Monthly Archives: February 2014

  • There are a lot of issues you can run into when using Magento to manage your online shop. Coming across any of these Magento errors can be quite frustrating. To further worsen the situation, Magento does not provide a detailed guide on how to go about fixing these errors. Instead, an error page pops up on your screen telling you to read the error dump (report). For someone new to the Magento platform, the error dump is not a great place to look for information that can help to fix these common Magento errors.

    Magento Errors Magento Errors

    Here are the solutions to 4 common errors users encounter when using Magento to manage their e-commerce business:

    1. Difficulty in Configuring Magento to work With a New Domain: There are two ways to configure Magento to work with a new domain: clearing the Magento cache or editing the Magento database. The location of the Magento cache folder is the Magento installation directory >/var/cache. Deleting the folder will clear the cache. You can fix a lot of Magento issues by simply deleting the Magento cache folder.

    To edit the Magento database, go to your cpanel >phpMyAdmin. The Magento database is in the left hand side of the menu. Enter the Magento database and look for a table called the core_config_data. Edit the first two fields on the table by clicking on the pen icon in front of the fields. Replace the old domain name with your new domain and click on the ‘Go’ button to save your new settings.

    2. Difficulty in Enabling Search Engine optimized (SEO friendly) URLs in Magento: If you are having this problem, this is what you should do. Click on the configuration button in your Magento administration area. Enter the system navigation menu and click on switch to web page on the sub-navigation panel to load the web page.

    After the web page has finished loading, a lot of blue lines representing closed option tablets will appear. Enter into the SEO tab and click on the yes button on the Use Web Server Rewrite panel. Save the changes you have made to enable your Magento SEO friendly URLs.

    3. Slow Page Load: Many Magento errors result from slow page load of the Magento application. The page load speed of Magento can be increased by either improving your code base or upping your server performance. If your Magento store is misconfigured you would need to address the problems on the code level and remedy whatever is wrong. If your Magento store has an adequate code base you may

    4. Access Denied Issue: In most cases this problem can be solved by simply logging out and logging in again into the Magento administration panel, you can resolve this issue. However, if logging out and re-logging in does not resolve the access denied issue, then you should go and reset your admin privileges. You can reset the admin privileges of Magento by entering your admin area and clicking on the system tab. Click on permissions on the system tab, select roles, and enter administrators. When you get to administrators, enter the Role Resources Option, set your Resource Access to all, and save the changes you have made. Your access denied issue will be resolved.

  • Magento Imagine 2014 at Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas Magento Imagine 2014 at Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas

    Malcolm Gladwell,  Author, Lecturer And Cultural Icon, Keynote Speaker at Magento Imagine 2014.

    Malcolm T. Gladwell was born in England to a Jamaican-born mother (a psychotherapist) and English father (a math professor) in 1963. He is an accomplished author and respected journalist known for his unique perspectives on science research and social issues. He authored five books that were on The New York Times Best Seller list which are; The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Outliers: The Story of Success, What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (a collection of his journalism), David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants and Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. His books and journalism are noted for dealing with unexpected conclusions of research in genres of psychology, social psychology and sociology.

    Gladwell's father was a math and engineering professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada where Malcolm was allowed to roam the halls and offices of the university which sparked his interest in libraries and literature. In high school Malcolm excelled at long distance running placing first in the 1,500 meter championship race in 1978. He attended college at the University of Toronto and graduated in 1984 with a degree in History.

    Malcolm Gladwell is noted for finding implausible outcomes in what is considered mundane research which is the foundation of his success in the lecture circuit and as an author. Undaunted by challenging research he exhibits brilliant curiosity uncovering and documenting facts buried in peculiar data. He once had a popular blog that addressed a variety of topics from steroids in professional sports to serial killers.

    As an author Malcolm Gladwell has notable accomplishments attributed to his success. His book The Tipping Point (released in 2000) was listed as one of the best literary works of the decade by Amazon customers, The Times, The Guardian and The A.V. Club. The book was also the fifth bestselling nonfiction book for Barnes and Nobles of the decade. His book Blink was voted the fifth favorite book by Amazon customer's in 2005 and best nonfiction book by The Christian Science Monitor. It was also in the top 50 list of favorite books by Amazon customers for the decade. The book Outliners was number 1 on The New York Times Bestseller list for 11 consecutive weeks and voted Time's number 10 best nonfiction book in 2008. The San Francisco Chronicle had Outliners listed as one of the best 50 nonfiction books in 2008. In 2005 he was added to Time's 100 Most Influential People.

    Malcolm Gladwell has an impressive career and has influenced millions with his books and articles addressing a range of topics spanning race relations, sports, music, social issues and many topics. He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996 and lectures across the world sometimes for free and has been known to command $45,000 per speaking engagement. He is respected and has his share of critics. However, despite the opinions of his supporters and detractors he will most likely be written in history books as a great contributor to the literary arts.

  • Google Trusted Store is a program that was designed by Google to help customers shop with confidence on the Internet. Online merchants and e-commerce businesses are expected to meet certain thresholds in order to join the Google Trusted Store program. The merchant's performance metrics for terms of customer service and shipping/fulfillment speed are gauged before they can become part of the program.

    Google Trusted Store Google Trusted Store

    Once a business qualifies for Google Trusted Store, your website can display the Google Trusted Store badge on your website to signal to your customers that you adhere to the standards set forth by Google and that it is thus safe for them to shop with you. Customers will receive some purchase protection offered through the Google Trusted Store program, which is free of charge to the customer and the merchant.

    Google Trusted Store helps create a better shopping experience

    Shoppers are offered to opt into the Google Trusted Store program after their purchase. Google sends an automated survey about the products and services receives and Google may also facility between the customer and merchant in cases where they cannot mutually resolve an issue.

    Google Trusted Store focuses on the merchant and shoppers alike, by helping merchants build up their brand and reputation, while indicating to shoppers that they can buy with confidence. Google provides an objective way for e-commerce websites to verify that the business provides great customer service and fulfills orders quickly and reliably; two things every online shopper has come to expects.

    Share your experiences and questions about the Google Trusted Store program with us here in the comments or contact us directly.

  • Bill Me Later - buy now pay later Bill Me Later - buy now pay later

    A рорulаr online payment method uѕеd bу those looking tо kеер саѕh on hand iѕ the Bill Me Lаtеr payment орtiоn. Thiѕ option can be a truе lifesaver fоr the соnѕumеr in a bind. Bill Mе Later has bесоmе аffiliаtеd with mоrе thаn 1000 оnlinе ѕtоrеѕ, mаking it a соnvеniеnt and рорulаr wау to buy nоw and pay later. Stор bу thеir website аnd see if аnу of уоur fаvоritе оnlinе ѕhорѕ аrе bill mе later mеrсhаntѕ.

    Alоng with bеing ѕаfе and ѕесurе, this payment орtiоn iѕ еаѕу to use. Yоu can аvоid рауing onlinе bу credit card оr еlесtrоniс сhесk bу filling оut аn оnlinе аррliсаtiоn. Similar to a credit саrd, withоut the саrd, you will bе рrоvidеd with a billing invоiсе, оffеring уоu to рау your оnlinе рurсhаѕе in ѕmаll installments, оr рау off уоur dеbt completely аnd avoid ассruing intеrеѕt аnd finаnсе charges.

    Once аррrоvеd, you will be аblе tо ѕtаrt ѕhоррing with one of thе listed оnlinе retailers. If уоu find something you hаvе been saving for, lооk nо further, and keep уоur mоnеу оn hаnd fоr unеxресtеd future expenses. Aѕidе frоm thе fact уоu gеt tо pay lаtеr, ѕеvеrаl large online rеtаilеrѕ such аѕ Wаlmаrt.соm, оffеr реrkѕ tо account holders. These реrkѕ inсludе thе option оf nо рауmеnt fоr 90 days to 6 mоnthѕ with ԛuаlifiеd рurсhаѕеѕ.

    PауPаl Buyer Credit

    Another flеxiblе рауmеnt орtiоn fоr оnlinе соnѕumеrѕ, PayPal Buуеr Crеdit. This орtiоn is ѕimilаr tо Bill Mе Lаtеr, аnd iѕ a convenient аltеrnаtivе payment method fоr eBay ѕhорреrѕ. Although it iѕ mоѕt popular аmоngѕt еBау biddеrѕ, уоu can use your buyers credit аnуwhеrе that PayPal is accepted.

    It iѕ аѕ ѕimрlе аѕ ѕigning intо уоur еxiѕting PауPаl ассоunt fоr сurrеnt mеmbеrѕ, or сrеаting a nеw account. Onсе уоu аrе a member уоu will bе аblе tо сliсk оn thе credit programs options on thе home раgе. Cоmрlеtе a briеf сrеdit application аnd find оut immеdiаtеlу if уоu аrе аррrоvеd. If you are аррrоvеd for a PayPal сrеdit, thе аmоunt will ѕhоw оn уоur account. It will be аvаilаblе fоr уоur uѕе immediately, and each purchase will be dеduсtеd frоm your аvаilаblе сrеdit.

    These аrе juѕt twо оf thе mаnу forms оf buу nоw pay lаtеr payment орtiоnѕ аvаilаblе to соnѕumеrѕ. In thе millennium оf technology уоu саn not оnlу ѕhор оnlinе, but аррlу fоr сrеdit оnlinе. Just likе аnу fоrm оf credit, make ѕurе you are rеѕроnѕiblе with уоur сrеdit limits аnd mоnthlу рауmеntѕ. Juѕt likе credit саrdѕ, monthly рауmеnt рlаnѕ аrе reflected on уоur credit report and саn affect your score nеgаtivеlу if unраid. Nеvеr bоrrоw mоrе thеn уоu саn рау bасk at аnу оnе given time. Fоr thе rеѕроnѕiblе shopper, in need of ѕоmе hоlidау cash, thеѕе rеѕоurсеѕ саn be thе answer you wеrе lоoking for. Start the hоlidау ѕеаѕоn оff right аnd аррlу today! You саn start ѕhоррing frоm thе соmfоrt оf your оwn hоmе аnd mоnеу ѕtill in уоur bаnk ассоunt.

  • Here are 5 simple things to think about for your e-commerce business.

    Simple Steps - Customer Service Representative Using Multiple Screens Simple Steps - Customer Service Representative Using Multiple Screens
    1. Get qualified technical help and support for your e-commerce website. It’s important because every e-commerce website can benefit from a group of professionals to help it grow and drive conversion. Professional support can range from technical help over website design and advanced development needs. Other areas include providing security and performance optimizations for your e-commerce website.
    2. Appoint qualified professionals to maintain your website. Merchandising and making sure your store looks welcoming with the latest products on top requires thought and care. Ask Hara Partners what tools can help to streamline and help merchandise products faster and better.
    3. Work with Hara Partners to automate as many of your repetitive processes as possible. And then focus on the remaining customer support cases with your staff to make your customers happy. Your call center or customer care support is often the first line of contact for your customers. Also, leverage live chat systems. If you have difficulty staffing a life chat at all times, consider solutions such as the Concierge service provided by WebsiteAlive.
    4. Get your SEO team involved. You can use customer service calls and incorporate them on your product pages, or build an FAQ, not only for search engines, but especially for shoppers who are looking for more helpful information. Go the extra mile and tie your amazing customer service and newly created content into your social media strategy.
    5. One thing we have seen over the years. Every employee loves to work using good or decent equipment. Think about making sure every staff member has 2 screens. A screen costs about $100-200, and is a one-time investment. If this boosts your employees productivity by 1%, you already made a huge return on your investment. The same goes for computers that load reasonably fast.

    Please share issues or things that have affected or helped your business by posting a comment here.

     

     

     

     

  • In this era of cut throat competition, companies are constantly striving for newer ways of marketing tools that can ensure to upkeep their contest in the consumer market. Netsuite is one such incorporated business management software that enables business to harness the power of the leading cloud software as a Service technology.

    Netsuite connector for Magento Netsuite connector for Magento

    Magento is the foremost professional open-source ecommerce solution that can be customized and hence the merchant can exercise complete flexibility over the appearance, substance, and functionality of their online store. Magento’s users can use Magento’s marketing, search engine optimization and list-management tools to create customized ecommerce sites that can best meet the customer’s business needs. Magento is also the most supported platform for third party solutions that can take your online store to the next level.

    While Netsuite is a proven back office application, its integration with Magento can provide businesses with powerful business management portal with state-of-the-art e-commerce features.

    However an ideal Netsuite connector for Magento can be a challenge considering the various issues with their type and structure integration. There are various considerations to be measured before integrating Netsuite connector for Magento.

    Consideration before integrating Netsuite with Magento

    First and foremost criteria are to check the latency between the two environments. A low latency is required to ensure that there is proper synchronization between the two data environments. To reduce the latency, one can improve the capacity of data structures within Magento or Netsuite. Talk to our software and systems experts and find out how we have solved high performance challenges.

    Next, Make business plans depending on the type of industry, such as if an order meets certain criteria, they are imported, its status updated and so on. Proper work flows and control structures should be formalized so that the order amount with all subtotals and line items in Magento get transferred to Netsuite with all detail for further processing.

    Proper execution of a Netsuite connector for Magento also requires formulation of an emergency management system that can handle the issues if some exceptional errors occur in the system. A business has to specify a proper product support system and a product roadmap that underlines the product’s features and their outcomes in detail. You will be pleased to hear that we at Hara Partners fully support disaster recovery and fail over scenarios, and that our NetSuite connector for Magento is updated and tested for every new release of NetSuite and Magento. In addition, the development team continues to update the Netsuite connector for Magento on an ongoing basis making it better every day.

    There are a number of options available for the integration of the Netsuite connector for Magento available at different rates depending on the complexity of the data mapping and level of advanced automation. While customers are expected to import and export all data between the Magento and NeSuite systems, Hara Partners can help with this process to reduce the time to go live.

    Please contact us with any questions.

  • There is a new emerging movement in e-commerce called vertically integrated e-commerce. It’s not sa specific sector or product niche, but more of a business model or sometimes even transcends into a movement or philosophy.

    Vertically Integrated E-commerce Vertically Integrated E-commerce

    We always strive to improve and find ways to make things more efficient. Obvious models are based on scale such as Walmart and Amazon. The problem with this is there can only be one number one. The other problem is that the value proposition is very one-sided, often based on availability, price or convenience.

    The new model of vertically integrated e-commerce businesses uses a different approach to merchandising. In fact one could say that most vertically integrated e-commerce retailers are the exact opposite of Amazon and the like. Examples include Bonobos, Everlane, Shoe Dazzle, Nasty Gal, or 39 Dollar Glasses, which lead the pack and some time (re-)define an entire industry. It’s not a coincidence that lowest priced glasses retail for $38 at Walmart; in response to 39 Dollar Glasses, and Warby Parker makes buying glasses online trendy and accepted by the masses.

    All these brands are web-only (at least to start out) and they are vertically integrating the retail value chain, ranging from manufacturing, branding, sales, fulfillment, and customer service. By eliminating third parties from the supply chain, these companies not only bring their products, but also their brand and with it a life-style and philosophy directly to their consumers. On one hand this cuts inefficiencies of the traditional retailer, and on the other hand also often translates in superior brand execution and higher brand awareness among consumers. The value proposition becomes high-quality products at significantly lower prices while having better customer service. And for the vertically integrated e-commerce business it means higher margins and tighter control of all processes.

    The Internet as a tool that drives competition gave rise to retail giants such as Amazon, Staples, or Dell often capturing the high ground in their industry and driving out competition, is now opening these opportunities to vertically integrated e-commerce businesses that capture their audiences with their hearths and wallets.

    However, with every upside there is a disadvantage and vertically integrated e-commerce is not an exception to that.

    It’s not an accident that almost all successful vertically integrated e-commerce companies have a strong message and recognizable brand. A vertically integrated e-commerce business is not a retailer, and as such cannot rely on existing brands. It has to become its own brand and develop a product and voice that appeals to its target audience. As largely independent business by its very definition a vertically integrated business “starts from scratch”.

    What has been your experience with vertically integrated e-commerce brands? Do you prefer to like from these types of companies? Or have you even started or worked at such a company? Share your experience here with us and leave a comment.

     

  • There can be a number of factors that you might need to consider when integrating Netsuite with Magento. It can be a little tricky in the beginning but with careful planning and analysis of the various scenarios that can affect the outcome of your system. The process that you need to follow in integrating Netsuite with Magento is almost the same as when combining Magento with any other Enterprise Resource Planning systems. On top of the possible end points that you might encounter, you must also consider the functionality lapses of the API between NetSuite and Magento that can possibly take place when integrating it to an ERP.

    Integrating NetSuite with Magento Integrating NetSuite with Magento

    Product Catalog

    Magento works around a very complex and sophisticated EAV model, which makes the database infinitely flexible. This also makes it difficult for Magento’s API to properly recognize the products with all their attributes. Similarly, NetSuite supports complex product relationships and product types which complicates matters. This is the reason why many ecommerce website developers who have tried integrating Netsuite with Magento andfailed with this part of the process. If you have worked in the development of an e-commerce site, you will also notice that the constant movement on the product database from multiple channels can also cause some problems in your Magento site if the ERP system is not properly integrated. We thus use a true object mapping where a product in Magneto is a product in NetSuite and a product attribute in NetSuite is a product attribute in Magento. This not surprisingly makes a lot of sense; and as a nice benefit makes our solution infinitely more flexible and extensible.

    Order Processing

    Integrating Netsuite with Magento will provide you with better functionalities and improve the current flow of your order management system. However, website developers who don’t have the expertise or resources may find the new flow of processing orders a bit confusing. The main reason why you integrated an ERP system with your Magento site is to facilitate an efficient flow of products in your business, while at the same time giving your costumers a better shopping experience.

    When planning your new order processing system, it is important that you also put yourself in the shoes of your customers and visitors who have visited your website for the first time. Is it easy to navigate through the user interface? How do you want them to place their orders? Are there options for bulk orders? Will they be able to see details of their past transaction? Is there a way for them to track the status of their delivery? Answering these questions can give you an idea how you would move these information to and from Netsuite into your Magento site. Only using a comprehensive integration can fulfill all these requirements.

    Customer Database

    The life of your ecommerce website is dependent upon your customers. The way you manage your customer’s information is crucial in the growth of your business. Integrating Netsuite to Magento can offer you more options in making the most from your customer’s information. NetSuite, unlike Magento, has a built-in CRM functionality, which allows you to track and cultivate leads. For businesses that have longer more involved sales cycles the use of a sophisticated CRM system is a must.

    Effects on Accounting and Reports Management

    You must carefully analyze how you will plan to transfer financial and inventory reports to and from Netsuite. You can’t afford to miss invoices, returns, sales taxes, variances or other information because this can completely wreck your balance sheets and give you a hard time reconciling the differences in your bank statement and warehouse inventory to your database.

    Planning ahead and consulting experts before integrating Netsuite with Magento can save you a lot of headaches in the process. Having a clear picture of how the integration will affect your current business flow can also save you a lot of time and money. Talk to us. We provide the most comprehensive and sophisticated solution for integrating NetSuite with Magento.

  • Hara Partners has designed the most advanced and seamless Magento Netsuite Integration to date. The Magento Netsuite integration has been designed to let users of Magento, no matter the Enterprise or Community Edition, seamlessly integrate with NetSuite, adding fulfillment, CRM and financial capability at once.

    Magento NetSuite Integration Magento NetSuite Integration

    NetSuite Inc. provides one of the most renowned and acclaimed cloud-based financial and ERP software suites internationally, and has rightly received many awards for its software over the past years. Using this advanced suite has proven to help many businesses with modeling their processes and work flows. Using Magento to generate leads and converting them into customers, and then processing orders and servicing your customers out of NetSuite, while maintaining better financial control than with Quickbooks has proven to be a powerful solution. NetSuite’s impressive growth of over 30% year-over-year for a public company and Magento’s over 150,000 merchants speak volumes of the success of both platforms.

    The Magento Netsuite Integration provided by Hara Partners can provide you with the benefits of both worlds while allowing you to model the complexity of your business in its entirety. The efficiency and accuracy the users of the Magento NetSuite Connector gain range from eliminating manual data entry and double entries, improved communication with customers, faster and more accurate fulfillment, to a wealth and accuracy in financial data. NetSuite is built primarily as a financial software, every action or transaction leaves an audit trail and is traceable, allowing you to run accurate reports and forecasting models.

    Bid good bye to the whole tedious task of manual order processing. And usher in all the benefits the combination of NetSuite and Magento bring to your business: improved internal efficiency, speed, customer satisfaction and accuracy.

    Companies that have already started using the Magento Netsuite integration include Blinc, TreeFrog Development, LifeProof, Design for Health, Finis Europe, Aero Design, Live Superfoods, Anzic Records, among many others.

    Enhanced efficiency in packing and shipping

    There are quite a few advantages for users that Magento Netsuite integration has brought forth. One of the major ones is the improved quality and speed of picking, packing and shipping goods. The bin management service included helps in knowing the location of the goods inside a warehouse. In-built integrations with FedEx, UPS and USPS as well as automated shipping label generation smoothens and quickens the shipping process. And thanks to the NetSuite Order Management, merchants will be able to keep track of the availability of inventories across multiple locations at any given time, from virtually anywhere via the web.

    How Magento Netsuite integration helps

    The process of integrating NetSuite with Magento is akin to that of any other ERP system. A plethora of end points need to be considered when you decide to go for such kind of integration. Among the various pros of this integration is the automatic updating of accounts and sales data which helps save a significant amount of time and staffing work. Users will be given an exact and real time overview at any time they want. This can aid in the enhancement of marketing focus which will in turn lead to better business intelligence. Since it is possible to control everything from one central point, users will be able to access the required information wherever they are. Another great advantage that users are in for when they utilize the new integration of Netsuite and Magneto is the considerable improvement in their customers’ brand experience. Customer service cost can be significantly decreased since your staff can more easily access all information and is given the tools to manage customers and orders out of NetSuite.

    Contact us for more information on the NetSuite Magento Connector or any questions around NetSuite or Magento you may have.

  • Thank you again for the great turn out last month, on January 8 for our e-commerce Meetup. Our next Meetup is almost here and we wanted to provide a review of the last one.

     

    Credit Card Merchant Processing Credit Card Merchant Processing

     

    Tom Waters from BAMS (Bank Associates Merchant Services) presented what his company can offer to merchants by explaining how credit card processing works and the fees that are associated with different transaction. Tom took a historical take and walked us through concepts and laws that changed the credit card landscape over the years. And the good news is brought down fees drastically over time.

    Some highlights from the talk include (and I apologize if these only include the ones we remember, but please post comments and questions below, or contact us):

    1. Rates have been broken down into a great matrix of different scenarios. Most people are familiar with AmEx vs. Visa/MasterCard rates, as well as debit cards vs. credit card, corporate or rewards cards, and how the rates differ. However, most people still believe there are only 4-5 rates, or they are given 4 rates by their merchant processor or bank.

    Fact is that there is a specific interexchange rate for almost every transaction, which can factors in in-person vs. over the phone, card type, issuer, etc.

    Often times the low rates are not passed on by the merchant processor, but pulled together into 3-4 groups.

    2. Organizations such as Paypal, Square, even American Express are not banks and thus do not need to adhere to the numerous regulations of banks. This can have a lot of advantages for these organizations, which they can pass on to merchants and customers. Even Groupon launched a service called Groupon Payments to provide savings to its merchants.

    What it all means to you?

    3. You should not enter into a contract that binds you to a processor, and insist on early termination rights. You may also want to consider these non-bank institutions. Often times they can be very competitive with low transaction volume, while a dedicated merchant processor becomes less expensive with greater volume. BAMS for example charges a small processing fee on top of the interexchange rate, which results in very competitive pricing.

    Value-added Services by BAMS

    BAMS can help merchants with charge back monitoring and handling. BAMS also offers its IRIS (IRIS - Integrated Reporting is Simple) platform, which can help gain quick oversight of your business and identify problems.

    IRIS - Integrated Reporting is Simple IRIS - Integrated Reporting is Simple

    Please add comments to this post and feel free to ask any questions about merchant processing. Tom is extremely knowledgeable and we at Hara Partners would love to provide any answers for you.

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