Category: PartFinder

Improving Your BigCommerce Store in 2019

As we close out yet another trip around the sun, you may be starting to wonder “What’s next for my online store?” A new year is a great time to stop and take stock of what worked, what didn’t, and what you can do to improve the bottom line on your BigCommerce store.

In ecommerce, as in life, continuous improvement should always be top of mind. Consider the following when planning your next course of action.

Improve Your Store

If you’re not intentionally working on making your ecommerce store better, you’re allowing it to get worse. Everything is constantly changing. Focused, strategic effort on your part is necessary to make your store the best it can be.

Don’t let that scare you! Avoid overwhelm. If you don’t know where to begin, small changes made consistently over time are a good way to start making progress … but don’t delay. Start now.

Master Your Analytics

If you don’t know where you are now, how will you know how to get to where you want to go next? If you’re not in the habit of getting regular updates on your store’s current status, this should be a priority on your to-do list. What critical information can you learn from your store’s analytics?

  • Audience: Where are you buyers located? How old are they? Are they men or women?
  • Acquisition: Where is the majority of your traffic coming from? What ad campaigns are working?
  • Behavior: Are your buyers first time or repeat visitors? How much traffic is from mobile?
  • Conversions: What’s your conversion rate? What pages on your site convert best? How many didn’t make it to checkout?

… and much, much more.

If you’re not knowledgeable or comfortable using Google Analytics, you’re not alone. Check out The Best of the Best eCommerce Analytics Tools to Grow Your Business.

Hot tip: If you have a BigCommerce store with a large product catalog of unique fitment products (like Year/Make/Model), PartFinder features Data Insights, real-time data generated by customer behavior on your site. Customer searches on your site generate unique data that you can use to improve both your marketing and inventory efforts.

5 Quick Fixes

I look at a wide variety of ecommerce websites every day, offering constructive criticism and our development services on BigCommerce’s Community Forum. Here are the top five areas of improvement I regularly comment on:

  1. Make sure your site is secure

I’ve been seeing this a lot lately. If customers don’t feel that their payment method is secure, they won’t buy from you. Period. Get an SSL certificate for your site pronto.

2. Feature an eye-catching banner with concise messaging

Your site’s banner is prime real estate, and is usually the thing your customer notices first. It can either inform and engage them or turn them off completely. This is the space where you identify your product offering with clear, targeted messaging and sharp photos. I cannot overstate the importance of high-quality images here. The banner sets the tone for the rest of the site, so you should pay especially close attention to this area. Make sure your aspect ratios are on point so you don’t get the dreaded s t r e t c h e d photo effect.

3.  Create a one-line navigation bar with clear product categories

Is your navigation bar product-focused? Things like Shipping and Returns don’t belong in your nav. Have large, well-defined product categories with dropdowns to keep the nav tidy. We recommend 6-8 navigation items, tops.

4. Keep your Home page product-focused too

Your potential customers come to your site to buy from you. They don’t need to read a long story about you or your products on the Home page. While an About Us or Our Story page can be quite compelling, it does not need to take up valuable Home page real estate. Share your story, your philosophy, and interesting details about your quality craftsmanship (if applicable) with appropriate keywords, on a dedicated page they can get to from the main navigation bar.

5. Standardize your product images and create unique product descriptions

This is another area that can sabotage your Home page experience. Make sure the sizing and aspect ratios of your product images are consistent. When image boxes vary in size, they not only look sloppy, but can throw off the alignment of product names and pricing info. Create unique product descriptions rather than using ones supplied by a manufacturer (if you’re a reseller). If you have a product that comes in five colors, it’s best to create one product with five variations than five separate products. Writing creative, compelling product descriptions isn’t always easy. Work on them over time if necessary, but avoid duplicate content whenever possible.

Invest in New Apps

So many apps, so little time …

It’s very likely that you’ve purchased a number of apps to help you with marketing, inventory, shipping, and so on. But when was the last time you took a stroll through the BigCommerce app store to see what’s new? Are you up on all the latest technologies? Small investments can pay off big. Check out this list, BigCommerce Must-Haves to see what you’ve been missing.

 

Refine Your Product Offering

Is your current product offering too narrow … or too broad? I am always amazed to see online stores selling everything from soup to nuts with no sense of cohesiveness. It’s one thing to sell “gifts” and have a wide range of items, but when you’re primarily selling phone cases but also baby bibs, women’s underwear, and garden hoses, you achieve what I call “the garage sale effect.” It’s very difficult to market stores like this because there’s no direction or target market you can aim for. You really can’t compete in Amazon’s “sell everything” space, so make sure your products are related and can be categorized so that anyone visiting your store knows immediately what you’re selling and why they should buy from you.

Improve Yourself

As Stephen Covey wrote in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (a must-read for all humans), the seventh habit he references is “Sharpen the Saw.” Entrepreneurship is hard. You must take the time to invest in yourself if you’re going to have the energy and motivation to continue.

Remember: You’re the goose laying the golden eggs. If you’re not continually improving yourself, you’re continually decreasing your effectiveness and putting yourself on the fast track to burnout.

STOP: Take a Break

When was the last time you took a vacation? Remember, taking a break doesn’t have to mean two weeks in Europe. It could be a weekend getaway, an overnight trip, an afternoon doing something you love, or even a 10-minute meditation. If you don’t make yourself a priority, no one else will.

LOOK: Read & Learn

We all struggle with information overload. The key is being selective. Read blogs and follow business experts on Twitter, or take online courses from sites like Lynda.com or Udemy to enhance your skill set.

I also recommend checking out online forums to stay current on your platform’s features and improvements. BigCommerce’s Community Forum and Facebook page are great ways to learn from other store owners, development partners, and platform experts.

LISTEN: Find Your Podcast Nirvana

If you don’t think you have time to listen to podcasts, you’re doing it wrong. Podcasts are a great way to stay informed while you multitask. Next time you’re eating, exercising, or driving, fire up a podcast see how fast the time goes. If you’re not sure which ones are best, check out 42 Top Ecommerce Podcasts That Will Make You an Ecommerce Magnate and get inspired.

Driving while looking in the rearview mirror is never a good idea. But taking the time to reflect and assess your goals always helps determine your road map for the future. Wishing you a healthy and prosperous new year, and happy selling.

PartFinder: The Most Advanced Fitment Search App for BigCommerce

If you wanted even more functionality from our BigCommerce fitment match app, you got it! PartFinder not only helps your customers find the right product match via custom search filters (like Year/Make/Model, or YMM), it’s now a valuable marketing tool. PartFinder is the only fitment search app that uses search results from your store to generate real-time graphs and data. Create unique marketing opportunities based on actual customer behavior on your site — with no coding! It’s like getting three apps in one.

We’ve found more ways to harness the power of PartFinder into new utilities that make your customer’s search and marketing efforts better than ever. Plus, take your pick of three different service plans to suit your needs.

 

PartFinder’s New Marketing Tools

Fitment Capture (available on Premium plans)

PartFinder exclusive!  Fitment Capture enables you to reach out to customers with updates on products they’re interested in. Shoppers can submit name, email, and phone for follow up, and their fitment data is automatically captured. Contact and fitment data can then be dowloaded for use in marketing campaigns and follow-up emails.


 
 

MailChimp Integration (available on Premium plans)

Our new MailChimp integration allows you to connect to your MailChimp account to create drip campaigns and email marketing newsletters from customer data. Reaching out to customers in personalized ways can help drive sales.
 

PartFinder’s Other New Features

Bulk Export (available on ALL plans)

Want to save time when making mass product or mapping changes? Use your exported data file to make the desired changes and then use Bulk Import to update your store. Automated Part Mappings Backup is also now available on Pro and Premium plans.


 

Fitment Match (available on Pro and Premium plans)

Fitment Match confirms that the search criteria a customer has chosen is an exact match to the product they want. The year/make/model (or applicable search fields) is displayed on the top of the product page when the product is selected.


 

Fitment Compatibility Chart (available on Premium plans)

Would you like your customers to see other matches for their product search at a glance? PartFinder’s Fitment Compatibility Chart is an optional display, designed to show all product matches for a given search result. It appears on the location of your choosing on product pages.
 

 

Link to Variant IDs (available on Pro and Premium plans) 

Want to link to an exact SKU rather than a product, like an item sized small? Map to a very specific item via the Link to Variant ID feature.


 

New Plan Pricing

PartFinder is now available in three service packages to fit your usage needs: Standard, Pro, and Premium. Each level offers new and improved benefits to help you get the most from your online store.

PartFinder’s Standard plan continues to have all the functionality you’re used to, with the additional benefit of Part Mappings Export added in. Higher plans handle more mappings, products, fields, and searches.


 

PartFinder as You Want It

Whether your needs are basic, advanced, or somewhere in between, PartFinder makes your fitment match dreams come true. Questions? Feel free to reach out to us at support@partfinder.com.

Already a PartFinder subscriber? If so, how has PartFinder helped your business? If you’d like to share your experience, we’d love to hear it! A review in the BigCommerce Apps Marketplace would help get the word out and be greatly appreciated. Thank you supporting PartFinder! 

Updates to PartFinder: Must-Have Fitment App for BigCommerce YMM Stores

PartFinder for BigCommerce is rapidly becoming a must-have app for stores that sell fitment matched (i.e., Year/Make/Model) products. More than just a search bar, PartFinder helps customers find exactly the right part through a series of choices, reducing frustration, product returns, and improving user experience.

We’re excited to announce two major upgrades to PartFinder’s features: an embedded search widget and Insights — one-of-a-kind data extracted in real time from users’ actual search data.

 

Embedded Search Widget Makes Fitment Search Even Easier

 

PartFinder now has two kinds of search widgets to choose from: floating and embedded. The existing floating widget can be placed almost anywhere on your site and appears when a tab is clicked, revealing either a stacked box or nearly full-screen, branded search experience.

The new embedded search widget keeps your fitment search feature front and center for ease of use. If you want to further increase customer engagement, the embedded search widget is a way of displaying PartFinder’s fitment search functionality on your site so that it feels more integrated. You can display it full screen width or in a stacked sidebar.

Customize It!

As with the current floating widget, you can choose your background color, title names, and fields just like before. All you have to do is activate the embedded widget and place the code where you want the window to display and you’re all set. Complete instructions are available in PartFinder’s support documentation.

Your Search, Your Way

Whether you want your search tool front and center for added visibility, off to the side on a pull-out widget, or both, PartFinder provides fitment search the way you want it. Want both types? No problem. Embedded and floating widgets can operate on the same page. Also, visibility for mobile and desktop can be toggled on and off on both kinds of widgets. For example, you could decide to show the floating widget on mobile for optimal experience and the embedded widget on desktop.

 

PartFinder Insights: Invaluable Data at Your Fingertips

We are especially excited about PartFinder Insights. Insights is an amazing free tool that uses real-time customer search data to improve your store’s marketing and inventory strategies. This precise data is unique to PartFinder and almost like getting two apps in one, at no extra cost.

How does Insights help your store? Insights complements Google Analytics data and provides additional, unique data that cannot be tracked by GA. The data that Insights offers is specifically tied to fitment search on your website. Want to make your advertising efforts more effective based on what shoppers are looking for? Get to know your customers and how you can better anticipate their needs by knowing what they need and when. How about running a promotion to focus on popular (or even unpopular) fitments? PartFinder utilizes your shopper’s search data to help you analyze your business and make key marketing and/or inventory decisions quickly.

Here’s some of the search data that is available to you in Insights. (Note: we used sample data taken from our own test store in these examples.)

 

Top Searches:

What searches are coming up most frequently?

 

Most Popular Filter Choices:

Don’t just glance at your completed search data — do something with it! You can analyze what shoppers are looking for at the field level and tweak your marketing campaigns and inventory strategies for maximum effectiveness.

 

Search Requests by Time of Day & Day of Week:

Knowing when your customers are online can help with targeted marketing campaigns or customer support planning.

Other Insights

 

Daily Search Counts:

See the volume of filter requests and search results for a period of time.

Least Popular Filter Choices:

The least commonly utilized filters (with at least one request). Being informed about what is unpopular can be as valuable as knowing what is popular.

Top Search Pages:

See where on your store shoppers are searching from. How can this help you improve engagement?

Shopper Screen Sizes:

See the device screen sizes are shoppers searching from.

 

Very impressed with this app, it was very easy and painless to implement. It is very quick and responsive when searching for a part. Scott & the team at PartFinder have been great to work with as well, quick responses to questions & issues. We are very happy to have found this app.

— BigCommerce Store Owner & PartFinder Enthusiast
 

Coming soon to PartFinder …

PartFinder is setting itself apart in the BigCommerce Apps Marketplace with its unique set of tools for your ecommerce store. In addition to our great customer service and superior features, we know that adding PartFinder to your ecommerce arsenal can’t help but improve your customers’ experience and your bottom line. Additional Insights are on the way as well as other exciting features, so stay tuned for more updates.

Want to learn more? Check out the PartFinder website PartFinder site, or visit the BigCommerce Apps Marketplace for a free 7-day trial.

PartFinder: The BigCommerce Targeted Search App Just Got Better

PartFinder product cards

We Heard You! Announcing Big Updates to PartFinder

Does your BigCommerce store sell parts that are an exact match to another product (like a car battery for a specific year/make/model, or toner for a printer)? Finding the right part can be complicated, and a standard search bar may not be enough. If you need to help your customers find the specific item they need — and fast — then you need our PartFinder app for BigCommerce.

In response to customer feedback, we’ve added new functionality and customization options to make your customers’ targeted search experience better than ever. If you’re new to PartFinder, you’re here just in time! Here are five recent improvements that we’ve made to our PartFinder app:

 

1. Company Branding Option on Search Preview Screen

PartFinder branded search page

When you choose the full-screen search display option, you can make better use of search window real estate by displaying your company’s logo and/or messaging on the search window prior to search results appearing.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

2. Results by Product Card

PartFinder product cards

Remember, the eye buys …

This is our favorite addition! By popular demand, you can now choose to show search results with a thumbnail photo, product name, pricing, and call to action — what we call a Product Card. As with the bulleted list display (which is still an option), a customer clicks on the CTA to go to the product page..

 
 
 
 
 

3. Modify Button to Refine Search Criteria

PartFinder modify & reset buttons

The new Modify button will allow customers to change one or more search fields rather than starting from scratch. The Reset button clears all search fields for new search.

 

4. Part Mappings Search (in Dashboard)

PartFinder part mappings search

Several subscribers asked if we could make back end part mapping searches easier … so we did! If you’re not sure if an item has been mapped in your store, you can search through your PartFinder dashboard to find the product and its mappings.

To find the part mappings search feature, go to the PartFinder dashboard, select Part Mappings from the top navigation, then click the Search Mappings button. Enter the Product ID you’re looking for and click the Search button.

 
 
 
 
 
 

5. Open Products in New Tab

When a product is selected from search, that product will be opened in a new tab, which enables your customers to toggle back and forth among open windows rather than creating a new search result.

 

Suggestion Box?

We are always looking for ways to improve PartFinder. What’s on your wish list? If you have any suggestions, please contact us — we’re all ears. We’ll keep you posted on new features as they become available.

We recently got a 5-Star review in the BigCommerce app store after our recent changes went into effect — woo hoo!

PartFinder Five Star Review
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

PartFinder provides robust search options along with best-in-class documentation and support. Check out the PartFinder website for more information, or find the app in the BigCommerce App Store.

Happy searching, and happy selling!