Hara Partners Blog

  • (Continued from E-Commerce Customer Expectations - Part 1)

    Continuing with the findings of the previous article where we found these two usability points that induce customers to buy or not:

    1. Clear communication of price and total cost
    2. An overall professional and trust-inducing look

    At the base of the second point is a clean and visually appealing look. I will not list any bad examples here as there are plenty of these and while they make me a little sad, I know you have seen them.

    However, "visually appealing" ranks behind a "credible and trustworthy" look and "products displayed on homepage", which we take to come from the overall user-interface and information flow.

    The e-commerce arena has become increasingly competitive in terms of technical requirements. While you could get away with a basic "cart" in the late 90's, nowadays even entry-level online stores are expected to provide the an extensive functionality list. This certainly is the main reason why Magento, the leading open-source platform enjoys so much popularity.

    What we gather from these findings is that the stakes have gone up significantly, and that looks and user experience have to be delivered at a high level and go hand in hand to maximize sales.

  • Our Client Macaron Cafe is publishing a new book called Macarons: Authentic French Cookie Recipes That You Can Make at Home featuring our e-commerce product photography. It is available now for pre-order. Check out our photography studio (Fashion Tower Studios) and contact us to discuss what we can do for your products to look awesome.

  • We are hosting another New York Magento Meetup

    Design Limitations with Magento

    We would like to discuss what design limitations of Magento are (or are there any?)

    For this purpose we will be looking at numerous stores that are out there and review different technologies used. This analysis will range from plain html and css over javascript to Flash.

    Please feel free to contribute your examples you would like to discuss by posting them here or bring them to the Meetup.

    We're looking forward to hosting you.



    November 10th, 2010 at 7 PM


    135 W 36th Street
    15th Floor
    New York, NY 10018

  • A recent e-commerce usability study hones in on the key purchase decision factors for consumers on e-commerce web site. The top five answers center around only two points:

    1. Clear communication of price and total cost
    2. An overall professional and trust-inducing look

    These findings should not come as a surprise. Online sales have become more competitive with more players entering the arena.

    The first point is relatively simple to excel in and provide a satisfactory customer experience. However, we still speak to many store owners coming from a brick and mortar background explaining that they cannot compete on price alone. And they express the desire to hide or obfuscate the total purchase price.

    Most of these stores dismiss their comparative advantages, such as superior personal customer service, or a greater selection with more options than their competitors. The challenge is to translate these benefits onto the web.

    We have also seen clients embrace the web and offer an online catalog, in addition to a print catalog, where they try to provide a product configuration tool with the aim for customers to ultimately call and place an order. This is the way to embrace the findings of this study and reach out to a greater audience. Yes, you will always have people come to your web site and look at the price and buy elsewhere, but you will also gain long-term customers who appreciate the extra customer service and positive experience you bring to the table and buy from you again and again.

    (Continued in E-Commerce Customer Expectations - Part 2)

  • Oracle Buys ATG


    The headline yesterday was Oracle Buys ATG.

    One of the biggest technology companies, Oracle, is following other industry heavy weights such as Google into the e-commerce arena by making a substantial investment with buying one of the leading e-commerce platform providers ATG.
    It's interesting to see how the e-commerce field will evolve after other big deals such as GSI's purchase of Rue La La and Rakuten and Baidu partnering up in the Chinese market.
    It remains to be seen how Magento's taking in a large investment earlier this year will play out.

  • Ticket harapartners ticket system

    Why We Use a Ticket System?

    We have had a ticket system for a while to streamline our work flow.
    While a lot of clients have already started to enjoy the benefits of working with our streamlined system, I wanted to highlight some of the key benefits.
    Some of the obvious benefits are our Fast Response Time through one Centralized Point of Contact and the convenience of having all your issues in one place with the up-to-date status on work in progress and resolutions. Some other benefits are that your information is archived and serves as documentation for you. And lastly, we follow the highest security standards and encrypt all information and exclude sensitive information from emails. Give it a try and send us a ticket with your questions and issues.

  • In a previous post, I demonstrated some Magento Speed up - basic steps to improve Magento performance.

    Now we are going dig deeper and work on more complicated methods. Many of these methods require addition installation or hands-on tuning, and their effects will vary a lot depending on the exact setup. So the key is to experiment and find out the combination best for your site.

    First, an overview of the key subjects:

    • Improve Magento cache: ramdisk and tempfs
    • PHP Accelerator: Alternative PHP Cache and XCache
    • Keeping connection alive?
    • Combining JavaScript and CSS:  Minify library
    • Magento beyond single server

    Continue reading

  • Let’s begin with the basics of Magento Speed up. Tips here are mainly just configuration tweaks. They are easy to implement and test. And if you don’t like them you can easily revert all your changes. Make sure you restart your service after the configuration change.

    I will cover 5 easy points in this article, additional methods will be explained in the advanced article:

    1. Save the sessions in database
    2. Enable Magento Cache
    3. MySQL Query Cache
    4. Enable file compression in .htaccess
    5. Clean up the template

    Continue reading

  • magento store

    Promote Your Magento Store Via Social Networks: Connecting Facebook and Twitter

    Many of us actively use social network sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote our businesses. A sleek plug-in will allow your Magento store to tap in the 'power of the people,' which will help your products to 'sell themselves.'

    To fully support a social network is an open question. However, there are many quick improvements you can make which will take effect almost immediately.

    Let's begin with Twitter. It's a perfect tool for your customers to follow your website. You can post updates for featured product, promotions, events and etc.

    The advantage for Twitter is that it provides a very straight forward API implementation, cURL is enough to handle the communication.

    Continue reading

  • Magento Admin Panel protected by ReCaptcha

    One of the missing parts for the Magento Admin Panel is the security test on all POST forms. This may be a serious problem in 2 cases:

    • Highly sensitive forms like the Magento Admin Panel login form, which is very vulnerable to attacks
    • And forms that need manual processing like Contact Us form, which can be an easy target for spamming.

    The industry standard solution is to add  a challenge-response test, like CAPTCHA, to ensure that the response is not generated by a computer, and ReCAPTCHA (http://recaptcha.net) is a well-packaged free CAPTCHA service.

    Adding a reCaptcha box to a Magento page or to the Magento Admin Panel is not difficult, but it is going to be time consuming if you need to add it to multiple pages. To deal with this, I created a recaptcha module so that the recaptcha form can be inserted into a page in a nice and easy way.

    Continue reading

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