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CWS News July 2010 - Aabaco (Yahoo!) Store Blog by Colorado Web Solutions

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Is it time to hire a Yahoo Store Designer?

Posted on July 13th, 2010 by Matt Sampson - Colorado Web Solutions

Yahoo Merchant Solutions stores are fantastic for small to mid-size businesses to quickly get their products online. One of the many benefits of the Yahoo platform is that customers with little web knowledge have the ability to create their own stores, upload their own products/ images and run an online store with little or no involvement from third parties.

For many store owners this works great initially, and possibly even for years. However, there comes a time when the default Yahoo store won’t be able to compete with more attractive and functional competitors running the same platform. At that critical juncture the store owner can learn HTML/RTML and attempt to re-design their own store or they can seek out a yahoo store professional developer to handle the process for them.

There are a few key reasons why I believe it’s a good idea to use a professional developer like Colorado Web Solutions to facilitate a yahoo stores redesign process.

First and foremost is experience.

Colorado Web Solutions clients all work with individual Project Managers, Developers and Designers with extensive backgrounds in Yahoo store development encompassing the use of various coding languages such as RTML, HTML, PHP, CSS. Our team has in-depth knowledge relating to custom website creation, analytics, affiliate platforms, Adwords, blogs, social media et al. We also have real-world experience running Yahoo stores and non-Yahoo custom stores. When a client comes to us looking for a Yahoo Store re-design – they get our combined knowledge and perspective which immediately increases their chances for success ten-fold.

Redesigning a Yahoo store can be a challenging and frustrating process for store owners as they might not know where to start or where to focus. At Colorado Web Solutions we use a unique management style to guide smoothly through design process. From the onset – the client is given a broad overview of how and where they should focus their energies. The client receives a plethora of supportive materials to educate and illustrate how they’ll manage their new store. We take care of the project progression, the time-lines, the milestones and the creative and functional processes. That leaves the client free to continue to focus on running their business instead of running their project.

As I mentioned earlier, the out of the box Yahoo store is a great start to selling on the web. Most clients recognize however, without advanced programming skills, the default functionality Yahoo Store’s offer can take a store only so far. This is where Colorado Web Solutions comes in. We offer a large feature list from Advanced Product Reviews to our Wholesale Hub to Custom Scripts for a variety of use – all of which are not available to default Yahoo store owners. Our knowledge and expertise can greatly increase a store’s chances to convert existing customers and attract new ones. Our education program that is incorporated with all designs and re-designs is easy to understand and efficient.

If you are debating about whether or not a new design for your Yahoo store makes sense, please take a look at one of our recent redesigns and the article that was written regarding our design. I think the results speak loudly as to the benefits of using a professional developer to take your store to the next level.

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Introducing the Colorado Web Solutions Partner Program

Posted on July 8th, 2010 by Matt Sampson - Colorado Web Solutions

Earn $100 when you sign up with our Preferred Partners!

We have always prided ourselves on helping Colorado Web Solution’s clients find and use the best technology available for their needs. In the 13 years we’ve been building Yahoo Store’s for people, we have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t.

Today I am proud to announce that we are presenting our first two technology partners as the original Colorado Web Solutions Partner Program members. We have vetted both of these companies for a few years and feel that they both can benefit almost every Yahoo Store Owner.

The two founding members of the Partner Program are:
Constant Contact and Capital Merchant Solutions.

Constant Contact is the ultimate email marketing suite for businesses of any size and Capital Merchant Solutions offers incredibly low credit card processing rates for Colorado Web Solutions clients. As a part of the Partner Program, participation in their services will earn you cash to spend on current or future design needs!

If you sign up for both Constant Contact and Capital Merchant Solutions through the links we provide for you, we will credit your account for $100 to be used at any point now or in the future. This offer only applies to signing up for BOTH services. We are also offering a $25 credit for only one of the services.

The Details on Signing up for Constant Contact:

  1. Sign up for a Constant Contact account here. If you are a Colorado Web Solutions client getting a full design package we will create this for you.
  2. Convert your Free Trial to a paid account with Constant Contact
  3. Send an email to cws (at) with your constant contact user name and we will verify.

The Details on Signing up for Capital Merchant Solutions

  1. If you do not have a merchant account yet, follow this link and submit your application for processing.
  2. If you currently have a merchant account, follow this link to request a savings evaluation on your processing. If your savings are adequate for you, submit your application for processing.
  3. Once you are approved, please send an email to cws (at) and let us know you are live with the service.

Once we receive confirmation that you are actively using both Constant Contact and Capital Merchant Solutions a credit of $100 will be applied to your account.

Further Information:

  1. Can people that already use both Constant Contact and Capital Merchant Solutions qualify for this credit? In many cases, YES! Send us your constant contact ID and we can verify for you. If you originally signed up for Capital Merchant Solutions through Colorado Web Solutions then you will also qualify.
  2. $100 is delivered in the form of a credit on the clients account. No refunds or cash will be sent. Credit expires after two years.
  3. If service with either Constant Contact or Capital Merchant Solutions is canceled within 6 months, Colorado Web Solutions reserves the right to remove any remaining credit (up to $100).

We hope that you find this new offer beneficial! Two services that you should already be using can earn you money in return! We hope to offer additional rebates and discounts with future partners that we feel are a perfect fit for most Yahoo! Store Owners. Visit our Partners Page and look for the Partner Program Logo to see the current list.

Have a great week everyone.

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Pre-Holiday Price Drop on Yahoo! Store Design

Posted on July 7th, 2010 by Matt Sampson - Colorado Web Solutions

Colorado Web Solutions has started a couple of new promotions with our Yahoo store packages for July for merchants looking to have a fresh design in time for the holidays. If you sign up for a new store design this month you can save some serious cash!

Starter Yahoo Stores are as low as $999

During the entire month of July we are offering our Starter Yahoo Store Design Package for as low as $1099.00! The Starter design package is great for companies not looking to break the bank with their first store and it’s also a good choice for those Yahoo store owners that plan on modifying the stores on their own in the future.

Add as added bonus – Our clients that sign up for a paid Constant Contact account for their email management and use Capital Merchant Solutions for their order processing, will receive an additional $100 in savings on their designs. That brings the Starter store down to only $999!

Click Here for full details on our Starter Store Package.

Standard Stores are as low as $1999

Even better – During the entire month of July we are offering our most popular package, the Standard Yahoo Store Design Package for as low as $2099.00. That’s an instant savings of $900 on a design package that will deliver a custom coded, feature packed store! Our Standard package has many great features such as Cross Sell V2 integration, Animated Larger Image Pop-up’s, Custom Checkout and Newsletter sign ups.

Add as added bonus – Our clients that sign up for a paid Constant Contact account for their email management and use Capital Merchant Solutions for their order processing, will receive an additional $100 in savings on their designs. That brings the Standard store down to only $1999! That’s $1000 off our regular Yahoo Store design rates!

Click Here for full details on our Standard Store Package.

Now is a great time to start designing your new store. With an average turn around time of 6-8 weeks, if you start now your store will be ready prior to the holiday season!

Ready to get a quote for your store? Click here to get started!

Have a great week everyone.

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How to Customize your Yahoo Store’s Packing Slips

Posted on July 2nd, 2010 by Matt Sampson - Colorado Web Solutions

At Colorado Web Solutions, we are asked by almost every client if there is a way to customize the packing slip that Yahoo! Store automatically generates. Some would like to add their logo to the packing slip, others want to add a coupon or return information to their packing slip. While your actual Yahoo Store can not customize the packing slip, there is a very simple way to do it. I speak from experience, when I worked for an online retail store we customized our yahoo store packing slips for years. It just requires an extra step, but one that was very worthwhile in my opinion to establish additional trust and loyalty with your customers and shoppers.

Here is how we customized our Yahoo! Store’s packing slip:

First you will need to create a template of what you want your packing slip to look like. Every Yahoo Store generates the exact same style of packing slip, so it’s safe to assume that the bottom 1/5 of your page is probably not being used when you print your packing slips. Every now and then we would get an order that would span multiple pages and those orders were a little cluttered, but they were few and far between. If you have a store that typically sells less than 6 to 8 products per order, this will work great for you. We added our Logo to the BOTTOM of the packing slip as you can see from the image to the side here. We also took it a step further and added our icon (a snow leopard) as a watermark on the page by fading the image to about 10% opacity. The result was a rather strange looking page, but when combined with the Yahoo Store packing slip, it looked great!

Once we created our packing slip template, we printed off a few hundred on our laser printer and those became the Packing Slip pages. Every order was then printed AGAIN on the same page, combining the Yahoo Store packing slip and the pre-printed template we created. It worked beautifully! Yes, it took a little extra time, but it was worth the 5 minutes to print out a ream of templates every few days to use.

Adding a Return form to your Packing Slip
We ended taking it a step further as the years went on and started pre-printing our Return Form on the back of the sheet as well. Once the Packing Slip templates were printed, we put them back in the printer flipped upside down and we printed our return form on the opposite side. The return form evolved over the years as we learned more and more about what customers wanted and were willing to do. If you deal with a lot of returns, I would highly suggest including a return form of some kind with your orders (all the big retailers do as well!) so that it’s easy for both your customer to return an item and for you as the merchant to process that return. Think about what information you want from your customers when they return something and be sure to include it. You can see our old return forms here as well. One huge advantage to adding the return form to the back of the packing slip was that we already had the customers information on the flip side so we never received anymore “unknown” returns. The options are limitless with your packing slip when you have full control. Just be sure to leave the majority of your “front page” blank to accommodate the automated Yahoo Store packing slip and the rest is up to your imagination. In the next few days I’m also going to be talking more specifically about your return forms and process as well as some creative ideas on getting quick repeat orders from your customers with the use of coupons in your shipping boxes.

For those of you that might not have the technical skills to create a packing slip template like this, we would be happy to create one for you and deliver it to you in a ready-to-print, PDF format. Depending on your needs, the prices range from around $75 to $400 ($400 being a more complex Return Form creation with lots of custom work). Click here to contact us about a custom Packing Slip for your Yahoo Store.

I hope you found this quick lesson on how to customize your Yahoo Store’s packing slip helpful! Have a great day everyone.

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Should you hire a developer to design your Yahoo Store?

Posted on July 1st, 2010 by Matt Sampson - Colorado Web Solutions

I’m going to be starting a series of posts that deal with designing and developing a Yahoo store. I believe it’s critical that potential clients understand what a development company can bring to the table. It’s my hope that this series of posts might help people get a better feel for what Yahoo Small Business and Colorado Web Solutions can do to assist with your eCommerce experience.

The Yahoo store platform is one of the best solutions for small business owners to get their products online – fast. The platform continues to evolve from the days of Viaweb to what it is today – a multi-faceted ecommerce platform for small to mid-size businesses. Yahoo continues to deliver a solid store platform and the feature set just keeps on growing – the newest addition being a Floating Cart module.

One of the initial attractions for small business owners toward Yahoo! Merchant Solutions Stores is that they can get their products online without needing to be a programmer or having extensive training in coding and internet marketing. Yahoo provides the hosting, gateway, analytics, ability to upload product content and images and a host of other ecommerce related services for a relatively cheap monthly and per transaction fee.

During the early days of Yahoo’s store platform, it was easy for anyone to purchase a domain and store, throw up a few banners, some products and images – and sales would come. In the years since then, it has become more and more difficult to get the proper exposure and conversion rates for self-managed Yahoo stores. With more and more competition – the need for attractive, well laid out and highly functional stores has become not only more prevalent, but in my opinion, a prerequisite for any successful online store. Unless you are the only site in the world selling your product, you will have more potential selling more with a great design and navigational flow.

That’s where a company Colorado Web Solutions comes in. There are currently a handful of Authorized Yahoo store developers out there. Each developer primarily works with Yahoo! stores and can bring a wealth of experience of knowledge to any small to mid-size business looking to showcase their product line on the Yahoo platform. Here at Colorado Web Solutions our primary specialty is in designing attractive Yahoo stores or re-designing existing Yahoo stores. As our portfolio grows – so does our list of successful clients.

I can’t say enough about the benefits of taking a slow to convert, self-designed Yahoo store and transforming that store into a professional store laid out in a manner consistent with the buyer’s preconceived notions of how a website should function and what a “real” website should look like. Here at Colorado Web Solutions we’ve seen store re-designs double and even triple existing conversion rates within months. On that same token – customers that have never sold on the web have decided rather than hassling on their own for hours upon hours to get their store as they would want – hire us to create a Yahoo Store for them.

In many ways that decision alone has put them way ahead of the game. By choosing Yahoo Store as a platform they already are outpacing many would-be store owners that either decided on a platform that far exceeds their capabilities or chose a cheaper platform in hopes it will perform as good as the “big boys”. OS commerce is a perfect example of this. We see clients over and over that try to build on the “free” platform and are almost ALWAYS unhappy with the results. By choosing Colorado Web Solutions to develop their Yahoo store, they’ll receive not only a top notch development process, but also our accumulated knowledge from selling and promoting on the web for almost 15 years. Every one of our clients will be armed with marketing ideas, how-to tutorials, management ideas and more by the time they complete their Yahoo Store development cycle with us.

My next post will cover in greater detail the advantages of having a professional design firm redesign your existing default Yahoo store.

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