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Neymar

 
The world’s biggest sporting event has begun, presenting e-commerce sites with a major opportunity to take advantage of growing futbol fanbases across the globe. With U.S. interest in soccer steadily rising, the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil will once again break records for viewers and sales.

Over 1 billion people, according to FIFA, watched the 2010 World Cup Final between Spain and the Netherlands. More than 3.2 billion people – almost half of the world’s population – watched at least part of the World Cup. With an average of almost 200 million people watching each game, the eyes of the world truly are on soccer during the tournament. Those numbers are likely to increase this year thanks to expanded TV and online coverage.

This growing soccer audience – especially in the United States — provides e-commerce sites selling sporting goods, and particularly soccer equipment, with nearly unlimited marketing potential.

cleats (1)

Online interest in the World Cup has been steadily rising, too, with Google searches about the tournament and other soccer-related topics booming over the last five years. According to The New York Times, much of this growth is due to young professionals with disposable income and a newfound interest in the game. These people are also likely to be able to afford new soccer equipment, marking a huge potential profit for e-commerce sites.

Jerseys, balls, cleats and hats are the top selling merchandise for soccer equipment suppliers, especially during the World Cup. Major retailers have seen huge profits from selling these goods recently, with Nike reporting $1.9 billion in soccer-related revenues in 2013 and Adidas – the official supplier of World Cup equipment – bringing in $2.4 billion.

Replica jerseys will be especially in demand during the tournament. Retailers say that the most popular teams are the USA, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Portugal, Italy, France, Spain and Argentina. In particular, jerseys of Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazil’s Neymar Jr. and the USA’s Clint Dempsey are the top-sellers. Fans looking to support their country will show their pride either with a jersey – an authentic shirt costs $150 when sold by FIFA while a replica jersey goes for $90 – or a replica shirt of their favorite team.

Soccer balls in the same design as the World Cup ball are also highly sought-after. With prices ranging from as much as $160 for an official ball to $40 for a replica and $13 for a mini imitation ball, e-commerce stores selling these products can cater to customers of all types.

world cup ball

Another popular item during the World Cup is sets of stickers made by the Italian company Panini. Their collectable stickers include sets for each team participating in the tournament, and are traded feverishly between fans to complete their collections. The stickers have been made for every World Cup since 1970, and come in packs of seven – costing $2 each. A booklet to organize all 639 stickers in this year’s set can be bought for $5. These stickers are sold in over 100 countries, with an estimated 8 million albums sold in Brazil this year.

Watching World Cup games will also encourage many people to get out and play soccer for themselves. Soccer cleats, shorts, socks and other equipment will all see spikes in purchases this year. Cleats can cost as much as $300 for the same shoes that professionals wear, and can be as cheap as $20 for those who are just trying the game out.

A key part of any marketing strategy to reach World Cup fans must include mobile search. 63% of soccer searches came through mobile devices during recent UEFA Champions League games, up from 18% during the 2010 World Cup. This trend will likely continue during the tournament, as “second-screening” with mobile or tablet devices becomes the preferred method for fans to consume media while watching the game.

With so many eyes on Brazil this summer, e-commerce sites specialising in sporting goods have a huge opportunity to generate traffic and increase sales. By selling and listing sporting equipment – especially soccer supplies – these sites will capitalize on a growing American and global soccer audience.

Fanatics from every country will look to support their home team and favorite players as much as possible through the end of the World Cup. These supporters will largely use online searches to find merchandise to show off their rabid fandom. With over 3 billion potential fans, this is the best opportunity for e-commerce sites to sell soccer equipment.

 

CoreCommerce, creators of the popular e-commerce software by the same name, has released version 9.3.00. One of the primary focus areas for this software release is email deliverability. E-commerce sites require reliable email on a day to day basis, for sending out order confirmations, newsletters, and other essential emails to their customer base. All emails sent through the CoreCommerce system now go through Mandrill, a leading email infrastructure service created by MailChimp. CoreCommerce customers get faster delivered emails and 100 percent SMTP uptime through this service, ensuring that every email from customer welcome to sales confirmation is delivered to its intended recipient. Customers using their own SMTP servers will continue to use these servers.

CoreCommerce has continued focusing on responsive e-commerce design by adding three new responsive themes to the service:

Pinewood
Kidz Zone
Portia

Responsive themes help CoreCommerce clients provide a cohesive, unified look across all platforms that their customers experience when accessing stores through their computers and mobile devices. Responsive designs adapt to the screen size of the viewing device, as opposed to pulling up an entirely new version of the site optimized for mobile viewing. CoreCommerce was one of the first e-commerce software solutions to incorporate responsive themes into its service, and it continues to display a drive for increased usability and future proofing for its clients.

Another template related improvement is the custom shipping field token for the admin packing slip template. Once a client adds this token to their packing slip template, it displays any custom shipping fields the client may wish to add. This flexibility allows a CoreCommerce client to make their templates their own.

CoreCommerce has added backend adjustments that help clients track their sales and customer data. The orders now have a configurable option for custom order number prefixes and suffixes. This helps CoreCommerce clients customize their order number outputs to their preferences. CoreCommerce also added a new section to the best seller report metric, the sales column. Finally, category editing allows the client to choose specific customer groups to add to a particular category.

Is Responsive Design Necessary for an eCommerce Merchant?

Responsive design has certainly become a buzzword over the past three years. Still many site owners, and especially online retailers, wonder if the hype is warranted. Let’s take an unbiased look at the benefits of a responsively designed website for an eCommerce retailer and decide if a redesign is worth the effort.

 

What Is Responsive Design?

A responsive design is one that adjusts the display of a site’s content to fit virtually any browser window size. There are three major elements to a responsive design: fluid grids, flexible media, and media queries. The first, fluid grids, refers to setting grids or columns to reflect percentages of the whole page rather than specifically sized elements. These grids will respond to the size of the browser window and adjust the size and location of content accordingly. Flexible media refers to images, videos, and other media types, that scale up or down based on the browser window size. Media queries are guidelines within the design that instruct the browser to rearrange the content on the page. A sample media query may tell a browser to arrange a horizontal navigation bar to display vertically if the screen size is under a set pixel size. Note how Starbucks‘ menu degrades gracefully, depending on the screen size.

In simple terms, a site built to be responsive seamlessly adjusts from a television screen to a mobile screen.

 

Responsive Design Improves SEO

A responsive site is superior to other configurations for SEO purposes. Responsive designs do not require a separate mobile experience so all content is on the same domain, all links point to the same domain, and there is no need to set up mobile redirection, which has a high potential for error and interrupted user experience. For this reason, Google recommends responsive layouts:


Sites that use responsive web design, i.e. sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. This is Google’s recommended configuration.

Google favors mobile-optimized sites, especially for local searches. Google also favors sites with lower bounce rates. Because having one site reduces multi-screen redirection confusion and a responsive design would allow parity from mobile to tablet to desktop to television, a responsive design would not negatively impact your bounce rate and would likely decrease it.

Favorability from Google should not be understated for an eCommerce retailer.

 

Responsive Design Reduces Complexity

Focusing development on one design, one URL, and one methodology can greatly decrease engineering costs. When there is no longer a need to develop separate iOS and Android apps, create multiple versions of your site’s product and landing pages, integrate payment methodology across multiple experiences, and optimize CTAs per device, development gets a great deal less complicated. The initial development costs can be burdensome for a large site, but the upside is that long-term maintenance is less daunting when there is only one version.

 

Optimization Per Device Remains Vital

Because 30 percent of a site’s traffic is mobile, it remains imperative to consider the different needs of the mobile user. For a site that has embraced responsive design, optimizing for mobile is still necessary.

This means common conversion failure points, like landing pages for registration or shopping cart abandons, be given thoughtful mobile optimizations, even with a responsive design. For instance, how do you scale down beautiful photography on a product page for mobile viewing? It isn’t easy, but it is possible. Take a look at how Indochino, a small clothing retailer, wows you with the product page browser adjustment. Grab the corner of your browser and drag it smaller to be impressed.

 

Beware of Bloat

This is not to say that responsive design can’t be unwieldy. Using extremely large files so that they will be beautiful on a large monitor can backfire when the same site is loaded on a mobile device with questionable internet connectivity. A responsively designed site should include image size parameters and file size limitations, as well as strategies to adapt features to run with mobile in mind.

Responsive designs should be built to work well with the worst Internet experience and the smallest window size. Additional functionality, like lightboxes and customer service chat boxes, can be built on top of that experience, but their failure should not negatively impact the mobile experience.

 

When Responsive Design Isn’t the Best Fit

Finally, there are solid reasons not to choose a responsive design. In some cases, a user’s needs may vary greatly when on mobile as compared to their needs on the desktop. For instance, if your user needs to access data that cannot be delivered via the browser or if additional functionality, say a deeper level of touch adaptation, is required, a native app may be more appropriate.

Responsive design hasn’t yet caught on with eCommerce shops. Only 9 percent of the top 100 e-retail sites are using a responsive design. If you are considering a responsive design, study your options and make the best decision for your individual business. Responsive design is an exciting trend, but it may or may not be in your best interest.

 

Should I Consider a Responsive Design?

In the end, deciding whether or not to go responsive is a matter or assessing your current and future mobile visitors. It’s possible to see long-term trends within most analytics programs. If you are using Google Analytics, simply, navigate to the mobile view, from within the Audience section. Choose an extended date range, because you want to note long-term trends, and select the week or month view. Select the box next to each device type, and click Plot Rows. You should be able to spot if your mobile traffic is growing, shrinking or remaining the same from within this view.

If your mobile audience appears to be growing, you can very much benefit from a responsive design — either custom built or using one of our free responsive themes. If you are looking for help building a unique look and feel using the responsive design standards, call our team 615-790-0823

Happy Selling!

It’s hard to attract and retain customers these days. Competitors pop up like weeds, customers get distracted and click away from their cart at the last minute, and keeping customers coming back to your store requires standing out from the competition.

Repeat customers account for 61% of small business owners’ sales, according to a report by BIA Kelsey. One effective way to build brand loyalty is by giving your customers direct incentive to come to you for every purchase they make within your niche. Loyalty programs are a powerful tactic to consider, with Access Development reporting that 46% of customers change their buying habits to get the most out of loyalty programs. You have plenty of reasons to need a loyalty program, and when you choose services that have loyalty program implementation built in, such as CoreCommerce, it doesn’t require a great deal of effort to put in place. Here’s why you should get started right away:

1. Establishing brand loyalty  – There are hundreds of thousands of e-commerce stores out there, so keeping your customers around and happy with your brand is essential. Loyalty programs give them a tangible benefit for purchasing from your store instead of checking out the new flash in a pan competitor.

2. Creating brand evangelists - Word of mouth has always been one of the best converting sources of traffic, and this marketing avenue is only amplified by social networks. Loyalty programs that reward people for referring their friends as purchasing customers help create brand evangelists who have incentive to go through their friends, family and social network lists.

3. Increased customer spending - Repeat customers generally spend more, and loyalty programs help encourage additional customer spending through points, reward tiers and other ways to encourage customers to make all of their purchases through your store.

4. Data analytics - Customer shopping data goes through the loyalty account, so if you drive yourself crazy trying to track customer data when you offer guest checkout, a loyalty program encourages customers to actually sign up for an account. Looking through shopping data allows you to see product trends, inventory you need to adjust, and a hundred other useful data points for making your shop run as efficiently as possible.

5. Personalized content - This type of content marketing speaks to the customer by delivering a personalized experience more likely to catch their interest than a general ad. The data you collect from your customers’ shopping habits is used to send them marketing material and offers related to products they’ve already purchased, or are likely to purchase.

Happy Selling!

Shipping costs are an expensive fact of life for e-commerce stores. Chances are, you found a single shipping source that provided you with the cheapest options over the majority of your shipping needs, and dealt with the fact that some shipping situations made it far more expensive than other options. Instead of limiting yourself to one source, consider expanding your options and conveying several benefits to yourself and your customers.

1. Scaling that fits your business – Don’t stick with the first shipping service you started with out of loyalty, apathy, or the assumption that it is still the lowest price even as your shipping needs increase. Bulk shipping deals have the potential to cut your costs significantly, and options such as freight consolidation give you the advantage of freight shipments without filling up the entire truck with your own goods.

2. Reducing cart abandonment rate – Nothing scares a customer away faster than shipping cost sticker shock. When you work with shippers who specialize in bulk shipments, have less expensive international rates, or are the cheapest options for next-day delivery, you retain your customers and complete your sale.

3. Drop shipping options – It’s faster — and sometimes cheaper — to have the manufacturer or distributor send out the products directly. You avoid being the middle man and the extra expense of storing the products in your own warehouses. You also avoid back-order issues with customers if you have on-site warehousing and work with drop shippers. If you send out products directly from the manufacturer when you don’t have any more stock, you don’t end up with a customer unhappy with how long it takes to restock and send out their order.

4. Split testing shipping times – That said, the cheapest shipping costs are not always the most ideal, even in the eyes of the cost-cutting consumer. You have a lot of competition on the Internet. If your shipping service makes you consistently slower than your competition, customers are going to choose the closest thing to instant gratification they can get through online shopping. With multiple shippers, you’re able to split test different shipping options and find out exactly how long it’s taking a service to get from your location to the customer.

5. Third-party logistics (3PL)  – If tracking shipping performance data and juggling multiple shipping services is not feasible for your business operations, you don’t have to give up on benefiting from multiple shippers. Third-party logistics services, also known as 3PL, handle the shipping logistics for you on an outsourced basis.

Shopping cart abandonment rate higher than two-thirds

Despite the best efforts of retailers, shoppers abandon their digital shopping carts roughly two-thirds of the time—a level that has remained virtually unchanged over the past few years, according to an ecommerce solutions provider that tracks abandonment rates.

Alarming as this sounds, the data says more about how consumers use carts and less about the ultimate effectiveness of ecommerce platforms. As a measure of shopping cart performance, abandonment rates are not terribly meaningful by themselves, but they can be quite meaningful when viewed in conjunction with other metrics and in the context of shopper intent and buying cycles, according to a new report.

Shopping Cart Abandonment RateUS Ecommerce salse share

Three major reasons appear to be behind the high abandonment rates seen by retailers: the stickiness of ingrained consumer behaviors, the growth of mobile shopping and the slow economic recovery.

By placing items in a shopping cart, consumers give retailers a goldmine of information, even if the purchase doesn’t follow. Like a search query, the act itself indicates the shopper’s purchase interest—and possibly even the individual’s stage in the purchase path.

Retailers are already tapping these insights for re-marketing, but they can dig into this data in a more strategic way to figure out what to show to which consumers—and when.

The shopping cart can tell retailers a great deal about the performance of the ecommerce site, but abandonment rates are only part of the story. In order to see the bigger picture, retailers need to look at other metrics.

Ideally, ecommerce performance would be judged by the visitor and not by the session. That is, customers often visit a site multiple times before buying. With each visit, they become more likely to buy. Abandonment rates and most other web analytics, however, look at the session level, or sometimes over a fixed period of time.

A visitor-centric approach would have to include offline data as well. It’s estimated that ecommerce sales capture only 5.78% of total retail sales in the US, but they influence a much higher percentage. Retailers are beginning to link up cart behavior with in-store purchases through loyalty programs and email addresses, but omnichannel attribution remains difficult. Even so, ecommerce metrics viewed in isolation of overall revenues can leave an incomplete picture.

PayPal_Partner

 

PayPal has been a longtime partner with CoreCommerce. So we thought we would highlight one of their new financing tools that can help you boost sales and increase average order sizes. If you’re using one of PayPal’s checkout products to accept payments online, now you can offer customers financing through Bill Me Later®, a PayPal service.

Here’s how it works: When your customers check out with PayPal and use Bill Me Later, they can get 6 months financing(1) on qualifying purchases. Best of all,
• There’s no extra cost to you because Bill Me Later is already built into your PayPal checkout product
• You get paid up front, regardless of when your customers pay
• Offering financing through Bill Me Later can help you boost sales and increase order sizes 2

And PayPal’s making it easy for you to advertise this financing offer on your website, and in customer emails. In minutes, you can place their free, ready-made banner ads on your site to let customers know that financing is available—while they’re still shopping. Just visit their Financing Portal to:
1. Choose your banner ad and copy the code
2. Paste the code to your website
3. Watch your sales grow, at no additional cost to you

You decide where to place banners and which size to use. For the best results, place the financing banner ads on:
1. Your home page, above the fold (show me how to do this)
2. Your product pages, near the “add to cart” button (show me how to do this)
3. Your shopping cart and/or order summary page (show me how to do this)

If you are a current CoreCommerce customer, you can enable the Bill Me Later 2nd button by logging into your account, mouse over Settings, and select Payment Settings. Once on the Payment Settings page, expand the PayPal Express Checkout section and toggle the “Include the Bill Me Later checkout button” to Yes.

Get started and watch your sales grow

To offer this exciting benefit to your customers, you need to use one of PayPal’s checkout products. Then, you can visit the Financing Portal to place banner ads on your site.

¹Applicable for qualifying purchases of $99 or more if paid in full within 6 months. Customers check out with PayPal and use Bill Me Later. Bill Me Later is subject to consumer credit approval, as determined by the lender, WebBank, Salt Lake City, Utah.
2 Based on a comparable year-over-year online sales of 118 merchants who used Bill Me Later promotional financing banners starting in Oct’12 (PayPal study, 11/12-12/12).

As we previously mentioned CoreCommerce was the first ecommerce platform to integrate with Facebook. This social media phenom continues to grow and now encircles the world with over 1.3 billion users. CoreCommerce allows you to Integrate your store with Facebook, Enable Facebook Connect on your site and add the Like Button to your products by following a few simple steps. Kissmetrics provided the below infographic recently to give you some current facts and advise you how to get more Facebook Likes.

facebook-likes-large

E-Commerce is changing quickly and its great to see that the top 2014 trends identified by Mediotype are well covered by CoreCommerce. We have beautiful free responsive themes addressing the top trend of Mobile. Responsive Web Design has changed the game since we were the first ecommerce platform to provide a mobile commerce solution. Speaking of other firsts… Social is also a developing trend in 2014 and here again we were the first to deliver an integrated Facebook solution. We will keep monitoring the trends and rest assured that CoreCommerce will be in front of the trend curve for your Ecommerce platform needs.  What will be the top trend after the dust has settled for 2014?

 

CClogo large

CoreCommerce announces details of their newest software release, including new responsive web design themes.

Franklin, Tennessee (PRWEB) March 04, 2014

CoreCommerce, the leading e-commerce shopping cart solution, has announced details of their latest software release. The main focus of the new release was on reworking the front-end architecture and adding two new responsive design themes, Gourmet and Modern Match. This release also included admin updates and bug fixes. “Our team has worked hard to introduce new themes, improvements to the front-end architecture and more, all in an effort to give our customers the best e-commerce experience in the market,” noted Matt DeLong, CoreCommerce CEO.

CoreCommerce was one of the first e-commerce shopping carts to offer free responsive design themes with the introduction of the Fashionista and Vintage themes last year. Responsive design is optimal for e-commerce, as it offers a consistent overall design and customer experience across devices. “The bottom line is that your customer’s shopping experience will be easier, reducing the chance of abandoned carts and making your business look more professional,” offered Jay George, CoreCommerce Web Designer/CSS Architect.

A major component of this release is reworking the current front-end theme architecture, which will allow the CoreCommerce development team to create themes more efficiently, including smaller files, faster load times and easier maintenance. “We have been reworking the front-end theme architecture so that it is much more ‘object-oriented’. This means that the themes will have many more re-usable and efficient components moving forward,” explained George. With e-commerce becoming increasingly mobile, this improvement will be especially impactful for CoreCommerce stores.

Along with these new additions, this release includes a number of software improvements and bug fixes. The admin dashboard has been updated to include additional features such as a Customer Product Sales report, a popular request among CoreCommerce merchants. Other new features include the ability to input your own currency symbol prefixes for active currencies, the option to show inventory level on drop-down personalizations and the capability to set up PayPal Express with either the API signature or certificate.

About CoreCommerce:

CoreCommerce is the leading hosted e-commerce shopping cart solution for entrepreneurs and growing businesses. Founded in 2001, CoreCommerce provides easy to use, feature-rich solutions you need to create an engaging online store, including integration with over 100 partners that offer a variety of payment gateways, shipping and fulfillment, e-mail marketing and social media services. Respected for their Legendary Support™, Core Commerce has a knowledgeable, friendly customer service team that is devoted to helping you craft a dynamic online store. Winner of two 2013 American Business Awards’ Bronze Stevie® Awards.

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