Thursday, February 8, 2018

Magento Enterprise delivers enhanced experience and powerful marketing to drive higher conversions

Every great online shopping experience in the minds of innovative marketers and merchandisers. From optimizing the website content, merchandising the products, to creating awesome marketing campaigns and promotions.
With Magento Enterprise Edition 2.1 you could empower your online store to deliver more engaging shopping experience faster and easier than ever before.
The top six ways in which Magento Enterprise magnifies your business into a brand are:
1. Ease of content staging and preview:
Most times, businesses battle with the hassle of customizing seasonal campaigns and running them at the scheduled time periods. With Magento’s user-friendly tools, a business can effectively
  • Pre-schedule the required updates
  • Preview them on the timeline dashboard
  • Run a test-run up to the point of checkout to ensure the programmed promotions work on dot,
  • Ability to easily share across the team in order to make real-time changes.
This way, the scheduled promotion runs on the appointed date and time without the need for human interference which might otherwise cause time delays, etc.
2. Enable ease-of-payment:
Magneto Enterprise Edition features PayPal enhancements that streamline the checkout experience and boost sales. The increase in conversion rates is almost 69% as the shoppers can pay with PayPal without ever leaving the site. The ability to securely store the credit card information through PayPal Saved Credit Cards means fewer security headaches, and more frequent purchases, as the Customers can check out quickly without entering their credit card information.
3. Scope for growth:
Magneto Enterprise Edition’s “Elasticsearch”, which uses the latest technological algorithms for search assistance, allows businesses to easily handle their catalogs in tandem with customer preferences. This allows for a higher conversion rate as shoppers can easily find what they are looking for. This feature is compatible with 33 languages, has “stop words” selection, synonymous search result optimization, and is also designed to handle large catalogs as a business grows.
4. Tuned for PCI Compliance:
The most common problems with businesses are the struggle to comply with PCI due to the payment portal restrictions from third parties. With the use of Magento’s new hosted fields that is integrated with Braintree, you can keep the checkout experience and the conversion rate within the control of your business. This integration of Braintree only replaces individual fields.
5. Margin-less deployment:
Magento has adapted its deployment through cloud strategy to allow businesses to focus on their customers without having to worry about the website infrastructure. In order to suit the retailer needs and environment (cloud, on-site, or hosted premises), a business can effectually build its storefront and optimize without any security restrictions via AWS.
6. Customer Segmentation and Personalization:
With Magneto Enterprise Edition 2.1 business can study its own input on the customer’s trends. This will help in building an effective marketing campaign that would suit its. This standout feature also ensures that a business can set up functional cross-sell and upsell features, and gift bundles that offer the best in-house prices for new customers. In addition, their VIP customers, which can be easily located based on buying and spending pattern, would receive personalized offers and irresistible deals that enable a definite conversion.
Magento Enterprise Edition empowers both online and multichannel merchants. Match that with a great site design that is simple and easy for the customers and you’ll be on the path to continued and greater success.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Effective Integration Practices That Can Help Maximize the Potential of Mobile BI and Analytics

Mobile phones break through the traditional computing platforms as they help organizations to maximize their decision making potential irrespective of travel or location using Business intelligence (BI) and analytics. A smooth flow of data from the executive to operational level is possible when mobile devices infuse applications, services, and native functionality with computing, data discovery, communication, multimedia content, and transaction inputs. The integration allows for the refining customer and partner relations, employee yield, business operation, and sales and service in more than one innovative way.

BI and analytics are two tools that help innovate the data insights obtained from a mobile activity. While organizations initially fretted upon this idea for security breach and performance concerns, technological development has broken through these obstacles and paved the way for deploying secured applications on user devices. Instead of mobile applications being a replica of desktop-based BI reports, dashboards, and analytic capabilities, organizations are focused on engineering applications that enhance maximum user adoption to allow for better business’s operations, relationships and decisions.
Six of the crucial practices required for maximizing the potential of mobile BI and analytics are:
1. Development of Mobile BI and Analytics to expand business horizons
Businesses require easy access to data even when their personnel is out of the office because most business deals get negotiated right across the table. In order to improve the business’s operational efficiency, mobile BI and analytics allow for the access of customer information when dealing with business transactions on the go. A business person would be able to take decisions with aid from the ready access to data to ensure that opportunities for the business are never missed. By utilizing mobile applications that are developed with these capabilities, executives, managers, and frontline personnel can fundamentally change business interactions for the better. Moreover, the data collected on the field can be easily added on to the business’s data collection by allowing for write back capabilities in the mobile applications.
2. Adapting mobile applications into a collaborative environment
Since mobile phones have limited space for display of detailed visualization and data, the applications have to be designed to adapt the phone’s native functionality to generate the best BI and analytics solution. As the needs of the users grow, the applications need to accommodate easier navigation by using cloud computing platform in order to be able to access the information across mobile devices, desktops, and workstations. Only by using open application programming interfaces (APIs), BI and analytics can be smoothly integrated into the mobile environment to help focus on important elements such as key performance indicators (KPIs), real-time analytic trends, etc. Designers should also integrate other communicative applications such as email and social media to allow a business to access it clients at any point in time.
3. Analyze user experiences to improve satisfaction.
There is a lot of back work that has to be efficiently incorporated for making mobile BI and analytics successful. To start with expanding the adoption, performance, design, and relevance of mobile applications through every organization will help collect user’s data every time they tap on the screen or perform an action. Mobile devices supply geolocation data that can provide contextual insights into both performance issues and application use. A strategic monitoring and analyses of user experience can help understand and cater to each individual’s user experience both online and offline.
4. Use native device functionality to improve the user experience.
Compared to PCs and workstations, users are always excited about working with mobile which possesses native functionality such as touch gesturing, photography, integration with voice, video, and text communication, hands-free voice command capabilities, and integration with geolocation functionality. Designers should construct BI and analytics tools that can function in coordination with the mobile device’s inherent native functions such as OS interface, GPS, Push notification, offline applications, etc, to enable a simple access for any form of data. Breaking these boundaries will naturally help business to move beyond simple data or analytics consumption and build a two-way channel that can further their goals for data-informed decision making, smarter operations, and competitive advantages based on information innovation.
5. Secure an overall security strategy
Although mobiles have an inherent level of OS security, it is still a major concern whether it is part of an existing or new architecture. Businesses need to ensure that sensitive data is secure during data transfer between the applications and databases and the mobile server accessed by users, which can be situated behind the firewall. Procedures to deal with a lost or stolen device to ensure data is not compromised should be established. Further, the business’s identity, authentication, and access management processes should be securely set up so that functionality privileges and access permissions only go to select mobile users.
6. Move beyond analytics consumption to turn insights into action 
The addition of write-back functionality can be useful for creating data-driven mobile applications wherein users, be it the business or its customers, can input data from mobile devices into business applications such as ERP, CRM, OLTP, or other system-of-record application. This functionality will allow for personnel to respond to updated situations, and using the latest data, they could also create on-demand reports and visualizations that would aid the organization in determining correct strategies based on real-time views.
Final Word
Many organizations have barely scratched the surface with mobile BI and analytics. Yet their personnel are increasing their use of mobile devices, putting pressure on organizations to make faster progress toward enabling users to interact with data and apply insights for better business outcomes. With industry practices and technologies maturing, the time is right for organizations to develop mobile applications that further their goals for data-informed decision making, smarter operations, and competitive advantages based on information innovation.

Monday, January 29, 2018

How To De-clutter Your BI Dashboards To Discover Key Insights

Data, the primary key to everyday business opportunities, has gotten complex over the years due to technological challenges like data blending and data wrangling. The numerous complexities are a result of the scope and variety of big data and the integration of visualization and analytics tools. These glitches have not only slowed down data preparation but also affected the analytics stage. The effective use of data preparation tools can reverse the cycle of 80:20 ratios for data preparation and analytics into 20:80 proportions. In order to bring about this reversal, and accelerate the data preparation process, reduce waste and rework, and minimize complexity, data dashboards – the center of all data compilation and extraction- have to be effectively organized.
A data dashboard is the core information management system that helps to visually track, analyze and display the metrics of your business, key performance indicators, and other tandems that constitute the health of a business. These dashboards are customized according to the workflow process, and it is a superfluous system that connects all your data in the backdrop but presents it in the form of gauges and interpretable data. While the use of this system ensures real-time management of a business with integrated technology, most businesses fail to use them to their maximum potential because of inefficient structuring or organizing.
Three effective ways to prep your data dashboard for better productivity within a business are:
1. Streamline the right metrics: Most times, businesses just load up all their data and pick only the flashy appealing numbers and leave out the gruesome details. This is because the data entered is having too many metrics to filter out. The best strategy would be to set up only the crucial metrics for your business and streamline the rest of the data around these core metrics so that data inputs are the same but only better. Marketing data is the core of operations for an advertising company. If this company has finance at its core and marketing aligned as a subset, then the data generated will be drastically different from what is really required.
2. Don’t bog down with vanity metrics: A services related business does not require a crucial input from social media score, so, moving it to a different composition can ensure that sales are the prime focus and marketing is a secondary focus. All irrelevant metrics are crucial to a business and cannot be ignored, ensuring that all these dashboards are separately set up, monitored, and then integrated into the core reports can dramatically double up data efficiency.
3. Integrate into the open: Every department in a business is overprotective and keen on not opening their books to other departments. Just like a business needs open channels between all departments, the data on the dashboard should be open to the crucial analysts of each department and not restricted to a narrow channel at the end of the line. Allowing branching out ensures that some key factors can be interchangeably used by the unrelated department to identify crucial problems.
How Can you help?: While the above factors can benefit across the business, individual analysts too should help to de-clutter and effectively streamline data on the dashboard.The best ways to regulate the effective prep data for the dashboard would be to:
  • Focus on what task you have been assigned so that too many people do not enter irrelevant feeds into the dashboard. Organize your team to handle each metrics individually, and streamline the dashboard.
  • Don’t focus on dolling up a visually appealing end report. Set data as your priority on your dashboard and use the actual data to finish the end reports. This will ensure a solid output rather than just figurative numbers.
  • Stay away from data that is beyond your scope. Feeding on data through automation tools can help avoid human errors.
  • Do not dissect the data till you have integrated them across all metrics of the business. Instead of trying to break down data where and how you want, categorical logging will ensure the data is recorded at every required base and not lost in transition through channels.
  • Follow the business’s categorization protocol, remove duplicate data, and scrub out both the dirty data (useless data) and outdated data.
  • Lastly, don’t try to fit the data from the board into the wrong puzzle, sort it and match it. Also, ensure to check, revise, and update any misconnecting data that can churn out inefficient results.
The constant up gradation of algorithms will require the analysts and users of data dashboard to think on their feet and adapt clear-cut methods to align the dashboard to generate utility value. Every business has its own needs, but if they reorganize and simplify the collection of data, then there could be no hurdles to insightful analytics.

Friday, January 19, 2018

How Big Data Will Change Businesses In 2018

Market trends suggest that with an approximate growth of about $7.3 billion in 2018, the big data market size will be bound to break the $40 billion mark by the end of the year. The demanding growth in big data analytics has induced various industries to begin implementing and updating their big data systems to adapt to the higher workloads.

Structured and unstructured data has cracked the world of computational data and analytics into a divide. While algorithms and tools have enabled the easy categorization of structured data, unstructured data is left unsorted due to its complexity beyond the comprehension of simple tools. Unstructured data has been left out of most databases and wasted simply due to the sheer impossibility to classify or structure it into simpler forms.
Increased integration of business intelligence tools:
The implementation of machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and neural networks into the working processes of industries have begun to rapidly shrink the gap between structured and unstructured data. The intensive research in the fields of business intelligence is ensuring that all unstructured forms of data are analyzed, organized, scaled, and even used to predict trends which will not just generate viable data but also offer the required advantage for businesses to tap into unforeseen patterns to dramatically improve their key processes. Forrester has predicted that, with more than 70% of businesses integrating AI modules, businesses will have to be quicker and “think on their feet” to quickly tap into the upcoming trends and beat the competition.
The structuring of dark data:
Dark data that has constantly been discarded as unusable and left literally in the dark due to the unavailability of resources or appropriate tools will be streamlined into usable data with the use of these business intelligence tools. By processing and analyzing the old databases as well as that which will be acquired in the future, these business intelligence tools will help detect the often unaware or neglected quality anomalies. This enhancement will not just enable a correction in the business process but also augment the success of many businesses that have lost out on the competition.
Increased impact of IoT:
Further, Internet of Things (IoT), which has thus far proved to have a great impact on big data, will create a greater wave in the transfer of data through sensor technology. Many businesses are benefiting better by cashing in on the benefits of IoT enabled networks as compared to those businesses that are still hooked to outdated forms. An apparent benefactor of IoT would be retail businesses as they would be able to analyze their customer behaviors and other trends in real time through the data generated from their equipped smart stores. A simple sensor on a rack can help with real-time inventory management.
The greater shift from remote servers to cloud storage:
Another component that business will have to adapt to without fail for the success of the integration of these business intelligence tools would be cloud storage. These business intelligence components would cease to exist if businesses fail to utilize either or both cloud storage and cloud computing platforms to effectively collect, analyze or process any data. Accessibility to real-time data without the constraint of limited storage, like that of remote servers, is crucial not just for in-house data but also for the overall smooth management of every component of business intelligence tools.
Checking and updating security protocol:
Most importantly, or rather more obviously, another component that businesses cannot afford to lose out on is security protocol. With the extensive use of cloud technology, security risks are higher, and therefore require the constant upgradation of cutting-edge security measures to fight against cloud security threats. A simple breach could cause loss of sensitive data and repeated damaging attacks that could devastate the business. Business intelligence tools like AI have dedicated protective platforms that could avert a crisis even before occurrence that could otherwise be impossible for a human workforce to even control after a hack.
The need for big data and its smooth integration has been happening at a rapid pace in the past few years, and the current need of the hour is maximum utilization of these resources for a successful and disaster-free future for businesses. With a lot of businesses changing the current from the traditional to technological cores, the constant revision of algorithms is required to gain the edge over competitors. This year is all prepped for data-driven – innovation, discovery, and inventions.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Why you need to consider building on React.js

So what is React?
React is a JavaScript library for building User Interfaces. It is often misinterpreted as language, tool, or a framework. To put it simply, React ensures the developers can create large web applications which use data that can change over time, without the need to reload the page. The main goal is to be fast, simple and scalable. React processes only user interface in applications.

It is simply a JavaScript runtime. Lightweight, modern and fast way to execute code
Let’s see why some of the biggest names use react
Interestingly, Facebook created ReactJS library, which is why it is obvious they would use it for the Facebook app. Facebook has recently opened a beta of its completely rewritten ReactJS, called React Fiber.
Instagram is completely based on the ReactJS library with its users completely adapting to its amazing features.The use of ReactJS within Instagram is huge with various features including the Google Maps APIs, geo locations, search engine accuracy as well as tags that pop out without hashtags.
The React version works with Netflix too – specifically on their platform called Gibbon which is used for low-performance TV devices instead of the DOM used in web browsers. There is also an official blog post by Netflix explaining how the ReactJS library helps their runtime performance, startup speed, modularity and various other advantages.
New York Times
A couple of months ago, New York Times has designed a great new project that simulates different looks of stars on Oscar red carpet. This project’s interface was built in React and allows the users to filter the gallery of different photos from 19 years in a fast and nice way. The re-rendering on this project is one of the impressive features of React
WhatsApp too uses ReactJS for building user interfaces, like the way it uses Underscore.js and Velocity.js as some of its most efficient engines. The newly launched WhatsApp Web app has also been using React.
Let’s look at what makes React this amazing
1. The Virtual DOM
Imagine a page has a button that changes the color of some text when clicked. It doesn’t make much sense to re-render the entire page for that. React plays smartly here and re-render only the text that changed color and leaves the rest of the page untouched. React keeps a virtual representation of an application’s page structure in memory while comparing it to any incoming changes. Anytime a render is required, React compares the incoming changes to the previous page and only updates the parts that were actually manipulated. This allows React to perform very efficiently and is its most impressive feature.
2. Reusable Components
React strongly encourages the use of components, a huge time-saver when it comes to development. A component could be anything a button, a navigation bar, a registration form, whatever an application needs. Once a component is built, it can be used over and over again throughout an app. Smaller components can be used together to create more complex components and different data can be passed into components to create unique instances. Not only does this save you time but it makes it easy to keep a consistent look and feel across your application.
3. JSX
JSX allows developers to write HTML-like code right into their JavaScript. React takes care of the heavy lifting by transforming the JSX into React compatible code. Most developers are familiar with HTML syntax and it allows them to picture the structure of the component or page they are building more easily.
4. Community Support
React is maintained by Facebook and Instagram but also has a great open-source community. There are a ton of React-specific solutions for any problem you may face. There are numerous component libraries that offer different buttons, modals, progress bars and more.
5. Learning Curve
Frameworks like Angular are much more complex and come pre-loaded with many other features. React is flexible in this regard and many times you’ll want to pair React with routing, state management, and other libraries to create a robust application. Even after adding additional packages to a project, React is still extremely intuitive to use.
React has its pitfalls as well, but the pros far outweigh the cons. The virtual DOM makes it extremely fast, component use cuts development time, JSX helps make coding with React feel more familiar, and it’s easy to pick up and get started with quickly.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Going headless with Magento

The Headless CMS architecture is steadily rising in popularity. This model allows completely custom user experiences while providing developers the great flexibility to innovate. It also helps website owners to future-proof their builds by allowing them to update the design without re-implementing the whole CMS. With all this upside, it’s no wonder this type of build has gained serious traction in Magento community off late.

It may be a tad hard to understand why this is needed or what it actually involves. Let’s get little deeper into figuring what and how. The headless Magento will run on original Magento application, but the application is not outputting anything to the browser.
Let’s take a product listing example. In the HTML page, you could create placeholders for the products so that every product looks similar. Then each product would be fetched one-by-one by JavaScript remotely and replace the placeholder. Applying the same principle to the checkout or customer pages would also require a push of data back to the Magento server.
Why go headless with Magento?
One of the benefits is that JavaScript is loosely coupled with Magento backend and which JavaScript framework to use would become a frontend developers choice, instead of KnockoutJS being now a solid requirement for developing in Magento.
Also, this would mean that there is no need for Magento developer’s to worry about designing on Magento. Instead, the focus can be on a REST API that simply offers everything that needs to be loaded. Magento provides a flexible framework that can be used to build custom logic on pricing, logins, checkout, etc. However, this contains a lot of additional stuff that is not needed. Building your own pricing rules might be easier than trying to extend and modify the Magento pricing rule system. It might require effort. But you will be dumping a lot of complex logic, in favor of code that simply works the way you want it to work.
Challenges of going headless on Magento
Cost of implementing headless approach with Magento
One of the biggest challenges of headless Magento applications is replacing the full presentation stack of Magento is not a trivial task. One of the strategies is to only replace key pages of a site such as home page, product navigation, and browsing, basically focusing on the navigation and discovery experience. In such strategies, other pages such as checkout or order history are left untouched. Another strategy is to replace the whole presentation tier. The cost of the two approaches is very different.
So a key decision is a value of replacing the Magento presentation tier. Each merchant needs to consider that trade-off. A part of the value of the Adobe and Acquia partnerships is that much of this integration effort is being solved up front, removing that overhead per site. But in general, headless strategies at present will be a higher cost than using the native Magento presentation tier
Using extensions with Magento
In Magento, extensions can plug themselves into the default Magento pages using the Magento layout engine. A key design goal of Magento is that you can purchase an extension and have it “just work”.
Extensions can be back-end oriented (e.g. a different tax calculation engine, a different promotions engine, etc). These extensions have minimal or no change in the consumer experience (presentation tier) and so are easy to add to a headless Magento installation.
The problem occurs for the extensions that enhance the presentation tier. Address verification, smarter merchandising, a search extension with auto-complete – extensions frequently inject additional JavaScript into a site to provide a better consumer experience. Injecting JavaScript into the Magento presentation tier does not help a headless deployment. If a headless Magento installation manually merges JavaScript from extensions into its code base, care must be taken to correctly apply future patches provided with that extension.
In Conclusion
By shifting responsibility for the user experience completely to the browser, the headless model provides a number of benefits such as:
  1.  It allows the site owner to redesign the site without re-implementing the CMS
  2. It gives frontend specialists full control over the user experience using their native tools.
  3. Speeds up the site by shifting display logic to the client-side and streamlining the backend. An application focused on delivering content can be much more responsive than one that assembles completely formatted responses based on complex rules.
  4. Builds true interactive experiences for users by using the website to powerfully function in-browser applications. The backend becomes the system of record and “state machine”, but back-and-forth interaction happens real-time in the browser.
  5. Headless website development has the potential to unleash the creative power of frontend developers to deliver richer, faster, and more responsive user experiences.
Is “headless Magento” a major strategic direction for the future? That would be overstating it. But it is a valid use case that Magento will continue to support.

Friday, December 15, 2017

How inevitable is SEO for your business?

Research has shown that about 68% of the world’s population relies on internet searches for almost everything. The use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a tested strategy for helping business to be front-runners in search engine results through the use of a good architecture website that contains the right content. Investing in this SEO strategy ensures that a customer reaches out to your business over your competitors due to the traffic generated strategically on your website.  Google receives over 57,000 searches per second on any given day, and almost 93% of Google users do not step beyond the first page of search as they deem all other content immaterial. The use of SEO strategies ensures visibility, branding, credibility, traffic generation, exposure, cost-effective mode of marketing, demographics based targeting, ROI, customer trend analysis, and the edge over competitors.
According to Sam McRoberts, CEO of VUDU Marketing and a widely published expert in the SEO field, “SEO is far from dead. It’s changed so drastically that people really need to learn to think of it as less of a marketing tactic, and more of a branding play.” An SEO optimized web infrastructure that is mapped as search-engine friendly, ensures the existence of any business which might otherwise become obsolete in the technologically fast-paced world.
Two main reasons why SEO is crucial to businesses are:
  1. SEO is evolving: Although there have been changes regarding organic traffic in the recent years, SEO strategies are progressing towards focus exclusively on optimal user experience by generating higher positioning on search engines. Even video and audio files relevance on the search engine results are based on keyword searches. Having SEO strategies in place ensures that a business’s website is built soundly on rich content with tactical keyword placements without which the business could end up on an irrelevant page. Moreover, mobile optimization is on the rise as customers have started relying on smartphone searches for their immediate needs. This has paved the way for local search optimization techniques via SEO to ensure that the business’s relevance in its own locality is secure. This technique also helps with specific placement and positioning of the business’s brand on social media platforms, which in turn increases organic traffic on the main website. All these advantages need the proper installation, use, and regular updating of SEO stratagems to ensure maximum ROI.
  2. SEO in the long term: Most common reason for the failure of businesses that employed SEO strategy is the expectation of results overnight. The employment of SEO tools helps to prepare for the adaptation and placement of the changing algorithms of search engines. Having a dedicated module towards SEO along with regular updating of website content and maintenance of website infrastructure generates the results eventually. To quicken the process, the website should be focused better in terms of content, and also be regularly cross-checked with market trends since online algorithms are constantly evolving. It is also important to have an update of competitor strategies for better placement. Proper maintenance ensures that the current customer base expands and also passively accrue traffic by being listed in the business’s top 5 search words online.
All these strategies will only pan out if the right SEO tools are employed for prime results. The tools employed should include analytics review, keyword research, competitive analysis, on-page analysis, content and link audit, and technical site analysis. Some of the top rated SEO tools available in the market are: Reload SEO, Magento SEO Suite Pro extension v4.4.0, Advanced SEO Suite by Mirasvit, Free Magento SEO Extension by Creare, Ultimate SEO Suite by AheadWorks v1.3.8, SEO Suite, SEOSpace Ultimate Magento Extension, etc. The use of these tools helps to analyze the on-page factors, generate content words, identify structural mistakes on the webpage, study traffic trends on the website, among other functions. Using professional help may go a long way towards successful use of SEO.
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