In the world of e-commerce solutions, the most popular options for websites are Shopify and WordPress/WooCommerce. When deciding which platform to choose, most business owners ask which is better and why. While both have clear benefits and advantages that will be determined by a number of factors, one of the most influential is shipping.

How does WooCommerce compare with Shopify for shipping? In my experience, for smaller to medium-sized businesses, WooCommerce is the clear winner with shipping by cost. If your business is looking to keep your shipping budget low and not pay a premium for shipping software, WooCommerce is the best choice.

Larger businesses who are using Shopify Plus with a bigger budget for overhead may find Shopify has benefits that may offset the cost of shipping. But startups or smaller enterprises who want to get started with a minimal amount of overhead on their e-commerce platform may be shocked and dismayed by Shopify's costs for shipping applications.

The most important part of shipping when designing ease of checkout is what is called "calculated shipping." Calculated shipping is what happens when you put in your address and a website tells you the exact cost and estimated delivery time and allows you to choose from those options.

These costs are provided to the website directly via the providers API. Therefore, these rates are sent directly from USPS, UPS, or Fed Ex. It is common for shoppers to drop off after calculating shipping if they find the number offensive, miscalculated, or too high in comparison to their purchase. 

One of Amazon Prime's biggest draws is its free shipping program. However, this program is not even as honest as people may think, as the program has fees and monthly costs associated with it so your shipping is not actually free at all. However, Prime's Free Shipping has "primed" (pun intended) people to become very sensitive to shipping costs, so much so that they may leave your site and head straight to Amazon if your shipping seems worse than theirs or "random."

In order to install calculated shipping on a WooCommerce site, you can do a very professional installation for UNDER $200 for the website's lifetime. However, Shopify calculated shipping may cost upwards of $300 PER MONTH.

There are methods of working around Shopify's limitations, but they require the developer to make estimates of shipping costs -- the costs do not come from the shipping service's API -- and may cause serious problems if orders go over the estimations. In fact, with these estimates, businesses may LOSE money with faulty estimates.

Smaller to medium-sized businesses with less of a cushion who are looking for the LEAST amount of overhead are well-served by WooCommerce's shipping platform. 

Are you looking for an e-commerce website? Message us today!

Business owners are revamping their websites to add e-commerce platforms. Owners want their websites to be equipped with the latest functionality and integrate their storefronts into Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, E-Bay, and other sales channels. Business owners are requesting this functionality even if they do not sell physical goods. They are using Shopify to sell more than goods; they are selling tickets, rentals, digital downloads, and more.

E-commerce is growing on par with the blog in terms of website requirements. The blog was the must-have add on for all business websites in the past ten years for content marketing and news. Now, an e-commerce platform is also becoming a requirement, even for businesses who don't sell physical items.

The e-commerce market is outpacing expectations and expected to double by 2021. Businesses are watching how social media is fueling online buying patterns and are reengineering their websites for e-commerce.

As Shopify reports:

It might start on a Pinterest feed, or when someone sees their friend’s jacket. It might end after a search at the store, or at a buy button through Facebook. Most people (86%) shop around on at least two touchpoints (i.e., channels). The good news is shoppers that do this tend to spend more. Javelin Strategy predicts that mobile commerce, accounting for $161 billion at the end of 2016, is set to jump to $319 billion by 2020.

Businesses with e-commerce shops staged on older platforms are seeking advice on how to upgrade to newer formats such as Shopify. Businesses who have never had an e-commerce platform are looking to add one. Perhaps surprising to some, businesses are asking for an e-commerce platform to be available to turn on in the future with a switch; they want their platforms to be equipped for e-commerce from the start.

Why would a business want an e-commerce platform if they don't sell physical items? According to Shopify, businesses can sell all sorts of non-physical items on their e-commerce shops. These items include:

Read more about how to sell non-physical items on Shopify.

If you're looking for a new or updated website, e-commerce functionality is a must-have, even if you are not currently selling anything online.  Set yourself up for future success by building a website with an e-commerce platform that can be turned on with the flick of a switch.

If you're an expert in your field, you may want to one day offer digital downloads such as books or courses through your site. Whether you sell physical items or not, you can benefit from building an e-commerce website.


Now’s the Time to Launch Your Ecommerce Website

On average, millennials now make 54% of purchases online.


According to a Statista report, ecommerce is expected to hit $4.5 trillion in sales by 2021. Driven largely by an increasing reliance on smartphones and other devices, ecommerce is more than thriving; its rise is forcing the closure of brick and mortar businesses.

Customers are growing more and more comfortable with online engagement. Simultaneously, they are finding it convenient to find products that appeal to their niche interests online. Once engaged, these customers enroll in loyalty or subscription programs to reap their discounts and rewards. They are then motivated and triggered by timely social media prompts that keep customers consistently engaged while producing trackable and actionable data.

Ecommerce competition is now at the starting gates, with rivals jockeying to position themselves for the anticipated huge ecommerce boom. It’s not too late to saddle up; in fact, now’s the time to start positioning your business.


While Amazon garners most of the media attention, small mom and pop ecommerce businesses have been quietly and stealthily cornering markets and hardening their valuations—some into the millions of dollars.

A quick glance at sites like the Shopify Exchange ( or Flippa ( might shock the entrepreneur who has been distracted by other attention-grabbing business trends (Bitcoin anyone?). On the Shopify Exchange, for example, ecommerce site are selling for close to 1 million dollars. And this valuation is based on pure, hard, incontrovertible data produced by Shopify itself—for a site that was only launched 2 years previously.

How did this happen? There are hundreds of ecommerce websites like this, and yes the data is stunning. How did this happen seemingly overnight while everyone was focused on Amazon?


The answer is that these sites are not mutually exclusive. These sites are feeding Amazon and other sites with goods. Shopify (now the leading online ecommerce platform) greases the way for anyone to post onto sites like Amazon, EBay, Google, and Facebook. It’s a one-click installation process. These sites are not always competing with Amazon; often these smaller sites are competing with each other on Amazon.

A budding ecommerce entrepreneur should check the existing market on Amazon for their products. They will learn not only the major retailers selling these products, but also the smaller mom and pop businesses that are shipping these items from their stores.

However, Amazon and the other major online retailers are not the sole bread and butter of the ecommerce market. Large numbers of Americans are distrustful of mega conglomerates and, therefore, more ready and willing to shop with businesses that appear more personable. This is a result of the niche trend in online retail.

“You’ve heard it before — your small business’s indie cred has market cache. It makes you personable, unique and accessible. It makes you desirable. And I’m here to tell you that you can have all of that plus a speedy and accurate delivery system, just like the big guys. Indie cred with two-day delivery — the David that slays Goliath.” Jake Rheude, Entrepreneur


Ecommerce sites are being developed and tailored for specific audiences, and retailers are targeting these audiences on social media based on their data. And while social media users may find targeted advertising from larger retail conglomerates like Wal-Mart as creepy or “Big Brother,” they often welcome targeted ads from smaller niche sites as if they were a fan-base, and not just a data point.

Facebook houses data on billions of users, and advertisers can drill down very specifically to these users’ data points including:

Advertisers can also market based on similar pages liked. For example, advertisers can choose to display an online ad for their lingerie item if you like Victoria’s Secret via Facebook advertising. Successful ecommerce sites are targeting niche audiences, and if you have expertise in a particular area, now is a good time to begin breaking ground in this market on an ecommerce site.


“Thought leadership,” a driving label on sites like LinkedIn, is a newer phenomenon whereby experts in particular fields share their knowledge via blogging, posting, YouTube videos, public speaking, and other online efforts. While their work appears almost impartial and journalistic in its nature, it is often a calculated positioning within social media. It is an unavoidable fact that even “unbiased” publishers these days take into account an individual’s social media follower network; with larger networks eliciting greater rewards.

Ecommerce is not much different. While ecommerce business leaders often choose to remain anonymous, an in-depth awareness of a particular niche combined with a disarming social media presence are the cornerstones of a successful online shop. If you have knowledge of a product or field, and if you think you can build a social media following within that niche with a combination of video and article posts, you are well on your way to a successful ecommerce website.

Take the case study Jake Rheude writes about the company Buffalo Jackson in Entrepreneur magazine:

Here’s a story: A few weeks ago I ordered a shirt from one of my favorite clothing outlets, a boutique men’s apparel company called Buffalo Jackson out of rural North Carolina. Now, Buffalo Jackson does a lot of things right. Its clothing is rugged and good-looking, rough-and-tumble chic. They have a mission statement that reads like a novel, about how the owner, who was raised a “southern gentleman” became disillusioned by men’s fashion and decided to create apparel that he’d be proud to wear; about how he marketed the company by word of mouth because he didn’t have money for anything more than that. He ends with a call-to-action that invites you to be a part of the Buffalo Jackson family — this, he writes, is “our story of how we began. We sure would love to have you part of it.” Buffalo Jackson has indie cred to spare. And it’s appealing.

Buffalo Jackson is thought-leader meets ecommerce. An attractive origin story combined with industry know-how and savvy social media strategies has given this mens’ clothing online a firm footing in the competitive online mens’ clothing marketplace.

Do you have a similar story and expertise in a particular industry? We can offer you the social media and web design expertise to build your ecommerce platform.


Cote Media can develop an ecommerce website for your business. Contact us today.


Instagram is revolutionizing advertising. Perhaps never before have corporations been able to advertise so stealthily or been able to appear more neighborly. While some are comparing this to the old allegory of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, most followers are eagerly engaging with their favorite brands online.

Rather than seeing it as threatening (the infiltration of brands into our lives on Instagram) evidence points to the fact that followers have thoroughly welcomed this transition. For example, 70% of the most used hashtags are branded. This indicates that brands are driving conversation on Instagram. Users must not find this problematic, since Instagram was also recently deemed the “most-loved” brand in the world. (See our recent blog post.)

What makes this advertising so different and disarming is that microinfluencers are driving a large part of the messaging. See your friend with 5000 or so followers who just mentioned a brand? She might be part of a microinfluencer program, and you don’t even know it.


It’s the trust factor. Microinfluencers often work in niche marketing and are experts in their particular field. If they are endorsing a product or service in that field, we are more likely to trust their recommendations.

According to Forbes:

“Specifically, MediaHub reported that influencers with 1,000 fans drove 85 percent higher engagement ‘lift’ than those with 100,000 followers. These campaigns realized 10 times more efficiency than those using influencers with big followings, which made them more cost effective, the firm said. New York Times-owned social media influencer marketing firm HelloSociety, meanwhile, found that accounts with 30,000 or fewer followers are better for marketers, according to Adweek. Micro-influencers, often considered to be trusted sources, generate a 60 percent higher engagement rate than a typical HelloSociety campaign and are 6.7 times more cost-effective than big-time influencers, according to the report.” (via Forbes)

Microinfluencers are changing the trajectory of traditional advertising campaigns, and some advertisers are diverting ad spend away from Google or Facebook ads to microinfluencer agencies.


Microinfluencers are not huge celebrities. In fact, anyone can be a microinfluencer on social media if you have a certain amount of followers. Forbes describes microinfluencers:

“Unlike celebrities with hundreds of thousands or millions of social media followers, micro-influencers may have anywhere from 1,000 to 50,000, possibly more. While the exact numerical definition varies among experts, statistics suggest smaller niche players may wield more influence when it comes to effective social media marketing.”

Surpisingly, according to Forbes, influencers with followers in the 1000 range drive more engagement than influencers in the 100,000 range. They are also more cost-effective.

How much do microinfluencers cost and how much are advertisers using their budget on influencers? In one example, Forbes describes, “Quotes for well-known influencers reached thousands of dollars, compared with a few hundred for micro-influencers, according to Popilskis, who said the business dedicated 75 percent of its marketing budget to micro-influencers and 25 percent to pay-per-click ads through Google, Bing and Facebook.”


It’s probably best to work with your social media marketing agency before hiring a microinfluencer. But to get a better idea of the agencies out there, check out this list of the top microinfluencer websites.

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, here are the top 14 online influencer agencies where your brand can recruit paid influencers:

  1. Upfluence
  2. NeoReach
  3. AspireIQ(formerly Revfluence)
  4. Hypr
  5. Julius
  6. Open Influence
  7. Dovetale
  8. Scrunch
  9. Takumi
  10. Tapinfluence
  11. Onalytica
  12. Hypetap
  13. Famebit
  14. Tribe


Let’s design a campaign for your organization with social media influencers. Call or message us today to get started.


With Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) approaching, now is the perfect time to start a conversation about marketing and sales automation. Why? While BFCM shows no signs of declining in popularity (last year’s Cyber Monday broke records and was the largest shopping day in U.S. history), the controversy over mixing Thanksgiving with consumerism persists. New and innovative marketing automations allow businesses who are still on the fence about BFCM to participate without forgoing traditional holiday celebrations. If you’re not on the fence and ready to go all out this year for BFCM, automation will be pivotal for running the most optimal advertising campaign.

Traditionally, Americans anticipate the weekend as a chance to unwind and give thanks for our good fortunes, enjoy “turkey-tired” naps, play tag football, reunite with family, and taste seasonal dishes. Over the years, holiday sales have encroached more and more into our celebrations, now with some of our relatives disappearing Thanksgiving night itself to race out for “crazy” discounts on flat screen TV’s. While sales are growing and breaking records, BFCM is controversial and an important indicator of future business trends.

Cyber Monday has also infiltrated our holiday time with the “Monday” sales actually taking place the entire weekend: Thursday through Monday. As CNBC describes: 

“Companies including Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl’s and Best Buy are pushing offers online earlier and for a longer duration of time, yet analysts say Amazon will capture up to 50 percent of total e-commerce holiday sales.”

Currently, Thanksgiving weekend is now transforming into a weekend of sales and shopping, and not everyone is happy about it. According to

“The broader argument that some Millennials have made against Black Friday is that it promotes consumerism, rather than qualities that really matter in life: Love, empathy, spirituality and compassion. (Keep in mind, this is a generation that values hugs in the workplace.) “Black Friday is an abomination made even more disgusting by taking place immediately after giving thanks!” wrote one Twitter user on Saturday. “It’s an Americanism we don’t need,” said another.

However, the protest seems to direct most of its anger at shopping sprees at physical stores and designates Cyber Monday as a safer alternative. If you don’t want to miss out on BFCM sales, but also feel conflicted about the sales trend, business automation is probably the answer for you. Automation can drive your business online over the weekend appealing to those who prefer to stay home and shop online or on their smartphones. 

Inc describes the advantages of Cyber Monday when approaching the controversy: 

“On the other hand, super-connected Millennials tend to be more accepting of Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving where e-commerce retailers offer special deals and traditionally expect to see massive sales. This year, Cyber Monday spending will eclipse $6 billion, a 17 percent increase from 2016, according to Adobe Systems estimates. Of those who are willing to participate in the discounts offered on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the majority of Millennials (71 percent) say that Cyber Monday is better, according to The Tylt research.”

Marketing and advertising automation appeals to even those protesting the holiday sales crush. For businesses on the fence about BFCM advertising, marketing automation makes sense; it’s a valuable method that allows businesses to profit without compromising their position on the holiday.

For many businesses, sitting out BFCM is risky and almost impossible, no matter what their attitude is about the holiday. Advancements in online marketing have made it simpler than ever to automate your business efforts days or even weeks in advance of the holiday. Relax all weekend knowing that your business can be earning profits without you lifting a finger. Does this sound impossible or even too good to be true? It’s not. Business automation is real and now.

Your entire business can be automated nowadays, and you don’t need to just use these advancements over Thanksgiving. You can automate your business year-round for more free-time and less stress. What are some ways you can automate your online business for stress-free BFCM and year-round business?

Schedule a meeting with Cote Media today! After learning your goals, we will provide you with a comprehensive strategy for automating your business.

When you start an advertising campaign for your business or organization, you want it to function with the greatest efficiency and precision. Otherwise, you are just wasting money. Precise advertising has never been easier with Facebook’s business platform and Pixel. These techniques allow you to create specific custom audiences for your advertising campaigns and target these audiences (and their lookalikes) with the right message at the right time.

Custom audiences are the foundation of precise Facebook advertising campaigns. These audiences are created using a number of factors. Pixel-driven campaigns are primarily developed using event tracking. When the pixel code is entered onto your website’s header, it functions on every page, tracking data and events. However, you must specify the events which you want the Pixel to take note of for your campaigns.

There are three types of events that can be tracked using the pixel:

Standard events include the following actions:

Custom events are events that you can create and specify. For example, if you want to track every time a customer views a particular collection of products for more than one minute, Facebook allows you to do so. With custom events, you can specify a wide variety of events that allow you to better target an audience on Facebook with a particular message.

Custom conversions are particular conversion events that you can also specify for creating audiences. For example, you might create a specific thank you page for certain product purchases. Then you can create an audience of whoever has viewed that page.

The advantage of creating these custom audiences is twofold. You can advertise to these existing customers AND you can create lookalike audiences on Facebook to advertise to customers who are likely to have the same buyer behavior.

If you are advertising on Facebook, your website must have the Pixel installed to develop these custom audiences. Otherwise, you are likely wasting money on your advertising campaigns.

Not sure if you are using the pixel properly on your site or if your custom audiences are engineered correctly for precise advertising? Contact Cote Media today. No one has more experience than us with social media advertising.