e-Commerce is here to stay

It is hardly a secret that e-commerce has been booming year after year around the globe. Having a platform for selling your goods online is vital for anyone who wants to reach a wider audience. 

However, when a few years ago, selling on the Internet was a small, often insignificant part of revenue for most shops, it is now becoming more and more relevant by the day. With the current situation regarding COVID, the inquiry for e-commerce solutions went up and is now over 60% of all inquires we’re receiving  today.

Many people think that setting up an e-commerce site is difficult and expensive. And it can be if you start looking for a designer or an IT company to set it up. With custom solutions, it tends to be, and that is the service we offer – custom built websites and e-commerce solutions from design and UI to developing, and different third party integrations.

Still, there is also another and also cheaper way. There are several services (VoogWixWeeblyWooCommerce, which work with WordPress) that offer ready-made templates for getting your first website or online shop up and running fast. Some of them have built a quite easy system for upgrading to custom templates and adding new functionalities since the online stores regularly expand over time.

Therefore, if your e-commerce idea is not bulletproof or you have a tighter budget, the first step could be to find a service provider to start with. Line up the main features you need and choose the right provider that fits you the most. Of course, if possible ask for help to get feedback of the solution that you are aiming for. Keep in mind that setting up an e-commerce site with a proper product catalogue, descriptions, images, payment methods, etc. takes time and moving from one service provider to another can take some added time from your calendar.

We in Sviiter mainly use WooCommerce and Voog as e-commerce solution providers. Here are some pros and cons from both services to keep in mind.

Pros – WooCommerce + WordPress

  • Easy to set up ready-made e-commerce solution. You need a server (hosting) and could set up the pre-made template site with no code editing. 
  • There are thousands of templates (free and paid) for WooCommerce that are easy to install, fill-up and start.
  • Loads of plugins and integrations to have add certain functions to your store. Since WordPress is the leading CMS, there are thousands of features to upgrade your store. Also different integrations with common sales programs and payment options – ERPLYBuumMakecommerceStripe, Paypal etc.

Pros – Voog

  • Easy to set up ready-made template site for site or online store.
  • Voog includes server, so client does not have to deal with installing and setting up.
  • Client has simple design tool inside that could make the site a bit unique.
  • Easy for developer to upgrade it into custom site – Since all the ready-made designs are made by Voog, the upgrade into custom site is cheaper than average custom e-commerce site.
  • Since Voog has its own hosting, all the updates are made by them and no involvement from customer is needed.
  • Voog has multilingual and SEO settings built in and no need for extra integration.
  • Great support – 24/7 support in Estonian and English language, maybe even Russian, (have not tried).
  • The best value for starting companies – Low cost starting, easy to upgrade. See Voog pricing.

Cons – WooCommerce + WordPress

  • Usually the ready-made templates include a page builder system, which might be difficult to integrate if you are planning some kind of function update or even new custom site.
  • WordPress uses plugins for supporting multi languages. Therefore, some (mainly free) templates do not support multilingual sites and enabling it could be quite a big job for the developer.
  • Multilingual support – We have noticed that many free templates do not support multiple languages, so check the possibility before setting it up. Multilingual function is usually built also for translating different inner sections, buttons etc, especially when you might need something other than English in your cart and checkout.
  • Low support – WordPress needs a hand with their updates. With simple sites it is not an issue, but with stores, and sites with more plugins and integrations, there is a need for certain support. Even then, when the client itself makes the updates, the solution or migration between plugins could easily be broken and fixing it is not what the client usually manages itself. Usually it is even too late, when the site is down or products are missing, then finding the bug takes time, the site is down all that time and clients can’t get any sales from the site.

Cons – Voog

  • Not many templates to choose from. Integrated design tool definitely helps, but since the overall layout is fixed, the changes could be rather simple (fonts, colours, alignments etc), overall look can only be changed with images. They have an experimental new template called Nuuk (nuuk.voog.com) which shows some new features on the path Voog is aiming to on the near future.
  • E-commerce solution have several limitations that keep the customer inside Voog features.
  • No plugins to help you with upgrades, you need a developer to build up the solution or integration.
  • Doesn’t support sales program integration with common providers, only Outvio. Delivery support only for OmnivaSmartpost and DPD parcel service (Only parcel location, no support with provider account), payment solution with Makecommerce, EveryPay, LuminorStripe and Paypal, nothing else.
  • Products could be difficult to manage, if the store has many products with many variations.
  • E-commerce (cart and checkout) is closed for developers, even changing the design layout or colours.

Let’s summarise all we mentioned. 

  • WooCommerce is suitable for mid-sized and bigger online stores, but needs care and support.
  • WordPress has loads of plugins to help with your needs – multilingual support, payments, etc.
  • Voog has hosting, multilingual support and SEO built in, no need for coding to get started.
  • Voog is suitable for smaller stores, which don’t require special integrations.

One suggestion for people planning their new online store or corporate site in general: take your time to find the best solution for your business needs and which suits your budget. Ready-made solutions can be started for free and the cost is mainly for the server. Custom made solutions are on a completely different scale; Voog has several features built in and it is a closed system for other integration, the price range could be even ten times or more when building a WooCommerce site with custom design and functionality. So, think it through, measure your possibilities, your budget, your plan and needs for upcoming 5 years. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for help, advice or just a second opinion before making a decision.

Also, think about your brand. A website is not just a random place to sell goods, it also helps to reach out your brand values, it is the most important sale channel or pipeline that you can control 100%. It is as or even more important nowadays than a physical store or cafe since peoples’ shopping habits are evermore digital. 

If you are not sure about the technical side, still have doubts which one to choose or which is the right one, book a consultancy and we’ll help you list the features you might need for your products and services.

Why mood boards matter in the branding process?

Whether you’re starting from the ground up or looking for a complete redesign, mood boarding is the first step to conceptualizing your brand’s visual foundation. Similar to a collage, mood boards contain a variety of design assets that work to define and communicate visual identity during the branding process. These boards create a cohesive direction for the brand’s aesthetic and act as an initial style guide as the design team works to create a brand’s logo, website, packaging and marketing material.

Our designers can accurately share their vision with a client through mood boards and align on branding direction while bridging the gap between verbal and visual communication. This melding of communications helps ensure the client’s vision of their brand’s look and feel is accurately portrayed within the branding.

Interested in learning more about our creative process? Here’s a look at our approach and how we can integrate the use of mood boards into your brand strategy process:

Strategise First

Before we approach the board, we always connect with our client first. Listening to how they describe their brand’s personality allows us to understand the values, attributes and emotions they wish to convey across branding. This is also a good time to ask what visuals come to mind when they think about the brand. Do certain colors or shapes elicit the right emotion while others feel totally off? It’s good to know if the client has any strong feelings before jumping into mood board ideation. Sitting down to talk with a client helps our team visualize their goals and understand what excites them most as we work to build out a comprehensive brand strategy.

Collect Ideas

Here’s where our creativity gets unleashed. As we begin collecting ideas to map out our client’s vision, we turn to visual resources like Pinterest, Shutterstock and Moodstream to discover items for building a brand aesthetic. Mood boards often contain a collection of design elements, including fonts, patterns, textures and imagery. Once we’ve pulled a variety of examples, we narrow our scope and start sifting through our collection to curate a cohesive board. During this curation, we pay close attention to repeating trends to help identify an overarching theme.
We also familiarize ourselves with the branding of our client’s competitors to ensure an aesthetic that will stand out within the market. As we break out the type of audience we wish to attract, we can utilize psychology and color theory to hone in on design choices that will attract the intended customer base.

Client Feedback

After we’ve curated a mood board, it’s time to present our findings for client feedback. Gathering comments and concerns at this point of the design process can help eliminate any miscommunication and allow us to align together before the actual brand work begins. Mood boards are a helpful tool to keep on file as a visual reference to assist any newcomers to the project and can even evolve into full-fledged brand guidelines to keep the entire team on track as the brand grows.

Branding Benefits

Mood boards help uncover a brand’s identity by focusing on the color palette, aesthetic and personality behind it. Elements including color and font play an essential role in design strategy as they can influence the overall tone and mood behind a brand. By creating an overarching visual map, we can best convey our ideas to the client and align together on a winning brand strategy. From here, we can start outlining ideas for web design and marketing collateral with visual direction solidly in place.

This process helps us create a baseline aesthetic when building a brand’s identity and guides future designs down the line. Just starting your branding journey or in need of a facelift? We’re here to assist in creating a compelling visual strategy with the right design process for your brand.

Milleks meile sisu?

What if Coca-Cola was a glass design workshop, which invented the

Mis oleks, kui Coca-Cola oleks klaasitöökoda, kus leiutati ideaalne pudel, aga neil poleks olnud sinna midagi sisse panna? 

Kui mingi teine firma oleks ostnud selle pudeli ja täitnud selle maailma enimmüüdud koolajoogiga, kas me teaks nime Coca-Cola? Vaevalt. Nii nagu tänapäeval teab nime Raymond Loewy vaid tõsine disainiajaloo huviline või keegi, kes on just guugeldanud ikoonilise pudeli disainerit (nagu mina).

Eks see näide ole ekstreemne ja näiteks Pepsi sõpradele täiesti sisutühi, kuid loo moraal on see, et vaid vorm kipub pahatihti tühjaks jääma. Seda sõna otseses mõttes. Mis kasu on veebilehest, mis on sama tark kui Raudmehe Jarvis, sama ilus kui hommikune päikesetõus rabalaukal või sama kallis kui sein Mehhiko ja USA vahel, aga mille sisu on vana hea „Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit“? Muuseas, ka see oli kunagi täiesti adekvaatne sisu – kui Cicero need read aastal 45 kirjutas, ei osanud keegi arvata, et 1500 aastat hiljem muutub see kirjatüübi näidistekstiks ja püsib ’kohatäitena’ üle 500 aasta (ja kes teab, kaua veel).

Seega – sisu. Jutt. Tekst. Kontekst. Taust. Sõnum. Nimetagem seda kuidas tahes. Midagi peab seal Coca-Cola pudeli sees olema. Nii nagu sellel eriti hea väljanägemisega veebilehel peab ikkagi mingi mõte olema. Just see mõte on see, mis teinekord ilusa pildi kõrvale ei mahu. Kuigi võiks, sest „suures pildis“ on nii pilt kui tekst võrdsel kohal.

Raske on ka siis, kui meil on ainult sisu. Coca-Colat kilekotis ju ei müüda. Miljoneid baite infot on samuti raske esitada, kui pole vormi, kuhu neid mahutada. Jõuaksime tagasi aega, kus infot edastasid lauljad, kelle töö oli külast külasse kõndida ja laulda, mida nad eelmises kohas teada said või vanaisa lauludest mäletasid. Pole tänapäeva mõistes just kiireim viis oma uuest tootest või teenusest teatada.

Pole mõtet?

Fraas „pole mõtet“ on niigi negatiivne, aga kujutage ette, et seda ütleks keegi teie kodulehe kohta. Jah, ta on ilus – aga puudub mõte. Mida selle iluga öelda tahetakse? Reklaamikampaania, mis täidab linna ilusate plakatite ning Delfi servad kenade bänneritega, ei too müüjale sentigi tagasi, kui sinna unustatakse juurde teatada, kes reklaami tellis või mis ta eesmärk on. Müüa küll, aga mida? Või kellele?

Seepärast oleme tegemas sammu selles suunas, et varasemast tihedamalt ühendada vorm ja sisu. Et disain ja ettevõtte tegelik sisu teineteist veel paremini toetaks, oleme nüüdsest valmis ka üheskoos läbi mõtlema ettevõtte sõnumid. Vajadusel kohendame vanu või aitame luua uusi. Aitame ettevõttel läbi mõelda ka suhtekorralduslikud elemendid, mis toetavad visuaali ning visuaali, mis aitab veel paremini sõnumit edastada. Nüüdsest pakume sisu- ja vormiteenuseid käsikäes. Võtkem seda kui disaini uut tulekut – õiget pudelit õige sisuga.

Let us care for your WordPress!

WordPress is a very powerful platform, but it needs constant monitoring and someone to deal with various updates and repairs.

If your website has more functions and abilities than the standard WordPress template, you have probably seen how updating plugins, add-ons or WordPress itself tends to make the website dysfunctional and lose much of its initial functionality.

To avoid these kinds of surprises, we offer our customers a monthly service plan, which includes site monitoring and applying all necessary updates. This service allows you to focus on your agenda and be sure the website works just as you want it to.

Why should you consider our service?

Safety – updates are the easiest way to avoid security risks that come with outdated software.

Future – any new developments on the website are cheaper and faster to make; a well-serviced website has no flaws, and features the freshest plugins and system updates. You can be sure your site is run by the newest and most powerful WordPress version.

Peace of mind – your website is your business card and sales channel. You can be sure it is always accessible and any threats are quickly taken care of.

How much will this safety and peace of mind cost?

We assess every website separately – it depends on the complexity of the site and the solutions used. The sites previously created by us can be assessed immediately.

If you wish us to assess a page that was created elsewhere, we will start with a simple monitoring, get acquainted with the site’s health, and present a list of necessary fixes. Once these have been approved by you and applied by us, we will complete all necessary updates and start with the service period.

The shortest service period available is 6 months.

For more information, send send us a request.

The Most Important eCommerce Trends in 2017

Maybe you have heard about the thing called eCommerce but never really got into it. Well, we believe it is time to start. 

The eCommerce is growing and there is no signs of slowing down. The worldwide retail ecommerce sales will reach $1.915 trillion this year and is expected to climb as high as $2.352 trillion in 2017 according to eMarketer. It means almost nineteen percent growth in one year. In my opinion it should be enough to get you thinking about creating your own online store. To make your life easier I have pointed out some key aspects for you to keep in mind when creating an online store.

1. Multi-device shopping journeys

Nearly 9 in 10 PC/Deskop shoppers also used mobile or tablet to buy products online according to Global Web Index.

It shouldn’t be surprising as digital consumers now own an average of 3.64 connected devices. It is clear that many are adopting multi-device approach when it comes to online shopping, so make sure your online store looks good on any kind of screens.

2. The mobiles are taking over

According to Google Analytics data, 30% of all online shopping purchases now happen on mobiles.

 

Furthermore, mobile commerce will make up 45% of all ecommerce by 2020 states a BI Intelligence report. It is said that Millenials are the ones driving the growth as they use their moblies as primary devices. And as they make more, they will spend more. 

So make sure that purchasing from your online store is easy on the mobile.

3. Information as a Service

90% of customers admit, that reviews and comments from other customers influence their purchase decision, and 81% of online shoppers trust the information and tips from blogs.

It is clear that the retailers will focus even more on generating content for users and by users in 2017. For you it means that the more information you provide about your products across multiple patforms the more you will sell. We believe that a solid blog and covering the main social media accounts would be a good start.

Conclusion

In addition to the aspects mentioned above, we believe that you should seriously consider improving your SEO. Search engines are major traffic generators for your online store and to stay in the big league you need to deal with SEO systematically.

In fact, you really need to perform well on every battle front in order to make your online store to stand out. The store itself must be a pleasure to visit on any kind of device, you have to generate high quality content and promote it on various platforms and make magic with SEO on top of all.


However difficult it sounds, we are here to help you. Now, with Voog you can build a beautiful online store, promote your products on a well-designed blog, advance your SEO, connect your social media accounts to your store and more.

So, if you are ready to grow your business, fasten your seatbelt and sign up for an adventurous journey with us.

Which CMS suits you best?

CMS is a content management tool for website admin which allows to add or change website content, media etc. But, which one to choose?

There are many content editing tools available on the web and all that variety could look even similar in many cases, but when you take closer look, you’ll see how they fit to some segment for its functionality or target market. Some bigger web agencies have even developed their own CMS, but using those we could suggest for very specific needs only, when client has it’s own development team or plans to order all development and editing from outside the company. In our opinion it decreases client’s possibility to grow and also client is stuck with services and possibilities from one development agency. In Sviiter, we have been focusing on two CMS systems, that we’d like to introduce to you.

Most common and used CMS in the world is WordPress, which, at first, was made for blogging, but for now, it has become most used CMS system in the world. It is open sourced and has millions of third party developers. In early days, WordPress competed with Joomla and Drupal, but amount of users has definitely rised towards Wordspress for now. It has major popularity, easy user interface, and like we said before, millions of third party developers, with whom WordPress has many plugins (747 761 277 plugins at the time writing this blog post). Those plugins increase WordPress functionality and flexibility to implement several extras, such as payment solutions, product listing and catalogues, integration with third party apps, language translation modules etc.

In other cases WordPress is user friendly, not exactly what produces happiness hormones, but with correct usage definitely productive and useful tool. There are only two negative sides what we could think of, firstly, page edit view, where user can’t see the real outcome of the page layout, and secondly, lots of updates what users need to manage. Updates are most annoying part of the process, besides updating WordPress, users have to update for used plugins as well, just to keep the website running. WordPress CMS itself is correctly documented and there are a lot of forums about it in the internet. It can be downloaded freely, but needs a hosting service (We suggest  Zone or  Veebimajutus for our Estonian customers and usually we leave that choice to our customers, because there is a large variety of hosting companies and most useful for customers could be their domestic service providers).

Second CMS what we use is Voog, previouslyknown as Edicy. It is made in Estonia and developed from 2007. It’s major plus is simplicity and handiness for end customer. Possibility to edit text and media directly on webpage, makes the content editing process more personal and entertained. Edicy is also all in one service, which includes hosting in their service packages, also adding or buying domain names. Paid service includes even buying some domains for free. 

Despite the fact that Voog is simple for developer, users should remember, that more complicated pages with customized fields and modules are harder to manage.

We could say that we offer Voog for simple and middle sized websites and WordPress for bigger and more complicated ones.

At this time Voog runs under RMK (Estonian State Forest Management Centre) and Starman (Estonian telecommication company) and many others bigger sites, so everything is possible, depends on client’s needs.

Using Voog, users don’t have to deal with constant updates like in case of WordPress described before. There are no plugins also, all extra functionality is created by using Voog API or third party APIs. Documentation is smaller than WordPress regarding to smaller community, but they have fast and userfriendly support team

We have knowledge to build websites on both and we always give our suggestions, which one suits best for the client according to project. If you wish to have a new website or refresh the old one, send us an e-mail with your project description and lets figure out the best solution for you!

24.11.16 published as quest post in Voog’s blog: Which CMS suits you best?

What the hell is landing page?

The easiest way to define it is to say that the purpose of the Landing page is people to “land” or “arrive for certain purpose.

However, when discussing landing pages within the realm of marketing and advertising, it’s more common to refer to a landing page as being a standalone webpage distinct from your main website that has been designed for single focused objective.

This means that your Landing page should have no global navigation to tie to your primary website, The main reason for this is to limit the options available to your visitors, helping to guide them toward your intended conversion goal.

Types of Landing pages

There are two basic types of Landing page, Click Trough and Lead Generation (also referred to as Lead Gen or Lead Capture) pages.

Click Through Landing Pages

Click through landing pages (as the name implies) have the goal of persuading the visitor to click through to another page. Typically used in ecommerce funnels, they can be used to describe a product or offer in sufficient detail so as to “warm up” a visitor to the point where they are closer to making a purchasing decision.

All too often, inbound advertising traffic is directed at shopping cart or registration pages. This leads to poor conversions as the ad doesn’t provide sufficient information for someone to make an informed decision.

This is where the click through page comes in. As a result, the destination page from a click through page is typically the shopping cart or registration page – now with a much higher chance of conversion having passed through the details of the landing page.

Lead Generation Landing Pages

Lead gen pages are used to capture user data, such as a name and email address. The sole purpose of the page is to collect information that will allow you to market to and connect with the prospect at a subsequent time. As such, a lead capture page will contain a form along with a description of what you’ll get in return for submitting your personal data.

There are many uses for lead gen landing pages, some example uses and the items given to the user are listed below:

  • Ebook or whitepaper
  • Webinar registration
  • Consultation for professional services
  • Discount coupon/voucher
  • Contest entry
  • Free trial
  • A physical gift (via direct mail)
  • Notification of a future product launch

The length of your form and the level of personal data requested can have a direct impact on conversion. Try to ask for the absolute minimum amount of information that will enable you to market to your prospects effectively. For instance, don’t ask for a phone or fax number if you only need to contact them via email.

Why should I Use Landing Page?

The main reason for this is that targeted promotion or product specific landing pages are focused on a single objective that matches the intent of the ad that your visitors clicked on to reach your page.

If you consider the example of sending traffic to your homepage vs. a standalone landing page, you can understand that your homepage is designed with a more general purpose in mind. It speaks more to your overall brand and corporate values and is typically loaded with links and navigation to other areas of your site.

Every link on your page that doesn’t represent your conversion goal is a distraction that will dilute your message and reduce your conversion rate.

An example of bad message match
Ad: Get 50% off a Dell Inspiron 9000
Landing page message: Welcome to Dave’s Computer Store

An example of good message match
Ad: Get 50% off a Dell Inspiron 9000
Landing page message: Get 50% off a Dell Inspiron 9000 at Dave’s Computer Store

By ensuring a strong message match, you are letting the visitor know that they made a “good click”.

When Should I Use a Landing Page?

You should try to use a landing page for every inbound advertising campaign you operate. You might be selling multiple products or setting up promotional offers for different user segments and your homepage can’t deal with this level of message differentiation. The style and effectiveness of your inbound marketing will also vary according to the source (PPC, email, organic, social media, display banners), so you should try and provide a relevant experience to each input to the funnel.

Segmented Promotional Offers

If you need to communicate discounts or messaging to various classes of customer, for example: people who’ve signed up but never subscribed to your pain subscription model vs. those on your top tier plan, the simplest way is via separate landing pages. They enable you to keep your message private and personalized while not interfering with the general purpose of your homepage.

Not all promos are for all people.

Multiple Products

Product advertising usually goes to one of three places: homepage, product detail page, shopping cart page. Of these the product detail is the best as it will provide enough information to make an informed purchasing decision. However, there is still the option and likelihood that visitors will wander off course via the main navigation. Perhaps they will buy something else, and after all a sale is a sale right? Wrong. If you are trying to run an effective marketing campaign, a big priority should be metrics based accountability.

Landing Page Best Practices

The first rule of landing page best practices is this: they are a starting point to help you construct your best first attempt at a landing page. After that, you need to experiment and let the customers decide what they think is the best converting page for the job.

You can use a checklist (tips like those below) or a scorecard to rate your landing page and produce a to-do list of items to fix.

With that caveat out of the way, here are some quick general rules of thumb you can apply to your landing pages:

21 quick Landing Page Tips

  1. Ensure the primary headline of your landing page matches the ad visitors clicked to get there.
  2. Make your call to action (CTA) big and position it above the fold.
  3. Use directional cues to direct attention to your CTA (arrows or photos/videos of people looking or pointing at your button).
  4. For lead gen forms where the CTA is below the fold (e.g. due to a long form) – make the directional cue point down the page to the button.
  5. A landing page should have a single purpose and thus a single focused message.
  6. Congruence: every element of your page should be aligned conceptually with the topic and goal of the page.
  7. Show your product/service being used in context.
  8. Use video. It’s been shown to improve conversion by up to 80%.
  9. Edit to remove unnecessary content. Be succinct.
  10. Use real testimonials for authenticity.
  11. Show social proof via indicators of your social status.
  12. Test new ideas using A/B testing. Let your customers decide which message works best for them.
  13. Provide a free trial. Try-before-you-buy is a standard and expected feature.
  14. Provide a guarantee to reduce/remove risk.
  15. Include partner co-branding to increase trust by association.
  16. Simplify your copy using bullets.
  17. If you are selling a book, or giving away an eBook via lead gen, provide a preview to increase trust show that you are proud of your product.
  18. Segment by traffic source. Send your PPC, email, social media, organic and banner traffic to separate landing pages for better message match and measurability (which channel performs best)
  19. Segment by user type: don’t send offers about men’s health products to the ladies on your email list.
  20. Show your phone number so people know you are real and can interact with you on a personal level.
  21. Finally, don’t send inbound traffic to your homepage. Use a landing page!

Reffered article from unbounce.
Also, discover more useful information about landing pages in Toptal.