Spiffy Stores partners with Sendle to provide 100% carbon neutral delivery

Parcel delivery for small business, but better!

Hot on the heels of our integrations with Fastway and Australia Post, we’re delighted to announce our integration with Sendle… who have just recently announced they are now Climate Neutral Certified!

Sendle is the sustainable shipper specifically designed for small business. As the first 100% carbon neutral shipping service in Australia (and now the US and Canada, too), they work hard to reduce shipping’s harm on the planet. Sendle, like us, thinks that everyone, everywhere should have the opportunity and tools to build their dream business.

Each year 1 billion parcels are sent across Australia alone. And, each one of those parcels has an impact on the environment. In addition to a heap of packaging waste, tons of CO₂ are emitted into the atmosphere with every delivery. It’s a huge problem. 

By shipping with Sendle, you’re part of the solution. Every time you send a parcel, Sendle offsets the carbon emissions by investing in environmental projects. So far, they’ve helped preserve pockets of native forests in Tasmania’s Central Highlands, helped protect the Australian Long-nosed Potoroo, and are helping restore wetlands and native forests in Australia.

For us at Spiffy Stores, efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to shipping. Relying on manual processes to fulfil orders can be a recipe for disaster when things get busy.

Using shipping tools, such as our fulfilment integrations enables you to book a courier and print shipping labels automatically as part of a streamlined workflow. By simply doing this, you could get parcels out of the door 200% faster than you could by manually entering information for each parcel.

Like our other integrations, when you ship an order, your customer is automatically notified with the tracking information, you can print out all of your labels in one batch…and you’ll also be able to check on the status of each parcel until it is successfully delivered.

The difference with Sendle though, is that you can get discounted rates with a free upgrade to Sendle Premium, providing great discounted rates… as well as the peace of mind that your deliveries are 100% carbon neutral. You can take advantage of their 250g options for small or light items, Sendle Express is guaranteed cheaper than Express post, and you buy compostable satchels from them that break down in home compost (worms love them!). Plus, they’ve got dedicated customer support available 24-hours a day, 5 days a week if you need a hand.

Learn more about how to enable our Sendle integration here, and how to use it here.

Streamline your shipping processes with our new Aramex integration

We’ve just integrated with Aramex/Fastway, to help you automate your shipping processes.

Aramex (formerly Fastway) is a popular carrier for many businesses, as they offer an affordable and reliable courier service that operates all over Australia and New Zealand.

Previously with Aramex, you would need to manually book a pickup, and manually add in all of the address details. This manual process can be quite time consuming.

We’re always on the hunt for way to save our merchants time and money, so we’ve now developed a direct integration with the Fastway/Aramex system.

If you already have an account with Fastway/Aramex, you can then easily enable this integration in your store’s admin, you can directly submit your orders to Fastway with the click of a button. Your customer is automatically notified with the tracking information, you can print out all of your labels in one batch… and you’ll also be able to check on the status of each parcel until it is successfully delivered.

Of course, this new integration will save you a lot of time, and we hope that new free time will be spent marketing your store. It’s the difference between a successful store and an er… not so successful one.

We already have merchants using the new integration, and so far the feedback seems very positive. If you’re using it and encounter any problems, just let us know by emailing us at support@spiffystores.com.au or calling us on 1300 727 334 to discuss.

To make this feature accessible to everyone, the Fastway/Aramex integration is available to all stores. It’s included in our Pro plan, and available as an add-on on all other plans in the Accounts -> Add-ons section of your store’s admin. It can be enabled in the Preferences -> Fulfilment Services section of your store’s admin.

Instructions on how to enable our Aramex/Fastway integration, and how to use it can be found in our knowledge base.

Product Reviews Now Available

We’re excited to announce that we have now released product reviews, and they are available and included in every Spiffy Stores plan at no additional cost!

We have been working away updating themes to include a way for your customers to add reviews, and for them to be displayed beautifully in your store… and most themes are finished! The last theme we’ll be updating (the Adelaide theme) should be available next week.

With the addition of the built-in mail after purchase email, you should be able to generate a ton of product reviews. These reviews are also indexed by Google and can be a great way for you to generate some buzz around your store and your products.

Reviews and the mail after purchase email function are included in all plans and it takes just a few minutes to set up.

To activate reviews in your store, you’ll need to firstly ensure you have updated your theme to the latest version. We have instructions on how to do that here.

If your store has a custom design, or updating your theme seems a bit difficult… it’s likely you’ll want us to do this for you for a small fee. Please email support@spiffystores.com.au requesting that we update your theme to include product reviews, and we’ll let you know when we can book you in.

Once your theme is up to date, you can then enable product reviews in the Products section of your store’s admin.

You can enable the mail after purchase function in the Preferences -> General Settings section of your store’s admin.

You can add a logo or edit the automated mail after purchase email in the Design & Assets -> Email Templates section of your store’s admin.

We’ve made product reviews available to all stores for many reasons… but the main one is that they can make a huge difference to your store’s performance. How? You may ask…

8 reasons why you need Product Reviews in your store now!

Reviews can help your store increase sales, and can help you to convince customers to leave more of them. Read on to get started.

1. Product reviews help create more informed customers

Product reviews can contain a lot of extra information that can’t be found anywhere else. Reviews can mention things like durability, colour, sizing, and so much more.

It’s personal insights such as “a little narrow for my wide feet” that help customers to be informed and find products that they will love.

2. Valuable insight helps you to improve

Reviews can also help you better understand your products. You can spend hours using a product, but chances are your customers are going to notice things you never would. That means your customers can give you ideas for improvements, or even excellent ideas on how to market your products.

3. Increased transparency

It can be scary allowing customers to openly review you, but showcasing feedback – good or bad, shows you have nothing to hide, and value your customers opinion. The ability to reply to a review also allows you to acknowledge that you’re not perfect, or your products may not be perfect for everyone. Replying to a review can also show that you have faith in your product range.

And you needn’t worry about those odd negative product reviews – 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both bad and good review scores.

4. Increased trust

The immediate benefit of reviews is that they can make your future customers feel that much more confident. The more reviews you have, the more convinced a shopper will be that they’re making the right decision.

5. Social proof your products

We all want one everyone else has, right? That’s how trends work.

Product reviews can make every one of the items you sell super desirable. Instead of seeing every positive product review as a great piece of feedback, see it as a vote in a popularity contest.

Additionally, if customers share products they’ve reviewed across their social networks, it’s more exposure for those products and your brand.

6. SEO benefits

User-generated content provides Google with the thing it loves most: content, and lots more of it than mast store owners can generate themselves. Product reviews are usually full of really relevant, rich keywords, to help further build context around your eCommerce store. This can dramatically improve your Google rankings.

Plus… not sure if you’ve ever seen them, but you will see stars displayed under product listings in organic search results. These result in an increase in click-through rates. This is also one of Google’s ranking factors, so – yes… this will also help you reach the top spots in search ranking.

7. Increased Visibility in Google Shopping

Google Shopping is extremely competitive, and the addition of stars to your product listings can make all the difference when it comes to attracting the attention of potential customers.

8. More conversions and bigger baskets

As a result of your customers being more informed, more confident, and more trusting they’ll be more likely to convert. Not only that, but they’ll probably also buy more. We’re talking more, bigger sales.

According to statistics, reviews produce an average of 18% uplift in sales, and customers who visit a site and interact with reviews spend 11% longer on the site than those who don’t.

Trying to compete online without product reviews can be an uphill battle. Customers are beginning to expect reviews as standard. So take advantage of our new feature, and you’ll see a whole host of amazing benefits that will help you continuously adapt and improve.

There are many ways to collect reviews, and we’ll have another article or two on collecting product reviews in the weeks to come.

Spiffy Stores Partners with Australia Post MyPost Business.

We’ve just made it even easier for you to automate your shipping processes.

MyPost Business is used widely by many businesses, as it saves you time by allowing you to submit your parcel information electronically and to generate pre-printed labels and tracking information automatically.

Although there are many advantages to using MyPost Business, it can become a bit of a chore for some. Without a fulfilment service, you still need to export your orders, import them into MyPost Business, mark each order as shipped, and update each order with the tracking number.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could find some way get your orders straight into the MyPost Business system without having to manually export and import them, update tracking numbers, manually print labels etc.?

That’s what we thought! So we now have a direct integration with the MyPost Business system.

Once you have activated your MyPost Business account within your store’s admin, you can directly submit your orders to Australia Post with the click of a button. Your customer is automatically notified with the tracking information, you can print out all of your labels in one batch… and you’ll also be able to check on the status of each parcel until it is successfully delivered.

Our new integration is going to save you so much time that you’ll have oodles left to invest in marketing your store. Our first users are already delighted by the way this improves the way they run their businesses… and makes it so much easier to get the fulfilment side of your business sorted.

To make this feature accessible to everyone, the MyPost Business integration is available to all stores. It’s included in our Pro plan, and available as an add-on on all other plans in the Accounts -> Add-ons section of your store’s admin. It can be enabled in the Preferences -> Fulfilment Services section of your store’s admin.

This is the first of our new fulfilment service integrations. Stay tuned, as there is more to come!

Australia Post Update

eParcel Integration

Hey! Just a quick heads-up for anyone using our Australia Post eParcel integration. They have updated their services, and you may need to update your rates in the Fulfilment Services section of your store’s Preferences.

What we can see is that the Express Post service has been given a new product ID and/or renamed. If you get an error when trying to ship, your best bet is to roll back the shipment, update the settings and try shipping the order again.

Note: This only affects stores using our fulfillment integration with eParcel. If you are just using Australia Post’s CSV file then you shouldn’t be affected.

Gift Cards Now Available on All Plans

As part of our efforts to support small businesses (like us) during these difficult times, we’re looking for ways we can help our merchants stay on top of cashflow woes. If you have an idea for a new feature or function that will help you, please let us know by emailing us at support@spiffystores.com.au

To start, we’re announcing new support for Gift Cards, built right into your store. We’re extending this to include our Startup Plan, which means that right now, it’s the best value ecommerce plan available from any ecommerce provider.

We hope this helps our merchants as we and our economy slowly recover from the effects of COVID-19.

Why gift cards?

Sudden declines in sales are difficult to manage when expenses haven’t changed, and still need to be paid. Electricity, rent, utilities, and basic supplies are static costs that we don’t often have control over. This leaves merchants struggling with money going out, and less money coming in. Here are some other benefits to offering Gift Cards…

  1. Gift Cards build brand awareness
    Gift Cards are easy, cost-effective advertising that can help keep your business top of mind with your audience. Virtual Gift Cards promote your brand messaging with online customers, and physical Gift Cards offer wallet-sized advertisements to share your business’s messaging.

  2. Gift Cards capture more holiday sales
    Gift Cards allow all types of businesses to catch the holiday spirit. From homewares to car wash subscriptions, lawn care, home maintenance and salon services, Gift Card programs can make the holidays brighter for everyone – whatever their interests are.

  3. Gift Cards enable customer engagement
    Gift givers are essentially your brand ambassadors, so you want to ensure recipients and givers alike are left feeling uplifted by their experience. Engagement with a customer starts with a Gift Card, but it doesn’t have to end there. Gift Card programs open doors to deeper customer relationships and additional marketing opportunities.

  4. Gift Cards are safe and convenient
    Today’s virtual Gift Cards are safer and more accessible than paper certificates that were vulnerable to loss, theft and fraud from duplication. As for convenience, you can accept Gift Cards the same way you accept credit and debit cards: in your own online store’s checkout.

  5. Gift Cards improve cash flow
    Selling Gift Cards allows you to generate revenue in advance of providing products or services. As an added bonus, customers who use Gift Cards aren’t as price sensitive. They actually consider them as free money or a discount, which means that they’ll spend more than the value of the card when redeeming the card. In fact, two out of three consumers who pay with a Gift Card will spend 38 percent more than the card’s value.

Using Gift Cards to increase your cash flow

Gift Card products can be created in your Spiffy Store in the Products section of your store’s admin. You can modify their name, image, description, and the denominations that your customers can buy. They’re sent digitally by email and can be redeemed in your store at any time. Make sure you check out our tutorial on creating a Gift Card product.

Once you’ve set up your Gift Card product, make sure you let your customers know. You can do this a number of ways…

  • Email your customers to let them know. You may even want to offer them a discount on a Gift Card using a coupon code.

  • Connect with your customers on social media. When we’re all isolating and trying to keep safe, it’s more important for you to connect with your customers. As you ask how they’re doing, let them know how you’re doing as well, and how they can now send a gift card to loved on.

  • Connect with your local community through online based channels, like chats, groups, and discussions, post on local Facebook pages. Small businesses often have loyal followers and they can help you get the word out.

Issuing Gift Cards

In addition to selling Gift Cards, you can also send Gift Cards yourself. This is often a good way to say thanks to a customer, or to issue a refund… but you can also issue Gift Cards lower in value to promote spending, rather than offering a discount.

You could also issue Gift Cards as part of a giveaway promotion, or competition. Our tutorial on issuing Gift Cards can be found in our knowledge base.

Planned Outage Notification

We’ll be doing some maintenance that will unfortunately involve some downtime for your store.

Our usual maintenance has resulted in little to no downtime for many years, but this maintenance requires that we take stores offline to be able to make necessary updates.

We estimate that this maintenance will take up to 2 hours to complete.

During this time, visitors to your store will be redirected to a generic page saying that your store is undergoing maintenance.

As soon as the maintenance is completed, we’ll switch your store back to live.

If you have any questions, please email us at support@spiffystores.com.au

We’ll update the FAQ below with answers to any questions we receive.

Expected Impact: 2 hours outage duration
Date: Sunday 19th September 2021
Time: 9:00am – 11:00am AEST

Frequently Asked Questions

Q How long is the downtime?
A We estimate the downtime to be 2 hours or less

Q Will visitors see a page stating the site is under maintenance?
Yes. You can preview the page here

Create infinitely customisable products with Infinite Options. Now available.

Our poor tech team has been locked in the dungeon, tasked with coming up with ways to make our software as flexible as possible, but keeping things simple. With this new feature it may be just be time to let them out!

We often have to reach out to our merchants to find out what problems they are facing. We then work on solving those problems by creating new functions or tweaking existing ones.

One of the problems we’ve identified affects merchants who create unique handmade products… so if this affects you… keep on reading!

You may have been struggling with ways to provide your customers with customisation options, so they can customise a product exactly how they want it. Often this has required delving into the code to create custom fields on products to collect all of the info needed. In other cases, you’ve been able to use the Product Variations combined with Custom Options to offer options, but this can cause the product to load very slowly, as every possible combination needs to be loaded.

There is definitely room for improvement there.

To solve this problem, we’ve created a new add-on called Infinite Options. Infinite Options allows you to sell products that are infinitely customisable. You can create drop down, number, radio, checkbox, text, and long text fields with ease, and apply them to a single product or collection of products.

Infinite Options works on any device (desktop, laptop, mobile device iOS or Android or tablet). Every Infinite Option is purely descriptive. If you offer a customer a choice of options using an Infinite Option selection, the option choice becomes part of the order and is added to the product description in the cart, but it does not affect the price of the product, nor does it affect inventory management. If you want to create fields that do affect the product price then you’ll want to create Product Variations or Custom Options in addition or instead of using Infinite Options.

If you need stock tracking on the option, then you’ll need to create those options using Product Variations.

Why offer customisable products?

Customisation of products enhances the user experience by providing them with the ability to personalise your products. It usually leads to more conversions for the ecommerce business providing personalisation options to their customers.

When you allow your customer to personalise a product, they are turning from passive buyers to active partners. They are contributing to the product development process. The mere conscious effort of helping to create the product can prompt a customer to buy it.

How do I get it?

Infinite Options is available for free on our Plus and Pro Plans, and can also be added as an add-on to our Startup Plan for a small monthly fee. Again you’ll find that our fees are substantially lower than the competition. It can be found in the Preferences -> Infinite Options section of every store today.

Documentation can be found in the Spiffy Stores Knowledge Base.

To make Infinite Options work elegantly in a storefront, we’ve made some changes to our popular themes. We’ve released updates to our Simple, Adelaide, Melbourne, Darwin, Sydney, Bendigo, and Vintage themes to support the new fields… so they should all display beautifully in the latest versions of these themes. If you’re using an older version of one of these themes, you’ll need to update your theme. If your store is using a different theme, you’ll need to contact us for assistance if the fields aren’t displaying correctly.

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.