Apps: expand your ePages shop with useful functions

by Kristof Maletzke, 07.06.15



Small add-on applications known as “apps” make it easy to incorporate videos, maps and Facebook buttons into your ePages shop.  

Please note that some of the functions described here are not included in every shop package. Please contact your provider for more information.

Thanks to the apps for your ePages shop, adding extra functions becomes a straightforward process. You can use them to include YouTube videos, add Facebook “Share” buttons, or show the location of your bricks-and-mortar shop on a map. And because of the large variety of apps available, you’re sure to find the right solution for almost any requirement.

Available apps in the administration area of your shop

Available apps in the administration area of your shop

How do the apps work?

It’s worth mentioning first that the ePages apps are not small-scale software programs like the apps you find on your smartphone or tablet. Instead, they consist of additional functions that you can include in your online shop. Another point to note is that while the page elements in your shop are visible on every sub-page, the apps are present only on specific pages.

You can include them by selecting the relevant page in the administration area under Content / Categories >> Content preview, moving the cursor in the preview window to the required place, and then clicking on the App button. Next you can select an app and specify all the settings associated with it.

What apps are available?

Video – Youtube & Co

Embedding a YouTube video is easy

Embedding a YouTube video is easy

Videos are a good way of giving your customers a feel for your products and company. With the help of the Video app it takes just a few clicks to include videos from portals like YouTube or Vimeo. You simply need to enter the URL for a clip and specify how large the video screen should appear on the page.

If you’re still unsure of how you might use videos, here are a few ideas to start you off:

  • Display your products: it’s often helpful to show your products not just as images but also by making short videos about them. In this way you can show them from all sides or for example, include a clip of the products in use.
  • Explain how your products work: with videos you can supply your customers with important information on how the products are used. If, say, you’re selling wall brackets for TV sets, you could give users installation tips in the form of a video.
  • Showcase your company and your team: you’re no doubt proud of your shop and of what you and your team have achieved. So why not give your customers a glimpse behind the scenes and show them the human side of your business?
  • Demonstrate how your products are made: if you manufacture the products that you sell yourself, it could be interesting for viewers to see a video of the manufacturing process.
  • Answer your customers’ questions: as well as having a page on which you answer your customers’ “Frequently Asked Questions” in writing, you can also reply to some of their queries personally within a video. By doing this you can position yourself as an expert in your field.

Content Slider

The content slider on the start page of a shop

The content slider on the start page of a shop

The content slider represents an appealing way of displaying images on your website – especially very large ones. The slider works like a “stage” on which several pictures are shown in rotation. Each image can also include a link that takes your customers to another sub-page within your shop. The home page, in particular, is a good place to show off your best offers and most popular products in this way.

A range of effects and settings are available to personalise the content slider:

  • Shadow effects
  • Transition effects
  • Display arrows, with which the user can switch between images
  • Frame colour
  • Options as to whether the images change automatically or only when the user wants them to
  • Select the interval that the images change

You can find more information on the content slider in our tutorial video on the topic.

Facebook

You can allow your visitors to “like” your page by adding a Facebook button to it.

If you’re a Facebook user yourself, why not include a Facebook Box? This will show your Facebook profile photo and your most recent postings on your website. In this way you can provide your customers with fresh information without having to make any changes to the site yourself. You can also win new customers through clicks from your Facebook page.

Twitter

The Twitter app for your ePages shop offers you two different options: you can include either a “share” or a “follow” button. The “share” button allows visitors to quickly share specific pages with other Twitter users – in a similar way to the “like” button on Facebook.

If, on the other hand, you have your own Twitter account, then the “follow” button is useful. By clicking on it a customer can instantly start following your updates on Twitter.

Google+

Even if Google+ isn’t as popular with the online community as Facebook and Twitter, it’s still worth including a Google+ button on your site. This also works in a similar way to the Facebook “Like” button.

Map

The Map app allows you to display an address of your choice on a map. All you need to do is enter the address and the size of map you prefer. You’ll be given the option to choose between different map providers such as Google Maps or Bing, which each offer differing designs and functions. Meaning, you can easily find a map that best fits your requirements.

If you also have a physical retail outlet you should consider showing its location with a map of this type to make it as easy as possible for potential shoppers to find it.

Translation

Machine translations of the type offered by Google or Microsoft are getting better and better. The Translation app allows you to exploit the technology involved directly within your own website. As a result, the pages you select will include a selection option from which users can choose their preferred language. All of the text on the page will then be translated for them by either Google or Microsoft. It’s important to remember that text within images will not necessarily be translated. Also, the quality of the translations provided may be variable. As a rule, translations to or from English tend to be good, while more exotic language combinations (from Portuguese to Swedish, for instance) may well leave something to be desired. If you are specifically selling your products to other countries we’d recommend instead that you use the services of a professional translator. However, if you fancy giving users who speak another language a first glimpse of your shop, then the Translation app can be a very good option.

RSS feed

The RSS feed app allows you to incorporate news or other content from external websites within your shop. Either the text or simply the headlines will then be shown there together with images if required. Then, when visitors click on a headline, they’ll be taken to the external website.

Most of the major sites provide an RSS feed option, which you can use as the source for the content. In this way you can offer your visitors a constant stream of new information and can benefit from continuously updated content from other providers.

If, for instance, you run a fan shop for a football club then you can simply include the RSS feed from the club website. Or let’s say you’re a retailer of organic produce, you can incorporate the RSS feed from a blog devoted to the topic of sustainable food and drink.

If you have your own blog – irrespective of whether you publish it with the aid of your shop’s blog functionality or use third-party software such as WordPress or BlogSpot – this will also have an RSS feed. Using the app you can then present your own blog postings in a similar way within your online shop.

Don’t forget to make sure, though, that there are no potential problems associated with the inclusion of external RSS feeds. Particularly where you’re including external images, complications can arise if you don’t have the required rights to use the pictures concerned. And even with text-based content, there’s some controversy about the extent to which you can include text from other websites. In general the inclusion of headlines (excluding any pictures and text excerpts from the external websites) is unlikely to cause any problems. The liability, though, remains with you.

Social Bookmarks

Social bookmarking services such as Digg or Delicious provide an easy way for users to save their favourite websites and discover new sites of interest. The Social Bookmarks app will help those of your customers who use this kind of service to save your web pages more easily.

Please note however, that social bookmarking sites have become much less popular over the last few years. Many site operators are therefore deliberately choosing not to include social bookmarking links on their websites any more.

About the author


is Communications Manager at ePages.

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