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Improving the User Experience

Posted on April 23, 2014 by Alexander Diegel

Improving the User Experience by Scott Raio

Scott Raio, CTO and co-founder of the popular men’s clothing brand, Combatant Gentlemen, spoke at SpreeConf 2014, detailing the challenges, and solutions to, delivering the best user experience possible in both an online and offline atmosphere.

Having already established itself as an e-commerce power, Combatant Gentlemen wanted to extend the user experience to include the ability to physically try on the clothes before customers made their purchase. The issue that presented itself was that Combatant Gentlemen wanted all of its offline purchases to run through Spree, just like its online sales, in order to deliver the most comfortable offline scenario as possible.

Clearly, having customers lug a laptop through Combatant Gentlemen’s pop-up store was not an option, so it was up to Scott and his team of developers to think outside the box. What they came up with was their “Super Sweet Magic Mirror,” which turned heads at the 2013 Vegas Hack-A-Thon.

The two-way mirror, complete with a TV in the back and an RFID reader in the bottom, takes the RFID-enabled clothing that the customer is wearing and displays information, such as the price and similar items, right in front of the user. The mirror then communicates to Spree and back to the user. When customers are ready to make the purchase, they simply swipe their credit card in Combatant Gentlemen’s point of sale app, which would talk direclty to Spree.

More sessions and videos from SpreeConf 2014 will be uploaded soon, so make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see them as they go live.

Avalara Partner Webinar

Posted on April 22, 2014 by Jennifer Glantz

The Naked Truth About Clothing and Sales Tax

We’ve received great feedback on our recently launched webinar program and we are pleased to announce our next one! Join us on Wednesday, April 30th at 2:00 PM EDT as our partner, Avalara, talks about The Naked Truth About Clothing and Sales Tax.

Buying clothing and apparel online is a preferred way for customers to shop, and is the fastest growing segment of e-commerce. But the rules, thresholds, and definitions governing sales tax in this market are complex at best—and can leave online merchants frayed and tattered. That’s why Avalara and Spree have partnered to bring you a look into sales tax complexities in the clothing and apparel industry.

In this webinar, you’ll learn about:

· What does a merchant need to know about where and for what they have to collect sales tax?
· Can drop-shipper relationships or other affiliations cause sales tax liabilities?
· Approaches for automating sales tax compliance.

Registration is filling fast so register today!

The Top Five Hidden Costs of Going It Alone

Posted on April 22, 2014 by Shannon Madlin

Top 5 Hidden Costs of Going it Alone

Need to build or re-platform an online store? You may be thinking that the best way to connect the storefront to its backend business operations — like accounting and fulfillment — is to code the connections yourself. Developers and store owners sometimes think that by coding it themselves they’ll save money in the long run, by avoiding monthly SaaS fees. But just because your software is custom, doesn’t make it free. You need to account for the costs that are hiding in the background, ready to take an unfair share of the store’s hard earned revenue.

Here are the top five hidden costs of going it alone.

1. Initial Buildout

Whether it’s an in-house developer’s time or the outside fees paid to a consultant, this generally runs between $10,000 and $20,000, which doesn’t include ongoing maintenance. This is just the initial backend system to handle the retail store’s connection to the logistics applications at the time of launch.

2. Total Cost of Ownership

If you’re a typical online retailer, as you grow, your needs change. You’ll switch or add new backend systems. You’ll change your shipping vendor one year, your accounting system the next. And you’ll add a new analytics system some time in between. If you have a custom solution, you’ll need to break it apart, and rebuild it, every time you make a change. You’re looking at $15,000 a year for that ongoing maintenance.

3. Lost Productivity

It’s hard to find good developers. Once you manage to hire them, don’t you want them to work on new and innovative ways to sell your products, not fixing broken back ends and cleaning up messes that they didn’t make in the first place? Have your developers do what they do best — creating and optimizing the best possible storefront experience for your customers. Don’t waste their time — and your money — by having them focus on your store’s backend plumbing.

4. Lost Revenue

Did you know that for a retailer that ships 1,000 orders a month, even a relatively effective custom backend will still result in an average of 10 lost orders every month? The average online purchase is $184, which means that you run the risk of losing close to $2,000 a month in lost revenue.

5. Bad Customer Experience

Even if your backend is working effectively, it’s the customer’s experience that is key. Without the burden of having to fix and replace broken systems, you can come up with new ideas to give your customers a memorable experience. And remember they will – good or bad. 81% of US shoppers said that a social media post directly influenced their purchase decision. That could mean the difference between making a purchase or NOT making a purchase. It’s a domino effect in this social media savvy world, and the customer is king.

Click here to download the Top 5 Hidden Costs PDF

March New Partners

Posted on April 17, 2014 by Shannon Madlin

Announcing our March 2014 Partners

As we continue to build out our arsenal of top-notch experts in e-commerce and Spree technology, we are pleased to announced seven new partners joining the Spree team. Spree Commerce’s certified partners are a premier group of specialists that leverage their world-class design and development skills to provide the most advanced and dynamic e-commerce solutions.

Advantages certified partners have enjoyed include helping customers get to market quicker, minimizing the complexity of developing integrations, and having more time to build a better storefront, rather than worrying about the backend logistics. This has allowed partners to stand out in a crowded marketplace, through access to Spree’s world-class technology, training and support. A combination of design, hosting and additional technology offers, here are our new partners:

Gin Lane is a collection of two-dozen creative technologists working on The Bowery in Downtown New York City. Gin Lane specializes in strategy, interactive design & content creation, as well as full-stack development – with brands in the fashion, retail, health, & athletics worlds.

AgileEngine turns ideas into products that people love. The company designs beautiful user interfaces and engineers high performance backends for startups and enterprise customers with SpreeCommerce and other eCommerce systems. Symantec, Nokia, Bertlesmann, StreetCount.com, RomanticU and other brands chose AgileEngine because of its creative designers and expert coders. With US and global dev centers in Eastern Europe, AgileEngine is able to provide a simple and cost-effective experience. Every customer that tried us in the last 10 years is still using our services.

Illuminati is a boutique digital agency focused exclusively on interactive design and development. The company is known for being adept and decisive, and moves with speed and determination to execute your strategy. The results are expertly crafted digital experiences that demand attention.

Branch 13 is defined by a no compromises approach to design and web development. They use the most cutting-edge tools and techniques to make sure your website looks exactly the way you pictured it. Branch13 takes a cross-disciplinary approach to design and development, our designers’ code. Their software developers use Photoshop, to make sure there is flawless execution from concept to launch. Branch 13 loves building the most stunning websites imaginable.

Ruby Garage is an expert team of developers and designers who build awesome web applications to make sure your business is successful. We focus on delivering high-quality projects for our customers, who range from e-commerce entrepreneurs to multinational enterprise and government entities. Ruby Garage’s approach to projects is lean, agile, and collaborative, which enables it to simply be more effective in cooperation with clients.

Codelation is a boutique software development company located in Fargo, ND. By keeping its skill set focused and targeting in on what it does well, Codelation is able to keep prices competitive while providing an unparalleled set of skills.

Codelation has been able to deliver solutions for its clients over the last 5 years by methodical, process-driven development, while not forgetting what makes the brand unique: its company culture. Codelation is able to keep a solid focus on client development, while taking 20% of the week to help develop its own projects and ideas. This helps Codelation keep up to date with the ever-evolving technology landscape.

NuRelm has spent the last 15 years utilizing the best Web technology to accomplish its clients’ goals, while making their lives easier. NuRelm builds software, but focuses on people. E-commerce systems, content management platforms (Drupal, WordPress and many more) and custom development frameworks (Rails, PHP, Java) are the tools of our trade, but happy clients are the only way NuRelm measure results.

If you’re interested in learning more about our partnership program, or how to become a partner, visit the partnership section of our website.