We’re looking for the best sites across the world. eCommerce Sites that are well executed, visually appealing, easy to use, intuitive and put usability in the forefront. Any favorites? Let us know in the comments.
Our goal with Magento’s Category Page was to create a customizable browsing experience and keep shopping tools at customers’ fingertips. The customer never has to stop browsing to see essential elements like the shopping cart and wishlist. Price and rating are displayed right on the category page, eliminating the need to drill down into the product info pages. This saves the customer valuable time and makes shopping as convenient as possible.
Grid View Wireframe (click on the image to see full-sized)
Magento’s Category Page was designed with functionality and flexibility in mind. Customers should decide how they browse a catalog, and our extensive Pagination Tool supports this philosophy, creating a quick and intuitive experience. Customers can decide how many products they want to view per page, how they prefer to view them (in grid or list view, outlined below), and how each page is sorted (by price, manufacturer, popularity, etc). The customer’s preferences are then saved, creating a customized shopping experience. The Store Owner also has the option to control the way customers view their catalog. If a site is better viewed in one format over another the Store Owner can make this viewing style the default. This flexibility creates several browsing options for customers and helps Store Owners showcase products in the way that best fits their needs.
Each viewing style has its advantages for both the customer and Store Owner. Grid view (top) shows more products at a time, while the list view (bottom) allows for more information like the product description to be immediately available to customers. Both views allow customers to see the product image, the rating, and the product name. In addition, customers can add products to their cart, compare box, or wishlist, potentially eliminating one more step between the customer and a conversion.
Customers will also find this ease and flexibility in Magento’s Compare Box. Unlike many online stores, customers will be able to compare products not just in a single category, but across the site. This allows customers to compare attributes from any category in your catalog, no matter how different they may seem. If a son is shopping for Father’s Day he can compare shared attributes like price or product rating between a golf club and an easy chair just as easily he could compare attributes like weight and size between two chairs. We wanted the Compare Box to remain visible while a customer browses, providing a constant, helpful list of items already added to compare, without forcing the customer onto another page.
The entire page is designed so that the customer sees browsing options like tags and product types first, on the left, while shopping tools like the Shopping Cart, Compare and Wishlist are available on the right. The constant presence of these tools provide an immediate reminder to the customer that they’re interested in these products, and encourages conversion.
Take a look, and tell us what you think! Have a suggestion or a question? Let us know in the comments!
Varien is committed to the open source community and in that spirit we are pleased to announce Magento will be distributed under the Open Software License (OSL 3.0), an OSI-approved open source license. You can find more information about the license in our new License/Trademarks FAQ page and on the Open Source Initiative site.
We’ve also posted information on the usage of Magento trademarks. As mentioned in the FAQ, the code is free, but the Magento trademarks, service marks and logos are not. Please review the License/Trademarks FAQ if you have any questions on what are appropriate and inappropriate uses of Magento trademarks.
The Community Chat is a new feature we are introducing in an effort to receive community feedback on various eCommerce related topics. The concept is to discuss different questions, share our experiences and discuss yours. As we continue to develop Magento we are looking to disclose our thinking behind the project and learn from the community.
Our first chat will be with the US market on August 2nd. We are looking for eCommerce developers, designers, store owners, application providers, and consultants to join us in a discussion on the following topics:
- Tax types
- Methods of calculating taxes
- Reports needed
- Authorization vs. capturing (best practices)
- Storing credit cards and PCI compliance
- CVV numbers
- Fraud issues and liability concerns
- Recurring payments
- Post dated payments
- Shipping calculation (dimensional weight, international shipping, continental shipping, Exceptions: Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Alaska, AFO, APO, PO Boxes, etc.)
- Shipping as a promotion (different types)
- Special goods (surcharges, misc)
- Building SKU’s and product definition
- Challenges with search - finding products
- Discounts and Promotions: type and methodologies
- Maintenance issues
- Customer incentives
The format is simple: a question will be presented and the topic will be open for anyone to respond. We’ll try to get through the complete list in a timely manner. We don’t expect a response to every question, but if you feel you can contribute in any way, we’d love to hear from you. Highlights of the Community Chat will be posted on our blog.
We’ll be having many of these community chats in the future with different markets (France, Germany, UK, etc.) and audiences.
Community Chat - US Market
Date: August 2nd
Time: 11 AM PST
Sign Up: Interested? Contact us today.
We will restrict the participants to a max of 20 with additional Varien/Magento staff joining in.
Want to meet the Magento core development team? We’ve made the long journey from Los Angeles, CA to Kiev, Ukraine to bring together our US and European development teams for an all hands Beta1, don’t stop until you drop session. If you are in Eastern (or Western) Europe and want to join us this upcoming Tuesday, drop us a line. This is a great opportunity to meet us in person and talk about Magento (you may get some inside information, wink wink).
Date: Tuesday, July 24th
Time: 9 PM
Location: Kiev, Ukraine (specific location will be announced)
We’d love to see you there.
* UPDATE: I’ve sent the location to everyone that has contacted us. If you are still interested in coming, let us know.
In many popular eCommerce solutions marketing features like coupons and tier pricing are expensive or difficult to integrate. Some Store Owners choose not to bother and miss out on valuable marketing features which can improve conversion rates. Magento is different. We believe that all store owners should have these features without costly integration struggles.
Magento includes a full set of marketing features out of the box. Varien's CTO Yoav Kutner says Magento's marketing tools are "second to none," but we'll let you decide. Included in the Beta 1 release are the following:
Tier Pricing: This feature rewards customers who purchase multiples of an item at a time. Buying one item might cost $10.25, while buying two or more will cost $9.25 each, three or more $8.25 each, etc. Store Owners set the prices and the limits, giving them complete control.
Coupons: We've also included a robust coupon tool, allowing Store Owners to create simple coupons for everything from rewarding long-time customers to promoting holiday specials.
Store Owners can define the following for a simple coupon:
- Start date / end date
- Discount % or $
- Free shipping
- Valid product list
- Valid category list
- Number of total uses
- Number of uses per customer
With these tools, Store Owners can execute promotions like special gifts for repeat customers or a weekly coupon restricted to the first 20 customers to use it.
To create more complex promotions Magento includes a Rule-Based Pricing System managed through its Catalog. There are two areas a Store Owner can apply rules to: The Shopping Cart and the Catalog.
The Shopping Cart Price Rules are applied on the shopping cart page and act as coupons. Rules can be highly specific here, unlike in the simple coupon. For example, a Store Owner can create a shopping cart rule that gives 10% off any Cook Book (a subcategory of books, in this example), and also gives 50% off one Boston Red Sox coffee mug. The Store Owner can then limit the time for this promotion to a date range of July 14th-August 27th. Now the Store Owner assigns it the code "summerbaseball," and any customer who uses this code when checking out with cook books and a Red Sox coffee mug will receive the discount.
Catalog Price Rules are the tools used for storewide or category-wide promotions. Each valid product will receive the discount with no need for coupon codes. For example, a Store Owner wants to have a month-long sale in July and create a catalog rule called "July Sale" setting the date range to July 1st - July 31st. During this time, all products by manufacturer HP get 10% off. Also, all products of the "type" computer get 15% off. Since the store contains computers manufactured by HP, this can create an overlap. So, when creating the price rule, the Store Owner can choose to give computers built by HP either 10% or 15% off (by deciding which condition has precedence). The Store Owner could even add a third condition to "July Sale" that computers built by HP are 25% off.
Both the The Shopping Cart and Catalog rules can be applied to specific customer groups, making marketing even more flexible for Store Owners.
We can't wait to see how you use Magento's marketing capabilities when August rolls around. Let us know what you think in the comments.
Welcome to Magento Behind the Scenes, a new series on the Magento blog that will take you behind Magento and give you insight into why we're making the design and functionality choices that we are, as well as giving you a sneak preview into what you'll be seeing come August. We're kicking off Behind the Scenes with an introduction to the My Account Dashboard. Below is the wireframe we are basing the design on:
(click on the image to see it full size)
Magento's My Account Dashboard is a streamlined approach to presenting your customers with all of their account and sales information in one place. Our goal with this feature was to remove the frustration that comes with the text links that are found in many sites' Customer Accounts. Instead, we've made Magento's My Account Dashboard easier for your customers to browse without having to drill down into multiple pages, making desirable information the first thing that the customer sees.
We know how important it is for customers to be able to conveniently access their information. As our designer, Minu Oh, put it when asked about the Dashboard's structure:
"Customers need to find information pertaining to their orders or account information without having to go between multiple pages. We understand how customers scan web pages and what graphical elements give a page's content precedence. Web pages are read left to right and large, consistent bold headings give the contents visibility. This makes it easier for [the customer], and they are simply more open to further offerings of the store when all of their experiences are positive."
The My Account Dashboard is divided into two areas - the main customer account area, and the smaller shopping section on the right. When a customer accesses the Dashboard they can immediately see detailed recent order information and individual customer information at a glance. They can also see Recent Tags and Reviews in an easy-to-view format - we've capped them at five so that the Dashboard remains uncluttered. This gives the customer an intuitive layout that provides what they need to know at a glance, making the experience much smoother and, in the end, more positive overall.
We wanted to add to this positive experience with the account's shopping section. In it, the customer can find their Shopping Cart, Wishlist, and Last Viewed Items, keeping all of the products shown on the Dashboard tailored to the individual customer. For the customer's convenience, both the Wishlist and Last Viewed Items are also accompanied by product thumbnails to help influence a sale. The Wishlist and Last Viewed Items allow the customer to add products to their shopping cart without leaving the Dashboard. We also included a small marketing Callout area, allowing the Store Owner to post a banner advertising sales and specials.
This is only the beginning. In future, we plan to add even more features to the My Account Dashboard, including:
- Personalized recommendations
- Notifications of price-drops and specials on previously viewed items
- Gift registry information
- How many people used a user's tags
- How many people found a user's reviews helpful
Watch this blog to see the design decisions as we fit these elements into the dashboard.
Love it? Think we're forgetting something? Leave us a comment and let us know!
We are looking for exceptional candidates from anywhere in the world (we’re a global bunch, if you haven’t noticed). If you are passionate about online commerce, attentive to detail, willing to work hard to produce an industry leading product - we’d love to hear from you.