Tell your Story, Sell your Products.

In today’s world it’s not enough to just exist online. You need to connect with your users on a level that leaves them wanting more; a reason to buy from you, a reason to be loyal.  

Lets face it, there are a million places prospective customers could buy something very similar or even exactly the same as your product, so you have to show them why they should buy from you. This is where your content comes in, because people buy stories, not products.

Knowing why you sell what you sell, why you do what you do, is often the tipping point in your favour to convince your customers to buy from you, and not your competitors.

Purposeful storytelling in eCommerce is not a new concept, but it is something merchants frequently either misunderstand, or turn into a confusing message for their customers. In this article, our Head of Strategy, Darren Bull, explains how we execute Digital Storytelling effectively, using Magento to give our clients the functionality they need to be able to tell their brand story.

So what is a Brand story?  

It is a message by which you live by, and defines how you connect with your users, and it’s based entirely on WHY you do what you do.

We encourage our clients to be content orientated, and build the tools they need to manage and distribute content through multi-channels to engage on a human level. We do this because people buy stories, not products. Because of this, there is a deeper purpose to your communications. There is heart and purpose to what you do, and this is the brand story that your customers buy into.

Less is more, trust me.

The idea is to promote one message - one story told to everyone everywhere. This is the best way to keep your brand strong across all your platforms, and to encourage everyone to come back to your site to buy, no matter how they come across the content. How you communicate that message however, can vary per customer and platform.

We are exposed to thousands upon thousands of brand messages each day, so making your brand message stand out is not an easy feat. You need to build up a trust with your customers to really make an impact with them. A single message across the board helps with this, because it sticks, and everyone ends up talking about the same thing. This is especially important because the influencers that encourage people to buy a product don’t always come from the brand themselves. With brand messages here, there and everywhere, we’re more likely to buy based on a recommendation from someone we trust.

Think about trust, and what makes you trust a brand. A guy on an advert saying: “This brand rocks!” generates less trust than your friend recommending the same product.

These recommendations have to be brought on by something though, so tie this back to your single message through all channels. 38% of people will recommend a brand they follow on social media, for example, so it’s massively important to push your content actively, rather than hiding it away in a blog simply to be crawled by Google for SEO gains. Your story and your products need to go hand in hand.

And the story isn’t over - the Big Brand Bang

Why stop once the transaction is over? Why stop the story there?

Magento is at the heart of eCommerce, the Platform helps to deliver your story through managed content, and you can keep this content going as long as your business does. Your brand Universe can be constantly expanding, if you tell your story.

Stories make connections to your customers on an authentic level - they are a human connection to one another, which is a lacking factor in online shopping. This is why it is so valuable.

Be genuine with your story. Document your brand journey and continue your story. We are all creating stories just by existing, and this is the kind of content that pushes your brand universe past the transaction point into a lifetime customer for trust and loyalty. Your customer tells your brand story by being loyal, recommends the product, and your brand universe expands again.

And you can reinforce this again by tying all your channels together. Reward the social share, send them a Direct Message with a discount code to strengthen the relationship. Remember, a Thank You goes a long way. If you can connect with the people engaging with your brand, half the work is already done, and you can do the rest to turn them into more influencers for your brand.



 

David Wise: How to Succeed on Magento

Touch payments have now overtaken as the preferred way to pay for goods, and we as consumers get annoyed when it’s not available. Stopping to get a card out of our wallets before we purchase now creates friction in what could be a very smooth process, and once we have experienced the frictionless transaction, we expect it all the time. We have changed our expectations to want this service as standard.

This has now influenced everything from how we purchase fast food, to how we order a taxi. If you now cannot order and pay for a cab from your mobile, there is perceived friction in the process. We expect to be able to get from A to B, and pay without ever reaching into our bags.

The digital sector has a massive influence on how we change these expectations in purchasing. As online merchants, we don’t know what’s coming in this industry, what the next big development will be. If you don’t keep up, you and your store will be left behind.

Speaking at the eCommerce Show North earlier this month, David Wise, Director of Channel Sales at Magento, talked about how the digital field is transforming our expectations as well as the way we purchase.

Keep it Fresh

Merchants who are flexible will get the customers in future, because they are keeping up with the changes, and are ready to change with them.

Over the next five years, what will you do to future proof, and to differ yourselves from your competitors? Customer Experience accounts for over 40% of what we think drives people to certain websites. Interestingly, people didn’t say mobile would be a driving factor, but that could well be simply because we already expect this today; now. We aren’t thinking ‘mobile is going to be huge in five years’, because it already is huge.

Marketplaces

When asked on reasons to shop on brand sites vs marketplaces, people said that brand sites had more exclusive things you can’t find away from the brand’s own store. The product ranges drive people to brand sites. But things like a free courier, and a good shopping experience, were both stacked in favour of marketplaces.

Being Unique

People want personalised experiences. Take Oliver Sweeny, the men’s shoes brand. They now employ a full time tattoo artist to tattoo their boots for a truly unique experience, and people want to buy them. We love to feel unique and individual.

Content is key

People use it to get to your site, to decide that they are going to buy your product. The brand experience is vital to get people to see who you are and what you do.

Imagery is key as well. Don’t sacrifice your speed for high quality, but poorly optimised images.

The roles of stores has changed

Being online means you are more accessible than ever before. But so are your competitors. Your website is no longer simply a place to go and buy products from, but must be a platform which you use to convince people that they should buy from you and no one else. Customers want to see innovation on websites, and they want the convenience of purchasing as quickly and simply as possible so they can get on with their day.  We love to buy but we don’t love to pay, and the easier it is to pay, the better the sales. You need to create a frictionless experience on your store to get the custom.

And Social Media DOES matter

Social Media impacts everything we do online, both as shoppers and merchants. We want what our idols have, we make purchasing decisions based on what our friends recommend. What you do on social media will impact your sales, but you need to link the campaigns back to the right places to have the best result.

Get Magento BI

As we’ve already mentioned, Magento BI is great to maximise your sales, and push the best part of your business. Truly Experiences, a luxury holiday company, became 70% more efficient for SEO after switching to BI.

Closing Advice? Future proof your business

Progressive web apps will be the next big thing for mobile shopping. It brings apps and websites for mobile together. You can update the site faster without re-uploading it to an app store again and again. You also don’t need to submit it to multiple app platforms.

Use search in Google for images and have them link through. Searching for something and finding an image, especially for products, is the new way people search. Think about the sequence of events that get people to buy a product. They see the image on search, and click through to buy it.

The only sustainable advantage you can have over others is agility. That’s it. Nothing else is sustainable, everything you create, someone will replicate. Jeff Bezos (Amazon).





 

Magento Successes of 2017

Here are some of Magento's Sucess Stories of 2017 for increased sales after a new Magento launch:

Kurt Geiger

This is a massive name in the shoe industry, with over 240 concession store fronts in the UK.

The website was on Magento 1, and the company looked to progress to the New Magento Commerce Platform.

It was important to create a unique shopping experience for Kurt Geiger customers. They were shopping online, but needed an in store feel. In short, they needed to be able to do everything apart from actually try a shoe on. The detail should make it so that this was not needed.

Factors of the Out of the Box solution that serve the brand in this instance are:

  • Varnish Caching, which makes it easier to maintain the site speed in peak times.

  • Cached modular approach, so different aspects of the site can be worked on without putting the performance as a whole at risk.

  • A scalable order management system that grows the merchant grows.

  • Streamlined checkout page to reduce user clicks to complete purchase. This also massively improved conversions by offering guest checkout.

  • Out of the box themes that can be customised by in-house development teams

  • Modules for new updates to the site to keep it up to date and on trend with the latest technology advances.

Magento Commerce has made it easier for this brand to go further and to get there faster to create a truly unique shopping experience for their customers.

 

Big Bus Tours

This is the biggest open top bus company in Europe. It operates across 19 Cities in 4 Countries.

They have no fulfilment needs, which is unusual for an eCommerce platform, but their needs were certainly not uncomplex.

This brand needed a site that could operate with multiple languages, and multiple currencies; the long term aim being to center global operations and to expand from the tour ticket industry into the attractions market.

Looking at the site as it was before the move to Magento, Big Bus Tours was behind on the times. They needed a complete transformation.

The new site not only needed to look great, but it was essential that it performed well and looked good on mobile interfaces, as many people book bus tours as they enter the city they are exploring. Ultimately, it needed to be a scalable solution that could grow with the brand, and handle the customer demand.

The end result is extremely impressive. After 8 months of development, Big Bus Tours now operate on the Magento Commerce Platform with 18 stores, all fully responsive, supporting multiple languages and currencies.

Conversion-wise, this is a great success for the tour brand as well as Magento. Here’s the breakdown of the statistics for this brand since migrating to Magento Commerce:

  • Year on year sales increase of 65%

  • Conversion rates are up 50% from the previous year

  • Mobile revenue initially increased by 70%, and is now forecast at a steady year on year growth of 60%

  • SEO is improving by 20% year on year

  • Turnover has gone from £40,000 (November 2016) to £100,000 (May 2017) in just six months

  • Bounce rates have been reduced by 17%

  • Ste traffic is up by 40%

  • Time to purchase has been reduced by 20%

Both brands reported a better experience for their customers once moving to Magento Commerce, and statistics like the ones speak for themselves. You can boost your sales with Magento Commerce.

 

Maximise Conversions on your Magento Store

There are more mobile connections than there are people in the UK. Think about that for a second. That means there’s more ways for people to purchase than there are people. Gone are the days of one using device to browse and purchase. The age of Cross-Device purchasing is here, and there are purchase patterns depending on the devices used. For example, there’s more traffic to websites on a mobile, but more purchases on a tablet. People visit multiple times before purchasing, probably because there’s more competition for the same customers than ever before. So how do you get conversions on your site over others? Speaking at the eCommerce Show North exhibition in October this year, UKFast Enterprise MD Jonathan Bowers outlined the best ways to improve the efficiency of your online site.

 

Do you need an app?

When you think about exclusive mobile shopping, it’s easy to jump to the assumption that you need an app, but in eCommerce, it is not always needed, because 2/3 people prefer to shop through a mobile site. Surveys show that mobile apps are good for communities or organisations, but mobile sites are better to actually sell goods. Check out our feature on apps for why.

 

Trust and security.

Last year, there were 1.8 million hacks in the UK. 1.2 million of these were focused on accessing personal data. Cyber attacks account for 36% of crimes against retailers in the UK, and at the rate it is increasing, this will soon be 50%. You need to look after your customer data. Show you are a person of trust, a person behind the site, and this can only improve your sales. Make sure people know you use anti-virus.

About pages are extremely valuable for persuading a customer to buy from you and not your competition. They are becoming very important because it shows you are a person, not a machine, or a fake. It gives customers reassurance and makes them think “There are people involved here, this site is ok.”

To strengthen the link to the human connection, your social media feeds should be coming into the right place on your website, and at the right time for customers to buy. User Generated content is very helpful, but don’t sacrifice the speed of your site for a feed. The human element can be found on your social media platforms, and link back to your site to get the best relationship between speed and connections.

Have words like ‘contact’ and ‘help’ up in your header. People will realise there are people involved if they see they can call someone.

 

GDPR.

With the changes to data protection coming into effect in May 2018, we need to evaluate who our customers are and what they want to hear from us. We are not taking care of people’s data properly, and we should be. We need to build up the trust.

 

Know your shopper’s habits.

Live chat is amazing for assisting in conversions, but only at certain times. 33% of sales in the UK happen after 6pm, so chat bots can be used to supplement the sale for out of hours if you don’t want to pay a person, but want to keep the value of a customer engaging with your site. You could also evaluate their shopping habits and entice them to buy with a deal you know they have looked at during their visit. This is often done with data mining schemes like the Tesco Club Card. People thought it was a great way to get loyalty points for shopping at Tescos, but it was actually a huge data mining scheme to gather information about how people shop.

The discounts you offer to people can vary depending on their habits too. For example: People who are loyalty members spend 13% more than two non-members combined. Look at how to approach frequency customers. E.g. , for a high frequency shopper, give them free delivery rewards. Low frequency users would be enticed more by 10% discounts etc.

In 2015, the AOV online was £78.74 for UK Customers. You can maximise the margins on this by incentivising the products with the biggest margins. Make the higher margin items more appealing.

Big turnoffs for customers include a delivery fee and no guest checkout. Get rid of these frictions if you can, and keep the payment process as seamless as possible with something like a One page checkout. As you may know, Magento went from a 6-step checkout to a 1-step checkout on the new Magento Commerce platform, with two years of research going into the easiest and highest converting method for people to purchase online.

And even if the customer doesn’t buy, this can still be used to your advantage. 24% of people abandon their cart, but this can be used as a marketing tool if they can save it and come back later.

Give a sense of urgency when following up abandoned carts with incentives e.g. ”Free delivery if you order before 10pm tonight”.

 

Speed.

Images on your checkout increases conversions by 10%, but a 0.5 second delay in speed on a site can result in a loss of conversions by 20%.  40% of people will leave a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. This goes up to 57% on mobile. We expect things instantaneously now, so make sure all your images are optimised.

Functions like banner ads don’t always work because you have to wait for the content, and people either won’t wait that long, or they don’t even land on the homepage, so it’s a wasted drain on the site speed.

 

Remember:

33% of people would recommend a quick, but ineffective service.

17% of people would recommend an effective, but slow service.

      The 2J Commerce office will be closing at 13.30pm on the afternoon of the 22nd December and will reopen as normal on Tuesday 2nd January at 9am.  Please note that Technical Support will be available for Priority 1 and 2 issues (Highest and High in Jira) only during this period via two avenues:  1. During standard office hours of 09.00 to 17.00 Monday to Friday excluding Bank Holidays, tickets raised in Jira and marked Highest or High will be picked up by the Indian Support team.  These are the days this applies to: Friday 22nd (13.30 - 17.00) + Wednesday 27th + Thursday 28th + Friday 29th   2. Outside of standard office hours, should a website suffer outage or site failure, tickets raised in Jira and marked Highest or High will be picked up by the 2J 24/7 support team.  2J Commerce will charge a call out fee of £250.00 + Vat for each individual ticket raised outside of standard office hours and marked High or Highest.  All time logged on these tickets will otherwise be billed according to client support agreement.  For customers with UKFast hosting please be aware of their emergency helpline over the Christmas period on 0800 230 0032     We'd like to wish all our clients a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The 2J Commerce office will be closing at 13.30pm on the afternoon of the 22nd December and will reopen as normal on Tuesday 2nd January at 9am.

Please note that Technical Support will be available for Priority 1 and 2 issues (Highest and High in Jira) only during this period via two avenues:

1.
During standard office hours of 09.00 to 17.00 Monday to Friday excluding Bank Holidays, tickets raised in Jira and marked Highest or High will be picked up by the Indian Support team.

These are the days this applies to: Friday 22nd (13.30 - 17.00) + Wednesday 27th + Thursday 28th + Friday 29th


2.
Outside of standard office hours, should a website suffer outage or site failure, tickets raised in Jira and marked Highest or High will be picked up by the 2J 24/7 support team.  2J Commerce will charge a call out fee of £250.00 + Vat for each individual ticket raised outside of standard office hours and marked High or Highest.  All time logged on these tickets will otherwise be billed according to client support agreement.

For customers with UKFast hosting please be aware of their emergency helpline over the Christmas period on 0800 230 0032

 

We'd like to wish all our clients a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

2J Founder is Digital Entrepreneur of the Year 2017

2J Founder is Digital Entrepreneur of the Year 2017

Jamie Jackson, Founder of 2J Commerce, won the award for Digital Entrepreneur of the Year at the DEA Awards in Manchester last night.

The prestigious award is the last in the 19-strong line up of the annual Digital Entrepreneur Awards ceremony held in Manchester, hailed as the digital capital of the North. The Digital Entrepreneur of the Year Award gives credit to an individual or pairing who represents true pioneering advancement in digital. The shortlist this year was extremely competitive, so we are thrilled have Jamie’s name on this accolade.

Jamie has always had the mindset of an entrepreneur. Due to his determination and hard work ethic, what often started out as something small would quickly develop and escalate. But after finding school tough; failing all exams, he realised he needed something more, and he found it when he discovered the world of digital.

Like most of us, at 17, Jamie wanted to learn to drive, but couldn’t afford the lessons. So he agreed to build a website for his driving instructor in exchange for lessons. This is where his love for all things digital was truly born, and used this skill to become a freelance web designer. This being in the 90’s the days of dial up internet made this pretty tough, but it never stopped him.

Over the years, working in various full-time digital roles and continuing to freelance in his spare time, Jamie knew he needed to go alone. Having commitments from a young age, and just scraping by, it was a gamble, and he was nervous. He got the push he needed after an unfortunate accident during an Ice Hockey game. A broken arm meant he couldn’t work, so he lost his contract. Needing to pay the bills, he started working on small websites from home to boost his status in the industry. He had no investment and no outside help, but in the first two months of his venture into web development, he had turned over more than in six months contracting out in manual labour, and 2J Commerce was born. It would be another five years of hard work, trials and challenges, but Jamie is now the founder of an Enterprise level partner of the industry’s largest platform for online stores worldwide, with a team of over 60 employees behind him.

And this is why we cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award. Congratulations Jamie - you’ve most certainly earned it!

Missed the awards? Here's some of our favourite moments...

5 Steps to Brand Success

5 Steps to Brand Success

2J Commerce’s head of Strategy and UX, Darren Bull, has been building relationships with long-term clients based on his ability to add significantly to strategy and eCommerce requirements, focused on commercial objectives, customer journey, outstanding user experience, and conversion rate optimisation.

Having spent the best part of 20 years in Digital, Darren has worked with some of the biggest household brands, and some of the most luxurious brand retailers in the world. He’s also been in the Magento world since its’ public launch.

Here, he shares his 5 key areas for brand success:

 

1. Nuture NOT Acquisition

Traditional eCommerce has been about acquisition and conversion rates, but driven by the always on-informed consumer. It’s time to shift to a mindset of nurture.

Commerce today is about bringing your site visitors into what we call your ‘Brand Universe’, where they can then receive content that will slowly persuade them to like and love your brand, take action, and ultimately purchase. The most straightforward step to a Brand Universe strategy is to make sure that people can be part of your story and then, make sure you are sending them content that is relevant to their likes.

For example, the most obvious communication with your customer is through email. You email your customers at various stages of the purchasing cycle, for example:

  • Welcome to the brand. - Welcome the prospective customer to your business, your brand and your products. Break the ice and open up the channels.

  • Why us? - What makes you different? Why do you do what you do? why should they buy from you?

  • Incentive first purchase - We love bargains, and we love a good incentive. Entice people in with a discount or free shipping.

  • Post purchase - Never underestimate the power of a Thank You. Keep the relationship going with content to ensure a lifelong customer.

  • Win back - “We miss you! Here’s £5 off…” People who haven’t shopped in a while can be persuaded back with offers like this. You might gain a repeat customer.

  • Recommend to a friend - Recommendations from people you trust massively influence what you choose to buy. So rewarding your customers for recommending your product can only be positive; your loyal customer is happy because they get a reward, and you gain another customer into your Brand Universe.

Each email should be consistent in your messaging, and relate back to your brand; providing deeper insight into your motives and reasons for being in touch. These are all opportunities to engage, so don’t waste them.

 

2. User Generated Content (UGC)

Everyone today has a story to tell, and people don’t just want to hear your part of the story. They want to participate, to be part of your brand.

This isn’t the aftermath of one amazing campaign, it’s been proven that even simple reviews and ratings improves SEO and sales. According to E-consultancy, 70% of people trust other people’s opinions posted online, so social proof goes beyond just your website. It has the potential to nurture a greater amount of people into your brand universe.

It’s actually quite easy to do. Document your brand journey across the board. Some channels will work better than others of course, so always measure your engagements, but you ultimately become a publisher, and your Brand Universe will grow as your customers engage and share respectively.

 

3 All about your Folk, your Tribe

The customer is king is an old adage, but never has it been truer than today. Not only does your customer want the very best service, they want the best value too. Put plainly, it comes down to giving customers what they actually want. They want to choose - to be in control of their experience and service.

Make sure you have options that are relevant, that are about providing a great service that really inspires and goes above what is the ‘norm’ in eCommerce.

You will only build your tribe by gaining loyalty, which comes from great service and great content. Give the people what they want, and they will come back for more of it

The key to doing this effectively, is to ask yourself not just how you tick the eCommerce boxes of what the customer expect, but the human experience boxes too. User Experience is Human Experience, because The human connector is much easier to remember.

Communicate with your users on their level. Invite them into an engagement built around content. Once engaged, you will build a tribe. Don’t forget, 38% of people recommend a brand they like or follow on social media, so you could be missing out on a lot of recommendations here.

 

4 Embrace Returns

In the world of One Story Everywhere, where every touchpoint is an opportunity to create more nurturing, more goodwill and more good karma for your service, it’s time for another mindset shift. It’s usual for the brands and retailers to see returns as a plain old pain in the A. It’s true enough, returns and exchanges do affect your margin, and have an overhead on resource, but if you don’t see them as another opportunity to delight and wow the customer, they will affect your margin in a much more damaging way. Of course, you should be doing everything (and more) to reduce the number of returns through better on site information such as size and fit, etc.

This is just one Additional touch point that you can use to influence your customer - there are many more, but this is a perfect example of where you have an opportunity to go one better.

Reduce your returns by helping provide a better service. So if you are Selling gloves, for example, rather than have simple measurements on the product page, so your customer has to jump through hoops and find a tape measure etc, have an at scale image appear on the screen, or be able to print it.

You can do similar things for furniture. Have it so you can order a floor plan for furniture and have it delivered for free. It’s essentially a piece of paper that your customer lays on the floor to give confidence it will fit. Use follow up emails and be sure to convert based on this exceptional service.

Take a leaf out of the Zappos book here. They allow consumers to return purchases for up to 365 days from the purchase date. You’re in real luck if you buy on a Leap Year, because they give you till the next Leap Year to return those orders – that’s a four year return window!

Be brave, be visionary and make your returns policy too good to be true - your customers will love it and talk about it.
 

5 Stay Flexible

Agile, flexible operations are going to be the key to success for ambitious eCommerce brands. This is no time to rest on your laurels, the customer is going to get more demanding and discerning. You must make sure you have the right insights, products, strategies, content and courage to transform your business to meet their needs, of course, whilst maintaining growth. The disruption of retail is only just getting going, so be prepared to transform everything; from value-chain supply, logistics, on demand global fulfilment, translation, production and transparency of location.





 

Prepare your Magento Store for Black Friday

Prepare your Magento Store for Black Friday

Black Friday is still a relatively new thing for us UK shoppers. It’s newer still for the eCommerce sector. Five years ago, Black Friday was only for the physical stores, with Cyber Monday kicking in as a unique discount day for online merchants. As this period of sales becomes more well known, the line between Grey Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday has become increasingly blurred; with many stores now promoting each day through both bricks and mortar stores, and their websites.

This does not necessarily mean that online retailers are missing out on their day for sales - quite the opposite in fact. Avid Black Friday customers will start planning their purchases now, as we enter the month of November. Some will have started earlier still, with older age groups starting their Christmas shopping in September, so it’s key to get the message out now to make sure your name is in the mix with your customers’ plans for the holiday period. Personalisation specialists, Nosto have put together a holiday sales guide for it’s customers. Here are a few things to think about in the coming days as you prepare:

Prepare your store:

Black Friday and Cyber Monday sees a huge surge in online traffic. We spent $3.35 billion online during last year’s Black Friday. While the added revenue is celebrated for online retailers, the added traffic can cause strain on your eCommerce site. Start speaking to your support team now about the Black Friday weekend and discuss your load capacity on your site. You might also want to look at additional support hours if your sale starts at 6am but your support package doesn’t kick in until 9.

Emailing:

Personalise your email campaigns in the next few weeks leading up to the start of the Black Friday Weekend to really stand out.

Let people know what sort of deals you’re going to be offering, and tailor the deals around what your customers want. For example, 71% of online shoppers surveyed prefer a percentage discount deal, where ‘free gift’ offers are much less popular.

Plan your deals:

With that in mind, you need to plan what your sale is going to be. You can tie this in with your emailing campaign by offering teasers of your Black Friday sales, and building suspense. Think about having a main deal you can feature in your ads and publications to bring people in. It’s likely your customers will pick up more of your deals whilst they are on your site too.

Make your Shipping Free:

We all know someone who will happily spend triple figures online, only to hesitate at the checkout because there’s a delivery charge. Remove any chance of extra friction at checkout and make your shipping free.

Follow up your abandoned Carts:

The number of abandoned carts increases over this weekend; usually because people are shopping around to get the best deals. Minimise this by following up on abandoned carts, and enabling your customers to come back to the products they added easily to reduce friction at the point of checkout.

If you haven’t already, check out The eCommerce Holiday Handbook by Nosto. Their book has advice for sellers starting from prepping for the Christmas sales right through to customer retention in the New Year.


 

Magento Commerce is a B2B Leader

Magento Commerce is a B2B Leader

Magento Commerce has rounded off the third quarter of the year by being announced as a leader in B2B Commerce.

The Q3 report for 2017 by Forrester has put Magento as a pack leader for the B2B Market. You can read the full report via the Magento Resources Page.

The report focuses on 11 of the top Commerce platforms that showed to be the most significant vendors. For Magento, Forrester evaluated Magento Commerce as a whole, as well as the Magento Order Management SAAS and the Magento Business Intelligence.

Scoring the top mark for Company vision, Commerce service provider and Developer Community, Magento were listed as “the best fit for midsize B2B companies that want an open, feature-rich solution that they can extend easily”.

Magento scored the highest mark in more areas of the forresters assessment than any other platform, so it’s a great validation for the Magento Commerce platform and the work they have been doing to push into the B2B sector of the eCommerce Industry.

Back in April Magento announced at their Imagine conference new B2B features that would be released later this year.

While Magento is already a popular platform for the B2B market it will soon be offering inbuilt functionality that will enhance the experience for your customers.

A brief summary of the B2B enhancements coming are detailed below:

Corporate Accounts – This feature will allow for multiple users under the same company. For example, you may have a main office for the accounting relationship, but each of your stores may want to order/manage their own purchases.  This functionality also allows for an administrator from the company to be able to make additions in users and define roles that can have specific permissions and accesses.

Quick Order Functionality – This enhancement will allow your customers to use a quick order tool which will assist those customers who already know the SKU's & quantities of the products they require. It will allow users to add these items directly to cart for checkout or quoting.

Request a Quote Functionality – This feature will enable customers to request a quote. This enhancement allows for negotiations with customers & documents the discussions within the communications log within Magento.

Requisition List – Customers can come back time and time again and access a list of regularly ordered items.

Shared Catalogs – Product category visibility can be controlled, and custom prices can be set. Catalogs can easily be assigned to multiple companies to save time on duplicating effort within the Magento admin.

APIs – Rest APIs for new features, designed to simplify and enable ERP integrations

Call or email us today to find out more about how Magento Commerce can help grow your B2B Business.

 

Name *
Name

Diwali Celebrations in our India Office

Diwali Celebrations in our India Office

Our team in Nagpur have been celebrating Diwali this week. Our development team will be operating a skeleton service over the next two days, as many of the team celebrate this beautiful holiday with their families. We would like to wish our team in Nagpur a Very Happy Diwali - thank you for all your hard work this year, and we hope you have lots of fun - you deserve it!

Why you need Business Intelligence

Why you need Business Intelligence

There are many data collection and analysis tools out there for businesses nowadays. We collect more data than ever before in the bid to target our marketing campaigns to the customer base that will generate the most revenue.

Businesses who use Analytics 5X more likely to make decisions much faster than their competition, which in the world of eCommerce, puts them ahead of the pack for winning the custom. Knowing your audience, best customers and how they shop is crucial for online retailers, but unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as collecting information and sticking it in a graph.

Collecting a lot of data, especially when it is collected and stored in various different places, can sometimes be a daunting thing. This is why Magento Business Intelligence is such a game changer for Magento Merchants.

Magento BI gathers all data from your Extensions, Database, and Integrations and consolidates it into one hub so you don’t have to.

The key features of the Essentials Edition include:

  • 5 pre-built dashboards comprising 75 reports

  • Email summaries

  • SQL report builder and visual report builder. The ability to create and edit reports

  • Data from Magento and Google Analytics

  • Export raw underlying data to CSV and Excel

  • 10 user accounts with advanced user permissions

The whole idea being the new Magento Commerce Platform is that it grows as you grow, so you don’t have to sign up for tools you don’t need straight away. For SMEs and Start Ups, you can start with the Essentials Edition and progress up to the Pro version when you and your business is ready for it. The Essentials Edition is only $100 per month, moving to $500 per month when you upgrade to the Pro version. The additional spend gives you much more depth and scope. Here’s an excerpt from the Magento BI download to highlight the differences in price plan:

Anything that makes data analysis easier for merchants can only be a good thing in our book, and this new tool will certainly improve the way eCommerce businesses on Magento gather information. Knowing how customers browse and purchase online will enable businesses to make smarter choices moving forward, so it’s a great new feature for the Magento platform.

Attending Sheffield Connect

Attending Sheffield Connect

This week, 2J Commerce will be attending Sheffield Connect at Ponds Forge, the biggest gathering of businesses in the region.

The event, which is on Wednesday 18th October, gives local businesses a chance to connect with others in the industry, and showcase the best of their brand.

For those looking to attend, it is free to register, and as well as the exhibition, there are talks throughout the day at the conference, from key business leaders, including Jill Davies, from Westfield Health, and Paul Griffiths on HS2.

Why not book in to attend the event, and come say hi while you’re there? Check us out at stand 6 in the exhibition.

Magento Commerce Starter Edition - The scalable solution

Magento Commerce Starter Edition - The scalable solution

Magento aren’t showing any signs of slowing down towards the end of this year. As we enter the final quarter of what has been an incredible 12 months for the platform and its users, Magento have announced they will now split the new Magento Commerce cloud system into two channels: the Magento Commerce Professional Edition (formerly the Magento Commerce Cloud Edition), and the Magento Commerce Starter Edition.

The Professional Edition still has all the features of the previous Cloud Edition, but for smaller and start-up companies, the new Starter Edition offers cloud hosting at a more affordable price point.

Magento Commerce Starter Edition will be available to companies who meet the following criteria:

  • Less than $10 million USD in revenue per year

  • Have less than 50,000 complex SKUS

  • Have five or less store-fronts or domains

The cost for this new plan will start $1999 per month compared to the usual $3399. This naturally means there will be some limitations to its users. The main ones being the following:

  • No B2B functionality available out of the box.

  • Magento Business Intelligence. However, this can be added for an additional cost.

  • There will be a shared infrastructure for development and live environments.

CTO Jamie Jackson says: “This is a great move forward for smaller business to reap the rewards of Magento Enterprise on the cloud without a huge price tag.

The enterprise cloud in our opinion is an extremely secure scalable platform which developers love.”

Magento have listed the full plan differences, and our team is fully equipped to support each plan as needed for our clients.


 

VAT on Magento

VAT on Magento

One of the biggest issues we see on checkouts for new Magento sites is using VAT. Typically, for B2C businesses, prices on the website will be inclusive of VAT, but if you set this incorrectly, in your admin, your customers could be getting charged for VAT twice, or not at all.

It’s often one of the points that gets missed in discovery sessions because the whole project team is busy thinking about how the site will look and operate. This usually includes customisation, modules and integrations for developers, so things like VAT can get moved to the sidelines, and then forgotten.

There are a few different ways merchants do VAT on their sites. Here’s a breakdown of how to set the VAT in Magento to accommodate each method.

 

My prices include VAT

If your prices are inclusive of VAT, then you need to set Magento to see your prices that way to avoid VAT being added again at the checkout.

On the Magento 1 admin, you need to go through: System>>Configuration>>Sales>>Tax>>Calculation Settings

taxonprices.png

This will stop the Tax being added on again at the checkout. You can also do the same for your shipping prices in this section.

On Magento 2, you need to go to Stores>>Configuration>>Sales>>Tax>>Calculation Settings.

You can set the catalog prices to including Tax here.

 

I want my Prices broken down on the Checkout

This can be used whether your prices include VAT or not.

When your prices include tax, you may still want your customers to know how much of the price is tax. You need to set your Shopping Cart to display tax:

On M1, go to System>>Configuration>>Sales>>Tax>>Shopping Cart Display Settings

checkouttax.png

Use the dropdown to configure how you would like your tax to be displayed.

On M2, the configuration is the same. You can find it in Stores>>Configuration>>Sales>>Tax>>Shopping Cart Display Settings.

 

My Prices don’t include VAT

For this, you’ll need to set the above to excluding tax, if it isn’t set like this automatically, like so:

extax.png

You then need to create your tax zones and classes so Magento can correctly calculate the tax for your products. All the steps work with each other, so they should all be configured for the best results.

On Magento 1, you need to do the following:

 

Set Up Customer Tax Classes

  1. From the admin, go to Sales > Tax > Customer Tax Classes.

  2. You will need to make sure a customer tax class is available that is appropriate for the VAT, for example, Retail Customer. If have not created yet, click Add New to add it.

 

Set Up Product Tax Classes

  1. From the admin, to go select Sales > Tax > Product Tax Classes.

  2. Click the Add New button and create three new classes:

VAT Standard

VAT Reduced

VAT Zero

3. Click the Save Class button for each new class that you add before creating the next.

 

Set Up Tax Zones and Rates

This works directly with the classes you’ve just created, so Magento will pull the correct VAT rate based on the location and class selected.

  1. From the admin, go to select Sales > Tax > Manage Tax Zones & Rates.

  2. Click the Add New Tax Rate button. For the UK, you can add the following rate:

VAT STANDARD

Tax Identifier: VAT Standard

Country and State: United Kingdom

Rate Percent: 20.00

 

VAT REDUCED

Tax Identifier: VAT Reduced

Country and State: United Kingdom

Rate Percent: 5.00

     3. Click the Save Rate button for each rate before creating the next one.

 

Set Up Tax Rules

A tax rule is a combination of a customer tax class, a product tax class, and a tax rate.

  1. On the Admin menu, select Sales > Tax > Manage Tax Rules.

  2. Add new tax rules as follows:

VAT STANDARD

Name: VAT Standard

Customer Tax Class: Retail Customer

Product Tax Class: VAT Standard

Tax Rate: VAT Standard Rate

 

VAT REDUCED

Name: VAT Reduced

Customer Tax Class: Retail Customer

Product Tax Class: VAT Reduced

Tax Rate: VAT Reduced Rate

      3. Click the Save Rule button for each rate before creating the next one.

 

For Magento 2, you need to do the following:

Configure Customer Tax Classes

  1. From the admin, go to Stores > Taxes > Tax Zones and Rates.

  2. You will need to make sure a customer tax class is available that is appropriate for the VAT, for example, Retail Customer. If have not created yet, click Add New to add it.

 

Configure Product Tax Classes

  1. On the Admin panel, go to Stores > Tax > Product Tax Classes.

  2. Click the Add New button and create three new classes:

VAT Standard

VAT Reduced

VAT Zero

     3. Click the Save Class button for each new class that you add before creating the next.

 

Set Up Tax Zones and Rates

This works directly with the classes you’ve just created, so Magento will pull the correct VAT rate based on the location and class selected.

  1. From the admin, go to Stores > Tax > Manage Tax Zones & Rates.

  2. Click the Add New Tax Rate button. For the UK, you can add the following rate:

VAT STANDARD

Tax Identifier: VAT Standard

Country and State: United Kingdom

Rate Percent: 20.00

 

VAT REDUCED

Tax Identifier: VAT Reduced

Country and State: United Kingdom

Rate Percent: 5.00

     3. Click the Save Rate button for each rate before creating the next one.

 

Set up Tax Rules

A tax rule is a combination of a customer tax class, a product tax class, and a tax rate.

  1. On the Admin Panel, Stores > Tax > Manage Tax Rules.

  2. Add new tax rules as follows:

VAT STANDARD

Name: VAT Standard

Customer Tax Class: Retail Customer

Product Tax Class: VAT Standard

Tax Rate: VAT Standard Rate

 

VAT REDUCED

Name: VAT Reduced

Customer Tax Class: Retail Customer

Product Tax Class: VAT Reduced

Tax Rate: VAT Reduced Rate

    3. Click the Save Rule button for each rate before creating the next one.


 

2J Leaders Gain Magento 2 Solution Specialist Certification

2J Leaders Gain Magento 2 Solution Specialist Certification

It’s been a great start to the week so far at 2J Commerce, with the news that our MD and Founder Jamie Jackson, and Director Steven Morris have passed the Magento 2 Certified Solution Specialist exam.

After taking the exam last month, they are now two of only a handful of people around the world to currently hold the certification.

Steven, who joined 2J this year, said he’s thrilled to have passed:

"I was extremely excited by the opportunity to be one of the first in the world to sit the Magento 2 Certified Solution Specialist

exam, but it was quite challenging, and much more varied than the Magento 1 exam.

“I'm proud to have passed the test at the first time of trying and I'm looking forward to continuing supporting our new clients to Magento Commerce as well as clients migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2."

Jamie Jackson, who founded 2J Commerce, has been working on the Magento platform since its first platform launch. He’s been working on Magento 2 projects from the beginning of the release, and says the certification is a great validation of his work within Magento for this new version:

“It means a great deal to be officially recognised as a solution specialist on Magento 2 after two years of working on the platform.”

A huge congratulations to our two team members on gaining this certification.

Magento News: Patch SUPEE-10266 release

Magento News: Patch SUPEE-10266 release

Magento have released a new patch for Magento Commerce 1.14.3.6 and Open Source 1.9.3.6.

SUPEE-10266 is a very important security patch that includes protection against several security-related issues, which include;

  • Closes cross-site request forgery (CSRF)

  • Solves unauthorized data leak

  • Closes authenticated Admin user remote code execution vulnerabilities.

  • Includes fixes for issues with image reloading and payments using one-step checkout.

  • Includes a fix for issues related to checkout with a zero order amount on Magento Commerce (Enterprise Edition).

You can read more on the full specs of the patch here via the Magento Technical Resources Centre.

What you need to do

You must apply this new security patch as soon as possible. It can be downloaded from https://www.magentocommerce.com/download

If your current development partner or inhouse development team hasn't already got this on their backlog we would recommend prioritising this task as soon as possible.

 

2J Diagnostics: How often should I upgrade my site?

2J Diagnostics: How often should I upgrade my site?

Magento release updates to their platform at regular intervals. This can be to fix bug reported in previous versions, or to remove security risks identified by the Magento Community. Your Magento development partner will normally contact you when these are available. Upgrading your store does come with a cost, as it involves development time and testing to deploy, so you’re probably thinking: “Why bother?”

For some releases, it’s true that you probably don’t need to jump straight to the phone and get your team on it. Some are very standard upgrades, and you probably don’t need to upgrade each and every time a new release is available. But there are some times when it’s really important to schedule an upgrade for your site. Our Senior Magento developer, Sagar Kharate, explains why and when it’s important to keep on top of new Magento releases:

“Ideally, Magento users should upgrade whenever there is a new version essential for security purposes. Upgrades also come with lots of bug fixes, so it’s always a good idea to check if the fixes available would help with an issue you might be experiencing on your store.”

The team here at 2J review any new releases from Magento and assess their ‘usefulness’ to our clients. If an upgrade offers a security fix, then it’s always recommended and this is something your team should be looking for when it comes to your Magento store.

You should also discuss any problems you’re experiencing on your store to see if the latest upgrades cover the issue. You could save yourself time and pain if the problem is fixed in a later release.

The last thing to consider when looking at Magento upgrades is how many you can miss without causing problems later on.

It is true that you probably don’t need every upgrade available to you. You can wait and upgrade at a later time without any problems as long as there isn’t a huge gap in releases. Skipping multiple upgrades however, can cause headaches when you do decide to upgrade.

“Third party extensions can sometimes break when there’s a big gap between upgrades, as they aren’t always compatible and need to be updated too.” Says Sagar.

If you’re concerned at all, or if you’re simply not sure about a recent upgrade and whether you need it, it’s always better to talk to your development team, and they can advise you on the best course of action for your business.



 

GDPR - what you need to know

GDPR - what you need to know

By now, you’ve probably heard about GDPR, but if you haven’t and you capture any type of customer data on your website, it’s something you need to be aware of.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will come into effect from 25th May 2018. It brings all variations of the current data protection laws across Europe under one roof; essentially simplifying things for sellers, but also toughening up the laws. If you live in the EU, this will apply to you. If you sell into the EU, this will apply to you - Brexit or not…

A lot of the regulations follow the Data Protection Act (DPA), but there are some key additions that it’s definitely worth jotting down, especially when the fines set out will be up to €20m of 4% of the global turnover - whichever turns out to be higher.

The key changes have been outlined by the EU General Data Protection Regulation body, and here are some of the main ones you need to be aware of:

 

It applies to E-YOU:

Many people think that because we’re leaving the EU, they won’t need to comply with the new GDPR, but if you trade at all in the EU, or collect any data of anyone in the EU, you need to comply.

 

What you keep:

You need to document what personal data you hold, where it came from and who you share it with.

 

Why you keep it:

Your customers should be able to find out who you are, how you’re going to use their information and why you keep it. You’ll need to be able to tell them how long you keep their data for as well, and this should all be in clear, easy to understand language.

 

Consent:

Your customers need to give consent to have their data collected now, but there are ways to conceal consent with things like “Tick this box if you don’t want to be contacted”. That won’t be acceptable any more.

Consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. There must be a positive opt-in - consent cannot be inferred from silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity.

 

When there’s a breach:

You need to inform the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) when there is a breach if it’s likely to affect the rights and freedoms of your customers. You’ll also have to notify your customers directly in this case too.

 

Get a DPO

You need to get yourself a Data Protection Officer - someone who will take responsibility for being compliant with the GDPR. They need to be in the know with all aspects of the new regulation, and should be able to enforce this within your company.

Remember you’ve got until May next year to act on these new regulations, but it’s a good idea to start thinking about making the changes now - especially in larger organisations where it might take some months to unify everything and get the new processes into effect and running smoothly. The ICO have also released a handy guide on what to do to prepare for the changes. You can read it here.

There’s been a lot of bad press around the GDPR reforms, and it’s naturally sent people into a panic. But a lot of the hype is just that - hype. This post from the ICO is great in myth busting the most panicked about points when it comes to GDPR. Our Partners UK Fast are also running Webinars for it’s clients to help bust through some of the chatter.

If you’re unsure at all if it’s something you need to comply with, it’s always safer to check, and it’s never too early to start implementing the new processes - you’ll simply be ahead of the game.



 

2J Diagnostics: How important are patches?

Comment

2J Diagnostics: How important are patches?

Every so often you’ll be notified that there is a new patch available for Magento. Your web development partner will usually contact you to recommend this is actioned, and this usually has a cost, which will automatically make it something you don’t really want to do.

We all know that keeping within an operating budget is not easy, and anything that involves an additional expense is moved to the bottom of the list, but making sure your website is kept up to date with patches is not something that should be de-prioritised, especially in this day and age.

For those of you who are new to this side of running an online store, patches are changes to the Magento core files that fix any identified security issues. Magento always work to ensure the platform is secure, but as we all know, the people out to get your customer data are coming up with more and more imaginative ways of getting at it. Any new launches of Magento include the latest patches to make sure they are fully up to date with security, but if there’s a problem identified in between new releases, you need a patch to keep your site secure. Just as it’s important to have a good security system installed on your physical premises, you need a good security system for your digital one too. You can keep on top of what patches are available yourself by subscribing to the Magento Security News page.

If this isn’t something you’re aware of, or if you’re unsure of the status of your site, you can check which patches have been applied using something like Mage Report. This is a great tool because it will also give you insight to the wider status of your site and any potential risks.

Installing a patch is not something we recommend doing yourself, but it’s definitely something we want to include in this diagnostic series to avoid larger, and much more serious problems for you and your customers in future. Think of it as a preventative measure - a patch is a safeguard against digital burglary. If you combine this with wider measures such as keeping your site up to date with the latest version of Magento, the risk factor will drop significantly We can also run a full site audit to highlight any potential problems with your core code build if you are concerned.

It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but trust us when we say it is definitely worth the cost. It’s also worth noting that some shared hosting providers may move to terminate your contract if your site is not deemed as secure, so it’s definitely something to be aware of. The bottom line is that a patch is a preventative measure to keep you and your customers protected. If you keep on top of your patches, your site will be less at risk of an attack, which could be extremely costly long-term.

Comment

Attending eCommerce Show North

Comment

Attending eCommerce Show North

Here at 2J, we’re preparing for the highly anticipated eCommerce Show North event on the 11th and 12th October.

The Event is run by Prolific North and Don’t Panic Events, and is the largest eCommerce exhibition in the North.

The show is being sponsored by our hosting partners UK Fast, and is a massive gain in securing the North’s status in the eCommerce industry.

On the announcement of the show, Martyn Collins, director of eCommerce Show North, said: “The north is home to some of the finest eCommerce talent in the country and it is only right that we recognise and reward those individuals, businesses and brands that are contributing so much to the economy of the north.

“And that’s the point about eCommerce – it’s about money, about bringing new money into the local economy, creating jobs and increasing prosperity. For me, eCommerce is the fuel that drives the Northern Powerhouse.”

2J’s founder and CTO, Jamie Jackson, will be on our stand, talking about our recent projects, and showcasing the best of what we have to offer in the world of eCommerce:

“As a Magento Enterprise based in the North of England, we’re thrilled to be taking part in this event. We’ve recently expanded into Manchester itself as well, so it will be great to strengthen that move by exhibiting in a city that brings so much to the table when it comes to all things digital.”

Will you be attending eCSN? We’d love to hear from you!

Name *
Name

Comment