Posts about the open source e-commerce platform Magento, the most implemented webshop platform worldwide.

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Video: Online Persuasion @ Meet Magento Germany

Here’s the video from me at Meet Magento in Leipzig, Germany last June. I presented my Online Persuasion session and the video was published this week at nr-apps.com.

In addition to all the fancy persuasion techniques I also added some additional thoughts about how to optimize your website…

A) Prioritize and get a decent basis, or you’ll waste money with persuasion. Improve your website in the following order:

  1. Technology: it should work. No errors.
  2. Functionality: it should offer the functionality your customer wants. The most screen estate should go to the most important tasks for the customer.
  3. Usability: If it works and does whát the customer wants, make it as easy as you can. Remove the bumps in the road.
  4. Persuasion: Now that it’s technically and functionally possible and easy to do, motivate your customers to act.

Now I don’t say that step 1 to 3 should be perfect in order to start with persuasion. But there is no use in persuading customers to do something that has technical, functional or usability issues, that only leads to frustration.

B) Your gut feeling sucks. So does your HIPPO. We have customers that either test a lot or really everything they change on their site. Their optimization teams are really skilled and experienced in A/B testing and are awesome ‘customer intelligence teams’ that are invaluable to their business. This is because they fail as much as they possibly can. And even with all that experience, predicting the success of an A/B test is just above chance. But they don’t need to predict, after a few weeks testing, they KNOW what works best. So guess how good the gut feeling of your marketer or the HIPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) at your department is…

C) The ‘golden egg’ of persuasion exists. But it’s not what you think it is. People often look for a ‘golden egg’: something that will solve all their problems and sell their services like a madman. It does exist, but it’s different for every customer, every product, every brand and a plethora of external factors you have no control over. So the key is not to find one golden egg for every customer in every situation, they key is finding out what influences your customers behavior and adapt your communication accordingly. This means you should be testing what you do to see what works best for which customer segment and don’t forget to include external factors like weather conditions, competitor pricing or marketing actions or just the difference between a working day or the weekend.

In the end, you’ll end up with a basket full of eggs. The color depends on your team and testing processes ;) .

If you want to see my session live and/or talk to me about it: my next events are at TeCOMM in Romania (October 24th) and Meet Magento Poland (November 4/5th).

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Magento User Guide 1.8 released

Following the release of Magento Community Edition 1.8.0.0 last week Magento also silently updated it’s Magento User Guide for the new version. With 296 pages it’s only 5 pages bigger than the 1.7 User Guide but since most changes are “under the hood” and not something to add to the user guide that was to be expected. Good to see Magento releasing the updated User Guides right along the release of the software itself!

You can download the 1.8 guide at magento.com.

 

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Magento Is not Hobby Material – an Interview

This is is a re-publication of the interview with me that was published on the Cart2Cart blog on May 10, 2013.

Today we present to you an exclusive interview with Guido Jansen. Every Magento Community member knows Guido as a passionate evangelist of this platform, organizer of annual Dutch “Meet Magento” and speaker at numerous Magento events all around the world.

Read on to find out who shouldn’t use Magento, what’s the hardest part of switching to this solution and how to deal with it without causing yourself too much trouble.

Guido, you are well known firstly as a Magento evangelist. Actually, why Magento out of all eCommerce solution? What’s your reason for singling it out as the most deserving one?

I was already hooked to the internet and open source mindset from early 2000. When I first came in to contact with Magento in 2008, it was a very big step forward compared to other open source alternatives. Looking at the software and the drive of the company and community behind it I knew it was bound to be a very popular product and even a very competitive alternative to commercial products. Read more

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Magento Timeline

Wondering where Magento comes from?

I’ve been around the Magento ecosystem for a while now, thought it might be nice for newcomers to see where it comes from (or for long time community members to look back and see how fast things have been moving).

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Improved Magento partner program: levels now (actually) based on quality!

Magento just announced a new partner program, which I think is great for the ecosystem! I previously spoke about the limitations of the old program and Magento has made some improvements since that. After the partner shakeout last October (around 100 partners were removed from the partner listing) Magento is taking it to the next level with a completely new partner program.

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I won’t repeat the reasons and the details of the change from Magento itself, you can read that in their announcement.

For me the highlights are:

  • No more Bronze partners. Levels now are Gold, Silver and Associate
  • Previously the main thing determining your partner level (Gold, Silver, Bronze) was the monetary partner fee you were willing to pay to Magento, supplemented with a required numer of certified developers and a yearly revenue target (# of sold Enterprise licenses). In the new system, you won’t be able to just pay to get to a higher level. Every new partner starts as an Associate and has to earn it’s way to the top by meeting several requirements. Number of sold licences and certified developers are still part of that, but now also customer satisfaction and a “health check” by the ECG of already deployed webshops will be part of the requirements to level up.
  • If you don’t sell Enterprise licenses, you cannot become a Silver or Gold partner.
  • This only accounts for Solution partners / integrators. Industry / Hosting partner program isn’t changed (for now).

So the levels will become dependant on the actual work a partner has done with Magento and how good that work is. From my experience, this is what most (potential) Magento customers that look at the partner listing already asume from the different levels so it’s great to have that aligned again. I also hope that the different statistics from each partner will become public so customers can use that information in choosing a partner. This also prevents a rich company without Magento experience to buy itself a Gold partner status and making very experienced (but not Gold level) partners look bad.

So I think this is a great improvement over the old system. Bet me being me I still see some areas of improvement :)

Uneven local distribution of partner levels

I think most clients are choosing a partner within their own country. The requirements per partner level seem to be global, while there are large local differences.

For instance: the annual revenue target is fixed per level, for everyone worldwide. In a country where Magento Enterprise adoption is high and there aren’t that much partners, you might see only Gold partners. In a country where there are lot’s of partners and a low or medium number of Enterprise users, you might see only silver or associate partners. The problem with this is that the partner level doesn’t differentiate partners so in those cases this doesn’t help (potential) customers to make a decision.

Possible solution: Per area (country or group of countries) you can create a maximum number of partners per level. This can be a fixed amount (say, max 5 gold and max 10 silver partners) or a percentage (20% of the total number of partners can be gold level, 40% silver). That way, you get a more even distribution of partners over the different levels and the different levels will make sense in every country. In this case it might be good to only update partner level only a few times a year, it might be confusing is levels are switching with every purchase of an enterprise level.

No stimulation for good (but non-EE) partners

I get that eBay wants Magento to sell as many EE licenses as possible, but some countries are just not ready for that (yet). IMHO the power of Magento is that it started with the free Community edition, took care of broad adoption of that version, and then started upselling to Enterprise. I don’t think Magento could have sold so many Enterprise licenses if it would have started with just the Enterprise edition. Community users are the ones upgrading to Enterprise or Community user are proving to potential clients what a great system Magento is and they directly buy Enterprise. Whichever way: broad adoption of Community is the basis of the succes of Enterprise

So there are a lot of countries where Community is just starting out, or already getting a lot of attention, but where Enterprise adoption is low. In some countries, paying $14,420 yearly for a software license isn’t something that many webshops do. With the new program, you’ll see only associate partners in those countries. Not only does that not differentiate the good partners from the others, but that’s also not very stimulating for those Magento companies. It’s not their fault they’re in a country where there are no Enterprise licenses being sold (yet), but these might very well be able to create a broad Community base that Magento can use in a few years to sell Enterprise licenses to.

Possible solution: I’d say: reward those great Community partners with Gold and Silver levels (if they meet the other requirements) but be (very) gentle with anual revenue targets. Again, I get that money has to be made, but in those countries you can start with no or low revenue targets and gently increase them in the next few years.

Of course the above solutions will make comparing partners between countries a bit harder but I don’t think many clients do that anyway and Magento has the statistics so it could still be done.

 

So these are my thoughts about the new partner program. What are your feelings about this, good or bad?

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Magento Partner shakeout: around 100 partners removed from partner listings

Last month there were around 386 official solution partners listed on magento.com. Today, only 281 are left.

What happened? Well, Magento kicked them out (gently :)).

Last year at the Innovate conference the Magento Developer certification was introduced to give developers a chance to prove their Magento skills. This also gave Magento partner companies a way to differentiate themselves from other companies with the number of certified developers working for them.

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