Hiring a Magento Web Developer

There’s no lack of options when it comes to e-commerce platforms, but the clear industry leader is Magento; and, with its intensely robust platform and open-source core for unlimited expandability, it’s no wonder why. However, choosing which platform to use for your web-site hosting is the easy part, the real challenge is finding the right Magneto web developer and partner to handle the technical side of things.  Read on to discover what you should look for when hiring a Magento web developer and to see some of the common red flags you should avoid.

The process of hiring Magento web deverlopers begins by gathering a list of “potentials” – Magento web developers who you think may be suitable for the job – through any of the usual means: tradeshows, word of mouth, industry publications, job listings etc. Once your short list has been generated you can start eliminating names by focusing on the following: 

Are they a Magento Partner/Certified Magento Developer?

Your first stop should be the Magento Partners list where you can see if any of the names on your list have Magento certification. Magento partnership is offered in two tiers, gold and silver, and entitles members to increased levels of support and backing from Magento. More importantly, however, is the fact that to keep their membership status partner firms are required to maintain a minimum number of certified Magento developers on staff and to meet a yearly quota, so you know that any firm on the list has the wherewithal to handle your development project. 

Scope of Services

Take a look at the services offered by each Magento web developer or development company to see if they can meet the needs specific to your project. Do they have the chops to integrate your current software into your new store? Do they offer support? What about SEO management? Do they have the experts on staff needed to assist you with future business development? The final question to get answered is whether the company in question offers in-house hosting or if your site will be farmed out to a generic hosting service. Finding a company that can provide the correct answers to these questions will most likely mean the difference between having a smooth upgrade experience and missed deadlines and lost sales. 

Development Skills of the Magento web developer

There are certain development techniques and skills that your Magento web developer must possess to successfully implement your webstore. The most basic of these is familiarity with MVC., a software architecture pattern that is a significant part of many PHP frameworks, Magento included.  Fluency with this approach is vital since MVC ultimately connects with everything in your store including page URLs and SEO. Additionally, your Magento web developer should be able to custom-build your website and not use a template to cobble one together. Finally, your Magento web developer should demonstrate a level of comfort with design integration, business software integration (payment gateway, etc.), and Magento customization as these skills will certainly be required during the implementation process. 

Common Sense

While choosing a Magento web developer may be a daunting and stressful challenge with lots riding on a successful conclusion ultimately it isn’t all that different from hiring any service provider, so remember that common sense is your best asset. Always ask for references, and make sure to view their portfolio to see some completed work. With these easy guidelines finding the right Magento web developer for you will be easy.

Magento Inventory Management: Store Manager by MagneticOne

Magento Inventory Management
http://www.magneticone.com

The old adage says time equals money; and nowhere is that more obvious than when it comes to populating your web-store product catalog. Adding hundreds of items one after the other, filling fields that all start to merge and meld together, the tedium and blurred vision, the clock slowly ticking by – we’ve all been there, and it stinks. Now you can avoid this hassle and save yourself a good chunk of time, too, by choosing MagneticOne’s Store Manager, the leading Magento inventory management tool.

Magento Inventory Management

Store Manager’s most basic application is product catalog and inventory management. The application features robust import/export options which allow users to move products – category and attribute data included -easily and instantly, without any annoying synchronization necessary and even has image management capabilities. In addition, the built-in clipboard feature offers copy and paste functionality to make editing your catalog a cinch.

Store Manager also has multi-store support and multilingual capabilities with database backup/restore functionalities to cover all bases, and even incorporates a PHP-MySQL backup to ensure connectivity for when your basic connection encounters trouble. MagicOne also included a robust suite of reporting functionalities in the application so the information you need is always on hand.

MagicOne’s Store Manager comes in two versions: Standard and Professional, and is compatible with both the Community and Enterprise editions of Magento. Whichever version you opt for you’ll be delighted by the immaculate, industry leading, UI and by how easy the application is to setup and use. And you’ll especially appreciate how Store Manager keeps your store settings easily accessible and displayed on one screen for quick and smooth updating.

If you are running an e-tail website spending time you don’t have on tasks that can be easily automated isn’t something you like to do. So let us help you upgrade your Magento inventory management experience – and your bottom line – with MagicOne’s Store Manager.

Rebuilt Magento Site: Alex Woo!

rebuilt Magento site

 

We’re very excited to debut the rebuilt Magento site for fellow New Yorkers Alex Woo Jewelry to showcase both the artistry of their design and the breadth of a fully equipped Magento build. The new site’s sleek, sophisticated interface hosts an incredible array of features, drawing in customers while aptly demonstrating an aesthetic of integrity and fashion-forwardness. The Alex Woo site overhaul is a perfect example of the interactivity and capability business owners should expect from the upper echelons of Magento development.

 

Not Just Any Menu

 

The introduction of drop-down navigation was a milestone in modern web development. In full partnership with Alex Woo, we took that one step further with customized megamenus incorporating multiple category-specific images and embedded YouTube videos. In combination with layered navigation to filter products by theme, material, price, or collection, these advanced controls give customers the ability to find what they’re looking for intuitively. Functionality extends to multi-category selections to accommodate highly specified searches. To pull it all together, Alex Woo uses seasonal backgrounds and templates, highlighting the latest collections with gorgeous featured product banners.

 

Dynamism!

 

Dynamic elements invigorate every page of the Alex Woo Magento platform. Time- and activity-sensitive segments (e.g., “Most Popular” or “Customers Also Bought…”) populate automatically, and thorough property tagging ensures that products appear wherever one would reasonably expect them. In the product listings proper, dynamic promotions catch the eye with quick mentions of media and press coverage. These clickable widgets redirect to celebrity endorsements, notable magazine spreads, and the like.

 

Hovering over a product on a subcategory page reveals an alternate image as well as expandable details, an interactive element with the added benefit of preserving valuable screen real estate. As customers scroll down the page, the “view more” button presents additional products without having to navigate to a separate page. This saves time and reduces the frustration of misplaced or forgotten items. When a shopping session winds down, specialized logic offers a floating “shopping bag” and an on-brand wishlist on the top banner, complete with customer-generated recommendations and a popularity gauge.

Involving Customers

 

Recognizing the importance of loyalty and the customer’s voice, Alex Woo made sure to include opportunities in the reimagined  website for a community forum to develop. The “What’s Your Story?” page empowers her fans to share their experience with Alex Woo on their own terms and in their own voices. Pictures and video accompany these testimonials for a comprehensive, aesthetically stimulating snapshot of Alex Woo’s impact on their customer base.

 

rebuilt Magento site

 

Seamlessly integrating their existing WordPress site with Magento layout and functionality, the new site provides a continuous stream of the latest Alex Woo news and press. Customers can easily navigate between the main site and their WordPress posts without a jarring, off-brand layout to digest. Each WordPress entry is a powerful cross-marketing window, tying jewelry offerings, advice, and exclusive content into current events.

 

Want to see what Hara Partners can do with your Magento platform? Drop us a line!

Magento iPad app – Salesman iSample

Magento iPad app

A new revolution in salesmanship is upon us! No longer do salesmen have to wander around warehouses searching for an internet connection. Thanks to the Hara Partners designed Magento iPad app for O’Berk searching for wi-fi has become a thing of the past.

Before the internet was a thing the only way to show off and promote your product was to visit a retailer and physically show him your wares. With the advent of the catalog, that process was greatly streamlined, allowing salesmen to show you much greater inventories with every visit. Unfortunately catalogs have their own limitations because of their complete lack of interactivity. Even with an online catalog laptops require a steady internet connection which isn’t always available.

With these issues in mind O’Berk approached Hara Partners to design an iPad app for their Magento store. They wanted their salesmen to display products in a sleek and simple way without the need for an outside connection while retaining the capability to place orders.

Hara Partners took on the task and came up with the Magento iPad app. This app allows the salesman to bring his entire warehouse for the vendor to browse the beautiful images of each product directly from the website and place orders on the spot – all without the need for an internet connection. The app updates on its own whenever it finds a connection so any offline work is automatically synced and orders are processed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Each salesman has his own login credentials so only that salesman’s specialties will be displayed for his pitch in beautiful high definition images. With the Magento iPad app the O.Berk salesman can avoid clutter and concentrate only on the products he’s selling. If you would like to take your sales tactics into the future visit harapartners.com

 

Magento Facebook Social Media Feed – Evolution of Smooth

credit:moneysavingmom.com
credit:moneysavingmom.com

 

As part of our overhaul of EOS’ Magento site, we implemented a dynamic Magento Facebook Social Media Feed on their homepage to let happy customers do the evangelizing for them. The widget pulls posts from their 800K+ (and growing!) Facebook page to populate a scrolling roster of accolades, recommendations, comments, and suggestions. It’s also a floating element during site navigation, meaning users are never far from real-time, real-world updates originating by their fellow users.

 

An integral part of the “EOS buzz” homepage display, the Magento Facebook Social Media Feed enlivens the EOS browsing experience with interactivity and panache. It’s also a fantastic way to disseminate announcements, sponsor contests, and track marketing efficacy in an unbiased context. Its inclusion bespeaks:

 

  • Data synchronization between multiple EOS web presences
  • A nod to modern web practices
  • Acknowledgement and incorporation of customer feedback
  • Always-on, cost-effective, personalized reach

 

Both EOS and Hara Partners are quite happy with the results and can’t wait to see how the element evolves over time, especially in such a vibrant Magento build. Interested in something similar for your site? Get in contact with us—you’ll love what we can do for your Magento site.

U.S. Online Media Value Eclipses Offline Value

The Boston Consulting group recently found that U.S. consumers obtain more value (excluding associated costs) from online media than offline media. The trend shows no signs of stopping and may have massive consequences for media producers and retailers.

 

Online Media Figures

 

The report takes seven media categories into account—books, radio/music, newspapers/magazines, TV/movies, video games, international newspapers/magazines, and user-generated content/social networks. It would seem that online media has gained enough traction to command a premium in the marketplace. Here are a few highlights of the study:

 

  • In calculating “consumer surplus” (perceived value – price paid), online media consumers averaged $967 per connected consumer vs. an average of $904 for offline consumers.
  • 46% of respondents currently own three to five devices, and 30% expect to own six or more in three years.
  • Adding more devices appears to lead to higher perceived value of media: annual online media consumer value per connected consumer jumps 41% when comparing users with one device ($667) and two devices ($942).

 

online media
credit:conversationagent.com

 

[with credit to Valerie Maltoni’s article]

Magento Features—EOS Twitter Feed

magento features
Screenshot: EOS Twitter Feed, beta stage

 

 

Evolution of Smooth (EOS) now boasts a powerful rebuilt Magento platform, packing plenty of Magento features, thanks to our developers and designers. Fans can now access up-to-the-minute customer feedback via an integrated Twitter social media feed right on the front page. The widget pulls relevant posts from the noted beauty product supplier’s bustling Twitter site (42K+ followers!) in a constantly refreshing stream.

 

Integrating Twitter posts affords EOS the opportunity to tap into trends, opinions, and tastes in an accessible, authentic manner without overextending their budget or administrative capacity. Built-in tools permit the EOS marketing team to monitor input, filtering by word or topic and approving to the site on a schedule that works for them. The resultant feed admirably stays abreast of buzzworthy items in the individualized, hashtagged format that consumers have come to expect from their favorite brands.

 

 

Magento Features Breakdown

 

How else is it useful? Try:

 

  • Super-effective, casual communication with a savvy customer base
  • Breaking, honest coverage of user responses to website changes, sales, offers, etc.
  • Easily parsed marketing data
  • An opportunity to display a knowledgeable, branded voice

 

Twitter feed integration perfectly fulfills expectations of a fresh, self-aware company image in a sea of bland, stuffy corporate entities. We know that EOS will take full advantage of the opportunity as they stretch out in their spanking-new Magento platform.

 

There’s no reason why your business shouldn’t take advantage of similar Magento features! If you’d like to get Twitterized, let us know! We’d be glad to help you maximize your social media potential on Magento.

Magento Sales Tax Office Module for Skullcandy

Magento Sales Tax Office

Skullcandy takes pride in applying the latest technology to its consumer listening experience. At Hara Partners we share this passion for technology and implement the most advanced business systems like the Magento Sales Tax Office Module so that our clients can concentrate on selling great products.

Skullcandy has customers from all over the world coming from thousands of different tax regions. It desperately needed an automatic way to keep track of them and charge its customers accordingly. The main challenge for Skullcandy was implementing an automatic system that would not interfere with their existing Magento store.

Hara Partners set Skullcandy up with the advanced Magento Sales Tax Office Module (STO) and worked with the Skullcandy staff to modify their tax rate functionality according to their needs. Hara Partners also load-tested the Sales Tax Office – Magento connection for high-volume cases.

The Magento Sales Tax Office Module is able to synchronize order information, tax lookup queries, and transaction details. Not only did we make it easier for them to conduct business but Hara Partners also provides Skullcandy with ongoing technical consultation, support, and training.

Keep rockin’ Skullcandy, we’ll handle the rest.

If your Magento business can benefit from the Sales Tax Module integration visit harapartners.com.

Magento Quiet Logistics Integration for Ministry of Supply

Magento Quiet Logistics Integration

Developing a novel Magento Quiet Logistics Integration, Hara Partners has (quietly) restructured the underlying logistics in the supply chain for MinistryofSupply.com. The Magento Quiet Logistics integration gives Ministry of Supply the power to fulfill their orders from anywhere on the globe.

Quiet Logistics is a new and exciting advanced technological warehouse solution. Using sophisticated mathematical algorithms, Quiet Logistics deploys a team of robots in their custom-built 36,000 square foot to locate and pull products with 99% accuracy. Then they transport the items to a central location where a professional packer preps them for shipping, often using custom packaging provided by the client. With their unprecedented accuracy rate and efficiency (they are robots after all!) Quiet Logistics is clearly the wave of the future in the warehouse management industry.

However, without proper integration it’s very difficult for businesses to switch over to a Quiet Logistics system. Most Magento based online stores already have a complicated warehouse query system in place and it’s often very difficult for the store to transfer over to a new system, especially one as advanced as Quiet Logistics. MinistryofSupply.com approached Hara Partners with this in mind and within a few short weeks we were able to deliver a complete Magento Quiet Logistics integration.

Once an order is received the system automatically pulls inventory levels from the warehouse and shares it with the Magento store through Magento Quiet Logistics Integration streamlining the process and eliminating confusion at every level. After the order has been picked and packed the system updates the shipping information for easy product tracking. All this translates into greater profits and customer satisfaction. Hara Partners improves the global online marketplace one business at a time.

If you would like us to improve your business’  efficiency by having your own Magento Quiet Logistics integration you can contact us at harapartners.com

 

New Credit Card Fee May Be Coming

credit card fee
credit:examiner.com

 

As part of the fallout of a $7.25 billion anti-trust settlement brought by a number of retailers against Visa, MasterCard, and other large financial firms, stores in most states may begin charging point-of-sale “checkout fees”—up to 4% of the total purchase—for credit card transactions. Ostensibly to compensate for raised swipe fees from credit card issuers, the credit card fee has already generated quite a bit of controversy.

 

A host of major retailers, including Wal-Mart and Target, joined the National Retail Federation in arguing against the settlement’s repercussions, claiming that it burdens them with an impossible choice: either retailers swallow substantially higher costs for swipe fees, or they take the risk of passing the credit card fee on to customers. The deal is still evolving, but it’s hard to say at this point whether the final terms will improve the situation. Logistically, implementing register changes and extensive paperwork may not prove worthwhile to many merchants. Ultimately, consumers’ purchasing power and merchants’ bottom line will be the deciding factors for the surcharge question.

 

Hardest hit will be smaller or low-margin businesses without the clout to negotiate lower rates from the credit card issuers. And consumer advocates claim that allowing the credit card fee would set a dangerous precedent, one that was mercifully avoided when consumer ire forced banks to roll back debit card fees over the past few years.

 

Not everyone needs to worry; ten states (among them New York, California, and Texas) have made the new fee illegal, and cash and debit purchases will remain unaffected. There are also laws requiring retailers to maintain the same card acceptance policies in all stores, which could prevent the new surcharge from taking off in national or regional chains.