ArchiveCategory: eCommerce

Are you ready for online holiday sales in 2017?

Are you ready for the upcoming holiday? With $123B in online sales during the 2016 holiday season, getting ready for this holiday is a top priority for our clients.

Check out this great video from our friends at Springbot outlining a month-by-month game plan to help you execute on this holiday’s sales opportunities. And, don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help getting your site ready!

CEO Mark Lavelle talks about Magento’s Future

Magento is the most robust and flexible platform for merchants undergoing digital transformation. As Mark discusses, there’s a shift toward investment in digital technology to drive overall enterprise strategy. And, Magento is the only independent company delivering solutions to SMB and mid-enterprise merchants wholly focused on commerce! If you’re curious about how Magento can help transform your business, please contact our team!

Preparing for a Migration to Magento 2

migration to magento 2 considerations

A migration to Magento 2 requires a well prepared execution strategy. A smooth transition is key and not every business is prepared for that.

Once you’ve decided that migrating to Magento 2 is the right choice for your company, it’s vital not to rush through the migration process. A poor migration could directly impact your bottom line due to confused and unhappy customers. Time spent formulating an execution strategy is critical to your success. 

Take your time and do it the right way by ensuring the following factors are top of mind in preparation for migration.

  1. 1. Data for a Magento 2 Migration

From customer data and order history to product data and store configuration, migrating your data is an important step in moving to Magento 2. Companies should note that this process gets more complicated with large amounts of data. What can be particularly challenging is migrating different types of product data, whether its a simple product, bundled product, or configurable product. With larger stores and customer history to consider, the time invested here can increase exponentially.

  1. 2. Integrations for a Magento 2 Migration

The number and level of integrations with third-party applications should be considered for migration. Luckily, Magento 2’s flexible architecture supports a variety of integrations. To ensure a smooth transition, companies should consider their current integrations and determine whether they still need them or are able to consolidate in to newer, more robust applications. We call this Application Rationalization where we’re able to simplify your application architecture. 

When it comes to the best integrations, do your research. Is there an integrator that already exists for Magento 2 or will you need to create it? Furthermore, how many integrations exist on your current website? The more integrations you use, the more complex the migration process will be.

  1. 3. Extensions for a Magento 2 Migration

In general, the more customization you want, the more development you will have to do. Thanks to the Magento Marketplace, an online store where you can purchase and download the latest versions of popular extensions, there’s a good chance a Magento 2 version of your favorite extension is available for download. However, since the platform is so different from its predecessor, it requires careful consideration when evaluating functionality.

To determine the best course of action, review the features in your current store and determine if there are current versions of those features in Magento 2. If not, you may need to wait for a version release to support Magento 2 or develop your desired feature from scratch.

  1. 4. Themes and Customization for a Magento 2 Migration

The new frontend technologies available on Magento 2 offer merchants a brand-new approach to theming and customization. However, theme and code customization are not transferable from Magento 1 to Magento 2. To take advantage of the changes in Magento 2, developers will need to rework their current code.

Consider which design aspects of your current store you would like to replicate and which design aspects you would like to recreate. While this aspect of migration might be tedious, it will force you to rethink and redo things, ideally leading to more improved usability and increased conversion.

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If you decide you are ready to make the switch, ExpandLab is happy to help. Contact us to learn more about how our team of Magento Certified experts can improve your eCommerce site.

3 Considerations When Going International on Magento

Going International on magento Magento International Expansion

How do you prepare when traveling internationally? Between informing your bank to reading up on local cultural idiosyncrasies to ensuring you understand conversion rates, there’s a lot that goes into a two-week vacation for a family of four.

So don’t expect your online retail business to simply drop a router in England and start selling products.

There are a range of variables that eCommerce companies need to consider before they can meaningfully expand into overseas markets. From technical, cultural and logistical perspectives, online retailers must ensure they are prepared before they embark on a global business journey.

At ExpandLab, we’ve been dealing with several issues with clients who have expanded to overseas markets. Below are our top three potential difficulties eCommerce companies will run into when they venture off into foreign lands, and how Magento can help solve for those issues.

1. Language

Language is as much about culture as it is about the actual words being used. While Google Translate may have gotten you a pass for your college Spanish class, it won’t pass the sniff test for a professional online store. Luckily, partnering the right team with Magento’s capabilities will make this a smooth transition.

Additionally, within a certain language, there can be many different dialects. If a company uses the same language coding in Spain as they do in Mexico, customers will be confused and unable to understand key messages behind your brand. Plus, it makes anyone look foolish and unprofessional when using the wrong syntax to communicate with a customer base. Although all of this is more time consuming from a technology perspective, it’s vital to ensure customers will actually be able to understand, and then more likely to purchase, your product.

2. Shipping

The logic behind shipping varies from country to country and region to region. Once a company has established a fulfillment center in a certain country, like Germany, they need to determine how that dispersed shipping will work when shipping within Germany, and how that varies when shipping to other locations like Italy and England. Magento helps solve for these issues by having a huge backlog of data with updated price points for shipping costs.

Because these costs can vary so substantially, a robust understanding of these shifting expenses needs to be completely integrated into your product’s final price. According to a study by WorldPay, over 50 percent of consumers will abandon the checkout process when presented with unexpected costs. Even if your shipping prices can’t compete with local retailers, a consumer will often pay more than you think for shipping a unique item.

3. Duty Fees

This is another cost companies need to carefully consider when pricing their goods in different countries. Some regions will have more than ten line items companies need to include when shipping their goods internationally. Is it best to present these to customers as one single fee or would it better to list them individually? Some countries have Value Added Taxes (VATs), creating another unique coding problem.

The other issue is that these fees are not stagnant. Companies need to ensure they have a team that monitors for increases in tariffs and other fees so their technology can be quickly updated to reflect any changes in costs. We’ve found Magento makes these changes simple and easy to implement. ExpandLab also uses a tool called Avalara that monitors for these types of changes and provides real-time updates so there are no surprises in store for clients.

Going global isn’t simply a matter of flicking a switch. But by keeping the above considerations in mind when building an oversea presence, the benefits are clear and powerful. From untapped markets to greater exposure to favorable business climates, international growth can be a real bellwether for eCommerce companies to take their businesses to the next level.

But to be successful, online retailers need a team that understands the nuances of how a platform like Magento can be used to grow their business and keep the ship sailing smoothly. Our team at ExpandLab has the experience and tools to make your international outreach as simple as possible and extremely lucrative.

Tips for Surviving the E-Commerce Boom this Holiday Season

By Julie Martins

In the 2015 holiday season, e-commerce sales grew by nearly four percent and online sales are expected to boom again this year. But before companies get too excited about the prospect of increased revenue streams, they should prepare themselves for increased web traffic and the issues that come with it.

That’s because many consumers see a huge disparity between websites that offer user-friendly experiences and those that are more trouble than they’re worth. Common e-commerce challenges like shopping cart abandonment, increased cost of transportation, and stock outages can make or break a retailer’s success during this frenzied final quarter of the calendar year.

But it’s not too late for e-commerce websites to make big strides towards a better management system for holiday traffic. Below is a list of the top tips your e-commerce website should implement this holiday season.

1) Ensure your website is optimized for speed and prepared for increased website traffic

2) Provide a streamlined one-page checkout

3) Ramp up your website’s responsiveness

4) Provide landing pages for gifts and best sellers for the holidays

5) Offer virtual gift cards for easy gifting options

6) Offer products on Google Product Listings Ads (PLA), shopping engines and price comparison websites

7) Offer free shipping and expedited shipping – this is the new normal

8) Create holiday sales pages

9) Provide gift wrapping and gift messaging options in checkout

10) Have a wishlist that can be shared with friends and family

While these tips are helpful for managing increased web traffic during the holidays, they’re also substantive steps e-commerce websites should work on year-round in order to create the kind of engaging, user-friendly online experience that is now expected in the digital age.

Armed with the right technology systems and processes, businesses can feel confident in their prospects and look back on this season with a smile.

Warby Parker – inspiring Magento ecommerce story

If you’ve not heard of Warby, then you need to get out from under that rock 🙂

It’s a really inspiring story, something as simple as eyeglasses, turned on its head.  An industry that hasn’t changed in years with an entirely new model, awesome.  This video brought to us by our friends at Magento:

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