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How To Prevent Data Leaks On Your eCommerce Store

How To Prevent Data Leaks On Your eCommerce Store

Data is one of your eCommerce business’s most valuable assets. But it’s not only valuable to your business. It’s also valuable to criminals, who use personal data for identity theft and credit card numbers to commit fraud. Over the last few months, several major eCommerce retailers and many smaller stores were targeted by Magecart, a criminal group primarily focused on scraping credit card numbers.

Magecart is the most prominent victimizer of eCommerce stores, but they are far from the only one. eCommerce store owners should be alert to the risk of data theft and know how to fight it.

Attackers like Magecart rely on malware injected into an eCommerce store’s pages. Malicious JavaScript code grabs credit card numbers as they are entered into forms, sending them to servers owned by the attacker, a typical cross-site scripting attack (XSS). Cross-site scripting attacks only work if attackers can execute JavaScript in the context of a store’s pages. They use several strategies to inject JavaScript, all of which depend on flaws in the store’s security.

Store owners fighting this type of data leak should focus on preventing the attacker from injecting malicious code in the first place.

Keep software up-to-date. Attackers frequently exploit vulnerabilities in older software. If an attacker can compromise an eCommerce store via a known vulnerability in the operating system, utility software, or the store itself, they will inject malicious code, which will run in shoppers’ browsers. Updating fixes known vulnerabilities.

Ensure the database is only accessible via the web store. Database misconfiguration is a common source of data leaks. An eCommerce store’s database should only respond to requests from the application, not to requests from the internet. It should be password protected to prevent any access from unauthorized individuals.

Use a web application firewall such as ModSecurity. A web application firewall can mitigate the risk of attacks against a store’s front-end, including SQL injection attacks and cross-site scripting attacks. Hostdedi uses the advanced ModSecurity WAF on Magento and WooCommerce hosting accounts. To learn more, check out our post on Why ModSecurity Should Be Your Web Application Firewall.

Use two-factor authentication on your Magento or WooCommerce store. The easiest way for an attacker to breach a store’s defenses is to guess the right password. Simple passwords, popular passwords, and passwords based on dictionary words are easy to guess. Long and complex passwords are difficult to guess, and the longer they are, the more difficult it becomes. However, we can’t always trust users (or even developers) to choose a long and random password. Two-factor authentication, as provided by Hostdedi’ Sentry extension for Magento, helps to protect stores from poor password practices.

Disable unused store and server passwords. Unused accounts serve no purpose and increase the surface area of a store that can be attacked. Audit the user accounts on your store and server, deleting those you no longer need. On a related matter, when giving an employee or third-party access to your store, use a unique account created for the purpose. Once they no longer need access, delete the account.

Be aware of supply-chain attacks. The Magecart malware often finds its way onto eCommerce stores via a supply-chain attack. Instead of attacking stores directly, criminals target software used by stores: JavaScript libraries, extensions, themes, and so on. When the eCommerce store is updated, the compromised software is installed and the malicious code injected. Supply-chain attacks are difficult to defend against, but store owners should exercise caution when sourcing software. Use extensions from official repositories or trusted developers. Keep an eye on vulnerability reports for software downloaded from third-party sources, such as CDNs or GitHub. Consider implementing Content Security Policy and Subresource Integrity on your store.

If attackers can’t infect your store with malicious code, they can’t steal your shopper’s details or credit card numbers. By following a few security best practices, you substantially reduce the risk of data theft.

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Magento vs Prestashop: The Best eCommerce Platform

Magento vs Prestashop: The Best eCommerce Platform

Magento vs PrestashopWhether you’re new to eCommerce or looking to see if there’s a better option for your growing store, choosing the right web application is important. There are several different options out there for merchants. This article looks specifically at Magento and Prestashop.

Both of these applications are open source platforms that allow merchants to start, maintain, and manage their online store. Both offer unique customization features, and both have been adopted by large audiences of both developers and merchants.

Yet the online eCommerce landscape changed in 2018. Multiple applications adapted to evolving merchant demands, as existing and new users moved to platforms that better suited their requirements. Moreover, with continued development of headless in mainstream eCommerce circles, merchants found they were no longer restricted by the eCommerce API they selected.

Internally, we’ve seen continued success and growth by Magento stores. According to our research, Magento cloud solutions grew by an average of 18% per month in 2018. Prestashop, on the other hand, boasts that over 270,000 stores run on it worldwide. However, looking a little deeper shows that this number may not be what it at first seems.

 

In Numbers
Design and Templates
Ease of Use
Functionality
Modules and Extensions
Inventory
Performance
SEO
Security
Pricing

 

Magento vs Prestashop: In Numbers

Before taking a deeper look at the differences between Magento and Prestashop, we’re going to see how they rank in terms of numbers.

Magento has 3x the number of sites Prestashop has

In a comparison of all sites that use Magento and Prestashop, 76% of sites use Magento. While this tells us about the number of sites that use each eCommerce CMS, it doesn’t say anything about the quality of those sites.

When we only consider the top 1 million websites worldwide, we see a similar pattern emerge. 1.5% of the top 1 million sites worldwide run Magento, compared with just 0.4% that run Prestashop. Let’s take a look at some more specific numbers.

64 percent of hosting solutions run on Magento

Internally, we’ve seen Magento dominate the eCommerce web applications market. 64% of our hosting solutions run optimized Magento environments. Asking clients why they have made this choice, frequent responses include functionality and the ability to implement development processes easily.

MagentoPrestashop
Number of sites850,000270,000
Number of plugins or extensions4,7003,900
Monthly Cost$0$0 – $22

 

Now we’ve taken a look at the numbers, let’s look at some specifics.

 

 

Designs and Templates

A good looking eCommerce store is important. According to Blue Corona, 38% of visitors will stop engaging with a site if they don’t think its design is attractive, and 48% of visitors believe that a website’s design is the number 1 factor involved in determining credibility. For these reasons, design and template functionality have made it to the top of our list.

Prestashop does have a large number of free and paid templates available. In addition to those available through Prestashop, there are numerous development agencies that also offer templates for a fee. In general, these templates are able to provide most merchants with an attractive, fast site design that can easily be adjusted to fit their unique business. Merchants can also make simple adjustments to the color scheme, responsiveness features, and more through the Prestashop’s UI.

Magento, on the other hand, offers merchants the opportunity to create something unique and individual. While there are numerous themes available through the Magento Marketplace, they are limited and will cost money.

For this reason, most Magento merchants opt to either hire a developer or learn how to design their site for themselves. This allows them complete freedom in regards to how their site looks and performs. Everything can be customized, from responsive design delivery to core layout options. Advanced Magento developers are also able to take their store headless and implement PWA, whereby Magento serves as the back-end for a separate front-end.

Winner: Magento

 

Ease of Use

Ease of use is where Prestashop and Magento differentiate themselves. Prestashop is aimed at beginners and less technical users. While this is great for getting started with eCommerce and simplifying daily management and maintenance of a store, it does have its drawbacks.

At the time of writing, Magento is one of the most flexible eCommerce web applications available. Merchants are able to implement a near-infinite number of capabilities. Moreover, with the continued development and integration by Adobe, we’ll likely see this functionality only increase.

Regardless, if you’re looking for ease of use, Prestashop beats Magento. If, however, you’re looking to create an online store with unrivaled functionality, Magento’s learning curve is probably worth it.

Winner: Prestashop

 

eCommerce Functionality

Magento’s main strength is its functionality, and while Prestashop does an admirable job of trying to keep up with a number of optional modules, it just can’t compete.

Prestashop does include integration with other popular eCommerce platforms such as eBay and Amazon. It also offers its own internal analytics system for gaining insights into your audience.

Magento, on the other hand, offers an extensive list of functionality. This includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Dynamic rule-based product relations
  • Visual merchandising page optimization
  • Customer segmentation and personalization
  • A powerful admin experience
  • B2B integration through custom catalogs, price lists, and more
  • Powerful search integration

One of Magento’s biggest strengths is its Elasticsearch integration. Elasticsearch is a powerful search engine capable of providing customers with results they’re looking for quickly and effectively. According to Moz, on-site searchers are 200% more likely to convert than non-searchers.

While Elasticsearch can be implemented with Prestashop installations (there is a connector module), it doesn’t run as efficiently. With Magento increasing focus on user experience, search has taken a dominant position within the eCommerce application’s ecosystem. The same can’t be said for Prestashop.  

If you’re looking for functionality, without a doubt, the winner is Magento.

Winner: Magento

 

Modules and Extensions

Magento offers over 4,700 extensions, about 25% more than Prestashop’s 3,900 modules.

Some of Prestashop’s most popular modules includes Amazon Market Place, SEO Expert, PayPal & Braintree, the Google Merchant Center, Advanced Search, and Abandoned Cart Reminder. These modules add a lot of functionality to stock Prestashop, allowing merchants to improve conversion rates and customers experiences.

Magento’s most popular extensions include Yotpo, Add free product to cart, AJAX Catalog, Improved Sorting, and Advanced search. Immediately, a difference can be seen between what merchants are adding to their stores. Magento merchants are looking for added features, where Prestashop merchants are more interested in integrations.

It’s a tough choice here, as both have their advantages. Prestashop is great for beginners and the add-ons allow for site owners to easily integrate other eCommerce products into their store. However, Magento offers even more functionality (on top of already impressive functionality).

Winner: Draw

 

Inventory Size

Both Magento and Prestashop theoretically come with the ability to host an unlimited number of products. However, if not properly optimized, stores with more than 100,000 products can start to slow down.

With Magento, a number of hosting providers and developers have developed and released information on optimizing the Magento environment to ensure that large stores do not slow down. We should know, we wrote the book on it for Magento 2. Prestashop hasn’t managed to attract as many large stores (as indicated above), so isn’t quite on par in terms of optimization.

If you’re looking to run a large eCommerce store that can maintain good performance, we recommend Magento. Even for smaller stores, Magento environments can be optimized to be blazing fast.  

 

Winner: Magento

 

Performance

Magento is a known resource hog and requires a powerful environment to run. Users often complain that Magento’s back-end can cause slow downs. For these users, the applications functionality is much more of a draw than its performance.

However, Magento doesn’t have to be slow. Often, slow sites are a result of either poor development or unoptimized hosting. See if your environment is optimized before migrating to another application. Optimization is a lot faster than a site redesign… and less costly.

Prestashop is much more lightweight, so there are usually no issues with site speed. Despite this, as we mentioned above, the eCommerce platform does experience slowdowns when too many SKUs are added.

We’re going to call this one a draw. Prestashop is more lightweight, but it also suffers from slowdowns when too many products exist.

Winner: Draw  

 

SEO

In terms of SEO, Magento and Prestashop are in two different leagues. In research conducted by eCommerce Platforms, the stock SEO capabilities of Magento outrank Prestashop in almost every area. In fact, Magento came 4th in a list of the top 16 eCommerce applications available, in terms of SEO value, with a score of 95. Prestashop only scored 40.

Prestashop only has an SEO score of 40
Reasons for this disparity include Prestashop’s need for additional modules to serve simple SEO requirements. For example, you cannot add alt tags to images without installing a module first. Magento, on the other hand, comes with a powerful suite of SEO tools from the outset; including dedicated SEO content sections for products.

Magento wins in this category hands down.

 

Winner: Magento

 

Security

Security is vital for eCommerce stores. Customers only shop with merchants that they trust.

So it’s unsurprising that both platforms offer great security features and have a history of reliability. Both have also been the victim of security breaches.

However, as with any website and its security, infrastructure is as important as the application itself. Important features to note are a web application firewall (WAF), whether the hosting provider is PCI compliant, and what else the provider proactively does to keep a site secure.

Magento is often optimized for its environment and so comes with a level of security you don’t see with Prestashop. Moreover, with a large number of dedicated providers offering platforms to develop on and great public documentation, most providers have more knowledge of how to secure and maintain the application itself.

While there is a self-hosted version of Prestashop available for download. A large number of users host their site with Prestashop. If you want your eCommerce store to remain secure, it’s usually better to have control over the environment and access to a support team. For this reason, we recommend a self-hosted solution regardless of which application you pick.

 

Winner: Magento

 

Pricing

Both Prestashop and Magento offer free, open source options for merchants. However, to support these you will need to pay for hosting. Hosting costs vary by provider. We offer optimized Magento hosting solutions that enable merchants to create scalable and powerful eCommerce stores on a secure platform.

As a result of the incredible functionality that comes with it, Magento can be resource hungry. For this reason, we recommend only opting for a hosting provider that optimizes specifically for Magento. Prices for a stable provider start at around $20 a month and scale to several thousands for a dedicated cluster environment.

Prestashop, on the other hand, is not as resource intensive, and can be installed on a flexible environment without any needed optimizations. Flexible solutions can start from less than $20 a month, but they usually limit the number of monthly visitors substantially. The lower your monthly visitor capacity, the lower your likely revenue.

If you’re looking for a cheaper solution, Prestashop is likely the right choice. However, if you believe your store is going to grow and want to invest in a scalable solution now instead of later, Magento should be your eCommerce application of choice.

 

Winner: Draw

 

Magento vs Prestashop: The Winner

Both web applications provide merchants with a secure eCommerce environment. However, at their core, they are aimed at different types of merchants. Prestashop is aimed at merchants with smaller eCommerce stores and that require much less functionality. Magento, on the other hand, is aimed at merchants that require more advanced eCommerce functionality and are looking to optimize their conversion rate.

From a merchant perspective, if you’re able to invest enough time into a proper Magento implementation, then it offers much more than Prestashop and you’ll like see higher ROI. If, however, you’re looking for an easy WYSIWYG and don’t necessarily require some of the basic functionality that comes with Magento (such as advanced customer connection tools or SEO tools at the core) then Prestashop may suit your business model more.

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8 eCommerce Speed Optimization Trends From 2019

8 eCommerce Speed Optimization Trends From 2019

8 eCommerce Speed Optimization Statistics From 2019How are leading eCommerce businesses optimizing for site speed in 2019? What build and design techniques are they implementing to stay ahead of the curve and deliver fast, flexible, and consistent experiences to consumers?

We took at look at a select group of over 30 leading eCommerce stores, and analyzed them for Eight key site speed optimization techniques. What we found reveals several opportunities for new and established eCommerce stores to get ahead.


58% of Stores Have a Multi-Step Checkout Process

96% of eCommerce Stores Are Not Considering Site Speed

In our test group, the number of sites that didn’t meet Google site speed requirements for both desktop and mobile was staggering. It’s surprising that only 4% made the effort to optimize their site speed, considering eCommerce stores are often battling it out for top spot in search engine results, and site speed being a ranking factor.

One of the reasons we’re seeing such a low number may be changes Google have made to their page speed tool in the last year. There is now a much larger focus on time to interact and first render, with older devices suffering under the hardware requirements of newer sites.

If you’re looking for a way to get ahead of the competition on the results page, optimizing your site’s speed may be how you do it.

Uptime is an important factor

60% of Merchants Think Uptime is the Most Important Concern

Beating out site speed, uptime is the most important concern for over 60% of businesses in the eCommerce space. This may be the reason why only 4% of stores in our sample met Google’s site speed standards, with many fearing unstable environments and user experiences with newer technology.

Uptime is an important metric, and it does take precedence over a lot of other factors you’ll find on your site. However, it is also important to keep your store modern and meet consumer expectations for speed and flexibility.

Lazy Loading is used by an increasing number of stores to improve image speed

65% of Stores Do Not Use Lazy Loading

Lazy loading allows you to first pull low-resolution images and then replace them with higher-resolutions images once page content has been loaded. It is a great method for easing server load and optimizing content delivery.

While we’re only seeing 35% of stores implementing lazy loading, we’ve noticed this number has steadily increased over the past few years as more eCommerce developers have become aware of it. Consider implementing in your site build to improve site speed and user experience.

85% of Stores Do Not Use Hero Image Carousels

Hero image carousels are image slideshows that alternate between multiple images. They have long been the bane of site speed for two reasons. One, they require multiple high-resolution images. Two, they are usually situated at the top of the home page. These two factors can combine to make home page loads take a lot longer than they should.

It’s not surprising then, that 85% of stores have opted to remove them from their site. The stores that did implement them did not provide full page width images and only used a handful of slides. The hero image carousel is going away. If you’re still using one on your site, it may be time to rethink this part of your design.

 

77% of Stores Have a Responsive Site

Responsive sites are the norm. Over the last several years, site owners have continued to optimize their site designs for mobile users, and in several cases even offered offline apps.

What shocked us about this statistic is that 33% of sites do not have a responsive site. This is despite numerous warnings from Google, and more than a few metrics showing how many B2C consumers are using mobile devices. In the Asian Pacific, numbers indicate that over 75% of consumers used their mobile to make a purchase in 2018.

100% of Stores Have Not “Appified” Their Web-Based Store

100% of Stores Have Not “Appified” Their Web-Based Store

Headless applications are here and with them has come the ability to make content and websites available offline. Instead of adding an app to multiple app stores, users can now save a website to their desktop for access at a later date (when they don’t have an internet connection).

However, none of the sites we surveyed have done this. One reason for the lack of adoption here may be that it’s such new technology, larger eCommerce sites don’t feel that all the kinks have been worked out. Alternatively, they may feel that it’s not a well-know feature and so wouldn’t deliver enough ROI on development costs… yet.

If you’re a smaller eCommerce store and are looking for something to differentiate your brand, and have considered taking a headless approach to eCommerce, see if appifying your site is the right way forward.  

 

69% of Stores Have a Downloadable App

Despite no merchants having appified their web-based stores, 69% of eCommerce business have created and offer a downloadable app for either Android, IOS, or both. This is likely in an effort to keep up with consumer requirements without going too far out of established practices with an appified web-based store.

If you have the development resources, it’s recommended that you create an app for your store. However, there is also a lot of potential for appified web-based stores. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, that may be the better option.

 

58% of Stores Have a Multi-Step Checkout Process

Multi-step checkout processes are where the checkout process is divided between several pages. Historically, this has been a popular option for eCommerce stores, so consumers are accustomed to it. Moreover, despite having multiple pages, the process is usually kept short so consumers are not turned away by a lengthy checkout. 

However, the one-step checkout has increased in popularity. More stores are offering consumers the ability to make instant purchases with just a few clicks of a button. A single-step checkout may become a differentiator between eCommerce stores in the coming years.

 

76% of Stores Offer a Desktop Search Bar But Only 36% Offer One on Mobile

Metrics have shown that site search is an important eCommerce store addition. Searchers are 200% more likely to convert. Yet despite this high number, only 36% of eCommerce stores in our survey offered a search bar on mobile devices.

One reason for this may be that the stores lacked a dedicated search engine. In the past, search has often remained unoptimized and more of an afterthought. However, with search offerings such as Elasticsearch making it more powerful than ever before, it may be time to start implementing search in both mobile and desktop views.

The Top eCommerce Stats

These nine stats give valuable insight into how eCommerce merchants are managing their sites in 2019 and optimizing for speed. While speed is clearly a concern, statistics like Uptime beat it out in almost every scenario. An increasing number of merchants are sticking with what they have, instead of adopting new technologies appearing on the scene such as headless. This may, in part, be due to worries about instability.

Merchants should be looking to compete in the area of site speed, and there are multiple opportunities and best practices for doing so. Merchants should implement lazy loading, remove hero image carousels, make sure their site is responsive, and conduct frequent audits through Google’s toolset.

Interested in learning more about site speed? We took a look at over 13,000 different online services to see what site owners and merchants care about. Download the state of hosting today.

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Trends That Defined the Industry

Trends That Defined the Industry

Introducing the State of Hosting 2019- Trends That Defined the Industry

In the nineteen years we’ve been in the hosting industry, we’ve seen a lot of different sites grow and prosper. Over the last few years, however, we’ve started to see a shift in the way that sites are doing so. New technology and infrastructure options, combined with industry changes to security and privacy, have seen development and hosting take on a whole new meaning.

Released today, the State of Hosting 2019 marks the first annual deep dive into the hosting solutions site owners and merchants are choosing, along with their hopes and concerns for the future. The aim of this report is to help make business owners aware of how hosting solutions are changing for the better, and how they can keep up. 

Below you’ll find a quick look at some of the most compelling takeaways from this year’s report. Alternatively, you can download the full report now.

 

Magento Continues to Dominate the eCommerce Market

eCommerce applications have long been in competition over top spot. Each offers its own experience with unique selling points that appeal to specific merchants. Coming into 2019, Magento continues to lead the charge, being the application of choice for 64% of hosting solutions and dominating over competitor WooCommerce.

There are several reasons for this, with one being the functionality and flexibility offered by Magento solutions. Magento also seems to line up with site owners’ top issue of development. However, a new competitor has entered the market in 2019 and with it a potentially new candidate for top eCommerce spot. Read the report to find out who and what it may mean for your eCommerce store.

 

PWA Is the Future

PWA took the world by storm in 2018, and it’s only going to continue to see an increase. We found that 67% of store owners plan to adopt PWA development in the future. The reasons are many, with development capabilities standing at top spot.

However, PWA development will likely lead to a number of organizational changes with regards to how websites and online properties are manages. Many agencies are still working on what this will look like, and trying to decide which clients will really benefit from PWA. Download the report to see what else merchants and developers have to say about PWA.

 

Uptime Remains a Primary Concern for Content Producers

Site outages and downtime can lead to huge losses in revenue. Just a 1-second delay in load time can lead to a 7% decrease in conversions. For content producers, that number can have a huge effect on conversion goals and is a very real threat to the success of a website.

Consequently, uptime remains a primary concern for content application owners. However, price is still the top value. This means that while site owners are looking for reliable hosting solutions, they are still aiming to keep the price down. However, finding the right balance between the two is integral, with many site owners claiming that their move to Hostdedi came after reliability concerns with cheaper providers.

A Significant Number of Websites Run On WordPress

Automattic place the number of sites that use WordPress as making up 32.5% of all websites globally. Internally, we have found that number to be closer to 24% across all solutions, and 67% across content solutions. That is still no small number.

Site owners choose WordPress due to its ease of use and the sheer amount of content it allows for owners to create and publish easily. Read the report to find out why WordPress was also 2018’s fastest adopter of cloud technology.


We invite you to learn more about hosting in 2018 and the decisions other merchants and site owners made throughout the year. Download the report now.

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Guide to Getting Honest Feedback from Your eCommerce Customers

Guide to Getting Honest Feedback from Your eCommerce Customers

Your eCommerce business needs feedback almost as much as it needs sales.

According to a UPS study, 55% of online shoppers will share a dissatisfying experience with friends and family while eCommerce Digest reports that free returns earned Zappos 75% more customer loyalty and repeat purchases compared to competitors.

Honest feedback, when received promptly and acted upon, can help discover such customer insights, helping avert abandoned carts, customer churn, and negative reviews and ratings.

But how do you collect honest feedback from your eCommerce customers? How do you gather actionable insights that help you improve your business and make your customers happier?

In this guide, we look at four broad areas you can focus on to help you get honest feedback from your eCommerce customers.

Build Relationships

Strong relationships are a big incentive for honest feedback. The nature of eCommerce, however, makes building relationships difficult.

Various factors such as automation, drop-shipping, third-party vendors and others conspire to make it difficult to cultivate strong relationships with customers.

However, if you want more customers to give you honest feedback, you’ll need to make extra effort to cultivate relationships. Here are some ways you can do this:

 

  • Community building: Whether a forum or a Facebook group, building a community around your eCommerce business can create a source of high-quality, honest feedback. Companies like Google and Microsoft have built thriving communities around products where customers post feedback in the form of questions, suggestions, inquiries and so on.
  • Start or join a cause — If your customers see you stand for something they believe in, they will rally around your business, and be more willing to give you honest feedback.
  • Humanize your brand — Does your eCommerce business have a human touch? When your customers think about your brand, do they see a brand that cares, has empathy and can connect with people? Humanizing your brand can help you build strong relationships that result in better and more honest feedback.
  • Run interactive promotions — “Send in a selfie and stand to win a gift card.” Such promotions loop in customers to engage with your business, creating deeper relationships.

Use Personal Channels to Communicate

Communicating with customers effectively is an essential part of convincing them to send you honest feedback.

And no, just putting a contact form or a feedback widget will not do. To catch your customers’ attention, consider being more intentional in how you reach out to them for feedback.

Try these four approaches as a start:

Phone Calls

There’s nothing quite as personal as a phone call. Whether you run a small boutique, eCommerce shop or a massive eCommerce operation, the value of speaking directly with customers over the phone cannot be understated.

By calling them up, you show you care enough to take the time to call and, in most cases, customers will be willing to share honest feedback.

Email

Blasting off a generic email with no personalization is a sure way to get no feedback. Instead, personalize your email, segment the audience, and ask customers to reply directly to the email instead of sending them to a feedback form.

When people feel like their feedback email will be read and replied to, they are more willing to share honest feedback.

Review Sites

Amazon, Yelp, Better Business Bureau, Foursquare and others are all places people leave honest feedback. The sense that their feedback will help others drives many eCommerce customers to leave detailed, honest feedback on such sites.

To encourage this, add links to such sites and encourage your customers to leave feedback.

Social Media

When your customers have a great or less-than-great experience, they will most likely post their sentiments on social media.

Encouraging your customers to share reviews and feedback via social channels like Twitter and Facebook allows them to use channels they feel safe using to share feedback with you. A win-win scenario.

Respond to Both Good and Critical Feedback

Source

Good Feedback

Responding to good feedback is easy, yet you would be surprised at how few eCommerce businesses do so. When you take good feedback for granted, you communicate to your customers that you are not that interested in their feedback.

However, communicating appreciation, not just for the positive feedback, but also for the act of leaving feedback, encourages customers to leave further feedback in the future.

Critical Feedback

Most eCommerce businesses see negative feedback as fires to fight. By assuming a fire-fighting stance, they miss a golden opportunity to validate and encourage more instances of such honest feedback.

Instead of looking at negative feedback as a problem to fix (yes, it may very well be a problem to fix,) also see it as an opportunity to encourage and continue honest dialogue with valued customers.

Utilize Customer Data

Source

Sometimes customers give you honest feedback through their actions — they vote with their (digital) feet. In such instances, you can get honest, unbiased feedback by capturing and analyzing customer data (be aware of data collection laws like GDPR.)

Here are four of the top metrics you should measure to get valuable and honest passive feedback from customers and site visitors:

Cart Abandonment

How many customers add items to the cart and then abandon it? Do they return? What is the average value of an abandoned cart?

Understanding this metric will offer you valuable feedback and insights into customer behavior and how you can adapt accordingly.

Average Session Duration

How long do visitors spend on your website? How much time is spent on which sections of your site? How does this relate to purchases?

For example, long sessions that result in no purchases may indicate a lack of clarity or some other hindrance to purchasing.

Exit Pages

Do visitors exit your site at the shipping calculator page? Your shipping rate may be too high or unclear.

Do they exit at certain product pages? The prices may be too high or the value proposition poorly communicated.

Bounce Rate

A high bounce rate could give you feedback that your site is not relevant or useful to most people who visit it.

Such feedback could lead to a website redesign or further investigation into the high bounce rate.  

In Conclusion

Getting honest feedback from your eCommerce customers will not always be straightforward. It will also be difficult to determine which feedback is honest and which is not. However, this does not mean that the quest for honest feedback is futile.

It means, instead, that getting honest feedback will be a major achievement and competitive edge that you get over your competition. It also means that you’ll be tapping into your customers’ emotions, the most important factor at the heart of every purchasing decision they make.

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The 5 Top Takeaways From Magento Live Australia 2019

The 5 Top Takeaways From Magento Live Australia 2019

Key Takeaways from Magento Live Australia 2019Magento Live Australia has come and gone, and another year of informative information, actionable strategies, and future predictions has passed.

For Merchants, changes to Magento such as the 2.3.1 update, came with a promise of increased accessibility and improve integration. For developers, roundtables, discussions, and future developments came with both personal, professional, and business recommendations for the next twelve months in the APAC region.

Attending several of the sessions, talking with clients, meeting new faces, and – of course – experiencing another incredible Magento party, our team were on the ground gathering as much information as possible for those that couldn’t attend. Keep reading for our top five takeaways from Magento Live Australia 2019.

1. Mobile Is Incredibly Strong in the Asian Pacific Region

It’s been said time and time again, but the fact that mobile remains particularly strong in the APAC region is still a huge takeaway from Magento Live Australia. In 2018, it was predicted that more than three-quarters of B2C eCommerce sales were through mobile in the Asian Pacific. Comparatively,  In North American mobile commerce made up just 39.6% of the market.

Magento Live Australia Creating Experience Commerce Sign

For merchants, this provides valuable insight into the buyer’s journey (another key takeaway this year) and aids in the creation of commerce experiences that are increasingly frictionless and accessible. For developers, it allows for adjustments to best practices, so new and existing stores continue to meet the needs of merchants and businesses.

Undoubtedly, Magento developers in the Asian Pacific have “led the charge” with regards to mobile. Few other regions have managed to keep pace. The reasons are multitude, but the direction Magento is heading in will continue to support merchants whose most profitable channel is mobile. Most importantly, the multitude of capabilities that come with PWAs (Progressive Web Apps) will contribute enormously to a future frictionless eCommerce experience.

2. eCommerce Is Increasingly Focused on Creating Integrated Shopping Experiences

As customers, we are now more connected to the world around us than ever before. We connect through our smartphones, our computers, voice assistants, and much, much more. Each of these connections provides merchants with opportunities for integration and conversion. For merchants, it’s not just about being a purchasing option anymore, it’s about being present and accessible at the exact moment a customer recognizes and wants to fulfill a desire.

Creating integrated and social online shopping experiences with Magento

One of Magento Live Australia’s best takeaways was the emergence of truly global, ubiquitous commerce solutions. The idea that eCommerce and Magento merchants don’t just have to exist online; that they can be integrated into a customer’s offline journey to create more than just a purchase.

Increased and improved vertical technology integrations for Magento are what will make this happen. The continued evolution of the payments industry, the integration of data to inform shipping and inventory, and the inclusion of machine learning in content strategy and delivery. 

We’re looking forward to seeing how these integrations continue to grow and improve throughout the rest of 2019, and what developers will be looking for next.

3. Shipping and Logistics Is a Top Priority

How long do you usually wait for a package to arrive? How long would you have waited two years ago? How about five years ago?

Harnessing the power of the multi-source inventory

Hand-in-hand with integrated customer experiences comes expectations with regards to shipping. Digital and offline commerce have many differences, but one of the largest divides is immediacy; the ability for a consumer to get a product as soon as they’ve decided to make a purchase.

As Consumers become even more connected and as long as immediate gratification remains a core tenant of not only good customer experiences but also good commerce, shipping and logistics will continue to remain a competitive advantage for merchants. There are several different shipping and logistics providers out there, so there’s no excuse not to invest in one that will not only increase your sales, but also improve retention.

4. Magento Will Become More Accessible

The new drag & drop page builder didn’t escape anyone’s attention. As a WYSIWYG that enables instant previews and offers a powerful set of pre-defined content types, merchants will now be able to expand their development capabilities and create better, more fluid content.

Mobile and Headless commerce with Magento page builder

Particularly excited about this should be small and medium businesses who otherwise have limited access to a development team. Page creation can now be managed by fewer team members, with it being possible for scalable Magento stores to be built in a much shorter time frame.

For those looking to implement different solutions such as a PWA, the page builder can also help. The new page builder will be compatible with PWA, meaning APAC developers and merchants can more easily implement Magento solutions that appeal to their audiences and keep pace with the changing outlook for Mobile.  

5. eCommerce Will Continue to Grow in the Region

Growth of APAC Commerce Magento Live AU

One of the big APAC learns of the past few years has been that eCommerce in the region has continued to grow at an unprecedented rate. This year, the total online retail value of APAC commerce is forecast to grow from $787b to %1.2t. That number shows the true value in moving into eCommerce with a solution that truly allows for customer experiences that convert.

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10 Ways to Attract New Customers To Your eCommerce Store

10 Ways to Attract New Customers To Your eCommerce Store

10 Critical Ways to Attract New Customers To Your eCommerce StoreSo you’ve set up your eCommerce store, you’ve found excellent products, and now you’re sitting back and enjoying the profits. Only you’re not, because no one is visiting your site. Just like with brick and mortar stores, eCommerce stores need to attract new customers in order to make a profit and maintain growth.

Luckily, attracting new customers to your eCommerce store isn’t that hard, especially if you happen to have a handy guide for how to do so.

This article covers 10 tactics for increasing the number of visitors to your site; covering on-site content, email, social media, and more.

1. Personalize Your Home page

For many new customers, your home page will be one of the first places they visit after they “enter” your store. Because of this, it’s vital that it leaves a good first impression. The best impression can be made by appealing directly to a customer’s needs.

A great example of this is Amazon, whose home page displays products based on a customer’s shopping history and relevant holidays or events. Something similar can be done on your site by implementing a machine learning extension that displays dynamic content.

Unfortunately, this requires access to information about a customer. For first-time visitors to your site, you probably won’t have information on what products they’ve looked at previously. However, this doesn’t mean you have no data.

Customers can end up on your home page through a number of different avenues. It’s possible a customer has navigated to your home page by clicking on a personalized email you sent. They could also have been directed through a specific social campaign. All of these methods provide you with data that allows you to implement a personalized shopping experience.

2. Increase Your Search Visibility

Increasing search visibility means optimizing your site’s SEO for long tail search traffic. This means optimizing content to match long tail keywords and phrases that new customers are interested in.

For example, if you’re a clothing store, you would create content that matches and answers questions asked by those interested in clothing. You would likely tailor (excuse the pun) that content to specific audiences (e.g., men’s shoes, women’s coats, etc.).

If we take bed linens as an example and perform a Google search for “How to care for your linens”, multiple vendors appear in the search results. These vendors have taken the time to increase their search visibility by appealing to long tail keywords and phrases. You can read more on this in tip #9.

Increasing search visibility does not happen overnight. As almost any respectable SEO strategist will tell you, building authority on the web is a time-consuming process; one that you’ll also likely have to invest money into. This being said, there are some simple methods for improving your site’s authority and search ranking quickly. This includes improving your site’s speed and reliability.

In a study of those who migrated to Hostdedi cloud solutions in 2018, we found that the main reason for migrating was reliability. A reliable site means faster, guaranteed load times and so a better first impression for new customers.

3. Use High-Quality Images and Product Descriptions

Images and product descriptions are the crux of an eCommerce store. The better a product looks, the more likely a new customer is to purchase it, correct?

The ability to see a product in detail and understand what exactly is being sold gives buyers a power previously reserved exclusively for brick and mortar shoppers. More than 70% of potential customers place the ability to zoom on images as one of the highest priority factors when deciding whether to make a purchase.   

If you’re a smaller store with limited available funds, we recommend investing in a cheap lightbox and learning some basic lighting skills. The ability to take photos that demonstrate your product in a positive light can do wonders for a store’s sales and ability to attract new customers. Compare the images below: which product would you be more likely to purchase?

Not only do high-quality images help you to attract new customers, but they also allow you to foster trust. According to research, customers believe that eCommerce stores that invest in better images and content are more trustworthy, and therefore are more likely to make a purchase from them.

4. Use Email Lists (Sparingly)

Well designed and delivered email campaigns are a powerful tool for attracting new buyers to your store. They offer you the chance to send new customers personalized product recommendations that leverage unique selling points. The problem is, where do you get a list of names and emails from?

There a few tried and tested techniques for gaining email lists. Techniques that appear like spam to new customers. We recommend that you start to:

  • Use sign-up forms on your site and integrate with other marketing campaigns
  • Leverage events as locations for gaining sign-ups
  • Organize a giveaway in which you collect information

What you should not do, never, ever, ever… is purchase an email list. Purchased lists are the fastest way to the spam box and never having your emails read (even by new customers with a genuine interest in your products).

Once you’ve got a list (no matter how small), it’s time to start using your emails to draw in new customers and encourage them to make a purchase. Some of the most effective email campaigns:

  • Are cart abandonment emails (40% click-through rate Hubspot)
  • Link to landing pages (23% order rate Omnisend)
  • Welcome new customers (320% revenue increase on promotional emails)
  • Include coupon codes (the reason 85% of email subscribers sign up in the first place Adestra).

Remember, too many emails and those new customers are likely to unsubscribe. 78% of consumers unsubscribe from an email list if they receive too many.

5. Run a Sales Promotion

Emails with coupon codes receive 2.5x higher transaction rates than those without. If this isn’t a reason for giving promotions a go, we don’t know what is. Yet a truly effective sale is about more than just creating and sending coupons.

When running a sales promotion, introducing limits can help to generate an air of exclusivity. If you decide to integrate social media and promotions, Facebook has a great tool that allows you to attach coupon codes and discounts to an ad, while also introducing limits.

Implementing Coupon codes on Facebook will let you set the discount amount, any details, where people can redeem the discount, and how many discounts are available. It will also let users save your coupon code and use it in the future – in case they’re still undecided on whether to make a purchase or not.

6. Implement PPC Advertising

PPC is pay-per-click advertising. It is where you pay for each click your advert receives – and so for each new potential customer to your site. For high purchase intent searches, paid advertising nets 65% of all clicks, making it one of the best techniques for attracting new customers.

The most common PPC advertising is search engine advertising, such as Google Adwords or Bing Ads. AdWords and Bing Ads let you bid on specific keywords with advertising campaigns and content you create. They also allow you to easily compare the results of these campaigns to see which performs best and which can be improved.

Many PPC experts state that good PPC campaigns are the product of continuous testing. These tests can include:

  1. Copy
  2. Images
  3. Audience
  4. Targeted keywords

It’s important to note that these attributes can change as your target audience does; in line with industry and social developments. It’s important to keep an eye on what your industry’s “atmosphere” is and then build PPC campaigns around this.

Of course, no business should base their visibility on paid advertising alone. PPC should be part of a more complex strategy that encompasses a range of different technique outlined in this article.  A properly implemented PPC advertising campaign should be based on what you’ve already found successful and help to build out further success.

7. Take Advantage of Social Media

Social media includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and other online social platforms. It’s a great way to connect with customers both through organic and paid strategies. In the last two years, content consumption on Facebook has increased by 57%, with it estimated that roughly 75% of online users are either on Facebook or Twitter.

With such a huge user base, social media provides eCommerce stores with a perfect way to reach out to new customers and make themselves known. This can either be done through social media paid ads, or through organic posting that engages.

If you choose to predominantly use organic social media, one of the best ways to engage with audiences is through the images you choose. According to Ofcom, images were the biggest contributor to social media content success in 2017.

Of course, there is one contribution bigger than images made by a company internally: images made by customers. To make the most out of organic social media, we highly recommend getting involved in and promoting user-generated content.

8. User-Generated Content

Once you’ve taken advantage of social media and built up a loyal customer base, you can start to employ user-generated content in your marketing strategy.

…And employ it you will. The benefits of UGC start almost immediately. As we talked about previously, 92% of people lean towards trusting another person’s recommendation over content created by a brand. UGC will give your brand an edge, with data showing that customers that engage with user-generated content are  97% more likely to convert than those who don’t.

In addition to nurturing customer trust, User-Generated Content is a great way to increase the amount of content you’re capable of creating in a short time span. Some of the content types you can share include:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Reviews
  • Testimonials
  • Blog articles

A great way to encourage user-generated content is by using branded hashtags. This allows for users on social networks to tag you in content they create. A good branded hashtag appeals to your users’ ideals and isn’t just your company name. We use #WeLiveBeyond.

9. Create a Blog

Creating a blog links to #2 in this list: increasing search visibility. It’s an integral piece of a successful content-first strategy. Blog content can provide a versatile content-core with answers to new customer questions, along with information they can’t find elsewhere.

Sole Bicycles offer an interesting take on the blog, and one that appeals specifically to their customer base. Each of their articles provides a series of pictures and information on exploring a city on two wheels. They have articles on Omaha, Seattle, Miami, Boise, New York, Chicago, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, and more.

Not only does this strategy allow them to rank on Google searches for relevant searches, it also allows for them to provide content that appeals to new customers; content that positions their product as unique and valuable.

Sole Bicycles blogging strategy also allows them to share user-generated content. This again feeds into an integrated and successful content strategy.

10. Incentivize Customer Purchases

This links to the sales promotion tip #5 above, but can be expanded to mean so much more. Think what new customers want from your site… and then give it to them. Incentivization can take on several different forms: discounts, free shipping, free gifts, and more.

These techniques allow you to draw in new customers for first-time purchases and can improve retention and customer loyalty for the future. This means that while you may be accepting a lower profit for the first item they purchase, they will go on to purchase many of your products at full price.

And you may not even have to accept a lower profit. Several surveys have shown that when free shipping is offered, customers are more likely to spend more on the same product – simply because of the incentivization.

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Authorize.net Gateway Failure

Authorize.net Gateway Failure

Authorize.net Gateway FailureJanuary 22nd, 2019 – We became aware of a potential issue with clients using Authorize.net as their payment processor in Magento stores. The issue originated from an Authorize.net update which led to multiple customers being unable to complete payment for purchases.

During this time, the Hostdedi support team were actively engaged in fixing the issue for customers that reached out.

As of January 23rd, 2019, Authorize.net have reverted the changes they made, thereby fixing the problem. If you are still experiencing issues, please get in touch with the Hostdedi support team.

What Happened?

Changes made to how character data was submitted to Authorize.net systems led to payment issues arising.

The issue originated as a result of multiple-character delimiters passed via the x_delim_char field no longer being respected by the Auth.net payment gateway. Because of Authorize.net’s change, only the first character in the delimiter was being used.

Customers trying to make purchases on Magento stores that used Authorize.net were unable to complete the checkout process and were instead directed to a 500 page, with the server receiving a RESPONSE_CODE_ERROR (3).

At around 8 pm EST, Authorize.net confirmed that they were planning to revert the changes. At approximately 9:30 pm EST, clients were reporting that their payment processing system is again working.

How to Fix It

Note that as of January 23rd, 2019, Authorize.net have reverted their changes and this should no longer be required. If you have already implemented this fix, we recommend that you revert it – or ask the Hostdedi support team to revert it for you.

A quick fix offered by the Magento Community stated that the line:

const RESPONSE_DELIM_CHAR

Be changed in the following class (app/code/core/Mage/Paygate/Model/Authorize.netphp)

Mage_Paygate_Model_Authorizenet

From

'(~)'

To

'('

We strongly advise that you review this change with your developers. If you would prefer Hostdedi to make this change for you, the support team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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17 Actionable Strategies to Increase Magento Sales

17 Actionable Strategies to Increase Magento Sales

17 Actionable Strategies to Increase Magento SalesThe goal of every Magento store is to increase online sales, and almost every day, a new strategy for doing so seems to pop up. But keeping up to date with the latest and greatest can be an impossible task, especially when you’re confronted by the enormous number of options available and need to prioritize which are the most important.

To help you get the most out of your Magento store, we’ve put together a list of the 17 best strategies for increasing sales quickly and efficiently. We’ve found that these techniques are the most effective amongst those we have tried.

1. Optimize Your Buyer’s Journey

Before you can hope to increase Magento eCommerce sales, you need to understand what actions your customers are performing and when. This is what’s called the buyer’s journey.

The buyer’s journey is represented in several different ways on paper. For the sake of simplicity, when we refer to the buyer’s journey here, we are referring to the sales funnel.

The sales funnel has three primary levels, each of which addresses a different set of thought processes.

  • Awareness – Buyer is aware of a need for a product or service
  • Consideration – Buyer researches competing products or services to find the right fit
  • Decision – Buyer makes a purchasing decision

Increase Magento sales by understanding this sales funnel

There are several different ways to optimize this process so a buyer can move from awareness to decision swiftly. The real trick to optimizing a sales funnel is to isolate what channels are the most profitable for your Magento store, and then build on these to create as clear a pathway to checkout as possible.

2. Optimize Your eCommerce Hosting

A simple way to increase sales is to improve your eCommerce store’s hosting performance. Numerous studies have shown that even a 1-second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% decrease in sales. The faster your store loads, the more sales you will make.

Your store may be slow due to not being optimized, being overloaded, or because you’re hosting with an unsuitable provider. Regardless of the reason, to improve your site’s speed, you’re going to have to make some changes.

Before making those changes, it’s a good idea to benchmark your site’s performance. Google Lighthouse is a great way to start and can easily be implemented through your Chrome browser without having to download anything. There are also several websites that allow you to check site speed manually.

With Google’s increased emphasis on user experience, the time it takes for customers to see and interact with your site is the most important. Many providers emphasize their TTFB load speeds, when this number isn’t a good metric for estimating sales performance. The most important metric is time to interactivity or time to full page load.

3. Take Control of Your eCommerce Environment

When we say take control of your eCommerce environment, we mean being able to make changes to the resources you have access to. This usually means you should avoid SaaS platforms. SaaS platforms, while great for getting started, lack the customization capabilities many hosting environments provide.

You don’t need to be a developer to take full control of your application environment. Many managed hosting providers will help you unlock the true potential of your eCommerce store with auto-installs and help getting your application off the ground.

A good eCommerce environment allows you to increase page load speeds, optimize environment settings, and implement custom tools for advanced functionality. 

4. Go Content First

The best way to attract new customers and draw them into your sales funnel is by luring them with great content.

Great content at the top of your funnel means that potential customers will find your brand while researching for the right product or service. From here, you won’t only be a vendor, you’ll also be an authority – one they’re more likely to purchase from.

Long tail keywords are key to a true content first Magento strategy. The best way to get started is with tools like MOZ and Google Trends. Find content opportunities and fill them.

5. Improve Personalized Experiences

Personalization has long been at the center of great marketing campaigns, so there’s no excuse not to provide it in 2019.

With the introduction of AI and machine learning services, and Magento’s already incredible internal functionality, creating campaigns that appeal to multiple users should be easier now than ever before.

Moreover, improved personalized experiences are an important part of optimizing your buyer’s journey. A buyer is more likely to make a purchase and remain loyal to a store when their name or attributes are mentioned and appealed to.

6. Create Abandoned Cart Emails

10% of customers that receive abandoned cart emails will make a purchase. The potential power in reminding customers of what they left behind, even if it isn’t the same in every industry, is incredible.

Abandoned cart emails are one of the most effective ways to increase Magento sales; especially if you haven’t been sending them already. Implementing them can be tricky, but extensions like Recapture’s Abandoned Cart Recapture or  Magewares’ premium Abandoned Cart Email can help you to get started quickly.

7. Reduce Abandoned Carts

Do you know what’s better than sending abandoned cart emails? Not having to send them at all.

Understanding why potential customers are abandoning their shopping cart is the first step to avoiding it. Looking at the main reasons behind cart abandonment reveals some clear trends.

According to Baymard, the top reason for cart abandonment is unexpected shipping costs, followed by having to create a new user account, and a checkout process that is too complicated. These are all issues that can easily be resolved through minor tweaks.

A great way to improve the second two points is by integrating social logins. This can be done by installing an extension and will, in most cases, provide customers with increased peace of mind over your store’s reliability and trustworthiness.

8. Upsell and Cross-Sell Products

We’ve all heard “would you like fries with that” when we order fast food. It’s a great example of upselling and one that can help you increase Magento store sales.

Upselling is when you provide a customer with additional options for purchase. If you sell shoes, for instance, you may also try to upsell them on a shoe protection and maintenance kit, thereby increasing the life of the shoes and keeping them in the best shape possible.

A good upsell requires two primary elements to be there, otherwise, it can fall on deaf ears.

  1. Upsells should be related to the original product
  2. Upsells should not increase the price of the original product by too much

If you’re already selling an expensive product, customers may be eager to buy into a warranty or protection program. recommendations like these often appeal to a buyer’s journey to find value for their money and make the best purchase possible.

9. Bundle Products

You decided to have fries with your fast food order. You probably got a drink as well, and all for less money than it would have cost you to order each individually. This is bundling, and it’s an incredibly effective way to increase sales.

Not only does bundling help you to upsell more products, but, if done correctly, it can position you as a knowledgable vendor with a clear idea of what is important to customers.

In the example above regarding a shoe repair kit, you can do more than recommend the kit.  By increasing the purchase price of the shoes and including it, you’re able to provide both at a lower combined cost. Customers will feel they are getting great value for money and be less inclined to purchase from a competitor.


Again, bundling products needs to be done strategically and bundled items should be relevant to one another. Savings are an important part of bundling, so analyze what items you are able to reduce prices on. Potentially run a test to see if bundles or the single items perform better.

10. Integrate Social Media

Integrating social media into your sales funnel can be a great way to increase your Magento sales. Social posting, social ads, and interaction with potential customers are great ways to increase awareness, reposition your products, and retarget potential customers.

integrate social media into your sales funnel with a click

Integrating social channels doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task. Integrate social channels with your blog for auto posting and use a social media tool to auto-alert you to brand mentions. For Twitter, Tweetdeck is a great, free tool with a good level of customization.

For social ads, run multiple tests to see what content performs best and work on narrowing down the right audience. The longer you work on it, the better your content will perform and the more customers you’ll start to see hitting your funnel.

11. Go Responsive

Mobile now counts for over 50% of all eCommerce traffic, and it’s not surprising considering the number of people equipped with smartphones and other mobile devices.

in 2019, responsiveness is not something that should need to be mentioned. However, if you haven’t got a mobile-friendly store already, it is a surefire way of increasing Magento conversions. Moreover, there are several great guides and themes available to help store owners make their Magento store responsive quickly.

12. Improve the User Experience (UX)

Good UX makes a buyer’s journey as intuitive and simple as possible. In eCommerce, UX should not aim to recreate the wheel, but adopt the wheel that already exists. There are several primary aspects that eCommerce design should follow, including:

  • Simplicity of navigation
  • Clear presentation
  • Ability to leave and check product feedback
  • Easy access to contact information
  • Design that supports, not overshadows
  • Strong branding

From the perspective of a business, these elements require a clear audience definition and the identification of that audience’s expectations. A tech-orientated audience is going to have a different set of assumptions regarding how an e-commerce site is meant to look and feel, compared with an audience looking for flowers.

13. Embrace User-Generated Content

Imagine being able to improve your content-first marketing tactics without having to hire a writer or strategist? It’s time to look at user-generated content.

User generated content can enable you to increase content amount

Leveraging customer images and reviews can provide you with great advertisements, but it also does something much more important: create advocates.

The real benefit of user-generated content comes from its trustworthiness. Multiple studies have shown that people don’t trust marketers. 92% of people lean towards trusting another person’s recommendation over content created by a brand.

As soon as a customer shares positive content about your products, they become an advocate. They are a real person sharing real feelings about their purchase. This authenticity can go a long way toward pushing a buyer that is otherwise on the fence towards making a purchase.

User-generated content provides authentic, easily-digestible content, and gives your Magento store the edge you need to increase sales.

14. Run an SEO Audit

On average, 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search. That means that potentially 51% of your traffic and potential customers come as a result of your SEO efforts.

If you’re new to SEO, then blogging regularly can help you to improve your SEO rank quickly. Create fresh and helpful content that appeals to what buyers are looking for. We recommend getting started with tools like Google Trends and then going from there.

15. Update Local SEO

SEO is more multifaceted than you may believe – this is especially true if you’re running an omnichannel Magento store and want to encourage online visitors to visit your brick and mortar location.

An example of optimized Google Local SEO

Local SEO is a great way to increase your business visibility for free. Start by heading to Google My Business and make sure that your business’s information has all been configured correctly. You can provide your customers with important information including your:

  • Address
  • Opening Hours
  • Contact Details

Well configured local SEO can increase your store’s visibility on Google and allow even more customers to find your store during the awareness stage of their buyer’s journey.

16. Listen to Customer Feedback

Getting feedback from customers is an important part of knowing how to improve your store’s eCommerce experience. Buyers are often more than happy to give you feedback, especially if they’re not impressed by something. You can enable feedback in a number of ways. Each of which has its own unique advantages.

Surveys are the easiest and quickest to implement. There are a number of free survey sites available, or you can invest in a cloud service such as SurveyMonkey. We find that surveys often need something to motivate customers to engage. This can be a discount code, a voucher, or something else.

Social media is also a great way to elicit feedback. Moreover, by combining feedback with your social media efforts, you’re able to engage with customers online and position your brand as one that cares.

However you decide to collect feedback, the information you receive will be invaluable.

17. Take Part in Holiday Sales

Online sales for Black Friday in 2017 were 26% higher than they were in 2016. In 2018, they increased again. If we’re not being clear: holiday periods can net you a significant increase in sales if you’re suitably prepared.

There are several ways to prepare for holiday sales. Many of them include retargeting potential customers. The reason for this is that during a holiday sales period, buyers are often looking for the best deals available. This involves a much longer consideration stage, with many different merchants competing for a buyer’s decision.

As a merchant, it’s your job to make sure that your products remain at the forefront of your buyer’s mind. Retargeting campaigns through PPC ads and abandoned cart recapture can help to keep you there.

How to Increase Magento Sales the Easy Way

The tips above should help you to make serious headway when it comes to increasing sales. However, it’s important to know that this isn’t an exhaustive list. There are numerous techniques and strategies at a merchant’s disposal. We have included those we have found to be most valuable yet for many merchants, techniques not listed here may make the biggest difference.

We highly recommend checking what other eCommerce stores are doing right and aligning your optimizations around what already works. Again, being a successful eCommerce business is not about reinventing the wheel, following the patterns and expectations that already exist.

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Five Extensions For Boosting Sales On Your Magento Store

Five Extensions For Boosting Sales On Your Magento Store

Five Extensions For Boosting Sales On Your Magento Store

Magento is a mature and feature-rich eCommerce application. It has everything a retailer needs to build an online store. But Magento, as richly endowed as it is, can’t be all things to all retailers. That’s why the Magento Marketplace and Magento extensions exist. They give developers the opportunity to put their own spin on essential eCommerce features.

In this article, we’re going to look at five of the best Magento extensions for increasing sales. We’re interpreting “increase sales” broadly, and will suggest extensions that will help you to bring new customers to your store, improve the shopping experience, and win back customers who leave without making a purchase.

Loyalty programs that offer discounts to loyal shoppers are an effective way of increasing sales and making sure that shoppers come back for more.

Loyalty Program from Amasty provides a huge range of functionality focused on building flexible discount reward schemes. The extension allows Magento retailers to create rewards based on a variety of attributes, including cart contents, purchase history, and more. There are many loyalty program extensions for Magento, but I’ve chosen to highlight this one because of its flexibility: Loyalty Program offers over 16 discount actions and intelligent discounting rules that cover almost everything a retailer might want to offer shoppers.

Research has shown that around 70% of carts are abandoned. Shoppers put products in the carts, but fail to complete the checkout process. Shoppers abandon carts for many reasons, but some can be won back with a well-timed email and the offer of a discount.

Abandoned Cart Email provides highly configurable email reminders with personalization features such as email templates customized for specific customer groups. The extension can also automatically generate coupon codes based on flexible rules chosen by the retailer.

Uncertainty is the enemy of eCommerce retailers. Online retail has many advantages that brick-and-mortar does not, but it suffers from some limitations where direct interaction is concerned. The answer to a question or concern can make the difference between a sale and an abandoned cart. Instant chat embedded on the site and staffed by a knowledgeable support team helps shoppers to get the answers they need to make a decision.

ZenDesk Chat provides Magento integration to the popular ZenDesk real-time chat service, allowing support staff to respond instantly to queries.

A significant proportion of shoppers arrive at eCommerce stores via a search engine. Magento is well-equipped to support excellent search engine optimization, but the SEO Ultimate Suite makes it easier to implement SEO best practices such as adding metadata to product and category pages, internal cross-linking, duplicate content resolution, and rich snippets.

Algolia Instant Search upgrades Magento’s built-in search capabilities with features shoppers are familiar with from search engines like Google. Algolia’s features include instant search results as the user types, autocomplete, search suggestions, and synonym matching.

I’ve tried to include the best of each category of extension in this article, but there are many that provide similar functionality. If my suggestions don’t fit your needs, be sure to browse the Magento Marketplace for more ideas.

 

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