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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

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The Ultimate AWeber Review 2021

5
The Ultimate AWeber Review

We’ve compiled the complete Aweber review from A-Z

Overview: 

Marketing is the cornerstone of any business. Your methods can range anywhere from digital promotion, to keeping it old-school by passing out flyers. However, the tide of the digital revolution cannot be ignored, and it’s about time the past gets washed away.  

Digital marketing tools provide businesses with enormous amounts of potential to catch and communicate with prospects. Online newsletters specifically, allow businesses to showcase their proficiency, by providing expert insights on their fields. The practice of newsletter marketing consists of sending educational and product-focused content via email, to a list of potential and existing subscribers. 

The profuse list of available marketing platforms is daunting, and it’s crucial to find the right choice for you and your business. These platforms need to be flexible, easy to use, and not break the bank. This is where AWeber swings into the scene. 

This marketing-superhero sports a prestigious cape, full of features and superpowers. But as with any superhero, AWeber doesn’t come without its weaknesses.

AWeber Free: Email marketing for free. No credit card required.

AWeber features 

Landing page designer:

If your business lacks a website, AWeber also provides the perfect substitution, with their email-based landing page. Usually consisting of attractive imagery, a bit of text and a form asking for a name and email, landing pages are built with a goal of data capture in mind.

Landing pages are especially effective in capturing data since there are no other pages to distract visitors, only a sign-up form. AWeber allows you to create landing pages using their easy-to-use editor, these landing pages can then be used cooperatively with newsletter campaigns.

Autoresponders:

Autoresponders are a sequence of emails that are sent based on client interactions with previous emails, almost like a chain reaction.

For example, you can set up a series of autoresponders so that

  • After joining your mailing list, a client immediately receives a personalized welcome email.
  • One week later they get an invitation to like your Facebook page.
  • Two weeks later they receive a promotional email, discount code or whatever your heart desires.

Pretty neat isn’t it? Autoresponders are key to any email campaign, as they save you tons of time and generate revenue.

Design: 

AWeber boasts an extensive list of visually pleasing designs you can create, even if you’re not the creative type. Upon subscribing, you also get access to AWeber’s massive template library, giving you more than enough starting points to perfect your brand’s design. On the downside, some of these templates do look a bit dated. If templates still sound intimidating, their AI-powered designer has your back. Utilizing cutting edge tech, this AI-assistant provides you with beautiful designs while you just sit back and watch.

Editor: 

Many editors have extensive features and functionalities, but these tools can often be overwhelming, throwing you in the deep end of an almost unlimited creative reservoir. AWeber is your life-jacket, providing you with their intuitive and easy to use editor, without sacrificing features. This editor allows you to create beautifully enthralling newsletters without requiring coding. 

Automated emails and campaigns: 

Automation is the key feature of any email-marketing app. The purpose of these automated campaigns is to save you time and optimize your marketing efforts. AWeber’s automation tools allow you to easily personalize your newsletters’ scheduling. Simply enter your email’s content, and then select the date and time you want it to be sent out. Deeper personalization also allows you to automatically modify each email with your customer’s name, surname and location, and the interesting option to send emails based on your customer’s behaviour.  

AWeber also has support for hundreds of apps to integrate into your email scheduling. 

Tags: 

Tagging allows you to group customers from several email lists together, grouping them by similar interests based on your newsletters. Tagging your customers allows you to easily reach focused groups of your customer base. These groups can be targeted with personalized newsletters that cater to their interests. Tags are an easy way to seamlessly engage with your audience, leading to increased conversion rates. 

Sign-up forms: 

Your AWeber subscription also gives you access to their sign-up and opt-in form generator, allowing you to create striking, mobile-responsive forms in just a few clicks. AWeber’s template library also contains a bunch of templates for sign-up forms that you can use and edit.  

Integrations and third-party support: 

One of AWeber’s biggest advantages is the enormous number of supported apps for integration. Supporting more than 700 third party apps, this number is unchallenged by their competitors. 

One of my favourite AWeber integrations is with Integromant. Integromat works with a series of triggers and actions, for example when a new subscriber joins your newsletter, Integromat can automatically create, delete or modify a custom field. 

Additionally, AWeber offers a powerful API that you can use to implement custom integrations too. 

Analytics: 

As with any marketing effort, newsletters must lead to quantifiable returns for a business. Using AWeber analytics, you can easily track your returns and engagements from newsletters. AWeber analytics provide you with useful data, such as open rates, conversion rates, unsubscription rates, in spreadsheet or graph form. This data is essential in determining what your customers like and dislike, giving you the opportunity to adjust accordingly. You can also look at these statistics on the go, using AWeber’s mobile apps. 

Deliverability: 

Deliverability is arguably the most important aspect of any email-marketing application. After all, what good is your campaign if all your emails end up in your clients’ spam inbox, or worse, go undelivered?  

Different email marketing apps have different deliverability rates, and AWeber has among one of the highest. Chalking it up to good ISP relations, and only managing opt-in mail, AWeber’s delivery rates have an amazing reputation.  

Customer support: 

Claiming to have award-winning 24/7 US-based customer support, AWeber’s customer support has a great reputation. They are open to queries 7 days a week, even replying to most complaints I could find on online boards and forums.  

Split testing:

Split testing (Also referred to as A/B testing) entails mailing different variants of your newsletters to parts of your mailing list, monitoring each variant’s performance, and sending the most successful version to the remainder of your list.  

AWeber allows you to easily perform split testing, with up to three newsletters at a time. Play around with different subject lines, content, graphics and scheduling to see what works best for you.  

You can run the split-test against 40% of your mailing list and analyse the results, before sending the successful variant to the other 60% of your recipients.  

 

AWeber’s pricing: Is it worth it? 

Pro vs. Free 

Now that the plethora of features is out of the way, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. 

Pricing, of course, is what people consider the most before buying a product.  

Although AWeber has a free option, businesses who are serious about newsletter marketing should definitely opt for AWeber Pro. 

Comparison of AWeber Pro vs AWeber Free features

As you can see, the free version causes you to miss out on all AWeber’s defining features and limits you to a mailing list of 500. 

AWeber also allows you to give the pro version a test run, with a free 30-day trial. This trial gives potential customers more than enough time to explore and experiment with all the features. This 30-day trial is especially generous when comparing it to other mailing services’ trials, that typically only last 14 days.

AWeber Pro 

The premium version starts out with a modest price for businesses with small mailing lists, but quickly ramps up as subscriber numbers increase. 

Here AWeber differs compared to its competitors, it only offers one pricing plan, that only changes based on the number of subscribers you wish to pay for. 

AWeber Pro's pricelist

You will get all the same features, no matter which subscriber amount you choose. Clients with mailing lists bigger than 25,000, have to contact AWeber for a quotation. After contacting them, you will be assigned with a dedicated agent who will help you set everything up.

AWeber Vs Mailchimp

These are two of the best-known newsletter-marketing solutions available – could this be AWeber’s kryptonite?

Let’s see which one is more cost-effective.

Mailchimp offers four plans, each with different features and prices, also depending on how big your mailing list is.

Mailchimp's pricing options

One key difference between AWeber and Mailchimp is that the latter doesn’t offer all of it’s features to all the tiers. Crucial features such as analytics, are only available to Premium Mailchimp users (the most expensive option), as well as customer support giving Premium subscribers priority over other customers.

Another interesting option is Mailchimp’s Pay-As-You-Go, where you are charged per email you send. This payment plan shares the same features and functionalities as the “Essentials” plan. This plan might be useful for users interested in a one-off type of deal. AWeber does not offer a similar pay-as-you-go option.

Unlike AWeber – Mailchimp caps the number of emails you can send per month. This limit varies from plan-to-plan, “Essentials” users need to bear this in mind, as this package features considerably less monthly emails than the other plans.

With all this in mind, it’s clear that AWeber gives you a better bang for your buck, with more features and a simpler pricing plan.

Additional AWeber pricing comments

  • You are allowed to cancel your subscription at any given time.
  • Unsubscribed users still count towards your bill. Unfortunately, you will regularly have to check to remove unsubscribed clients, and any analytics regarding the removed client will also be erased. This is a manual and tedious task.
  • Undeliverable clients are automatically removed from your mailing lists.

Creating a mailing list with AWeber

Aweber gives you the option to add contacts to your mailing list manually, or using their import tool. For businesses with minimal contacts, manually adding contacts should be a breeze. Each record created collects the contacts name, email, and even ad-tracking value. For businesses with large customer databases, manually adding contacts will be a tedious task. Luckily, the import tool is a lifesaver, giving you the option to enter a long list of comma-separated emails at once. You can also upload these email lists as a spreadsheet (A feature that competitors such as MailChimp and GetResponse lack.) Unfortunately though, Aweber does not have third-party integration for extracting contacts from existing Gmail accounts. However, this can easily be worked around, by simply exporting the Gmail contacts as a spreadsheet and then importing it into Aweber.

Upon adding to your contact list, Aweber requires to know the origin of your subscribers. Did they sign up on a form? Or purchased a product from your store and opted in to receive mail? The goal of asking this is to ensure that you are not spamming emails or buying lists of thousands of random emails.

How do you use Aweber?

As with using any new software, all the bells and whistles of Aweber might feel a tad overwhelming, leaving you with the question “Where do I begin?”

To get the ball rolling, we’ve listed five steps to get you up and running as an Aweber expert in no time.

1. Set up your first list.

Aweber works off lists of email addresses of contacts you wish to include in your email marketing campaign. After all, what good is an email marketing program if you have nobody to mail to?

Each of these lists contain specified emails, allowing you to target specific groups for different campaigns. Aweber allows you to create any amount of lists, even splitting them into groups called “segments”.

Our best advice is to first create a small list consisting of emails that have opted in to your once-off or automated emails, and sending them a test run of your marketing project.

2. Import your subscribers

This step might seem daunting for people with large lists of contacts, however, Aweber comes more than prepared with bulk-import features to help you with this otherwise time-consuming proccess.

Users can also make use of Aweber’s 100+ app integrations to help them import their contact lists easily and efficiently.

This step also comes with features such as legacy follow up series, which just mails your contact list asking them if they opt-in to be a subscriber to your campaign.

3. Create a sign up form

The key to any successful email marketing project, is to create a self-sustaining and growing contact list. To do this, you need a way to consistently get new subscribers to join your contact list. The easiest way of achieving this, is by creating a sign-up form.

Once this form is created, you can add it to social media, your website, or wherever else it might catch eyes.

Aweber provides users with templates when first creating their sign-up forums, however I would advise you to customize it even further to match your company’s identity.

This sign-up form, as the name implies, allows people to sign up to join your newsletter, so it’s crucial that it needs to be clean, concise, and eye-catching.

4. Create and send an email.

With your lists set up, and your subscribers ready, we’re moving on to the most important step.

Aweber uses a drag-and-drop style editor, making the act of designing emails a breeze even for newcomers. Customize your email to fit the needs of your marketing campaign, and to fit the look and feel of your business.

For more advanced users, Aweber also allows your to edit the raw HTML contained in your email design, allowing you to make precise adjustments to mould your email to exactly fit your needs.

As with the sign-up form, Aweber also provides you with a bunch of email templates, giving you a starting point and more than enough inspiration.

This step also allows you to edit the broadcast options of your campaign, specifying if it’s a once off email, or reoccuring. In the case of the latter, you can specify the dates or how often you want this email to be sent out to your subcribers.

5. Automate with AWeber

We’ve refined our list, added subscribers and shared our first email, but sending one-time emails all day every day is extremely time consuming, and not everyone on your email list needs the same content.

This is where Aweber’s flagship feature, automation, can transform how you do business. You can use automation to send a sequence of welcome emails to introduce new subscribers to your brand, services, and products.

You can group subscribers based on the links that they click or the messages they open, doing so allows you to group your subscribers based on current or even future interest.

These five steps should put you on the right path towards email marketing success.

If you seek any additional advice on getting started, visit Aweber’s academy page, where these five steps are discussed in more detail.

Conclusion

I really hope this comprehensive AWeber review provides you with more than enough information to make an educated decision.

As someone with limited experience with email-marketing tools, I barely had trouble using it. AWeber likes to hold your hand, guiding you through every part of the setup, as well as providing you with a ton of video material to assist you with any problems. This is perfect for users who haven’t used other email-marketing services before, as the terms and jargon surrounding these tools might be intimidating.

In my time spent with AWeber, I feel satisfied with it, but I’m left asking myself one question. Is it worth paying for? For businesses with small client lists, the monthly price isn’t too taxing, considering the potential revenue it can also generate. But climbing up the price ladder, your acrophobia might kick in, as these prices can get sky-high.

Pros:

  • 700+ unique templates
  • Entirely free plan available
  • Easy to use
  • Amazing delivery rates
  • Great third-party integration

Cons:

  • Outdated looking templates
  • Cheaper options are available

As always, the proof is in the pudding.

Try AWeber’s free version, or sign up for the 30-day Pro trial

Shopify Review 2020: Everything You Need Know

6
shopify review everything you need to know

The complete Shopify Review: e-Commerce has become increasingly popular over the last few years and even more so at the start of 2020. Almost all businesses now need an online presence to helps them reach customers, handle sales and promote their brand. Building a website for e-Commerce isn’t as complicated as it used to be. Even a novice is now able to create their own store in a day without much experience.

Shopify is by far one of the most straightforward and capable e-Commerce platforms currently available. It is easy to get started and manage without prior knowledge of web design & development or coding. That is not to say that your store will be an immediate success right off the bat. As in everything you will need to do the research, teach yourself the basics and keep learning along the way. But setting up the store itself is now effortless.

TO ME, A GREAT COMPANY STARTS WITH A GREAT PRODUCT AND ENDS WITH A GREAT PRODUCT.

Tobias Lutke

Before Shopify, there were many unintuitive options for building an online store. Shopify arrived on the scene with easy-to-use tools and a capable suite of features that allowed anybody to start selling products and services online within a few hours.

Shopify 101: An introduction

Shopify is a cloud-based e-commerce platform that lets you use a preset template to set up a shopfront where you can sell physical or digital goods. What makes Shopify so attractive is that you can create your store on your own, without having to hire a website design company or developer. You have control over enough features to make your shop fully functional. From the dashboard, you are able to upload and update products, manage inventory, set up payment gateways and set shipping rates. A professional developer or agency might be needed for more advanced builds.

Those with more advanced coding skills are also able to further tweak the HTML, CSS codes & Shopify’s own open-source template code, Liquid.

This makes Shopify a one-stop e-commerce solution.

It is referred to as a “Software as a Service” tool because you don’t need to own the software to use it. All you need is a browser and an internet connection to access your store from anywhere in the world. This is an attractive solution for on the go entrepreneurs, stay at home moms or dads and almost any size business. Shopify scales from 1 product to unlimited.

Software as a service is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. It is sometimes referred to as “on-demand software”, and was formerly referred to as “software plus services” by Microsoft.

Wikipedia

Shopify Plans and Pricing

You might imagine that an all-inclusive e-commerce solution would come at a hefty price. That is surprisingly not the case. Shopify provides a range of subscription plans that allow you to pick a plan best suited for your business and pocket.

Shopify offers a free trial to all new merchants of 14 days (Increased to 90 days during the COVID crisis). The free trial allows users to upload products, complete the store design, enter shipping and payment details and do test orders. Up until April 2020, a merchant was still able to process up to 50 orders in Development stores but that has been discontinued since.

Each of the pricing tiers offers increasing levels of features and tools that help you optimize your storefront.

shopify plans pricing chart
Shopify’s three subscription options, excl Lite plan

Here is an overview of the Shopify plans that you can choose from:

Lite – $9 per month

The Lite Package is not technically a plan as it does not support a fully functional store. What it does is turbocharge your existing Facebook or Instagram page to allow you to sell through those channels. You can use Shopify to manage the inventory of a physical location and offer goods and services for sale.

You get access to the Buy button from Shopify that integrates into an existing website, newsletter or social media channel. The Buy button includes order tracking, fulfillment or CMS integrations such as Squarespace, WordPress or Joomla.

This plan is somewhat underrated, yet it provides excellent value for money and is an efficient introduction to e-commerce.

Basic Shopify – $29 per month

The Basic plan offers a complete online store solution with most of the Shopify features. Including unlimited product uploads, fraud analysis, 24/7 customer support, social media channels, and order fulfillment.

Under the basic plan you also get the following:

  • e-Commerce website
  • Blog section
  • Ability to create pages such as About, Contact
  • Customer Logins
  • Unlimited products
  • 2 Staff Accounts
  • 24/7 support via Live Chat, Email or Phone
  • Sales Channels such as Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest
  • Manual Orders
  • Discount Codes
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Abandoned cart recovery

Gift Cards are included in this package for a limited time during 2020 to support merchants effected by COVID-19.

The plan does not include a domain name for your store. You have the option to buy one via Shopify for $14 a year or redirect your existing one to the storefront. Shopify did not include an Email service until April 2020 when it launched a full Email service included in all packages.

Top Tip: Be careful when you choose your store name as that also becomes your admin URL and cannot be changed later. Your customers won’t’ see this URL but your admin staff will and it is sometimes included in some apps that reference it.

Top Tip: Be careful when you choose your store name as that also becomes your admin URL and cannot be changed later. Your customers won’t’ see this URL but your admin staff will and it is sometimes included in some apps that reference it.

The basic plan is perfect if you are getting started and need to sell your products online but don’t have the budget for more advanced plans.

Shopify – $79 per month

The Shopify plan offers cheaper credit card rates, professional report generation and Gift Cards for an extra $50 per month. The Report section is especially useful in analyzing almost every aspect of your store, from order processing to inventory management.
The ability to create gift cards is a powerful marketing tool that can help boost revenue during the holidays or other sales events.
This plan is best suited for larger merchants that receive the full benefit of a lower per-transaction fee of 1%. Or those who are looking for more advanced analytics and reporting. Otherwise, there is not much difference between the first two packages.

Advanced Shopify – $299 per month

This plan is the most advanced and expensive plan you can get on Shopify. It combines all the benefits that on offer in other bands and adds a much lower transaction fee of 0.5% per transaction. 3rd Party Calculated Shipping is also included in this package. You are able to add this to the other to packages for an extra $20 per month. Also included are even more advanced reporting capabilities.
Top Tip: You are able to add 3rd Party Calculated Shipping to the other packages at $20 per month.

If you are looking to play in the big leagues of e-commerce and are earning monthly revenues above $10,000, then this is the plan for you.

Shopify Plus – from $2,000 per month +

Shopify Plus is the enterprise solution for large or growing e-commerce companies.
It is ideal for those looking for more powerful e-commerce management tools, 24/7 website uptime, traffic surge protection and seamless order, inventory, and shipping management.

This plan is best suited for companies that make over $1 million in annual revenue and start at $2,000 monthly. You need to apply directly to Shopify for a custom quotation according to your business needs.

Some of the features include:

  • Advanced Apps
  • Checkout Customization and access to checkout.liquid
  • Additional API Callsscv
  • Merchant Sucess Program
  • Launch Engineer
  • Unlimited Staff accounts
  • Up to nine stores for international expansion including separate locations
  • Access to the Shopify Plus Partner Program
  • Shopify Plus Facebook Community
  • Ability to add up to 100 themes on one account
  • Added Permission settings for staff accounts
  • Wholesale Channel that allows the creation of separate Wholesale store
  • Bulk Account Inviter
  • Avalara AvaTax Services

API Resources for Shopify Plus Customers

  • GiftCard
  • Multipass
  • User
Top Tip: Save big on yearly plans

When it comes to Shopify pricing, it pays to plan. Building your own e-commerce store requires commitment and dedication. Shopify rewards this by offering significant discounts when you subscribe for a one-year(10%) or two-year plan(20%). You can reduce your Shopify subscription fees by as much as $1,400 per year using one of these options.

The 90 Day free trial gives you ample time to test out Shopify for yourself before making a long term commitment.

What Makes Shopify So Special? Top Features of Shopify

Shopify has arguably the most comprehensive suite of features that any merchant can dream of having to run an online store. Not all of these features are available in the standard Shopify plan. You can however easily upgrade or downgrade at any time if you would like to test some of the advanced features.

Shopify Themes

Shopify theme store
Themes are available in the Theme Store, including 11 Free Themes

The Shopify theme store offers more than 100 free and paid themes to choose from. Your shop theme is like a dress or suit that you put on to make your store look attractive to prospective customers. You do not need experience in graphic or web design to set up your look and feel and you can get started immediately with one of the free themes.

There is also excellent support online for any of the free ones and the forums are full of advice for anyone that needs help.

Top Tip: Resize your images using a tool like Tinypng before uploading as large images will slow down your site and hurt your SEO. Also, give your images SEO friendly file names so it can rank in Image Search

For the paid themes you would need to contact the theme creator for any advanced queries. One of the best of these, with excellent support, is Out of Sandbox.

Read through the comments section to see what the reviews are for each of the themes before you commit. This will give you a good idea what their support and responsiveness are like. Sometimes the theme or app is only as good as the support that follows afterward. Another great feature is the ability to install and preview any of the paid themes in the store.

You are not limited to only the themes in the Theme Store. There other excellent themes available at sites like Themeforest. You can buy and download the themes from one of these external markets and then easily install it using the theme upload feature in the backend.

Abandoned Cart Recovery

Between 65% & 70% of online customers do not complete their checkout online.

Many merchants are faced with the reality of customers placing products in the shopping cart only to abandon it without checking out. Shopify includes a handy section in the backend where it shows you all the abandoned transactions. It also sends out an automatic reminder to customers by email that reminds them that they have an incomplete transaction.

shopify abandoned checkout settings
Available settings for abandoned checkout emails

You can control when these reminders are sent; 1 hour, 6 hours, 10 hours(default and recommended) and 24 hours. You are also able to customize the Cart Recovery email which is a nice feature.

Abandoned checkout recovery emails are not sent for Shopify POS or other 3rd party sales channels.

The data available in your dashboard for 3 months so it is important to check regularly for patterns or reasons that might be causing the failed transactions. Take special notice of the payment event that is included with each abandoned transaction. You can use this info to see if something is wrong with your payment gateway or on the customer’s side.

You must spend time figuring out why customers are leaving your store without completing their purchase. This can have a positive effect on your revenue over time.
Another cool feature is the ability to manually email customers a link to the abandoned cart. The link can even be copied into an email if you would like to send it through your mail program like Outlook or Mac Mail.

We all know how overloaded analytics can become over time. It is difficult to remember to look at the data regularly but this can have a significant impact on your business. You can set up automatic reports on Abandoned Checkouts to be sent to your inbox regularly. These reports can include information such as sales, average order value, number of products sold, first-time buyer stats and conversion rates.

Intuitive User Dashboard

Shopify makes use of an intuitive user interface that is simple to master and navigate.
From the dashboard you are able to view and manage orders, upload products, view your customer details or access your store analytics data. You are also able to manage your social media integrated sales channels (e.g., Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Instagram).

Payment and Transaction Processing

Shopify payment options review
Shopify Makes Payment Gateway Integration Easy

Shopify has more than 100 payment providers which mean you are almost certain to find one that works best in your region. It caters to all the big names in the payment industry so you should be able to find what matches your needs.

Shopify Payments

Shopify also gives you the option to use its in-house system, Shopify Payments, and thereby cut out the middleman. It is available in over 14 countries, including the USA, UK, and Japan. Using Shopify Payments gives you discounts on your transaction fees.

Benefits of using Shopify Payments:

  • Integration is effortless
  • No extra transaction fees to 3rd parties
  • Ability to still use other payment providers like Paypal.
  • Predictable pricing
  • Potentially increased sales with multiple payment options
  • Track money from your dashboard
  • Improved Chargeback Recovery

Make sure to check beforehand that you are not on the prohibited businesses list.

You can also use manual payment options for Shopify, including cash on delivery, direct deposits, and even money orders. This as the added advantage of zero commissions payable to Shopify and is an excellent option to add to your checkout process.

Shipping Tools

If there’s anything that ruins most e-commerce businesses, it will be shipping and logistics. Shopify’s system is excellent in this regard and is easy to set up. You can apply different shipping rules and customize it by weight or price. You also get accurate shipping rates live from carriers such as DHL, USPS, and UPS. While just a few countries have these live shipping rates, Shopify expects to expand this to even more in the future. Shopify provides an all-encompassing solution for drop shipping through Shipwire, Rakuten, and Amazon Fulfillment. You can also add drop-shipping through the Shopify App Store like Oberlo.

You are also able to install Shipping apps if your courier company has one in the app store. This will allow for more advanced shipping rules and integration directly with the shipping company. Allowing you to automate much of the shipping which is often a headache for merchants.

Shopify is also working on its own fulfillment service which is a very exciting development. It is currently only available in the US to select merchants, but we hope they add more regions in the future.

Shopify App Store

shopify app store
There are over 2,400 apps in the App Store

Get access to thousands of extensions and quality apps, both free and premium, that offer a plethora of features and options. You can simply install an app to provide any feature that you need to improve your e-commerce experience. The paid apps are usually more powerful than the free ones, but it is essential to read the reviews to find the best ones. You can get apps for multi-currency conversion, accounting, reports/analytics, data capture, SEO, email marketing, order tracking and many more.

Apps can add significant functionality to your online store. From Advanced Search apps, Upsell apps to Wholesale apps that allow you to sell B2C/B2B in the same store. There really is no limit to what can be done with the right apps.

Top tip: Make a backup of your shop theme before installing apps. I’ve learned the hard way that some apps may damage your theme code and having a backup means you can easily roll back the theme. Also be sure to double-check your site speed afterward, especially the product pages as some apps add significant load time which can hurt your SEO.

Pros and Cons of Shopify

As with any online platform, there are pros and cons to Shopify. Here is an overview of some of the benefits and limitations of the service.

Pros

  • Easy of Use – Shopify has virtually everything you need to build a professional store, all available within a few clicks. There’s also an extensive help and support section with adequate documentation to help you find what you need.
  • Design and Personalization – You can rest assured of both the quality and quantity of design options with Shopify. Whether you are trying to create a brand-new shopping experience or go with a preloaded theme, you can find or create the dream storefront you want.
  • Access to advanced code – Most features of Shopify are accessible to developers so you can create custom solutions for your storefront if you have the skills. It supports both HTML, CSS, and other languages as well as its own Liquid code. The checkout code is only accessible to Shopify Plus customers.
  • Economies of Scale- From mom and pop stores, growing entrepreneurs to global conglomerates, Shopify has all the tools needed to scale. With unlimited product uploads, you will never reach a limit in catalog size.
  • Support – Shopify’s Support team is available 24 hours of the day, seven days a week by phone, email or live chat. This is a stark difference from other similar platforms where support is more limited. The support staff is helpful and almost always willing to go the extra mile. There is a limit to what they are able to provide though. For 3rd party theme related issues it is often best to contact theme support directly. The same applies to Apps.

    But they will often put you in contact with the tech support from those companies if they are not able to help.

You can access Support from your store backend or through the links below:
There is also extensive documentation available in the Shopify Help Center.

Shopify Help Center
Video Tutorials
Webinars

Cons

  • Shopify is payable in US Dollars and that can make it a bit expensive in countries with a weak exchange rate to the US Dollar. You can get around this a bit by choosing an annual or bi-annual plan for the extra savings or when the exchange rate is more favorable.

    In addition to the charges from the payment processor (like PayPal or Stripe), you still pay Shopify a transaction fee, which cuts into business revenue. The per transactions fees are also sometimes an issue for merchants but you are able to get around this by either using Shopify Payments or using manual transactions at checkout
  • Multi-language support – Support for other languages is not available to all Shopify users. Many apps and templates make it easy to get language support, but there is no standard option that is capable enough for use.
  • SEO issues – Shopify uses a URL structure that in some way inhibits SEO with Duplicate product pages. Shopify does ensure that there is a canonical tag to the associated pages but this can still pop up as an issue with color variants. You are able to fix this by editing the product.grid-item.liquid file.

Some other useful Shopify SEO Tips

  • Remove duplicate URLs from internal linking architecture
  • Remove duplicate paginated URLs
  • Create blog content for keywords with informational intent
  • Add “Product,” “Article,” & “BreadcrumbList” structured data
  • Determine how to handle product variant pages
  • Compress images using crush.pics
  • Remove unnecessary Shopify apps”

Click here for the complete guide on SEO for Shopify by MOZ:

Top Tip: Shopify does include a handy URL redirect feature in the Navigation section which allows you to update any URL changes in your store. This is a great tool to use if you migrate from another platform such as Woocommerce or if you ever change the URL of a page/collection/menu. 404 errors have a negative effect on your SEO.
shopify url redirect tool
URL Redirect is an important tool to combat 404 Errors
  • Limited Report Functionality – You only get access to professional reporting when you subscribe to the more expensive packages.
  • Limited Abandoned Cart function – You only get one email to send to customers that abandon their cart. Having more capable features require installing premium apps. You are however able to send manual emails to customers.
  • GDPR issues – You need a third-party cookie banner app for your Shopify store if you want to be compliant with the recent GDPR. You could get into trouble if you assume that it is available by default.

Conclusion

Shopify is one of the most recommended solutions for merchants who need an online store. Whether it is an online business, or an omnichannel business with a physical location, or dropshipping, it is arguably the best option.

There are now over 1 million merchants using Shopify’s e-commerce platform. The strong growth in the userbase instills a lot of confidence in the stability and longevity of this service. I for one highly recommend it to businesses of any size.

What are your thoughts on Shopify? Do you have any questions that the above guide did not answer? Let us know in the comments below.

The Complete Searchanise Review

complete-searchanise-review-ecommerce

The Advanced Search Plugin for Shopify, Woocommerce, BigCommerce and more

Overview

Click One of the pillars of a successful e-commerce store is giving your customers what they are searching for. Many sites take this for granted. Store owners are so familiar with their own products, that they fail to see that a potential customer might be unfamiliar with what’s on offer.

Most of us accept that the standard search functionality, that comes with our e-commerce platform of choice, is good enough. We fail to realize the amount of lost sales that take place due to an ineffective search. We accept that it is working and that people searching our stores will find what they are looking for.

One way of keeping your customers happy, is an effective and powerful search function. This helps to satisfy their immediate need and in turn increases the chance of them come back for more. Thereby boosting your conversion rate and decreasing your cost per acquisition.

The 2nd sale is so much easier when a customer knows they can come to you for what they are looking for. It builds trust and goodwill towards your brand.

Look at your own experiences. What is more frustrating than searching for a specific product online but coming up empty? One has to look at it from the customer’s point of view and see the full experience.

Down the Search Rabbit Hole

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.” —Alice in Wonderland

Site search makes up to 30% of total site sessions. If your stats are showing a lower number, then it might be time to relook your bog-standard search engine. Or you might want to make Search a more prominent feature on the site by not making your Search box hard to find.

Adding Site search has been shown to increase the conversion rate up to 4 times. On the flip side it has also been shown to frustrate users, if the results don’t match their search intent. Showing your customers the wrong products, or even worse zero results, can be even more detrimental to your bounce rate.

This is where an app like Searchanise comes in.

Searchanise Features

e-commerce search

Advanced Search Made Easy

Searchanise places your store’s search on steroids. It allows you to choose which sections of your site to include. From Product names & descriptions, tags to collections, to your blog posts and static pages. Almost anything type of data can be included.
Searchanise creates an index of your content offsite, on its own servers, which means your site isn’t bogged down by the extra load.

The basic search in Shopify only searches your product pages and ignores blog posts, which could be an important conversion opportunity. Research shows that your blog posts have a much higher chance of building trust and converting into a sale. According to optinmonster blogs are the 5th most trusted source that people use for information. It also helps to establish you, or your company, as a trusted source.

It might be a good idea then to include blog posts in search results, together with product data?

More Than Just Products

Searchanise assists by showing products together with blog, category/collection & page results. This helps to drive clickthroughs to informative articles and specials you want to highlight.

Imagine a customer is searching for the benefits of rooibos tea during pregnancy. With the basic search function they would only see the product page displayed. Searchanise will provide them with a complete picture of the information available.

It even allows search by substring which makes searching by parts of a field possible. For instance only search for parts of an SKU. A useful trick if you consider the complicity of Variant SKUs.

searchanise frontend view gif

Instant search powers up your website by providing immediate results as the user types. You have total control over how much data is visible in search results. For instance a B2C/B2B store might want to hide product pricing, or decide to remove product reviews so as not to clutter the results page.

You are also able to provide suggestions for visitors if they have misspelled a word or came up with no results. This helps to improve the bounce rate. And over time your search suggestions become more efficient at plugging all the deadens. It will also provide you with useful insights into what your clients are actually searching for and give you product ideas for the future.

The bulk of visitors to your e-Commerce platform will visit it from a mobile device. Limited screen real-estate means showing them what they are looking for is more of challenge than on desktop.

Advanced search helps with this by laser focusing the user’s attention on exactly what they are looking for.

Filters

Filter options are where the real power of the app comes into play. It is possible to search and filter by an extensive list of options including

  • Price
  • Name
  • Description
  • Size
  • Colors
  • Ratings
  • Metafields
  • Type
  • SKU
  • Barcodes
  • Discounts
  • Vendor
  • Custom Fields

You have full control over which options are shown. This comes in handy when some of your data is not complete or if it is not applicable. I’ve often found errors in the data that I may have missed by being able to see the full picture in one handy screen

Upsell, Cross-Sell & Personalization

Definition: Upselling is the practice of encouraging customers to purchase a comparable higher-end product than the one in question, while cross-selling invites customers to buy related or complementary items.”

Source: Bigcommerce

One of the best features built into this app is the ability to do Upselling & Cross-selling. You are able to recommend popular products & new arrivals anywhere in your store.
This allows you to show a widget to your customers throughout the site that displays the Top Products, Recently Bought items or You might also like items.

searchanise upsell and cross-sell widget

You can even choose for Searchanise to do this automatically. But you have the option to set up manual widgets and you have full control over the look and feel. This is a wonderful tool for any merchant and would usually cost extra through the use of dedicated upsell/cross-sell apps.

Analytics

advanced search analytics

The Analytics section must my favorite part of the app. This is where you get down and dirty into the meat of the analytics and get a better insight into what your customers are searching for including. Top search queries, top search results that gave no results and my personal favorite, Most bought products.

Other tabs included are Instant SearchAll Searches, Zero results(NB), Suggestions, Products Clicked, Products Bought CSV Export

Customize the look at feel

Many apps make it difficult to customize the design of the results or widgets. Not so with Searchanise. You are in full control of the branding, from colors to fonts to what is visible or hidden. This is a great feature and helps to make integration with your site seamless and helps it blend in.

Backend Dashboard

The dashboard is where you get to delve into all the nitty-gritty and explore all the options and features. Take your time and try and understand each section. There are some powerful features that will be a boon for your online store if you apply it correctly. The app works almost instantly without too much configuration but the dashboard is where you get to tweak and optimize it to your environment.

The following tabs are available:

Dashboard

This is where you are able to force reindexing if you’ve made changes to the product data that you need live asap. Otherwise the indexing updates every 10 minutes.

Analytics (Available on Pro plan)

Includes all the info you need to understand your customers search patterns and boost conversion

Instant search widget

Allows you to customize the search box. Available options are: Colors, Content, Sticky Widget, Translations, Product Labels, Custom HTML, Custom CSS

searchanise instant search widget options

Search results widget

Here you are able to customize the actual search page including Colors, Content, Filters, Translations, Product Labels and Custom CSS

Preferences

Available settings. Products, Product fields such as title, description and SKU, Categories, Pages & Usergroup Rules

Filters on Collections

Another excellent feature is the ability to place filters on Collection pages within Shopify. You have the option to have no navigation, Navigation through redirecting to Shopify links or navigation by embedded code in your template.

Upsell & Cross-sell

In this section you are able to add new widgets, edit exciting ones and check in on the performance to date.

Filters

Add or remove available filters

searchanise filters settings dashboard

Integrations

Shopify Dashboard Integration options includes:

  • Kit
  • Langify
  • Infinite Options
  • Bold Product Discount
  • Weglot
  • Multicurrency
  • Best Currency Converter
  • Bold Multi-currency
  • Appmate Wishlist King
  • Swym Corporation Wishlist Plus
  • Growave Wishlist
  • Yotpo
  • Product Reviews
  • Growave Reviews
  • Judge.me
  • Okendo.io
  • Look Reviews
  • Stamped.io
  • Campaign Monitor
  • Rivyo
  • Ali Reviews

Suggestions Dictionary

Suggestions for search terms used by visitors to your site. You are able to approve suggestions or add manual ones

Synonyms

You are able to add synonyms for search terms which are then treated as the term itself. Useful for spelling in different regions or for example iPad vs tablet. You are also able to bulk import/export from here which will help save time and assist store migrations.

Stop Words

Stop words are ignored during search including words such as “a” “the” and prepositions. You are able to add your own from here.

Merchandising

Promote products in search through updating this section. Available options includes Products, Tags & Categories

Redirects

Helps if you have special landing pages for products or if you are running a special and want a search term to redirect to that page. A handy feature that gives you even more control over what your customers see.

Compatibly e-Commerce Platforms

  • Shopify
  • Shopify Plus
  • Bigcommerce
  • Magento 1
  • Magento 2
  • Woocommerce
  • cs.cart

Further integration is also possible through API if your platform is not one of the above.
Enterprise solutions are also available for stores that need something more advanced. For instance if your product range is between 50,000 and 500,000 and you need a more robust solution. This gives you access to the Searchanise API plus your own server and CDN.

Some of the brands that use Searchanise includes

  • Levi’s
  • Philips
  • Durex
  • National Geographic
  • Boeing

For a few dollars a month you are able to provide the same level of advanced search functionality that many of the big brands above and the likes of Amazon give their customers.

Front End View

Please see below a short screen-recording of the front end. There is also a handy demo that you can play around on their website.

Searchanise Price Plans

This is the one part that I was pleasantly surprised. Many apps and plugins are expensive and out of reach for smaller merchants. Searchanise offers a nice pricing scale which makes this affordable for almost anyone. There is even a Free version for up to 25 products.

The paid plans start at $9/month up to 500 products and all the way up to $54/month for 50,000 products. Above 50,000 you will need to contact them for custom pricing.

Searchanise also offers a 14 day free trial for you to test it before buying and no credit card details are required. This is something I wish more service providers would offer.

searchanise monthly pricing plans

Conclusion

I hope this guide is comprehensive enough to give you a better idea of the features and customisation possible with Searchanise. It is one of the apps that I most recommend to customers and almost the first one that I install in my own stores. It truly does beef up your shop and makes normal boring search into something you can be proud of.

It puts the customer first, which is something we as merchants should all strive for. And it helps in bringing your products front and center on any device. The all-inclusive search engine will give you more control, an increase in sales and hopefully many more satisfied customers. Just remember to keep checking your search stats and tweaking your settings. All the data in the world means nothing if the person at the helm remains oblivious.

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