16 search results for “ecommerce api”

What is Heartbleed and How Does it Affect Your Ecommerce Website?

What is Heartbleed and How Does it Affect Your Ecommerce Website?

feature

Earlier this week, a security flaw known as Heartbleed was published that affects approximately two-thirds of all websites that use SSL encryption. This issue greatly impacts ecommerce websites because every online store that accepts credit cards must use SSL encryption.

Since its disclosure, there have been many news reports about Heartbleed and how it’s affecting websites, software and services across the internet. We want to provide more details on Heartbleed and how it affects ecommerce merchants. Most importantly, we want to stress that merchants and their customers using Shopify are safe from Heartbleed. 

Continue reading

Why Email Marketing is the Key to Ecommerce Success

Why Email Marketing is the Key to Ecommerce Success

feature

Whether it’s social media, SEO or content marketing, you’ve got a lot of options when it comes to marketing your business online.

But when it comes time to have a sales conversation and drive conversions, there's one channel that continues to outperform the rest: good old-fashioned email.

According to recent research and surveys:

  • Email has an ROI of around 4,300% (according to the Direct Marketing Association)
  • 80% of people say they receive marketing messages alongside their personal emails on a daily basis.
  • 70% of people make use of coupons or discounts they learn about from email.
  • 60% of people say that receiving special offers is the top reason they subscribe to an email list from a business.

In other words, if your ecommerce business hasn't taken the time to adopt email marketing, then you're leaving money on the table.

And if these stats don't convince you, here are some other factors that might motivate you to start building your mailing list today.

Continue reading

1 year old!

1 year old!

We released Shopify to the public on June 2. 2006. Wow. Has it already been a year?

Shopify’s success has been nothing short of amazing. Millions of dollars worth of products have been sold courtesy of our software and we managed to attract some of the best designers in the industry to create Shopify stores and themes. Tens of thousands of stores have opened shop and hundreds more join them every week.

The quality of the design work we see daily is the most gratifying aspect of Shopify’s success. Jaded Pixel has always been a very visual company and it’s great to see that good design attracts good design.

But not only did we revolutionize the tired ecommerce industry on the visual design front; the code of Shopify is also much talked about in web development circles. In fact, you could hear people discussing Shopify in the presentations and in the corridors during the recent RailsConf in Portland. We love open source and we contributed a lot of projects back to the community. Without open source Shopify could never have been made. Amongst the contributions were endless enhancements to the Ruby on Rails project, the release of our template language Liquid and our payment processor library ActiveMerchant.

To celebrate our birthday we commissioned Jared Burns of Scrapbook your memories and Vorsat fame to create a new theme for us: Vogue. It’s now available in the Look & Feel section ready to be applied.

Vogue Ecommerce

Vogue is our most flexible theme so far. There are some tutorials for customizations on the demo page such as Adding a logo and Switching Color Palettes.

What’s to come? Jaded Pixel is 100% committed to Shopify and this will remain our focus. Our goal this year will be to make Shopify work better for bigger merchants and help with the promotion of our customers’ products. Things you will see in Shopify in the future:

  • API support to make it dead easy for third party applications to extend Shopify
  • Digital goods
  • Bulk import / export
  • Integration with shipping services such as USPS
  • The Shopify Marketplace

Here are just a few of the things we integrated in the first year of Shopify:

  • Bring your own domain feature
  • Internationalization support of the checkout process. 34 complete translations done by the community!
  • Robust search system
  • OpenID support for login and signup
  • Discount codes
  • Marketing tab to help drive traffic to your store
  • Dashboard tab with realtime visitor statistics
  • Admin-wide quick search feature
  • Fulfillment services support
  • Taxation options for European countries (VAT)
  • Support for sitemap.xml
  • Microformats
  • COD, Money order, Direct debit
  • 5 new themes
  • 19 new payment gateways
  • Google Checkout integration
  • Paypal Payments Pro integration

Continue reading

Support report

Here at Shopify we’re always looking for ways to improve the Shopify experience. One of the biggest challenges any business can face is providing fast, effective support for its customers.

Our support tracking system, Tender App, helps us track all of our support tickets and gives us statistics on the average support response time per ticket. We’ve recently passed a new milestone. We were able to reduce the average response time per ticket from approximately 1 day down to just over 5 hours! Here is some background on how support at Shopify works:

Up until this year the majority of support for Shopify was performed by one official Shopify staff (Mike), along with unofficial help from our great community of developers and designers (Thanks Caroline, Jamie, and all the others!). This method of “crowd sourcing” support worked well, but over time demand for support grew to the point where this model started to show its flaws. We’ve recently implemented support changes that we feel work to correct these flaws. We hope you’ll feel that way, too!

Just what has been done at Shopify to beef up support?

1. Support Team grows

We added another dedicated support staff a while back, Peter, to help answer your questions and give direction to your requests. He’s also been busy beefing up the support Knowledge Database as new topics come to light. You can access the knowledge base by using the links at the top of the Shopify support area.

2. Level 2, the next step

We’ve also more recently implemented a rotating Level 2 Support system by which the Shopify developers each take turns addressing problems that require escalation. This is probably the biggest change we’ve made to our support model, and it’s what has allowed us to really speed up support response times. With the old method, questions would be submitted to the developers in a free-for-all type setting, often there would be confusion as to whom the task would go to, leading to slow-downs and dropped-tickets. Now, by working on a weekly cycle with a dedicated developer, it allows our other developers to continue to work on improving Shopify, while still giving you the benefit of dedicated developer support for your tougher problems.

3. Whats next?

As we continue to grow, Shopify support will grow, too. We will be adding new sections to the support system (check out the new API section we’ve just added, and look for more coming soon). We will also be hiring more support staff in the near future to help with these new sections. Also, we will be taking suggestions from you, and others, as to how you feel we can better improve your Shopify experience. Feel free to comment on this article and let us know what you think! With your help, we can make Shopify the friendliest eCommerce solution going.

Happy Selling :-)

Continue reading

Selling More Shopify Apps, Part 1: The Decision-Making Process

Selling More Shopify Apps, Part 1: The Decision-Making Process

 Selling More Shopify Apps, Part 1: The Decision-Making Process

Shopify? Apps? I Thought It Was an Ecommerce Thingy!

It is. If you want to sell stuff or services online in exchange for money – a business model so crazy that it just might work – Shopify is the best, easiest and most hassle-free way to do it. You can use a store that lives on our hosted service or build a program that calls our API to do the ecommerce stuff: the catalog, the shopping cart, the credit card hoo-hah, and so on.

While Shopify does a lot, it can’t do everything. Perhaps there’s a feature that you wish Shopify had, but it applies only to a small vertical or maybe even only your business. Or there just might be some feature that we haven’t thought of implementing yet.

That’s where apps come in: they’re applications that make use of the Shopify API to:

  • Access a shop’s data (with the owner’s permission, of course)
  • Programmatically perform just about anything the shop owner can do on their shop’s admin panel

Want to declare a “happy hour” where you drop the price of an item from 5 to 7 p.m. next Thursday? Shopify doesn’t do it out of the box, but an app can! Want to send a Twitter direct message or SMS text to a merchant whenever a customer places a big order, so s/he can make sure it gets handled properly? You can write an app for that. If you can think of a feature to make the experience for customers or shopowners (or both) better, you can make it an app. And you can make money doing it!

You can reach the 15,000 Shopify users – a very focused, dedicated bunch – and sell apps to them through the Shopify App Store. We know a number of developers who are doing quite nicely selling apps and making Shopify showowners productive and happy, and when our customers are happy, so are we.

That’s what this series of articles is all about: selling more Shopify Apps. If you’re a Shopify App developer (or thinking of becoming one), this series will show you how to sell them better. We’ll also be publishing articles about writing apps, from how-tos to ideas for apps that we’d like to see become real.

The Decision-Making Process

Take a look at Shopify’s App Store, and I’ll walk you through the typical customer’s decision making process when they’re looking for apps.

1. They see your app’s icon, its name and the short description on the App Store page.

1. They see your app’s icon, its name and the short description on the App Store page.

When you visit Shopify’s App Store, you see a page like the one shown above, featuring apps displayed on shelves. Rather than being broken up into pages, the App Store’s main page is an “infinite scroller”; you simply scroll down the page to see all the apps in the Store. For the user, scrolling -- especially in the age where most mice have scroll wheels and scrolling-by-flicking is increasingly common thanks to smartphones and tablets -- seems faster and more effortless than paging.

Each app is represented by its icon, with its name and a short description (140 characters maximum) to its right. Clicking on the icon, the name or the description will take you to the page for the corresponding app.

There are a number if ways users can sift through the apps in the store. They can filter the apps by category, as shown below:

1. They see your app’s icon, its name and the short description on the App Store page.

They can also filter apps by which software or services they integrate with:

1. They see your app’s icon, its name and the short description on the App Store page.

And they can also change the way the apps are sorted in the store:

1. They see your app’s icon, its name and the short description on the App Store page.

The default sort is “from newest to oldest”, and the other three options are:

  • From highest-rated to lowest-rated
  • From most to least popular
  • Whether or not to limit the results to free apps

Ideally, you want your app to be as close to the top of the App Store page as possible – what they used to call “above the fold” in the newspaper world. Being on top of the list puts you in the user’s path of least resistance and makes it more likely that the user will move to the next step on the path to purchasing your app: your app’s page.

Your app will be on top of the list just after you submit your app for the first time, as it will be newest. However, your app won’t remain the newest forever, so your eventual goal will be to make your app the highest rated, the most popular, or preferably both.

You’ll also want to make sure that your app makes a good first impression on the App Store’s main page. The good news (and the bad news, too) is that once the user sees your app on the page, there are only three things that you have at your disposal to catch his/her attention:

  1. Your app’s icon. Is it visually appealing? Does it hint at what your app does or what its effects will be?
  2. Your app’s name. Is it catchy or memorable? Does it give the user an idea of what your app does or what its effects will be?
  3. Your app’s description. Does it clearly state what your app does or why someone would want to use it, all in 140 characters or less?

Get all three right, and you’ll increase the odds that the user will get to the next step in the decision-making process: moving away from the big list of apps and focusing on just yours.

2. They click on your app’s icon, taking them to the App Store page for your app

2. They click on your app’s icon, taking them to the App Store page for your app

If your app has piqued the user’s interest on the App Store’s main page, s/he’ll click on it and be taken to your app’s page, which displays a lot of information about it, namely:

  • The app’s icon
  • The name of the app
  • The app’s publisher
  • The app’s rating
  • How much the app costs
  • Any additional software required by the app
  • The “Install App” button
  • The full description of the app
  • A list of the services that the app can integrate with
  • One or more screenshots of the app
  • [Optional] One or more videos of the app
  • User reviews and responses from the publisher

Each of these items affects the user’s decision-making process, and in this series of articles, we’ll look at what you can do with them to make it more likely that the user will buy it.

Based on experience with app stores of all sorts, from Shopify’s to shareware to smartphone and tablet stores, here’s what the users typically do next…

3. They look at your app’s screenshots and videos first.

3. They look at your app’s screenshots and videos first.

Eye- and click-tracking studies show that once the user has landed on your app’s page, they tend to look at the screenshots and videos first. This means a couple of things:

  • You should make sure that you include at least one screenshot of your app in action. Better still, you should include a screenshot for every major feature of your app.
  • Although it’s optional, you should include a video. It could be a video capture of your app in action or something that explains what your app does and why you’d want to buy and install it. The better selling apps tend to include videos on their app pages.

In this series of articles, we’ll cover ways to get the most out of the video and pictures on your app’s page.

4. Then they look at the rating.

4. Then they look at the rating.

A very important factor affecting how well something sells online is the rating. Ever since Amazon, we’ve become quite accustomed to checking the ratings before buying something. It happens not just online, but in real life; I’ve seen people at all sorts of bricks-and-mortar stores – restaurants, liquor stores, big-box electronics stores, car dealerships – whip out their smartphones and check out the ratings for something they’re thinking of buying. That’s why social media and word-of-mouth marketing are hot topics these days: they influence people’s opinions, which in turn can make or break sales.

“Get a good rating” is the obvious advice. Less obvious is how you get that rating. We’ll cover what we believe are best practices for getting good ratings, and through them, good sales.

5. And finally, they read the description.

5. And finally, they read the description.

Once the user’s done with the quick-and-dirty visual scan of your app’s page, they then look at your app’s description. If the user has come this far in the process, they’re close to the point where they make the decision to buy or not buy. The description is where you close the deal, and we’ll show you what successful apps do in their descriptions.

6. That’s when they make their decision.

6. That’s when they make their decision.

If you’ve done everything right, this is when the user clicks the “Install App” button. Get enough users doing that, and life’s like this:

6. That’s when they make their decision.

Next: A picture is worth a thousand…bucks?

[ This article also appears in Global Nerdy. ]

Continue reading

4 Ways Online Stores Can Drive Engagement and Sales With Instagram

4 Ways Online Stores Can Drive Engagement and Sales With Instagram

feature

Here's a fact.

Instagram just hit 150 million users and is becoming a social platform that’s harder and harder to ignore.

However, what’s more interesting is that recently a study published by L2 Think Tank found that Instagram gives brands 25 percent more engagement than any other social platform out there, including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

The photo-sharing app has experienced a 900 percent year-over-year growth since its launch and has user demographic composed of roughly 70 percent women and 30 percent men according to the research firm. 

Some of the factors that account for its success have typically been attributed to the fact it’s a native mobile platform and that it almost entirely visual, a winning combination considering the rise of the visual web ever since other visually-dominant platforms like Pinterest entered the picture (no pun intended).

So, Instagram is kind of a big deal, but how can you make it work for your ecommerce brand?

Here are 4 ways to leverage Instagram for your business.

Continue reading

Win $100,000 with Shopify's Build a Business Competition

Win $100,000 with Shopify's Build a Business Competition

Win $100,000 with Shopify's Build a Business Competition


Update - The Build-A-Business Contest is back. Visit the contest page for more info on this year's competition.

The Shopify Build a Business Contest

The news is out and the response has been phenomenal: we’re giving away $120,000 in prizes for whoever builds the best online business on Shopify in the new year.

This started out as just an idea between Tobi, Shopify’s CEO, and Tim Ferriss, NYT Bestselling author of the 4-Hour Workweek. Before he started writing his book, Tim created a business that let him automate nearly everything and travel Europe while working, and Shopify was built with just this kind of automation in mind, to help you run an ecommerce website without any hassles. When we all met, it seemed only natural that we would work together, because in Tim’s own words, “Shopify is exactly the product I wish I could have used when I built my own business originally.” We wanted to give everyone with an idea the chance to put it into action. Everyone wants to be their own boss, have more independence, and we thought since the tools are already available, a $100,000 grand prize might be just the incentive to get you started. And here we are:

A Business for Life

Starting on January 1st, compete to build the highest-grossing business over 6 months. The two best months are used to determine the winner of the competition, who will receive $100,000. More winners will receive $5,000 in other categories, and there will be some great surprises along the way. Although the competition starts on January 1st, you can and should start an account now so that you get a head start learning. Throughout the competition you will receive great tips and expert help from people in different fields, including Tim and Tobi, and you’ll have the great support that Shopify is known for.

The business you’re registering must be new, and even if you’re not the winner, at the end of the six months you should end up with a great business of your own.

Here is a quick summary:

- $100,000 grand prize
- $120,000 total in prizes
- Only new businesses are eligible to enter.
- Contest runs for 6 months starting January 1st but you can register and start working on your business now.
- The best two months of sales are counted.
- Even if you don’t win the prizes, you should end up with a viable business at the end of 6 months.
- The steps and details in the new, expanded 4-Hour Workweek will be used as ground-zero for instructions.
- Contest open to US businesses only. The tools and guidance will be available to all entrants, though so you are encouraged to enter no matter where you are.

Register at the Store Contest Page to get started.

FAQ

I’m outside the US, can I still participate?

We welcome you to the contest and you will have full access to the tutorials, guides and video addresses that we are creating and posting over the next 6 months. However, you will not be eligible for the prizes.

We are planning on posting international leader boards as well so you will be able to compare your store to the American crowd.

You are a Canadian company but Canadians cannot participate?

Believe us, we are as frustrated about this as you are. We spent countless hours on the phone with lawyers over the last few months trying to make this truly international, but in the end we simply could not offer the contest the way we did if it were available in Canada or in Europe.

Without going into too many details, the crux of the matter is the legal classification of the contest as a game of skill vs. a game of chance. Some agencies see our contest as a game of chance. Apparently they believe that being a successful entrepreneur and building a great business online has more to do with luck than with skill. Unfortunately games of chance are governed under Lottery law, which makes them essentially impossible to run (or even outright illegal).

Can I move my existing online store over?

Obviously we would love to have your business on Shopify. However, the spirit of this contest is to encourage new businesses to be created. Maybe you already have an idea for a new business that is only semi-related to your existing store? You should try this idea and you will be free to enter the contest with this. You can contact our sales team at sales@shopify.com.

If you are planning to move your existing business to Shopify as well please contact our sales team and we will be able to give you special discounts.

What about a brick and mortar store?

It’s a fantastic time to move your business online. However, much like with existing online stores – see previous point – the spirit of the contest is to encourage new businesses. Moving an existing brick and mortar store online is not going to be a valid new business unless you can clearly demonstrate that you are not taking advantage of the existing offline business.

Is there a maximum order price?

Yes, only the first $5,000 of each order will count towards the contest. We put this rule in place to stop used car sales men from sweeping the contest.

Can I sell Real estate, Pianos, Cars?

Sure thing. However, only the first $5,000 of each order counts towards the contest. No you can’t get 100 orders placed by the same person for $5,000 each either. We check for this :-)

Can I sell digital goods?

Yes, in fact we worked hard on finalizing support for digital goods just in time for the launch of the contest. Since early December you can now tell us that certain items in your store don’t require shipping addresses and/or taxation. If an order consists of only items that don’t require shipping then Shopify will not ask for a shipping address during the checkout.

If it is software you are selling then we recommend you install Fetchapp from the Shopify App Store. With Fetchapp you can automatically send out software bundles and licence keys once orders have been placed.

Can you sell a combination of affiliate products and your own products through Shopify?

Yes absolutely. In fact we highly encourage our customers to source extra products that round off the product offering. A lot of our customers started by selling just a single product and later on started cross selling related products between their stores for additional sales.

I’m a programmer. Can I extend Shopify with new features?

Yes. This is what we created the Shopify Platform for. The Platform is fairly similar to the Facebook platform and allows you to add all sorts of interesting capabilities to your store. You can browse through existing apps at the Shopify App Store and you can find the API docs here.

Can I use a drop shipper like Doba for products?

Yes, Shopify even integrates directly with drop shippers and fulfillment services such as Shipwire, Webgistix and Amazon fulfillment. These services are really the key to fully automate your online store because manual shipping is labor intensive. At Shopify we have something called the App Store, which allows you to add extensions to your store (think a mix of WordPress plugins and Facebook apps). We know there are currently a few developers working on a Doba integration.

Why do you judge based on revenues? Aren’t profit margins a better measure of how healthy a business is?

This is true, but it would be impossible for us to determine profit margins of all the participants. Since revenues are easily trackable, we use them as the measurement of success. This was the best way of running the competition without making it overly complicated. Of course, all the information we track for the contest strictly complies with our privacy policy.

Continue reading

Start your free 14-day trial of Shopify