Padawan Series: Creating Customer Personalization with Magento

Padawan Series: Creating Customer Personalization with Magento

Any merchant who wants their Magento store to be successful must think about the needs and wants of the customers. The ability to appeal to specific customers can mean the difference between simply attracting a specific group of visitors and turning them into long-term customers.  With most customers being more likely to buy from stores that provide relevant products and suggestions, customer personalization is a key element in the success of an eCommerce store. In this guide we will dive into Customer Personalization and how Magento can help merchants create a unique shopping experience.

What is Customer Personalization?

Customer personalization refers to the optimization of the strategy and messaging to an individual customer rather than the group that the customer belongs to. Although this is an important concept in the business world, personalization is not just something you turn on. It requires thoughtful planning and execution.

For a merchant to be successful in customer personalization, they must first understand their analytics and customer data. Based on the analyzed data, they can then identify key differences in shopper profiles to create an experience that will appeal to their customer. This forms the first step to the process of personalizing customer experience on your site and ensuring you offer exactly what the customer is looking for.

Since personalization involves a specific experience for a customer, smaller merchants with small catalogs rarely benefit from it. They tend to have customers with almost the same profile, with few variations, meaning no  major changes are needed in marketing and messaging for individual customers. However, bigger merchants and companies with a broader range of products and therefore a broader range of customers, must invest in discovering their various shopper profiles and craft customer experiences to appeal to each group of customers and show them that they are valued.  

For bigger merchants, a tool like Nosto can help in making every shopping experience personal for their customers. Although the service may not work well with small or mid-market merchants, it can be beneficial for merchants with huge customer flow and large catalog. Using shopper behavior data collected from powerful machine learning and eCommerce experts, Nosto create​s​ a digital commerce experience that appeals to every customer’s journey in a store.

How to Achieve Customer Personalization

In order to succeed at the  customer personalization game, you also must understand their needs and behavior while in your store. The behavior of visitors to your Magento store can be monitored from the moment they land at the store homepage to the moment they complete a purchase or leave the site. Technology plays a critical role in personalizing customer experience in an online store. For instance, machine algorithms and artificial intelligence allow you to track customers’ information. Based on such information, you can provide offers and recommendations relevant to their buying behavior or interests in a more efficient way.

Personalizing customer experience in your Magento store can be based on several factors that affect customer behaviors. While some customers may be interested in getting perfect information about a product before purchase, others will be more concerned about after-sales services. Given these differences, it is important to personalize customer experience based on the visitor type, their traffic source, site engagement levels, products viewed or previously purchased, search queries, value of shopping cart, and current cart content.

Personalizing Customer Experience on Magento

Merchants on the Magento platform can benefit from the variety of native features that allow personalization to occur. Using customer segmentation, Magento merchants can create segments of customers based on their browsing or purchasing behavior. The content for each segment is then personalized to suit the customer’s journey through the website. Some of the key Magento features that enhance personalization include:

 Banners – You can displace an image with a block of content that appeals to a specific customer segment. These banners are then placed on specific webpages like the homepage depending on the category of customers being targeted.

 Related Products – You can up-sell, cross-sell, and include related products on the product details page to allow customers to quickly add them to cart. While this will encourage additional purchases, it will also enhance the customer experience in your store.

 Shopping Cart Price Rules – You can set up specific rules to allow discounts for customers in a specific segment. For instance, a customer who has spent more than $200, receives a 10% discount.

Other Magento features that enhance personalization include categorizing inventory by product groups, distinguishing new and repeat customers, tracking products that customers have searched for, and offering gift cards. While these features are effective, it is also important to use appropriate strategies. Some of the effective strategies for personalizing customer experience on a Magento store include decreasing the number of clicks to find products, creating custom search results pages, and providing easy access to past results. In Part 2 of this blog series, we will  address these issues in more detail and to give you more ammo to help you appeal to your customers even more. By the time you read Part 3 of this series, you should be able to apply the most relevant personalization strategies that make the most sense for your online store.

If you’d like to really ratchet up your knowledge about  customer personalization and how to create personalized shopping experiences,contact us to schedule a discussion..

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NEWS: Announcing New Enhancements from Magento

NEWS: Announcing New Enhancements from Magento

At InteractOne, we’re on the cutting edge of developments in the eCommerce industry. As such, we’re proud to be a certified Magento partner. Recently, Magento has added many new enhancements to their eCommerce platform. Keep reading to learn all about what’s new, how it can benefit your eCommerce business and how we can help you get started today.

What are the new features in Magento?

The new enhancements to the Magento eCommerce platform include greater security and new analytical tools. The following important features have been added:

  • Origin cloaking: This is a mechanism to connect to origin IP that becomes the trusted source for the infrastructure and application access, which allows only valid traffic to come through.
  • Platform TLS: This now provides individual certificates to each merchant.
  • Managed alerts: These now help prevent site performance issues and avoid downtime.
  • Site-wide analysis tool: This offers a holistic view of the health of a merchant’s site, identifies issues and gives recommendations for resolution.
  • Enhanced security scan: This efficiently scans, discovers and reports infection in any eCommerce stores
  • Quality patches: These offer a way for merchants to know which quality patches are available for their version and easily apply them.

Through all of these enhancements, Magento is working to increase site security, lower costs for eCommerce retailers and give customers a better overall shopping experience.

Want to learn more?

If you want to find out more about Magento’s new enhancements and how they could affect your eCommerce store, contact us today.

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Standing Out in a Crowd: How to Market Your Pharmaceuticals

Standing Out in a Crowd: How to Market Your Pharmaceuticals

When marketing pharmaceuticals, doing so online is a great strategy. In fact, in 2020, pharma marketers will spend $3 billion on digital advertising alone. Simply put, pharma companies can no longer rely on brand name recognition and print advertising to drive their sales. They must pivot to create a remarkable presence online.

However, with almost all pharma companies heading this direction—and with differentiation between existing products getting smaller—how do you ensure that your pharmaceuticals make an impact in the digital world? Keep reading to learn the top three most effective strategies for marketing your pharmaceuticals online—so they stand out from the competition.

Tap in to the biggest trends in pharma marketing.

The digital world is huge—and some pharma marketers aren’t sure where to start. Research tells us that the hottest current trends in pharma marketing strategies involve videos and social media. Posting videos on your website and on your social media channels is crucial for growing awareness of your product and therefore your sales.

However, just posting frequently isn’t enough. Once the videos and social media campaigns have launched, it’s important to keep a close eye on interactions and conversions in order to keep people engaged with your pharma brand.

Another growing trend to implement when marketing pharmaceuticals online is to go easy on the branded content. In fact, unbranded content is becoming even more powerful. For example, if you create a website about a specific condition—without even mentioning your products by name, but instead giving general information—consumers can relate to the story and facts you present on that site. Once they’re drawn in this way, pharma companies can then give a subtle nod to their product. This informs your audience about your product by pulling on their heartstrings, not shoving it in their faces.

If you can combine all three of these ideas—videos, social media and unbranded content—you have a recipe for success online.

Lead with the problem, finish with the solution.

Many pharma companies begin their online marketing with their product name and what it does. Then, they end up back pedaling to get to the problem with which their customers are struggling. Along the way, it’s easy for customers to get lost and thus lose interest.

One simple (but powerful) way to avoid this is to lead your online marketing with the problem. For example: “Does mild exercise cause you to have trouble breathing?” or “Do your legs feel tingly when you wake up?” That way, customers feel an instant connection and continue reading (or watching or clicking) to see what solution your product can offer.

Especially when marketing online, where space is small and people have limited time and small attention spans, it’s important to pique your customer’s interest right away. This problem-first approach easily lends itself to many digital mediums—banner ads, e-newsletters, videos, websites, social media posts and more.

Use specific analytics and keywords to come up first in search results.

The pharma space online is congested, to say the least. Someone searching for a pharmaceutical solution to their specific problem is faced with countless pages of search results that are all promising a great solution.

However, your pharma company can stand out simply by using a few keywords to position your solution at the top of search results. First, analyze existing search results to find commonly-searched keywords. Then, create digital content with those keywords included. Next, be sure that your unique content is published on websites that have high traffic and good reputations in the pharma world. Finally, optimize your content until search engines rank it on the first page.

Conclusion

With pharma marketers spending more and more on digital advertising each day, it’s never been more important to ensure that your pharmaceuticals stand out online. By following these top three tips, you’re on your way to successfully differentiating yourself from the competition—yielding unmatched results in your brand awareness, brand loyalty and profits.

To learn more about how InteractOne can help you improve your pharmaceutical marketing online, contact us today.

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How to Integrate Omnichannel Marketing in Your Magento Site

How to Integrate Omnichannel Marketing in Your Magento Site

Omnichannel marketing is a revolutionary way of connecting with  customers. It offers a seamless experience to customers regardless of their choice of the medium or social media network. Omnichannel involves the use of multiple marketing channels to create a unified experience for the customers. Under this marketing approach, a seamless message is created that adjusts to the behavior and needs of the customers through the sales funnel. When integrating this approach to marketing in your Magento site, several factors apply:

Make Your Website Mobile-friendly

Omnichannel marketing combines both online and offline channels. For this reason, your website and eCommerce store should be ready for various devices, including mobile. With 79% of smartphone users making a purchase with their phones, a mobile-friendly site is likely to make more sales. When you optimize your website for mobile, you get to access customers on both desktop and mobile channels.

Identify Channels Your Customers Use the Most

Part of creating an omnichannel marketing channel is knowing which channels will generate more positive results. You should not jump from one channel to another with the hope of increasing customer interaction. Instead, identify and invest only in the channels your customers use the most. For instance, Facebook is an excellent choice for millennials and gen X adults while Instagram is more ideal for Gen Z adults. Linking your website to the appropriate channel will ensure you get the most from your efforts.

Engage the Whole Team

Omnichannel marketing is an all-inclusive approach to marketing. You cannot succeed if part of your team is not invested  in the strategy. Ensure that every team member is on board with your strategy, while putting the needs of your customers at the forefront. Engaging team members from all departments allows you to gather appropriate data and understand the contributions of each department. On one side, the product development team will provide adequate information about your products. On the other side, marketers will be sharing  this information via your site and other means and collecting customer data for better service provision.

Match Content with Marketing Channel

The content that you post on any specific channel should be relevant and appropriate. For instance, photos do well on Instagram while long posts work perfectly with Facebook. You can use influencer marketing videos to market your Magento site on TikTok or YouTube, and provide longer text-based content on email newsletters and blog posts. A common mistake that business owners make is replicating the same content across the channels. On the contrary, you should ensure that you make the most of the different channels by providing relevant content.

Remember that a big portion of the omnichannel strategy relies on the power of personalization and targeting. You need to achieve a deeper level of personalization for each group of customers. When crafting the message, make sure it fits the customer profile data, their shopping behavior, and campaign engagement.

Implement Shoppable Posts

One of the latest features that has proven effective in omnichannel marketing are shoppable posts. Shoppable posts are now common on social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Instead of the traditional as that would direct people to your site to complete the purchase, shoppable posts allow customers to make a purchase directly on social media, removing multiple steps and clicks. This provides for a much more streamlined Checkout process that removes many of the steps previously required to facilitate a purchase. Taking advantage of this new content  allows you to increase sales through social media sites.

Segment Your Audience

The success of an omnichannel marketing approach in your Magento site will depend on how well you understand your audience. Each audience segment is looking for something specific. Consequently, different messages will  appeal to different groups. Make sure that you segment your customers before conducting lead generation for your website. This should be based on factors like customer data and triggers. The more data you have about your customers, the better your message will appeal to them. Some of the factors you may consider when segmenting your audience include gender, loyalty, geo-location, and previous engagement. You can then determine the most appropriate channel to use with each customer segment.

Provide Cross-Channel Customer Support

Customers expect the same level of efficiency and customer support across all your platforms. If your live chat support is effective but your Facebook chat is inactive, you are limiting your company’s availability and it could be costing you customers. In fact, a third of customers consider switching companies when they experience bad customer experience. To ensure success in omnichannel marketing, your brand must be  consistent across all your active channels. Both your social media messages, live chat, or email support should provide the same level of experience. Allow your customers to call your company or interact on a personal level to provide that extra personal touch.

Bottom Line

Integrating omnichannel marketing in your Magento site involves passing messages to customers across the various channels. Apart from making your site mobile-friendly, you will also need to take advantage of social media and other platforms. Most importantly, ensure that the content you provide is appropriate and ideal for the channel being used.  Talk to our Omnichannel Marketing Experts today and learn how to integrate omnichannel marketing in your magento site.

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How Magento Meets the Unique Needs of Nutraceuticals

How Magento Meets the Unique Needs of Nutraceuticals

When it comes to powering online nutraceutical sales, choosing a great eCommerce platform is vital — but it also can be daunting. There are so many platforms — Magento, BigCommerce, Shopify, Demandware and more. How do you know which one will best suit your needs? For many companies, Magento is the clear answer.

As a certified Magento partner with a rich history of nutraceutical work, we are in a unique position to speak to the distinct Magento benefits that support a nutraceutical company. Keep reading to learn all about the features and functionalities that set Magento apart from the competition.

What is Magento?

Magento is the world’s number-one eCommerce platform for open commerce innovation. Magento is part of Adobe Experience Cloud; offers industry-leading Cloud solutions; works hand-in-hand with the world’s biggest retailers, brands and branded manufacturers across B2C and B2B eCommerce industries; and is recognized as a global power. Every year, Magento handles more than $100 billion in gross merchandise volume.

What are the benefits of using Magento?

Magento offers a host of incredible features for selling nutraceuticals online.

  • Multi-store, multi-site: Magento allows users to create and power many sites from one dashboard, controlled from one admin user interface. This is a huge advantage when it comes to multi-national and multi-site selling. Many nutraceutical companies that use Magento gain major efficiencies by leveraging the multi-store / multi-site feature to control their site(s) from one admin panel and instance while selling on websites for many different brands or countries. Many of Magento’s top competitors don’t offer this feature. These other platforms  force their merchants to create separate sites for selling in different countries or brand segments.

  • Page Builder application: Magento eCommerce provides a Page Builder application that allows users to create content by using drag-and-drop pre-built controls. For eCommerce site managers, this means that there is no coding required. For developers, it means they will use content types to customize Page Builder in order to meet the end user’s needs. With a tool like Page Builder, the cost (and time required) to create new product pages and maintain existing content can be dramatically reduced because code no longer needs to be written.

  • Segmentation: Creating customer segments allows users to target shoppers with unique, personalized marketing and promotions. When used properly, these customer segments can be very powerful tools for increasing engagement and brand loyalty. Magento provides a rules engine that gives administrators the ability to write conditions based on customer purchase history and profile data. For example, a rule could be written to display banner ads featuring the benefits of “subscribe and save” options for customers who purchased something more than three times in a six month period. Using  segmentation, nutraceutical websites can be more effective at building recurring orders.

  • Promotion / content staging and scheduling: Promotions and content changes on the Magento eCommerce platform can be staged for review and testing by site administrators before they are scheduled for public display. This is an extremely useful feature when preparing for large holiday events that entail multiple content changes and promotional rules. For example: Using this tool, users can work to create all of the content and promotions needed for a Black Friday event and then provide links to co-workers and stakeholders that allow for a full preview of how the site will look and function on Black Friday. Then, users can schedule the go-live time for all of the promotions and content changes — so they don’t need to be up at midnight on Black Friday to “flip the switch” and push content changes live.

  • Product bundling: The Magento eCommerce platform offers several product bundling features that provide great flexibility for offering kitted or bundled items with options and discounts. By using the product bundle feature, users can offer supplements with different options for sizes and flavors. This is a unique and powerful feature, as it allows shoppers to choose all of the varieties they need to put together an assorted bundle of products from one page.

  • B2B features: For nutraceutical manufacturers and distributors, Magento offers a full suite of functionality for commonly-required B2B features. Some of these features include companies (organize users, credit limits and catalog by company), credit limits, catalog permissions, pricing by customer group or company, requisition lists, quote requests and user hierarchy / account permissions. These out-of-the-box B2B features dramatically lower customization costs, decrease the time to market for new Magento Commerce B2B websites and lower the total cost of ownership.

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing an eCommerce platform for online nutraceutical sales, Magento stands out. When used properly, this feature-rich platform gives a great deal of competitive advantages over other platforms for nutraceutical websites.

InteractOne is a longstanding, certified Magento partner. To learn more about the power of Magento and how it can power your digital presence, contact us today.

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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.

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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.

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Top 10 Magento Extensions for 2020

Top 10 Magento Extensions for 2020

With the new year approaching it seems everyone is in the business of list-making and we didn’t want to be left out. So here is our list of the Top 10 Magento third party apps and extensions for 2020.

10. Urapidflow Product Import/Export

One of the most feature-rich, robust product export/import extensions for Magento. This extension allows you to set up multiple profiles and export/import product data to/from different locations using FTP. It can also send and receive product information based on logical conditions created within the extensions simple to rules generator tools. This extension is the easiest to use when importing Magento product information.

9. Xtento

Xtento is the most stable and powerful order export solution available for Magento. It allows merchants the flexibility to set up multiple profiles and export orders to many different places using one extension. These exports can be done in any text-based format (Text/TXT, Tabbed, CSV/Excel, XML, JSON, SQL, ASCII/Fixed-Length-Files) and can include any required field. Xtento can be used to connect your store to almost any CRM, ERP, warehouse, drop-shipping or shipping system. Merchants are also empowered to set up an unlimited number of export profiles. All of this can be accomplished from within the admin interface of the extension.

8. Subscription & Recurring Payments

If you’re selling a product or service on subscription then this extension may be a great solution for you. Subscription & Recurring Payments by aheadWorks allows you to create subscriptions with multiple products, create separate shopping carts for subscriptions and more. Built-in to the extension is the ability to handle multiple languages and stores, allowing you to localize recurring payments and subscriptions to all possible markets. A big win for B2B businesses.

7. Mageworx SEO Suite

Mageworx is your all-in-one SEO extension. Its advanced templates allow you to mass-optimize any meta values, descriptions, URL keys, SEO names, etc. for any of your products, categories, CMS, and category filter pages. It also comes complete with a full arsenal of SEO tools, allowing you to tackle such tasks as eliminating duplicate content, adding breadcrumbs and setting redirects and more. It also includes the Wave Crypto Payments extension which enables merchants to collect crypto payments via their eCommerce store as well.

6. ShipStation

ShipStation is excellent for merchants who need a shipping label printing solution that can scale. Its built-in automation engine allows merchants to have a hands-off approach with low overhead. All while providing branded and customized labels, packing slips, and shipping confirmation emails. And, if you have multiple Magento stores, ShipStation allows you to manage and organize them all from a single account. ShipStation also boasts integrations with ERP systems like Acumatica and Netsuite. The extension is also fully integrated with more than 25 shipping carriers.

5. ShipperHQ

We touched on ShipperHQ slightly in our recent Top Shipping Rate Quote Solutions blog but this app is a must-have for most Magento merchants. ShipperHQ gives you control over the shipping rates and methods you show customers at checkout while also providing you with a wealth of options such as multi-location rating, in-store pickup, dimensional shipping, carrier rules and more. 

ShipperHQ also allows for customization in their Magento extension, allowing you to make adjustments within the Magento checkout code and cover every feature you may require for powering shipping quotes.

4. Klaviyo

Klaviyo’s power lies in its segmentation and targeting. Its web-tracking system is top notch as it uses specific browsing behavior to segment visitors so they receive specific 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.

3. TaxJar

For businesses, it’s always tax season. And our #1 choice to to help with your eCommerce taxes is TaxJar. Currently being utilized by more than 15,000 businesses worldwide, TaxJar is used by large and small businesses alike. The app features Magento’s SmartCalcs API, which determines if, when, and how much sales tax needs to be applied and collected on any purchase, foriegn and domestic. It allows users to program individual products for different tax rates for different states. But the automation doesn’t stop there. TaxJar will also accumulate your annual taxes over the course of the year and can file your taxes directly with your home state.

2. Yotpo

Native Yotpo integration is a fairly new, but powerful addition to the extensions library. Yotpo integrates with Magento to collect, display and manage customer content. This content includes photos, videos and reviews. Social proof is increasingly important when it comes to driving revenue in eCommerce and Yotpo curates and places that social proof right on your product pages, meaning that visitors don’t have to leave your site to go looking for it.

1. Klevu

While we covered Klevu in a previous blog that doesn’t mean we’re going to shy away from singing its praises again here. Klevu remains our favorite  on-site search option. Klevu is low-maintenance, easy to implement and it will provide you with unique insights over time as its machine learning develops a greater understanding of the topics  your visitors are engaging with on-site. We particularly like the Autocomplete feature, which will make suggestions to your site’s visitors while they are typing in their search. Overall, Klevu is a great resource for merchants and adds to the overall shopping experience for your customers.

To learn more about any of these extensions  and how to make the absolute most of your eCommerce site in 2020, contact us today.

NEWS: New Magento 2.3.3 Upgrade to Keep Your Store Secure and Optimized

NEWS: New Magento 2.3.3 Upgrade to Keep Your Store Secure and Optimized

Magento has just announced the release of the latest versions of Magento Open Source 2.3.3, 2.2.10 and their new security-only patch (2.3.2-p2). This latest release of Magento Open Source software includes significant performance improvements as well as numerous security enhancements.

Magento Open Source 2.3.3

In accordance with the latest European directives ( PSD2 Compliance Support) Magento has rolled out Open Source 2.3.3, which incorporates changes to the native payment integration and introduces PHP 7.3 support. It is Magento’s recommendation that all users upgrade to ensure that your online store remains compliant and maintains the highest level of security available.

Highlights of Magento Open Source 2.3.3 include:

-Increased security: More than 100 new security fixes are included in this patch

-Increased performance: Faster loading times and better overall shopping experience by displaying text while webfonts load in the background and moving non-critical CSS items to the end of the loading queue.  

-Additionally, Magento has reduced the number of requests going back to the server, which helps increase throughput and decrease resource consumption. With these and other performance enhancements, this new version improves Google PageSpeed Insights score by up to 5 points in some instances.

-Increased quality: Critical areas of the platform such as Sales, Checkout and Catalogue modules received more than 190 product quality enhancements.

Elasticsearch 6.0+ Warning”

Warning when upgrading to Magento v2.3.3: There is a known issue when using Elasticsearch 6.0+ as search engine.
Product listing pages will not display products beyond the first page when utilizing additional pages from pagination. Luckily, there is an official patch released.

The only downfall of this is that product listing pages will no longer display the current page range on the navigation bar, it will only display the total count of the products found, for example, before patch: “Items 1-9 of 13” after patch “13 Items”.

Since Elasticsearch < 6.5 is EOL and MySQL is being deprecated (and will be imminently removed), it is highly recommended to apply this patch is you have short term plan of migrating to Elasticsearch.
This issue affects all Magento releases for v2.3.3: Open Source, Commerce and Cloud.

Additional 2.3.3 Product Enhancements

Yotpo

Magento officially welcomes Yotpo to the Magento core code as a vendor bundled extension. The marketing platform helps brands drive growth by integrating your visual marketing, referrals, customer reviews and loyalty programs. With this pre-installed integration, merchants can reduce development costs and implementation time by seamlessly activating Yotpo’s UGC solutions, instantly start collecting and displaying high-converting customer content, and stay on top of key performance metrics from within the Magento Commerce Admin panel.

Admin User Research

As part of efforts to improve product design and better understand the Admin experience, Magento Open Source now allows for the tracking of user actions and events on the Admin panel. After installation, the first user to sign-in will offered the option to accept or decline participation. Read more about it in the updated User Guide.

Google Shopping Ads Channel

The Google Shopping Ads Channel extension is now officially part of the code. With this integration, merchants will now be able to utilize the benefits of this tool without having to go to the Marketplace and download the extension. Learn how Google Shopping ads Channel delivers the power of Google advertising network in one end-to-end solution.

Security and Performance enhancements

Dotdigital, Amazon Pay, Klarna, Vertex and Magento Shipping all see multiple improvements to their security and performance.

Graph QL 

Improved Graph QL API coverage for PayPal payment integration, Gift Cards and Store Credit functionality. Learn more about Graph QL in our Release Notes.

For more information regarding the new enhancements, please review the official Magento release notes or visit the Magento Security Center.

If this all reads as greek to you, you’d like to discuss implementation of this upgrade, or you’re curious about how to make the most out of our your current Magento site, contact us today. In business for over 20 years, our  certified Magento developers know the platform front-to-back and can help you make the absolute most of your eCommerce site.

NEWS: EU Regulation Impacts Magento Payment Extensions Beginning 9/14/2019

NEWS: EU Regulation Impacts Magento Payment Extensions Beginning 9/14/2019

Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) for the European Union’s Payment Services Directive (PSD2) are scheduled to go into effect on September 14th, 2019.

If you are using Paypal, Braintree, Authorize.net, Cyberforce or eWay there are updates that must be made prior to September 14th to ensure that the launch of PSD2 does not result in your customer payments being declined.

The European Union’s revised Payment Services Directive (PSD), also known as PSD2, contains RTS requirements, some that will begin to go into effect as early as September 14th, 2019. This new directive will have a significant compliance impact on most payment processing services when bank transfers and credit cards are being used in sales transactions with  customers in the EU.

Compliance with PSD2 is mandatory and the responsibility of any Merchant to whom the directive applies. It is the recommendation of InteractOne as well as Magento, that all Merchants review and understand this new directive. More specifically; Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) requirements and updates for 3D Secure 2.0 (3DS).  

To learn more and to speak with one of our certified Magento specialists, please call us at  (513) 469-7042 or fill out our Contact page and a team member will be in touch with you shortly.