By now, everyone has recovered from the craziness of the holidays and are ready to start focusing on their e-commerce sites again. We always get a lot of ‘what should I be working on this year’ types of questions, so I thought I would put together a 2018 Pinnacle Cart To-Do list for you.
Late last year, both UPS and FedEx made some updates to their APIs that caused shipping rates to stop being pulled by Pinnacle Cart. Pinnacle Cart was not made aware of either of these updates, so they took everyone by surprise. UPS simply changed the url of their API, which is a simple fix. Go into your Shipping Settings, click on UPS options and change the url to:
Unfortunately the FedEx change requires a direct edit to the database, so please contact us if you are using FedEx on your site and we’ll make the necessary changes for you. The cost is $50.
MasterCard new BIN numbers
Late last year Mastercard acquired some new BIN numbers for their cards. Basically they are now issuing cards that begin with 2 in addition to their usual 5. This requires an edit to a script that Pinnacle Cart uses to validate credit card numbers at checkout. Please contact us and we can make this adjustment for you.
Google will be shutting down reCaptcha V1 in March, which means that it will no longer function after that date. How do you know what version of reCaptcha your site uses? Take a look at your register or contact page and look for the red box that has the unintelligible numbers and letters in it. If you refresh the page, you’ll see this:
Obviously that isn’t something you want your customers to see! You have two options:
- You can disable reCaptcha entirely which will turn this off for your contact and register pages. The downside is that it will also open these pages up to spammers and fake registrations, which can be a major annoyance.
- We can upgrade you to the new ‘invisible’ reCaptcha. This new version is invisible to your customers, but still performs a check in the background to make sure they are an actual human. The cost of this upgrade is $150.
Once again, they will be shutting V1 down completely in March, which will prevent users from registering or contacting you, so you’ll want to address this ASAP.
Convert your site to full-time HTTPS
I posted about this back in 2016, but a surprising number of people have not addressed it yet. Well, you are going to want to get on it now as Google just announced that they will be marking all http sites as ‘Not Secure’ in July of this year:
Obviously this will not instill a sense of confidence in your customers. Converting to https won’t break anything, so there is no reason to put this off any longer. The cost is $150.
PHP 5.6/7 and PCI Compliance
One of the bigger items of interest to Pinnacle Cart users this year will be the end of life of PHP 5.6 at the end of December. In order to be PCI compliant, you will need to be running PHP version 7.1 on your server by that date. For those of you on Pinnacle Cart version 3.8, Pinnacle Cart will be providing a patch later this year to address any compatibility issues. Unfortunately, if you are running Pinnacle Cart 3.7 your site was not designed for PHP 7 and will not work correctly. So what are your options?
- Do nothing. This is obviously not the best option as it will mean your site is no longer PCI Compliant, which can result in hefty monthly penalty fees from your credit card processor. Worse, if you are hacked, you will incur an even more hefty penalty and may lose your processor all together. I DO NOT recommend this approach.
- Upgrade to PHP 7 and hope for the best. Pinnacle Cart 3.7 and PHP 7 are not compatible, and Pinnacle Cart will not be releasing a patch for it. Trying to address all of the issues that arise will likely be more expensive than our recommended option which is…
- Upgrade to Pinnacle Cart 3.8. While this may not be something that you want to tackle, the time has come to address it. Shopping Cart software is not designed to last forever, and usually requires an upgrade and redesign every 3 or 4 years. Please see our Pinnacle Cart Upgrade page for more information. The price will vary and is site-specific, so please contact us for an exact quote on your site.
Automation with ShippingEasy/ShipStation/Webgility
I’m continually surprised at how many of our clients are still copying and pasting their orders into UPS/USPS/FedEx and manually uploading orders into QuickBooks. There is an easier way! Take a look at our Shipping and Order Automation in Pinnacle Cart page to see how to automate your order flow and save a ton on shipping to boot.
Making life easier for both you and your customers is always a high-priority, and we have built some new add-on modules that will help do exactly that.
- Auto-Ship – we’ve been working on this one for a while and it is now ready for prime-time. Based on Amazon’s ‘Subscribe and Save’ program, this allows a customer to select a product or products and have them automatically shipped every x number of weeks. You can select which products are eligible, what subscription periods are available, what kind of deal they can get (save % or get every x shipment free). The order is automatically created in your system and their stored credit card is automatically charged. Note that this requires Authorize.net CIM which allows secure credit card storage. The cost is $995 installed. Read more about it here.
- Amazon Pay – This one we’ve had available for a little while now, but we have heard about great success using it from our clients who installed it. Essentially it allows the customer to pay with saved payment methods from their Amazon account, saving a ton of time at checkout. The cost is $250 and you can read more about it here.
- Affirm – This payment method allows a customer to pay with an Affirm account. The cost is $250.
Still using that template from 2014? Definitely time for either a full redesign or a partial face-lift. Today’s sites are using a lot of full-width imagery, scrolling featured products, much larger product images and ‘lifestyle’ images (showing your product being used in a real-world way). Mobile-first, or sites designed specifically for mobile are becoming much more common, and overall most sites are employing a much cleaner, simpler, faster-loading experience for all of their customers. Older sites that use side-navigation and more cluttered layouts are quickly becoming more dated looking, which can erode trust and cause your customers to go elsewhere. We can help from everything from a complete responsive redesign, to adding a couple of new professionally designed slides for your home page. Speaking of faster loading…
Site Speed Improvement
How quickly your site loads is becoming a larger factor in Google’s algorithm, particularly when it comes to mobile. There are many techniques we can use to improve your site speed including compression, Asynchronously loading scripts, caching and delivering your images/css/js from a CDN. Try this – run your site through Google’s PageSpeed Insights. If you come up with a score that isn’t at least ‘Good’ for mobile and desktop, we can help! Our Speed Optimization service will get you into the green for only $250.
If you aren’t using Facebook as an advertising platform yet you are missing out on a HUGE opportunity. Take a look at our Facebook Advertising page for more information.
Amazon currently accounts for about 37% of all e-commerce sales, and that number is expect to grow to 50% in the next 3 years. Selling on Amazon has the potential to significantly boost your sales and exposure, but also comes with its fair share of headaches and downsides. Read more about it on our Selling on Amazon page.
What About SEO?
Yes, SEO is still a thing although it isn’t the end all/be all that it once was. Have a read through our Is SEO still worth it in 2018? article. If SEO is still a priority for your business, consider one of our SEO For E-Commerce services.
E-Commerce continues to evolve at a rapid pace, and if you aren’t keeping up you will quickly find yourself losing sales and eventually, out of business all together. Not sure what the future holds for your e-commerce site? Feel free to contact us and we can set up a complimentary call. I can review your business with you and offer some advice on where you should be focusing your efforts. Nothing is worse than spending all of your time and money on something that has no benefit to your bottom line.
Best of luck for a successful 2018!