Most 11 Open Source Ecommerce Platforms

Most 11 Open Source Ecommerce Platforms

Open-source ecommerce platform offering many advantages for small businesses. It can be developed to fit the needs of the merchant. They contain a nice combination of features at a minimal cost. And, though the support options may be more limited than proprietary or hosted platforms, open-source standalone solutions often have large communities of developers and partners to assist new merchants.

Here is a list of 11 open-source ecommerce platform in 2015 . All of the core applications are free. Each application has both free and premium extensions and support options to enhance the development or customizable to fit your business needs and branding, be flexible enough to scale as your business grows, be secure and support industry standards and provide solid integrate with payment gateways.

WooCommerce

free ecommerce platform
woocommerce x wordpress

WooCommerce is a free open-source ecommerce application that lets merchants turn WordPress sites into stores. WooCommerce was developed by WooThemes from a fork of Jigoshop. WooCommerce has a large variety of plugins and themes from WooThemes, as well as third party sites like ThemeForest and CodeCanyon. With nearly 4.5 million downloads from WordPress.org, WooCommerce is a very popular ecommerce solution for WordPress. To get official WooThemes support, you need to purchase a product. Otherwise, get help from the active community forum.

Magento Community Edition

Magento Community Edition.
Magento Community Edition.

Magento Community Edition is the free and open source version of the ecommerce platform. Merchants can access added features by installing extensions and themes from the huge Magento Connect marketplace. Magento does not provide technical support for the Community Edition, so answers to technical questions must be found in the user forum. One slight ruffle, Magento has announced the closing of its hosted solution, Magento Go, but for now the Community Edition is okay. Magento Community Edition supports more that 200,000 customer sites.

PrestaShop

Prestashop
Prestashop

PrestaShop is an open-source ecommerce solution, written in PHP and based on theSmarty template engine. PrestaShop comes with over 310 integrated features and 3,500 modules and templates. It features cross selling, downloadable products, product export, one-page checkout, shipping discounts, and much more. Downloaded over 4 million times, PrestaShop is used in 160 countries and translated into 63 languages. It has more than 600,000 community members.

OpenCart

Opencart
Opencart

OpenCart is an open-source, PHP-based ecommerce solution for online merchants. OpenCart has a very loyal and active community for user support, as well as a list of commercial partners for professional installation and customization. OpenCart features more than 20 payment gateways and more than 8 shipping methods in the default downloads, with hundreds of additional gateways and shipping integrations in its extension directory. OpenCart is also designed to easily manage multiple shops from one admin interface. Its directory has over 2,700 themes.

Zen Cart

Zen Cart
Zen Cart

Zen Cart is an open-source ecommerce application written in PHP. Zen Cart branched from osCommerce code in 2003, with a solution that was more template-based. It features more that 1,800 add-ons in 16 categories. Zen Cart’s support community has approximately 150,000 members and 200,000 threads.

osCommerce

Oscommerce
Oscommerce

osCommerce (i.e., “open source Commerce”) is one of the first open-source ecommerce applications. More than 7,000 free add-ons have been uploaded by its community to customize a online store. osCommerce is used by nearly 13,000 registered sites. Thesupport community has approximately 280,000 members who have contributed 1.5 million forum postings. Direct communication with other community members is available in theLive Chat room.

Drupal Commerce

drupal_commerce

Drupal Commerce is an ecommerce app by Commerce Guys. It is built on the Drupal content management system. Drupal Commerce offers a complete product administration system, shopping cart, multilingual and multi-currency, and checkout form. The Drupal Commerce extension list is full of third-party integrations for payment gateways, fulfillment services, accounting applications, social networks, and much more. Technical support packages are available from Commerce Guys.

Spree Commerce

Spree_Commerce

Spree Commerce is an open-source ecommerce solution based on Ruby on Rails. The modular platform allows you to configure, supplement, or replace any functionality you need. Spree Commerce has more than 45,000 stores using the platform around the world, including Chipotle. Spree Commerce has been translated into more than 30 languages.

simpleCart

simpleCart(js) is a free and open-source JavaScript shopping cart. With its small footprint, simpleCart(js) is designed to keep simple and high traffic sites running fast. The simpleCart(js) free core comes with the ability to check out with PayPal Express, Google Checkout, and Amazon Payments. Email checkout and Authorize.Net integration are coming soon.

Simple Cart
Simple Cart

simpleCart(js) is a free and open-source JavaScript shopping cart. With its small footprint, simpleCart(js) is designed to keep simple and high traffic sites running fast. The simpleCart(js) free core comes with the ability to check out with PayPal Express, Google Checkout, and Amazon Payments. Email checkout and Authorize.Net integration are coming soon.

WP e-Commerce

WP e-commerce
WP e-commerce

WP e-Commerce is another popular application for converting a WordPress site into an ecommerce store. The WP e-Commerce plugin has nearly 3 million downloads at WordPress.org. Use your own HTML and CSS and have complete control over the look and feel of your online store. WP e-Commerce has a nice variety of standard features, including multi-tier pricing for quantity discounts and integration with social networks for marketing. For support, there are video tutorials and a WordPress.org forum, as well asfeatured consultants for professional help.

Jigoshop

Jigoshop
Jigoshop

Jigoshop is a free and open-source ecommerce solution based on WordPress. Released in 2011, Jigoshop is the predecessor to WooCommerce. Jigoshop has more than 30 themes, 100 extensions, and three theme frameworks. Jigoshop is free, as is support at WordPress.org. However, access to Jigoshop.com’s community support starts at $40 per month.

 

WeChat 企業微信中港兩地O2O推廣戰略實戰講座交流會

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日期: 2015年2月26(星期四

時間: 下午2時正 – 5時正

商務交流: 下午2時正-2時30分 (請帶備20張卡片)

講座時間: 下午2時30分-5時正 (中場有15分鐘小息)

地點: Hong Kong Productivity Council 香港九龍達之路78號 生產力大樓 (港鐵九龍塘站C1出口)

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YEHK Seminar – 2015 Business Trends for Entrepreneurs

YEHK Seminar – 2015 Business Trends for Entrepreneurs

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In 2015 Small businesses with aggressive growth plans getting serious about digital marketing and their customers’ experience. There is a huge talent, technology and strategy gap with small businesses trying to do it all themselves. The use of videos and visuals will be on the rise for marketing. You no longer have to pay for commercial time, but you can use the power of YouTube to reach your customers. Consumers are more likely to purchase after seeing a video than if there was no video at all. In addition, it shows that you are personal with your customers, that you care about your products and services, and are there if they have any questions.

8 Free Marketing Ideas to Boost Your Business

  1. Brand yourself. Wear your company on your sleeve… literally! Get your team custom shirts or wind breakers embroidered with your company name and logo, tastefully of course. You just employed walking billboards.
  2. Attend free events. Check out any local opportunities to meet new people. Search for groups that discuss topics of interest to you, weekly networking events, book clubs, etc. Any chance to meet interesting people in your field (and even outside of it) and again, hand out your business cards is a good thing.
  3. Publish videos. Do you have something to say? Surely you do – whether it’s about what’s happening at your company, in your industry, in the news or you’re answering commonly asked questions. This is another great way to present yourself (and your brand) as a valuable resource to the community. If you have a smartphone, you can shoot short, simple videos that cover a specific topic of interest.
  4. Write and submit press releases. What’s going on internally at your company that would benefit the public? Think: new products and services, volunteerism, charitable donations, local events, etc. You can transform internal news into external publicity by getting your press releases published and distributed online.
  5. Start a blog. And don’t just start one – stay committed for at least 12 months so to give yourself a chance to see results. This is a long-term activity that deserves attention and dedication. Invite readers to comment on your posts, and reach out to fellow bloggers to contribute to your blog in the form of guest posts. This will benefit them and also provide your blog with more substance and diversity.
  6. Comment on others’ blogs. Get your name out there even more by offering to guest post on others’ blogs. You can reach out by email, website forms or phone and just ask. Make sure you already have a couple topics in mind, and that you’ve done your homework, beforehand. You want to offer their blog substance and value, so choose a topic that would blend nicely with the rest of their content.
  7. Claim your online listings. This is a quick and easy way to solidify your online presence. Just by claiming your business on review sites and Google Places, for example, you’re letting people know where you’re located and that, yes, you’re actually a real business.
  8. Develop a presence on social media networks. Get your brand on Facebook, Pinterest and/or Twitter – and stay up-to-date on new trends and changes. This is a free marketing opportunity that you need to consider, because it’s a fantastic way to tap into the largest source of new customers.

 

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How to Write a Content Marketing Plan in 7 Steps

How to Write a Content Marketing Plan in 7 Steps

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Once you’ve established your business online with a website, it’s time to start advertising to your audience. The Internet is a huge space with vast amounts of pages and information, so it is unlikely that customers will just happen to stumble upon your website and engage with your business. You have to be the one to put it out there and draw customers to your site. The best way to do this is by using a content marketing plan.

Instead of traditional advertisements that tell audiences what to do, the new and better way to attract customers is to show your audiences what to do. To do this, you need to create informative content that shows readers the benefits of your product or service without directly telling them to buy it. Given the growing number of businesses using content marketing plans, this is clearly a very effective way of making your business known and increasing its sales.

So how do you write a content marketing plan?

1. Set a goal

Figure out what it is you’re trying to achieve with your content. Are you trying to get traffic to your site? From what source? How much? How often? Be specific. Once you have an objective in mind with your content marketing plan, you can create content to fit this goal.

Related Resources from B2C
» Free Webcast: Blogging in the Age of Modern Marketers

2. Figure out your audience

There is going to be a certain type of audience you want to reach out to. It’s called your demographic. Before you write your content, make sure you have a clear picture of your ideal customer so you can direct your topics and writing style to this potential reader.

3. Find out what’s popular and trending

Check out what other businesses are doing with their content marketing plans so you can get ideas for your own strategy. Try to figure out the types of articles that most customers are reading, and what kinds of content businesses are publishing to become popular. Then write about relevant topics that will interest your audience.

4. Write a good variety of content

When writing your content, make sure to vary the type of article, the topics, and the medium that you use. With the Web full of fast-paced, interesting content, customers will get easily bored if you constantly publish the same articles. Offering different types of content will attract different types of customers in your demographic and increase your following.

5. Write with SEO in mind

A great way to get your content seen online is to use search engine optimization (SEO) to increase your ranking on search engines. To improve your visibility in searches, use specific keywords and phrases in your content that will direct searches to your website. But please, make sure your content is well written and interesting, because articles will be flagged and punished by search engines if they are stuffed with keywords. Writing and publishing SEO content properly will attract readers to your content while maintaining your website’s integrity.

6. Share on social media

Social media are hubs for news and information and have become a popular way of finding content. To spread your content among all of your customers and reach out to other circles, you need to make sure you have a constant presence on social networks. You can achieve this by publishing your content on multiple platforms.

7. Evaluate metrics and use them to improve

Once you’ve published the content from your content marketing plan, you need to ensure that it’s achieving your initial goal. The best way to figure this out is to look at the metrics, such as how many customers have engaged with your content by taking actions like sharing on social media, visiting your website, or purchasing your product or service. You can then use this information to improve your content marketing plan.
Read more at Inklyo 

 

5 Questions to Ask When Defining Your Personal Brand

5 Questions to Ask When Defining Your Personal Brand

personal branding

Whether you’re an accountant, entrepreneur, or writer, any type of professional can benefit from building a personal brand.

When creating your personal brand, the most important (but most difficult) step is to define yourself as a professional. Your personal brand isn’t just something you use to market yourself to employers or other professionals; it’s who you are as a person 24/7. This is why it’s important to focus on qualities and characteristics you want to be recognized for as a professional.

As you begin to think about what you want your personal brand to say, here are five questions to ask yourself:

1. What are my strengths?

A key component of a strong personal brand is to have confidence in your strengths. Your strengths and talents will make your personal brand shine as you build a name for yourself in your industry.

To discover your strengths, take a look at what excites you most about your career, what you do differently from everyone else, and where you’ve experienced the most success. These strengths will help you define who you are as a professional.

2. What are my passions?

Pinpointing your passions can be difficult, but it’s not impossible if you set aside time for self reflection.

To discover your passions, think about what you love doing on the weekends or in your free time. For example, if you love writing and cooking, these are unique qualities you can use to define your personal brand.

3. What are my past accomplishments?

Your personal brand is the story about yourself that you want to share with the world. To illustrate your story, past accomplishments are a great way to show people what you have the ability to do.

4. How do I want others to describe me?

Take a moment to think about your favorite brand. Whether it’s a beverage, clothing line, or musician, focus on the feelings that come to mind when you think about that particular brand.

When you think about a brand you like, it evokes positive feelings and words. As you develop your personal brand, think about the feelings and words you want your colleagues and coworkers to think of when they think about you.

For example, if you want people to think of you as an ambitious, kind, and talented professional, those are feelings you should incorporate into your brand. You can portray this brand through personality, how you talk to people, and how you engage with people online.

5. What makes me unique?

Everyone has a unique skill, opinion, or experience to offer. As you think about what makes you unique, use these qualities as an element of your personal brand. For example, if you’re a graphic designer who loves to travel, incorporate both of those elements into your brand.

Remember, your personal brand is who you are as a person. When it comes to creating a personal brand, stick to your passions and focus on what you want to be recognized for. These things will help you create a genuine personal brand that people will want to get to know.

How do you define your personal brand?

Author: Personal Brand Blog

11 Common Email Marketing Mistakes

One of the best things about email marketing is that it’s not hard to do. Email marketing service providers have put a lot of thought and planning into making email marketing easy. To a large extent, they’ve succeeded. It’s not hard to create an opt-in box, and laying out an email is a matter of click and drag.

Not only does this make getting emails out easier, but also it means more people are likely to do it. It means more people are using one of the most effective marketing tactics of all time.

But people new to marketing can also make some email marketing mistakes. Generally, these are small mistakes that get fixed fast and without any real damage, but if you’re smart you can skip them entirely.

The list below outlines the most common email marketing mistakes, and how to fix them. Don’t worry if you find yourself guilty of at least one; most of the rest of us are, too.

1. You Don’t Send Emails on a Regular Basis

Email works best when it’s consistent. While it is certainly understandable to email your subscribers only when you’ve got something to say, it would be much better to consistently have something to say every week, or at least every month.

It’s a bit like the quote from the writer Peter De Vries: “I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.”

2. You Don’t Include an Unsubscribe Link in Every Email You Send

This is a fairly serious mistake, but I am seeing it less and less often. By U.S. law (CAN-SPAM Act) you have to include an unsubscribe link in every email. By law you’re also supposed to have your business address listed. Finally, the unsubscribe link is supposed to actually work.

3. You Only Send Emails When You’re Selling Something

Affiliates and bloggers often break this rule the most. Ecommerce sites do too, but they have a better excuse. Even if you are an ecommerce site, try to occasionally send an email that is not all about the sales. Maybe it’s a gear list or maybe it’s a tutorial or how-to piece. Just add some element of “give” to balance out the “take” of all the sales emails.

4. You Don’t Send a Welcome Email

Welcome emails get more opens and clicks than almost any other email you’ll send. They reduce spam complaints and unsubscribes, and they’re no harder to create than any other email. If you’re not sending a welcome email, it’s time to change.

5. You Don’t Have Express Permission to Send Email

The word “spammer” sounds a little heavy, but some people are unwittingly acting like spammers. It might seem like it’s okay to do the following things, but it’s not.

  • Adding people to your email list who have given you their business card at an event.
  • Adding your LinkedIn connections to your mailing list.
  • Adding people who placed an order from you to your email list (unless they took a specific action to join the list).

6. You Send Emails With a Personal Reply to Address or Name

In mobile devices, the sender name and sender email address are more prominent than the email subject line. If your sender name is not recognizable (and recognizable instantly), or if it changes even a few times, your emails won’t get read or opened as much.

7. You Don’t Check your Email Reports

This is one of the smaller mistakes, but it can hurt your results badly long term. Email is one of the easiest marketing mediums to track. Your email service provider likely has easy-to-create and easy-to-understand reports of which emails have done well and poorly for you. Check those reports. If you see one kind of email is getting consistently bad results, then don’t send those kinds of emails anymore.

Ultimately this mistake is as much about respecting your subscribers as it is about checking email reports. The key takeaway here is to deliver emails your subscribers want to read. The mistake is to fail to do that.

8. You Send Mass Emails from a Personal Email Account

There is a gray area with this. For instance, if you’ve got 17 people on your community yard sale list, it’s probably overkill to open up, say, a MailChimp account just to send them an email. But if you’ve got 120 people on a PTA list, then that MailChimp account is probably warranted. If you’re a business, an email service provider account is a must.

There are many plugins to send and manage email lists from a WordPress site. I do not recommend them. Besides, email accounts aren’t expensive – Mad Mimi will let you send emails to up to 2,500 subscribers for free. MailChimp will let you send to up to 2,000 subscribers for free. Both those services are far, far better than any plugin I’ve ever come across.

9. You Don’t Send Responsive or Mobile-friendly Emails

2014 is the year we tipped over into having more than half of Internet traffic come from mobile devices. As of this year more than half of your emails are opened on a mobile device. If your subscribers can’t read your emails on a mobile device, or if they find them hard to read, or if they simple aren’t easy to read, they will just delete them.

It is more than past time to incorporate mobile into every aspect of our businesses.

10. You Write a Boring, Undescriptive, or Deceptive Subject Lines

Now, I know you wouldn’t do this, but some people put almost no thought into their subject lines. You should put at least ten minutes of thought into yours. Why? Because if your subject line isn’t great, almost no one will see any of the rest of the email.

Consider the rule of headline writing for copywriters: They often spend as much time on their headline as on the rest of the piece. You don’t have to go that far, but do come up with something better than “Our Monthly Newsletter.”

11. You Ask for Information in Opt-in Form that You Never Use

Many of us are guilty of this, but don’t you be. If you’re not using the extra information in the opt-in form, don’t ask for it. You may see a 50 percent increase in opt-ins the moment you take out those extra fields.

Those are the most common email marketing mistakes I’ve seen. Which mistakes have you seen lately?

 

Web Analytics and Lead Generation

Web Analytics and Lead Generation

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Leads are the lifeblood of most businesses. From an ecommerce site looking for newsletter and social media sign ups, to a law firm looking for inquires, the act of a potential customer reaching out for help is what drives a business.

Web analytics can help us understand how prospects arrive at our sites, and how many of them complete a lead process, or not. Knowing where the prospects come from and how they engage with our sites can help us optimize for both, to generate more leads.

Getting Started with Lead Tracking

The first thing to do to is define the goals of your website. Tracking the unknown is impossible; defining what’s important to your business is foremost in web analytics.

For most businesses, these goals are fairly simple. Consider these examples:

  • Lead generation form fills;
  • Products added to carts, and then purchased;
  • Likes and shares on Facebook and Twitter;
  • Phone calls.

Some of these are easier to track in web analytics than others. For example, adding a “thank you” page for your form completions is not difficult. You can then create a destination URL of the “thank you” page to track the number of form completions against your the goal you’ve created in Google Analytics.

Tracking phone calls is possible with third party software, but for some small businesses it remains out of reach. They can make up for that, to a degree, by looking at how many people view the “Contact Us” page. But most websites include a phone number on every page, so it’s nowhere near a perfect solution.

A customer-friendly way to address this problem is by having a simple “Request a Callback” form on every page. This allows the prospect to get on with her life rather than waiting on hold, and it allows you to track those requests easily in analytics, just like your regular lead generation form.

In short, once you’ve decided what things are important to your business, you can set up those goals in analytics. You’re then ready to start studying results.

Here’s what you will likely want to start looking at.

Bounce Rates

“Bounce rate” is defined as the percentage of visitors that view only a single page, and then leave the site. While the percentage itself is important, adding context to it can be helpful to a lead-based business.

If we segment out just visits that bounce, “time on page” becomes an important metric.

Let’s assume our business provides carpet-cleaning services. A potential customer has landed on our key sales page, and bounced. The amount of time they spent looking at that page can tell us a few things.

A 3-second visit is clearly not what we’re looking for. However, if the average is higher, perhaps much higher, it’s possible or even likely that those visitors have that page open as they are calling us. Since many websites prominently display phone numbers on every page, in this instance a bounce may actually be a sale.

Think critically about this. Perhaps track phone calls off line, and then refer back to this metric to see if you can gain some insight.

‘Contact Us’ Page Views

You may have heard from your sales staff that they “never get any good leads.” Sometimes, in effort to eliminate leads that really aren’t salable, we add fields to our quote-request forms that make the form more complicated than it needs to be. We’re asking for two much information up front. Remember, also, that many people are viewing these forms on tablets or phones, making form fills a little more difficult.

If we find for a given period that 100 people visited our form page, and only 12 filled it out, it may be time to revisit your form. Is it too complicated? Is it unclear? Does it not display in a friendly format on a mobile device?

It is a delicate balance between filtering out bad leads, and preventing legitimate prospects from reaching us. Depending upon the service or product you provide, and its complexity, consider how you make the sale: your sales staff or your website. In some cases, even the best-designed websites might not be enough to complete the deal. In those instances, consider simplifying your form, and working through the non-starters offline in the pursuit of picking up more potentials.

Analyzing the Sales Funnel

There are countless other metrics to consider in this process. But you’ll make progress with these two. Come up with a strategy to link phone calls to landing pages, and have a serious look at your lead generation forms. These are two critical elements in lead generation and the sales funnel, and deserve a frank discussion in your planning meetings.

Consider what, say, five more contacts per week might do for your sales team, and then remember that those five may not come from additional advertising, but rather from potential buyers already on your website.

The goal, after all, is not always more web traffic. It is obtaining more leads.

Amazing Social Media Infographics


Recent infographics on Social Media and related issues, including delivery, social commerce, and how the use of colour affects purchase habits.

Social Media Active Users (via The Social Media Hat)

Social-Media-Active-Users-global

What’s 2014 got in store (via O2 business)

2014social-media-Predictions_Infographics

Small Business Marketing Forecast 2014 (via Ad-ology)

Small-Business-2014-Infographic

 

Data Never Sleeps 60 seconds on social media (via DOMO)

Data-Never-Sleeps-60-seconds-on-social-media-infographic

 

 

5 Content Marketing Strategies You Should Implement Today

Combine Content with SEO

The whole point of creating content is to get it in front of people’s eyes. If traffic to your content is lagging, then consider spending time building up your SEO efforts. Neil Patel, founder of analytical and marketing companies Quick Sprout and KISSmetrics, says, “If you are trying to grow your qualified search traffic, you have to combine your content marketing with your SEO efforts.” Isolating the keywords that are driving good traffic to your website can be time consuming but it’s worth it for building benefits for your company and content.

Get Serious About Storytelling

Everyone has heard at some point or another that storytelling is at the heart of successful content marketing. This is true…but we often forget to incorporate it. Find a way to turn your product or service into a narrative. Stories have historically drawn an audience in, so if you want to do the same thing with your content, get into the habit of turning everything into a compelling tale.

Find New Ways to Incorporate Data

Like storytelling, we all know the value data can bring to marketing when it’s integrated in intelligent ways. The same can be said for integrating your data with your content. It’s more than just throwing out a bunch of stats and hoping your audience digests them in a way that helps them understand the value of your product or service. The key is finding ways to use the data you have mined in a way that integrates with your content to provide a whole view of the benefits you can provide.

Track Everything

Your content marketing is no different than ads that you place on offline and online platforms: you should be tracking it all. The same way you would put a unique trackable phone number on your advertisements, you should be using those call tracking numbers on the content you put out into the world. You need to know which pieces of content are generating leads, and call tracking is an easy way to do so.

Don’t Be (Too) Afraid of Being Boring If It Means Being Practical

With all the splashy, exciting content running around on the Internet these days, it’s often tempting to focus solely on entertaining content as opposed to the stuff that, while practical, is dry. Don’t fall into this trap. While your content should never be boring, don’t ever feel the need to forsake content that provides actual tangible value for content that has some good jokes and pop cultural references. The bottom line of your content should always be providing value, so whatever that means for your audience…stick to it.