EY is now Magento Business Intelligence Certified!

In a recent blog we discussed the Magento Business Intelligence offering and its value to merchants. We’re happy to report that our own Analytics Team is now Magento Business Intelligence certified.

The training we’ve completed will help us have a deeper understanding of the analytical process within Magento BI.

Topics covered include:

• Connecting new data sources and synchronizing data in the Data Warehouse
• Optimizing data and creating new metrics – which helps you to visualize your business data and create in depth analyses
• Basic understand of database structures
• Database structures as they relate to analytics and platform

We’re excited to add Magento Business Intelligence to our overall Analytics offering. Call us today for a free demo and to learn what it can do for your business at 888-429-4803 or email us at info@eystudios.com.

The Strength of Empathy in eCommerce Design by Eric Yonge

Empathy is, bar-none, the most powerful aspect of e-commerce design. Yes, I’m really talking about getting in touch with feelings. Not yours—your customer’s.

Get past any reservations about being touchy-feely and remember that the buying process is, at its core, emotional. The less a customer cares, the less they buy. Anything you can do to make a design emote in an authentic, engaging manner is going to pay off.

Good design makes use of lines, colors, shapes, space, and even texture to evoke emotions. On every page layout of your store, ask this question: “What do I want the customer to do here, and how can the design influence that action?” In other words, how can you visually convince the customer that taking that action benefits them, and not just you?

If your checkout process is muddled and confusing for customers, they’re gone. If your merchandising graphics don’t explain why your products will benefit people, forget it. If no one knows how to navigate your site in an intuitive manner, you’re sunk.

Why should a customer buy from you versus the other guy? Design should answer that question.

Everything has to be designed with the customer in mind, and that’s less of a no-brainer statement than you’d think. Design is often compromised by what a merchant or developer thought would be cool, instead of what the customer clearly needs.

On the other end of the spectrum, design can sadly be informed by what’s easy or cheap. Short-cutting the customer experience in order to make things easier or less-expensive will end up costing you a lot more in the long run.
Invest in your what thrills your customers, or pay the price later.

Dig deep and show some love. Empathize with your customer, and you’ll dominate your market.

– Eric Yonge
CEO and Creative Director, EYStudios

Episode 25: Professional Women

Listen to “Professional Women with Cresta Pillsbury

On our most recent episode of EY Access, Eric Yonge speaks with Cresta Pillsbury of Shopper Approved about her thoughts on being a Professional Woman in the tech industry.

Here are a few highlights from their discussion:

– Trade shows and conferences
– Knowing your product
– Overall behavior and attitude

Click the play button below to listen to this episode in your browser, or subscribe on iTunes to download episodes for your mobile device:

BigCommerce Enterprise Vs. Shopify Plus

10 Reasons Why BigCommerce is the Better Choice

BigCommerce and Shopify are often dismissed as being “the same” for their shared features, like being SaaS platforms and having user friendly admin panels. However, their main differentiator is out of the box offerings.

BigCommerce Enterprise easily wins in that category, offering a number of valuable features and functionality built for enterprise businesses. Shopify Plus, on the other hand, requires a third-party service or heavy custom development for things that should be standard on an enterprise level eCommerce site.

We’ve done our homework on what these platforms have to offer and what follows are the top 10 features we feel set BigCommerce Enterprise apart from Shopify Plus –– and make it the better choice for growing mid-market businesses.

Want a FREE download of this content?

Fill out the form below and we'll send you the whitepaper.

1. Customization

BigCommerce has robust, open APIs to utilize for building new features, integrations and customizations as needed. Additional third party applications may be required for more extensive development.

Shopify also offers an API, but it is not as granular or robust as that which BigCommerce offers. It also has a limited number of API calls/hour, while the BigCommerce Enterprise API does not.

Shopify’s public API limits merchants to 2 requests/second and max of 10 requests/second on Shopify Plus. BigCommerce Enterprise, on the other hand, allows for 400 requests/second.

Translation: Updating a 25,000 product catalog on BigCommerce takes 60 seconds vs. updating that same catalog on Shopify Plus would take 2 hours.

In addition, Shopify’s native programming language, Liquid, inhibits unlimited creativity as far as functionality without utilizing several third-party applications. BigCommerce uses the more commonly known and extensible Handlebars templating language with Javascript event hooks.

Our Conclusion

Shopify’s focus for customization is on third-party applications, which often incur an additional monthly fee. BigCommerce focuses instead on built-in functionality, bringing down your total cost of ownership.

 

2. Checkout

 

BigCommerce offers options for a streamlined one-page checkout. Full customization of the checkout pages should be available in subsequent updates of the Stencil platform –– and is already available on certain themes. BigCommerce gives merchants the ability to completely brand their checkout, therefore creating a more cohesive shopping and checkout experience for the user.

Shopify offers a multi-step checkout with opportunities to update some items, including:

  • Colors
  • Fonts
  • The logo for branding.

Full customization of the checkout pages is simply not available.

Our Conclusion

BigCommerce’s checkout gives enterprise brands more control over their checkout experience, enabling brands to better manage their desired UX throughout their buyer journey as compared to those using Shopify Plus.

 

3. Product Options and Attributes

BigCommerce offers the ability to create custom options merchants can put into option sets for easy assignment. Out of the box, BigCommerce Enterprise offers unlimited custom attributes for each product to be used in filtering.\

BigCommerce options appearing on the front-end:

 

Shopify is very limited in both the options and attributes it allows for products on its site. Products can have basic options like size, color, etc., and can be assigned “tags.”  These tags, however, cannot be read or segmented in any robust way for use in filtering or product comparison.

Shopify options on the back-end:

Our Conclusion

Brands with large catalogs and higher SKU counts will be better served by BigCommerce’s product options and attributes detail.

 

4. Filtering

BigCommerce offers product filtering on section pages out of the box, which allows customers to filter by popular methods (price, color, most reviewed, etc.) as well as custom fields.

This feature is ideal for complex products that customers need to drill down for, such as clothing and accessories.

 

Shopify offers basic sorting, based on common options like price, color, collection, etc. True filtering will require a third-party app, which may incur additional monthly costs.

Our Conclusion

BigCommerce is the better choice due to their out-of-the-box capabilities that serve basic and custom filtering needs without additional research or cost to the merchant.

 

5. Multi-Tier Pricing

Volume pricing discounts can be leveraged through BigCommerce out of the box. Bulk discounting can occur at the product level, the category level or the customer group level.

On Shopify, a third-party module must be leveraged for volume-based pricing, which may incur an additional monthly cost.

Our Conclusion

BigCommerce is the better choice due to their out-of-the-box volume pricing discounts, which again, saves the merchant valuable research time and money.

6. Wish Lists

On BigCommerce, wishlists are out of the box.

 

On Shopify Plus, wishlists must be implemented using a third-party app.

Our Conclusion

BigCommerce is the better choice due to their out-of-the-box wishlist offering.

 

7. Related Products

On BigCommerce, related products can be hand-selected by the merchant or can be automatically generated by similar products.

 

Better cross-sells mean more items in the cart and higher average order values.

On Shopify Plus, related products must be implemented using a third-party application.

Our Conclusion

As you can see, our conclusions have a common theme. BigCommerce is the better choice due to their out-of-the-box related products offering.

 

8. SEO-Friendly URLs

BigCommerce will auto-generate URLs based on search engine friendly recommendations, but also allows for all URLs to be completely customized by the merchant.

This put the power in the hands of the merchant and their SEO partner to do what’s best for their business.

 

On Shopify Plus, the URL naming convention is governed by Shopify. Completely customized URLs are not available.

Our Conclusion

Search engine strength is a necessity for enterprise brands; it lowers the cost of PPC advertising and drives new traffic on a regular basis. The flexibility that BigCommerce offers as it relates to URL structure is certainly preferable for brands concerned want more control in the areas of SEO and PPC.

 

9. Categorization/Grouping of Products

On BigCommerce, you have the ability to create lots of nesting categories. This makes for much easier site categorization and organization.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Shopify, these are considered separate “collections” versus categories subcategories and tertiary categories.

Our Conclusion

This isn’t a huge issue on Shopify is you have a smaller product catalog. As your product catalog grows however, the collections structure on Shopify’s backend can cause disorganization and user error for your team.

 

10. Cart Level Discounts

On BigCommerce, there are lots of discounts that are available right out of the box, which merchants love for the ease of use.

 

On Shopify, many of these discounts must be coded, in Shopify’s native Ruby language, meaning additional development time and costs for the merchant.

Our Conclusion

If cart level discounts are important to your brand, we recommend BigCommerce for their out-of-the-box functionality.  

 

The Final Tally

Despite preconceived notions in the industry, BigCommerce Enterprise and Shopify Plus are not comparable solutions.

Shopify relies heavily on third-party applications to build out its eCommerce enterprise needs.

BigCommerce, on the other hand, has those same solutions already built-in, with access to additional apps if needed, as well as sets of APIs that merchants can use for advanced customization.

Simply stated, BigCommerce Enterprise offers more bang for your buck than Shopify Plus.

To learn more about what BigCommerce & EYStudios can do for your business, call us at 888-429-4803 or email us at BigCommerce@eystudios.com. To see our shared portfolio, click here.

Want a FREE download of this content?

Fill out the form below and we'll send you the whitepaper.

BigCommerce May 2017 Town Hall Recap: Part 4 of 4

Part 4: Changes to the Checkout

Rounding out the product updates was Paul Napper who talked about all things Checkout. Checkout API Schema is now available on request which is great news for developers everywhere. In case  you were wondering, the checkout API can be used when:

  • Creating the Cart
  • Add items to cart
  • Update quantities
  • Removing items from cart

Additionally, this new access to the API means greater ease when building a cart offsite and working with abandon cart savers. Coming down the road: the ability to support product modifiers.

What does timing look like on this?

  • Server to Server cart end-points: Targeting Mid June
  • Front end endpoints to follow

As you can see, LOTS of great things going on with BigCommerce right now! We look forward to the next Town Hall meeting and learning more about what this great platform has to offer.

Want to learn more about working with EYStudios on BigCommerce? Check out our shared portfolio and call us at 888-429-4803 or email us at BigCommerce@eystudios.com. 

EYStudios IRCE 2017 Recap

The crew from EYStudios just returned from IRCE 2017 in Chicago and they’re all equally exhausted and energized from the show.

I had a chance to sit down with Eric Yonge, Lisa Cook, Sean Callihan and Ali Hyduke to learn more about their favorite parts of the show were and what the key takeaways for the week were.

 

On Tuesday, we were able to kick the conference off with our partners at BigCommerce during their eCommerce Growth Summit. The event was held at Soldier Field where we were able to set up a booth and meet merchants and partners alike. Our CEO Eric Yong participated in a partner panel where he had a chance to speak about Product Merchandising.

Top Left: Soldier Field, Top Right: Our Booth at the Growth Summit, Bottom Left: Eric speaking about Product Merchandising Bottom Left: The booth area at the Growth Summit

 

On Wednesday, our favorite part of the day were the two keynote speakers that kicked off the day, Mary Beth Laughton, SVP of Digital for Sephora, and Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank.

Mary Beth did a great presentation about How Sephora uses Mobile for Experiential Retail. Their focus is to get customers so involved with their site that users become “addicted” and are utilizing it several times throughout the day. Their goal is simple, use the site: To Teach (about the products and how to best use them). To Inspire (with new ideas, looks and an online community built on sharing). To Play (by allowing customers to test products virtually). It’s really the next level in the omnichannel experience. Whether a customer is Scanning SKU’s in the store, booking appointments or watching makeup tutorials – every touch is a chance to build loyalty to the brand and ensure repeat visits (and purchases)!

After that, Barabara Corcoran, no-nonsense Shark Tank mogul took the stage to talk about how she found success personally and keys to making your own team successful. She focused on themes like:

  • Rebounding from Failure. Don’t dwell! Our biggest opportunities for growth come right after some of our biggest failures.
  • Being a fierce woman in a man’s world.
  • Pushing yourself and your team, but knowing when to have fun as a team.
  • Finding the right team. Do you have Expanders AND Containers?

Our team learned so much from these keynotes, not the least of which was two excellent examples of female leadership and success in a male-dominated business world.

 

Throughout the week Sean had a chance to meet with over 20 current and potential partners – spanning everything from ERP Implementation, Search, Reviews, Taxes and more. Despite how different their services are – many of our partners shared the same things:

  • They’re looking to help merchants tailor the individual customer experience
  • They’re focusing more and more on user generated content

From the merchant standpoint, one thing seemed to ring true throughout: Merchants were laser focused on finding the right partners and knew exactly what they wanted. While the elaborate booths, happy hours and tchotchkees are some of our favorite parts of the conference, we couldn’t help but notice that merchants weren’t about to be distracted and knew exactly what they wanted and who they wanted to speak with.

 

On Friday after the conference floor closed, we were thoroughly impressed with the number of merchants who stuck around and joined us for the Design & Usability Workshop where Eric did Live Site  Reviews alongside Josh Levine. Merchants even lined up at the end of the session to ask questions of their own stores…proof positive that expert advice and trusted partners are more in demand than ever.

As always the team loved the opportunity to connect with partners and merchants alike and left feeling energized and inspired for the second half of 2017 and beyond.

 

Want to hear from the team themselves? Check out our IRCE 2017 Recap Podcast.

Interested in working with EYStudios? Call us at 888-429-4803 or email us at info@eystudios.com and we’ll connect with you ASAP. 

EYStudios Announces Partnership with ShipStation

We are excited to announce our partnership with ShipStation, the leading web-based shipping software that helps online retailers streamline their order fulfillment, wherever they sell and however they ship.

WHY ShipStation?

Integration

Shipstation integrates seamlessly with EY’s two platforms of choice, BigCommerce and Magento, across numerous carriers, including UPS, USPS, FedEx and DHL. Additionally, ShipStation has the ability to integrate with Etsy, Amazon and ebay should our merchants need it.

Set-Up

ShipStation set up is very easy to install and set up, and for merchants using BigCommerce, can even be managed directly in their BigCommerce back end.

Merchants are able to tie in their own carrier accounts on the back end and then manage shipping rules on the ShipStation backend such as for common types of shipments, warehouse assignments, etc.

Key Features

ShipStation allows merchants to:

  • Provide branded tracking pages to customers
  • Process returns
  • Send out automated shipping confirmation emails
  • Manage all shippers in one central location

Customer Service

Anyone who’s worked with EY knows how important excellent customer service is to us. It’s been our calling card in the industry and we require the same of our partners. In the time that we’ve worked with ShipStation, we’ve found their staff to be not only friendly but immensely knowledgeable. We hope you enjoy working with them as much as we have!

For more information about their services and to start your free trial, visit us at https://info.shipstation.com/eystudios.

BigCommerce May 2017 Town Hall Recap: Part 3 of 4

Part 3: Customized Order Status & App Updates

After Product Updates, Jordan Sim talked about Customized Order Status. This was apparently the No. 1 idea on BigCommerce Ideas Forum – which means you asked, and they listened!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This functionality gives merchants the ability to customize existing order status labels. Areas where merchants will be able to display customized order statuses:

  • Control Panel
  • Storefront
  • Email Templates
  • Orders Export
  • Installed Apps

The best part is the first iteration of this will be available in June (this month!) to Merchants on ALL plans.

John Nichols was up next to talk about App Updates. BigCommerce is now offering support for new types of Apps. Private App support is actually available now and Connector App Support will have Beta available in early June.

There are also new apps in the App Showcase:

Lastly, BigCommerce announced a pretty cool Stencil Theme Update; 7 Stencil themes now allow for One-Page Optimized Checkout which allows for style customization. The 7  themes that are included: Cornerstone, Arcade, Chelsea, Foundry, Hero, Peak and Prosper.

Catch Part 4 of our 4 Part Blog Series on Friday to find out the latest on the changes to the BigCommerce Checkout.

 

Episode 24: EY’s IRCE 2017 Recap

Listen to “EY’s IRCE 2017 Recap

On our most recent episode of EY Access, Eric Yonge speaks with members of our team about their week out at IRCE and what their key takeaways were.

Here are a few highlights from their discussion:

– Kicking off the week at the BigCommerce Growth Summit
– Keynote speaking session from Sephora on Experiential Retail
– Where we see partners going and what we see merchants seeking
– Wrapping up the week strong with live site reviews on Friday

Click the play button below to listen to this episode in your browser, or subscribe on iTunes to download episodes for your mobile device:

No time to listen? All of this great information can also be found on our blog.

BigCommerce May 2017 Town Hall Recap: Part 2 of 4

Part 2: Product Updates

On the BigCommerce Town Hall webinar last week, we got some really interesting Product Updates. 

Rahul Pruthi talked about Amazon, eBay, Pinterest and Buy Buttons.

For their existing Amazon integration, BigCommerce will be launching new categories including:

  • Tools & Home Improvement
  • Animals & Pets
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Food & Beverage

Which means more opportunity for merchants who are already Amazon integrated or those who wanted to integrate but were unable to previously.

Aside from the new categories, UPC’s are now required to list from BigCommerce to Amazon and this is actually an existing requirement on the Amazon seller central.  The only exception is if you have a brand exemption of GTIN Exemption. Lastly, products with no inventory will no longer be blocked from listing

 

For the existing BigCommerce eBay integration, Big will now be pre-qualifying products that meet listing requirements. For merchants who haven’t started selling on eBay yet, Big will show you products that meet the requirements to sell on eBay. Except for:

  • Image requirements
  • eBay category specific requirements

Lastly, just like with Amazon, products with no inventory will no longer be blocked from listing. However, inventory tracking or default inventory still required.

Pinterest on BigCommerce has gotten even better. For merchants using Pinterest for the first time through BigCommerce, you’ll be able to:

  • Choose specific products
  • List products in bulk
  • See product listing errors
  • Override key product attributes such as price, description
  • Map BigCommerce Options to Size & Color

 

For merchants already using the Pinterest integration, you’ll have the ability to migrate from the old setup to the new one, if you’d like to do so.

Last but certainly not least is the availability of Buy Buttons. This new functionality will allow shoppers to buy individual products from your blog, website, emails and more! (How cool is that??) They can even be used when selling on other websites through ads.

Catch Part 3 of our 4 Part Blog Series on Thursday to find out about the latest with Customized Order Status and App Updates.