People sometimes ask us: “Is SolidShops for web designers or for store owners”.
The answer is: both.
Let me explain. Store owners need a simple way to manage their products and orders. SolidShops does that.
On the other hand, store owners often want a unique look & feel for their store. Something that fits their brand perfectly. That’s where a web designer with knowledge of HTML and CSS comes in.
Web designers are using SolidShops to build stores faster for their clients. People that don’t have design skills also see the potential of SolidShops and want to get started themselves. That’s perfectly doable, until the point where they want to start customising their design to perfection. Web designers know that the only way to do that is by writing some HTML and CSS.
To make it easier for store owners to find a web design partner that can help them out with the design and more advanced implementation of their store, we’ve created an Experts page.
We’ve partnered with several freelancers, studios and agencies that deliver high quality web design work. Some of the experts have worked with SolidShops since the beginning. Some of them are designers we’ve met in person. Others might have a track record in designing stores on other platforms. All of them have great experience in building out web sites and stores for clients.
What matters is that it’s now easier to get in touch with a web designer if you feel the need to do so.
We’ll be expanding our list of experts continuously. If you are a web designer and you feel you should be included on the experts page, send us your details and portfolio and we’ll have a chat.
Keep building better stores everyone!
I absolutely love what Stijn did for his new born baby Jack! He used SolidShops to set up a personal birth list for baby Jack instead of going the traditional route. Baby stores tend to have birth list software themselves but we’ve all ended up being frustrated with how those tools tend to work right?
On top of that, how cool is it to have a custom branded store for your baby! Congratulations Stijn and Anneke, not only on the store but especially with baby Jack!
Hey there friends. In our interview series we’d like to showcase interesting stores and store owners on the SolidShops platform, as well as share e-commerce tips from people who are in the online store business every day.
This week, we’ve had the chance to talk to Jill, who runs Lady Rose, an online store selling hand made jewelry with a straight-up ’50s feel to it. Read on to see what Jill’s tips are for running a successful online store.
Hi Jill, can you tell our readers who you are and how your started your online store?
Sure! I’m Jill and I’m a teacher. I teach Dutch to my students in school and I love my job, but I was looking for a way to be creative outside of school and do my own thing during my evenings and weekends. That’s how I got the idea of opening my own little jewelry business for people that are looking for creative but really affordable jewels and accessories.
How did you come up with the name Lady Rose for your business?
In my collection I use a lot of roses. Together with a friend who coined the term “Lady Rose”, I got excited about using that name for my business. There’s a funny side-story to it though. “Lady Rose” appears to be a music band in Asia, which has led a lot of fans to my Facebook page commenting on my jewels.
Of course, that was not really helping my business so here’s a little tip for people in the same situation as me: you can limit your Facebook page visibility to people from certain countries. It’s not that I didn’t like the high number of fans on my Facebook page, it’s just that they weren’t exactly looking for jewels :).
Your store is pretty successful to say the least. Do you mind sharing your secret with our readers?
I think it’s important to renew your collection on a regular basis. That’s definitely one of the things that make people get excited about visiting the shop regularly. Almost every day there’s something new to discover. That combined with prices that are affordable to anyone makes that people shop on a regular basis with us.
Besides that, I combine an online store and Facebook store with offline activities like home shopping nights. I think that’s another way to be there for your clients. Don’t just start an online store, but make sure you connect with them on a personal offline level. I certainly enjoy being amongst my clients. You guys would probably call that online/offline combination cross channeling.
One of the dreams I have is opening up my own little boutique store in my own house where people could come and pickup their orders, as well as browse through my collections.
Oh and of course, don’t skimp on hiring a good web designer for creating a design that’s truly custom made. Pascalculator designed my store and I’m absolutely happy with the result so I’d definitely recommend him.
What do you like most about SolidShops?
For me that’s definitely the ease of use of the SolidShops application. I’m not exactly a computer expert and I like how easy it is to manage my store with SolidShops. That and your amazing support make it a winner for me.
Great! Now tell us what’s the one thing you want us to improve?
Well, now that you’re asking. I’d love to have an automated way to inform my clients that their orders have been shipped. That’s something I’m still doing manually right now.
I’ll make sure to pass it on. Thanks for the tip and good luck with your business!
It’s great to see that small businesses are moving faster than ever before. A lot of large companies are having trouble keeping up with the boutique online stores and small businesses that are communicating with their fans through Facebook and Twitter in an authentic way.
Lady Rose, a Belgian jewelry store launched on SolidShops recently, understands what it takes to build an online presence. Not only did they optimize their store for any screen resolution by adopting a responsive web design approach, they also launched a Facebook store on our platform to reach out to the 2000 fans on their Facebook page.
That way, their Facebook fans don’t have to leave their natural cosy Facebook habitat to browse and buy new products.
Keep your eyes open for more responsive stores and Facebook commerce. We think a lot of businesses will catch up soon with this trend.
Coffee Or has been a SolidShops client for some time now. Earlier this month they opened up a new espresso bar in Brussels and now they’ve just updated their online store. Check it out and if you’re in Brussels or Ghent one day, make sure to visit their cosy esspresso bar which is packed almost every day.
Saturday morning, 11 a.m; we’ve arranged a little interview with Tim, lead singer of postrock band Musth at Kaffee Ine, a fine espresso bar in the city of Mechelen. Tim is a rocker at night, but a SolidShops store owner by day. Let’s ask him some questions at this early hour, which is without doubt unbearably early for him.
Hi Tim! Would you mind telling us where the name of your band ‘MUSTH’ actually comes from?
Musth is a periodic condition in bull elephants, characterized by highly aggressive behavior, accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones – testosterone levels in an elephant in musth can be as much as 60 times greater than in the same elephant at other times. Off course, we’re not elephants nor are we selling them. Musth is the name of our postrock/sludge/metal band. The vibe of the music can be compared to the state of the elephants, being really calm with outbursts of anger and emotion.
How does SolidShops help you to grow Musth?
Well, since we’re a band, we carry merchandise such as t-shirts, cd’s etc. Most of the time you can buy our merch at a show, but since we’re not (yet) playing all over the world, it’s hard for some people to buy our merch. And that’s where SolidShops comes in as an extremely handy tool that is accessible to anyone anywhere in the world.
What do you like most about SolidShops?
I like the fact that everyone can design the shop however they want to. You can give it the layout you always wanted for your shop! Also the facebook app and the iPhone app are amazing!
What would you like us to change or improve?
For now, I can’t think of anything, I remember having a few remarks when we were designing the shop, but you guys are so fast in handling those, that every issue is solved extremely fast!
Your are also running a SolidShops store on Facebook. What made you decide to do that?
Since we have quite some people liking us on facebook, it’s handy to also be able to show them our merchandise through that forum… and it’s extremely easy to add!
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’d love to say that I really enjoy working with you guys, because like I said: whenever there is an issue anywhere, you guys pick it up asap and deal with it asap, which is great! So big up for that! And off course, keep it up and I wish you all the best for the future! Hope to see all of you on a Musth show!
Cool! Thanks a lot for the interview. Let’s have another coffee and we’ll definitely see you again at one of your next shows!
Tim by day
Tim at night
Photography © wannabes.be
Musth Live at AB club Brussels
We like to know our customers and we love to introduce them to the world as well. That’s why we try to interview one of our clients on a monthly basis.
Last month, we spoke to creative all-rounder Jeroen from Karb and today we’ve had the chance to talk to one of our most passionate clients: Michel from Webnology. Michel runs his own web design and development company and builds clean & elegant online solutions for his clients.
We’ve asked Michel a few questions in order to find out why and how he works with SolidShops.
Can you tell us a little bit about Webnology?
Webnology is a small Belgian-based web design agency. We’re 2 full timers and about 4 freelancers, depending on the size and type of the projects we take on. We focus on Expression Engine based websites, and small eCommerce sites.
We also have a few side projects running here in Belgium, like iBeauty and HappyMails. iBeauty is a solution for beauty salons, and HappyMails is an app that delivers promotions to your customers on their birthdays.
When we design or develop websites, we know that it’s not about us. It’s not even about the client. It’s about the client’s clients.
What’s the biggest advantage of using SolidShops for your company?
The main advantage for us is that SolidShops is easy to set up, without losing flexibility. We really enjoy the fast and friendly customer support we get from you guys. Within an hour you fixed all problems we’ve contacted you about, if not faster. Magento and OSCommerce are way too bloated for us and our clients.
How about your own clients, what’s the advantage of using SolidShops for them?
Let’s take the store we built for Koffie OR, a very nice coffee shop in Ghent. They serve and blend great coffee, but unfortunately they don’t have the same budgets like Illy or Nespresso, so we needed to look for another kind of eCommerce platform.
SolidShops was the perfect fit for us and them. Products and categories can be set up very easily, the store design is very customizable and on top of that, SolidShops is even a perfect fit for stores with smaller budgets.
– Michel Smekens –
Koffie OR store impressions
Are you also a proud SolidShops user, like Webnology?
Then get in touch with us so that we can get to know you better. We’d love to feature you in our next interview series!
By popular demand we are starting a showcase series on the blog that will show you who our clients are and how they are using SolidShops for their businesses. To kick things off, Dutch web developer and designer Jeroen Knitel from www.karb.nl describes how he is using SolidShops for his clients at his web design studio.
What is the vision behind karb.nl?
At karb.nl, we want to be a starting point for people that want to do something in the digital space. Whether it’s building a website, a mobile app or a full blown web application, we manage and deliver complete solutions from beginning to end for our clients. By combining different people with different expertise, we are able to provide advice, design, development, hosting and optimization services in such a way that our clients never have to contact a third party. That convenience – together with efficiency, professional communication and high quality – are the core values of Karb.
What’s the biggest advantage of using SolidShops for your company?
Definitely the biggest advantage is the fact that we don’t have to worry about linking up payment providers and receiving secure payments. With SolidShops, we can switch payment providers with just one mouse click.
Although we provide hosting for our clients ourselves, SolidShops includes hosting that’s focused on running a professional online store and it just works without any additional setup work. That’s something we really like. Since we want to build out unique designs for our clients, I really like the fact that SolidShops themes can be modified easily.
Why did you use SolidShops for your client?
My client wanted an online store fast. Earlier that week I learned about SolidShops at one of the free workshops in Antwerp. When I compared SolidShops pricing with the estimate for a custom built and self-hosted webshop the choice was obvious. SolidShops was just much more cost efficient and that was something both me and my client liked. Since SolidShops supported all features my client wanted, I jumped in and never looked back.
Here are a few screenshots of the store we made for our client:
Any final notes?
Both me and my client are impressed with the speed Joris and Dries – founders of SolidShops – solve bugs and feature requests. Keep up the solid work!
– Jeroen Knitel –