ArchiveCategory: Magento Community

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.

CPG Companies Have Every Reason to Love Magento

magento

ExpandLab has a crush on Magento. That’s because it’s flexible enough to be applied to many different companies and we know how to push its buttons to make it work for us.

And that’s the genius of the platform: it has the capability to ensure websites are easy to navigate, organized in terms of stock content, and logical in terms of flow to the checkout for just about anyone.

More specifically, Magento is ideal for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies. Why? Because it allows them to cut out the middlemen. Traditionally, CPG companies sell to retailers who sell their products to consumers. But Magento allows CPG companies to build their own eCommerce platforms that are much more cost-effective in the long run. The software is also inexpensive enough that companies can test the service without breaking the bank, making it a low entry point to experiment.

While WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) with more than one-fifth of websites built on it, Magento is the most popular platform for eCommerce websites. Many big brands including Lenovo, Samsung, Vizio, Nestle and Nike use Magento. It holds the largest piece of the eCommerce market with 26 percent share due to its features.

The following three points explain our crush further and make clear why a range of businesses choose to use Magento, rather than industry “leaders” such as Oracle, IBM and SAP Hybris. Depending on your business needs, you can use Magento’s Free Community edition or a feature-reach Enterprise edition for an annual fee; both of which are open source. As our Director of Software Development, Eddie Spradley, says: “Open Source has become not only an acceptable answer to the world’s commercial marketing challenges, but its also become the strategic paradigm. In other words, open source is the new “black.”

1. The total cost of ownership of a website on Magento is cheaper than competitors. Depending on what level of customization you need in an eCommerce store, Magento can cost anywhere between $20,000 and $100,000 to build your eCommerce capability, in addition to maintenance down the line. This may sound like a lot, but the competitors mentioned above are much more expensive. SAP Hybris starts at $54,000 for the basic model. Oracle is over $500,000 for the first year with $110,000 for each following year, and IBM WebSphere runs into seven figures when you factor in design and implementation.

2. Magento has a faster deployment time than competitors. Building a house and making it home are two different things. It’s the same way building an eCommerce website. Beyond the initial setup, companies need to focus on areas to improve the user experience and interface to make it a revenue-generating website. That said, an eCommerce website can be completed in 8-12 weeks using Magento, while the other competitors mentioned can take many months.

3. Magento makes a website highly flexible to adapt to ongoing business needs. Since Magento is an open-source platform, it’s easy for website owners and developers to make changes in source code. Additionally, its powerful structure and user-friendly nature help improve store accessibility. Magento also provides good marketing, a participative community, as well as a genuine and innovative outlook. Beyond these features, the software has the ability to integrate with robust ERPs, has integrated Google Analytics, built-in SEO functionality, and integrated sales and store tracking.

One big CPG brand is already moving into this space: Nestlé. The world’s largest packaged food company has a new focus on direct-to-consumer, with eCommerce sales now accounting for 5 percent of total sales, up from 2.9 percent in 2012. The company has gotten the message that the consumer market is ripe for disruption and the vehicle to get yourself in the middle of it is eCommerce. Other entrants include Unilver, which recently bought Dollar Shave Club for $760 million, and Proctor & Gamble, which launched its own online subscription service.

Whatever size company you have, we believe Magento is the right choice for building and maintaining a successful eCommerce platform. It allows for the integration of additional functionality into its software by giving seasoned professional coders the ability to craft something more bespoke and tailored for the future.

Contact us today! Let's talk about how we can help grow your business.

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