Luxury Fashion Shop Drives Global Content-to-Commerce Success

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Munich based mytheresa.com launched in 2006 to bring the runway looks its brick-and-mortar sister store (THERESA) offered to the web. The premise for the business is simple: go to the world’s top fashion shows and cherry pick the hottest pieces from the top designers (from Balenciaga to Valentino), and sell them directly to customers. Seven years later, mytheresa.com features over 180 brands and their business has grown by over 60% annually since 2008.

How did they do it? Like many web stores, mytheresa.com started out on a small platform managed by only two people. Within three years, they were at the very limit of their site functionality and traffic capacity, and with limited options to upgrade the site, add modules or beef up their security without crippling the entire site.

After extensive research, mytheresa.com partnered with Magento Solution Partner mzentrale to rebuild their site on Magento Enterprise Edition because of its robust feature set, flexibility and active community. “It was a very easy decision to go with Magento because the platform’s flexibility aligned with our unique business model,” said Head of IT, Ulf Dammertz.

Key capabilities on their wish list:

  • Flexibility to power their unique content to commerce approach
  • Ability to quickly and easily upload large volume of product updates multiple times per week
  • Customize caching to split channels by business needs rather than by traffic
  • Ability to dynamically support 19 parallel store views

“We needed a highly flexible and scalable ecommerce platform to support our unique business model combining fashion publishing and retail around the world,” said Dammertz. “Thanks to our close partnership with mzentrale, we’ve been able to achieve incredible results with Magento Enterprise Edition.”

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With massive growth since its launch, mytheresa.com is now one of the leading luxury-fashion web stores in Europe, carrying many brands that don’t have their own eCommerce sites (see the interview with Christoph and Susanne Botschen, co-founders of mytheresa.com at WWD Summer Session below). And, unlike other online fashion sites that dictate pricing to fit their own business model, mytheresa.com continues to put designers first. Those who partner with mytheresa.com know that their needs get first priority. If a designer wants to update pricing in a specific country—even if they’re featuring just a few items—mytheresa.com can make those updates very quickly. It’s a big part of why mytheresa.com enjoys some unique fashion relationships and its business has consistently experienced such high annual growth.

Since they started working with Magento Enterprise Edition in 2011, they now have over 1.5M unique monthly visitors and 2,000 orders a day, and over 900 new pieces go live every week. Their mobile app has been downloaded over 45,000 times, they have over 175,000 newsletter subscribers, and 60% of sales come from international markets accessed through their site.

View a Printable Version of the mytheresa.com Story

Highlights

Click images to enlarge.

Designer Focus

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mytheresa.com gives each designer their own store with a profile and current trend description in the header banner.

Shop the Shows

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Shop looks right off the runway from the hottest shows. Hover over the products to see the piece in the runway look.

Trend Shop

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mytheresa.com pulls the pieces together into their favorite trends of the season.

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Ludwig Beck: The Beauty of Going Responsive Online

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Founded in 1861, Germany’s Ludwig Beck began as a button and ribbon maker and grew into one of Europe’s most famous department stores known as a “shopping paradise that satisfies the heart’s desires of local residents, visitors from the region and from all over the world.” They launched their web store in 2012 to make their fine beauty products accessible to an even broader audience.

Ludwig Beck’s main priority for their web store was to expand their reach beyond their Munich brick-and-mortar store, while offering the same luxurious experience. They wanted an elegant product display that could handle high traffic and a catalog of 7,500 products, high-end service features, and responsive design so customers could shop on any device.

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“Many clients found it a pity, that they couldn´t buy our products from the comfort of their own home,” says Fabian Goehler, CEO of German luxury department store Ludwig Beck subsidiary ludwigbeck.de GmbH. So Ludwig Beck turned to Magento Solution Partner mzentrale and with their help built the online shop in only nine months with Magento Enterprise Edition. Not only did they get the merchandising and site performance features they were looking for, they also got a responsive design, so they didn’t need to pay for an expensive shopping app.

Since the launch, Ludwig Beck has seen the increase in business and brand awareness they were looking for, as well as an increase in male shoppers, a segment that doesn’t typically shop their beauty counter. They’re also very excited about the reception of their responsive design, and reported higher than average shopping from tablets and other mobile devices.

“We are large enough to play with the big ones but small enough to be different,” says Goehler about the online creation of Ludwig Beck. “We offer our clients a service level that is hard to beat, even by large providers.”

View a Printable Version of the Ludwig Beck Story


Shopping Cart Abandonment: Insights For Success

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As merchants make a greater investment in email marketing than ever before and place a greater focus on email optimization than any other initiative, according to Forrester Research*, identifying the best sales conversion opportunities is essential.

While attending Fashion Digital New York (FDNY) earlier this month, Danny Essner, Magento’s Head of Merchant Marketing, and Ryan Thompson, Magento’s Director of Partnerships, had an opportunity to sit down with Alicia Fiorletta of Retail TouchPoints to discuss a recent report developed by Bronto in partnership with Magento titled “Why We Don’t Buy: Consumer Attitudes on Shopping Cart Abandonmen” The report takes a deeper look at consumers’ online shopping behaviors and what are the key factors that lead to more frequent shopping cart abandonment, just in time for holiday sales optimization:

  • Why consumers are abandoning more frequently and how this could be an opportunity for marketers
  • What the consumers want to happen when they abandon a cart and what will annoy them
  • Key components of the shopping cart and email strategies

During Magento’s talks with Alicia, Ryan Thompson shares some unique insights as to how retail marketers can decrease abandonment rates and also provide an innovative shopping experience. One of his recommendations Alicia highlights is “to improve shopping cart options and flexibility in order to give shoppers more confidence to cart and purchase their items…provide innovative and fun ways for consumers to browse, consider purchases and update their shopping carts and wish lists.”

This week, Alicia posted an article titled “Improve Shopping Cart Options And Flexibility To Reduce Cart Abandonment” which outlines many of the report’s key findings as discussed in her conversations with Magento at FDNY, including:

  • Shopping cart abandonment rates now average 75%
  • 56% of consumers who purchase online at least once a month use the shopping cart to store items for future purchase
  • Nearly half of all consumers surveyed found shopping cart abandonment reminder emails to be helpful
  • Another 61% said they likely would return to a site after receiving reminder emails

More information can be found in Alicia’s article here and the full report can be downloaded here.

*Source: The State Of Retailing Online 2013: Marketing And Merchandising Forrester Research, Inc., July 30, 2013


cloud.IQ Offers Conversion Tools to Turn Abandoned Carts Into Sales for Online Retailers

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Over 70% of shoppers recently admitted to sometimes abandoning carts while browsing online (OnePoll). This problem can be fatal for eCommerce businesses which have to offer their customers the best user experience possible, or risk losing sales to the competition. To solve these issues for online retailers, Magento Silver Industry partner cloud.IQ developed a cloud-based tool to remarket shoppers and ultimately, convert more sales, and cloud.IQ has already helped many businesses turn these abandoned carts into sales.

In August 2013 Alpine Elements started using cloud.IQ’s cartRecovery tool to track and recover abandoned carts by automatically remarketing, across multiple channels, to customers who drop out during the checkout phase. “Since implementing cartRecovery we have experienced at least a 25% increase in bookings, which is hugely significant,” says James Hardiman, founder and director of Alpine Elements. “We figured that people browsing online might abandon their basket on our site for a number of reasons. There are specific challenges for the travel sector. Many holidays are high value, can be complex and so people shop around more; people often want to talk to someone as there are the inevitable questions around quality of accommodation, insurance and more that need to be answered.”

For some customers, it’s even unleashed a new source of revenue. Outdoor clothing retailer SealSkinz implemented cartRecovery and consequently managed to avoid creating a website, full of so many features, that it would inevitably have become clunky and slow. The cartRecovery tool was an “absolute no brainer” in terms of return on investment, says Jez Wilson, Head of eCommerce at SealSKinz. Now 10-25% of SealSkinz’s total revenue comes from the sales made from originally abandoned carts.

Wilson also said, “Online retailers can reduce cart abandonment by improving their site layout, but there will always be those customers who drop out of a sale before it is completed. Not everyone will respond to re-engagement, but by placing a simple tag on our site and sending automated emails we have increased our sales.”

Across the board, the cloud.IQ reports that their tools have boosted their customer’s revenue by 5%.

To get merchants started, the free app audits a website’s abandoned shopping cart traffic and, using certified analytics, identifies the areas of a website which work best. If you want to upgrade to a complete remarketing campaign, there’s just a small, fixed fee but cloud.IQ will do all the set up and are on hand to support 24/7 after implementation.

Find out more about cloud.IQ here and download the free cartRecovery tool from Magento Connect here.


Your Mobile eCommerce Strategy – Is It Ready?

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If you have followed the growth of mobile eCommerce, you have probably received a lot of contradictory cues from the press and, even, respected researchers like Forrester, seem to offer conflicting views about web shopping on mobile devices.

In part, the discrepancies have to do with the definition of ‘mobile’ devices. Does it only apply to cell phones? What about tablets? What about smaller tablets or larger phones? What about shoppers using a tablet or mobile device on their home wifi; are they really ‘mobile’?

However, the merchant whose website is optimized for a desktop/laptop experience should see clouds on the horizon… clouds that will mean rain (i.e., revenue) for those who get their mobile strategy right and rough seas for those who do not.

  • Pew research indicates that over a third of US adults own a tablet of some kind and, that number is growing rapidly.
  • Reports also show that over 50% of US cell phone users have a smartphone.
  • Research shows that more and more people rely on their phone or tablet exclusively to access the Internet. This is especially true in some countries where mobile devices, especially smartphones, are the primary means of Internet access for consumers.
  • Because mobile shopping is expected to double this holiday season as compare to last year’s, a site that does not have a competitive mobile experience will probably end up losing market share now that will drag into 2014.

An Online Merchant’s Mobile Readiness Checklist

Here are a few tips for merchants on how best to create a mobile eCommerce strategy that will deliver a great experience:

1) Start with your shoppers

Each brand has a different following and expectations of a shopping experience from their customers. Your site analytics should tell you how much traffic you get from mobile devices. Be sure to slice and dice the numbers.

o How do conversion rates and average purchase amounts differ between phone, tablet and desktop purchasers?

o Look at mobile use geographically.

o Add mobile awareness to your dashboards/reviews.

Digging into the numbers will undoubtedly reveal areas of opportunity. If your mobile device traffic is less than 10% of your overall traffic, you may have some time to address the issue, but, chances are your mobile traffic will increase substantially over the next 6 months.

Sample Site Mobile Traffic

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However, if mobile traffic is 25% or more of your traffic, look for discrepancies in conversion rates between mobile devices and desktop devices for opportunities to close the gap.

2) Map out your user experience on various mobile devices

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Has your team evaluated the shopping experience on a wide enough variety of devices? Did they include tablets and cell phones? If it was done more than six months ago, has it been updated to include newer devices and/or updates to operating systems?

Start with the devices your analytics show to be important to your customer base. Look for pain points customers encounter when using those devices and prioritize the solutions. Google analytics will show you your traffic by type of device, operating system, and, even browser. You can easily sort the report and have an immediate device and mobile OS priority list.

Sample Site Analytics by Device

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It’s always a great best practice to role play and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Go through several scenarios and see where your customer may potentially have a bad experience and how that might lead them to leave your site and more importantly, not complete a transaction.

The merchant should own the process of prioritization, not the tech guys. While a developer can tell you how much effort it will take to address specific issues, they will tend to gravitate toward problems they know they can solve quickly, or whose solutions carry an appealing technical challenge. At this stage of the process, however, you need to focus on what is important to your shoppers.

3) Commit to a strategy (or two, if you can afford it)

If you’ve spent time investigating the possibilities, you are probably aware that there are three main technical approaches to providing a good experience for mobile shoppers:

Mobile site: Hosted on a separate domain, a mobile site often bears a completely separate design. Typically, the url is a subdomain like m.yoursite.com or mobile.yoursite.com. In the Magento world, there are even some extensions that will create a mobile site from your current site, only requiring a modest amount of configuration and a few minor tweaks to your server or DNS settings. The advantage of a mobile site is that it is easy to optimize images and content for mobile devices without affecting your desktop version. The disadvantages are that you have to maintain a completely separate design and, as screen sizes evolve and new devices emerge between phones and tablets; your site may become dated quickly.

Mobile app: Large merchants and marketplaces like eBay have gravitated to this solution because it gives additional control over the shopping experience, even allowing for the creation of new experiences for shoppers that are not possible in a mobile browser. However, this approach is expensive to set up and requires an ongoing investment in maintenance to keep up with new releases in mobile operating systems. Before you commit to an investment in a mobile app, you should consider if your customer base is committed enough to their relationship with you to download a piece of software and install it on their mobile device.

Responsive design: Responsive design is an approach to designing a web site in such a way that it’s layout adapts to the screen width of the device it is being viewed on. If you have begun researching mobile strategy, you almost certainly have run into this term. The promise of a responsive design is that it is device-agnostic. Thus, as screen sizes change and mobile OS’s change, the design will continue to provide a consistent experience. The downside of responsive design is that they often run slower on mobile devices than mobile sites because the mobile device has to download the same media files as the desktop site, even though they may not be viewable on the mobile device. Much effort has been made by the practitioners of responsive design to abate the potential downsides of responsive design and, a good responsive designer can truly make a difference in mobile performance.

Technically, it is possible to follow more than one path at once, but, budget constraints usually mean a choice must be made. However, if you introduce a mobile app, it is still a good idea to use either a responsive design or mobile site for those shoppers who prefer not to install an app.

Ready, Set, Go!

Chart by IB Times

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Over $38 billion in mobile purchases are predicted to take place in 2013 when all is said and done, which is about 3 times more than 2012’s number. That number is expected to grow substantially between today and 2017. We believe that the window of time for merchants to develop and implement their mobile strategy is closing and that future growth will depend on providing a great mobile shopping experience.

Learn more about how Magento Enterprise Edition can help mobilize your site.


Free eBook: 3 Segmentation Tactics to Ignite Conversion Today

Online merchants are under more pressure than ever to deliver targeted and optimized experiences to their customers. As a leader in eCommerce, we know segmentation is essential to improving conversion. In collaboration with expert marketing strategist…

Magento U Class Recap: Performance & System Optimization

One of the most common engagements Magento’s Expert Consulting Group (ECG) has is that of the Performance Review. Issues around performance and scalability are, more often than not, the driver for customers to seek ECG’s assistance when doing implementation assessments.

The reason for this is no secret. Magento is a full featured application and framework, and that expandability does come at the cost of performance, and the decreased performance, though easily justifiable from a development cost perspective, does have an impact on customer interaction and retention.

Oftentimes many of these issues can be minimized through a good understanding of the components that are used to support Magento and how Magento interacts with them from an infrastructure’s point of view.

One of the ways we work with customers is through our training program, and a good course to help you wade through the ins-and-outs of Magento is the Magento Performance & System Optimization for System Administrators course offered by Magento U. Most of our courses are aimed at developers learning how to make customizations to Magento, whereas the purpose of this course is to give sysadmins the information they need to help them work with Magento in high-performance, scalable environments.

There are several core topics that we look at in the class:

Load Balancing and High Availability
While these are two distinct concepts, often their implementation is tied together. But there is more to high availability than just adding another server and more to scaling Magento than simply adding more servers beyond that. Understanding some of the different options available for both load balancing and high availability can definitely have an impact.

Supporting Services
Everyone knows that Magento uses MySQL, but many people do not know how to tune MySQL for Magento’s use, or often which parameters will yield the most benefit. MySQL is not the only service that Magento uses. Caching plays a big part in how Magento works and there are multiple different caches that can be implemented. And while the web server is a given, understanding the differences between how different web servers work can be critical to developing a stable and scalable infrastructure.

Instrumentation
One of the big things that Administrators often miss (and never mind developers!) is proper instrumentation of their site. It’s not that they don’t have it but that they don’t often know what to look for or they may not understand how certain values affect Magento. One of the things we do in the performance course is take a look at various numbers that tools such as atop, top or vmstat generate and what those numbers mean.

In the following video snippet from one of the recordings from our Performance course, we describe how PHP works on a low level, and how opcode caches can be used to increase performance, complete with benchmarks to prove it. We take this approach of low level explanation followed by demonstration and exercises for several different topics such as web servers, load balancing (DNS, hardware, software), scaling MySQL, using caches, instrumentation and load testing, plus several more topics.

This course goes beyond simply having someone recite words from a script. Instead we have real-world administrators who have real-world experience demonstrating real-world examples to real-world students.

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About Kevin (from his blog profile):

I have been a sys admin, programmer, consultant and evangelist. Over the past 5 years I’ve spent most of them at Zend Technologies, spent a 6 month stint trying to start a mobile company (too little, too late) and I am now the Technical Manager for Education and Consulting for Magento at Magento U and ECG. I’ve done some writing. I am co-author of The IBM i Programmer’s Guide to PHP and the book You want to do WHAT with PHP?, which has nothing to do with the IBM i Series, and I’m now working on a third book that should be completed in early fall. You can find me on Twitter or LinkedIn or , unless you’re a spammer. Ignore this if you’re a spammer.

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4 Reasons You Don’t Want to Miss MagentoLive Germany

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Each MagentoLive event this year has been a huge success and MagentoLive Germany will be no exception! But don’t wait to register. The Last Minute Rate of €299 expires on November 8.

Register

1. Magento COO and Co-Founder Roy Rubin Will Be Speaking

Roy will be sharing his vision for the ongoing opportunity for growth and innovation that he sees for merchants, and how Magento and eBay can help empower your success. Don’t miss this opportunity!

2. Groundbreaking Breakout Sessions With eCommerce Leaders

We have innovative German and English breakout sessions, with all-new content from eCommerce leaders, including our own Magento executives and experts.

  • Going Global: How mytheresa.com accomplished international expansion
  • Ulf Dammertz, Abteilungsleiter I.T., mytheresa.com
  • Michael Staroste, Lead Software Engineer, mytheresa.com
  • Checkout Optimization for Increased Sales: Address consumer fears and barriers to transaction completion by improving the User Experience of your payment and checkout
  • Noam Inbar, VP der Geschäftsentwicklung, Zooz
  • Scaling Your Online Store: How Wardow.com grew into a successful multichannel retailer
  • Björn Kraus, CTO, Phoenix Media
  • Marc Schuermann, Leiter der Verkaufsförderung, Phoenix Media
  • Danny Wardow, Geschäftsführer, Wardow.com
  • Deep Dive into Responsive Design: The benefits of developing responsive design and how to do it right
  • Michael Turk, Leiter eCommerce, Flagbit
  • Patrick Scherr, Geschäftsführer für Marketing, Flagbit
  • Sabrina Toth, Forschungsmitarbeiterin, Flagbit

3. Meet Other Magento Merchants

The Merchant to Merchant Session is a fantastic opportunity for merchants on Magento Enterprise Edition to meet and share ideas and best practices. We hope you can attend!

When: Tuesday, November 12, 9:00–10:30 (CEST)

RSVP: Please RSVP to attend.

4. Opening Night Event

We always make time for fun at our events, and we’ve planned another fabulous party for MagentoLive Germany!

Where: Rilano No.6
Lenbach-Palais in der Ottostraße 6, 80333 München

When: Monday, November 11, 19:00–23:00 (CEST)

Be sure to follow the event on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #MagentoLive to talk about the conference!

MagentoLive Germany Platinum Sponsors:

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Page Load Time – The Silent Sales Killer

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Who hasn’t been frustrated when visiting a slow web site?

Having a faster site is a priority for most merchants, especially for businesses with large catalogs. Here are some important statistics on why a faster site is a crucial component for helping a merchant increase sales:

  • Page abandonment rates increase most steeply between one and four seconds
  • Mobile users expect pages to load just as quickly on their smartphone as they do on their desktop
  • 79% of shoppers according to the noteworthy Gomez and Akamai studies will avoid shopping again at a site where they had a poor experience or that was too slow
  • Large internet merchants have performed studies showing that conversion rates can improve by as much as 10% for every second of speed improvement

Kiss Metrics, an analytics service provider that focuses on marketing, put together an infographic that summarizes the issues in a quick-read.

Page Load Time Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is an acceptable page load time?
A. That’s a great question, and the answer is the faster the better. SEO experts often quote the two second rule (which has nothing to do with eating food you dropped on the floor), but, in reality, even a page that loads in a second can stand for improvement so a page that takes more than five seconds to load is most certainly going to have a material effect on your conversion rates.

Q. What causes a page to load slowly?
A. There are many causes to slow page load times including poor server configuration and images that are too large and have to be re-sized by a browser. What can you do about it? Keep reading.

Q. How do I determine how fast my pages load, and how can I compare my times to my competitors?
A. A non-tech person can use Google’s Page Speed Analyzer to check the page speed rating assigned by Google. There are several advantages to using this tool:

  • It’s Google’s test and Google uses page speed, in part, to determine search rankings
  • You can easily see how you compare to competitors by looking up their pages
  • You can input any page on your site to see how it performs (though it doesn’t always work well for checkout and cart because of coding that protects personal data from customers)
  • It produces a list of suggestions for you to implement in order to improve load time

Google has also added tools in Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools. All of these are accessible and easily understood by non-technical users.

Q. Does page load time affect my search rankings?
A. Yes! Since 2009, Google has been consistent in their messaging about the increasing importance of page speed in their algorithms.

Q. Are some pages more important than others?
A. In general you want your entire site to be fast because customers tend to abandon a site more often whenever any page takes too long to load. That being said, if your checkout pages are slow, it often becomes a question of trust with the shopper which can kill a transaction. The general consensus is to keep your checkout pages clean and simple to increase their speed.

Q. How important is my host to page load time?
A. Not all hosts are the same, which is a good thing because merchants have a wide variety of needs. However, your hosting environment makes a material difference in page load times. Even with the same server specifications, some hosts are speedier because they have more connections to ISPs, their SAN array is faster, and their load balancing is more efficient. Even a site that is properly optimized for content and server configuration can be slow if the host is running slow. We strongly encourage you to thoroughly research hosting services to ensure they meet your needs before choosing one.

The Big Q. What can I do to speed up my site?
A. There is rarely one cause of slow site speed. Optimizing site speed is really a collaborative effort and often requires creativity from and collaboration between design, tech, and network resources.

When mustering troops to address the issue, you will probably have projects in three main areas:

1. Content optimization: Are the images the right size for the site? Do I have too many images on a page? Do I have large Javascript files that have to download before the page renders? These issues can usually be addressed by your front-end designers, but your server team may need to help identify the priorities.

2. Catalog size: The larger your catalog, the greater the burden on your server(s) to load pages, especially when we’re talking about SKUs tipping over 100K.

3. Your server: If Google’s Page Speed Analyzer is telling you that your server response times are a problem, your team should make sure that your server has enough resources and that they are deployed appropriately. You may have enough resources but you’re not using the server effectively. Solving this issue will require collaboration between your server or network maintenance folks, and your hosting organization.

We also recommend you explore Magento Enterprise Edition. With its latest product update, the focus was on performance improvements, specifically around speed. Find out more about Magento Enterprise Edition and see how it can help with your site performance.

Moving Forward

Page load time is a silent killer and you may not even know it is a problem it until your sales start suffering. Teamwork between designers, content managers, developers and network administrators, and working with knowledgeable service providers are the best way to address the problem and regular monitoring is a must.


Why We Don’t Buy: Consumer Attitudes on Shopping Cart Abandonment

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In a study conducted by Ipsos, consumers were asked about their awareness of shopping cart technology, online shopping behavior, expectations for marketing when they abandon a cart, and if any of the marketer’s tactics would motivate buying.

Now is your chance to tap into the minds of customers to understand why they abandon shopping carts and how to motivate them to return. In the free whitepaper, you will learn:

  • Why consumers abandon their carts and how this could be an opportunity for marketers to win-back sales
  • What the consumers want to happen when they abandon a cart and which marketing tactics annoy them
  • The key components of the shopping cart and cart abandonment strategies

Download the free whitepaper “Why We Don’t Buy: Consumer Attitudes on Shopping Cart Abandonment” to learn more.

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MagentoLive UK 2013 Recap

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More than 500 merchants, partners and developers from around the UK and across Europe gathered to network and share insights and knowledge at Magento Live UK. The excitement and energy in the air were electrifying: packed session rooms, buzzing exhibit halls, and brewing conversations throughout.

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The day began with Jamie Clarke sharing his experiences, as an adventurer and merchant, harnessing fear and unpredictable outcomes to reach new heights – don’t be afraid! Most importantly, he discussed the need to pick the right partners on uncertain journeys to foreign lands and to be flexible, speedy and cost efficient in your approach.

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Magento COO and Co-Founder Roy Rubin shared his vision of the incredible opportunity for growth and innovation that he sees for merchants, and how the power of Magento and eBay Inc. can help empower business success. Magento’s Head of Product, Jimmy Duvall discussed Magento Enterprise 1.13, Magento Community 1.8, and shared his vision of the future in Magento 2.

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Magento’s Danny Essner reviewed SEO best practices, challenging merchants to think of themselves as content publishers that educate customers in addition to being merchants. Key takeaways include that the most important aspects of SEO are user-generated content, how third parties link to your site, as well as the need to combine social media strategy as a way to bring these two pieces together.

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Screenpages’ Roger Wilcocks offered practical advice on tracking key metrics and shared insightful benchmarks across 100+ stores. Key takeaways include focusing your plan around the behaviors that influence conversion, keeping a keen eye on what makes for a good proposition, as well as planning out your improvements with metric targets. At the end of the day, It’s all about measurement and refinement.

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Big thanks to those who were able to join us! Your incredible energy, camaraderie and passion for driving commerce innovation inspire us all! A very special thanks to all of our presenters and to our sponsors for making this exciting event possible!

To learn more about these sessions and the many other presentations at Magento Live UK, check out our Website for additional content that we will be posting shortly, Click HERE.

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Be sure to join us next year at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, on July 14th and 15th, 2014.

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Merchants Rev Their eCommerce Engines for Holiday 2013

Savvy brands know that, during the holiday rush, performance and speed are key to keeping customers happy. That’s why we’re excited to see so many merchants taking advantage of the performance and speed gains in Magento Enterprise Edition 1.13 just in time for the holidays.

image Charlotte Tilbury – Designer Cosmetics
Magento Solution Partner – Space48

Makeup Artist Charlotte Tilbury (Vogue, Vanity Fair, LOVE and V Magazine) just launched her signature line of cosmetics in September, both online and in store at Selfridges, London, and an online countdown timer that had customers aching with the suspense. Magento Enterprise Edition 1.13’s fully customizable features enabled them to create reviews that allow customers to add their skin, hair and eye color, and access to easy bundling tools for a variety of shop-the-look options, one of Tilbury’s biggest asks. The platform also handled the massive peak of launch traffic quite nicely.

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image Hawkin’s Bazaar – Toys and Gifts
Magento Solution Partner – Redbox Digital

Hawkin’s Bazaar began selling its “unusual” toys and gifts via mail order in 1973 and has since grown to operating 27 brick-and-mortar locations, and, of course, a fantastic Magento Enterprise Edition powered website. They upgraded from version 1.12 to 1.13 just after we released it, and they have already seen significant improvements in site stability, and decreases in requirements for performance and infrastructure.

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image MicroScooters – Scooters and Scooter Accessories
Magento Solution Partner – Screen Pages

When two entrepreneurial mums with little business experience approached a Swiss based scooter manufacturer about launching distribution in the UK, it wasn’t an easy sell. Somehow, they got the contract and, slowly, but surely, they got their scooters and accessories into the hands of nearly a million children and adults. Upgrading their Micro Scooters site to Magento Enterprise Edition 1.13 gave them a host of improved features including stronger promotional and product-bundling capabilities, improved transactional functionality for customers, and better flexibility and control in content management. Since launch, conversions are up 10% YOY, and revenues are up 30%.

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image YOU Beauty Discovery – Beauty Products Club
Magento Solution Partner – Redbox Digital

The Sunday Mail launched online beauty club YOU Beauty Discovery in August to help customers choose the right products with a try-before-you-buy option. For a small fee, club members receive monthly samples of products from hair care to cosmetics. One of their primary goals in upgrading from Magento Community Edition to Magento Enterprise Edition was the ability to do events, but they were also looking for scalability. With brilliant performance so far, they’re confident they can build to 100,000 members over time.


Innovative Fashion Brand Gets a Big Performance Boost

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Challenging the ideas that high fashion needs to have a brick-and-mortar presence and big price tags, Sole Society’s innovative founder and CEO, Brett Markinson, launched the online shoe, handbag and accessories company “to engage in something disruptive.” The result is a quickly growing fashion brand that’s marketed with an impeccable high-end online user experience to match.

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Markinson notes in his candid video testimonial (below) that they were looking for a highly customizable platform, with strong engineering support, that had “a lot of credibility in the marketplace.” Chief Product Officer, William Bartley added that they also wanted a platform that could grow with them, “from a million dollar business up to a $200 million dollar business,” and that’s why they chose Magento.

To help elevate their experience online, the Sole Society team turned to Magento Solution Partner Guidance for improvements to their site that would give them speed and functionality without sacrificing style.

What else did they get? A complete upgrade of their features, site performance, integrations and login functionality. Markinson says, “For us, the magic of the technology is that we can make it invisible. It’s the fluid nature of how easy it is for us using Magento platform to evolve and develop quickly.”

From the front end, the technology has definitely created a seamless user experience where customers can easily navigate from style guides and collections to very detailed-but-uncluttered product detail pages (all easily managed from the Admin interface). With the upgraded caching system, Sole Society has also seen big improvements in site performance, including a 75% improvement in the “quick view” functionality for all product images (from a four second load time to 1.5 seconds).

Bartley says, “We’ve had significant growth. It’s been fantastic, and Magento is a tool that’s helped us get there.”

View More on the Sole Society Success Story

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Magento Secure Payment Bridge for Magento Enterprise Edition 1.13 Now Available

A new version of Magento Secure Payment Bridge, intended for merchants using Magento Enterprise Edition 1.13.0.2, is now available for download from the Support Portal*.

Like previous versions, Magento Secure Payment Bridge has successfully completed…

Five Fab Finds from FDNY

In the world of fashion, everyone’s looking for a good find. Here are our top five from FDNY this week, ranging from seamless experiences to dinosaurs.

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1. The future is digital.

Everyone agrees: Be digital, be mobile, be responsive. Nearly 60% of consumers use their phone as part of their shopping experiences every day, and as much as 90% of all eCommerce transactions touch more than one device. We’re seeing people shop on multiple devices during the day and then complete their purchases at night on tablets. Maintain a seamless experience across all devices so customers don’t lose everything in their cart when they transfer from one device to another.

2. No one likes bad seams.

Have you ever seen a beautiful shirt destroyed by a bad seam? We have. Websites are the same way. Without a seamless experience on and offline, you limit the customer experience and your conversion rate. Rebecca Minkoff’s beautiful site saw 200% growth in sales and more than 100% increase in traffic following its redesign.

To improve online conversion rates, Magento’s Danny Essner, also recommends these best practices:

  • Bring the benefits of in-store to online
  • Empower customers to be your brand advocates
  • Blend commerce and content

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3. Kate Spade has great threads.

While bad seams can hurt conversion rates, Craig Leavitt of Kate Spade New York recommends running a strong thread and uniformed style throughout your entire business to effectively reach more customers. While an astounding 20% of their revenue comes from their mobile and tablet optimized website, that doesn’t stop them from extending their brand DNA onto social media (check out their Instagram channel for some social inspiration), shoppable windows, and locally managed brick-and-mortar stores. Nowadays, brands must be brave and willing to take risks, he noted.

4. Keep calm and content on.

In the opening panel, Marty Keane of Theory emphasized the importance of launching rich content about your brand to encourage customers to share their stories over social media (a theme that was repeated numerous times by other speakers over the course of the two days). Content is still very much king.

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5. Dinosaurs like to snuggle.

Much to the surprise of many attendees, the team over at Bronto showed us that dinosaurs are actually very snuggly and informative. For example, more than half of frequent shoppers (55%) always use the shopping cart summary as a way to make a final purchase decisions.

Find out how to maximize your email marketing to combat shopping cart abandonment and drive conversions this holiday season in this newly released Bronto-Magento study.

What did you take away from FDNY? Let us know on Twitter! Share your learnings with @Magento using the hashtag #FashionDigitalNY.

-The Magento Marketing Team


Dates Announced for Second Magento Developer Certification Study Group

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Study Group Format and Schedule:
Eleven, one-hour sessions
October 16, 21, 24, 28, 31
November 14, 18, 22, 16
December 9, 13
6:00 am (PDT) / 2:00 pm (BST)
Instructor-led, online (delivered via GoToTraining)

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Click here for a sample of the Participant Guide

Last month, Magento U launched a Magento Moderated Study Group to help developers and development teams study for the Magento Developer Certification Exam. The first sessions were a huge success so Magento U is adding a second series.

Over five weeks, the Magento Moderated Study Group will prepare developers for the challenge of taking this certification with preparatory exercises and a review all the need-to-know topics. Group members will also have access to a forum to post questions and receive answers from the instructor and other group members, and they will receive a voucher to complete their certification exam. Who better to help you study than the folks that wrote the test?

If you’re interested in joining the group, be sure to register early to secure your spot since space is limited.With yearly holiday-season code freezes, this is a great time to join the study group and take the exam!

Stay tuned! Magento U is planning a Russian version of the study group, coming soon.

What Will be Covered In the Study Group

  • Request Flow
  • Rendering
  • Working with Databases
  • Sales and Customers
  • Advanced Features
  • Admin html
  • Catalog
  • Checkout
  • EAV Model

If you can’t make one of the scheduled dates, but you still want Magento U’s guidance, check out our Social Learning: Magento Certified Developer Preparation Study Group – Moderator’s Kit!


Top 4 Takeaways from Shop.org

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The more things change, the more they stay the same—especially when it comes to the world of retail. Though the industry is shifting to accommodate a world of increasingly digital and mobile customers, attendees at Shop.org’s Annual Summit this week were quick to note that above all, serving the customer is key.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled the top 4 takeaways from the event to help you serve your customers better:

1. Connect with your audience. Followers are the new foot traffic, said Open Sky’s John Caplan. Use this to your advantage and connect with your audience. Rather than focusing solely on how the customer is shopping, determine what emotional connection the customer shares with your brand as apply those insights. As WebTrends pointed out, 41% of online shoppers buy more after receiving a personalized email offer. Give customers a 1:1 shopping experience as if they’re standing right in front of you.

2. Deliver seamless experiences. “Omni-channel” and “multi-channel” were big buzzwords at the conference, as HSN’s Bill Brand pointed out. While digital marketers touted the importance of creating unique content for all social media channels to reach engaged customers, direct marketing is still effective in getting customers to hit the “buy” button. Use an integrated approach to get the most reach.

3. Find your mobile fit. Unsurprisingly, mobile continues to be the fastest growing channel for many attendees and is still accelerating. Responsive design is still on everyone’s lips. Make sure the mobile strategy you pursue aligns to your business to better attract and retain customers. Are you really ready for a responsive site? Side note: A well thought out mobile strategy is an excellent way to connect with your audience, too (see point #1).

4. Chicago Public House makes a mean cocktail. Those drinks were seriously good – thanks to everyone who joined us for happy hour on Monday night (and double thanks to Guidance for providing the drinks all night long). We had a blast partying with you!

Congratulations to Laura Arand of Cornerstone Brands, our grand prize #MagentoMania winner! Thanks for joining the festivities with us. Be sure to send us some photos from Magento Imagine.

What did you take away from Shop.org? Tweet your learnings to @Magento and check out some of the best photo moments on Facebook.

-The Magento Marketing Team

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Join Magento at Fashion Digital New York

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Magento is at the Intersection of Commerce and Couture in NYC!

On October 8-9, over 600 digital executives from prominent fashion brands will be in New York City for Fashion Digital New York (FDNY), and Magento is proud to be the lead sponsor.

Like Fashion Digital Los Angeles (FDLA), this is an exciting opportunity to network with eCommerce leaders in the fashion industry from major brands like Kate Spade, Rebecca Minkoff and Calvin Klein Inc.

On day one, Magento will be holding a workshop, “Increasing Conversion through User Experiences,” led by Danny Essner, Senior Manager of Merchant Marketing. He’ll show merchants how to leverage incredible user experiences that actually increase website conversion, and highlight examples of merchants who have grown their online businesses through user experience. Danny will also interview Doug Glickman, Director of eCommerce for ShopBAZAAR.com, about creating incredible experiences by blending commerce and content.

On day two, during the general sessions, Magento’s Ben Pressley, Head of Enterprise Strategy and Business Development, will cover “The Future of Mobile and Commerce” by discussing Mobile’s impact on commerce. His presentation will draw on the experiences of thousands of Magento and eBay customers as well as eBay’s thought leadership and research.

We’d like to extend a special invitation for you to join us at the conference, and, as a Magento guest, you can save 25% with Promo Code: SPK-MAGENTO

Register Now

For more information, visit fashiondigitalny.com.

We hope to see you there!


Magento Takes on Shop.Org: Day One

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Over 4,400 digital and omni-channel retail professionals and exhibitors, including our Magento team, descended on Chicago’s McCormick Place Monday evening to talk next generation retail at the annual Shop.org Summit.

The opening night EXPO Hall reception, where attendees could mingle, network and prepare for the coming discussions and deal-making, kicked off the two-and-a-half day event. Opening events included keynotes from Tory Burch executives and marketing professor Jonah Berger. In the first address, Miki Beradelli, Tory Burch CMO, and Matt Marcotte, SVP of Global Stores at Tory Burch, emphasized that, while technology is taking over retail, the essentials—focusing on the customer and the persistence of email marketing—still matter. Berger, meanwhile, spoke to the importance of word-of-mouth marketing, which he broke into action steps like defining social currency and identifying social triggers. Afternoon breakout sessions touched on topics like omni-channel initiatives and the convergence of digital marketing and eCommerce.

Magento, in particular, started the summit with a festive bang, hosting an opening night party (with co-sponsor Guidance) at the gastro pub Public House. Invited guests could drink a Magento-themed beverage and chow down on sliders, pizza and other comfort foods. Some even modeled Magento gear in the provided photo booth.

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One topic of discussion at the shindig included Magento Mania, a conference-wide contest to help demonstrate the breadth of the Magento ecosystem. All Shop.org attendees have a chance to win a gift card to one of our partner sites, as well as to Magento’s annual Imagine Conference in 2014. Full details on how to play can be found here on the Magento Blog as well as at Magento booth #603 on the Shop.org conference floor.

Check back here in the coming days for our key takeaways from the summit!

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Magento U – Classes to Help You Get Your Shopping Cart Ready for the Holidays!

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Now is the perfect time to make sure your website is ready for the Holiday rush, and the following courses can help. First up are courses from the Checkout Series (including two new courses), which cover that crucial piece of the shopping experience. Also new is the Magento Design Insights class, which focuses on helping developers customize their Magento Enterprise Edition store theme.

Checkout IV – Payments
October 1, 3, 7, 9 & 11 (8:00 am – 12:00 pm PST)

This class provides a deeper understanding of the architecture of payment methods, including native methods, the PayPal methods family, credit card related operations and partial payment operations. Learn More

This course covers:

  • Creating new payment methods
  • Customizing, extending and debugging existing payment methods

NEW

Checkout V – Order Placement
October 17, 23, 25 & 29 (8:00 am – 12:00 pm PST)

This course focuses on a deeper understanding of the architecture of order placement, the final step of the checkout process. Learn More

The course covers:

  • Customizing the Order Review page and customizing and debug-ing the order placement process and the order success page
  • Identifying and using the order placement API—which is important for when faced with the following scenarios:
  • Customizing the way order review step of checkout looks
  • Creating integration with a remote system which collects data for each new order
  • Customizing a process of order placement to add custom validations, restrictions and logging, just to name a few

NEW

Checkout VI – Taxes & Discounts
December 12, 17 & 19 (8:00 am – 12:00 pm PST)

This is a dive deep into the architecture of taxes and promotions (shopping cart price rules).
Learn More

The course covers:

  • The existing taxation system in Magento, its flexibility and power, and how avoid unnecessary customization
  • Troubleshooting and debugging tax-related issues
  • How taxes are calculated on checkout and which classes are involved
  • Extending shopping cart price rules and how those rules are stored in the database
  • How taxes and discounts work together to better estimate its performance impact

    • NEW

      Magento Design Insights
      November 13 & 14 (7:30 am – 10:30 am PST)

      This class enables the full-service web designer to better understand the features available to create a customized Magento Enterprise Edition store theme! Learn More

      The course covers:

      • Identifying which elements a skin controls, which elements a theme controls, and which elements are affected by the CSS file
      • Accessing included themes
      • Changing the theme in Magento

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