Pinterest Gifts Feed and ShopSite

Pinterest Gifts Feed
Pinterest Gifts Feed

What is the Pinterest Gifts Feed?  Taken directly from the Pinterest site:

“We know people love to use Pinterest for shopping ideas, which is why we’ve created a new Gifts feed of all the different things you could buy.

The work-in-progress feed lives with our regular categories but it’s special because it only shows Product Pins. Product Pins show extra details like pricing, availability and where to buy right on the Pin so Pinners can decide which products are right for them.

So far, we’ve learned that Product Pins get higher click-through rates than regular Pins and make your brand more visible because of the logo on the Pin.  Pinners also get email notifications when Product Pins they’ve saved drop in price.

The Gifts feed also includes a few price filters so you can find something for every budget. $$$$ means the price is greater than $200, $$$ means the price is between $50-$200, $$ means the price is from $25 to $50 and $ is anything less than that.”

Certainly seems like something any seller would want to include with their products.

How do you do it?

PInterest requires you to have what they call “rich pins”.  Check out their developer page for more on this.  ShopSite makes it easy.  Using ShopSite’s custom templates, you can add the information to the head section of the product page and ShopSite will fill in the info for you that is required.  Keep your custom template clean by creating an “include” file that holds this information.  Then wrap product specific ShopSite tags with open graphic tags.  You then have to verify you have done this correctly with pinterest.

Oh, and an extra benefit … Google will also read this information and it will help them in displaying your pages in searches.  :O)

Happy pinning!

Extra Handling Charge in ShopSite

There are a couple different ways to add extra handling charges to the shipping calculation in ShopSite.  You first need to decide if you want these handling charges on a per unit basis or per order.

Handling Charge per unit (product): 

Login to ShopSite.  Go to products and select  any products you want to add handling for, click edit product info. Scroll down to the Shipping and Download Information section, it is called Extra Handling Charge.  Put in a dollar value here.

HINT:  If you are going to do it for every product, it is easy … Select all products by clicking on List All products then select the 1st, hold down the shift key and select the last to get them all.  Click on PowerEdit.  Under the Information column, pick Extra Handling Charge (only pick this).  Click the global radio button then proceed.  Add the $ amount.  Click save changes, publish.

You can also do it as an upload by creating a spreadsheet with the SKU and the handling charge.  Then upload this information at Utilities > Database > Upload  > Products.

Handling charge per Order:

Login to ShopSite.  Go to Commerce > Shipping.  Scroll down to the handling charges section.  Click the box to enable, then put in the value you want added to each order.  You may turn off handling charges if the subtotal of the order is over a certain amount.  Fill in this field if applicable.  If you are unsure how to use the calculation formula, click ShopSite’s help in the upper right hand corner for more information.

Getting the Most out of the Remaining Days till Christmas

increase holiday sales
increase holiday sales

Time for that last minute push for holiday sales!  Review why people are leaving items in their cart and not purchasing … is shipping too high?  Is your checkout procedure too complicated?

Consider “specials” to get your customer to stay and purchase more.  If there is only one item in the cart, consider offering a special coupon code if they purchase 2 or more … can be a percent off or free shipping.  This will often entice the visitor to look again.  Offer this code on the billing/payment information page so that if they don’t want to do it, they don’t have to and can still just check out.

Clearly state on your site when the last day is for Christmas delivery.  Offer next day or 2nd day shipping for an additional fee.

Offer gift cards or gift certificates.  This is GREAT for the last minute shopper.  Create a .pdf they can print out for the recipient of their gift so they have something to wrap if it is really last minute.

And lastly, be sure to checkout your own site and purchase something as though you were a shopper.  This way, you will know if there is anything that might need to be “cleaned up”.

Happy Holidays!

Preparing for Cyber Monday

cyber monday suggestions
Time to get ready!

It is getting to be that time again. Thanksgiving will be here before we know it. Time to get ready for your cyber Monday incentives.

Decide what type of special you want to have. See what your competitors are doing. Perhaps free shipping or buy so many get one free. You should try to make this a “better” sale than something you normally have. It is also a good way to clear out inventory if you have a lot of a certain product. Speaking of inventory, be sure you have enough of what you are offering to keep customers happy.

It is also a good idea to advertise that you will have a Cyber Monday special. Create a banner for your home page and be sure to post it to your facebook, twitter and blog. You don’t have to give complete details, just enough to get your customers interested. Then on the Sunday before, you can send out a blast of what the special will be.

Setup your special and TEST IT ahead of time! Make sure it works before you go live with it. Nothing worse than having a bunch of potential sales fall through and upsetting customers because something wasn’t setup correctly.

ShopSite Real-Time Shipping Quote System

If you use ShopSites UPS, USPS or FedEx real-time quote system (called API’s) this is a great feature from Lexiconn you will want to use.

Why was this developed?  As you may know if you use any of these services in ShopSite, if the service is down and you have not set up any other way for customers to pick shipping, they will not be able to place their order.  This is obviously very troublesome for customers.  Yes, you can have a flat fee table setup and turned on, but that means it is always turned on and may not give accurate information to customers when they are trying to pick shipping.

Lexiconn has created a new website, Shipping API Monitor, that can let you know when any of these services are down and also just as important, when the service is back up.  The site provides real-time tracking of the shipping API systems for rates being returned.  It monitors for their system being up and returning valid rates every minute from 2 geographically diverse locations. Any outage is displayed on the site, and after 3 consecutive rate failures, they mark the shipping API as down. You can find this out in a varied of ways … their website, an RSS feed, via email, via twitter.

Once you are notified the service is down, you can turn on your flat fee rate table that customers can use in lieu of getting a real time quote.  Yes, it won’t be exact shipping, but you won’t lose any sales this way.  Then when you are notified that the service is back up, you can turn this table off again.

Be proactive with your shipping systems and make sure your customers can purchase from you without problems this holiday season.  Go to Shipping API Monitor and signup to get an email,  follow them on twitter or get the rss feed.

Adding Pages to ShopSite

So you want to create a new page in your ShopSite store.  Maybe it is a category page, maybe just an informational page.  The EASIEST way to do this is to copy a page similar to the one you want to create.  Why? This is so that all the settings for the page will be copied over and you won’t need to worry about those.

Login to your store, click on Pages.  Find the page you want to copy and highlight it.  Then click on Copy Page.  Enter in the name for the new page and the file name.  For the file name, do not use blanks … just use alpha numeric and hyphens.  Make the page name make sense.  Click on copy and you will be taken back to the main List of Pages.

Find the name of the Page you just copied, highlight it and click on Edit Page Content.  Now you will be changing the content to be the new content from the page you copied from.  However, one field  does NOT copy over and you must REMEMBER to set it.

Links to Page.  This is the page you want this page to appear on.  Sometimes it doesn’t appear on a page, but ends up in a your custom navigation.  It is good to pick something so you can go see it … I recommend adding it to a testing page so you can verify what it looks like before it is actually added to the page(s) you want it on.

Not sure what a field is for?  ShopSite has a great help section.  Just click on the Help in the top menu (red circle with the ?).

Don’t forget to publish to have your page show up!  :O)

Affiliate Programs

Earn Money as an Affiliate
Earn $$ as an Affiliate

Many sites now have affiliate programs where you can advertise for them and earn a commission.  There are large companies that manage many affiliate vendors and if you become a member there you have many  companies at your disposal.  Or, if you use ShopSite, it has a built in affiliate program.

But as a manufacturer, how to decide if it is a good idea and how big do you go?  Look at your direct competitors … are they doing it? Look at the cost … how much does it cost you to maintain the program vs how much you get in increased exposure and revenue.  You must also be careful who you allow to be an affiliate.  If it is what is called a “coupon” site and they are your affiliate you may be paying out when really they didn’t give you any benefit.  How can this be?  Say a customer is on your site already.  But they think, hey, maybe I can find a coupon code.  They do a search for “coupon codes for X company”. They get to the coupon site, click the link for your store that looks like a coupon and really all that happens is the coupon site now gets a commission for referring that customer when they really didn’t.

With ShopSite you can run your own affiliate program.  You decide who gets in and you also decide how much commission each partner earns.  So you can have different earnings based on how large they are, if they are a website or blog or just send the link in email.  ShopSite creates reports that show you how much each affiliate earns. The only down side is that YOU maintain all of the program … meaning you must cut the checks to the participants.

Nelle and Lizzy just setup an affiliate program.  Stay tuned and we’ll let you know how it goes.  But for now, you can check out the pages created explaining the program and see if it might be something you’d want to try with your store.

Adding Products on Pages in ShopSite

There are a few ways you can add products to your category pages in ShopSite.  You can go to the PRODUCT and add the pages the product is on, OR you can go to the PAGE and add products on the page.  If you are familiar with uploading products, you can do it through an upload.  The first two methods are below.

Adding pages to a PRODUCT

  1. Log in to ShopSite
  2. Click on Products
  3. Find your product (use the search for name or SKU), click on it
  4. Click on Edit Product Info
  5. Scroll down to Product Pages, click on the Select button
  6. Click on pages in the “Product is not in these Pages” section then click on Add, then OK. (TIP: click in the box, then start typing the beginning of the page name, it will jump you down to that page.  TIP2: Holding down the CTRL key will let you pick more than one page at a time.)
  7. Scroll down and click on Save.
  8. Publish when done.  TIP:  you do not have to publish after each one.  You can do a bunch then publish. Publishing shows you your changes.

Adding products to PAGES (TIP: use this method when adding lots of products to a page)

  1. Log in to ShopSite
  2. Click on Pages
  3. Find your page (use the search for name), click on it
  4. Click on Assign Items > Click on Product then proceed
  5. Pick products in the products not assigned section then click on Add, then save changes. (TIP: click in the box, then start typing the beginning of the product name, it will jump you down to that page.  TIP2: Holding down the CTRL key will let you pick more than one product at a time. TIP3: you can search for a certain word in the product and it will display only those.)
  6. Click on pages in the “Product is not in these Pages” section then click on Add, then OK.
  7. Publish when done.  TIP:  you do not have to publish after each one.  You can do a bunch then publish. Publishing shows you your changes.

SEO Toolbook: Free Tools for Dominating Google’s Free Listings

SEO Toolbook
SEO Toolbook

Recently reviewed a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Toolbook by Jason McDonald.  This book contains info on how to use Google and Bing’s free … yes FREE tools to help you with SEO.  Granted you do need some knowledge of SEO.  But if you need that knowledge, you can get it with his online courses here:  and yes, some of his courses are also FREE.

In this toolbook, Jason explains how to pick your keywords, analyze your page tags, identify the links you want, writing press releases, website structure and more.  This is just what to do to your website.  Then he goes on to explain how to find out what you should do using Google and Bing tools as well as many other top SEO sites.

It isn’t true that “if you build it they will come”.  You need to keep up on the current SEO trends and why not do it using free tools.  You don’t have to use all the tools he recommends, just try a few and find out what ones you like that work best for you.  Start out slowly … changing just some of your site and see what works.  You will eventually want to use the information you will gain on all main pages of your site.    Chances are if you are not going to put time and effort into SEO, your lack of visits and sales will show it.

You can get this book for kindle here: for $2.99.  No, I don’t get any commission for recommending it … I just think it is worthwhile.  :O)

Google Checkout Going Away

For those of you who use Google Checkout/Wallet as a payment option, looks like big changes are coming.  As of November 20th, this service will no longer be available.  Basically, Google Checkout/Wallet had acted as your payment gateway AND your merchant bank, very similar to how PayPal works.  Google has decided to quit doing this and say they will not offer a replacement product.

What does this mean to you?  If you offer Google Checkout/Wallet as a payment option in your ShopSite store, this will no longer work as of November 20th.  You MUST be sure you have another payment option available.  As I mentioned, PayPal basically works the same way so that would be a good option.  Also, if you usually pay your invoices from me via Google Checkout, you will need to use PayPal or send a check beginning in October 2013.

To read more about Google’s decision, you can directly to their site here: