June 2014 Posts

Referral Program – an Effective Tool to Attract New Customers

Referral programs have been known for a long time, but still prove their effectiveness and value.

The word of mouth promotions was originally tried out offline, perhaps, centuries ago, but with the advent of Internet online retailers started using it as a sales promotion tool.

Why Referral Programs?

Almost all shoppers highly appreciate trustworthy advice and expert opinion regarding multiple available products and services.

Recent studies revealed that word of mouth promotions have from 3 to 5 times higher conversion rate than other marketing channels (Source: Extole). According to Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, 2013, 83% of people worldwide trust in recommendations from people they know, and all these 83% take some product related actions, in order to read a review, or supervise its features, or just purchase it. So, referred prospectives are loyal and active participants of the pre-sale process and can be more easily converted into real customers.

65% of new business comes from referrals, New York Times

Before starting a referral program you should plan and implement several obligatory steps.

Offer Your Referrers Worthy Rewards
The first thing to consider while starting a referral program is to find out truly effective incentives, which are able to foster your brand advocates recommend your products.

In fact, only a few customers are able to become your referrers and the reward you offer is to be closely related to their needs. Or you may appeal to your partners or even employees asking them widely recommend your products and, in this case, the prize is going to be a bit different. Moreover, sometimes non-cash intensives may be even more attractive than discounts or reward points.

Note: According to The university of Chicago research, non-cash incentives are 24% more effective at boosting performance than cash incentives.

Actually, possible options are almost endless, so you should pick up some ones, which sound really appealing and test them on buyers.

aheadWorks Joins Forces with Blue Acorn

Reliable partners provide every successful business an indispensable additional force and confidence.

Today we are thrilled to announce the start of mutual cooperation with an outstanding representative of the Magento ecosystem – Blue Acorn.

Being a Gold Magento Solution Partner and regular participant of Imagine and other e-commerce events, it is well-known within the Magento community.

Blue Acorn & aheadWorks

Located in the U.S., Blue Acorn is a full service e-commerce agency, which provides expertise to such great companies like Reed & Barton, Olympus, Char-Broil, and many others. Customers can completely rely on its talented team and expect truly tangible results.

Veggie Tales Use Case*

Recently Blue Acorn presented a suchlike example of the efficient work in their Veggie Tales Case Study. Terrific positive shifts in conversions and revenues were the result of multiple improvements, including the aheadWorks iPhone Theme application.

Veggie Tales
Veggie Tales is a popular video series for preschool children offering them a whole animated world of games, books, toys apparel, and home videos dedicated to Bob and Larry – the main characters of the fabulous tale.

Veggie Tales

Challenge
Since 1993, Veggie Tales has sold millions of videos, books, and CDs, but now they suspect that their current site design constraints conversions and revenues.

Magento Live UK 2014 and Other Magento Events of This Summer

Summer is always great for classy vacations or spectacular trips, but it is also perfect for professional communications and making new business contacts. This summer is not very abundant with Magento events, but it can still offer true Magento enthusiasts some exciting conferences, hackathons, and meetups.

So, those who wants more Magento events this summer can take the advantage of our digest. Magento Live UK 2014, July 14-15 is the firs in our scroll.

Magento Live UK 2014

Location
The conference is held in the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London hotel, which is situated in the true heart of the city next to Big Ben and the House of Parliament, the London Eye and the National Theater. At the same time Heathrow, one of the five London airports, is only 40 minutes away from the venue.

Schedule
The schedule of the conference is very busy and starts on Monday, July 14. The pre-event day includes solution and industry partner meetings, and several tracks for developers, marketing specialists and entrepreneurs. The Opening Evening Networking Event finishes this day and proclaims the official start of Magento Live UK 2014.

The second day of the conference begins from the registration of attendees and consists of several special, three general, and four breakout sessions divided into three tracks – the technical, marketing, and business one.

Magento responsive design, the upcoming holiday season, omni-channel marketing opportunities, the personalization of sales, security and performance tips are the main topics to be presented during the conference.

Google Analytics for Magento Provides Extra Benefits

Magento offers its customers quite a wide range of statistical reports for tracking results of sales and other activities.

The native dashboard aggregates several reports featuring the number of orders, revenues, searches, new customers, or bestselling products.

Besides the dashboard, Magento provides a bunch of reports available from the Reports section in the backend. The list of available reports is rather long, and we’ll just say that except the mentioned above data they provide invoiced and shipped order reports, refunds, coupons, low stock, reviews, tags reports, and other ones.

Even so, store owners need to have more information about customers, including referral sources of traffic, the demographic portrait of visitors, and behavior characteristics. This demand can be satisfied by the Google Analytics reports, which collect information about your site using GA (Google Analytics) codes on every page of your Magento store.

Add Google Analytics Tracking to Magento

Magento has the native Google API, which allows you to embed GA tracking codes via the Configuration tab.

The whole procedure is simple and fully automated; you should just know the necessary Google Analytics account number:

  1. Firstly, you should expand the Google Analytics section in the Magento Admin Panel (System -> Configuration -> Sales -> Google API -> Google Analytics).
  2. Then enter the GA tracking ID into the Account Number field and press the “Save Config” button.

Google API

Google API

Use the Magento Configuration tab while adding GA

If your Google Analytics account is properly configured, it will start collecting information from this very moment. You can also enable the IP anonymization option in the Google API section and do not store full IP address information in order to comply with your own or local authorities’ privacy terms.

While adding Google Analytics to your Magento try to avoid some crucial mistakes, which can prevent accurate tracking:

Better use the Magento Configuration tab while adding the GA codes rather than hardcode them.
As Magento dynamically inserts transaction data to the GA code, you should insert it through the configuration page. The hard-coded tracking code may not pick up all transaction information on your checkout page.

Do not delete any code lines from the root template files.
Removal of some code lines from the root template files, which even seem to be excessive, may cause a failure of certain functionality, including GA tracking.

aheadWorks Extensions are Compatible with Magento CE 1.9 and EE 1.14

Recently Magento released two updates of its product editions – Magento CE 1.9 and Magento EE 1.14.

Magento extensions

The most awaited feature of these updates is the responsive web design, which allows you to create mobile friendly sites in half the time you spent before. Other new valuable features include:

  • Technology updates;
  • Cross-border trade functionality;
  • Checkout improvements;
  • Solr Search Engine changes.

Thus, once again all Magento store owners can use the advantages of supreme functionality from the leading provider.

We are pleased to notify our customers that the whole scope of our extensions is compatible with the Magento CE 1.9 and EE 1.14 editions.

In order to consider compatibility details you may refer to “Compatibility” tabs on product pages.

Note: The vast majority of our extensions are offered for both CE and EE Magento editions.

If you have something to add to this post, please share your ideas in comments below.

 

Welcome the Broad Line of Social Media Products from Our Partners

 

We continue the series of post about the products provided by our partners and offered through our store.

These products cover different areas of Magento functionality and add only excellent features to your stores. Needless to say that aheadWorks, for its part, guarantees the quality of partner products and their seamless integration with Magento and our extensions. Purchasing partner extensions or themes in our store is profitable and comfortable, as you benefit from the trusted vendor reputation and professional business approach.

This time we would like to bring to your attention a scope of social media partner extensions, which perform Magento integration with the most popular global social networks.

Magento Social Network

Social Network

The Social Network extension brings to life a simple idea – creation of a social network within your Magento store. Customers get an opportunity to enter a community, which is solely dedicated to your brand and products. The module creates sterling social networking platform and allows customers conduct all corresponding activities: create profiles, enter communities, share links, review products, send direct messages, upload photos, chat, and etc.

The Social Network module deepens the customer engagement with your products, lets them earn points for certain actions and use them during purchasing. Privacy settings allow customers to manage access to their profiles and profile display settings.

Mutual communications within groups and among customers will certainly strengthen loyalty and customer-brand connections.

Social Media Bundle

Social Media Bundle

The Social Media Bundle module offers a simple way for integration of your Magento store with top-ranked global social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest platforms integration is provided in a single package and allows your Magento store to benefit from these popular social media.

Features:

  • Allows customers to login using Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ accounts;
  • Places social networks buttons (like, share, follow) on any page of your site;
  • Allows customers to share links to your site via social networks;
  • Automatically creates Magento accounts based on social media profiles data;
  • Creates individually designed social buttons;
  • Enables customers to post purchases on their walls;
  • Adds comments to products in your store.

The Social Media Bundle extension makes your site social media friendly and provides customers with a natural opportunity to highlight and enjoy the purchases in your store.

Help Desk Ultimate 3.0: Advanced Statistics, New Design, and Powerful Functionality

The loyalty of customers is often fragile, and retention or loss of a shopper sometimes depends on a few simple actions or even words.

But something always prevents us from doing these “right” things while the consequences may be destructive for the whole business.

The Held Desk Ultimate Magento extensionHigh-quality support is a major part of post-sales services of many businesses, but it requires upscale dedicated functionality and Help Desk Ultimate ver. 3.0 is ready to offer the one you need. The new features of this module provide extended facilities for managing customers’ requests and great opportunities to make them your devoted adherents.

Below you will find the description of the new features, which entered the current release of the extension.

Backend Ticket Page Redesign

Backend ticket pages have undergone tremendous changes and got an absolutely new, clear, and attractive design. Just several major modifications create a long list of advanced features.

Backend Ticket Page

Backend Ticket Page

AJAX-based ticket changing
The module widely uses AJAX, including for ticket assignations and customer notes.

Ticket thread improved with colors and filtering
The Ticket Thread section got a user-friendly design improved with threads highlighted by colors and divided into four main streams: “All”, “Discussion”, “Notes”, and “History”.

Last Customer Orders and Last Customer Tickets blocks
The Last Customer Orders block provides quick access to the customer-related sales data, and the Last Customer Tickets block allows you to browse his latest tickets.

Note about the current customer
You can add individual notes to each customer in the Customer Summary section. This notification is visible for only Help Desk agents and appears in all customer-related tickets.

Multiple file attachments
Help Desk agents, the same as customers, are able to attach multiple files to certain tickets and share them.

Private backend messages
An individual approach to customers is strongly recommended for every business and support activities should not stay aside of this modus operandi. So, if you have a number of support engineers within one or several departments, and your customer tickets may pass from one to another due to definite needs, they can post messages inside the tickets, which are visible for only backend users. These messages exactly describe the ways to treat the issue or some specific ticket characteristics.

This functionality is located: Help Desk -> View Tickets -> Open Ticket -> Ticket Thread section -> “Add Note” button.

Partner Products in the aheadWorks Catalog

Editor’s note: In this post Artyom Rabzonov, aheadWorks CEO and co-founder, reveals the peculiarities and benefits of the partner products hosted in our catalog.

Magento is supposed to be the most customizable e-commerce platform worldwide, but the actual utilization of its advantageous opportunities faces several challenges, and not always technical.

The Magento community is so huge that multiple offers of functionality extensions, considered as benefits in other circumstances, may lead to the frustrating confusion while choosing Magento modules and themes. Getting involved in this tough choice you realize that it will require tons of your time before you find something suitable and truly worthy.

Furthermore, you cannot be totally sure about your decision until you install the module and exploit it for some time, even if you tried it out on demo stores and delved into all the features before. And if the choice was wrong, you come across financial and time losses, and gradually leave the leading position on the market. This is unacceptable.

Partner Products

Our pursuit to bring more value to our customers led us to the decision to make our store useful for all categories of shoppers. Our ultimate goal is to satisfy each and every need of Magento functionality extension with high-quality modules and themes. So, we are pleased to present partner products in the aheadWorks store.

We try to abolish possible risks, save your time and find out only the most noteworthy companies and guarantee that our partner extensions provide only effective functionality and safe code.

aheadWorks permanently looks for first-class Magento extension vendors to be presented in our catalog. We warmly invite such companies to reach us and cooperate.

Benefits for Customers

We aim to create a comfortable one-stop place collecting upscale Magento extensions, which cover possibly the full scope of Magento functionality improvements.

So, in one place you get:

  • The richest selection of Magento extensions;
  • High-quality products confidently compatible with each other and our modules;
  • High-level support from all vendors, ensured by constant monitoring by aheadWorks;
  • Products supported from the unified help desk through aheadWorks site;
  • Involved into our reward program and earn / spend points, no matter from whom you buy;
  • No extra charges, as our prices are equal or lower than the ones at the vendor’s store;
  • No need to waste time searching and comparing products. Be sure that only the best extensions are presented in our catalog.

Thomas Fleck Summarizes Meet Magento Italy 2014

Editor’s note: We have already noticed in our previous posts that Magento constantly enters new countries and cities. This time incredible Italy welcomed guests of the Meet Magento Italy 2014 Conference (June 3-4) and we asked Thomas Fleck – CEO at Netresearch App Factory AG – to share his impressions about the event.

You may find the summary of the event based on the conversation with Thomas below.

Thomas Fleck

THOMAS FLECK

FOUNDER AND CEO OF NETRESEARCH APP FACTORY AG

Thomas Fleck is the initiator of the international event series Meet Magento. He is an entrepreneur, lawyer and idealist with over 15 years of experience in the eCommerce business and has been working with Magento from the very beginning.

It is always very exciting to hold a conference somewhere in a new country for the first time. The same happened in Italy, where Meet Magento landed a few days ago. But despite or, perhaps, thanks to this fact, the conference was really amazing, full of inspirational speeches and appreciative audience. A large part of this success belongs to Diego Semenzato and his team from Webformat.

Organizers took the best moment for the conference

The organizers took the best moment on the Italian market for the conference. The global e-commerce is booming worldwide, but you should keenly feel when the market is ready to take off and be there at the right time. All the sponsors and attendees noticed the timeliness of Meet Magento Italy 2014.

We were happy to have Kathleen, Bertrand, and Ben with us

I was greatly pleased to stay on the stage and talk about the advantages of the platform in my presentation “What makes Magento special”. And you know, it’s not so easy to distinguish the most important points of this seemingly simple issue. Anyway, I stopped at “Magento can make you successful and Magento can change your life”.

You may say it is too pathetic, but I had some good examples to prove it. You will be able to learn them in details as the recording of the conference is coming soon. Here are just few key points:

  • Market share;
  • Strategic open source;
  • For beginners and enterprises;
  • International / global;
  • Unparalleled community and ecosystem.

Milan with its open-minded people is a perfect place for this event

We were happy to have Kathleen, Bertrand, and Ben – the new Magento developer evangelist – with us at the conference. Direct contacts with Magento representatives are very important for merchants, developers and partners.

Meet Magento events are perfectly suitable to connect people, share knowledge and ideas, and find new friends. And finally, I should notice that the beautiful city of Milan with its open-minded people was a perfect place for this event.

We thank Thomas for his time and informative conversation and wish him good luck in China.

If you have something to add to this post, please share your thought and impressions in comments below.

Event Tickets Ver. 1.1 – Printable Tickets and 8 More Features

The Event Tickets module update to the 1.1.0 version enriched it by numerous extremely valuable features and capabilities.

Many of them introduce absolutely new functionality and provide Magento store owners multiple options for managing and selling event-based products.

New Features

Printable Tickets

Order confirmation emails may contain printable PDF ticket copies. This option is enabled from the backend: Catalog -> Event Tickets -> Manage Products -> Edit Product -> Event Booking tab -> General Settings section -> Generate PDF Tickets.

PDF copies are individual for each ticket and contain general information about the event, unique QR codes, event logos, or any other dedicated information.

Customers may use included QR codes and get detailed information about the event from the My Account area on your site.

The size of QR images can be easily configured from the admin panel.

QR Images Configuration

QR Images Configuration

Flexible Tickets Redeeming System

Starting from the 1.1 version, the Event Tickets extension obtains a powerful and flexible redeeming system. The system allows Magento store owners to keep records of sold tickets and assign unique IDs to them.

Magento administrators can redeem tickets in three ways:

QR codeVia QR code scanning using any mobile device
This functionality is available, if PDF tickets generations is enabled. In this case, the extension adds QR codes to every ticket and allows logged-in admins with corresponding permissions to redeem them.

Manual ticket code input
The extension generates an alphanumeric code for each ticket with an option to add code prefixes per ticket type. Product detail pages contain a link to the code submission page, where admins can enter and redeem necessary codes.

Imagine 2014 Recap

This spring was full of Magento events, which took place on three continents.

Held in North America, Europe, and South America they played a significant role in strengthening and expanding the Magento community. In our previous posts we highlighted some of these events: Bargento Brasil, Meet Magento Germany, Spain, Netherlands and Imagine 2014, of course.

Imagine is indubitably the most notable event within the Magento ecosystem attended by all central figures of the market without exception. aheadWorks traditionally sponsors the event and this is our third year in a row as an Imagine sponsor.

Imagine 2014 Afterparty Recollections

We are strongly impressed by the scale, atmosphere, and excellent facilities of the event.

With over 2,000 eCommerce professionals gathered in one place, the air was literally crammed with fresh and revolutionary ideas, true to this year’s Imagine slogan: “Transform”. It was indeed all about transformation and revamp for quite a few attendees, including aheadWorks, as we introduced substantial changes to our partner program and the aheadMetrics project.

It was also truly exciting to hear the news regarding recent Magento releases (1.9 and 1.14), which include some of the most demanded and long-awaited features.

The event was more than worthwhile; we were happy to deal with an unending flow of inquiries mostly related to the new version of aheadMetrics (make sure to take a look at it here).

Including through Imagine, aheadWorks partner program enters a new phase, embracing truly influential companies of the Magento ecosystem (detailed announcement coming soon).

It is already an established tradition for the aheadWorks team to go on exploration of the U.S. after the conference is over. So, right after the Imagine 2014 curtain fell, we took off for a grandiose road trip from Utah to Colorado with Montana and Wyoming in between, ending up in Florida for a few days of sunbathing.

aheadWorks Explorations

We’d like to thank the organizers of Imagine for another perfectly coordinated event, enabling professional growth and providing inspiration to Magento community members.