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.
 
 
 
 

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!

Updates to email notifications

gmailThis is just a quick update regarding the email notifications that are sent out from your store.

Until now, all notifications sent out from your store were sent from our “noreply@spiffyserver.com” address.

We have now updated the notifications so they are sent from the Store Email Address that you set in the Preferences -> General Settings section of your store’s Toolbox.

Unfortunately, this can’t be the case for emails sent from domains that don’t belong to your store (for example gmail or hotmail).  If you’re using another email provider and want to use that address, you’ll need to set up an email forward from an email address that belongs to your store to your other email account.

You can the update your Store Email Address to the one on your domain, and all future emails will come from an email address that belongs to your store, and is less confusing for your customers.

Affected email notifications include the following…

  • Order confirmation emails sent to your customers
  • Shipping confirmation emails sent to your customers
  • Shipping update emails sent to your customers
  • Auto-responses sent from the contact us page of your store

Other emails sent out, such as order confirmation emails will still be sent from our “noreply@spiffyserver.com” address.

 

 

Making Fuzzy Searching Even Better

Search-Magnifying-Glass

Here’s a little ecommerce trick that everyone seems to forget about.

Make sure that your customers can find the product they want, when they do a search using your store’s built-in search function!

At Spiffy Stores we try to strive for excellence in the way we design and build our software. This sometimes means going back to look at existing functions to see if we can improve them in some way.

This is part of our philosophy and it’s a way of setting us apart from the general way of the Internet where lots of colour and movement appear to be more important than providing something with real substance.

Continue reading

Australia Post outage this weekend

australia_post_outageAs part of a planned outage to upgrade their services, the Australia Post website (auspost.com.au) will be unavailable for approximately 26 hours from 10pm AEDT on Friday 17 October until midnight AEDT on Saturday 18 October 2014.

This outage affects many Australia Post tools including the Australia Post Postage Calculator built into Spiffy Stores.

To minimise disruption, please plan ahead accordingly. Then check the Australia Post website for updates as the timeframe for the outage may change.

Please do not contact the Australia Post help desk during the outage as they’ll restore the service as quickly as possible. Similarly, there is nothing Spiffy Stores Support can do to remedy the situation other than to provide the instructions that we have provided below…

How to plan for this outage

You will need to make sure that you have backup shipping rates during the outage. Australia Post calculations will not be available during the outage, so your customers may not be able to order at all.

  1. Firstly, you will need to check whether you are affected. Go to the “Preferences -> Shipping & handling” section of your store’s Toolbox.  If you are using Australia Post, it will display there (see image below).
    australia_post_outage_2
    If you’re not using the Australia Post Shipping Carrier, then you don’t need to worry about the outage.

  2. If you are only using the Australia Post Shipping Agent then you will need to make sure you have set a “Default fee” for the shipping rate.  To do this, you click on the shipping rate and edit it.  Under “Default action”, choose “Use the default fee” and enter your default fee.  See example below.australia_post_outage_3
  3. Once you have done this, save your changes.  You will also need to make sure that you do this for any other countries that use the Australia Post shipping carrier.


ADDED @ 2:30pm…

We’ve had a few questions about what price you should set for the default fee.  As there’s no substitute for the actual shipping rate, the only think I can suggest is that you have a look at some of your orders and calculate the average shipping cost.

For example;

# of orders Shipping cost Total shipping cost
22 $8.25 $181.50
35 $13.40 $469.00
9 $16.70 $150.30
Total = 66 orders   Total = $800.80

Average shipping cost = $800.80 ÷ 66
which comes to $12.13

You may think that averaging out your shipping is a bad approach, but if the alternative is that you miss out on some orders during the outage, it seems to be the lesser of two evils. Australia Post calculations will not be available during the outage, so your customers may not be able to order at all.

 

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Spiffy Stores are safe from Heartbleed Bug

heartbleed-bugWe just wanted to let everyone know that you can rest assured that Spiffy Stores has not been affected by the Heartbleed Bug. The hype surrounding it however is getting everyone worried!

You don’t need to change your password for your Spiffy Store login, or for your email.

We do however advise you to change your passwords for the following… Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Google (Everything Google including Gmail and Google Apps), Dropbox, and Yahoo mail.

While it’s great to see an important security issue like this get public awareness, the messages on it have become incredibly confusing and hype filled – from news anchors calling it “the end of the Internet” to worrisome alerts like “change all your passwords NOW!”.

Heartbleed is a software defect in widely used security software which enables an attacker to retrieve “leaked” information they should’t be able to access from a remote server. It is not a virus, but rather a method cyber criminals could use to get access to information by trying to read server data that should be secure.

It is certainly true that this vulnerability is serious, but to be clear this attack can not be used against just any system on the Internet. This is not a disaster affecting every system, just the ones running specific software. It is widespread, but not absolute. Estimates state hundreds of thousands of services being exposed, but it is not every single service on the planet.

Getting to know your customers

getting-to-Know-Your-CustomersWe love adding new stuff to Spiffy Stores, and we’re pleased to announce that we’ve just finished putting the final polish on a brand new feature.

When you manage your online store, there’s obviously lots to think about in terms of products, inventory, prices and shipping. But until now, there’s been an important part missing from this equation – your customers!

As ever, we’re anxious to make sure we’re providing you with the very best tools and support to help you run your ecommerce venture successfully and to make lots of money, so we’ve done something about this. From today, you’ll see a new tab in your Spiffy Stores Toolbox, right next to your ‘orders’, called ‘customers’.

Click on this and you’ll be taken to an overview list of all your customers and you’ll see options to sort and filter your customer list, so that you can easily see who’s ordered what, how much they’ve spent and where they are located. Add to this our fantastic new custom search filters that let you create and save your own searches, and you’ll soon see these as an indispensable part of your marketing armoury.

There’s much more detail about this new feature in our Knowledge Base at http://www.spiffystores.com/kb/Information_about_your_customers  so we recommend you have a quick look at the documentation to see how this can help you better understand your customers.

But wait, there’s more! This is just phase 1 in our rollout of our new customer-related features. Be on the lookout for some exciting new additions to your Spiffy Store in the coming months.