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4 Easy Plugins To Convert WordPress Into An E-Commerce Platform

WordPress is a very cool blogging platform. Most people know it can be used as a CMS, but do you know that it is really simple to use WordPress as a shopping cart? Here are 4 simple plugins that convert WordPress into an e-commerce platform.

1 – Shopp

Shopp-WordPress-Plugin

Extension Page | Sample Site | Price: $55.00

2 – WP-eCommerce

WP-eCommerce-WordPress-Plugin

Extension Page | Sample Site | Basic Version: $0.00 – Additional Modules Can Be Purchased

3 – eShop

eShop-WordPress-Plugin

Extension PageSample Site | Price: $0.00

4 – The Market Theme

The-Market-Theme WordPress Plugin

Extension Page | Demo | Price: $55.00

Integrate Your Shopping Cart With UPS/FedEx

FedEx UPS FedUp

Anyone who ships more than 20 boxes a day knows how annoying it is to keep copy and pasting the customers information for the shipping label. Therefore it is a great thing that both UPS and FedEx offer the ability to integrate your system into theirs. Unless you are doing a lot of business with your shipping carrier, they probably won’t mention the fact that the offer it. Your best bet is to ask your FedEx/UPS representative to point you in the right direction.

Both FedEx and UPS offer a few different ways to set up the integration. The best way to integrate your system varies from system to system, development manpower, and what you expect from it.

CSV Import/Export

The simplest way to get information back and forth betweens the two systems is by importing a Comma Separated Values (CSV) text file with all your shipment information into the shipping program. Once you process your shipments you can export another CSV file with the tracking numbers back into your system.

Direct ODBC Connection

This option is more advanced and will require a higher technical skill set, but offers a much better user experience and can be fully automated.

You will need to provide UPS/FedEx with a SELECT query to pull the order information from your database. The shipping user will be asked to input an order I’d number which will then run this query and import the shipment data into the shipping program. After it creates a shipping label, it will run an UPDATE/INSERT query which you will also need to provide so it can write the tracking number back into your system.

Now What?

Talk to your shipping carrier and let them help you decide what will work best for you. In some cases they may offer a completely different solution.

Image Credit: voon’s world

10 Great Magento Extensions For Your E-Commerce Store

Magento Commerce is a great open source platform. Here are some extensions that will help your store stick out from the crowd and add vital functionality to your business.

1 – Shop By Brand

Shop-By-Brand

This extension creates landing pages for each of your brands, which include information such as Brand Name, Logo, Description etc… The landing page will have an SEO link like this www.example.com/brands/sony.

Extension Page | Demo | Price: $99.99

2 – MouseOver Image Zoom

This extension replaces the default Magento image zooming feature. When you mouseover the image it will open a box to right where it will zoom into the image (sort of like Endless.com).

MouseOver-Image-Zoom

Extension Page | Price: $0.00

3 – Blog

A blog built from scratch for Magento. It’s not as extensive as WordPress or Movable Type, but it has all the basics. Should get you from point A to point B.

Magento-Blog

Extention Page | Price: $0.00

4 – Drop Shipping Management

If you do a lot of drop shipping you will definitely need help managing your orders. Magento is a great system, but it has no Drop Ship management features. This extension is pretty robust with a price tag to match.

Drop-Shipping-Module

Extension Page | Demo | Price $500.00

5 – Minimum Advertised Price

If you sell products that are protected by a manufacturer’s minimum advertised price policy (MAP), then this is for you. As always, rules are meanato to be broken. You can use this extension to work around the MAP policy withour ruining you vendor relationships.

Minimum-Advertised-Price-Policy

Extension Page$149.00

6 – QuickBooks Integration

This is vital for survival. Accounting is key to the success of your business. This extension will synchronize your orders with QuickBooks. Definitely worth the price.

QuickBooks Integration THUB

Extension Page | Demo | $250.00

7 – Ticketing System

This extension will help you keep track of your customer service inquiries. It will help you save time by managing your workflow and will ensure that no emails fall through the cracks.

Ticketing-System

Extension Page$0.00

8 – Color Swatches

Selling something in multiple colors? T-Shirts, Faucets, iPods? This is for you. It will add the ability to put color swatches and change the image based on the color selected.

Color-Swatches

Extension Page | Demo$69.00

9 – Exploded Menu

Replaces the standard drop down menu with an exploded menu featuring multiple columns. Comes in handy when you have many categories.

Exploded Menu

Extension Page$0.00

10 – Useful Product Downloads

This is great if you want to give your customers the ability to download PDF specification files for products. Just upload any file type and you’re done. Easy. Easy.

Useful-Product-Downloads

Extension Page | Demo | $49.00

More From This Series: Magento Extensions

How To Test Google AdWords Keyword Positions In Analytics

Monopoly E-Commerce

Will your ad perform better on the top spot on the left or on the right? Sixth one up from the bottom?

When you link your Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts, it will track performance of your ads with a lot of detail. One of the things it tracks, is performance by ad position.

Go to Traffic Sources » AdWords » Keyword Positions

In this report you can see all the familiar information such as impressions, clicks, CTR etc… The great thing about this report is the ability to segment by keyword and ad position. If you have Conversion Goals and E-Commerce Tracking set up you can see sales and revenue by ad position as well.

How Do I Know?

You will need to test your ad in a few positions for a couple of weeks each. Make sure you have enough representative data and then run the Ad Position report and see what has performed better.

Image Credit: danielbroche

Get A Higher CTR With Merchant Logos On Comparison Shopping Engines

Merchant Logos

Sometimes it’s hard to stick out on shopping comparison engines. Every little tweak can help. Adding your logo to your listings will definitely raise your click through rate (CTR). This may be fairly obvious to some merchants, but many merchants don’t include their logo with their listings.

Aside from laziness, there are other reasons not include your logo with your listings. The main reason is cost. Most CSEs charge extra for use of their mechant logo program. However, if you can afford it or if you still have a decent return on investment, you should include your logo.

If you are not sure if it’s worth it for you, run a test for two weeks or a month and see how you click through rate, and in effect your return on investment increases.

Image Credit: Shopfin.org

How To Lower Costs On CSEs With An Inclusion Only Feed

Comparison shopping

When you have a large feed, there is usually a very long tail of products that send traffic to your site. Sometimes you can get one or two clicks on a thousand different products. You may not notice the cost of each click on it’s own, but it starts to add up. With a standard Kill Report it’s hard to get rid of the long tail because you don’t have enough metrics.

When & Where

In extreme cases where you cannot stomach the excessive costs of a specific shopping engine (CSE) and you are unable to lower the spend through other methods, it is recommended to send a feed with only the brands that have performed well historically. Keep in mind that by running an inclusion only feed, you are also getting rid of products that may perform well. So keep testing the feed by adding new products and monitor it for changes.

Bottom Line

You might stop a lot of quality traffic by sending an inclusion only feed. You might also save your business a ton of money. Keep your eyes open and watch the performance.

Maximize Your Productivity With Google AdWords Editor

Google AdWords Editor

If you are managing many campaigns with hundreds or thousands of keywords, then Google AdWords Editor is for you.

AdWords Editor is great for many things. It’s main function is to allow you to add/edit multiple campaigns/ad groups/ads/keywords in one shot. It is especially useful for creating new campaigns because your work will not be live until you are done and upload it.

In addition Google AdWords Editor is great for creating backups of specific campaigns or even your whole account. This is useful for times that you need to restructure your campaign but would like to have the ability to go back and reverse your changes at a later date. It can also be used to download campaigns for upload into Yahoo! Search Marketing or Microsoft adCenter.

Plug in to the power of AdWords Editor

AdWords Editor is a free Google application for managing your ad campaigns. Use it to download your account, update your campaigns with powerful editing tools, then upload your changes to AdWords.

  • Work offline, then upload your changes any time.
  • Make bulk changes (such as updating bids or adding keywords) in just a few steps.
  • Copy or move items between ad groups and campaigns.
  • Navigate through your account quickly and easily.
  • Circulate proposed changes and get feedback from other users.

Download Google AdWords Editor

How To Use Comparison Shopping Engines To Build Positive Brand Reputation

Five Star Rating

Problem

Most customers that are satisfied with their purchase from your ecommerce store will not go out of their way to review their shopping experience. It’s usually the customer who’s order got messed up who will go and leave you a review on PriceGrabber, ResellerRatings and the like.

Solution

It’s only normal, but what should you do? You need to push your customers aggressively to rate their experience. You can do this by displaying a banner on the order thank you page urging them to leave a review. Most comparison shopping engines provide the code for this.

Tips

If you deal with many shopping engines and don’t want to many banners popping up, you can utilize a script like this to randomly rotate a few of the scripts:

<script type="text/javascript">
	var r_text = new Array ();
	r_text[0] = "PriceGrabberCode";
	r_text[1] = "Shopzilla Code";
	r_text[2] = "Shopping.com Code";
	r_text[3] = "Smarter Code";
	r_text[4] = "NexTag Code";
	r_text[5] = "Yahoo Shopping Code";
	r_text[6] = "Or Any Other Site Code";
	var i = Math.floor(7*Math.random())
	document.write(r_text[i]);
</script>

Code source and explanation: WebDevelopersNotes.com

Aside from a pop-up banner after checkout, it is also a good idea to email all customers once you think they have received their order (3-5 business days from when you ship, or enough time that they will have received the shipment). You can offer them a coupon code or promo for the review, this will help you get more reviews. Just keep in mind that when you offer something in return you cannot offer a promotion for a ‘positive’ review. You can only ask them to rate their experience.

Bottom Line

Your customers love you, but not enough to go through the trouble of finding and reviewing you. Help them, help you.

Track Goals In Google AdWords With Google Analytics Tracking Pixel

As you probably know, you can link your Google Analytics account to your Google AdWords account. Doing this allows you to better track your campaign performance in Analytics with a whole slew of options that are not available in AdWords.

What I did not know, until now, was that you can link your Google Analytics Goals to Google AdWords. What this means is that you don’t need to have two tracking pixels on your order confirmation page. Just install the Google Analytics tracking pixel and it will feed Google AdWords the ecommerce and conversion data from Analytics.

Link Google Analytics & Google AdWords Goal Conversions

Link Google Analytics & Google AdWords Goal Conversions

Did you know you can do this?

Using Google AdWords Cost Per Acquisition Campaigns

Save Money

There are a few requirements to be eligible to use the Google AdWords Cost Per Acquisition model. First, you need to have the AdWords conversion tracking pixel installed on your site and you’ll need 15 conversions tracked through the conversion tracking over the previous 30 days. If you are serious about marketing your site and products, this should be very easy for you to accomplish.

Once you fulfil all the requirements, you can edit your campaign by changing the settings under Bidding and budget > Bidding option from Manual bidding for clicks to Automatic bidding to try to maximize clicks for your target budget.

You will be asked to set a value to the conversions, in other words, how much you’re will to pay per sale. When you enable the Conversion Optimizer for a campaign, you set a maximum CPA bid for each ad group.

Ready, set, go. You’re pretty much done, make sure to check back on it.