Creating content just got a bit easier.

Hope everyone is doing well in these “interesting” times.  Has anyone else noticed that Netflix seems to have fewer decent movies than ever?  Are they taking advantage of the fact that some of us are trapped in our homes?

Netflix bitching aside, I should get to the real purpose of this article… which is to let everyone know that we’ve added a new wysiwyg text editor to stores that allows you easily lay out your text, make text bolditalic, different colours etc.

That’s not it though… you can change alignment, add bullets, add links in, and do pretty much all of the other stuff you can do in common desktop editors.

Oh… and you can also add in images and rotate & crop them inline… as well as adjust the size, brightness, contrast, and a bunch of other stuff.

Just to make sure the new editor doesn’t break stuff that you’ve created using the old editor, it only shows up on new products, pages, and articles that you’ve created in the last week or so.

We know this feature has been around for ages, and it may seem that we’re a bit slow bringing it to our software.  Conversations about the editor usually ended with someone screaming “x#$%&* no way! it makes the code too messy!”… which is exactly why we have delayed this release.

The text that you add for your products can be used in many ways… such as when you connect your store’s product catalogue to Facebook, Instagram, or one of the shopping portals we support.   They don’t want to deal with messy code, and neither do we.  The great news is that we’ve almost perfected cleaning up this code so products aren’t rejected.  

The editor is still a work in progress, so please let us know if you run into any issues with your product feeds, or with the editor in general.

Simple Ecommerce Theme

Over the past months, the Spiffy Stores team have been flexing our creative and technical muscles hard to bring store owners and developers a simple but full featured new Spiffy Stores theme.

Now, we’re excited to introduce you to the result of all that hard work — and open up a whole new set of possibilities to stretch your creativity.

It’s called Simple – and it’s the newest premium Spiffy Stores theme available for free on all Spiffy Stores plans.

Simple is designed to be exactly what it sounds like – super simple.

Simple represents years of feedback from store owners and developers of all types who want more flexibility and control when it comes to themes, as well as keeping the overall look as clean as possible… but still containing the features built in to our other themes.

That’s a delicate balancing act!

Feature overview

The real power of Simple becomes obvious once you apply the theme and see the options available in your Theme Editor.

Here’s a roundup of some of the highlights of the Simple theme:

  • Advanced mega menus without an app: We know that mega menus are a key way to not only to “show” your shoppers around the store but also get out your marketing messages — so we’ve expanded the mega menu functionality in our other themes to create our most flexible setup yet.
  • A beautiful slideshow, with customisable size, colours, transitions, and fonts.
  • Customisable Instagram feed to show off a gallery of your product images
  • Customisable parallax banners on all pages including collection pages, product pages, blog articles etc.
  • Customisable tabs on product pages. You can break up your product pages into section for displaying different kinds of info, such as videos, size charts, shipping info, reviews etc.
  • Customisable popups, which are far more effective than just having a subscribe form in your footer.
  • Display featured products, featured collections, and blog articles on your home page…. along with welcome text, a slideshow, and your Instagram feed. We’ll also soon provide a tutorial on how to re-order and customise sections.
  • Integration with Yotpo to provide product reviews
  • Customisable announcement bars to provide important info
  • Choose from over 50 included fonts, or add your own custom Google font.
  • Colour options so you can recolour everything in the theme, or choose from built-in colour schemes.
  • Product sorting, list view, grid view, and unlimited scrolling options
  • Google reCAPTCHA to protect you from spammers
  • All the other features, in other themes, such as wishlists, mobile responsiveness, social media integration, image galleries etc.

How to get it

Like our other themes, the Simple theme is available exclusively to Spiffy Stores, and can be applied in the Theme Gallery section of your store’s admin. If you’re switching from another theme, you may want to ensure you download a backup of your current theme first.

You might want to read The Simple Theme Guide, as the theme has a lot of customisation options in the Theme editor, and a lot of the functionality is disabled until you enable it.

The future of Simple

We’re planning on adding a bunch more features to this theme, so stay tuned. Planned enhancements include;

  • Quick shop popup windows
  • Create unlimited custom fields on your products
  • Video in product images
  • Video in the home page slideshow
  • More enhanced responsive images

This is only the beginning

Finally, as you start using Simple, don’t forget that this is version 1.0 only — so you might say we’re only in the warm-up phase of pushing Spiffy Stores theme flexibility.

We’re already hard at work on a series of updates that will be released to bring even more features and functionality to this theme.

Love a Bargain? Customers Love Product Bundles.

We love adding new features to Spiffy Stores, especially when they add heaps of value for our customers. Our newest addition to the family is the Product Bundle.

You might already be familiar with the concept of selling products in convenient bundles or related products. It’s great way to encourage your customers to buy a few extra items by offering them a bargain when they purchase a product bundle. Studies have shown that customers are drawn to product bundles if they see them as providing good value. Why buy the items separately when you can save money by buying them together in a bundle?

Product Bundles are such a great idea that we’re kicking ourselves for taking so long to add them to our set of core features. The Spiffy Stores core features are all included as part of our base software, and there’s no need to mess around with 3rd-party apps to get access to something that’s essential to running your business.

Product Bundles are also such a great addition to your Spiffy Store that we include them free of charge in all of our plans except for the entry-level Startup plan, where they are also available as an Add-On.

Product Bundles also have other uses. They are great for managing your inventory when you want to sell build-to-order products such as Gift Hampers. A Gift Hamper is going to be made up of lots of different products, which you may or may not sell individually. The Gift Hampers are likely to contain some products in common, but it would be crazy (and bad business) to build your hampers ahead of time, as you really don’t know how many of each type are going to be sold.

Building your Gift Hamper products using Product Bundles allows you to track the inventory levels of all of the individual products, so no matter what hamper sells the most, you’ll always know that you’re not overselling your products and ending up with disappointed customers.

Finally, Product Bundles are an easy way to offer bulk-purchase discounts for a single product. Just create a Product Bundle for the product, and then add additional variations to the bundle for the multiple quantities that you want to sell, such as a “Pack of 5” or a “Pack of 10”. Adjust the bundle quantities and prices of the packs and you’re done. Bulk-Purchase discounts done in a few simple steps.

If you’re not using Product Bundles now, then maybe it’s time to start adding them to your product line-up. If you’re not using Spiffy Stores as your ecommerce provider, then maybe it’s time to make the switch to save money, support an Australian business and get access to all our great features.

More info about Product Bundles can be found in the Product Bundles Tutorial in our Knowledge Base.

New Australia Post Flat Rate Satchels & Boxes

In case you missed it, Australia Post is now offering flat rate shipping to anywhere in Australia! They now have a new range of satchels and boxes, and you can also use your own packaging. You can now pack up to 5kg in any of their Flat Rate Satchels and boxes.

Before, when you sent something weighing 5kg or under in a Flat Rate Satchel, your postage was based on the weight range for the satchel you chose. If it weighed more than the maximum allowable weight for your satchel size, you were charged at the next weight level.

Now, instead of pricing being based on weight range, it’s based on four satchel sizes – Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. Each size has its own flat rate. And you can now pack up to 5kg in, no matter which size you choose.

As these new rates are new services, and you can choose to use them or not, they are not instantly available to every store that is using Australia Post. The rates need to be enabled in the Preferences » Shipping & handling » Carrier shipping section of your store.

These rates may not help some. It’s up to you if you would like to use them. If you want to enable them, you just tick the new options and click the Update button.

If you’re not using carrier shipping, my may want to rethink your shipping pricing strategy to take advantage of these rates.

Many store owners are already using other shipping providers, but Australia Post hopes that this new offering will bring some of you back. One thing we’ve noticed is that if you use your own packaging (yay! less discarded plastic!), it’s still a weight based flat rate, which appears to be a more competitive offering than their previous rates.

More information about how their new size-based system for Flat Rate Satchels and Packages compares to the previous weight-based system can be found on the Australia Post website.

Planned Outage Notification

Expected Impact: 3-7 hours outage duration
Date: Wednesday 16th October 2019 
Time: 11:00pm – 7:00am (Sydney time)

Dear Store Owners,

This is just a heads up that we’ll be re-locating our servers to an awesome new data centre this week.  Our current data centre is in need of major upgrades, and rather than put everyone through that, we’ll be relocating all of our services.

The new site has more redundancy, connectivity and security than the current facility and has been built to Tier 3 standards providing more connectivity options with carriers, IT Service Providers, Cloud Providers and many more.

This move has been several months in the planning, and will result in massive improvements to our speeds and connectivity.

The move will result in all Spiffy Stores services being offline for the duration of the outage.  Should there be any issues, we will provide any updates on Facebook.


FAQ’s

Will my billing change? 
Absolutely not, there will be no change to any of our pricing. We will simply be providing you with better facilities for no extra charge. 

Will I need to update anything in my store?
No, you won’t. We have been busy working out and planning this to ensure that there will be minimal ongoing impact to stores. 

Do I need to do anything? 
No, you don’t.  The relocation team will manage the entire process during the night, and we should all hopefully wake up on Thursday with everything back to normal.

Will there be any “Temporarily offline” nice message page when someone visits my store? 
No there won’t sorry. All Spiffy Stores services will be offline for the duration of the outage. All servers are being physically relocated by our service provider. This means we cannot manage redirects or show friendly messages. It is an outage that is required to ensure there aren’t future unplanned outages, and we can provide you with better facilities for no extra charge.

If you are concerned that your customers will be affected, you may want to alert them ahead of time as we have done.

If you have any questions about the move, please email us at support@spiffystores.com.au or call us on 1300 727 334.

Adelaide Ecommerce Theme

We’re delighted to announce the release of our latest theme for Spiffy Stores. We love it, and we’re sure you will too!

The Adelaide theme is 100% free! It’s a fully responsive theme, that will automatically adapt to the screen size it’s viewed on, whether that’s a smart phone, a tablet or a laptop. In fact, it will always look its best on any screen width from 320 pixels to over 2500.

And we’ve included loads of customisable features such as…

  • 4 levels of drop-down menus so you can make really specific product categories
  • Mega menus so you can create beautiful drop-down menus that include images
  • Full screen home page slideshow, with different transitions, captions and links, so you can tailor each slide to a different message
  • Customisable product pages with custom product fields, dynamic image zoom and related product up-sells
  • Integration with Yotpo to provide product reviews
  • Featured collections on your home page with full support for collection images
  • Featured collection pages with support for collection images, so you can show off your different product categories on one page.
  • Featured products on your home page allowing you to link deep into featured products
  • Social media integration to grow your audience on your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube and LinkedIn pages
  • Customisable Instagram Feed to show off a gallery of your product images
  • Image galleries to show off your products and great photography
  • Customisable Parallax banners on all pages
  • Newsletter integration with MailChimp, Campaign Monitor or Mad Mimi so you can sign up visitors to your email list through a simple form
  • Built-in icons for payment methods like PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, and Bank Deposit
  • Matching checkout styles with your logo and colours

Have a look around the Adelaide theme demo store. While you’re there, try resizing your window. You’ll see the seamless and dynamic resize in action!

If you want to apply the Adelaide theme to your store, just navigate to the Design & Assets > Theme gallery section of your store’s admin and update your templates with one click. Don’t forget to save your current theme by downloading it first so you can restore it later if you’d prefer to use it instead.

Instructions on how to make changes to the Adelaide theme to get it to suit you perfectly, can be found in the Adelaide theme guide in our Knowledge Base.

Oh… and we already have an early adopter… check out the AriaJayne site to see how flexible this theme can be.

Zip Pay Payments Now Available

Accept Zip Pay Australia in your E-Commerce Store

Buy Now, Pay Later systems are really shaking up the world of ecommerce, and this month we’ve launched our integration with Australian payment system Zip Pay to do just that.

In November 2016 we launched our integration with Australian buy now pay later platform Afterpay and for Spiffy Stores merchants that have started offering layby-type payments, they’ve seen really good uplifts in average order value. It’s early days for our integration with Zip, but we’re hoping to see similar results for our merchants and Zip reports that the average increase is a 30% increase in sales.

How does Zip Pay work for buyers?

With Zip, you enter your credit card details once at account creation, then you have a digital wallet with capacity for buying up to $1000 total accumulated from any of the stores you choose to use Zip Pay with.

You can then buy at a store that accepts Zip without having to enter your credit card details and without your card being charged. Your credit card won’t be charged until you start making your first repayment.

Repayments are a minimum of $40 per month but you can split that $40 across fortnightly or weekly payments until the balance reaches $0. If you miss a repayment, there’s no interest to pay, just a flat $6 payment for that month.

Why offer Zip Pay to your customers?

Zip have generated over $100 million in sales and have seen an average 80% increase in order value, 3 times the repeat transactions and a 30% increase in sales. With Zip you get paid straight away for the full order amount but your clients can pay the order off over time.

Zip wear all the risk, both fraud and credit and once a transaction is approved, you’re guaranteed payment. Zip settles daily, direct to your bank account.

Zip joins a suite of over 60 payments options already available on the Spiffy Stores commerce platform including PayPal, as well as instant credit card payment gateways such as BPoint, eWay, Fat Zebra, Merchant Warrior, Payment Express, Pin Payments, SecurePay, and Stripe to name a handful. These services are all ready and available for use in all Spiffy Stores, allowing merchants to set them up effortlessly.

What is the sign up process for buyers?

  1. Simply select Zip at checkout
  2. Sign-up on your mobile, tablet, or computer
  3. Complete your order – We pay on your behalf, so you have nothing to pay today. It’s that easy!
  4. Full payment flexibility – You pay us over time weekly, fortnightly or monthly, whichever suits you best.

What is the sign up process for online merchants?

  1. Complete Zip Pay’s online merchant application form
  2. Connect your Zip account with Spiffy Stores – view help guide.
  3. Start taking payments for the full order amount, while customers pay Zip over time.

Further reading about Zip

What is Zip Money?

Spiffy Stores has also just integrated with Zip Money, an affiliate company of Zip Pay. Like Zip Pay, Zip Money allows customers to buy now and pay later, all interest free. The key difference is that Zip Pay is designed for smaller purchases under $1000 whereas Zip Money is aimed at merchants who sell more expensive products. Zip Money purchases can be up to a value of $10,000.

To qualify as a Zip Money merchant you are required to have had a revenue of $500,000 or more for the last financial year and have been trading for 12 months or more.

Visit https://zipmoney.com.au/ to learn more about becoming a ZipMoney merchant.

Is your Online Store Tax Compliant?

Is your ecommerce store tax compliant?

It’s the start of a new tax year, so it’s seems appropriate to revisit one of the topics that we get heaps of questions about. How do I make sure my new Spiffy Store is correctly configured for GST?

Not many people realize that overseas-based ecommerce services, like Shopify, don’t support GST and other Australian tax regulations properly. Happily, Spiffy Stores has been developed in Australia, and that means you don’t have to worry about your store being fully tax compliant.

The first set is to go to your “Preferences -> Regions & taxes” page, and for Australia, make sure the country tax rate is set to 10%. If you’re not registered for GST, then set this value to 0%.

Underneath the shipping countries on this page, you’ll see a “Taxation Rate Policies” section. For Australia, just make sure you check the boxes to include taxes in your product prices, and to charge taxes on domestic shipping rates.

Finally, on the “Preferences -> General Settings” page, go to the “Business Number” section and enter your ABN. This will ensure that your ABN appears on all orders, and ensures that you comply with the taxation legislation. Your order templates will also include the “Tax Invoice” label as required by law.

Your products will all display with the GST included price, except for any products that you have marked as Tax Free.

When an order is placed, the customer receives an order confirmation which shows the amount of GST included in the order. In addition, for orders placed from overseas, the amount of GST included in the order is automatically deducted.

And that’s it. As they say, easy peasy.

Going the distance with Checkout Rules

There’s a sure way to tell if you’re going to be successful in business.

If you’re simply doing what every other business is doing, then you’re simply going to fail. This rule applies to every aspect of your business, including the choices you make when selecting your eCommerce platform. You need to choose a platform that helps your business, rather than just choosing the most popular or well-known service.

For example, if you’re an Australian business, then you understand that our small population and large distances impose certain costs and constraints on our businesses.

Most popular eCommerce services are built for a North American audience. Very little attention, if any, is given to the needs of smaller markets, like Australia and New Zealand.

Spiffy Stores stands out as an eCommerce service and platform very much dedicated to serving the needs of our Australian and New Zealand customers.

As a prime example of this suppport, we’d like to announce a fantastic new addition to our Checkout Rules feature, that helps you manage and control your costs of shipping and payment, to ensure that you’re not losing money on your orders.

We announced Checkout Rules a few years ago. The feature allows the store owner to add additional rules that are applied at checkout to limit quantites, payment methods and shipping options based on a number of criteria, such as customer tags, time of day, size of order and so on.

We are today announcing a major improvement to this feature. As well as the types of rules described above, we now allow additional rules to be created based on the shipping address chosen by the customer. For example, you can now limit quantities or choose payment methods and shipping options based on the customer’s chosen shipping country, state or region or even the distance from your shipping location. We’ve even added the ability to limit free-shipping options as well using these same criteria.

So what does this mean?

Here’s an example. You might sell licensed or perishable items that cannot be shipped to a specific country/state/region, so you can now easily create a checkout rule to check if an item is available for shipping to the customer.

Maybe you want to limit purchases of a popular item to 4 per customer. How about a happy hour special that only allows a discounted item to be sold at a certain time?

Our new distance-based rules also allow you to specify special shipping rates that only apply over a certain shipping distance. Or what about choosing different courier services based on the state or region that you are shipping to?

The list goes on and is pretty much limited only by your imagination.

In the end, it’s all determined by whether you’re choosing a popular eCommerce platform that doesn’t really address the needs of your business, or whether would you actually be better off with the option that helps your business be successful, and saves you money to boot?

eCommerce accounting made easy with our QuickBooks app.

Quickbooks ecommerce integration

Whether you’re new to eCommerce, or if it’s something you’ve done for years, it’s worth taking the time to streamline your systems and automating the drudgery wherever you can. This allows you to free up time to spend on building your business by working on your marketing so you can maximise the return on your eCommerce investment.

We’re constantly coming up with new ways to assist our merchants with this process, so we’re pleased to announce that our new QuickBooks integration is now available. QuickBooks completes our accounting integrations for now, as we’ve so far integrated with Xero, Saasu, and MYOB AccountRight to simplify the accounting side of things.

We’re also pleased to announce that our new QuickBooks integration is now available to all Spiffy Stores merchants at no extra cost. Other eCommerce providers can charge upwards of $30 USD per month to sync order data from your online store to your accounting app.

While QuickBooks may have been around for some time now, they are always working on improving their range of eCommerce bookkeeping and accounting software. QuickBooks Online provides a reliable and cost-effective eCommerce accounting system. It also has the benefit of being based on the robust framework of their globally successful tried and tested PC based bookkeeping system.

Features of our QuickBooks integration include:

  • Real-time instant sync! – Once an order has been paid, it is instantly added to QuickBooks.
  • Automatic daily sync – Quickly and easily import all your orders from your Spiffy Store into QuickBooks Online. You can choose to automatically sync order data and also export historical data from your store.
  • Full order details – Each order you export from your store into QuickBooks will automatically include all line items, shipping and taxes.
  • Flexibility – Select an existing account or create a new one to import your order information into. You can also put all of your Spiffy Stores sales into a single account if you choose.
  • Beautiful reporting – Sync your orders to QuickBooks and take advantage of their powerful and beautiful reports.
  • Inventory updates – Set up your products with inventory in QuickBooks using an SKU that matches the SKU in your store, and we’ll update the inventory in QuickBooks when an order is placed in your store.

Features of the QuickBooks system include:

  • Easy-to-use navigation
  • Common accounting tasks at the push of a button
  • A range of advanced tools
  • Full sales recording with credit and debit card friendly invoices and payment notifications
  • Downloadable bank transactions
  • Categorises and reviews deposits and expenses
  • Full mobile integration

The system has a comprehensive online support facility and pricing is based on three scalable ongoing subscription levels (starting at $10 a month) that will scale with your business.

Integration is simple and easy!

Well it is if you choose a solution like Spiffy Stores, as we now have a shiny new app for QuickBooks! It’s simple and intuitive to implement and use, and it brings with it a variety of benefits:

  • Improved efficiency – With access to detailed customer information and sales, you are better equipped to efficiently place orders and easily answer customer questions.
  • Seamless syncing – Real-time syncing with QuickBooks, updating reports and transactions as well as key customer and product inventory information.
  • Easy configuration – Our QuickBooks app configuration is simple, and fast to set up quickly and easily. We’ve provided step-by-step instructions in our knowledge base.