Today Redstage launched the agency’s exclusive extension store, featuring 36 free Magento 1 extensions! Click here to visit the extension store and browse our list of available extensions.
“This is just another example of the value clients can expect from Redstage.”Adam Morris, Redstage CEO
“We’ve built dozens of custom extensions over the course of our 10 years in business. As a thank you to everyone who helped us get this far, we thought we’d release a bunch of them for free. This is just another example of the value clients can expect from Redstage.” Adam Morris, Redstage CEO said of the store launch. “This has been a long-time coming,” CMO & Co-Founder Anthony Latona said, “I’m excited for the new offerings we have to share with Redstage’s clients, both present and future. This is just the first step for what’s in store.”
The Magento 1 store includes a variety of useful extensions, helping merchants beef up their UX, supercharge their shipping, make data-driven product recommendations and more to increase sales. The plugins allow customers to shop by brand, write reviews, navigate stores easier, and calculate shipping. Check out the store to learn more!
The store launch comes as Redstage reaches the half-way point of its 10th year in business (and with Magento’s latest announcement about ending Magento 1 support, pegged for June of 2020). Known for world-class competency in Magento development, Redstage also recently launched an experimental mobile conversion optimization study. Learn more about the study and its surprising results here.
Redstage Worldwide partner Shoppimon provides top online retailers with the ability to know about performance, technical, and content issues before their shoppers ever encounter them. By visiting eCommerce sites the same way real customers do, Shoppimon behaves like a 24/7 mystery shopper, identifying any problems that impact the shopping experience and a customer’s ability to complete a purchase. Shoppimon currently monitors over 2,000 online stores, and publishes the monthly Online Health & Usability Index bench-marking major eCommerce health and performance trends.
Creating the Ideal Customer Journey:
The ideal customer journey is fast, frictionless, and interruption-free. The best online retailers in the world have cut average site load times to tenths of a second, and have optimized the layout of each page to provide an intuitive shopping experience. Ideally, a website should also never suffer from major technical or content issues that interrupt a shopper. Unfortunately, this ideal is not possible today.
3 Things That Make or Break a Store’s UX
Every eCommerce manager should know what’s happening throughout their site, and be prepared to handle serious issues at a moment’s notice. It’s also important to be aware that no store is immune to these problems. Top retailers are prone to face these types of issues at rates similar to SMBs, with the average online retailer losing 13% of their annual revenues to them.
#1 Entry Points
Landing pages and other forms of content that push large quantities of traffic to your site, but are not functioning properly or don’t render visually as they should can make or break a marketing campaign and the sales targets you have for the month. So ensuring there are no snags in the functionality of these gateways to your site is crucial.
We speak to many retailers who check their online stores including the checkout process thoroughly in a development environment, but once it’s live, they stop testing. Due to how many moving parts there are in a checkout process, particularly custom built checkout workflows, it’s critical to continuously check that there is nothing getting the way of a customer who has already decided to buy. Shoppers must be able to effortlessly see what they’re buying, the associated costs, easily enter coupon codes, select payment methods and complete a purchase. Do not rely on customers to report problems here, because you stand to lose significant business before a determined shopper actually reaches out. We know that 4% of all eCommerce business is lost due to technical issues during checkout, but with proper attention you can identify problems before customers hit them, dramatically reducing that number.
In a recent post, Shahar Evron, Shoppimon CTO, discussed how to handle error messages with grace. He’s found that error messages are often left as an afterthought, rather than planned for during a site’s development. Something that is true of even the largest sites. Moreover, development teams regularly decide their content, leading to awkward, highly technical messages that scare customers away. Beyond having an immediate impact on sales, when messages are missing, this can also lead to error messages being exposed on a page. And this poses serious security risks. So make sure neither your site or your sales are at risk by planning for errors to occur in advance. Create simple messages that leave your shoppers with a smile on their face, and the opportunity to either continue down the conversion funnel or engage with you directly.
Site Monitoring: Top Challenges
It is surprisingly common that these things are forgotten about, or put aside, all together. Error messages are a great example where they’re often left as an afterthought. Whereas, for checkout many people know there’s a problem, but either do not, or are not able, to test reliably.
So many eCommerce managers are forced to try and identify issues manually, or wait for customers to complain. And of course by that time, significant sales have already been lost, since the vast majority of customers will simply abandon a purchase.
It’s worth noting that manual testing is highly problematic. Not only is it time consuming, but you will inevitably miss many intermittent issues. Additionally, it is very difficult to manually check multiple variations of a given workflow. For example, testing checkout with one product, vs. 3, or checkout with normal pricing vs. discounted pricing etc.
For scenarios like these, functional (automated) testing, such as Selenium scripting is ideal, but it is not used by many site operators, particularly on a production environment as it can be very complex to setup, maintain and use on an ongoing basis.
The biggest challenge with entry points and traffic gateways is that even online stores which dedicate substantial resources to monitoring their sites on an ongoing basis often overlook off-site sources traffic, such as landing pages. Many eCommerce managers assume that if its not part of the site, then it doesn’t need testing.
The Best Chance for Optimizing Your Overall CX
Awareness is #1: No matter how rigorously an eCommerce site is tested before it goes live, once it is in production it becomes a living breathing entity. Your website will change and be impacted by other integrated softwares, 3rd party services, and your customres. Issues will occur, and code will break. And it’s all par for course in managing and optimizing an online store.
Testing & Monitoring: Because issues happen, you need to keep finger constly on the pulse. Even if your development team has done an incredible job putting together a beautiful cutting-edge site, things can and will go wrong over time.
Therefore, automating testing of your store is an absolute must. Aim to use robust solutions that require less maintenance, and will provide you with clear insight into how customers experience issues, how those issues impact your business, and then help your development team quickly identify and fix their root cause.
And don’t forget to pay special attention to the campaigns and landing pages that bring traffic to your site in the first place.
With every new store display that goes up both in the physical and online stores, we are reminded the holidays are here. Online retailers put in a lot of effort to prepare their store for the holidays because of the potential increase in purchases (especially last-minute). The increase in customer traffic means there are potential increase in challenges; how you effectively deal with these challenges, can either make or break you to cement your online presence. Here are some of the challenges that you may face and how to address them:
#5: Increased website traffic
This is a great part of the holiday season but could have a negative effect on your store. It’s good because increased traffic can convert to increase in sales, however, unpredictable traffic could mean surges which may make your store go offline, something you obviously do NOT want to happen. To avoid this coordinate with your hosting company and your technology partners to ensure your disc space and bandwidth are increased appropriately. There are cloud hosting options and many other solutions to ensure that your store stays up and running during the holiday rush.
#4. Shipping Demand
The last thing your customers’ need to worry about is whether their items will be delivered on time. Not meeting your delivery schedule results in an unhappy customers who could take theirs and other business elsewhere. Evaluate your shipping options to see where it lacks and ensure it meets all potential customer demands. Any and all logistic issues with shipping products also increases your customer service requirements and taxes your staff causing mistakes and furthers the discontent of your customer base.
This doesn’t only effect small or medium sized ecommerce businesses. Just recently, we heard an internal story of a holiday related snafu with regards to Walmart. Their system shipped out a product incorrectly and it took a Redstage staff member 3 lengthy customer service calls to get it sorted out! This type of customer experience is why sites lose customers and what can stifle growth. Make sure your systems are running smoothly and your staff is trained to avoid these types of problems.
#3. Bad User Experience
Customer expectation for the look and ease of use of your online store can be very high. It is important to exceed this expectation to ensure that the user experience (UX) for the customer is memorable but most of all easy to use. Your products should be easy to find via navigation or search and contain enough product information to convince the customer to complete their purchase. Mobile optimization for your store is especially important in this day and age since a large percentage of shoppers use their mobile devices to shop online. Work closely with your web team’s designers and developers to optimize your store’s UX.
#2. Payment Fraud
The increase in online purchases during the holiday season also means you and your customers are more at risk to be victim to payment fraud. It is important to your customers to know that your website is secure since their card and bank information can be easily stolen if a merchant does not take the proper security measures. According to the National Retailer’s Federation, the average retailer loses 0.68 percent of revenue to fraud. This does not include the cost to you for fees, time and overhead and the loss of customer trust. Customer trust can cascade exponentially to ruin your brand and lose you much more than the industry average over time. To effectively manage this risk ensures that your store is in Payment Card Industry Security Standard Council (PCI) compliance, monitor customer daily transactions to look for any red flags in customer spending, use the address verification system and the Credit Card Verification Value (CVV).
Also, make sure that your software platform is up to date – We’re looking at you Magento 1.7 users! The security issues that can arise from out of date software need to be fixed immediately to protect you and your customers from hacking and fraud.
#1. Stock Control
It’s important to have sufficient stock to meet customer demand for the holiday season, it is also just as important to ensure you are not left with a large amount of holiday stock going into the new year. Make sure to monitory inventory ensure you have adequate amounts of stock for potential orders and storage is not an issue. Pull a report on your best-selling items in the last few months to ensure you’ve ordered the appropriate stock levels in time for Christmas. If you’re running any flash sales or pushing deeply discounted loss-leader items, you should have the data to support the inventory levels and not run low or end up with massive overstock.
Overall, these challenges aren’t impossible to overcome. If your company is facing any of these holiday difficulties or in general need any help or support with your store, please get in touch with Redstage anytime. You can reach us at 1-888-335-2747 or email us at [email protected].
In April of this year, Magento launched its Enterprise Cloud Edition. A Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) environment designed specifically for Magento 2.0 and runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Sounds fancy right? Pretty much! But as an e-commerce merchant I’m sure you’re wondering how you will benefit from this new software and why it’s different from anything you may have currently.
Let’s zoom in a little to look at Magneto’s new baby and its benefits. So what exactly is Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition? Magento themselves describes it as a platform-as-a-service offering that enables rapid deployment of fully customizable, secure, and scalable web storefronts, combined with a leading hosting and managed services infrastructure. Designed to support Magento Enterprise digital commerce software, Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition takes advantage of the architecture and functionality enhancements provided by versions 2.0.5 onward. In simpler terms, the new Cloud Edition enhances Magneto’s Community and Enterprise offerings. Magento enterprise Cloud Edition is hosted; setting up and managing a Magento store is a lot easier for merchants now.
Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition is fully customizable; merchants can now offer customers’ differentiated experiences while they benefit from simplified integration and the ability to respond to changing technology.
The new Cloud Edition also runs on the Amazon Web Services (AWS), to the merchants this means that they will always be ready for high volume in demands for their products, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, will no longer be a nightmare and merchants can spend more time optimizing their stores for customers’. The new platform running on AWS ensures that merchants have the capability to respond to a rapidly changing environment, continuously deploy innovations, and not worry about the day-to-day management of infrastructure.
Breaking barriers as the first of its kind in a post software as a service (SaaS) era. It offers customers the benefits of cloud computing usually associated with SaaS solutions but with a highly performaing and scalable PaaS platform.
Magento’s Chief Product Officer, describes the new Cloud Edition as a “game changer.” At the core of Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition are an innovative PaaS that enables merchants and their system integration partners to adopt continuous delivery practices by providing best-in-class DevOps, release management and cloud management tools that make deploying, testing, promoting and operating multiple environments rapid, easy and manageable.
For more information about Magento’s Enterprise Cloud Edition visit their website here.
Over the past few months we have seen many companies struggling with returns process flows and supporting technologies. We’re happy to be able to feature an upcoming webinar by Third Wave Business Systems, our partner and SAP Business One specialist, on this very challenge!
Effectively Manage Return Materials Authorization by Third Wave Business Systems
In an ever changing technological world, it is becoming more and more crucial that you have a strong Return Materials Authorization (RMA) process in place at your organization. If you are unfamiliar with the term, RMA provides the capability to issue authorizations, track status, and process materials returned from customers. For example, let’s say a salesperson at your organization took an order for 200 items, the shipment was sent out to your customer, and upon receiving the goods, realized they were shipped the right item but in the wrong color. With RMA, you can easily obtain authorization to return/exchange the product and receive immediate payback and return on investment. Some key features of Return Materials Authorization include:
Create new RMA documents for item, batch, or serialized returns and expected disposition defaults, providing instant visibility into inbound material returns
Easily convert RMAs into Customer Returns to create an Incoming Inspection queue to initiate the retuned materials workflow
Automate inventory transactions through the Inspection disposition process
Quarantine materials through transfers into separate warehouses
Automatically create Service Calls for those items requiring service work
Generate the data required to analyze returns trends by business partner, item, or batch
Turn data into a proactive tool in addressing product quality, sourcing, or business partner relationship problems
As you can see, RMA helps minimize the costs involved with unauthorized returns and ensure that what is returned is accurately processed and dispositioned. The authorization and tracking processes are independent of standard ERP software functions to provide information about returns without impacting on-hand inventory and financials. At the same time, RMA is integrated with standard business process functions such as Sales Returns, Inventory Transfers, and Service Calls to provide a seamless process flow.
Gain tighter control of your RMA processes, control costs, and turn dissatisfied customers into repeat business. This integration does it all! Click here to register for a complimentary webinar demoing Third Wave’s RMA solution on June 11th from 2-3pm EDT. We hope to see you there!