Business Thoughts by Allegro

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Why IP Addresses Matter

Why IP Addresses Matter

What is an IP address?

Simply put, an IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique number that gets linked to your online activity. Whether you are checking emails, engaged in social media or shopping, you are requesting access to some destination. Your IP address helps in this process. It routes all of your online requests making sure they are returned to you appropriately. Basically, it is the way your computer is found on the internet. 

 

Noggin Nugget: A URL is a readable label for your IP address. Because the internet is based on IP addresses and not domain names, every web server translates domain names into IP addresses.

 

Static vs. Dynamic IP Addresses

There are two types of IP addresses; static and dynamic. Static IP addresses do not change. These are typically used by businesses with large networks so that they do not have to track changing IP addresses.  A static IP address would matter in the case of external websites needing to remember your IP address; such as a VPN (Virtual Private Network) that only trusts certain IP addresses for security purposes.  Dynamic IP addresses allow ISP's to change your IP address if needed. This is what most devices use.  Let's say you are working at home and you are connected to the internet through your router.  You will be assigned an IP address for that location.  If you take your laptop on the road, maybe to a coffee shop or hotel, you will connect to their WIFI and be assigned a new IP address by that locations' ISP.  By changing ISP's you are also changing IP addresses.  It all happens behind the scenes without you even having to think about it.

Public vs. Private IP Addresses

Public IP addresses are for devices accessible on the internet. Private IP addresses are the addresses used for identification of a device within a network. They are not valid on the internet. Security measures such as firewalls can be put in place to protect the IP address from cyber attacks and hackers.

 If all that seems a bit confusing, think about it this way...

Public vs Private describes where the addresses are valid. Static vs Dynamic describes how they are assigned.

A great example of a static, private IP address would be Allegro's tightly integrated eCommerce solution, OneSource ERP. The e-commerce website communicates via web services to pull data from the customers ERP. Access to the web services is protected by an IP address. This example demonstrates why IP addresses matter. If your IP address changes, communication to and from the website and ERP is disrupted. The ERP will not accept customer data and orders from the eCommerce store.  Luckily for Allegro's OneSource ERP customers, orders will queue up and transfer again once the issue of IP address is resolved. 

 

What's the easiest way to check your IP address?

https://whatismyipaddress.com

 

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How to Optimize Site Search and Increase Conversions

How to Optimize Site Search and Increase Conversions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Easy to install using the Magento Connect Manager

 Matento Search Module

 

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

Search Module Configuration

Fast, accurate search results

Magento Search Module Results

 

  

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

 

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

 

 

 

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Using Coupons to Help Boost Your eCommerce Sales

Using Coupons to Help Boost Your eCommerce Sales

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

 

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

 

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

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

 Google Analytics demo account reporting screen

The features and functionality you will explore include:

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

Access the account and more information HERE.

 

 

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

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Using the Abandoned Carts Report in Magento

Abandoned cart

 

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

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

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

Abandoned cart report screenshot

The report display will show you the following:

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

 

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

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

 Abandoned cart report screenshot 2

 

 

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

There are few ways to approach your abandoned cart data.

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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On-line B2B sales to top $1T by 2020

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

You can find more details as well as the infographic here

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"Buy vs Build" should be "Integrate vs Invent"

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

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

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

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Magento Go shut down to allow focus on core development

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

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

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

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