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Why manufacturers need Magento

By | Magento

Manufacturers are no longer depending on traditional methods of finding a retail partner to distribute, merchandise, price and sell their product. The historical end-game simply boiled down to sharing the gross margin with the retailer. On the path from product source to sale there was a heavy spend on marketing and advertising to promote and build the brand.

 

Nowadays manufacturers build their brand by using social media and other digital tools. Through investment in digital platforms such as ecommerce and mobile they are able to sell directly to the customer whilst maintaining control over the distribution, merchandising, pricing and selling of their products. By selling directly to the consumer via an ecommerce platform they retain 100% of the gross margin. However, manufacturers may find difficulty in breaking free of traditional methods of interaction with middle men and may adopt a hybrid model of the D2C concept of direct sales with which they are comfortable. This fusion is likely to be the future sales and marketing default model across multi channels.

 

To make the most of the evolving landscape in direct sales, manufacturers require a digital platform that is powerful, functional, user friendly and scalable – an online sales tool that effectively promotes the brand and product to an engaged customer base enthused by both product uniqueness, value and transparent marketing strategies. Magento is the default future -proofed choice of ecommerce systems for serious manufacturers who wish to retain control of their product life cycle from concept development and manufacturing through to product sale and onward shipping. It allows Companies to build a branded retail presence at a fraction of the price of constructing High Street store fronts. Magento provides capabilities such as indepth reporting, analytics and same day shipping. The system also provides a host of digital tools that add to the platform’s scope and complements its inherent functional capabilities. Through introducing live conversation facilities for customers and focusing exclusively on their needs, it can promote customer relationships and drive online traffic.

 

Other parallel developments such as advances in smartphone technologies, more capable mobile networks and growing availability of mobile-specific digital tools are expanding the reality of both mobile commerce and location-based services. This all means better brand and consumer engagement, which is what the customer of today demands. Manufacturers can get their products into the traditional distribution channels through a Magento 2 digital platform without having to provide retailers with products consignment. It also dispenses with the related financial burdens of trade spend and listing fees. The opportunities provided by Magento are an unlimited reach, personalised marketing, advanced loyalty, full real time access to customers, fast product speed to market and retained control of merchandising and distribution. Manufacturers can rely on Magento developers to advise on and implement the safest, most  competent payment portals, advanced shipping and return of goods policies with built in guarantees of product quality and efficient customer services. Magento also provides excellent SEO opportunities with clear provision for the implementation of digital marketing strategies and page optimisation for achieving optimal Google page rankings in SERPS. Its integration capabilities enables seamless linkup with accounting packages and CMS software.

 

Some of the greatly empowered features of Magento 2, that specifically help to drive manufacturer direct to consumer sales are:

 

  • Robust coding architecture. This provides obvious benefits for manufacturers going forward .
  • Evolving availability of an increased number of extensions improving customer engagement and promoting digital opportunities for increased conversions.
  • A much more simplified dashboard that is easily navigated for more fluent administration
  • Evolution towards a more customer-centric shopping experience with real time customer interrelational conversation possibilities.
  • Provision of automatic upgrade installer to keep manufacturer’s website secure against malware and potential hacking
  • Greater API compatibility providing easier integration with other programmes.
  • Magento is CPI compliant making it a safe and secure platform with payment gateways such as Paypal, BrainTree and Authorise.net. These make manufacturers’ websites as unbreachable as an ecommerce site can be.

 

Magento provides manufacturers with a digital platform that is future-proofed and offers superior user experience. Customer-centric features lend themselves to the D2C model where the customer is put centre stage in an online transaction that offers quality value product and consumer focused service. The system has many rich features in its functionality that boost different sales and marketing models including B2C and B2B. It also provides an array of D2C specific features that enable manufacturers to select and adopt the best way of promoting brand product and online sales.

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Voice Search – the next big reality for Marketers and Optimisation

By | Magento

Back in 2016 digital thought leaders were claiming that “mobile isn’t what’s next – it is right now”. Effectively mobile has eclipsed desktop as regards the device usage number game and continues to accelerate its claim that in 2018 it is the preferred go-to platform for connecting, engaging and converting customers in the Ecommerce industry. More pertinent are the consumer figures reflecting multi-platform use including large and increasing numbers of online users, many of whom are using mobile exclusively.

With that evolutionary scenario Google introduced an application named AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) as a framework to help enhance the mobile web experience for consumers at large. AMP has to be considered as an integral part of SEO campaigns since Google has included it in its search results. The mobile web revolution has transitioned. The AMP standard is continually evolving with the addition of even more accelerated mobile pages and it will undoubtedly impact present and future SEO strategies. However, this is not the most salient issue that challenges marketers and strategists in a world where technology evolution casts yesterday’s innovations aside in favour of today’s more revolutionary technological know-how and digital applications.The new era of mobile web, though well under way, is about to be challenged by another evolving phenomenon – voice search – an Artificial Intelligence software that is gaining traction as the upcoming technology of the 2020s, a digital technology that will be used by the Search Engines to rank voice search sites in the SERPS.

It is incumbent on the world of Ecommerce to prepare for the imminent introduction of “voice search” which is the next big thing to disrupt the status quo in the Ecommerce business industry. It will have an influential impact on the future of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and AEO (Answer Engine Optimisation) that will not only be credible but will require a certain understanding and appreciation of how it will change those marketing strategies. Google is transforming into an answer engine which gives one single result- the right answer unlike the current Search Engine tendencies to let consumers choose from multiple results. This is what marketers have to optimise for in an AEO oriented device environment .

The rationale of the Search Engines has been to chaperon their users through the quickest of processes towards the most relevant answer or result. With the imminent onset of voice search, Google and other Search Engines will have to increasingly rely on understanding and credibility to furnish a single viable result or solution.  The key question to this expected future trend is – can online business owners with the assistance of marketers and AEO strategists, do anything to take advantage of this evolutionary change?

Owners of smart phones, tablets, or PCs are already exposed to voice search which has become smart and capable of answering most queries but not all. That is where AEO takes effect. The problem with answers is that they can be guesstimates, based on the software interpretation of the voice query and provision of a clear informative answer, an incomplete science that requires greater definition. This highlights the need for accompanying AEO which can optimise your website so that Search and Answer Engines can understand the services and products you are selling and provide more authoritative responses to voice search in general. The AEO allows your optimised site to understand the content and purpose of your website. You can manipulate certain elements of your site to optimise it for the Search Engines – make it more visible to the Spiders so they can award it a better position in SERPS. To optimise for the Search Engines there are certain site elements you can focus on to progress the technology so your site stays ahead of the metaphorical posse or online competition. Specific technical facets require focus and amendment where necessary. For example:

  • Schema Data Markup – this can be manipulated to allow answer engines to understand the page information and what is being delivered to the user.
  • Authority  – This imbues the Answer Engine with confidence in your credibility.
  • Semantic HTML5  – By sectioning pages, a specific identifiable role can be allotted to each section,  encouraging the AEO to focus on certain areas while ignoring others.

 

The rationale of the Search Engines has been to chaperon their users through the quickest of processes towards the most relevant answer or result. With the imminent onset of voice search, Google and other Search Engines will have to increasingly rely on understanding and credibility to furnish a single viable result or solution.  The key question to this expected future trend is – can online business, with the assistance of marketers and AEO strategists, do anything to take advantage of this evolutionary change?

The journey from Desktop to Mobile to Voice Search has seen an evolution in the devices we use. Search behaviour has been impacted particularly by the change from Desktop to Mobile and it is expected that the transformation to Voice will be even more impactful – not only in how users browse and search but also how the Search Engines will provide solutions to users’ questions. If we were to draw up a device use comparison graphic, stretching from the 2000s to the 2020s, we would see a clear progressive trend towards Voice Search – that is the view of the industry gurus. According to them this will have a knock-on effect on SERPS – where page  expectations will shift from the first three pages with desktop to the first page with Mobile and top of page one with Voice Search. There is a retrospective belief that more realistically Voice Search will seek dominance in the top three positions on page one, due to the doubt if a single answer will suffice as a response. There will probably be the option of more than one acceptable answer given the diffuse nature of natural speech. Since voice is circumlocutory there will have to be a new evolving SERPS paradigm that will allow Voice Search a little more discretion. It will not necessarily be a ‘fait accompli’ of achieving positioning of page one or nowhere. A likely scenario going forward is – it will probably rate for the top three positions on page one –

which will be considered a satisfactory positioning in the SERPS. One certainty pertaining to this situation is the need to prepare and act now so your online platform is tuned and fit for purpose in anticipation of Voice Search activation and the requisite requirement for AEO strategy creation.

Long term, the trending towards voice search does not intimate the complete dominance of voice search as a device but rather a more balanced spread of search across all devices. The eventual levelling out of digital device deployment will be a natural progression according to the digital experts, however, the evolutionary nature of online search will necessitate platforms to help Google and other Search Engines to understand that your offer to consumers is the best solution. Once you succeed in that objective you then have to convince Google that you offer the best of several options by proving to them your relative credibility. These factors will leverage popularity in a new AEO world of “Answer Engines”. Google is already well acquainted with your brand but still needs to have a clear detailed understanding of what your brand offers so that the credibility factor favours your platform. In relation to the outworking of Search Engine indexing and positive placement in SERPS it is important to remember that it is their understanding of your website and its inherent credibility that gives your brand authority.

As with all other digital developments that have exercised minds in the past and have created unwarranted panic at times, Voice Search is not to be feared but rather considered as another device and opportunity to engage a potential customer base that you can tune into by being better informed and prepared in advance. As an online business why not garner all the positives that Voice Search represents and use it to your advantage. Find out what Google’s review of your brand reveals in terms of public opinion and work to ensure that there is a positive reflection of your brand on Pages 1, 2 and three of your brand name search, suffixing the word “reviews”.

 

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Why Magento is the preferred ECommerce platform for over 250,000 global merchants.

By | Magento

There are so many ecommerce platforms available to the retail sector that making a choice can often be predicated upon a host of subjective arbitrary factors that are at best confusing and at worst unreliable. Comparison in performance between top ecommerce platform contenders can provide empirical data to make certain assertions about their efficiency in delivering conversions and a return on investment. Whilst a few ecommerce platforms seem to dominate the marketplace there is a major swing towards Magento as the online sales tool of choice. It is fast, free, transparent, customisable and reliable. With Magento 2 it gives you a robust engaging online experience and a greater functionality, since it is geared up to help you meet the challenge of the increasing demands of online shoppers. With over 250,000 Magento merchants globally, many of whom are top brands such as Coca Cola, Burger King, Cisco Systems, Nike, Procter and Gamble, Christian Louboutin, Ford, Fox Connect, Warby Parker, Olympus, Nestle Nespresso and many more, it is the most popular and feature-rich ecommerce software platform in the world. Kurt Geiger’s decision to move to Magento’s ecommerce platform has helped them to give their customers a rich and captivating experience across all devices.

 

Enjoying a 23% share of the market it still leads the pack in the ALexa top one million. It is also no surprise that it is used by many global small to medium size businesses with great success. Based on analytical data and reports regarding its effectiveness as an online sales tool and its success as the top performing ecommerce sales software, we can deduce that it is the best rounded ecommerce system currently available. Its endorsement by some of the best known global brands, who are turning over billions of pounds in revenue annually, is clear testament to an efficient and popular ecommerce retail and wholesale system that works extremely well for a business mix of world wide clients.

 

Magento is an open source self-hosted platform providing you with a hosting choice, the most reliable option being third party hosting with a specialist company who can control your hosting needs professionally. There are also Companies who can provide Hosting and support as a package which represents a headache free solution for the Magento developers. With its vast global community of developers and contributors it can give you the structure for a scalable platform which can always meet your growing and expanding business requirements. As the ideal partner for promoting your online business Magento has all your needs covered with its rich out-of-the-box features and extensive capability to customise, whatever your business objectives. As an expert partner in seamless third party integrations it can resolve your unique business needs across any industrial sector. You are never left alone to deal with any issues as you have a world-wide system of merchants partners and developers to help you at every step of your ecommerce platform development and running operations. Whether your business is Fashion, Health and Beauty, Food and Beverage, Automotive, Retail or Wholesale the Magento solution can offer many features and benefits that streamline your online enterprise.

 

You can use visual merchandising tools to create compelling category pages and create exciting authentic content updates with no recourse to IT. You can actually draft personalised shopping experiences for your customer subdivisions. Developers are enamoured with Magento because of its extensibility through a capacious API, thousands of third party extensions and themes and off the shelf development and operationally-ready tools that come with Magento Commerce Cloud. Magento is built on a modern technology stack and has the full capability of handling high growth and peak performance thanks to its scalable and secure infrastructure. Magento’s Cloud platform is PC1, SOC2 and GDPR compliant. Magento commerce assumes responsibility for the heavy lifting, allowing you the business owner to focus on your daily business – learning more about your customers, products and services and marketing campaigns and planning to meet their needs.

 

The wonderful aspect of Magento is its flexibility in extending its capabilities. With Order Management you can bridge the online and in-store fulfillment system providing more convenient and cost-effective delivery. You can also garner the power of your Magento Commerce database with your other systems to quicken smart, data-driven decisions and transform your shipping into a money cow by streamlining operations with Magento’s intelligent multi-carrier software. The system enables Social Media and SEO integration with lots of plug-ins, themes and extensions to enhance the operational connectivity and efficiency. As an omnichannel operator Magento ensures a seamless shopping experience across all channels.

 

Make Magento your ecommerce platform of choice, to provide your online customers with a seamless shopping experience that is robust, engaging and converts.

 

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Tips on how to speed up Magento 2

By | Magento

Expert Tips on configuring why your Magento 2 backend and frontend are running slow

If your Magento 2 store is being challenged by operational slow-down then there are certain elements contributing to this problem that need to be addressed and resolved.

The most likely cause of a slow Magento backend is a slow hosting server. To run Magento 2 efficiently, a powerful server is required. A low cost shared monthly plan will not supply the expected performance. The complexity of the Magento ecommerce platform, with its multifarious features, requires resources to run fluently. You can make a simple check to see if your Server CPU usage graphs are reading max all the time. If they are, then this is an indication that your hosting power needs upgraded. Drill and see if any scripts are running in the background, eating up all your available resources. By monitoring the system you will ascertain if this is so and you can redress the problem by getting your hosting provider to perhaps disable some of them.

Should you need a new more efficient hosting plan it pays dividends to troll through servers that are optimised specifically for Magento, thus ensuring complete compatibility with your complex hosting needs. They may be more expensive but they will ultimately do the professional job that your clients are expecting of the system. A top tip from a certified Magento developer is to ensure your hosting deploys the fastest disk technology possible – even if it means paying more per month for the service.

Third party extensions present another area worthwhile monitoring and analysing, to see if they are possibly cause for slowing Magento performance. Some plugins may be at the core of M2 running slower than normal so it is vital to identify and eliminate extensions that slow your store down. By accessing the Magento backend menu and listing all custom extensions – excluding the Magento core extensions – you or your developer can disable the offending plugins one at a time and benchmark the page speed. Once you are aware of the offending modules you can contact the provider and inform them of the problem. You then have the choice of finding alternative extensions or removing the inefficient ones completely.

Another element that can affect operating speed is incorrect Magento configuration. Changes in Magento configuration can present problems for backend performance.The most common configuration mistakes that affect admin speed are:

  • Keeping internal cache disabled – this might simply be down to an outsourced developer having switched it off while testing and having forgotten to reactivate it.

           This is something that the store owner would not be aware of as a possible cause of slow Magento backend.

  • Ensuring that your running mode is production: It is the fastest of the three running modes – default, developer and production. Again this could be down to an oversight on the developers behalf when working on the system – they might inadvertently have it in a different running mode which would slow the system down.
  • Scrutinise JS Bundling feature on Java Script file. See if it is slowing down your site, especially on mobile devices.

 

Use a full page Caching Application such as ‘Varnish’ which is supported by Magento 2 native – a special software to serve and cache content. Magento developers claim that it renders sites very fast.

A further slowing factor is running a non-default Magento backend custom admin theme. Magento backend performance is very much dependant on theme files. It is quite a straightforward process to test this element and rectify the issue. Firstly you have to instal a fresh copy of Magento – the same version you already have – then instal all the extensions you have on the original store, excluding those that change the backend theme. Compare the two admin panels and that will inform you as to why the system is operating slow and below expectation.

Make sure to manually update your website’s indexes through the admin panel. If this is neglected then it will become  a contributory factor in your Magento site’s slow loading.

Also turn compilation on, which means you group  Magento’s files into blocks of HTML increasing their accessibility. This can effectively provide you with an improved performance of between 25 and 50 percent, depending on the page requested.

Increasing the memory parameters to a level greater than 128mb will enhance your site speed. A higher memory limit is necessary as Magento is heavy on memory use.

Another important element in promoting site speed and performance applies when you add products or categories that are spread through many different tables. You can enable Magento to harvest the information more quickly by having a single repository from which the information can be quickly retrieved. Technically it is described as “ flattening your products and categories”.

“Hacking the Core” is a term used to denote the overwriting of Magento Core Files by developers to customise your website. The snag with this is the resulting decline in site speed.

As with any platform site speed is a factor considered by Google when positioning your website on page rankings. If your Magento Website takes ages to load then that is a negative signal to the bots and will reflect your page ranking in the Search Engine Results.

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Magento – the perfect E-Commerce Platform and business partner

By | Magento

There is a wide range of e-commerce CMS platforms available on the market to prospective online retailers and wholesalers but none qualify for ticking so many boxes as Magento.

As a mid to higher market solution it offers the functionality and scalability that allows an online business to develop, flourish and grow. No other platform can compete on this level or provide an open source solution that combines expertise with complete flexibility. It is ideal for 2nd generation e-commerce sites or for those established sites who want to advance to the next phase of growth. Magento is the only real option for those who have greater ambitions than a small start up store.

It promotes progression and growth in a seamless manner with no downtime or extra expense. While the system may be considered overkill for small businesses it is worth bearing in mind the extensive list of a-line businesses and organisations that deploy Magento to power their e-commerce platform and are happy to put their trust in Magento for creating and implementing their online retail strategies. When businesses such as Olympus Cameras, Paul Smith and Mothercare entrust their e-commerce business to Magento then others choices are informed by those thought processes that have embraced what has become the world’s most popular e-commerce platform.

It is widely accepted that open source software is a much more dependable and less risky system than proprietary bespoke systems for a number of obvious reasons:

  • The source code is not the property of any one organisation or owner
  • It can be distributed and modified by anyone free of charge

With proprietary systems:

  • The developer, either as an organisation or an individual owns the source code
  • A licence is required to use it and such seriously large systems often come with a six figure licence fee – something that in itself is financially prohibitive for many developing online businesses who just cannot afford that outlay.

With Magento Community Edition there are no licence fees or any other fees other than the cost of procuring a certified Magento developer to build the website. Current customers find that this system works efficiently for online businesses turning over millions of pounds.

It is enlightening to enumerate the many benefits of a Magento platform including:

  • It prevents putting all your eggs in one basket, leaving your options open
  • It provides a community of global developers who are familiar with the system and can offer support with no problem.
  • Magento developers, for the most part, can adopt a site created by another Magento agency and run with it comfortably and effectively.
  • A real plus in its favour is the continual update to software that keeps your website operating at optimal levels of efficiency and optimisation
  • With customised e-commerce CMS, the developer cannot always be relied on to regularly update their software.This could affect security updates as well as general continual software improvements which could effectively mean lack of response to security threats or functionality and future updates.

As a complete system Magento specifies the requirement for specialised high end hosting and provides their own hosting solution which ensures greater security and optimal operating speeds. Another area where Magento scores highly is integrating with third parties. It offers a large expanse of API enabling seamless and effective third party integration giving it a prominence over other open source systems in integrating with external software. This well recognised feature puts Magento at the top of the integration stakes as the preferred partner and highlights its  capability and versatility in integrating:

  • Accounting systems
  • Synchronising stock level data with ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning Software
  • Harvesting and integrating customer behaviour data with a marketing platform
  • Order fulfilment
  • Warehouse management
  • Shipping
  • Secure Digital Payment processes
  • Digital Marketing
  • CRM

Magento’s proven capacity to integrate with a huge array of third party systems using either existing Magento “extensions” or bespoke API integration puts it in a dominant position over any other system currently available. Statistically it supports over 250,000 businesses with its platform, commanding an enormous 20% share of the ECommerce marketplace. Its dominant position is highlighted by the fact that its nearest rival has an 11% share of the market.

Magento continues to increase in popularity and is capturing an ever increasing slice of European and global e-commerce business. With a technology that is likely to be around for a long time it offers security for businesses who require a flexible efficient solution and a stable environment for growth. Its software is undoubtedly satisfying the needs of its users and is globally recognised as the best at what it does. The vast amount of extensions or plugins to enhance the core system ensures that the risks of overburdening the system with extra processing demands on the server is outweighed by the advantages. Intuition and experience will guide developers in their adaptation of the number of extensions that are effective.

The bottom line with Magento is that you and your team can access a massive guild of knowledge when and as you need it to either add features through extensions, for minimal costs, or to automate admin. Your business needs are totally catered for, ensuring your business can operate and grow with Magento without any downtime or the requirement to adopt a new technology. Whether you are a B2B or B2C retail, the solution works across a number of business sectors catering for all the complexities and configurations.

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Increase your sales by implementing six steps to improve ecommerce performance

By | Magento

The prime factor in implementing online sales is commissioning an online platform that will attract, engage and trigger sales conversions. That is the aspiration. However platform fulfilment is merely the first step to achieving those online goals of optimum sales. There are many aspects and deliverables that contribute to a business appropriate ecommerce website. Developing the platform from scratch enables Webmasters and SEOs to construct a site that is customised and fully fit for purpose with all the deliverables fully integrated.

In building any business, including the bricks and mortar model, you usually need to do two things – inform people about it and ensure that your sales team are completely skilled up in selling the products. When Companies decide to expand their market reach with the help of an ecommerce site, providing its customers with the options of quickly and intuitively choosing, filtering and paying for products in a secure environment, their expectations of immediate success are usually high. Unfortunately early results can be disappointing especially if the site performance is below par. E Commerce is not necessarily a silver bullet for fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of ecommerce entrepreneurs. There are many reasons for slow response – the front runner usually being poor UX design which users find a real turn off. If they cannot find what they want in as few clicks as possible they will understandably go elsewhere to make that purchase. Once the consumer has left the site a sale is lost with little chance of re-targeting. Therein lies a major stumbling block to progress and growth. Your application must have an intuitive UX design, including easy navigation, for potential customers to stay long enough to click through and fulfil a purchase. Data analysis of customer habits suggests that on average they only have success with their purchases 56% of the time. That percentage could increase with improved usability by a whopping 79%.

If the platform is not properly designed and constructed around a clear set of objectives in the first instance then it is unlikely to meet customer expectations. Consumer search and fulfilment requirements demand instant precise and relevant information from their search query, an intuitive shopping experience and a fast secure pathway to order fulfilment, shipping and payment – all in lightning fast download times.  Anything less and your ecommerce platform is designed to fail.

With a capable platform in place you can then fine tune it to improve its performance, to attract and retain potential customers and to increase online sales. Do remember however that your product must also measure up to customer expectations. Without that all important element of any successful online business your ecommerce platform will certainly be no silver bullet in flogging a dead horse.

With a professional compliant and secure platform in place you can certainly take measures to improve its selling capability.

 

E Commerce performance and success can be improved with 6 steps:

  1.  Do not overload the network unnecessarily

Network overload is the next greatest problem after information overload and requires managing. Social networks seem to remain walled gardens with open source solutions not offering any real integration across social networks. A community dashboard would be really handy across all the social networks but is unavailable at present. Some social bookmarking websites such as “delicious” create more relevance through a straightforward tag. If your network speeds are slow it affects the Development Operations and Business Teams as much as the network engineering side. It is imperative to know what exactly is slowing the system so corrective action can be taken. There are ten elements that could possibly be contributing to the problem of network overload. When addressed you can avert network congestion in future :

  • An over abundance of hosts in the network structure.
  • Too many simultaneous requests on the network such as on Black Friday leading to overload.
  • Congestion through low bandwidth, for example when Netflix is taking up 40% of the internet or during optimal TV streaming hours.
  • Hub connection point is a location for congestion – A suggestion is to consider how best to integrate the hub into the internet to avoid this issue..
  • Multicasting is simultaneous transmission of two packages causing collision and network congestion. Too many computers communicating at the same time can be a prime cause of network overload. It may be worth taking a look at “ Anycast” as a possible solution.
  • Hardware such as switches, routers, servers and Internet exchanges may need updated if they are causing a funnel or bottleneck in the system for data transmission.
  • Poor configuration management where a network is not maintained or an engineer introduces a virus into the system when working on repetitive scripts.
  • Foreign devices on your network. A rogue adapter or hacker accesses the network through an entry point or error. Unwanted devices can slow down the network unexpectedly.
  • Border Gateway Protocol which sends information, directs traffic by the shortest logical route irrespective of how much traffic is currently travelling on that pathway. Network overload in this instance creates slower internet speeds.
  • ISPs can dictate just how fast they send traffic over its networks and can be a cause of artificial congestion again slowing down the internet.

2   Curtail the number of HTTP errors internally

There are many situations that could cause a server to answer a request with an error code. If you know the 5x three digit codes you will have some idea from a system administrator perspective. The first digit will immediately identify the class of a status code for example: 1 = informational, 2= Success, 3=Redirection,4= Client Error, 5= Server Error and point administrators in the right direction when errors are flagged up. A more thorough analysis is necessary to pinpoint the actual cause and to correct it. Always start by checking that your servers are healthy and save yourself time in finding error causes, as this is generally where faults occur.

3    Improve backend performance 

Improve site speeds with more and faster servers. Also evaluate how your site loads –  its content, such as photos, text, and prices. A customisable dashboard will give you an overview of various aspects of your website such as: out of stock items, information requests, sales figures and ecommerce performance metrics. With administrative management you can give team members administrative control and restrict the areas they can view or edit. You should have meta data control enabling optimising for certain keywords in the Search Engines. The back end should also allow you to upload a robots.txt  to control site page crawling and indexing for SERPs and a sitemap to ensure all the relevant pages are being indexed for Search Engine page ranking. Tracking Code on each page will compress timelines avoiding the need to deploy a web developer each time work is required. Your store management software should allow editing of categories and sub-categories as well as product colours, sizes and descriptions. Order management is essential to enable tracking and status of sales, shipping orders and customer information.  You can use a profiler tool to analyse how a system is working and identify the congestion bottlenecks so corrective action can be initiated immediately with little down time.

4    Understand your customers

This can be achieved through mapping customer onsite behaviour so you can better meet the needs of both men and women on their purchase journey. Adequate quality product information is a must for the online shopper today who wants to be fully informed before making that all important decision to purchase. Since shoppers are browsing on many different devices and across channels, the majority moving from mobile to desk-top to finish the transaction, it is imperative to adapt a multi screen approach to accommodate these online customer behavioural patterns. Make sure you have an ecommerce hosting plan that performs to optimal standards with websites ranging from small enterprises to large corporate retail and wholesale platforms. Customers now want to literally buy in one click so you have to ensure your site can respond to that demand or risk losing business into the future.

5     Make sure your ecommerce is scalable

Having a scalable ecommerce database your ecommerce website can evolve and grow to meet increasing business demand to expand. Its database will affect its scalability directly so it is essential that the database accommodates relationships expansion without IT intervention to make it happen. Scalability could be improved with a cloud based database as it grows exponentially along with the business. You have to be aware of the maximum load your database can handle based on your system so look at locking and input/output speed. Enabling indexing and intelligent caching  can also help increase scalability especially in handling very frequent transactions. The lesson is – at site construction stage, implement a database that is fit for purpose going forward.

6     Use conversion metrics to analyse and understand sales results through the conversion rate.

Based on this data you can make better informed decisions on content marketing strategies and SEO campaigns to optimise performance and harness sales conversions into the future.

The bottom line is get to know the workings of your ecommerce website so you understand the basic principles behind its development and have some appreciation of requirements for its success from both a digital and business perspective. You will then appreciate that it is a sales tool requiring tweaking, from time to time, to get the most out of it.

If you have any questions or would like to have a chat with our Magento Dublin experts then please get in touch.

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  A sea change in ecommerce payments in 2017

By | Magento

Consumer expectations are realised

According to Andy Barker who joined Magento Commerce in 2016 as the Head of Payment Strategy for Global Payments, online and offline commerce has merged presenting the need to think outside the box in terms of the complex global payments landscape.

The shift in payment from transaction focus to customer experience heralds the new dawn of transaction payments being made invisible. Businesses such as Uber ride sharing have pioneered and heralded the growing possibility if not likelihood of near future invisible payments being implemented across many other businesses, including the ecommerce industry, paving the way for much safer, smoother and easier means of customer payment. The growing trend is aspirational from the customer’s viewpoint, considering the fact that they simply want a process that is seamless, secure and unobtrusive, allowing them to continue with their daily routine unhindered or preoccupied with unnecessary transaction burdens. This change in consumer expectations in one business sector or industry is quickly invading and spreading to others, especially the ecommerce industry, where customers now expect a payment experience that is uninterrupted, velvety smooth, efficient and secure. This can only be a positive development in terms of improving and speeding up online payments so contributing to greater customer engagement and conversion. Easier payment models can only increase consumer satisfaction with smoother pathways and should tip the balance in favour of increased conversions and fewer cart abandonments.

How can you smooth your customer’s payment experience?

  • There are a number of actions you can take to help your customer demographic progress this aspirational payment innovation. Whilst card payments are still popular it is increasingly obvious that the need to embrace online banking as a payment tender is the imperative for faster and easier payment pathways. Changing the consumer payment experience is a stimulating and motivating factor in terms of optimising engagement and compelling sales conversions. A seamless payment experience makes it more likely for a potential customer to complete the ecommerce journey and to even reengage. Like the analogous Uber taxi passenger, no more fumbling for money in their pocket and a resulting pleasant urge to use Uber again and repeat the seamless payment experience.
  • Optimising payment methods is something that should be done in tandem with constant analysis of conversion metrics in order to match demographics with the most appropriate and beneficial means of payment. See which payment pathways are converting  whilst others fail and take remedial action to optimise around those metrics. It is an evolving process that requires continual monitoring and adjustments and not something that is set and forgotten about.

 

  • Gain new customers and retarget abandoned carts through a strategy of providing the smoothest and easiest means of transaction payment. Readjust your payments to meet the everyday reality of omnichannel consumerism where you buy, fulfil and return anywhere. Orders that start on one particular channel very often finish off on a different one, with purchases made online being collected at the physical store and returned online. Payments need to be adapted to allow this process to flourish seamlessly across all channels with no interruptions or process deceleration.

 

  • You can help foster a more fluid process by reducing the need for customers having to record their payment information many times during a single transaction. There are technologies available such as, tokenisation and secure vaulting, to smooth sharing payment details across your channels in a safe way. Implementing such changes will hasten the process of making payments invisible.

 

  • It is imperative that you ensure money is received and returned on the same payment pathway and that customers are reimbursed by the same means they initially purchased the product. For example a purchase made online and returned to a physical store should be reimbursed through the same payment method and not refunded with an in house credit, which can be a complete turn off for the customer.

 

  • It is up to you to merge the consumer’s online and offline trading experience with a seamless process that removes any burden from the customer. To achieve invisible payments it is essential to work with payment providers who can support the required seamless and secure process.

 

  • To make the most of technical advancement like autofill, PayPal One Touch and Apple Pay, make sure you optimise your checkout for mobile. With the increasing numbers of mobile initiated commerce transactions you have to ensure that customer needs on mobile are fully catered for with your mobile offering.

Minimise fraud by limiting your vulnerability

With a pronounced increase in the past year of “card-not-present” fraud in spite of the new “chip-and-signature” cards designed to provide better protection to merchants and consumers at the physical point of sales, it behoves ecommerce suppliers to adopt a proactive approach to minimising fraud. The lesson is not to wait until it happens but be proactive, irrespective of your fraud protection being in house or outsourced. Any potential breach can be mitigated by following a few simple procedures.

 

  • Use the software technology at your disposal and deploy strategies with an effective blend of people and software tools. These tools can identify both good and suspect transactions in seconds with solutions that provide detailed information. They detect stolen or suspect cards through a global detection process pinpointing suspect cards deemed risky so payment completion can be instantly averted. Fraud signatures can be detected through IP piercing and device fingerprinting which accurately connect individuals to historical purchases. Fraudsters cards can be tracked to identify previous occasions of the card being used in unusual places or on too many devices, flagging up immediate warnings

 

  • A word of advice which may seem a little odd is to track your good customers. It is too time consuming to concentrate on looking for the bad ones who constitute only .9% of total transactions. Through this process of identifying good customers, their purchase patterns and order history you can compare this information with what you already possess on them. The process of disqualifying good customers from your fraud search will ensure a better customer experience with less interruption through fraud checks. There then is a much smaller number of potential fraud transactions to sift through making the process less difficult and more efficient.
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Magento 2 Excellence

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Developers pay homage to Magento

Developers pay homage to Magento 2 as the preferred next generation ecommerce platform of choice. Its technical superiority and prowess in the field of ecommerce multichannel offerings elevate it to a league that is unattainable for the competition.

Nothing speaks louder than success

There is no better way of extolling its virtues or acknowledging its capability than hearing one of its success stories from a very satisfied merchant who, having migrated from another platform to Magento 2, has become a multichannel giant with doubling of conversion rates and 20% annual customer base growth. With 40% of their customers using omnichannel retail experience there is no doubting the figures that have resulted from the platform migration to Magento 2.

The most powerful e-commerce platform in the world

The Company firmly believe that their recent growth is a direct result of Magento’s Commerce Order Management System. This affordable luxury lifestyle brand is known globally and has multiple physical stores worldwide. Before embracing and implementing Magento 2 they realised that their former ecommerce platform was not SEO-friendly, was outdated in most respects and did not have any multichannel features. Desiring to become part of the omnichannel revolution they decided to find a new economic platform.Their aim was to improve visitor traffic and maximise conversion rates in tandem with decreasing bounce rates. It seemed like an uphill struggle from the Company perspective but Magento provided a comprehensive solution, through its leading order management solution, that really established the Company on the world ecommerce stage, on Magento Enterprise.

In collaboration with its Magento Solution Partner, the Company launched on Magento Enterprise Edition which is rated as the most powerful and flexible ecommerce platform in the world, in 2015. They decided not to buy into existing systems but alternatively invested in the addition of Magento Commerce Order Management which enabled all of their global web outlets to work through one central order and inventory system. MCOM fulfilled the Company’s requirement for scalability and efficiency to operate this global business from a central system that managed inventory, organised fulfilment and took care of payment. With the backend of Magento 2 being designed for non-technical users, bulk-editing of products is entirely available without having to call upon the help of an entire development team – a huge bonus and saving in both time and financial outlay.

 

If you are interested in Magneto 2 speak with out Magento 2 Dublin Experts today.

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Magento Vs Shopify: Which is the Best ECommerce Platform for your Business?

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Every online store needs a high-quality ecommerce platform to build storefronts that convert. Choosing your platform is one of the first decisions you will make and it’s perhaps the most important. After all, you need an ecommerce platform to not only create your store, but to manage and maintain it. You have to think about the various features you’d like your store to have and whether or not your chosen platform can deliver these.

Two of the most acclaimed and popular ecommerce platforms include Magento and Shopify. Both of these are incredibly different, which is why it’s important to know what you want and which of the two is able to meet your expectations. Below, we are going to take a closer look at both platforms to determine which is the most suitable for your business.

Coding

The first aspect of these two platforms we’re going to evaluate is coding. If you want to open a simple store with limited advanced functions, then Shopify is the right choice for you. It uses a unique coding language named Liquid, which makes it difficult to alter the source code.

On the other hand, Magento uses PHP and is an open source platform. This basically means that you are completely free to modify the code how you please to suit your individual store needs. Unfortunately, Shopify does not allow this creative freedom and you’re pretty much stuck with what they give you.

User Experience

You really can’t afford to mess up when it comes to user experience. If users have a good experience when they visit your store, they’re more likely to convert. For this reason, it’s vital that you choose the platform that will provide the means to deliver the best possible user experience to your customers.

Shopify comes with a simple website-building tool, allowing you to customise the features of your store in a matter of minutes. However, the options are limited.

Magento includes a huge range of useful extensions and has an incredibly user-friendly admin panel. Learning how to implement key shop features is made easy and unlike Shopify, you will have the creative freedom to make changes as you please until you are fully satisfied with your store.

SEO

It’s no good having a nice website with perfect listings and great features if there’s nobody there to see it! You have to make your website easy for search engines (and people) to find. You need to consider SEO features such as titles, headings, meta descriptions, page URL’s and everything in-between. According to recent studies into the SEO success rate of ecommerce platforms, Magento is the best and most SEO friendly platform available to business owners online. Shopify came in second though!

Inventory Management

When you open an online store, the amount of listings you need to include will need to be taken into consideration before you choose your shop platform. If you choose the Shopify Starter plan, which is the most popular choice amongst start-up companies, you will be restricted to a maximum of only 25 listings. This may be great in the beginning, but what happens when your shop grows and you need to publish new items to your store?

Magento offers an unlimited amount of items, which means you don’t have to worry about restrictions or limitations, your shop can grow with you and you’re free to be as creative as you like.