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Interview: Roy Rubin About Magento Open Source eCommerce

Magento & Varien Logos

Magento eCommerce Solution Overview & Introduction:

Many eCommerce developers, along with merchant sellers, have been eagerly anticipating the upcoming release of Varien’s new Open Source eCommerce Solution named Magento (like the color magenta, not magneto of x-men). Varien is currently one of the most renowned osCommerce development companies in existence and continues to set industry trends, build better strategies and help their customers improve the way they do business Online.

Magento is the open-source eCommerce platform that promises to revolutionize the industry. It’s modular architecture and unprecedented flexibility means your business is no longer constrained by your eCommerce platform. Magento is total control.

With the many changes in eCommerce over the years, Web developers and merchants have seen a huge need to build on a more flexible, robust, scalable eCommerce platform. Varien is hoping to fill that need by releasing the mother of all open source eCommerce solutions. Will Magento live up to all the hype? Definitely! I can tell you from what I’ve seen of their platform, that it is no joke. These guys have put in tons of man hours, have dedicated years of industry experience, provided unique insights and received mass amounts of feedback from the ones who matter most, users. One thing is for sure, they really understand the needs of the merchants, search engines, customers and many of the other aspects that make up the world of eCommerce. Varien has great customers, who make money. Plus, they have built some of the nicest osCommerce powered sites and WordPress powered eCommerce sites I have seen. I can’t imagine what they can accomplish without limits – let’s see a glimpse!

Magento Customers Admin
Magento Customers Admin
Magento Configuration Admin
Magento Configuration Admin
Magento Customer View Area
Magento Customer View Area
Magento Customer Edit Area
Magento Customer Edit Area

 

  1. How long has Magento been in development? What’s the expected launch date?
  2. Magento Interview Icon Magento has been in development since January 2007 and a beta is expected to launch in August.
  3. What are the main differences between Magento and oScommerce?
  4. Magento Interview Icon There will be many differences, I’ve listed a few highlights below:
  • Architecture – one of the biggest issues with osCommerce has been upgrades. Once custom modifications are done, there is no way to upgrade. With Magento customizations to existing functionality simply extend the base, making upgrade a possibility.
  • Plug-in/modules/packages – osCommerce has no real good way to install new features. You have to go through the code and add/edit lines, making this an almost impossible task if any changes have been done to the code. With Magento, you’ll be able to install new modules relatively easily without getting into the code much.
  • Templating – a true 100% template system making any design and functionality requirements possible. No limitation whatsoever.
  • Enterprise level code and scaling – performance has been a huge issue we wanted to address.
  • A truly flexible system.
  • Since Magento will be backed by Varien there will be a clear roadmap and transparency to the project. Companies can count on the continuation of the project and enterprise level support and services.
  1. eCommerce platform providers are popping up all over. What are some of the things that make Megento different from other shopping carts.
  2. Magento Interview Icon See some of the highlights above.
  3. How easy will Magento be to use? Should merchants know programming, theming or have other technical experience?
  4. Magento Interview Icon Magento can be used out-of-the-box as is in many cases. We’ll provide a number of themes/templates to use so that merchants can apply a look-a-feel they prefer. We also expect the community to contribute layouts as soon as the project is launched. In order to benefit from the true power and flexibility of Magento, technical knowledge will be required. If you are looking to change the layout/design – HTML knowledge should be sufficient.
  5. What impact do you think Magento will have on the industry and especially Open Source delevopment?
  6. Magento Interview Icon It is our hope that Magento will lead the open source eCommerce space. Based on the feedback and response we have received so far, we feel confident in making this happen. We have a long road ahead of us, but with the community’s help and our teams dedication we feel Magento will make a huge impact in the eCommerce world.
  7. What do you mean by Magento gives “total control”?
  8. Magento Interview Icon Total Control is 100% flexibility. Many eCommerce solutions have inherent constraints and business owners have traditionally tailored their business to the eCommerce platform of their choosing. With Magento it will work the other way around , putting the merchants back in control. No more constraints and no more limitations. That is our goal.
  9. Do you plan on running a Magento powered store yourself?
  10. Magento Interview Icon Absolutely. We’ll have a store at some point in the next few months to illustrate just that (selling Magento gear). We feel confident in our solution and so do the hundreds of merchants that have contacted us so far.
  11. How did you get into eCommerce and what’s your favorite thing about this industry?
  12. Magento Interview Icon Varien started as a web development and design firm and we stumbled across eCommerce back in 2003. We’ve been providing industry leading solutions ever since. The industry is very dynamic and we’ve been fortunate to work with very large clients that have incredible insight and drive in this industry. We have become passionate advocates.
  13. What do you think the future of eCommerce will look like and where will Magento be in 5 years?
  14. Magento Interview Icon Well – it will certainly continue to grow. Demand for eCommerce services will certainly grow as the industry matures. In 5 years, Magento will be the standard of open source eCommerce and have thousands of sites across the web.
  15. What rough percentage of merchants will be able to use Magento and have it meet ALL their needs?
  16. Magento Interview Icon “ALL” is a tricky word. I don’t feel there is one eCommerce system that meets every single need of every single merchant. Magento will be very close (and certainly closer than others) – the difference is that with Magento, the merchant has the control and possibility to complete anything they see as missing. With other platforms it’s simply not possible.

Check Out The “Inside Magento” Series & Their Blog:

The Magento blog is where you want to be if you are interested in keeping up on all the happenings and special releases. The Varien staff help author the blog. Shannon is great, she authors on both Varien and Magento blogs and writes frequently on industry trends. Roy has been on the blog answering questions like crazy (some twice or three times even) from all kinds of users interested in the new technology. You may have noticed the short answer to question three (the see highlights above one) and wondered the answer still. Well, the blog and links below should be enough to provide that answer, so have a look. They are taking feedback and suggestions from the blog and have an email subscription so you never miss a post.

  • Inside Magento #1 – Scheduled Design Updates
  • Inside Magento #2 – Complete Design Flexibility
  • Inside Magento #3 – Guided Navigation
  • Inside Magento #4 – Product Comparisons
  • Inside Magento #5 – Product Tagging
  • Inside Magento #6 – Ship to Multiple Addresses
  • Inside Magento #7 – Product Search

Here’s the link to Magento’s “First Preview” Video – Magento is Coming, First Preview is Here

magento-ecommerce-admin

Conclusion & Final Thoughts:

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m extremely excited for the release of Magento sometime in August. It looks really promising and is certainly worth checking out, especially if you already use an open source eCommerce solution to sell. Many of the standard features included in the core of Magento are state-of-the-art and would be considered advanced by many eCommerce developers.

I will continue to post updates on Magento as they roll out and plan on reviewing the platform thoroughly when I have time to play with it a bit. I appreciate Roy taking his time to address my questions and for providing such good answers. Keep up the good work Roy. Let your staff know their work doesn’t go unnoticed.

Manage Your Orders With Magento

When the order is successfully completed by the customer, your web master will receive an email notification informing you about it. You can also review it by selecting Sales and then Orders.

You will see various orange colored buttons on top right of your screen. These buttons are for the actions that you can perform:

· Cancel- it cancels the order.

· Edit- it will cancel your current order and also create a new order with same details. You can edit these details and submit again.

· Send email- it resend the email for order to the valued customer.

· Hold- it puts your order on hold and allows you to process it later. In order to process your order on a later time you will need to Un-hold it first.

· Invoice- it creates the invoice for your order. Make a click on Submit Invoice in order to create it. It changes the status of order from pending to processing instantly.

· Credit Memo- it enables you to create offline refund for your order. This option appears in the menu only when you create an invoice.

· Ship- it is the last step of order management. it is the actual and real delivery of the specific product. All you need to do is to select Submit Shipment for finalizing the order. The click on Submit Shipment will change the status of shipment from Processing to Complete.

· Re-order- it enables you to resubmit the order again.

Manage your emails

As mentioned earlier in the options section of Magento order, Magento provides a very classy and efficient built-in e-mail functionality. It is called Sales Emails. It enables you to manage all order emails that you send out to the customers when their order is processed. You may wish to add new and useful email templates before you configure the emails. You can easily do this by selecting admin area, then System and then Transactional Emails.

Now have a closer look on each of the Sales Email options:

· Orders and their comments- from here you can easily disable and enable email notifications that your customers receive related to their orders along with any comments that you may have added.

· Invoice Comments and Invoice- from here you can easily disable and enable email notifications that your customers receive related to the invoices along with any comments that you may add to those invoices.

· Shipment Comments and Shipments- it enables you to disable and enable email notifications related to shipment comments and shipments.

· Credit Memo Comments and Credit Memos- it enables you to disable and enable the notifications that your customers receive related to Credit Memos along with Credit Memo Comments.

Magento back-end provide full functionality regarding to all orders.

 

Why You Should Choose Magento Themes

The term ‘theme’ is familiar to most of the people in e-commerce industry. Either as a creator, an audience, or both, you must have experienced the wide range of available options for web applications through their themes. A theme largely has 2 kinds of users, the creator and the audience. First type includes the creator who goes through the additional layer of theme experience by building it for audience. The second type includes the audience who experience the theme from usability and aesthetical standpoint by visiting and browsing through an online store.

To the first type who must fill role of the creator, it is their efficiency with which they are able to complete all development tasks to enhance the store experience. To the second type, an experience of store is determined by the store’s ability to fulfill their emotional and tactical demands. Magento recognizes that the accumulation of experiences of both types of users determine and conclude the total profitability of any store, therefore experience of either types cannot be overlooked.

Magento provides a huge collection of amazing themes for various types of online businesses. There are many reasons to choose Magento themes some of which are discussed in detail below. In order to maximize the efficiency of your workflow and take creativity to a new level, following are a few things to consider while choosing a theme for any online store:

Maximum Customization Power

By using Magento, you can modify the feel and look of your online store on product and category level. It gives you a greater promotional and marketing power along with an exceptionally unique design. Magento enables you to present every product in a separate and customized product information page. It gives you the option to do a lot more by providing an easy and quick manner to customize product presentation on pre-category and pre-product basis.

Uninterrupted Workflow

With completely object-oriented programming of Magento, all modules are instantly accessible through template tags from template files. It comes with multiple features; you would not have to depend on any programmer to carry out simple tasks for you. With the extensive network of Magento’s knowledgeable community members, you do not need to search guidance anywhere else.

Multiple Themes

Magento provides the users with an ability to load various themes at once. It allows the users to swap between default store designs and seasonal ones. This all can be done very easily without any professional help.

Minimize Debugging Time

Modular backend of Magento brings a modular system of template that automatically minimizes the total amount of (X)HTML you require to handle at a time. It improves the efficiency and saves a great amount of time from being wasted on debugging.

Choose A Design For Your Magento Store

Magento is a professional website design, open-source platform that offers merchants a complete and flexible control over the content, functionality and look of their online shopping cart. The intuitive administration interface of Magento contains powerful merchandising, content management and marketing tools to provide merchants with power to create websites that are especially tailored to their specific and unique business requirements. Magento puts no constraints on the business flow and processes.

Magento was introduced in the year 2007 and it transformed the entire e-commerce market. In just a period of eighteen months, Magento surpassed 1 million downloads and made new records in the history. It was bought by eBay in 2011 and now it has become the fastest growing e-commerce platform in the whole world. It uses EAV-based MySQL database. It utilises MVC based Zend Framework and it is written in PHP. The system of Magento is highly modular and the architecture handles updates automatically.

Magento is available in three versions for various business models and sizes. These three versions are called as Magento Community, Magento Go and Magento Enterprise.

After setting up your Magento store, you need to make it look attractive and equipped to impress customers who visit. In order to select an attractive design for your online store, follow the simple steps given below:

Step 1

Go to ‘Design Interface’. In quick start wizard of your store, move your mouse over the option for ‘Design’ menu. It is the 3rd item in your menu.

Make a click on ‘Select & Customize Your Design’ in the submenu. This click will open a new small window that explains how Magento themes can be set along with their usefulness.

To go to the ‘Theme Editor’ make a click on ‘Continue’.

Step 2

Go through all the Magento themes. Magento offers over 30 themes to select from by default. Go through all the themes to find the right one for your website.

For a closer look, click the ‘Preview’ button under the theme thumbnail.

Step 3

Select your theme. When you have found a theme of your choice, click ‘Customize’.

It is better to customize the theme instead to select or install because Magento expects that you will edit the theme soon again.

Now you will be asked to provide a name for the theme. You are also given an option to add a thumbnail and a description for your theme.

Make a click on ‘Save’.

Step 4

You also have an option to edit your theme. If you have knowledge about CSS, you can customize your theme. Customize the theme according to your choice and requirements by simply selecting the right option. Option for customization is provided in side menu.

By clicking ‘Preview’, you can preview the updates any time.

Step 5

From the top menu click ‘Save’ and ‘Apply’ to fully install the theme.

Visit your online store to see the theme in action.

Step 6

Lastly, add your logo.

 

Tips for Website Maintenance

Tips for Website Maintenance

If you own a website, you must also know that it is very important that it stays well maintained. But the question is how can you do this? By website builder or following are some quick tips for maintaining your website and keeping it in perfect condition:

Design Scalable Pages

If your website contains rich material, try to design the pages in such a way that they can be expanded in a vertical direction. Ensure that your webpage does not seem impossible for the visitors to expand.

Save All the Images in Sub-Folder

Saving is one of the best practices that should be done while working on almost anything. When you save your pictures in a sub-folder, it is going to ease the website maintenance. The sub-folder stores all the pictures and it is found in root directory.

Use the Images with Same Width & Height

If your webpage contains a number of images, make sure that the width and height of all the images are same as the others. Often times, such unification is not possible but since this makes the page looks neat, try to do it whenever you get the chance.

Create Templates for Designing the Web Pages

A template has all the website elements like menus, footer, header and a lot more except the content. Templates are proved to be very useful especially when you plan to add some new web pages. A template helps in speeding the work and gives your website a consistent look.

Backup Your Pages

Make sure that you create backup every time you update it. If you update your webpage frequently, then this is very important as you would still have all the original files just in case if something goes wrong during the update.

Make a List of Every Change That You Make To the Web Page

Keep constant track of what kind of changes you are making in your website and why are you making them. Also write the date along with the changes for future references. This way if any change does not look right in the future, you exactly know how to revert it back to its previous position.

Check for the Broken Links

If the links on your website produce error messages or if they are broken then the visitors would quickly turn away to another website. As soon as you put your site on the web for the visitors, it is your responsibility for making sure that it works properly. Several tools are available online that can be downloaded for checking your website for any broken links.

How to Make a Website More Attractive

 Make a Website More Attractive

Every owner of a website wishes to know how the traffic can be increased to their website along with boosting the sales. The key for doing both is to create a website which would hold the attention of the reader for a long period of time. Just by following a few simple tips, the website would receive good amount of visitors and also those visitors would feel inspired to browse the webpage for a long time period. Build a website that can look appealing with the following few tips:

Selecting an Impressionable Logo for the Website

If the owner of a website wishes to capture the attention of the readers and build his brand identity, then he must choose an attractive and impressionable logo. Try to include memorable taglines near the header so that the visitors would be more interested to explore the website for learning more regarding the company.

Choosing the Perfect Design

Among the important parts of making a website look appealing is selecting the perfect design. An ideal design for the business is the one that represents the company best and what it actually has to offer. Along with this, the design should look stylish yet not much overwhelming. It should also convey the message of the company effectively.

Appropriately Size the Pages

While there are several options available for sizing the website pages, an ideal point would be using default sizes that come with the webs design program. Such sizes have been tested and tried and they have been proven for appearing well on the major screens. Creating a website using the unusual page dimensions might affect ability of the readers negatively to navigate the pages.

Make Color Choices More Cleverly

Colors are proven to be very important as they enthrall the website visitors totally. The best option is to use colors which actually complement each other. A few colors that are most commonly used with each other are: white and blue, red, white and grey, red, yellow and white.

Be Selective About the Background

The background should complement the content font and the images. If a dark colored background is chosen, then a dim colored text sound more counterproductive for the readers.

Pay Attention to Grammar & Spellings

Make sure to proofread the entire content of the website in order to avoid any grammatical or spelling mistakes. Such mistakes never leave a good impression on the readers.

Make Sure the Page Loads Fast

There is nothing more irritating for a visitor than a slower loading page. Visitors never wait around for the pages to load for more than 60 seconds; instead they quickly open another relevant website that loads much quicker.

Development of a Website with Visual Appeal

development

Content plays an important role in successful development of any website. In most of the cases websites are required to be well developed with the visual appeal instead of just the content. Especially when the website is product based completely, the need of visual appeal arises. Visual appeal sometimes work wonders for a business and becomes very influential. It has been noticed that most of the customers tend to buy products which they actually see and like on the websites. Such products may not be what they need really but when they see an image, they tend to make up their mind for buying it. This is how the visual appeal helps in converting just a random visitor into a loyal customer and makes them buy an online product as soon as they look at it.

Automatic Thumbnails

Viewing the images of any website through thumbnails is the simplest way. Thumbnails are very easy and one click operating for viewing the images in a large size. The viewer does not need to know much about coding for doing it as it includes some very simple steps. Designers efficiently display the images for viewing in large size with the feature of thumbnails without making any changes in the page load time. It also lets the user to hyperlink images that would be opened in a new window.

Optimization of the Graphics

If a webpage takes some time to completely load and the website is designed with good graphics then it means that all the hard work of the web designer is wasted. The visitors would not generally like to visit such websites that take a long time to completely load. A much better option for reducing the time of loading of any webpage is to use the FrontPage for saving the images. Saving the images in the standard formats like GIF and JPEG etc is also recommended. With such points in mind, a designer can upload bundle of images efficiently on a website without even increasing the loading time and changing quality of the images.

Alt Tags and Picture Properties

Alt tags play a vital role in the search engine optimization. They are used specifically for giving necessary   content for images. It includes very easy steps which could be easily performed by any lay man. Although some browsers could not load sections of the website’s graphics but the alt tags are easily read by all the search engines.

Photo Editing

It is highly recommended to makes the graphic images apparent and clear in all the browsers. Hiring an expert in photo editing may be helpful for getting prominent and clear pictures having good quality.

How to Make Social Media Marketing More Effective

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing helps in gaining attention or traffic through the social media websites and Search engine. SEO services provider use following are a few ways which would make SMM and website design process a lot more effective:

Develop Social Media Strategy

Save your time by making yourself clear that why are you using the social media for the business purposes and what is your aim. You have to develop a strategy that would drive potential clients to your website, boost traffic to the blog, network with professionals for making useful contacts and raise your expert status. The strategy does not have to be very complicated, but it would help while you interact with people or share information with them.

Choose Rights Sites for Niche

Some of the social media websites may be much better than the others when your niche or freelancing profession is concerned. Is your work verbal or visual? Think about the ways for representing your work, and do not worry if you are not good with words; many websites are almost entirely video or image-based.

Twitter is great for sharing the links with thousands of people, whereas Pinterest is a good option for showcasing the images. It is very popular among photographers, artists, craftspeople and graphic designers. Similarly, Tumblr shares quotes, shot snippets, videos and images, but it is not the ideal medium for the lengthy blog posts.

Think Long-Term

An ideal social media strategy would not just be about broadcasting the message, but also it should revolve around community-building. Keep in mind, it is not about the total number of the followers that you have, but it is about quality of the interactions. Building such a community takes investment and time of your effort.

Raise Your Profile

The social media showcases your involvement and expertise in your specialty. Large number of followers for example on Twitter can impress the collaborators or clients for the future projects. This way you can reach wide audience quickly with your links, videos and articles. Remember, a solid following of social media can open several doors of career for you as well as get you several potential clients.

One Size Does Not Always Fit All

It is important to keep in mind that different websites may require different approaches. Setting your posts for appearing on several websites can actually make you look disengaged. Looking into the benefits of each website would be worthwhile for understanding how to exactly use it. This way you would get more appropriate results. For example, a good presence on Google+ can not only boost the search rankings but it may also provide an impressive local presence, if the customer base is locally drawn.

Content Creation for Internet Marketing Strategies

creating_content

There are several ideas for the marketing of your online business, but the most important thing is to understand the correct way for making your business more successful. With the technology of internet, it has become very easy and simple to implement such ideas more effectively and see massive growth in business. The marketing strategies of internet are comprised of several online methods that help in implementing the correct marketing techniques for any business. Such methods are Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization etc. The search engine marketing often helps in getting long list of the clients to make business more profitable. SEO alone places your site on several search engines where audience views the professional websites and gets clear understanding of its content and what it is offering.

Content Speaks; More than You Think

The basic point behind several marketing strategies online is to boost the traffic to a website and generate the sales of a service or product. Among the integral parts of the online strategies for promoting your service or product is content creation. Effectiveness of the content creation entirely depends upon the correct and relevant marketing strategy that is being used regardless of business type. The content is important while you plan for creating the brand awareness, or generating the product sales. The reason behind this is the fact that content only speaks a lot about your business. Content needs to be perfect in expressions, words and it should also be unique for passing the message to your audience. Keep in mind that copied content leaves a bad and wrong impression always.

Quality Content Is Very Important

Creating relevant, catchy and impressive content is the correct strategy for promoting your business or product. Search Engine Optimization firms basically focus on the rich contents for all the small businesses for helping them to get potential customers. Quality content targets the required audience for the product and gains good profits for businesses. The internet marketing techniques and resources always focus on the content marketing, social business, blogging etc. Good content is a great way of illustrating a service or brand. Everything becomes a lot easier if you properly do the content marketing for your business.

Online Resources for Managing Content

Online marketing is definitely dependent on the type of content that is being used. Some Search Engine Optimization management tools assist in managing the keywords. The keywords appear in the title or ad content. This technique not only helps in advertising but it also helps the customers referring to the correct information. Such tools of SEO management aid text capitalization which is included in any specific ad, adds question mark/exclamation mark wherever needed and rewriting existing content or furthermore adding necessary words to advertisement.

Techniques to Improve Search Engine Optimization

search engine optimization

Quite simply, Search Engine Optimization involves designing the website to improve the ranking in the organic search results while appearing on the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).You can drive the relevant traffic to the websites that have better conversion rates by optimizing for the terms that the target audience would use to search.  Following are a few techniques for improving the Search Engine Optimization:

First Step Is the Keyword Research

Take out time and figure out the words that are commonly used by people so that they can visit your site. Use such words on a relevant page. Make sure to use all the important keywords in first paragraph or lines of the page title as this is a very important bit from the perspective of a search engine.

Get Trustworthy Advice On Web From SEO Sources

People often claim that they know enough about the sources online but sadly it is not the case. Often times the SEO expert forums contain bad advice. So it is very important that you choose your sources wisely.

Look After the Code

It means that you build such a website which is easy enough for search engines online to understand. Try to use all up-to-date information and technologies like CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) on your website for minimizing amount of the formatting in HTML page code.

Make the Navigation Easy

This can be done easily by building the clear text links over the entire website. The search engines cannot follow the clever animated links or image links like Flash. Along with several users, the search engines also like their navigation simple and plain.

Get All Links from Relevant & Trusted Sources

You cannot rank your website well without links. Buying links is not a good way for raising importance of the website now as you need to think about quality, not just quantity. Keep in mind that links should be from trusted and relevant websites and they should be relevant to your website’s content.

Build Sitemap Page

The search engines discover each and every page of your website if you build a sitemap. Best sitemaps are those that list your site’s pages along with the keyword-rich description of the page. Create several sitemaps and link them together if your website has too many pages.

Content Is King

The only key to SEO is creating good quality content and then keeping it updated. The search engines love the websites which are regularly refreshed and highly topical like blogs. But keep in mind that you put the visitors first. Even if your website ranks well, it would still be no good if visitors do not like the content on your website.