InteractOne’s Checklist for a Successful eCommerce Website Migration

InteractOne’s Checklist for a Successful eCommerce Website Migration

Photo of a laptop and desk.

Taking on site migration is like stepping into a labyrinth of complexities, challenges, and potential pitfalls. Whether prompted by a need for tech upgrades, rebranding initiatives, or evolving business strategies, the decision to migrate a website is a significant undertaking for any organization. From transferring vast amounts of content to preserving hard-earned search engine rankings, the process demands detailed planning, technical expertise, and effective communication. 

As a leading agency specializing in website migrations, InteractOne knows how to help merchants switch eCommerce platforms with focus and confidence. From meticulous content transfers to safeguarding SEO performance, we understand the intricacies and the “gotchas” of replatforming

Contact us today for help navigating the complexities of switching platforms with clarity and assurance.

In this guide, we delve into the common eCommerce website migration issues and how to avoid them—with help from InteractOne’s expert team.

Listening to the Business Requirements: Assessment and Planning

Our approach to site migration is rooted in collaboration, thorough planning, and a commitment to delivering exceptional results. 

1. Evaluate the current site

We start every eCommerce platform migration project by thoroughly evaluating the current website. Our team assesses the site’s structure, content, functionality, and existing issues to understand its strengths and weaknesses. This comprehensive audit serves as the cornerstone of our migration strategy, enabling us to identify areas for improvement and develop tailored solutions to meet your business needs.

2. Define goals

Once we have a clear understanding of your current website, we work closely with you to define the goals driving the migration. Whether you’re looking to improve performance, update outdated technology, or undergo a rebranding, we’re here to help you articulate your goals clearly. By aligning our efforts with your business goals, we ensure that every aspect of the migration is geared towards delivering tangible results and driving success.

3. Set objectives

With the goals in place, we collaborate with you to set specific objectives for the project. Whether it’s maintaining or improving SEO rankings, preserving valuable customer data, enhancing user experience, or minimizing downtime during the transition, we establish clear objectives that serve as the foundation of our migration strategy. Additionally, we assist in defining key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of the migration, enabling you to track progress and make data-driven decisions throughout the process.

Guiding Merchants to Optimal Solutions

4. Recommendations

Every business is unique. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to switching eCommerce platforms. That’s why our team of experts leverages their extensive knowledge and experience to recommend strategies and technologies tailored to your specific goals and objectives. Whether it’s choosing the right platform, implementing custom solutions, or optimizing performance, we’re here to guide you every step of the way. 

5. Create a migration plan

Once the optimal strategies and technologies have been identified, we work with you to create a comprehensive migration plan. This roadmap outlines the timeline, tasks, and responsibilities for each phase. Our thorough plan coordinates and executes every step of the replatforming process, from initial preparation and moving content to testing and deployment. 

Handling Customization and User Experience (UX)

6. Prioritize user experience

Creating a fantastic UX is key to delighting customers and securing their long-term satisfaction. Our team crafts visually appealing designs with intuitive interfaces to captivate your audience and drive conversions. From creating custom layouts to optimizing navigation or implementing interactive features, we focus on enhancing every aspect of the user journey to deliver a customer experience they’ll love. 

But we don’t stop at aesthetics. We strongly emphasize usability and functionality so that your website not only looks great but also performs flawlessly across devices and browsers. By prioritizing customization and UX, we help you differentiate your brand and build customer loyalty. 

Assisting with Data Migration to Avoid Data Loss

7. Product data migration

Moving your product data is often one of merchants’ most significant pain points. The process can be daunting and overwhelming, whether dealing with simple product catalogs of a hundred SKUs and basic categories or complex catalogs with tens of thousands of SKUs and categories.

Luckily, we specialize in moving product data from one platform to another, making sure that all your product information is transferred accurately and efficiently. Our team employs advanced techniques and tools to handle data migration of any scale, minimizing downtime and ensuring continuity for your eCommerce store. 

8. Customer and order data migration

Migrating customer and order data presents its own challenges, particularly when reconciling data model changes from one system to another. At InteractOne, we understand the importance of preserving customer relationships and order histories during migration. Our team works diligently to ensure that customer and order data is moved accurately, and we implement strategies to associate orders with the corresponding customers seamlessly. By leveraging our expertise in eCommerce data migration, we help you maintain continuity in your operations and provide a smooth transition for your customers. 

Photo showing eCommerce ecosystem

Phased Approach to Website Configuration following Migration

By taking a phased approach to configuration, we empower you to launch your website quickly with the essential features needed to start generating revenue and serving your customers. As the full site is developed and launched in subsequent phases, we continue to iterate and optimize, ensuring that your online store evolves to meet the changing needs of your business and your customers. 

9. What is the minimal viable product (MVP)?

At InteractOne, we advocate for a phased approach to site configuration, beginning with developing a minimal viable product (MVP). This strategic method, our ‘secret sauce,’ prioritizes the core functionality and essential features required to launch your website and start generating value for your business. By focusing on the MVP first, we can expedite the launch process and get your site up and running quickly, allowing you to establish an online presence and start serving your customers while additional features are developed and implemented.

10. Replicate the setup from the old site onto the new platform

As part of our phased approach to configuration, we prioritize replicating the critical elements of your previous setup on the new eCommerce platform. This includes configuring third-party payment methods, shipping options, customer reviews, and other essential features integral to your online store’s operation. Our team works diligently to ensure these configurations are replicated correctly, maintaining consistency with your previous setup while leveraging the new platform’s capabilities to enhance performance and functionality.

Get Help with the Replatforming Headache

In the eCommerce business, staying competitive requires embracing change. We hope you understand more of the common eCommerce website migration issues and what it takes to successfully transition to a new platform, from assessing business requirements and handling data migration to prioritizing customization and user experience.

Migrating eCommerce platforms is a complex task that requires careful planning, technical expertise, and a deep understanding of your business needs. While it may be tempting to tackle the migration process internally, the reality is that it’s best left to a team that specializes in migration work. Just as you wouldn’t attempt to build your own office from scratch, trying to migrate your eCommerce site without expert assistance could lead to costly mistakes and unnecessary headaches.

With InteractOne’s help, you can confidently and easily navigate the intricacies of site migration. Our team of experts has the knowledge, experience, and resources to ensure a smooth and successful transition to your new platform. By partnering with us, you can rest assured that your site migration will be handled efficiently, allowing you to focus on growing your business and delighting your customers. 

Don’t let the complexities of site migration hold you back. Contact InteractOne today, and let us help you elevate your online presence with a seamless and stress-free migration experience.

    Get expert help today!

    An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

    Drop Us a Line At:

    Our Contact Form

    Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call: Phone (USA): (513) 469-3362

    4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255 Cincinnati, OH 45241

    Magento, BigCommerce or Shopify. Which One is Right for You?

    Magento, BigCommerce or Shopify. Which One is Right for You?

    Magento used to be the go-to platform for merchants selling online. Now, SaaS platforms have become the more popular option.  Should you join the crowd and migrate to SaaS?  Well, maybe, in this post, we’ll explore your options and try to help clarify the differences between two of the most popular eCommerce SaaS platforms and the legendary Magento (aka. Adobe Commerce).

    The development of SaaS solutions for eCommerce, like BigCommerce and Shopify, has empowered merchants to reduce the costs associated with managing eCommerce websites while providing more site stability, security, and performance. But is SaaS right for your unique business needs? 

    In this article we cover… 

    Understanding which platform aligns best with your business goals and operational needs can set your organization up for long-term success. 

    Need help making platform decisions for your online store or looking to switch to a new eCommerce platform? Contact InteractOne today

    Magento vs. Shopify vs. BigCommerce: Key Comparisons

    B2BAdvanced and robust B2B features (user roles, price negotiation, etc.)Focused on B2C, but has some B2B capabilitiesGood B2B features (custom pricing, bulk orders, etc.)
    FlexibilityOpen-source code provides extensive customizationLimited customization compared to Magento, relies on third-party apps insteadLimited customization compared to Magento, relies on third-party apps instead
    ScalabilityDesigned for enterprise scalabilitySuitable for small to mid-market businessesScales well for growing businesses
    Ease of UseRequires technical expertise for customizationUser-friendly interface for less technical usersIntuitive interface, easy for beginners but not as easy as Shopify
    Cost of OwnershipInitial development costs may be higherMonthly subscription fees; lower initial costsMonthly subscription fees; moderate costs
    App/Extension MarketplaceExtensive marketplace for extensions and modulesLarge app store with a variety of add-onsRobust marketplace with diverse extensions but not as big as Shopify
    HostingRequires own hosting, providing control over the serverHosted solution with limited no server controlHosted solution with no server control
    Community SupportStrong community support and developer ecosystemLarge user community; good support infrastructureActive community and comprehensive support
    SecurityHigh security but requires regular updatesShopify manages security, less control for usersStrong emphasis on security measures


    Need help making platform decisions or replatforming?

    Contact InteractOne today for expert assistance.

    Magento: Robust, Highly Scalable and Flexible

    Magento has two main editions: Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce. Magento Open Source is free, while Adobe Commerce is a paid, enterprise-level solution with additional features and support. 

    Known for its robustness and flexibility, Magento’s open-source nature allows full control over your website’s hosting, design, and functionality. Magento is well-suited for large-scale B2B operations with complex eCommerce needs, including buyer management, special payment terms, custom client shipping methods, customer-specific pricing, requisition lists, and order scheduling. This solution suits various business sectors, including wholesale and distribution, manufacturing, healthcare, and automotive companies like Ford. These industries require a high degree of personalization in their eCommerce platforms.

    Target Users: Open-source platform designed to power enterprise eCommerce businesses

    Key Features

    • Feature-rich eCommerce platform for enterprise brands.
    • Offers extensive customization and scalability, but is relatively complex and better suited for technically savvy business owners and large establishments.

    What are Magento’s features?

    Magento offers a diverse collection of features for eCommerce businesses, including product management, customer management, order management, and content management. It supports various product types, such as simple, configurable, grouped, and virtual or downloadable products. Magento is known for its flexibility and customization options, allowing developers to create unique and tailored online stores.

    Is Magento good for scalability and flexibility?

    Magento is designed to be scalable, making it usable for small companies but better suited for mid to large enterprises. Renowned for its ability to handle enterprise-level commerce, it can handle a high volume of products, orders, and website traffic. Magento offers high performance for those with a large inventory. Whether your business deals with thousands or millions of SKUs, Magento’s architecture is designed to scale efficiently. This ensures a smooth user experience even as your store grows and the product catalog expands.

    Magento’s open-source advantage

    Magento’s open-source code empowers businesses with complete control over their online presence, making it a game-changer in the eCommerce landscape. Developers can delve into the codebase, implementing customizations to align the platform perfectly with the company’s vision. The open-source community around Magento further enriches this experience, providing valuable resources, forums, and extensions that enhance the functionality of Magento stores.

    Beyond customization, the open-source nature of Magento also provides flexibility in choosing hosting solutions. Merchants can select a hosting environment tailored to their requirements, ensuring more control over performance and features than SaaS platforms like Shopify, which often have predefined scalability and less flexibility.

    Crucially, businesses using Magento’s open-source version enjoy full ownership and control over their stores. This contrasts with certain SaaS platforms, where merchants’ control is limited, relying on the platform provider for updates and maintenance. Magento’s open-source approach not only provides freedom in customization but also ensures companies have autonomy and authority over their eCommerce operations.

    What are Magento’s B2B features?

    Magento is a great pick for B2B online sellers with complex needs that basic SaaS platforms can’t handle. In B2B, businesses often need special features like personalized pricing structures, complex order workflows, and deep integration with back-office systems. SaaS platforms like Shopify can struggle when faced with these complex needs. 

    Magento’s open-source architecture lets companies customize their online shops for B2B specifics. It has robust product and customer management features and can easily connect with third-party apps. The enterprise version, Adobe Commerce, adds even more helpful features, such as advanced analytics, customer management, and performance optimization, making it an ideal solution for B2B merchants seeking a powerful and customizable eCommerce platform.

    What are the challenges with Magento?

    Magento stands out as a powerful solution for companies with specific, advanced eCommerce requirements, but its complexity is both its greatest strength and challenge: 

    • Technical Skills Required: Properly building and maintaining a Magento website demands a high level of technical skill, which may be a drawback for organizations with limited technical capabilities.
    • Full Control Responsibilities: While having complete control of the platform is advantageous, it comes with the responsibility for all aspects of maintenance, updates, and security, placing the onus on the development team.
    • Need for Expert Support: Given these challenges, external support, such as that provided by InteractOne, can be essential to navigate the complexities and ensure a successful Magento implementation.

    Many organizations choose Magento for its unmatched customization and scalability. If having full ownership and control over your storefront is a priority, it may be the choice for you. Magento’s proven track record and global reach make it a trusted option for businesses of all sizes.

    Adobe Commerce / Magento Open Source Pricing

    While Magento Open Source is free, Adobe Commerce has a license fee. The pricing for using Adobe Commerce is a function of online sales. Typically, you can expect licensing costs to start at $2,500 per month. For specific pricing tailored to your requirements, it’s recommended to contact us and we can help you work with Adobe to get a quote.

    Shopify: User-Friendly Interface and Quick Setup

    Shopify’s rise in popularity can be attributed to its user-friendly interface, strong focus on aesthetic appeal, and robust third-party app ecosystem. Ideal for small to medium-sized businesses, especially in the B2C sector, Shopify offers a streamlined approach to eCommerce. However, it might lack Magento’s depth and extensive customization options.

    Shopify is an excellent fit for businesses that don’t have experience building online storefronts and just want to take their small business online and get it up and running quickly.

    Target Users: Small to medium businesses and those new to eCommerce.

    Key Features

    • Easy to use, with a point-of-sale app and over 6,000 integrations.
    • Excellent store security and great for merchants looking to take their small business online and launch rapidly.

    What are Shopify’s features?

    Shopify is a hosted solution, which means it handles server management and software updates. This leads to a quicker setup process, allowing businesses to establish online stores promptly without dealing with technical complexities.

    Shopify is known for its intuitive and user-friendly interface. Setting up an online store, managing products, and processing orders are streamlined processes, making it accessible for users with varying levels of technical proficiency. Its intuitive design tools and abundant themes make it easy for companies to create visually appealing online stores without needing extensive coding experience. Shopify’s popularity has attracted more design talent, making it the dominant platform for aesthetically pleasing UX theme options.

    Shopify’s Managed Hosting and Security

    Shopify provides a fully hosted solution, sparing merchants from managing their own server hosting and reducing the technical burden for owners. Instead, companies can direct their attention and resources toward enhancing their online storefronts, marketing strategies, and customer engagement. This not only simplifies the technical aspects of running an online store but also allows businesses to focus on what matters most – delivering an exceptional online shopping experience to their customers.

    The security of your shop is essential, but it can be stressful. Shopify takes care of security measures, including SSL certification, data backups, and compliance with industry standards. This can be reassuring for organizations that want to ensure the security of their online transactions without managing these aspects themselves.

    Shopify’s Extensive App Store

    Shopify takes pride in its vast app store with a multitude of add-ons and integrations. You can enhance the functionality of your stores by easily integrating third-party apps for features like email marketing, accounting, and analytics. With a commitment to constant innovation and adaptability, Shopify continues to expand its ecosystem so businesses can stay current with emerging trends and technologies. 

    Is Shopify good for growth?

    Shopify’s scalability is another advantage. It can comfortably handle spikes in traffic and sales, a testament to its robust infrastructure. This scalability has been tested by high-profile clients like Kylie Jenner, whose eCommerce ventures demand the ability to handle large volumes of traffic and transactions seamlessly. However, some users may find it less flexible for highly complex or extensive eCommerce needs. 

    What are the challenges with Shopify?

    Using Shopify comes with various benefits, but there are some challenges or drawbacks to consider:

    • Limited Source Code Access: With a SaaS platform, you can’t access the source code, limiting the flexibility of your website. This can pose challenges for merchants with extensive and varied product catalogs or those needing custom pricing options.
    • Selective Business Types: Shopify can be selective about the types of businesses that utilize their platform. For instance, they do not service heavily regulated products, political stores, and certain healthcare products.
    • Transaction Fees: Many pricing plans come with transaction fees, which can add up and impact the overall cost for companies with high sales volumes.
    • Customization Limits: Despite its user-friendly interface, Shopify’s customization options may be limiting for organizations with highly specific design or functionality requirements.
    • Dependency on Apps: While the Shopify App Store provides numerous apps for additional features, relying heavily on third-party apps may increase costs and result in potential compatibility issues.

    For businesses looking for an easy-to-use, visually appealing platform with numerous features and reliable performance, Shopify is an excellent choice. Its balance of simplicity, aesthetic appeal, security, and functionality makes it a go-to platform for those aiming to establish a solid online presence with minimal technical complexity.

    Shopify Pricing

    Low-cost options ($229/mo and lower) are available for small businesses. Midsize businesses will require Shopify Plus, which typically starts at around $1,000 monthly and increases depending on online sales volume. In addition to monthly fees, Shopify also charges transaction fees.  For specific pricing tailored to your requirements, it’s recommended to contact us and we can help you work with Shopify to get a quote.

    BigCommerce: Simple and Versatile for Growth

    BigCommerce offers a comprehensive, all-in-one solution, making it an appealing choice for companies looking for simplicity. However, it might not match Magento’s level of customization and scalability, especially for enterprises with complex needs.

    BigCommerce positions itself as a versatile solution, striking a balance between Magento’s advanced capabilities and Shopify’s user-friendliness. It’s particularly well-suited for businesses that require more out-of-the-box features than Shopify, especially in the B2B domain. BigCommerce offers a more built-in feature set, while Shopify provides a vast array of third-party apps and add-ons for additional functionality Although, it does still have some of the same SaaS platform limitations as Shopify, like a limit on the number of SKUs per product and options per product. 

    Target Users: Businesses of all sizes looking to grow.

    Key Features:

    • Impressive eCommerce features, best-in-class uptime, and robust security.
    • Suitable for growing small to mid-range businesses and wholesalers, with the ability to handle small and large stores with many SKUs.

    Is BigCommerce flexible?

    BigCommerce distinguishes itself by offering extensive customization possibilities through its integrations and flexible APIs and webhooks. This feature enables organizations to seamlessly integrate with their existing tech stack, tailoring their online presence to specific needs. This high degree of customization sets BigCommerce apart from competitors like Shopify, where such extensive adaptability might not be as readily accessible.

    While BigCommerce’s ecosystem is not as extensive or robust as Shopify’s, it still provides many integrations and apps. Shopify’s widespread popularity ensures a broad range of third-party connections, giving it an advantage over BigCommerce. Yet, BigCommerce is particularly advantageous for businesses requiring a higher degree of built-in features without the need for extensive customization or third-party apps.

    Is BigCommerce suitable for growing businesses?

    BigCommerce’s focus on scalability sets it apart from Magento and Shopify. It’s an excellent fit for establishments of all sizes, particularly those looking to grow. It offers reliable performance for companies experiencing growth, like Skullcandy, ensuring that your eCommerce platform can grow alongside your business without needing a platform migration. It can handle both small and large stores with many SKUs, making it a scalable option for growing companies.

    What are BigCommerce’s B2B features?

    BigCommerce serves B2B needs with features designed for seamless business transactions. The platform allows merchants to create customer groups and segments, facilitating personalized pricing, discounts, and product catalog tailoring. Custom pricing arrangements, quote management, bulk ordering, purchase order processing, account management tools, and requisition lists further enhance the B2B experience, ensuring efficiency and flexibility in managing transactions and customer relationships.

    When comparing B2B features, BigCommerce stands out for its user-friendly approach and comprehensive tools. Unlike Shopify, BigCommerce offers more built-in B2B features, including quote management and requisition lists. While Magento is renowned for its high customization capabilities, BigCommerce strikes a balance by providing good B2B functionality without the complexity. Magento excels in advanced features and customization but might require more technical knowledge. Shopify, on the other hand, may necessitate additional custom apps for comprehensive B2B functionality, potentially increasing costs. BigCommerce emerges as an ideal choice for businesses seeking a middle ground – a platform offering great B2B features with all the benefits of SaaS.

    Is BigCommerce good value for money?

    While BigCommerce may not match Magento’s customization and scalability for complex enterprise needs, it balances advanced capabilities and user-friendliness, making it cost-effective, especially for B2B-focused organizations.

    BigCommerce minimizes reliance on third-party apps with robust built-in features, ensuring a streamlined and cost-efficient eCommerce experience. It’s a solid choice for businesses seeking a middle ground between advanced functionality and ease of use in the competitive eCommerce platform landscape.

    BigCommerce Enterprise is ideal for mid-range businesses and wholesalers in growth phases, offering powerful tools and excellent value for money. Its commitment to providing value to expanding companies sets it apart in the eCommerce space, making it a standout option for those seeking a robust solution for evolving needs.

    What are BigCommerce’s challenges?

    While BigCommerce offers many advantages, there are some challenges or drawbacks to consider:

    • Customization Constraints: Compared to highly customizable platforms like Magento, BigCommerce may have limitations in fine-tuning website design and functionality.
    • Learning Curve: While generally user-friendly, there may be a learning curve for those new to eCommerce or transitioning from other platforms. It’s not as user-friendly as Shopify.
    • Third-Party App Costs: Businesses may incur additional costs when using third-party apps to extend functionality, as BigCommerce’s built-in tools may not fully cover certain features.
    • Product Variant Limitations: If you have a massive number of SKUs, there are constraints on product variants and options, which may impact specific use cases.

    For businesses seeking a middle ground—a platform that offers more advanced features than Shopify but without the complexity of Magento—BigCommerce is an ideal choice. It provides a balanced mix of functionality, flexibility, and ease of use, making it suitable for many eCommerce applications.

    BigCommerce Pricing

    Pricing for small stores can start as low as $29 a month, but any merchant doing over $400k annually in online sales will require BigCommerce Enterprise, which starts at $1,000 per month and goes up depending on online sales volume. For specific pricing tailored to your requirements, it’s recommended to contact us and we can help you work with BigCommerce to get a quote.

    Magento, BigCommerce or Shopify: Which should you choose?

    Deciding between Magento, BigCommerce, and Shopify is a strategic choice that hinges on your specific business needs, technical resources, operational scale, and long-term growth plans. Each platform offers distinct advantages: Magento’s robustness and customization for complex needs, Shopify’s user-friendliness and aesthetic appeal for small to medium-sized businesses, and BigCommerce’s balanced approach for merchants needing more built-in features and scalability. 

    At InteractOne, our role extends beyond just recommending a platform. We partner with you to understand your unique challenges and opportunities, guiding you through the selection and setup process. Our expertise ensures that your eCommerce journey is built on a solid foundation tailored to your business’s unique trajectory.

      Get expert help today!

      An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

      Drop Us a Line At:

      Our Contact Form

      Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call:
      Phone (USA): (513) 469-3362

      4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255
      Cincinnati, OH 45241

      Should You Sell on TikTok Shop?

      Should You Sell on TikTok Shop?

      Photo of the TikTok logo overlayed on a photo of a phone.

      TikTok has quickly become a key eCommerce player in a culture of instant gratification and impulsive buying trends with the newly launched TikTok Shop. InteractOne believes TikTok Shop will change the way businesses and creators connect with their audience on social media by offering a seamless way to integrate viral content and product sales right within the app, which is something other social media platforms have been struggling to do. If you sell consumer goods online, you should seriously test selling on TikTok Shop.

      Looking for assistance with designing, building, or maintaining your online store? Contact Us today for the answers to all of your eCommerce questions.

      What’s TikTok Shop?

      TikTok Shop is a community-driven eCommerce platform that brings shoppable videos, live streams, and a central product marketplace to the TikTok app. Now sellers can seamlessly connect and sell to their customers through engaging content while also easily collaborating with creators to promote their products.

      How Selling with TikTok Shop Works

      • In-Feed Video & LIVE Shopping: Users can shop directly from videos and live streams that appear on their “For You” page.
      • Profile Shop Page: Sellers can display their products on their TikTok profile page, inviting users to explore collections and make purchases while browsing a seller’s profile.
      • Shop Tab: A central marketplace within the app accessible directly from a user’s feed, offering users a comprehensive product browsing experience.
      • Creator Content: TikTok has made it easy for sellers to partner with popular creators so they can spotlight and promote products directly to their communities while earning commission from referrals. Creators can tag products from a seller in their videos.
      • In-Feed Shop Ads: Users can find products while scrolling TikTok with targeted shop ads that prompt users to purchase a product or visit a seller’s store.

      Why is TikTok Shop Positioned for Success?

      Seamless Shopping Integration with Content

      Across the United States, TikTok has over 150 million people consuming all kinds of content from creators. A large portion of these users have experienced the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt phenomenon where they discover, share, and purchase products they see in their feed. Before the launch of TikTok Shop, users would have to leave the app to make a purchase of any exciting new products they discovered. Now, TikTok Shop allows sellers to sell directly to users after they discover a product without having to leave the app. TikTok has even been giving users coupons to encourage initial purchases.

      Selling Through the Affiliate Program with TikTok Creators

      Content on TikTok seems to go viral easier than any other social media platform. This means that any piece of content could reach a large audience organically, including videos about products. The new affiliate program sets sellers up for success by being able to connect with creators through commission-based product marketing. Creators can partner with sellers to promote their product through monetized content. This creates a win-win situation for sellers who can capitalize on a creator’s content, while creators can easily monetize their content.

      eCommerce Integrations 

      TikTok has created an ecosystem of 3rd-party integrations to easily support seller operations. Some of these integrations include commerce partners like Shopify, WooCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, BigCommerce, and Magento. The integrations even support multi-channel partnerships and an array of service apps designed to streamline eCommerce operations from print-on-demand, customer service, and shipping. Allowing sellers to integrate the eCommerce platforms they are already using to sell into the TikTok Shop reduces the friction for sellers to use their platform, showing that TikTok is trying to create a seamless experience for both users and sellers.

      Should I Sell My Products on TikTok?

      Deciding to sell on TikTok Shop depends on how well you understand your audience and the unique, dynamic marketplace that TikTok has created. It’s a platform where quick, eye-catching content reigns supreme and where the users eagerly engage with brands that can provide value through their content. If your products and content have visual appeal and you’re adept at crafting stories that captivate users, TikTok Shop could significantly amplify your online sales. 

      eCommerce success on this platform requires more than just listing your products. Success on TikTok demands active engagement and a flair for creating buzz-worthy moments. If your brand is about being adaptable, trend-forward, and interactive, then TikTok Shop offers an exciting avenue to expand your digital footprint and connect with an audience that values novelty and authenticity in their shopping experience. TikTok has even created the TikTok Shop Academy to help sellers learn how to boost their sales and find success on their platform.

      However, TikTok may not align with every company’s strategy. Businesses with an audience that is not heavily engaged on TikTok or those offering products that require a more traditional or detailed purchasing process, might not benefit as much from the platform. If your brand’s marketing approach relies on long-form content, in-depth education, investing in TikTok Shop could lead to a misallocation of resources. Companies that prioritize a hands-on customer service experience and controlled brand environment may find the fast-paced, influencer-driven nature of TikTok Shop challenging to navigate. If this is you, focusing on more established eCommerce channels or platforms that better cater to your specific market segment and sales approach might yield better results.

      Can TikTok Shop Be Trusted?

      Consumer safety and trust seems to be the largest speed bump for the TikTok Shop. When launched, TikTok made a commitment to creating a secure shopping environment with policies to foster trust. Initiatives like partnering with trusted brands and offering promotional incentives have been key in building credibility for TikTok Shop, but many users are still skeptical about the quality of the items being sold. Users are also tired of advertisements, generic TikTok Shop product videos, and creators giving inauthentic product reviews that can show up too frequently on their feed. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to build trust with your audience to ease consumers’ fears.

      TikTok Shop & Marketing

      While skepticism exists, the key to dispelling doubts lies in building trust. TikTok proudly showcases the platform’s potential as an eCommerce and marketing powerhouse with these compelling stats:

      • 70% of TikTok users discover new brands and products on TikTok
      • 3 in 4 users are likely to make a purchase while using TikTok
      • 83% say that TikTok plays a role in buying decisions

      Integrating TikTok Shop into your marketing strategy is a game-changer. It’s not just about selling your products; it’s about authentic storytelling, community building, and creating an immersive brand experience that resonates with the TikTok user.

      Use the content you create to organically promote your products, leveraging the community and trust you’ve built. Be sure to post a mix of promotional content with valuable videos to avoid audience fatigue. Nobody wants to be sold to all the time.

      The affiliate program also gives you the opportunity to work with trusted creators to boost your brand awareness and expose your products to a potential new audience. Creators know how to create content that appeals to their audience which sets you both up for viral success. Creator partnerships are an effective way to promote your products without breaking the bank on advertising.

      Our Take

      As we witness the evolution of social media into dynamic eCommerce platforms, TikTok Shop emerges as a revolutionary force, reshaping how brands and consumers interact within the digital marketplace. Embracing this change offers many opportunities for you to authentically connect with your audience, creating a community around your products through storytelling and shared experiences. As TikTok Shop continues to expand and refine its offerings, adapting to its ecosystem can provide a competitive edge, tapping into a market of engaged and ready-to-buy users. The journey toward eCommerce success on TikTok is ripe with potential—businesses willing to innovate and build trust within this space are set to thrive.

      Give us a shout if you’re ready to set yourself up for eCommerce success with a new TikTok Shop.


      Sources: (1) TikTok Marketing Science Global Retail Path to Purchase (US Results) conducted by Material August 2021. (2) TikTok Marketing Science Global Entertainment Study (US Results) conducted by Material, December 2021. (3) Marketing Science EU Holiday Shopping Behavior Research 2020 conducted by Walnut International for TikTok For Business.

        Get expert help today!

        An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

        Drop Us a Line At:

        Our Contact Form

        Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call: Phone (USA): (513) 469-3362

        4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255 Cincinnati, OH 45241

        SaaS Platforms Are Cutting Costs & Complexity for eCommerce Websites in 2024

        SaaS Platforms Are Cutting Costs & Complexity for eCommerce Websites in 2024

        A photo of the InteractOne rocket icon in front of swirling technology spirals.

        2024 SaaS Platforms for eCommerce Websites

        The development of SaaS solutions and platforms for eCommerce is an integral part of the industry’s recent history, with significant shifts that have empowered businesses to lower website operating costs while improving site stability, security, and performance. Ultimately, this increases customer engagement and frees up budget space for marketing to drive more traffic and sales. 

        The shift from traditional on-premises applications like Magento (Adobe Commerce), WordPress, and many other legacy platforms to SaaS parallels the broader digital transformation. SaaS in eCommerce specifically has been a game changer for small to medium-sized merchants. The transformation has been marked by SaaS platforms’ ability to drive down maintenance costs while improving performance, security, and stability. Shopify and BigCommerce are leading the way in the eCommerce SaaS sector, creating industry-wide waves much like Salesforce did with its revolutionary CRM product.

        The foundation of SaaS can be traced back to the 1980s and 1990s, with the emergence of Application Service Providers that provided software and services over the Internet. However, it wasn’t until the early 2000s, with improved internet infrastructure and the decrease in cloud computing costs, that SaaS began to flourish. Salesforce is often credited as the first successful SaaS provider, launching in 1999 and setting the stage for the popularity of SaaS across industries, including eCommerce.

        Are you seeking to start selling online or for a new eCommerce website builder? InteractOne is proficient in optimizing and managing web design. Our expertise lies in eCommerce optimization and development, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us for assistance. 

        Evolution of SaaS in eCommerce Websites

        The evolution of SaaS in eCommerce has been a game-changer for the industry, altering its very landscape. SaaS is not new to eCommerce, with the first SaaS platforms like Volusion and Yahoo Stores coming online in the late 1990s. These early offerings, however, failed to gain traction with mid to large-scale businesses due to their lack of flexibility and limited APIs. Shopify, BigCommerce, and Demandware (now known as Salesforce Commerce Cloud) entered the SaaS eCommerce arena in the mid to late 2000s. Shopify and BigCommerce were slow to grow with the mid-market since, at that time, they had limited features, APIs, and third- party ecosystems, including apps and integrations. Also at this time, most mid-market and enterprise eCommerce merchants were choosing to go with on-premises solutions that provided flexibility and performance that SaaS could not supply.

        However, DemandWare took a unique approach and tailored its SaaS offering to suit apparel merchants well. With this approach, they soon became the first eCommerce SaaS platform to achieve scale in the mid-market.  

        The Rise of SaaS in eCommerce

        In the 2010s, BigCommerce and Shopify began to catch up with DemandWare in the mid-market as they greatly improved their APIs, native features, and third-party ecosystems. These SaaS platforms started enabling mid-market merchants with standard eCommerce B2C needs to set up online stores with relative ease and at lower costs compared to traditional on-premises solutions, like Magento or WordPress. Shopify and BigCommerce have made a significant impact by providing scalable, secure, and user-friendly platforms that are accessible to a wide range of businesses​​.

        The development of SaaS solutions has not been without its challenges. A significant hurdle has been ensuring the robustness of APIs. In a SaaS model, APIs are the lifeline of the software, as they are essential for integrating various services and functionalities that eCommerce platforms need to provide a seamless user experience and create custom website functions. Unlike on-premises solutions, where developers have direct access to the core code and database, SaaS platforms require more complex and robust APIs to connect custom apps, other software applications, and data sources​​​​.

         Robust APIs are crucial because they allow eCommerce platforms to integrate with third-party services, such as payment gateways, inventory management systems, ERPs, and CRM tools. This integration is essential for creating a cohesive and efficient system that can handle the intricate processes of online retail​​.

        SaaS for Managing eCommerce Website Design

        As eCommerce continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, managing custom user experiences and large volumes of data becomes a critical need. SaaS solutions must be capable of providing unique user experiences (UX/UI) while handling a high number of transactions and vast amounts of data. Robust APIs allow for the management and integration of large data as well as custom UX/UI through headless solutions that separate the frontend presentation layer of an eCommerce site from the backend eCommerce functionality. Headless solutions offer greater flexibility and performance by allowing developers to create custom, highly performant user experiences empowered by SaaS backends.

        This evolution towards more prevalent use of SaaS over on-premises solutions marks a pivotal shift in eCommerce. On-premises platforms, once the go-to for businesses seeking customization and control, are being outpaced by the performance, security, and ease of use offered by SaaS platforms. The SaaS model’s ability to simplify complex processes and lower the barriers to entry for online commerce is proving to be a compelling reason for its growing dominance in the market​​.

        The trajectory of SaaS in eCommerce is fueled by a continuous push towards higher performance and lower costs, driven by the need to solve complex challenges and cater to the ever-evolving demands of eCommerce businesses. As the industry moves forward, the significance of SaaS platforms is likely to grow, leading to even more sophisticated solutions.

        Benefits of SaaS Platforms for eCommerce Stores

        When comparing SaaS to open-source solutions, several key benefits of SaaS platforms become evident:

        Enhanced Website Security:

        SaaS platforms typically offer better security due to their closed system architecture. This differs from on-premises, open-source platforms like Magento, where the code is accessible to everyone. Open-source solutions can be more vulnerable to security breaches because hackers can easily gain access to the source code and work to find exploitable weaknesses. Then, when patches are released for open-source code, it takes time for the community and merchants to implement the new code. Conversely, the core code of SaaS platforms is closed to the public and cannot be viewed by hackers in order to find vulnerabilities. SaaS providers continuously update and monitor their code and systems. This means they can quickly deploy new core code changes and security updates to all of their customers at once​​.  

        Stability & Customization:

        The microservices architecture prevalent in SaaS-powered websites contributes greatly to their stability. Customizations must be created as apps that sit outside of the core codebase and cannot override any of the SaaS core code. This architecture allows different components of an online store to be developed, deployed, and scaled independently, reducing the risk of system-wide failures. However, this can introduce limitations in customizing the core code compared to open-source solutions, where developers have complete access to modify the system at a fundamental level​​​​. For example, it is typically not possible to customize or override core features of the order workflow with SaaS eCommerce software and do things like edit order numbers, charge for shipping after order placement, or develop sophisticated B2B shipping or payment options.

        Maintenance and Upgrade Development Costs:

        Maintenance and upgrade development costs are generally much lower with SaaS platforms. This is because the SaaS provider manages the core code infrastructure and platforms for all of its clients in mass, which includes handling updates and maintenance of the core code. This means that as long as the SaaS application APIs are not changed (which they normally are not), third-party apps, integrations, and custom apps don’t need to be updated with every SaaS core code update. The simplicity of this model means that upgrades are often seamless and do not require extensive downtime or complex migration processes, which is a common concern with on-premises or open-source solutions​​​​.

        Performance & Developer Flexibility:

        SaaS platforms are designed to auto-scale, provide high performance, and are not likely to slow down under normal increased traffic loads. In other words, they are purpose-built to be scalable and efficient for all the sites on their platform. Open-source platforms like Magento may face challenges in maintaining performance since scalability depends on the hosting provider, third-party apps, and customizations. One flawed update could cause site-wide complex issues, downtime, lost sales, and costly fixes due to the monolithic nature of on-premises software, meaning apps are usually not decoupled from the core application. 

        SaaS platforms also tend to offer greater developer flexibility. Since SaaS solutions are cloud-based, developers can build custom apps using various technologies without the need to understand the core architecture or manage servers. This allows for the creation of unique features and functionalities that can be integrated with the SaaS platform through APIs, whereas open-source solutions require a deeper knowledge of the core system for extensive customization​​​​.

         SaaS platforms stand out for their enhanced security, stability, cost-effective maintenance, and superior performance, along with offering developers a flexible environment for innovation without the need for in-depth infrastructure knowledge. These benefits make SaaS an attractive option for many businesses looking to leverage eCommerce solutions.

        SaaS Limitations in eCommerce

        SaaS platforms, while revolutionary in their approach to eCommerce, do face certain challenges when meeting the complex demands of modern businesses.

        Handling Extensive Inventories in Online Businesses

        For businesses with large and varied product ranges, SaaS platforms can sometimes stumble. They are built for scalability but have inherent limits that can hinder the seamless management of extensive product catalogs.

        Confronting Database & API Constraints

        The streamlined nature of SaaS platforms means direct database manipulation is always off-limits, leading to a reliance on APIs. This dependency can introduce performance issues such as bottlenecks, particularly when scaling up operations due to rate limits and potential latency in data exchange.

        Best Practices for Navigating B2B Ecommerce Site Requirements

        The B2B sector often entails intricate eCommerce processes, which can be at odds with the more generic B2C-oriented design of many SaaS platforms. Complex order processing and specialized workflows required in certain B2B transactions can be tough to implement within the standard offerings of a SaaS platform.

        Adapting to Sophisticated Pricing Mechanisms

        SaaS solutions may also struggle with intricate pricing models that are commonplace in B2B contexts, like tiered pricing or customer-specific discounts. Such nuanced pricing strategies often demand a level of customization and flexibility that open-source platforms are inherently equipped to handle.

        Product Restrictions or Bans

        SaaS providers have been known to restrict the types of products they allow to be sold on their platforms. If certain types of products do not agree with a SaaS platform company’s core values, they may restrict or not allow merchants to sell those products—for example, firearms and CBD. Also, in the past, SaaS platforms have made quick decisions about certain products or types of merchants to ban from their platform and have given merchants very little and often insufficient time (i.e., two weeks) to move off their platforms.

        When On-Premises, Open-Source Is the Answer

        These challenges point to scenarios where on-premises open-source platforms could be more beneficial. Open-source software grants the liberty to extensively customize the system, aligning with the unique and complex requirements of a business. This can be especially important for companies that operate with highly specialized business models or those that need granular control over their eCommerce ecosystem.

        In light of these considerations, businesses must carefully evaluate the capabilities and constraints of SaaS platforms against their specific eCommerce needs to determine if a SaaS or open-source solution is the right technological choice for their online strategy. Working with an eCommerce platform consultant like InteractOne, who has years of real-world experience developing solutions with SaaS or on-prem open-source software, can be critical to making the right decision.

        2024 Comparison of SaaS vs Open-Source Platforms

        When considering SaaS vs open-source platforms for your eCommerce needs, it’s essential to understand the core differences and how they can impact your business.

        SaaS Platforms:


        • Ease of Use: SaaS platforms are known for their user-friendly interfaces and ease of setup, which can be ideal for businesses without technical expertise.
        • Maintenance & Hosting: The SaaS provider manages hosting, maintenance, and updates, reducing the workload for your team.
        • Security: Enhanced security is typical of SaaS platforms, given that access to their core code is closed and very protected.
        • Scalability: SaaS solutions can easily scale with your business, handling increases in traffic and transactions smoothly.


        • Customization Limits: There may be restrictions on how much you can customize the platform, as you don’t have access to the source code and cannot override or change core functions
        • Ongoing Costs: While maintenance costs can be lower, the subscription-based model means ongoing license expenses, which typically increase every year.
        • Integration Dependencies: You will be reliant on the platform’s APIs and existing integrations, which can limit flexibility.
        • Business Risk: SaaS providers can change their terms and conditions at any time and may decide to stop providing services for certain types of products (i.e., firearms) or markets (i.e., geo-political issues). 

        Open-Source Platforms:


        • Customization: Complete freedom to customize the platform to your exact specifications due to access to the source code.
        • Community Support: Robust communities where developers share tools, plugins, and advice can be a rich resource.
        • Control: Full control over your hosting environment, security protocols, and updates.


        • Technical Expertise Required: Requires a certain level of technical skill to manage and customize effectively.
        • Maintenance Responsibility: Your team is responsible for updates, security, and maintenance, which can be resource-intensive.
        • Security: While you have control over security, it also means you are fully responsible for implementing and maintaining it. And don’t forget—hackers have unlimited access to the core code of your website application and are always looking for vulnerabilities to exploit.

        Each type of platform has its merits and can be the best choice depending on specific business needs. SaaS platforms are generally best for businesses looking for ease of use, minimal maintenance, and scalability. In contrast, open-source platforms are ideal for those requiring deep customization and control over their eCommerce environment. 

        Our Take: Picking the Best eCommerce Website Platform

        The architectural robustness of SaaS solutions is a significant advancement over traditional on-premises platforms. With SaaS, the core code remains intact and unalterable, compelling businesses to innovate through the creation of independent applications for additional features and functionalities. This approach not only futureproofs your eCommerce website, but also substantially reduces maintenance and support costs.

        It’s clear that SaaS platforms are becoming the preferred choice for many eCommerce businesses. They offer a streamlined, reliable foundation for businesses to build upon, ensuring that they are well-equipped for the demands of modern commerce. The move to SaaS is not just about keeping up with technology trends—it’s about embracing a structure that positions businesses for long-term success.

        Choosing the Best eCommerce Platform for Your Online Store

        Choosing the right platform for your eCommerce business is a critical decision that can have long-term impacts on your operation’s success. In order to make a good, well-informed decision, we recommend working with a platform specialist like InteractOne. At InteractOne, we specialize in providing development services for SaaS platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce, as well as open-source platforms like Adobe Commerce, Magento, and WordPress. Transitioning to a new eCommerce platform is a significant undertaking, and we are here to guide you through every step of the process. 

        Our platform consulting process includes:

        Assess Your Business Needs:

        Start by understanding your specific business requirements. Consider the size of your product catalog, the expected volume of sales, the geographic reach of your business, and the level of customization you need in your website design.

        Technical Capabilities:

        Evaluate your team’s technical skills. Some platforms are more user-friendly for non-technical users, while others might require more advanced knowledge or even developer support.


        Think about where you see your business in the next few years. You need a platform that can scale with your business, handling increased traffic and sales without compromising performance.


        Understand the total cost of ownership of the platform, including subscription fees, transaction fees, add-ons, and any additional tools or services you might need to sell online.

        Ecosystem & Integration:

        Look at the ecosystem surrounding the platform. The availability of third-party apps, plugins, and integrations can greatly enhance functionality.

        Support & Community:

        Consider the level of support offered by the platform. A strong community and responsive customer service can be invaluable to building a great eCommerce website.

        Compliance & Security:

        Ensure that the platform complies with the necessary legal and security standards, especially if you operate in multiple regions with different regulations.


        Choose a platform that is innovative and keeps up with eCommerce trends. This will help you stay competitive and adaptable in a rapidly changing market.

        With our expertise, you can navigate the complexities of platform selection and migration for your eCommerce store. InteractOne will help you make a smooth transition to the right solution to maintain and to build an eCommerce business online. 

          Get expert help today!

          An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

          Drop Us a Line At:

          Our Contact Form

          Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call: Phone (USA): (513) 469-3362

          4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255 Cincinnati, OH 45241

          BigCommerce vs. Shopify: eCommerce Platform 2024 Comparison

          BigCommerce vs. Shopify: eCommerce Platform 2024 Comparison

          Image showing the BigCommerce and Shopify logos on post-it notes

          BigCommerce and Shopify rank among the best eCommerce platforms. They make it easy for users to create, promote, grow, and maintain profitable businesses through a unified online store. Both platforms are intuitive, offering accessible features and mobile-responsive templates. When choosing between BigCommerce and Shopify, it’s crucial to consider their distinct strengths, impacting user experience, scalability, and overall business efficiency.

          This article explores why both are great but also dives into critical factors to help you decide which aligns better with your business goals. Whether you’re starting your entrepreneurial journey or steering an established enterprise, our impartial analysis provides insights to make a decision aligned with your distinct business objectives.

          In this guide to Shopify vs. BigCommerce, you’ll learn: 

          1. BigCommerce vs. Shopify: Differences At a Glance
          2. Which one is better: Shopify vs BigCommerce?
          3. Key Comparisons in Commerce Platforms
          4. Head-to-Head Comparison
          5. Ease-of-Use
          6. Customization
          7. Features and Integrations/Plugin ecosystem
          8. SEO Capabilities
          9. Pricing Comparison
          10. Design and Customization
          11. eCommerce Tools
          12. Performance and Scalability
          13. Customer Support
          14. B2B Tools 
          15. Which Platform Wins?

          For help with all of your Shopify and BigCommerce eCommerce needs, contact InteractOne today

          BigCommerce vs. Shopify: At a Glance

          Shopify and BigCommerce are popular eCommerce platforms designed to help businesses create and manage online stores. BigCommerce offers a comprehensive set of built-in features, providing scalability and customization options suitable for businesses of all sizes. It emphasizes flexibility, making it ideal for growth-oriented companies. 

          Shopify is known for its user-friendly interface and vast app ecosystem, making it easier for beginners to set up and manage their stores. Shopify is often favored by small to medium-sized businesses for its simplicity, while BigCommerce caters to those looking for robust features and scalability. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on the specific needs and preferences of the business owner. 

          Which one is better: Shopify vs BigCommerce?

          BigCommerce is excellent for big stores with lots of things to sell. BigCommerce makes many features possible without needing extra changes and doesn’t charge transaction fees. Being more feature-rich, it may have a steeper learning curve due to the capacity for growth and customization features. Additionally, BigCommerce has a threshold for annual sales, after which you must upgrade to a more expensive plan. 

          Meanwhile, Shopify is easier to use and provides an accessible base platform for anyone to set up a basic Shopify store. The multitude of apps in its app marketplace gives you options for customization and functionality. However, Shopify imposes transaction fees on your sales unless you use their payment portal. These charges can quickly add up for stores with high sales volumes. 

          Key Comparisons in Commerce Platforms

          Ease of UseKnown for straightforward interface.Offers advanced features, with a steeper learning curve.
          Pricing StructureTransparent pricing with or without transaction fees.Often considered more cost-effective for high-volume businesses.
          Transaction FeesWaived with Shopify Payments; additional fees for third-party gateways.No additional transaction fees, even with third-party gateways.
          Themes and DesignWide variety of high-quality themes, focused on aesthetics.Also provides attractive themes, with more control over customization.
          App EcosystemLarger App Store with extensive third-party apps.Robust App Marketplace, but may not have as many options as Shopify.
          Multi-Channel SellingStrong integration with social media and other channels.Supports multi-channel selling but may not have as many integrations.
          Abandoned Cart RecoveryIncluded in all plans.Available in higher-tier plans.
          Enterprise SolutionsShopify Plus for advanced features and dedicated support.BigCommerce Enterprise for high-volume businesses with enterprise needs. 

          Head-to-Head Comparison

          Distinct Features of BigCommerce

          Built-In B2B FunctionalityIncludes tools like customer-specific catalogs, a Purchase Order system, and advanced quote management.
          Staging EnvironmentLets merchants test and preview changes to their online store before pushing them live, a useful feature for an error-free customer experience.
          Multi-Currency and Multi-Language SupportBuilt-in support makes it easier for merchants to expand their businesses internationally, which is crucial for those targeting a global audience.
          Faceted Search and FilteringBeneficial for stores with a large inventory as customers can quickly find the products they’re looking for. 

          Distinct Features of Shopify

          Extensive App EcosystemLets users enhance their stores with third-party apps. BigCommerce also has apps, but the sheer breadth of Shopify’s App Store is a notable strength.
          Shopify POS (Point of Sale)Enables users to seamlessly integrate online and offline sales channels. This is advantageous to retailers with physical stores.
          Dropshipping IntegrationShopify has robust features and apps tailored for dropshipping businesses, including integrations with suppliers and tools for managing inventory and fulfillment.
          Shopify Plus for EnterpriseSpecifically designed for high-volume merchants and enterprise-level businesses, offering advanced features, customization options, and dedicated support to meet the needs of large-scale operations.



          Shopify is often lauded for its user-centric interface and intuitive design, catering to beginners. The platform provides a straightforward setup process, customizable templates, and a large app ecosystem. 

          In contrast, BigCommerce presents robust features and scalability. While it may involve a steeper learning curve than Shopify, it provides more advanced tools for customization and growth. This fully-fledged platform attracts many users for its full suite of tools and features for online success. 


          Both BigCommerce and Shopify provide extensive customization options, enabling merchants to tailor their online stores to reflect their brand identity. They offer a variety of free and paid themes and templates across diverse industries. 

          For users with coding experience, both platforms offer a higher level of flexibility in design and functionality. BigCommerce is recognized for its flexibility and scalability, offering a wide range of customization options for users with more technical expertise. 

          Conversely, those with limited coding or design experience may find Shopify appealing due to its simple drag-and-drop feature, simplifying customization. It’s worth noting that achieving certain advanced features and customizations on Shopify may require knowledge of its proprietary coding language, Liquid. However, you can turn to Shopify’s vast library of themes and diverse app ecosystem for more straightforward customization, providing extra features and functionalities. This abundance of themes and apps offers alternatives that may eliminate the need for extensive coding experience. 

          Features and Integrations/Plugin ecosystem

          BigCommerce and Shopify excel in providing robust integration capabilities through their respective app marketplaces. 

          Shopify’s App Store is known for its extensive and diverse offerings, spanning categories like payments, shipping, marketing, and analytics. The platform integrates with popular services such as PayPal, Stripe, and MailChimp, supported by a vibrant developer community. 

          In comparison, BigCommerce, while featuring a comprehensive App Marketplace with essential integrations, distinguishes itself with notable Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) integrations, making it a favorable choice for larger businesses. 

          Both platforms support essential functionalities like payments and shipping, but Shopify’s larger and more diverse ecosystem may be appealing to businesses of various sizes.

          SEO Capabilities

          Irrespective of the SaaS platform selected for your eCommerce store, its effectiveness is tied to its visibility on search engines. 

          BigCommerce boasts strong out-of-the-box SEO capabilities, offering features like customizable URLs, automatic sitemaps, and responsive themes for effective mobile optimization—an essential factor in search engine rankings. 

          Shopify provides an easy-to-use interface with built-in tools for optimizing meta titles, descriptions, and URLs. It supports customizable header tags and redirects, with its app ecosystem featuring various SEO apps to enhance functionality.

          Both BigCommerce and Shopify enable users to edit their site’s HTML and CSS, providing robust SEO capabilities. 

          Pricing Comparison

          Monthly Subscription Fees

          Both platforms operate on a subscription-based model. BigCommerce and Shopify have various pricing plans, starting from basic to advanced, with costs tailored to the size and needs of the business. Monthly costs range from $39 up to $399. 

          With Shopify, you can choose Shopify plans that best align with your budget and goals. However, in BigCommerce, your plan depends on the online store’s annual sales. The Standard plan is designed for stores with annual sales up to $50,000, the Plus plan for those with revenue up to $180,000, and the Pro plan for stores generating up to $400,000 in annual revenue.

          Transaction Fees

          Transaction fees can significantly impact overall costs. BigCommerce and Shopify differ in their approach to transaction fees. BigCommerce doesn’t impose additional transaction fees on top of the subscription costs. In contrast, Shopify charges transaction fees unless users opt for their proprietary payment gateway. Consider your overall sales volume when evaluating these transaction fee structures. 

          Additional Costs (Themes, Apps, etc.)

          Beyond subscription and transaction fees, you can incur additional costs for themes, apps, and other add-ons. Both BigCommerce and Shopify provide a marketplace of themes and apps, some of which are free, while others come with a price tag. Understanding the necessity of these additional features and their associated costs is essential when evaluating the overall affordability of each platform.

          Cost: Does Shopify Win?

          Determining whether Shopify is cheaper than BigCommerce depends on various factors, such as the business’s size, sales volume, and specific needs. While Shopify may have a lower entry-level subscription fee, the transaction fees and additional costs to build an advanced Shopify website including using the Shopify app store can contribute to the overall expense. You should carefully assess your business’s requirements and preferences to determine which platform offers the best value for your investment. 

          Design and Customization

          When designing and customizing your online store, factor in theme variety, design flexibility, and mobile responsiveness for a site that meets both aesthetic and functional requirements. 

          Themes and Templates

          Both platforms provide a selection of themes and templates to help businesses create visually appealing and professionally designed storefronts. BigCommerce and Shopify offer a mix of free and premium themes, allowing users to choose a design that aligns with their brand identity and customer experience goals.

          Flexibility in Design

          If you have unique branding or functionality needs, the level of flexibility in design is a crucial consideration. BigCommerce is recognized for its flexibility and scalability, providing users with more technical expertise the opportunity to delve into deeper customization of themes. Conversely, Shopify caters to users seeking simpler customization with its clear-cut drag-and-drop editor, making it accessible for those with limited coding or design experience. Shopify offers an easier base, whereas BigCommerce offers more built-in features. 

          Mobile Responsiveness

          In an era where mobile commerce is prevalent, ensuring mobile responsiveness is vital. Both BigCommerce and Shopify prioritize mobile responsiveness in their themes and designs. This ensures that online stores are optimized for various devices, providing a seamless experience for customers browsing and purchasing on smartphones and tablets. 

          eCommerce Tools

          For managing your store, BigCommerce and Shopify offer tools to streamline operations and boost efficiency. 

          Product Management

          Efficient product management is fundamental to any online store. Both platforms have robust tools for adding, organizing, and updating product listings. You can access features like product variants, categories, and descriptions to help you showcase your products. 

          Both BigCommerce and Shopify support detailed customization of product variants, ensuring flexibility. BigCommerce allows for the flexible organization of products into categories and subcategories, facilitating a structured product catalog. Shopify offers a straightforward product organization system so businesses can categorize and organize products for easy navigation.

          Enhancing product presentation is prioritized, with rich options for detailed descriptions and multimedia content on both platforms. For easy management, both allow import/export of product data, with BigCommerce also supporting bulk import/export—an advantage for businesses with large catalogs. 

          Inventory Tracking: BigCommerce or Shopify?

          Prevent stockouts or overstock situations through accurate inventory tracking. BigCommerce and Shopify equip users with inventory management tools, allowing businesses to monitor stock levels, receive low-stock alerts, and efficiently manage their product inventory to meet customer demand. 

          Order Processing for Fuller Carts

          Smooth order processing is essential for delivering a positive customer experience. BigCommerce and Shopify offer a wide range of integrated payment gateways so businesses can choose options that suit their preferences and regions. Shopify has the added option of using Shopify Payments as an integrated solution for seamless transactions. There are also tools for subscription management, order fulfillment, tax calculation, and multi-channel selling. 

          Marketing: Learn More About Shopify and BigCommerce Tools

          Abandoned cart recovery is available on both platforms, with BigCommerce offering it as a standard feature and Shopify making it optional. This allows businesses to send automated reminders to customers who still need to complete their purchase. BigCommerce has promotional banners to engage customers and drive sales, while Shopify offers customizable promotional pop-ups for effective marketing. 

          BigCommerce integrates with WordPress to combine content flexibility with eCommerce capabilities. It strongly focuses on SEO capabilities, offering customizable URLs, automatic sitemaps, and responsive themes. The embedded blog feature facilitates content creation and SEO optimization. 

          On the other hand, Shopify includes a powerful blogging platform for businesses to publish and manage content seamlessly for improved SEO and customer engagement. It offers customizable meta titles, descriptions, and URLs to optimize content. 

          For email marketing, BigCommerce integrates with various platforms for targeted campaigns and effective customer communication. In contrast, Shopify provides built-in email marketing features, offering customizable email templates and the capability to sync with popular email marketing services for comprehensive campaigns. 

          Both BigCommerce and Shopify support selling on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Additionally, they provide robust tools for tracking website performance, customer behavior, and sales data, empowering businesses to shape informed marketing strategies based on comprehensive analytics and reporting features. 

          Performance and Scalability

          The performance and scalability of your eCommerce platform are pivotal for providing a seamless and responsive shopping experience. 

          Page Load Speed 

          Page load speed directly impacts user experience and search engine rankings. Both BigCommerce and Shopify prioritize fast-loading pages. They use content delivery networks (CDNs) and optimize images to enhance page load speeds, ensuring customers can navigate and make purchases swiftly.

          Server Reliability

          The reliability of the server hosting your online store is critical to prevent downtime and ensure consistent accessibility. BigCommerce and Shopify invest in robust server infrastructure, minimizing the risk of server-related issues. Both platforms strive to provide reliable hosting solutions to keep online stores operational. 

          Scalability for Growing Businesses

          As businesses grow, the scalability of the chosen platform becomes paramount. BigCommerce and Shopify are designed to scale with companies of varying sizes. They offer different pricing plans and infrastructure to accommodate increasing product catalogs, higher traffic volumes, and the evolving needs of growing online businesses. 

          Customer Support

          The quality of customer support can significantly impact the overall experience of using an eCommerce platform. 

          If you encounter any issues or have questions, Shopify and BigCommerce provide multiple avenues for assistance. You can get 24/7 customer support through live chat, email, and phone. This ensures that users from different time zones and regions can access help whenever needed. These support teams can communicate directly with support representatives for more personalized assistance. 

          BigCommerce and Shopify also have comprehensive Help Centers that serve as a knowledge base. Users can find answers to common questions, tutorials, and guides to navigate the platform effectively. The Help Center covers topics ranging from setup to troubleshooting technical issues.

          You can also find help through the BigCommerce and Shopify communities, where users can interact with each other, share experiences, and seek advice. This community-driven support system allows users to learn from the community’s collective knowledge and find solutions to specific challenges.

          B2B Tools 

          Both platforms have features or functionalities that cater specifically to B2B needs. 

          BigCommerce and Shopify share some common B2B features:

          • Customer groups and pricing lets merchants offer personalized pricing based on customer segments, such as order volume or loyalty.
          • Custom price lists accommodate negotiated pricing for different B2B clients.
          • Bulk ordering and discounts let users set up tiered pricing or discounts based on quantity, which can encourage larger purchases.
          • Quote management lets customers request quotes for bulk orders, and merchants create, send, and manage quotes within the platform.
          • Account management tools such as order history tracking, shipment tracking, and account management functionalities.

          The BigCommerce platform has a few additional key B2B features:

          • Purchase order (PO) system that lets B2B customers submit purchase orders directly through the online store, streamlining the ordering process for wholesale transactions.
          • B2B shipping and tax features, including the ability to set up custom shipping options and handle complex tax scenarios.
          • Customizable checkout processes, including multiple payment options and integration with payment gateways that support B2B transactions.

          Meanwhile, some Shopify relies on third-party apps or customizations let merchants set up credit terms for their B2B customers. This can include options for net payment terms, helping businesses manage their cash flow.  

          Does InteractOne Prefer Shopify? Or does BigCommerce Win?

          In the end, both BigCommerce and Shopify have distinct strengths and considerations for businesses looking to establish or enhance their eCommerce presence. Differences in features and functionality mean that the choice between both platforms depends on the specific needs and preferences of your business. 

          If you prioritize flexibility, scalability, and have technical expertise, BigCommerce may be the ideal choice. For user-friendly customization, a vast app ecosystem, and potential cost savings on transaction fees, Shopify wins. 

          With experience with both platforms, InteractOne can help you to make the choice between Shopify and BigCommerce by determining which features you really need. We analyze your requirements to identify which platform aligns with your interests. Leveraging our expertise, we provide an unbiased opinion to guide you in deciding which platform is a better fit for your business. Whether you are looking to build a Shopify store or BigCommerce store, we can help you to make the right decision. InteractOne provides an unbiased comparison of Shopify or BigCommerce. Contact us today to get started.

            Get expert help today!

            An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

            Drop Us a Line At:

            Our Contact Form

            Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call:
            Phone (USA): (513) 469-3362

            4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255
            Cincinnati, OH 45241

            Are Your Product Data Feeds Helping Or Hurting?

            Are Your Product Data Feeds Helping Or Hurting?

            Photo of eCommerce director using a keyboard.

            As a business person, you’re used to factoring costs. Materials, packaging costs, shipping, services, marketing and labor costs – the list goes on. Opportunity cost doesn’t show up on balance sheets, but that doesn’t make it any less real. Poorly directed or half-hearted investment in your product data feeds can miss the mark on a stream of revenues – lost opportunity. How can you know if you’re missing out?

            First off, let’s define what we mean by investment. We’re talking about money you spend on outside feed services and subscriptions, of course, but equally you should consider your time – even if your team size is limited and you consider those costs “built-in.” 

            Deceptively Simple

            Product data feeds can seem like an easy win – a fairly simple and relatively low-cost way to tap into the biggest marketplaces – Amazon, WalMart, Google, Facebook. Like pay-per-click, you can put it on simmer or crank it up to boil, right? Not really. In reality, your market sector and your catalog size are the two biggest determinants of how you might best approach a product data feed strategy. All-in looks very different for a mass-market merchant versus B2B and niche merchants.

            Although your platform might promote it this way, your eCommerce platform also does not determine your product data feed approach. It can make things easier or harder, but it shouldn’t set you on a path. Defaulting, and limiting yourself, to your platform’s way of connecting to channels might be leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.

            Also contrary to the impression you might get, spend is not the biggest determining factor of success. Neither is picking the “right” feed platform. The single biggest indicator of future success is the state of your catalog data: Is it complete and richly attributed? Do you have the tools in place to improve and create new variants? This is where you need to invest.

            Strategies for exploiting product data feeds can be grouped into three categories – one of which will probably be a best fit for your particular business and market position.

            Manual Feeds

            Manual product feeds work just like they sound – you choose the channels and upload a file. A manual feed can be absolutely the best tactic if your catalog is small, static, or unusual in some other way that precludes you from automating.

            The main advantage can be transparency – you know exactly what’s being fed because you’re doing it. You also determine where and when you feed your data, affording you full control. Generally done in house, manual feeds also can convey a cost advantage.

            The disadvantages of manual feeds are easy to identify. You will encounter a higher cost or investment in time if you have a larger catalog. Any desired or necessary change to the catalog – even small changes – will require re-feeding the data manually. 

            It’s a narrow slice, but if you have a mostly unchanging catalog of manageable size, relatively sheltered product pricing and focused in-house or retained catalog/merchandising resources, don’t dismiss manual feeds.

            API Data Feeds

            This might be the most alluring but potentially underperforming choice. Your catalog feeds directly to your selected channels by way of an application programming interface (API) that is built into your eCommerce software. You don’t have to schedule or execute uploads or maintain data outside of your catalog. Changes to your catalog are reflected automatically in your product data feeds. Guaranteed accuracy. Assuming you have a healthy catalog and a clean code base – the API approach is easy.

            Disadvantage –  API data feeds are designed to be a hands-off approach but it might not be prudent to think of them that way. Your products are submitted to your channels exactly as they are found on your site – no customizing or optimization for the particular platform. Multi-feeds can get complex (negating one of the advantages). If your catalog doesn’t have all of the attributes that your competitors are showing on the different channels, you can have a lot of behind-the-scenes work to do to catch up. 

            Product Feed Platforms

            Product feed platforms such as Feedonomics or Godatafeed offer pinpoint control and flexibility over how your products will appear on each selected channel. This is potentially the most powerful path to multi-channel selling, provided you invest in continually fine-tuning your catalog. The platforms allow advanced techniques that change your product data based on conditions and rules you define, such as inserting keywords into product titles and/or descriptions on the fly. Merchants who dedicate themselves to maximizing the tool’s capabilities find they are able to convert customers they might have otherwise missed.

            Analysis is critical here. Does the market for your products have the upside to warrant such an investment of resources? Or will a less intensive effort be sufficient to bring you adequate results? How competitive is your space? Managing a product feed platform has costs you’ll want to understand in context with the possible benefits.

            Product Feed Apps

            Product feed apps such as Xtento or Simprosys are bolt ons to platforms such as Adobe Commerce (aka Magento) and Shopify.  These apps allow you to feed major markets like the feed platforms while also providing the ability to customize your feed per channel.  While not as easy to use as the feed platforms, these apps can provide a lot of custom functionality for a fraction of the cost of using a feed platform like Feedonomic or Godatafeed.

            Is Your Feed Optimized?

            Whether you choose manual feeds, a product feed platform or product feed apps, you’ll strive for “optimization.”

            But what does an “optimized” Product Data Feed even mean? Everybody says it, and there are plenty of services that you can pay to “get” optimization. But how do you know when your product data feeds are optimized? … when you reach your sales goal? … when you subscribe to an optimization service and pay the bill?

            One element of optimization is alignment. Whether you create your product data or you get it from a manufacturer or a third party, it will rarely match up with all the fields you need for all of your channels. Your selling platform will have one set of required and optional data, Facebook will have another and Walmart yet another. Channels use your product data to award you an ad rank or quality score, which you don’t have to look at but you do have to live with! You’ll get an error message if you don’t supply the required fields, but not for the optional data. If your competitors are diligently supplying high-performing optional fields, you won’t know you’re missing out.

            Quality and Currency

            Another shade of meaning to “optimization” is quality and currency. Simply having data in the required fields might get you past the gatekeeper, but the content itself needs to be accurate, up-to-date and appealing to the customer. Scan your data and make sure those outlier fields – those which you don’t use on your site, but Pinterest requires, for instance – aren’t filled with placeholders or bland data. Platform-specific attributes and fields are an opportunity for you to fine-tune that specific content to that specific audience. Capitalize on these unique fields to gain a competitive advantage on each platform.

            These distinctions are key when you’re deciding which route to take. If you are willing to invest in optimization, then you’ll want the flexibility that a platform, feed app or separate managed manual feeds provide. When managing your product data feeds, however, you don’t want anything coming at the consumer out of left field – remember that your products are going to be seen side by side with competing products so it’s best to hew close to standard practices. In other words, sometimes, less can be optimal.

            Avoid Paralysis – Steps You Can Take Now

            Whatever your situation and whatever your choice, your product data – and thus any product data feed – will benefit from a few common product feed optimization tactics:

            • Build your product titles for the feed using several key attributes (color, size, gender). Not just branded terms from your catalog.
            • If you sell brand name products, feature the brand name at the beginning of the product title (ie. Nike – Men’s Impact 4 Basketball Shoes …)
            • Utilize existing catalog attributes to populate missing channel fields when appropriate.
            • Promotional language and ALL CAPS, even if they are part of your successful branding, aren’t typically allowed in feeds and should be removed.
            • The same goes for symbols or HTML artifacts that sometimes fall out of style sheets after an import.
            • Save yourself some time and know which attributes/fields are and are not required for the particular channel. Know which are basic, customizable and semi-customizable and decide on a strategy before you finalize the data.

            The other thing feed management providers rarely mention is data integrity. We’ve seen instances where a company subscribes to a feed platform, only to find out that their product database doesn’t play nice with the importer or feed utility. Often, this is because of core hacks and customizations on the eCommerce platform that compromise or straightjacket product data control and need to be solved first.

            InteractOne approaches managing your data feed optimization the same way we approach development: One step at a time and with a close eye on the data. Small changes can make a big difference – the Pareto Principle (aka 80/20 rule) applies here – spend your resources where they’ll count most!

            Contact us to learn more about how to optimize your eCommerce site.

              Get expert help today!

              An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

              Drop Us a Line At:

              Our Contact Form

              Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call: Phone (USA): (513) 469-3362

              4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255 Cincinnati, OH 45241

              Leveraging User Generated Content for Social Commerce

              Leveraging User Generated Content for Social Commerce

              Content generation and social commerce can be an Achilles heel for mid-market merchants. Until recently, ecommerce businesses in this bracket could get away with a heavier emphasis on advertising and more “technical” or methodical means of promotion, while maybe throwing a bone to social media. The most visible social commerce tactics were being waged only by the biggest brands. Changes are afoot that increase the relevance of User-Generated Content (UGC) for merchants of all sizes, whether consumer-focused or even in the B2B space.

              The Rise of the Micro-Influencer

              Remember influencers? While celebrities and their attendant sponsorships and endorsements will always be with us, their grip on consumer trust has waned in recent years.  Like media, the influence marketplace has fragmented and brought along an influx of sponsored and incentivized posting by “regular” people. Because consumer trust in traditional influencers has weakened, consumers are  showing a growing desire  for genuine content generated by relatable creators.

              The content creation space is being broadened and revolutionized by consumers who are now looking for authentic content that resonates with their lives.

              What is UGC? 

              In short, UGC is content (ie. videos, images, podcasts, etc.) created by people instead of brands. Consumers see this type of content as more authentic and trustworthy. Think of it this way; instead of seeing an obviously scripted skincare commercial or endorsement, consumers can scroll on Tiktok or Instagram and stumble across a person who looks just like them sharing their skincare products used in their morning routine. In short, there is power in relatability that UGC is able to harness and turn into consumer trust.

              How To Generate User-Generated Content

              Ideally, your brand receives positive reviews without doing anything to encourage it.  But in most cases, User Generated Content is paid or incentivized. If a brand works with a great creator to produce endorsements for their products and that content is well received (it receives a high level of engagement), more people may want to try the product and make their own reviews.

              When UGC is done well, your brand could get hundreds of free reviews through a sort of social media “word of mouth”. Good UGC can help fuel more UGC.

              This is one of the tricky parts – merchants have to create an amazing experience that creators will want to share with their audience. Customers may do a lot of the work for you, but you still have to prime the pump. 

              A few different options exist for incentivizing and encouraging your brand’s users or customers to create positive content. 

              Platforms like Upwork or Fiverr allow you to hire creators. The market for user generated content is booming and there are now plenty of options for content creators who have portfolios sharing brands they have previously worked with.

              Selecting UGC Creators

              When selecting UGC creators, it is important to choose people who align with your brand. Plan this deliberately and clearly, or you’ll risk falling into micromanagement, which will kill the campaign.  Establish clear guidelines explaining the desired content. Specific hashtags, language, imagery and goal KPI metrics for the content should be specified and should be a major part of the conversation when hiring. You will also want to specify where this content can be posted. Is this something you would like the creator to post on their personal social media channels, or will this be used only for your brand to post? Relatability and authenticity is the most important component of great UGC, so you will want to work with creators that emulate the kind of customer you hope to attract. 

              Another option for generating content is to offer incentives such as discounts or giveaways to customers if they produce a positive review. This method will allow actual customers to share their experiences with your product, however it is less controllable so the specificity of the content generated can be a bit of a wild card. If this method is chosen, it is smart to monitor the content being created to ensure it stays positive and continues to align with the vision you have for your brand.

              Social Commerce for B2B?

              Traditional social media – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and others  – isn’t always the first thought for B2B merchants. After all, you’re not selling to everyone, right? Not so fast.

              The built-in community development tools on these platforms mean you can sculpt a place for your customers and attract more, drawing from their wide audience pools. Even if your products are highly specialized or technical, you might be surprised how many of your customers are looking for crowd affirmation when they’re shopping or searching for a solution. Another plus – a community doesn’t have to be enormous in order to be helpful for your business and the support required for these channels is usually minimal. 

              Google my Business – Don’t neglect your Google profile because you don’t consider yourself a localized business. A pile of 5-star Google reviews will get you more mileage than that old static testimonial page on your site. In addition to Google, 3rd party review platforms like TrustPilot can provide a great space for collecting additional reviews and building customer trust. 

              Consider a user/customer forum if you don’t have one already. Use crowd support to verify, augment and prove information you get from your sales and customer service groups. Even if you don’t host the forum, you should participate anywhere your products are applicable or being discussed (ie. Reddit, for sure). The information you can glean from these interactions will be super valuable – it’s like having a continuous focus group session. Businesses of all types monitor forums for product development tips, discovering problems, identifying new markets and unmet product niches. 

              What to do once you have UGC? 

              Once your brand receives user generated content, it should be showcased! Engage with and respond to the content that has been created. Share or link to content on your company website, social media, reviews and any other marketing channels. Leverage user reviews in advertising and marketing campaigns, and continue to foster a community of user generated content by interacting with users’ posts. 

              PRO TIP: Tools like Gorgias can be incredibly helpful when it comes to monitoring your social content.

              Analyze content created for your brand and do not be afraid to learn and adjust based on its feedback. Social media is constantly evolving and trends can last seconds or months. Going “viral” is many brands’ dream, but for many brands, building consumer trust through time and consistent effort is much more impactful for actual sales and conversion. When executed well, UGC can create a community of loyal customers who not only trust your brand, but actively promote it to others through their content and recommendations.m

              Contact us to learn more about how to optimize your eCommerce site.

                Get expert help today!

                An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

                Drop Us a Line At:

                Our Contact Form

                Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call:
                Phone (USA): (513) 469-3362

                4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255
                Cincinnati, OH 45241

                SMS Goes Beyond Mainstream

                SMS Goes Beyond Mainstream

                eCommerce Director looking at SMS marketing.


                It’s not eMail yet, but SMS marketing is getting closer

                What is the best way to engage with and promote your business to current and prospective customers? Your first thoughts might be direct mail, broadcast advertising and eMail. Each of these channels carry industry-accepted and expected conversion rates between .5 and 3%. There’s a reason for those low numbers: The targets of these vehicles know what to expect and their filter is on. By repeated exposure, we have all been trained to recognize (and often reject) promotional material on these channels. 

                In search of lower noise tactics, many merchants have turned to SMS (simple message service or text messaging) and are seeing much higher engagement and conversion. For example, one of our  clients from the apparel space generates as much as 40% of their revenue via SMS marketing promotions. If you aren’t already using text messaging/SMS to communicate with your customers, you might be missing out. 

                Why is SMS Different?

                What are the active threads in your text app? Working out the details of life, meetings, events and meals with family or co-workers probably makes up the bulk of your texts. People engage with texting actively, briefly and more casually than with other communication channels. It’s a pattern of use and behavior that can only work for the most targeted, most relevant and least obnoxious promotions.

                Because of how we like to use texting on our smartphones, it used to be almost taboo or below the belt to market to people via text. For a long time, SMS marketing was the domain of low quality, sometimes hilariously bad spam messages. Now, although a lot of merchants are promoting this way, it’s far from saturated, and best practices can help maintain SMS as fertile ground. 

                What Should It Say?

                What’s the best way to successfully run an SMS marketing campaign?

                An email sometimes tells a story, promotes a brand image or is an entry point to some bigger task (like shopping, deciding and purchasing).

                Text messaging your prospects or existing customers should be a lot like text messaging a person you know. You don’t (or shouldn’t) text paragraphs or lists, you text them very specific things you think they ought to know right now. A promotional SMS shouldn’t lead them into a funnel of activity, but to a very quick purchase or engagement.

                Are you clearing out a limited number of a certain item that goes with another item they already bought? Let them know. Is there a deadline approaching? Remind them. This is not the medium for promoting every minor markdown or new news from your brand.  If you create too much noise (especially irrelevant noise) you’ll get canceled.

                Getting around the “Promotions” Folder

                The two poles of phone technology (Android and Apple) are both scurrying to make your phone’s SMS app work a lot more like your email app. Recognizing the inrush of promotional material, Apple was first to actively filter messages by default, using machine learning tech to filter texts from unknown senders into transaction and promotional folders. It remains to be seen how this will evolve, both in terms of the installed technology and on how phone users will accept or reject those settings and filters. There are still some advantages to SMS marketing if your goals and tactics are aligned.

                The best way to ensure your message is seen is to get your subscribers to save your contact information. This is a crucial step and unlike with email, your recipients won’t know who is sending. Easier said than done, of course! We can’t add ourselves by default or passively; the receiver has to actively do something.

                Sending a contact card makes it easier for your customer to add you, and it allows consistent brand reinforcement (you’ll spell your name correctly). The client still has to open/accept the contact card, so you’ll have to ask … but before you ask, make sure there is a simple, clear and undeniably good reason for them to do so. The messaging for this must flow from your purchase funnel, through the confirmation and follow-up emails. That’s why we always hesitate to put artificial barriers between transactional communication and promotional communication; especially with SMS marketing, they should be planned seamlessly.

                A good approach won’t feel like a trap, or pointless. Weave subscription or enrollment into any other legitimate points where you could collect a customer’s or prospect’s phone number. Did they engage with your chat function? Ask them then. Did they add an item to the cart? Even before they check out, tell them you’d like to keep them informed about flash sales on other items like this one. Of course, if the customer completes a transaction, help them through the enrollment process so they can hear about new products, warranty info, offers or group buys. For B2B merchants, texting reminders, delivery updates, order alerts can make customers feel like insiders.

                “Yes, send me updates.”

                Once your customer has allowed you to text them, whatever you do, don’t make this a thinly-veiled proxy for “ok, spam me.” SMS calls for different tactics than other channels. If you approach your message development and CTA as if you’re broadcasting to your audience, you won’t benefit. Don’t think of this as an abbreviated email, or a billboard. This is not the vehicle for accumulating ad impressions. If your goal is a clicked link, you’re not employing the medium fully.

                Personalization is more than populating their name into a field. Some SMS platforms (like Yotpo) allow merchants to develop very granular triggers and flows through the funnel, using simple prompts or even conversational automation. B2B clients especially can use these tools to great advantage, since customers generally will purchase on a predictable cycle. Further, they’ll often have complex specifications that lend themselves to guided filtering. With SMS, the interaction is the message.

                All of these interactions are part of your segmentation data. The more you tailor your message, the more segments you’ll need so the tailoring fits the audience. The more tailored the message, the more relevant, actionable and effective your campaign will be. Monitor everything and react quickly. Isolate variables so you’ll know what elements led to which changes. Segmentation signals can also be collected from analytics, purchase data, demographics, geographic location and more. 

                Same Phone, Different Message

                You’re familiar with that button in your Meta for Business that allows you to share the same post on Facebook and Instagram. Convenient, huh? This is not the case with email (or any other vehicle) and SMS. A successful text campaign will not be a shorthand version of something else. Our advice would be don’t use it at all if your approach is not dedicated to the platform!

                Approaching SMS with the amount of planning and care we’ve hinted at above might seem crazy. It’s a text, right?! The thing to remember is that SMS is a much more intimate and personal channel, so additional caution and care is needed to retain engagement. Call us when you’re ready to use that to your advantage.

                Contact us to learn more about how to optimize your eCommerce site.

                  Get expert help today!

                  An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

                  Drop Us a Line At:

                  Our Contact Form

                  Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call: Phone (USA): (513) 469-3362

                  4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255 Cincinnati, OH 45241

                  SEO After AI

                  SEO After AI


                  If content is infinite, does content matter?

                  We’re not there yet.

                  It’s somewhat comforting to say that, isn’t it? But is it true? Right now, the tools exist to create 7,000-word blog posts with just a few instructions. They’re not great reads, but neither are the blog-factory posts businesses have been deploying for years; just good enough that Google can see them as semantically valid.

                  If that sounds bleak, that’s only an indication we are neck deep in the change stream. AI is going to affect the way we do SEO, but we don’t yet know exactly how.

                  Optimization Curveballs

                  The biggest change will be to our assumptions around SEO.

                  Keywords/phrases that we could effectively capitalize have always been limited. Generative AI now removes those limitations almost entirely. For early adopters, this could translate to a windfall; but in the longer term, doesn’t it just define a new base or entry point? What is missing from this conversation is how Google (or whatever comes after Google) will eventually respond to a hyper-inflated content environment. Will Google expect to see a page optimized for every variant on every imaginable longtail on every site in a market, or will it learn to ignore the background noise?

                  Another wildcard with unknown effects on SEO is Google’s experimentation with leveraging AI (Search Generative Experience) to transform how it provides search results. Although currently positioned as a late-comer, chasing Bing AI and ChatGPT, this trial technology looks more like Google’s future.  Will SERPs become less like a directory where we compete for top spot, and more like a committee meeting where the boss pulls your idea and puts it in their presentation? Right now, it seems that way, but we can’t really imagine Google shaking their own tree this vigorously.

                  What is certain is that your return on effort applied to keyword-based SEO activities will go down, as your competitive space becomes more and more saturated with AI-generated content. Said another way: You will need more content but you will get less out of it.

                  Adaptation in the Works

                  How will Google react to ensure SERPs stay relevant?  We have some hints in place already. Unsurprisingly, they are based on what SEO practitioners already know about building websites for humans.

                  In addition to the well-known acronym EAT (Expertise, Authority, Trust) Google has signaled increasing emphasis on a new E: Experience. When they crawl this page, before they give us a pile of gold traffic tokens, they’ll look around and decide if InteractOne should even be talking about SEO. Google will need to find other content signals on our site that indicate we’ve been involved in the strange science of internet traffic for more than a minute.

                  Another Google-centered bit of technology is something they’re calling “information gain.” This is a twist on the idea that content should be unique – as in not using manufacturer descriptions for your item descriptions. Information gain takes it a step further; did you bring something new to the topic? This will mean less emphasis on aggregation or “skyscrapering” tactics for your brand or for your most important keywords and phrases. Instead, this means building completely new and unique content around the products you sell. (Pssst … AI doesn’t do “new” well.)

                  For eCommerce merchants, information gain won’t be all about blog posts. Category and item descriptions should also get special attention to fit users’ specific, ultra-longtail searches – and their individual search history.

                  Off-page SEO should also make a resurgence, says Google, as AI content forces SERPs to look elsewhere for uniqueness. Off-page refers to SEO tactics found outside of a website to improve its ranking – chiefly links. Links to your site from other authoritative sites have always been a great traffic conduit; they’re going to get even more emphasis. Guest posting is another off-site tactic, but it’s also one of the most direct ways to build strong links. Social media marketing is tough to execute well, but look out because AI is making it even more cluttered.

                  Same Old Same Old?

                  Google’s reactions so far to how they and SEO can adapt to AI feels a lot like older advice from Google, promising rewards for good behavior and good user-centered pages. In the past, however, Google has fallen short of these noble goals. Instead, their algorithm awarded the traffic to gigantic pages cobbled together by the biggest brands. Skepticism aside, this time might be different because AI represents an abrupt and enormous shift in scale, not a loophole or weakness in Google’s algorithm. 

                  Brass Tacks

                  At the detail level, we still need our meta data in tidy shape, page titles that make sense, category descriptions that match what we sell. The basics may sound simple, but eCommerce businesses are fast moving and clarity isn’t always the top priority.

                  Google will continue to identify and “ding” obvious AI-generated content, so think of it as a first step, not a finished product. Apps already exist for Magento and Shopify that will take base info from your existing product detail page: attributions, size, color, etc. and generate description content. You still need to tweak it!

                  Companies who use AI to create content will risk a ranking penalty in the same way as content stuffing “always” has. If the content is junk, i.e. if it doesn’t make sense, is not at all unique, or sounds like AI, then both human visitors and Google will penalize it in their own ways. At the same time, Google says that good content that happened to start as AI-generated content won’t be penalized, and why should it be? The key difference is human involvement; always check AI-generated content, even for simple tasks. More and more, Google will be looking for unique and authoritative/expert elements in the content. 

                  So, What Should You Do?

                  Should you explore or deploy AI as an SEO tactic? In short, yes. We think it’s inevitable and probably a good thing, overall. Perhaps ironically, AI’s presence in the room could serve to clear out some of the lingering half-truths and contradictions that the practice of SEO has abided for years.

                  InteractOne provides internet marketing services to our clients – we have for many years – and our emphasis has always been on the techniques that you won’t have to disown three years down the road. That part won’t change, at least.

                  AI will always be artificial. In a competitive space like eCommerce SEO, you can use these tools for productivity, but you’ll always need human brains monitoring and managing quality, and fostering creativity.

                  Contact us to learn more about how to optimize your eCommerce site.

                    Get expert help today!

                    An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

                    Drop Us a Line At:

                    Our Contact Form

                    Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call: Phone (USA): (513) 469-3362

                    4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255 Cincinnati, OH 45241

                    Hyvä Themes

                    Hyvä Themes

                    Alternative to Luma?

                    First released in 2021 and with more than 1,500 Magento sites now using it, Hyvä Themes is often positioned as an alternative to the default Luma theme. We think this is an oversimplification.

                    For one, Luma is still very much a viable option, mostly since Hyvä doesn’t yet have the wide range of module and plugin compatibility Luma offers.

                    The default Luma Magento theme has helped InteractOne solve a lot of problems for our clients over the years. When developed with discipline and expertise, Magento and Luma provide a migration path away from buggy, crippled customized themes. Luma also provides a viable performance path for small and new Magento merchants who can live with the standard design theme and want to minimize or eliminate developer involvement. Luma starts out acceptably light/fast, but it is not immune to bloat and compatibility issues that accumulate along with customizations, modifications, bug fixes and the layered technologies that accompany these actions. Ironically, given the wide scope of its use for many years, Luma is best when mostly left alone. It is this conundrum that motivated the Hyvä Themes’ creators. 

                    OK, The PWA Alternative?

                    Hyva is touted as an alternative to the PWA approach. PWA stands for Progressive Web Apps, which are web applications optimized to work on mobile and desktop devices. PWA for eCommerce helps you generate a more user-friendly site by allowing customers to access information regardless of their location or device. However, realizing the benefits of PWA can be fussy and expensive – involving lots of setup, testing, tweaking, monitoring and more tweaking. Hyvä employs Alpine JS to allow a flexible presentation on all platforms while clocking super fast page load, right out of the box.

                    Thinking About Going Headless?

                    Headless commerce detaches the front-end architecture and interface from the back-end commerce functionality and database. A key benefit of headless should be that changes can be made to the user experience without fear of introducing bugs to the core functionality. In reality, it’s not so much like a CMS, since most changes still require developer involvement. Because of this headless tends to be rather expensive, sometimes buggy and often difficult to maintain, leaving many marketing departments to regret going headless. 

                    Less is More

                    While they are powerful technologies, the limitations of PWA and Headless make the case for a solution like Hyvä. The vastly simpler structure of the Hyvä theme means it is an alternative to Headless and PWA – approaches that merchants adopt to solve problems around speed, flexibility and compatibility. The big difference is that both headless and PWA involve adding technology to make good things happen, whereas Hyvä Themes opts for subtraction.

                    Much lighter than a standard Magento theme

                    Hyvä Themes is based on a blank Magento 2 theme, not using the Luma code.  Most Magento theme developers start with the Luma code, so the finished product is – in most cases – slower than Luma.

                    The developers of Hyvä left out all layout.xml, .phtml files and JavaScript files. While Hyvä uses the PHP-templating system that is built into Magento, it departs from standard theme architecture, using newer lighter-weight components, such as a Javascript framework that is only ⅓ of the weight of Jquery.

                    Does it Cost More?

                    As of this writing, Hyvä charges 1,000 Euro for a one-time license. No limits are placed on the number of domains or storeviews.

                    While the simpler architecture of Hyvä themes should ultimately reduce programming costs, customizations and demand for favorite modules and plug-ins will impact initial build cost. Already though, Hyvä has incorporated compatibility with more than 100 popular modules and plugins and we expect 3rd party module compatibility  to grow.

                    One key affordability benefit of Hyvä Themes is that templates can be implemented one at a time – start with the product page and category pages, leave the checkout for later. This is where Hyvä excels.

                    What’s the catch?

                    If omnichannel drives your volume, a headless commerce approach might still be the way to go. You’ll have to balance those benefit calculations with the cost of development and ongoing maintenance.

                    Further, Hyvä’s checkout is still pretty young, lacking documentation at this writing. Hyvä Themes  offer the Magento One-Step checkout (based on Luma) as the preferred path for most.

                    So, despite a fast-growing pace of adoption, Hyvä still carries a whiff of the bleeding edge.

                    What does this all mean for you? 

                    For most of InteractOne’s clients, and most midsize e-Commerce retailers, chasing cutting edge technology can be a risky bet. Most retailers don’t have large IT teams that can research, manage and maintain the most fussy tools to keep you at full optimization. You already know that improving page load speed is beneficial, but you also have your eye on diminishing returns. Granted, twelve second page-loads were killing you. Getting to six seconds made a big improvement and dropping that to three seconds was excellent for conversion. Is your traffic and volume big enough to make the needed investment to get to 1.5 or .75 seconds justifiable?

                    The point is, a lot of Magento retailers haven’t made the leap to headless or PWA either because of cost or because they didn’t feel confident in managing it. Hyvä changes that decision in that it cures the speed problem with simplicity, not with another layer of technology. Hyvä Themes  isn’t a cure-all, but it sure looks like a start.

                    Contact us to learn more about how to optimize your eCommerce site.

                      Get expert help today!

                      An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

                      Drop Us a Line At:

                      Our Contact Form

                      Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call: Phone (USA): (513) 469-3362

                      4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255 Cincinnati, OH 45241