Ecommerce Templates > Newsletter > April 2011

Ecommerce Templates Newsletter April 2011

Welcome to the April 2011 Ecommerce Templates newsletter

Welcome to the April edition of the Ecommerce Templates Newsletter where we bring you a round of up of what's been going on in the first few months of 2011.

Top Tips

We've been busily posting ideas to add new features to your store without interfering with the core code.

The latest one in the series is how to add a Facebook Like button and twitter tweet icon to your product detail pages. These are not overwritten by updaters and allows your customers to do a little marketing on your behalf – the set up details are available here.

Another very useful addition is making your pages printer friendly without having to make duplicate copies of your store. It's surprising how many people will actually print out product listings so here's a way of doing it with a bit of extra css.

Apart from our own short articles, we've been hunting around for quality ecommerce related blogs and have started compiling a list – if you've come across one we've missed, we'd love to hear about it.

You may have seen that we recently set up a dedicated Ecommerce Templates YouTube channel - our aim here is to cover the main features of ECT as well as to provide some tips in video format. The latest one shows how to tweak your css file and preview through your browser without the changes and experiments going live until you are happy with the results – if you have any suggestions for further videos, please do get in touch.

Current Version 6.0.5

The latest version of Ecommerce Templates is 6.0.5, released at the end of March. This release contains an important security fix related to the potential spamming of the email a friend feature so we highly recommend updating.

We’ve also slipped in a widely requested feature allowing you to export the mailing list to a csv file. This allows you to collect email subscribers through your store and then import them into your favorite email marketing suite. After looking through the main players, we were impressed by ActiveCampaign and ContactContact – they have an excellent admin area, competitive pricing and a flexible policy on role based email addresses.

If your host restricts the number of emails you can send out to your customers, the mailing list export feature is just what you need.

By using a system like ActiveCampaign or ContactContact you can also benefit from the added features they provide like monitoring your campaigns through stats, click-thrus and new subscriptions. It also allows you to hook it up to your Google Analytics tracking and Facebook and twitter feeds. They also provide ready made HTML templates to enhance the look of your newsletter. One great thing we found out in our testing here was that they have free versions available for a limited number of subscribers, 250 with ActiveCampaign, meaning that you can try it out first without initially committing to a monthly fee. ContactContact offer a 60 day free trial so you can try before you buy.

More details on the set up of the mailing list feature are available here.

If you are running a pre-version 6 release, you might want to take a look here at the features you are missing out on.

Updating is quite painless and we have set up a video tutorial that will walk you through the steps.

Updaters as always are available from


Ecommerce Templates is a PayPal Platinum Partner meaning we have gone through a rigorous certification process to ensure the quality of the integration and an extensive knowledge of how PayPal can work for you.

One common question we see on the support forums is regarding which of the PayPal methods to use on a store and what the main differences are between them.

PayPal Website Payments Standard is perhaps the most common method used. On checkout the customer is taken to the PayPal site to complete their order so no SSL certificate is required, the set up is extremely simple and research has shown that adding PayPal to a site can increase revenue by 15% or more for smaller merchants. An important point often overlooked is that you can give your customers a choice of payment methods on checkout, if you are not offering PayPal, you may be missing out on sales.

PayPal Express Checkoutis quite similar but users are taken to the PayPal site for making payments directly from the cart page. This allows customers to avoid the shipping / billing form filling on your store and makes the payment process more efficient.

PayPal Direct Payments also known as Website Payments Pro allows your customers to enter their credit card details on your store with the payment processing going on in the background. Your customers never need to know that the payments are handled by PayPal as they remain on your site throughout the payment process. This method does require an ssl certificate installed on the server and PayPal takes care of the security of the card data. In Version 6.1 we will be discontinuing support for the Capture Card method due to PA-DSS compliance and PayPal Direct Payments would make a great alternative to those looking to change.

We have set up an overview of Ecommerce Templates and PayPal but if you have any questions about the integration, fees etc, we'd be happy to help out.