BigCommerce, a leading provider of multi-channel ecommerce software for online merchants, today announced the release of mobile site, eBay and Facebook integration into its ecommerce platform, bringing enterprise level services to small and medium businesses.
Mitchell Harper, co-founder and co-CEO of BigCommerce, said the new version of BigCommerce is in response to some of online marketing's biggest trends: the growth of mobile, the social media explosion and the need to integrate multiple channels into a unified sales strategy.
Bringing products to customers
Harper said that driving qualified traffic to ecommerce stores is the biggest challenge to his customers. While driving customers to your store can be effective, bringing products to where the customers are can have big results.
"With BigCommerce 6.0, we've integrated tools for selling on eBay and Facebook so that our merchants can literally click a few buttons and get their products in front of tens of millions of potential customers," Harper said.
Using BigCommerce, merchants can make their products available on eBay with a few clicks. When a product is auctioned or sold, a new order is automatically created in the merchant's BigCommerce store. Customers can process both eBay and regular orders directly from their BigCommerce control panel.
While ecommerce is the foundation of ebay, reporting 90 million active members and average sales of $2,000 per second, ecommerce is a new phenomenon within Facebook and its 500 million users. Best Buy and 1-800 Flowers are currently testing product sales within their Facebook pages, eliminating the need for users to leave the site to buy. Both companies built their own Facebook apps, but BigCommerce makes selling within Facebook an affordable channel for companies without big development budgets .
Tool to create mobile-friendly site
BigCommerce 6.0 also includes tools for online merchants to create mobile versions of their online stores that can be used on all smartphones including the iPhone, Palm Pre and Android phones. An iPad-specific mobile store is also available. While any browser capable phone can display a Web site, the results are often disappointing. The smaller screens and different operating systems of smartphones call for a site that is optimized for phones.
According to AdMob, an Internet ad analysis and research firm, iPhones and Android phones accounted for 87 percent of all mobile ad page requests in May 2010, and U.S. mobile traffic overall has grown more than six times over the past two years.
More new features
BigCommerce 6.0 also includes other features that may help usher small businesses into the age of the merging of social media and ecommerce. Features will allow businesses to:
- Make their own sites more social by adding "like" buttons for every product in their store and taking advantage of BigCommerce's integration with Facebook's open graph personalization profiles.
- Integrate IntenseDebate and Disqus commenting systems into their sites, so site visitors can use their existing social media profiles to login, post and share product reviews and comments with friends.
- List their products on shopping comparison sites including Shopping.com, PriceGrabber, Shopzilla, MySimon, Beso, and Bizrate. These sites operate on a pay-per-click model rather than cost per thousand viewers, so it may be a more affordable advertising strategy.
- Use automated email functions to manage their email marketing program. For instance, MailChimp will automatically add a customer to an active customer list after purchase and at the same time remove that customer from the "Non-Customers" list. Merchants can also set up auto-responders and automated promotions in MailChimp to follow up with customers and share a coupon code after purchase.
- Three-click integration with Shipworks allows customers to manage their UPS, USPS and FedEx shipping labels, rates, quotes and packages.
- Accept pre-orders for products and easily find and ship orders containing those items when the products are released.
- Create multiple tax rates which can be "stacked", a key requirement for companies selling internationally and those with local state and county taxes.
- Set a minimum or maximum order quantity required to purchase each product.
- Edit product photos directly from the control panel using Picnik.com, an online image editing software, recently acquired by Google.
"The old days of paying more for enterprise features are dead. The Internet has leveled the playing field," Eddie Machaalani, co founder and co-CEO of BigCommerce said. "We want all BigCommerce merchants to have access to enterprise-level features that make them more successful, regardless of their industry, budget or experience.
BigCommerce is a Web based platform with monthly fees starting at $24.95.
Leslie Meredith is Senior Writer for TechNewsDaily, a sister site to BusinessNewsDaily
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