Hi everyone. Welcome to the November 2009 issue of our newsletter, which I'm writing from our Austin, Texas office after a long flight over from Sydney on Wednesday.
It's been an exciting month for us since I last wrote you - this week we soft launched Interspire Email Marketer 6, and Interspire Shopping Cart 5.5 is in the final stages of internal testing, so I'll fill you in on all the details.
We're also redesigning the Interspire Email Marketer 6 home page and although it's not quite done just yet I've included a sneak peak below for you. The new design is a lot cleaner and makes it easy to learn about the product in a way that's important to you. We're aiming to roll out the new design some time next week or so.
Finally, I'll share some exciting details on our support department - we've significantly improved our response times and have ramped up the team here in Austin over the last few months, so we're excited that the overwhelming majority of your inquiries are receiving a reply within just a few hours of being submitted.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy our newsletter.
Table of Contents
- Interspire Email Marketer 6 Released
- Interspire Email Marketer 6 Home Page Redesign
- Interspire Shopping Cart 5.5 Is Nearing Release
- Over 300,000 Views on Our YouTube Guru Channel
- Faster, Better Support Responses
- Web Designers: Please Read
- Do You Own a Website?
- Closing Words
Interspire Email Marketer 6 Released
On Thursday we soft launched Interspire Email Marketer 6
, which features surveys, dynamic content and user groups as demonstrated in this video
For most clients the surveys are a must have feature - it takes just a few minutes to put together a survey using our drag and drop editor. You can then include a link to the survey right in your email campaign and blast it out.
When we send surveys we start seeing responses within ten minutes, and they're an excellent tool to improve everything from the products you sell to your customer support, so if you're not making use of surveys now's the time to get started.
If you've already purchased Interspire Email Marketer and have a valid maintenance plan, version 6 is a free download from the client area
and is available right now. If not you can purchase
Interspire Email Marketer 6 from our web site.
We're currently working on a new version of the Interspire Email Marketer section of our web site which will go live some time in the next week or so. It will of course include details on the new features.
If you've had success or have received eye opening feedback from a survey in the past we'd love to know about it. Just reply to this tweet
and share your experience!
Interspire Email Marketer 6 Home Page Redesign
To go along with the recent release of Interspire Email Marketer 6 (which was soft launched on Thursday), we're currently working on a new web site design.
We've decided to go with a larger font and less clutter. We've also reduced the number of pages in the navigation menu, making it easier to learn about the product in a way that makes sense to you. For example, if you want to learn more about surveys, you simply click on the surveys page and can see more information with screenshots.
The new design isn't finished yet, but we'd like you to see it anyway. Just click the screenshot below to see a larger view.
What do you think of the new design? We'd love to hear your thoughts. Just reply to this tweet
and share your opinion with us.
Interspire Shopping Cart 5.5 Is Nearing Release
As we wrap up our internal beta testing on Interspire Shopping Cart 5.5 we'll be making a public beta release available by the 8th of December.
Most of the features in the upcoming release were added based directly on your feedback from the Ideas Lab
, so we're hoping you're looking as forward to the release as we are.
This will of course be a free upgrade if you're on a valid maintenance plan. The 5.5 release will also be available on all new BigCommerce
stores created after the 8th of December. It will be available from the client area and for all existing BigCommerce stores after the 15th of December.
This is one of the biggest product releases we've ever worked on, and includes:
- Google Website Optimizer Integration - Easily test different versions of on-page elements such as the "Add to Cart" button, home page promotional banner, product images, descriptions and more to see which results in more orders.
- Image Thumbnails, Zoom and Custom Sizes - We know from your feedback that images are the most important part of your online store, so we've added the ability to display thumbnails on the product page. There's also image zoom on rollover and custom (configurable) image sizes for different sections of your online store.
- YouTube Search and Embed - Search for videos on YouTube right from your "Add a Product" page and have them display in a beautiful video player on your product pages. Easily find (or upload) video reviews for products you sell, add them to your product page and watch your order rate increase.
- QuickBooks and StoneEdge Two Way Sync - Easily sync your orders, products, customers and more to/from Intuit QuickBooks or StoneEdge Order Manager with just a few clicks.
- Change the Store's Header Graphic - You can make changes to the existing header graphic in your store's design or even download a plain version of the header graphic to modify as required.
- Auto-Generated HTML and XML Sitemaps - The HTML sitemap will allow the search engines to crawl and index all pages in your online store, while the XML sitemap can be submitted using Google Webmaster Tools to get more details on crawling/indexing problems which you can then correct to improve how your online store ranks in the search engines.
- Search Products, Categories, Brands, News and Web Pages - Your customers will be able to search more than just products in your store. They can search categories and brands by name and even content in news items and web pages you've created. Search results are separated into easily-accessible tabs and are fully configurable.
- Accept and Process Payments When Taking a Phone Order - You'll be able to take payment then-and-there when adding a phone order through your store's control panel. No more processing payments manually after you take the order.
- More Varied Store Designs - We've crafted over 15 additional store designs for a wide range of industries, bringing the total of over 60 store designs available to all BigCommerce store owners absolutely free.
- Embed Videos Into Product Descriptions - Just paste in a link from YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe or Megavideo and we'll automatically create the HTML code and add the video to your product's description.
- Photo Gallery - All uploaded images are accessible from the new photo gallery, so if you want to use the same photos for multiple products you only have to upload them once. You can even use photos that have already been uploaded to other websites.
- An AddThis Button on Product Pages - Take advantage of product recommendations with the AddThis button. In one click shoppers can easily share a link to a product in your store with their friends via email, Twitter, FaceBook and dozens of other social media services.
- Abandoned Order Report - See a list of all incomplete orders along with shopper details so you can follow up and see why they didn't complete their order. You can choose how many days these orders remain in your store's control panel before they're removed.
- Sales Tax Report - Easily create a sales tax report filtered by date range which you can export into Microsoft Excel for further processing or to send directly to your accountant.
- Various Improvements - Along with new features we've also improved existing functionality. A complete list of improvements will be included with the change log upon release.
Over 300,000 Views on Our YouTube Guru Channel
Around two months ago now I launched the BigCommerce YouTube Channel
. As of writing I've published 13 "how to" videos with practical advice for online retailers looking to skyrocket their sales and marketing efforts to drive more orders.
The videos are recorded in our Sydney office and in each video I discuss a particular topic, such as:
In just over 8 weeks we've had 300,000+ views on the videos, so if you don't mind an Aussie accent and want to learn online marketing, sales and more, take a look at my videos
Make sure you click the yellow "Subscribe" button on our channel page
so you don't miss new videos as they're posted.
Faster, Better Support Responses
If you follow our blog or even read our monthly newsletters then you'll know I'm all about transparency. We've experienced explosive growth of over 300% in the last year, which has also meant close to a 300% increase in support inquiries.
Our support engineers were primarily based in Sydney up until the middle of this year, at which point we started to hire support engineers exclusively in North America for our Austin office. Just like we have for sales, marketing and customer service, we've also implemented a support policy (which is public
), bug tracking and roadmaps (which are also public
) internal documentation and improved training, as well as various leadership roles for accountability.
Our two most popular products are Interspire Shopping Cart and Interspire Email Marketer and these take up the largest amount of support resources, primarily because of the literally thousands of server configurations the products can run on and which we support.
So, how have we improved? Well, we've managed to:
- Reduce open tickets from 160 per day to 40 for Interspire Shopping Cart
- Reduce open tickets from 70 to 40 for Interspire Email Marketer
- Reduce overdue tickets from 110 to 3 for Interspire Shopping Cart
- Reduce overdue tickets from 40 to 5 for Interspire Email Marketer
- Reduce new tickets from 70 to 25 for Interspire Shopping Cart
- Reduce resolution time from 3 days to a few hours for Interspire Shopping Cart
- Reduce resolution time from 2 days to a few hours for Interspire Email Marketer
Of course nothing can be improved unless it's measured, so here's how our open tickets have been tracking for November:
Looking back over the last 6 months or so, support was our biggest area for improvement and so far I think our team has done an incredible job. We're continuing to improve our processes every day and are committed to doing whatever we can to help grow your business and make it easier for you to sell online.
Web Designers: Please Read
If you're a web designer or digital agency with clients then our partner program
can help you win more clients and complete projects such as building web sites or online stores in record time. By rebranding our private label PHP software, what used to take months of custom development can now be launched in just hours.
Already over 1,400 web designers and digital agencies like you are offering Interspire products to their clients. Benefits to you include:
- Generous discounts on Interspire products
- Promotion to over 35,000 customers worldwide
- Dedicated partner managers who are always available
- Quality support, training and sales assistance
- NFR licenses to help you learn about and promote our products
- Marketing material and assistance to maximise your sales potential
- Leads for prospective customers in your city/country
If our partner program sounds like something you might be interested in, you can learn more here
or even apply online
from our website in just a few minutes.
For our existing partners, we'll be making changes to our partner portal in the upcoming week or two. We're redesigning the portal, pricing pages and online cart/checkout systems so it will soon be easier to purchase for your clients - without having to login to the partner portal first. This means less clicks and a quicker ordering experience for you.
We'll keep you posted in the partner blog and via email, so keep an eye out for the announcement.
Do You Own a Website?
If you've got a website or you're an experienced affiliate marketer, then our affiliate program was designed for you. When someone clicks on your link and buys (even up to 180 days later), you'll receive a 15% commission. You will be paid that commission as long as the order is not fraudulent of course, and makes it through Interspire's exceptional guarantee of a 60-day, no questions asked refund period. It is then paid straight into your PayPal account automatically during the next payment processing run.
Here are the benefits you'll enjoy as an Interspire affiliate:
- Earn great commissions of up to $554 on a single sale
- A dedicated affiliate manager with 10 years experience
- Double commissions (30%) for the first 90 days
- Innovative, industry leading and popular products used by 50,000+ companies
- Industry leading conversion rates
- Automatic monthly payments straight to your PayPal account
- Performance incentives including increased commissions
- Real time reporting on CTRs, conversion rates, etc
- Two-tiered setup to earn money from affiliates you recruit
- Profitable marketing content to help increase click thrus
Our affiliate program has recently skyrocketed to over 2,800 active affiliates. If you'd like to join them by driving targeted traffic to our website and making a 30% share on all sales for the first 90 days, you can learn more
or apply online
in a few minutes. Our affiliate program is one of the best converting in the industry and our top affiliates make tens of thousands of dollars each and every month.
In between our newsletters and blog updates you can learn what's going on at Interspire and ask us questions by following us on Twitter. You can follow @interspire
for pre-release screenshots, new feature leaks, news and updates - we'd love to hear from you!
Have questions or comments?
Please contact us
via phone or email.