SEO Case Studies

SEO | Inbound Marketing | CPC | Conversions
Customer Paradigm
 

One of our customers came into the office recently. He wanted some online marketing ideas to help him reach his potential clients.

We used our Customer-Centric Decision Branching process to drill down, and get inside the head of the end customer:

Customer-Centric Branching Process

I listened carefully, and then decided we needed to go old school to accomplish the goal. Yep, direct marketing, sent via snail mail.
Read more below >>

Marketing Case Study:
How to reach an elusive client at their time of greatest need?

Some background:
Carefree Ice is a Colorado-based company that leases and services ice machines. If you’re a restaurant, you need an ice machine. Without one, you can’t serve drinks. They’re expensive, though, at $5,000 each. And usually the only time you buy one is when you’re opening a new location, or it suddenly stops working.

For new locations, our client has an existing referral network of realtors and building managers who hand out his card. So we decided to tackle the second problem first – an ice machine that suddenly breaks.

But how do you get restaurant owners and/or managers to call Carefree Ice when their machines stop working?

I’ve worked in the restaurant industry in the past, and dealt with a lot of restaurants from a Website capacity.

And one thing that I’ve found is that as a big generalization, most restaurant owners and managers are not very high tech.

SF Soup CoDisclaimer: some are very high tech. The San Francisco Soup Company is one of our clients, and we built a system that allows people to receive a personalized email, tailored to their geographic location, telling them what soups are being served that day. But that’s the rare exception.

Restaurants are great at producing amazing food, delivering great customer service. They handle the soap opera drama of the staff. But it’s really hard work. Crazy hours. You can’t have an off night, or your customers won’t come back.

When an ice machine breaks down, maybe they’ll turn to Google. It’s not to say we shouldn’t cover our bases and do a Pay Per Click Marketing Campaign, and optimize for particular keywords that someone might be searching for.

But more likely, they’ll take their iPhone out of their pocket (the one in a waterproof case, because they work around food and liquids), and want to call someone to have it fixed.

Or call their bookkeeper to make sure they had $5,000 in free cash lying around to buy a new one and have it delivered. Leasing one wasn’t probably top of mind. Understanding that a new ice machine could save $800 per year in water costs, as they are much more efficient, probably wasn’t at the top of their mind, either.

Inside the End User’s Head… At Their Time of Need.

Bingo! We were on to something. We’d gotten inside the head of the person at their exact time of need, and figured out what he or she would do.

When I started Customer Paradigm, I started it with the notion that we could help businesses and organizations focus on the needs of their end customers, and design marketing interactions that create trust, confidence and loyal, long term buyers.

Venn Diagram - Needs of Client, Customer Paradigm and End User

My meeting with Carefree Ice blended the Socratic method with a branching tactic, that in the end resulted in a likely scenario for a highly-qualified buyer.

My initial idea: let’s put magnets with your contact information on the ice machines.

Let’s write something like, "No Ice? Call Us!"

Sticker - No Ice? Call Us!

The problem, though, is that these machines are all stainless steel. And what I forgot from my high-school chemistry teacher is that magnets don’t stick to stainless steel. They add nickel and chromium to the metal so it doesn’t rust.

While some consumer-grade refrigerators work with magnets, industrial ones don’t.

So… instead, a peel-and-stick sticker would have to do. Plus, stickers are less expensive to produce.

Main Message:

The main message for the campaign: Place this sticker on your ice maker. If and when you have problems, call this number for service or a new unit.

Main Message for the Campaign

The design was big, bold and designed to "save" the postcard from being recycled (this is Boulder, after all) as soon as the business owner or manager saw it.

To build more trust and confidence, we included the BBB logo and the Chamber of Commerce logo, too:

BBB Logo

Peel HereWe didn’t want to have to have anyone open an envelope, so we worked with a printing company that could produce a peel-and-stick sticker, right on a postcard (and still make it through the US Postal System).

With a targeted list of 3,500 restaurants in the front range of Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs, the mailing house took care of the printing, postage and delivery.

Shawna on our team created the design, sourced the graphics and did all of the coordination with the mailing house.

Here’s the front of the postcard:

Postcard Front

View Larger Screenshot >>

Here’s the back of the postcard:

Back of Postcard

View Larger Screenshot >>

Unlike an online campaign, where ROI can be measured auto-magically, this campaign demands patience. Patience for ice makers to break, and then the phone to ring.

This approach was counter-intuitive: Companies have largely abandoned snail mail campaigns and moved much of their marketing spend online. Because there is a lot less volume of snail mail going through the USPS, campaigns have a much better chance of grabbing attention and making an impact.

Campaign ROI & Followup:

The follow up campaign for this is to have a few part-time students visit many of the more densely-packed locations and offer to put stickers on the ice machines. These students would also be able to report back on how many stickers were actually placed onto the machines.

I wanted to focus on this case study, because it highlights our customer-centric approach. Using a branching strategy, we tried to get inside the head of the end customer at their time of need. And then we designed a campaign that would make it quick, fast and easy to connect them with someone who could help.

Thanks,


Jeff FinkelsteinFounder, Customer Paradigm
Jeff Finkelstein
Founder, Customer Paradigm

303.473.4400

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Customer Paradigm
5353 Manhattan Circle, Suite 103
Boulder, Colorado 80303
Visit our Website
direct 303.473.4400
fax 303.374.6104
toll free 888.772.0777

Web & Print Design • Programming • Email Newsletters • Search Engine Marketing • eCommerce
Customer Paradigm
 

One of the big themes from the Magento Imagine show was personalization.

(And beyond just mail-merging in your name).

The idea is to personalize a site, based on information you have from a user, so that their user experience is not like everyone else’s.

There are three reasons personalization isn’t widely adopted:

  • Personalization technology can be difficult to implement
  • The "creative" costs of personalization (you have to decide what to do)
  • What happens if you personalize a site, and it annoys end users?

I’ve been passionate about personalization. In 2000, I attended a conference in New York called "The Personalization Summit." Industry guru Seth Godin was a keynote speaker.

Fourteen years later, very few sites are actually doing much in the way of personalization. I do see this changing, but slowwwly….

Magento Enterprise – Customer Segmentation.

Built into the Magento Enterprise code base is a Customer Segmentation system, that allows you to personalize a site experience based on customer attributes.

It’s a powerful system, but one that few Magento Enterprise merchants are using. (There are also other third party systems for personalization, but this isn’t built into the free Community version of Magento.)

Before you can personalize the experience, you must first identify the customer segments:

Magento Customer Segmentation Home Screen

In this case, you could create customer segments based on segments like:

  • Customer with $100 in the cart
  • Customer has placed more than two orders in the past
  • Customer is in Colorado (or Florida, California, or another state)
  • Customer is in a specific city (like Boulder)
  • Customer’s address is in a specific zip code range
  • + more

Let’s say you want to personalize the visitor’s site experience, based on a zip code range in their billing or shipping address.

You would start by naming the segment, and making it active:

Matched Customers by Zip Code

Next, you’d add conditions (in this case zip codes) to the segment:

Zip Code Personalization

In this case, you can set up these conditions, and then offer free courier shipping (for example) via bicycle messenger for anyone that matches.

Magento Enterprise allows you to see how many customer match this segment:

Matched Segments

In this test case, there are two customers (both me) that match.

You can also export these into a spreadsheet, perhaps to do an outbound email campaign:

Excel Spreadsheet Export

 

Building Segments:

To build a customer segment in Magento Enterprise, you can choose from many different options, including:

  • Customer Address
    • Customer creation date
    • Date of birth
    • Billing address
    • Shipping Address
    • Email address
    • Name
    • Gender
    • Customer Group (i.e. wholesale)
    • Newsletter Subscription status
    • If the customer has a store credit
  • Shopping Cart information:
    • Cart total (total $$)
    • Number of items in cart
    • Quantity of products in cart
  • Product information:
    • Product List
    • Product Sales history
  • Sales information:
    • Order address
    • Sales amount
    • Number of past orders
    • Quantity of products ordered in past

Building Customer Segments

Here’s an example of a segment where the customer has placed more than two orders in the past:

Customer Segment with More Than Two Orders

(A customer that has purchased more than two orders in the past might be an easier prospect for a repeat order.)

Here’s an example of a customer where their state is in Colorado:

Customer in Colorado

(You might want to run a promotion for your store targeted to people just in the state of Colorado, for ski season, for example.)

Or, personalize the site if someone has more than $100 in the cart:

Customer with More than $100 in cart

(You might want to entice them with free shipping, for example.)

Or, you could create a more complex rule that states if:

  • If a customer has a grand total of more than $500 in their cart.
  • And they’ve placed more than five orders in the past

Customer with Multiple Options

… then perhaps you want to give the customer a special thank you. Or give them expedited shipping for free. Or throw in a special gift.

Next week, I’ll talk about how to actually use these customer segments with the Magento Enterprise system to actually personalize the site.

Let me know if you’d like help personalizing your site…

Thanks,

Jeff FinkelsteinFounder, Customer Paradigm
Jeff Finkelstein
Founder, Customer Paradigm

303.473.4400

Connect Via Facebook >>
Connect Via Google+ >>
Connect Via Linked In >>
Connect Via Twitter >>

We love referrals! Our Referral Promise >>

Customer Paradigm
5353 Manhattan Circle, Suite 103
Boulder, Colorado 80303
Visit our Website
direct 303.473.4400
fax 303.374.6104
toll free 888.772.0777
 
Web & Print Design • Programming • Email Newsletters • Search Engine Marketing • eCommerce
Customer Paradigm
 

It was so wonderful to see so many people at Magento Imagine 2014 conference in Las Vegas last week.

Magento Imagine 2014 Conference

You might have seen me walking around with a camera during the conference; I’ve put together a summary of what I learned at the conference, using photos to help me remember.

The theme this year was "Transform," and how eCommerce is in the midst of a massive transformation. Bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell ("Blink") gave an amazing keynote, as did Michael Dart, author of The New Rules of Retail. I didn’t attend all of the sessions (just the ones that I found personally interesting). But here is my compilation of Magento Imagine 2014, in photos and text:

Key Themes from Magento Imagine 2014:

  • Customers Are Mobile & Love Speed:
    • Responsive sites – the new standard. A site that works well on mobile, tablet and desktop is critical. And eCommerce sites that don’t adopt responsive will drop in search rankings and user adoption.
    • Site Speed – the faster the better. A site that loads in <2 seconds is critical. Customers abandon sites that take too long to load. Sites that load quickly are also ranked higher by Google and other search engines. A one second delay in page load speed will reduce conversions by 7%. (Zero Lag gave a great presentation on this; more below.)
    • Clean Code – means a more reliable user experience. There was a focus on using Magento the right way (i.e. not modifying core code).
  • Magento Continues to Dominate eCommerce.
    • Magento has 30% worldwide marketshare for eCommerce.
    • More than 240,000 sites use Magento Community.
    • Community 1.9 and Enterprise 1.14 Released, focused on Responsive Designs. (more below)
    • Magento 2.0 roadmap to release is set for end of 2014 / beginning of 2015. (more below)
    • Magento 2.0 Community may have Full Page Caching built in – a feature now only found in the Enterprise edition of Magento.
  • Small / Mid Size Companies Can Compete With Giants.
    • Open source technology like Magento has transformed the ability of small and mid-size companies to sell head-to-head against giants like Amazon and other big brands.
    • Personalization is still an emerging technology, but can create engaging customer experiences based on key behavioral or purchase data on a site.
    • Malcolm Gladwell talked about the market transformation of eCommerce, and discussed the lessons of David vs. Goliath. Most people think that David won miraculously, but Gladwell talked about how David thought differently, and used a long distance sling (and the likely fact that Goliath had limited peripheral vision) to win.
  • Failure = Success.
    • Another common theme from several speakers was the notion that if you always play it 100% safe, you’ll never learn and grow.
    • Instead, embrace failures as lessons for what not to do.
    • Some of the most successful entrepreneurs have failed again and again, and then finally gotten it right. (And that’s when they’re labeled a genius.)

Malcolm Gladwell

Magento Community 1.9 & Magento Enterprise 1.14 Released:

Roy Rubin, co-founder of Magento, started the conference off with the release of Magento Enterprise 1.14 and Magento Community 1.9:

Roy Rubin, co-founder of Magento, announces the release of Magento 1.9 and Enterprise 1.14

Key features of both Enterprise 1.14 and Community 1.9:

  • Both use a Responsive Reference design theme. This makes the process of building out a Magento site much quicker and more error free, and in a way that mobile (iPhone, iPad) and desktop / laptop users are able to navigate easily.
    • Social media sharing icons are built right into the responsive framework
    • A new slider is built in to the home page layout, too. In the past, this meant working with a third party design (or building a custom one), and then troubleshooting this when it didn’t work.
  • Bill Me Later has been added as a payment option. In the past, this required a bit more complexity to sign up as a vendor, but not is easy to accept the "Pay Later" option, and have the funds in your account the next day.
  • Both also have PayPal Express Checkout improvements. Again, this is key for Mobile users, who want to make a purchase from their iPhone / iPad, and don’t want to type in a credit card number, billing and shipping address, etc.

PayPal and Bill Me Later - included with Magento Community

For Magento Enterprise 1.14 users:

  • Magento Enterprise there are many minor improvements
  • Magento Enterprise 1.14 gives native support for Solr search (i.e. search results that populate as you type)
  • Update: Magento has now released an update, 1.14.0.1, that fixes a minor bug or two that was found in the past few days.

 

Magento Continues to Dominate the eCommerce World:

Magento has a 30% marketshare in the Alexa Top 1 Million Site Listing. This is up from 26% last year. And no other competitor is even close.

Magento - 30% Market Share in Alexa Top 1 Million

In some countries, the rate of Magento adoption is even higher. In the UK, 47% of top eCommerce sites run Magento; it’s 45% in Australia.

Magento Industry Stats

More than 240,000 businesses run the Magento Community Platform. About 3,000 run the more scalable Magento Enterprise system (this is the first time I’ve seen these numbers publicly released).

In 2013, these sites generated more than $26 billion in eCommerce revenue. There’s also now 2,800+ certified Magento Developers, mostly at the 300 Magento Partners. The 3rd party extension marketplace continues to grow, with more than 6,000 extensions available (although sometimes they don’t all work together).

Open Source is winning out over closed source. In the smart phone world (Android, with 83%; Linux servers, with 67%, and Magento, with 30%):

Open Source Winning Over Closed Source

Magento is also #1 in the Mid-Market Internet Retailer top 500 list:

Magento Top in Mid-Market IR 500

Magento also released a new certification: Magento Solution Specialist, in addition to the Front End Web Developer and Magento Developer / Developer Plus Standards.

This new certification is meant for project managers and other business people who may not need to know the ins-and-outs of the Magento code base, but do want the certification as a specialist.

Magento Certification

Magento 2 Roadmap:

Magento 2.0 – a complete revamp of the Magento code base – has been under development for quite some time. We’ve been testing the Alpha version at our office, and we’re excited to learn that Magento has stepped up their development efforts.

Magento 2

Magento’s Mark Lavelle, Senior Vice President, discussed the roadmap for Magento 2, and it’s a complete overhaul of the Magento code base to bring it up to more modern standards.

Magento 2 RoadMap

The Beta Release will be out in December 2014; the Release Candidate will be available in March 2015.

Which (in my opinion, not based on anything from Magento), pretty much sets up Magento 2.0 for a release at the next Magento Imagine show, next May 2015:

Magento Imagine 2015

Why Magento 2?

Why Magento 2?

Magento - Faster to Market

Paul Boisvert, Director of Product Management for Magento, discussed how Magento 2.0 will allow faster time to market, with lower development costs.

Magento - Goals for Magento 2

Why revamp the code base for Magento 2?

It brings in a much more modern code base to the picture. The current code base was designed and architected in 2006 / 2007 – eons in the Web world.

Magento 2 allows for cleaner installation and upgrades, and better performance and scalability.

Magento has been using an agile process, and has made 30+ Github pushes to the Magento 2 code base since October of last year:

Magento 2 Progres

Malcolm Gladwell Discussed Transformation:

Malcolm Gladwell

 

I’ve been a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s books. From the 10,000 hour concept to become an expert in something, to David and Goliath and Blink, his ideas have transformed many businesses.

Gladwell gave an extremely compelling talk about how one man – Malcolm McLean – transformed the shipping industry using shipping containers.

McLean succeeded for several reasons:

  • He saw tremendous waste and inefficiencies in the older way of shipping goods via ship. This required people to hand-load goods into the belly of a ship. It could take longer to load and unload a ship than it could take to actually cross the Atlantic ocean.
  • McLean got his start in the trucking business, and came up with a concept of just taking the back part of a truck, lifting it up with a crane, and putting it onto a ship. Eliminating a lot of jobs and time in the process.
  • But his approach required a complete change to the system, too. It required standardized shipping containers to be loaded at factories. It required new trucks to hold them, and new, powerful cranes to lift them. And it required that ships be retrofitted to hold containers efficiently.

From a psychological approach, these factors made McLean successful:

  • Disagreeable. He didn’t much care if people thought he was crazy or disagreed with him that containerization was possible.
  • Embraced Failure. He embraced failure, and tried and tried again until he got it right.
  • Motivated to Succeed. McLean was really bothered by the waste that he saw in the traditional method of shipping, and was motivated to come up with a better way.
  • Sense of Urgency. He wasn’t happy to sit around; he wanted things done (some nearly impossible or improbable)… and done quickly.

Then… as only Malcolm Gladwell can do… he related this whole story into how eCommerce is being transformed today. Gladwell sees that where we are now is on the cusp of a new inflection point, and one where motivated, disagreeable people who embrace failure may see great success.

Michael Dart – New Rules of Retail:

Michael Dart, author of The New Rules of Retail, discussed how the world of buying stuff has changed in the past 125 years.

New Rules of Retail

Michael Dart

Dart discussed the power shift in retailing from:

  • Producer Power
  • Marketing Power
  • Consumer Power
  • Technology Power

Power Shift

In the olden days, producers made things in one size and style. Industrial revolution allowed standardized products, but not a lot of customization.

The Model T was available in black – and only black. Producers had all of the power.

Small general stores sold products, as well as regional department stores, and a few catalogs.

I know this generation well – my great-grandfather had a general store at the turn of the 1900s in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The benefit of these small stores was that the owner of the stores knew the buyers well, and could personalize their recommendations based on the personal relationship.

Producer Power

Wave 2: Marketing Power.

The second wave of retailing, according to Dart, was when the power shifted from the producers to the marketers, who demanded different products tailored to different buyers. With this came the rise in national department stores, big box retailers and specialty retail.

Marketing Power

Wave 3: Consumer Power

With the advent of mail order catalogs, and then the rise of the Internet, power shifted from big box retailers to consumers. Instead of being tied to what was available at a specific store in a customer’s geographic location, customers could search by brand and order just what they wanted. It was an aggregation of interest, regardless of geography.

Consumer Power

The shift is often personified by Starbucks.

Before, people just wanted a cup (or three) of coffee to wake them up in the morning. Maxwell House was a tremendous brand, but gave way to a customer experience of Starbucks – the third location (between home and work). Starbucks is an affordable luxury, and one that got people to socialize at coffee shops… and gave rise to laptop-wielding consultants, who spend their days working at coffee shops instead of a traditional office.

Maxwell House to Starbucks

Wave 4: Technology Power

Dart claims that technology power takes us back to that beginning era of wonder and delight.

The iPhone, for example, was years beyond anyone’s expectations. It was so revolutionary that nobody even knew to ask for something like it. Same thing with the iPad. Nobody knew that they needed another electronic device. Laptops were fine, right?

Tech Power

Wave 4 – the era we’re in now (according to Dart) is the convergence of compelling customer experience, where artful design, personal connection and emotional engagement are combined with the power of technology.

Convergence

What’s next, according to Dart?

This fourth wave is the least well defined. But he sees these trends emerging:

  • Evaporation of ‘B’ and ‘C’ class shopping malls.
  • Some big brands (i.e. Best Buy) won’t be able to make it.
  • Personalization will be a way that brands better connect with consumers
  • All brands will be Omni-Channel, meaning they will engage with the customer seamlessly across channels (instead of treating the customer differently at retail, catalog and online).
  • Successful companies will adopt data-driven technology, and engage with customers using their mobile devices (even while they are in a retail store).

 

Speed Testing with Zero Lag:

The folks from Zero Lag – one of the Platinum Magento Hosting Partners gave a seminar on how to speed up a Magento site.

Zero Lag

(The room was a bit dark, so my apologies if the images are a little pixilated. I had to shoot at f/2.2 at ISO 5,000 to get anything workable.)

Zero Lag did benchmark testing on several clients, trying to determine how a site slows down as more and more users hit the site:

Zero Lag - Server Load Testing

One of the best things about Zero Lag’s presentation was that they didn’t just say, "Hey look at us. We have these great clients with unlimited budgets and look at the cool things we could do."

No, instead, Zero Lag gave real information that helps developers and Magento store owners identify common bottlenecks that prevent sites from loading quickly.

Common elements that kill speed:

  • Non-optimized images (i.e. images posted directly from a 23 megapixel digital camera)
  • No browser caching
  • Lots of database calls
  • Placing JavaScript / CSS in the wrong place on a page, so the page loads blank instead of loading most elements first.

Common Magento Bottlenecks

They recommended best practices, including:

  • Compressing files, including images, HTML , CSS and Javascript.
  • Reducing the number of external calls and database requests for each page.

Best Practices

Specifically, Zero Lag recommended:

  • Loading CSS first, and JavaScript last – so the end user doesn’t see the dreaded blank white page for 2-3 seconds while everything else loads.
  • Avoiding redirects when at all possible
  • Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) that can cache some of the common images, javascript, and other elements. This is often included with hosting plans, but it is not always used, because it’s an extra / added step for developers, and when you want to push changes or new images live.

Best Practices for Magento

 

Best Practices for Magento

Looking toward the future:

  • Facebook pioneered the HipHop Virtual machine. It’s a system that compiles php into machine code on-the-fly, and can show a 6x speed improvement.
  • It’s still buggy, but not really ready for production yet.

Future: Hip Hop Virtual Machine

Zero Lag

Gifting – The Psychological Role of Giving and Receiving Gifts

Another great seminar was on the psychological role of gifting, and how this can be leveraged for eCommerce success.

Most of the time, people go to an eCommerce site to purchase something for themselves.

But often, people want to give a gift for a birthday, holiday or other special occasion.

The team presented three key findings:

1. Most people don’t realize how much happiness their gifts will bring to the receiver, regardless of what the gift is.

Gifting

2. "Risky" gifts bring a lot more joy to people. A risky gift is when you buy someone a beer stein, because they mentioned it once in a conversation. You’re not sure that they’ll like it. (They might not even be much of a beer drinker.)

But these "risky" gifts demonstrate that you care to the receive, and that you’ve expended quite a bit of effort.

Gifting 2

3. The riskless gift – cash or gift cards – are still welcomed. But not nearly as much by the receiver.

Gifting 3

So… what to do with gifting on an eCommerce site?

The presenters recommended promoting less risky gifts such as:

  • Wallets
  • Belts
  • Hats
  • Or anything that is a one-size-fits-most item
  • And, yes, gift cards, too.

 

Carey Lohrenz – First US Female Fighter Pilot

Carey Lohrenz was the first female fighter pilot in the US Navy, and battled to get a seat in an F-16.

She’s now a top speaker who talked about tenacity, planning, situational awareness, and how to succeed in really tricky situations (like landing on an aircraft carrier at night in a raging storm).

Carey Lohrenz

Lohrenz discussed how "Failure has taught me what I’m good at…"

In a recent study, people who play it "safe" and never flirt with failure make less money. Super successful people (defined by yearly income) understand and have learned from failure.

How Define Failure

Lohrenz also discussed how before each fighter mission that took off from an aircraft carrier, critical planning went into the mix.

According to the Harvard Business Review, 1 hour of effective planning saves 200 execution errors.

Reduce Errors

Sean Percival – Talking About Avoiding eCommerce Failure

Sean Percival gave another great presentation.

Instead of the usual, "Hey, look at our well-established brand that everyone knows, and where we worked with an unlimited budget, and Surprise! We’re really successful…"

… Sean talked about starting an eCommerce company, and how he failed miserably. And even wound up shutting the whole thing down.

Sean Percival

It’s wonderful to learn from success. But it’s a lot more interesting to see what someone screwed up, and how to avoid making those mistakes.

Sean is now a Venture Partner with the 500 Startups organization, so we don’t have to worry that he’s missing any meals.

Sean’s Pro Tips for Avoiding Disaster include:

  • Hire really talented people that are better than you.
  • Check your ego at the door.
  • Find people in the industry who can help you.

Pro Tips

He also recommended:

  • Outsourcing shipping to a 3rd party logistics company as soon as possible, to keep your shipping times as fast as possible.
  • Setting clear expectations with customers during the ordering process (i.e. if things are out of stock, let them know before they order).
  • And give hefty discounts when you make mistakes.
  • He did recommend fighting with vendors to extract better prices. I’m pretty mixed on this advice. If you push too hard with many vendors, you’re going to see that your pricing might be cheaper short term. But you’re going to not get as great of service, and when you really need something, they’re going to pay more attention to someone that doesn’t try to always beat them up.

Pro Tips 2

He also preached that you need to often test out 10 different marketing campaigns to figure out which single avenue is going to work best.

He likes that a small, nimble company can bite the ankles of the big dog retailers, and start chipping away at their margins and customers.

And more important, he demonstrated that most of their sales didn’t come from the first visit to a site. (Other research shows it takes 6-12 interactions for a browser to become a buyer.)

Pro Tips 4

Bittersweet News: Roy Rubin Leaving Magento:

Magento co-founder Roy Rubin closed the session with some bittersweet news: he will be leaving eBay and Magento, probably for some much deserved rest:

Roy Rubin Leaving Magento, the company he founded

 

Performance Images from Magento Imagine 2014:

Of course, Magento Imagine would not be complete without live performers. While I didn’t photograph the party (I didn’t want to lug a camera), I did capture a few from the event:

Jamie with Lobster

Our MC, Jamie, with a live lobster.

Drummers

Drummers, ushering in the start of the conference.

Lights at Imagine

Big lights at the Hard Rock Hotel

Flute Player at Imagine

A flute player, glowing in the light.

Interactive 3D Projection System

The entire stage used a 3D projection system that was pretty unreal.

3D Projection System

Another view of the stage’s 3D projection system. This was a blank white screen, with several shapes.

The Band

Drummers before the keynote.

The Band with Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell, holding the sticks for a steel drum. He was pretty adamant that he didn’t actually play the steel drums. (I think he was worried he might get booked to play.)

More Drumming

Another drummer… notice how the entire background is different with the 3D projection.

Jumping Off Ladders

Okay… this was the craziest part. On the last day, two drummers used drum sticks and played loudly on ladders. Drumming up and down, and then this guy jumped from the top. Not sure about Workman’s comp :) .

In summary, Magento Imagine 2014 was about:

  • Site Speed
  • Responsive Design
  • Embracing Failure
  • New Code Releases
  • Transformation

I hope you enjoyed the summary. I wasn’t able to cover everything (my apologies to those workshops and speakers I didn’t address).

Thanks,

Jeff FinkelsteinFounder, Customer Paradigm
Jeff Finkelstein
Founder, Customer Paradigm

303.473.4400

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Customer Paradigm
5353 Manhattan Circle, Suite 103
Boulder, Colorado 80303
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direct 303.473.4400
fax 303.374.6104
toll free 888.772.0777
 
Web & Print Design • Programming • Email Newsletters • Search Engine Marketing • eCommerce

We build customer surveys and feedback into our entire process, because we want to know — so we can do even better.  (Or, if we missed the mark, we want to know what we did, so we can change our processes to be better.)

Here’s a customer review that just came in for us for Magento development:

Satisfied with people:

10

Project satisfaction:

9

Reach your business goals:

9

Comfortable to refer clients:

10

Specific comments:

This retainer agreement worked well for us in this situation. We had an “ala carte” need in many areas for us, often reaching back into Magento 1.4 and programming not done by Customer Paradigm. This was very helpful.

It is ongoing, for another few weeks perhaps, then we will move to a our project and based plan and payment. Customer Paradigm is an outstanding organization in my opinion.

We have no regrets in using your company and would highly recommend you to others. We spent a LOT of time vetting various companies in search of a “web partner”, and we chose you. We are glad we did.

Your response to us, as your customer, is always timely and reliable. (despite us being in the EST zone). Looking forward to our upcoming project(s).

Steve Erwin Operations Manager

Erin in our search marketing team needed to create a banner ad for our local search marketing client, Phil Clark, who is a criminal defense attorney in Boulder, Colorado.

The goal for the banner ad was to engage with University of Colorado (CU) students (or their parents) who got in trouble with the law. Although CU is actively trying to combat the "party school" image (see this Daily Camera article), the reality is that students are living by themselves for the first time, and often drink too much and/or get behind the wheel of a car.

Here’s a look at the final banner (740 x 238) to fit a specific space on the site:

The creative goal of this banner ad was to use local photography from the CU campus (where I am an alum, as well as many of the people here at the company), and create a visual connection with the student (or their parent).

The goal for the photograph was to evoke a feeling of belonging to the campus, but show empty space with shadows to mirror the sullen mood of a student facing legal trouble. Yet… keeping the bright blue sunny sky Boulder is famous for, as an aspirational wish toward better times.

Erin and I wandered around the campus until we found the best location to shoot.

All images were shot using a Canon 5D Mark III camera with the 17-40mm f/4.0 lens.

Here’s the shot, out of the camera (sized down to 1,000 pixels), shot at 40 mm, f/16, 1/80 second exposure, ISO 100, handheld:

(Click here for full size image >>)

 

We chose this image over these:

This image was too bright and cheery:

 

This image of the CU campus didn’t have the introspective shadows we were looking for:

 

And this image, while close, didn’t have the three dimensional look on the lower left side of the frame.

 

Here’s the final banner, that I like for all of the reasons above:

Photos by Jeff Finkelstein of Customer Paradigm