A Go Live Checklist for New Magento 2 Websites

A Go Live Checklist for New Magento 2 Websites

Magento 2 Go Live Checklsit

Magento 2 go live checklist: What you need to know.

Launching your new website is an exciting event. Not planning ahead, though, can make a launch terrifying and frantic; nobody wants that! Every new Magento site launch, migration or upgrade is different, and each project can have its own set of requirements. Over the years, we’ve developed a number of standard practices to make sure the launch of a new Magento site is predictable, successful and drama free.

Your Magento 2 go live checklist may differ, but this should be a good starting point.

1-2 Weeks Prior

  • Stage the site on production server.
    • Test the site using the production URL via localhost.
    • Setup and test SSL.
    • Set up payment gateway and place test orders using real credit cards.
    • Setup and test transactional email from new site/server.
  • Create and test 301 redirects
    • Redirects are one of the most important pieces to a site migration puzzle, and are often rushed or overlooked. After building 301’s, we always test them to ensure our new target URLs are going to functional pages, and fix any broken redirects or redirect chains before go-live.
  • SEO Audit/Review
    • Run a site audit and ensure site infrastructure is setup properly, such as meta tags, alt tags and schema markup.
    • Create a SEO action plan for post go-live, based on any findings during the preliminary audit.
  • Technical Performance Audit/Review on Production environment
    • Have a developer perform an overall site analysis to find any module conflicts, slow queries or anything that could hinder site performance. You always want to do this a couple of weeks before go-live to prevent any urgent last minute tasks.
  • Security
    • Audit server settings, make sure patches and updates are in place and check for exposed directories.
  • Change DNS TTL to lowest available setting so the DNS change processes as quickly as possible.
  • Setup Store Email Addresses under Stores > Configuration > General.
  • Ensure CAPTCHA is working on all forms.
  • Setup CDN subdomain (ie. cdn.domain.com) and test.
  • Setup .htaccess rule for canonical domain (www vs. non-www) and site-wide https:// if applicable.
    • Test URL rewrite on homepage, catalog pages and on 301 redirects.

1 Day Prior

  • Perform dry run of the go-live process.
    • Copy latest version of site and database from dev server to production environment.
    • Test on production domain name using local hosts
    • Create test orders and refunds with a real credit card.
  • Install and configure the Easy Site Maintenance extension for customer friendly site downtime message.
  • Test integrations.
  • Ensure access to production environment and site admin is locked down to authorized users only.

Time to Go Live!

  • Place the live site in Maintenance Mode (Turn on Easy Site Maintenance extension).
  • Transfer files and database to new server.
  • Change the A-record at the domain registrar to point to the new server.
  • Test integrations.
  • Test SSL.
  • Place test orders with a live credit card and ensure payments are processing.
  • Configure CDN for Production.
  • Ensure “no-index/no-follow” has been turned off.
    • Content > Design > Configuration > Edit Site Configuration > Search Engine Robots > Default Robots.
  • Remove maintenance flag.
  • Ensure analytics tracking is working.
  • Test contact forms.
  • Monitor checkout behavior for any issues.

Post Go Live: 1 Day and 1 Week After

  • Check to ensure payments are capturing/settling properly.
  • Review server log files for any errors or potential problems.
  • Verify data exchange between all integrations.
  • Review Google Analytics for any 404 Not Found pages and adjust/add missed redirects.

Feel free to use our Magento 2 go live checklist as a jumping off point for your next project. Launching a new website is an exciting time for your business. Make sure you have what you need to avoid mistakes and launch successfully.

In the middle of a new site launch and need help? Contact us to learn more about how we build and launch Magento 2 websites.

Magento Commerce Named a B2B “Leader”

Magento Commerce Named a B2B “Leader”

Magento Named B2B Leade

Magento – The Best Fit for Mid-Sized B2B Companies

Magento Commerce, the worldwide leader in cloud digital commerce innovation, was named as a leader in “The Forrester WaveTM: B2B Commerce Suites For Midsize Organizations, Q3 2017” report. The research firm cited the Magento platform as the “best fit for mid-sized B2B companies that want an open, feature-rich solution that can be extended easily and inexpensively.” Magento Commerce CEO, Mark Lavelle, had this to say about the recognition:

“We’re seeing a wave of global demand as more B2B companies adopt digital strategies driven by the desire to meet heightened client expectations and the need to differentiate through personalized, self-service experiences across multiple channels,” said Mark Lavelle, CEO of Magento Commerce.”

Magento offers businesses the agility to respond in a rapidly changing environment with fast, cost-effective time-to-market solutions enabled by our flexible, cloud-based platform. Backed by our world-class ecosystem of Solution and Technology partners, our newest product release makes many of the leading B2B capabilities available “out of the box”, and builds on our long track record of leadership in B2B Commerce.”

Magento received the highest score possible in 14 sub-categories

The Forrester evaluation researched, analyzed and scored the top 11 B2B commerce platform providers focused on mid-sized merchants with $50 to $500 million in total revenue across a range of criteria. Magento received the highest score possible in 14 sub-categories evaluated in the report, including company vision; market presence; customer service providers; customizability; scalability; and caching.

For more of Forrester’s insights on B2B commerce and their evaluation of Magento Commerce, download a free copy of The Forrester WaveTM: B2B Commerce Suites For Midsize Organizations, Q3 2017.

5 Ways an Integrated SEO PPC Strategy Will Benefit Your eCommerce Business

5 Ways an Integrated SEO PPC Strategy Will Benefit Your eCommerce Business

SEO PPC Strategy for eCommerce Business

A Separate SEO PPC Strategy Reduces Marketing Effectiveness

The debate over the relative marketing effectiveness of search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has raged for years and will likely continue for years to come. The truth is that each is an important component of a sound search strategy.

More important, far from being at odds with one another, SEO and PPC are 2 sides of the same coin. Each providing useful intelligence to inform and enhance the other.  The ancillary benefits of such an integrated strategy are several.  For example, combining SEO and PPC on average yields:

  • 90% more clicks;
  • 40% more site visitors; and
  • 44% more conversions

Neil Patel, in How to Achieve Multichannel Success by Integrating SEO and PPC, confirms the benefits of this approach:

“It’s only logical to embrace the change and interact with your audience through a multi-channel strategy that integrates a PPC campaign with an SEO campaign. It’s a great maneuver to gain visibility and authority, in the eyes of your customers. And, you simultaneously reduce your customer cost per acquisition.”

Far too many marketers run their SEO PPC strategy efforts independently of one another.  In some cases, this occurs in-house, with separate marketing teams assigned to SEO and PPC.  In other cases, businesses hire separate digital agencies, each responsible for managing one or the other.  That’s generally a mistake because in doing so, companies lose the benefits of a unified strategy, including the following 5:

1. Enhanced keyword intelligence

Using Google Analytics (or a similar analytics program), you can gather key metrics about the success of your search campaigns.  For example, you’ll discover which keywords have the highest conversion rates for both your SEO and PPC campaigns.  You can use the keyword intelligence you gather on your SEO campaigns to improve PPC results and vice versa.

2. More effective (higher ranking) content

Some of your PPC ads will be more successful than others, resulting for example in higher conversions.  Your ad copy is among the factors which contribute to those higher conversions.  You can use the copy which informs your most effective PPC ads to help you optimize content for SEO purposes.  For example, you could include some of that ad copy in title tags, meta descriptions and page content.  Among the benefits of this approach is its immediacy—whereas measuring effectiveness by SEO alone typically takes a long time, your PPC results will available quickly.

3. Online reputation management

If someone posts a negative review of your business or otherwise harms your reputation, those comments appear in organic results.  You can link this to your PPC efforts, purchasing keywords related to the negative commentary.  You can then create PPC ads based on those keywords and link to pages on your website where you counter negative commentary.

4. Social media marketing

Social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn possess extremely granular data about prospective customers.  You can use these data to create highly-targeted social media ads and use the business intelligence data you gather from those campaigns to inform your SEO strategy.

5. Organic keyword testing

Identifying the most effective organic keywords for your SEO strategy can be a challenge.  One way to get the business intelligence you need, quickly and accurately, is to test those keywords by using them in PPC ads.   You’ll quickly discover which keywords have the highest conversion rates.  You can then prioritize those same keywords to enhance SEO.

SEO and PPC Strategies Need to Work Together

If you’re a marketer attempting to decide whether SEO or PPC is better for your business, you’re asking the wrong question.  You need to ask how you can use both to enhance the effectiveness of each.  As Search Engine Land notes:

“In an ideal world, we would look at both SEO and PPC. They both have pros and cons and work best when supporting each other synergistically. Where you can get SEO and PPC working together, you will often be able to drive results that are greater than their component parts.”

To learn more about the ways our eCommerce solutions for Magento and our PPC, SEO marketing services to help boost sales and grow your eCommerce business, contact us today.

You May Also Like

Improve Conversion Rates With These 3 Simple Steps

Improve Conversion Rates With These 3 Simple Steps

improve conversion rates

Improve Conversion Rates With 3 Simple Tips.

You’ve worked hard on your eCommerce business. You’ve got a great inventory, an awesome Magento website, a few amazing business partners, and big beautiful pictures of every product. However, as important as all these things are for running an eCommerce business, there’s one factor that makes all of it worthwhile, the reason you do it: Conversions.

The process of turning interested browsers into paying customers is delicate, complex, and your store’s entire reason for existing. Naturally, with every passing month you’d like to see those purchase numbers go up. The best way to do that is to nurture conversion by optimizing your site and enhancing customer experience. To get started on ways to improve conversion rates, focus on these 3 areas: provide a user-friendly shopping experience; create a streamlined checkout process; and utilize Google Analytics.

1) Provide a User-Friendly Shopping Experience

The shopping experience becomes 80% of the conversion process as a combination of good products, appealing UI, and ease of use come together to make happy or frustrated customers. How easy is it to find something a customer is looking for? What if they don’t know exactly what they need but have a few keywords? Clearly defined and enjoyable-to-browse categories are a good start but your site also needs an intuitive search function. Recommendations are also another great way to help your customers jump from related item to item. Magento offers several tools to help with up-sell and cross-sell techniques.

2) Create a Streamlined Checkout Process

As everything you’ve done for your eCommerce site guides customers to the checkout, that all-important process is what makes or breaks a conversion. If it’s slow, broken, inconvenient, or confusing customers are likely to abandon their carts and all your hard work will be for naught. A few helpful tips on streamlining your checkout process include:

  • Keep it to a single page
  • Diverse payment options including PayPal
  • Remember names, addresses, payment options, and shipping preferences for one-click checkout
  • Clear shipping options with prices and arrival dates (no surprise fees)
  • Free shipping for orders over a certain amount

Also, consider taking a page from Amazon’s massive eCommerce handbook and allow customers to alter their orders until you’ve boxed it. After finding out you’ve made a mistake, it’s an amazing relief to be able to fix it. That gratitude will quickly overflow to positive reviews and referrals. We recently covered this topic in more detail. Read 7 tips to streamline the checkout process here.

3) Make Use of Google Analytics

Google Analytics is an incredible tool and one of the most useful in your entire back-end toolbox. Google analytics gives a lot information to use for optimization and analysis of your success. In a nutshell, Google Analytics keeps track of who moves through your page, how they move, what the results are, and a whole lot more. Four metrics to keep an eye on should be:

  • Conversion Rate – How many customers are buying
  • Exit Rate – How many leads are browsing, then leaving for some reason
  • Average Session Duration – How much time visitors tend to spend on your site per visit
  • Average Page Depth – How deeply into your site the average visitor investigates

Google Analytics will also help you monitor traffic and traffic sources. For example, a change in traffic would typically affect conversion rates – good or bad. In addition, Google Analytics will help you to understand the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, where and who you visitors are, and and help to optimize your store for better conversions.

Improve Conversion Rates and Grow Your eCommerce Business.

Optimizing eCommerce conversion rates can be a complicated task involving dozens of little changes. Moreover, the changes may or may not improve customer experience and improve conversion rates. It’s a trial and error process but it doesn’t have to be a hassle. Do your best to make the site truly enjoyable to browse, shop, and buy. When your customers find what they want, have a good experience, and the checkout is quick and painless, they will come back again and again.

Contact us for more ways to improve conversions rates, providing a user-friendly shopping experience, creating a streamlined checkout process or assistance with Google Analytics.

The eCommerce Shopping Experience: Path to Purchase

The eCommerce Shopping Experience: Path to Purchase

eCommerce Shopping Experience

eCommerce Shopping Experience – It’s all about UX and CX!

Merchants know that the success of an eCommerce store relies heavily on the user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) provided during the path to purchase process. Every step of the customer purchasing cycle should be analyzed, optimized, and tested to ensure a seamless experience. Notably, if you’re building a new Magento 2 store without a UX/CX feature exploration process that includes modern UX and CX principles, then it’s important to start now.

The infographic below outlines the key areas merchants need to consider when optimizing their eCommerce shopping experience for customers.

Have You Thought About Ways to Optimize the Path to Purchase Process?

A simple way to get started is to create a new profile on your website and try to complete a purchase yourself. Better yet, ask a stranger or a friend who will give honest feedback to do it.  Consider everything from search results to the amount of time that it takes to locate a product and make a purchase.

The Important Steps in a Customer’s Purchasing Journey

We’ve researched the common elements in a typical customer’s shopping journey and outlined the areas to analyze and optimize. The 8 steps below break down the journey from the initial search to the shipment of packages to help merchants optimize their eCommerce shopping experience and websites to provide better customer service.

eCommerce Shopping Experience

Search

How do customers find you?  44% of shoppers will go directly to Amazon to start their search for a product, compared to 34% who use search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to search for products. Ensure your site is optimized for SEO by including unique product descriptions, eye-catching metadata, long-tail keywords, page load speed, mobile optimization, and more.

Website

How long are new customers engaging with your site? Most new users will click away after just 10 seconds! Once a new customer lands on a page from a search engine, it’s critical to ensure every item on the landing page is immediately user-friendly. Elements such as clear images, accurate product descriptions, customer reviews, and an easy to navigate design all lead to those coveted conversions.

Reviews

How do your brand and products measure up compared to competitors? Two-thirds of consumers research products online before purchasing. In addition, shoppers focus on two areas when making a purchase decision: reliable websites and online reviews. It’s important to actively monitor reviews and respond to customers in real time. Also, consider adding user-generated review functionality so customers can leave product reviews.

Price

How are your prices compared to others in your industry? 80% of shoppers said they would do online price comparisons before making a purchase. Additionally, Google shopping ads and Amazon supply plenty of information and ways to quickly compare prices. Keep prices up-to-date across all platforms including 3rd party integrations.

Checkout

Do you suffer from cart abandonment issues? 25% of customers abandon their shopping carts due to unexpected shipping costs. Notably, 22% of customers will leave if they have to create a new user account. Create a successful checkout process by providing transparent shipping costs, a number of secure payment methods, and a guest checkout option, preferably all on a single page.

Confirmation

What do your order confirmation and transactional eMails look like? Transactional emails have 8x more opens and clicks than any other type of eMail and can generate 6x more revenue. A well developed transactional eMail can enhance the relationship of a merchant with their customers by encouraging loyalty and repeat business. As the sale comes to completion, it’s important to continue to provide a seamless experience for customers.

Ship

Do you have multiple shipping options? 83% of customers say they will wait an additional 2 days for free delivery. Providing multiple and reliable shipping options for customers is critical. For example, provide international shipping, free returns, and delivery updates to keep customers in the know about their purchases.

Repeat

What do you do to turn first-time customers into repeat and returning customers? 40% of revenue comes from returning or repeat customers. Encourage customers to come back and they are more likely to shop again and again. Additionally, a repeat customer is easier to sell to. Merchants can offer special discounts, promotional offers, and bonus reward points to entice customers back for another purchase.

Start Optimizing Your eCommerce Shopping Experience

Creating a seamless UX and CX for customers is critical to your business. If your site has hang-ups anywhere along the path to purchase process, potential customers will likely choose a competitor. In fact, 47% of customers go to another site the very next day after having a bad shopping experience at an online store. Therefore, your business cannot afford to overlook your customer’s unique buying cycle. In addition, focus on retaining customers as much as gaining new ones. In other words, remember that it’s much easier to convert a current customer.

We want to help optimize your eCommerce shopping experience and unique buying cycle to grow your business. Contact us to get started or give us a call: 513-469-3345.

5 Ways Social Media Can Help Increase eCommerce Sales

5 Ways Social Media Can Help Increase eCommerce Sales

Social Media Can Help Increase eCommerce Sales

5 Ways Social Media Can Help Increase eCommerce Sales and Grow Your Business

If you think all people do on social media is share new baby photos, pictures of their dinner, and funny cat videos, think again.  However, while some do that, there are plenty of others looking for helpful information about the products and services they need.  For example, consider some of these numbers collected by Hubspot:

  • 82% of Facebook visitors use the site as a springboard for external sites and information
  • 63% of Twitter and Facebook visitors use the site to get news and information unrelated to social sharing, family, and friends
  • About 3 in 4 users of Facebook say they go there “for professional purposes”
  • Users of Pinterest, like those on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, go there with the intention of making purchases but spend on average 50% more than visitors to those other social media sites
  • 90% of marketers say that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses

For millions of consumers, social media sites have become a conduit to a wide variety of non-social sites, including eCommerce sites.  Therefore, social media can help increase eCommerce sales via this new and growing crossover.

More eCommerce Businesses Are Embracing Social Media

Most merchants wouldn’t open a new brick and mortar 20 miles from the center of town.  Brick and Mortar merchants go where the customers are.  The same applies to eCommerce.  To reach and engage customers, merchants need to go where the customers are – and they are on social media.  As eCommerce Platform notes, engagement with social media equals business value:

“For Web businesses, effective social marketing represents real value. Social networks offer new ways to reach first-time customers, engage and reward existing customers, and showcase the best your brand has to offer. Your social network profiles and the content you share are as important as a business’ storefront signage and displays in the 1950s.”

How Social Media Can Increase eCommerce Sales

Social media sites provide an unparalleled opportunity to sell eCommerce products because:

  • So many of your prospective customers are already on these sites;
  • The majority of them are there looking for help buying the best products; and
  • Social media sites provide useful tools and a wealth of data to help you drive people to your eCommerce site.

Here are 5 ways social media can help Increase eCommerce Sales on your eCommerce site:

1. Fine tune customer research

Social media is perhaps the only marketing venue which allows merchants to see what customers are saying in real time.  Business owners can even join that conversation, posing questions and raising topics to learn more about what customers think.  Notably, social media can be very successful for sales campaigns. For example, merchants can offer incentives, discounts or rewards points and see immediately if the campaign takes off.

2. Improve customer service

Sometimes people don’t want to contact customer service staff directly. Actually, they feel more comfortable talking about problems with your business on Facebook or Twitter.  Social media allows merchants to respond quickly to customer complaints and direct people to call the right customer service number.  Notably, if there are a large number of complaints surrounding a particular issue, it’s possible to quickly make changes and reduce issues.

3. Generate more quality leads

According to HootSuite, 90% of potential consumers of your products won’t respond to cold calls. However, 76% are willing to talk via social media.  Leverage this dynamic to generate new leads to fill the top of your sales funnel.  For example, post content with links to a landing page where prospective customers provide their email address in exchange for content.

4. Engage customers to build trust

Social media marketing is one component of a comprehensive inbound strategy to increase trust and credibility.  In other words, social media posts are less about direct selling and more about customer engagement.  Notice, for example, how camera maker GoPro uses Facebook. Gopro doesn’t use social media for direct sales, but rather to show prospective buyers the quality of videos created using their product.

5. Conduct highly-targeted social media advertising

Social media collects a vast amount of data about the people who visit their websites. Notably, that wealth of data is available to businesses to create highly-targeted ad campaigns.  Through social media advertising, merchants can direct ads to the target customers based on their activity on social media sites. Therefore, providing an effective (and cost-effective) means to drive new website traffic.

The Brave New World of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing, including social media marketing, has made it easier than ever to reach and engage with prospective buyers.  The challenge is in standing out among the tidal wave of content that already exists on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest.  That requires a smart strategy but when done right social media can help increase eCommerce sales and grow a business.

To learn more about how Social Media can help increase eCommerce sales and grow your eCommerce business, contact us today.

Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails and Improved Conversions

Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails and Improved Conversions

Almost 70% of online shoppers abandon their shopping cart

There are plenty of reasons online shoppers abandon shopping carts before making a purchase. Some may be reacting to the fact that shipping charges and taxes don’t appear until they’re asked to place their orders. Others may have security concerns about sharing their personal information (like their credit card numbers). And for some, an interruption pulls them away from their computer, like a phone call, or someone knocking on their door, or dinner burning on the stove.

But whatever the reason, an alarmingly high number of consumers are abandoning shopping carts. In fact, according to the Baymard Institute the number is almost 70%. Some eCommerce businesses view those lost sales as irrecoverable. Typically, they make incorrect assumptions about the reason consumers walked away. Perhaps they think those people don’t like their business anymore, or that they’ve jumped to one of their competitors.  Those could prove to be costly assumptions.

The truth is that approximately 75% of sales lost through shopping cart abandonment can be recovered, but you need to use some smart strategies to succeed in recovering them. One of the best ways to bring people back to your shopping cart is through shopping cart abandonment eMails.

Why Use eMail Remarketing and Shopping Cart Abandonment eMails?

Email remarketing (shopping cart abandonment eMails) involves sending an email to online shoppers who’ve abandoned your shopping cart.  According to Internet Retailer, 66% of all sales recovered from abandoned carts come from these emails. One of the reasons is that consumers pay attention to them—for example, the open rate for these emails is 57% compared to just 21% for all other marketing emails.

To maximize sales you recover from abandoned carts, you need to employ best practice strategies, including the following 3:

Send Your Shopping Cart Abandonment eMails As Soon As Possible

The more quickly you send your cart abandonment email, the higher your conversion rate will be. For example, on average emails sent within 20 minutes of cart abandonment achieve a 5.2% conversion rate. That drops to 4.9% at 40 minutes, 4.5% at 1 hour, and 3.6% at 1 to 4 hours.  

If you wait a full 24 hours, your conversion rate will be just 2.6%, one half of what it would have been if you’d sent your email immediately.

Know What to Include in Your Subject Line

What you put in your subject line matters for any kind of email, but it’s especially critical when you’re trying to bring consumers back to your website, and back to their abandoned shopping carts. For example, the most important element to include is the name of your company (probably because this tips off consumers that your email has to do with their abandoned purchase). The most important things to include in your subject line, and their associated open rates, include:

  • Company name: 53%
  • Product details: 52%
  • A customer service tone: 46%
  • An urgent tone: 44%
  • The consumer’s name: 38%

Make It Easy for Customers to Return to Your Website

The body of your shopping cart abandonment eMails is at least as important as the subject line. For example, it’s important to include a link in your content that makes it as easy as possible for consumers to get back to the cart they abandoned, and to frame a clear and simple call-to-action, such as “complete your order.” Remember that one of the reasons people abandon carts is that they found something about the process inefficient. This tells you that making their shopping experience more fluid will help to push them back to your business – and your shopping cart.

Other useful links to embed in the abandoned cart eMail include:

  • Continue shopping
  • Recommendations
  • Cart products
  • Social links
  • Navigation bars
  • Promotional banners

Getting Started with Triggered eMail Marketing

Many eCommerce marketers will tell you that attempting to re-engage online shoppers who have abandoned their shopping carts is a waste of time, but if you press them, they’ll probably admit they never tried. They never tried because they were guided by specious assumptions rather than reliable data. Or they simply don’t know how to get started with shopping cart abandonment eMails or a triggered email program.

If you would like help with setting up shopping cart abandonment eMails to reduce your cart abandons, we can help! Contact us today or give us a call at 513-469-3345.

Upgrade to an eCommerce-Centric eMail Marketing Platform

Upgrade to an eCommerce-Centric eMail Marketing Platform

Why is an eCommerce-Centric eMail platform necessary?

Contrary to social media fans, eMail remains one of the most effective platforms for digital marketing. The success of an eMail campaign, like most marketing strategies, is measured in terms of open-rates, click-through rates, engagement, and most importantly conversions. When done correctly, eMail will help to solidify and strengthen a brand. By adopting an eCommerce-centric eMail service provider (ESP), merchants take the first step in ensuring successful campaigns with documentable ROI.

Personalization, Integration, and Increased Revenue

A predictive analytics program with aggregated consumer data such as transactions, search, and onsite behavior, will create a personalized experience for customers. This enables merchants to send customers product information based on their actual data, getting them information on the products they are searching for at the appropriate time. A personalized eMail approach will turn new and returning customers into loyal brand consumers.

In addition to providing personalized eMail, leading ESPs integrate well with eCommerce platforms like Magento. eCommerce-centric ESPs enable seamless customer data integrations that enable powerful data-driven and targeted eMail marketing. Examples of important synchronized data would include all historical information regarding customers, orders, wishlists, cart contents, and browsing behavior.

Perhaps the most relevant argument for investing in an eCommerce-centric ESP is that personalized and relevant eMail campaigns lead to more revenue. It’s that simple.

The infographic, “eCommerce Goes Personnel” details how profitable personalized eMail can be for merchants while noting some impressive stats:

  • 54% of retailers reported a rise in AOV
  • 65% of merchants reported an increase in conversion rates
  • 53% of retailers reported increase on returning shoppers

Similar results proving ROI was also reported by Internet Marketing, which found that a successful eMail campaign results in a $44.25 return on every dollar invested. That’s a 4300% ROI! Make sure eMail efforts are successful by investing in an ESP that provides notable personalization features and seamless Magento integration.

Best eCommerce-Centric eMail Service Providers for Magento

There are several reliable eCommerce-Centric eMail service providers that integrate well with Magento. InteractOne is partnered with three top ESPs that work well for every business size and marketing experience level.

MailChimp

MailChimp is a great option for smaller merchants that are growing their mailing lists and eMail efforts. MailChimp offers customized subscriber profiles, automated options, and measures metrics such as engagement rates or revenue and profit generated. MailChimp Mobile, MailChimp Editor, and Chimpadeedoo are mobile apps that make it easy to check reports or send a campaign from anywhere. They also integrate with hundreds of other apps.

According to their eMail Marketing benchmarks report, MailChimp sends billions of eMails a month and, as would be expected, tracks their data. As of February 1, 2017, here is their breakdown by a few industries of their average eMail campaign.

  • Retail: 20.96% opened – 2.50% clicked – 0.35% soft bounce – 0.30% hard bounce.
  • Restaurant: 21.17% open – 1.33% clicked – 0.24% soft bounce – 0.22% hard bounce.
  • Sports: 25.41% open – 3.19% clicked – 0.46% soft bounce – 0.41% hard bounce.

Listrak

Listrak is recommended for mid-sized merchants that need more functionality than what smaller ESPs can provide.  One of the top features of Listrak is its ability to combine digital marketing platforms. The platform offers personalized, multichannel marketing strategies, and provides social media integration. By collecting data from every touchpoint, Listrak can offer insight into your customer’s future purchases, allowing you to create targeted campaigns. Other valuable features includes their Product Recommender and Back in Stock Alerts. Their interface works seamlessly with Magento and is considered user-friendly.

Statistics from 950 of their retail clients from the months of January to March of 2016 revealed the following:

  • The average open rate increased by 13%.
  • Triggered messages such as browse and cart abandonment had, on average, the highest open rates which ran around 28%.
  • Back in stock alerts had very high open rates of 48%!

Dotmailer

Dotmailer is recommended for larger merchants that have established extensive mailing lists, eMail campaigns, and need to implement greater personalization. Dotmailer can follow a customer’s history including their wish list, cart contents and browsing habits. The ESP can also build integrated branded data acquisition surveys, create unique coupon codes, and provides “hot prospects” reporting. Another notable feature of Dotmailer includes their abandoned cart series.

Dotmailer notably invests time into analyzing and helping merchants improve their marketing metrics across the board. According to their 2017 “Hitting the Mark” benchmark report, Dotmailer found that out of the 100 retailers studied, “many brands are failing to migrate beyond basic email marketing methods and move towards tactics that are proven to drive up ROI and customer satisfaction.” The report also found that many top brands were missing out on proven ROI boosting methods with only 40% of the brands included in the study providing abandoned cart reminders.

Get Started on an eCommerce-Centric eMail Marketing Platform Now

As one of the most successful methods for digital marketing, eMail is more important now than ever before. Multiple sources note the profitability of eMail with statistics showing retailers experiencing as much as a 50% increase in eMail revenue for trigger-based programs. There’s never been a better time to move to an eCommerce-centric ESP. For Magento merchants, there are several great options available for every type of retailer.

As a certified Magento partner and digital marketing experts, we can help you and your team upgrade to a eCommerce-centric eMail marketing platform. Contact us today to learn more about ESPs and about getting started or give us a call to talk to an expert: 513-469-3345.

Contact Us

7 Tips to Streamline Checkout and Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

7 Tips to Streamline Checkout and Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Streamline Checkout

Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment for Magento

If you own an ecommerce business and your shopping cart isn’t functioning as well as it should be, you’re losing business, period. The truth is that some of the consumers who abandon your shopping cart will come back, but some won’t—these are the ones who left not because something’s burning on the stove, but quite likely, because they became frustrated with something that happened on your website.

According to eMarketer, almost 75% of all online shoppers worldwide abandon a shopping cart before they make a purchase—and some portion of them never come back. The aggregate value of all the products in abandoned carts in 2015 was more than $4 billion, according to Business Insider. To increase sales, you need to determine the problems which lead to cart abandonment and fix them. Following are 7 ways for you to streamline checkout and boost shopping cart conversions:

1. Use breadcrumb navigation

Online shoppers often want to move quickly to another product in the same category or to a different product entirely. Make it easy for them to move around your products pages using breadcrumb navigation, a site feature which shows them how the page they’re on is related to previous pages. For example, if you sell clothing online, and someone is on a page displaying Nike running shoes, the breadcrumb thread (often in the upper left-hand of the page) might be Shoes/Athletic/Running/Nike. Each piece of the breadcrumb thread is clickable, making it as easy as possible for users to move around your site, and that means they’re also more likely to buy.

2. Put customer service within easy reach

If someone’s having a problem, they don’t want to waste time trying to figure it out on their own. Make it easy for them to reach a human being. You could add a chat feature to your site, or you could make it easy on yourself by simply including your phone number on every page of your website. LessEverything tested the effectiveness of doing this and found that simply adding your phone number increases conversion by almost 2%.

3. Include product ratings and reviews  

A study from CompUSA found that 63% of online shoppers are more likely to make a purchase if product pages include user reviews. That just makes sense—people want to know if a product does what it’s supposed to, and if other people had problems which they might encounter if they buy it. One other tip: it takes more time, but make every product description unique and as compelling as possible. Having duplicate content on multiple pages hurts SEO.

4. Don’t make visitors hunt for the add to cart button

You’ll notice that eCommerce giants like Walmart and Amazon make the add to cart button prominent and easy to find, and you should do the same. Make sure the add to cart is surrounded by white space and in a distinct color, like orange, and that the type is in a large, bold font.

5. Add a secondary call to action

Of course, you don’t want anything to detract from the add to cart button, but some of visitors won’t be ready to buy. Give these people a second option, like “save for later.” The mere fact that shoppers have saved a group of products increases the likelihood that they’ll come back and purchase some or all of those products. The next time they visit your site, you can remind them of their saved items and ask if they’re ready to add these to their cart.

6. Let shoppers “edit” their carts

If someone is reviewing their order prior to purchase and changes their mind about one or more items, give them the option of deleting those items or saving them for later. Let’s says someone has added 5 items to their cart, but wants to remove one. If you don’t give them the option to do that, they’ll probably junk the entire order and possibly go to the website of one of your competitors.

7. Let shoppers know all prices upfront  

One of the biggest reasons for cart abandonment is shoppers seeing pricing surprises just before they hit “place order.” If you think hiding shipping charges or taxes will make shoppers more likely to add items to their carts, you’d be right—unfortunately, it also makes them less likely to complete the purchase. Be transparent about all costs, and the true total, as soon as possible in the process.

7 of every 10 of your online shoppers is abandoning your shopping cart – that’s not acceptable.

Hitting the industry benchmark for shopping cart abandonment means that 7 of every 10 of your online shoppers are abandoning your shopping cart – that’s not acceptable. To surpass the industry average, you need to partner with Magento development experts who understand user experience (UX) and know how to create sites that load quickly and are easily adaptable for future changes. To learn more about the ways our Magento ecommerce site design, development and maintenance services can help you optimize your online sales, contact us today.

Up-sell and Cross-sell Techniques for Magento

Up-sell and Cross-sell Techniques for Magento

Up-sell and Cross-sell Techniques

Get Started on Up-sell and Cross-sell Techniques for your Magento Website

When considering how to improve the business performance of your store, it’s important to check your foundation. Make sure the product catalog is well organized and takes advantage of Magento’s most valuable native features. Before a cross-sell or an up-sell can happen, your store’s shopping experience needs to be intuitive, clear, and informative. Fast doesn’t hurt, either! Instead of diving into the Magento admin for up-sell and cross-sell features, start by optimizing product descriptions, product attributes and product types.

Product descriptions should be clear and original. Don’t spare relevant detail because you’ve been told descriptions should be short. But also don’t add subjective selling language. Cross selling won’t happen if the shopper doesn’t gain a sense of credibility from the information you present.

Don’t ignore attributes. Magento plays well with attributes – so be generous with them! Make sure your items carry all the attributes that you’ll need for cross-promoting and associating them in the “related products” space or with other products in widget-controlled promotional blocks. New attributes are easy to make and assign individually or as a set.

Learn about the Magento product types. Learn how and when to use a bundled product, vs a configurable product. If you are asking developers to do things to Magento so that you can set up simple products the way you want, first make sure you have exhausted the software’s built-in capabilities.

Master Magento’s Built In Up-sell and Cross-sell Merchandising Tools

Sometimes, you just want to stand out and be different. This business impulse makes sense when we’re talking about branding, product quality, service, and packaging. Other times, it pays to meet the shopper’s expectations and habits by simply employing eCommerce best practices. Notably, Magento has several helpful merchandising tools built into its platform.

The best place to get started is right here in Magento’s admin:

From any product page, scroll down to and expand the “Related Products, Up-Sells and Cross-Sells” section in the Magento Admin. The simplest vehicle for helping your customers fill their cart in Magento is the “Related Products” functionality.  See below:

Merchants can also use the “Up-Sell Products” feature to display other catalog items. See below:

The “Up-Sell Products” feature is easily selectable via the admin and requires no customization.  If information on the product pages and overall User Interface (UI) has built trust with customers, they might be feeling confident enough to crack open their wallet a bit wider for a more expensive alternative. The “Up-Sell Products” feature is an excellent opportunity for an up-sell, and the temptation also conveniently happens on the product detail page.  

The third element listed in the Magento Admin is “Cross-sell products”, which will display in the Magento cart. The “Cross-sell products” feature can be an especially effective tactic to create an impulse purchase. The customer has already added at least one item to the cart – why not just one more?

All three of these Magento-native merchandising tools can be implemented individually, or via user-defined rules and conditions including: display; start date; duration; quantity; price differentials; and other aspects of the promotion.

Accelerate Beyond Magento’s Native Features

Inevitably, as businesses takes off, merchants want to extend Magento via extensions. Hundreds of choices are available for advanced up-sell and cross-sell techniques such as photo tools, video plugins, couponing, custom widgets, loyalty programs, etc. Some require installation of an extension, others run remotely as a subscription. As developers, marketers, and observers of our clients’ businesses, we always counsel to make these choices strategically to save time and money.

We recommend optimizing what’s already available in Magento to start. Once product descriptions, attributes and product types are in place, we help clients focus on Magento’s native up-sell and cross-sell features. Once those are used to their greatest effect, we will recommend and install some of the great merchandising and sales-building extensions available for Magento.

Contact us to learn more about Magento’s Up-sell and Cross-sell features. Or, give us a call to talk to a Magento expert: 513-469-3345.

Contact Us