Category Archives: Magento
Pricing is one of the most difficult problems that retailers face. Picking the right price point can mean the difference between having products fly off the shelves and having them sit unbought. If shoppers perceive products to be priced too high they may abandon a particular store altogether. If they are priced too low, store owners could end up cannibalizing their profit margins to gain a competitive advantage.
There are many factors involved in choosing the right price point, but one of the most crucial pieces of data is the price that other stores are putting on their product. Particularly in the eCommerce world, pricing can be very fluid. There’s nothing standing between a retailer and a price change other than the click of a button. Because they can change prices so quickly and customers can compare prices so easily, online retailers are in a constant battle to undercut their competition while at the same time trying to make sure that they maintain prices at a level that will bring in a decent profit. Read more
We can imagine an ideal brick-and-mortar shopping experience. We know what we want to do, and when we walk into a store, we are greeted by our personal shopper, who knows us better than we know ourselves. We don’t tell her what we want to buy, but why we want it. Perhaps we want to fix a leaky faucet, or perhaps we want to go climbing in the Rockies. Whatever we want to do, our personal shopper knows exactly the right products for the job and gathers them together for us — both the products we know we need and the products we would never have thought of.
A shopping experience like that is a long way off in brick-and-mortar stores, but we’re already quite some way towards providing that experience for eCommerce. Magento in particular provides tools like faceted search and product suggestions that attempt to give shoppers what they want. But, we’re far from the ideal, which would be an algorithmic version of the personal shopper we just met — an artificially intelligent suggestion engine that can take a natural language question like: “I’m going hiking in the Rockies: what do I need?” and output a range of appropriate products based on our question and past buying choices. Read more
I don’t know about you, but I’m terrible at buying gifts for people, especially on those occasions where I’m invited to a celebration like a wedding or baby shower. I have no idea what to get people and it frequently worries me that when I give them a gift of my choosing the reaction will be a tight-lipped smile and a polite questioning about whether I kept the receipt.
I’m enormously grateful when people are thoughtful enough to use a gift registry that includes a list of all the things that they would be pleased to receive. It removes my anxiety that I’m going to end up buying something that is completely useless for the recipient or that several of their other friends will buy as well.
In addition to being great at assuaging the gift-buying anxieties of people like me, gift registries are also a powerful method of generating revenue for eCommerce stores. They are a way of leveraging the loyalty of existing customers to extend awareness of a store and they almost guarantee increased sales as gifters are directed to the store by hopeful gift receivers. And, of course, once the gift giver has made their purchase, it’s likely that they will make future purchases from an eCommerce store. Read more
A patch has been released to fix a remote code vulnerability in some versions of Magento.
The recently discovered remote code execution vulnerability may allow an attacker with administrative privileges to delete files and folders from a Magento installation through an exploit in the WYSIWYG editor. Magento Enterprise Edition stores from versions 184.108.40.206 through to version 220.127.116.11, and Magento Community Edition stores between 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124 are at risk and should apply the patch detailed below. The vulnerability has been fixed in the latest Magento releases and those operating Magento stores outside the above ranges will not require a patch.. Read more
Magento Community Edition version 126.96.36.199 was released on September 25, 2013. Its highlights, as listed in the release notes, include:
- Major overhaul of tax calculation formulas, correction of rounding errors, and additional assistance with configuration.
- Optimized cache adapters for single-server systems.
- Upgraded Redis cache adapters for multi-server systems. (To set up and use Redis with Magento, please contact our support team and we can assist you. This can only be set up on SIP400 or higher plans.)
- Eliminated many types of database deadlocks.
So far, upgrades from 188.8.131.52 to 184.108.40.206 have been very quick compared to other earlier upgrades and, for the most part, have gone smoothly (there have been a few minor issues I will highlight later). Upgrades from other Magento versions to 220.127.116.11 do take longer (especially 1.5.x to 1.6.x) as they involve a large amount of database changes.
At Nexcess, we perform upgrades via the command line. It is goes more quickly and we can better see what is happening should anything go wrong. The following outlines two different methods to upgrade to the latest version of Magento (from version 18.104.22.168 or later) using the command line tools. Read more
Pinterest is the world’s third most popular social media network, with levels of user growth that continue to knock the socks off investors – over 40% in the last few months. Pinterest is uniquely placed to provide valuable referrals and engagement opportunities for eCommerce retailers. Unlike many more broadly focused social media channels, Pinterest has productive images of products right at the heart of its user experience.
In a move that’s bound to put a smile on the face of eCommerce store owners, Pinterest is showing some signs that it’s willing to make its boards easier to integrate with eCommerce stores with a new API. Getting information into Pinterest is always been fairly easily, with Pinterest buttons that can be placed right next to products, but getting data back out is more problematic. Read more
This past month, Nexcess was in London, England for MagentoLive UK 2013. We were honored to sponsor such an amazing event that brought together so many incredible minds. Those in attendance had the opportunity to see enthusiastic and informative presentations by a variety of authorities from the Magento community, including our own, Chris Wells.
We realize that the majority of Magento users around the world were probably unable to make it to London for the event, so we’ve uploaded the slide deck of Chris’ presentation, The Importance of Site Performance and Simple Steps to Achieve It to SlideShare. Read more
Modern eCommerce is heavily dependent on actionable data-driven insights to maximize sales. Big data is something of a buzzword, but there’s no doubt that in the absence of accurate date, eCommerce retailers would be at a significant disadvantage.
Useful data comes from an enormous diversity of channels, including web analytics, remarketing, customer relationship management, affiliate marketing, multivariate testing, and so on. Each of these data sources is usually managed with tools from different vendors and each requires that specific code be added to web pages.
That multiplicity of code snippets can be a headache for marketers and IT departments alike. Marketers and sales teams need to have a constant flow of data, and they need to be able to quickly modify their data collection as circumstances evolve. That means they need to frequently change the code that collects their data. IT staff generally don’t want marketers messing around with the code of their site, particularly if they are from an outside agency, and they are frequently too busy to implement every little change that marketers demand in a timely fashion. Read more
Fraud is a serious problem for eCommerce retailers.
While less than 2% of eCommerce revenues are lost through fraudulent transactions, in a trillion-dollar industry, that’s no small potatoes, particularly in an industry segment with low margins. But, possibly more significant than fraud itself is the amount of time and effort that small retailers put into avoiding it. Vetting every transaction to ensure that it is genuine is time consuming. Although fraudulent orders account for only about 1.2% of total orders, 25% of orders are reviewed by retailers, of which about 30% are rejected.
In the absence of solid data, many genuine orders end up being rejected as retailers err on the side of caution. Manual review tends to be a clumsy tool, looking for obvious patterns and markers in transactions that can only indicate fraud within a very fuzzy set of probabilities. Read more
One of the most popular narratives around eCommerce in the media focuses on how eCommerce is disrupting and destroying the traditional brick-and-mortar store. It’s a narrative firmly rooted in reality. eCommerce offers consumers an unbeatable value and convenience, and brick-and-mortar stores have significant costs that just aren’t an issue for most online retailers. However, some of the efficiencies inherent in eCommerce can be put to work to the advantage of brick-and-mortar store owners, particularly when it comes to the technology they use.
A point-of-sale system is at the heart of any retail venture. Traditionally, point-of-sale systems have been slow, inelegant, and proprietary, running on hardware with strictly limited capabilities. In the modern world, that needn’t be the case; cheap computing power abounds, and there is excellent software available to that works as well on an iPad as on the traditional PC.
Using Magento for point-of-sale allows store owners to smoothly integrate their online and off-line selling and offer customers the same sort of personalized and convenient retail experience that they have come to expect from buying online. Read more