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.

The Importance of Average Order Value

The Importance of Average Order Value

Average Order Value

Why we need to turn our focus back to Average Order Value

Are you keeping your eye on average order value (AOV)? Magento puts it front and center in the dashboard so it must be important, right?

There used to be a lot of buzz about average order value, but cart abandonment and “customer lifetime value” (CLV) seem to get all the attention lately. But what happened to our focus on AOV? As developers and digital marketers, we work hard every day to remove obstacles in the customer’s path to purchase. For example, we speed up page loads, get user interface features working, address bugs, and security concerns. In addition, we work to include the best images, accurate product descriptions, customer reviews, and an easy to navigate design that all lead to the coveted shopping cart. In fact, getting customers to the shopping cart (as well as analyzing CLV) seems to beg for all our attention. Who has time to watch AOV? We need to find the time, because taking our eye off of this crucial measurement might derail our best efforts.

The problem with a heavy focus on cart abandonment

While average order value is focused on organizing the store, product visibility, and promoting related products, cart abandonment as a business metric is focused on the problems. When we turn our attention to cart abandonment, our tendency is to rush the customer to the checkout. At one point not too long ago, if you clicked “add to cart” on Amazon, you would be immediately directed into the checkout after adding an item to the cart. No “continue shopping” button or anything! That was extremely influential, but Amazon didn’t employ that tactic for long.

Are you sending your shoppers straight into the cart or checkout after they add an item to the cart? Have you also installed extensions or designed a promotional block for upsell and cross-sell? If you can say “yes” to both questions, that sounds like a tug-of-war! Ironically, if we make checking out super easy, with no shipping and handling, we discourage customers from spontaneously loading up their carts and increasing AOV. Cart abandonment is still important to eCommerce and should be monitored and optimized However, AOV should also be included in the process when optimizing and streamlining shopping carts.

Customer Lifetime Value, is this metric actually valuable?

CLV can be a useful yardstick, if employed correctly. For example, if concentrating on CLV guides you to take good care of your shoppers throughout the purchase cycle, then go for it! However, if calculating CLV has you chasing demographic factors (age, wage, address) that are well beyond immediate control, it might not be delivering value to you as a decision maker. There is value in defining your target customers, tactically and strategically. But for most Magento-sized merchants there is lower-hanging fruit. Further, CLV is basically a re-casting of the old marketing maxim that says keeping customers is cheaper than buying new ones; aka customer acquisition cost. While retaining customers is important for revenue, keeping the focus on AOV will fuel customer retention and loyalty.

The Importance of Average Order Value

By targeting an increase in AOV as your top-line measure of success, you have a goal that can be used to evaluate the value of the conversion rate optimization tactics that are constantly coming your way. If something smooths the path to purchase on your site, it’s going to be good for the cart abandonment number and will also enable a higher AOV. On the other hand, if you’re doing things that improve conversion rate but your AOV is stagnant or drooping, you’ll know that you have a problem with pricing, selection, product visibility, credibility or product presentation (i.e. something else). Leaning harder on cart abandonment-focused tactics in this situation runs you into another truism: diminishing returns.

Turn Your Focus Back to AOV

We recently covered up-sell and cross-sell techniques, which are sure-fire ways to address AOV. Cross-sell and upsell work from the assumption that people merely need to see more of your inventory. Don’t stop there!

Some customers might need to see more detailed photography, or gain confidence in the purchase from unfiltered reviews. Clear and vivid product descriptions unique to your store can encourage cross-category shopping. Your use of sorting and filtering play a huge role in shoppers discovering their own pairings to add to the cart. They might also need an incentive to add more items to the cart right now – an instant discount or a percentage off next purchase. Strong search tools and satisfying search results also drive increased AOV.

Make sure your customers are aware of all the options they have. For instance, we encounter merchants using simple products for apparel items that only differ in color, instead of using the configurable product type. Some of your customers would want to purchase 2 different-colored shirts, if they knew the variety was available.

It’s also possible that they aren’t connecting one product to another the same way you are, with related product offerings. Do you have your upsells grouped by brand or manufacturer … are you sure that’s how your customers make choices? Think of how you might use this product in real life and consider what else might “match” or fill a need that could follow from using the product. This takes work and insight; who is better positioned than you to do this?

Need help with your AOV optimization strategy? Contact us to get started or give us a call: 513-469-3345.

Has your Magento Site Mutated Into a Frankenapp?

Has your Magento Site Mutated Into a Frankenapp?

Got a Magento Frankenapp on your hands?

Has your Magento site turned into a Frankenapp that’s difficult to control? We’ve seen plenty of Magento Frankenapps appear over the years with core hacks, patched up code, rickety extensions and more. These (usually unintentional) Frankenapps are products of inexperienced developers, DIY fixes, broken patches, and shall we go on?

We’ve even seen some Magento 2 Frankenapp sites come through our door within the last year or so. Due to the general lack of development experience in Magento 2, as well as the newly built M2 extensions, it’s not too surprising that these Magento 2 Frankenapp sites have been created.

However, if you’re the owner of a Magento Frankenapp on M1 or M2, there are ways to get them back up and running.

Get your Magento Frankenapp site back on track!

For Magento 1.x merchants, Magento 2.2 is an opportunity to clear the slate and rebuild. Notably, Magento is planning to stop support for Magento 1.x updates as soon as next year. There’s never been a better time to plan a Magento 2 build.

Magento 1.x data (customers, orders, catalog, and CMS) can be easily migrated to Magento 2 via the data migration tool.  Therefore, merchants have a chance to start fresh on Magento 2 by building a new scalable site without the overhead of migrating to a different platform.

Notably, Magento 2 now on version 2.2 comes with way more out-of-the-box functionality complete with all new code and scalable database.

Highlights of Magento 2.2:

  • Bundled Extensions – The new Magento Social extension allows you to connect your corporate Facebook account to your online store. The extension creates a product a page from your catalog.
  • Security Enhancements – Magento has removed unserialize calls and added protection of this functionality to increase resilience against dangerous code attacks. In addition, protection against Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks has been added.
  • Upgraded Technology Stack – Magento now only supports PHP 7.1 Varnish 5, and MySQL 5.7.
  • Pipeline Deployment – This creates a new way to deploy to production with minimum possible downtime.
  • Indexing Improvements – Customers can browse on a storefront while indexers run without impacting user experience. To better manage memory and run times, long-running indexers operate in batches.
  • Cart Improvements – Customers can create a cart with more than 300 items, and merchants can process a cart with at least 300 items.
  • Varnish cache operations – Varnish cache now includes saint and grace mode to ensure Varnish is always presenting a cached page to customers.

What about Magento 2 Frankenapps?

For Magento 2 merchants with Frankenapp sites, it is still possible to get back on track. For example, If merchants haven’t upgraded to Magento 2.2, doing so with a reliable developer is a good way to start. An experienced Magento 2 developer can review Magento’s code and troubleshoot problem areas. When looking for a new Magento development partner to start a Magento 2 build or to fix a current build, be sure to avoid these 3 pitfalls when building a Magento 2 site.

As a certified Magento 2 trained partner and as a Professional Magento Solutions Partner, we can help with your Frankenapp. Contact us and tell us about your Frankenapp!

Need help with your Frankenapp? Tell us about it!

3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Building a Magento 2 Site

3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Building a Magento 2 Site

3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Building a Magento 2 Site

“Build a new Magento site,” they said. “It will be easy,” they said.

Over the years we’ve run into many frustrated Magento merchants. So frustrated, in fact, the word Magento is unfortunately followed by some expletives. The stories usually go like this:

“I had my Magento site built by people who swore they had Magento experts on staff and could easily meet my budget requirements within my desired timeframe. They also said building a Magento site is easy because all you have to do is install Magento, add a low-cost theme extension for the design, and any other extensions needed for custom features or integration.”

Sounds simple right? Wrong. Here’s why. There are a lot of developers, agencies, freelancers, etc. out there who claim to know Magento. It’s important for merchants to understand that Magento is a complex infrastructure that requires a knowledgeable developer. A truly experienced Magento developer will be able to help merchants walk through their needs, while properly setting expectations on a timeline, budget, and technical requirements. Through experience, we’ve put together three key areas to look out for when building a new Magento site.

3 pitfalls to avoid when building a Magento 2 site:

1. Inexperienced Developers

While Magento is open-source, it is vastly more complex (due to its object-oriented architecture) than other open-source platforms like WordPress or OpenCart. Agencies with open-source platform experience often assume that developing in Magento requires the same effort required for less complex, script-based, open-source platforms. Sadly, these inexperienced developers unintentionally mislead merchants into projects with scope and complexity way beyond their ability to execute. What’s worse is that these projects typically end over budget, with a half-baked and bug-filled solution that either can’t be launched or the new site is often too littered with bugs and performance issues for the merchant to use and maintain.

Simply avoid this first pitfall by locating a thoroughly experienced Magento developer that is certified and knowledgeable.

2. Unrealistic Budget Expectations

While inexperienced developers can certainly botch a project, unrealistic budget expectations can also derail a new Magento site build. Over the years, we’ve worked with a wide range of merchants and learned a good rule of thumb when scoping out, building, and launching new sites. Through experience, we’ve found that most Merchants need to budget roughly 5-10% of online annual sales for building a quality Magento site that will help grow their business.

Think of it this way, if a merchant doing $5 million hired an inexperienced developer with half the recommended budget at $50,000, just one small negative impact on sales will make the cheaper site feel like a raw deal. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this happen many times. Merchants have come to us with cheap and poorly coded sites that have cut online sales by as much as 50%. Let’s repeat that, sites that cut online sales by as much as 50%.

Avoid this pitfall by setting clear budget expectations amongst all key stakeholders. Running a successful eCommerce business is stressful enough. Cutting corners will not make things easier.

3. Poor Quality Extensions

The third pitfall to avoid when building a new Magento site are poor quality extensions. There seems to be a misconception among merchants that all Magento extensions are turnkey or “plug and play.” This is simply not true and here is why. Due to the open-source nature of Magento, extensions are built by literally anyone including experienced and inexperienced developers. Notably, due to the higher costs of building a good quality extension from a certified developer, development is often outsourced to inexperienced developers. Inexperienced developers can take on projects without understanding the full scope of Magento. In the case of extensions, it usually means low-quality functionality with little to no testing.

Don’t get us wrong, we love Magento extensions and use them all the time for clients. However, we have also seen cheap, bad, or unnecessary extensions create headaches for merchants. An experienced developer will know Magento’s out-of-the-box functionality and will prevent merchants from falling into a Magento customization trap.

If you’re in the market for a new Magento website, do yourself a huge favor and avoid the 3 pitfalls above.

Choose an experienced onshore partner who has a team of certified experts that will avoid poor quality, performance issues, and conversion hits. In addition, an experienced Magento developer will set a realistic plan for building a Magento site that will grow your business. Magento is probably the best eCommerce platform for growth in the market today. When executed correctly, Magento has helped many merchants grow by leaps and bounds. However, buyer beware. There are no pink unicorns, as is with most things, you get what you pay for.

Any of this sound familiar? Building a new Magento site should be an exciting experience and opportunity growth. Contact us to get started on a new Magento site or to have us pick up the pieces on a current Magento build.  

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

Magento Email Templates

Magento Email Templates

How to setup Magento eMail Templates for M2

When a customer makes a purchase, or changes their password, they are automatically sent an eMail from your Magento store. It’s important that merchants update these triggered and transactional template eMails to match their brand. Notably, Magento makes it easy to customize these types of eMail templates to match the design of your website for branding purposes. In addition, merchants can also create eMail templates for different store views for different languages or sub-stores within Magento.

The process for updating Magento templates is fairly simple. The admin between Magento 1 and Magento 2 is laid out differently, but the steps are essentially the same for updating eMail templates. This also applies to both versions of Magento Open Source (previously referred to as Community Edition) and Magento Commerce (previously referred to as Enterprise Edition).

1. Creating Custom eMail Templates – Getting Started

To access the transactional eMail section go to MARKETING > Communications > eMail Templates

If you’ve never set up an eMail before, it will be an empty pane to start with. See below:

Click on “Add New Template” in the top right hand corner. You’ll come to the form with the ability to load any default templates. See below:

Magento has it’s own default template for all of the different transactions that get sent out to the customer. This also includes any 3rd party extensions installed that generate customer correspondence such as RAM modules or order management modules.

The drop down box shows all of the default Magento templates available. Notably, all of the templates will utilize your store logo and have quite a few dynamic variables. Out of the box, nothing is hard coded to say Magento. At InteractOne, we really emphasise creating a consistent branding experience across our merchant’s sites and eMail communication. And in some cases, we will simplify the eMail templates to display properly on mobile.

As shown above, there are many template options such as “New Order,” “New Credit Memo,” as well as a “For Guest” options. Templates that do not note “for guests” are intended for registered users. See below:

The difference is that the template inserts the customer’s name and account information for registered users only vs the “for guest” option which omits that information.

So select the template you wish to edit and click load template.

Special Tip: Load a template eMail to view the HTML code to use as a guide for eMails you’re trying to create. This is helpful when you need an example of code but do not need to edit a full template eMail.

After the template has loaded, give it a name and add a subject line. You can create anything you want, or stick to something simple. The default is usually simple and includes with your store name. See below:

2. Creating Custom eMail Templates – Let’s talk about variables

You’ll notice that there are several variables available throughout the template. These are dynamic variables that will pull settings from your magento configuration into the content of the eMail. For example, these could be the subject line or the body. The store prefix is a store view level prefix, meaning you can give your website a different name on the store level. Or, you can have different settings for your order increment ids, phone, or address based on the store view level. Those examples can be dynamically inserted into the template. See below:

The “Insert Variable” button will list the variables that can be inserted into the subject and content sections. In other words, these are dynamically inserted based on transaction information. This could include customer or order information and any other kind of configuration settings that are set on your store.

Special Tip: To insert a variable, your cursor needs to be in the place where the variable needs to go. Furthermore, if you insert a variable, it’s your responsibility to check that the variable is displaying properly!

3. Creating Custom eMail Templates – Mobile Friendly eMail.

A popular request among merchants is to create a responsive or mobile friendly eMail. Notice the templates use table settings which by nature are not mobile responsive or mobile friendly.

Editing eMail layouts and header/footer color schemes to match store designs are popular ways of customizing Magento eMail templates. The pre-defined eMail variables are managed by layout XML files located in the template directory. Due to this, we do NOT recommend editing those files directly. This can cause issues when updating Magento in the future.

Special Tip: It’s best to have a developer create an overwrite to the existing layout files if you want to change anything in those sections. Any further directions on how to actually edit those would need to come from an experienced developer.

4. Creating Custom eMail Templates – Template Styles

The Template Styles section is CSS and requires typical ID and class statements that can be built out in line. Editing or adding CSS to the Template Styles section will pull the styles into the Template Content section above.

5. Creating Custom Templates – Check Your Work

After your template is setup, save it. Once saved, you’ll be directed back out into the eMail Templates window where the new custom template will be available. See below:

There is a “Preview” option to the far right where the eMail can be reviewed in a new window.  Notably, the preview will not pull any dynamic data. Therefore, anything that has order number, bill to, or name will look empty. However, you can shrink the window down to see if the eMail is mobile responsive and that columns are stacking properly.

To apply the new eMail template, open a new tab, go to STORES > Settings > Configuration > SALES > Sales eMails.

For every section listed, you can define what template you want to use for each setting. Note that this a store view level setting. However, most merchants do not create Store View-specific eMail templates. You can change the default settings at the Default Configuration Scope level. To use different eMail templates at the Store View level, such as for different languages as shown in the example below. Click on “Default Config” in the upper left hand corner, and select the Store View you would like to edit.

The Store View settings in Magento can be pretty unclear. The most popular reasons for eMail settings being at the store view level is that merchants can setup different language eMails for different sites. For example, a merchant may have Spanish and French-specific sales and support. Therefore, they need to use a different phone number for the Spanish store view and the French store view. In addition, they can also have custom eMail templates specific to the store views. It’s a great feature, however, most merchants will not need multiple store view options.

Special Tip: Test your eMail by completing a test action to trigger the eMail to come to yourself. Test the eMail from different devices such as mobile, tablet or desktop to verify that the eMail displays properly.

Need help with Magento eMail Templates?

In addition to our tutorial above, Magento offers excellent documentation on editing eMail templates. Magento offers even more detail including how to edit headers and footers. However, if you don’t feel Magento savvy or don’t have time to customize your eMail templates, we can help! Contact us today to talk to a Magento expert about Magento eMail templates or give us a call 513-469-3345.

Magento UX Examples and How Merchants Incorporated Them

Magento UX Examples and How Merchants Incorporated Them

Magento UX examples

Magento UX Examples From Top Brands

Customers expect more from the businesses they buy from more than ever before. They want an excellent product. They demand high quality customer service. They need a seamless way to look at products, find out about them, and purchase them. For this reason, in order to compete in any industry whether it be consumables, fine art, or apparel, merchants must invest in creating an unparalleled user experience (UX) on their website. Here are a few Magento UX examples from well-known merchants that have gotten UX right for their customers.

1. Magento UX Examples from Canon Australia

Canon Australia used a highly custom Magento theme to completely revamp the UX on their website. The main improvements were features that they added to the site to create a better pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase experience. One example is the use of bundled products.

To fully utilize the product bundle tool, Canon partnered with other industry brands, allowing customers to purchase kits that would supply them with everything they needed for their photography project. This included products such as cameras and lenses, alongside accessories like tripods and memory cards from other brands.

In addition, Canon Australia utilized Magento’s product finder tool.

While utilizing Magento’s built-in attribute and filter capability, the Canon experience is more tailored and guided because of the careful presentation that allows customers to find what they need. Additionally, the company added product recommendation features that were tailored for specific uses, such as gift recommendations, newly arrived products, and most wanted products.

To enhance the post-purchase experience, Canon Australia added a utility where consumers can print their photos, create photo books, and even save their images to a cloud-based photo storage.

At its core, the website was planned and executed in a way that creates a brand-supporting one-stop shop for photography lovers.

For their cloud-based storage offering, Canon Australia used the Irista photo storage extension and, to allow finance purchasing, they used the Society One extension. Finally, to streamline B2B ordering, reordering, and order management processes, they decided to employ Web Sales Orders, a Magento-developed B2B suite.

2. Magento UX Examples from Virginia Hayward

Virginia Hayward envisioned a labor-saving UX design due to their unique product offering. Partially, the “Build a Hamper” feature is built with the customer in mind. Shoppers can choose a hamper or multiple hamper types, fill them with the products that they want, add branding and custom messaging and ship to one or more locations.

The “Build a Hamper” feature also allows for extra customization through a personalized label options for the hampers. The feature shows a preview option so that customers know they chose the perfect color, font, and format for the label. In addition, a product suggestion tool was created to intelligently suggest how to fill additional hamper space and shows a helpful bar across the top of the screen so customers cans see how much space is available in their basket.
To ensure that the shopping experience is without frustrations, a stock system that operates in real-time reserves products as they are placed in a hamper so that once checkout is reached, no out-of-stock annoyances occur. And when customers do reach checkout, they have the ability to save a hamper for re-ordering at a later date.

3. Magento UX Examples from Absolut Art

In order to make their website as mobile and modern as possible, Absolut created a site featuring a swipe right or left capability.

Users can swipe through art to teach the website their preferences and more quickly find the pieces that they want. To allow for enhanced art finding, the website uses a Multi-Option Filter so that users can intricately filter their wants and needs.

Another goal was to allow customers to become more connected to the art pieces by getting to know the artists. They embedded auto-playing videos about the artist to accomplish this.

Absolut also added a feature to enable users to see what a piece of art would look like in a real room. The interactive Drag and Drop Room Decorator allows users to choose a room that is similar to their home or office and place the piece of art in it, to really get a feel for the size and the impact it would have on the room.
To create a streamlined checkout process, Absolut implemented a better payment platform, integrating Ayden and Klarna. In addition, Absolut opted for a single page checkout to streamline the checkout and to cut down on abandoned carts.

4. Magento UX Examples from the Atlanta Hawks

In order to meet growing sales and site traffic peaks during game time, The NBA Store for the Atlanta Hawks built their new Magento site with the customer in mind. The new site focused heavily on category flexibility, responsive web design, and a mobile-friendly content.

The new site integrated One Step Checkout and the Moneybookers payment gateway to streamline their checkout process.

To addresses navigation issues, the Hawks improved their search functionality with improved product tagging.
To enhance user engagement, the Hawks added social media buttons so customers can easily share their favorite items with their friends and followers.
The customer first approach to design helped the Hawks to see 150% YOY increase in their gross sales.

Get Started on a UX Focused Design of Your Own

The Magento platform offers unbelievable scalability that allows merchants to design with each unique customer in mind. The merchants noted above span multiple verticals with very different customer needs. Magento allows merchants to implement what they need. With Magento, great UX can be achieved out-of-the-box, with extensions, or even with custom code. If done correctly, sites will run at peak performance and delight customers.

To learn more about Magento UX examples for your store, contact us or call us to talk to Magento expert at 513-469-3345.

SUPEE 10266 and Magento 2 Updates You Need to Know About

SUPEE 10266 and Magento 2 Updates You Need to Know About

SUPEE 10266

Security Patch SUPEE 10266 and Magento 2 updates have arrived.

Last week, Magento released new Magento 2 updates as well as SUPEE 10266 to Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce. The updates include numerous security changes and enhancements that work to prevent your website from data leaks, cross-site request forgery, and authenticated Admin user remote code execution vulnerabilities.

These updates include:

What the security updates and patches address

Per Magento:

These releases contain almost 40 security changes and enhancements that help close cross-site request forgery (CSRF), unauthorized data leak, and authenticated Admin user remote code execution vulnerabilities.”

These critical security issues are why Magento 2 updates or SUPEE 10266 need to be applied as soon as possible.

In addition to these vital patches to Magento security, the release also includes a couple general fixes to common problems related to image reloading, payments using one-step checkout, and updates to the USPS API.

  • One fix involves an issue where uploaded images were twice their original size.
  • The other adds an informative message to the payment information section of the one-page checkout that works to alert customers that no payment is due for orders that total 0.0.
  • On September 1, USPS changed their “First-Class Mail Parcel Service” to “First-Class Package Service – Retail”. Because the First-Class Mail Parcel is no longer available after September 1, Magento 1.x and 2.x merchants offering this service must change this service name in the Usps.php as soon as possible. If merchants do not take action, stores will not support checkout using the new “First-Class Package Service – Retail” option.

What to update

Although Magento released multiple new security patches, all of them address problems with unauthorized access. Depending on what version of Magento you are using, there are different required solutions to updating your security.

 Magento 1 merchants will need to either upgrade to Magento 2 or apply the SUPEE-10266 patch.

Magento 2 merchants will need to update both Magento Source (formerly known as Community Edition) and Magento Commerce (formerly known as Enterprise Edition).

Regardless of whether you are on Magento 1 or 2, keeping your security up to date is VERY important. By Ignoring Magento Security Patches and Upgradesyour website is exposed to vulnerabilities that exist throughout your Magento installation.

InteractOne can help migrate, update and patch all versions of Magento. Contact us to get your site updated or patched up. Or, call us to talk to a Magento expert at 513-469-3345.