Sell online – the best cheap ecommerce platform

Starting an online shop and selling direct using an e-commerce software or platform is one the smartest steps a business can take. But what’s the best eCommerce platform? Is there a cheap eCommerce provider that’s also the best. Cheap – and best. That’s like e-commerce utopia, right?

Building an online store involves many considerations. Probably the first question is how you’re going to promote it, otherwise it’s the equivalent of holding a party and forgetting to tell people the address. But we’ll tackle that issue in a later post. For now, the first important decision is how to power your e-Commerce site.

We have experience of developing online stores with a range of e-Commerce platforms, so the information provided here is based on our experience.

Hosted Vs Unhosted

There’s two main categories – hosted eCommerce and self-hosted. Hosted means that your software and servers will be managed by the eCommerce provider. A hosted or ‘managed’ e-Commerce solution is hosted on a server that you cannot access to. Examples of these are Shopify and Squarespace. Self-hosted means you, or more likely your website design agency, will set-up, maintain and manage the software on a hosting provider like Media Temple, TSO Host or Rackspace, or your own company servers.

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Events and things of interest in the local area!

As I’m sure you well know, Mid Sussex is a vibrant area with loads to do and many different events and services on offer.

Lots of services and things to do in Hurstpierpoint, Haywards Heath, Hassocks, Ditchling, Brighton etc. are all on offer, here are a few things we think you should know about

Calico love being involved with local businesses and museums, especially Ditching Museum who are brilliant to work with.

Ditchling museum is running many events in the up and coming year. One of these events is The INTEROBANG Exhibition, a letterpress exhibition, which is curated by Ditchling Museum for The Village of Type. It’s an open submission event – visit their website for details – get your letterpress printing professionally exhibited!

Why not get down to one of The Village of Type’s activities, exhibitions or workshops celebrating 100 years of Edward Johnston’s typeface he designed for the London Underground – a Calico favourite.

See their website for details – it going to be fantastic.

Just down the road from Ditchling Museum is Pruden and Smith, a gold and silver smith and jewellers, founded in 1988.

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Greek is making the headlines, literally.


Lithography is ancient Greek text by definition, with Lithos translating as “stone” and graphein to “write.” Therefore to write in stone, to set in stone is to be lithographic.

This method of printing began in 1796, when the Bavarian author and actor Alois Senefelder realised that water would not dissolve oil, that they remained separate entities and repulsed each other, that they were immiscible.

Back in the nineteenth century, an image would be drawn in reverse with fat, oil or wax onto a smooth limestone plate. When acid was applied to the stone, those areas not protected by the fat, oil or grease became etched. When the stone became wet, the etched areas retained the water, whilst the rest of the plate retained oil-based inks, due to the immiscibility of the two liquids. The inked plate would then be transferred onto a blank sheet of paper and the reversed etched image, would appear printed in all it’s obverse glory as originally intended.

In 1837 the Frenchman Godefroy Engelman devised chromolithography, whereby separate plates were used for each colour – (C)yan, (M)agenta, (Y)ellow and blac(K) – CMYK. The challenge that developed was to keep everything in line, or “in register” so that the final printed image made clear sense.

At the end of the nineteenth century a modification to the process was created by transferring the image from the plate to the paper, via a rubber plate. This is offset lithographic printing. It gives the printer several advantages: The plate never comes into direct contact with the paper, so it has a longer lifespan. The ink can be controlled more effectively and the image is constant, clean, crisp and sharp.

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Why SME’s Need to Become the Brand

Why SME’s Need to Become the Brand

No matter the size of your business, clear and original branding paves the way to success. But it seems small businesses in the UK are not cutting the mustard when it comes to brand identity and that SMEs may need a helping hand to deliver a memorable brand experience.

Vistaprint’s Small Business Uniqueness Report reveals, as well as being unable to define their brand, everything from language to font to colour are copycat stumbling blocks for small business. Here are the key findings:

• 77% use more than one typeface in website copy and 51% use a minimum of three
• 74% repeat the same adjectives in website copy
• 46% choose blue for their branding, 21% choose grey and 18% choose red

Head of UK Marketing at Vistaprint, Jake Amos, commented: “There are so many brilliant creative and individual small businesses in the UK, however, there is a disconnect in how many of them communicate that individuality to the world. It can be overwhelming for small business owners when first starting out and knowing the best way to brand and market their business is an important step in their journey towards success. We created this report as we want to support small businesses in uncovering their unique qualities to help them better stand out from the crowd and achieve their vision”.

Calico’s branding mantra
Here are five reasons it’s important for you, as an SME, to “become” your brand:

Brand identity
Your brand should have its own unique identity, the more you immerse yourself in the brand the more you can understand it and communicate your brand message effectively to your customers. In the same way you should know yourself before embarking on a romantic relationship if you want it to succeed, you should be able to define your brand and your USP.

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Virtual window shopping for groceries shows mobile innovation

Virtual window shopping for groceries shows mobile innovation

Online supermarket Ocado has tried an innovative pop-up shop approach to raise awareness of the ease of use of their mobile shopping application. Installing a temporary display in a London shopping centre containing pictures and barcodes of products, Ocado hopes to show shoppers the ease of using their mobile to shop for groceries.

Ocado’s mission statement is: To revolutionise the way people shop forever, by giving them a uniquely innovative and greener alternative to traditional grocery shopping.

Ocado is the only dedicated online supermarket in the UK and the largest dedicated online supermarket by turnover in the world.

Launching the world’s first transactional iPhone app for supermarket shopping in 2009, Ocado have already proven to be innovators in this space.

The mobile shopping experience is already used by 15% of Ocado’s customers – the temporary pop-up shop should introduce the concept to yet more customers.

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Dick Smith Mobile Website Review

Dick Smith Mobile Website Review

Dick Smith recently announced the launch of their new mobile website, we’ve had a good look at the site’s capability and functionality and were also interested to read the comments made by Daniel McMahon, Head of eCommerce at Dick Smith in a recent interview with Power Retail. Dick Smith have been watching the growth of handset sales through their own shops and the growth in the percentage of customers using mobile devices to browse Dick Smith’s website.

Dick Smith analysed customer behaviour and identified that most customers on their site use their mobile to research products. The mobile site has been designed to meet this primary need.

A key decision any retailer needs to make when defining their mobile strategy is whether to create a mobile website, a mobile app or potentially both. Dick Smith decided to build a mobile website to provide mobile access for the range of handsets being used online, ensuring they provide mobile access to the broadest range of mobile customers.

The Dick Smith mobile homepage is dominated by a list of offers and on site search. Mobile has obvious limitations to present large amounts of data or extensive directory structures. On site Search helps customers find products quickly and easily and is key to an effective customer experience on a site with a large range of products and categories.

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