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Natalia Korol Posts

E-commerce Potentials in China

Get to Know About E-Commerce Trends and Magento in the Most Exciting Online Market Worldwide.

According to eMarketer’s latest forecasts, in 2014, for the first time, consumers in Asia-Pacific will spend more on ecommerce purchases than those in North America, making it the largest regional ecommerce market in the world.

Beginning in 2016, China will overtake the US in spending

The eMarketer report also notes that ‘the Chinese e-commerce market is second only to the US, but this is not expected to last much longer’.

This year alone, business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce sales are expected to reach $525.2 billion in the region, compared with $482.6 billion in North America.

Recently we’ve expanded our partner program with Bluecom Solutions in Asia and asked Patrick Deloy, Executive Director, to comment on China’s e-commerce market and its path to world domination.

Bluecom’s expertise is in the planning, development, and support of complex e-commerce platforms for medium to large international B2C and B2B companies.

Bluecom has offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong & Vietnam and focuses especially on the China and APAC online markets.

What’s the percentage of the Magento market share in China?

I would position it somewhere at 2-3% of the market maybe. Unfortunately I do not have specific numbers for that, but we can see more and more merchants in the region (multinational companies as well as local companies) looking closely at Magento to set up their e-commerce operations in China and the APAC region.

Two of the main reasons are that the implementation budgets are usually a bit lower than in Europe or the US, and Magento can flexibly adjust to the local requirements (e.g. payment integration, checkout modification, logistics connection etc.).

Case Study: How to Draw Visitor’s Attention to Ads


Today we’d like to share with you a case study from our good old partner Speroteck. The company joined our partner program over two years ago and specializes in providing custom Magento development and support. It also offers SEO and AdWords management services.

Read on to learn what challenges the developers have faced implementing the Pop-Up+ extension to capture visitors’ attention.

We will continue to publish more cases to this section giving insight into Magento deployment and extensions customization highlighting our partners and demonstrating how they solve merchants’ needs.

Want to highlight your project? Please get in touch with me at korol@aheadworks.com

Nature’s fabrics Overview

Nature’s fabrics is a family operated business. It offers a complete line of earth friendly fabrics to help diaper your little one and clothe yourself in the greatest comfort while decreasing your exposure to many of the toxic chemicals used in the textile industry. The company’s goal is to provide the very best fabric, quickly and affordably.


The client faced the problem: how to capture the attention of visitors on specific information shown in simple banners or other informational ads on which customers usually do not pay attention.

In most cases this information is important and contains sales promotions or changes in Terms and Conditions of the site. The Client asked for our recommendations on how to place such worthwhile information in the way to attract visitors and keep their interest.

Prepare your Magento Store for Valentine’s Day and Make the Most of this Event

Valentine’s Day is one of the major events on the retail shopping calendar and one of the largest spending holidays following winter shopping season. According to Statistic Brain, the average annual Valentine’s Day spending is $13.19 billion.

To attract the attention of your customers and make the most of this holiday, you have to start preparing your Magento store right now.

Consider the following ideas for your To Do List, which, by the way, show great results for our own store too.

Big promotion on homepage

Make sure visitors know you have something they will be interested in right from the home page. Prominently displayed Image Sliders on your site is a sure-fire way to boost sales and attract holiday shoppers. Configure the animation, speed, and effects of banners rotation and let this Magento module do the whole job for you.

Image Slider

Image Slider

Grab your visitors’ attention with a limited time offer

You may also want to consider putting in a countdown promotion showing how much time longer the sale/promo is going to last. The visitor will see an eye-catching timer on Home page or any product pages with a small description and call to action text, e.g.: ‘Hurry up, this knock out offer only available for 24 hours’. Countdown has proved to be a great ready-made solution that will do this for you.

Countdown on aheadWorks home page

Countdown on aheadWorks home page

Magento Offers Huge Opportunities for Family Owned Companies to Spread their Wings.

‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ sang Marilyn Monroe and nothing changed since that time. Why I tell you about these rocks? Because in this blog post we spotlight a jewelry website run on a Magento platform with over 30,000 products in their catalog. Impressing, isn’t it? What impressed me more is the company’s 40-year history and… beautiful gems of course.

Recently I spoke to Kara Mangiere, Director of E-Commerce at J.R. Dunn Jewelers, to learn more about a key to a long-lasting business behind the company.

Kara Mangiere

Director of E-Commerce at J.R. Dunn Jewelers
I have used aheadWorks with two different organizations and I think one of the things that developers will consistently find is a very responsive support team offering a suite of stable and reliable extensions for Magento. Sadly that is not the case with every extension development team creating Magento add-ons.

Who: jrdunn.com

What: J.R. Dunn Jewelers has been synonymous with excellence as an authorized dealer for luxury lines such as Breitling, John Hardy, Roberto Coin and Mikimoto. For over 40 years, three generations of the family name have served customers through its 8,000 square foot retail store and website jrdunn.com.

Where: Lighthouse Point, FL USA

The physical store appeared over 40 years ago. What made you go online?

In 2005 many independent jewelers felt people who were buying jewelry on the internet were not their customers. Fortunately for J.R. Dunn Jewelers, they decided not to take that approach and embraced the web and launched their e-commerce site in 2005 long before many jewelry designers had considered a web presence. The company soon discovered that the web offered an amazing opportunity to cultivate new clients both domestic and international.

aheadMetrics: Evolving from Beta to Stable with Subscription Plans and Free Trial

You know how crucial real-time sales statistics can be to an e-commerce site. Especially during the holiday season, when consumer spending reaches the highest point of the year.

But this blog post will not focus on how to maximize your sales. We’re going to focus on sales analytics provided by aheadMetrics reporting service and its exit from beta. So, if you are not using it, it’s high time to try!

Artyom Rabzonov, aheadMetrics coordinator, describes the service this way: “Our service is tailored to measure very specific parameters (sales, customers and orders) in contrast to other instruments aimed to track all metrics together. …All data is updated in real-time meaning there is no 24-hour delay when a vendor has to wait for the actual statistics.”


From Beta to Stable

After lots of work from the team, we’re thrilled to introduce a stable version of aheadMetrics. Since April, 2013 we’ve been chipping away at bugs and increasing performance bar. The aheadMetrics subscription service is 5 times faster since our very first release.

We’re also announcing subscription plans, and a few features that we think will appeal to aheadMetrics users including subscription plans, the ability to display charts in Magento backend, and a revamped reports panel.

Serious about Starting an Online Business? Then Use a Serious Platform like Magento.

Last time we found out the position of Magento in Hungary, and today we move to the Netherlands.

CactusPlaza came into existance around 12 years ago where student Allard wrote articles on cactus cultivation and shared his propagation experience during and after his study biology. After he started to get a lot of e-mails with a question like “Can you sell me some of those plants…” a small shop was born.

I spoke with CactusPlaza’s owner and managing director Allard Bax to learn more about making an eCommerce store from scratch.

Who: cactusplaza.com

What: CactusPlaza.com is an online shop in Cacti & Succulents and other Exotic plants. We ship plants, seeds, and accessories. We started our website around 12 years ago. There have been many changes over the years.

We are using Magento for 3 years and last year we started using aheadWorks extensions with much satisfaction.

Where: Roden, The Netherlands

Q: You have been running your store for 12 years. How many people work in your company?

Allard: 2 people and occasionally 1 or 2 more.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your business, and how you became involved with Magento.

Allard: We started with Oscommerce. We were hitting a wall in terms of SEO and website functionality. Besides this we needed restyling. Magento is one of the leading open source shopping systems and we heard good things about it.

Search Autocomplete and Suggest in use. ‘We were not completely happy with the default Magento search tool. The Search Autocomplete and Suggest extension is a must have.’

Q: What was the hardest thing in launching a Magento store?

Allard: There is a learning curve if you want to do everything yourself. Tuning your extensions and your hosting so everything is running as best as possible – that was the hardest to accomplish.

Q: Why did you choose aheadWorks as a Magento extensions provider?

Allard: Having many different extensions with different companies is, in my opinion, inefficient in terms of time management, communication with programmers and costs.

Besides of this, the risk of having technical conflicts between extensions tends to be much bigger if you work with many different extensions from different companies.

We choose aheadWorks because they have the best and largest range of Magento extensions. Their programming is clean which keeps our website as fast as possible and their service is also swift and friendly.

Magento Success Story – Remaining Afloat in B2C Ecommerce Market for 14 Years

In this Magento success story we showcase WebAruhaz, the first webshop in Hungary that is still in operation today.

Like many eCommerce stores, Szabolcs Banffy, CEO and Chief Development Officer of WebAruhaz, started off using the OSC solution. As the store continued to expand, however, changing to another platform came into question. Szabolcs was thinking of creating his own shop system until he discovered Magento.

Who: webaruhaz.hu

What: Online and offline shop for printers, printing supplies, toners and ink cartridges.

Where: Budapest, Hungary

Magento store use case

Q. How long have you been running your store?

Szabolcs: We’ve had the online shop open since 1999. Our physical shop opened in 2004.

Q. How many people work in your company?

Szabolcs: 5-8 people are working for us generally.

Q. Tell us a little about your business, and how you became involved with Magento.

Szabolcs: The first shops we created were rental shops: for other people to rent and use, not for our own use. We chose the domain name at a time when online shopping was mostly unheard of. It was only later that we realized we had a very good name (webáruház means webshop). This gave us a big advantage, even though it was not purposeful. 🙂

We are the first webshop in Hungary that is still in operation today. We opened our own shop in 2004. With free solutions to create your own store, leasing online shops became a thing of the past. This is when we started using the OSC solution. We were using that for 7 years.

With development being stopped on it, changing to another shop system became more and more of an issue. The code had been modified so heavily, it was easier to completely switch to a new system. For quite a while, we were thinking about creating our own shop system from scratch. We invested a lot of time into researching other shop systems, both free and commercial ones. Finally, Magento came into picture.

aheadWorks extensions in use
Z-Blocks above and below the header on the checkout page.

Customer Success Story: a Way to Increase Mobile Sales by 15%

There are million Magento stores with a wide range of extensions aimed at engaging customers and helping merchants boost sales.

Since I like to see what solutions the store owners have chosen for these purposes, I’d like to share with you a success story I’ve got from one of our customers. Read on to learn how iPhone Theme helped Zap Sweets increase mobile sales by 15%.

Who: zapsweets.co.uk

What: Not only does Zap Sweets specialize in bulk confectionery but they stock a vast range of wholesale retro sweets, chocolate, fudge, American candy, drinks and lots, lots more.

Where: London, UK

Q: Tell us a little about your business, and how you became involved with Magento.

A: The business was initially established in 2009 after planning to launch an online e-commerce store. Whilst many ideas were discussed, finally the idea of creating a confectionery store that was a fun, modern environment where customers could browse and reminisce about sweets from the past won the battle!

When the researching began, we researched many shopping carts to find the most suitable to the business. Magento was our favorite from the very start. It was packed full of features and could be easily customized to our needs.

Q: So, you had no experience with Magento. What was the hardest thing in launching an ecommerce store?

A: Launching our Magento store took around 3-4 months from start to finish. The majority of the time was spent adding products and uploading good quality images to attract customers to our store.

We also spent a lot of time optimizing and tuning our store to ensure that it runs at lightening speeds! We combined and tweaked the JS/CSS files to ensure that any unused code was removed. We also took full advantage of the .htaccess file and installed Varnish on our VPS server which cut loading times by almost 3s! It has paid off in the long run as our customers often compliment us on our fast site.

aheadWorks extensions in use

How to Increase Sales by 8% with only 4 Items in Catalog

This month we’ll spotlight Magento store that has only – attention – four items in the catalog, Kirkland Science Labs!

‘Life should be good’ the company’s slogan says, and the business IS good confirms Brad Dennis, the store owner I had the chance to talk to. Read on to learn the company’s follow up strategy and how the store managed to increase sales by 8%.

Who: kirklandsciencelabs.com

What: Kirkland Science Labs design and sell supplement stacks. A stack is a synergistic formulation of nutrients that work together to help you achieve your goals faster.

Where: Seattle, US

Q: How you became involved with Magento?

A: We have been running our store a little over a year. But we used this platform for an earlier business so we had experience with Magento.

Q: What was the hardest thing in launching a Magento-based store?

A: Design is definitely the hardest part. It’s a real intensive process getting the store & emails themed and developed the way you want. Especially with add-ons.

aheadWorks extensions in use

Image Slider, Featured Products, Z-Blocks & Knowledge Base in use.

Dealing with the new, resource-intensive platform

Many store owners often ask me how to take part in our regular ‘Store of the Month’ section and submit their store. Well, there are no explicit steps. Some merchants showcase their stores in our forum, others left reviews on the extensions they’ve bought on the product pages. So, any activity is welcome!

This time I had the opportunity to interview Stefan Schwann, the chief of web development and design of electronic4you, to gain some insights into what goes into creating a Magento store from scratch and why the platform continues to be so popular.

Who: http://electronic4you.at

What: This Austria based retailer sells electronic items, like TV’s, audio products, handies, smartphones, tablet computers, etc. They sell products online and provide shipping within the country and outside Austria.

electronic4you has eight stores were customers can pick up their online orders or take a look at a product before buying it.

The company’s goal is to provide the best quality, price and customer service.

Where: Klagenfurt, Austria

Q. What attracted electronic4you to Magento?

A. Back in 2010, when we began the development of our store we faced the problem of choosing a platform.

We carefully analyzed pros and cons of existing ecommerce platforms and the decision fell to Magento. It was the best platform existing on the market at that time.

Magento can handle a huge amount of products and orders without any problems and the customization of the look and feel is also easy.

aheadWorks extensions in use

Focusing on a better product visibility with Magento extensions

I had a chance to prove the theory that you are just six degrees of separation from anyone in the world recently. Reviewing our customers stores to choose the one for my ‘Store of the Month’ section I stumbled on Dip ‘N Dive.

The first thing that attracted my attention was the fact that the store used 12 aheadWorks extensions, quite many, I thought. Secondly, they had been involved with Magento for two years.

As chance would have it, Oleksiy Chaukin, the person I contacted, appeared to be our former countryman. Moreover, the friend who recommended Oleksiy extensions happened to know aheadWorks owners. In my case the chain of acquaintances had four intermediaries. 😉

Who: dipndive.com

What: Established in 1976, Dip ‘N Dive maintains a full service retail store, travel department, teaching facility and repair center. For over 30 years Dip ‘n Dive has been instructing and outfitting divers all over the world. At dipndive.com they train new divers, advanced divers, master divers, or even dive masters and instructors. The retail store features the latest in diving equipment from nationally recognized manufacturers.

Where: Buffalo, NY, USA

aheadWorks extensions in use

How to get discount from aheadWorks

In this post I’d like to tell you about aheadWorks coupons, discounts and loyalty program and how you can get a significant discount even in your first order.

aheadWorks store is empowered with the in-house module Magento Points & Rewards. With the help of this Magento extension we reward our customers for simple things such as signing up for a site, newsletter subscription, posting a review to a product, just to name a few.

The reward program is obvious and most customers can see it right away when they hit their account page.

Most our customers and potential customers are our Facebook fans and can use ‘Fan’s only 5% discount’ while placing an order too.

A picture is worth a thousand words. The graphic below explains how to get a discount on the spot.

Steps to get aheadWorks discount

Step 1

Steps to get discount

· Sign up for a new account – Get 1$ to your balance

· Subscribe for a newsletter – Get 2$ to your balance

Step 2
Steps to get discount

 · Find 5% off aheadWorks coupon code* on our Facebook page

*The aheadWorks coupon code works for 1 order only.

Step 3
Steps to get discount

 · Add the second item to cart – Get extra 5% off your entire order.

These three discounts can work together.

Moving from Magento Community to Enterprise

Thousands of companies are using Magento Enterprise to grow their online businesses. Today I sat down with Michael Carlisle, CTO at MusicShop, to learn more about the challenges they faced moving from Magento CE to Magento EE edition.

Who: MusicShop.com.au, Pushys.com.au

What: The Music Shop Online originally started out as an eBay store. It ran out of the Brisbane office of The Music Shop retail store in Australia. As the eBay store grew, the Managing Directors could see the potential for the online market space, and decided to launch its own website called MusicShop.com.au in 2007 and consequently had to move into their own 400m square warehouse in Salisbury, Brisbane Australia.

Over the past 4-5 years, MusicShop.com.au has grown considerably and has added Pushys.com.au to their online business, which sells cycling accessories and components. Because of this growth, MusicShop.com.au and Pushys.com.au moved into a much larger distribution centre boasting 2500m square warehouse space at the start of 2012.

Where: Salisbury, Brisbane Australia

Q: You own two stores. How long have you been running each of them?

A: MusicShop.com.au has been running since 2007. Pushys.com.au commenced on July 2011.

Q: Tell us a little about your business, and how you became involved with Magento.

A: We initially became involved with Magento very early on when the platform was in Beta stage in 2007.

Even in Magento’s Beta form, it still boasted better features and options than what was offered at the time on other platforms. And of course, it was open source.

More so than, Magento offered a very active community on their forums for support, and a positive development path which was key to us joining so early on.

aheadWorks extensions in use

Store spotlight: Magento as a natural progression of change

Hi there and welcome back to our ‘Store of the Month’ series. It has been always interesting to learn how our customers came up with Magento platform, what features attracted them most of all, and what issues they probably faced.

Today I had a chance to speak with Jerome Ng, an aheadWorks community member and a General Manager of online audio products shop TREOO. Jerome can be rightfully considered a pioneer for Magento, as they started to use the platform when Magento was at its infant stages.

In this interview, Jerome expands on moving from Zen Cart and his attempt to self code.

Who: http://www.treoo.com

What: TREOO.com is a Singapore based e-retailer of genuine portable audio products. They provide an online platform that connects distributors & manufacturers of audio brands to audiophile clients.

Where: Singapore, Singapore

Q: How long have you been running your store?

A: We have been in business since October 2008, so up to 3 years and running.

Q: Tell us a little about your business, and how you became involved with Magento.

A: We started with simple accessories shop on Zen Cart, drop shipping products from Apple accessories to even sex toys during our startup period. It was a period of trial and error, learning to code and to design. Nobody saw it coming to today’s success.

We improved on our site design till we meet Logitech who wanted to utilize our platform to develop their eCommerce project. We realized that this was a great opportunity to tap on and to improve the site.

Magento was new but it was a platform that people were talking about. There were so many great things about an eCommerce store that allowed people to easily upgrade their sites (as compared to Zencart). So, it was a natural move (except for the harder migration part).

aheadWorks extensions in use

4th of July Sale – All Extensions 20% Off

4th of July Sale - all modules 20% off

July 4 is Independence Day in the USA that is associated with fireworks, parades, fairs, and… Sales.

Join us in celebrating this holiday! Today you can save 20% on any Magento extension at our store.

Shop now, as this is One Day Only Offer!