Store of the moment: Aromatix


Spurred by the birth of her first baby, Aromatix owner Amanda set out on a mission to find truly pure and natural products for her family from local suppliers. She even studied beauty and skincare in her journey to find solutions that reduced exposure to potentially harmful ingredients.

Amanda has scoured the length and breadth of the country to bring you Australian natural & organic products to delight your body, mind and home. And she knows you’re going to love them as much as she does.

Many of them are based on the principles of Aromatherapy, which means they are not only good for you but they smell great too!

Check out her Spiffy Store at

Vintage: a fully responsive theme from Spiffy Stores

We’re proud and delighted to announce we’ve given birth to a new theme for Spiffy Stores. And it’s a cracker!

Vintage-theme-devicesVintage, our most flexible theme yet, is a fully responsive design. The layout 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.

The Vintage theme gives you 6 elegant styles to choose from: Cupcakes, Fresh Linen, Natural, Vintage Velvet, Mellow Yellow, plus a bonus “Not So Vintage” style.  You can re-colour each of these styles to get it looking exactly how you want too!

And we’ve included a bucket load of customisable features such as…

  • 4 levels of drop-down menus so you can make really specific product categories
  • Cool 5-image homepage slideshow, with 3 different transitions, captions and links, so you can tailor each one to a different message
  • 24 funky heading typefaces and unlimited colour schemes so you can style it just the way you like it
  • Customisable product pages with custom product fields, dynamic image zoom and related product up-sells
  • Display featured collections on your home page with support for collection images (new feature!).
  • Featured collection pages with support for collection images (new feature!) so you can show off your different product categories on one page.
  • Social media integration to grow your audience on your Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube and LinkedIn pages
  • Newsletter integration with MailChimp, Campaign Monitor or Mad Mimi so you can sign up visitors to your email list through our simple form.
  • Built-in icons for payment methods like PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, and Bank Deposit.
  • Matching checkout styles with your logo and colours.

Sound good? Why not take a look around this baby in the Vintage theme demo store we’re building. While you’re there, try clicking and dragging the bottom right corner of your browser window in and out. You’ll see the seamless and dynamic resize in action!

If you want to apply the Vintage theme to your store, just navigate to the “Design & Assets > Theme gallery” section of your Toolbox 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 Vintage theme to get it to suit you perfectly, along with previews of the different built-in styles and fonts can be found in the Vintage theme guide in our Knowledge Base.

4 new payment gateways supported by Spiffy Stores

ecommerce payment gatewayDon’t say we don’t spoil you!

We’ve connected up 4 extra payment gateways to give you even more choices for processing credit card payments.

You can now add the following gateways to your online store. Yay!

Pin Payments – Australia’s first all-in-one online payment system. You don’t even need a merchant account to make use of their solution. You’re up and running right away.

Merchant Warrior – An Australian–based payment gateway that caters for all sizes of business from SME to the big end of town.

SwipeHQ Checkout – New Zealand-based SwipeHQ payment gateway also allows you to send invoices with credit card payment links, create ‘buy now’ buttons and run MOTO transactions.

… and already supported, but now available in Australia…

Braintree – An all-in-one platform from the US that provides a merchant account, payment gateway, recurring billing and credit card storage in the one spot.

You can select these providers, and many others, in your store Toolbox, under “Preferences > Checkout & Payment”.

More information about payment gateways compatible with Spiffy Stores can be found in our knowledge base.

How to start a business blog and bring more traffic to your store

start-a-business-blogA blog is an important part of any business’s online marketing toolkit. If your posts are frequent, interesting and well-written, they’ll help you build a relationship with your visitors and attract new traffic to your site. What’s not to like about that!

Lucky for you, every Spiffy Store comes with a blog section already installed and ready for action. All you need to do is start using it. This article will show you how to get cracking with confidence.

But, before you begin to write, you’ll need to do some prep…

Decide who’s going to help you – blogging takes up a big chunk of time. Rope in as many helpers as you can to help you research and write.

Know your audience – visualize your reader as a real person just like you or me; you’ll want to be talking to them when you write.

Mix up your content – blog posts generally fall into three categories:

  • Useful content: educational and informative pieces like “how to” articles, news and advice that present you as a trustworthy business. Most of your blog posts will fall into this category.
  • Entertaining content: funny videos & stories that build emotional connections with your readers by revealing your brand’s human qualities.
  • Promotional/sales content: news about a new product, sales event or service should be kept to a minimum. Your blog is not a sales channel and you’ll lose return visitors if you spruik your wares too much here.

Gather ideas for your posts – finding something interesting to write about on a regular basis can be the most difficult bit. Believe me, I know! The following list should get your creative juices flowing:

  • Relate to a topical or trending news item
  • Write a post for each of your most frequent customer service question
  • Write about an interesting fact or new data relating to your industr
  • Share company news such as an award, or an important mileston
  • Take readers on a look behind the scene
  • Illustrate different uses for your product
  • Write ‘best & worst’ posts – how, and how not, to do something
  • Review a new product or service you’ve see
  • Write a top 10 list
  • Give away some tips

Create a content calendar – this is the best way to avoid getting distracted or overwhelmed. With your blog topics in mind, plan out a calendar for your blog posting and keep to it. I’d recommend scheduling at least one blog per week.

Still with me? OK, now you can start writing!

My ten tips for writing a good blog:

  1. Be clear about your objectives when you begin. What do you want the post to do – inspire, promote or inform?
  2. Optimise your blog for search with keywords in the title, content and tags
  3. Create a strong, powerful headline to draw the reader in
  4. Make the post lively, interesting and useful
  5. Write like you’re talking to another person and call them “you”
  6. Write in short paragraphs so it’s easier to read
  7. Use sub headings to lead your readers through the content
  8. Aim for around 500 words in length
  9. Always add an image to support the theme
  10. Try making a video or audio podcast sometimes instead of a written piece

Promote your post – don’t forget to announce your new post on your social media channels. It’s a great way to encourage web traffic, sharing and linking.

Rinse and repeat! Once you start blogging, keep it up. The more blog posts you publish, the more web pages search engines can display so your regular efforts will start to bring new, qualified traffic.

Finally, keep an eye on your website analytics for which posts get the most traffic, links and shares. Use these insights to help you create further popular posts.

10 cracking ideas to promote your online store for Christmas

christmas-promotion-ideasAaargh! It’s that time of year again… It seems like only yesterday I was packing away the baubles and vacuuming glitter off the rug, but now there are less than 7 weeks till the Big Day.

With tinsel garlands and Christmas bells festooning the shops, it’s time to for you too to get into gear for the Christmas shopping frenzy.

Here are a few ideas to market your store over the festive season.

Create a Christmas collection

Attract online Christmas shoppers by creating a collection of items from your store that make great gifts.

Choose products for a broad range of tastes and budgets, from little stocking fillers and Kris Kringles to bigger family gifts. Categorise your products with tags like “gifts for mum” or “gifts for him”.

Offer a Christmas gift-wrapping service

Help your customers out by offering gift-wrapping over the festive season. If you’re offering wrapping at no extra charge, you can limit it to orders over a certain value, for example. That might encourage buyers to get more goodies in the one place.

Offer free delivery

Nothing makes my day like free delivery on my purchases. It’s a gift in itself! If you want to limit the cost impact, you could make the minimum order value for free shipping above your average order value and put a time limit on it.

Communicate your businesses seasonal information

Update your website well in advance to let your customers know when you will be closed over the holiday period. Make the cut off date for Christmas orders very clear to avoid disappointment.

Add your festive promotion to your email signature

Businesses often overlook this opportunity. Every time an email goes out, it can carry a promotional message in the signature area. Update your email signature over the pre-Christmas period to highlight special deals.

Create Christmas gift vouchers

Christmas is a great time to offer gift vouchers for your store. It’s a nice idea for shoppers who may not know exactly what to buy for a fussy friend or relative.

You can design a festive gift voucher yourself in a program like Word or PowerPoint and associate each value ($20, $50 etc) with a coupon code. Coupon codes are available on our Business and Enterprise plans and applied to your store through the “Marketing” section of your Toolbox. Find out how to create a coupon code here.

Email to your list to let them know what’s in store this Christmas

Design a festive email layout and send a Christmas newsletter to your subscribers and customers. Offer them gift ideas and let them know about any seasonal promotions. Include important information like order cut off dates and any holiday closures.

If you’re not already using email to connect with your customers and subscribers, here’s a quick guide to email marketing for your Spiffy Store.

Write Christmas-themed blog posts

Blog posts are a great way to attract traffic to your store and Christmas should give you a lot of topical ideas. How about a post suggesting ideal gifts for the hard-to-buy-fors (which you of course sell)?

Get busy on your social networks

Don’t forget to promote your offers on your social networks like Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook using hashtags like #giftsforhim and  #christmasgifts. You could attract a lot of extra traffic.

As the Big Day approaches, post shipping reminders so your customers know the last day to order for delivery in time for Christmas.

Remember it’s all about the customer

Christmas is a huge retail opportunity and the chance to make a lot of shoppers happy. Build good relationships with your customers during this busy time and you could have repeat business throughout the new year.

Store of the moment: Worry Dolls


The worry dolls from Guatemala featured in the Worry Dolls store are all produced by co-operatives from various villages, earning much needed funds for basic necessities and small scale infrastructure projects within their communities.

Their gorgeous new Spiffy Store was based on our Seattle Theme, re-designed by Design & PR Girl, and built by us. This is a practical affordable approach to getting your own store fully customised. We’re loving the look, and Ana (the store owner) is tickled pink with the new design!

Check out their Spiffy Store at

Related articles

5 secrets to an irresistible online store

surprised-woman-smlBack in the days when Mum wore a pinny and Dad sported a hat to work, shopping wasn’t the soulless chore it is now. It was a social event.

A trip to Mr. Green’s store guaranteed Mum personal attention, new goodies to taste, meal tips and lashings of neighbourhood gossip. And as she left, the kindly shopkeeper would slip a lolly for little Timmy into her hand.

And so it went on, week after week. Mum enjoyed being looked after, and the extra value Mr. Green added to her task. In turn, Mr. Green learnt about his customers needs and earned their repeat business, so he was happy too.

But a lot has changed since then.

Today, that special connection has been lost. The buying experience has been reduced to a sterile transaction – I give you money, I take away the thing I want.

And sadly, we’ve become used to it. The buying public has low expectations that are frequently only just met. The incentive to buy has been reduced to a price war that has cut deeply into business profit margins.

It’s even worse in the world of the online shopper, who’s cut off from human contact completely. The personal touch and the chance to add value has been all but lost.

This is your chance to shine online

This sorry status quo presents a huge opportunity for smart online business owners like you. You can create a competitive advantage and increase sales by offering your customers a shopping experience that will knock their socks off.

The rewards of a better relationship with your customers include fewer complaints, increased business and precious referrals and recommendations. With the birth of social media, these recommendations can be carried to a very large audience at no cost to yourself.

Not sure where to begin? Here are my five secrets to creating an irresistible online store by impressing the pants off your customers.

1. Give your brand an enticing presence

Put everything from your website to your customer service emails under the microscope and look at them through your customers’ eyes.

Does your business leave a positive impression? Is your store welcoming and easy to browse? Are your product descriptions lively and your photos hi-quality? What about your phone voice mail message?

Every time your audience comes into contact with your brand, you have a chance to give them an unforgettable experience and build that important relationship. Check where you can tighten up.

2. Keep your customers informed

Communication is key to providing a great customer experience. By that I don’t mean spamming your database with promotions.

  • Keep in contact with your customers throughout the order process. Email them a note when their order has been posted and let them know when it can be expected. Go that extra mile and follow up with a personal email to check their goodies have arrived and are being enjoyed.
  • Make it easy for people to contact you when they need you. Display your contact details prominently on each page of your website and have a ‘contact us’ page.
  • Answer the phone politely and cheerfully. Check that your voicemail message has the same welcoming tone.
  • Use social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to offer tips or entertain your audience.

3. Act quickly

The instant nature of the Internet has made us all impatient beasts. Hours can seem like days when you’re expecting a response or delivery, so act quickly to reduce complaints.

  • Post out store orders within 24 hours. Don’t leave a customer waiting to receive goods they’ve already paid for.
  • Answer any email enquiries or complaints the same day they arrive.
  • Respond to a query or complaint within 4 hours on Twitter and within 24 hours on Facebook and other social networks like Google+. Any later, interest in your business will drop like a lead balloon.

4. Surprise and delight

Don’t leave that extra effort for when things go wrong. It’s the little unexpected things you do for your customers in the course of regular business that makes you stand out as a great business. Remember Mr. Green and his little treats!

  • Add a handwritten note in the package.
  • Offer free gift wrapping.
  • Include a discount voucher for their next order.

5. Treat every complaint as an opportunity

Sometimes a customer complaint can be a blessing in disguise. If you can resolve it successfully, you may well keep the customer and even be referred to others.

  • Whatever the cause, don’t make excuses for what happened, take ownership of the situation and let the customer know you care about resolving the issue quickly.
  • If you’re hearing the same question often, consider making it into an FAQ or tutorial on your website.

If in doubt, phone a friend

Sometimes we’re so close to something, we can’t see the wood for the trees. If you’re stuck for ideas to improve the customer experience, ask a good friend to act as a buyer and offer you suggestions. You might be surprised at the things you learn.

How to attract more business to your online store

how-to-attract-more-business-to-your-online-storeThe answer is already in your hands. And it’s free.

Tucked neatly into every Spiffy Store is a simple promotional tool that can make a big difference to your business.

What am I talking about? Your store blog.

7 ways a blog can improve the success of your store

If you’re already up and blogging away, good for you! You can skim through the rest of this post if you like. For the rest of you, pay attention.

Contrary to what you might think, a blog’s not just for foodies and cat lovers. It’s a powerful marketing machine that can be working away 24/7 to support your store by:

  • Helping your website to rank higher in search engine results
  • Attracting more traffic from search engines
  • Growing awareness of your store
  • Building your credibility
  • Developing your unique business personality
  • Building relationships with browsers and customers
  • Building your email list (as people to subscribe to your blog)

To show you how that translates in real terms, I pulled out some online research.

US Marketing company Hubspot regularly surveys businesses around the world about their marketing habits. They found that web sites with a blog received 55% more visitors and 97% more inbound links than those without.

Not only that, they discovered that 57% of companies with a blog had acquired a new customer from it.

How does something as simple as a blog do all that?

The answer lies in the potent mix of quality content and search engine optimization that a regularly-updated blog provides.

Your blog is the information hub of your online store. It’s the place to share interesting news, opinion, advice and even entertainment with your audience. As you add to it, your online presence and authority grows.

And it’s a search engine magnet.

Search engines like Google look at specific elements when indexing web content and deciding how it will rank. Some of the most important factors are the amount of relevant information it contains, how many quality links are present and the number of social signals it generates (likes and shares etc.) One of the simplest and cheapest ways you can do all this is with a blog.

Now, are you ready for action?

Don’t put it off any longer because you think it’s hard and scary, and you don’t have the time. I’m here to get you up to speed.

Don’t ignore it because you have a Facebook page. You should be driving traffic to your own website, not Mr. Zuckerberg’s.

Over the weekend, grab a cuppa, sit down and invest a little time reading other blogs for inspiration. Blog directories like technorati and blogarama are a good place to start looking.

I’ll be back next week to guide you through the basics. Get ready!

Why the new iPhone 5s is great news for your online store

taking iphone photosReaders of this blog will know I’m a huge fan of taking photos with my iPhone.

I mean, why bother with the expense of a separate camera when an iPhone takes great hi-resolution images with ease, and apps like Instagram make me look like a ruddy photo rockstar.

I’ve even written posts showing how you can use a smartphone to take top quality product shots and how to give extra punch to a photo with Instagram.


Because detailed, hi-resolution photography is key to the success of your online store.

The world just can’t get enough of big, juicy images busting with personality and detail and it’s especially important in e-commerce. Your store could thrive or die on the quality of your product photos, which is why the iPhone 5s camera upgrades are a blessing for online retailers.

The new 5s still has the 8 megapixel camera I know and love, but they’ve improved the lens so you get better results in low light conditions. There’s a new flash that adjusts colour and brightness, and two new shooting features; a burst mode that takes 10 frames per second, and a slow-mo video that shoots 120 frames per second.

Combine all that with the powerful photography software coming out in the new operating system iOS7 and you’ve got a professional photo studio that fits in your pocket.

Imagine how great your product photos would look if you took them with this baby. Actually, you don’t need to imagine – here’s a few examples.

Don’t say I didn’t let you know.

Photo credit: Barry Pousman via Flickr

How to take product photos with your smartphone

how-to-take-product-photos-with-your-smartphoneA great product image is essential if you want to sell your goodies online. But we can’t all afford to have professional photos taken, and manufacturers’ photos can be a bit, well… dull, can’t they.

Take heart – you can DIY and create your own quality, hi resolution images! This is especially handy if you add to your collections continually.


This post is about taking decent photos with a decent smartphone. A real digital camera is better, but a good one costs a bit. You can use your smartphone camera with good effect if it’s over 8 megapixels.


Smartphone SLR-style apps can give you greater flexibility so you can take better photos. However, don’t use a really creative photography app for product images. They’re great fun for blogs or editorial, but they won’t do you any favours when your web visitors are trying to decide whether or not to buy your goods.

Invest in a simple camera mount to avoid shaky images, and consider buying two good removable lenses (yes you can get them for smartphones!). A separate zoom lens will give you better-detailed product shots than a ‘digital’ (in camera) zoom, and a wide-angle lens is best when including backgrounds.

Photo background

Talking of backgrounds, you’ll need at least two types for your product photos – a sharp, high quality close up and a more creative and editorial version.

For a standard ‘studio’ product shot, use a solid, plain background, like large sheet of white paper. There’s good illustration of how to set this up in brokenarts’s blog.

For a more creative shot, place your product in context, like the kitchen or illustrating its uses, and shoot the whole thing.


For natural lighting, choose a well-lit spot without direct sunlight. Turn off any room lights and use a mirror or white boards to reflect some daylight onto your product.

For a studio effect, make a backdrop of a plain piece of white paper as described above. Turn off the overhead lights and use regular lamps either side of the object to provide ‘spotlighting’. You will need to move them around to get the best lighting effect and avoid dark areas on the product or shadows on the paper.

Whatever lighting you use, make you capture the right colour of the product in your photos.

Image editing

We live in the heady days of cloud software, and free photo-editing tools are available to help you tweak your photos manually. The design industry standard is Photoshop, but it’s rather expensive. I use pixlr, but I’ll cover a few other free image optimisation tools in a future post.

Whatever software you choose, keep your editing simple and don’t alter the colour of your product. You also don’t need to re-size your images as Spiffy Stores automatically re-sizes them to fit in different areas of your store.

Have fun experimenting with photography on your smartphone!