Hi to our blog readers!
Today we have something special for you.
We’ve interviewed our valuable Platinum partner Andrew Pemberton, Development Director at iWeb, on most acute Magento-related questions: Magento functionality must-haves, preps for holiday sales, insights from global e-commerce conferences, PIM, B2B, and more.
Let’s dig deeper!
– Hi Andrew, we’re sure our readers have already heard about iWeb. How would you describe your company and the main mission firsthand?
– iWeb is a web design agency based in Stafford. We’re passionate about Magento e-commerce and achieving success for our clients. Our mission is to build strong relationships with our clients and to deliver a quality service that achieves their business goal.
– As we know, for over 23 years, your agency has been offering a whole range of e-commerce solutions. However, the main platform you work with is Magento. Has this happened historically or have you come to such a choice relatively recently? Why have you opted for Magento?
– We didn’t choose Magento. Magento chose us! 😉. In all seriousness though; we noticed an increasing trend in our customers requesting Magento builds, so we began to evaluate the platform (and other open source alternatives) we decided to choose Magento due to its feature rich out-the-box experience and extensibility.
– What does success in business mean to you, as for an agency?
– As mentioned above in our mission; success for us isn’t just delivering a website that the customer wanted – its about building an ongoing relationship with the customer and helping them achieve the e-сommerce goals.
– Working with hundreds of online retail businesses worldwide, you must have had an expert opinion on the basic patterns of a successful Magento startup. What are the key factors? How to go global with a new online store?
– My advice would always be to start simple. Don’t be tempted to build an all-singing-all-dancing platform from day 1. Introduce features slowly and only in response to customer demand. Don’t assume that you know what your customers want, always get feedback from customers and ask their opinions at every step of the way; this is especially important if you’re migrating from an existing platform to a new one since the last thing you want to do is alienate your loyal customer base.
– For an e-store starting from scratch, what Magento functionality do you suggest paying special attention to?
– For me it would always be the Magento 2 catalog page. I’d advise people spend as much time as possible entering and enriching their product data, things like additional imagery and enhanced attribution help no end at convincing a customer to make a purchase. Try to put yourself in the customers shoes and answer as many questions as you can in your data.
Imagine you’re a customer on a store that sells Computer Monitors and your criteria for a monitor is:
- 27” Screen;
- Curved Screen;
- Built in Speakers;
- HDMI Port.
Now imagine I’m looking at your website and all I have is a front-facing image of the monitor and a product title “27” Monitor with Built in Speakers”. So based on the title, I know its 27” and I know it has Built in Speakers; and I could probably figure out the color from the picture, I could also probably figure out if it’s curved or not from the picture (that’s an awful lot of figuring out so far…)
Imagine how much easier it would be if I had a table, listing the colour, the size, whether its flat or curved, whether it has speakers, whether it has HDMIs or not.
And then imagine if I could see the back of the monitor in the image… and then imagine if I could search and filter based on any of these criteria.
I could go on forever with examples; but yes, data is king and more importantly – good data is king.
– And what are the patterns of success for those online merchants who have long been in the e-commerce environment? Do they differ?
– This is a very hard question to be honest… Success differs immensely from client to client; it’s not always as black and white as “is the site selling enough?” For example, if you’ve got a site with physical stores; some customers will use that to browse the product range before heading into the store to make that purchase. So even though the website might not be doing a lot of transactions; its adding value elsewhere and driving in-store profits up.
Every site is different so there’s definitely not a one-size fits all for success. The only advice I can offer here is to decide up-front how you’d like to measure the success of your website, ensure that it’s realistic & achievable; and review (and change if appropriate) them at specific intervals.
– What additional functionality do bigger Magento stores usually order from you?
– The bigger merchants almost always come to us asking for some degree of integration with a back-office system; this can be as simple as sending an order or as complex as importing customers and customer specific pricing.
– What Magento extensions you consider as must-haves for any online store? We see that most often you order Magento 2 modules for navigation, bot protection, item labeling, and scrolling. Why do you choose exactly these mods for your projects?
– We find that the combination of improved layered navigation and infinite scroll give the customers the best experience above and beyond what Magento natively offers across all the varying devices.
– In the run-up to holiday sales 2019, we can’t but ask you how you prepare for this essential-for-marketing-purposes period. What marketing tools do you use at iWeb during the sales?
– We try to make sure that we’re aware well in advance of the holiday season what our customers are intending to do that we can ensure that there are no awkward conversations a few days before where we have to tell the client that the promo they’re intending to run is not supported or won’t work with their platform.
– And for what functionality do store owners come to you before sales seasons?
– Its almost always focused around discounts and marketing around the discounts. Clients wanting things to go live at a specific date/time without any intervention, people wanting to offer a free gift with a purchase etc. Usually it just requires some education or hand-holding on how to achieve what they want.
– What Amasty extensions would you suggest using for the upcoming year-end sales season?
– If we’re just talking about end-of-year sales, then It has to be Amasty Labels. It’s a great way to draw attention to on-sale products and other promotions and is highly customizable to meet the needs of clients.
– Turning to your digital solutions, how does your Business Intelligence help clients make informed decisions?
– Business Intelligence ensures the clients have a strong hypothesis before they jump into a particular feature. It’s no good implementing features customers don’t want or won’t get any benefit from. With any decision/feature, I would recommend you consult with the key stakeholders and check with customers that its warranted before investing time and money into it.
– You are our Platinum Partner, we’ve recently launched a program that allows our partners of top level to access all Amasty extensions via Composer for presale testing on staging environments. Have you already tried it? If so, what is your feedback? If not, do you find it beneficial?
– Yes, we’ve tried it; that’s probably the best part of the partner scheme. Its great to be able to test something and prove it works to a client before they fully commit to purchase it. It also gives us the opportunity to spot any conflicts with other extensions or custom development that we might come across so we can better advise our client.
– Thanks for your honest feedback, Andrew.
Dear reader, if you want to become our partner but have poor understanding of how this works, read our partnership guidelines.
– We know that you are a regular at e-commerce conferences of varying scopes. What are the 3 main insights you’ve taken out in 2019?
- Frictionless checkouts are a key driver to increase conversion
- PWA is “the next big thing”
- Migrate to Magento 2 ASAP!
– This was the main part of our interview, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Andrew. Now, we move on to the next part, a brief questionnaire.
The rules are as follows: we ask you 10 questions, you give a short or detailed answer by your choice.
1. Magento or Shopify?
2. Magento 1 or Magento 2?
– Sometimes I’d love to have the good old days of M1 back. But M2 – all the way.
3. B2B or B2C?
– B2B – there’s a lot more opportunity there.
4. PIM or MDM?
5. A one-size-fits-all or personalized approach in B2B?
6. Magento agency or self-developed website?
9. PWA or Mobile app?
10. M2 Solution Specialist or Developer Plus?
– Solutions Specialist!
– Thank you, Andrew!
We hope our Magento 2 interview with Andrew Pemberton will drive you to valuable business decisions.
Please leave your questions and feedback in the comments below!