Ecommerce conversion rate: optimization and misconceptions

Before going any further, first we need to clarify the following questions:

  • What is conversion?
  • What does conversion rate mean?
  • How to distinguish micro and macro conversion from each other?
  • What not to do when optimizing conversion?
  • What problems may arise in connection with the conversion rate?
  • What can increase the conversion rate?

 

Before unnecessarily spending money on inappropriate optimization, let’s see what conversion is!

Conversion: An action considered valuable from the company’s point of view which the user carries out on your website or through your application.

 

Consequently, conversion doesn’t only concern the revenue of the business, but the following as well:

  • registrations,
  • transactions,
  • PDF downloads,
  • video views,
  • new users,
  • predetermined time spent on the site (e.g. minimum 3 minutes),
  • requests for offers,
  • subscriptions to the newsletter.

 

You distinguish between the mentioned conversions taking into consideration the goals of your company.

The question therefore arises: according to what aspects can you weight them?

The answer is extremely simple.

 

Micro and Macro conversions

 

A great deal of data is accumulated every day in the case of an online enterprise or an ecommerce store, and for the interpretation of these – based on the importance of your goal – a distinction is made between micro and macro conversions. The question of which is which, depends on what the main reason for the creation of the website is, and also, what kind of milestones you set in the stages of becoming a customer.

Micro conversion is a sub-target, and reaching it leads the user towards the ultimate goal (macro conversion). Micro conversion may be for example:

 

  • banner reach
  • video view
  • time spent on your blog page (e.g. minimum 3 minutes)
  • subscription to the newsletter

 

Macro conversion is the main goal set for your website, your application, in other words, the purpose that you created it for. Such a purpose may be:

 

  • reach
  • subscription
  • click on advertisements
  • request for offer
  • transaction
  • donation, e.g. in case of non-profit organizations

 

It can help you a lot with the optimization of the aforementioned conversions, if you plan and continuously measure which of your goals you would like to increase on the different levels of the AARRR (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue) model.

And now, let’s review how conversions can be measured!

 

Measurement of conversion

 

Making it possible to measure conversions is recognized as the first step of conversion optimization. Without this, neither the process, nor the (indirect) increase of the revenue can be realized, because:

  • the data that could be improved are missing, or
  • it may also happen that the analysing software applications themselves give you a false picture of your online marketing communications activities.

 

The goals have to be set by type in Google Analytics, and you can also carry out a manual check with the help of the following tools: Google Adwords, Facebook Business Manager or Mouseflow.

 

How to calculate the conversion rate?

 

After having done the measurement, calculation of your conversion rate is extremely important, since you will be able to increase your revenues and optimize your sub-targets with its help.

Let’s see how you can calculate all this with the help of Google Analytics!

The number of all accomplished goals of the analysed period divided by all the actions performed – carried out by the users – on the given website during the analysed period.

 

The percentage ratio of the number of customers (or other users performing a desired action) within a given period and the number of visitors within the same period.

 

The number of those attaining a goal divided by the number of the site visitors.

 

This formula is not perfect, we will get back to the arising problems in the second half of this article.

Until then, in order to get a clearer picture, we will try to demonstrate the calculation of the conversion rate in Google Analytics through the following example.

 

Let’s assume that there is a (at national level) popular website, on which in the given period exactly:

  • 2856 sessions were performed by the arriving users,
  • the number of goals (transactions) accomplished so far is 29.

 

Therefore, the ecommerce conversion rate in this case will be 0.89%.

conversion rate google analytics

As the above table shows, with the help of Google Analytics you can analyse your data and your conversions in breakdowns:

  • of either communication channels,
  • or of campaigns.

 

Problems arising in connection with the conversion rate

 

Before calculating, analysing the conversion rate, or carrying out the online marketing communication of your company based on the data, you should by no means disregard the factors that can distort the data.

 

Such factors may be for example:

  • In case you cannot properly set your goals on the interface of Google Analytics. (For instance, viewing the Request for Offer page is also considered a goal, even though the actual request for an offer has not happened, whereas that would exactly be the real purpose of the webpage.)
  • If the appropriate filters are not set for the irrelevant IP addresses (a solution for this may be if you exclude the IP addresses within the company and/or those of the developers working on the website, thus facilitating that they don’t worsen the conversion rate.)
  • In case you examine the total number of previous conversions instead of the factual conversion. (For example if the newsletter subscriptions are taken into consideration as well, although, this time, you would regard only the purchases as conversions.)
  • If the calculation itself is carried out based on the wrong indicator. (For example if in Google Analytics the default setting for the calculation of the conversion rate is the following: conversion rate = number of conversions / total number of sessions, even though you would get more accurate data if you used the number of conversions / total number of users (conversion/users). That’s something to think about. Because if you have a user who visited the site, say, 100 times and he has even purchased a product once, his conversion rate will only be 1% according to Google Analytics. However, the correct data in fact is 100%, since this user purchased, which means he converted!)

 

What can be considered a good conversion rate?

 

As soon as you manage to set the goals, the data will start accumulating, based on which the company’s own conversion rates will take shape.

 

At this point, you should ask yourself the following two questions:

  • How correct these numbers are?
  • How much can they be increased within reasonable limits?

 

A marketing manager would answer to this that it’s all being tested. In other words, different conversion rates will be appropriate depending on the company profile and the target group, and other factors (for example the price of the product) may also have an influence on the rates.

 

If this answer is not sufficient, it’s worth reviewing the AdWords PPC campaign data, which are based on the analysis of WordStream:

The conversion rate of three quarters of the AdWords GDN campaigns under examination was less than 1%. In case of half of the AdWords Search campaigns, this value is above 3%. In the second quarter of 2015, the average of the examined data (taking into account every industrial sector) was 2.7% in case of AdWords Search and 0.89% in case of the GDN campaigns.

The data was provided by companies with a total AdWords spending of 34.4 million dollars, thus demonstrating the importance of the research. In the survey of WordStream, data of the Google AdWords campaigns of the companies operating in various industrial sectors appear, which you can check out here.

Among the industrial sectors included in the research, the following are worth mentioning:

  • insurance,
  • car industry,
  • real estate sector,
  • education,
  • business to business (B2B),
  • ecommerce (online shops),
  • healthcare, etc.

 

Having read the foregoing, the question may arise:

 

Why does the conversion rate need to be increased?

 

It happens many times that your website has a large number of visitors, but that doesn’t get you very far, if the visitors don’t perform actions that support the true purpose of the website, in other words, if they don’t convert.

This is where conversion optimization comes into the picture, which is considered to be one of the most useful marketing activities, as the majority of the further expenses dedicated to marketing communication can be avoided with it.

Many times it’s enough to change the marketing communication, for example:

  • new, different message,
  • a button of a different colour,
  • different CTA buttons
  • A/B testing (for the testing of all these and for the identification of the efficient solution).

 

What does not increase the conversion rate?

 

We’ve arrived to the point of our article where hopefully all kinds of myths that are about the increase of the number of conversions will be dispelled.

 

AdWords advertisements with higher search page positions

 

In case of AdWords advertisements, many people think that the reach of high advertisement positions is a conversion increasing factor, based on the assumption that if you are higher on the search lists, people will purchase from you.

However, that’s a mistake, since the higher advertisement position doesn’t have a significant effect on the increase of the conversion.

On the following graph, we demonstrate the relationship between the conversion rates of the average AdWords Search campaign and the average search result position:

 

wordstream search google ads

 

AdWords advertisements with higher click-through rates

 

Researches carried out by Search Engine Land and WordStream show that the advertisements with higher click-through rates don’t contribute to the increase of the conversion either, which means that the click-through rate (CTR) does not directly influence, or has only minimal direct effect on, the conversion rate.

The following graph demonstrates the relationship between the average AdWords Search campaign and the click-through rate:

 

wordstream search google cvr

 

What influences the increase of the conversion rate then?

 

The data above show which tools have no effect on the increase of the conversion rate. It’s time to check out what you need to focus on in order to be successful.

 

Remarketing campaign

 

The most important stage of becoming a customer (or in other words converting) is when you continuously communicate with the users who, let’s put it this way, reached a certain level on the scale of interest that you determined.

 

You can use the following tools for your remarketing campaigns:

  • Google AdWords
  • Facebook

 

Remarketing, however, doesn’t happen overnight.

Time is necessary for the planning of the segments (different interests, levels), and also for the remarketing lists to be “filled up”.

If these lists are filled up by the visitors actually showing interest, you will have a much easier job, since you will be able to reach the visitors with different intentions with much more targeted advertisements.

However, before launching a campaign like this, it’s worth making sure that its goal doesn’t clash with those of other, already running campaigns. You should make it a part of the whole campaign strategy!

 

Landing page and its quality

 

The high click-through rate of you advertisements is worth nothing if you can’t capture the visitors arriving on your landing page with the created CTA options/lead generating boxes, remarketing pixels, or if the ones arriving on the page don’t get what they expected based on the advertisement.

It’s of vital importance from the point of view of your online campaigns that you make good advertisements, which contain quality (from a technical aspect and from the point of view of content and user experience as well) and well converting messages. Since the success of these campaigns depends on a lot of factors, the thorough planning and implementation dedicated to the landing page is important, as it can contribute to the increase of the conversion rate.

 

Dynamic Search Ads

 

This tool may be one of the most returning and even more profitable form of Google advertisements for the ecommerce stores, because with its help it becomes unnecessary to find new search terms or to write new pieces of ad copy for each product. These are done by Google, specifically by assessing the text belonging to your landing page and by creating a title based on the search of the user.

 

This looks like the following:

 

dsa campaign google adwords

 

nike shoes dsa example

 

Lessons learned ‒ You have to measure and run tests continuously

A great deal of data accumulates during your online campaigns, and they all become useless without measurement and interpretation. Consequently, continuous measurement and the consequent testing become the most important conversion optimization tools.

Above we’ve already mentioned Google Analytics as one of the most appropriate measurement tools, however, in addition to this analytical software application, several other analytical tools are at your disposal:

 

 

Magento Performance: How to Measure and Increase Page Speed [CASE STUDY]

We’re going to cover the following topics:

          

  • If speed goes up, sales go up
  • Load speed and search results rankings
  • Enhancing frontend speed performance in Magento
    • Server side
    • Varnish
    • Static content – JavaScript, CSS files and images
    • Optimizing frontend in terms of design
    • Optimizing image sizes
    • Minimizing elements that may bock frontend appearance load
    • Enabling server side compression
    • Reducing the size of HTML, CSS, JavaScript
  • Summary

 

Let’s suppose you search for something, but the page you selected loads slowly. Now you need to answer the following questions for yourself:

  • How long do you wait before you say you won’t wait any longer and return to the search engine page?
  • How likely is it that you will return to that same page later knowing it loads slowly?
  • Will you recommend the website to your friends?
  • What would happen if you needed to use your smartphone to visit the page?

 

The answers are quite obvious. As a website or ecommerce store owner, you need to eliminate exactly these kinds of problems in order to make sure more and more users will visit your website.

Your company’s reputation greatly depends on load speed. If load times are too long, your visitors will not return, but will find other websites quickly that offer better user experience.

Load speed has always been an important factor, but as time goes on, speed requirements are stricter and stricter.

Statistics from 2011 provided such data:

 

max time of page loading

 

Nowadays web pages need to load a lot faster than that.

This video by Google tells you that in 2016 an online store should load within 2 seconds, whereas for Google a good result is 0.5 seconds.

 

 

A recent study by Financial Times mentions the following tendencies in article views:

 

page loadtime

 

 

It is clear that if you have a faster website than your competitors have, you have an advantage and the other way round.

The next table shows the problem areas of online stores that UK users find considerable (Econsultancy, 2012).

 

promblems in frontend areas

 

It is clear that the number 1 problem of the users questiond is load time. 66.8% of them are not satisfied with it.

Some other important figures in relation to load speed:

  • If load time is longer than 3 seconds, 40% of users abandon the site
  • An average user is willing to wait max. 2.078 seconds for a page to load
  • If the page loads between 1 and 2 seconds, visitor numbers rise by 2%
  • If load time is under 1 second, this increase is 4.6%

 

If speed goes up, so does revenue

 

Generally speaking, a page speed increase of 1 second brings about a 7% rise in conversion.

 

Note: Conversion takes place when someone clicks on an ad or link and takes an action which is desirable or valuable from the company’s point of view. Such an action can be a product purchase or a telephone call from the visitor.

 

Especially in the case of ecommerce stores, the relation between conversion and page speed shows in numbers. Walmart and Amazon, for instance, have both realized that if even a 100ms page speed increase equals a 1% rise in revenue. With such huge companies, 1% is an enormous sum.

 

Some numbers for online shop users:

  • 83% of users expect a website to load within 3 seconds
  • If they need to wait longer than 3 seconds, 44% of them leave the page
  • 79% of users think it over to ever return to the given website
  • 46% tells their friends about this unpleasant experience

 

It is truly worth considering speeding up your website, since 1 second increase will probably bring you a 7% rise in income, which means that if your daily revenue is $1000, your yearly extra revenue can reach $25,0000 (1000 x 0,07 x 365). It would be nice wouldn’t it?

 

Page speed and ranking in search results

 

SEO expert John Mueller examined the topic and in one of his articles he wrote about the fact that slower websites are ranked lower, but a difference of milliseconds with fast websites do not make any difference in ranking.

 

We need to examine two significant factors in terms of page speed:

1 – What the user feels, i.e. how fast or slow page load is for him or her,

2– What Google measure: so that they can make a difference between slow and normal/high speed websites. They have also communicated that the faster your site, the more users it attracts, therefore the visitors can view more sub-pages in a given time, thus encountering more pieces of information.

 

Enhancing speed performance on frontend in Magento

 

Since Google is by far the number 1 search engine, it is wise to meet the requirements they set up. Their own speed test solution, Google PageSpeed, is definitely worth checking out, not to mention taking a close look at their suggestions should you have any detected issues with your site’s page speed.

Our first project where we thoroughly took into account all the solutions for achieving better speed performance was the Fradi Football Club online store. We implemented the following solutions:

 

Server side

 

For frontend content to show faster in browsers, a number of optimization processes on the server side need to be followed to achieve as low response times as possible.

 

Varnish

 

Varnish is one of the most popular caching solutions for serving dynamic content. We have covered this topic in one of our previous posts: Varnish: the secret weapon for boosting page speed

 

Static content – JavaScript, CSS files and images

 

For caching these, we use Amazon’s AWS CDN solution.

 

Optimizing frontend in terms of design

 

Based on recent technology and trends, responsive design is preferred where image sizes are changing according to the size of the browser. In the examples below we show you that design and sitebuild vary after the specific breakpoints (AionHill uses the breakpoints of Bootstrap when creating webdesign):

 

ecommerce-design-1

Design 1 – minimum width of 1200 px

 

ecommerce-design-2

Design 2 – minimum width of 992 px

 

ecommerce-design-3

Design 3 – minimum width of 768 px

 

ecommerce-design-4

Design 4 – maximum width of 768 px

 

It is important that the image size to be displayed equals the area dimensions where it is displayed. This would not be a problem if we didn’t care about responsiveness, since in Magento we can get the resized versions of images:

 

$this->helper('catalog/image')->init($_product, 'small_image')->resize(710, 710);

 

It means that we need to achieve that the images are resized depending on the browser size. In our opinion the best solution for this is <picture> HTML tag

Basically, it can be set which image to show with a specific resolution, and, if the browser does not yet support this standard, the <img> tag itself is used:

 

<picture>
 <source srcset="<?php echo $this->helper('catalog/image')->init($_product, 'small_image')->resize(360, 365); ?>" media="(min-width:1200px)">
 <source srcset="<?php echo $this->helper('catalog/image')->init($_product, 'small_image')->resize(293, 297); ?>" media="(min-width:992px)">
 <source srcset="<?php echo $this->helper('catalog/image')->init($_product, 'small_image')->resize(710, 710); ?>" media="(min-width:768px)">
<source srcset="<?php echo $this->helper('catalog/image')->init($_product, 'small_image')->resize(710, 710); ?>" media="(min-width:300px)">
 <img class="img-responsive"
 src="<?php echo $this->helper('catalog/image')->init($_product, 'small_image')->resize(360, 365); ?>"
 alt="<?php echo $this->stripTags($this->getImageLabel($_product, 'small_image'), null, true) ?>"/>
</picture>

 

Optimizing image size

 

It can be seen that the majority of images can be downsized with different software solutions that do not deteriorate image quality. This is monitored by Google and you can see a report in Google PageSpeed Insights which images can be optimized.

 

optimize-image-ecommerce-store

 

We haven’t created a separate module for that because thanks to a number of free Magento extensions, this task can be easily performed. Our choice was Image Optimizer for Magento, which is a free and easy-to-use solution for this problem.

What it does is basically collecting the pictures in the media, skin and frontend directories and then, using cron, it optimizes them in arrays with the help of image manipulating directories located on the server (jpegoptim, optipng).

 

Minimizing elements that may bock appearance load

 

In practice it means that if the number of JavaScript and CSS files are large, then it takes more time to load them because of the response times needed to be waited for with every single file.

The best measurement solution for this is probably Developer Tools in Chrome where we get the following summary without merging the files:

 

css-downsize-ecommerce-store

 

It can be seen that it takes a lot of time to load all the files. If we enable file merge in the Magento admin panel, then this same page looks like this:

 

file-reduce-size-ecommerce-store

 

You can see that the system this time processes a lot fewer files. This option is a default operation in Magento and if the JavaScript classes and procedures are coded properly by the developers, then merging should go seamlessly.

You can enable it under System/Configuration/Developer:

 

magento-developer-menu-file-merge

 

Enabling server side compression

 

PageSpeed describes in detail what steps to follow with different web servers, what modules to install in order to enable compression in the case of

It’s easy to test the results, for example with Chrome, in inspector mode (Ctrl+Shift+i). On the network tab, in the header of the HTML page, the following can be seen:

 

server-side-compression-online-store

 

Reducing the size of HTML, CSS, JavaScript

 

Remove any unnecessary characters from all three page elements (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), thus reducing the size of the response and speeding it up.

For this we have chosen another Apptrian product, Minify HTML CSS JS for Magento, which, after installation and some simple administrative configurations, makes the file modifications to reduce their size.

It’s important to note that it is not about downsizing or encrypting, but removing unnecessary elements.

Here we can see a section of the Magento Validator class:

 

magento-validator-class

 

The module transforms it:

 

magento-validator-class-module-transform

 

Result: shorter content, less unnecessary characters, faster load.

 

Summary

In today’s world increasing page speed performance is getting more and more important for websites, especially for ecommerce stores, because users are becoming more demanding in terms of user experience.

I have described how to speed up load times in Magento 1.x with recommending a number of solutions.

As for Magento 2 frontend performance, I’m planning to write a post about the same topic in which I’ll describe how to decrease page load times for online stores already built in the Magento 2.x platform.

 

 

 

 

10 crucial questions you should ask before choosing your Magento ecommerce development company

Well, we have already written about this, and we tried to make it clear what the most important differences were between freelancers and professional developer companies, and, depending on the circumstances, who to choose.

This time we’re going to focus on the ecommerce development companies’ side: we’re going to take a look at

  • what makes a development company truly professional
  • what you need to get prepared for as a client
  • and at how you can make sure to get the best development solutions in the end.

 

We are going to go through the following topics in this article, so that you can make the best decision:

  • Where can you find ecommerce developer companies?
    • Visit the professional sites and forums
    • Go to professional events
    • Check out Magento’s site
  • How to request an offer?
    • How can you, being the client, get prepared?
  • 10 questions you should ask
    • Is meeting in person important?
    • How long have they been working with the Magento platform?
    • What is it like and how long does the development process take?
    • Will you get support as well?
    • What kind of quality assurance do they work with? How do they perform tests?
    • What can influence the project?
    • Who will you be communicating with?
    • Have they carried out any significant Magento integration?
    • Have they carried out any significant Magento migration?
    • Will they teach you how to use the system?
  • What kind of ecommerce development company do you need?
    • Qualification and skills (about Developer Certification)
  • Always ask for references
  • Why should you make this choice this carefully?

 

Where can you find excellent Magento ecommerce development companies?

 

The first step towards the selection of the perfect partner is drawing up a list of the possible candidates. Of course you can do this the simple way as well, by opening Google and running a few searches.

However, choosing a Magento developer team is a serious decision: we’re talking about a complex system here, with very few people being good at its development on a professional level, so it does indeed matter to what extent the company you choose can be checked.

 

Visit the professional sites and forums

 

Ask for recommendations from online shop owners like you, and check out which development companies the developers themselves commend or praise within the professional community.

You should actively ask for recommendations yourself: describe your problem in detail, what you would like to have developed, and by doing that, you will get several suggestions, you’ll have a nice list compiled.

 

Go to professional events

 

If you’re looking for a long term partner company, you can do a personal research as well. Visit events on Magento, and talk to the participants, ask for recommendations and offers right there, listen to the lectures so that you can get a picture of who is at what level of knowledge – and so that you can define better who you are looking for.

 

Check out Magento’s site

 

Magento Solution Partner Directory is another great place to look for potential partners for yourself. You can review the profiles of the ecommerce development companies on the site, you can get general information on them, many times you can even find the clients the companies worked together with previously – you can also run a background check on them more easily this way, and you can ask about what kind of job they’ve done or even test that live in case you check out the relevant ecommerce stores.

 

How to request an offer?

 

Once you have your list of several potential partners, you can then start requesting offers.

You can make many mistakes at his point. Maybe you’re not prepared enough to request offers. Bear in mind that the developer has to know very precisely what you need, because only then will they be able to assess how much work the project would involve.

It does matter

  • how many people need to work on the project and what kind of qualifications they need to have,
  • how long the realization is expected to take,
  • or how complex solutions we are talking about.

 

It’s also important that you are available. Don’t send out a set of letters with requests for offers if you’re not going to reply them for weeks: you will most certainly work on a project where continuous communication is indispensable, and that’s also the case already in the offer requesting phase.

 

tips Tip: Those who give you an offer right away, based on only minimal information, have probably not assessed the work to be done properly, and they are not prepared enough to carry out a real good job.

 

Be consistent

If you want to get a good offer, you have to pay attention to provide the same information to all addressed companies, so that you don’t communicate different things at the same time.

In case of such a project it’s not the price you have to pay attention to in the first place – hourly rates may of course vary, but paying the fee of the developer is a profitable investment even in the short run. Your goal is to find a professional who will help you with making the operation of your online store as good as possible, because that’s what’s going to bring you the most possible profit.

 

Be open

Make sure to provide all the requested information – there’s a reason for the developer team, as the case may be, being curious about data like the conversion rate of the ecommerce store or even the available budget, because it’s based on such data that they can actually assess in detail what kind of work is ahead of them.

 

How can you, being the client, get prepared?

 

It’s easy to say “provide all important information” ‒ but what if you don’t know what that may be? Let’s see what you’ll certainly have to communicate towards the developer:

  • Specify clearly what kind of outcome you want.

That sounds simple, still, it’s important that you write down what exactly you would like to achieve by the end of the project: what goals you would like to accomplish, and how the ecommerce development company can help you with that? Try to set these goals out as clearly as possible.

 

  • Tell them how big the budget is.

You probably have some ideas about how large scale the work is that you would like to have done – so you most certainly also have some thoughts about how much you intend to pay for its realization.

 

10 questions you should ask

10 questions

 

It’s tempting to compare the offers based on the price only, but in case you are looking for a long-term partner, you have to bear in mind a set of aspects – now let’s see some of those.

 

1) Is meeting in person important?

 

If yes, then you should look for an online shop development company that is geographically close to you, or at least the contact person is physically accessible. At the same time, nowadays this is not at all an aspect of vital importance anymore.

Although personal contact may have its advantages, today it’s mostly enough if the client and the contractor can smoothly communicate with each other either on Skype or through another similar channel.

Making a conference call without problems is not a great challenge anymore in 2016, and instead of the geographical location, the expected quality of the ecommerce store development should play a much greater role in making the final decision.

If they are physically inaccessible because they’re doing an offshore development for instance, you should inquire about how they will be in contact with you:

  • on Skype,
  • in email,
  • with the help of various collaboration tools?

 

How will they ensure that in spite of the distance, the communication is still completely smooth and unambiguous?

 

2) How long have they been working with the Magento platform?

 

You’re not looking for a developer who has just started working with the system, and neither for one who has been dealing with it for only a couple of months. It takes long years for a developer to get the necessary routine to be able to actually call himself a professional Magento developer, and a team also needs a lot of time to be able to operate as a well-integrated, efficient unit.

If you are told by the ecommerce development company that they have not been working with Magento for a long time, but they have with other similar systems for years, then it’s not them who you’re looking for. That we can clearly state.

In such cases, the appropriate background, the appropriate experience is simply not there, because Magento is not “like” other systems, but it’s a completely separate and extremely complex ecommerce solution.

 

3) What is it like and how long does the development process take?

 

If you request the offers in the right way (see the previous point), you will soon end up with a finished, detailed concept on what the complete process is expected to look like.

For an experienced ecommerce development company, in case they have the appropriate information, this shouldn’t cause any difficulties because the know-how is there, thanks to the previous projects. They have the workflow, the precise work routine, and they can assess who needs to work on the project, and so on.

So you should by all means ask about the details, because this way you will be able to find out how professional the company you’re dealing with is.

 

What do we mean by details?It’s good to know for example, that developers work with version control, and they don’t do development work parallel through FTP or in a similar way. That’s because usually the probable outcome of that is that the professionals overwrite each other’s codes, many times irreparably confusing the developments. An ecommerce development company working with real experts would definitely not make such an amateur mistake.

 

4) Will you get support as well?

 

The more complex the project, the more likely you’ll need support after the project is completed – but this makes things much easier even in case of the simplest developments.

 

"The use of Magento is not simple: it’s not chosen by hundreds of thousands of people because its management is child’s play, but because it offers nearly unlimited features."István Darvas, CTO, AionHill

 

That’s exactly why it’s important that the developer helps you afterwards as well, and if necessary, he identifies and eliminates the errors quickly.

You can tell from a good support service how important long term goals for company are. This is an investment for them in the hope of their customers choosing them the next time as well – and in any field, a prospective returning customer will have a better chance of receiving a real top-quality service.

 

5) What kind of quality assurance do they work with? How do they perform tests?

 

It’s very important that the development company takes full responsibility for all of its work: inquire about exactly how the new developments are tested, what kind of methods they are trying it with and how they integrate it into your system.

 

  • What happens if something is not working properly?
  • If the integration doesn’t go well, but that’s discovered only later?
  • What can you expect from them?
  • Inquire about everything in detail already when you request the offer, because this way you’ll again be able to find out how much the given development company is thinking about a long term partner.

 

6) What can influence the project?

 

Finally, the uncertainty factor:

What can possibly modify the content of the offer later on?

What can make a project more expensive in the end and what can slow down its implementation?

Basically, regarding the quality of the outcome, there may be ample basis for the modification of the agreement with time (although this happens very rarely in case of professionals), and that’s good to know about before starting the joint work, because this way you can save a lot of unnecessary communication later on.

 

7) Who will you be communicating with?

 

It’s very important that you are able to communicate properly with the developers in every stage of the development. For this reason, you need to ask whether there will be a separate responsible project manager, who you can contact any time, who you can discuss eventual changes with, or questions or problems that arise.

The project manager’s task is to co-ordinate the work and to give accurate information on how it’s progressing, whether it will be completed on time, and so on. He’s the one who knows the abilities of the ones working in the team and can organize the work as efficiently as possible based on that.

 

8) Have they carried out any significant Magento integration?

 

Knowledge of the integration process is essential, because that’s what ensures that in the end the development company can produce a final result that totally complies with your individual goals. Anyone who has some experience with Magento knows that integration can be extremely complicated – for this very reason, it will be to your advantage to ask for references from your developer on previous successful integration projects.

 

9) Have they carried out any significant Magento migration?

 

If your ecommerce store has not run on the Magento system previously, it’s extremely important that you hire developers who have a lot of experience in migration. You’d obviously like everything to go as smoothly as possible: if your data bases were moved to the new system completely and still could be well used, and in the end you could work with the very same data under your new and better system.

The preparation preceding the migration is huge work already, since it obviously needs to be ensured somehow that no damages are done, that no data is lost –precise and co-ordinated work of several people within the developer team is necessary for that.

 

tips Tip: Migration is important from the point of view of SEO as well: If the team doesn’t do it in the right way, your ranking, for which you’ve worked so hard and on which your company have most probably spent a lot, can collapse in an instant. And bringing back the results is only possible with hard work – and this on the other hand may even result in a considerable loss of income in the long run. So you should play safe and ask whether there’s an SEO expert in the team, or whether at least the ecommerce development company works with a reliable external search engine optimization expert.

 

10) Will they teach you how to use the system?

 

If the developers don’t simply prepare and give you the product but they also teach you how to use it, that will save you a lot of time, effort and costs in the long term.

We’ve probably mentioned this a couple of times: Magento is not at all a simple system. What makes it attractive in the first place is that it’s capable of serving even giant online shops, while still being completely customizable and offering almost unlimited options.

And it’s exactly this freedom that makes it extremely complex, and due to which a user who has worked with simpler ecommerce store and content management systems previously, will have a smaller chance of being able to understand it and handle it properly.

 

What kind of ecommerce development company do you need?

 

You may find already in the offer request phase that you’ve been looking at the wrong place right at the start.

There may be huge differences between ecommerce development companies by default – there are some that are specifically specialized in certain types of developments and work with such professionals, while others might work particularly with either small or large corporate customers.

It may also happen that you don’t even have to hire a development company at all, because the work you need to be done can also be carried out without difficulties even by a freelancer – if you want to read more about this, you can find our article in which we reviewed in detail the differences between ecommerce developer companies and freelancers.

It’s a question, exactly what kind of team you need to work with. Whether all the speciality fields are represented in it, or there will be parts of the project that will definitely have to be implemented with the involvement of one or more additional parties.

 

Qualification and skills (about Developer Certification)

 

We have already wrote about Magento Developer certifications, and we need to say a few words about them again here.

Magento trainings are truly excellent: they superbly transfer and organize the knowledge, they provide flawless lexical knowledge, and what’s even more important: they provide the routine and first-hand experience that’s indispensable during the work with a system that’s similarly robust and complex like Magento.

The certification may provide certainty and reliability for the customers, since they will know for sure that the developer passed the strict screening, and he doesn’t only claim that he’s an expert in the development of Magento.

At the same time, however, Developer certifications are not at all conditions for someone to be a top-notch Magento developer.

That’s why it’s common practice in case of developer companies that the lead developer or developers have the certification – it’s of little significance for the clients that in total how many Magento certified developers work at a company, 2 or 20.

 

Always ask for references

 

Don’t take their word for it, if the developers say they are experts in something: ask for the contact details of their previous customers (unless they provide that to you on their own initiative), inquire about where you can see in operation what they’ve developed.

It’s important that you see how they implemented previously the projects similar to yours.

 

You should also ask

  • how they communicate exactly,
  • how reliable they are,
  • how much they respect the points that were agreed on previously,
  • and whether they provide all essential information before, during and after the project.

 

There may be two reasons for which a company is not willing to provide the data of previous customers and projects:

  • they either don’t have good references,
  • or they are under the obligation of confidentiality.

 

In this latter case however, they most certainly have own projects that they are able to show you.

Without having checked the references, you should never start working with a development company that you’re unfamiliar with. If you can’t do anything else, you should visit the previously mentioned professional forums (sites and communities, or even Facebook groups on Magento development, etc.), and inquire from the professionals there about how the company is doing its work.

Even if you don’t have any other information, you can get some ideas about whether you would be able to cooperate as real partners in the long run.

 

Why should you choose an ecommerce store development company this carefully?

In case you would like to have a Magento based online shop, that already tells some things about you. You obviously made a reasonable decision, you learned about the advantages and disadvantages of the different systems, perhaps you’ve already used some kind of an ecommerce store engine and you’re an experienced operator.

If you want Magento, you need reliability and performance. A system that’s capable of serving your online store in the long term, a store with heavy traffic, large supply and high income.

In order to survive, you will need to continuously develop and extend your ecommerce store. Since the best is if the same person or company does all the developments (this way they don’t have to start with finding out how the previous developer solved certain problems), you need a long-term developer partner.

And the only way you can find someone like that, who you can work with effectively (and cost-efficiently) for years, is if you put the necessary time and effort in this selection process. If you ask all the questions, if you have several discussions with the contact person, and in the end you make the decision taking everything into consideration.

In this case, you have a very good chance of making sure that you’ve found the Magento developer partner together with whom you can be in control of your market.

 

 

Magento Go: still alive, but in another form?

The main lesson to learn is that although the cloud is useful, in case it sets limits to the use of a platform that has been famous for its freedom, failure is also on the horizon.

Magento Go struggled with several problems, and even though Magento launched the cloud based service again in 2016, it was justifiable to focus rather on their two main products instead. Let’s review it in detail how it started, what the concept was, and why the story ended like the way it did.

 

We’re going to go through the following topics:

  • History of Magento Go
  • Why did Magento Go fail?
    • The pricing of Magento
  • Solution for bigger enterprises: Enterprise Cloud
  • Solution for smaller companies: Zoey
  • Why hosting your own Magento may be better than SaaS?

 

History of Magento Go

 

The original concept was that Magento would offer merchants an online shop system to which cloud-based hosting service is also provided – thus facilitating the lives of the merchants.

The platform was launched in February 2011, and by the middle of 2014 it became obvious that the experiment had failed, and that eBay, the owner of Magento, would soon discontinue the service. In the end, the total cessation of the operation took place in February 2015.

In order not to abandon the users – almost 10 thousand people used the cloud-based system at the time – Magento partnered up with BigCommerce and that’s where they were migrated. The majority of them have been using this service ever since.

According to the official communication, the platform was terminated because eBay wanted to concentrate on the main products instead, the Magento Community and Enterprise systems – and of course, on the development of the then long delayed (since then released) Magento 2. Some partner agencies say, as a matter of fact, they never have actually focused on the Magento Go system.

 

Why did Magento Go fail?

 

First of all: the biggest strength of Magento is that it provided almost complete freedom to the merchants. There’s no other platform on the market that is so effectively shapable, transformable to personal needs like Magento, which is exactly why over 250,000 ecommerce stores are keen on using it – from the smallest enterprises to the biggest multinational brands.

Even though its development, modification is a task that requires a real professional, and it’s not nearly so simple as for instance in case of a WordPress based system, this flexibility is well worth the investment. (If you want to read more about this, check out our articles on CMS comparison published earlier, and also this article.)

Magento Go wanted to make the job of merchants easier among others with making the installation of the system unnecessary to be able to use it, since it ran as part of a cloud-based service.

On the other hand, this also took most of the control out of the hands of the users. Magento Go was the least customizable version of Magento that ever existed. Predictability worked against the success of the system in this case, as it was exactly the biggest advantage that has been sacrificed.

Consequently, on the one hand, it was too simple, it offered too little for those who wanted to have a complex solution – on the other hand, it was still Magento, which means that for those smaller ecommerce stores that wanted to have an easily manageable, problem-free online shop, in which they don’t really need to be “experts”, it represented a too complicated solution.

It also caused problems that eBay didn’t manage to reach the target market that it wanted. It can’t be said that Magento Go was a specifically unpopular solution, but it had to face too many competitors, systems that have already gained a stable foothold on the market, like BigCommerce or Shopify, and also companies like Yahoo and Amazon.

And the smaller enterprises wanting to have the Magento system rather chose the Community version – the use of this is completely free, and even though hosting is not included, due to its customizability, this was more worthwhile for the majority of the users.

If significant priority had been given to Magento Go, Community would have been damaged at the same time, which is the most important product of the company – so it seems a justifiable decision that the experiment was considered to be unsuccessful after having taken all this into consideration.

 

The pricing of Magento

 

Alongside the free of charge Community edition, the other product of the company is the Enterprise edition – this is not at all the league of the smaller players, significant amounts are paid for the system by the most demanding companies.

In the previous system, before the launch of Magento 2, the pricing started at a fixed 18 thousand dollar annual fee – in exchange for which companies were provided with a corporate level service package, not just with the system but also with its background and continuous support as well.

However, they have switched to a revenue-based model since the release of version 2: it depends on the income of the given ecommerce store how much the licence costs in the given year.

The online shops with a turnover of less than 1 million dollars thus pay 22 thousand dollars for a year, however, those generating an income of 10-25 million dollars have to pay 75 thousand dollars for the Magento EE annually.

Costs of Magento Go were insignificant compared to that. It was available in different packages, which means that the monthly fee varied based on what kind of support, how many servers, how many admins, how many languages, what bandwidth the user requested. The cheapest construction cost 15 dollars, the most expensive version cost 125 dollars per month.

 

Solution for bigger enterprises: Enterprise Cloud

 

cloud magento

 

It came to light recently that Magento decided it had already got over the failure and it would give another go to the introduction of the cloud-based service – only, they would have a smarter approach to it this time than what they had in case of Magento Go.

It was revealed in July 2016 that a new Enterprise Cloud service is being prepared, targeting specifically large companies this time. Particularly those among them who are thinking big but who don’t have their own infrastructure to ensure hosting and they don’t even intend to establish one.

Magento promised that Enterprise would be easily integrated with the different systems, and that they would keep all the flexibility that makes Magento Magento, which means that the ecommerce stores (and the service) is completely customizable to the clients’ needs.

 

Solution for smaller companies: Zoey

 

Zoey is not exactly a Magento product, but it’s compatible with it: it was released in 2014 and it was built on Magento Community Edition 1.9. Zoey is actually the first real Magento SaaS (Service as a Software) solution, which, although it’s a platform independent from the Magento Community edition, is absolutely compatible with its ecosystem, therefore it works with several Magento extensions.

Alongside Magento, Zoey is also a partner of PayPal, thanks to which the PayPal payment process is built in by default. Zoey offered in various packages in a monthly fee payment construction, with a free trial period of 14 days.

 

Why is hosting your own Magento (CE, EE) more advantageous than that of SaaS based platforms?

 

The answer is simple: because it puts bigger control in the hands of the user. In case some sort of development, modification, integration is necessary, in case the owner has his own Magento, the only thing he needs to do is to look for a reliably working Magento developer.

In case of a SaaS solution (like for example Shopify and BigCommerce), the operator of the ecommerce store definitely has less influence on how exactly the system should operate.

 

It’s worth mentioning:Being able to react within seconds to any kind of trend or change in user behaviour is of vital importance in ecommerce. If you don’t take that step, the competitors will, and the users are not at all forced to purchase from you: they will choose the solution that is the most comfortable, the most user-friendly for them.

As a consequence, optimization and modification of an online shop is a job that will certainly need to be done. In case of Magento, with individual hosting, complete customizability will ensure that you can do that properly. On the other hand, in case of SaaS solutions, even if freedom remains, the process will definitely be more complicated and thus slower as well, since intermediary stages will be included in it.

 

 

Magento Freelancer vs. Ecommerce Agency. How To Hire A Magento Developer?

You can’t expect an operator of an ecommerce store to know the practices of Magento development, or to more deeply know the development processes in general – for this very reason, in this article we’re going to give you some help so that you can choose the best Magento developer.

We are also going to review whether it’s worth hiring an ecommerce development team or a Magento freelancer instead, and also, which one you should choose for which jobs exactly.

 

We’re going to touch upon the below topics in the following:

  • Magento freelancer or ecommerce agency – the differences
    • About freelancers
    • About ecommerce agencies
    • Toptal
  • What should you pay attention to if you want to find a professional Magento developer?
    • Pricing
    • How much does it cost to hire a Magento freelancer?
    • Knowledge
    • Staging server
    • Development process and going live
    • Consultancy
    • Project management
    • Experience with migration and integration
    • Education
  • So which one: ecommerce agency or Magento freelancer?

 

Magento freelancer or ecommerce agency – the differences

 

We have already touched upon this subject in one of our previous articles (What makes a top-notch Magento Developer?), now let’s look at it in more detail: when is it worth assigning a bigger team, a Magento ecommerce agency (or development company) with the development job, and when can it be better to look for a Magento freelancer, one (or might as well more) freelance developers working alone?

 

About freelance Magento developers

 

People usually become freelancers because there is one or a couple of areas in which they can do amazingly professional work. They are real experts who are capable of getting the jobs done alone in a field of expertise, jobs that even a team can’t do at times. This is not true at all times, of course, but dealing with freelancers is really worthwhile only if they are like that.

For this very reason, in case you need some very special development that on the other hand is not of large scale, or in case some kind of a special problem arises, it may be wise to turn to a freelancer who is a widely recognized expert of the subject.

It’s also a fact that freelancers usually work for a lower price – operating a team is more expensive, especially because of such additional costs like having to maintain an office or having to provide equipment for the work. In case of a freelancer, such expenses are minimal in comparison, thus they can undercut well below the prices of the big development firms.

Many times you’d also be better off with a freelancer when it comes to flexibility. Since you don’t have to cut your way through contact persons, or a project management system, but you can directly talk to the developer working on the project, you can make yourself understood more easily and more quickly. Of course, for this reason, the really good development companies employ people whose only job is to facilitate that communication.

The disadvantage of hiring a freelancer may be that they have quite obvious limits: they can’t be experts in all fields at the same time, so in case some sort of a new problem arises, you will have to involve someone else, too.

There may also be problems with reliability: freelancers tend to disappear from time to time, or work at night for that matter, consequently, no matter how flexible they are, discussions, communication may still turn out to be more difficult in the end.

 

About professional Magento ecommerce agencies

 

The biggest advantage of a team is the team itself: if you choose a company with several people, then you will pay for the access to the knowledge and competences of a lot of people that together can solve practically any kind of development problems.

All aspects of the project are handled in the same place, you don’t have to involve new, external people, which means that the development goes much more smoothly, moreover, in a way that is transparent for you as well.

 

Efficiency – Professional development companies or ecommerce agencies have their own efficient working methods and routines that make them capable of working fast, even on complicated projects that require the joint work of a professional team.

 

In addition, they will also be more likely to provide appropriate support: usually there’s a person within the team appointed for the communication with the client, which is by all means advantageous.

Their main disadvantage is obviously the price: if you want to have access to the knowledge of several professionals, you will have to pay the price of that. However, there’s a good chance that this turns out to be a profitable investment, because you get such a service for your money that a freelancer wouldn’t be able to provide.

 

Toptal

 

If you think that it’s better for you to choose a Magento freelancer instead of an ecommerce agency for your project, since it’s a smaller scale development, or because you’re looking for flexibility or for other reasons, you should check out the Toptal site.

The specialty of Toptal is that they’ve specifically gathered the best professionals.

You can find specialists any time on the site who are capable of doing the best quality work in a given specialty field – and this quality is guaranteed, since Toptal quite toughly regulates who can advertise themselves in their system. The site is obviously expensive, but the reason for this is that you’ll certainly find a competent person.

And this brings us to how you can tell whether you’re really dealing with a professional, be it a freelancer or a development firm.

 

What should you pay attention to if you want to find a professional Magento developer?

 

ecommerce agency, Magento

 

Pricing

 

It may depend on a lot of factors what price is set for a development project, however, we can give you some general advice.

If somebody works for a very low price, you should approach them with caution in the first place. The rates may vary from country to country. For example in Germany, development work done below 50 euros per hour is considered suspiciously cheap.

Think about it, we’re talking about ecommerce software applications here – about a system that has to manage products, deliveries, transactions, etc. professionally.

 

tips Suggestion: There’s no way you should work with someone who’s not aware of the value of their own work, because in that case, the work itself is probably not that valuable either – you shouldn’t hire for example cheap WordPress or Joomla developers who think that while having minimal knowledge, they are good enough at Magento as well.

 

On the other hand, if they’re too expensive, you should ask why that is. It’s quite possible that the high price is justified, it may happen that you’re talking to such a professional team in which a lot of different experts work together on the projects, whose work is more reliable and quicker than that of others, and not least, they also meet the deadlines.

In this case, even if you pay a higher price, you will be better off financially in the end, than if you hired a less professional Magento developer.

 

How much does it cost to hire a Magento freelance developer?

 

Hourly rates of freelancers vary greatly, you can choose from rates ranging even from 4 to 150 US dollars – obviously, depending on what has already been described above. At the ecommerce agencies, you can find hourly rates of even 200 dollars or more – but by paying that price, you’re paying for the long term relationship as well, because it’s not advantageous in every case having the job done by a single professional, and that’s it.

It’s indeed worth searching for the ones that are not the cheapest – you may even need to teach Magento basics to those who ask for less than 20 dollars an hour.

 

Knowledge

 

Magento is a monster: it’s one of the most complex systems, for the understanding of which, and for the obtaining of proficiency in its development, a lot of time and energy is necessary. You can find many Magento ecommerce agencies and freelancers as well who claim they are experts in Magento, but actually they’re just scratching the surface, and they couldn’t cope with more complicated projects.

 

"If you happen to hear somebody say that they’re experts in Magento because they’ve already worked with Zend Framework, alarm bells should start to ring in your head!"

 

Ask them things like after they have developed a new module for example, can you update Magento to the next version without problems, and if yes, what makes that possible. You should also ask whether they can speed up the system’s operation, and if yes, how. Ask about the details even if you’re not an expert.

If they can’t answer these questions without having to think too much about them, the alarm bells should again start to ring.

For that matter, it’s always worth checking the company: ask about them from others, ask for references, search for information about them on the internet. It’s best if they can show you assignments they’ve already carried out, something that’s already finished and works fine, something that shows you in practice what kind of solutions they provide.

 

Staging server

 

Preferably, if you buy a development service, the developers try that in their own development environment first: they integrate it, test its operation, correct eventual errors, and they install it on the staging server only after all that.

If they want to install a recently developed function on the staging server right away, you should definitely ask what the reason for that is – they might have a good reason for that, but that’s hard to imagine. On the other hand, if they want to install it immediately on the production server, that obviously indicates that something is wrong, since we’re talking about a live online shop being visited by the customers every minute or so.

 

Of course this shouldn’t come to light during the process:You should interview the freelancer about the process of the development, e.g. what steps you should expect him to follow, preferably before you sign a contract with him. This way, you will less likely be caught by unexpected surprises.

 

Development process and going live

 

You should definitely inquire about how the finished developments are installed. Is there a staging server or everything goes live immediately?

Going live involves risks, consequently, it can cause serious inconveniences to the customers, and thus loss of prestige to you.

Professionals don’t upload files with FTP, they deploy and think in releases. There are software tools that were specifically designed so that the development and deployment work can be done with the least possible errors, or that in case of problems, resetting to the previous faultless version (version management) goes quickly – one of the most popular tools like that is for example Gitlab.

In order to get to know more about this, you’ll have to inquire again about the process of the development – and after having read the information above, you can see that it’s worth going into the details.

 

Consultancy

 

In case of complex development projects, it’s not enough if the developer is an expert in his job – he also needs to continuously communicate about it with the client.

This is of vital importance, since the way of thinking of the clients and of the developers is many times different, and it’s not by chance that the contact persons and project managers, who can turn the client needs into professional tasks, have such an important role in the more professional teams.

Therefore, the only companies or freelancers you should choose are those that are willing to consult with you, where this is part of the service. But you shouldn’t only pay attention to whether they discuss things with you, but also to what they have to say.

If you feel that it’s a salesman who is sitting in front of you and not a developer partner, you probably already have a problem: a professional will not want to sell you unnecessary things, take your money for unnecessary work. His communication will not be focused on sales, but on what you need and how he can perform that work the best way.

This is especially important in case of extensions: it’s your partner who will have to find the best for you, because unfortunately, there is a great deal of extensions on the market which cannot at all be considered good.

 

tips Tip: When buying extensions, the second mandatory step, after getting to know the functions, is the review of the ratings (it shouldn’t be the developer only who examines these), and it should be suspicious if there are only two or three of them and they praise the module to the skies.

 

As the owner of an ecommerce store is not an expert in this, he will have to trust that the experienced professional will find the best solutions for him and will properly integrate them into the system.

The same experience is important when the business needs can only be met with custom development, because there’s no extension on the market that would be enough by itself to cover the special processes.

 

Project management

 

You always have to be aware of what phase the given project is in precisely at a given moment, at what stage it is, and, preferably, you shouldn’t know about this because you are told about it in email or over the phone, or because their job has simply gone live without a prearranged date and without your approval.

A professional works with tools (there are plenty of PM tools that fit in the pricing of freelancers as well, e.g. Basecamp, Redmine, Atlassian JIRA), which allow the client to check any time what stage the project is at, and also allows that it becomes clear for him what’s happening at the given moment.

 

Experience with migration and integration

 

It may also be an important question what kind of experiences the developers have in the field of migration and integration (e.g. ERP system) – in particular the ecommerce agencies have a greater knowledge in this field, such experience in case of Magento freelancers is expected to be much less.

 

Education

 

It’s also an aspect whether they teach you how to use the modules implementing the new functions after they’ve developed them. Professionals don’t let go of the client’s hands after the development phase is over, and that’s not only because of the support. They thoroughly teach the client how to use the developed tool, so that he gets along by himself, and so that he recognizes the errors – so that he remains a satisfied client and he turns to them the next time as well.

 

So which one: ecommerce agency or Magento freelancer?

In case you need a simpler development fast, it’s usually worth hiring a freelancer.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a partner who will help you in the long run as well, who can also cope with more complex projects and has experience and routine in all areas, then a Magento ecommerce agency is a more fortunate choice even if you have to pay a higher price. Because this reliability, comfort and diversity is an amply profitable investment in the long run.

 

 

Pinterest eCommerce strategy – How to use Pinterest for promoting your online shop

Pinterest has visuals: while Instagram has built its business model on the spontaneously shared moments, Pinterest has actually become what it is because of the well edited and selected pieces of content. Anyone can compile their own collections, and many people do this in order to collect ideas.

Ideas that can be realized later, ideas for cooking, building houses, interior decoration and for a million other things where online commerce plays a very important role.

Therefore, we are going to review how you can use Pinterest effectively if you want to increase the conversion of your online store, if you want to direct more customers to your product pages while already having captured their imagination.

 

We are going to talk about the following:

  • Useful data about Pinterest
  • Mobile device users and Pinterest
    • How important is it actually?
  • Types of pins
    • Buyable pins
    • Promoted pins
    • Traditional pins
  • Targeting and following
  • How to use Pinterest efficiently?
  • Is it worthwhile for you using Pinterest?

 

Some useful data about Pinterest

 

To begin with, let’s see what is definitely worth knowing about Pinterest.

  • 110 million active users
  • The estimated number of users for March 2017 will be 200 million
  • Users spend an average 100 minutes on Pinterest per month
  • The 13th most popular website in the US and the 30th in the world
  • A total of more than 50 billion pins
  • 70% of users are women, 30% are men

 

Mobile device users and Pinterest

 

Even though the popularity of Pinterest is much lower than that of social media sites like Twitter or Facebook, still, it represents a significant power in online commerce.

Currently, Pinterest has 110 million active users – that’s how many people log in to the site at least once a month.

The problem with the pins for advertising purposes is that they appear exclusively in the mobile phone application – this means that the desktop users can’t be reached with such messages. (We are very soon going to talk about how this is still possible.)

All you have to do is look at the statistics in order to be able to see how attractive this social platform is for ecommerce stores. Everybody can create their own boards on Pinterest, where they can freely pin different pieces of content. At present there are

  • 130 million boards with the topic of interior decoration,
  • 180 million with that of food and beverages, and there are
  • 300 million boards focusing on fashion.

 

A considerable proportion of the items on these boards are elements that people would like to have. Things that have fascinated them from some point of view, towards which they feel some kind of visual attraction.

We have already talked about it earlier, how great the significance of authentic and good quality product photos is. You shouldn’t use stock photos for the presentation of your products, but rather photos that fulfil two criteria:

 

  • they show the product from every angle to the potential customer, and
  • they help to compensate for the experience what kind of feeling it would give to take the product into one’s hands and examining it.

 

In case of Pinterest, these aspects are combined with another one: creativity.

 

How useful is Pinterest actually?

 

It’s good news for e-merchants that according to the surveys, the majority of the users have already used the platform for shopping, which means that they are not at all reluctant to spend their money at the same place where they meet the content.

As a matter of fact, many people use it to make purchasing decisions: they search for products, compare them, thus merchants can superbly use the pins to convince those that are hesitating. The proportion is quite impressive: 9 out of 10 users have already used the site for such purposes.

 

Statistics: Approximately 75% of the content appearing on Pinterest originates from various brands – on the other hand, this also includes those pieces of content shared by the users that were uploaded by the brands themselves.

 

A great deal of people use Pinterest to get new ideas – at the same time, capturing their attention is not easy, since an amazing quantity of new visual content is uploaded on the site each day.

A brand that doesn’t have a strategy, uses only buyable pins: pins that users can directly purchase with on Pinterest, without leaving the site.

 

This phenomenon is worth a bypass.The biggest social media platforms, e.g. Facebook, nowadays promote original content publishing and not content sharing between the users. Instead of being an aggregator, they want to become a source, the appearance of Instant Article suggests the same. They don’t want us to leave the page – they’d rather realize the content consumption, the conversion within the site.

It’s a question how successful this ambition will be, however, regarding the current user habits, ecommerce stores can’t really do anything else but to adapt to the trends and try to reach as many sales even within these platforms as they can.

 

Types of pins

pin types

 

Buyable pins

 

Buyable pins have both advantages and disadvantages. One of its obvious disadvantages is that you can’t reach desktop users with it – at the same time, the majority of the users of Pinterest use the mobile application, which means this doesn’t represent such a serious disadvantage as it seems at first glance.

It might also create a problem that the willingness of mobile users to purchase is much lower than that of those browsing from desktop. At the same time, the gap is getting smaller, the proportion of the users purchasing through their mobile devices is increasing month by month.

An advantage of such pins is that there’s a big blue purchase button on them, so the CTA is given, moreover, Pinterest even displays the price, and the transaction can be performed within the application, without being redirected to the online shop.

This latter represents a disadvantage again of course: although you can offer other goods for the users in follow-up letters, there’s no such opportunity for up-sell as you would have on the page of an ecommerce store.

Currently, Pinterest can be integrated with 5 ecommerce platforms, which are the following:

  • Shopify
  • Magento
  • BigCommerce
  • Demandware
  • IBM Commerce

 

Promoted pins

 

You also have the opportunity to promote your company, your products or even your online shop, with the help of promoted pins. Pinterest, like other large platforms, has an algorithm monitoring the behaviour of the users, thus they are capable of the personalized display of the promoted pins based on the areas of interest and previous activities of the user.

A great advantage of promoted pins is that they don’t appear as obvious advertisements, but they appear natively on the surface. You can learn only from a small text that someone has paid for them. The users also have the possibility of making a promoted pin disappear if they don’t like it – this facilitates personalization and at the same time, lets the users decide. Consequently, with all this, it becomes less likely that the promoted pins fall victims of banner blindness.

For this very reason though, you should make sure that they don’t appear to be advertisements. It’s worth creating them in a way that they raise the interest of the users for themselves. It should be the value of the content why the users click on them, whether they are useful or aesthetic.

 

You can run two sorts of campaigns with promoted pins.

  • You can increase your reach with one of them (this is the Engagement campaign), the system tries to display the pins in the best possible positions, and the advertiser pays for the impressions. These may be very useful if you want to build a brand, if you want to reach the audience by showing them your brand and your products.
  • The other type aims to get traffic: the aim of this is to direct the users to your website, and the advertiser pays for the clicks, not for the displays.

 

Traditional pins

 

If you don’t want to spend on advertising, you can still upload pins that help you build your brand: you should just simply create pieces of content that will most probably be interesting for your target audience, and make selections of these.

 

Targeting and following

 

Pinterest selects what pieces of content it shows to the users mainly based on their previous activities and their areas of interest. As a consequence, if you build your own pieces of content smartly, you will have a good chance of reaching them even without significant targeting.

On the other hand, you can more strongly target paid pin types. On Pinterest, there are basically 5 criteria according to which you can determine who you want to display your pieces of content to:

  • search terms
  • geographical location
  • language
  • device
  • gender

 

Unfortunately, following is not that simple: you can monitor the URL of promoted pins if and only the original pin itself already had following parameters – this, on the other hand can obviously distort the data, because you won’t be able to separate the paid and the organic traffic.

However, there’s opportunity to edit the promoted pins afterwards, to add following parameters to the URL this way.

 

How to use Pinterest efficiently?

 

When planning the campaign, it’s worth keeping in mind that you can achieve the best results with a single, well-selected pin. Even if you used several of them, a single pin would bring the majority of the conversions, and for this very reason, you can be the most efficient if you focus on one in the first place.

You will have to determine which is the best with A/B testing, of course – since we are talking about a platform that focuses mainly on creativity, it’s almost impossible to tell in advance what will and what won’t be successful, so you can’t skip this step.

You should also make sure that the focus of the campaign stays narrow enough. You shouldn’t want to show everything at the same time, choose a single product, a single area that you will strengthen – and target the best fitting audience with the tools that are at your disposal. (You will have a great deal of opportunities to do that: you can determine 420 of the areas of interest only.)

Use vertical pins: the height dimension should be larger than width, because thus it will take up more space on the screen of the user, thanks to the organizing principles of the platform.

 

tips Tip: It’s best if you use your organic pins as advertisements as well: you can save A/B testing by using what your audience already likes, and you can make a buyable or promoted pin of it straight away.

 

You can also do retargeting: in case you are working with a Pinterest Marketing API Partner, you will have the chance of reaching the users again on various platforms, and you can effectively increase the number of conversions with retargeting.

 

Is it worth using Pinterest?

The greatest proportion of online customers are present on Pinterest. According to the 2016 Internet Trends report 55% of the American users have already used it for shopping, while all the other platforms fall far behind it: this proportion is only 12% in case of Facebook and Instagram, 9% for Twitter, and only 5% for LinkedIn.

This, and all other statistics show that the users have already got used to shopping on Pinterest, they are willingly using the platform for that, they are looking for ideas, and they are also using it to reinforce their purchasing decisions.

Since you may be able to take advantage of the opportunities of brand building even for free, and advertising can effectively work based on all that, in case you invest time and effort in the elaboration of a good campaign, not being present on Pinterest is simply a missed opportunity, if you are an online store operator.

Of course, you will have to put a lot of energy into building a good brand here: you’ll have to take content creation seriously, you will have to spend money on professional work – photographers, graphic designers – producing you the pins that will be successful organically as well.

Pinterest is perfectly capable of increasing the turnover and the popularity of your ecommerce store at the same time, which is why we suggest you start planning your first pin campaign today if you haven’t yet done that.

 

 

Ecommerce market: China rises ‒ US falls? 2016 analysis and future trends

Currently, these trends dominate the online market. Growth has been stable for years, and new technologies encourage the spread of online commerce solutions even in the underdeveloped regions.

In addition to global ecommerce, in our article we are also going to examine the most important markets one by one, and we will also look at what phenomena lie in the background.

We are going to talk about the following topics in detail:

 

  • Global emarket is growing steadily
  • American ecommerce is in excellent shape
    • Expansion of the mobile industry boosts the ecommerce sector as well
  • China dominates the Asia-Pacific Region
    • The red dragon eats up online commerce
  • The European online market brings half a trillion euros
    • 3 countries generate two thirds
  • What trends drive growth?
    • Social networking and social proof
    • Mobile revolution
    • Biometric solutions spread
  • The future is online

 

Global emarket is growing steadily

 

According to the most recent forecast of eMarketer, total turnover of the global ecommerce market may exceed 1.9 trillion dollars this year. According the Worldwide Retail Ecommerce Sales: The eMarketer Forecast for 2016 report, this way growth may reach even 23.7% compared to that of last year.

Although the pace of expansion is minimally slowing down according to the data, in case of such high numbers, that shouldn’t give cause for concerns for the e-merchants. The growth was 25.5% in 2015, and analysts still expect 18.7% for 2020.

What’s more interesting, is that the number of digital sales within the entire commerce sector represents an increasing proportion. Following the 8.7%, expected for this year, we will probably spend every tenth dollar through the internet in 2017, and in 2020 ecommerce will represent 14.6% within the entire turnover of global commerce.

 

American ecommerce is in excellent shape

e-commerce market, USA

 

Based on the most recent data, the American online commerce sector has been showing the biggest growth for the last few years. According to the report published by the U.S. Department of Commerce on 16 August, the turnover of online retail trade was 97.3 billion dollars, which represents an increase of 4.5% compared to the previous quarter. Then again, compared to the same period of 2015, the expansion is even much more significant, it’s 15.8%.

The data may sometimes be different since the Department of Commerce applies the category of “non-store sales” as well – the majority of which of course are sales realized through the web, and they also include the orders placed in email or on the phone, just as well the sales realized directly to customers by salesmen in person.

On the other hand, these latter methods can’t keep pace with ecommerce – although the unified category shows expansion, it was only 8.6% in the first quarter, while that of ecommerce was 15.2%.

The opinion of the experts is unanimous regarding that the present period is excellent for ecommerce. In particular those areas perform outstandingly well, which are connected in some way to the real estate market that’s currently showing an upward trend.

Americans spend more and more on home improvement, furniture and household devices, which is intensified by low fuel prices, high employment rate and the increase of average wages.

 

Expansion of the mobile industry boosts the ecommerce sector as well

 

According to Scot Wingo, executive chairman of ChannelAdvisor dealing with ecommerce counselling, the fact that the Americans use their mobile phones and generally their smart devices more and more for purchasing, also plays a role in the strengthening of online commerce.

tips Important: Users of mobile devices, even though they still bring a lower conversion rate than those browsing on desktop, actually purchase more and more on the internet each year. In 2014, purchases launched from mobile represented only 24.6% within the entire ecommerce, on the other hand, in 2015, this proportion was 29.7% already, which means that almost every third online purchase was realized on a mobile device.

 

China dominates the Asia-Pacific Region

 

The leading role in online commerce will definitely remain with the Far-East in the decade: digital sales are expected to bring more than 1 trillion dollars in the region by the end of the year, and the turnover may increase to even 2.725 trillion dollars by 2020.

Not only the rate of the turnover’s increase, but that of the expansion is tremendous, this year ecommerce of the region is expected to grow by 31.5%. And the region can produce all this growth while still having a lot of room for expansion: in South-East Asia for example the proportion of ecommerce is still remarkably low within the entire commerce, which is primarily due to the insufficiently developed online payment solutions and the poor logistic background system according to the experts.

 

The red dragon eats up online commerce

e-commerce-market, China

 

Most of this is already realized by China even today: they expect 899.09 billion dollars from online commerce this year.

 

China’s share can be considered quite brutal:

They brought 42.8% of the total turnover of global ecommerce last year already, and they are expected to bring 47% of it this year – not including the numbers from Hong Kong. In contrast, the American online commerce sector, thought to be robust in itself, can almost be considered weak with its share of 22.2% last year and that of 20.7% of this year.

 

The increase is mainly due to the success of ecommerce sites like Alibaba, Tmall or JD.com, which started growing fast in the last few years taking advantage of the underdevelopment of the country’s traditional retail trade sector.

In addition to that, the growth of the middle class also plays a role in this, which implies that more and more people can afford to buy themselves smart phones which are available at fairly low prices in China anyway – thus the number of purchases launched from mobile is also increasing steeply.

 

[bctt tweet=”By 2020 China will account for almost two thirds of global ecommerce.” username=”aionhill”]

 

 

The European online market brings half a trillion euros

 

Although the growth is far from being homogeneous on the old continent, it still can be considered stable: according to the expectations of market analysts, the total European online commerce will bring 509.9 billion euros this year.

More than half of this turnover will be generated in Western Europe that already realized 525.9 billion euros on the internet last year – in contrast, Eastern Europe is lagging significantly behind, last year the region showed the lowest growth rate within the continent, and it generated an online turnover of only 24.5 billion euros.

Ecommerce Europe’s European B2C E-commerce report shows that the pace of growth has slowed down compared to that of last year regarding Europe as a whole. While an increase of 13.3% was registered in 2015, analysts expect a growth of only 12% for this year.

At present, approximately 296 million active online customers live in Europe, who spent an average of 1540 euros last year. Still, less than 43 percent of those older than 15 purchase online, and 16% of them do this outside their own country.

The proportion of those among the SMEs, who actively deal with ecommerce can’t be considered very good either: barely 16 percent of them offer their products and services on the internet, and less than half of them do this outside the market of their own countries as well. For this very reason, analysts say that the European online market is still quite far from the position where online merchants exploit its full potential.

 

3 countries generate two thirds of turnover

 

This is also reflected by the fact that two thirds of the entire European ecommerce is generated by three countries: the United Kingdom, Germany and France. Regarding the size of the B2C ecommerce market, the British played the leading role (they purchased more than 157 billion euros online), however, it’s quite uncertain what effect will Brexit have on their online market. (We wrote about this topic in detail in this article: What effects will Brexit have on ecommerce?) Although the German online customers are more numerous, their average spend is less.

The fastest growing market in Europe is clearly Ukraine, their online market is expected to expand by 35% compared to last year. They are followed by Turkey (34.9%) and Belgium (34.2%).

Despite the optimistic outlook, experts are far from being satisfied with the online market. Increase is hindered primarily by the already well-known problems: different regulations of the countries, taxes imposed on ecommerce and underdeveloped logistics infrastructure.

 

What trends drive growth?

trends in ecommerce

 

Ecommerce by itself couldn’t have been able to conquer the world to such an extent:technological development, especially in the last decade, added a lot to online commerce gaining the trust of people and becoming available to them.

 

Social media and social proof

 

One of the trends encouraging the expansion of ecommerce is the spread of social networking sites. Before the appearance of social networks – even though the technology itself and the payment solutions were less developed as well – people trusted online purchasing much less.

This is understandable, since the new phenomenon took away a lot from the traditional process of purchasing – for example the personal contact and the opportunity for the customers of examining the product thoroughly and in person before they buy it.

 

On the other hand, today ecommerce is becoming more powerful thanks to the social networks. People see that their friends, family members and colleagues purchase on the internet, they follow their every move, even when and where they buy certain products, and furthermore, they share the best online stores and shopping experiences with each other. And all this, based on the principle of social proof, will make even the doubtful provide their personal and financial data to online merchants.

 

Mobile revolution

 

It hasn’t been a question for the last couple of years that mobile will soon rise above desktop: smart devices are becoming less and less expensive, and our internet usage habits are radically transforming. We browse the internet in the subway, while being stuck in a traffic jam, and even in the supermarket – and in addition to that, we more and more often decide to rather complete the purchase quickly and comfortably on the small screen, instead of sitting down in front of a desktop computer.

Of course, the catching up of technology was necessary to get to that. More and more ecommerce stores use responsive design solutions, user interfaces that are easily manageable even with the already well-known gestures, and payment solutions that are simpler compared to the desktop version.

Nevertheless, the conversion rate is still much lower among those browsing on mobiles, but it’s increasing. And thanks to the growth of the devices’ penetration, that’s not expected to change in the near future.

 

Biometric solutions spread

 

In 2015, the market of companies dealing with biometric identification amounted globally to 12.15 billion dollars, however, analysts prognosticate already 37.8 billion dollars for 2022.

Of course, you will be able to find the next-generation security solutions mostly in mobile devices, which will become more secure because of that. This already facilitates the increase of ecommerce even today, since people are much more willing to make payments through a device that protects their most important data not only with a simple password, but also with fingerprint identification.

 

The future is online

Even though ecommerce still represents only a fragment of retail trade globally, and the proportion of merchants with online presence is surprisingly low, it’s beyond doubt that only those will stay alive in the long run who gain a safe foothold on the internet.

A greater proportion of the users trusting technology more and more and thus expecting more and more brick-and-mortar stores.

What’s certain is that a good quality, well operating ecommerce store can be a very profitable investment – and we can certainly declare, having examined the most recent commercial data, that this will remain like that in the near future as well.

 

 

What makes a top-notch Magento Developer?

If a company would like to have a Magento based ecommerce store, it hires a specialized developer or a developer company for the job. Magento is a complex, powerful and reliable system, and in order for someone to be able to handle it with competence, they need to have expertise in several areas.

It’s also a question what the difference is between the freelance developers and the ones working in teams. When is it useful for a company to hire a freelancer and when is it worth hiring a specialized development company for a job?

We are going to provide answers to all those questions in this article. If you are interested in how you can become a professional Magento developer, here you will find out what you will have to learn. And if you are looking for a developer for your business, we will give you useful hints on what you have to keep in mind in order to find the ideal person.

 

We are going to cover the following:

  • What kind of previous experience does a Magento developer need to have?
    • Which programming languages does he/she have to master?
  • What does the Magento Certified exam really provide?
  • Freelancer or expert team?
    • What is expected from a team member?
    • What kind of an expert is a good developer?
    • How can you select the ideal Magento freelancer?
  • What’s a good Magento developer like?

 

What kind of previous experience does a Magento developer need to have?

 

One of the most important things is that he (or she; for simplicity’s sake we are using ‘he’ in this post, apologies to developer girls) has to have significant web development experience. Magento is a complex system and the developer has to understand how his work is going to work on the internet. He has to be familiar with HTML, CSS and Javascript languages, since he will apply these during his daily work.

It’s also necessary that he knows the operation of version control software applications. Such a distributed version control software application can be Git, which is, among others, used for the development of the Linux kernel, VLC media player and the Android platform.

It’s worthwhile for him being familiar with some kind of an integrated development environment (IDE) as well. IDE software applications facilitate programming, they allow quick application development by partial automation of the process.

 

Which programming languages does he have to master?

 

On the backend side, experience in the PHP language is essential, for a developer working with Magento 2, knowledge of PHP 5.6-7 specifically is what’s important. He will also need skill level knowledge of OOP that follows SOLID principles, since Magento development requires him to understand the complicated class structures. A good Magento Developer will be familiar with MVC architecture and the rules of modular development.

MySQL is important because during Magento development it’s necessary to solve a great deal of problems, for which it’s essential – especially for the handling of joins, management of InnoDb and transactions, troubleshooting of locking problems, and the management of Zend Query. He has to be capable of interpreting MySQL Explain, of knowing unfamiliar keys and normalized data structures.

The one who would like to work with Magento will also need to know Zend Cache and cache techniques in general – including the use of the open-source code Redis database manager, just like the use of the distributed memory object caching system of Memcached, and he will also need to have experience in applying single and two-level cache and in cache troubleshooting as well.

The knowledge of XML is necessary among others because config.xml is used for the configuration of modules. What’s also important for backend development is the knowledge of Varnish and Linux BASH, basic system administrator knowledge and also that the developer uses the collaboration tools with proficiency.

On the frontend side, it’s not enough to have experience in JavaScript, the developer also has to know Prototype and Jquery framework systems. Knowledge of Node.js (or Node in brief), Gulp, Grunt and Bootstrap is essential, even for the development of Magento 1.

He should be familiar with the use of some kind of a CSS pre-processor, like LeSS or Sass. In addition, the developer has to know the basics of search engine optimization (SEO), best practices for responsive layouts, and he also has to know how to do developments in a way that the result of his work will be a system that the end users will find perfectly functional and comfortably usable on different smart devices.

 

What does the Magento Certified exam really provide?

magento-certification

 

In addition to web development basics, a very strong lexical knowledge is also necessary for the development of Magento, and in order for someone to actually become an expert in the system, an intensive development experience of at least a year is necessary as well.

The Magento Certified Developer exam practically guarantees having these two skills: the experience and the lexical knowledge, on which the developer’s knowledge is built. It’s not really the qualification that’s important here, but the proficiency gained during the performance of the diversified Magento development tasks.

On the other hand, for that very reason it’s also true that the exam is not a precondition of becoming a good Magento developer.

 

tips Comment:: Proficiency and knowledge can also be learned even if it happens outside the training system operated by Magento – there are people even among the best in the field who don’t have the qualification, however, their knowledge and abilities are recognized by all professionals.

 

The exam is useful because it will definitely systematize the knowledge, and it will teach the beginners fundamental things like they shouldn’t write into the core files.

A developer can actually say he has an adequate level of knowledge when he doesn’t make fundamental mistakes anymore, when he writes correct codes and once he’s able to apply best practices during his work. Only real professionals are beyond that, who can do all this innovatively and creatively.

 

At a certain level, of course, the developer also has to know when it’s possible and when it’s necessary to bypass the rules.The only way of creating certain solutions, like for example a product import process that previously took up to 2 days, can now be carried out in 20 minutes, is possible only if the developer is willing to break even some fundamental rules.

 

He can only do that if he exactly knows not only his own capabilities, but Magento’s limits as well and he’s able to go beyond them creatively – without making any mistakes.

Consequently, although the exam by itself is valuable, it’s not enough: for a good developer the most important thing is the experience gained during the years.

 

Freelancer or expert team?

freelancer-VS-magento

 

When a business is looking for a Magento developer, many times they can see that a freelancer may do the same job for a lower price than what an expert team may ask for it.

 

However, there’s a reason for that. Although there are developers among the freelancers who have very good abilities, they are simply incapable of doing the same job the same way on their own.

 

A single person can’t have expert-level knowledge in every area – thus he doesn’t look at the project as a designer, as a marketing manager, or from the point of view of ROI, for instance.

It may also be a serious problem that the schedule of freelancers is hectic – many of them work during the night, which also implies that their availability during the day is uncertain. This way a single person can’t provide support to an online shop that’s considered to be the source of income of a company. Yet in case of new projects it’s critical that the provided support is appropriate, that the deadlines are always duly met.

In order to be able to count on the best job in all business areas, you will definitely need several people. Of course you might as well hire several freelancers simultaneously, on the other hand, at this point there’s really no use in not having the work done by a well-integrated development team.

Another advantage of this is that the project can be coordinated very precisely: it can be clearly defined who does what exactly, how the specialists with different focuses can help each other, which will result in the best outcome in all cases.

In case of a more significant Magento development project, a lot of areas of expertise have to be represented, and it’s also very important that the team is able to work together smoothly, that everyone knows exactly their roles and they accept the opinions of other experts.

Above all, the following professionals are needed

  • a project manager,
  • an IT expert,
  • a designer familiar with UX,
  • a frontend and backend developer,
  • a quality assurance specialist,
  • a business analyst,
  • and a search engine optimization expert.

 

This doesn’t necessarily mean that each field is represented by a different person, but it’s for sure that a single person won’t be able to carry out a project for which all this knowledge is necessary.

 

What is expected from a team member?

 

The most important thing is that the developer shouldn’t want to play a lone wolf: he shouldn’t think that he can solve everything himself, but he should be aware of the fact that he’s working together with other experts, from whom he can ask for help any time – and he should do so when necessary.

A team player has to share his knowledge with others. Team players must communicate with each other continuously.

 

What kind of an expert is a good developer?

 

Those who want to work as a Magento developer, being a member of a team, in addition to personal knowledge and experience, will need a set of personal qualities that will make them capable of that. Besides being willing to share their knowledge and experience and not being afraid to ask for help from others, a set of characteristics determines whether someone is a good team player.

Such personal qualities are

  • thoroughness,
  • enthusiasm,
  • diligence,
  • thirst for knowledge, willingness to develop,
  • devotion,
  • responsibility for oneself and for others,
  • and trust for others.

 

Having these qualities will result in the Magento developer being able to carry out quality work, to prepare it quickly, to find innovative solutions, to work reliably and to effectively become part of the team, to complement and to assist it.

 

 

How can you select the ideal Magento freelancer?

 

In case of a smaller project it may be enough to hire a freelancer and not a complete development team for the job.

But how do you know whether you found the right person?

It’s important that he has his own Github and Magento Connect extension, and that you should always ask for a reference: available work that shows how the given Magento developer does his job. The main aspect in this case is to assess how functional the given end product is, but the documentation can be very informative as well, even for a layman.

Usually, an ecommerce store owner has difficulties assessing by himself whether a developer is capable of carrying out the given work, so it’s a good thing if he hires a specialist for the selection, or at least asks for some help in finding the right developer.

It may be a good idea to entrust a freelancer with the development of a module from time to time, but you have to clarify in advance that he should guarantee error-free operation and it should also be clarified under what conditions and at what price he undertakes bugfixing.

In case of development jobs that require both frontend and backend work, which are diversified, it’s worth involving a designer, a backend and frontend developer, or a company specialized in that.

But for instance a payment module can completely be done by a good backend developer alone. In case you have the opportunity, you should have the prepared module audited by a third party, this will certainly be worth the expense.

 

What’s a good Magento developer like?

Most importantly, committed.

He doesn’t just like his job, but he carries it out with enthusiasm, always wanting to create something better.

If the desire for personal development is there, joined with diligence, that will bring along what’s described above: the developer will be motivated to

  • obtain the appropriate qualifications,
  • learn the appropriate skills,
  • get the most possible routine and experience.

And a prestigious company only employs professionals like that: ones that have the necessary knowledge not only on paper, but who can be checked, and who are definitely capable of bringing quality development to the table.