The E-Commerce Column

  • Hotcakes Commerce 3.0.1 Released!

    We are pleased to announce the official release of Hotcakes Commerce 3.0.1. This maintenance release comes on the heels of Hotcakes Commerce 3.0.0, a major release where the product was made available for the first time under an open source software license. The primary goals of the 3.0.1 maintenance release is to improve the integrity and reliability of the product and create new opportunities for Hotcakes to be deployed in a wider range of environments.

  • Get Rewarded in the Hotcakes Commerce Community

    Upendo Ventures is all about Community

    The Hotcakes Commerce community was recently restored a few months ago when version 3.0 was released.  This was welcomed with a lot of enthusiasm since our community was once very large and strong.  There was a bit of gamification in the previous community, and we wanted to ensure that we still had that kind of experience with the new one.  This article will help you get to know a bit more about the new community features that give you rewards.

  • Become A Hotcakes Partner!

    Hotcakes Partner Program

    The Hotcakes Partner program is designed for organizations who are utilizing the Hotcakes Commerce open source product as part of their website design, custom software development, or implementation service offerings for customers. Hotcakes Partners are featured in the official Partners directory on hotcakes.org and also get a variety of other valuable benefits.

  • Join The Hotcakes Community!

    Hotcakes Commerce Community

    Hotcakes is a robust e-commerce CMS solution which was recently released under an open source license. In order to build a strong foundation for our open source community, we have created a variety of ways for people to contribute.

  • Hotcakes is now an Open Source E-Commerce CMS

    Hotcakes Commerce is an Open Source E-Commerce CMS

    Luckily, today isn’t the first of April, so this isn’t a typo or a trick. As of today, the only e-commerce solution that has been solely focused on making e-commerce easier for everyone is now open source – free for everyone to download, use, and deploy as their online store.

  • How You Can Keep Up With Taxes in 2017

    Sales Tax Policemen

    What words do you think of when the topic of taxes comes up?  Boring?  Annoying?  Necessary?  Stressful?  Whatever words you use to describe them, it’s important to get them correct in your online store.  While e-commerce legislature is by and large still well behind the curve when it comes to relevant taxation, it’s something that you don’t want to have to revisit after you’ve paid your taxes for the year.  I think we’d all have some other choice words in that case.

  • Don’t Just Sell Online–Create Shopping Experiences for Your Customers

    Ladies Reviewing a Website Design

    Let’s face it.  Anyone these days can open an online store.  It’s incredibly simple to do, takes almost no investment, and it can be up and running in minutes.  Just putting up a store means nothing though.  The obvious next step of course is to market your store so you can actually get sales.  Though, chances are pretty high that your products/services aren’t unique.  Unique products and ideas are few and far between anymore.  So you need something more to compel your customers to spend money at your store, versus spending their money with your competitors.

  • Integrating Social Media with Your Products is Important

    Lady shopping online

    It wasn’t that long ago that social media wasn’t given any respect for adding value to businesses, much less those who run online stores.  The conversations such as, “If I want to know what you had for lunch, then I’ll use Twitter,” are pretty much a relic of the past.  Companies like Domino’s Pizza, Nivea, and Dollar Shave Club have seen amazing success by leveraging social media to present their strengths to new potential customers.  There are so many success stories around using social media that it feels a bit redundant writing this article, but it’s amazing to see how many companies aren’t doing it still.

  • The 3 Most Powerful Promotion Ideas to Convert Your Customers

    Everyone loves a great deal

    Converting customers is the best and most difficult part of e-commerce for many of us.  This is assuming that you have your marketing plans in action and they’re doing their job.  Promotions are always a key way to keep your lurkers interested, and eventually to convert all of your lurkers, prospects, and existing customers over and over.  Sometimes words can be a bit ambiguous though.  The context of a promotion in this article will be the ways that you can create demand and convert customers through sales, offers, and other fun ways on your own site.  Probably the most obvious example of this is discounting products in a specific category for a sale.

  • Top 5 Tips to Reduce Time & Save Money Managing Your Online Store

    Saving Money with Hotcakes Commerce

    As a store owner, one of the primary things that’s constantly on your mind is how well your sales are growing.  Did you make more than last month, quarter, or same month last year?  Did you sell more product overall?  Are you projected to grow again next period?  These are relevant questions, of course, but we can’t lose sight of the cost centers we’ve grown accustomed too as well.  This post asks the question, “How can you further increase revenue by reducing cost in some way?”

  • Most Expensive Mistakes Your Online Store Is Probably Making Already

    Don't Leave Money on the Table

    If you look up this topic, you’ll no doubt come up with a lot of the standard faire, such as not marketing, not having a content plan, not having a fast website, and so on.  These are “table steaks” as they say.  (I don’t know who they are, so feel free to comment below to let us know.)  If you’re not already doing the obvious stuff, then the things in this article won’t be of much help to you – so do both.  We spend a lot of time with our clients and here’s the most common things that we’ve found that e-commerce companies are missing that have an enormous impact.  That impact could be instantly increasing sales, dramatically lowering costs, or preventing unnecessary law suits and/or costly customer returns and social media rants.  As they also say, don’t leave money on the table.

  • 2017 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Online Store

    New Year's Reolutions for Your Online Store

    Every year, we hear the same dreaded question both before and after the first day of the year, “Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?”  For some, this is a welcome question, for others, not as much.  Resolutions often center around bettering your health by quitting vices or exercising more, and can range to personal development things like remembering people’s names.  No matter the resolution, they’re always positive things that appear to be able to better your life.  What about your business and online store?  Why can’t your business also have resolutions this year?

  • Tips to Capture Your E-Commerce Customer in 3 Seconds or Less

    Customer Paying

    I remember when I was first entering the workforce, one of the most common analogies I ever heard was that the most difficult part of business is getting someone through the front door.  Meaning, you can do all of the preparations in the world and have the best product ever.  Unfortunately, that won’t mean anything unless you can somehow get people to know you exist, and get them to trust you enough to take time out of their busy schedule to visit you.  I broke that down pretty simply into two steps – but this is the furthest thing from being simple.  Your e-commerce website isn’t so different, although getting people to know you is a lot easier and cheaper than it is for a traditional brick and mortar business.

  • Build a Short and Long Term Sales Pipeline With a Thoughtful Content Campaign

    A writer writing

    We’re always looking for ways for our clients to sell more, especially since it’s always on top of mind for any ambitious store owner.  The goal is always to do better today over yesterday, and last month, and last year.  No one wants to stand still and accept the status quo.  Doing so is dangerous and could lead to sales going the other direction before you realize it.  One of the things we don’t feel we see enough of is small and midsized companies making use of content properly.  Large companies have this down, and some do it so well that they have an entire department of people dedicated to it.  Here’s some insights for the rest of you.

  • 5 Super Simple Experiments You Can Do Today to Increase Sales Tomorrow

    Woman changing the website

    This is a discussion that’s as old as e-commerce itself.  How in the world can I increase sales on my site?  The primary reason that this discussion never ends, is because technology and customers change so often over time.  You constantly need to re-evaluate what you are and are not doing.  Could making a change here increase the average sale size?  Does that change again next year?  Could changing around titles and white space increase the number of items being added to a cart?  The questions are endless, but you need to continually ask questions like these.  What’s to follow are a handful of simple tips to help you get some quick wins today.

  • Hotcakes Commerce E-Commerce Community is Back

    Hotcakes Commerce Community

    It’s been a while, but if you’re new to Hotcakes Commerce, you may not realize that we once had a thriving community section here on the site where people of all backgrounds and regions would come together to discuss implementations and other e-commerce scenarios.  It was quite fun to see everyone chime in with their various perspectives to help each other.  We closed the communication section temporarily and provided support exclusively through our support channel.  Well, you have all spoken, and it seems that the community is missed.  So it’s back!

  • Case Study: Improving ShopBelieve.com Performance with Hotcakes Commerce

    Believe Group: Believe Kids Case Study

    Believe Kids offers fundraisers for thousands of elementary schools, middle schools and school districts. Our programs are unique and we strive to make fundraising as easy as possible for our sponsors. We do this through a great team of people and through technology.  One of our best offerings is our online shopping site ShopBelieve.com. It allows sponsors to track their fundraisers, parents to share their student’s fundraiser with family and friends, and allows supporters to purchase products and support students.

  • Latest Hotcakes Release Highlights Our Commitment to Our Clients

    credit-card-close-up-800x375

    If you’ve dealt with software for any length of time, you’ve experienced some great things.  You’ve seen video games become incredibly realistic on a handheld screen in less than a decade.  You’ve seen companies like Uber grow like wildfire with app updates that appear to occur weekly.  These are some amazing feats, but with the good, must come the bad as well.

  • Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Next E-Commerce Solution

    Woman Leading E-Commerce Meeting

    Some things just are not easy.  Have you ever tried replacing your own oil?  How about throwing a surprise birthday party?  When was the last time you tried to build a fort or a tree house?  These are all simple examples of things that sound simple on the surface, but in practice, they each require thought, planning, and solid execution to do well.  If you skip or shortcut anything, you undoubtedly found yourself regretting it to some degree.  Finding and selecting your next e-commerce solution is no different.  We’ll spend the next few minutes diving into some tips that are sure to make your life easier.

  • 4 Highly-Rewarding and Simple Ways Your Single Page Checkout Will Kill Your Competition

    Shopping on a Tablet

    We’ve all been there.  You’re online on some site, and it may even be a new one.  You’re looking for something you’ve been wanting to buy, but now you’re trying to beat the clock to go to lunch or home.  You just spent several minutes doing your research.  In internet time, that’s like an hour.  Now comes the moment.  Your friends are at the door, coaxing you to go.  You ask them, “Just one more moment, okay?”  You click the checkout button.  BOOM!  You’re now looking at a 6-step wizard.  You need more time.  Your friends leave without you.  At least you can go through your 6 pages of checkout in peace now.

  • 10 Reasons Your E-Commerce Sales Are Not Increasing

    Store Owners Planning Success

    It’s so easy to get caught in the grind that you miss things, look past things, or just simply forget to take time to think about and fix the things that you know may be holding you back.  We know this all too well.  You’re not alone.  Nearly every single online store falls prey to this, and such a thing isn’t limited to selling online either.  Here’s a quick hit list of areas to look at, which can significantly improve your sales, almost instantly.

  • Hotcakes Version 02.00.01 is Waiting for You

    A New Hotcakes Commerce Release is Ready

    At Hotcakes, we’re always working hard to make sure we’re doing the best we can for all of our clients.  This includes all kinds of things, support, marketing, documentation, and more.  No matter what, it will always include listening to our customers like you, and address any enhancements and other updates that you might need.  This is one of many releases that proves that.  We hope you enjoy it.  Version 02.00.01 is chock full of updates that came from you.

  • Ultimate Guide on Investing in Social Media Marketing for E-Commerce Store Owners

    Woman Shopping Online

    If you’re reading this, I at least hope you’ve already done the bare minimum and ensured that your product pages have the requisite like, tweet, and pin buttons in the very least.  It’s super simple to do today and requires almost zero technical knowledge.  This one act alone can be a way that some stores instantly increase sales in their online store, because they’ve made it super easy for their existing customers to do their marketing for them.  HubSpot reports that you can get 7 times more mentions on social media channels by doing this.  Since this is so easy, what’s the next step though?  Why and how do I need to invest further into social media?

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