Magento Releases Version 2.1.8

Magento version 2.1.8 contains over 100 functional fixes and enhancements for both “Magento Open Source” and “Magento Commerce” (formerly known as Magento Community Edition and Enterprise Edition, respectively). The three major improvements to note, according to Magento are:

  • Enhancements to static content (JS, CSS, and HTML) deployment and generation.
  • Improvements to indexing of large catalogs.
  • Reduction in the memory amount that mass actions require.

In addition, some major issues with configurable products were solved including the removal of simple products when the Save button is pressed more than once on the configurable, correctly matching images to products, and properly displaying simple and configurable products’ attribute and visibility values after import.

You can now place an order after entering a new shipping address during checkout. Previously, the software would not let you complete the order if a new address was entered.

Magento 2.1.8’s release has addressed a myriad of bugs and introduced new enhancements to improve your ability to manage your store.

Responsive Web Design vs. Native Apps: What You Need to Know

In running your eCommerce store, you’ve probably been faced with the question of whether you need a native mobile app. You may have even questioned if a mobile app is better than spending the time and money on developing a responsive site. We’ve collected some of the pros and cons for each here to help you make the best decision for your business.

Native Apps

Native apps’ biggest benefit over responsive sites is the customer loyalty opportunities that they present. Customers who want to feel connected to the brand and carry it with them will often opt in for downloading an application, especially if there’s added incentives like Free Shipping for any order placed in the app.

In keeping with creating customer loyalty, apps offer some unique methods of reaching your customer base. Push notifications and alerts create a sense of connection and urgency with your client base that doesn’t come from a responsive site without the use of another third party, such as a text marketing service.

Native apps also offer the capability of attaching to a device’s other functions such as the camera or calendar. While this may not seem like a huge limitation, with user generated content taking over the web, native integrations to cameras or photos make it that much easier to get that desired content.

Responsive Sites

A responsive site does have a few leg ups over a native app, such as the ability to use without installation, requiring fewer updates, and the ability to be viewed on various devices without being tailored to any specific operating system.

Responsive sites take the SEO cake because they are visible to search engines. Because mobile apps don’t have a footprint with search engines, any content present is rendered useless to Google bots. However, a responsive site that is SEO-optimized provides some self-marketing value.

Responsive sites are also device agnostic, meaning that they adjust to every screen size without creating a site design for each potential one. Apps, on the other hand, require frequent updates and reprogramming with each new popular phone or OS that’s introduced. From that perspective, responsive sites offer a cost saving benefit. Merchants have less up keep when an app or mobile specific site don’t exist, but rather your site responds to every instance imaginable.

 

If you’re looking to get the most reward for the minimum investment, go with a responsive site design. Do keep in mind, that the two are not mutually exclusive. If you have the time, energy, and money to invest in both a responsive website and a mobile app, then both types of consumers’ needs will be met.

 

BigCommerce July 2017 Town Hall Recap

BigCommerce Town Hall Recap: July 2017

The BigCommerce Theme Marketplace has been updated with lots of new themes including popular arrivals: Bazaar, Diamond, and Queen.

BigCommerce is still looking for additional high quality and engaging themes, email themestore@bigcommerce.com with your theme proposal.

You can now add pop ups to stencil themes with Pixelpop. These can be used to:

  • Grow your mailing list
  • Promote featured products
  • Display special offers like free shipping
    These pop ups can be delayed or scheduled and can be customized with CSS.

 

Product Updates

Optimized one-page checkout
– Offers the ability to add custom fields. This will be available early August.
– Phone number can now be made an optional field in checkout.
– The new one-page layout can be rendered in 12 different languages.
– For merchants that have opted in to the AB testing of the one-page checkout- 100% of customers will now be routed through one-page as the AB testing phase has ended

New Amazon Categories
1. Patio, Lawn & Garden
2. Sports & Outdoors (in beta)

Stencil CLI
– To update a theme you no longer have to leave CLI and log into the control panel

 

Consumer Financing Payment Options:

  • Extend financing to customers
  • Increase AOV
  • Attract new customers
  • No risk. Merchant is paid upfront.
  • Available exclusively in new one-page checkout.

 

App Store Updates:

  • Improved app store search: typos, synonyms, etc.
  • Enhanced category structure

 

Cornerstone version 1.9 was rolled out on July 20th.

 

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

How to Move Your ERP Integration from M1 to M2

George Anderson, Communications Manager, Corevist

Though Magento 2 launched in November 2015, many B2B merchants are still using Magento 1 as their ERP-integrated eCommerce solution. The upgrade process isn’t exactly 1-click-and-done, so the wait is understandable. However, Magento 2 presents a definite improvement over Magento 1, particularly in the areas of user experience and business functionality. For those companies that are prepared to move to M2, the question arises: How should we approach this upgrade?

At Corevist, we provide SAP B2B eCommerce solutions by integrating Magento to SAP. We’ve seen the M1 – M2 upgrade process a few times, and we’ve developed a set of recommendations that we make to clients who are considering this change.

1. Revisit your eCommerce integration architecture and highlight friction points

If you’re moving from M1 to M2, you have the opportunity to rebuild with what you need, and only what you need. Don’t carry your past decisions into the future UNLESS they’re still working for you. Inspect them. Ask yourself some questions. What could you improve about the integration as you move to Magento 2? What has caused friction? Have you had issues with, let’s say, out-of-sync information between your ERP system and your website? That could affect things like pricing, availability, and credit limits on accounts.

That’s the first step—identify where the friction has occurred on M1. Find things that are out of sync. Make it a priority to find better solutions for these problems in your M2 integration.

2. If you’re using batch updates, do a gut-check for efficiency

Are your nightly batch windows taking longer and longer? Sure, “batch bloat” means more revenue. But it also means more complexity and more cost. It can spell death for the poorly-architected ERP integration.

If your batch process is getting unwieldy, it may be time to find a more effective synchronization method. Real-time synchronization via web services can eliminate your batch headaches—or you can use it in combination with batch for a solution that fits your business needs.

Either way, if batch synch is holding you down, your M1 – M2 migration is the perfect time to address the issue and build a solution that can scale up with your business.

3. How many dashboards do you have to check when an order goes wrong?

If your order troubleshooting process requires its own troubleshooting, you may be looking at a system that can’t pay for its own complexity. Is it hard for your CSRs to resolve order problems when a customer calls? Are you 100% certain that if you look one place, that one dashboard will show you the truth about the order? Or do you have to look at more than one dashboard to get all the facts?

Again, this is a question of scale. For small companies with lower order volume, checking a few dashboards is no big deal. But this system won’t scale up. If you’re moving to M2, it’s worth looking at a solution that will place accurate, real-time order data in all relevant dashboards.

4. Is coordination between business teams a little lacking?

Have you had a problem coordinating the teams required to execute business rule updates, like promotions? If your ERP team has to build their version of a promotion and your eCommerce team has to rebuild the promotion on your eCommerce platform, you’re looking at unnecessary duplication of work.

At Corevist, we recommend a different approach. We put the ERP (SAP) first as the system of record. We lay Magento “over top” of SAP as a web-access window. We don’t rebuild business rules in Magento; rather, we carry SAP rules through to Magento. It’s more efficient, and it’s cheaper.

5. Have you ever had to change your data extract methods?

If your ERP-eCommerce integration was poorly designed, you may find yourself having to change your extract methods. You may also find that you have to change your target systems that are receiving the data extract. This can happen when your underlying ERP data changed and you weren’t informed of it.

Again, this is a symptom of outgrowing your current synchronization method. Real-time web synchronization (alone or in combination with batch) can alleviate these problems, and it’s worth exploring those possibilities as you draft a plan for moving to M2.

6. Ask your eCommerce vendor about real-time ERP API access

Once you’ve considered these factors, the next question to ask yourself is, how can you go about minimizing the need to integrate across the two platforms? Go back to the eCommerce vendor and ask them, “Are there more ways you can access our ERP data in real time, to reduce the amount of synchronization required across the platforms?”

You should do a deep audit of the ERP system to exploit as much of its real-time access capabilities as possible. This is especially true in the post-customer-services realm (for example, our eTrack for SAP module). You can make life easier for customers who are looking for invoices and other documents. Rather than moving everything onto the Magento platform, is there an opportunity to use only Magento’s page-building functionality to access the ERP vendor’s API? That way, rather than move the data, you can access it in real time.

The Takeaway

As you’re crafting a plan to move from M1 to M2, take this opportunity to reflect. Don’t just believe that you should repeat your original eCommerce implementation decisions. Your business has likely changed since then, and today’s technology is capable of so much more. Talk to your eCommerce vendor, and work with a trusted advisor who knows your ERP system inside and out. The results will be more efficient, and easier on both customers and your staff.

BigCommerce June 2017 Town Hall Recap: Part 3 of 3

Part 3: OmniChannel Marketplace & Enhanced Discount Messages

Rahul Pruthi shared some updates to the OmniChannel Marketplace.

For Ebay, merchants are now able to utilize Multiple Shipping & Return Policies. This means that:

  • Business policies are shipping & return details you specify for buyers in your listings
  • Streamline new listing creation
  • Edit and update all your listing at once
  • Change your policies for multiple listings

Additionally, Shipping & Return policies will be able to be added or edited right from the BigCommerce back end.

Rahul also talked about the Hike POS tool and it’s ability to connect your offline and online sales. 

Capabilities that Rahul highlighted were:

  • Free integration with BC
  • Retail POS
  • iPad, PC and Mac-based
  • Product, Customer & Orders Syncing
  • Unified Inventory Views
  • Built in Support for Loyalty programs, multi store, payment gateway integrations, and international supports (AU, NZ, UK, CA, US and more)

For a full list of features, click here.

In our May Town Hall Recap: Part 2 of 4, we talked about the Buy Buttons that BigCommerce now offers, allowing shoppers to buy individual products from your blog, website, emails and beyond. This product offering is now even better, merchants can now track “Buy Button” performance in the BigCommerce back end. 

As far as Amazon goes, merchants now have the ability to list products with Variants. This feature is currently in Beta, but will be open to all merchants on July 6th.

Some specifics around the updated offering include:

  • For US Merchants selling on Amazon
  • For products that have size, color or size & color – named exactly like that
  • For currently supported categories

Please remember to keep reasonable expectations for beta. For set up and details, see the knowledge base article. 

Lastly, there is a new category launch coming on July 6th: Clothing & Apprarel! A few things to note, this does require approval from Amazon and Jewelry is not supported.

After Rahul finished up his piece, Jordan Sim shared updates to BigCommerce Enhanced Discount Messages.  Merchants can now create discount messages on all cart-level discount rules.  Additionally, you can customize the text and image content within these messages and target them on various storefront pages.

Merchants can use these discount messages to:

  • Inform
  • Up-sell
  • Congratulate

Roll-out on this feature has started  and will be available on all stores by July 2017. 

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

BigCommerce June 2017 Town Hall Recap: Part 2 of 3

Part 2: eCommerce Insights & Analytics

Tracey Wallace, content strategist extraordinaire shared how BigCommerce would be re-introducing their new and improved eCommerce Analytics & Insights Tool.

Improvements to the tool include:

Data Accuracy – BigCommerce is careful to define: What is measured, How it is measured,  and How Often it is measured. This is because different systems measure data differently, therefore causing Google Analytics and your BigCommerce eCommerce Analytics to have data discrepancies.

User Interface Updates – Now users can see snapshots of top line metrics right on the dashboard, as well as a streamlined the insights overview.

Pricing

 

What can you do with BigCommerce eCommerce Analytics & Insights ?

Rather than try to regurgitate all the awesome insights Tracey shared on the Town Hall, I found this blog with all the ways you can use the tools.

 

Some highlights include:

    • Build an RFM (Recency, Frequency and Monetary) Model
    • Powering a Personalized Customer Experience
    • Build High-Converting Product Pages
    • Get to Know Your Customer Better
    • Earn Back Abandoned Carts
    • Merchandise and Write Your Way to More Sales

Catch Part 3 of our 3 Part Blog Series on Monday to learn about BigCommerce’s updates to OmniChannel Marketplace & Enhanced Discount Messages. 

EYStudios will be at SEAT 2017 in Atlanta!

The Sports & Entertainment Alliance in Technology is coming to Atlanta

Join us at the Mariott Marquis-Atlanta Sunday July 16th – Tuesday July 18th for:

  • Collaborative Discussions
  • Case Studies
  • Panels
  • Networking and more

All around “utilizing technology as an asset to be leveraged for revenue, fan engagement and change the “experience” in sports.”

EYStudios will join BigCommerce at Booth #110. Get your tickets now and stop by and see us.  

BigCommerce June 2017 Town Hall Recap: Part 1 of 3

Part 1: Design Award Winners & Company Updates

Yesterday was June’s BigCommerce Town Hall meeting and we were able to tune in and catch the latest from the team at BigCommerce. To start, CEO Brent Bellm shared the winners of the Best eCommerce Site Designs of 2017.

We’ve long been big believers in the power of strong eCommerce design. The best features and functionality are nothing if the user experience is lacking and customers are unable to checkout. As such, we love the design-focused nature of this competition and wanted to give a shout-out to all the winners.

Best Overall Design went to mattress company Hyphen.

 

Best Homepage Design went to tech accessory company Native Union.

Best Category or Product Page went to speaker innovators Soundwall.

Best Customer Experience went to workspace solutions providers Human Solution.

And lastly the People’s Choice Award went to children’s health food company KidsChoo.

 

Congratulations to all the winners! We look forward to competing again next year.

After that, Brent shared some Innovative New Merchants on the BigCommerce Platform. The sites themselves run the gamut from a Vitamins & Supplements site with subscription capabilities, to a Fashion site with search and filtering,  to a gated employee center for a huge Technology brand – further showcasing the flexibility of the platform and breadth of possibility for merchants.

 

 

 

 

They include: New Chapter, Yumi and the Sony Employee Center.

Last but certainly not least for Brent’s updates, he shared that BigCommerce was named one of Austin’s Best Places to Work for 2017 by the Austin Business Journal. How cool!

As partners of BigCommerce, this comes as no surprise to us. We’ve long enjoyed working with them, as do our clients. Their office is open and fun, allowing for close collaboration and free-flowing creativity. BigCommerce employees enjoy a relaxed dress code, but their work ethic is anything but. They’re helpful, creative and responsive.

If you’re looking for a great opportunity in the Austin area – we highly recommend you check them out!

Catch Part 2 of our 3 Part Blog Series Tomorrow to find out about the latest with BigCommerce’s Insights & Analytics.

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.