Archive for the ‘Design & Programming’ Category


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

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

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!

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

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.


Introducing Mega Top Nav for Yahoo! Store

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

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 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.

Build a Loyal Facebook Fan Base with “Get Me Likes” from Solid Cactus

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Get Me LIkes is a great way to build your Facebook fan base by offering your shoppers an incentive in exchange for a like.

Get Me LIkes is a great way to build your Facebook fan base by offering your shoppers an incentive in exchange for a like.

Building a base of loyal customers is something that every eCommerce store owner strives for. Repeat customers who spread the word about your business to their friends and family is a priceless form of advertising.

One way of building brand loyalists is to take advantage of the most popular social networking site today, Facebook. If you’re like me, you probably spend a great deal of time every day going through your news feed seeing what your friends are up to, “liking” Facebook pages for your favorite businesses and posting pictures of what you just had for lunch.

Facebook is a community, and it’s one that your business should be a part of. If you’ve been putting off creating a Facebook page for your eCommerce store, why not take a few moments and do it now. With the holidays just weeks away, it’s more important than ever to have a Facebook page for your customers to “like” so you can market to them for little or no cost.

Once you setup your Facebook page, you need to get your customers to “like” it. There are some simple things you can do to get the ball rolling:

  • Email Your Customers – It’s that simple! Send out an email blast to your customer list letting them know you’re now on Facebook and invite them to come over and “like” your page. Let them know that by being a part of your Facebook community they will be the first to know about special fan deals, Facebook only offers and other incentives reserved just for your followers.
  • Add an Icon – Add the Facebook icon to your website that clicks through to your Facebook page. I know I’m one of these guys who looks for the social media icons on stores and websites so I can click through and be one of their followers. Typically icons are placed either in your store’s header, footer or underneath your navigation bars. Don’t forget to include the link on your blog as well!
  • Email Signatures – You and your employees probably send out a good amount of email each day. Take advantage of that by adding a link to your store’s Facebook page in your email signature. These days, a link to your Facebook page is just as important as a link to your website.
  • Speak it! – If you have an auto attendant that greets callers when they dial in, consider adding a “be sure to visit us on Facebook” line to your script. Another way to get the word out it to ask your customer service representatives to remind customers on each call to head over to Facebook and give your page a “like.”

Once you’re Facebook fan base starts growing, it’s time to keep them engaged. I recommend businesses post to their company’s Facebook page at least once a day. If you don’t have the bandwidth to do that, post at least three times a week or talk to us about our managed Facebook service.

When it comes to posting, you want to create unique content that your visitors will find helpful, informational, and fun! You want your posts to grab your follower’s attention so they will engage, comment and hopefully share with their network of friends.

One word of caution with content… don’t oversell! Nobody likes to see every post from a business be a sales pitch. Sure you can announce new products, share a demo video and promote the big sale you’re having, but don’t over do it. Take time to post about the group of employees who went bowling last night, the pizza party you had for the warehouse team, a great review you got from a customer and fun things going on within your company.

It’s important that you continually keep growing your fan base so your reach spreads. The ideas I shared above are great for kicking off your new Facebook page, but you need to keep that momentum going year round, and I’ve got just the thing that can help.

Straight out of the Solid Cactus development lab is a new product designed to help grow your fan base, appropriately called “Get Me Likes.” This is a feature I’m really excited about, as it’s a cost-effective way to get current and potential customers to become one of your Facebook fans.

Here’s how it works. We install code on your store that teases visitors, in an unobtrusive way, to give your Facebook page a “like” in exchange for a coupon code they can use right away. They click on the little teaser window, it opens up, they click the “like” button and they’re given the code. Once they close the window, the widget disappears and it won’t prompt them again.

You get a fan, your fan gets a discount, and you get a sale!

What can be better than that?

If you’re running your store on Yahoo! Small Business, Network Solutions eCommerce, Monster Commerce or 1ShoppingCart Stores, we can install Get Me Likes for only $199. We have three different standard versions you can choose from, or for just $399, we can style Get Me Likes to match the unique look and feel of your store.

Like I said earlier, there’s no better time than now to start building your fan base so you can market to them during the holiday shopping season. Watch the demo video below, and contact us at 1.888.361.9814 to have Get Me Likes installed on your store.

See you on Facebook!

Scott Sanfilippo is co-founder of Solid Cactus and spends way more time on Facebook than he will admit. When he’s not posting pictures of what he had for lunch, you’ll find him sharing his decades of eCommerce experience with our top clients to help them become successful online.  Click here to become one of his Facebook friends.

How to Sell on Facebook for the Holidays

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Halloween is almost over which means the holiday season will be kicked into high gear. The promotions have already started for some retailers and the decorations fill the shelves at every local department store. Competition this year is heavy and retailers need to be able to reach every type of shopper, in whatever avenue they can.

Enter Facebook. You have a Facebook page yes, but are you making money off of it? Social media marketing is hard to measure, but what if there was a way you could start selling on Facebook in time for Black Friday? What if you could capture an order without having to send people away from Facebook and back to your store site, potentially losing the sale in the process? This is where a new Facebook Store comes into play. (more…)