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(Re)Introducing Scratch & Save for Your eCommerce Store!

scratch-and-save-v2-0-13A few years ago we introduced an eCommerce store feature that I really got excited about. When our lead developer came to me with the idea for a virtual scratch-off coupon for the item page, I knew right away this was going to be something that store owners would want to have on their site for special sales and promotions.

We built a prototype and selected about a dozen store owners to be part of a beta test to gauge coupon usage, customer comments, feedback on usability, etc. We made some tweaks and released “Scratch & Save” which quickly skyrocketed to be one of our top selling features.

Here’s how it works.

We install the feature on the item page and the store owner creates several different coupon codes that Scratch & Save dolls out randomly based on the ratio set by the store owner. When a shopper visits the site and goes to an item page, they can use their mouse (or their finger if they’re on a mobile device) to scratch and reveal a coupon code they can use right then and there to place an order.

Over the years I’ve heard of some creative ways store owners have been using the feature and cashing in on the sales it’s generated for them. One of my favorites is the “Mystery Discount Sale” where for a week or weekend, the store owner turns on Scratch & Save and promotes their sale via social media, email marketing, PPC and more.

Since the Scratch & Save promotion is interactive, it adds a bit of excitement to the shopping process. After all, who doesn’t like buying one of those scratch-off lottery tickets and seeing if you’re the next big winner! The same concept applies here. You use your advertising methods to attract shoppers to your store by giving them the chance to scratch away in the hopes of getting a huge discount on their purchase.

While Scratch & Save has been around for a while, it hasn’t been compatible with Apple mobile devices due to it being built in Adobe Flash. I’m very pleased to announce that we’ve just rebuilt Scratch & Save from the ground up making it 100% compatible with desktops, smart phones and tablets – including the iPhone and iPad.

If you currently have Scratch & Save on your store, now is the time to upgrade to the latest version in order to enable this store feature to be available to all your mobile and tablet shoppers.

If you don’t have it on your store, it’s time to take advantage of this money-making store feature that is designed to turn shoppers into buyers.

There are two versions available. Our standard version is available for a one-time install fee of $199 and includes standard graphics that are designed to compliment any website. Our custom version is for the store owner who wants to match Scratch & Save with the look and feel of their website by using custom graphics and is available for a one-time install/design fee of $399.

Check out the two videos below for a demo of how Scratch & Save works, then contact us at 1.888.361.9814 to have it installed or upgraded on your store today!

Scratch & Save is compatible with Yahoo! Store, Monster Commerce and 1ShoppingCart.

Scratch & Save with Custom Graphics – $399
Scratch & Save with Standard Graphics – $199

Scott Sanfilippo is the co-founder of Solid Cactus and holds the key to the secret product development lab where he and a team of crack programmers plan and build exciting eCommerce store features like Scratch & Save to help increase order value and conversions. He also holds the key to the men’s washroom, but doesn’t brag about that as much. Follow Scott on Facebook  and on Twitter.


Get Me Likes Gets an Upgrade!

It wasn’t that long ago we released our Facebook fan building feature, Get Me Likes, for Yahoo! Store, Monster Commerce and 1ShoppingCart. Since then, eCommerce store owners have been using it to increase their fans, capture sales and build a community of loyal followers.

We’ve received valuable feedback since the first release and have incorporated many of what our users have asked for in the latest version, 1.1, including:

Multiple Placement Options: Version 1.0 only allowed Get Me Likes to be displayed along the left center side of the screen. Version 1.1 now allows for these placement locations:

Get Me Likes - Bottom Middle

Get Me Likes – Bottom Middle

Get Me Likes - Top Right

Get Me Likes – Top Right

Get Me Likes - Top Left

Get Me Likes – Top Left

Get Me Likes - Middle Right

Get Me Likes – Middle Right

Get Me Likes - Middle Left

Get Me Likes – Middle Left

Get Me Likes - Bottom Right

Get Me Likes – Bottom Right

Get Me Likes - Bottom Left

Get Me Likes – Bottom Left

Hide Window: For those customers who already “like” your page, a link is now displayed in the pop-out window that they can click on to prevent Get Me Likes from displaying again until the cookie expires in 120 days.

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 12.09.00 PM

As with version 1.0, Get Me Likes is available in a standard option for $199 and comes with three pre-designed generic themes that you can select from within your store’s control panel. If you prefer to have Get Me Likes match the branding of your website, a custom designed version is available for $399. Placement location must be chosen at the time of install as it is not changeable via the store’s control panel.

Now, current users of Get Me Likes may be asking, “Do I need the upgrade?” To be frank, unless you are looking to change the current display location, there is no need to upgrade. But if you’re like me and want the latest and greatest, we are offering a special $59 upgrade for those customers who are currently using the standard version. If you have a custom version with custom graphics, additional charges will apply, so contact your Solid Cactus account manager for more information on that.

Get Me Likes is an exciting feature, especially for those stores looking to build a community of Facebook followers. Check out our demo video for more info.

Scott Sanfilippo is the co-founder of Solid Cactus and works with our development team to come up with great eCommerce store features like Get Me Likes that merchants can use to turn visits into sales.  When he’s not working with our development team, he’s chatting with merchants learning what cool features they would like to see us build for their store.


Ask The Experts: Internet Marketing Roundtable March 26, 2014

One question that I’m asked time and time again is “What changed the most since you first started selling online in 1994?” For the most part the technology used to transact online is the same, web design has evolved over the years but nothing has changed dramatically, but marketing is the component that changes constantly and keeps us all on our toes.

Over the past two years we have seen dramatic changes in the way search engines treat content; some good, some bad. Social media has surfaced as a channel that eCommerce store owners must embrace and use to its full potential. And pay-per-click still remains the model for driving immediate traffic to sites while we sit back and hope our search engine optimization efforts will pay off.

With the speed things change online, you may be left scratching your head wondering how to get more Facebook fans, deciding whether or not you should be tweeting, or how to increase your click through rates on your email blasts.

If that sounds familiar, I invite you to join me on Wednesday, March 26th at 2pm ET where I’ll moderate an open forum with several Internet marketing experts from Solid Cactus who will answer your questions regarding pay-per-click, social media, email marketing, comparison shopping engines and search engine optimization.

There aren’t too many opportunities that exist where you get to pose questions to a group of Internet marketing rock stars, so you’ll want to spend an hour with us!

But wait, there’s more! After the open forum, I’ll give everyone a sneak peek at the latest version of our Facebook fan building feature, Get Me Likes. We’ve made several updates to the product based on your suggestions and attendees will get to see what’s new before anyone else.

I hope to see you on March 26th!

When: Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Time: 2:00 – 3:00pm Eastern Time
Where: GoToWebinar – Sign up


Webinar Host
scott-sanfilippo Scott Sanfilippo
Co-Founder & Brand Ambassador, Solid Cactus

sara-tompkins Sara Tomkins
Search Engine Optimization Manager 
jeff-stolarcyk Jeff Stolarcyk
Email Marketing Manager
kelly-reilly Kelly Reilly
Pay-Per-Click Manager
chad-prizzia Chad Prizzia
Pay-Per-Click Manager
jacklyn-rudeski Jaclyn Rudeski
Comparison Shopping Engine Manager

Scott Sanfilippo is co-founder of Solid Cactus and likes to tell stories about what the Internet was like before Google, Internet Explorer and Windows 95.  When he’s not hosting webinars like this one, he’s sharing his advice with fellow eCommerce store owners and taking Ballroom Dance lessons on Mondays.  Follow Scott on Facebook, Twitter and his blog.


Introducing Mega Top Nav for Yahoo! Store

A wise man once said, “a good website begins with good navigation.” You can have a stunning design and all the latest bells-and-whistles, but if your navigation is complex, cumbersome and doesn’t allow your customer to find the information or product they need quickly, your site won’t convert.

When a customer visits your website, they expect good navigation that gets them to what they’re looking for in the least amount of clicks. The last thing a shopper wants to do is waste time clicking all over the place trying to find the item they’re looking for.

Over the years, not much has changed as far as navigation bars are concerned. When I started my first online store in 1994, it had a left nav bar. The majority of sites today still follow that format, mainly because we read from left to right. The second most popular form of navigation is a top nav bar, used mainly on sites with a few sections where a left nav bar wouldn’t be feasible.

Recently, the top nav bar has become a popular form of secondary navigation on sites that employ a left nav. Store owners looking to feature their more popular sections are using a top nav to call attention and make it easier for shoppers to find them right away.

Today, I’m excited to announce the latest Yahoo! Store feature to come out of our development lab – Mega Top Nav. Over the past few weeks our team has worked with a select group of eCommerce store owners to develop and fine-tune what we feel is the best form of top navigation available.

Mega Top Nav is more than just a navigation bar, it’s also a marketing tool. It allows the store owner to provide shoppers with an easy-to-use form of navigation along with the ability to feature products and special promotions to help drive sales and information to help drive customer satisfaction.

There are several key areas of the Mega Top Nav that I’d like to point out. The first is the navigation area itself which is the top portion. This area can accommodate up to five sub sections and each is identified by a name and a graphic making it easy for the customer to tell exactly what that section contains.

Mega Top Nav for Yahoo Store from Solid Cactus

The second consists of two text areas that can be used to provide shoppers with key information or guides to help them make an informed purchase. In this example, we have a “Helpful Guides” section that contains links to pages on our store that shoppers may want to visit to help them select the right item (and also minimize the risk of a return!). The second text area is where we put our “Shopping Assistance” links to give customers one-click access to customer service information right from the nav bar.

You can choose the titles for these two text areas, as well as what pages from within your store you want to display, by populating variables. If the variables are not populated, the areas will not be displayed.

Mega Top Nav for Yahoo Store from Solid Cactus
Mega Top Nav for Yahoo Store from Solid Cactus

The third area is designed to showcase featured products. This is great for giving exposure to items you may be overstocked on and want to promote, or items that you recently added to your store that you want customers to see. The title of the area can be changed and all it takes to populate is to simply enter the item IDs into a variable. If the variable isn’t populated, the section will not display.

Mega Top Nav for Yahoo Store from Solid Cactus

The final area is a free form HTML area where you can insert your own graphics, stylized text, banner ads… whatever! In this example, we put in a graphic promoting a free shipping offer to help stimulate sales. To activate this area, all you need to do is enter HTML into the variable. If nothing is entered, the area will not display.

Mega Top Nav for Yahoo Store from Solid Cactus

I’m excited about Mega Top Nav because it can be used on any site! It’s an obvious choice for store owners who already employ a top navigation structure and want to get rid of their boring, text-only nav bar. For the store owner with a left nav, this is an excellent form of secondary navigation to promote special sections I mentioned earlier.

Take a few minutes to watch the short video I put together highlighting the features of Mega Top Nav and if you’re ready to take your navigation to the next level, give us a call at 1.888.361.9814 to discuss how we can install this on your Yahoo! Store.

If you have any questions or comments about Mega Top Nav, feel free to drop me an email at scotts@solidcactus.com. I’d love to hear what you think! I’m also “all ears” when it comes to learning about what features we can develop to better enhance your store and your customer’s shopping experience.

Scott Sanfilippo is co-founder of Solid Cactus and holds the key to both the men’s washroom and the “top secret” development lab where great features like Get Me Likes and Mega Top Nav are built.


Learn Best Practices and Techniques to Improve Your SEO In February’s Free Webinar

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 5.04.35 PMIt’s that time again, time for Webinar Wednesday!

This month Duane Forrester, Senior Product Manager of Bing’s Webmaster Program, will be speaking on a topic that impacts every website owner – search engine optimization. In his “SEO 101” presentation, Duane will discuss best practices and techniques designed to improve a website’s visibility in the organic listings.

Search engine optimization is an ever changing subject and what worked well for sites yesterday, may no longer be recommended tomorrow. Thinking back on my early days in eCommerce, giant fonts, hidden text, repetitive keywords and other things we frown upon today were the norm!

Times have sure changed.

In 2014, it’s more important than ever that any search engine optimization you do, on-site or off, is done in accordance with search engine best practices. Duane will share what he feels are the best recommendations for any eCommerce store or website owner to take for achieving good SEO across all search engines.

I’ve sat in on Duane’s “SEO 101” webinar before and took away so much valuable information that I was able to put in play on my own eCommerce stores and websites, that I had to ask him to present to our customers.

When I say this is a “must attend” session, I mean it!

The presentation itself runs about an hour and Duane will stick around afterwards for a question and answer session so you can get all of your SEO questions asked by one of the brightest minds in the industry.

Plus, I’ll have a special offer on managed SEO services from Solid Cactus for everyone who attends.

Don’t let this webinar pass you by, be sure to register today and I’ll see you on Wednesday, February 26th!

When: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Time: 2:00 – 3:00pm Eastern Time
Where: GoToWebinar – Sign up


Webinar Host
scott-sanfilippo Scott Sanfilippo
Co-Founder & Brand Ambassador, Solid Cactus

Presented By
duaneforrester Duane Forrester
Senior Product Manager, Bing Webmaster Program

Thanks to everyone who attended the webinar! In case you missed it, or want to share the information presented with a friend, you can watch the replay below and grab a copy of Duane Forrester’s slide deck.

Scott Sanfilippo is co-founder of Solid Cactus and a long-time eCommerce store owner who has been fighting for good organic rankings since 1994.  Today, Scott tends to reminisce a lot, usually about how when he started Amazon was just a river, there was no such thing as pay-per-click advertising and big fonts guaranteed you a top-ten listing.