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Aheadworks Attends Imagine 2018!

This year, Imagine, a Magento global eCommerce conference, will take place from April 22 till April 25 at Wynn, Las Vegas.Aheadworks Attends Imagine 2018!

We are happy to announce that our Strategic Partnerships team, including Vitaly Verbitsky, Aheadworks  VP of Partnerships and Sales, and Ekaterina Sobolkova, Aheadworks Partnerships and Sales manager, will represent our company at the upcoming conference!

At Imagine 2018, our colleagues will be happy to meet current and potential Aheadworks partners, discuss the topics related to partnership, the options for its further development, and answer all the related questions.

Please contact them personally to negotiate a meeting:

Vitaly Verbitsky – verbitsky@aheadworks.com
Ekaterina Sobolkovasobolkova@aheadworks.com

Aheadworks Strategic Partnerships team

7 Reasons to Make your Magento Site a PWA

Progressive web apps are a developing technology, and with Apple now supporting them in the latest iOS update, their time has come.

7 Reasons to Make your Magento Site a PWA

Transform your Magento website and store into a seamless mobile experience and gain a range of benefits!

What is a Progressive Web App?

Historically, for the most part, websites and apps were two very different beasts requiring duplication of effort (across iOS, Android, and other platforms) and creating competing ways to sell to customers.

Now, fortunately, web coding has caught up with smartphones. Progressive web apps (PWA’s) help your website become the app simplifying the workload for your business.

When accessed, the website creates an app icon (just like a shortcut) on the user’s device taking them straight to the site. It offers the benefits of update alerts always being current and secure by default with HTTPS and transport layer security, and much more.

1. Follow the Trend to Mobile

A growing percentage of users now do their shopping on a mobile device over a desktop website.

Research suggests over 27% will do so in 2018! That figure goes up as the age-range goes down, and mobile devices dominate internet browsing time.

Basically, your audience is going mobile, and you need to follow them. By updating your Magento 2 website to a PWA, you will do this efficiently and save on the cost of app development and subsequent maintenance and updates.

Advanced Search for Magento 2 by Aheadworks: Quick Product Search with Autocomplete Suggesions

When it comes to on-site search, a lot of online retailers definitely underestimate its importance and potential benefits.

Advanced Search for Magento 2 by Aheadworks: Quick Product Search with Autocomplete Suggesions

If we refer to the statistics, we’ll surprisingly reveal that:

  • 16% of websites do not allow searching by product names or models despite this information is contained on product pages;
  • 18% of websites provide no meaningful results even if a customer types only one character wrong;
  • 70% of websites require customers to use only specific words and expressions in order to get successful results;
  • Autocomplete suggestions are found on 82% of websites, but only 46% of them are considered to be quite useful and relevant.

* Source: AquireConver.

So, as the above statistics show, many customers face particular problems using on-site search during their shopping. If we additionally take into consideration that the visitors using search convert 5-6 times more often than the non-search ones, the situation appears to become a real loss of profits.

The search functionality is actually quite complicated and includes many components that need to work properly in order to make the whole process quick, straight, and effective. It comprises autocomplete suggestions, synonyms, recent search history, spelling corrections, and, of course, speed and usability.

And, if you want to provide your Magento 2 online store with all the above functions, you can definitely take advantage of the Advanced Search extension by Aheadworks. This brand-new extension includes all the above components and even more combined with the straightforward configuration of the search process.

Advanced Search for Magento 2

In general, the advanced search functionality of the extension can be divided into two units: the backend and frontend functionality.

Search Benefits for Customers

Search Pages

Search by products provided in Magento is not always enough for customers since sometimes, they need to find Magento static pages highlighting store policy terms or to clarify particular details about a certain product on blog or FAQ pages.

Aheadworks is Now Premier Magento Extension Builder!

Our team is happy to announce that recently, we’ve acquired the status of Magento Premier Extension Builder!

Aheadworks is Now the Premier Magento Extension Builder!

Aheadworks is a reliable provider of high-quality Magento extensions with thousands of clients all over the world. In our work, we are guided by the following principles and goals:

  • Rich functionality;
  • High-quality code;
  • Advanced UI and UX;
  • Magento coding standards conformance;
  • Extensive testing and cross-platform support;
  • Web API support and PWA-readiness.

Ecommerce Performance Enhancements with the Aheadworks Extensions

When utilized properly, sales funels help to improve the whole analytical process.
Ecommerce Performance Enhancements with the Aheadworks Extensions

In our previous article, we explained an approach to ecommerce performance tracking based on sales funnel models. Today, we’ll discuss how sales funnels help to improve ecommerce business performance. Additionally, we’ll consider the Aheadworks extensions able to produce a positive effect on your KPI’s.

The Indirect Impact Zone and the Area of Direct Influence

By the levels of influence, each sales funnel has two areas: the so-called ‘Indirect Impact Zone’ and the area of direct influence.

The first one can be influenced only indirectly since most of the traffic sources do not really belong to a company.

The second one is entirely formed on our side where the success is significantly determined by our actions.

The indirect and direct influence areas of a sales funnel

The indirect and direct influence areas of a sales funnel

Also, any funnel has its own diameter and flow rate determining its potential throughput. For the ecommerce sector, the limitations of diameter are mostly determined by server capabilities, which can be easily expanded if necessary.

FAQ 1.1: Question Submission Forms on FAQ Article Pages

Each Magento store owner has a lot to tell customers, and customers have even more to ask.

FAQ 1.1: Question Submission Forms on FAQ Article Pages

That’s really the situation when you can take advantage of the FAQ extension for Magento 2 to the fullest. So, since we clearly understand that many people are in dire need of this functionality, we continue improving this extension regularly and have just recently released a new version of the module.

Below are presented the main features of FAQ 1.1 for Magento 2.

New Functionality

Ask Questions on Article Pages

This function is another step towards close communication with customers and a great opportunity to simplify the whole process of submitting questions.

From now on, customers are able to ask questions directly on article pages. A visitor has to fill three fields: name, email, and question. As soon as the question is submitted, a store admin will receive a email notification (if the corresponding option is enabled in the extension’s settings).

Ecommerce Performance Tracking with Sales Funnels

We all know that ecommerce performance tracking is complicated. The number of existing metrics and parameters is over 100 and even more.

Ecommerce Performance Tracking with Sales Funnels

However, it’s well known that if you try to accomplish too many tasks simultaneously, you will be successful with none. So, what is the most appropriate number of measurements for daily tracking? Let’s find out.

Ecommerce Sales Funnel Examples

5-level Sales Funnel

Of course, it depends on your goal, but most likely, daily monitoring is accomplished to make sure that everything goes as planned. So, in this case, is the amount of sales is going to be enough for daily tracking? Well, not quite.

The thing is that sales describe only the bottom line of a business but do not actually explain the conditions and circumstances shaping the result. It may happen that sales remain fixed, while some other factors begin changing.

So, using sales as the only KPI, we are deprived of the possibility to detect early negative shifts in the environment or inside the company.

But how many KPI’s for daily tracking do we need? According to the Miller’s law, the number of objects an average human can keep in mind at a time is 7 ± 2.

E-commerce Marketing Automations with the Aheadworks Extensions

By automating routine marketing tasks with right tools, web merchants can organize their e-commerce operations more productively.

Ecommerce Marketing Automations with the Aheadworks Extensions

Today, we will discuss the most powerful e-commerce marketing automations to be performed in a Magento 2 store with the Aheadworks extensions.

Why Automate?

When properly utilized, the automation of marketing process becomes an indispensable solution for every online store. The stats below just prove this importance:

  • Consider that 68% of web marketers believe that automation boosts customer engagement;
  • More to it, 58% view automation as a tool that ensures additional revenue opportunities;
  • And, for 58% of marketers, e-commerce marketing automation streamlines communication with customers.

So, what are the tools able to prove all the above figures? We’ll find them soon, but before we need to find out the key e-commerce marketing aspects that should be automated.

Email Campaigns

When arranging multiple email campaigns at a time, it becomes difficult for marketers to manually track and fulfill all activities with multiple emails and even email chains. And, the larger the customer base in the store is, the more challenging this task might become.

Layered Navigation 1.8 Adds a Horizontal Filter Bar on Category Pages

The possibility to adjust the layered navigation bar to the layout and design of a web store’s category pages is able to improve overall usability and the convenience of catalog navigation for customers.

Layered Navigation 1.8 Adds a Horizontal Filter Bar on Category Pages

The latest Layered Navigation 1.8 extension for Magento 2 adds this very feature that has been long awaited by online merchants – horizontal filter bar.

Horizontal Filter Bar on Category Pages

The ability to use horizontal filter bars is undoubtedly beneficial for small business owners whose stores has the one-column layout on category pages. This way, shoppers get a great opportunity to smoothly navigate through the store catalog.

Horizontal Filter Bar Provided by Layered Navigation 1.8

Horizontal Filter Bar Provided by Layered Navigation 1.8

Small Business Kit: A Quick Start of your Business

Merchants who start an online business want to get a ready-to-operate web store asap without spending much time to find the solutions that suit their needs.

Small Business Kit: A Quick Start of your Business

Today, we will discuss the major issues every beginning store owner needs to take care of before entering the online market. Beyond this, we will cover the solutions able to handle those issues. So, let’s start with customer registration.

Customer Registration

With no doubt, nobody likes going through long and irritating registration forms in order to make purchases in a web store. And, the stats just prove this statement – 86% of shoppers opt out of stores that require them to create user accounts right off the bat.

Now let’s take a look at this issue from the merchant’s perspective. Probably, the most obvious solution here is to allow customers to log in to the store with their social network accounts. This way, they will be able to flawlessly create accounts without the need to specify any personal info once again.

In this case you can think about offering several login options related to the most popular social networks so that the registration process will suit most of your customers apparently.

Free Webinar by Aheadworks: Five Tools and One Performance Management Method

On March 15, 5-00 PM (GMT), Aheadworks holds a new webinar. This time, we will talk about ecommerce performance analytics that should be properly carried out by every web store owner.

Free Webinar by Aheadworks: Five Tools and One Performance Management Method

Five analytical tools and one performance management method

able to enhance your sales funnel 

How to sell and track results efficiently

During the webinar, our speakers will highlight the ways facilitating the actual business efficiency and the analytical tools required to increase current sales.

The upcoming event will be particularly useful for both ecommerce startups and mature businesses looking for efficient analytics and performance solutions.

REGISTER NOW 

Speakers

Dmitry Shatkov, Aheadworks Chief Content Officer Dmitry Shatkov, Aheadworks Chief Content Officer
Artem Kuznetsov, Aheadworks Product Owner Artem Kuznetsov, Aheadworks Product Owner

The Most Important Email Marketing Trends in 2018

Email marketing remains one of the driving forces of e-commerce sales, and in 2018, its influence is predicted to grow even more.

Email Marketing Trends in 2018

Today, we will discuss the most promising email marketing trends of the current year.

Why Email Marketing?

By implementing email marketing strategies in their web stores, online merchants primarily get the following benefits:

  • Loyalty Establishment. By sending customers emails with relevant and informative content, merchants establish credibility and, as a result, strong relationships with their target audience.
  • Time & Money Saving. By scheduling email chains instead of individual messaging, merchants save their time. Besides this, email marketing is more cost-effective compared to other forms of advertising.
  • Better Visibility. Since people tend to regularly check their mailboxes, there is a high chance that they will be timely informed about brand’s new offers and engaged with the promotional content.

Undoubtedly, every store owner expects that all the above benefits will be followed by traffic and sales increases, which is quite right.

Email Marketing Future Perspectives

Email marketing trends often change, so merchants should stay abreast of the latest tendencies to make the most of their email campaigns.

In one of our previous articles, we already talked about such a promising email marketing trend as personalization. Now, we will explore some other equally important tendencies that will significantly influence the development of advertising emails in 2018.

Email Automation by Audience Segments

Automated email campaigns segmented by multiple customer audiences can bring great benefits to merchants.

The stats recently presented by the Direct Marketing Association show that targeted emails can increase total email returns on investments up to 77%. Such an impressive figure proves that customers willingly opt for the brands that offer them relevant content in their promotional emails.

A Quick Guide to Popups in E-commerce

Popups are the windows that appear on site pages informing users about the latest brand’s offers.

A Quick Guide to Popups in Ecommerce

Popups are among the strongest marketing tools in the e-commerce area. Today, we will describe their peculiarities and bring some examples of their implementation on retail websites. So, let’s start.

Why Popups?

The primary goal of a popup is to motivate certain customer actions. Those actions might vary depending on the message of a particular popup.

For example, popups work great for increasing the number of email subscribers. Several years ago, the Nikki, In Stitches handmade accessories store managed to drive 1,375% more email subscriptions through popups than through its sidebar subscription form.

Popup Types

According to particular visitors’ actions on a site, store owners can show them the following popup types:

  • Exit-intent popups. These popups are shown when a user tries to leave a site. More specifically, the system tracks the movement of the visitor’s cursor on a particular site page and displays the related popup when the cursor leaves the area of the current browser window. This way, the brand presents its offers to leaving visitors to keep them longer on its site.
  • Scroll-based popups. Scroll-based popups appear when the user views a certain percent of a site page determined by a store admin. E-commerce stores frequently use this popup type on their blog pages. This way, they introduce their offers to users who engaged with a certain amount of the content on particular site pages.
  • Time-based popups. Popups of this type are displayed a while after the user opened a site page. Again, this value is set by the store admin. Time-based popups make their best when they appear 60 seconds or later after visitors load the page. At this point, they are already engaged with the content of the page, and, thus, more inclined to accept the displayed offers.
  • Content-based popups. This traditional type of popups is shown to users when they open particular site pages, such as, say, home, catalog, product, category, and other ones.

Based on the above popup types, store owners can determine the most appropriate ‘moment of interaction’ with their site powered by popups.

Now, let’s walk through several examples that will help us understand for what purposes online merchants can utilize popups in their stores.

Popup Usage Examples

Welcoming Popup

We begin our quick tour from the so-called ‘welcoming popup’ used by the Naja underwear web store. The popup is shown to users once they visit the store for the first time and offers a special discount on the first purchase for each new email subscriber.

In this way, the brand welcomes new visitors to its site. Moreover, it presents particular offers in a short and easy-to-understand form prompting visitors to become email subscribers with the words ‘be our special guest’ that creates the feeling of a unique offer available for each website visitor.

MAGENTO SECURITY PATCH SUPEE-10570 RELEASED

SUPEE-10570, Magento Commerce 1.14.3.8 and Open Source 1.9.3.8 contain multiple security enhancements that help close remote code execution (RCE), cross-site scripting (XSS, and other issues. These releases also include small functional fixes listed in the release notes.

NOTE: Magento was recently informed about an issue with both patch SUPEE-10570 and Magento versions 1.9.3.8/1.14.3.8 that could result in the inability of customers to complete checkout when trying to register during checkout. Magento is now providing an updated patch (SUPEE-10570v2) that no longer causes this issue.

Patches and upgrades are available for the following Magento versions:

  • Magento Commerce 1.9.0.0-1.14.3.7: SUPEE-10570 or upgrade to Magento Commerce 1.14.3.8
  • Magento Open Source 1.5.0.0-1.9.3.7: SUPEE-10570 or upgrade to Magento Open Source 1.9.3.8

There were several CVSSv3 Severity issues found which affected the Magento products. Below are the few bugs:

Issue Type: Remote Code Execution (RCE)

 

CVSSv3 Severity Security Bug Description
9.8 (High) Remote Code Execution Using XML Injection An administrator with limited privileges can insert injectable XML into the layout table, which can create an opportunity for remote code execution.
9.8 (Critical) Remote Code Execution – additional fix not included in SUPEE-9652 A user can insert information in a return path, thereby storing information on the file system that could lead to Remote Code Execution (RCE).
8.9 (High) Remote Code Execution by (semi-)arbitrary file deletion for admin users with access to Import. An administrator with Import permissions can import an XML file that could potentially provide an opportunity for Remote Code Execution (RCE).
7.2 (High) Remote Code Execution in Staging Environment An administrator with limited privileges can inject a malformed configuration bypass, which could potentially lead to a file redirection that could be leveraged for arbitrary remote code execution.

 

Issue Type: Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)

 

6.4 (Medium) Cross-Site Request Forgery in Store Backups An administrator can be tricked into performing a system backup by an attacker who has crafted a targeted Cross-Site Request forgery (CSRF) attack.

 

Issue Type: Cross-site Scripting (XSS) – stored

 

5.0(Medium) Cross-site Scripting in CMS hierarchy An administrator with limited privileges can insert script into the CMS hierarchy, which could potentially result in a stored cross-site scripting that affects other administrators.
5.0(Medium) Cross-site Scripting in Custom Variables An administrator with limited privileges can insert script in the custom variables name field, which could potentially result in stored cross-site scripting that affects other administrators.

Source: Magento

It is highly recommended by Magento to deploy these new releases right away, to ensure optimal security and performance. Remember to implement and test the patch in a development environment first to confirm that it works as expected or consult a professional.

What else can be done to protect a Magento site?

Apart from installing the security patches, you can always ask Magento certified professionals to conduct a security audit every quarter to ensure that your store is secured especially if you have installed new extensions and made some changes to the site.
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Consult our certified Magento developers, if you want to implement this security patch or have any questions regarding the Magento security SUPEE-10570 patch, please contact our support team.

How to Use Coupon Codes in an E-commerce Store: Best Ideas

Customers love discounts, and one of the ways to provide these discounts in a web store is to use coupon codes.

How to Use Coupon Codes in an Ecommerce Store: Best Ideas

In fact, coupon codes with special offers contribute to building long-term customer loyalty. Today, we will talk about the most efficient ways of using digital coupons.

Coupon Code Key Stats

Last year, the Deal Nerd resource conducted a survey of coupon code usage in e-commerce stores. According to its results, 68% of respondents said that they would leave a store that doesn’t offer coupon codes.

Moreover, 54% of shoppers expect to receive discounts as coupon codes sent by email. As a result, 83% of the stores surveyed use email as the top channel for coupon code distribution.

The above figures just prove that coupon codes can greatly increase revenues of any e-commerce store. Now, let’s walk through several important tips telling how to properly utilize digital coupon codes.

Coupon Code Best Practices

Take Advantage of Customer Segmentation

The first thing that should be kept in mind when using coupon codes is that they should be segmented by a customer group. This way, your offers will always be presented to the right audience.

Notice that you can adjust your coupon codes not only for on-site visitors but also for particular email subscribers by sending them coupon codes by email. As a result, you will be guaranteed that your loyal shoppers will not miss any of your special offers.