As a sponsor of the 2013 Global Startup Battle, Bigcommerce was honored to attend the Austin Startup Weekend on Nov. 22-24 at Tech Ranch Austin. Startup Weekends give participants the opportunity to pitch their ideas and form teams around the most popular ideas. The teams then have 54 hours to develop and pitch their startup. Over 100 designers, developers and entrepreneurs attended the Austin event. A total of 49 ideas were pitched, and by Friday night 13 teams emerged and got to work.
On Saturday, Kevin Klausman, Katey Ferenzi and I spoke to the Austin startup attendees about customer conversion and positioning your startup for success. You can checkout our Startup Weekend presentation on Slideshare
. We also helped mentor the teams and meet some amazing entrepreneurs in the process.
The holiday season is already in full swing at BoostSuite and Bigcommerce. I’m sure it’s the same with you and your business. You might even be a little worried that you missed the rush, wondering what you can do to drive more people to your online store for their holiday shopping.
Well, I have good news. You do still have time to create your own online door-busters and mad-dashes, but only if you get started right away. The first step is realizing holiday shoppers don’t always look like your regular customers. And to ensure you don’t miss out on holiday sales, you need to know what these seasonal buyers are looking for.
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“Never in a million years did I think I’d start this business,” said Melissa Hinnant, founder of Grace and Lace. What started as a creative distraction has turned into an e-commerce sensation that will take center stage on ABC’s Shark Tank tonight, Nov. 22, at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the tank, but we expect the Sharks will be impressed by this Bigcommerce client and her fashionably frilly accessories.
Melissa started crocheting and knitting while on bed rest for a high-risk pregnancy. She didn’t plan to sell her creations, but her lacey boot socks were a huge hit among family and friends. They received so many compliments that she put them online and immediately got her first sale. Within 72 hours she had more than 400 purchase requests for her socks, nicknamed the PITA because they took her so long to make.
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Data is the gift that keeps on giving, especially during the holidays. Bigcommerce clients are rolling in the good stuff, pulling data from our platform as well as analytic tools like Google Analytics. (If you have not set Google Analytics yet, get moving!) They are able to study referral sources, click-throughs, the pages people viewed on their site, how long they stayed, where they bailed and more. Combine those seemingly boring numbers and you can get inside the mind of your customer. Exciting, right? Analytics will help you in making informed decisions, rather than acting on assumptions, and empower you to improve your website in ways that will increase sales.
But even the biggest data geeks may be missing out on a key piece of information—why people actually came to their site. Yes, you can look at reports on the top 10 pages and know what people saw, but how do you know what they really wanted to see? If you know what potential customers were looking for when they arrived to your store, you can be proactive in helping them actually find it. A small yet mighty tool you have available out-of-the-box with Bigcommerce is in-store site search. This feature provides that missing ingredient in the e-commerce success recipe by showing you a potential customer’s intent.
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When Abe Geary pitched PetPaint on Shark Tank, he was ready for some choppy waters. Selling pet-safe, non-permanent, colored hair spray for dogs meant creating a brand new market. But Abe believed in his vision, the product was gaining traction with groomers and Pet Smart had agreed to start carrying PetPaint. Still, one of the Sharks threw him a curve ball that had a major impact on his time in the tank.
When Mark Cuban asked what PetPaint was doing online, Abe admitted he was focusing primarily on retail. This didn’t sit well with Cuban, who liked the product but decided to pass on the investment. “Where I have a huge, huge problem is that you weren’t able to see that online was your best solution,” he said. “To me that’s so obvious.” Read the rest of this entry »
Google recently announced another huge algorithm release. We’ve been nervously biting our nails since the Caffeine update and we now have (drum roll please) Hummingbird! The new algorithm earned its name by being fast and precise. It is also one of the most significant updates to Google’s search technology since 2010. So what does Hummingbird mean for your online store?
First things first, a search algorithm is the logic search engines use to sort through and analyze web pages. When a user enters a query, the search engine returns what it believes are the best sites based on that algorithm. As you can imagine, the ramifications of a change to this logic can be scary since the search engine may view your website differently and possibly decrease your hard-earned ranking. Read the rest of this entry »
The best businesses solve a distinct problem, and for Abe Geary that problem was getting his Giant Schnauzer into a Halloween costume. “Billie just wasn’t having it,” he admits. “So I thought, how do I get a costume on my dog without her knowing it?”
The answer was PetPaint, a colored furspray for dogs that will be featured on ABC’s Shark Tank today, Nov. 8, at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT. We’re excited to give you a sneak peak at this innovative entrepreneur and his growing business. There are no spoilers in this post, but next week we’ll follow up with a recap of the show and what Abe learned facing the Sharks. Read the rest of this entry »