• Spring 2019 E-Commerce News

The snow is beginning to melt up here in New Hampshire, and there is a lot going on in the world of e-commerce.

Required Pinnacle Cart Update for PCI Compliance

December 31 was an important date, as it marked the end of life for PHP 5.6.  As of Jan 1, all e-commerce sites are required to run PHP 7 on their server in order to be PCI Compliant.   If you accept credit cards on your site you MUST be PCI Compliant.

The problem?  Only Pinnacle Cart 3.8.7 R3 will run on PHP 7.  That means that you have no choice but to upgrade as soon as possible.

View all of the details over here.

Hacked Email Scam Warning

Many of you may have received an email from an unscrupulous individual that claims to have hacked your email account.  They typically claim that they have hacked your computer as well and have private data that they will share with everyone unless you send them a bunch of Bitcoin.  The emails look like they came from your own account, which makes them even creepier.

While they may sound scary and look fairly legitimate, the chances that they actually hacked your email account and your computer are slim.  What they are doing is using a database of hacked account info that they likely purchased on the dark web.  When a major company like Target or Newegg is hacked, that data goes up for sale, and hackers use it to try to extort people just like this.

The passwords they have are likely old ones, but if they are not, be sure to change all of your account passwords (Social media, banking, email, etc).  If you are hosted with us, drop me a line and we can change your email passwords for you.

Recommended Security Measures

Speaking of security, here are a few recommendations to help keep your accounts safe.

  1. Use a hardware key
    I have been using a YubiKey for a while now, and it works flawlessly.  Essentially it prevents anyone who doesn’t have the physical key from logging into your Facebook, Amazon, Google, LastPass, etc.  Something like this is extremely important if you use a password vault like LastPass.  If a hacker gets in there, all of your accounts will be compromised.
  2. IP-Restrict your Pinnacle Cart admin area
    Pinnacle Cart allows you to restrict access to your admin area.  What that means is that if someone tries to log in to your admin area without being on the list, they don’t get in.  This can be a headache if you don’t have a dedicated IP address, or if you access the site remotely a lot, but when you are in the office try and keep it enabled.
  3. Secure your ports
    One of the easiest ways for a hacker to get into your system is via an open SSH or FTP port, or getting into your database via PHPMyAdmin.  Your host should have all of these locked down so that only your IP address is allowed in.  If you are hosted with us you don’t have to worry!
  4. Keep your antivirus software up to date
    I can’t tell you how many malicious files and web sites Norton has blocked for me over the years.  Just last week I received an email from a client that looked legitimate until I opened the file and Norton immediately blocked a malicious script from executing.  Turns out the client’s email was compromised, and the virus was sent to thousands of their contacts.  One virus or keylogger installed on your computer can destroy your life!  It is well worth the $50/year.

Internet Sales Tax

Yes, this is still a mess, and the government still has no idea what they are doing (surprise, surprise).  Even though nothing is set in stone, more and more states are bringing an ‘economic nexus’ online, and some are getting very aggressive about collecting tax.  If you haven’t already done so, read through our Internet Sales Tax post, as you may very well need to start collecting sales tax in multiple states.

Google Releases Broad Core Update

On March 12th Google released their first major algorithm update in a while, and actually confirmed this one for a change.  It is still too early to tell exactly what this update entails, but if you are seeing changes in your search traffic, this is likely why.  We’ll post an update as soon as we have some more concrete data on what it involves.

Google Mobile UX Playbook

Google recently released a 100 page playbook with a broad range of recommendations for e-commerce sites, particularly when it comes to mobile.  Some of the highlights include:

  • Add a clear value proposition at the top of the page
  • Search clearly visible at the top
  • No slideshows or rotating banners.  Banner fatigue causes people to simply ignore these now
  • Show your top categories on the home page
  • No full-page pop-ups
  • All contact info at the bottom of the page
  • Hide all navigation and distractions at checkout.  Amazon does this very well – when someone is on the checkout page, they are ready to buy so you don’t want to give them an easy way to abandon the sale.
  • Auto-complete and suggest on search with spelling correction
  • Filtering on category pages with large numbers of products
  • Add to cart and pricing above the fold on the product detail page

We’d be happy to do a site review for you and implement the changes they suggest.  We can also set up A/B testing to make sure the changes are positive before implementing them.  Contact us to set something up.

Google Search Console E-mails

You may have received an email recently from Google telling you there are issues with your site.  Many of these relate to changes in the schema markup data and mobile usability.  If Google is telling you something isn’t right, it definitely pays to listen to them!

Let us know if you would like help fixing any of the problems they are reporting.

New Pinnacle Cart Toys

We’ve been busy over the last few months with new functionality and apps.  Here are a few you may want for your site:

  1. Affirm – $350
    This is a service that lets people finance their purchase through Affirm.  Clients who have implemented this have noticed a nice bump in conversion rates, an a larger average order value for those purchases.  More details at affirm.com
  2. SlickNav Mobile Navigation Menu – $250
    Let’s face it, the default Pinnacle Cart mobile menu isn’t all that great.  With over 50% of web traffic coming from mobile devices, you really need to make the experience a good one.  More details at slicknav.io
  3. Home Page Blog Feed With Images – $300
    Keeping your home page fresh and engaging is important, and automating that task is even better!  This will feed your latest 3 or 4 blog posts on your Pinnacle Cart home page, along with a featured image and text blurb.

New Service – E-Commerce Management

After many years of requests from clients, we are now offering an e-commerce management service.  Basically we’ll help you deal with all of those tasks you absolutely hate about running an e-commerce business.  Product entry, writing META descriptions and titles, checking for broken links, product image editing and uploading, banner creation  – you name it!  More details over here.

Questions?  Comments?  Problems?  Feel free to contact us!