Working with SMBs have shaped the way we deliver our services: cost-effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability are the underlying principles of our eCommerce developing. By doing scalable development and system integration, we are able to dress some of the finest eCommerce technologies in one platter.
Being the no. 1 choice for CMS, WordPress is highly customisable and extendable. Initially designed as a blogging platform, WP is a great candidate for small business websites, either information or eCommerce. With the help of 'drag & drop' visual builders, WP is also considered as the most user friendly CMS, making content updates effortless.
If you're looking to build your business website with the ability to self-manage most content updates, WP is a great choice. For eCommerce startups, if your product range is uncomplicated and there's no need for sophisticated integrations, WordPress combined with WooCommerce can deliver just as much functionality and performance as any other eCommerce platform. Our preparation list and cost factors articles can help you get started.
Similar to WordPress, Magento is a dedicated CMS for eCommerce. With the release of Magento 2, there is finally a promising answer to a fast, admin friendly, scalable, responsive and conversion optimised eCommerce platform. Based on our experience in previous Magento 2 projects, we have to say the most exciting part of Magento 2 is the ability to seamlessly integrate with other business software. As a result, the improved efficiency allows a small team capable of handling a much higher business revenue than ever before.
Our Magento developing approach have strong emphasis on understanding and utilising product attributes, which we believe is a key to good online shopping and eCommerce management experience. A comprehensive understanding of custom attributes can empower store owners and admins to input their own creativities in terms of administration and marketing.
We also embrace third party solutions to cut down development costs. Email marketing, hosted search, customer journey, personalised shopping, customisable shipping rates and flexible payment options are common features we offer to our eCommerce clients.
With the ever growing competition third party DIY eCommerce solutions such as Shopify and Squarespace bring to the industry of eCommerce developing, system integration is one of the few niche services made us feel absolutely proud of our work. Since our first attempt on system integration, we have celebrated many "Hooray!" moments with our clients -when they think about all previous tedious and labor intensive work been automated, the joy is enormous! It's where satisfactions come from: the investment of eCommerce developing and the extensive efforts made to migrate age old office technology to cloud based solutions have finally paid off.
Unlike some of the efforts we put in advertising, the benefits of system integration is tangible, and it's no surprise some of our eCommerce clients are now running bigger businesses with less stuff members. Here is a list of our commonly used integrations:
Email marketing. A dedicated email marketing tool such as MailChimp and Campaign Monitor is right way to start your newsletter. The integration allows customer data include eCommerce data to be share across both platforms, so your email list is always up to date. Based on the eCommerce data, you can now created customer journey campaigns to retain and remarket your existing customers.
eBay integration. eBay can be managed in eCommerce website: bulk listing, order processing and shipping are automated so there's no double handling.
Inventory integration. When selling online, incorrect inventory can be disastrous, so we integrate inventory to allow stock to be managed in a dedicated third party inventory software, then sync the data across all your sales channels.
Order fulfillment integration. Web orders can be bulk processed with shipping updates synced back to web store and eBay.
Accounting integration. This enables real time stock updates and automated invoicing, which makes taxing and restock a dream.
POS integration. For businesses with both online and offline stores, POS integration is a must have as it keeps stock level in check.
Dedicated VPS Hosting
A dedicated Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a popular choice among SMBs because it offers a private hosting environment without the price tag of dedicated server. Having an dedicated hosting for online stores is absolutely essential as when it comes SEO audit such as page speed optimisation, a lot of server side optimisation tasks cannot be easily performed in a shared hosting environment.
Depends of your budget, we offer both local data center hosted and cloud based VPS. Cloud hosting is more scalable when it comes to upgrade your server specs while VPS provided by local data center may have speed advantage as well as more cost effective. As a generic guide we recommend small sized stores (less than 5k skus) use local VPS, and large eCommerce stores especially with the need of selling internationally should choose cloud hosting.
As part of our premium hosting services, we also offer speed optimisation to get most out of your current server specs. As your SKUs start to grow, a bigger server with more computer power is inevitable, however before that happen, we should tune up both eCommerce websites and server environment to ensure they are running as efficient as possible. Blindly upgrading server without speed optimisation is often a waste of money.
If you're a power seller and serious about speed then we can look into CDN (content delivery network) and load balancing because they are the solutions to take your store to the next level.
Your site is mobile friendly - not just in the eyes of humans, but also according to search engine crawlers.
Your site speed is optimal - sub 3 second is a bench mark, sub 2 is more pleasing. Many SEOs agree page speed itself is almost a full time job because it requires cross field knowledge.
Search engine is indexing the right content - just as much as we crave about indexing, there are many website contents you may want search engine to ignore. We look into indexing stats and ensure the site content is well structured for search engine bots, so the contents we wish to be index are there.
There's no technical errors - hidden bugs will compromise the performance of online stores, if you monitor your eCommerce data on a regular basis, you will certainly spot unusual performance drops which is often related to hidden technical issues. It's almost impossible to achieve in the context of open source, yet bug free is a standard we strive for in our eCommerce development.
Paid Search Advertising
If you're opening a new online store, the chances are you will unlikely get much visibility in search engine for the initial 6 months or even longer. During this starting period, your best bet of getting quality traffic is either through social media or paid search. As our preference for many years, Google AdWords is a well developed product with highly targeted advertising methods. Combining with Google Analytics which gives you all the insights needed to diagnose your website traffic, every dollar you spend in AdWords can be traced to your sales funnel so you can make a very calculated advertising investment.
It's frustrating when we see some online store owners using product images taken with hand holding smart phones in our well development eCommerce stores. It's one of the few things every serious developer refuses to get over, so we included product photography as a service to ensure business owners understand there are so much more to quality product images than meets the eye.
We always recommend SMBs who operate online stores to consider having their dedicated photography studio, because that's where consistent and professional looking images come from. Our goal of offering product photography is to teach eCommerce startups how to take amazing product photos and post possess them with very affordable investment. Remember a good image means more than a thousand words, and a bad image does the same but in a negative way so treat your product photography seriously at the start.
If you look at the short history of web industry, email marketing is really an age old marketing tool but it still remains the bread and butter for many SMBs. The need of mobile optimisation and tackling the universally agreed email beast Microsoft Outlook have finally become a past thanks to IT advancements, the then highly skilled email marketing tactic now takes almost nothing to begin with. Once you're educated with email related KPIs, you will harness your first reliable online revenue source in no time. To take full advantage of email marketing, we should consider automation such as customer journey and personalised shopping where you can inject personalities to your online business and make it interesting.
Surprisingly many tech giants built their multi-million dollar businesses on things many of us would deem to be little value, one of them is personal information. The fact is, in the context of online marketing personal data means business. To offer personalised shopping, we must first collect customer data. Other than name and email, customers' order history tells us a lot about them which is where personalised shopping starts - by analysing eCommerce data.
Other than promoting relevant products to existing customers via emails, a more advanced form of personalisation is to prioritise your store products for your customers based on their shopping behaviour, so that they are always served with the most relevant products, which certainly takes online shopping experience to a new level.
As a side note: none of the above would ever take place if we don't take time to learn your business and discover the culprit that holds up your business from going full throttle. In some circumstances, technology alone is just not enough to make a business transformation; an inquisitive mind on the other hand, can often be a game changer.