Archive for the ‘Design & Programming’ Category

Scott Sanfilippo

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…)


October Updates to Your SCeC Store

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Brand new updates are here for your Solid Cactus eCommerce Store this month. Check out the new features…

Product Option Enhancements

Product options have been updated, improving your ability to collect product data in more ways than the traditional drop-down selection. This month we’ve added the following selection options:

  • Radio Buttons  – customer can now see the available selections and choose from one, making their shopping experience fast and simple
  • Checkboxes –  customer may now choose from several available selections, making data collection easier to setup and simpler to use for your consumer (more…)

Clean Up Needed, Aisle 5! Part II of II: The Importance of Keeping Your PPC Squeaky Clean

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Now that aisle five is clean, let’s make sure when using PPC we lead customers to what they are searching–exactly what they are searching.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I need to be able to easily find what I’m looking for when navigating a site. If I reach a site through a PPC ad, I certainly want to be directed to the specific product, category or brand I searched.

We know people think differently and we know customers search differently; the AdWords Search Query Report tells us so, literally. It makes sense to have landing pages and sorting features to address all search habits. Wouldn’t you be more likely to make a purchase when you’re taken to exactly what you want? (more…)