Why A Custom E-Commerce Store Means More Sales 

By Steve Hoag

custom ecommerce store

The storefront matters. It mattered when the only option was going to a brick and mortar shop, and it still matters today with online storefronts. The shop itself has an effect on the purchasing behavior of a consumer. If you were going to go buy a car, would you go to some back alley garage, or the trusted, local dealership?

Custom branding builds credibility and trust.

People trust people or things that look nicer. That’s why people get stressed out at 3 am when a homeless person is near them, but not when it’s a businessman in a nice suit. A custom e-commerce store allows you to implement things like custom branding. Being able to use your branding instead of a pre-packaged template can have a profound effect on consumers. They will see that you put time and money into the appearance of your store, and that builds credibility. The more credibility you have, the easier it is for the consumer to trust you, and then purchase your product.

A custom storefront means more functionality.

One of the biggest benefits of custom development is creating functionality where it didn’t exist before. Have a custom e-commerce store can be a huge asset if you need additional functionality now, or down the road. Some e-commerce solutions will have missing tools like mobile/social media stores or social check outs. With a custom solution you can circumvent all these issues. You get exactly what you need, with the ability to add whatever you want later on. Having the ability to add great functionality like social media checkouts can make the buying process easier and more efficient for consumers. Streamlining processes with a consumer-centric focus means fewer hoops to jump through for a user, and a lower rate of cart abandonment. And that means more sales.

 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Thursday, January 16, 2014 6:09:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise retail marketing SMB social media web design web development website

The Web Design Industry Explained Via Infographics 

By Steve Hoag

Infographics are arguably the hippest way to consume information on the Internet today. They’re easy to digest, highly shareable, and packed with content. We have scoured the internet for the best web design infographics for you today. Some are serious, some are funny, and all of them are informative!

Web Designers Vs Web Developers (Via HongKiat)

This is a humorous look at the difference between web designers and developers. If you didn’t know how they were different before, you do now!

web design infographics

Designers vs Designers (Via SloDive)

This infographic is another humorous look at the design industry, with statistics for different types of designers including salary, job satisfaction, etc.

 

The Most Common Resolutions (Via Okilla)

A great infographic that presents a concise summary on the most common resolutions used by different devices today! Definitely worth taking a look at if you are building responsive sites.

 

Flat Design: Just a Trend or a New Staple of Web Design? (Via CreativeMarket)

A company named Usabilla conducted testing websites and surveyed web professionals to figure out what people think about flat design. The results are pretty awesome!

 

 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, January 15, 2014 8:22:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB web design web development web trends website

What Is Flat Design? 

By Steve Hoag

flat design

Flat design is taking the web design industry by storm. And it’s set to grow even more. So what is it exactly? What does it look and behave like? Are there any benefits to adopting this style in future designs? Let’s take a closer look:

Flat design is about usability and minimalism.

No fancy shadows, 3d effects, or anything else that can distract the user. Flat design is just flat. This minimalist approach promotes end-user usability at any cost. Any extra feature that gets in the way of streamlined navigation and ease of use will be taken out. Flashiness takes a back seat to user friendliness and functionality.

Bland is not flat design’s middle name.

What is the best example of recent flat design? Personally, I think it’s Windows 8. Do you think that OS is boring with its vibrant colors, backgrounds, and icons? I hope not! Again, this vibrancy helps to promote functionality by making important programs/features jump out at the user. You can easily tell what’s important when looking at a well-executed design. So while there is a minimalist approach in flat design, it doesn’t mean the final product will look bland at all.

Benefits of Flat Design:

  • Clean look
  • Concise
  • Easy to use
  • Awesome functionality
  • Efficiently conveys information
  • Works in a variety of color schemes
  • Great for mobile screens

Cons

  • Not suitable for every business.
  • It’s most suitable for companies that want to convey information efficiently, and not in a flashy, visual way.
  • There has been some criticism that flat design can look a bit funny on large, high definition screens.
View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Friday, January 10, 2014 5:09:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB web design web trends website

The Top 2014 Web Design Trend Links (Thus Far) 

By Steve Hoag

web design trends links

There have been dozens of articles written leading up to, and immediately following New Years. We’ve taken the liberty of poring through a lot of these and collecting the best and most interesting for your reading pleasure! Check it out:

Melissa Cale’s 2014 Design Trends Pinterest

Melisa Cale, a Pinterest user and professional photographer, has assembled a plethora of web design trend related articles, infographics, websites, and much more. She used a ton of reliable sources to create a very thorough and broad spectrum of information for what to expect in 2014.  Definitely worth a look!

Collis Ta’eed’s 2014 Design Trend Article

While many designers/writers are focusing on aesthetic changes in their trend rundowns, Collis, a web designer/CEO, also looks at other factors. For example, he takes a analyzes the CMS industry, and how that will impact design, as well as indie design tools that will make an impact quickly. Definitely worth reading if you want to see a part of the bigger picture!

The Next Web’s 2014 Design Trends Slideshow

The Next Web is a great resource for designers. If you haven’t heard of it before, take a look, because it is awesome. In related news, their slideshow on the biggest emerging trends is fantastic. It provides informative visuals to go along with detailed descriptions. If you want a comprehensive breakdown that you can read through in 3 minutes, check this out!

John Croft’s Web Standards Killed The HTML Star

While the other links/articles have been mostly positive, and looked at aesthetics and tool changes, this one analyzes web development/design as a profession. Croft takes a look at how being an HTML & CSS guru is no longer good enough, and states that developers/designers need to ‘diversify or die.’ Tough love! Also, if you’re interested, check out this response piece by Jeffrey Zeldman for another view. Great stuff!

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Thursday, January 9, 2014 7:45:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise SMB social media web design web development web trends website

Why Social Media > Cold Calling 

By Steve Hoag

here's why social media is better

Social media is not just for young people. It’s for businesses too. It is obliterating barriers to sales, and becoming an indispensable marketing tool. Tactics like cold calling are a thing of the past. You shouldn’t need to cold call anymore. Here’s why social media is better:

Social media beats cold calling 11 times out of 10.

Cold calling doesn’t work like it used to. Thanks to the Internet, marketing analytics, and social media, there are much better ways to approach leads. When you cold call someone, your target usually doesn’t know anything about you. Social media lets you build a rapport, either directly or indirectly with your target. Connecting with leads via a mutual online contact, and nurturing them by posting in similar groups or discussions is much more effective than cold calling. Social media can create a personal relationship, and can help close a sale without having to come across as salesy.

Social media has incredible reach.

Social media can enable you to target anyone, anywhere, at any time. Cold calling limits you to a single point of contact. Sharing content online exposes you to your target and anyone else who sees your post. It simultaneously has pinpoint targeting, and massive reach. Your business is not limited to your geographic location. Want to talk establish a partnership abroad? Find key decision makers via social media, and forge a relationship with them. Social media is becoming an increasingly powerful tool that simply cannot be ignored anymore.

Social media is not just a lead generator.

Social media is not just a great lead generating resource. It’s a hub of information, FAQs, crowdsourcing, and much more. Having trouble understanding how to use a program, or need advice regarding inbound marketing? Take to Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and you will have your question answered. Need to the minute business rumors that could impact you? A custom search on Twitter can divulge a lot of breaking news, oftentimes before it hits mainstream media. Furthermore, social media also builds things like SEO for your business if you link back to your site. It is an outbound AND inbound marketing tool.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, January 8, 2014 6:54:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB social media social media marketing website
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