11 Reasons to Choose Shopify for your E-commerce Store

With multiple platforms available for e-commerce site development, it becomes tricky to choose the ideal one for your needs. If one needs to initiate an online store and choose the best platform, it is essential that it ticks the right boxes. In that case, we feel that Shopify fits the bill of being one of the best effective e-commerce platforms today.

reason to choose shopify

Top 11 Reasons to Choose Shopify as your Ecommerce Platform:

1. Easy to Setup

Shopify is focused on keeping tools simple and effective while offering wide functionality for merchants required for eCommerce store management. Its ease of use is what convinces merchants who are not tech geeks to opt for the platform since it includes necessary tools and documentation for easy store setup by anyone.

2. Reasonable Price

Shopify is priced for the long term which is useful for every growing storefront. All Shopify costs are spread out for every month and priced nearly $29. A transaction fee is levied for small stores but it is waived off as it becomes bigger. The pricing is systematic in its structure such that there is never a huge one-time investment and no contracts, and one can invest in inventory instead.

3. Simple Backend System

Shopify also has a simple backend system, which is incredibly easy, for a store owner since one can put in the time to sort backend in locating things, with diverse product additions, and customer service.The entire settings, analytics fields and setup checklists are synchronized to the tee.

4. Good Professional Support

Shopify supports techies, designers and developers with incentives. The platform encourages specialists to work with Shopify platform and makes it accessible to the public at large with the custom design. Unlike other open-source shopping carts that often rely on community, Shopify now has a dedicated team for support.

5. Loads of built-in Apps

Whether you need a blog, some coupon codes, upsells, analytics, inventory setup – Shopify has a full array of apps in one place. Additionally, the developers build applications that can customize your Shopify store. One can get the desired functionality with all types of inbuilt and custom applications.

6. Reliable Hosted Solution

Shopify hosting is part of the monthly subscription and includes automated backups and updates. Also, the stores cope well even when there are huge web traffic spikes and deliver minimal downtime too.

7. Friendly Cash flow Structure

As mentioned above, Shopify charges a transaction fee on smallest stores which are waived off when the store becomes big. The cash flow structure goes from month to month with no upfront investment too.

8. Point of Sale Integration

For online retailers, who also have a physical shop location, Shopify provides an efficient point-of-sale system that syncs with the online store. The small online retailer that might not be able to afford a full-service solution can take benefit from this feature. The inventory can be handled seamlessly on both mediums, which relieves one of the biggest hassles.

9. Complete Design Control

Most hosted eCommerce platforms offer the ability for store owners to edit their template designs but also set constraints of a template. Shopify, on the other hand, has a theme templating engine that gives enough flexibility for all sorts of interface improvements. Shopify’s templating engine offers designers and developers a plethora of options over hosted eCommerce platforms.

10. Free Security Option

Shopify provides secure hosting features including an SSL certificate and a secured shopping cart for online transactions. Merchants can use any payment gateway, although it offers Stripe as the preferred payment gateway. Stripe provides flexible tools for e-commerce and Shopify makes it easy for all merchants with stringent security options.

11. Easy SEO

An SEO Shopify expert can help manage transitions between e-commerce sites to keep the existing robust rankings. Shopify has an SEO-friendly setup that leverages each of the product categories and helps in its promotions.

Shopify has all the ideal e-commerce features that you would need. It is a nearly perfect e-commerce platform that aids all small business stores along with the large marketplaces.

Shopify Gold vs Magento Enterprise: The Ultimate Comparison

First and foremost, every eCommerce platform allows for a strong shopping experience with virtual storefronts that attract, entice and enable consumers to buy products or services as they desire.

Online merchants host their websites and even manage their offerings, prices, promotions etc. But when higher volumes are considered, the e-commerce strategy does depend on the solidity of the platform.

shopify gold vs magento 2

Every eCommerce platform aspires to deliver a strong shopping experience with the help of virtual stores that enable consumers to buy products as they desire.

Online merchants host their websites and even manage their offerings, prices, promotions etc. But when higher volumes are considered, the e-commerce strategy does depend on the solidity of the platform.

Shopify Gold and Magento Enterprise are two of the best eCommerce platforms in the present scenario. And to help to choose the best, a representative from a veteran e-commerce solutions provider can help you out!

With 8+ years of eCommerce business, Zestard Technologies Pvt. Ltd includes a team of certified Shopify Specialists and Magento Developers, who have also garnered repute in the field.  The company has deployed 200+ successful online stores that boast of an impressive ROI. Although we are platform agnostic, we partner with clients to choose an ideal one based on their requirements.

Shopify Gold

Shopify recently released Shopify Gold for Indian merchants in July 2017 and has a simple navigation. It provides fully supported service, although it holds a bit less market share than Magento the growth has been stupendous and faster compared to any e-commerce platform.

Magento Enterprise

Magento Enterprise offers integrated cloud hosting and impeccable infrastructure, featuring pre-integrated tools, good management to handle traffic spikes and boost operational efficiency.

Shopify Gold vs Magento Enterprise

There are some differences and similarities with specific advantages and disadvantages to both platforms. Our research and comparison criteria are done objectively to choose the ideal one for your business.

1. Scalability & Reliability

Shopify Gold features 200 TB Storage, along with Unlimited Bandwidth, 8000+ Orders/ Min. processing time, and 99.99% Server Uptime.

shopify features

Shopify Gold offers a fully hosted SaaS solution perfect to handle high-volume merchants for business. The infrastructure rests on 500,000 Shopify merchants, ensuring all sorts of flash sales, Black Friday audience etc. is handled efficiently.

Magento on the hand relies on Content Delivery Network (CDN) and DDoS protection. It also offers generous bandwidth allowances and even offers New Relic APM Pro for thorough Performance Monitoring and Blackfire.io Enterprise for the purpose of Performance Testing without any restrictions.

Magento 2.0 is scalable but priced accordingly for on-premise deployments that require solution architects to accommodate highest peaks in traffic, even though for a single day every year. But every change to the system impacts the scalability of the architecture.

2. 24*7 Support

Shopify Gold gives access to launch manager along with a dedicated account manager who can guide you with immediate assistance.

Magento also provides 24×7 monitoring of your system and renders email support for application and cloud infrastructure. The support is inclusive in the USD $3399/ month plan only.

3. Cost Effective

Shopify Gold has priced at 0.4% of monthly sales or a fixed price amount of Rs. 65000/ month, whichever is the higher amount, to a maximum levied a charge of Rs.130,000/ month covering all licensing & support costs involved.

Magento Commerce Starter licenses start from $1999/ month or about Rs. 130000 while Magento Commerce Pro is priced at nearly Rs. 2,20,935 per month. Shopify hence is priced at nearly half the price of Magento making it a very cost-effective platform.

4. Easy to Start Platform

Shopify Gold allows users to deploy their store within weeks and without much technical knowledge. Shopify’s templating language is quite intuitive and hence does not require development experience. It also allows for private app development and even quick and easy cart scripting for complex customizations.

Magento, on the other hand, is accessible and can be deployed by technical users only since the system can be deployed by someone who knows programming. Implementation times for Magento 2 usually takes up 4 to 8 months and also require technical resources including, developers, deployment specialists, QA and testing professionals, etc.

5. Better Reporting

Shopify Gold has a strong reporting dashboard for adding different elements including revenue, orders etc.

Magento uses third-party tools for reporting purposes.  Shopify Gold is the stronger option of the two as they have dedicated app for merchants for the purpose of reporting and order processing along with a robust SDK for mobile applications. But in terms of reporting, both platforms have third-party apps that attend to the need of custom reports. As mentioned earlier, Magento 2 needs comprehensive technical knowledge too.

6. Marketing Friendliness

Most marketers do not have a technical background so if the platform needs to be leveraged for creating product descriptions, and even to edit website copy, one needs a platform that is easy to use for the average marketer.

Shopify Gold definitely offers a marketer-friendly option, better than Magento EE, giving access to key functions from the admin panel, and create conversion pixels for tracking of relevant social media campaigns, discount code generator, and other extensions.

Magento EE has no default functionalities and features need to be created, causing the marketer to rely on developers to get their work sorted. Shopify Gold though as per research is still the easiest platform for the marketing team.

7. Performance

Shopify-hosted websites have faster loading speed than Magento. According to selfstartr.com, Shopify boasts a 1.98 seconds loading time while Magento sites take an average of 5.05 secs to load.

In terms of Google page loading times, Shopify achieves a rating of 63 while Magento achieves 51. In terms of mobile friendliness, Shopify scores again with 94 points to Magento’s score of 81. Needless to say, Shopify outscores Magento on performance.

8. POS Integration

Shopify Gold has powerful POS integration capabilities and is seamless enough to sell on multiple platforms including social channels and sites, mobile avenues, and other marketplaces. Magento, on the other hand, has decent capabilities for POS integration but Shopify outscores the platform by a large margin.

Additionally, Shopify boasts of PCI Level 1 Compliance security along with better SEO capabilities than Magento making it one of the most useful e-commerce platforms. One can preferably opt for Shopify because it is one ideal e-commerce platform that is cost-effective, has scores of apps that can be deployed by non-techies and even features easy customizations that can be used for specific businesses.

React or Angular 2: The Best Choice for 2018

Currently, web designing is taking a splash with the new JavaScript technologies. Every year, new technologies come in and old ones fade out. Programmers have to be adaptable to pick and choose relevant new technologies. Also, businesses have to be quick to try the new technologies in the town. Choosing the right framework is important for both. Angular 2 and React are the two torchbearers for front-end development in 2018.

react vs angular 2

Angular is a platform for building web applications by Google. While React is a JavaScript library for building creating UI by Facebook. Let us now quickly jump to the battle of React vs Angular 2.

1. Templates

Both React and Angular 2 are based on JavaScript.

Angular 2 is in TypeScript. The templating is done with the HTML files. It follows the object-based programming patterns. Due to this, Angular 2 has high-performance typing features. Angular 2 put JavaScript into HTML. It is HTML-centric.

Everything in React is in JavaScript XML(JSX). It has a JS syntax that enables HTML quotes. It promotes the building of machine-readable code. The templates and logic of React are written in JSX. The syntax of React is simple and clean. React puts HTML into JavaScript. Thus, it is JavaScript-centric.

2. Framework

Angular 2 is a full-fledged framework. This framework can run on any platform or browser. It has other advantages such as it is consistent, offers a lot of ready-made tools. Moreover, the ng components are quite mature and robust.

ReactJS is not a full-scale framework. Due to which the integration of the UI library into the common MVC framework becomes tricky. This requires a deeper programming knowledge. ReactJS is still fresh and not mature. Taking consideration of the limited ecosystem, it is still young.

3. Architecture

Angular 2 and React follow different architectures. Angular 2 follows a component-based architecture. The components have a strong and deep binding. As Angular 2 is an object-oriented programming, the elements are properly encapsulated. Every element in the component has its unique functionality. This makes the components reusable and properly testable.

While React does not follow any such architecture, it uses Flux which provides a structure and architecture. It gives a unidirectional data flow to the components. Flux is more of a pattern than a framework. Thus, using flux with React makes the coding easier and flexible.

4. DOM

DOM(Document Object Model) is one of the major difference to point out when using React or Angular 2.

Angular 2 manipulates the real DOM by extending HTML with its directives. This enhances the two-way-data binding. Thus, any changes to the view will reflect in the data and vice versa. This turns out to be an advantage for the developers, increasing the development time. And it enables the auto-sync between the model data and the view.

React on the other side uses the virtual DOM. The Virtual DOM is of great use while handling large databases. It comprises of the smart methods. With React, the view changes are applied to virtual DOM. This optimizes and accelerates the update process.

5. MVC

Angular 2 follows the MVC pattern. Thus it has a proper component-based architecture. It has a clean separation of the presentation, business and data entity model. This allows a proper testing of written code. This makes Angular 2 out-of-the-box programming language.

React does not follow the MVC pattern. It does not have patterns, templates or any MVC architecture. Instead, it has view layer only. Developers need to solve the Model and Controller on their own to design the app. They have to be familiar with the component’s life cycles and states.

6. Development Time

Developers are always fascinated with how the language works, how short is the learning curve and the overall development time.

Angular 2 is a complex component-based language. It has a quick installation and setup. But it has unnecessary syntax to do simple things. Thus, there is a drastic increase in development time. This puts Angular in a tougher position.

React takes comparatively longer to set up. And once done, you are ready to work on the app development. It should be relatively easy to add new features.

7. Learning Curve

Angular 2 has a steep learning curve. Though the Angular 2 community provides a complete documentation. But sometimes it becomes difficult to read the documentation. Angular 2 focuses more on the components. But it is comparatively difficult than React.

React has a short learning curve. It uses the least abstractions. However, it takes more time to learn the best practices. It has too many things to learn in depth.

8. Native Rendering

This is always the talk around the tables. All libraries are capable of native rendering. But there is always a performance competition among all the libraries.

Angular 2 is the stable version with the new addition of components. It comes with a native script. However, it still fails to beat the performance of react native.

React native comes with the native rendering. It does it better than the Angular 2.

9. Community

The community support plays a huge role in the success of these languages. Both have powerful communities.

The global community support of Angular 2 makes it one of the best Javascript frameworks. The developer team, designers, support team – actively work behind its success. They work with collaboration, contributing to the community. Angular 2 has hence boasted of huge reliability and credibility.

Facebook and Instagram both support react. The experts and developers work constantly to make this technology worth. Users can find active participation in online forums such as Stack Overflow, GitHub, Reactiflux Chart and many others.

10. Global Usage and Popularity

Thousands of companies worldwide have chosen the rich JavaScript frameworks. They use it for their sites, apps and internal projects. Angular 2 is popular among many leading sites. Google, the main force behind it also encourages its use. It powers The Guardian, PayPal, Lego, Netflix and other leading sites.

Many Fortune companies and startups have chosen React native for their app development. Instagram, Facebook, Dropbox, Tesla, Khan Academy and more such leading brands use this. React is very popular among many startups as well.

There is no doubt that both are advanced and high demand technologies in 2018. However, the developer’s choice depends on the requirements and the system constraints.

In 2018, there will be a rise in the creation of native apps. With Angular 4, there are possibilities in this area of huge improvement. 2018 will reveal whether Angular 4 will break through the domination of React or not.

Contact us to know more about our comprehensive Angular and React development services today!

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What can you do with AngularJS?

AngularJS is a JavaScript framework introduced by the giant Google. It is an open source framework that uses HTML as a backbone. It excels at building single page web applications and the dynamic ones.

why-choose-angularjs

The newer version i.e. AngularJS 2.0 is a big change when compared to the previous version. The developers can see a notably major change in components, directives, injections and a lot more. The more functionalities, the more you can achieve with this version.

Over the years, AngularJS has emerged the strongest in the single page apps world. It is used by over 9000 websites. It powers the top sites such as Intel, Virgin America, NBC, HBO, Google and many more.

Why Choose AngularJS?

Developers find this framework completely worth it. This framework is highly convenient, affordable, scalable and delivers good performance. There are so many notable reasons to use this popular JavaScript framework. Some are:

  • It has huge community and experts including development, testing and support team
  • It is a multifunctional framework following the MVC pattern
  • It can create big applications, once used with a right approach
  • It uses MVC architecture – simple to use and understand
  • It is the best solution for creating the single page applications
  • It can allow combining modules for creating applications
  • It has a declarative user interface
  • It is easy to learn and implement if you know JavaScript already
  • It makes testing simple

Now, that you know the benefits of using this framework. Let us find out what all can you do with AngularJS. Here are the seven wonders you can do with AngularJS:

1. Single Page Applications
AngularJS and single page apps are like a match made in heaven. You can develop a large scale application with a single page. It has a set of built-in validators and directives to create such apps. You can also define your own validators if needed. You can create a single page form application easily with its use. The controls and error handling are perfectly handled by this framework.

2. Mobile Apps
With the rise of the digital and mobile era, mobile apps are widely used. With AngularS, you can create mobile and web apps. All you need to do is install MongoDB and NodeJs on your system. Using a set of modules and REST services, you can create your mobile app. You can also bind AngularJS with the mobile framework LungoJS. And you are ready to create the awesome mobile applications.

3. Animations
AngularJS has a good set of directives. You can create animations and give styling to it with ng-style. You can use the ng-app, ng-animate and ng-style directives to create wonderful animations. Along with CSS3 transforms and these directives, you can perform cool animations.

4. Google Chrome Extensions
Normally, a Chrome extension generator creates the chrome extensions. But AngularJs also plays a part in it. The directive ng-CSP helps to create these extensions along with ng-app. You can add content scripts and background pages and bind the APIs. With all these, your desired extension is ready.

5. Firebase Powered Apps
Mobile development platforms have reached a new level with Firebase. The blend of AngularJS and Firebase gave rise to a real-time backend service – AngularFire. This service supports two-way binding on both client and server side. You can efficiently create real-time web apps and mobile apps with these two latest technologies. You can develop a real-time chat application and chatbots. Today millions of users use such apps and services.

6. Simple Web Application
You can also create a web app using Firebase and AngularJS. You can create a simple web application easily with AngularJS directives, components, resources, and services. With a sample data, you can perform the CRUD operations as well. Thus a simple and easy to use web app is ready from scratch. You can also create a web application using Firebase and AngularJS.

7. JS Apps
Like we all know already, AngularJS is easily testable. It is fully powered by the test scripts and suites. Karma and Jasmine are used for testing the AngularJS applications. They run and execute the unit tests for your developed applications.

5 Pros and Cons of Accelerated Mobile Pages

Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP is a global initiative for promoting faster mobile websites. This project brings a unique coding language to the fore with AMP HTML, which restricts code to boost loading speed and reliability. It is being supported rapidly by publishers, web technology providers  and several developers worldwide and has been embraced by BBC, Twitter, New York Times, and several headliners in the tech-media space.

amp

The differences in AMP pages are not directly obvious to untrained users but as they usually do not know where to look to identify the subtle differences. The speed of loading is the biggest clue to the fact of using AMP since it allows the page to load by up to 85% faster than other pages.

5 Pros of Accelerated Mobile Pages

1. Improves website load time
AMP aids in faster loading time of the pages, which is the primary aim of such pages. Reports suggest mobile users abandon a website that takes a long time to load – more than 3 seconds – hence businesses like to adopt AMP could help to drive mobile abandonment rates down and increase conversions.

2. Increases Mobile Ranking
Although AMP has not established itself as an independent ranking factor, it can be judged with respect to its mobile friendliness and faster page load speed times. As AMP improves page loading times, it is evident that AMP pages will be rewarded with higher rankings than others.

3. Improves Server Responses
If your site generates immense traffic from mobile, AMP can help in reducing the load on servers and boost performance. This helps in improving server responses and faster load times as stated earlier.

4. Boost CTR (Click Through Rates)
Wired apparently saw a 25% boost in CTR from mobile search results, with while the CTR in the overall AMP stories rose up by 63%. Some companies are now quite clear about using AMP ads, but to those who can use it efficiently, AMP can increase ad performance and boost CTR considerably.

5. More Ads Viewability
A recent DoubleClick study involving 150 publishers found 80% and more realizing higher ad viewability rates with AMP pages in comparison to other pages. This proves that AMP pages are simplified and secure thus able to deliver better advertising to eyeballs.

5 Cons of Accelerated Mobile Pages

1. Decrease in Ad Revenue
Though AMP Project supports ads, the potential in reining revenue is limited since it is difficult to implement ads on AMP-run pages efficiently.

2. Not easy to Implement (Excluding WordPress)
AMP is a restrictive framework and the implementation effort is tough. Yes, the gains can be good but the performance boost of HTML web pages be prioritized more. Focusing on performance optimisation needs to take centre stage. Those implementing AMP pages need to follow Google’s guidelines to the tee.

3. Analytics is stripped down
AMP supports Google Analytics under different tags and hence take a lot of time and hassle to place these tag to collect and analyze data.

4. Google Cache Server(They are using CDN so create dependency)
AMP pages get loaded through Google cache servers thus keeps all web pages depending on Google. Since no company can control their server, it leads to dependency that might affect detrimentally in the long run.

5. No Leads and Subscribers
AMP pages will not show email popups and optin forms, any sidebar widgets, strategically placed social share buttons, posts and much more. One might lose email subscribers and leads in the process too.

For a better user experience, one can go with AMP although one has to lose on other features like lead generation, connected ads, widgets, etc. Without AMP, one should make sure that the website is mobile friendly with the help of WP Touch plugins or responsive themes.

Should you need any help in AMP Implementation on your website or apps, feel free to contact us

Top 10 Shopify Apps for Social Media Marketing

Social media is playing a huge role in marketing activities along with SEO, branding strategies, and online lead conversion.

Each of the social media channels is crucial in marketing products on e-commerce sites like Shopify. A seamless social media strategy will go a long way in diverse marketing approaches and sales channel support.

Shopify has a huge number of apps, which assist in social media marketing and saves time and effort in the process in many ways.

We have curated the Top 10 Best Social Media Apps for Shopify:

social media shopify apps

1. Outfy
Pricing: 2.5 cents/ share

Outfy presents a fantastic way to boost the social reach of products, drive traffic & overall sales. The app helps product promotion 10+ social networks under a single canopy. One can schedule the posts for every day, month and year. It is a powerful, robust, and effective tool to automate social media marketing for your Shopify-based store.

2. Social Sharing Buttons 

Pricing: Free

Social Sharing Buttons developed by Zotabox connects multiple social accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many other sites. The Shopify app comes in multiple styles, sizes, and colours. These mobile-friendly buttons are part free and part premium. Social buttons, contact forms, popup, Facebook Live Chat, Promo Bar and Slide Box features are a free while after a 14-day free trial; the premium buttons include easy popup pro, email capture bar, countdown timer bar, testimonials, easy banner and store locator.

3. Shoppable Instagram Galleries
Pricing: Free

Shoppable Instagram allows shoppers to make purchases through Add to Cart option directly from Instagram. One can even embed shoppable Instagram galleries on different sites and includes multiple Instagram options for Shopify-based sites. Every small store owner would love its simplicity and ease of use along with enterprise-level attributes.

One can create galleries with hashtag and curate images with tags through the dashboard. Your best performing Instagram images derive best user attention with a Homepage carousel, Product gallery, tags, layouts and user-generated content too.

4. Auto Post by Posting.ly
Pricing: $9.00

Posting.ly posts Products on Social media channels on a regular basis for the products that you want to share on social media and even schedule it accordingly. The app also works with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even LinkedIn. The app imports products with the relevant pictures and descriptions. Just create definite “Posting Rules” to specify the actions of the app to post products on your social media channels and accounts. It also automatically detects new products on the Shopify Store.

5. Facebook Product Feed
Pricing: Free

The Facebook Product Feed automatically syncs your e-store with the Catalog and even generates Facebook ads for the products. The app works with the new Shopify Facebook Pixel Setting too, through Facebook Business Manager.

One can just sync the Shopify Store with the Facebook Product Catalog using a systematic, dynamic feed to populate products. One can promote multiple products on Facebook, on all the devices too. Also one can use a unique creative for each product without the need to configure each and every ad. Set up campaigns and reach people with the ads regardless the original touchpoint. Apply Google product categories and populate about 1000 products at a time in a single feed. The app also offers unlimited product promotions with feed pagination and auto-image resizing for the product images.

6. Twitter Feed
Pricing: Free

Twitter Feed displays all widgets individually or together with each other. The app provides custom design options including colours, backgrounds etc. to match with the store. This is a tool that helps in interaction with customers with promotional tweets for products, offers, etc. Adding a relevant Twitter Feed is beneficial to your business since it provides a clear channel of communication with users. The social channel includes the option to like, tweet, re-tweet, reply, etc.  The Twitter feed app is used to notify customers, direct traffic to the website and even used to garner feedback.

7. Facebook Store – Easy Social Shop
Pricing: Free

Facebook Store is one easy social shop that extends reach customers on social networks. The app helps organizations to drive sales through Facebook. One can let shoppers share products and their details on diverse social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

The app allows Shopify users to convert their online store into a Facebook store and one can get selling their products on Facebook within 3 clicks. The store products will be updated on the Facebook store and one can customize as one wants it to be.

8. AddThis Sharing Tool
Pricing: Free

AddThis Sharing Tool is one efficient app that enables visitors to become marketers through their preferred social networks. One can measure activity on each of the sites in real time through the app and even aids in driving traffic and engagement to the storefront. One can share content to 300+ social network and bookmarking sites and is quite popular in among 12 million domains worldwide. The app also measures user engagement along with actions on social channels with an effective real-time analytics dashboard.

9. Bestsellers
Pricing: Free

Bestsellers automatically tweets driving product sales. One can customize tweets, messages, and posts and even schedule their posts on a specific time period and also set its recurrence. The app is easy to set up and is quick and reliable.

10. Instagram Feed
Pricing: $4.99/ month

Instagram Feed app showcases Instagram photos on the store and includes the auto-update system feature too. The app can show latest photos from your account on a real-time basis. The app helps Shopify users to connect to their audience with the store making Instagram shoppable. There is a slideshow gallery for the account, new templates, and is extremely customizable too.

Magento 2.2 – All you need to know about it!

Magento 2.2

 

While many online businesses are looking to Migrate from Magento 1 to 2, platform developers are already updating the version with new functionalities.

The new version iteration focuses on B2B development as mentioned in the company webinar held in June.

Magento developers are excited about the launch of version 2.2 to leverage the technology better for clients in more brand new ways than ever. Here are some improvements introduced in the latest version:

For Businesses

  • Account management – B2B merchants can now support client accounts with diverse buyers in different organizations with efficient self-service tools
  • Quote engine – Allows for negotiations as customers can now convert a cart to quote instead of orders. Merchants can then ascertain prices with comments.
  • Credit purchases – Companies can now choose payment on credit while merchants can adjust credits and edit those options on a constant basis.
  • Custom catalogs with prices. Merchants can now control products and their categories and price lists even sending in different price lists for different companies
  • Revamped API for ERP integrations – Web APIs are now available that expand on the feature set for company accounts, users, credit limits & transactions. The APIs are also available for quotes and requisition lists. The bulk Tier Price API can now update several product prices quickly.

For Developers

  • Performance Toolkit – New changes related to profiles update, quicker generation, B2B entity support have pushed performance levels upward.
  • Minimized core around plugins – Call parameters are added to plugins with minimized core around them, making it easier to debug with minimal clicks.
  • Enhanced Deployment flow – The function will allow export configurations in different environments and upgrades will happen in seconds.

For Security

Removal of Unserialize() calls – unserialize() calls are now removed from all except for performance code for reducing vulnerability issues.

Upgraded hashing algorithm – Hashing algorithm was upgraded to upgrade security for the most sensitive values.

Other major upgrades include the addition of extended reports with an advanced reporting module, so that data can now be stored in graphs with the required metrics. The changes also provide the opportunity to identify and eliminate roguish orders with 100% protection on chargebacks.

There are a number of index improvements while customers can even browse the store shop while the indexing process is on. Magento will also drop support for the latest PHP versions 5.6 and PHP 7.1 along with MySQL 5.7 and Redis 3.2. Magento also highlights and improves deployment process with its latest update.

Magento with the 2.2 version, is now becoming a better and more comfortable tool for transforming online businesses for the best. Magento concentration on the B2B approach is bound to usher in bigger opportunities to clients.

Best eCommerce Platforms for 2018

best-ecommerce-platforms-2018

You finally want to migrate to an online store instead of a physical store.  But taking the leap into the online world of eCommerce is tricky, as you need to figure out an efficient e-commerce platform that could work for your online store.

With a variety of e-commerce platforms in the market, it is evident that there is no one-size-fits-all eCommerce solution. Each platform boasts of some pros and cons, depending on the feature set and functionality that you are looking for in your website.

We reached out to 25 eCommerce Experts and learned their three best eCommerce Platforms:

Best eCommerce Platforms as voted by 25 eCommerce Experts -

Best eCommerce Platform

25 Experts share their thoughts on top eCommerce Platforms trending in 2018

1. Andrew Youderian : [Website | Twitter]

The top three carts I would recommend for independent merchants would be Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento – in that order.

  1. Shopify is my overall favorite as they’re a hosted solution that eliminates technical headaches while providing you a very robust, customizable cart.
  2. WooCommerce is ideal if you want to host your own cart and want a lightweight solution.
  3. And if you need a fully customizable solution (and don’t mind some server and IT overhead) Magento is worth considering”.

2. Richard Lazazzera : [Website | Twitter]

The three platforms I’d recommend are Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce.

  1. For the majority of businesses, I think Shopify has really proven themselves and are leading the pack in terms of innovation, features and the future of ecommerce in general.
  2. BigCommerce is a great platform as well overall with similar features and functionality to Shopify.
  3. WooCommerce for WordPress provides you nearly unlimited customizability.

3. Nicole Reyhle : [Website | Twitter]

  • I’ve always believed that variety is a good thing, and this is particularly true when looking for the right e-commerce platform.
  • There are many to choose from and each have their pros and cons based on your unique business – which is one may be right for one business while another may be better for a different business. Among my favorites include Big Commerce, Woo Commerce and Shopify.com

4. Anuj Dalal : [Website | Twitter]

Selecting an eCommerce Platform is a tough task since there are multiple eCommerce platforms available in the market that are good enough in their own right.
Each of these platforms has their own benefits and features that one should consider before choosing the best fit as per their requirement.

  1. Shopify : Since the last couple of months, Shopify has become the number #1 preferred Hosted eCommerce Solution owing to its host of its features & Community Support.
    The reason I like Shopify is that you as a store owner don’t need to have any technical Knowledge to keep your site running smoothly – which is a Big Convenience of Store Owners – since you do not need to get in touch with Shopify Developers to make any small or big changes. (Saves time and money both).
  2. Magento : Magento has been proven to be the best Open Source eCommerce Platform since the last couple of years. If you are looking to build something Big and highly Customised eCommerce Store – Magento Platform can be an excellent choice.
    Magento Community Edition is completely free software. However, it will require web development knowledge or Skilled Magento Developers to create the Online Store. Magento is a great fit for store owners who are planning to create medium to large eCommerce sites with some customized/specialized features and having a good budget for development & maintenance.
  3. WooCommerce : WordPress, the most popular open source Content Management System (CMS) allows users to make online shopping cart website using the highly popular WooCommerce plugin.
    It offers the ease of Shopify to manage store admin and also allow us to customise the source code like Magento to achieve desired features on the store. If you are looking for small to medium size e-commerce store solution, you should take WooCommerce Shopping Cart into consideration.
    But in my humble opinion, the above three transcend all other e-commerce cart solutions in more ways than one.

5. John Jantsch : [Website | Twitter]

  1. Infusionsoft is a robust automation system that not only includes e-commerce, but email management, automated marketing, sales, and other features as well.
  2. Shopify is easy to set up and offers numerous features to help you grow your business.
  3. WooCommerce is one of the most customizable platforms for growing your online business.

6. Jamie Turner : [Website | Twitter]

There are a lot of good e-commerce solutions available today — many more than in years past.

  • For me, I look for a combination of features and ease of use. Both those traits allow me to work quickly, without getting bogged down.
  • With all that in mind, my favorites are Shopify, Magento and Six, all of which provide varying degrees of flexibility and ease of use.”

7. Brian Jackson : [Website | Twitter]

If I had to recommend to someone the top 3 platforms for eCommerce you should try, I would say WordPress, Shopify, and LemonStand (in that order).

  1. WordPress is currently used by 28% of the entire web. It is completely free to use and the ability to instantly implement eCommerce solutions such as WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads make it a quick win.
    According to BuiltWith, WooCommerce in fact already powers over 41% of all online stores! The customizations within the WordPress platform are almost unlimited, as their repository has over 50,000 plugins which can help extend your website.
  2. Shopify would be my 2nd recommend as they do one thing and do it well, which is provide eCommerce solutions to business owners. And they have a long history of doing so. They make it quick and easy to launch your store.
  3. My last recommendation would be LemonStand, which most of you probably haven’t heard of. This is definitely the newest one out there, but if you are just diving into the eCommerce space, this platform makes it about as easy as can be.
    If you want something that will help you sell products, create a blog, loads fast, and keeps both digital and physical products in mind, you might want to check it out.

8. Steve Wiideman : [Website | Twitter]

Finding an E-Commerce solution that satisfies flexibility in design, friendly user experience and maximizing search engine optimization focal points has been a real challenge for brands we’ve worked with.

  • Over the years, we have tapered our list down to one solution that always crushes it with SEO, UX, and elasticity: Cirkuit Commerce. Visit Bobswatches.com to see a website that started from scratch in 2010 and now earns upwards of $20 million per year.
    The solution offers everything from product feeds for Google Merchant, automatic 301 redirecting, to customizable XML options for efficient indexing by web crawlers.
  • If we had to choose two other solutions, they would be Shopify, which is improving many of the SEO limitations it originally came bundled with, and Magento, which will feel like an extension nightmare by the time you’re done setting everything up.
    The really helpful SEO extensions for Magento require recurring fees, so you’re locking yourself into continuity forever if you go this path. Plan on SEO affecting your ROI, when historically the cost was just labor time.
  • Avoid home-grown solutions, which can become vulnerable to security hacks, and could leave you having to rebuild if your developer(s) decide to go elsewhere. Cirkuit Commerce is really the way the go if you want an E-Commerce solution that’s perfect out of the box.

9. Dennis Wagner : [Website | Twitter]

  • There are certainly many E commerce platforms available for business owners to choose from in 2017. The single most important step in choosing the correct E commerce platform is to take as much time as you need to do your research on which platform fits your wants, needs and desires best.
  • Based on price, ease of use, performance and features here are three E commerce platforms that are the total package, #1 Shopify #2 BigCommerce, and last, but certainly not least is #3 Volusion. Keep in mind that every business is different. Do your research and Happy Selling!

10. Craig Campbell : [Website | Twitter]

There are many E-Commerce platforms to choose from, but being an SEO expert I have my own reasons for picking the following three.

  1. WordPress/Woocommerce For small business owners who don’t have thousands of products this is a great platform to work with. Not only is WordPress one of the most SEO friendly platforms on the market, it’s also very easy and simple to use if you are not a designer.
    It’s simple and easy to use and can integrate with most common payment gateways, with a clean easy to use interface you can add your products, prices, get reviews and anything else that you would expect to see on an E-commerce website. This platform is one I use daily for small E-commerce websites.
  2. Magento I would tend to go for Magento for a bigger E-Commerce website, again this platform is very SEO friendly, but you are likely to require a developer for this platform to get the site the way you want it. But it’s a much more stable platform for a big online shop and again there are so many add-ons you can get for Magento that this will do anything any other platform does.
    Again it’s a nice simple to use interface with many online tutorials to help you add your products and get selling online. Just ensure you have a decent server to host this site on as it does use up a lot of memory.
  3. Shopify is my third choice a great off the shelf platform with FREE templates where you can get your online shop up and running in no time. Very simple and easy to use, even for those with no real design or website experience.
    Shopify is for those beginners who don’t have a huge budget and want something up and running fairly quickly.
    You can integrate with most common payment gateways and its very simple and easy to add your products, and there is no real limit to how many you can add, so Shopify can be used for small or large online shops.
    There are a wealth of others to choose from and it really comes down to your own budget and requirements.

11. Panos Ladas : [Website | Twitter]

I am a great friend of easy solutions, things that just work. That’s why I really like Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento.

  • Shopify is huge right now, it is the easiest way for someone to sell anything online. And it is inexpensive. And I believe that a platform that works almost immediately is one of the greatest benefits that a business might have, given that speed and agility are critical when it comes to online and eCommerce business.
  • On the other hand, WooCommerce and Magento allow for great customization and flexibility, they are robust platforms, well tested all over the world. These are amazing solutions as long that obviously come with a cost, both financial and in time to the market.

12. William Harris : [Website | Twitter]

  1. Shopify
  2. BigCommerce
  3. Woocommerce

13. Hassan Bawab : [Website | Twitter]

  1. Oracle Commerce Cloud
  2. Magento Enterprise
  3. Demandware Cloud

14. Kenny G : [Twitter]

  1. Woocommerce
  2. Magento
  3. BigCommerce

15. Tina Roth : [Website | Twitter]

  1. Shopify
  2. Shopify
  3. Shopify

16. Gabriella Sannino : [Website | Twitter]

  1. Shopify
  2. Magento
  3. YoKart
  4. Woocommerce

17. Craig Patterson : [Website | Twitter]

  1. Shopify for e-commerce sites.
  2. Lightspeed for POS and ecommerce support.

18. David sandusky : [Website | Twitter]

  • We use Shopify and think it is the best ecommerce platform.

19. Denisse : [Website | Twitter]

  • PrestaShop

20. Lori Wagoner : [Twitter]

  1. Shopify
  2. BigCommerce
  3. Volusion
  4. PrestaShop

21. Dolores Vela : [Website | Twitter]

  1. PrestaShop
  2. Magento
  3. Shopify
  4. Woocommerce

22. David J. Neff : [Website | Twitter]

  1. BigCommerce
  2. Episerver
  3. Magento

23. Jeremiah Cathey : [Website | Twitter]

  1. Shopify
  2. Magento
  3. BigCommerce
  4. Enterprises suites

24. Abel Premnath : [Website | Twitter]

  1. Sellmojo
  2. Nwebkart
  3. Martjack

25. Chuck Rouse : [Website | Twitter]

  • I would say it depends on the product and the longevity of the shop. If you want to trial a product use a service.
  • If you are thinking long term there is no point in renting a service build your own with a Magento cms or even WordPress.

I know there was a lot of information there, so here are the top 5 eCommerce once again:

Best eCommerce Platform

If you could only recommend three best eCommerce Platforms to build your eCommerce Store, which three would you choose? 

Are there any eCommerce Platforms you are using that weren’t mentioned above?

Let us know in the comments below.

8 Points Needs to Consider while Optimizing Google Shopping Feeds

optimize-google-shopping-feed

Product Listing Advertisements (PLA) by Google is a popular advertising platform that fetches product data from Google Merchant Center and displays it systematically for increased clicks. For running a streamlined PLA campaign, one needs to setup a seamless shopping campaign in Google Adwords with proper planning and management. To boost conversion ratio and sales from the shopping campaign, you need an optimized Google Merchant Account and Data Feed that should adhere to your campaign goals and objectives.

Here are 8 points to consider while optimizing your Google Merchant Account:

1. Data Feed Should be Approved without any error

One needs to create a relevant data feed and submit the same in their Google merchant account. To upload data feed, use Google Sheets to directly incorporate data into the account or manually upload from local files, through FTP, or cloud storage. One can even set up an upload schedule for fetching data from a data feed hosted on their site with a proper schedule or use automatic import option from a compatible e-commerce platform. One can also make use of content APIs to make uploads possible.

After uploading data feed, it should be reviewed for errors. The Google Merchant Center add-on can be used for feed validation and upload. One can view errors by exploring custom data feed’s Diagnostics and make sure that the uploads are error-free. You can also identify the impact of the errors, if any on the process, right there.

2. Optimize Product Title

Product Title plays a critical role in optimization of Google shopping feeds. The first aspect of every Product Listing Ad is the Image and connected title. If products titles are optimized, the click-through rate and conversion are impacted positively. One can optimize product title, with respect to its attributes including its font size, color, and font style too. The above attributes help in avoiding wrong clicks and users can actually click on something they need to know about.

3. Divided Product into Categories

After a shopping campaign is set up, it’s time to display products that are performing well. But for that to happen, one needs to segregate products into various product categories. The categories will help assess the right performance measure of each batch of products. Without product division, every product added to the campaign would include the maximum cost-per-click bid level.

The entire Google Shopping account will calculate average performance that does not result in product optimization. Increase or Decrease bid of specific products would help to market as necessary. Analyze the performance of each of the products and then create the data feed, under each product group so that they are assessed as per their results in shopping campaign and not the average.

4. Use Special Offers for Attracting Audience

The Google Shopping Campaign also consists of the Special Offer page that helps one to create specific offers for every product, attracting the intended audience for better sales and conversion ratio. To use Special offers feature, one has to fill a form and let the Google team review the application. After the request is approved, one can create special offers using the Promotions tool. if your promotion is product specific, map the promotion_id to the Product feed and set the time zone too. One would have to adjust redemption start and end times on a manual basis.

Using a Promotions feed is perfect when one has the higher volume of promotions to send to a single feed in a spreadsheet. The promotions feed includes core information about the promotion in a .txt file or.xml file

5. Follow Product Data Specification and Select right category

When submitting data feed in Google Merchant account, follow product data specifications including the title, description, hyperlink, image link, and mobile link as required. The price and availability need to be listed in the specification along with its expiration date and changing sale prices. One can attach loyalty points to each product type, along with its condition. The Google Spping Category, for instance, will define where the PLA will be displayed. Choose the relevant category and mention the attributes of the product for better segregation.

6. Bid strategy and budgeting

In a Google Shopping campaign, one can control the overall budget not specific to keywords budget. Setting a proper budget impacts conversion and clicks directly. One should think about expanding on the budget if products perform well and sales reach good limits, when you got more volume of traffic than you can handle or when special offers are in play since there is marked a rise in traffic and sales when lucrative offers are introduced.

7. Assessment of better platform

One needs to assess the best platform for shopping advertising campaign – mobile or desktop! One should check on the right conversion rates and the better amount of clicks derived from a stipulated budget. If the campaign has more clicks and a better conversion rate from a mobile platform, it would be feasible for you to create separate mobile ads and then even increase the bid for the same too.

8Improve Account Health Score

Google has recently introduced account health score analysis to Adwords through which you can see the results of the campaign being run, the health score and useful recommendations for improving it.  Check the recommendations and then implement the suggestions to boost the account health score.

teamzestard-picnic

TeamZestard Picnic (Apr 2016)

The benefits of a company picnic are significant, and can reach far beyond the single day’s activities. Well, we never think too technically when it comes to enjoying with our Teammates!

Yes, after a long… most awaited day of Picnic was spent well with zest and zeal by TeamZestard at the Picnic held on 9th April 2016 for Thol Lake and Serenity Pastures. This was a real fun we are still mesmerized with! & Finally, a long awaited photo album of our picnic is ready to enjoy… which certainly portrays splendid glimpse of freakish enjoyment as kids do. Click Here to view Picnic Photos

This time our picnic had many interactive activities and games as a perfect way to create a bonding experience between fellow workers and management, Afterall, there’s nothing like playing on the same team to be on the same team!

We started our picnic with colourful dress ups and cheerful hearts (like always ;) ) early morning around 6.00 in a bus from office and reached a distant place of Thol lake near Ahmedabad. In the bus , we enjoyed some small games like ABCD, Card-Lotto, Number-chase which we often play in any parties and picnics at Zestard.

Thol- this place is a visual treat for any tourist and a treasurable experience for a bird watcher or ornithologists, this place is home to more than 100 species of birds. It was a reminiscent expericne to be close to the birds in alliance & with nature. We enjoyed sunrise together and some warmth of the surrounding , did some trekking and photography of nature and after that we indulged ourselves in selfies, grouphies and games. Infact, most funny part was to watch poses of the the photographer more than the those who are being captured in the pictures ;)

We made noise at a place like Thol-Bird Sanctuary and that proves how happy and loud we can be even in- out of office celebrations! Playing Standing-Kho-Kho, running after eachother(;)) , shouting on every one’s mistakes and laughing on funny playing style of each other charged ourselves for all fun ride for rest of the day.

After this, we set in the bus again and reached Serenity Pastures -resort Place, there we had all cool indoor , outdoor games available to play in teams, pairs. After having some trials on Table Tennis, Ice Hockey boards, Carrom Boards like indoors ,we enjoyed breakfast of Delicious Pakoda & Sandwiches with Tea & Coffee. Ofcourse, during all these we kept on taking photos and that can be seen in the Zestard facebook Picnic photo album here.

Post Breakfast, we played some outdoors and were ready to go to the swimming and splash pool. After spending 3-4 hrs in the pool we kind of started feeling like aquatic vertebrates ! We played lots of funny games and challenges in teams and individually while relaxing in the pool. Water-Ball-game was the simplest of all , but was the most memorable time of the whole picnic.

Swimming fun drove us straight to the late-lunchtime. we relished the flavours of Kathiyavadi food in the lunch, further accompanied by the Buttermilk (Chhash) without fail ! Again after lunch , we rushed to the indoor section and played those games again with different partners and some new challenges may be ! and we went to MiniTheatre and watched Kapoor & Sons movie all togather… it was very relaxing experience to sit in and watch the movie with our office fellow mates as part of the picnic itself. After the movie and some more outdoors games, badminton, swings and kids play area were even explored & enjoyed by some girls from the TeamZestard . Also, we did some group photography and our creative designer suggested Zestard’s “Z” as part of the photo-arrangement , & we tried that too with some pixel perfect instructions !

We set back to the bus on our way to the office location again and played Antakshari – a must game to play in any picnic , ABCD again. Fun in the Bus was further concluded by prize distribution to the winners of the games ,winners dances , some cool announcements by Anuj and some news and upcoming plans for TeamZestard which were happily greeted & applauded by the whole team.

As expected, the Picnic was a huge success, everyone proved that their work load can be embraced easily with Picnic or Team -outing. This was the most fun-time picnic many of us ever experienced so far. We are still busy sharing picnic photos and memories on our TeamZestard Whatsup group and finally all are compiled and made online on Zestard’s Facebook page. Just like last year’s picnic , everybody had great time suggesting constructive feedback and only unanimous suggestion was ”we should plan such picnics often and at least for 2 days! ”.

This way #TeamZestard’s Picnic Joy was relished & cherished with a final uproar of “Hip Hip Hurray!!!” :)