Powering PWAs with the Payment Request API

Powering PWAs with the Payment Request API

PWAs are changing the mobile game but you may be asking yourself, “what are they and how do they work?” Well,  you just came to the right page. In this blog, we’ll bring you up to speed on what exactly PWAs are, how they improve the ‘checkout’ experience and how they can lead to increased revenue and conversions.

What exactly is a (PWA) Progressive Web App?

While we briefly covered Progressive Web Apps in a previous blogPWAs are mobile websites that are designed to look and feel more like an app. Customers encounter a PWA while visiting your existing URL, on their mobile browser, like they normally would. But with a PWA powering the visit, the customer experiences the usability and functionality of an app, all without having to download and install an app. PWAs are a truly streamlined, next generation shopping experience that, according to Google, generally drives a 20% boost in overall revenue, with conversion rates on mobile devices doubling in some cases.Two of the most popular and effective PWA’s currently in use are Starbucks and Uber.

Benefits of PWAs

Merchant purchase processes can involve multiple forms and complex workflows that change from webstore to webstore. For customers, navigating these various steps can  be the most confusing and frustrating part of the buying process. And is also the leading cause of ‘cart abandonment’. Simply put, if there are too many steps or barriers between your customers and completing a purchase, many customers will simply ‘leave’. Which is where the Payment Request API comes into play.

Payment Request API

While mobile traffic now makes up 60% of total web traffic, it only accounts for 16% of sales conversions. The Payment Request API was created to bridge the gap between web development and native mobile, bringing the usability and purchasing power of the app to your PWA enhanced mobile webstore. It provides a single, consistent method to collect payment data all without the multiple checkout forms and complex workflows.

The Payment Request API is a cross and open-browser standard that eliminates traditional checkout flows by empowering merchants to request and accept any payment in a single API call. The API removes the need for manual entry by storing the customer’s information securely in to the browser. The browser then passes addresses and payment details directly to the website. And, since the browser is collecting the user’s payment information, your payment process is reduced from multiple steps to a single ‘tap’. Some of the direct benefits of the Payment Request API include:

  • Speed and Ease – Customers can be prompted to enter their payment details once and have it stored in the PWA browser, like it would be in an app, removing the need to fill out multiple forms on mobile
  • Consistency – Merchants are able to provide the same user experience across a wide variety of devices, browsers and platforms.
  • Payment options – With a Payment Request API fully integrated with your PWA, merchants can expand their list of accepted forms of payment; credit, debit and prepaid cards as well as 3rd party digital wallets, (Apple Pay, Google Pay) cryptocurrency and more.
  • Credentials management – Users can manage their credit cards and shipping addresses directly in the browser. A browser can also sync these “credentials” across devices, making it easy for users to jump from desktop to mobile and back again when buying things.

Conclusion

The Progressive Web App may improve the customer’s mobile shopping experience, but it is the Payment Request API that impacts conversions and increases sales. It’s the spark that’s truly lighting the PWA revolution. 

If your mobile sales are slumping and you just don’t see a way out of the endless cycle of cart abandonment then now’s the time to speak to an eCommerce Performance Specialist. Contact us to speak to a member of our team today and bring your mobile game up a level.

Recommended Extensions for Your Email Marketing

Recommended Extensions for Your Email Marketing

Your email marketing strategy  needs to focus on building customer loyalty, increasing your conversion opportunities, boosting customer acquisition and raising brand awareness. With so many vital requirements for your email marketing requirements, it’s important to take time to investigate which email platform not only connects best to your eCommerce store, but which ones are uniquely equipped to handle your needs. In this blog we’re going to take a deeper dive and explore our  recommended solutions for email marketing.

Emarsys

Emarsys is an innovative, plug-and-play marketing platform that virtually eliminates the need for IT overhead and allows for a seamless flow of data between your eCommerce site and the Emarsys platform. This support allows for your Magento data to automatically be put to work creating automated, multi-channel campaigns with trigger responses based on a wide range of customer actions and data metrics.

Benefits

Reduce data management tasks:

Merchants are empowered to manage all their marketing activities from a single platform by unifying shop data with Emersys’ campaign data. This will give merchants a better understanding of their customers and allow them to create more engaging omni-channel campaigns.

Natively triggered mapped events & Intelligent personalization

With Emarsys, the extension’s data collection scripts allow for merchants to monitor every customer interaction with your Magento site to gain a more complete understanding of your customer’s habits over time. Customer’s activities will also trigger external events such as transactional emails or an automated omnichannel campaign. By mapping the interactions customers have with your site, merchants are empowered to connect with them with context-sensitive content and create offers that are truly personalized. This will help you remain top-of-mind for your customers and increase conversions.

Listrak

Listrack for Magento offers a solid range of customizable options, designed to broaden the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Listrak is able to work beyond your eCommerce site and become fully integrated with your mobile and social channels. It is through this omnichannel connection that Listrak’s robust reporting tool is able to give merchants a wider range of customer data, enabling merchants to produce highly personalized, seamless marketing campaigns that engage buyers across a multitude of touchpoints.

Listrak may be one of the pricier email marketing solutions on the market but it is also much more feature rich and most email marketing tools alone. Listrak is ideal for larger businesses who want to consolidate their marketing channels on to one platform.

Benefits

All-in-one data location

Listrak provides merchants with an all-in-one data portal that pulls from multiple customer and campaign data sources, including social channels.

Automated Recurring & Lifecycle Messages

Automated timed messages are sent to past customers to re-engage them with your store and encourage continued buying. These automated messages can be created from a single template, from which personalized messages are inserted before distribution.

Integrated Product Reminders 

Shares targeted content across all consumer channels to connect with customers via product alerts and recommendations via website, social, mobile, and email marketing. These reminders can be based on a customer’s left pages, or an abandoned shopping cart purchase, with a timed personalized message to remind them of their last interaction with your webstore.

Back in Stock and Inventory Alerts

With Listrack you can automatically reach out to customers when the product they desire is now back in stock and available. Listrak will sync up the customer’s profile with the product and send personalized emails if the product is delayed or discontinued.

Bronto

The Bronto Marketing Platform is another drag-and-drop cloud-based email marketing automation software. Bronto was designed to compile all customer data in one place, allowing merchants to create customized campaigns and send targeted messages through multiple channels, such as email, mobile or social media. The Bronto dashboard provides insights that enable simple monitoring and outreach towards customers in all stages of the selling lifecycle, from acquisition to conversion. The Bronto Marketing Platform is intended for mid-size to-large, multichannel retailers due to its ability to control multiple storefronts from the same account & dashboard. The Bronto email app also easily integrates with Bronto’s pop-up and coupon manager apps to provide even more advanced customization options.

Benefits

RFM Metrics & Importing Information

Recency, Frequency, and Monetary-Value metrics regarding purchase history are used to identify target groups within your customer list. This, along with the ability to import past purchase information, with entire order history and product details,  provides in-depth customer information perfect for creating effective marketing campaigns.

Support for Multiple Stores

Bronto allows you to adjust the map data and configuration settings between each webstore you manage, all from the same account dashboard.

Automated messaging

Bronto will allow merchants to automate the distribution of a wide range of messages, based on each unique customer’s current spot in the life cycle. These include: cart abandonment messages, coupon codes, product recommendations and wish list reminders.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing solutions on the market today. It’s another drag-and-drop platform that makes it easy to design and distribute emails, giving merchants complete control over subscriber profiles & campaigns. Mailchimp also boasts an impressive native analytics and reporting feature that is ideal for merchants who want to generate ‘ad hoc’ reports.

Benefits

Segmentation & Automation

When it comes to marketing automation, MailChimp can automatically segment customers based on conditions, including; purchase history, sign-up date, demographic information and much more.  Allowing merchants to target and manage customer groups based on a wide range of factors. With these segments created, merchants can then begin targeting segments with specialized messaging and an automated workflow. For example, Mailchimp can be used to re-engage dormant subscribers or lapsed customers by creating a win-back email series using custom triggers that meet the unique needs of their business.

Personalized Recommendations & Messaging

The automization of Mailchimp extends to the individual personalization of its messages too. Merchants are able to generate unique email messages with product recommendations, based on each customer’s previous purchases and pages visited. Email autoresponders can also be triggered by special events such as a customer’s birthday, lack of activity over time, recommendations after purchases, abandoned cart reminders, and more.

DotDigital

DotDigital (formerly dotmailer) Engagement Cloud is the platform of choice for businesses seeking to engage customers across all touchpoints. Users can connect customer data, surface powerful insights, and automate intelligent messages across email, SMS, social, and more.  This extension enables a seamless integration between your M2 store and your dotdigital Engagement Cloud account. Engagement Cloud for Magento ensures your subscribers stay in sync, and your key customer/retail data is available in Engagement Cloud to empower your email marketing.

Benefits

Marketing Automation

DotDigital’s Omnichannel automation empowers merchants to connect with visitors and customers over a wide range of channels, including Email, SMS, social re-targeting, Google ads, push notifications and web chat. Through these messages merchants can reconnect with visitors and customers to revisit abandoned carts and campaigns.  Welcome, post purchase and birthday messages are just a sample of the automated marketing pieces that can be programmed to connect with clients, leaving merchants free to direct their energies elsewhere.

Commerce Intelligence

RFM-Modeling within DotDigital creates commerce personas for website guests and then empowers merchants to ‘watch’ how contacts move through the customer lifecycle. This way, you can track your most important metrics with customers and crosssell and upsell with best sellers, highlight ‘most viewed’ as well as also-bought product recommendations.

Klaviyo

Klaviyo’s is a favorite amongst the developers and solution specialists at InteractOne. Its power lies in its segmentation and targeting. Klaviyo’s web-tracking system uses specific browsing behavior to segment visitors so they receive tailored ad campaigns and emails based on their on-site activity. Klaviyo will help you identify the visitors to your site: who looked but didn’t buy, who is a frequent visitor, who hasn’t visited recently, who left their cart full without purchasing, etc. Then, you can implement a campaign designed around the visitors’ site-specific actions.

Benefits

Automation

Klaviyo’s automation and interface are pleasant and easy to use. This tool makes setup enjoyable while driving improved results. Automate prospect and customer communications using customer lifetime value, lifecycle stage, and other metrics to make messaging relevant and timely.

One Click Integration

Klaviyo was designed to virtually eliminate the need for traditional marketing tools such as spreadsheets. The software was designed to seamlessly integrate with your existing tools and pulls data from Salesforce, Magento and Shopify. It also offers an Open API, allowing merchants to build custom integrations.

Ease of Use

Klaviyo is built from the ground up to be easy to use. The solution comes with a WYSIWYG editor that enables you to create compelling emails without a struggle. Also, there are multiple responsive email templates that are optimized for all types of devices including mobile devices.

If you would like to discuss your customer and prospect emailing requirements, we would be happy to help you choose the correct platform for your needs. Just drop us a line.

Magento, BigCommerce or Shopify. Which One is Right for You?

Magento, BigCommerce or Shopify. Which One is Right for You?

If you’ve reached the limit of your current eCommerce platform then it’s time to upgrade to a system that is capable of handling your current needs as well as your long term goals. Your next platform is a major commitment and one that will require the investment of your resources and time. And while you may be ready to graduate to another platform there are some key questions you must first answer.

Shopify

Shopify is the easiest platform for users to get a store up and running on in no time at all and with little technical know-how. Shopify is based off of a tiered pricing format, meaning that you can start off small and quickly expand when the need arises. In this segment we will be discussing the companies that use Shopify as well as some of the features that, depending on your needs, make it great.

Mobile Optimization and Responsiveness

Shopify is optimized for mobile and allows your customers to experience a complete shopping experience directly from their hand-held device. Shopify was one of the first eCommerce platforms to fully integrate mobile, meaning their mobile support is tried and tested and ready for your online store. This is vital because the number of mobile shoppers increases by the day and the responsiveness of your site will play a huge role in its ability to convert. The website themes that Shopify offers are mobile responsive. Shopify also offers iPhone and Android apps that can be used to manage your own store from your fingertips.

Ease of Use

If you would describe yourself as ’non technical’ then Shopify might be the best fit for you. Shopify’s platform is one that is much more of a ‘drag and drop’ interface, similar to what you would experience building a website in Squarespace or Wix. This user-friendly functionality makes it easier for you to build and customize your store if you or your team lack programming experience and/or you have a do-it-yourself identity. Shopify also features a robust App Store, where plugins can be purchased and installed with ease, extending the functionality of your site. Think the iTunes App Store but for eCommerce. The platform allows for website customization as these apps can be easily integrated. This means that merchants can easily add extra features and functionalities to their  store and enhance its value, offerings and increase the overall user experience. If you’re currently limited with the amount of resources and man-hours you can dedicate to your eCommerce site, then a move to Shopify might be what’s best for you in the long run.

Storefront design

The basic tier of Shopify comes with more than 25 free storefront template designs with additional templates available for purchase. There is a built-in blog template but the platform also fully integrates with WordPress, allowing you to blog on the platform of your preference. The available storefront templates make it easy to get your site started and all templates can be modified, relatively easily, to your liking. There is also a large community of third-party developers available on Shopify’s website that you can tap into as well.

POS

One thing that’s unique about Shopify is that you can also use it as your in-store POS system by adding its Retail Package to your plan, making it a great choice for small businesses that have both online and brick-and-mortar stores.

Fully Hosted

By being a fully hosted site, Shopify allows merchants to not have to worry about finding their own web host, upgrading software or installing security updates. The technical elements and roadblocks that normally cause merchants to hesitate about running their own store are eliminated with Shopify. By being a globally-hosted platform, Shopify has created a reliable infrastructure along with optimized software and hardware. This also results in super-fast loading speeds and an improved user experience.

Customer Support

Shopify also offers 24/7 phone support, live chat and email options to all users experiencing problems. To provide some perspective, to get the same level of Shopify support for your Magento eCommerce site you would need to enlist the services of a certified Magento developer (just like the certified pros right here at InteractOne). With Shopify, experts are available for round-the-clock customer support to ensure your store is running as designed at all times.   

Shopify Pricing Plans

Shopify offers basic plans ranging from $29 to $299 per month. They also have more expensive “enterprise” level plans for larger entities.

What companies use Shopify?

Budweiser, Bulletproof Sunday, Somewhere WaterAid, New York Times Shop, The Economist, Leesa Mattress, Penguin Books

 

Shopify Pros

  • No design experience is needed.
  • There is a consistent cost profile, month to month.
  • Software patches are included in fees.
  • It is easier to administer.

Shopify Cons

  • Apps available for popular customizations like year, make, and model may require customization, which can get expensive, and development options are limited to the module developer.
  • There are ongoing annual or monthly fees – whether or not you are making changes.
  • You don’t own your own website.
  • SAAS platforms do not support large catalogs (500K+ SKUs), and Enterprise-level versions can become very expensive compared to the base-level fees.
  • Some desirable features, such as faceted navigation or additional product attributes, aren’t available out of the box.

Magento

Magento is currently in the middle of permanently shifting versions from Magento 1, which has been active and supported since 2008. But Magento 2 promises to maintain the same features that made Magento 1 so popular, while adding many new features as well. Magento 2 will still offer an Open Source (Community) version of M2 which will allow for custom extensions to be added to native features. The Magento 2 Commerce (Enterprise – paid/licensed) edition will continue on as well. Let’s explore some of the great features that made Magento so popular as well as some of its latest features as well.

Accessibility

Magento 2, both the Community and Enterprise versions, will allow for the management of three separate databases; products, orders, and checkout. This is being done to prevent data overload and reduce incidences of system failure. The result being increased data security, speed, and scalability. By separating these three databases, Magento 2 sites will give visitors a smoother, faster, and more accurate experience as well as improve the ability your certified Magento developer has to make refinements to the platform.

Company Accounts

For B2B online merchants there may be many individuals who need to have access to an individual account. Supervisors, buyers, accountants, and managers may all require individual access. With Magento 2, store administrators will have the ability to moderate accessibility to the account. Buyers will also have the ability to assign full access or limit the access of their team members.

Quick Order

Magento 2 features a new SKU quick order feature, which allows users to add an item directly to their cart by entering the SKU numbers rather than having to navigate the site manually to locate the item and then add it to their cart. This feature extends beyond an individual item as well. M2 allows users to upload a file containing all the matching SKU’s and their desired quantity directly to the platform. Thus, improving the speed and quality of the purchasing experience for those visitors with a long list of items.

Quotes & Price Negotiation

When it comes to dollar amount and in actual product volume, B2B orders are quite often much larger than B2C orders. This dynamic increases the likelihood that your business may need to negotiate or provide terms with a custom quote. Magento 2 will allow customers to request a quote from you, directly from the product page while also allowing the customer to submit their own price request. The administrator on the page then has the opportunity to refuse, accept, or continue negotiating the offer. If the offer is accepted, the customer then has the option to complete the purchase at the negotiated price directly from their cart, just like a normal purchase.

Requisition Lists

The wishlist feature on Magento 1 is pretty standard. It allows customers to move items back and forth between their wishlist and cart, while removing the item from the wishlist upon completing a purchase. With the new Requisition List in Magento 2, customers can set up lists of favorite items and recurring products that will be continually purchased. This streamlines the purchasing process for renewables and other frequently ordered items making it easier and faster.

Speed

The result of many of the aforementioned enhancements will be increased speed. M2 will optimize your webpages for a faster delivery with accelerated server response times, which will ultimately result in an increase in loading time between 30% and 50%. M2 users can also expect to see a 38% decrease in checkout time compared with M1.  These improvements will also be extended to mobile as well with Magento 2’s responsive design structure. Magento 2 has the ability to handle 10 million views per hour, which is 50x the capacity of Magento 1. Magento 2 also can also handle more than 90,000 orders per hour, more than double the ability of Magento 1.

Support

Magento boasts an extensive library of user guides and their Magento Forum is famous for hosting a large database of educational, user generated content.  The guides are easy to find, are usually simple and very comprehensive. Whatever your problem is, there is no doubt that another Magento user has experienced this same issue and has created a how-to for solving it. But while these user-generated guides are readily available, there is one major piece of support that Magento is lacking and that is customer support. There isn’t a phone number to call or an email address to reach out to if you want the guidance of a trained professional. There’s something reassuring about knowing that there’s a trained person you can reach out to with intimate knowledge about your platform.

Magento Pricing Plans

Magento Open Source is free to use, though you will need to choose and pay a site hosting provider. Magento Commerce edition has an annual license fee of $30,000 or more depending on your site’s revenue.

What companies use Magento?

Nike, Jaguar, Canon, Jack Daniels, HP

Magento Pros:

  • The ongoing cost of ownership is higher than it would be on SaaS or auto-specific platforms so merchants who plan to achieve at least $2 to $3 million in sales may want to consider other paths.
  • Concerns and costs go hand in hand with managing site security, hosting, and ownership of your website code.

BigCommerce 

BigCommerce is a hosted SaaS solution for small to medium sized merchants who are still growing. It’s a feature-rich solution with built-in selling for third party marketing places like Amazon and eBay that is great for medium-sized and larger merchants. BigCommerce also offers educational resources to assist merchants. BigCommerce offers two levels of eCommerce solutions including BigCommerce and BigCommerce Enterprise.

Hosting

Like Shopify, BigCommerce takes care of hosting for its merchants. And since it is a Software as a Service (Saas) product, you don’t own the software, but pay a monthly fee to use it.

Training and Support

BigCommerce puts a ton of focus on helping you learn how to build a successful online store. They offer access to BigCommerce University; in-depth videos, how-to guides built right into your store’s dashboard. Also available is a setup wizard, an autoresponder email series at signup, and a consultant assigned to your account to answer any questions right off the bat. 

Knowledge is power (and money), and BigCommerce puts a huge focus on it.

Customer Service

BigCommerce not only assigns you a dedicated “consultant,” they also have active forums, a huge learning knowledge-base, and support via Facebook, Twitter, chat, email, and phone. And this level of support is a huge pro for BigCommerce – especially in comparison to non-platform options or DIY options. If you go the build-it-yourself open source route (ie, building your eCommerce site with Magento), you and your team are going to be on your own to sort out any bugs or problems, unless you’re working with a trained developer. If you don’t have the development resources or talent and don’t want to spend your time actually dealing with a checkout page errors, then BigCommerce with their strong customer support is worth a look.

Abandoned Cart Saver

Another BigCommerce feature worth singling out for praise is its abandoned cart feature – it’s arguably one of the best out there. The tool allows you to create and automate up to three emails to site visitors who go part of the way through the buying process only to leave your store without completing a purchase. This has the potential to dramatically increase your revenue with little effort – other than the ‘one-off’ time investment in setting up the automated messages – being involved. Ultimately, if you are confident of receiving a large number of visits to your site, or are already experiencing high traffic levels, then purchasing the Pro or Enterprise plan featuring the abandoned cart saver makes a lot of sense.

Store Design

BigCommerce has recently released a new visual merchandising tool called Store Design that allows merchants to immediately see the effects of your edits. This new feature makes BigCommerce much more customizable.  The product comes with a range of customizable templates to help you design your online store; you can use it to sell either physical or digital goods; and there are also some tools provided to help you market your store. BigCommerce has the best in-house features of any ecommerce builder. These provide a high level of quality and reduce the reliance you may have on third party apps. You effectively have everything you need right at your fingertips, and for no extra cost.

Product Types

BigCommerce is the only ecommerce builder on the market which lets you sell physical, digital, and service-based products without having to use an app. All of these sales types are already built into the editor. This means less hassle and less cost, because you don’t have to worry about using third party apps.

Payment Options

Unlike some other ecommerce builders, BigCommerce doesn’t lock you into its own payment gateway. It also doesn’t impose transaction fees on any of its plans. Instead, it lets you choose your own payment gateway without imposing any extra charges or transaction fees. There are over 65 integrated payment gateways to choose from. With one-click setup, mobile payments, and multiple currencies supported, BigCommerce does its best to get you paid fast. Payment providers include PayPal, Stripe, Square, Apple Pay and Amazon Pay.

Pricing Plans

Bigcommerce offers four month-to-month pricing plans, which are as follows:

Bigcommerce Standard: $29.95 per month

Bigcommerce Plus: $79.95 per month

Bigcommerce Pro: $249.95 per month

Bigcommerce Enterprise: pricing varies, depending on your business requirements. The Enterprise version includes marketing tools, real-time analytics, reporting, and 24/7 support.

What companies use BigCommerce?

Sony, Toyota, Ben & Jerry’s & Paul Mitchel

BigCommerce Pros:

  • All-in-one solution
  • Hosted platform
  • User-friendly interface
  • Comes with many out-of-the-box features
  • Customizable with add-ons

BigCommerce Cons

  • Lacks scalability and customization
  • Has limited add-on availability
  • Hosted platform has been subject to outage issues
  • Security

Magento, BigCommerce, Shopify: Finding the right fit

Magento, BigCommerce, and Shopify all have their pros and cons. The critical decision is choosing a platform that you can live with, and perhaps as importantly, can afford. Magento is a market leader for a reason. It is scalable, customizable and ready for global eCommerce. Magento is typically an excellent option for medium to large businesses with high-volume stores that value customization. Although potentially pricey for small merchants, Magento is a smart investment for merchants with large inventories and whose growth is dependent on a flexible and powerful platform.

BigCommerce offers a strong option for mid-sized merchants who may need something more scalable than Shopify, but maybe not up for the robustness of Magento. BigCommerce provides all-inclusive pricing for hosting and support. However, some reports indicate that the support for BigCommerce isn’t as advanced as the Magento support community or of the Shopify customer service team. Mid-sized merchants on an upward trajectory could outgrow the platform and need to migrate to a more scalable platform.

Shopify provides real benefits for smaller companies with all-inclusive pricing for hosting, support and set up. Shopify is considered user-friendly and a smart choice for the busy or less tech-savvy merchant.  However, some users report running into a “Shopify Ceiling” noting that the platform can be very limiting for growing merchants. Flourishing merchants could quickly outgrow the platform and need to migrate to a more scalable platform.

Shopify and BigCommerce take care of site hosting for merchants. These platforms target merchants who lack design experience and need an easy-to-use website builder. Smaller or niche merchants can find great success on these platforms.

If you would like to talk about your specific needs to determine which platform is right for you, please connect with us using our contact form.

7 Simple A/B Tests to Improve Your eCommerce Site

7 Simple A/B Tests to Improve Your eCommerce Site

No matter how much time and resources you devote to building the most modern, most user friendly eCommerce website there are always going to be features that can be improved upon. That’s where A/B testing comes in. Back in November we covered why eCommerce sites need to A/B test and some of the best extensions to A/B test on. But what elements should you A/B test? That’s what we’ll be covering in this blog.  Whether this is your first attempt at A/B testing or you’re on a never-ending search for ways to improve your eCommerce site and increase sales conversions, these tests are worth your time. Here are seven simple A/B tests to try for your eCommerce site.

Show your product or show how it’s used?

Of course you are going to feature your products with great, high-res images, but what’s the best way to display them? Do users want to see the product in action or just against a solid background? A/B testing will tell you.

Product Videos

Every single bit of research and data shows that video is the future. Even the most crisp, beautiful high-res images have limitations. Video is as close as merchants can get to bringing their product to life, short of having customers physically hold the product. If you haven’t yet fully committed to product videos, start with a few for some select products and see how they perform. If you already have product videos, test out an auto-play option and add captions to catch the eye of customers surfing your site with their sound ‘off’.

List View vs Mosaic

It’s the job of your website to make it as easy as possible for customers to find the right product. But, what’s the best way to organize your products visually? For some products and industries a grid view is more successful. For others, a mosaic produces better results. Try A/B testing the visual layout of your product pages and compare the user engagement for a list view versus a mosaic view.

BIGGER calls to action

Customers should never have to ‘search’ for what they’re looking for on your page. It should always be (fairly) obvious where they should go for what they need. If customers can’t find where to ‘Checkout’ or ‘add to cart’ then your site is failing. Those are the two most important elements of your store and when it comes to those CTA’s, bigger is better. But what design, color scheme, and wording on your buttons work best? Test it out.

Feature Contact Information

It may seem like something small, but adding your contact information can have a big impact on your conversions. Relationships are built on trust and customer/merchant relationships are no different. Customers want to know how to get in touch with you if something goes awry. Try prominently listing your email address, phone number and (if applicable) physical location across the top of your site and see if your conversions see a boost.

Static Image over Carousel

Carousels have fallen out of favor in recent years. Testing has shown they can often be distracting to customers, causing them to overlook details that merchants are often trying to get noticed, such as sales and new products. Ecommerce customers also crave control, which auto-carousels completely remove. So, if you’re using a carousel (banner slider) at the top of your page(s) try swapping that out for a static hero image with a single, clear proposition. You may find that lone image and message resonates more than a flurry of images and options.

Highlight a Price Reduction

If you’ve recently reduced the price of an item, make sure your customers know about it. Show them visually. But what’s the most effective way to show them? That’s what you need to test. Perhaps it’s a ‘slashed’ price, or bolded text or an icon on the product image. There’s only one way to find out which works best for your site. A/B test it.

A/B Testing Tips

You can avoid costly mistakes with your A/B testing if you know what to prioritize. Here are a few tips you can try:

Test your most profitable pages first – start ‘where the money is’. Begin testing on the pages that bring you the most traffic and the most money to build on that success. 

Assign A/B testing to a single person – Give one person on your team the responsibility of A/B testing management, implementation, monitoring and reporting. The term, ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ can definitely apply to this. Keep things simple and empower a single person to handle these aspects. 

Don’t forget about mobile – Perform A/B tests on both mobile and desktop. Results for mobile can be 180 degrees off from results you see on desktop. What works for one doesn’t necessarily mean it will work on the other.

Start big – begin by testing the larger elements on your pages; hero images, purchase buttons, product descriptions. Don’t get bogged down testing the smaller elements until you’ve tested your larger elements and improved those first.

Test a single element at a time – Select one element at a time to test, otherwise your results are going to be skewed and you won’t be able to determine what elements that are being tested are effecting the page. 

 

To learn more about how to get the absolute most out of your eCommerce site, contact us and a member of our expert team will be in touch with you.

Should I Migrate from Magento to Big Commerce or Shopify?

Should I Migrate from Magento to Big Commerce or Shopify?

At InteractOne, we’ve encountered many merchants in the past couple of years who were facing the need to migrate off of Magento 1 and wondering if they should migrate to an SaaS (software as a service) solution like BigCommerce or Shopify.  The question is very common since support for Magento 1 is ending in June of 2020 and merchants must migrate to Magento 2 or a competitive platform like Shopify or BigCommerce. In the past 5 years BigCommerce and Shopify have evolved into feature-rich, high performance platforms capable of hosting both small and enterprise level sites.  As they have grown, so has their flexibility and the community around them. Like Salesforce, they have created platforms and APIs that can support robust 3rd party applications and integration making it possible to build scalable websites tailored to complex business needs. There are several important factors to consider when choosing between Magento and a SaaS alternative.

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Features

One of the biggest considerations you must take into account when comparing these platforms  are the features you get right out-of-the-box. Magento is a more feature rich application than SaaS options such as BigCommerce and Shopify. Those features provide flexibility and power, often times required by enterprise level organizations but not necessarily needed by mid market or small businesses.  It is typically preferable to use software that out-of-the-box solves the majority of a business’s requirements. That means for larger companies with more complex requirements, the feature rich Magento is oftentimes a much better solution since it requires less 3rd party code and customization than a SaaS solution might in order to solve for the same set of business requirements.

With many features comes more complexity. Magento, because it is more feature-rich and complex takes longer to learn how to administer.  Shopify and BigCommerce on the other hand have a much smaller learning curve for administering features. For smaller companies with fewer and possibly more inexperienced resources, a SaaS eCommerce platform can be a much more practical solution.

Third Party Apps

If the out-of-the-box features of your eCommerce platform are not able to meet your business needs, Magento, BigCommerce and Shopify all have marketplace app stores where you can purchase additional features and integrations from third party app providers.  While Shopify, BigCommerce and Magento have lots of third party apps to choose from, how the apps are billed, installed and managed is unique to each platform. With Magento you purchase an app one time and have a developer install it using a technical process. Whereas with Shopify and BigCommerce you pay for the apps on a monthly basis and simply install them with a click of a button.  It’s important to note that on Magento, installing 3rd party apps may require significant developer support if the app being installed conflicts with other existing third party apps already installed on your site. That support combined with the need to install updated versions of the apps typically makes Magento apps carry some significant maintenance and support cost over the long term.  So, even though Shopify and BigCommerce apps may seem more costly (because of the monthly fees) when compared to Magento apps (that you purchase one-time), they are typically cheaper than Magento apps when considering the additional maintenance and support costs required to install and maintain Magento apps.

One nice benefit of Magento third party apps is that they are more easily extended or customized than Shopify or BigCommerce apps.  This can be a great benefit for you if there are Magento apps that support some but not all of the functionality needed or if you need to integrate the functionality of two separate third party apps.  As with other similar scenarios a key benefit of Magento is the flexibility it provides for efficiently meeting custom or unique requirements.

Cost

Another consideration typically top of mind when considering platforms is cost to build and manage.  Magento is usually similar to Shopify and BigCommerce when comparing site build, licensing and hosting costs.  However, there is a significant difference when considering long term total cost of ownership. That is because Magento requires developer maintenance and support to install patches and upgrades, which occur on a somewhat frequent basis (usually quarterly).  With a SaaS solution, the development maintenance and support costs are significantly lower since they are built into the monthly fee that includes maintenance, licensing and hosting.  

Also consider that Magento typically costs a good deal more to manage from a human resources standpoint.  As previously mentioned in the ‘Features’ section, Magento is feature rich and requires technical oversight, which means it typically requires more senior level personnel with software management experience to manage.  And senior level personnel with software management experience will command higher salaries. BigCommerce and Shopify on the other hand do the software management for you and are both easier to administer, so their sites can be run by less experienced personnel who don’t necessarily need to have a background in software or software management.

Scalability

While SaaS platforms can handle large volumes of traffic for smaller catalog sites (ie. Kylie Cosmetics), they typically don’t provide the resources needed to manage large enterprise sites.  Enterprise websites with large catalogs, traffic volume and robust data integrations require the flexibility needed to support large scale operations. This is where Magento is a clear winner.  Its flexibility and ability to maintain separate databases for customers, orders and catalog make it a great platform for supporting enterprise-level businesses. With Magento you can configure your hosting services to automatically spin up and dedicate the resources needed to keep the site running fast no matter the demand for resources.  That said, a good hosting solution is required to make Magento scalable. Third party hosting providers like Webscale are what we recommend for Magento sites that need to be highly scalable. Webscale provides that flexibility by hosting Magento in the cloud and adding and removing resources on the fly per demand.

B2B

Another clear area of differentiation for Magento versus Shopify and BigCommer is B2B.  Magento Commerce Edition (the paid version) comes with a suite of features for B2B users.  These features include spending limits, shared catalogs, shopper permissions and customer segmentation which offer a lot of value to B2B merchants. These out-of-the-box features have allowed Magento to clearly differentiate itself in the B2B eCommerce arena. While Shopify and BigCommerce do have some features or 3rd party modules that can provide things like customer group specific pricing, they are nowhere near as feature rich when it comes to supporting B2B functionality.  For businesses with moderate to substantial B2B eCommerce requirements Magento is a clear winner in terms of value and performance.

Multi-Site and International

Magento has always provided the ability to support multiple websites from one admin.  This allows site owners to create separate sites for different countries or brands all managed from a single admin and shared catalog.  There are many efficiencies to be gained from this feature as it reduces the time and overhead needed to manage several different sites.  While Shopify and BigCommerce do support the ability to provide different currency display per country on the front-end, they do not provide a multi-site feature that allows for several separate sites to all be managed from one admin.  If a Shopify or BigCommerce merchant wishes to have country or brand specific sites, they must create separate websites with separate admin logins and then integrate these sites together via APIs and 3rd party apps for the sake of managing inventory and fulfillment.

Controversial Product

If you are selling controversial products such as guns & ammo or vaping there is concern about SaaS software and their policies.  Shopify for example has been known to discontinue support for certain types of these products and give their clients selling these products a very short time to migrate off their platform or stop selling those products completely.  That is a huge risk that can be mitigated by using an open source product like Magento. If you are selling controversial products on Magento and need to change hosting providers, payment gateways or any other tech in order to find support or meet compliance you have the ability to easily do that without being forced to face a complete platform migration.

Compliance

Similar to the prior point about controversial products, some industries are heavily regulated (ie. health care) and require additional measures of compliance not provided by Shopify or BigCommerce.  In these cases, it is necessary to use a software like Magento where you can manage and make any changes needed to the entire tech stack (servers and software) in order to meet necessary compliance standards.  Also, some larger companies have internal compliance regulations that require complement ownership and control of their tech stack. For those companies an SaaS solution won’t work with internal policies making a software like Magento a much better fit.

Flexibility

While Shopify and BigCommerce do have robust APIs and flexible front-end code they don’t provide developers with full access to override core functionality. Conversely, Magento developers have full access to the Magento code and tech stack and can override any core functionality for the sake of customization. So if you have a need for highly custom features such as to create your own product designs, complex product configurations, headless front-end or tightly coupled ERP integration Magento is typically better suited to meet your needs.

Community and Marketplace

Another key factor to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform is the size of its community and third party marketplace.  A large community and marketplace help move a platform forward while also keeping the costs of custom development, third party apps and licensing in check.  Magento and Shopify both benefit greatly from large communities of developers and very robust third party app marketplaces. BigCommerce is catching up fast however as its platform is experiencing tremendous growth and its support community is also growing.  Other enterprise eCommerce platforms such as Oracle, SAP, IBM and Salesforce suffer from somewhat smaller communities and marketplaces which contributes to higher development and licensing costs.

Summary

Magento, Shopify and BigCommerce are all robust market leading eCommerce platforms and as we have discussed above, choosing the one that is the best fit for your business depends on many factors.  In general, larger, more enterprise businesses with more complex or B2B requirements will typically find Magento a better fit while smaller or more mid-market merchants with less complexity will find BigCommerce or Shopify a better value. Our recommended approach for making an eCommerce platform decision is to work with a solution partner like InteractOne to document key business requirements and demo the platforms via free trials and presentations.  From there, we can work to fairly compare all valid factors and requirements and ensure you choose a platform that is the best fit for your business now and also supports your growth plans for the future. If you would like to discuss your situation and options with the pros at InteractOne, please drop us a note.

What’s Next for Tech? PWAs, Headless eCommerce & Cryptocurrency

What’s Next for Tech? PWAs, Headless eCommerce & Cryptocurrency

Continuing with our ‘what’s next’ series, this week we’re going to be taking a look at some of the newest forms of technology that are impacting the world of eCommerce.

In case you missed Part 1 of our series, “What’s Next for AI, Machine Learning and Data” or Part 2, “GDPR and CCPA FAQs“, click the links to read all about how these topics are changing the game in 2020 and beyond.

PWAs

With mobile traffic surpassing desktop traffic —  60% of all current traffic is now coming from mobile devices — it is crucial for merchants to provide the best mobile shopping experience to engage their audience. Even though mobile traffic is growing, conversion rates are not. With mobile traffic only accounting for only 16% of total conversion. It is because of this gap that Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) were developed. In short, a PWA is a website made to look and feel more like an app. Users will browse a PWA just like they normally would, on their browser, with a URL, but the experience they receive is one more akin to an app. All of this without having to download and install the app itself. Some of the most popular and effective PWA’s currently in use are Starbucks and Uber. They each give the user the full app experience and usability straight from a mobile browser. Google reports that when an ecommerce store switches to a Progressive Web App, they generally witness a 20% boost in overall revenue, with conversion rates on mobile doubling in some cases. Any new and existing webshop must consider delivering their services, not just as a standard online store, but as a Progressive Web App. Magento and BigCommerce currently offer PWA extensions/apps designed to deliver a next generation shopping experience to an increasingly mobile, world wide customer base.

Headless eCommerce

In recent years the ‘future of eCommerce’ has been touted as headless eCommerce. A headless browser is basically software-enabled browsers that offer separate user interfaces. Depending on the circumstances, merchants are able to automate various actions of their website and monitor their performances. When working under command line instructions in a headless browser there is no GUI. Through a headless browser you are able to test web pages and view several elements such as font family, dimensions, web layout and more. In the past, eCommerce sites operating on Magento or Shopify would have their back-end and front-end tightly integrated. But after the introduction of headless architecture, the front-end and back-end are now separated with both working independently. As a web designer there are a number of benefits for going headless. PHP code, complex JavaScript and widgets are no longer in use, making the HTML easier to understand. The HTML page could also be served statically, reducing the load time by a significant margin. And from an eCommerce perspective, the path to purchase is expanded. When operating on Magento, merchants would see a clear performance boost with a headless browser as the static elements of a page would be loaded quicker than with the dynamic elements being loaded lazily through Ajax.

Alternative Payment Methods

Ecommerce transactions used to be limited to credit cards and bank accounts and Paypal. But all that has changed. Now, digital payment methods have become more varied and ubiquitous. And as these digital payment methods continue to evolve, so must your processing abilities in order to keep pace. In the coming years more and more customers will come to your site looking to do business and armed with alternative payment methods. It will be up to you to have a payment gateway that meets your short-term and long-term business goals while also meeting your customer’s needs for security, convenience, functionality and price. 

Mobile Payments

Mobile Payments are a rapidly growing trend in the eCommerce world. There are a number of mobile payment apps that allow users to send money from their phone directly to other users or to digital merchants or directly to a cashier at a brick-and-mortar store. For brick and mortar locations, these transactions are enabled through the use of near-field communications (NFCs). It’s estimated that ⅓ of consumers are now using their NFC-enabled phones for contactless payments in stores. A customer’s phone will communicate and be verified with an NFC-enabled card machine via a close-proximity radio frequency. A customer’s mobile phone only needs to be within a few inches of the checkout terminal in order for the transfer to be completed. This exchange is nearly instantaneous and is more streamlined than the chip/PIN technology that most transactions are built upon.

Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, CashApp, Venmo and Zelle are among the most popular mobile payments apps available. Each comes equipped with their own unique security settings and the ability to connect and process a wide range of credit cards.  There are a number of current Magento extensions that offer flexibility and the ability to process these emerging mobile payment methods. Braintree and Stripe each offer merchants the ability to process Android Wallet, Venmo, Bitcoin and Apple Pay payments.

Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin continues to influence the macroeconomy, and pretty much everybody believes (or wants to believe) that digital currency has an extremely bright future. With that in mind, more and more industries and businesses are incorporating this technology into their eCommerce marketplace and order functionality.

There are numerous benefits of Bitcoin, including zero-fee fast transactions that are processed within a couple of seconds. Operations performed in the cryptocurrency network are immediate because they don’t have to pass through any instances like banks and settlement organizations. And while credit and debit cards are dependent on third parties that charge transaction fees, Bitcoin is free of those restrictions and charges.

Magento 2 CopPay Payment Gateway is a specialized plug-in allowing store owners to integrate the CopPay payment system into Magento 2-based websites. Leveraging the extension, registered CopPay merchants get the ability to easily accept cryptocurrency from their customers with no hidden costs and no additional fees. Customers can pay for their orders in cryptocurrency while merchants store owners receive payment either in crypto or converted to fiat currency. Braintree, Stripe and Bitpay all offer similar Bitcoin support to Magento merchants.

Conclusion

Stepping into new technologies can involve a higher level of risk and reward. Risk, because of the cost associated with unknowns and potential failures. Rewards, because early adopters can attract large amounts of business if properly leveraging the new technology to create a greater user experience. Don’t just implement new technology because it’s new. Instead, do the research to see if it’s possible to substantially improve your shopper’s experience with new technology.  If the gains are foreseeably substantial, then it may be worth the risk.

To learn more about how to integrate these extensions and technologies into your eCommerce site, contact us today.

What’s Next for Privacy? GDPR and CCPA FAQs

What’s Next for Privacy? GDPR and CCPA FAQs

Having taken effect on January 1st of 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is widely regarded as one of the most expansive privacy laws in the United States to date. The CCPA places limitations on the collection and sale of a customer’s personal information, while also providing certain legal protections when it comes to that same personal information. But the CCPA isn’t just a US version of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). While you won’t have to start all over if you’re prepared for GDPR, that doesn’t mean you have all your bases covered for CCPA.  

In this blog we’ll be covering the basics of the CCPA, how it compares with GDPR and some of the FAQ’s that have arisen around each and their implementation in US businesses working domestically and internationally.

Who does the CCPA apply to?

The CCPA applies to any business that satisfies one or more of the following conditions:

  1. Does business in the state of California
  2. And satisfies one of the following criteria:
    • Annual gross revenue in excess of $25 million;
    • Alone or in combination, annually buys, receives for the business’s commercial purposes, sells, or shares for commercial purposes, alone or in combination, the personal information of at least 50,000 consumers, households, or devices; or
    • Derives at least 50 percent of its annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information.

The biggest differences between the GDPR and CCPA lie in the scope of the application, the extent of collection limitations and the rules around accountability for breaches and challenges for non-compliance. In this chart, you’ll see some of the subtle, but important differences between the GDPR and the CCPA.

GDPR CCPA
Scope

Protects EU residents from companies located inside or outside of EU.

Covers the processing and collecting and application of personal data.

Protects CA residents and applies to companies with >$25mil in revenue, derives 50% of revenue from customer’s personal information or processes info on >50,000 residents

 

Covers the collection, processing and sale of Personal information.

Personal Data/Information Defined as any information relating to a person, including publicly available data. Defined as information that relates, describes, or can be linked directly or indirectly with a person or household.
Rights to Access/Disclosure Requires businesses to inform customers of the rights at the point of collection. Requires businesses to inform customers at or before the point of collections as to the categories of Personal information to be collected and the purposes of collection.
Opt Out Customers may request the restriction of any type of personal data. Businesses must provide notice of opt-out rights and provide consumers the right to opt-out of sale of the PI, but not the collection of it. They must provide a ‘Do not sell my personal information’ link on their home page.
Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) Requires a DPIA for any processing likely to risk a subject’s data rights. No DPIA is required but it is the responsibility of the business to implement and maintain security measures appropriate to protect a customer’s information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this apply to businesses not located in California? 

A business does not need to be located in the state of California to be subject to CCPA. This means any business that is ‘doing business’ via online transactions with California residents or has employees that live in the state.

Can companies be fined for non-compliance?  

The private right of action in the CCPA is limited to data breaches. Under the private right of action, damages can come in between $100 and $750 per incident per consumer. The California AG also can enforce the CCPA in its entirety with the ability to levy a civil penalty of not more than $2,500 per violation or $7,500 per intentional violation.

I don’t think we really collect personal information. Does the CCPA apply? 

CCPA has an extremely broad description of what constitutes personal information. If you collect resumes for job postings, your website tracks cookies or if you have a ‘Contact Us’ form on your website you are collecting personal information.

Is there an exemption for B2B businesses?

Sort of. B2B Companies are given a limited reprieve from complying with each of the requirements of the CCPA when it comes to the transactions and communications with other organizations, companies and government agencies. Personal information that is collected in the course of B2B communications or transactions from or about an employee, owner, director, officer or contractor of a business or government agency is exempt from most CCPA requirements. But this exemption will expire at the end of 2020. Even if your B2B company is not selling business contact information you still need to determine to what extent the information you collect for marketing purposes must comply with CCPA.

How to cover your bases?

The CCPA requires companies to keep detailed records of all personal information categories dating back to January 1, 2019. You should begin to inventory all the data you have collected since that date. You will also need to update your privacy notices and add a “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link to your home page.

Additional Resources for Business Owners

Magento also provides an excellent, more detailed guide to making sure your site is GDPR and CCPA compliant. It is available here.

For an even greater in-depth review of the CCPA law, please consult this great article from the National Law Review.

While the CCPA has some restrictions that currently limit it to the state of California, there is little doubt that it will have reverberations across the US and the world. California is, after all, the 5th largest economy on earth. With something as complicated as this new law and as important as your business we recommend that you consult with your attorney to confirm if CCPA applies to your business before taking action on compliance.

What’s Next for AI, Machine Learning and Data?

What’s Next for AI, Machine Learning and Data?

The next decade could very well be defined by the continued proliferation and advancement of AI and Machine Learning and the data that process collects. Assuming that occurs, it certainly means that AI will have a major impact on all aspects of business. How will that all play out? Only time will tell. But there have been a number of recent developments in these fields that are blazing a trail toward rapid changes across the digital eCommerce landscape. Let’s take a look at a few of these developments.

Automated interactive personalization

In the modern world, consumers are inundated with hundreds, if not thousands of ads every single day. And as consumers continue to get barraged with messaging, they are going to become fatigued, if not completely unaffected by seeing generic ads. To combat this occurrence, AI-powered personalization will become more prevalent and grow in importance. Customers decide very quickly—in a matter of seconds—whether they like your marketing message. Provide something relevant and personal and you’ve got a satisfied customer. Miss the mark, however, and they’re gone. While many companies have been able to personalize with a few product lines or segments, most still struggle to scale this personalization across all the ways they engage with customers. Done right, personalization enhances customers’ lives and increases engagement and loyalty by delivering messages that are tuned to, and even anticipate, what the customers truly want. These personalizations for the customer translate into financial benefits for the companies who succeed in this effort. Personalization can reduce acquisition costs by as much as 50 percent, lift revenues by 5 to 15 percent, and increase the efficiency of marketing spend by 10 to 30 percent.

What is needed to execute this personalization pace at scale is the right automation technology. Assembling and operating a marketing-automation tech stack, however, can be a challenge. Magento extensions such as Klevu, dotDigital and Listrak have already begun this endeavor. By driving site search, on-site personalization, email, and remarketing. But it is going to be more of an SOP and a necessity as time goes by. Advances in technology, data, and analytics will soon allow marketers to create much more personal and “human” experiences across moments, channels, and buying stages. Physical spaces will be reconceived to include these new personalizations and improve the consumer experience. The new customer journey will be supported far beyond a brand’s front door. AI has been at the forefront, helping companies automate the ways in which they personalize their interactions with customers, thereby enabling companies to scale their operations. Examples of how AI and deep learning impact the customer experience include automating the removal of backgrounds in product images as well as automatically enabling videos originally shot in landscape mode to be delivered in portrait mode, which greatly improves the viewing on mobile phones.

Building a scalable, yet personalized customer experience remains at the heart of what every brand desires to create in the 2020’s. Experiences that harness the power of rich media, whether in the form of images or videos, are a significant driver behind this success. However, business and technology executives need to think through the complexities and implications of these efforts, at both a technical and customer impact level. Doing so, and doing so early on, will enable a more seamless delivery of the campaigns and experiences they desire.

Data & Analysis

Data analysis has changed dramatically since the start of the century and that evolution has only become more rapid and pronounced as we advance into the 2020’s. If you’re operating an eCommerce store, and/or employing any of the AI/Machine Learning developments we just discussed, you’re no doubt dealing with tens of thousands of points of data. Data that is now no longer relegated to just numbers. Data is now music, images, videos, downloadable files and more. Data is large, dispersed and in multiple formats. So, how will you organize and implement this data into your digital sales efforts in the future?

Cloud-Based – As data sets become larger and larger it will become more difficult to run the massive amount of necessary calculations on your local machine. This will create an entire market of cloud-based data services that, simply put, make analysis faster.

A/B Testing with AI – As we recently covered on our blog, A/B testing is only going to grow in importance and the technology being developed and in some cases already implemented is going to be more efficient and effective at A/B testing than any web designer or marketing manager. By way of review, A/B Testing is the altering of elements of your site to different, random visitors. These elements can include, but are not limited to, variations in the content, colors, images, copy, Calls-to-Action, and even prices. It is through A/B testing that you’re able to come up with the optimum combinations of website elements that will keep visitors engaged and making purchases. But rather than having an employee analyze the site, select which elements to alter and test, analyze the data and choose which tested elements to keep and which to remove, AI will be taking over all of these steps. There are already extensions like HiConversion that are currently available that will automatically run its own A/B tests to your pages, changing the elements based on visitor behavior. It will then provide recommendations based on these continual and evolving A/B tests. This AI-driven A/B testing will only become more advanced and more standard as the decade progresses, leaving fewer elements of your UX/UI to guessing or to the discretion of your team. Your real-world customers and website visitors are your greatest teachers and AI will learn directly from them more and more.

Smarter Marketing – But what to do with all of this customer information you’ve gathered? Quite simply, put it to work retaining your customers. With the personalization information you’ve received and the on-site data you’ve collected you can, for example, set up automated messages to reach segments of your customer base, no matter where they may be: Remind visitors of the contents of their abandoned cart via email, show them display ads that tie directly to pages that they’ve visited via remarketing, and use your A/B testing programs to deliver the most appealing and effective User Experience possible once they’ve returned to your site.

Check back next week for the second installment in our ‘What’s Next’ series, where we will be discussing Progressive Web Apps, Headless eCommerce and more.

Magento Commerce & Security Update Now Available

Magento Commerce & Security Update Now Available

Magento Commerce & Security Update Now Available

January 14th marked the date that Magento made Magento Commerce 2.3.4 available to all current Magento Commerce customers and partners. Magento Commerce and Open Source 2.3.4 will become generally available on January 28th. This release includes necessary updates to quality, security and platform technologies. Including:

Page Builder Upgrades

Magento has upgraded Page Builder to provide merchants with more control over product merchandising and PWA Studio compatibility to bring the easy content editing of Page Builder to PWA Studio-based storefronts.

Adobe Stock Integration

Built through Community Engineering, Adobe Stock is now integrated into Magento so users can simplify their creative process and streamline workflow by adding high quality media assets to website content without leaving the Magento Admin.

Live Chat powered by dotdigital

In the latest update to their Vendor Bundled Extension, dotdigital now provides Live Chat capabilities to give merchants the ability to exceed expectations, increase conversion rates, and keep customers coming back with real-time engagement. All Magento 2 customers will be given access to one free live chat agent seat, without the need for a full dotdigital Engagement Cloud license.

Summary

Magento is encouraging Commerce customers to take advantage of the early, pre-release access and to take this additional time to evaluate their latest patch, begin upgrading and remain secure in advance of general availability. 

January 14th also marks the availability of Magento Commerce 2.2.11 and the latest Security-only patch, 2.3.3-p1. The Magento 2.2.11 release marks the final supported software release for Magento version 2.2. Magento 2.2 will no longer receive security updates or product quality fixes now that its support window has expired.

To stay up to the minute on all the latest Magento updates and upgrades, sign up for the monthly Orange Report and get all of this, and other, vital eCommerce information delivered directly to your inbox.

Recommended Solutions for Powering Reviews

Recommended Solutions for Powering Reviews

Product reviews have revolutionized the way consumers make purchase decisions with nearly 95% of shoppers reading online reviews (Power Reviews Internal Data) before making a purchase.  Reviews are not just a way for consumers to gather information. They have become a key form of shopper engagement. In a recent study Northwestern University partnered with Power Reviews, to understand how reviews impact buyers’ behavior. Their research provide some very compelling insights to the powerful effects that reviews have on customer’s purchase decisions.  The results of their study can be seen here.

Given the incredible importance of product reviews, it’s imperative that merchants choose a review solution that meets your business needs and provides the functionality required to thrill your shoppers and give them every reason to purchase from your site.  Given our support of many different online merchants, we at InteractOne have been afforded the great opportunity to work with a wide variety of reviews technologies currently offered in the eCommerce space. These are our three favorite recommended review solutions.

Yotpo

Yotpo provides a great many features and pre-built integrations at a reasonable price.  Here are some of the great features provided by Yotpo:

  • Reviews
  • Question & Answer Functionality
  • Multi-Channel Content Generation
  • On-Site Widgets & Galleries
  • Google & Facebook Integration
  • Advanced Content Management
  • Widgets & Emails Customization
  • Multiple Domains Support

Some of the key features that we love about Yotpo are the widgets and automation tools they offer for post purchase follow-up.  Using these tools, you can setup Yotpo to email customers that have purchased a product and offer them an incentive (coupon, rewards points or gift card) for leaving a review.  We’ve personally seen how these incentives prove to be invaluable for encouraging buyer participation and building a robust database of product reviews. In addition to the great features for post-purchase followup, Yotpo also offers many other valuable marketing tools such as Question & Answer software, designed to help merchants increase customer engagement and grow their brands.

Power Reviews

Founded in 2005 Power Reviews is a veteran stalwart in the product review space.  Aimed more at the Enterprise market, Power Review offers a feature rich toolset including: 

  • Rates & Reviews
  • Questions & Answers
  • Influencer & Sampling
  • Visual & Social
  • Intelligence Suite
  • Customer Experience

While having many, if not all of the features of Yotpo, Power Reviews is not as focused on strictly providing feature value.  Being a little more costly, they typically serve larger enterprises as they help leverage customer data to gain business insights and mine value from their current customer base.  For example, Power Reviews is able to help merchants identify and work with influencers to create buzz, with the ultimate goal of turning customers into mystery shoppers who then are in a position to uncover valuable product insights.

TrustPilot

Focused more on business-level reviews than on product reviews, TrustPilot is a great tool for gathering overall purchase experience feedback and displaying that feedback to shoppers.  Niche sites that sell a very specific type of product (ie. trade show display media) can be better served by a reviews software like TrustPilot. This is because their shoppers are not as concerned with product reviews as they are with overall reviews of the company that is actually  selling the product. TrustPilot excels in this area by offering merchants the ability to reach out and gather post purchase business reviews, manage those reviews and display them onsite. For example TrustPilot allows you to filter the reviews shown on-site, per interest area or star rating.  

Another key feature of TrustPilot is that it allows online users to browse reviews for all of its customers on its website portal at https://www.trustpilot.com/. Being a TrustPilot customer therefore comes with the added benefit of being featured on their public facing website where many shoppers go to review businesses by category before making a purchasing decision.

In addition to offering the business-level reviews and the public portal, TrustPilot can also power product level reviews by allowing you to use their service to cover all your business’s reviews & ratings needs.

Summary

With this blog we’ve covered just a few of our favorite tools for powering reviews, however  there are many other customer reviews tools and options not listed here that might be a perfect fit for your business.  What’s important is that you understand the key role reviews play in the online purchasing decisions of your shoppers and choose the right tools to empower reviews.  At InteractOne we’ve had the privilege of working with many online merchants to choose the right reviews tools, improve conversion and grow their business. Give us a call or fill out our contact form and let us help you grow your business by improving customer reviews.