Blog: Launches

We Made a New Thing: 3M Virtual Samples

When you create technology products, you have to iterate, iterate and iterate some more to get them right. eBlox built the first “virtual sample” product in the promotional products industry about twenty years ago for Norwood Promotional Products. Many things have changed since then; Norwood is now part of Bic, and the kind of technology that was once popular for virtual samples—Adobe’s Flash—has been relegated to the dustbin.

But people still need to present ideas to their clients, so the need for virtual samples is as big as ever. Our longtime client 3M Promotional Markets decided a few years ago that they wanted a virtual sample tool where users could very quickly and seamlessly create sample Post-It® custom printed note pad designs, so we took to pen and paper —ok, not really; we used a bunch of cool programs and prototyping tools. But we made something cool, and you should check it out.

Our primary goal with the 3M Virtual Sample tool was simple: Instant gratification. Most industry virtual sample tools force you to load up popups and deal with a completely different user interface. We wanted something that was built into the existing structure, using the same look and feel as the web site:

 

3M Promotional Markets Virtual Sample

The user interface is both simple to use and accurately represents the finished product.

Secondarily, we wanted it to be reasonably bomb-proof. Virtual sample and online design tools often turn into miniature versions of desktop graphic design tools—they’re loaded up with options, transformations, clip art and all sorts of other things that distract from getting the job done quickly. So, we stripped out everything we possibly could to simplify the process. Everything you see is what you can do. No hidden menus, buried features or tricky operations. No funky technology that has problems with different browsers or touch devices. Simple and effective.

We added some cool orientation controls as well, since you can take a Post-It® note and turn the adhesive side however you’d like for printing. You can also quickly swap pad sizes to see different layouts:

 

3M Virtual Sample orientation controls

Size and orientation controls allow users to try out different layouts quickly.

Finally, we wanted to make sharing easy throughout the process. Most virtual samples let you share them; ours has a one-click PDF spec sheet, with your full sample and all related product information. Each product has a unique ID that can be shared with anyone who needs to see or provide feedback on the sample. And an instant, drop-down Project listing makes it easy to copy and share new projects.

 

3M Virtual Sample PDF output

One-click PDF generation creates a fullly-designed spec sheet/sample in seconds.

Please go check it out when you get a chance and let us know what you think!

Categories: Launches

Group-based shipping methods

Among a number of small improvements and fixes in our first storeBlox CS release of 2019, we also launched Group-based shipping methods. storeBlox has Group functionality baked deep into the system, and it’s a great feature for variety of situations:

  • Assigning product access to groups: For example, your store can be set up so managers can see everything, while other users see only specific categories or products. This can be helpful if managers have access to free products, literature or other items that other users shouldn’t be able to view. You can even set up groups with their own landing pages and banners, creating Micro Stores.
  • Payment by group: Often, a store may make certain payment methods (like departmental budgets) only available to certain users. Group payment methods let you assign available payment methods to specific groups, and Group Approvers enables you to have an approver review and approve all the orders for a specific group.

There’s a lot more to Groups, so drop us a line if you need help understanding how to set them up and manage them. This month, we added Group-based shipping methods, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – you can now control access to any shipping method by group:

storeBlox CS group-based shipping

This extends the capability to control available shipping methods to Groups. For example, if your managers have access to free shipping or local delivery, but other users need to use only FedEx or UPS, you can now assign any shipping method by group!

Other updates

The latest release also brings additions to your Order Export, and a we’ve added the ability to opt out of Loyalty Marketing emails during registration and account editing. This is separate from general opt out of marketing emails.

As always, if you have any questions about setting things up or just need a custom demo or help selling, just give us a shout!

Categories: Articles, Launches

“Hey, Come Back!” – Cart abandonment, product-specific coupons and more in latest release

One of the most common problems with e-commerce stores is cart abandonment – customers abandon (leave unpurchased) their shopping carts all the time, in staggering numbers. They do this for a variety of reasons; sometimes they change their mind, but often they just get distracted or move on without finishing a purchase. You’ve never gotten distracted while shopping online, have you? Look, squirrel!

That’s why we just added Cart Abandonment Emails to our suite of Loyalty Marketing tools in your storeBlox CS company store. You can now trigger an automated email to users that abandon their carts, reminding them to purchase the items in their cart.

Like all storeBlox CS emails, the template is fully customizable and can be personalized with user variables. The reminder includes the products that they have in their cart, along with a link back to the site to complete the purchase:

Abandoned cart e-commerce email

Abandoned cart reminders can be quite effective in company stores, since most abandonment falls into the “I forgot” category (rather than the “I found it cheaper somewhere else” or “I just don’t want it” categories). This feature is available in our latest release and is in your store now. If you need help setting it up or would like a walkthrough, just give us a shout!

Product-specific Coupons

Check this one off your wishlist: storeBlox CS now has product-specific coupons! Ever want to send a coupon code out that a customer could only use for a specific product? You’re not alone; this has been on our customer request list for a while. It’s now available in your store – just designate a coupon as “Product Specific” then apply the coupon to the product you’d like it to apply to:

product specific coupon screenshot

That’s it! Product-specific coupons work like any other coupon; they can be for dollar or percentage values, have expiration dates, usage restrictions and so on. Product-specific coupons are available in your store today. We recommend trying one of these out in your next email blast – they can be a great motivator for users to come back to your store.

Checking Gift Certificate Balances

Gift certificate balance check screenshotOne more oft-requested feature was also added in our latest release: quick checking of gift card balances. This does exactly what it sounds like – your customer enters a gift code and the store shows them the remaining balance. We’d like to make it sound sexier, but unfortunately it won’t shine your shoes or fold your laundry. We hope you enjoy it regardless. It’s available right now.

Categories: General, Launches