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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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Should you add Cascading Menu’s to your Yahoo Store?

Posted on June 29th, 2010 by Matt Sampson - Colorado Web Solutions

At Colorado Web Solutions, one of our most sought after add-on features for Yahoo! Stores is the Cascading Menu’s RTML enhancement. While expanding category navigation features can be nice and in some cases a must-have for client’s sites – not all stores need or should have them.

Cascading Menu’s or Navigation Drop-down Menu’s essentially allow customers to drill deep within a site’s category structure simply by hovering over a main category on the navigation. The Cascading Menu then reveals what’s “underneath” that category without the customer manually clicking through. As the category list expands the customer can click on any of the exposed links which will take them directly to that page. (look at the navigation on the Colorado Web Solutions site for an example)

The ideal Yahoo store candidate for Cascading Menu’s would be a store that is high in product selection, having deep category/sub-category structures. While there are arguments to be made for having customers click through sub-category pages, esecially if you have an extensive product line, generally the less number of clicks to get to a Product Detail page, the better chance your site will have for capturing the conversion.

An important consideration when choosing to have Cascading Menu’s or not – is whether or not your product line will be intuitively recognizable to your customers or if they’ll need detailed information on a category level which will help steer them to the correct product. For example – let’s say your Yahoo store is offering complex or technically challenging products which aren’t easily understood by the average customer. If that is your case, you might consider forgoing Cascading Menus and instead focus on detailed category page descriptions which if clicked through in succession from the homepage end up “informing” the customer as they move through the sub-category structure. The category page descriptions in essence can help the customer make an informed purchase and help drive the customer to the correct detail page.

For most clients however their product lines aren’t nearly so complex and customers will already know what category/product they’re looking for, or at least have a general idea. In that case, having expanding menus will make their search for the right product that much faster – and effective. If your store has over 100 products or at least one level of hierarchical categories underneath your top level categories, then considering this add-on feature would be highly recommended.

If you would like to see a few examples of Yahoo! Merchant Solutions Stores with Cascading Menu’s installed, here are a few to enjoy:

Left Side Navigation Examples:
http://diethighprotein.com/
http://alarmresource.com/
http://store.organicdivas.com/

Top Navigation Examples:
http://www.candlesandsuch.com/
http://www.popdeluxe.net/
http://www.coffeecakes.com

If you would like to learn more about our Cascading Menu’s for Yahoo Stores, please visit:
http://www.coloradowebsolutions.com/rtml-cascading-menus.html

Have a great week everyone.

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eWish Gift Registry Offers New Features for Yahoo Stores

Posted on June 28th, 2010 by Matt Sampson - Colorado Web Solutions

Colorado Web Solutions and eWish have been partners for quite some time now. We often have clients expressing interest in finding a reliable, functional and economical Gift Registry. To date we’ve always steered clients towards eWish as we feel it’s a great fit for Yahoo store owners. Across the board – our clients have been extremely satisfied with the eWish platform.

( Request more info now about eWish.com and Yahoo Stores )

What is eWish?

eWish is an affordable Gift Registry platform for online and offline merchants looking to increase revenue and customer satisfaction using another vertical channel. The registry will allow customers to inform their friends as to what types of products they are interested in. The tool is powerful and best of all – it’s easy to use and relatively easy for Colorado Web Solutions to install. eWish is a web-based service and once installed, the system takes care of itself.

New Changes to eWish

eWish will be introducing some great upgrades/enhancements this year. For those Colorado Web Solutions clients already using eWish – you’ll love this addition:

eWish customers can now have their registries appear on Knot sites. Now eWish merchants can opt to have their registries appear in “Find Registry” results on Knot owned sites like TheKnot.com, WeddingChannel.com and TheBump.com.

There’s more to come from eWish this year – so stay tuned! If you’re not currently using a registry, you might consider the eWish application as it can be a critical tool in taking your store and sales to the next level. Lean more about eWish here.

How much does eWish cost?

eWish is entirely commission based. The current commission is 5% per transaction plus a one-time refundable application fee of $399. If within one year of purchase the client is not satisfied with their service, the application fee will be refunded.

Colorado Web Solutions will also need to install eWish on your Yahoo store. The current cost for development fees is $225.00. We can have the application installed on your store in generally one business day.

Ready to get more information about eWish integration with Yahoo! Stores?

Click Here to get started.

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Use Google Alerts to help understand your Yahoo! Store

Posted on June 22nd, 2010 by Matt Sampson - Colorado Web Solutions

If you’re not using Google Alerts yet – you should be.

Google Alerts is a content monitoring service offered by Google. If you’re a Yahoo store owner – this service can be invaluable for keeping track of your competitors, your site’s performance and any related content that you feel would be helpful in tracking your products and your industry. Track product lines, track your competitions newest pages that have been indexed, and follow your own indexing. If you are actively blogging – Google Alerts can also be a great way to determine how quickly your posts are being picked up by google and indexed. Once you’ve signed up and selected  your various alert matches and preferences, you’ll be notified automatically, once a day or once a week if those terms are served via web content, blogs or video’s.

Currently the following alert types are available:

  • Comprehensive
  • News
  • Web
  • Blogs
  • Video
  • Groups

It’s very easy to sign up. Here’s what you’ll do:

Be sure you are logged into your google account. Head to: http://www.google.com/alerts . You will see a text box where you can enter various terms you’re interested in. You’ll then need to enter in the following:

Search Terms
Type of Alert you Want
When you would like to be Alerted (Daily, Weekly or Automatically)
Your Email Address

To start off with we would suggest the following search:

Search term: YourDomainName.com (change it to your Yahoo Stores domain)
Type: Everything
How Often: As It Happens
Number: Up to you
Email: Up to you

This will provide you with an email every single time google indexes a new page within your site. An invaluable resource to understand and see.

Once you’ve completed those steps you’re finished. You can set up as many alerts as like. Get Creative, you can always delete them if the content isn’t what you were expecting. It’s worth the time and effort to track terms related to your industry. Knowing is half the battle and Google Alerts is a great step in gathering detailed information pertaining directly to your site and products.

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Great News for Yahoo! Stores accepting Credit Cards

Posted on April 29th, 2010 by Matt Sampson - Colorado Web Solutions

Hi Everyone!

I am really excited to announce that we just secured record low rates on credit card processing this week for our clients! I know it’s not as exciting as a new feature release for your store, but these new low rates can save you some serious cash instantly! I’m assuming that you are paying somewhere between 2.19% and 2.69% depending on who your processor is. We just negotiated a record low of 2.04% for all of our clients. AND we got them to waive the set up fees, lower the cost per transaction fee and also lower the monthly statement fee’s!

Here’s what we are now able to offer you:

2.04% Fee’s on Credit Card Transactions

$0.24 transaction fees
$8.95 Monthly Statement fees

There has never been a better time to switch your credit card processing than right now.

How do I go about signing up for these low rates?

Signing up for credit card processing is super simple. We’ve got an online form for you that can be found here: http://www.coloradowebsolutions.com/yahoo-store-credit-card-processing.html

Do you already have a decent rate?

Let us run a comparison for you at no charge!

We are so confident that we can lower your monthly costs that our credit card partners have offered to run complimentary cost comparisons for any of our clients based on their current credit card company and our new lower rates. If you would like to take advantage of this free offer, please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you today!

http://www.coloradowebsolutions.com/contact-credit-card-request.html

Is it hard to switch my credit card processing? I’m really busy right now!

Switching credit card processing is an extremely simple process. Once you fill out the application and get approved we will take care of the rest for you. Typically within an hour we can switch your current processor to the new lower cost processor in your store. Nothing technical required at all on your side and your store will not have a moment of down time while we make the switch.

What’s the catch? Seems too good to be true.

There is no catch. That’s the beauty of it all. Our negotiating power has grown over the years as we have turned out hundreds and hundreds of Yahoo! Stores. Our goal is to pass the savings on to you. We know how hard it is to run a small business, we’ve been doing it for over a decade, and we know that cutting fixed costs (like credit card processing) is a huge benefit to businesses of all sizes.

I know this isn’t the most exciting announcement I’ve made this year, but it’s one that can save you a lot of money, so that makes me excited! Take 5 minutes today and look at this offer, it will be worth your time. And don’t forget, if you’d like a free evaluation of your current rates vs our new lower rates, it’s really simple, just fill out this form and we will get in touch with you quickly to go over everything.

Have a great week everyone, we hope you enjoy the new savings!

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Special Pricing on the New Yahoo Store Floating Cart

Posted on April 12th, 2010 by Matt Sampson - Colorado Web Solutions

UPDATE ON FLOATING CART INSTALLS: We have recently discovered upon installing quite a few of the Floating Carts, that the technology is incredibly buggy and needs improvement from Yahoo! While we still feel that the Floating Cart is a very beneficial tool to use, we are advising all clients to wait to install the Floating Carts until Yahoo! can get the scripts fixed and tested more thoroughly. We are still accepting Pre-orders and will still be honoring our sale pricing, but at this point the floating cart installations have been put on hold. We will update the blog when we resume installations again.

Hi Everyone!

As you’ve probably seen in the last week, Yahoo! Store has released one of their most significant upgrades in the last few years, the new Floating Cart. We’ve been hard at work learning how to use and implement this new technology and we are pleased to announce today a special price on both the basic installation and advanced installation for the entire month of April.

Basic Installation: $200 – During April $125
Advanced Installation: $325 – During April $250

Save $75 on either installation during April!

Ready to get it installed? Fill out this form and we will get you set up quickly!

What is the Basic Installation of the Floating Cart?

The basic installation of the new Yahoo! Store floating cart will be added directly above your site’s wrapper in the top right corner. We will customize the colors to match your site perfectly and assist you in setting up the options and features.

How much does the Basic Floating Cart Installation Cost?

The basic Installation will be priced at $200 starting in May, but for the entire month of April, we are offering a $75 early bird discount bringing the total cost to only $125!

[Sign Up Now]

What if I want my floating cart integrated directly into my site?

We are also offering an Advanced Installation of the Floating Cart that will integrate the floating cart directly into your site. An example of advanced integration would be replacing the “My Shopping Cart” link within your stores design with the new floating cart.

How much does the Advanced Floating Cart Installation Cost?

The advanced Installation will be priced at $325 starting in May, but for the entire month of April, we are offering a $75 early bird discount bringing the total cost to only $250!

[Sign Up Now]

We are very excited about this new technology from Yahoo! Merchant Solutions and we are ready to install it on your site! If you are not familiar with the new Floating Cart yet, Yahoo! has posted a detailed blog post about it here.

As always, if you have any questions, please let us know! We are here to help.

Remember, this special pricing is only valid during the month of April, so don’t delay!

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Colorado Web Solutions launches Yahoo Store Image Peeler

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

Colorado Web Solutions is pleased to announce the release of our newest service, the Yahoo! Store Image Peeler. If you’d like to read the details of this service, we’ve got it all outlined here.

To give you a quick summary, our Image Peeler service is designed to go into your Yahoo! Store, download every single product image active in your store, rename them with the correct formatting (Item ID Code based for CSV uploads) and then deliver a single zipped file straight to your inbox. The service costs $225 and is typically delivered within 24 business hours.

The Image Peeler is perfect for stores that are switching from Manual Item Additions to a CSV upload, for merchants who want to edit all of their product images in bulk, for store owners who want to keep a backup of all of their product images, for merchants opening a second (or third!) Yahoo! Store and even for merchants looking to expand their store to additional platforms. Any of these scenarios would traditionally require hours and hours of work for merchants, but with the introduction of the Colorado Web Solutions Image Peeler, it’s all automatic and perfect each time. Could be the best $225 you spend on your store this year.

If you have any questions about the Yahoo! Store Image Peeler or if you would like to sign up for an Image Peel, please let us know. We’re here to help.

Have a great Thursday everyone.

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Do you Ship to Colorado? Merchant Advisory

Posted on March 23rd, 2010 by Matt Sampson - Colorado Web Solutions

As the owner of a small business in Colorado I am downright ashamed by the new tax laws that were just passed in Colorado. The Colorado government has decided that small businesses should be punished not only in the state but also out of the state. We have been very active in writing letters and campaigning but it has been met with greedy, deaf ears. This new law is effecting our business as well as thousands of others in the state. Regardless of what your opinion is, it’s the new law for now, so we will all have to comply.

Personally, if I were a small business owner not based in Colorado, I would seriously consider not offering shipping to Colorado because of this law. In a nut shell for retailers, the Colorado Government thinks that it is the merchants responsibility to be able to provide sales summaries for EVERY Colorado Customer annually to each individual customer (not the state) so that they can file their taxes. It’s a complete joke of a law.

This article was provided by Yahoo! Small Business and covers everything in full. If you have any questions, consult your tax adviser. Good luck Colorado… This could be a rough one…

If any members of the Colorado Government that voted for this law are reading this blog, I challenge you to defend yourself to our retailers. This is a sad excuse of a law and the desperation to collect revenue is only going to bite you in the ass.  It’s sad to me that the state that originally encouraged exploration, self sufficiency, entrepreneurs and creativity is now a state that does not support small businesses or their customers.

Matt Sampson | CEO | Colorado Web Solutions

The following information is provided as a courtesy to our merchants. The tax law information may not be an accurate description of Colorado tax law requirements and, as such, should not be relied upon as advice on how to comply with tax laws. Merchants are urged to seek their own counsel on this and all tax matters. The intent of this article is to provide our merchants who are subject to the new Colorado tax law with technical instructions that may facilitate merchants’ compliance with some of the requirements of the new law.

Recent legislation in Colorado places new obligations on companies that do not collect Colorado sales tax. Certain exceptions do apply. For detailed information about these requirements, merchants should consult with their tax advisors. Merchants may access a copy of the new regulation on the Colorado Department of Revenue web site. A recent article from E-Commerce Times provides a summary of the new requirements.

Among the new obligations is a requirement that merchants provide notice to certain customers of such customers’ obligations with respect to sales tax. In connection with this new obligation, our merchants may wish to include the notice during checkout, either on the Billing Information page (the Shipping & Billing Information page for merchants using a single-page checkout flow), the Order Review page, or on the Order Confirmation page. To add this information:

  1. In the Page Configuration section of Checkout Manager, select the tab for the page you wish to add this notice to.
  2. Enter the required notice information in the Page Message field. Please consult with your tax advisor and see the Colorado Department of Revenue web site for details of the information to be included here.
  3. Save your changes, and publish your Order Settings.

If you do not wish for this notice to appear to all customers, you may instead wish to add JavaScript code to your pages to detect a Colorado billing address, and to display this notice only upon a Colorado billing address being provided.

For more information about adding custom information to checkout pages, please see the Customizing a Specific Page section in Checkout Manager help.

Also among the new obligations is the requirement that merchants distribute annual information statements to their Colorado customers. In connection with such annual information statements for Colorado customers, Merchant Solutions Standard and Professional merchants who use Order Manager may wish to export their orders to search or sort orders by state. Merchants who use third-party order processing solutions may wish to use export, search, or sort capabilities available within the application being used.

Yahoo! Small Business recommends that you consult with your tax advisor with respect to the new law. We hope that the information we’ve provided here is helpful to those of our merchants who are subject to the new Colorado tax law. For more information on the new Colorado tax law, please read the E-Commerce Times article and visit the Colorado Department of Revenue web site.

Jennifer Farwell
Yahoo! Small Business
Follow @YSmallBusiness on Twitter

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The Ultimate Salesperson: Your Website

Posted on March 16th, 2010 by Matt Sampson - Colorado Web Solutions

I saw this article today on the Yahoo! Small Business site and thought it was worthy of posting for our clients and visitors. I agree with the theory behind this article completely. I don’t completely agree with the implementation, but overall, a great piece worth reading. If you’d like to read the entire article, I added a link to it below. Enjoy!

Matt Sampson
Colorado Web Solutions

By Ramon Ray – Entrepreneur.com

I know that a business’s website is one of the most powerful sales tools a small business can have, but I’ve never thought of a website as a salesperson until now. Do it yourself and you might start looking at websites differently.

If you think of your website as a salesperson, you’ll begin to think of it as more than just a glorified brochure.  You’ll even want it to be better designed, since you probably want your sales reps to look good.

To help develop your website into a salesperson, ask these four questions:

1. Does your website know everything about your business that it should?

2. Do you measure your website’s success (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually)?

3. Do you offer your website “training” on your business fundamentals, new trends or economic changes in your local market or in the national business climate for your industry?

4. Does your website have all your current products, services and pricing?

You would never send a sales representative to prospective clients without ensuring he or she had all the needed information, so your informational expectations of the website should be no different.

If you are selling a line of women’s handbags and scarves in person, for example, it would make sense to describe the fabric and the show the bags from all angles, detailing which scarves are machine washable and which scarves are not. The same sales routine applies to your website.

Sales representatives also educate themselves about their clients, so they spend a lot of time listening to the customer’s needs and concerns before selling a product or service. The same applies to your website.

Read the rest of the article at: http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/r-article-a-113115-m-3-sc-17-the_best_salesperson_your_website-i

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Opening a Niche Yahoo! Store Webinar

Posted on October 5th, 2009 by Matt Sampson - Colorado Web Solutions

Colorado Web Solutions will be one of the speakers at the upcoming Yahoo! Merchant Solutions Small Business Webinar called “Preparing for the Holidays – Opening a Niche Store” this coming Wednesday the 7th of October. The webinar is open to all Yahoo! Store merchants but geared toward those stores with sales up to $500k annually. We hope to see you there!

Here’s the release from Yahoo! as well as the registration links.

October 7, 2009

Preparing for the Holidays — Opening a Niche Store
11:00am-12:00pm PT / 2:00-3:00pm ET
Open that new store you’ve always wanted, or create a special online store for your most gift-ready products. Learn how to create niche stores just in time for the holidays and other marketing tips to prepare for the busiest time of year. (You can also receive free subscription for 3 months and special discounts from our developer partners for your new store – we’ll review the details!)

Register Now for this Webinar!

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