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21 Free Web Design Tools from Summer 2020

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Free resources from the design community can add value to an ecommerce site. Here is a list of new web tools and design elements from summer 2020. There are designer and developer apps, coding resources, color tools, fonts, and more. All of these tools are free, though some also offer premium versions.

Free Design Tools

Editor X is a web creation platform for designers and agencies. Build data-driven sites and complex web applications. Create and launch unlimited projects for free. Upgrade to add a custom domain, enable online payments, and more. Editor X is part of Wix.

Editor X

Editor X

Isoflow is a tool for creating isometric diagrams for presentations, documentation, and illustrations. Simply move an icon, and its connectors and labels will follow.

Lemon.io matches your startup with a vetted, freelance developer. Find a developer or chief technology offer for your project or business. Use assisted matching with a no-risk replacement guarantee. Pay no fees other than the developer’s hourly rate.

Papercups is an open-source live-chat web app written in Elixir with an optional hosted version at App.papercups.io.

Papercups

Papercups

RevKit is a user-interface design kit for Sketch, Figma, and Adobe XD. It includes ready-to-use components, symbols, icons, and styles for quick iterations.

NSFW Filter is a browser extension to detect and filter not-safe-for-work images.

Formbutton lets you create a simple button on your site that pops up a contact form. Customize almost every aspect of Formbutton, including text, fonts, icons, colors, submit behavior, data, and error handling.

Formbutton

Formbutton

Webdesign Toolbox, a curated collection of tools and resources for designers and coders, features approximately 1,000 resources in 78 different categories.

Linear is a collaborative management tool to streamline software projects, sprints, tasks, and bug tracking. Manage your team’s progress, workload, and velocity.

VoiceText is an extension for Slack to send searchable voice messages with text transcriptions to any Slack channel or direct message.

SpreadSimple uses the data in a Google spreadsheet to create modern websites with customizable features. Use Google Sheets to manage your inventory, prices, and orders. Get features such as filtering, search, sorting, lead collection via forms, search engine optimization, and more.

SpreadSimple

SpreadSimple

Basicons is a curated collection of basic, customizable icons for product design and development. Basicons is updated and refined weekly.

Device Shots generates device mockups that include screenshot images. Choose between different device categories or select a social platform. Customize the canvas background color. Then download the generated mockup as a high-resolution PNG image.

Hosting Checker Tool lets you identify the host any website. Enter the URL or domain name, and get the results on the host’s, name, IP address, data center location, and contact details.

Free Faces is a curated collection of free fonts. Browse by styles: sans, serif, cursive, slab, monospace, and display. The site is from Simon Foster, the digital lead at Hamilton-Brown, a design agency.

Free Faces

Free Faces

Free Fonts

Fattern, a hybrid of “fat” and “pattern,” is a fun and colorful font that’s built for display.

Fattern

Fattern

SK Fencer is a spacey, angular monospace font — reminiscent of a 60s design.

SK Fencer

SK Fencer

Skra is a bold and chunky hand-lettered font to communicate a message in an eye-catching manner.

Skra

Skra

Solis Occasum is a slender and sophisticated handwritten font for branding, headers, and quotes.

Solis Occasum

Solis Occasum

Hangry Hand is a thick, handwritten font with characters that appear animated.

Hangry Hand

Hangry Hand

Pulchella is a lush, floral sans serif font for logos and branding.

Pulchella

Pulchella

Source: https://www.practicalecommerce.com/21-free-web-design-tools-from-summer-2020

AR/VR

How Augmented Reality is changing Retail

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Mirko Ferrari

1. How to use subtle AR filters to survive your Zoom meetings?

2. The First No-Headset Virtual Monitor

3. Augmented reality (AR) is the future of Restaurant Menu?

4. Creating remote MR productions

Source: https://arvrjourney.com/how-augmented-reality-is-changing-retail-267a893ff691?source=rss—-d01820283d6d—4

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Ecommerce

TikTok’s Chinese rival Kuaishou becomes a popular online bazaar

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In China, short video apps aren’t just for mindless time killing. These services are becoming online bazaars where users can examine products, see how they are grown and made, and ask sellers questions during live sessions.

Kuaishou, the main rival of TikTok’s Chinese version (Douyin), announced that it accumulated 500 million e-commerce orders in August, a strong sign for the app’s monetization effort — and probably a conducive condition for its upcoming public listing.

On the heels of the announcement, Reuters reported that Kuaishou, a Tencent-backed company behind TikTok clone Zynn, is looking to raise up to $5 billion from an initial public offering in Hong Kong as early as January. The company declined to comment, but a source with knowledge of the matter confirmed the details with TechCrunch.

There are intricacies in the claim of “500 million orders.” It doesn’t exclude canceled orders or refunds, and Kuaishou won’t reveal what its actual sales were. The company also said the number made it China’s fourth-largest e-commerce player following Alibaba, JD.com and Pinduoduo.

It’s hard to verify the claim as there are no comparable figures from these firms during the period, but let’s work with what’s available. Pinduoduo previously said it logged over 7 billion orders in the first six months of 2019. That means it averaged 1.16 billion orders per month, more than doubling Kuaishou’s volume.

Kuaishou’s figure, however, does indicate that many users have bought or at least considered buying through its video platform.

The app, known for its celebration of vernacular and even mundane user content, boasts 300 million daily active users at the latest, which suggests on average its users made at least one order during the month. Many of the products sold were produce grown by its large base of rural users. The app gained ground in small towns and far-flung regions early on exactly because its content algorithms didn’t intend to favor the “glamorous”.

Over time, it gathered pace among Chinese urbanites who found themselves enjoying others’ candid filming of country life and happily ordering their farm products. The focus on bringing rural produce to urban areas also squares nicely with China’s push to invigorate its rural economy, and it’s not rare to see Kuaishou using terms like “poverty-alleviation” in its social media campaign.

Douyin, which leans towards polished videos from “influencers”, also enables its content creators to monetize — through both sharing ad revenue and hawking products. With a DAU twice as big as Kuaishou’s at 600 million, the app vows to bring 80 billion yuan ($11.8 billion) of income to creators in the coming year, the chief executive of ByteDance China, Kelly Zhang, said recently at Douyin’s creator conference.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/09/17/tiktoks-chinese-rival-kuaishou-becomes-a-popular-online-bazaar/

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Ecommerce

After 20 years of ecommerce, change is the only certainty

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Platforms such as Ebay, Amazon, and Etsy have steadily grew in popularity. This screenshot of Amazon's home page is from August 1999. The site sold mostly books then. Source: Wayback Machine.

Platforms such as Ebay, Amazon, and Etsy have steadily grown in popularity. This screenshot of Amazon’s home page is from August 1999. The site sold mostly books then. Source: Wayback Machine.

Designing, building, and launching a website is just the beginning of an ecommerce business. Attracting and converting visitors is the next, all-important step. A website alone does not guarantee anything.

This is where marketing comes in. Consumers need to find your site and, once there, have a reason to buy from you. Traffic from search engines — via organic listings and ads — can help with the former. Other marketing tools include email and ads on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and many other websites.

But the most critical factor in long-term success is the ability to change and adapt. Plan for change from the start. Don’t build an ecommerce site that is difficult (expensive) to alter or redo. It limits your potential.

The Basics

At the basic level, a site needs fresh content — product descriptions, photos, videos, prices — to help visitors make an initial purchase decision and return for more. For some markets, this is easy. Take shaving. Consumers will always need razors. But even razors have innovations and new ideas, such as three blades or five blades or auto-restocks via subscriptions.

Most products have new or upgraded releases and alternative uses. If your site is quick to receive these updates, compose compelling descriptions of why they are better or different or exciting. You have then given shoppers reasons to keep coming back. Some sites do this with blog posts and news articles.

In my business of selling science fiction memorabilia, an individual staff member knew all about new products and could write clever and funny descriptions about them. This made my site stand out and gain more customers. It helps if your ecommerce site can integrate with a publishing platform such as WordPress. (Or perhaps WordPress is also your ecommerce platform via a plugin, such as WooCommerce.)

Evolution

Over time the accepted look and feel of ecommerce sites evolve. What was once a good-looking site can become dated and stale. Visitors need to feel confident that you are a reliable business — their money is safe, and you will deliver what you say. New customers tend to evaluate a site based on its appearance. It’s difficult, however, for an insider to look at a site with fresh eyes, as new a visitor would see it. But it’s essential.

Perhaps your site requires a new template. Maybe the menu structure or navigation needs a revamp. You may need to move to a new platform to keep the site looking modern. These changes are relatively straightforward if you have planned, ensured that the content is portable, and maintained control.

What was once a good looking site can become dated and stale.

Strategic

When I launched in 2000, most online transactions were done from individual websites. All I had to do was make sure that mine was better than my competitors and appeared higher on the search results. In time, however, third-party platforms such as Ebay, Amazon, and Etsy began to dominate.

Thus the final type of change is strategic. Decide whether to list your products on these platforms. The decision is not easy. Do you list all of your products on those channels or just the bestsellers or clearance items? Do you set the same prices across channels or make the items on your own site cheaper? Can you vary prices in this manner without violating the third-party platform’s rules? In the E.U., for example, it is illegal for Amazon to forbid sellers from setting lower prices elsewhere.

Further, listing on third-party platforms creates competition for your own site. But can you afford not to use these platforms?

Consider the risks, too, such as being at the whim of the platform. Initially, Amazon was a small percentage of my sales, but it grew to exceed 75 percent. Staying on Amazon’s good side became vital — even to the point of putting Amazon’s shoppers ahead of those from my own site.

Inevitable Change

The point is that change is inevitable. Any company that does not evolve will surely die. Remember that the purpose of your business is to earn profits. Your website is a tool to make money. Change it or, indeed, move away from it as needed.

Source: https://www.practicalecommerce.com/after-20-years-of-ecommerce-change-is-the-only-certainty

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