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Posts by: Magento

Up Your eCommerce Retail Game Or You May Not Make 2015

March 6, 2014 0 Comments

Time to improve your ecommerce site!

I sometimes find it hard to believe we’re in the 14th year of the 21st century, but that’s what my calendar says and who am I to disagree?

A good many online retailers appear to harbor similar doubts. They enact this stubborn temporal denial by presenting customers with online stores that look like they photocopied a paper catalogue in 1998 and asked a developer to produce an online version of the same thing.

2014 isn’t particularly special in the grand scheme of things. Or at least I hope not — living in interesting times is said to be a curse. But 2014 is special in this respect at least: it’s the year that dozens of online retail businesses will fail. They will fail because they neglected to keep up with advances in technology and the expectations of their customers. Read more

Posted in: Magento

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Premature Optimization Wastes eCommerce Retailer Resources

February 10, 2014 0 Comments

eCommerce Resources

We all know that the faster an eCommerce site is, the higher its conversion rate is likely to be. While that’s true in a general sense, in specific cases a law of diminishing returns operates. In an interesting article on the Yottaa blog, Alex Pinto considers the case of Etsy, the popular marketplace for handcrafted and vintage products.

Etsy was looking for techniques that would increase their conversion rate: they tried infinite scrolling operating under the assumption that putting more results in front of users would increase conversion rates and they tried to make sure that their search functionality was as fast as possible. Surprisingly, neither “optimization” produced any increase in conversions as measured by A/B testing against a control group.

In a further experiment, the Etsy team imposed an artificial slowdown on their search results of 200 milliseconds. Conventional wisdom would lead us to expect lower conversion rates, but, in fact, there was no change at all. Read more

Posted in: Magento

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3 Simple Methods For Improving Magento Conversions

January 17, 2014 0 Comments

Increase Magento Sales

Magento is a feature-rich and powerful eCommerce platform, but from the perspective of conversion rate optimization, it can leave something to be desired.

The conventional wisdom is that the harder you make it for users to carry out an action, the less likely they are to complete it. For eCommerce, that means the more steps a user has to take between product selection and making a purchase, the more chances there are for them to abandon their shopping cart. As retailers, we want to ensure the journey to checkout is as smooth as possible.

The paradigmatic example of conversion rate optimization for eCommerce would be Amazon’s One Click purchase. It encourages more impulse purchasing and gives buyers no time to change their mind — although, of course, they can cancel later. Read more

Posted in: Magento

Accurate Price Intelligence Can Give Your Magento Store A Competitive Edge

January 10, 2014 0 Comments

Magento and accurate price intelligence

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

Posted in: Magento

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Are Algorithmic Personal Shoppers The Future Of eCommerce?

January 2, 2014 4 Comments

Magento Algorithm

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

Posted in: Magento

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Gift Registries Are A Powerful eCommerce Tool

December 30, 2013 0 Comments

Magento Gift Registry

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

Posted in: Magento

New Magento Vulnerability Targets WYSIWYG Editor: Patch Details Here

December 12, 2013 2 Comments

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 1.6.0.0 through to version 1.13.0.2, and Magento Community Edition stores between 1.4.0.0 and 1.7.0.2 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

Posted in: Magento

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Upgrading to Magento 1.8.0.0

December 4, 2013 4 Comments

Upgrading to Magento 1.8.0.0

Magento Community Edition version 1.8.0.0 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 1.7.0.2 to 1.8.0.0 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 1.8.0.0 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 1.4.2.0 or later) using the command line tools. Read more

Posted in: Linux, Magento, MySQL, Software

Pinterest Finally Opens API To Aid eCommerce Retailers

November 26, 2013 0 Comments

Pinterest and ecommerce

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

Posted in: Magento

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MagentoLive UK 2013 Slide Decks are Online!

November 6, 2013 0 Comments

Chris Wells Speech at Magento Live UK 2013This 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

Posted in: Magento, Nexcess

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