Monthly Archives: March 2013

  • Communication integrity is an issue humanity has grappled with for as long as there has been communication. The challenge is simple – sending a message over any distance means exposing that message to risk - the message carrier could, willingly or by accident, give the message to the wrong person, or the message could be taken from him by force, etc. Man, over the years, has employed various strategies to combat this issue: seals, signet rings and cyphers are a few. With the advent of computing and the digital age these techniques, unfortunately, became obsolete and a new protocol was necessary. That where Magento SSL certificates came in.

    Secure sockets layer (SSL) technology (or its successor transport layer security, TSL) has, at its most simple, two main applications: to confirm that the message recipient is who they claim to be and to guarantee the message is received unchanged or unmolested. To achieve these goals SSL uses cryptography to create a secure channel between two remote computers, like a web browser and web server or between you and your bank, through which communication can be sent, and which, in conjunction with high level encryption, ensures confidentiality and message integrity. And SSL accomplishes this with almost no burden on servers and because SSL runs entirely in the background there’s no experience change for visitors (beyond seeing the HTTPS and padlock icons that are shown in the image below).

    Magento SSL Certificates Magento SSL Certificates

    Who needs Magento SSL certificates?

    The short answer: every website that handles customer data, and any business that uses email or has remote locations. SSL certificates are cheap enough, between $300 and $600 per year, that not taking advantage of their availability is needless, foolhardy and arguably criminal. Additionally, studies have shown a strong correlation between the presence of an SSL certificate and increases in conversions, with some in the industry claiming increases as high as 15%. The bottom line is that the cost to benefit ratio is skewed so far in favor of having an SSL certificate, even it only functions as a placebo, that you to not have one would be, simply put, stupid.

    What types of SSL certificates are there?

    SSL certificates are available in three basic website validation tiers: domain, organization and extended validation, each with a different level of validation attached. The domain level has the least vetting requirements – demonstrating control of an admin email address is enough – and cost the least $200 per year. The organization SSL requires a far more stringent vetting process, requiring 3rd party confirmation and some documentation, and costs $300 per year; both of these SSL certificates add the padlock and HTTPS signifiers. The EV level SSL certificate has the most extensive vetting process – in line with the CA/B form guidelines - and the most identity validation, as well as offering the most visibility to users because it adds a green band containing the website’s name and location right to the address bar.

    Magento SSL Certificates

    Magento SSL Certificates

    Each of these three certificates covers a single domain name, and is available in 1-5 year periods. Alternatively, users can opt for a Wildcard SSL which is issued to *domain.com allowing a single SSL certificate to provide coverage for an unlimited amount of sites. One final option available is acquiring an SSL certificate with Subject Alternative Names (SAN) which allows user to add up to 40 domain or server name variations (e.g. paypal.com vs. www.paypal.com) to their certificate, achieving functionality similar to that of a Wildcard SSL certificate but with a higher level of security, since each name variation is registered in advance.

    All of this adds up to something pretty simple: getting a Magento SSL certificate for your e-commerce site is a must, and as a bonus it is also probably the easiest, most cost effective way to raise conversions.

    To find out more about Magento SSL certificates from Hara Partners.

  • Magento Conference credit: onepica.com

     

    And just like that, the Imagine E-commerce Magento Conference is sold out. For the third year running, enthusiastic response has snapped up all available tickets. But all is not lost! If, for whatever reason, you find yourself in need of tickets at the eleventh hour, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll get in touch with Magento and see what we can do for you—we can’t guarantee that they’ll bend over backwards, but we do have their ear, and we’re willing to make the case for a worthy cause.

  • Magento NetSuite Integration

    Win the Battle for Online Supremacy with Today’s Top Tech.

    Magento NetSuite Integration

    In Magento NetSuite Integration: Part I we discussed what makes Magento such a powerful and well-liked E-commerce platform. In Part II we’ll take a look at why using a cloud based ERP is the right move for your e-commerce site.

    Making the move to the cloud

    In the late 90’s, at the height of the dot com bubble, the application service provider (ASP) protocol came into being, and with it the cloud was born. ASP, also called Software as a Service (SaaS) refers to offering clients remote access to a centrally located software platform that is hosted, and maintained, by the vendor. Originally, SaaS’s were intended as a more affordable, if slightly less functional, alternative for the small-to-midsized businesses that got priced out as on-premises software solutions became more complex and costs rose. However, as the advantages of using the cloud became more apparent ASP’s matured into full featured, robust, enterprise-level business solutions, becoming as complete and functional as their on-premises counterparts and appropriate for use by companies of all sizes.

    Continue reading

  • cart abandonment credit: openforum.com

    Linda Bustos highlights another beautiful infographic by way of SaleCycle.com. This one delves into a recurrent fly in online retailers’ bonnets, cart abandonment. Rich with stats, the image depicts recommended practices in timing, subject lines, and content as they relate to cart recovery campaigns. Results were culled from 200 global brands. Here are some of their findings:

    Cart Abandonment Findings

    •    In terms of re-engagement, you should reach out no more than one hour later than the point of cart abandonment. Speed is the essential element in this campaign; average conversion rates are 5.2% after 20 minutes, 4.5% after one hour, and 2.6% after 24 or more hours.
    •    A combination of company name and product details makes a good subject line. On average, 46% will open emails using a customer service tone in the subject line, and only 38% will respond to their own name in the subject line. It’s crucial to test different content based on your brand or products.
    •    Here are the average clickthrough rates (CTR) for different types of content:

     

    • “Complete Your Order (Cart)” -- 35%
    • “Complete Your Order (Intro Copy)” – 14%
    • Text hyperlinks – 12%
    • Cart products – 5%
    • Unsubscribe – 0.2%

    The takeaway? Make it easy for your customers to get back to your page quickly. This should trump almost every other consideration in designing an email campaign. Give a slew of links and options, but be straightforward about the call to action; there’s a reason “complete your order” does so well in clickthrough rates (CTR).

     

    One last point, courtesy of Linda: placement matters, too. Be sure to test different configurations and layouts, and make sure elements are clickable when people expect it.

  • Currently, e-commerce has brought in close to $42 Billion in retail sales and will only steadily increase as more and more consumers turn to the Internet for their purchasing needs. However, the integration between e-commerce and small business seems to be slow coming.

    E-Commerce Retail Sales in Billions:

    3Q 2009 – $36.5/4.0%

    3Q 2010 – $41.5/4.2%

    Continue reading

  • quiet logistics

    Quiet Logistics is a total warehouse solution encouraging efficiency and speed in the world of packaging and shipping. Using a fleet of robots powered with sophisticated mathematical software, it helps retailers ship their goods to customers with minimum cost at maximum efficiency. It boasts an impressive 99.99% order and inventory accuracy as well as 3 times the volume of standard fulfillment centers.

    By integrating your existing Magento-based business with Quiet Logistics, you no longer have to worry about fulfilling your orders. Leave it to the robots who never get tired and never forget. According to Bruce E. Welty, CEO of Quiet Logistics, a single robot can perform the duties of one and a half people with infinitely fewer mistakes. Robots don’t draw a salary and don’t require health insurance so with a one-time investment your business can save a ton on your annual budget.

    Once you’re sold on the future of warehouse management you’re next step would be a seamless integration of Quiet Logistics into your Magento store. That’s where we come in. Hara Partners takes care of every aspect of the integration making sure that both parts of your business run smoothly. When an order comes in through Magento our software will collaborate with your warehouse and shipping department. We tell the robots where to find every part of the order (no matter how complicated) and bring it to the packaging section where experts pack it and send it out. Once it is packed and shipped your Magento system is automatically updated with the shipping information and the updated warehouse inventory.

  • Magento Conference credit: crownpartners.com

    The Imagine E-commerce Magento Conference is just four weeks away! To keep you aware and prepare you for the extravaganza, we’ll be posting periodic updates in the coming weeks. Here are this week’s announcements:

    Keynote Speakers Announced

    The long wait is over. Here are the 2013 Keynotes, all experts and leaders in their industries. First, the Magento Keynotes:

    Roy Rubin (Co-founder and COO, Magento): Roy enables customers and partners to build their businesses on the Magento platform. He directs organizational strategy and oversees Magento initiatives in education, marketing, sales, and support.

    Matthew Mengerink (CTO, Magento): The tech genius behind Magento’s products and services, Matthew meets the growing demands of merchants worldwide with aplomb. His responsibilities encompass lead engineering, architecture, infrastructure, and product management.

    John Lunn (Director, PayPal Developer Network): With 15+ years’ experience building online payment and anti-fraud systems, John is truly an innovator in the realm of payment and transaction security.

    Jimmy Duvall (Head of Product, Magento): Jimmy’s extensive history with e-commerce, in combination with his formidable industry expertise, equip him to deliver best-in-class product solutions for Magento.

    Now for the exciting Guest Keynotes:

    John Donahoe (President and CEO, eBay Inc.): John has helmed one of the most remarkable turnarounds in tech history, emphasizing innovation and customer focus across eBay’s core suite: eBay Marketplaces, PayPal, GSI Commerce, and X.commerce.

    Steven Levitt (Economist, Co-Author of Freakonomics): A tenured professor in the University of Chicago’s economics department and a recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal, Steven’s books are among the best-selling and most influential economics books ever published.

    Jeff Jordan (Partner, Andreessen Horowitz): Jeff serves on the board of such leading portfolio companies as Airbnb, Belly, Fab, Lookout, and Pinterest. His executive history speaks for itself: CEO/Executive Chairman of OpenTable, as well as leadership roles at eBay and PayPal.

    Jamie Clarke (Extreme Adventurer and Storyteller): Jamie’s exploits include two summits of Mt. Everest and the first crossing of the Empty Quarter of Arabia by a Westerner. Founder of LiveOutThere.com, Jamie dedicates his life to spreading his passion about the great outdoors.

    Exclusive Prizes

    This year’s Grand Prize is an extraordinary seven-night stay at the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort in Hawaii. You can enter for a chance to win during registration.

    POKEN Networking

    These handy digital business cards will be handed out at registration to all Magento conference participants. Simply touch POKENS to trade contact information; you can even include files such as one-sheets. Expect your POKEN email shortly with further details on capabilities and the particulars of registration.

    Expert Consulting Group Sessions, Going Fast!

    Just a reminder that Magento’s own Expert Consulting Group (ECG) will be on premises to conduct free half-hour consulting sessions. Current Enterprise users as well as Enterprise hopefuls should look into this rare opportunity, which addresses performance optimization, new development plans, business expansion, and more. It’s first come, first served: act now!

    Post-Conference Magento Training

    Don’t forget two classroom courses offered by the Magento U team immediately after the Magento conference. Learn how to jump-start your online store management or fine-tune your Magento development credentials with in-person certification.

    More Prizes from SecureBuy!

    Platinum Sponsor SecureBuy has quite the incentive for five minutes of your time: an iPad or an iPad Mini! They’re conducting the first annual payment fraud survey to Magento merchants. As a token of appreciation for your assistance, two random participants will be selected to receive a new iPad 3 or iPad Mini. Be sure to check out SecureBuy’s breakout session at the Magento conference for results and their lounge in the Marketplace for a personalized assessment.

    Why wait? Take the survey!

  • SEO for infographics credit: 435digital.com

     

    Jill Kocher recently authored an eye-opening post for Practical Ecommerce on the SEO benefits of infographics—best practices, things to consider, and well-reasoned justifications for incorporating visual design elements. Here’s our take on her major points.

    “Traditional wisdom” holds that image-heavy posts, and infographics in particular, can be detrimental to SEO because there’s not enough text for search engines to crawl and consequently rank. Humans being visual creatures, it’s quite tempting to convey your message visually. There’s concrete representation, memorability, immediacy, and even entertainment value.

    Is all hope for SEO-friendly infographics lost, then? Of course not! First things first, though: you’ve got to build a strong foundation before you can optimize.

    All about the Data

    Don’t even think about using an infographic without a compelling data set to back it up. It’s what they’re designed for—communicating fascinating data in a singular format. Given that all serious businesses collect data, your task should be to deliver information that straddles a fine line, being (a) confidential enough that it isn’t common knowledge, yet (b) safe to distribute without negative repercussions.

    Ms. Kocher gives two fine examples. With holiday sales trends, you could compare your company’s data with that aggregated by major research houses like Forrester, comScore, or Nielsen. That’s a great way to remain relevant while disclosing a unique perspective. Or take mobile phone sales—in an atmosphere of declining numbers, you might have an infographic-worthy edge if your company is one of the few experiencing growth. It’s about quantifying the data, getting as close to the why as possible by highlighting predictive habits or anomalies. Keep in mind, you don’t always have to repackage others’ data. Your own surveys and feedback could be a goldmine for a beautiful infographic.

    A Visual Art

    What else defines success in visual data? Design! Avoid boring, done-before presentation (nix Excel and Powerpoint); respect simplicity and economy (don’t crowd your data, be easy on the eye, consider how a stranger might interpret your conclusions). This is important: if you don’t have in-house design credentials, don’t try to pass it off as if you do. You will fail. Take the time to find a design agency that meets your needs. There are even agencies specializing in infographics!

    Realize that a static image is just one type of infographic. With Flash and HTML5, the possibilities dramatically expand: clickable infographics, animation, you name it. This can be a great way to cram in more info without taxing design space or page real estate. It’s also new enough to go relatively viral on social media. The line is blurred between infographics and explanatory animations at this point, sure, but that’s no reason not to explore some exciting new territory. This shows trustworthiness and an ability to think creatively at the big-picture level.

    Optimization Strategies

    Once you’re settled on viable content and presentation, you can move on to SEO for infographics. Generally, the best practice is to post infographics on the same domain as your e-commerce site; a blog or content area would do nicely. The reason? This allows the link juice from visitors and shares to benefit the whole domain, which in turn authenticates the content itself in the eyes of search engines. Because they hoard link juice in one area of your site, infographic microsites aren’t encouraged unless you truly value views on the infographics more than the rest of your site.

    You’ll also need to contextualize the infographic with some descriptive text. Here, you can certainly optimize for desired keywords. Be careful, though, because optimizing for the same keywords as the rest of your site will set up a contest between your site’s content and infographics, ultimately hurting both. Be prudent and deliberate with your infographic keyword choices; feel free to link to relevant products or services on your website, but know that users sour quickly when they catch a whiff of commercialism. Of course, with product-specific infographics, it’s best to feature them on the product page to attract traffic.

    Marketing Efforts and Warnings

    Promotion comes next. You can combine efforts between press relations, email marketing, social media marketing, blogger outreach, and any other channels to get the biggest bang for your buck here. Nothing kills an infographic faster than a lack of support. Your attitude should be that you now have an asset on your hands that could be of major interest to outside parties. Reach out within your niche to popular blogs and media outlets; this creates a mutually beneficial relationship wherein they get instant content and you get potential customers. Be savvy!

    Also, beware. By now, underhanded SEO tricks abound. Always ahead of the curve, Google is fine-tuning an algorithm to detect and penalize these practices. Avoid the following tactics:
    •    Bait-and-switch links—using the impulse to click on an image as a way to redirect visitors to an unrelated site.
    •    Embedded links within the infographic. This isn’t necessarily scammy, but it’s often employed by scammers.
    •    Embed code containing a static HTML link with heavily optimized anchor text to an unrelated site. Embed code can be a good idea, but it’s become a hit with scammers.

    Wrapping Up

    And there you have it! Kocher really did a fantastic job laying out the basics of SEO for infographics. We’ve been calling attention to quite a few striking infographics lately. Need an example or three? Try our posts on Conversion Rate Optimization, Black Friday Sales, and APIs.

  • conversion rate optimization credit: hyphentechnologies.in

    Econsultancy and RedEye teamed up to churn out this fantastic infographic, visualizing key data from the Fourth Annual Conversion Rate Optimization Report. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is of paramount importance to online retailers regardless of industry or customer base—it’s the difference between competitive businesses and struggling ones. Before we dive in, it’s important to make the distinction between acquisition and conversion tools in the e-commerce lexicon. Plenty of organizations allocate large budgets towards allocation, and rightfully so: getting eyes on your page is a necessary first step towards any desired outcome. On average, the problem (as outlined below) is that for every $92 spend on acquisition, only $1 is spent on conversion. No wonder conversion rates are in the toilet!

    Conversion Rate Optimization Statistics

    Let’s pull some figures to bring clarity to the dilemma:

    •    The average e-commerce conversion rate in 2012 declined 3.8%, down 8.4% year over year.

    •    Just 29% of online retailers perform cart abandonment analysis.

    •    Only 40% of online retailers incorporate customer surveys and feedback in conversion optimization.

    •    Multivariate Testing (MVT) was rated the most difficult yet the most effective CRO method by online retailers.

    With due acknowledgment to Linda Bustos at GetElastic for her coverage.

    conversion rate optimization

  • Magento conference credit: magentocommerce.com

     

     

    It's that time again! The annual Imagine E-commerce Conference—the premier global Magento conference—goes down from April 8th to 10th, 2013 at the M Resort in Las Vegas. These tickets do sell out, so snag yours while the getting's good. Need convincing? Read on!

    A Snapshot of Magento & Imagine

    You probably wouldn't be reading this if you didn't know what Magento was, but for the first-timers: Magento is the fastest-growing e-commerce platform out there, with 400+ solution providers (including Hara Partners!) and 150K+ global merchants. An open-source platform based in Los Angeles, Magento delivers on its reputation for complete flexibility married to outstanding functionality.

    Imagine enables the e-commerce movers and shakers around the world: developers, merchants, techies, industry partners, solution partners, and consultants. A focal point in the Magento ecosystem, Imagine is your host for yet another grand-slam Magento conference experience in 2013.

    Who Will Be There?

    Firstly, 1,500+ Magentians: merchants, partners, developers, and enthusiasts from 35+ countries look forward to this gathering all year. There's no better place for seminars, networking, collaborations, and (let's not forget) imagination. But that's not all—Imagine e-commerce is renowned for bringing in top-tier keynote speakers, representing leadership and visionary success across a bevy of industries. While we wait for this year's speaker announcement, take a gander at highlights from past Magento conferences:

    • Roy Rubin, co-founder and COO, Magento/X.commerce

    • Tim Kring, Emmy-nominated screenwriter and producer

    • Alison Levine, Captain of the First American Women's Everest Expedition

    Workshops Galore!

    Magento's Expert Consulting Group will be on hand to conduct free half-hour sessions exclusively for Imagine attendees. These guys really know their stuff—they offer comprehensive analyses and best practice recommendations, from architecture planning through post-deployment. First come, first served, so sign up while you can!

    Magento Developer Certification is also available for just $150 with pre-registration. This powerful tool will truly set your services apart in the noisy marketplace, especially when it comes to emerging technologies and techniques. This is, by far, the most convenient and least expensive way for experienced Magento developers to earn this coveted differentiator.

    Last but not least, Magento U will deliver two post-conference courses on location at the M Resort: “Managing your Magento Store” and “Magento Checkout Part 1: Shopping Care and Price Calculations”. Register now for these exclusive, empowering seminars!

    Resort Details

    From the event page: M Resort Spa Casino is driven by a personal, hands-on service approach, contemporary architectural style and balance of luxury offerings. With its state-of-the-art amenities and cutting-edge technologies, the M Resort offers guests an unrivaled South Strip experience with spectacular views of the Las Vegas skyline and valley. Very much like Magento, the M Resort is passionate about client service and they are driven to consistently exceed expectations. Just a short distance from the Las Vegas Strip, the M Resort has everything you are looking for in a Vegas hotel including oversized, modern rooms, an exquisite pool, full service spa, and fitness center, a variety of entertainment options, unique dining experiences and destination bars.

    Accomodations will be available at the M Resort and nearby hotels through conference registration only.

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