Monthly Archives: February 2015

  • technical support

    In today's world, a good technical support plan is an absolute necessity for maintaining day-to-day business operations. The problem is, you can't get a good plan if you don't know what kind of plan you need. So you hire an expert... Someone who knows the deal, tech-wise.

    In a  previous blog post, we mentioned some of our previous services that we offer extended support for all of our products and services. We'll mention here once again that a 24/7 help desk is not something that you'll find in any business... So if you're looking for strong technical support, consider that a huge plus.

    But Why Do I Need Technical Support Again?

    You know that having technical support is awesome, but what makes it awesome?

    For one thing, it helps increase sales. If your team is providing user-friendly assistance (like our team at Hara Partners is always doing), customers are more likely to stick around and purchase more of the customers' services. So there's definitely an upside to being friendly and technical. Nobody wants to deal with a rude gus after all...

    Another key benefit is a quick resolution to issues. We're on the phone constantly with business owners who have no idea how to fix issues that come quickly to us.

    "What's going on with my Magento? It's not processing my @%$! orders!"

    So the business owner continues to bang his head against the wall, but we tell him, "Dude... It's really just 2 + 2 to us."

    "2 + 2?" he asks. "2 + 2 is easy... Okay, you Hara Partners rascals seem to know what you're doing."

    And all of a sudden, quick resolution is offered to the business owner and his issues magically disappear... One man's burden becomes another's good fortune. And the business owner realizes once and for all that a strong technical support plan is essential to his business.

  • magento support

    You might noticed that in some of our solutions pages that we offer extensive support for all of our products and services. Our Monthly Managed Magento Support Services easily differentiate us from most Magento companies because we'll be on call with you 24/7.

    Managed Magento Support

    Managed Support Services from Hara Partners provides coverage in three important arenas: Issue management, issue prevention and strategic planning, and site set-up/optimization.

    Issue Management

    Included with Hara Partners Managed Magento Support services is a 24/7/365 Help desk with phone, email and ticket support, so we are never out of reach. Additionally, we provide a daily report outlining any issues that have occurred or might occur so you always informed and part of the decision making process.

    Issue Prevention and Strategic Planning:

    Once your store is up and running in peak condition we can assess your risk factors and start taking measures to mitigate or prevent any issues. We’ll monitor your site’s uptime and performance so any issues are addressed promptly as well as using our proprietary site–auditing software Health Check to unearth any underlying issues with your site’s code so they can be addressed before causing any harm.

    Set-up/Optimization Services:

    Hara Partners' team of Magento experts will make sure that you are getting the absolute maximum from Magento. Starting with the internal – we’ll review your core architecture and configuration settings – through to your back-end – importing and exporting and getting your reporting set-up – to the external – with branding and design assistance and SEO services – we’ll get your store in tip-top shape.

    magento support

    Features:

    • 24/7/365 Help desk with email and ticket support.
    • Emergency Services: outage recovery, debugging, trouble-shooting.
    • Uptime and performance monitoring for systems, applications and infrastructure.
    • Real-time and historical site availability and performance statistics.
    • Set-up and configurations.
    • Import/export, merchandising and promotion.
    • Content uploading and formatting.
    • Reporting and analytics.
    • Magento administrative configuration.
    • Daily reporting.
    • Live monitoring of high risk issues.
  • magento recurring payments

    The newest version of Magento now features recurring payments, but what exactly do they do?

    Recurring payments are most often used for subscriptions or products with installment payment plans. When a product like this is purchased from your store, the customer is redirected to a 3rd-party payment system where a 'recurring payment agreement' with the store is signed/authorized by the customer.

    A recurring payment agreement is an agreement between the customer and the store authorized at the side of a payment system. In the payment system, this agreement authorizes the merchant to charge the customer account again in the future according to the recurring profile setting.

    These are called 'recurring profiles' in Magento. In the 3rd-party payment system, a recurring profile is an accounting record that captures payments on a regular basis and according to the payment schedule defined in the recurring profile.

    A recurring profile submits the information about the frequency of a payment being initiated to the payment system. 

    Currently, by default, Magento supports purchasing items with recurring profiles only for the PayPal payment system and only through the Express Checkout method.

    Recurring Profiles-What the Customer Sees

    When recurring profiles are set up for the products you’ll offer on a subscription or payment plan basis, the customer will see the payment profile parameters as product additional information on the Recurring Profile tab of the product view page in the frontend.

    Also, in the Recurring Profile Start Date field, the customer can choose the date when to start the recurring profile if this is set up in the recurring profile settings in the backend.

    When the customer adds a product with a recurring profile to the shopping cart, the recurring profile schedule information and the profile start date are displayed as part of the shopping cart product description. If the customer is not allowed to or does not specify the recurring profile start date, by default, it is set to the current date.

    For products with recurring profiles, the customer can only choose between the fixed-price shipping methods (flat, table or free) when checking out. After choosing the payment method, the customer is redirected to the payment system where a recurring payment agreement for payments is created. After the customer returns to the Order Review page, the order can be placed. Below is an example of a weekly recurring profile.

    For more information about Magento recurring payments, please see our solutions page.

  • how will customer service look in 2030 how will customer service look in 2030

    No one knows what the future has in store for us. Several news sources in the past have predicted that all jobs will be redundant by 2025. The rise of technology, while making all of our lives more convenient, could see significant reductions in the labor force. Thankfully, we still need humans for one very important thing, and that’s customer service. In the field of customer service, there is a tool known as the Self-Service Portal.

    A Self-Service Portal is a tool which enables online customers to discover answers to their problems and questions instantaneously, without having to request help from a customer service center or representative. It is an interactive and automated knowledge base that allows its customers to independently resolve problems.

    What Are the Benefits of a Self-Service Portal?

    1) Your Customers Will Want One

    A recent survey conducted by Nuance Enterprise revealed that 75% of respondents thought that self-service was a convenient way to address customer service issues. 91% of consumers also claimed that they would use an online support center if it was available and tailored to their needs.

    2) It’s Cost-Efficient

    What’s cheaper, having customers help themselves or having someone else do it for them? A Forrester study showed that the approximate cost to operate a call center technical support per customer is $12 and higher while the approximate cost for web self-service is $0.10 or less.

    3) The Self-Service Portal Improves Online Customer Experience

    One thing that customers want the most is quick and efficient service. A self-service portal is exactly that: a fast and reliable source for solutions and relevant information.

    4) It Engages Customers and Creates a Community

    A self-service portal has built-in community forums where customers can offer their opinions and thoughts on your products and services.
    With the help of these forums, customers can provide each other with support, and establish customer engagement with your brand.

    5) It Provides Valuable Data and Information

    A self-service portal will tell you exactly what your customers want and need. With that information, you can paint a better picture and understand your customer’s journey. You can use that information to personalize your service and provide extra value to your website, product, and customer experience.

    6) It Increases Agent Efficiency

    A self-service portal immediately reduces loads on other customer service channels, therefore enabling your agent to pay full attention to every inquiry that arrives.

    What You’ll Need for a Self Service Portal

    So you know what a self-service portal service is. You know how useful it is. Now the next question is, how can you make full use of this technology?

    1) Self-Learning Knowledgebase

    Your knowledgebase is the essence of your self-service portal. The content in your knowledgebase will be divided into two sections:

    50% of your knowledgebase is the content you get started with. To get the best content for your site’s knowledgebase, use resources such as customer reviews and FAQ.
    Ask your salespeople what problems they notice the most.
    You can also send out surveys to your customers asking them what difficulties and inquiries they’re encountering, what they were missing when browsing your site, and what would improve the experience.
    B. The other 50% is the content you keep updating. Your knowledgebase will be useless unless you keep it relevant and useful for your customer needs.

    2) Offer Your Customers Various Ways to Use the Knowledgebase and Portal

    Aside from a search bar and a FAQ section, you can offer channels such as community forum, chat, phone, and email.

    3) Powerful Semantic Search Engine

    Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent and the contextual meaning of terms as they appear in the searchable dataspace, whether on the Web or within a closed system.

    4) Make Your Search Bar Easy to Find and Visible

    63% of customers are frustrated with the search bar within a support center. You can definitely improve on the customer experience by improving the visibility of the search bar.

    5) Make Your Portal Easy to Use

    Provide easy navigation and make sure your content is clear, readable and to the point. As you probably know, people don’t actually read most of the content on a website. They just scan. So you should probably make it easier for your customers to find the relevant content.

    6) Empower Your Customers

    Make your portal engaging for customers. Don’t hide it with a different design—set it apart from your general design and website. That way you will make your customers feel more comfortable and secure.

    7) Content Rating

    Let your customers help you by giving them an option to rate the importance of the content.

    8) Ask For Feedback

    Optimize your knowledgebase according to the information your customers and salespeople provide.

    Conclusion

    Advanced as they may be, machines and technology lack two things: creativity and empathy.

    When facing a problem that cannot be solved by the self-service portal, customers need to talk to someone that can understand them and their frustrations.
    As advanced as machines may be, they can’t think creatively, and can only do what they’re told. And sometimes warm emotion -- a smile and a thank you -- can be all that a customer needs to feel better.

    Live support provides your customers with immediate human help. With live support, agents can help customers solve problems that the web interface cannot, and also walk them through their last minute hesitations.

    There’s no knowing what’s going to happen in the next fifteen years, but we can certainly use the research today to make the most of what we have for whatever will happen in the future. While machines can do all of the grunt work, you can save all of the customer service and pre sale to humans.

    Yoel Feldman is the co-founder and COO of Proonto, a global marketplace that connects eCommerce websites with expert shop assistants to engage visitors with live representative video chat, enabling merchants to sell and service their customers in a more promptly manner.

  • persistent shopping cart

    A persistent shopping cart keeps track of unpurchased items left in the cart, and saves the information for the customer's next visit.

    Customers who are 'remembered' can have the contents of their shipping carts restored the next time they visit your store.

    Using a persistent shopping cart can help reduce the number of abandoned shopping carts and increase sales. It is important to understand that using a persistent shipping cart does not expose sensitive account information at any time. During the time a persistent shopping cart is in use, both registered customers and guest shoppers are required to either log in to an existing account, or create a new account before going through the checkout process.

    For guest shoppers, a persistent shopping cart is the only way to retrieve information from a previous session.

    Cookies Used

    To use the persistent shopping cart, the customer's browser must be set to allow cookies. During operation, a persistent shopping cart makes use of the following types of cookies:

    • Session Cookies
    • : The short-term session cookie exists for the duration of a single visit to your site, and expires when the customer leaves or after a set period of time.

    • Persistent Cookie
    • : The long-term persistent cookie continues in existence after the end of the session, and can save a record of the shopping cart contents for up to a year.

    Multiple Devices and Browsers

    A persistent shopping cart retains a record of the shopping cart contents, even if the customer later uses different devices to shop in your store. For example, a customer can add an item to the shopping cart from a laptop, edit the cart contents from a desktop computer, add more items from a mobile device, and complete the checkout process from a tablet. If the customer uses multiple browsers while visiting your store during a single, persistent session, any changes made in one browser will be reflected in any other browser when the page is refreshed. While the persistent shopping cart is enabled, your store creates and maintains a separate persistent cookie for each browser that is used by a customer to log in or create an account.

    To set up a persistent shopping cart:

    1. From the Admin panel, select System > Configuration.
    2. In the Configuration panel on the left, under Customers, select Persistent Shopping Cart. Then, click to expand the General Options section.
    3. To enable the persistent shopping cart and to display additional configuration options, set Enable Persistence to “Yes.” persistent shopping cart
    4. Then, do the following:When complete, click the Save Config button.
      1. Set Persistence Lifetime (seconds) to the length of time that you want the persistent cookie to last. The default value 31,536,000 seconds is equal to one year, and is the maximum time allowed.
      2. Set Enable “Remember Me” to one of the following:
        To preselect the “Remember Me” checkbox, set Remember Me Default Value to “Yes.”

        • Yes: Displays the “Remember Me” checkbox on the Login page of your store, so customers can choose to save their shopping cart information.
        • No: Persistence can still be enabled, but customers are not given the option to choose if they want to save their information.
      3. To preselect the 'Remember Me' checkbox, set Remember Me Default Value to "Yes."
      4. Set Clear Persistence on Log Out to one of the following:
        • Yes: The shopping cart information is cleared when a registered customer logs out.
        • No: The shopping cart information is saved when a registered customer logs out.
      5. Set Persist Shopping Cart to one of the following
      • Yes: If the session cookie expires, the persistent cookie is preserved. If a guest shopper later logs in or creates a new account, the shopping cart information is restored.
      • No: Shopping cart information is not preserved for a guest after the session cookie expires.

    persistent shopping cart 3

     

    If you need more help with the set-up of a persistent shopping cart, please check out our solutions page.

  • e-commerce sales
    Last year, e-commerce sales blew past the $300 billion thresdhold for the first time, closing the year at $304.91 billion, on an unadjusted basis, according to estimates released Tuesday by the U.S. Commerce Department.

    Web sales were up 15.4% from 264.28 billion in 2013. On an adjusted basis, full-year web sales were $303.94 billion.

    This is is the fifth year in a row that web sales growth has been close to or above 15%.

    E-tailers generated 31.4% of full-year sales in the fourth quarter. Unadjusted Q4 sales were $95.98 billion, up 14.7% year over year from $83.71 billion.

    On an annual basis, e-commerce accounted for approximately 6.5% of total unadjusted retail sales excluding foodservice — mainly restaurant and bar sales — up from 5.8% in 2013, according to the Commerce Department. When further excluding sales of autos and fuel, which don't commonly oocur online, Internet Retailer calculates e-commerce accounted for 8.3% of total unadjusted retail sales during 2014, up from 7.4% in 2013.

    During the fourth quarter, e-commerce accounted for 7.7% of total retail sales excluding foodservice, up from 7.0% a year earlier, according to the Commerce Department’s unadjusted figures. When further excluding sales of autos and fuel,Internet Retailer calculates e-commerce accounted for 9.6% of total unadjusted retail sales during Q4.

    Adjusted for seasonal variations, holiday and trading-day differences, the Commerce Department estimates  Q4 web sales reached $79.57 billion, up 14.6% from $69.43 billion a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, e-commerce accounted for 6.7% of total Q4 retail service excluding foodservice, up from 6.1% in Q4 2013.

    Total unadjusted retail sales excluding foodservice grew 3.8% in 2014, closing the year at $4.70 trillion.

    Separately, the National Retail Federation trade group released its economic forecast for total retail sales and online sales growth for 2015. It projects retail sales, excluding automobile, fuel and foodservice sales, will increase 4.1% this year. It expects the non-store sales category, which is made up primarily of web sales, to grow between 7% and 10%.

  • Magento is an open source platform, which means that it can be downloaded for free. Magento Developers can modify the source code and add features and functionality by creating or installing add-ons and plug-ins as per your business requirement.

    Thousands of Magento developers from around the globe are simultaneously working to make it bigger, better and even more customizable than it already is. This not only results in a cost-efficient solution, it also provides a higher grade of quality for the product, since thousands of pairs of eyes are much more likely to catch bugs and find solutions than one pair of eyes.

    Magento can guarantee a personalized online interface experience that many other systems can’t. When you’re looking at resumes of Magento web developers, you’ll know if the prospective employee has Magento in his skillset if he knows how to make the best of Magento’s Web template system, which can generate multiple similar-looking pages and customize them.

    Job Description for Magento Web Developers:

    • We build highly interactive web sites and we want you to join us in building Magento based e-commerce stores.
    • We are passionate programmers who love to get into the 'zone' and look for the same in you.
    • We provide a great work environment for our Magento web developers and training to help you become the best programmer you can be.

    Responsibilities for the Magento Web Developer:

    • Magento web developers should have expert knowledge of XHTML/CSS and web technologies
    • Experience translating comps and wireframes into flexible and usable code templates
    • Knowledge of cross platform/browser compatibility (IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, etc.) for dynamic web applications
    • Magento web developers should have familiarity with web standards and best practices for load time reduction and accessibility
    • Knowledge of SEO best practices
    • Experience with source/version control software is a plus
    • Magento web developers should have basic familiarity with JavaScript frameworks and animation libraries and DOM manipulation
    • Basic familiarity with Ajax

    Requirements/Qualifications:

    • Magento web developers should understand project requirements, features, and user experience
    • Collaborate with team members to contribute interactive design ideas
    • Take ownership of end product and see it come to life

    - See more at: http://www.harapartners.com/careers/magento-development

  • What is Duplicate Content?

    Duplicate content is content that appears on the Internet in more than one place (URL). When there are multiple pieces of identical content on the Internet, it is difficult for search engines to decide which version is more relevant to a given search query. To provide the best search experience, search engines will rarely show multiple duplicate pieces of content and thus, are forced to choose which version is most likely to be the original—or best.

    The Three Biggest Issues with Duplicate Content

    1. Search engines don't know which version(s) to include/exclude from their indices
    2. Search engines don't know whether to direct the link metrics to one page, or keep it separated between multiple versions
    3. Search engines don't know which version(s) to rank for query results

    Three Common Solutions to Conquer Duplicate Content

    1. 301 redirect. Check Page Authority to see if one page has a higher PA than the other using Open Site Explorer, then set up a 301 redirect from the duplicate page to the original page. This will ensure that they no longer compete with one another in the search results.
    2. Rel=canonical. A rel=canonical tag passes the same amount of ranking power as a 301 redirect, and there's a bonus: it often takes less development time to implement. Add this tag to the HTML head of a web page to tell search engines that it should be treated as a copy of the "canon," or original, page: <head> <link rel="canonical" href="http://moz.com/blog/" /> </head>
    3. noindex, follow. Add the values "noindex, follow" to the meta robots tag to tell search engines not to include the duplicate pages in their indexes, but to crawl the links. This also works well with paginated content or if you have a system set up to tag or categorize content (as with a blog). The code should look something like this: <head> <meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow" /> </head>

     

  • magento blog

    The great thing about WordPress is that it's very easy to set up and offers an abundance of features. If you wanna blog about anything—be it Magento, e-commerce, or any other fun topic you fancy—you can just go to the official WordPress website and set one up.

    However, if you're also running a site based in Magento, running a blog in WordPress can be a little tricky. Here are a few of the issues that our bloggers often encounter...

  • Bullet Points
  • In WordPress, making bullet points isn't as straightforward as you would think... In this point alone, it's a problem. Here's how to fix it:

    Switch the tab on the top right of your WordPress article from 'Visual' to 'Text.' That way you can go into the CSS and add those <li> tags that you need for the bulletpoints to go in. Then, make sure you save the post in the 'text' tab. If you switch back to 'visual,' the bulletpoints will just get messed up again...

    By the way, this is probably the most common problem when writing in WordPress.

  • Headings
  • Headings are a weird thing, but it depends on the style of your blog. If you want to read about the differences between the H1, H2, and H3 tags, Yoast has a lot of good resources. 

    On our blog, the main problem is our H1 tags look dangerously close to the title of the blogs... So if I make the next text

    something like this

    you'll notice that it looks too much like the title of this blog post, which is something that we like to avoid.

  • Scheduling Blog Posts
  • Finally, the weirdest thing about a Magento blog in WordPress is scheduling the blog posts. You'll notice under 'Publish,' there's an option that will allow you to publish the posts whenever you want. Usually we just schedule a lot of our posts ahead of time because we happen to write a few of them a day, so we like to keep them running on a day-to-day basis. 

    But if you decide to do this for your company, you have to be careful, because accidentally scheduling a post on a day that you don't want them... Well, let's just say that enough of our bloggers got a looooooong talk from the boss about such a mishap.

  • magento e-solutions

    It's easy to write about effective Magento e-solutions when you're writing from the perspective of a company that provides them every day.

    The question is, what does it mean to you when you hear about effective Magento e-solutions? Are you looking for a e-commerce solutions provider that can merely help you break even? Because if that's the case, you really need to look for a much better deal...

    Hara Partners is unique for being the the only e-commerce solutions provider that offers exactly the solutions you need, all in one place. We can market ourselves, but we never magnify our claims. Our clients trust rely on us because of our convenience. Since our inception, we've launched over 200 websites based in Magento, and all of our clients can testify to the fact that we've always stayed on call to offer them support. Which makes us providers of the goods, not just marketers of them.

    So you're probably thinking to yourself now, "What should I look for in a Magento e-solutions company?"

    Loyalty.

    If a company ain't loyal to you, they ain't worth squat. How many companies do you know that'll sell you something and then abandon you like some misguided parent figure? We don't do that. Here are some of our core values.

  • Be Honest and Humble
  • Honesty and humility form the foundation of our existence. What do they mean to us? Honesty means we’re accountable and that we communicate the truth openly. Humility allows us to accurately track our accomplishments without getting ahead of ourselves or losing sight of what still needs to be done.

  • Change is Good
  • Constant advancements in technology, resources, and capabilities foster an atmosphere of rapid change in our industry. As a relatively young company, we recognize this and resolve to use this fact to our advantage—by encouraging creativity, we can innovate useful change to actualize the world we’d like to live in.

  • Pursue Learning
  • We believe that the health and viability of a company is in direct proportion to its curiosity and willingness to make small mistakes in the interest of identifying the best solutions. Truly groundbreaking work is the result of learning from every opportunity and practicing open-mindedness when confronted with new ideas.

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