Magento BI

Forget the Myths: What You Really Need to Consider When Selecting an ecommerce Platform

Full Disclosure: It’s no secret that we at Something Digital are fans of Magento. Our blog is filled with stories about the platform, we participate in the Magento Community, speak at their conferences, and we initiate and sponsor events around them. That said, about a year and a half ago we expanded our partnerships to include other platforms because, at the end of the day, we are focused on delivering the right solution for each client, and that goal trumps loyalty to any partnership.

However, we have experienced some unfair mud slinging toward Magento from their competitors which is creating confusion in the market, and we wanted to dispel a few myths so retailers can make the right choice for their businesses.

Myth #1: Magento is pulling the plug on Magento v.1, forcing all customers to upgrade whether they want to or not

Contrary to what you may have heard, Magento IS NOT pulling the plug on the first version of its platform and forcing retailers who are happy to migrate to version 2. The truth is, Magento has committed to fully support M1.x until the end of 2020 (and that includes any necessary security fixes). To be clear, since M2 launched in November 2016, merchants will have in total four full years of runway to upgrade.

Myth #2: You need an advanced engineering degree to implement Magento

We’ve been in this business for 14+ years and have worked with online retailers and ecommerce sites of all stripes and sizes and I have to say, we find the new Magento Enterprise Cloud offering removes many technology and security elements from the merchant’s plate.

That said, some retailers have more complicated selling models, customizable products, multi-warehouse delivery, multiple currencies, or want a shared shopping cart to work across multiple brands. These are functionalities that require additional engineering, which is where system integrators, like Something Digital, come in.

Myth #3: Once You Buy, Magento Waves Good-Bye

I’ve heard a lot of chatter that once you sign the contract for Magento, you’re on your own from a technical point of view.  But I can assure you that both Magento and its partners, such as Something Digital, are there for the long term, actively working with you to ensure your success.  Magento’s focus on its Enterprise Cloud product is the best indication of how the platform plans to support merchants in the long term. In fact, Magento has the largest market share of any ecommerce platform, and is still growing.

And no platform has an established developer community like Magento’s, which continuously provides core updates, innovative extensions and add-ons. The community offers a lot of brainpower and creativity for you to tap into.

Myth #4: Magento will Nickle & Dime Merchants

Be wary of claims regarding costs. There are many providers of cloud-based ecommerce platforms that tout a low cost, and that may be fine if you are a small retailer with simple needs. If you need extras, the costs can creep up. As for Magento nickling and diming its merchants, the company bundles its features into its basic packages that include robust business intelligence platform, Magento Social, which allows you to sell on social media, and a new performance monitoring tool called New Relic.

The bottom line, for all but the most simple needs, the “real cost” of a solution requires a detailed discussion with the provider.

Myth #5: Magento’s B2B/Enterprise Product is Overly Complex

B2B ecommerce itself is different than B2C. Enterprise class sellers require key features, such as omni-channel and order management capabilities. They also need to integrate seamlessly into other business systems. Additionally, enterprise-level sites often require a higher degree of customization, especially as it pertains to the customer experience. That level of customization isn’t easily accomplished with out-of-the box templates.

And again, Magento and its partners ecosystem are available to businesses to deliver solutions based on each customer’s unique needs.

Questions to Ask

Before you make a platform selection, Something Digital suggests you compile a list of questions that reflect your 5+ year strategy. These questions should factor in your plans for international expansion, new products, fulfillment options, future sales and marketing channels.

Something Digital’s team can provide a questionnaire to assist with this process. If you’d like more information contact us here.

Trends Graphic

Top Ecommerce Trends for 2017

Well 2017 is finally here and it’s time to think about some of the growing trends within the ecommerce market to ensure success. With no signs of slowing down, the ecommerce market continues to attract all different types of companies. This means it is becoming even harder to satisfy online shoppers and there is a strong push to maintain brand loyalty.

In fact, Internet Retailer predicts that online spending in the U.S. will generate more than $355 billion in 2016 and will continue to surpass the $400 billion mark each year by 2018. To avoid lagging behind the brutal competition, you need to keep abreast of these latest trends, which have huge implications.

Real Time Customer Engagement Will Increase

Research shows that online buyers increasingly expect an experience that closely mimics an in-person shopping experience where they can ask questions, test the products and generally interact with a customer service representative. Landing pages should personalize the ecommerce shopping experience by increasing customer engagement in real time. The more engaged they are, the more likely they will scroll, click and ultimately, convert.

Recommendations for increasing customer engagement

– Send important updates via email or a newsletter and then follow-up with a series of videos via YouTube or  Facebook.
– Share engaging and authentic content about a specific product where you answer customer questions via live chat or a YouTube video.
– Real-time chat

Increase mobile buyers with engagement

Mobile ecommerce represent 30% of all US ecommerce sales, and this number will continue to grow three times faster than desktop web sales. That could mean losing potential market share if your ecommerce brand decides not to adopt mobile-friendly technology, which may put your company at a serious competitive disadvantage.

To cater to this trend your mobile site needs to support a different kind of user experience — one that focuses on converting visitors to buyers through optimization.

Recommendations for Increasing Mobile Optimization

Create an attractive landing page that loads quickly (link this anchor to the first article on landing pages). A cluttered and crowded page can also slow down the time it takes for a page to show up on a mobile device. Research shows that online consumers will lose interest when a site fails to load fast enough. Similarly, they will abandon their shopping carts if they find a site unappealing.

– Apply just one call-to-action (CTA) on your landing page taking into account that texts and images need to be visually compatible with a smaller screen. For example, a suitable call-to-action on a product detail page could be an “add to cart” button while on your homepage, a call-to-action could be a “contact now” button. This encourages interaction with your consumers by providing additional product information.

– Provide enough information on a small screen to cater to multichannel behavior in order to help your mobile user make an informed buying decision. Research indicates that 81% of shoppers fully research a product before buying.

Capitalizing on these trends offer plenty of opportunities for mapping 2017 with an even stronger push towards economic growth and development as you test new and untapped niche markets and possibilities.

What ecommerce trends are you seeing in 2017? Let us know!