Monthly Archives: October 2012

  • Certain events—the approach of Halley's Comet, a perfect storm—are so rare that the average person would be privileged to witness them once in a lifetime. Here at Hara Partners, we're no different. We come to the office, we draw up proposals, we tinker with website design, but we don't typically experience earth-shattering natural phenomena.

    Until now.

    HP crew in blue shirts

    Take a few seconds to digest the sartorial miracle. Have a cigar while you're at it—this sort of thing is to be savored, never rushed. Note the lovely gradations between each torso, delicately enhanced by the play of light and shadow. Cerulean, azure, cornflower, sky, baby: a legendary assortment of blues confronts the eye, which reels from the exquisite cornucopia.

    Like the planets aligning, these seven paragons of Hara Partners strode into the office on the morning of October 24th, 2012, exactly as commemorated here. King Arthur himself couldn't have made a grander or more fortuitous entrance. All activity ceased; a steady radiance shone forth from the assembly; an angels' choir serenaded the stunned onlookers.

    Oh, come on, you may find yourself thinking, so they coordinated outfits. Ha, ha.

    NAY! Lies and devilry! Nothing less than scientific impossibility refutes this plebeian conjecture. Each of them possesses no less than 400 shirts, tunics, waistcoats, and/or jerkins. They are forbidden from discussing apparel during or between work. In fact, each has signed a sworn affidavit that they left home that morning wearing black or green.

    It may be centuries—eons!—before fate bestows such a lucky confluence on our species again. We can only gather in wonder, humbled before a portrait that surely marks the dawn of a Golden Age. Just one question remains: was the cameraperson also wearing blue shirts? Or, by some providential happenstance, did the sheer charisma of the scene telekinetically impel the camera to act of its own accord?

    Some things should remain a mystery. Go in peace.

     

  • Congratulations! Your Magento e-commerce website is up and running and you’re ready to start selling – but how do you attract people to your website? You can hand out flyers, or advertise in print media to get your name out, but to really succeed you need to show your site to those potential customers who are already online using search engines, like Google or Bing, to find websites like yours, so they can buy exactly what you’re selling. How do you get your website to appear for those searches?

    SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization which means making your site most “attractive” to search engines. The ultimate goal is to garner a high ranking for your site. Ranking means this:  When someone searches Google for “Blue Armani tie” the organic results appear in a list, with 10 results on each page. For the given search term, the first result is considered to have the number one rank, the second result is considered number two, and so on. Obviously, having a high ranking is very important to your bottom line; your customers first must find your store before they can purchase your products. Ranking is even more vital when you consider that one recent study found that in more than 8 million searches, fewer than 6% of people ever clicked through to the second page or beyond.

    So how to get your Magento SEO optimized? I’ll cover some of changes you’ll need to make to the default settings so your site is more search engine friendly. The first few fixes are simple enough for even the most inexperienced user and I’ll move on to some more advanced ideas as we go on.

     

    Magento SEO, Most Simple: Renaming Some Default Fields.

    The first change every storeowner should make is to change the default name of his home page. This field will be pre-filled with “home” and you should change it to something more appropriate like “Your Store Name – www.storename.com” so that search engines will know to show your website as a result when suitable searches are queried. Likewise, the logo that appears in an upper corner of your site has the default name “Magento Commerce”; change it.

    The next segment of fixes is dedicated to avoiding duplicate pages. Duplicate pages are, as the name suggests, either copies of the same page, or pages that have the same content even though they have different URL’s (like two different pages showing the same search results but sorted differently). Search engines will reduce the rank of a site that they determine is showing duplicate pages, so this should be avoided at all costs. All of this means that you need to be sure that the default description field (which can found at System > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head > Default description) for your site is blank, and that your meta keywords are changed from the default to something more fitting.

     

    More difficult

    The default settings for Magento e-commerce sites include a NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW setup which tells search engines not to bother indexing these sites during the development stage. This must be changed to read “INDEX< FOLLOW” by going to System > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head > Default robots

    These basic techniques are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Magento’s SEO capabilities, but even these simple changes can radically increase conversions.

  • Hara Partners is excited to announce its involvement in e-commerce in fashion by sponsoring the Fashion Digital New York conference. FDNY focuses on e-commerce and the digital space in the fashion industry. As the digital world is such a large and essential sales channel, this informative conference is a way for retailers, specifically in the fashion industry, to improve and grow their online presence. Numerous experts in various fields from social media to the ins-and-outs of Magento e-commerce will be there to share their first-hand experience and knowledge with top professionals in the fashion retail world.

    Speaking of experts in the field, a couple members of the Hara Partners team will be on panels at FDNY. Mai Erne, CEO of Hara Partners, will be speaking on the UX Business Intelligence panel to explain the most effective techniques to properly target and retain customers once they have visited your site as he has found from his many years of experience with e-commerce in fashion. David Markovich, former CEO of PromoteUsNow, and now a key player of the sales and marketing at Hara Partners, will be on a panel speaking on the topic of Digital Marketing.

    So if you see any members of the Hara Partners family, don’t be shy (we sure aren’t) and approach us with any questions or comments!

    It’s not too late to register and GET 25% OFF with our exclusive discount code during registration: 25HARA

    What: Fashion Digital New York

    When: Wednesday, October 10th from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

    Where: McGraw-Hill Conference Center, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York City

     

  •  

    Magento Support Files: Layered Navigation

    What is Magento layered navigation?

    Magento’s built in layered navigation functionality is a format that allows customers to search across multiple variables simultaneously. And while that sounds like a mouthful, the concept is actually quite simple: layered navigation allows your customers to parse search results instantly. This means your customers will find what they are looking for faster and ultimately, faster results lead to more conversions.

    An example will really bring the concept into focus:

    Suppose a customer came to visit BobsClothing.com and chose magento supportthe category “Men’s Clothing” on the homepage. The resulting layered navigation pane might look something like this.

    The customer can filter by any or all three of the options: From the anchor category “Men’s Clothing“, he could choose from one of the two subcategories - “Shirts” and “Pants”, or he could specify a price range, or he could look at only red pants.

    How to get started using Magento’s layered navigation

    The default setting on Magneto e-commerce sites has the variables “Category” and “Price” already set for layered navigation, so those options will automatically appear for any customer search.

    In this instance, the term “Categories” includes subcategories for any anchor categories. This is easily seen in our example where “Shirts” and “Pants” are subcategories to the anchor category “Men’s Clothing”

    The options shown under the price category are generated based on the quantity of items shown and the range of their prices, and therefore will be different in each instance. The maximum number of price range options shown is ten.

     

    Customizing Magento layered navigation

    Customizing the attributes that appear in your layered navigation pane is a multistep process. The first step involves the attribute itself (which is found under catalogueàattributesàmanage attributes) to ensure that the two fields required for layered navigation are set up properly.

    The first field to check is the “Use in Layered Navigation” field. You must set the field to “filterable” and can choose either secondary option – “with results” means the filter will only be shown if the results (the number in parenthesis next to each filter in our example above) are greater than zero, while “without results” will show up no matter the results.

    The second required field is the “Catalog Input Type for Store Owner” field which can be set to dropdown, multiple, select, or price.

     

    Advantages of Layered Navigation: SEO

    By using layered navigation properly you can vastly improve your search rankings by increasing the number of objects indexed by search engine crawlers.

    Imagine that your customer searches for a black pair of Levi’s jeans. The standard layered navigation protocol means that the resulting URL would be similar to this:

    http://yourclothingstore.com/mensclothing/pants?color=24&manufacturer=3

    However, by using an SEO tool you could transform that URL into something more SEO- friendly, like this:

    http://yourclothingstore.com/mensclothing/pants/filter/color/black/manufacturer/levis.

    Though the actual work of making these changes may be too technically advanced for many, there are a variety of Magento extensions available that automate this task.

    Whatever your expertise level there are simple ways you can upgrade the shopping experience for your customers – one of which is Magento’s layered navigation feature – and ultimately a better shopping experience for your customers means more conversions for you.

  • What are customer groups? What are customer segments? And, most importantly, how do I use them to increase my conversions?

     

    Customer Groups

    The Magento support platform allows users to create groups of customers, based on one or more attributes shared by all the customers in a given group. For instance, you can create a New York City group made up completely of customers with NYC zip codes. Once the group is created, you can apply other Magento features like tax classes, and catalog or shopping cart price rules, to all group members at once.

    To create a customer group go to customeràcustomer groups and click the “add new” button. By default there are two customer groups: not logged in and general. “Not logged in” applies to all customers that choose to purchase without creating or logging into an account and “general” is the default group for all newly registered customers (although this can be changed by going to systemàconfiguration).

    Once you’ve created a customer group, you can assign customers to the group manually by selecting the appropriate group from the list shown in the customer group drop down menu.  This menu can be found in the account information tab. These changes can be made for many customers at once by using the batch updating feature.

    Some of the basic ways customer groups can be used include filtering features such as tiered pricing, or in the creation of shipping discounts made to appear to only certain groups. In addition, there are many extensions that offer various functionalities based on customer groups which can be purchased through the Magento Connect marketplace. One final advantage of customer groups is that they are tightly controlled by the back-end and no unauthorized customers can gain access to a group they aren’t meant to access.

     

    Customer Segments

    Customer segments differ from customer groups in a few ways. Two of the most significant of those differences are that customer segments can be applied to customers (a) on the fly and (b) based on a myriad of attributes - like age, gender, spending habits, etc. - all which share a relevance to marketing. Another important difference is that the data pertaining to customer segments can be used to generate reports so companies can tailor their marketing efforts to maximum efficacy.

    To create a customer segment go to customeràcustomer segments and click the “add segment” button. Then fill in the appropriate fields that appear under the general properties heading and the conditions heading and hit save. A new heading will appear called matched customers which lists all the customers in the newly created segment.

    The two most basic ways to use a customer segment are applying shopping cart rules to the segment or by creating a banner specifically for that segment. For instance: if you’d like to promote a certain item that is good for high school students, you can create a segment that includes only those customers between 15 and 18 years of age. Then, you can make a banner advertising a special price on that item and it will only be shown to members of that segment.

    Learn more on how to setup and configure Customer Segments in Magento.

     

    Customer segments and groups are two more features that make Magento one of the premier e-commerce platforms available today.

  • Hara Partners and Merchantry, an e-commerce SaaS technology company that enables retailers and media companies to generate new revenue streams by offering their online visitors a curated or expanded product assortment, officially announced their innovative strategic partnership in the Marketplace Platform. Hara is one of six industry leading e-commerce partners selected by Merchantry.

    Betty Chung, Associate Director of Business Development for Merchantry said: "The partners we have selected are amongst the best in the business. Having produced award-winning solutions for leading online retail bands and working across a variety of e-commerce platforms, our partners expand out capabilities to deliver marketplaces that connect brands with shoppers in an engaging, easy-to-use ad cost-efficient way."

    More information on the announcement is available here:
    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/pr/?id=792297&keys=marketplace-eCommerce-integration-integrator

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