to help you build your multi-level menus using drag and drop. The new code shows a highlighted placeholder to help you position the menu item exactly where you want it.
  • The Shipping rate calculators have always taken into account weekends when providing an estimate of when a parcel will be delivered. We’ve decided to take this a step further by also taking into account public holidays, so that your customers will receive an even more accurate idea of when a parcel will be delivered.
  • Keyboard shortcuts are available for most Toolbox operations. This will be a boon if you need to do some mundane data entry. The help popup is available from the link next to the store preview link in the Toolbox menu.

You’ll be seeing a lot more in the new year, but for now, please enjoy these updates!

Australian Data Retention Laws – Are you protected?

email-privacyAustralia’s new data retention laws start today, and this means that ISPs are obliged to collect and keep records about your digital activities for 2 years, and to make those records available to various government agencies on demand without the need for any warrants or legal oversight.

The good news is that the email services provided by Spiffy Stores and Domain Hosting Shop are not subject to these data retention laws. In basic terms, the law only applies to carriage service providers, which means anyone who provides the physical connection for your home or office to the Internet or telephone system.

We will keep your Spiffy Stores email safe and secure, and you can send and receive email secure in the knowledge that the messages will not be archived and retained in any way, and will not be available to any government agency.

Melbourne Ecommerce Theme

We’re delighted to announce the release of a new theme for Spiffy Stores. We love it, and we’re sure you will too!

Melbourne, our most feature-rich theme yet, is a fully responsive theme, that will automatically adapt to the screen size it’s viewed on, whether that’s a smart phone, a tablet or a laptop. In fact, it will always look its best on any screen width from 320 pixels to over 2500.

And we’ve included loads of customisable features such as…

  • 4 levels of drop-down menus so you can make really specific product categories
  • Full width home page slideshow, with 3 different transitions, captions and links, so you can tailor each one to a different message
  • Customisable product pages with custom product fields, dynamic image zoom and related product up-sells
  • Integration with Yotpo to provide product reviews
  • Featured collections on your home page with full support for collection images
  • Featured collection pages with support for collection images, so you can show off your different product categories on one page.
  • Featured links on your home page allowing you to link deep into featured collections and products
  • Social media integration to grow your audience on your Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube and LinkedIn pages
  • Customisable Instagram Feed to show off a gallery of your product images
  • Image gallery support to show off your products and great photography
  • Customisable Parallax banners on your home page, collection pages and product pages
  • Newsletter integration with MailChimp, Campaign Monitor or Mad Mimi so you can sign up visitors to your email list through a simple form
  • Newsletter subscribe popup.  A proven method to increase your subscribers
  • Built-in customer wishlist page
  • Built-in icons for payment methods like PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, and Bank Deposit
  • Matching checkout styles with your logo and colours
  • Currency conversion allowing overseas customers to view product prices in their native currency

Why not take a look around the Melbourne theme demo store. While you’re there, try resizing your window. You’ll see the seamless and dynamic resize in action!

If you want to apply the Melbourne theme to your store, just navigate to the Design & Assets > Theme gallery section of your Toolbox and update your templates with one click. Don’t forget to save your current theme by downloading it first so you can restore it later if you’d prefer to use it instead.

Instructions on how to make changes to the Melbourne theme to get it to suit you perfectly, can be found in the Melbourne theme guide in our Knowledge Base.