Here we are! Week two of November theme gallery treats. Keeping up the pace with last week’s eye-candy we got the humble and magnificent Andrew McCarthy onboard to bring his magicks to Tictail.
Highline is an instant winner. There is no doubt that the moment you try this theme you are going to let an “Oooh” slip from your lips, since this theme practically forces your store into looking good. With its clever choice of font and well-balanced focus on both images and design this theme will transform your store into a classy boutique with an air of pride about it.
Andrew might be humble in his wording but we have no problem exclaiming that this theme is a must-try, he has put a lot of effort in emphasizing your products, putting them square in the middle as well as making sure that none of the eloquent touches of a prominent designer are lost amongst product images.
Having said enough, it is time for Andrew to share his thoughts!
5 quick ones with Andrew McCarthy
1. Originally, how did you first get into design?
I remember spending hours on KidPix when I was a child. Then later, building websites to put photos & videos of my friends skateboarding online. I wasn’t smart enough to be an engineer, or creative enough to be an artist, so web design was the perfect marriage where I could make decent stuff and still enjoy myself.
2. What does a day in the life of Andrew McCarthy look like?
I start with some coffee and a light breakfast, work from home for a few hours, and then grab lunch and bike to a shared office where I rent a desk. After work, I’ll either spend some time on side projects or meet up with friends for some food, drinks and good times. On a really good day, I’ll skateboard for an hour or two.
Andrew’s desk at his shared office space.
3. What tools do you rely on in your design process?
Recently, I’ve bounced around between Fireworks, Sketch and Photoshop for screen design. None of them are perfect, but they all get the job done. I spend at least half my time in Sublime Text, building & tweaking designs, which is one of my favorite programs.. it makes working with code super pleasant. GitHub & LayerVault are also great for keeping track of everything.
4. For anyone looking to become a designer, what advice would you give them?
Design is a vast field.. explore as much as you can early on and try to find a good balance of natural talent, desire to learn, and satisfying personal reward.
Learning to build, or at least closely understanding the underlying processes, of what you design will always guarantee a better end result (and increase chances of finding work).
5. How did you come up with the style for your Tictail portrait?
I wanted to make a theme that mostly stood out of the way and put the products front & center, but still has a clear and concise visual style. It relies a lot on the photography and typography. The header font, Playfair Display Black, is great because you can write anything and it looks like a custom logotype. I think the theme will work well for modern boutique shops, whether they’re selling designer clothes, hand crafted furniture, or homemade marmalades.
It is out, it is response and it looks great in your smartphone.
(If you’re unsure on how to change your theme, have a look at this help article.)
Coming from a family of traditional artisan woodworkers, 24-year-old Jorge de la Cruz has maintained an interest in wood as a material and its diverse applications from a young age. He studied Product Design in Madrid until June 2012 and after that, he has been working on his own projects oriented toward furniture and lighting.
Jorge de la Cruz
For Jorge, the path to setting up an online store for his furniture and designs has been long but pretty straightforward. After studying Product Design at Madrid, Jorge was awarded for his project 540º by Milan based glass manufacturing company Bruni Glass at the international glass design competition Progetto Millennio.
He later interned at InSpirit Design, where he worked with glassware, packaging and sportswear. Jorge has exhibited at the Milan Furniture Fair, Milan’s MADtastic Exhibition, and Dutch Design Week. His work has been featured in international magazines Yatzer, Dezeen, Designboom, Casa Vogue and Wanted.
Now, nearly a year has passed since he set up his online store with “the commitment of promoting some of my self-produced items.” In his store he also hosts products from fellow designer Diana Vernaza Gonzenbach such as ‘Three rings’ and ‘Arista’ chair and various lamps created by German product designer Dominik Hehl.
A wooden stool before it’s assembled
Jorge started producing his own pieces in late 2011 and has stuck through with wood as his primary material. “I think it is a very grateful material - you can produce small series of furniture without making expensive molds, for instance. Also, it’s a light material, but still solid, and very warm to look at and touch” he explains on his fascination with wood.
There’s a lot of planning behind each product he creates. He describes a normal day with several hours in front of the computer amidst material samples, prototypes and testing mechanisms. “Almost all my projects have several months of development behind them, counting from the first idea to the final product. Some pieces take almost two years until they can be displayed in a store”, Jorge adds.
Jorge’s organized work space
Although a selected network of offline and online stores carries his products, this is his first own online store.
“Tictail has helped me in the process of creating a self-produced collection and showing that some of my objects can easily be produced and marketed. It is an easy way to implement your own online store. I tried a lot of platforms when I first had the idea of starting an online store but they didn’t work out for various reasons.”
Canisters by Jorge de la Cruz
Jorge has recently released some new products that you can browse through in his store!
He would also like to recommend Form Us With Love Market, a store with a well-curated selection of products including small furniture, lamps, accessories and magazines.
Since Zopim is our app of the week, we’re giving the spotlight to Abhiroop Basu, Content Strategist at Zopim. In the post, you’ll learn exactly how and why you should use Zopim’s live chat!
Live chat is the fastest way for you to communicate with your website’s visitors and answer their questions. In fact, an overwhelming number (79%) of online shoppers said that they liked using live chat because responses were immediate.
Zopim’s award-winning live chat solution lets you respond to your visitor’s queries in real-time, increasing sales and customer satisfaction. With Zopim, you can personally serve each and every customer and help them with their purchase.
We’ve spent many months making Zopim incredibly user-friendly and we wanted to highlight some of our favorite features.
The First Step – Chat with your Customers
The first thing you’ll want to do, after installing Zopim, is to have a chat with one of your customers. You can login to our Dashboard through Tictail or download our Android or iPhone apps. Once you’re logged in, wait for the notification to alert you of an incoming chat.
If your customer starts chatting in a different language, don’t worry! Zopim integrates with Google Translate, and our chat interface will automatically detect and translate the language they are using into one of your choice. This is a great way to ensure that you continue providing great support no matter what language your customer speaks.
Sometimes you’ll notice that you are getting a lot of visitors but no-one wants to chat. This could be because the visitors are shy or perhaps they don’t even realise that there is a live chat widget on your website. To help break the ice, you can start chatting with one of the visitors by selecting their name in the Visitors List.
But what happens if you have a lot of visitors and you want to reach out to all of them? Sounds daunting to do it one at a time. That’s why we’ve built our next feature…
Triggers – Proactive Communication is Important
A majority (66%) of online shoppers appreciate proactive invitations to live chat. So, it’s no surprise that “Triggers” are one of our hottest features.
Triggers are a great way to engage multiple customers efficiently. With it, you can automatically create actions based on certain criteria. Think of a “if”/ “then” scenario. “IF” a certain criteria is met, “THEN” a specific action will take place. For example, you can create a trigger to assist visitors who get stuck on a particular page of your website. If, let’s say, your visitors keep getting stuck on the checkout page (perhaps because the shipping options are too complicated), then the trigger will prompt them with a message asking them if they need help. If the customer then responds you can step in and assist them.
Triggers will help you engage customers without having to actually chat with each and every one, helpful if you’ve got a lot of visitors.
Become a Zopim Ninja with Shortcuts
Do you find that you often keep sending the same greeting to all your customers? Something along the lines of “Hi, how are you doing?” Instead of typing the same words over and over again, try our Shortcuts feature.
Shortcuts act like text expanders. You type in a few characters and automatically turn them into a complete sentence. For example, instead of typing in a full greeting, you can just type “/hi” and hit enter. It’s that easy. You could probably have a whole conversation with just Shortcuts.
Customize the Live Chat Widget to Suit your Website
Every website has its own unique design identity. With Zopim, we let you express your creativity through our customizable Chat Badges. This is the square live chat box on your website, the first thing a potential customer will see. You can change every aspect of this to better complement your website.
The customization options for the Live Chat Widget doesn’t end with the Chat Badge. You can change the font, color, style, and even layout of the Chat Widget. Go on, give it a try and make your website really stand out.
Keep Track of your Customers with Advanced Analytics
The Zopim Dashboard also features a full suite of analytics tools that will help you keep track of everyone who visits your website. At a glance, you can see how many pageviews, unique visitors, and chats your website has had in the past day.
You can also request weekly email reports which give you even more data, such as the number of offline messages, average chat duration, and number of chats missed.
We’re proud of how user-friendly and feature-full we have made Zopim. We really hope you enjoy using it. To give it a try, just head to Tictail Apps, search for Zopim Live Chat and add the app.
With our App of the Week, Zopim Live Chat, you’ll be able to chat with customers directly on your website. Answer their questions, guide them in the right direction or just ask how they are doing. It’s a great tool to build a relationship with your customers and enables you to walk them all the way through a purchase!
Riley Koh uses Zopim Live Chat on her store Styleraiders. Check it out to see how it works!
Zopim will add a widget to your Tictail store automatically and you’re good to go right away! If you’re not online, this widget will turn into a contact form so that customers feel that they can get in touch at any time, which will help to build trust among your community.
But not only can you chat with your customers, you will also get analytics of all visitors and get crucial insights into how they behave on your store. This together with engaging with your visitors can really make a difference and help take your store to the next level.
So what are you waiting for! Monitor and chat with visitors surfing your store in real-time - impress them personally and ease them into their purchase!
What you get with Zopim Live Chat
Want help installing the app? Check out this help article.
Tomorrow, Abhiroop Basu from Zopim will share his beginner’s guide to Zopim!
The FATTA-jewelry sold out in just 5 hours!
Run by Femtastic and Crossing Boarders, #FATTA is a Swedish campaign to increase awareness and educate people about sexual consent. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to get policymakers to legislate so that more rapists can be sentenced for their crimes. On the campaign website, people can leave anonymous stories about being forced to having sex against their will.
Fatta means “get it” in Swedish
“It feels fantastic that so many people support our cause! All the creatives behind this have worked pro bono and it’s thanks to them that we’ve been able to raise all this money in just one evening!”, says Vanessa Marko, founder of Femtastic and one of the driving forces behind FATTA.
You can find their store (in Swedish) here.
Elena Vasilieva is a part blogger part fashion designer based in Brussels who combines clothes from her wardrobe with her own hand made pieces in her Tictail store.
Elena Vasilieva is both a blogger and designer
Fresh out of law school, in 2010, Elena started an internship with a young Brussels based designer and got hooked right away. “Designing is really what gets me out of bed every morning, at about 6AM.” By 7.30 she’s already in her studio easing in to the workday by going through emails and errands that needs to be sorted out before her day really kicks in. “Then, for the most part, I am working on garnets for my new collection: fabric sourcing, sampling, sketching and sewing. In the middle of the day we [Elena and her assistant] shoot things for the blog. I love a good dose of sunlight in my photographs. Towards the end of the day I’m back at my apartment in Leuven preoccupied with blogging or at least this is how I would have loved for it to happen. But mostly I am out at events and store openings.”
Get a glimpse into Elena’s wardrobe
Inspired by ordinary and unnoticed objects, rather than people, Elena finds designing outerwear the most exciting. Everything is made by hand in her Brussels studio and the process of creating a piece can be quite extensive. “I sketch quite a lot (sometimes only in my head though) and then edit things up a great deal as I tend to have a flood of ideas every time I have to get creative. Then it’s the prototyping phase, which basically boils down to editing, changing, pinning, cutting and resewing. After that you get a new garment. If all goes well, of course.”
The products in Elena’s store that she hasn’t created herself are from her wardrobe, a wardrobe that according to her is both a blogger’s best friend and worst enemy.
Elena’s favourite item in her store right now is this jacket from Zara
She tries to whittle her wardrobe down to that perfect minimum of items that can work impeccably with one another. Her goal is to have a good amount of basic clothing accompanied by some spectacular pieces. “I feel bad for neglecting the items I don’t wear so finding someone who would cherish them more would be incredible. I had a very basic blogger based store before I found Tictail. It was way too much work to maintain, Tictail is so easy to deal with. It’s the greatest way to sell products online!”
Elena’s one tip for other entrepreneurs is to “be yourself” even though it’s “probably the hardest thing one can do, but once you have figured this out, you can conquer the world. I’m still working on that one.”
Another season, another caravan of themes!
Over the last couple of months we’ve had our secret weapon design intern Hannah Ahl concoct a real treat for ya’ll.
Say hello to Kurt! The first theme in the throng of themes hitting our theme gallery over the course of the next couple of weeks. They’re not going to be quite as many as the summer lot, but trust me when I say that you will not be disappointed!
As if passed the spiritual torch from this summer’s themes, she’s crafted a theme where the beauty of your images lie at its center, giving them the full space to breathe which they so rightfully deserve. With bold and evocative images you’ll draw in your visitors, immersing them in this smoking blend of dapper design and visual frankness.
Generous in her intentions, this one’s playfully easy to modify. So do play around with your product images to create the right setting and mood for your store; from matte to gleaming - your images do the talking.
Without further ado, here’s the legend herself.
5 quick ones with Hannah Ahl
1. Originally, how did you first get into design?
Math and art were always my most loved school subjects growing up, and as I got older they kind of naturally evolved into programming and design. I was introduced to Photoshop when I was about 15 and have been hooked ever since.
2. What does a day in the life of Hannah Ahl look like?
My favorite mornings usually start with watching Pokémon with my SO - after I’ve tried to wake him up by torturing him with my cold hands. If I’m home alone, I work on my not-so-secret mission to turn the living room into a pillow fort and to take over all available storing areas with the oddest tea flavors I can find.
Having just finished my Tictail internship and Hyper Island studies, I still consider myself a beginner in the field and want to learn as much as possible. A lot of time is spent on researching, observing and making mockups. I’ve also become an absolute expert at making portfolios and scrapping them when they’re almost done.
When I want to wind down, I bury myself in a pile of blankets and fall asleep with the latest Nintendo blockbuster in hand and a Starcraft 2 tournament playing in the background.
3. What tools do you rely on in your design process?
I bring my sketchbook with me everywhere I go; I’d rather leave my wallet behind than my favorite pen. Applying my analogue background, e.g. using shadows and color composition, to the digital space is an important part of my working method. When it comes to the screen, I’m all about Photoshop and half-decent hacking in Sublime Text 2.
4. For anyone looking to become a designer, what advice would you give them?
Design is not just what you think looks good, it’s about what actually works. Being a designer is like being part of a community, so the greatest tool you’ll ever have is other people. Use their work to your advantage. Observe, take notes, analyze, imitate and alter to figure out the basics before you start finding and putting your own personal twist on it. Keep track of trends. Ask for feedback. Pick up some front end skills to understand which resources and limitations you have when you’re designing - not everything made in Photoshop can be recreated for the web.
5. How did you come up with the style for your Tictail theme?
So far, Tictail only has one other theme aimed at stores with one or very few products. I wanted to bring more “quality over quantity” themes into the mix by highlighting products instead of product overviews. My biggest priority when creating the look of it was to have something clean and simple for the storekeeper to edit and make their own. It’s focused on your story, your branding and your product.
It is out now, so head over to our theme gallery and have a look!
If you’re unsure on how to change your theme, have a look at this help article.
This week, it’s time for Sandy Hathaway, co-founder/CMO of the Berlin-based app company RetentionGrid to give us her take on retention marketing. In her guest post below you’ll learn what retention marketing is all about, how you can use it to increase customer loyalty and get more sales. Sandy, take it away!
Most shop owners are astonished when they learn that more than 80% of their online customers will buy from them once, and never come back to order again. And it’s usually not because these customers have a bad experience of some kind. It’s because they never “fall in love” with the brand.
Marketing and selling at small businesses are mostly focused on acquisition, and retention consists of not much more than a general monthly newsletter. In keeping with the “falling in love” analogy, a general newsletter is like drive-by dating. It’s not enough to build a lasting relationship. Once a customer places their first order, they require continued care and personalized attention to keep them coming back.
The team behind RetentionGrid
Optimize Your Retention Marketing to Increase Customer Loyalty
The good news is that improving your retention marketing can be easy to do, and your high rate of one-time buyers can be converted into to more repeat customers (to see your rate of one-time buyers right now, connect to RetentionGrid - it’s free!). Special thank you’s, sharing the interests and passions behind your business, being able to anticipate when customers are in the mood to buy, offering the products you know they will like - these are the things that foster appreciation, affection, commitment.
And the upside of courting customers is high: Those that have bought from you one time in the past are four times more likely to respond to your marketing efforts and buy from you again (versus a new prospect that never bought from you before). They are also seven times less costly to convince than a new prospect.
Repeat Customers Are More Likely to Buy and Less Costly To Reach
Let’s recap that: a four times greater likelihood of conversion to an order, with seven times less the cost to acquire that order. And those aren’t the only benefits of repeat customers. The RetentionGrid metadata from more than 1 million shoppers demonstrates that converting customers to the second order also has an impact on shortening future buying cycles, and that repeat customers have larger average order values than first time buyers.
So when and how should you get started? From the moment a first order is placed by a new customer the very first time, and continuously after that. And, you can use RetentionGrid. Simply connect the app and we’ll guide you through the rest.
Customer Loyalty At-A-Glance: The Main View of RetentionGrid
There is another view of RetentionGrid called the Time Machine. The Time Machine lets you look at individual customers and identify the effects of buying cycles and promotions.
Patterns & Buying Cycles: Time Machine View of RetentionGrid
Depending on the segment a customer is in, you will want to add value and make appropriate offers accordingly. Using RetentionGrid Campaigns you can do this by segment to many customers at once, or at an individual customer level. To give you an idea of some of the things you can do for each of the customer loyalty segments, here is a brief Retention Marketing To-Do Guide.
Your Retention Marketing To-Do’s For Each Customer Segment
You can gain greater advantage and improve your repeat customer rate by using relevance and personalization to sell more effectively. RetentionGrid is a simple application that gives you the information and the power you need to do this.
Have a question about how to optimize your retention marketing? Ask us in the comments section below! We’d love to help you.
Did you know that acquiring a new customer costs up to five times more than retaining an existing one? With RetentionGrid, our app of the week, you’ll learn to master the technique of retention marketing and start making use of your current customer base!
Jack Meekin uses RetentionGrid with success on crazychristmasjumpers.com.
RetentionGrid automatically categorizes your existing customers for you and helps you keep track of them in a tidy interface called “The Grid”. In there you can find data such as your customer’s location, email, amount of orders and a total sales value of that particular customer. These are all facts that can help to create repeat purchases.
With ease you can send out targeted email campaigns, designed by yourself to include your logo or simply chose from several beautifully pre-made templates!
So by using the proven concept of retention marketing you can increase your sales and start building an even more loyal customer base. And the best thing of all is that RetentionGrid is completely free!
What you get with RetentionGrid
Want help installing the app? Check out this help article.
Tomorrow, Sandy Hathaway, co-founder of RetentionGrid will give you her best tips on how to keep customers coming back so keep a look out here on the blog!
As Sellfy is our app of the week this week, we’re honoured to have Renars Upitis, Marketing Manager at Sellfy, make an appearance on our blog! In his guest post below, Renars will give you lots of great expert tips on selling digital downloads.
Getting started with digital products
Probably you already have your Tictail store ready but have you considered selling digital products as well? We at Sellfy are all about digital and if you have some ideas for your own product, you can take advantage of our recently released Sellfy app. No matter if you are already selling or just thinking about offering digital products, here are few tips that might help you get started:
1. Choosing the right digital product
Probably the most important choice in the beginning is choosing the type of product you are going to create. Are you a passionate writer? Try writing an eBook! Talented video creator? Probably short movies or video effect samples will be thing for you. Here are some of our most popular product categories::
As you can see, anyone can pick a product in their niche as the variety of products is limitless. If you are a professional or creative working on your computer, most likely you can produce very valuable things for others to purchase so go creative!
2. Pricing the product
When you have your product ready, probably you should start thinking about the value and how much to ask for it. Most likely there will be no single answer but you might want to think about all the factors that influence the price:
Take your time and do some basic research, check the competition and most likely you will be able to find a perfect price for you. We also see that merchants offering several pricing options with additional benefits/additions perform very well.
Most likely you already have some audience on your site or social channels to approach but to make the launch really successful you need to start building the excitement early on. Best strategy here is to go and speak to your customers directly using your blog/website social channels and mailing list. Here are few channels you can use:
Speak about your product and connect with people who might appreciate what you are doing. It’s a great strategy to engage with influencers and to take part in major discussions in your niche.
Your blog is the best place where to talk about your niche and most likely you already have some audience there - try grow it as hard as you can. Guest blogging as well can gain you wider audience, targeted and quality traffic. One of the main reasons to start guest blogging are backlinks, having a high-ranking site link back to you may increase your own blog search engine ranking.
Communities are a great way to start your online self promotion. Join conversations, exchange with experience, give feedbacks and tips. Leave an impression as expert of niche.
Online influencers are people who can affect views of a large audience across online. They are leaders in their niches and respectable. One connection with influencer can impact your business significantly.
One of the most effective ways of communicating with your potential customers and building your customer base is creating a mailing list. Email marketing is a powerful tool that can extend your reach beyond your website and create new sales opportunities.
For many this is the most exciting part! This is where your hard work creating your product and growing the audience pays off. You can now publish your product and start to promote it in all your communication channels you have built.
Create a plan how often and where to push your offer. Start with writing a blog post about your new product, give it to other blogs for review. Ask for a feedback about product in your niche forums and communities. Get a product reviews from influencers and repost or mention it to your social network audience. Communicate with your audience a lot, try always replaying on comments and listen to feedback no matter good or not. Remember to send a newsletter to your email list. Remember that you can create individual lists from readers and send personal offers and newsletters.
At this point you probably will be doing great and will have decent sales numbers. But you can’t sit on your success as it’s all about long-term strategy and you should work hard to maintain that interest. You should have a post-launch strategy as well. This is the post that you most likely will want to engage with others within your niche - influencers, bloggers etc. Try speaking to as many people as you can and get featured on other blogs and websites. Also maintaining buzz on social networks can help you a lot, ask your customers for a tweet or two to maintain the virality ;)
That’s basically it - as you can see, there is no magic. If you have a great product idea you can make considerable income from selling digital products as well. You should always remember that no matter what product you sell, physical or digital, product quality will determine it’s success so take your time and create something truly awesome and the marketing part will come easy. Good luck!
Marketing Manager at Sellfy