Magento Google Analytics Integration

 

Magento Google Analytics
credit: google.com

Did you know that Magento has a built-in way for you to track traffic and other key statistics on your website? Noted for its robustness and adaptability with third-party applications, Magento lives up to its reputation with an intuitive, actionable Magento Google Analytics integration. Developers and administrators alike will benefit from daily reports with targeted site metrics, performance details, and granular control over information feeds.

 

So how do you set it up? Well, one thing you shouldn’t do is embed the Google Analytics code directly in Magento theme files (for example, by editing footer.phtml), even if directed to do so by Google. To be fair, this method will generate some reports, but it leaves out certain crucial e-commerce statistics, which is probably why you want to use integrated software in the first place.

 

Magento Google Analytics Integration Instructions

Follow these easy steps to start viewing e-commerce data via Google Analytics:

1.    Log into your Google Analytics account and select your Magento site.
2.    Click Edit on the list of account profiles (don’t go straight to report.
3.    Find “Main Website Profile Information” and click the Edit link next to it.
4.    In the middle of the page, under “E-Commerce Website,” be sure to indicate your status by selecting Yes.
5.    In Magento’s administration interface, enable Google Analytics under System>Configuration>Google API>Google Analytics.
6.    Enter your Web Property ID and you’re all set!

 

What else does Google Analytics show you? Besides useful statistics about geographical location of purchases, click/visit tracking, and bounce rates, you’ll also be able to take of advantage of the Goals and Funnels feature. Specifically geared towards e-commerce users, this tool allows your developers to gather information about your website’s visual layout, which can help you optimize product displays and content in general to draw attention to desired areas of the website.

 

Be sure that you’ve upgraded to the latest version of your Magento edition before applying the Magento Google Analytics integration. This will help avoid incompatibility issues and bypass the need for unnecessary plugins. Contact us for a consultation today!

E-commerce Security: Recent Java Threat and Patch

e-commerce security

According to Oracle, more than 850 million PCs, and billions of devices around the world use Java, its ubiquitous programming language and computing platform. Which is why the recent alert released by US-CERT regarding an e-commerce security bypass vulnerability in Java is particularly troubling.

According to US-CERT a serious flaw “in the Java Security Manager” has been discovered which “allows a Java applet to grant itself permission to execute arbitrary code”. This susceptibility means a malicious user could embed foreign code into any system running Java version 7, leaving a massive number of devices open to attacks. In fact, in a nearly unprecedented move US-CERT has recommended that users disable Java until they are able to download the update released by Oracle.

This news has had such a major impact on users at all levels of computing that it has led some in the industry to call for a decreased reliance on Java, as Andy Greenberg wrote in his article on Forbes.com “Java watchers in the security industry are recommending that users give up on the endless cycle of the program’s bugs and fixes and instead turn it off in their browsers for good.” Additionally, the security firm Kaspersky, in its third quarter analysis of security threats reported that Java was compromised in fully 56% of all known attacks that took advantage of software vulnerabilities.

While it may prove too bothersome for some users to go on without Java, it seems there may be good reason to keep an ear to the ground regarding its seemingly rampant bugs. Regardless, it’s clear that in this day and age you can never be too careful.

Magento Community vs. Enterprise

Magento Community vs. Enterprise

Guido Jansen details some key similarities and differences between the two editions of Magento in this illuminating blog post from his website. Here are some useful excerpts and paraphrases with accompanying explanations from his piece on Magento Community vs. Enterprise:

Magento Enterprise encompasses all Magento Community features plus:

 

  • Advanced Access Control List (ACL): detail when, where, and how users interact with your system.
  • Content Staging and Merging: test new designs, update products, and enable features on a site-by-site basis without affecting the live site. Work on multiple staging sites, then take them live without any downtime!
  • Private Sales, Events, and Invitations: debut and customize limited product offerings, incentivizing member groups, B2B traffic, and viral marketing.
  • Customer Segmentation: target customers by age, gender, habits, and more, maximizing marketing resources.
  • Loyalty System: reward customers with loyalty points based on transaction history and referrals. Includes fully configurable interfaces and loyalty point management.
  • CMS+ Content Management Engine: publish and manage complex content with no technical knowledge.
  • Automated Email Marketing Reminders: increase retention and target promotions or discounts for customers with abandoned shopping carts or wishlists.
  • Assisted Shopping: customer services personnel can easily manage and suggest products in shopping carts.
  • Full Page Caching: tune page performance to reduce load time, boost conversions, and foster a smoother browsing experience.
  • Recurring Payments: efficiently facilitate subscriptions and renewable memberships.
  • Customer Attributes: improve service and customer satisfaction by compiling and applying user-generated data.
  • Solr Search: leverage this ultrafast, open-source enterprise search platform for more precise, optimized results.
  • Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) Functionality: streamlined, customer-based requests integrated with back-end workflow and progress tracking.
  • Persistent Shopping Cart: Long-term cookies enable multi-device shopping without multiple logins, customizable based on comparison, transaction history, segment, and wishlist.
  • Minimum Advertised Price (MAP): bypass manufacturers’ price restrictions, enabling adjustable pricing at customer-friendly levels.

 

Default Enterprise Edition dramatically outperforms default Community Edition in terms of page load times, even when the server is tuned with modified Apache preferences and PHP APC:

 

  • When tested with the Siege benchmarking and load-testing utility, Community Edition can barely handle 100 simultaneous users, approaching 10 seconds in load time. By comparison, Enterprise Edition pages with 100 simultaneous users load within 1 second.
  • Community Edition fails completely at 200 and 300 simultaneous users, while Enterprise Edition clocks in at 0.72 seconds for 300 simultaneous users.
  • In fact, Enterprise Edition at 300 simultaneous users outperforms Community Edition with 10.

 

The latest release of Enterprise Edition (v1.12) includes the following functionality not available in the latest release of Community Edition (v1.7):

 

  • Multiple Wishlists: customers can save to multiple lists and copy or relocate products between lists. Lists can be made public if desired, and merchants can review lists to gather information.
  • Visitor Segmentation: develop targeted promotions to new, unregistered users to increase conversions.
  • Add-to-Cart by SKU: streamline B2B, large-scale, recurring, or offline catalog-based orders without requiring individual product page visits.
  • Expanded Rule-based Product Relations: Recommend up-sells, cross-sells, and relevant products with a higher degree of accuracy and relevance.

Magento Go: Not for Everyone

Magento Go
credit: magentomaverick.com

 

We all know how difficult it can be to get a business off the ground as a small or emerging entrepreneur. Costly overhead, unforgiving economic circumstances, scarcity of talent—the obstacles pile up quickly. And to compete effectively, it’s absolutely crucial to maintain a solid online presence; global customer bases and internet-based service offerings are the new norm. Hosting solutions aimed at this small-to-medium-business demographic seem like a godsend in such an environment. Magento GO, released in 2011, aims to leverage Magento’s extensive e-commerce resources to provide rapid, seamless hosting for merchants in this niche. Basically, it uses a Software as a Service (SaaS) model to handle all the software, servers, hosting, and security for small businesses looking to retail online as soon as possible. This all sounds great, but let’s take a closer look: for whom is this model appropriate, and what should users know beforehand?

 

Not So Simple

 

Magento GO is advertised as a turnkey, ready-to-launch solution, but it actually requires quite a bit of legwork from your team to get things up and running. It’s by no means an instant store—the setup package includes a 300-page PDF, and the average storeowner would need both a design and a tech team to implement desired interfaces and functionality. And that’s just for a no-frills, by-the-numbers site. That’s not to say it isn’t faster than a full Magento build; it is, by a long shot, and chances are it’s also easier. But you get what you pay for: ask yourself if it would really be worth it to invest in a less-than-stellar representation of your company if you’ll immediately pay extra to improve it further with customized modules or design.

 

The Playing Field

In the long run, Magento GO competes with hosted solutions offered by companies like Volusion, whose staying power and scalable hosting options shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. It exists somewhere between Volusion and full Magento, acting as an all-in-one alternative to the former while lacking the flexible performance of the latter. Users will undoubtedly enjoy the intuitive feel once it’s launched, and the free trial offers a direct way to get a straightforward idea of Magento GO for anyone who’s interested.

 

Hosting with Hara

We at Hara Partners are proud to offer our own Magento-optimized hosting solution for small-to-medium enterprises. What sets us apart? First of all, we’re seasoned Magento experts with tens of thousands of hours of combined experience implemented customized, integrated Magento sites for a variety of customers. But the real clincher is our ability to deliver on multiple fronts for retailers in need of e-commerce results. We put the time and effort in to craft feature-rich, individualized sites with your business concerns at the forefront. Our in-house team provides complete Magento services out of one hand: developers, salespeople, content specialists, and designers collaborate on a daily basis to cover the entire site launch lifecycle, from strategizing through go-live and ongoing support. Take a look at our website and see what Hara Partners can do for you.

Magento Extension: GoMage LightCheckout

Magento extension
credit: artofcreations.nl

 

Magento’s comprehensive array of features and functionality is one of its main selling points for e-commerce retailers and developers. Understandably, this can make it hard to choose when the time comes to decide on the right checkout option for your business. On the one hand is Magento’s built-in Onepage Checkout; on the other; a host of competing Magento extensions vie for your patronage, each claiming to reduce shopping cart abandonment the most.

 

In the interest of clarity, let’s examine one such Magento extension—GoMage LightCheckout—to see how it compares with Magento default. Available in all Magento editions, this extension supports 14 languages and comes with plenty of support options. Some of its features include:

 

  • Gift wrapping per item
  • Polls on the checkout page
  • Item-switching on the checkout page
  • Rewards, Coupons, and Loyalty Programs
  • Automatic location detection
  • Facebook and PayPal compatibility

 

GoMage LightCheckout expedites the checkout process while simultaneously boosting security (including European VAT validation) and supporting custom development. Its configurable functions use Magento OnePage as a springboard: broader shopping cart control, multiple addresses, registration checkpoints during the order, manageable delivery windows, etc. Both interfaces increase profits and retention by condensing users’ checkout experiences; GoMage LightCheckout just does Magento one better by squeezing more administrative control into the same shell.

Magento Product Types

Magento product
credit: Magento Commerce

Here’s a quick overview of Magento Product Types: how to apply them, where to use them, and some tips for customization.

Simple Products

Use the Simple Product type for real products (i.e., products that exist in the real world). In essence, any physical/virtual product that “ships” ties to a Simple Product, which represents that SKU (“shelf keeping unit”). Inventory is always kept at the Simple Product level.

A Simple Product will only show up in your Magento store directly if it generally has a single configuration–“one size fits all.” See other product types below for multiple-configuration product types. Example Simple Products with a single configuration:

 

  •  A Box of Crayons, small (24 Colors)
  • A Box of Crayons, Large (64 Colors)
  • SuperHighTech 26” HD Computer Monitor
  • Han Solo Action Figure (6”)

Virtual Products

Virtual Products are those that do not have a physical or digital counterpart. They do not ship, nor do they have a download link. This product type might be used for services like:

  • House Cleaning
  • 1-Year Newsletter Subscription

Note: If using Virtual Products for “subscriptions,” be aware that there is no built-in way to manage auto-renewing subscriptions. All purchases made in Magento, regardless of Product Type, are one-time purchases.

Downloadable Products

Downloadable Products are similar to Virtual Products, with the option to add one or more digital files for download. Files can be uploaded either

(1) via the Admin interface, or
(2) directly to the server via FTP and then added by URL.

When a customer buys a Downloadable Product, Magento will generate a secure, encrypted link for the download to disguise the file’s actual location from the customer. This category might include products such as:

  • Music/MP3s
  • Computer Software

Note: If you have SSL enabled for your site, downloads may fail for all versions of IE, as IE contains a bug that prevents downloading over secure connections if the no-cache header is set. This can be easily fixed in an htaccess file by removing the no-cache and no-store headers, or by forcing download links to be non-secure.

Configurable Products

Configurable Products are virtual (i.e., they don’t exist in the real world) and they require underlying Simple Products. They can only be used together with Simple Products; they can’t exist on their own.

Magento product

In the above example, all “hot cinnamon spice tea” is sold on one page as a Configurable Product, and the different package sizes and options (which are Simple Products) are offered within this page.

Here’s another example of modeling different variants that are available via a choice of options. Say you offer T-shirts in two colors and three sizes. You would create six Simple Products individually (each with its own SKU) and then group these six as a Configurable Product; customers can choose the size and color and then add it to their cart.

Note: Very similar functionality is possible using Custom Options for Simple Products. The difference between a Configurable Product and a product including Custom Options is that Custom Options do not have an inventory option.

Grouped Products

Grouped Products are similar to Configurable Products, allowing you to create a new product using one or more existing products in your store. For instance, let’s assume you have a “Han Solo Action Figure” and a “Luke Skywalker Action Figure” already in your store and you wanted to sell them as a bundle. You would simply create a new Grouped Product (let’s call it “Star Wars Heroes”), then add both action figures to the group via the “Associated Products” tab.

Note: Unfortunately, you can’t set a special “group” price directly from the product page. To offer a discount for buying items together, you will need to create a new Shopping Cart Price Rule.

Bundled Products

This Product Type, also known as a “kit” in other e-commerce software, is ideal for circumstances where the user has to select at least one option from a number of configurable options. This might include products like:

  • Customizable Computer Systems
  • Customizable Tuxedos/Suits

Unlike Grouped Products, Bundled Products allow discounts on the underlying Simple Products.

[Adapted from Tom da Brain’s description on the Magento Commerce wiki]

NYC Startups — The Big Picture

Nyc startup
Credit: JP Durrios

Silicon Valley’s reigning status as the king of startup culture may have a challenger. A number of factors have come together in the last five years to forge a highly supportive startup community right here in New York City. In the wake of pioneers like Foursquare and Kickstarter, ambitious entrepreneurs are shifting their attention eastward to see what the Big Apple has to offer. Meanwhile, a growing pool of talented engineers and developers are flocking to the city, eager to try their hands in burgeoning tech positions. Together with dedicated, VC-backed accelerator programs and incentives sponsored by NYC’s government, these elements constitute a hotbed of creativity that could be the East Coast’s answer to incumbent tech leadership in California.

 

NYC Startup Statistics

 

Let’s take a look at some figures from the Center for an Urban Future’s survey of the NYC startup scene:

  • By region, NYC posted astonishing growth in VC deals between 2007 and 2011. Compare:

◦  LA/Orange County: -8%
◦  Silicon Valley: -10%
◦  New England: -14%
◦  Texas: -17%
◦  San Diego: -38%
◦  New York: +32%

  • While private sector jobs in NYC grew 3.6% between 2007 and 2012, IT jobs grew a whopping 28.7%.
  • Since 2007, 486 NYC startups have received angel, VC, or other outside funding. Of these, 82 have received at least $10M in financing.
  • Between 2007 and 2010, employee headcount at NYC digital media companies grew 74%.
  • The media/information and computer/tech industries nearly doubled their Manhattan footprint from 3.8M sq. ft. to 6M sq. ft. between 2010 and 2011.

With statistics like those, it’s no wonder people are scrambling to get their startup ideas off the ground.  Resources are plentiful, and you can’t swing a stick without hitting a success story. Where it will all lead is hard to say—but for now, there has never been a better time for developers and businesspeople to collaborate and prosper.

[Based on Rachel Metz’s article and the Center for an Urban Future’s infographic]

Magento and HTML5 for Mobile E-commerce

magento and html5
credit: html5rocks.com

Confirming its reputation as a flexible powerhouse among e-commerce platforms, Magento has recently released HTML5 enhancements for both its Community and Enterprise editions to enable an improved mobile experience. By incorporating the language in its open-source architecture, Magento has positioned itself to offer advanced control and responsiveness to its growing mobile user base at the opportune moment. Together, Magento and HTML5 are poised to revolutionize web applications.

 

Magento and HTML5 capabilities

 

Merchants and users can expect significant advances in out-of-the-box mobile Magento commerce thanks to the integration. Magento’s official endorsement bypasses cumbersome workarounds that threatened to bog down innovative feature development in the past. Key capabilities include:

  • Device-native audio and video interaction
  • Gesture-based control and manipulation, such as image scaling and drag-and-drop shopping carts
  • Fantastic cross-browser compatibility
  • Expanded upselling and cross-selling functions
  • Intuitive search and results display

This is a strong move not just for the future of Magento, but also for web development in general. HTML5 is also a powerful alternative to Flash, which isn’t supported by many mobile devices, and thus could be the ticket to extensive market penetration for a number of previously limited online retailers. As HTML5 comes into its own, e-commerce merchants will realize just how worthwhile investment in mobile applications can be.

 

Eastbay Lookbook Sizzle Reel

credit: http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net

 

Hara’s resident videographer Bradley Murray captures Eastbay’s inimitable brand feel with this behind-the-scenes lookbook footage. Our trademark style comes through in spades—crisp, assured camera work, fully spontaneous without sacrificing depth or detail. The urban, stylish aesthetic dovetails perfectly with Eastbay’s product offerings and has all the makings of a viral phenomenon. This sizzle reel positions Eastbay as the go-to brand for today’s driven athlete, each vibrant piece projecting purpose and aplomb. Murray’s direction of photography also showcases Eastbay’s versatility—the video covers active wear, footwear, accessories, and casual ensembles alike.

 

If you like what you see, head over to our Vimeo page to see what else we’ve been working on.

Remy Martin FY 12/13 Music Video Integrations

remy martin
credit: remymartin.com

 

Hara’s creative team put together this compilation of music video clips for Remy Martin to demonstrate the scope of their product integrations—in particular, the VSOP collection, acclaimed for its pedigree and smooth taste. Millions of views on each high-profile performer’s video clearly position them at the forefront of contemporary urban culture — Remy Martin will always live in these videos.

 

Quality and speed were of the essence in quantifying real-time impact for the House of Remy. The Hara Partners technical video production team worked tirelessly to create a complete, engaging viewing experience from concept and storyboard through production and editing. The result brings Remy Martin’s established history together with the best and brightest of today’s entertainers. With 150 Million views and growing at the half-year mark, it’s obvious that the integrations continue to be a resounding success.