Archive for December 2011
Magento developers can utilize the features of the Magento Enterprise Edition to help online store owners enhance their sales.
The Magento Enterprise Edition lets you maintain a database of customers and allows you to give them store credits and gift cards, making them return more often to your website. You can choose to either send them the gift cards in the mail or send virtual gift cards to their inbox. It allows customers to select a price level or lets them enter an amount within a specific range and displays the products in that range. The Enterprise Edition enables a personal touch with customers by providing you control over defining the card lifetime and enabling personalized gift messages. Any number of gift cards can be given or used by the customers. The Enterprise Edition maintains a gift card record so that you can analyze the gift cards usage patterns.
Recipients can confirm their card balance prior to checkout so that they can ascertain whether the balance is sufficient to make the purchase. Rewards points can be distributed to loyal customers and tracked. Management of sales returns through the issue of store credits, which can be redeemed in future, is also possible in the Enterprise Edition. Throughout the refund process, either the full refund amount or a partial amount can be entered, to create an automatic store credit. Customers can club their store credit, gift cards and alternative payment options during checkout. Thus, The Magento Enterprise Edition makes the entire process of purchase, rewards, redemptions and returns simple and flexible.
A Magento developer can install Magento software in any of the following 4 ways:
- Manual installation: By manually downloading and uploading all necessary files.
- Downloader installation: It requires downloading a script for some of the files, which when uploaded and run, will download the rest of the files, including the executable ones.
- SSH installation: This involves connecting to the server by means of a shell and running a set number of commands which will download, unzip, and setup all the necessary files and permissions.
- SVN installation: SVN implies subversion installation. It involves checking out or exporting from the repository to your server, before committing it to the local directory in which you wish to install the Magento software.
It is helpful for Magento developers to have a preliminary knowledge about all of these methods so that they can choose their preferred method.
Even the best have to constantly innovate and upgrade themselves in order to stay ahead of the competition. Magento, too, has released its latest version – Magento 1.5.0. This new version has eliminated performance related issues and problems Magento developers faced in the older versions 1.3.x and 1.4.x. It has also included some more functions to facilitate store owners who still prefer self hosted versions.
Magento developers can now look forward to the following features offered by Magento in this latest 1.5.0 upgrade:
- Superior Import/Export functionality for products and customers
- Facility to insert and administer multiple products when creating or editing orders from the admin
- Improved shopping cart features to support editing of product configurations
- Better wish-list functionality
- Optional media storage using either file system or database
- PayFlow Link integration
- Upgraded Zend Framework to 1.11.1
- improvements to the core API
- Improved Magento Connect Manager
- Allow changes to the address even after placing the order.
Graphic design is one of the features of a website which helps attract and retain visitors. It has a special significance for Ecommerce websites, as a means of promoting, generating and facilitating online commerce. Hence, contracting of the graphic design of and Ecommerce website needs special attention. Here is a check-list of the preliminary pointers which help identify effective graphic design companies:
- Whether the company has experience in the design industry.
- Which areas of graphic design do they cover?
- Do they have a talented team of graphic designers?
- Do they offer specialized or custom built services?
- Do they have a portfolio of successfully completed projects?
- Do they monitor the latest trends in graphic and web design?
Ensure that the chosen company has all the above things before taking the decision to outsource the graphic design to it. If a company is showcasing its work on different projects, it indicates that it is confident about its work. You can also get an idea about quality of work from the company’s website portfolio. If the company is offering specialized or custom-built services then it means it has a skilled and experienced team working for it. As a general rule of thumb, it is preferable to select a company which can provide specialized services.
One of the pre-requisites for business success is planning. Before launching an online store, the website design and layout, navigation structure, etc., need to be planned, so that the shopping cart can be designed to maximize results. The first step towards designing a shopping cart is to determine the features required in it, and the software for the shopping cart can be chosen based on this. There are number of features offered by the softwares available for creating online shopping carts. Following is a list of some the options which can be chosen for any shopping cart in Ecommerce web design.
- Dynamic Product/Page Creation
- User Registration
- Coupon Codes
- Product Options
- Product categories and sub-categories
- Cross-Selling Products
- Product Reviews
- Order Management/Editing
- Link Tracking
- Catalog Tracking
- Multiple payment processors support
- Support for Multiple Currency
- Quantity based Price Discounts
- Order Download into QuickBooks
Creating a shopping cart is a lengthy and complicated procedure, which is best left to those who specialize in it. There are some Ecommerce Web Design companies which can do all the work for you. You can take the help of these companies to make your online business more effective.
Adobe offers a range of software for graphic design such as Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Flash and Acrobat. Each component of every software package performs specific functions such as layout, image or photo editing, illustrations, background creation, etc. An effective graphic designer is expected to have basic knowledge of at least the following software:
- Adobe Creative Suite: The package includes Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, etc. Illustrator is used to design posters, logos, etc. InDesign is used for designing layouts of books and magazines and in desktop publishing.
- Adobe Photoshop: This is popular software used extensively in graphic design. It is primarily used for working with photos. It can be used for editing, resizing, cropping or repainting of photos. It also provides help in adding special effects to photos or to save photos or images in different file formats. Photoshop is used to change colors and backgrounds and also for corrective purposes, such as removing/hiding unwanted spots or blemishes in the photograph.
While countless companies offer graphic design services, only very few of them offer customized and specialized services targeted to augment individual business offerings. These are the companies which take the pain to understand the business first and then work in accordance with the business requirement. Let us take the case of graphic design companies which offer specialized services. Typically, their work would commence from logo design, brochure design, stationary design to flyers and posters design and go forward from there. These items are the first line of visibility for your business. A potential customer’s first encounter with your business would be through any of these media.
An extension of the above service is for a graphic design company to provide assistance for advertising the business. In addition to being the most critical part of web designing, graphic design is very much responsible for creating your first impression on your target audience. So it’s important for companies offering graphic designing services to have a team of proficient, skilled and experienced graphic designers to give clients high quality services.
Of late, a large number of smartphones, tablets and some desktops use touchscreens for navigation. Web designers need to accommodate fingertip navigation in the web design in order for the sites to accommodate the use of these gadgets. Mouse orientation is another factor to be considered. Most links light up when the mouse scrolls over them. This type of floating effect is not possible in touchscreens. Further, touchscreens do not support drop down menus.
Another feature which is missing from touchscreens is the “GO” option. In the conventional screens, the mouse can be floated over the “Go” option and clicked, in order to proceed. The web designer can use horizontal scrolling for touchscreens to allow visitors to virtually flip through the site. Use of liquid layouts as a part of security can make the website design user-friendly. The website design also needs to be flexible to adapt from vertical to horizontal screening orientations.
A quick recap – the main things which need to be kept in mind for touchscreen design include provision for fingertip navigation, mouse orientation, making up for the absence of drop down menus, providing alternative to the “Go” option in the form of horizontal scrolling, using liquid layouts and flexibility in design to allow change in screen orientation.
The first and foremost requirement for a successful Ecommerce website is the choice of a good and reputed web design company. While there are scores of companies offering Ecommerce web design services, only a few of them provide specialized services in this area. We, at www.2jdesign.com, based in the UK, are experts in providing Ecommerce web design services. The next requirement for success of an Ecommerce business is marketing strengths like product availability, competitive pricing, budgets for marketing and SEO, etc.
Over the years, there has been a mushrooming of Ecommerce websites selling the same products and duplicating other websites. Given this reality of the marketplace, the success of an Ecommerce website is directly proportional to the quality of its products, range of collection, ability to carve niche areas, communicating of price advantage to the customer and adherence to the latest trends. Equally important is the relevance of its design to your product. The web designer should ensure that all the data relevant to the business/product/service is clearly and concisely mentioned on the site to attract and retain the target audience.
A proficient Magento Developer can make effective use of the marketing functionalities offered by the Magento platform. The Marketing Tools suite of Magento provides features which can be used in Ecommerce websites to boost online sales. Magento permits creation of a range of promotions, including flexible pricing, to enhance conversion rates. Tools such as Up-Sells, Cross-Sells, etc., help enhance order values and volumes. Magento’s marketing offerings also include private sales like Events, Invitations and Category access permissions, free Shipping, Multi-tier pricing for quantity discounts, Catalog promotional pricing (percentage or fixed amount) with facilities to limit these schemes to stores, categories, products and a lot more.
Hence, it makes greater marketing sense to use Magento developer services to take advantage of the promotional and marketing tools offered by it. Here, a developer should be aware of the performance and scalability of Magento. Everybody wants the shortest loading time and prompt online shopping. This has to be balanced against the promotional schemes one would like to include in the website. A surfeit of promotions and other marketing suite tools may make the website confusing to an online visitor. Similarly, creation of a large number of product catalogs to incorporate differential quantity discounts can also increase the site loading time. A fine balance between the number of promotions and the increase in website complexity and size is imperative for making efficient use of the marketing tools offered by Magento, while at the same time retaining its performance and scalability.