What is SEO and Why is it Important?

What is SEO and Why is it Important?

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of the traffic to your website from organic or "free" search results.  SEO is an inbound marketing strategy. Most marketing channels involve you reaching out to your customers. SEO gives you the opportunity to reach people who are actively seeking you.  They are already interested in your products or services, they just need to find you as the best choice for where to get them. 

So let's talk for a minute about "organic" search and how SEO affects it.

Organic search is a method for entering search terms into a search engine.  Typically they describe the product or service you are seeking or a question you need to be answered.  The resulting response from Google is based purely on relevance and not on paid advertisements where keywords are being bid on for top positioning.  So you can see why SEO is such a critical part of this process.  If you are not using paid advertising and are relying on Organic search results, you have to ensure that you are competitive when trying to get the top spot in SERPs. Did you know that 97 percent of people DON’T click past the first page of results.1

The benefit to learning and experimenting with organic search optimization is that you are likely to experience long-term results since the process focuses on quality content creation, backlink building, and meta enhancements.  This is also the most cost effective way of "advertising" your site.  There are many great resources on the web for beginner level optimizers and there are a few basic techniques that can be utilized with minimal experience but if you are interested in a full-scale optimization of your site, visit http://allegroconsultants.com/marketing for information on how Allegro can help you.

 

1. -https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/google-ranking-factors-2018  

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HTTP VS. HTTPS

HTTP VS. HTTPS

HTTP VS. HTTPS

Simply put, HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) allows communication between different systems.  For example, it is how data from a web server is transferred to your browser to view web pages. Without the "S", the data is not encrypted and it can be intercepted by hackers or other 3rd parties to steal information being passed between the two systems.  The fix is enabling a secure version of HTTP called HTTPS.  The "S" stands for secure.  To implement HTTPS, an SSL certificate can be put into place on your site encrypting the connection between the web server and the web browser. 

 

Top 2 Reasons Why the "S" Makes All the Difference

 1. Google Likes It.

It has been quite some time since Google announced that HTTPS would become a ranking signal.  

Webmaster Central Blog - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 For now it's only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.1

The time when Google will strengthen the ranking signal has come.   It has now become increasingly important for all sites, including smaller B2B sites to adopt HTTPS.  As a website owner, you are always striving to get to the top of the google results page.  That's where the hits are, right?.  Well, if you have Https enabled, Google may give you a little bump.  Let's say that you and a competitor rank exactly the same for a certain keyword.  You are tied in the competition for the top spot in the SERP.  What's the tiebreaker; the determining factor in who gets the prized spot?  Well, if one of you is secure and the other is not, the one who is secure will get the bump.  You can never forget that Google is always looking for the site that offers the most benefit to the user.  Not only in finding the most relevant result to your search but also the website that offers the most protection for the user and their data.

It's also important to note that SSL is required for AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages. AMP, the technology that allows mobile pages to load instantaneously, is a major player in the optimization of mobile sites. And because Google's algorithms now primarily use the mobile version of a site's content to rank pages from that site HTTPS will have a direct effect on ranking.  Are you still with me?

Obviously, this is going to be of real value to users accessing your site through a mobile device.  Google will notice and they will reward you for your efforts in making the best user experience possible.  SSL+AMP+Mobile-first indexing= Happy Google.

 

2. Your Visitors Will Trust You More

With more and more hacking incidents where user data is being stolen, there has been much emphasis in the media regarding privacy and protection of data.  The general public is now more savvy and aware when it comes to companies offering them security.  People know what to look for and they now value companies who are seeming to care about their data.  They are paying attention to which sites display the padlock in the corner of the browser bar and which are labeled "Not Secure". It is simple to see how HTTPS can keep you from losing revenue. And, it's not only true for e-commerce sites. Your visitors are also less likely to abandon your site's contact form for fear of the non-secure" warnings. Studies show that the use of security seals can improve lead generation by over 40%.2

 

The bottom line is that if you want to retain your customers, you need to show them you care.  The cost of putting a SSL certificate in place is minimal in terms of time and money although it is recommended that you have an experienced web developer install it and subsequently configure your website.   Don't worry if you experience a short term decrease in rankings, once your site is reindexed by Google, your search ranking should return to their previous levels or even better.

 

1. https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2014/08/https-as-ranking-signal.html
2. https://www.bluefountainmedia.com/blog/verisign-seal-increase-conversions/

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7 Possible Reasons Why Your Site is Not Showing Up In Google Results

7 Possible Reasons Why Your Site is Not Showing Up In Google Results

You've spent lots of time and money trying to create a beautiful, user-friendly website that will lure people in and make them want to buy yet Google still isn't serving you up to the masses. Why?

It can be frustrating trying to sift through the reasons why you aren't showing up in Google search results. And, if you aren't familiar with SEO best practices and Google algorithms, you can be completely lost in a sea of terminology and concepts you don't understand while trying to research your problem

So, let's chat about 7 possible reasons why Google could be leaving you out.

But before we start, let's make sure you are being realistic about your timeframe for getting the results you are looking for. It can take around 90 days before you start seeing movement in the SERPs after your site is launched. You have to be crawled and indexed and Google has to determine that you are trustworthy.  It takes time.

 

7 Possible Reasons Why Your Site is Not Showing Up In Google Results

1. Google has not indexed your website yet.

If your site is new, it could be that Google simply has not indexed yet. There is a quick way to find out. Perform a Google search like this - site:yoursite.com (do not use www. or the //)

If you can see your website in the search results, you're good to go there. If not, then you will need to take a few steps to ensure the Google finds you. The best solution - add your site to Google Search Console and submit your sitemap. (Don't have a Search Console account?  Setting one up is easy, here's how - https://www.google.com/webmasters/)This will let Google know you're there and ready to be found. Don't worry if this process takes a few weeks. Your site will need to be crawled prior to indexing and this can take a minute.

2. Your website isn’t optimized for search engine crawling.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is such an important player when it comes to being found on the web. What is SEO? it is the process of refining your website to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search results. There are rules and nuances and best practices and frankly, it can be totally overwhelming. SEO can be challenging and take lots of time to master although, there are many resources out there for steps that even a novice can take to get you on the road to an effectively optimized site. I will dive into that topic a bit more later in this blog series.

3. Your website isn't mobile friendly.

This is a biggie folks! Mobile has surpassed desktop in usage. In response, Google is shifting to mobile first indexing making it imperative that your site be responsive to mobile devices meaning design and development should respond to the user's behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. This lets Google know that you are interested in helping their largest group of users find you. You can use Google's own Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to find out if your site is responsive (link)

4. Your keyword market is very competitive.

Search engines help millions of users find specific content among the billions of pages of available information every day. If you are not targeting the proper keywords, your site can get lost among the competition. You need to be specific in what you want to rank for. For example, if you sell custom fishing rods, try to rank for "custom fishing rods for sale in Richmond" Target a smaller audience. You are more likely to rank higher for your location. Or try finding a niche market within your industry. How about "custom fly fishing rods for sale"? If your competition is larger than you and older than you, this approach will likely have to be used in combination with some of the other things talked about in this post but keyword research is a definite need when determining how you will focus the efforts of your on-page optimization using targeted keywords.

5. Not enough quality content.

The bottom line here is that Google wants info. They want to see that you are offering your visitors plenty of information and images and they are updated on the regular. Content that is rich in keywords and offers your visitors the chance to learn and engage is what Google will reward you for. If you have barely there gobledy gook that offers no benefit, Google will see right through it and you will never get anywhere. A great way to add content and keep things fresh... a blog! And beware, keyword stuffing and duplicating content are big no-nos. You will be penalized if Google sees this in your site. So, take the time, create a strategy, and write quality content unique to each page.

6. No backlinks

A backlink is created when one website links to another. Backlinks show trustworthiness. Linking, both internal and external, show Google that you offer your visitors more value than just whats on the page they landed on. When Google crawls your page, they will follow the links on that page as well.  The quantity and quality of those links are some of the criteria that are used by Google to determine your rank. 

7. Your website has been penalized and removed from Google.

This doesn't happen often and typically not with a new site, but it can happen. Here are some reasons direct from Google.

"Google may temporarily or permanently remove sites from its index and search results if it believes it is obligated to do so by law if the sites do not meet Google's quality guidelines, or for other reasons, such as if the sites detract from users' ability to locate relevant information. We cannot comment on the individual reasons a page may be removed. However, certain actions such as cloaking, writing text in such a way that it can be seen by search engines but not by users, or setting up pages/links with the sole purpose of fooling search engines may result in removal from our index. "

If you find that this is the case, you have the opportunity to make changes to your site so that it meets guidelines and be resubmitted for consideration.

 

Learning about SEO is a critical part of making sure your online presence is the best it can be.  Optimization techniques need consistent monitoring and tweaking in order for them to be effective. With 77% of Americans going online each day, its imperative that you make SEO strategies part of your online marketing plan. 

 

1. https://moz.com/learn/seo/backlinks

2. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/40052?hl=en

3. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/03/14/about-a-quarter-of-americans-report-going-online-almost-constantly/ft_18-03-15_constantusers_roughlythree/

 

Do you have any questions or concerns about the optimization of your website?  Leave a comment or question below!

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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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3 Ways Allegro Can Help You Make the Most of Your SEO Efforts

3 Ways Allegro Can Help You Make the Most of Your SEO Efforts

 

 

 

OneSource ERP, Allegro's ERP integrated eCommerce solution, is built on the Magento platform.  While Magento has excellent out-of-the-box SEO functionality, you may want to take it a bit further.  Allegro can help you optimize your site for favorable search engine results, market your site for increased sales and profits and monitor your site for marketing opportunities and/or indicators of a problem. 

 

1. Google Analytics

Analytics is a set of measurements that will help you understand your website performance.  By monitoring visitor interaction with your site, you will be able to make informed decisions regarding where to best focus your efforts in making your site as profitable as it can be. Allegro can set up your analytics account and connect it with your e-commerce website.  We can help you understand how to monitor your website performance so that you can maximize and focus your marketing efforts.

2. Google Adwords

Adwords is Google’s advertising system that allows you to bid on keywords so that your clickable ads will appear in search results.  Many businesses have found success using AdWords to drive traffic to their site.  Allegro can help you create an AdWords account, set up a campaign and monitor results using Google analytics. 

3. Integrations

Magento is very flexible and offers numerous opportunities for marketing integrations.  By automating your email marketing efforts, you can quickly and effectively send marketing messages to certain segments of customers or your entire customer base.  Mailchimp is an excellent marketing automation tool.  We use it so it's easy for us to recommend to our customers.  Let us show you how to integrate Mailchimp with Magento to create engaging marketing campaigns.

Contact Allegro for more information about integrating your ERP with Magento and our related services that will help you get the most from your SEO efforts.

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Why blog?

Why blog?

If there is one thing you should consider for your 2017 inbound marketing plan, it's finally starting your business blog.

You have most likely heard that blogging is important, but let's be real, it's just ONE MORE THING to add to your to do list. Well, that may be true but a little effort can go a long way when it comes to the benefits of blogging. I'm going to share a few of the biggest reasons to make starting a blog a priority.

 

B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads than those that do not.1Tweet: B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads than those that do not. http://bit.ly/2jchIRZ

 

1. A blog can help drive traffic to your website - New and updated content signals search engines to check in on your website and see whats changed or added. It shows you are actively managing your content. Now, let's think back to 2016.  How many times did you add content to your site?  I don't just mean simple product addition, but keyword laden, optimized, searchable content.   Blogging is the opportunity to consistently add content. You are creating more pages for search engines to index and creating another opportunity for your website to show up in search results.

2. A blog can help to establish thought leadership - Use your blog to answer questions or address concerns that your customers have had. Show customers that you are attentive and knowledgeable.  If you are able to continually provide helpful and/or interesting content you will be turned to repeatedly for your knowledge.  **This is a good place to mention that you should empower your employees to write blog posts.  The people that sell your products and services will/should know the most ;-)

3. A blog will help to convert traffic into leads - EVERY well-written blog should include a lead generating call-to-action. Send your readers to your website where they can download a white paper or free e-book, access a webinar or free trial in exchange for their contact information.  BOOM!  You now have a new prospect to market to.

 

 

Noggin Nugget: Check out this case study published by HubSpot. It shows how blogging, as part of your inbound marketing plan, can increase your traffic significantly.

b2ap3_thumbnail_How-One-Companys-Investment-in-Blogging---SEO-Increased-Traffic-By-Over-2-500-in-One-Year.png

 

 

Following up on last months blog -

Managing Your End-of-Year eCommerce Reporting and Analysis

Did you know that you are not limited to the reports available using Magento's reporting feature? 

Allegro can help you accomplish your reporting goals by extracting and organizing your data to create a custom reports that fit your needs.  What if you could be provided a clearer picture of your business' performance?  Maybe you would like a report that shows sales by category or payment type or even which products were most added to carts and then abandoned.  We can help you get the data you need to make informed business decisions.  

Contact Allegro for more information about how to get the data you want and need from your Magento store.    

 

1. https://www.insideview.com/social-selling/

 

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Managing Your End-of-Year eCommerce Reporting and Analysis

Managing Your End-of-Year eCommerce Reporting and Analysis

Now that the end of the year is upon us, it's time to see how well your eCommerce site did in terms of sales and marketing. Magento makes reporting easy with built in sales, product, and customer reports.  You can access all of the reports in the admin section.  You will see a variety of options to choose from.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Magento-Reports.png         

Consider taking a look at the following:

Total online sales - What portion of your total business income came from eCommerce sales? 1

New customers - How many new customers registered and bought something from your eCommerce site?  

Best selling products - Plan for next years product offerings and inventory levels by finding out which of your products are best sellers.

Coupon usage statistics - Are your promotional campaigns successful?  Do you need to revamp your strategy?

* Did you know that Allegro has an optional custom extension that supports coupon use back to the ERP?  If you'd like to learn more about this and other available extensions, visit http://allegroconsultants.com/erp-applications/extensions.

You can set up a report in just a few simple steps and the process is basically the same for all reports.  You may remember that we went over this in the first blog in this series - Using the Abandoned Carts Report.

I'll quickly review it here using the sales report as an example.

Running a Sales Report in Magento

Step 1: Select the report.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Sales-Report---Orders.png

 

 Step 2: Select reporting options.

View combined data for totals across all sites or select a singular site.  Select filters.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Sales-Report---set-up_20161228-155934_1.png

Step 3: View or export the completed report.

To simply view the report, either for quick analysis or to ensure accuracy before exporting, choose "Show Report".  When ready, choose the desired format and "Export".

  Sales-Report---View-or-Export_20161228-155955_1.png

Noggin nugget: e-Commerce-driven mobile revenue will surge by at least 50% by the end of 2017 2 

Following up on last months blog -

3 Essential SEO Elements that Should Never be Overlooked

Did you know that optimizing images can also contribute to quality SEO?  It isn't just about choosing the right image for your product or article, but also giving it a good title tag and alt text.

The title tag is shown as a tooltip when you hover over the element.  While not required, it can prove useful in certain situations.  For example, let's say that your image is actually a "Buy Now" button. Your title tag could contain, "Buy my new cookbook now for only $9.99!"  The tag offers and additional call to action.

The alt text describes what’s on the image and the function of the image on the page.  Used by screen readers, the browsers used by blind and visually impaired people, alt text will tell them what is on the image. So using the button example from above, the alt text could read, "button to buy new cookbook".

There is much more to know about selecting, using and optimizing images for SEO.  If this is something you would like me to dive deeper into, let me know by leaving a comment below.

 

1. The online sales report will only show sales through the website.  OneSource ERP customers will need to check their ERP for a complete sales picture.

2. Think Tank Gartner via https://reviewsquirrel.com/ecommerce-trends/

 

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3 Essential SEO Elements that Should Never be Overlooked

3 Essential SEO Elements that Should Never be Overlooked

There are 3 essential SEO elements that should never be overlooked when optimizing an ecommerce site.  They are the Title Tag, Header Tag, and Meta Description.

As we all know, SEO can improve the visibility of your website, increase traffic and boost your brand’s revenue.  So, let's take a look at how these three elements fit into your website optimization plan.

The title tag is used by search engines to determine a page's topic.  They are also displayed in SERPs (search engine results page).  A well written title tag will show the user what they can expect from the page.  In this way it is important that you are clear in since this is one determiner in whether or not your user clicks through to your site.   From a search engine perspective, your title tag will be compared with your page content to ensure that you have keyword consistency when pages are being ranked. 

Header tags are pieces of HTML code the allow certain words to stand out on a page.  The most important being <h1>.  This would be the category name on a category page and product name on a product page, etc.  They are the headings that show what your page is about.  The heirarchy of importance begins with <h1> and works down to <h6>.   Not as important, the tags <h2> - <h6> usually describe subheadings.  They could be thought of as ways of organizing content for readers.  It is important that your header tags contain keywords so that while skimming for pertinent information, the reader can determine if they want to read further.

A meta description is a short paragraph of text placed in the HTML that describes a webpage.  While used by search engines, they should be written for humans.   The most important things to remember when writing an effective description are that it include keywords, is relevant to the page content, and is no longer than 160 characters.  A compelling meta description tag could entice searchers to click through from the SERP to your site, especially if the description includes the keywords they were searching for.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_search_20161130-191026_1.jpg3

 

Allegro's OneSource ERP users are in luck as many of the SEO tasks are handled for them.  Allegro uses data in the ERP and maps it to correct fields in the Magento back end to fill in the important tags and meta data described in this blog.  If you are not a OneSource ERP customer and would like help with optimizing your website, contact us.  We can evaluate your site to determine how strong your SEO game is.  If you need help implementing changes, we can do that, too.

 

Noggin nugget: 75% of search engine users never scroll past the first page of results. 1

 

Following up on last months blog - Using Coupons to Help Boost Your Ecommerce Sales

Do you wonder about how and when to use coupons? Here are three effective ways to use coupons.2

1. Push inventory that just won't sell.

     Create coupon codes that target these specific items.  An alternative to using a percentage discount would be to offer them free when a certain dollar amount is reached on a sale.

2. Show appreciation to loyal customers.

     It costs more to get a new customer than to keep one.  Send an email to older, loyal customers and offer a discount as a show of thanks.

3. Reward new customers.

     First time customers want to know that you appreciate their business and will be there for them in the future.  Offer free shipping on their first order or apply a surprise discount at checkout.

 

 

1.- imFORZA.com

2. - https://www.shopify.com/guides/make-your-first-ecommerce-sale/coupon-codes

3. - https://www.godaddy.com/help/adding-meta-tags-to-your-website-6548

 

 

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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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Integrating Google Analytics with your eCommerce Site

Integrating Google Analytics with your eCommerce Site

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a powerful web service that allows business owners and marketers to measure traffic to their website and analyze customer behavior in order to increase sales and conversions on their website. While there are many aspects of GA that require more than a basic understanding of the service, even the most basic reports and data can still offer a wealth of information that can help you make business decisions that will impact your bottom line.

Why is Google Analytics important?

The data that Google Analytics provides can help you make informed choices about your online strategy as well as bring to your attention problem areas that need to be addressed.  Have you ever wondered how many people visit your site every day? Every month?  How about where they are coming from?  Did they come straight to your website or did they do a Google Search to find you?  What search terms did they use?  How long are they spending looking around your site? These are the types of questions answered by GA.

How do I get started?

Integrating your Magento site with Google Analytics really is a simple task.  If you can follow step-by-step directions, Google will "walk" you through it.  However; if you are new to ecommerce or analytics, it can seem daunting - setting up the property, assigning filters and segments, ecommerce tracking settings, etc.      

Are you ready to make informed business decisions?  Ones that will help you offer your customers a better online experience and in turn increase sales.  Contact Allegro for more information about integrating GA to your Magento site.  Once your site is set up, Google Analytics will begin collecting data within 24 hours!

Noggin nugget: According to Search Engine Land, Google handles at least 2 trillion searches per year. 1

 

Following up on last months blog - Using the Abandoned Carts Report in Magento


By now, you should have had a chance to take a look at your Abandonded Cart statistics and hopefully you have a better understanding of how this information can be beneficial to your online sales.

To dive a little deeper into abandoned carts,  I want to introduce you to the "Quote Lifetime Days" setting.  This setting allows you to control how long a "quote" or incomplete order hangs around BEFORE it is considered abandoned.


Log in to your Magento Admin. Go to System->Configuration.

 Magento Dashboard

 

Scroll down the left to the Sales section and select Checkout. Under "Shopping Cart options, edit “Quote Lifetime (days)”.

Magento DashboardMagento Quote Lifetime Days

 

 

1http://searchengineland.com/google-now-handles-2-999-trillion-searches-per-year-250247

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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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Is PUG Challenge Worth Going To?

Absolutely!

While PUG Challenge is void of a lot of fancy marketing and loud crowd pumping music, there are many things the conference doesn't lack.  Like, technical sessions, workshops, vendors, and networking.  I mean everyone loves a great party, but the real reason for spending the time and money to go to PUG Challenge is to learn - learn how new developments in your Progress software can save your company time and money. 

PUG Challenge was born of the desire to learn.  Programmers not wanting to have to sift through the rubbish to get to the good stuff.  For three full days, you can immerse yourself in Progress OpenEdge technology.  There are over 50 technical break-out sessions planned plus 5 workshops, a vendor expo, a Partner track, commercial sessions, "Info Exchanges", an "Offsite Adventure" and endless opportunities to network with your peers and Progress engineers.  Whew! (Sounds like a good kind of tired to me!)  In just a little less than a month this will all be taking place with or without you. 

Of course, with you is better.  We'll have more people to network with and you'll have no regret.

 

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Getting Buy-In - Getting Started with a CRM

Getting Buy-In - Getting Started with a CRM

One of the most important factors in the success of your CRM implementation is employee buy-in. The bottom line is that no matter how much time it took to plan your CRM, or how much money you spent implementing it, it isn't worth a dime if you can't get your staff to use it. It is easy as a manager to see the benefit, but how do you translate that to the masses.

Here are 4 easy steps to adoption:

1. Roll out your deployment from the top down. Let your managers and senior staff lead the way. Show that they are 100% committed to the success of the CRM. Allow them to experience some of the benefits and be able to share that before moving forward.

2. Use peer pressure. Prior to the big staff announcement of the new system, choose the most respected person on the team to be an evangelist. That person can set a great example for the rest of the team showing enthusiasm for the project.

3. Be sure to offer adequate training. Your least tech savvy user needs to be just as proficient as your IT manager. Begin with the basics. Have the team truly grasp how to perform the essential tasks for a bit before moving on to additional functionality.

4. Calm the fears. Many sales people can be slow to adopt due to transparency of their activities. It is true that managers may hold sales people more accountable for their duties, but be sure to let everyone know that the system is for the good of the company as a whole. Accounting can pay out commissions more accurately based on closed opportunities, managers can monitor quotas to determine bonuses, and sales leads can be distributed more accurately and appropriately to just name a few benefits.

Download this useful guide to increasing CRM adoption rates within your sales staff.

Increase-CRM-Adoption-Rates.pdf

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Choosing a Deployment Option - Getting Started with a CRM

Choosing a Deployment Option - Getting Started with a CRM

There are many offerings nowadays when it comes to how you want your CRM data delivered. Whether or not you choose on-demand or on-site will depend entirely on your business requirements. Some things to consider are:

  • Is the up front investment an issue?
  • How quickly do you need to be up and running?
  • Will you require extensive customizations?
  • Will you need to address business compliance issues?
  • Do you require source code access?
  • Do you favor vendor management of your instance?

There is a CRM solution that gives you more choice and more control when it comes to deployment options than any other.  Download this FREE whitepaper to discover how SugarCRM can offer you the flexibility to make the best decision for your business.

SugarCRM Deployment Options - Get More Choice and Control with Sugar

 

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Finding the Right Fit - Getting Started with a CRM

Finding the Right Fit - Getting Started with a CRM

So, you've decided that it's time.  You see a CRM in your future, but how far? I am hoping to make the process a little easier with this series of posts about getting started with customer relationship software and have you quickly on your way to CRM success!  Below is a simple list of things to consider when finding the right package for your business.

1. Company Size - Determine how many users you will need to have access to your new CRM.  Also, be sure to consider how much data will be stored.  Don't just think about your business in today's terms, but the future also.  Hopefully, your business is continually growing.  You don't want to adopt a package only to quickly find out, you've outgrown it.

2. Company Goals - Why did you consider a CRM in the first place?  Are you looking for a central database for customer information?  Did you wish to streamline marketing activities?  Maybe your focus is on sales and you want to be able to manage your entire sales team and related activities in one place.  Take a bit to think about all of the reasons that a CRM can benefit your company. Set goals for what you want to accomplish with a CRM. 

3. Deployment Options - We will talk more about this topic later in the series, but a few things to consider are: What type of company are you?  Is it important for you to have complete control over storage and data protection?  Do you have the resources to maintain this type of deployment?  If you have limited IT resources or cost can be an issue, maybe on-demand or cloud deployment.

4. Mobility - Do you have a sales team needing mobile access?  Many of today's CRM options are internet based, so laptops are not a problem. But if tablets and smart phones are the primary mobile source, be sure the system you choose can support that.

5. Ease of use - Will the CRM you choose be time intensive to learn? Be sure that not only your IT staff can use the system, but the less tech savvy as well.  There are some CRM options that have a friendlier user interface than others.  Don't necessarily forgo functionality for ease, but consider that it will be much easier to get buy-in from staff if it isn't rocket science to figure out.  Also, if you do not have the financial resources for in-person training, make sure the CRM you choose has plenty of online resources available.

6. Ease of maintenance - Make sure that you research out-of-the box capabilities and match those to your specific needs. Do you have the IT resources to manage and maintain your CRM in-house?  Will you be able to handle any necessary configurations and customizations?

Of course, every business is different and you may end up with a longer list than this.  I just want you to have a place to start.  That's the hardest part, right?

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Getting Started with A CRM - Series

Getting Started with A CRM - Series

Keeping customers isn't easy. In today's business environment, it is imperative that you create a customer experience worthy of repeat business. Customer experience can be the single defining factor in differentiating you and your competitors. A CRM can be a key component to your business success.

The thought of implementing a CRM can be daunting. People, in general, are resistant to change. It creates fear and doubt. When it comes to the discovery process and eventual adoption of a CRM, things are no different. There are many decisions to make. Which CRM product best suits your needs? What type of deployment works best for your organization? How do you get staff to get on board with a new way of doing things? Over the next few weeks, I will be highlighting these issues and offering a way of working through the process; from discovery to adoption of a CRM. I want to help eliminate your fears and create a well thought out path to CRM success. Stay tuned...  In the meantime, check out this great whitepaper on achieving early success with your CRM deployment. CRM_Time_To_Value_wp.pdf

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