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Take your daily dose of (only) relevant news, useful tips and tricks and valuable how to's on using the latest web technologies shaping the digital landscape. We're here to do all the necessary information sifting for you, so you don't have to, to provide you with content that will help you anticipate the emerging trends about to influence the web.

Using Drupal for Project Management and Team Collaboration: 2 Drupal Distributions to Consider
“Can I use Drupal for project management?” Definitely.  Given all its content-oriented baked-in capabilities — file management, version control, easy content creation, and editing — Drupal makes the perfect software for:   managing your projects the easy and the... smart way streamlining communication among your team members and with your contractors   In this respect, Drupal provides its own feature-rich distributions to help you put together your robust setup in no time. “Distributions” that come already packed with a set of useful sub-modules and themes, that all support the core functionality: project management (and smooth collaboration). And without further ado, here the 2 most popular Drupal distributions for project management and team collaboration for you to evaluate first: RedHen and Open Atrium.   1. RedHen CRM       Loaded with robust and modern features, this Drupal-native CRM is designed with flexibility in mind. Meaning that it integrates seamlessly with the enterprise solution that you're using (Blackbaud, Salesforce) and it supports a wide range of use cases... And speaking of its functionalities:   engagement tracking and monitoring data management: information about your contacts, the relationships among them and with your own company (e.g. memberships) event registration integration one-page donation forms to custom-tune to your liking   As for those many use cases that this Drupal distribution's built to accommodate, let's pick just a few real-world examples:   It's the best choice if smoothly integrating your CRM with your other enterprise solutions is critical for you   It streamlines tracking interactions with your contacts and organizations. Furthermore, since you can easily integrate it with your website, you get to leverage the provided data in order to adjust the user experience accordingly...   It allows you to customize it and thus to give it a Drupal-like look and feel: to integrate it with modules like Rules or Views, to go for the same field creation UI, etc.   Is your contacts list a huge one? This CRM comes to your rescue with some powerful baked-in tools: an efficient find-and-dedupe interface, an automated filter built in the UI, that you can use to filter your contacts by specific fields, etc.   It automatically syncronizes data in your Contacts list with any newly updated data on your Drupal Users list   In short: RedHen CRM makes one of the top choices when you consider using Drupal for project management purposes. It's a lightweight, self-contained framework, more of a “cluster” of multiple specialized modules:   Organization Activity Fields Organization Group Dedupe Registration and a few more...   2. Open Atrium    Looking for a Drupal-native distribution built around the team collaboration functionality? One that should be:   convenientyly extensible “loaded” with robust collaboration and information sharing features?   Then Open Atrium fits the profile in the slightest detail. Built on top of the Organic Groups and Panopoly modules, it's a framework flexible enough to support discussion configurations by key criteria like team, project, organization... And here are some more powerful features worth considering when you're still thinking whether you should use Drupal for project management:   an access control system, that grants granular control to certain sections of your project a drag and drop layout with plenty of widgets to select from for customizing your landing pages and dashboard file storing and sharing features built-in Events, Files, Discussions, Issue Tracking, Document Wiki an easy to customize, responsive theme   The END! These are but 2 viable answers to your “Can I use Drupal for project management and team collaboration?” type of question. 2 of the options available that best meet some of your main requirements when looking for a project management software:   to be easy to use to ship with an entire collection of file management and communication features to be flexible enough and allow quick customization and seamless integrations   Have you tried other Drupal modules/distributions built around this functionality so far?  Image by jessica45 from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jun 06'2019
6 Outdated Web Design Trends: Age-Old UI Cliches that You Should Bury for Good
They used to be THE norm and to dictate web designers' decisions. No one questioned their usability or long-term efficiency. Or that they would soon grow into some outdated web design trends. Deprecated conventions that, when not mocked, are now regarded as mere haunting “ghost of the past”. A “past” where glossy buttons, flashy design, and overly embellished page dividers used to steal the spotlight.  Now, let us go against today's trend of talking about “the biggest web trends in 2019” and, instead, dig out some old UI cliches. Just to determine the cause of death so that you:   don't risk falling into yesterday's pitfalls in terms of web design once again leverage the lessons of the past to contribute to a better future of the web   1. The Flash Menu Remember those “glory days” of the... flashy web?  There was sound pretty much everywhere on a web page, animated buttons, interactive elements. And there were fancy flash menus, of course. All web designers used to take “flashy” and “animated” for... “user engaging”.   The causes of death:   applying any changes to a flash menu was discouragingly challenging (you couldn't get away with just editing a text file) it had a negative impact on the website's SEO; crawling those flash files was “mission impossible” for the search engines it wasn't mobile-friendly it had poor loading times it had to be installed into the browser plugins had to be updated constantly... frequently   2. The Frame, the Elder “Cousin” of Today's iFrame Now, let's turn back the hands of time and “freeze” it right at those days before tables stepped into the spotlight. What did we use for basic layouts back then? We used frames... Which are now no more than another one of the outdated web design trends that, well, it's not worth resuscitating. Back then, we didn't have JavaScript to overtake the burden of loading data, so web browsers had to do all the heavy work.    The causes of death:   they would compromise the browser history and break the back and forward buttons copying and pasting links to web pages on the same website was a dread they would enable the web browser to partly update a page instead of loading a brand new one reloading a website would, more often than not, mean no more than guiding the user back to the exact front page   3. The Table Layout, One of Those Outdated Web Designs Trends to... Bury  OK, maybe there's no need to “mourn” over this dead UI convention, but we can't just overlook its massive contribution to... the evolution of web design. Image source: Genealogy Web Creations Back then, when the table-based layout trend emerged and stole the spotlight, it opened a whole world of possibilities: It empowered us to structure our web content by breaking it into multiple columns and rows. Surprisingly enough, that mix of GIF files and inline styles did manage to glue those layouts together.   The causes of death:   it wasn't responsive <div> tags and classes came to... seal its faith CSS, “tempting” us with floats, stepped on the stage of web design   4. The Border Ornament and Decorative Page Divider   The overly embellished page separators are another “once a norm, now just one of the outdated web designed trends”. Image source: Image by Karen Arnold from Pixabay In its “glory days,” it was our only option to split chunks of text on our web pages. And since the <hr> elements looked a bit too... dull, we went to the other extreme and started using these overly embroidered GIF separators to section our web pages. Separators which, at first, were no more than some horizontal bars. Until web designers fell prey to the urge of gilding the lily.   The causes of death:   the heavily ornamented borders ended up diverting users' attention away from the essential: the text itself CSS/CSS3 eventually stole our attention, as web designers divs and classes made the segmentation of a web page much more... fluid, with no impact on the overall user experience   5. The Blinking Marquee There was a time, way before image sliders gained their bad reputation when we would have text just... slide across web pages, from right to left. What made this “sliding” possible? HTML's marquee tag, the equivalent of Internet Explorer's <blink> tag...   The causes of death:   it distracted website visitors from the core message it affected SEO, since it only displayed partial information to search engines it was an unnecessary artifice in most cases, for it carried minor information and it was the main “culprit” for a high cognitive load   6. The Image Button Another one of those outdated web design trends dating back to early 2000, when “flashy”, “cluttered” and (most of all) “fancy” were the best adjectives to describe web designers' work. And the glossy, 3D-looking image-based buttons created in Photoshop were fancy, alright! Where do you add that they paired with custom-made, animated cursors, as well.   The causes of death:   with text “carved” into the image, buttons were too difficult to manage, too difficult to apply changes to they weren't responsive (they would get “partially responsive” and that only after a lot of hard work) CSS3 came to... bury it for good   The END! These are the 6 most representative UI conventions for the early 2000s that have gradually turned into some outdated web design trends. Or, better said, into “learning materials” on the old/wrong ways of designing for the web and how they influenced today's UI design best practices. Image by Mudassar Iqbal from Pixabay   ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Jun 03'2019
Migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2: A 7-Step Plan to Migrate Your Theme, Extensions and Data
On one hand, you “crave” improved site performance, improved checkout process, improved scalability and all the other improvements that Magento 2 “seduces” you with. On the other hand, just the thought of risking to compromise your data, your Magento extensions or the various customizations in your store simply... paralyzes you. It's obvious: you need a bulletproof, actionable and 101% safe plan for migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2... A step-by-step guide to:   reduce some of the intimidating complexity of the process  secure each one of its phases (from the preparation phase to the data migration phase... all the way to deployment) streamline it   Well, here it is: the 7-step migration roadmap that you need to safely and efficiently structure your Magento 2 migration process.   1. Evaluate Your Current Implementation and Try to Estimate Your Migration Effort The first step to take in the preliminary part of your plan is to review your Magento 1 implementation. Start by assessing your current environment and setting it against this list of Magento 2 software and hardware requirements:   PHP: 7.0.13+ or 7.1.x +2G of Ram MariaDB 10.0,10.1,10.2 or Percona 5.7 or MySQL: 5.6, 5.7 PHP extensions: soap, curl, mcrypt, gd, iconv, PDO/MySQL, openssl, intl, ctype, bc-math, libxml etc.   Next, take some time to analyze your current e-commerce store's provided user experience, extensions, configurations... Then, reflect on the following key questions:   How many storefronts and domains are included in your Magento 1 architecture? Needless to add that moving a highly customized multi-site infrastructure is going to be a lot more challenging than migrating a single store... How large is your current store (run an inventory of all your products, users, attributes, orders, categories)? How bulky is your ecosystem of third-party extensions, Magento core customizations, custom themes, various integrations (CRM, ERPs)? It's only after you've performed an in-depth analysis of your current online store (or multi-store) that you can roughly estimate the migration complexity. Word of caution: remember to backup your Magento 1 online store (secure your folders, database, and files) and to always migrate data from your cloned database instead of transferring it straight from your live online store...   2. Make an Inventory of Your Extensions: Search for Similar Versions in Magento 2 And this step makes a perfect opportunity to... declutter: Run an inventory of all the extensions on your current e-store and decide which ones are to be kept and which of them you should let go of... Next, divide your “pile” of extensions into 3 categories:   Magento 1 extensions with corresponding versions in Magento 2 Magento 1 extensions with third-party alternatives instead  Magento 1 extensions that were custom-built for your current store, that you now need to rebuild Run a 1:1 analysis and identify the extensions, themes and custom code on your e-commerce store that are compatible with Magento 2...   3. Migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2: Choose the Right Migration Tool In this respect, the Magento 2 data migration tool is a highly reputed one. It will greatly streamline the whole process, but do keep in mind that:   you'll still need to write custom code to seamlessly merge data into the new platform you'll need to adjust your custom code to fit in; for instance, tables and columns aren't considered standard dataset in Magento 2   Note: now it's the best time to reconsider your third-party extensions. Do they really compensate for all those data entries and product parameters that they injected into your Magento 1 store? If you still consider them relevant and valuable enough to be moved over to your new Magento 2 store, you might want to consider the Magento 1 to Magento 2 code migration tool for this.   4. Migrate Your Theme And this will be possible only if:   your current Magento 1 theme is compatible with Magento 2 there is a version of your current theme available in Magento 2   If not, if you've been running your e-commerce website on a custom theme, let's say, then you can either:   create a whole new theme from the ground up purchase a Magento 2 theme   Note: this is also that step of your “migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2” roadmap where you integrate your new online store with your key corporate systems.   5. Migrate Your Extensions  As already mentioned, there are 3 possible actions that you can take regarding your current load of extensions:   check whether they have Magento 2 counterparts if so, incorporate those Magento 2 versions into your new store if not, integrate some brand new extensions, that provide the same or similar functionality   6. Migrate Your Code Customizations Rely on the Code Migration toolkit for this and let it do all the heavy lifting that the code migration process involves. Word of caution: after you've let it perform its function, remember to go back and focus on all those files that need manual editing.   7. Migrate Your Data  As already mentioned, the Magento 2 Data Migration Tool is one of your most reliable “allies” in migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2.  And I'm referring here to the orders stored in your store, products, settings and configurations, categories and so on... How do you use it? It's no more than a 5-step process:   Use Composer to install the tool Enter your authentication keys (Magento Marketplace > Sign in > Click on My Access Keys) or generate a new pair configure your tool migrate your Magento 1 store's settings (system/store configurations, shipping, tax settings...) Migrate your data by entering this command: php bin/magento migration:data --reset <path to your config.xml>   Next, it's testing time: test, test, test, then... test some more! Check whether your new Magento 2 store works properly. Make sure you run your performance analysis and optimization process on real data. This way, you can check whether the actual Magento 2 store is capable to withstand real-life loads of data... Also, do keep in mind to update the existing data with the newly added one before deploying your Magento 2 store. And that because at this point you might end up with identical data: identical products, users, categories... Once you've fixed this issue, you only need to pick the right time — preferably not the “peak traffic” hours on your website — to launch it...   The END! Have I missed any key step(s) that anyone migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 should take?  Image by Ross Mann from Pixabay ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / May 31'2019
Cache API in Drupal 8: How Is It Any Different from Drupal 7 Cache System?
What makes the Cache API in Drupal 8 any better than Drupal 7's cache system? What's so revolutionary about it? Which of the old limitations does it remove? What are those new concepts and terminology that you should learn about? And, most of all: how complex is it to set up a cache in Drupal 8 for a specific use case? You might have already bumped into terms like “max-age”, "context cache" or "cache tags".   But how precisely do these new concepts, part of Drupal 8's cache system, refine and streamline the way you cache data on your website?   Let's try to demystify the terminology of Drupal 8's Cache API and to translate its new “fancy” terminology into... crystal-clear benefits for you:   1. What Is Caching More Precisely? Why Do We Cache Data? To your “What” question I'd answer:   Caching is a... strategy (or layer) for storing data from your website. Or: it's a software or hardware component where you store your data.    Why would you want to store your data?   Because this will streamline the way your website serves all future requests for that cached data.   And it goes without saying that reading data straight from the cache takes less time than... retrieving it from a slower data container or fully recreating the result. In short: caching data translates into faster page load time. 2. Cache API in Drupal 8: The Automatic Cache System A brief, yet accurate definition of cache in Drupal 8 would be:   Storing data that takes too long to load.   And if I am to detail it a bit I'd have to add that:   Caching can be either permanent or time-limited and that you're free to cache any type of data on your website.   Now, talking about Drupal 8's cache API, what everyone points out is that: it is much improved. That it's so different from the cache systems of the previous Drupal versions that... you even risk turning your website uncachable if you're not familiar with its new concepts.   “But how different/sophisticated can it be?” you might ask yourself.   Before we delve deep into details let me add just one thing:   We're talking about an... automated cache system. Basically, your Drupal 8 website retrieves cache data for both anonymous and logged in users with no configuration whatsoever. All by default.   And now, let's shed some light on all these new fancy concepts that the Cache API in Drupal 8 is based on:   2.1.The Cache Tags We all do agree that “invalidating cache” is one of the most challenging tasks of any cache system. Luckily, not anymore. At least not in Drupal 8, where you now have the concept of “cache tags” that you can use for tagging:   specific pages specific page elements various types of content   … and thus invalidate them all. Improved efficiency and high accuracy through... basic tagging. Basically, using these cache tags you can easily identify outdated data stored in multiple cache bins and... invalidate it. This way, you no longer run the risk of invalidating “still green” cache items, in bulk, not knowing which data to invalidate.   2.2. The Context Cache Here's an all too common scenario:   You're faced with multiple variants of the same data; only one of them should be cached, based on a specific criterion like language, user, country, content access permission...   Well, how do you automate targetting the right variant to be cached? And how do you automate caching the other left variants, as well, depending on the... context. You use “cache contexts”, that's how... They're one of those new remarkable features that the Cache API in Drupal 8 ships with, that allow you to specify the criteria to be used to vary for the cached content on a page. By user, by language, by country, by path...   2.3. The Max-Age (The Cache Duration) Maybe you don't want certain data to be forever cached. Maybe you need it stored for a certain period of time only. In this respect, the “max-age” property in Drupal 8's cache system allows you to define that time limit. To invalidate data that will have run... out of time.   2.4. The Bubbleable Cache Metadata What does this even mean “cache metadata... bubbling”? Let's take this example:    You have a parent item with its own “family” of... children items. In this context, “bubbled tags” makes it possible for the parent item in this render array to receive cacheability metadata from its children.   Bubble cache metadata streamlines the whole process of invalidating outdated cached data. As simple as that...   The END! Is it any clearer for you now what makes the Cache API in Drupal 8 so powerful? How its new features come to remove most of the limitations that you've already faced in Drupal 7? And how you can use them to refine and automate caching on your own Drupal 8 website? Image by Pexels from Pixabay   ... Read more
RADU SIMILEANU / May 24'2019
Is Magento Commerce Cloud the Best Option for Your E-Commerce Store? Key Benefits and Reported Downsides
But why should you even consider Magento Commerce Cloud as an option for your e-commerce store in the first place? What makes it any better than JetRails or Rackspace or even... Magento Commerce? What are its biggest selling points? And are there any reported downsides so far? Any drawbacks to consider and to weigh against its upsides before making your final choice? Now, let's get you some answers:   1. What Is Magento Commerce Cloud? How Is It Different/Better than Magento Commerce? Some might just reduce it to this basic formula: Magento Commerce + bundled hosting (or cloud infrastructure) Yet, I'm not one of “some”, so my definition would be: It's a full-managed, automated hosting platform for Magento Commerce — the once Enterprise Cloud Edition — that ships with some additional powerful features. Now, let me try and point out some of these features:   integrated source control management system (GIT), which translates into automatic build, deploy and management; it provides you with development, staging and live production environments streamlined development cycle quick and continuous deployment entirely customizable components enhanced security: the inherent security benefits of cloud computing + using WAS (Amazon Web Services) as the underlying infrastructure platform + tapping into the shared responsibility security model + leveraging the Fastly Web Application Firewall +... continuous availability: a particularly important feature for online stores, with a huge impact on user experience, the overall traffic and the level of security that your eStore guarantees its customers   2. 10 Main Reasons Why You'd Want to Run It on Magento Commerce Cloud Now, let's put its biggest selling points into the spotlight! Those benefits powerful enough to influence your decision and to make you opt for this cloud-powered e-commerce solution:   2.1. It's a Centralized Point of Management & End-to-End E-Commerce Solution Of all the Magento Commerce Cloud features, this must be one of the most “luring” ones:   you get to orchestrate your whole “infrastructure” of online stores from one single centralized point/store from marketing to analytics, to commerce across industries, it allows you to handle every specific operation, every aspect of the customer experience delivered on your e-commerce website   2.2. Inventory Order Management No more “out of stock” scenarios. At least not on your web store, since this feature allows you to always be one step ahead of customer demand and to... restock.   2.3. A Vast Ecosystem of Third-Party Extensions to Explore Another one of Magento Commerce Cloud's biggest selling points is its impressive marketplace of extensions. From:   Amazon Sales Channel to Google's Smart Shopping to lots of machine learning-based extensions   … you get to select from a huge ecosystem of add-ons to create a feature-rich, highly interactive shopping experience across your store.   2.4. It's Perfectly Equipped to Power Your PWAs Thinking about reaching out also to those potential customers who don't (always) benefit from fast-speed internet connection? Thinking about building a PWA for your online store? Good news: MCC is designed precisely with such a challenge in mind. It makes the best option for powering a PWA development plan.   2.5. High Scalability The hosting platform's built to accommodate the needs of both big retailers and small e-commerce businesses. And, in this respect, I should add 2 specific features that translate into enhanced scalability:   being a cloud environment, it grants you the freedom and the flexibility to allocate more memory and CPU, when needed it ships with an ece-tools package   2.6. It Supports Intuitive Experiences for Both Store Admins and Customers All the enhancements that Magento Commerce Cloud comes packed with bubble up to the user experience: both the “staff” user and the end-user. Meaning that all the tasks included in the store management process and the shopping process are well thought-out to be... highly intuitive.   2.7. Designed to Power Multi-Site Architectures Planning to go... global? Don't let your hosting platform stop you! In this respect, Magento Commerce Cloud allows you to:   update an entire ecosystem of online stores from one centralized point (I know, I've already pointed out this powerful feature) “conquer” new markets fast and surprisingly easy, with no major intervention from a tech-savvy team tap into the local knowledge expertise that Magento provides and to create some highly personalized, ideally localized experiences for multiple audiences exploit the advantage of the +150 languages available   And you get to run all your “globalization through localization” type of operations, to orchestrate your entire multi-site architecture, from one single point of management.  Note: speed and agility are 2 additional benefits that you can “reap” from using a cloud-based hosting platform; they become crucial when you want to enter new markets at high speed.   2.8. Built-in B2B Quote Management Feature Just imagine: a tool incorporated into your hosting platform “in charge” with everything... quotation-related. You can skip that time-consuming sequence of operations aimed at setting a price for a product.   2.9. Built-in Image Optimization Tool Magento Commerce Cloud provides you, right out of the box, with a tool to optimize your images and to boost your page loading speed...   2.10. It Easily Integrates With Fully-Managed Services Another great news is that it “plays well” with full managed services. From Redis to MySQL, to RabbitMQ, to Elasticsearch, it allows you to easily incorporate the service of your choice.    3. 3 Main Downsides Reported by Magento Commerce Cloud Users For, although this managed platform is still relatively new and so we can't yet be talking about a whole “pile” of user reviews, the reported drawbacks gravitate around the same issues:    slow support certain limitations of the underlying technology: Platform.sh the need to invest time and effort to get everything live   3.1. Support... Could Be Better Most of the Magento Commerce Cloud users have signaled it: support is slow. Therefore, expect to be put on a lengthy waiting list till you can actually get hold of a hosting engineer. Do you need permission changes? Is there a hosting issue that you're “grappling with” and you need the support of someone with expertise in platform.sh?  You might need to invest a bit more time than predicted to get the support you need.   3.2. Running Updates and Upgrades Takes too Long Not everyone's thrilled about the Platform.sh technology that MCC runs on. Quite enough users have reported that each time they need to:   add new CSS upgrade their e-commerce stores run certain feature updates   … the underlying system takes too long to process. And, during all this time, their online stores are... down.   3.3. It Takes More to Get Everything Up and Running More time and "X" times more effort.  At least that's what some of the users say.   The END! Does this answer your question(s)? Are these benefits and drawbacks solid enough to help you decide whether Magento Commerce Cloud is the best option for your online store? Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / May 23'2019
Clutch Places OPTASY on the List of Canada Best Drupal Developers in 2019
After working with clients of all different sizes, we can tell you they all want us to do the same thing: develop products with their end user in mind. Whether we’re building a mobile app, a website, or a custom software solution, we know that if the end user finds the final product to have great functionality and great design, it will leave both them and the client happy. As a digital agency and Drupal firm, we strive to achieve this on every project which is why Clutch has us listed as one of the top Drupal developers in Canada in 2019. Clutch is a B2B ratings and reviews website based out of Washington, D.C. Their platform also makes it easy for clients to find and connect with the service providers that they think will provide the best partnership on their project. The site also ranks the vendors according to their focus and ability to deliver. The focus score depends on the services they offer while the ability to deliver is determined by a few different factors such as client reviews, work experience, market presence, and awards. Clutch analysts interview previous clients about past projects to verify client reviews. They are conducted either on the phone or online with an in-depth questionnaire to get all of the details regarding the project. Currently, we have 8 total client reviews on our profile, and we’ve averaged a nearly perfect 4.8/5-Star rating! Take a look at our most recent reviews:   “I appreciate how detail-oriented they are. That’s not a strength everyone has.” – President, GSATi “They were able to perform the work quickly and professionally and gave us exactly what we wanted.” – Technology Manager, Mary Macleod’s Shortbread “From Day 1, the communication has been the hallmark and has been phenomenal.” – Technology Coordinator, Regina Public Schools In addition to their main site, Clutch runs two more platforms that help connect businesses together. The first site is called The Manifest and publishes business news, insights, and best practices to help companies achieve their goals. We are also found on their list of the top Shopify developers in Canada in 2019. Their other site is Visual Objects. It hosts business portfolios so that mobile app development companies like ourselves and other creative firms can show off their past work. We look forward to growing our presence on Clutch throughout the rest of 2019. If your business is interested in creating an app or a new website, contact us We can’t wait to hear from you! ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / May 22'2019
World-Famous Brands that Have Their Online Stores Running on Magento: Top 10-Part 2
Ready to discover 5 more world-famous brands that are tapping into Magento's capabilities — scalability, robust built-in features, high level of customization? 5 more high-trafficked online stores running on Magento? From Seat to Canon, from Helly Hansen to Jaguar and NGC, here some of the globally-known companies “advocating” for Magento through their own e-commerce stores:   6. Helly Hansen           The e-commerce website of the highly-reputed Norwegian manufacturer of textile and sports gear, trusted by professionals worldwide, is the perfect example of: Globalization through localization... And here's what I mean by that:   we're talking about an “ecosystem” of 30 online stores (of +30,000 products each) 6 different languages a unified look for the whole “cluster” of stores, yet the customer experience delivered on each store is highly personalized, with multi-language and multi-currency features implemented   See what I mean?  We're talking about a worldwide retailer leveraging Magento's robust features to the full to:   provide its shoppers with multiple payment and shipping methods make its product available in 19 different countries   Furthermore, Helly Hansen's Magento cloud project has been one of the most notorious ones back in 2016.   7. Sergio Rossi             Another one of those worldwide known online stores running on Magento. Sergio Rossi's leveraging Magento's full potential to:   “awe” its online customers with visually-striking, beautifully designed product pages enrich their shopping experience with engaging features like the on-page “heel height” selector   8. Seat                           The Spanish car manufacturer turned to Magento with some specific needs in mind: to deliver a fast and friction-free mobile experience to its young customers. Luckily, Magento's perfectly equipped with mobile-responsive functionality, which bubbles up to the user experience provided on Seat's mobile version of the website:   fast-loading pages a contrasting color palette that enhances readability intuitive website navigation efficiently structured and visually-appealing text blocks   9. Canon, One of the Most Popular Online Stores Running on Magento                  Did you know that the Australian division of the giant brand of consumer and professional-level photography equipment faced quite a challenge when they decided to make their products available online, as well? Well, they're currently running their e-store on Magento, which helps them deliver a feature-rich and highly interactive experience to their customers:   users can check products' compatibility, a critical feature particularly for amateur photographers  in addition to the “bulky” product catalog, users can go through an impressive collection of photo books, helpful tutorials, useful reviews of specific products... the services provided there include “immediate assistance”, as well, for anyone passionate about photography, who's thinking about... getting started and needs at least some sort of professional guidance the cross-sell functionality integrated into their online store guides photography “enthusiasts” towards buying the perfectly compatible items   That, instead of leaving a beginner to deal with N types of lenses or N types of memory cards alone, trying to figure out which one's compatible with the items he/she's already selected/bought...   10. Jaguar and NGC     Did you know that the e-commerce website where customers could buy the first fully-electric Jaguar car was Magento-powered? The giant automotive brand is capitalizing some of the platform's powerful capabilities to deliver a fully interactive experience to its users. And here, I'm thinking of the four-step progress bar available on their e-store, which allows customers to select:   their preferred model of electric Jaguar their preferred design features   This way, they can witness the “birth” of their entirely-customed cars. Where do you add that they get the price at every phase of the self-design cycle and that they get to select both the dealer and the payment method of choice, as well? In short, the brand takes full advantage of Magento's high level of customization. Moreover, it transfers it to its own online customers, “tempting” them with multiple options and the chance to... design their own prototypes of Jaguar.   The END! These are 10 of the worldwide-known online stores running on Magento. 10 giant brands tapping into this e-commerce platform to power their complex, feature-rich e-stores and to create some unique experiences for their online customers. What other brands would you have added to the list? Image by 200 Degrees from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / May 20'2019
World-Famous Brands that Have Their Online Stores Running on Magento: Top 10- Part 1
It's flexible, it grants users total freedom of customization, it's robust enough to power large, complex e-stores, it ships with a heavy load of powerful built-in e-commerce features and it's backed by a large, thriving community. And still, there are no better advocates for this platform than all those world-famous brands having their online stores running on Magento, right? But which are these global brands more precisely?  And I'm sure that their big names alone wouldn't be enough to inspire you, right? You're looking for leading e-commerce websites that:   deliver an outstanding, highly interactive customer experience have a visually-striking design   With these 2 main criteria in mind, here's a top 10 worldwide-known Magento e-commerce websites:   1. Liverpool FC   The globally-famous, century-old football club is using Magento to power its online store... And it exploits the e-commerce platform's robust features to the full for crafting highly immersive, rich user experiences:   it leverages the power of storytelling on its front page it personalizes the services provided to its customers it “bids on” user-generated content to engage and to secure its online fans' loyalty   In short, the team behind Liverpool FC's online store taps into Magento's high level of customization to create some unique experiences for its customers.   2. Nike, One of the Most Trafficked Online Stores Running on Magento   The world's giant manufacturer and supplier of sportswear is exploiting Magento's robust features to run its high-trafficked e-store. And when it comes to the customer experience delivered there, there's one particular feature that stands out: the product configuration tool. Basically, any shopper can select a product from the catalog and design it himself/herself. He can get creative and style it so that it perfectly meets his preferences. Moreover, users can see the results live, in real-time...   3. Ford   Ford Motor's yet another global brand that decided to partner with Magento for powering its own ideas of personalized online customer experiences. Speaking of which, here's but one example from the company's e-store:  Say a potential shopper selects a specific car model on the front page. Next, Ford's product catalogue will adapt to that particular selection, displaying results accordingly... Personalization at its best, to say the least...   4. Kurt Geiger   The major challenge for the well-known UK-based shoe retailer has been to efficiently “joggle with” multiple languages and currencies. And they turned to Magento for that... With its built-in multi-lingual support, Magento makes the ideal e-commerce platform for their localization requirements. Now, here's how this functionality is being leveraged on the Kurt Geiger online store: Once a customer selects a country, he/she'll get accurate delivery time and shipping fee displayed across the website... Note: search functionality and layered navigation are another 2 aspects where this e-store rocks supreme, thanks to the e-commerce solution that it is leveraging.   5. Paul Smith    Another one of those highly popular, most-trafficked online stores running on Magento. On Magento 2, to be more accurate. And the stellar customer experience delivered on this e-store makes the best proof that... Magento suits it:   lightening fast checkout process thought-out main navigation layout a “Model Wears” functionality integrated into the product detail pages that enable users to shop/steal a whole look featured in an image   END of Part 1! These are just 5 of the 10 most popular online stores running on Magento. 5 leading brands whose unique ways of implementing certain features of this robust e-commerce platform are great sources of inspiration for anyone still thinking about getting started with Magento. Image by Megan Rexazin from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / May 17'2019
Magento vs Shopify 2019: 10 Most Important Evaluation Criteria to Consider- Part 2
Here I am, as promised, with 5 more important criteria to use when running your Magento vs Shopify 2019 evaluation and weighing these 2 e-commerce platforms' pros and cons. Or, better said: weighing the benefits and limitations that result once you've put their features against your own particular needs and use-specific priorities.  So, without any further ado:   6. Extensions and Add-Ons Available The ratio between the 2 platforms is of +100 vs +5000. There's no question about it: Magento reigns supreme in this category... And with no surprise, if you remember that it's an open source e-commerce platform, backed by a thriving community of developers. As for Shopify, it might not provide as many apps and add-ons, yet it provides some perfectly curated ones:   you don't need to worry that you'd be implementing buggy, risky extensions on your e-store from email marketing to loyalty programs, to accounting, you'll find apps and add-ons for pretty much any type of functionality that you might need to integrate to your online store...   7. Magento vs Shopify 2019: The Price Factor When using the pricing strategy as a criterion for your Magento vs Shopify 2019 analysis you'll realize that:   Shopify doesn't charge any fee for e-store setup and installation; moreover, it grants you a 14-day free trial Magento is, by definition, a free e-commerce solution; and yet, you'll still need to pay for your hosting and payment gateway   Speaking of transaction fees, you should know that Shopify comes with zero costs if you decide to use their out-of-the-box payment gateway. Whereas in case of Magento you'll need to pay the fees charged by your gateway provider. No extra costs from Magento in this case, but no built-in payment gateway either... In short: Shopify charges you a monthly fee, that covers both the hosting platform and the payment gateway for your e-store. On the other hand, Magento's a free, open-source platform, that still “surprises” you with inherent hosting costs...   8. Inventory Management Another “tricky” category, since it looks that both Magento and Shopify allow you to enter an unlimited number of products into your e-store. And to easily manage your inventory... Nevertheless, you'll still identify some key differences:   in Shopify, you're limited to fewer options when it comes to administering your inventory Shopify integrates easily with third-party dropshipping inventory apps (e.g. Oberlo) since Magento doesn't provide the hosting of your e-store, as well, adding too many items to your store might, at some point, have a negative impact on your host server's performance (and, implicitly, on your page loading speed...)   9. Customization Opportunities Once you've reached this criterion while running your Magento vs Shopify 2019 evaluation you'll realize that:   Shopify scores better when it comes to its highly intuitive theme editor; you can easily drag and drop content elements across your website Magento grants you total freedom of customization — you can fine-tune every single aspect of your e-store — but at a cost: you depend on a team of experienced Magento developers to do all that customization work.    In other words, while both platforms are designed to power complex customization scenarios, Magento scores better since it's open source. Therefore, it allows you to custom-tune the look and feel of your online store and to extend its functionality any way you want to. While both platforms ship with user-friendly, thought-out UIs that empower you to edit your HTML/CSS code directly, Shopify comes with a menu-driven editor. One that you can use to play around with fonts, colors and other attributes of your theme.    10. Multi-Lingual Support While Magento provides you with multi-lingual support right out of the box, Shopify depends on third-party apps for this type of functionality. Or, you can always custom-write your code to include multilingual features... Localization, based on a “cluster” of multilingual online stores,  is not one of Shopify's strong points, that's for sure.  The END! What do you say now: judging by your own Magento vs Shopify 2019 analysis, which e-commerce platform best suits your feature needs and best serves your priorities? Do you value ease of use more than... freedom of customization? Is an impressive collection of advanced e-commerce features more important to you? Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay. ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / May 15'2019