Simple Store V2 Is Go!
I (Steve, Caffeine Injection founder) launched my first website way back in 2001 to sell bikes online. At the time, I owned a bike shop, and while a few businesses were selling accessories online, no one was selling whole bikes, so I figured there was a gap to be exploited.
Before I settled on the online store system I launched with, I tried everything that existed at the time, but they were all hopelessly complex and a nightmare to get up and running.
Roll forward to 2018, and lots had changed; the ecommerce platform market was huge. In 2001 you had a handful of solutions. In 2018 there were hundreds, thousands even. But one thing hadn't changed; Most were still hopelessly complex and a nightmare to work with. So after getting asked for a simple to use ecommerce system that integrated easily with the websites I was building, I launched my own. It was based on a readily available solution to anyone for a fee, but my version was heavily customised.
I removed all the stuff that 90% of users didn't need, and the whole thing was hit with the simple stick. I called it Simple Store because that's what it was: Simple. And it was really successful. And still is.
Roll forward another few years to now, and while Simple Store was still performing brilliantly, racking up thousands of sales a year for many of my clients, it was starting to feel a bit dated. Plus, many other platforms had cottoned on that most small businesses looking to get an online store off the ground want simplicity over acres of features. So I did consider retiring it for a time, but while many other solutions had simplified things by removing unneeded features, they'd all added something too: Cost. A lot of costs.
The way many of the big ecommerce platforms add cost is a bit underhand. They may shout about having no monthly fees, but they will often force you to use their online payment processor at vastly inflated rates compared to services like Stripe. Or, they offer a free "start-up" service with reasonable fees to get you going, but as soon as your store starts to grow, the monthly charges skyrocket.
So after chatting to some of my ecommerce clients, I decided to give Simple Store a revamp. A year later, and it's now ready for prime time!
Check out the Simple Store v2 Demo here.
The demo is based around a gent's online fashion store, but it can be used for any online retail, not just clothing.
Simple Store Standard Features
Before I get into the new features, for those reading this who are not familiar with Simple Store v1, here are the main Simple Store v1 features, all of which carry over to v2.
Complete CMS Everything about Simple Store is "CMS". Meaning the store owner can log in and change everything. Add products, edit products, change prices, update pictures, change stock level, the lot. From any device. Even a smartphone.
Inventory Management Simple Store works in real-time to display to your site visitors your exact stock holding. If you had 10 of something and sold 9, it knows only to sell one more.
Shipping Options Simple Store can handle multiple shipping locations and multiple shipping options, including different shipping costs.
Product Variants Simple Store can handle single variant items and multiple items. This means if you sell, say, a T-shirt and it comes in three colours and four sizes. You don't need to make a unique listing for all the different variants. Just list the T-shirt once and tell Simple Store all the various permutations. It'll do the rest.
Online Payment Processing Simple Store connects directly to the most popular online payment processors; Paypal, Stripe and Authorize. As well as taking card details for offline processing, bank transfers and click & collect. Simple Store makes no charges for payment processing. Although, of course, the payment processor you use will!
Limitless Products Simple Store can handle a limitless number of products in unlimited categories. With the same monthly charge whether you list and sell one item or one thousand.
Free Transactions Simple Store does not limit the number of sales you can make daily, weekly or monthly.
No Hidden Charges Simple Store does not charge per transaction or take a percentage of the sale price. The only fee paid per transaction is to your online payment processor.
So, in a nutshell, it's an easy to use and manage "simple" online store solution that charges one small monthly fee, normally about a tenner.
So What's Been Added In Version Two?
Tighter Site-wide Integration
Perpetual Cart. In version one, everything to do with the store was on the store page. If you added something to your basket and then left the store page, you no longer had any visual reminders of what was in your basket without going back to the store page.
In version two, that's all changed.
Simple Store v2 now has a "perpetual" cart, which can be displayed on any page on the site, in any location (see image below); the obvious place being in the main menu bar at the top. This means that no matter what page your users are on, they always have easy access to the cart and a reminder of what they have in.
Perpetual Category Menu. In version one, users only saw the store category menu when they visited the store page. In version two, the category menu can now be integrated with the main site menu bar, making the store product categories visible on ALL pages (see image below). This is a great way to inform your users what's available in-store and drive sales.
Featured Items Automatically Displayed On Homepage. Simple Store has a neat "featured product" facility. Any item you tag as featured is always at the top of any store page product listing. In version two, we've taken this feature further and into the home page or any other page on the site you want.
When you tag a product as "featured", it will be automatically displayed in a "Featured Product" section on the home page. And don't worry, to keep the homepage load speeds low, you can specify how many featured products are displayed.
Klarna Payment Options And finally, Klarna. We've added Klarna as a checkout option when adding Stripe as a payment option. Best of all, you don't need a Klarna account. It's all done via Stripe!
What's Klarna? Klarna is a great payment spread provider. When this feature is activated, your customers can pay in full or spread the cost over a specified number of months via Klarna.
Those are the main "front-end" changes to version two. There are also a host of back-end updates too, but it's all pretty dull, boring geeky stuff, so I won't bore you ;-)
If you need to get a simple online store up and running and want a truly "no hidden costs" system that is both super cheap to run and easy to maintain, get in touch for a proper demo of Simple Store v2. It might be just what you're looking for.