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eCommerce

The latest in news, how to's and best practices for your eCommerce applications.

Posted by on in eCommerce

While researching for this blog post, I found many arguments saying that because Google does such a great job at returning search results, site search was no longer necessary.  While I find that Google does do an amazing job at returning fast, accurate results,  a really good eCommerce site can still benefit from having a site search box. 

 Noggin Nugget: Up to 30% of eCommerce visitors will use internal site search.1

Have you ever visited a site and typed a product into the search bar only to get a “not found” message or even a set of results not even closely related to what you were interested in finding?  Frustrating, isn’t it?  This has caused me to exit a site right from my search results many times. If your website has site search, do you know how well it is performing?  Do a bit of research.  Search for a few of your own products. What results are shown?  Are they accurate?

The purpose of site search should be to help your customers find exactly what they came for.  Allegro has a way to help you do just that, but first, let’s talk a bit about how site search also helps you make business decisions.

You can derive valuable customer behavior data from the terms customers type into your search box.  Your visitors are telling you exactly what they are looking for and the terms they are using to describe it can be helpful when developing new content or optimizing to improve conversions.  Take a look at your site search reports.  Review the terms being used to find things on your website.  See how those search terms align with your keyword strategies.  You can improve retention rates by ensuring that the terms customers use are found.  Also, are there searches for content that you do not have? Let's say customers consistently search for product spec sheets.  If you do not have them, you should. How about different naming conventions for products? ie. Power Tools vs. Battery Operated Tools.  This is a great opportunity to ensure that you are referring to products in the same way as visitors.

Getting back to helping your customers find exactly what they are looking for...

Allegro offers a Modified Search Module that creates efficient search capabilities and allows your results to be faster and more relevant.   This easy to install module adds to the existing Magento Quick Search and empowers site admins to assign weighted values to searchable attributes and weights to how the word was found. At the same time, you can improve search process by setting search priority for attributes. For example, that first it should search in product name, then in product description and only after that in all other attributes.

 Easy to install using the Magento Connect Manager

 Matento Search Module

 

  Easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for configuring the module

Search Module Configuration

Fast, accurate search results

Magento Search Module Results

 

  

For more information on Allegro's Modified Search Module or to purchase, visit AllegroConsultants.com.  

 

1. https://econsultancy.com/blog/10407-site-search-for-e-commerce-13-best-practice-tips#i.e6bb0iahterern   

 

 

 

 

 

 

OneSource ERP, Allegro's ERP integrated eCommerce solution, is built on the Magento platform.  While Magento has excellent out-of-the-box SEO functionality, you may want to take it a bit further.  Allegro can help you optimize your site for favorable search engine results, market your site for increased sales and profits and monitor your site for marketing opportunities and/or indicators of a problem. 

 

1. Google Analytics

Analytics is a set of measurements that will help you understand your website performance.  By monitoring visitor interaction with your site, you will be able to make informed decisions regarding where to best focus your efforts in making your site as profitable as it can be. Allegro can set up your analytics account and connect it with your e-commerce website.  We can help you understand how to monitor your website performance so that you can maximize and focus your marketing efforts.

2. Google Adwords

Adwords is Google’s advertising system that allows you to bid on keywords so that your clickable ads will appear in search results.  Many businesses have found success using AdWords to drive traffic to their site.  Allegro can help you create an AdWords account, set up a campaign and monitor results using Google analytics. 

3. Integrations

Magento is very flexible and offers numerous opportunities for marketing integrations.  By automating your email marketing efforts, you can quickly and effectively send marketing messages to certain segments of customers or your entire customer base.  Mailchimp is an excellent marketing automation tool.  We use it so it's easy for us to recommend to our customers.  Let us show you how to integrate Mailchimp with Magento to create engaging marketing campaigns.

Contact Allegro for more information about integrating your ERP with Magento and our related services that will help you get the most from your SEO efforts.

Posted by on in eCommerce

If there is one thing you should consider for your 2017 inbound marketing plan, it's finally starting your business blog.

You have most likely heard that blogging is important, but let's be real, it's just ONE MORE THING to add to your to do list. Well, that may be true but a little effort can go a long way when it comes to the benefits of blogging. I'm going to share a few of the biggest reasons to make starting a blog a priority.

 

B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads than those that do not.1Tweet: B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads than those that do not. http://bit.ly/2jchIRZ

 

1. A blog can help drive traffic to your website - New and updated content signals search engines to check in on your website and see whats changed or added. It shows you are actively managing your content. Now, let's think back to 2016.  How many times did you add content to your site?  I don't just mean simple product addition, but keyword laden, optimized, searchable content.   Blogging is the opportunity to consistently add content. You are creating more pages for search engines to index and creating another opportunity for your website to show up in search results.

2. A blog can help to establish thought leadership - Use your blog to answer questions or address concerns that your customers have had. Show customers that you are attentive and knowledgeable.  If you are able to continually provide helpful and/or interesting content you will be turned to repeatedly for your knowledge.  **This is a good place to mention that you should empower your employees to write blog posts.  The people that sell your products and services will/should know the most ;-)

3. A blog will help to convert traffic into leads - EVERY well-written blog should include a lead generating call-to-action. Send your readers to your website where they can download a white paper or free e-book, access a webinar or free trial in exchange for their contact information.  BOOM!  You now have a new prospect to market to.

 

 

Noggin Nugget: Check out this case study published by HubSpot. It shows how blogging, as part of your inbound marketing plan, can increase your traffic significantly.

b2ap3_thumbnail_How-One-Companys-Investment-in-Blogging---SEO-Increased-Traffic-By-Over-2-500-in-One-Year.png

 

 

Following up on last months blog -

Managing Your End-of-Year eCommerce Reporting and Analysis

Did you know that you are not limited to the reports available using Magento's reporting feature? 

Allegro can help you accomplish your reporting goals by extracting and organizing your data to create a custom reports that fit your needs.  What if you could be provided a clearer picture of your business' performance?  Maybe you would like a report that shows sales by category or payment type or even which products were most added to carts and then abandoned.  We can help you get the data you need to make informed business decisions.  

Contact Allegro for more information about how to get the data you want and need from your Magento store.    

 

1. https://www.insideview.com/social-selling/

 

Now that the end of the year is upon us, it's time to see how well your eCommerce site did in terms of sales and marketing. Magento makes reporting easy with built in sales, product, and customer reports.  You can access all of the reports in the admin section.  You will see a variety of options to choose from.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Magento-Reports.png         

Consider taking a look at the following:

Total online sales - What portion of your total business income came from eCommerce sales? 1

New customers - How many new customers registered and bought something from your eCommerce site?  

Best selling products - Plan for next years product offerings and inventory levels by finding out which of your products are best sellers.

Coupon usage statistics - Are your promotional campaigns successful?  Do you need to revamp your strategy?

* Did you know that Allegro has an optional custom extension that supports coupon use back to the ERP?  If you'd like to learn more about this and other available extensions, visit http://allegroconsultants.com/erp-applications/extensions.

You can set up a report in just a few simple steps and the process is basically the same for all reports.  You may remember that we went over this in the first blog in this series - Using the Abandoned Carts Report.

I'll quickly review it here using the sales report as an example.

Running a Sales Report in Magento

Step 1: Select the report.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Sales-Report---Orders.png

 

 Step 2: Select reporting options.

View combined data for totals across all sites or select a singular site.  Select filters.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Sales-Report---set-up_20161228-155934_1.png

Step 3: View or export the completed report.

To simply view the report, either for quick analysis or to ensure accuracy before exporting, choose "Show Report".  When ready, choose the desired format and "Export".

  Sales-Report---View-or-Export_20161228-155955_1.png

Noggin nugget: e-Commerce-driven mobile revenue will surge by at least 50% by the end of 2017 2 

Following up on last months blog -

3 Essential SEO Elements that Should Never be Overlooked

Did you know that optimizing images can also contribute to quality SEO?  It isn't just about choosing the right image for your product or article, but also giving it a good title tag and alt text.

The title tag is shown as a tooltip when you hover over the element.  While not required, it can prove useful in certain situations.  For example, let's say that your image is actually a "Buy Now" button. Your title tag could contain, "Buy my new cookbook now for only $9.99!"  The tag offers and additional call to action.

The alt text describes what’s on the image and the function of the image on the page.  Used by screen readers, the browsers used by blind and visually impaired people, alt text will tell them what is on the image. So using the button example from above, the alt text could read, "button to buy new cookbook".

There is much more to know about selecting, using and optimizing images for SEO.  If this is something you would like me to dive deeper into, let me know by leaving a comment below.

 

1. The online sales report will only show sales through the website.  OneSource ERP customers will need to check their ERP for a complete sales picture.

2. Think Tank Gartner via https://reviewsquirrel.com/ecommerce-trends/

 

There are 3 essential SEO elements that should never be overlooked when optimizing an ecommerce site.  They are the Title Tag, Header Tag, and Meta Description.

As we all know, SEO can improve the visibility of your website, increase traffic and boost your brand’s revenue.  So, let's take a look at how these three elements fit into your website optimization plan.

The title tag is used by search engines to determine a page's topic.  They are also displayed in SERPs (search engine results page).  A well written title tag will show the user what they can expect from the page.  In this way it is important that you are clear in since this is one determiner in whether or not your user clicks through to your site.   From a search engine perspective, your title tag will be compared with your page content to ensure that you have keyword consistency when pages are being ranked. 

Header tags are pieces of HTML code the allow certain words to stand out on a page.  The most important being <h1>.  This would be the category name on a category page and product name on a product page, etc.  They are the headings that show what your page is about.  The heirarchy of importance begins with <h1> and works down to <h6>.   Not as important, the tags <h2> - <h6> usually describe subheadings.  They could be thought of as ways of organizing content for readers.  It is important that your header tags contain keywords so that while skimming for pertinent information, the reader can determine if they want to read further.

A meta description is a short paragraph of text placed in the HTML that describes a webpage.  While used by search engines, they should be written for humans.   The most important things to remember when writing an effective description are that it include keywords, is relevant to the page content, and is no longer than 160 characters.  A compelling meta description tag could entice searchers to click through from the SERP to your site, especially if the description includes the keywords they were searching for.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_search_20161130-191026_1.jpg3

 

Allegro's OneSource ERP users are in luck as many of the SEO tasks are handled for them.  Allegro uses data in the ERP and maps it to correct fields in the Magento back end to fill in the important tags and meta data described in this blog.  If you are not a OneSource ERP customer and would like help with optimizing your website, contact us.  We can evaluate your site to determine how strong your SEO game is.  If you need help implementing changes, we can do that, too.

 

Noggin nugget: 75% of search engine users never scroll past the first page of results. 1

 

Following up on last months blog - Using Coupons to Help Boost Your Ecommerce Sales

Do you wonder about how and when to use coupons? Here are three effective ways to use coupons.2

1. Push inventory that just won't sell.

     Create coupon codes that target these specific items.  An alternative to using a percentage discount would be to offer them free when a certain dollar amount is reached on a sale.

2. Show appreciation to loyal customers.

     It costs more to get a new customer than to keep one.  Send an email to older, loyal customers and offer a discount as a show of thanks.

3. Reward new customers.

     First time customers want to know that you appreciate their business and will be there for them in the future.  Offer free shipping on their first order or apply a surprise discount at checkout.

 

 

1.- imFORZA.com

2. - https://www.shopify.com/guides/make-your-first-ecommerce-sale/coupon-codes

3. - https://www.godaddy.com/help/adding-meta-tags-to-your-website-6548

 

 

Posted by on in eCommerce

Incentives such as coupons are a great way to boost sales by winning over new customers, encouraging additional spending, or enticing customers to return to their abandoned carts. From a marketing standpoint, coupon codes can help build mailing lists and provide campaign content.  The OneSource ERP Ultimate edition framework allows you to take advantage of this functionality from your Magento eCommerce platform.  Coupons can be configured for one-time use per customer or for a given date range.  Track your multitude of web site coupon codes individually in your ERP or bundle them all together into a single ERP summary discount code.  Contact Allegro for more information on how to  use coupon codes with your OneSource ERP.

 

Noggin nugget: “In 2014, 16 billion digital coupons were redeemed. This figure is projected to grow to 31 billion online coupons in 2019. Experts claim that redemption will mainly be driven by mobile coupons.” 1

 

Following up on last months blogIntegrating Google Analytics with your eCommerce Site

Are you still considering Google Analytics for your business but haven't taken that final step because it seems daunting? Google Analytics has introduced the GA Demo Account. The Demo Account offers a fully functional account filled with data from the Google Merchandise Store, an eCommerce site that sells Google branded merchandise.

 Google Analytics demo account reporting screen

The features and functionality you will explore include:

  • Access all the Standard reports to see which ones are useful to you
  • Get inspiration from predefined dashboards and segments imported from the Solutions Gallery to create your own
  • Alter reports by adding table filters and secondary dimensions, and by changing the report type
  • Learn how to compare audience, acquisition, behavior and conversion performance to a previous date range period
  • Create your own personal assets such as custom reports, annotations, shortcuts and custom alerts
  • Become familiar with the predefined attribution models and even create your own
  • Determine whether features you don't haven’t implemented could be beneficial to you e.g. AdWords and Search Console integrations
  • Use it as a companion when following a training course

Access the account and more information HERE.

 

 

1 Statista - https://www.statista.com/statistics/321227/number-digital-coupons-vouchers-redeemed/

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a powerful web service that allows business owners and marketers to measure traffic to their website and analyze customer behavior in order to increase sales and conversions on their website. While there are many aspects of GA that require more than a basic understanding of the service, even the most basic reports and data can still offer a wealth of information that can help you make business decisions that will impact your bottom line.

Why is Google Analytics important?

The data that Google Analytics provides can help you make informed choices about your online strategy as well as bring to your attention problem areas that need to be addressed.  Have you ever wondered how many people visit your site every day? Every month?  How about where they are coming from?  Did they come straight to your website or did they do a Google Search to find you?  What search terms did they use?  How long are they spending looking around your site? These are the types of questions answered by GA.

How do I get started?

Integrating your Magento site with Google Analytics really is a simple task.  If you can follow step-by-step directions, Google will "walk" you through it.  However; if you are new to ecommerce or analytics, it can seem daunting - setting up the property, assigning filters and segments, ecommerce tracking settings, etc.      

Are you ready to make informed business decisions?  Ones that will help you offer your customers a better online experience and in turn increase sales.  Contact Allegro for more information about integrating GA to your Magento site.  Once your site is set up, Google Analytics will begin collecting data within 24 hours!

Noggin nugget: According to Search Engine Land, Google handles at least 2 trillion searches per year. 1

 

Following up on last months blog - Using the Abandoned Carts Report in Magento


By now, you should have had a chance to take a look at your Abandonded Cart statistics and hopefully you have a better understanding of how this information can be beneficial to your online sales.

To dive a little deeper into abandoned carts,  I want to introduce you to the "Quote Lifetime Days" setting.  This setting allows you to control how long a "quote" or incomplete order hangs around BEFORE it is considered abandoned.


Log in to your Magento Admin. Go to System->Configuration.

 Magento Dashboard

 

Scroll down the left to the Sales section and select Checkout. Under "Shopping Cart options, edit “Quote Lifetime (days)”.

Magento DashboardMagento Quote Lifetime Days

 

 

1http://searchengineland.com/google-now-handles-2-999-trillion-searches-per-year-250247

Posted by on in eCommerce

Abandoned cart

 

When you are running an e-commerce store, inevitably you will experience shopping cart abandonment - customer adds items to their cart but leaves your site before checking out.  In fact, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 68.63%.There are a number of reasons for this phenomenon. Customers experience unexpected costs at checkout, the checkout process is too complicated, found a better price elsewhere, etc. No matter what the reason, they all equal the same thing - lost sales.  The good news is that you can use the abandoned carts report to identify the customers in question and try to win them back!

Where do I find this gem of a report, you ask?

Log in to your Magento admin.  Click on Reports->Shopping Cart->Abandoned Carts

Abandoned cart report screenshot

The report display will show you the following:

  • Customer Name
  • Email
  • Number of Items
  • Quantity of Items
  • Subtotal
  • Applied Coupon
  • Created At
  • Updated At
  • IP Address

 

In this example you can see that "Bob Smith"  has abandoned his cart.  If we now visit Bob's Customer record, we will see exactly what was in it when he left the site.

Click Customers->"Customer Name"->Shopping Cart

 Abandoned cart report screenshot 2

 

 

Now, what to do with all of this new found data?

There are few ways to approach your abandoned cart data.

1. Analyze the amount of abandoned carts your site is experiencing then take a look at where you can make improvements.  Is the checkout process lengthy or complicated?  Should you offer a wish list for convenient "saving" of items the customer is interested in?  Is your site optimized for mobile devices?

2. Seize the opportunity to "remind" the customer that they have left something behind. Many successful online businesses use remarketing campaigns to bring the customer back to their cart and encourage the completion of the sale.  Often times the emails will include an incentive in the form of a coupon or free shipping.

3. Use the product data to learn about trends in popularity.  Are there certain products that are consistently left in carts?  Are certain products most likely to be part of a completed sale following an abandoned cart email?

 

Noggin nugget: Studies show that in 2015, $4tr of merchandise was left in abandoned online shopping carts - the largest amount of cart abandonment ever seen!3

 

 

1- Baymard Institiute, http://baymard.com/lists/cart-abandonment-rate 

2- Statista, http://www.statista.com/statistics/232285/reasons-for-online-shopping-cart-abandonment/

3- Supply Chain Brain, http://www.supplychainbrain.com/content/general-scm/quality-metrics/single-article-page/article/despite-record-e-commerce-sales-69-percent-of-online-shopping-carts-abandoned/

The Internet is such a ubiquitous part of our life, especially with the staggering range of devices connected to it. Not just smart phones and tablets, but such things home automation allowing you to control your house's lights and thermostat from across the globe, cameras that can instantly upload pictures for viewing by your friends and family wherever they are, and ordering goods from "local" artists that are local to another continent.

All this started from the submission of a proposal to CERN for a distributed information system submitted 10,000 days ago as of 28 June, 2016. That Sunday, on 12 March of 1989, saw a truly life changing idea be born.



Tagged in: CERN Internet Mozilla

The writing was on the wall last year that Google and other search engines were putting more and more emphasis on the mobile responsiveness of web sites.  This is important for more informational sites such as our own Allegro site but it is critical for those companies that sell products directly over the web. If your rankings are reduced, your customers may likely find someone else to buy from instead of you.

As of this spring, Google changed their search algorithms to provide greater weight to responsive web design. Fortunately , they also then provided helpful tools to test your site such as their Mobile Friendly Test. Initially Google stated that this would only impact the ranking of mobile sites and not the more typical "desktop" sites but the true impact was quickly felt.  Within the first week of implementation, pages on mobile sites were getting a huge spike in their presence on search engine results versus "desktop" sites using the same keywords.

The morale of the story is to make sure you pay attention to your Google tools and analytics. Make sure this new paradigm in search ranking doesn't leave you behind.

Posted by on in eCommerce

E-commerce, the buzzword for looking something up on the Internet and purchasing it, has never been just about the random consumer.  Businesses too search for goods and services and buy them on-line all the time.  The brand engagement firm Sullivan created a nice infographic recently about the growth of B2B (business-to-business) e-commerce, estimating B2B online sales to top $1.1T (yes, trillion) by 2020.  9 out of 10 execs purchase business products online with half of them buying a competing product to what they originally searched for because the competition made it easier to purchase.

You can find more details as well as the infographic here

Tagged in: B2B eCommerce Magento

Posted by on in eCommerce

Buy versus build is a discussion that comes up a lot in the IT and management field, especially if you are a consulting firm like Allegro. The problem with "buy" is that it is never that easy. The question should really be "integrate versus invent" as no matter how cookie cutter your new IT application, it will have to be connected with the rest of your IT infrastructure to truly be of any value to your business.

This article from InformationWeek looks at the hidden impact in losing technical expertise for companies that too blindly pursue an "always buy" mentality. While you do not want to painfully build everything yourself, you will need that expertise to skillfully integrate any bought IT system with the rest of your business infrastructure and then extend it to reflect and enhance the unique benefits that your company offers over your competitors.

This is why we at Allegro have turned to open source applications such as the world leading Magento eCommerce platform.  Your "buy" choice can start with a baseline Magento installation that has all the core eCommerce functionality necessary.  Supplement that with the "build" addition of targeted modules and custom enhancements and integration, whether from your internal staff or quality consulting firms such as Allegro.  This type of strong integration and customization is where companies really stand out.

Magento, the world leading open source e-Commerce solution, has made the difficult decision to shut down their Magento Go offerings.  This is to allow them to focus their efforts and resources on developing their core Magento product and get away from offering a hosting solution.  They are no longer accepting new accounts and will be shutting the service down altogether on February 1, 2015.

As a business owner, I can understand the difficulty in making such a tough decision but I applaud them for focusing back on what they do best.  We here at Allegro have had great success in using their products for our own clients, implementing in such diverse areas as furniture sales, organic health food products, plumbing supplies and direct B2B interactions.

I am looking forward to seeing the results of this new focus in the coming year.  You can read more about Magento Go and their plans on their site.