Magento 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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
January 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.
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:
Be changed in the following class (app/code/core/Mage/Paygate/Model/Authorize.netphp)
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.
The 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
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.
Upsells should be related to the original product
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.
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
Ability to leave and check product feedback
Easy access to contact information
Design that supports, not overshadows
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.
Leveraging customer images and reviews can provide you with great advertisements, but it also does something much more important: create advocates.
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.
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:
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.
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.
When we talk about Magento security, the focus is often on securing the server and the eCommerce application itself. That makes sense because it is where most attacks are directed. Script injection, brute force, and remote code execution attacks are aimed squarely at the server. But there are other attack vectors to take into account, particularly endpoints.
eCommerce stores have a client-server architecture. The server is the application itself. Magento trusts authenticated clients, but these endpoints are not always trustworthy. A simple example of this problem is a logged-in mobile device. If an employee with an administrator account loses an insecure mobile device, whoever finds it may be able to access the store.
Endpoints can be used to circumvent even the best designed security strategies because they are trusted. In addition to ensuring that Magento is secure, everyone with admin permissions on a store or an SSH account on the server must follow endpoint security best practices.
Use two-factor authentication
Once a computing device — a laptop, perhaps — is stolen, it is best to assume that the thief has access to every password stored on it. Two-factor authentication, provided by an extension like Sentry, will stop an attacker who only has access to the password.
Secure endpoint devices
Modern devices and operating systems provide strong security and authentication systems. The MacBook I am writing this article on uses full-disk encryption and fingerprint authentication. Most mobile devices provide similar encryption and biometric authentication.
These security measures are only effective if they are used. Anyone with an admin account on a Magento store should take full advantage of their device’s built-in security.
Access your store over a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts information that moves between the endpoint device and a Magento store. This prevents a third-party from intercepting sensitive information with a man-in-the-middle attack.
A VPN is particularly important when site owners use insecure protocols such as FTP to transfer data to their server.
Remove unused accounts
Retailers often provide accounts for employees or freelancers so that they can work on the Magento store or its server. When the employee no longer needs access, the accounts should be deleted as soon as possible.
On a related note, if you do need to give access to a developer, designer, or other professional, create a new account for them. Don’t use the same account for more than one person. If everyone uses the same account, revoking access will be a huge headache.
Minimum necessary access
Give people the least access they need to get their work done. If they don’t need an administrator account, don’t provide one. If a developer doesn’t need access to your server’s root account, don’t let them have it. Magento includes powerful Access Control Lists so that store owners can specify which parts of a site an account can access. Familiarize yourself with how ACLs work and use them to restrict the access of account holders.
Endpoint security is too often neglected, but Magento store owners should be aware of the risks and what they can do to keep their store safe.
Like any complex piece of software, Magento requires a bit of maintenance every now and again. As your store evolves and your business grows, new products and customer accounts are created and deleted, extensions and themes are installed or modified, and the general day-to-day operations of the store leave their mark.
Diligently maintaining your store will ensure that it remains secure, fast, and reliable as the years go by. In this article, I’m going to focus on five of the most common tasks that Magento store owners should add to their to-do lists.
Applying Security Patches
The Magento teams regularly release security patches that fix vulnerabilities in the software. The patches are released shortly after vulnerabilities are discovered by Magento’s developers or security professionals. If you don’t install patches soon after they are released, your store may be vulnerable to attacks by criminals and to data theft.
404 is the HTTP response code that web servers send to browsers when they can’t find the requested resources. Over time, you will move or delete product and content pages from your Magento store. If you aren’t careful, links from other pages on your store will be broken, resulting in 404 errors when shoppers try to visit them.
404 errors create a poor user experience and too many can have a negative impact on a store’s standing in search results. It’s a good idea to regularly use a tool like Screaming Frog’s Broken Link Checker to find and fix any 404 errors on your store.
Magento logs information about what happens on a store in the database, including customer activity, orders, visits, and more. That information can be very useful, but the logs grow over time and can take up a lot of space and degrade database performance.
Magento can automatically remove stale logs, but this capability is turned off by default. If you want Magento to automatically clean its logs, find out how to turn on log cleaning in our guide to Magento database maintenance.
If your Magento store is compromised by bad actors or damaged by human error, it is easy to restore it from a backup. But if you don’t back up, incidents of this sort can be catastrophic.
Magento 2 has a built-in backup system that you will find in the dashboard under System -> Tools -> Backups. You can choose to backup the whole store with “System Backup”, the database and media, or just the database.
It is a good idea to perform regular system backups and to move the resulting files off your Magento server to a safe location.
Flushing The Image Cache
Magento caches product images in a dedicated cache. The Catalog Image Cache can sometimes become very large over time as new products are added and old products are deleted. Flushing the cache (removing the images) can free a large amount of disk space.
You will find the cache controls in the Magento 2 admin menu under System -> Cache Management. At the bottom of the Cache Management page is a button that will flush the Catalog Image Cache.
If you choose to flush the Catalog Image Cache in this way, there is likely to be a performance impact as Magento regenerates the cache of existing product images. You may prefer to only remove older cached images with a command such as this:
As always, make sure you understand exactly what this command does before running it.
With regular maintenance, your Magento store will remain fast, secure, and reliable as your eCommerce business grows. Don’t forget, our expert Magento support team is on-duty round-the-clock to answer your questions.
The Magento eCommerce application is at the center of a vibrant ecosystem of retailers, developers, designers, conferences, and Magento hosting providers. Like all ecosystems, Magento evolves, and it can be difficult for newcomers to the world of eCommerce to get to grips with its constituent parts and the role they play in building a successful eCommerce business.
In this article, we’re going to explain some of the terminology new eCommerce merchants need to understand before embarking on their journey with Magento.
First things first, what is Magento?
Magento is a powerful eCommerce application built on open source technology. It’s used by retailers ranging from solo entrepreneurs to big-name eCommerce merchants like Ford, Wrangler, Silent Night, Harvey Nichols, Paul Smith, and Christian Louboutin.
Magento was initially released in March 2008 and has since grown to incredible proportions. There have been two main iterations of the application (Magento 1 and Magento 2).
One of the main reasons why eCommerce developers love Magento is due to its customizability and ability to scale as a business grows. A huge number of plugins and extensions are available for store developers, and custom functionality can be included with help from a Magento developer.
The heart of the Magento ecosystem is an open source community of developers. The community is maintained by the Magento company. Magento Commerce is that company’s commercial offering, and includes support and additional features for enterprise retailers. This includes dedicated Magento account management.
Originally released in 2016, the self-hosted version of Magento Commerce was previously known as Magento Enterprise Edition. It has since grown to become a staple in the Magento community with bigger eCommerce businesses looking for more functionality looking for greater complexity and with a larger global presence.
If you’re a larger eCommerce business, Magento Commerce is likely the best option for your business.
Magento Open Source is a free version of Magento that includes many of the same features as Magento Commerce. Until recently, Magento Open Source was known as Magento Community Edition.
Magento commerce was originally released in 2007 as a public beta. The full version was released in 2008. Because Magento Open Source is open source, developers are not locked into the software they are provided. It is possible to make changes to the application and incorporates other technologies as well. This means that developers can craft Magento Open Source into something specific to their needs. Something developers aren’t as free with when it comes to Magento Commerce.
To use Magento Open Source, retailers can choose a Magento hosting provider, which will provide the servers, bandwidth, and support a retailer needs to build their store. This also allows for Magento store owners to focus on what’s important – their store – and leave background processes to someone else.
There are other differences between the Open Source and Commerce editions of Magento. Here a few more in more detail.
Responsive eCommerce website
Promotions Engine / Product & Catalog Management
Checkout, Payment, Shipping & Order Management
Site management (admin)
Bluefoot CMS in 2.2
Magento Order Management
Content Staging & Preview
OOTB B2B Functionality (in v2.2)
Magento is a complete eCommerce solution, but retailers can add extra functionality by installing extensions created by third-party developers. Magento extensions extend or enhance Magento’s existing features. Hostdedi has created several Magento extensions, including the popular Turpentine extension for Varnish integration, and Alarmbell, a Magento security extension.
There are hundreds of Magento extensions, both free and premium. Magento users should take care to only install extensions from reputable developers or marketplaces. If in doubt, head to the official Magento Marketplace, which we’ll discuss in a moment.
Magento themes are similar to extensions, except themes focus on the design of a site rather than on adding new functionality. Every Magento store uses a theme, and just like extensions, there are free themes, paid premium themes, and custom themes developed for specific retailers.
Magento Marketplace is an officially supported repository of both extensions and themes. Magento Marketplace thoroughly vets all extensions and themes it distributes, so you can be sure that everything you find on there is secure and useful.
Magento Marketplace isn’t the only trustworthy source of themes and extensions. Many reputable developers have their own sites and stores. However, if you’re unsure of the quality of a theme or extension, it’s good practice to check to see if it’s on the marketplace.
Finally, Magento hosting: every eCommerce store needs a hosting provider. The hosting provider takes care of the store’s connection to the internet, the server the Magento application and its database run on, and the support retailers need to provide a fast shopping experience to their users.
Hosting providers are of varying quality and Magento requires specific conditions to provide the best performance and reliability. Choosing a specialist Magento optimized hosting provider with great support is the best way to start your journey as an eCommerce retailer
Publishing audience-attracting content on an eCommerce store can be difficult. Product descriptions are essential but they aren’t the sort of content that attracts a loyal readership or brings people back time and time again. The importance of SEO value in generating organic reach means that it’s time to start integrating a WordPress blog with your Magento store. Content publishing is the present and the future of eCommerce and online retail, especially if you’re looking to attract new customers and retain existing buyers.
While it’s perfectly possible to blog within Magento using add-ons like the Aheadworks Blog extension, there are advantages to integrating a platform that has been built with content publication in mind. It’s also possible to turn WordPress into an eCommerce store, but Magento offers levels of flexibility and functionality that are difficult to replicate on a platform designed for content management.
If a retailer wants to maximize both the effectiveness of their content publishing efforts and the efficiency of their sales process, an integration that makes use of both WordPress and Magento is the optimal solution.
The best approach to WordPress/Magento integration depends on which is your primary platform. A WordPress site owner who wants to use Magento for selling products needs a solution with a different focus than a Magento user who wants to integrate a WordPress blog with an existing store. I’m going to look at how both use cases can be satisfied.
There’s some crossover here, so I’d advise you to take a look at the full range of functionality offered by the extensions I’ll be highlighting and make a decision that suits your particular needs.
The extension helps maintain a consistent brand identity by using the Magento store’s theme for the WordPress blog without requiring any modification of files on either the WordPress installation or Magento. Users can log-in to their WordPress blog from within the Magento dashboard.
One of the most important reasons for choosing to use WordPress rather than a native Magento blogging solution is the huge amount of extensions available for WordPress. Handily, the WordPress Magento Integration extension supports many of the most popular WordPress plugins, including Yoast’s SEO plugin and Disqus comments.
To begin, you’re going to need to download WordPress and extract it to the Magento root directory of your server. Once installed, the WordPress folder should be named “WordPress”, rename this to “wp”.
Note: If you’re doing this on a Hostdedi account, get in touch with the Hostdedi team and we’ll help you to manage this stage.
To check if it worked, type in your web address followed by “/wp/”. For example, http://www.mystore.com/wp/. This should take you to the WordPress installation page, which you should follow in standard WordPress fashion to get your blog set up.
When asked for database information, you have two options. You can either create a new WordPress specific database for storing your blog data, or you can link to your Magento database.
It is perfectly fine to use your existing Magento database due to WordPress and Magento data being separated by different tables. If you’re unsure about where to find your database, you can search MagentoRoot/app/etc/local.xml and find the information there.
At this point, the two applications have still not been linked. You are running a WordPress install and a Magento install at the same time.
Fishpig is 100% free and can be downloaded using the link above. You can install the module like any Magento module by using the Magento Connect Manager. Just make sure that you’ve disabled the Magento Cache and Compiler while you’re setting everything up. If you don’t errors will pop up!
Now that you’ve installed the module, head to your Magento Admin and along the top find WordPress -> Settings. Here you’ll find two sections that are going to require configuration.
Magento Database and Integration Settings
First, head to the database section. If you decided to set up Magento and WordPress using the same database, then make sure that you select yes. Below this, you’re going to need to enter the WordPress prefix. For the purposes of this guide, that is “wp_”
Next, scroll down to the Integration section. This is where the meat of your WordPress Magento connection is coming from.
First, in order to make sure that everything looks nice from a user experience perspective, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re selected yes next to “Integrated theme”.
Next, you’re going to set up the URL structure for your blog. You don’t have to type the whole URL in, just the part that directs to the WordPress blog. We’ve gone with “blog” (there’s nothing quite like tradition) but you can opt for whatever you want. Using the example above, your WordPress blog will be located at “www.mystore.com/blog/”.
Finally, you’re going to want to enter the path for to your actual WordPress install. If you’ve been following this guide to the letter, that should just be “wp”. Once you’ve done this, click “Save Config” and click out.
Configuring WordPress for Magento
In order to configure WordPress properly, you’re going to need to head to the general settings section. Here, you will be able to make changes to the URL structure of your WordPress blog and how it links to your Magento store.
The two most important sections are WordPress Address and Site Address. For WordPress address, you want to make sure that you have linked to the location of your WordPress install. This should probably remain as is. If you’re installed WordPress to the Magento root directory as directed above, this will be your website URL followed by /wp/.
Site Address should link to the URL structure you set up while enabling WordPress on Magento above. We’ve gone with the /blog/ directory, but it’s up to you how you set it up. Remember to include your Magento base URL before.
Once you’ve made sure that these things line up, hit “Save Changes” and you’re done. You now have a fully functional WordPress blog added to your Magento store. Congrats!
We’ve just returned from IRCE 2018. Between the marketplace and the sessions, there was a lot happening. eCommerce and marketing professionals from around the world were in attendance, and everyone seemed to have something to bring to the table.
However, throughout the show, we found that three things seemed to be present in almost all of the conversations going on.
Here are what we think were the three main takeaways from IRCE this year.
With huge marketplaces such as Amazon, speakers such as Seth Godin stated that “You will lose on price” if you try and compete there.
Instead, small companies should start to look at fringe groups that are likely to grow with time. Effectively building a business is about making change happen. It’s about taking something and increasing its value in the public consciousness.
This led Godin to prompt everyone to ask themselves two questions about their brand:
Who’s it for?
What’s it for?
Throughout IRCE, this theme found itself springing up time and time again.
The speech Institutionalize Innovation by Roe Macfarlane talked about how market segmentation required specific actions based on age, including the type of leader different groups are more inclined to follow.
Counter the Amazon Effect also talked about how it was important to innovate and inspire change in order to compete with the eCommerce giants of today. How did many people suggest this change and niche focus should come about? Personalization.
Godin’s second standout statement during his keynote was also repeated by speakers throughout IRCE 2018. The importance is not in marketing to a mainstream audience, but in appealing to those who are already a friend to your brand. These connections should be nurtured in a way that creates a “tribe” that follows one thing: you.
This tribe should be nurtured through personalization techniques.
Personalization 2.0: Making the Move to Individualization by Brendan Witcher talked about the ultimate destination of personalization techniques: individualization, not segmentation. He also went over how to make use of big data to do this (without becoming ‘creepy’).
We also saw David Blades of Jenson USA talk about the importance of user generated content in boosting sales. The community wants the brand to be about them, and what better way to make it about them than by having them generate the content.
With the first Magento Straight Talk during IRCE came conversations about machine learning and its place in eCommerce. For many businesses, the idea of machine learning has become something that is spoken about a lot but hasn’t shown enough value to be applied independently.
Anita Andrew’s talk inspired a different perspective, with stats on how effective machine learning has been for some huge brands. Target saw a 30% growth in revenue after applying machine learning techniques. Amazon saw a 55% increase in sales from personal recommendations, and USAA saw a 76% improvement in customer support contact and product offering fit.
Yet Anita did mention the issue with what she termed ‘dirty data’. Throughout the big data sessions, dirty data become a central point of interest. How do you take outliers and unpredictable variables and apply them to machine learning algorithms? Many of the IRCE speakers gave their own perspectives and approaches to cleaning for different purposes. Anita talked about cleaning data in order to boost product offerings. In Personalization 2.0, the focus was on how to clean data to truly individualize your brand. In the merchandising track, Carter Perez talked about how Machine learning could be used to improve product discovery.
Regardless of where you heard it, the message was clear: machine learning is the future and it’s here now.
Outside of the sessions, the marketplace was abuzz with activity. Many of those exhibiting at the show had something to offer that linked into the topics mentioned above.
Hostdedi met with several old, new, and future clients during the show and had a great time with all of them. We also went to go see the Cubs vs. Phillies game in Wrigleyville, with over 250 RSVPs to the rooftop event. We’ll leave you with the view we had and look forward to seeing you next time!
Jeff Bezos is the richest person who has ever lived, according to some sources. While that claim should be taken with a pinch of salt – Bill Gates was richer in real terms before he gave a big chunk of his wealth away – Bezos is certainly the richest person in the world today. That wealth is due to the enormous success of Amazon, and a big chunk of Amazon’s success is due to the stranglehold the company had over one-click purchases.
It would be silly to claim that one-click purchases were the most important factor in Amazon’s success, but we shouldn’t underestimate the difference in conversions and revenue between sites with one-click purchases and those that are required to make shoppers jump through hoops to buy. Experian have estimated that a single additional field on a check out form can cost an eCommerce company millions.
Once customers had become accustomed to one-click purchases, it was only a short hop to enhanced shopping experiences like Amazon’s Alexa, which can be used to make purchases by voice.
Last September, Amazon’s patent on one-click purchases expired. Any eCommerce store is free to implement one-click purchases, and Magento was fast off the blocks with the introduction of Instant Purchases.
Instant Purchases bring radically simplified checkouts to one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in the world, allowing tens of thousands of merchants to benefit from a user experience that was once the domain of a handful of eCommerce giants.
Magento Instant Purchases work like this: a shopper taps the “Instant Purchase” button on a store’s product page, confirms the order, and they’re done. A confirmation message appears and the shopper is free to carry on browsing.
To be able to use Instant Purchases, a shopper must be logged-in to their account, have selected a default billing and shipping method, and have a stored payment method.
A side benefit of Instant Purchases is that they encourage shoppers to create an account with all the necessary information, providing retailers with valuable data and increased opportunities for engagement.
Instant Purchases will also decrease cart abandonment rates. Carts are often abandoned before shoppers have completed the checkout process. With Instant Purchases, the decision is made on the spot. Shoppers are, of course, free to cancel any orders they make, but there’s a big difference between actively canceling an order that has already been made and deciding not to make the order in the first place.
Instant Purchases are worth exploration by any business that sells online. Shoppers have never enjoyed entering large amounts of information or plodding through multiple confirmation dialogues. Most want to be able to make a purchase within the context they made the decision to buy.