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The most complete Canada Post shipping solution is now available for Magento

Canada Post V2 by CollinsHarper.com

Collins Harper is pleased to announce we have upgraded and released a new Canada Post shipping module!

The most complete Canada Post shipping solution currently available for your Magento store, the Collins Harper Canada Post 2.0 Shipping Module is built on Canada Post’s newest Web Services API (2012) to provide a completely streamlined shipping solution for the Magento merchant.

Our latest shipping module includes a host of new features accessible directly from Magento, including:

  • Retrieve Live Shipping Quotes from Canada Post
  • Create Shipments with Canada Post.
  • Print Shipping Labels.
  • Create and Send Return Labels to Customers.
  • Create and Print Manifests (for Canada Post Commercial customers).
  • Allow merchants to require signature for specific packages, or require insurance coverage for valuable packages.
  • Allow customers to have parcels delivered directly to a Post Office in Canada.
  • Allow customers to select advanced delivery options (Leave at Door, Card For pickup, Do Not Safe Drop, etc.)
  • Integration with Google Maps to view nearest post office.
  • Fully bilingual
  • Auto-generate and Print Customs Documents for US and International Shipments (requires appropriate product configuration)

Having efficient tools to manage customer shipments can spell the difference between losing or retaining a customer. The Canada Post V2 Magento module helps translate your efforts into customer delight, enhancing your brand value. With the feature-packed latest version, Canada Post V2 is the smart choice to make. Watch our online demo here.

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Is Your Business Missing Out on Mobile Sales?

recent study from Briteskies shows that only 17 percent of small-to-medium revenue e-commerce businesses have a dedicated site for mobile devices.  This fact was more than a little surprising, as countless previous studies have shown that a poor user experience on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, increase bounce rates and reduce conversions and return visits.

The Briteskies study, which was released at the 2012 Imagine eCommerce Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, surveyed 75 speciality retailers and found that less than 20 of them had any coherent strategy or provision for mobile devices. In a related survey, Mediarun found that the bounce rate for mobile devices was 40 percent, a 10 percent increase on equivalent desktop bounce rates. That adds up to almost 6 percent of mobile sales being lost before customers even start to interact with a site because of a poor first impression.
Is Your Business Missing Out on Mobile Sales?

Furthermore, 60 percent of customers surveyed said that they would not return to a site  after a poor initial mobile experience. Think about that — of the potential customers who have a poor initial experience of your site on a mobile device, well over half of them will not return to your business either on a mobile device or on the desktop, and 40 percent of them say they will go to a competitor.

This is not something e-commerce businesses can afford to bury their heads in the sand about. The market penetration of mobile devices like the iPad is huge and is only going to increase in coming years. To say we are in the post-PC age might be to overstate the situation, but there is no doubt that consumers want to shop while they are on the move or sitting on the sofa in front of the TV with an iPad in hand.

Luckily for Magento users, the new Magento Enterprise 1.12 and Community 1.7 releases bring with them a raft of new and improved features to make getting your e-commerce platform up and running for mobile devices easier. A significantly improved customizable HTML5 theme offers a multitude of mobile specific tweaks,  including gesture-based controls and image scaling. Customers will be able to swipe through product image galleries and drag-and-drop products from listings into the shopping cart. This release also improves support for device specific audio and video capabilities, so retailers can better target their content and be sure it is going to appear as they intend. Magento’s mobile theme supports all the major mobile browsers, including iPhone, Android, and Opera.

What is your business doing to serve its mobile customers? Let us know in the comments below.

Why Your E-Commerce Business Should be on Pinterest

Social media can be a bit of a minefield for online retailers. There is a huge number of social networks, and more are sprouting seemingly by the day. With so many options, it’s difficult to know where to target a limited social marketing budget to get the best ROI. The big guys are a no-brainer, every e-commerce operation should have a presence on Twitter and Facebook, and ideally on Google+. In addition to these mainstays, retailers should definitely be considering Pinterest.

For those of you who are not familiar with Pinterest, it’s a social sharing site with an emphasis on images and videos that is particularly friendly to e-commerce. It allows users to find items on e-commerce sites, and “pin” and categorize them. Pinned items can display videos or images, as well as prices and links back to the product page.

What’s most interesting about Pinterest is the speed at which it has grown. It’s currently the third largest social network in the US, behind Facebook and Twitter, but ahead of Google+ and Youtube. Of specific interest to retailers is the rapid increase in Pinterest referral rates to retail sites over the last year. According to a study from Monetate, in the first quarter of 2011, Pinterest accounted for 1 percent of referral traffic to retail sites, by the same period of this year, it was 26 percent. Over the same time period referral traffic from Facebook dropped from 88 percent to 60 percent. Both of these took place against an overall referral rate increase of 77 percent. The take-home message here is clear: social media is a necessity for e-commerce, and with a year-on-year increase in referral rates of 2,535 percent by the second quarter of this year, Pinterest should be a focus of retailers’ social media strategy.

Sweeter still, figures from Shopify show that referrals from Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to result in a conversion than those from other social networks, and that the average spend of Pinterest referrals is double that of Facebook. These figures are likely due to the result of Pinterest generating much more targeted referrals than other social networks. Pinterest generates an interest graph of interconnected individuals of shared interests, rather than a social graph of individuals related by friendships and other social connections, making shares much more likely to find someone of similar interests and tastes.

If all this whets your appetite for a bit of pinning, there is a Magento extension that will put a “Pin It” button on your store’s product page.

If you’ve had any experiences with Pinterest and your Magento store or WordPress site, let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

Abandoned Shopping Carts: the Achilles Heel of eCommerce

Online sales are taking over. From 2002 to 2011, annual ecommerce spending went from 72 billion to over 256 billion, according to comScore Internet Marketing Research Company. This surge in online consumer activity has brought about millions of virtual stores and some stiff competition amongst retailers. Because of this, online business owners need to make sure they’re doing what they can to attract customers and guide them through to a satisfactory sale completion… and avoid the issue of abandoned shopping carts.

There is so much work that goes into making a successful online business. First, you have to put time and money into building an attractive storefront. Then you work on getting healthy traffic flow and marketing your products in an appealing way. Once these tasks have been completed, nobody wants to have a sale dropped in the final step of checking out! It’s terrible to see potential revenue sitting in an abandoned cart.

How can you avoid this? Well first, let’s look at what causes it.

What can cause shopping cart abandonment?

There are a number of factors that leave a cart abandoned but here are some of the leading reasons.

The cost of shipping is too high.
The shopping cart check-out process is too long or complicated.
The online store doesn’t seem trustworthy.
The customer simply gets distracted or changes their mind.
Consumer decisions are made around these factors and in the end, you’re left with an uncompleted sale and lost revenue. Shopping cart abandonment is a serious problem. Depending on whose study you’re reading, it’s reported that anywhere from 30% to 75% of online sales are dropped with items in the cart, before the sale is complete.

How can we combat cart abandonment?

Snip Shipping Costs: There are several things you can do to cut down on carts being dropped due to shipping costs. Most simply, you could offer an across-the-board lower shipping cost. If shipping costs seem fair and are closer to what the customer would expect to pay if they were shipping the product on their own, the sale is less likely to be dropped. If that isn’t a route you want to take, offer incentives such as free or discounted shipping with orders of more than say… $50. With a multi-store pickup module users can choose where they’d like to pick up their order or using a GEO lookup module, customers can search the closest store to their postal code. Promotions like this help take your customer to sale completion and boost the total amount of a sale. The important thing here is to figure out which shipping model works best for your company. Options include free shipping, store pickup, shipping by weight/price/item or flat rate shipping.

Un-Complicate the Check-out: To avoid confusion or distraction due to a long or complicated check-out, simplify your process! This is an incredibly important step in cart retention. The check-out process should have as few steps as possible and even offer 1-click check-out in certain situations, such as for returning customers. This means your store should not require registration to complete a purchase, should not ask questions that take a lot of time or are too personal, and should take all possible credit cards.
Address Anxiety Over Site Security: Security is a big concern for many consumers and as an ecommerce merchant, it’s your personal responsibility to keep the customer safe and make them feel comfortable giving you their credit card and personal information over the computer. PCI-compliance is the first step to making sure you’re e-store is protected but in such a competitive market, it’s best to go the extra mile and make sure you’re using one of the few shopping carts that go the extra mile with online security and are PA-DSS compliant. Using a tokenization payment module can help make your customers feel safe by keeping your customers on site without the risks associated with storing credit card data. Because everything is secured offsite, merchants can minimize the need for repeat data entry the next time a customer shops at their store. Once you’ve protected your customers, tell them! Let them know you’ve taken care of them with a verification seal on your home page and at the beginning of their check-out process.

Bring Back Distracted Consumers: There’s a chance your customers are simply getting distracted or changing their minds before they complete a sale. To reduce the chance of this happening, think about what may be causing it to happen. Do you have streamlined, user-friendly navigation to the shopping cart? Is the buying and shopping cart easy to edit and understand? If these types of questions check-out and you’re still looking at lost income from abandoned carts, reach out to your potential customer with emails that offer incentives and discounts to pull them back into the buy. Some shopping carts have this type of feature included in their set-up, which makes it an extremely easy and powerful way to stop shopping cart abandonment. Loyalty points are a great incentive for customers, and using a module like Sweet Tooth, your customers will earn points for purchasing products from your site that can be used for future purchases. This builds brand loyalty and repeat business that can make a huge difference to your sales volume.

After managing your site with the above steps, you will see an increase in cart completion and customer retention. Dealing with these factors can help any ecommerce business owner turn ‘window shoppers’ into buyers and bring back customers that have abandoned their cart.

Thanks ZippyCart!

How to get a Canada Post Merchant ID for your Canada Post Shipping Module

Magento Shipping Solutions with Canada Post!

I thought I would write a short blog post on how you can get a Canada Post Merchant ID so you can setup your online e-commerce shopping cart. Since I did not find the process to easy, after getting transferred back and forth for an hour and jumping through hoops I finally managed to get my merchant ID.

You will need a Canada Post Merchant ID Number for your Magento shopping cart module. The Canada Post Module is used for online stores to calculate shipping costs in Canada with Canada Post’s services.

The service is completely free.

Step 1: Setup a small business account

Call Canada Post’s Venture One Small Business Department:
1-877-262-5762
Ask to setup a small business account. They will give you an Account/User ID#, be sure to write this down. A business account also gives you better rates on shipping so your business can save some money.

Step 2: Visit Canada Post’s business website:

https://www.canadapost.ca/cpid/apps/signup?execution=e1s1
Select the top option “My business has an existing relationship with Canada Post” Once there Create a User Name, Enter your Account # that you got in Step 1 and then create a password.

Step 3: Request a Merchant ID Number for online shopping cart

Call Canada Post’s Sell Online Help Desk:
1-866-511-0546
(Prompts: 1 for English, Enter Account Number followed by the # key, Dial 2/option two, follow prompt to talk with an operator)

Mention you are calling to setup a Sell Online Account so you can receive a Merchant ID# which you need for the online shopping cart module/plugin.

That’s it, I hope I saved you some time, if you need any help or questions/comments please leave a comment below!

Top FREE Magento 1.6 Extensions

We have come up with FREE Magento 1.6 Extensions which are very useful for your Magento Store.

Following are the FREE Magento 1.6 Extensions for you:

1. Magento Blog Extension

This Blog Extension for Magento will provide your regular customers with up-to-date information and will help in bringing additional visitors to your site, builds relevant SEO-friendly text links, and serves as assistance in building sales strategy.

Download Magento Extensions3 Download FREE Magento 1.6 Extensions

Extension by: ecommerce.aheadworks.com

2. Facebook Connect Magento Extension

Facebook Connect Magento extension helps your customers to register in just one click and login with their Facebook account. New users can automatically registers and existing ones can automatically login.
This Facebook Connect Magento extension is compatible with latest Magento CE 1.6 along with older 1.5, 1.4 and 1.3.2.x versions.

Download Magento Extensions3 Download FREE Magento 1.6 Extensions
Extension by: inchoo.net

3. Magento Live Chat

With LiveChat Magento extension, you can implement Live Chat on your online store in a few minutes. Live Chat is very important for any ecommerce store. This can help you in increasing conversion rate.
Now monitor your website visitors, talk to them in real-time and provide better support.

Download Magento Extensions3 Download FREE Magento 1.6 Extensions

Extension by: livechatinc.com

4. Fooman Google Analytics Magento Extension

This extension helps you in configuring Google Analytics account with your online store. It tracks each individual pages of your website and also tracks the keywords that your visitors typed to access your website.

Download Magento Extensions3 Download FREE Magento 1.6 Extensions
Extension By: store.fooman.co.nz

5. Canonical URL’s for Magento

Canonical URL’s are the search engine friendly URLs that you want the search engines to treat as authoritative. This Magento extension adds the new canonical links to the head of your Magento pages. This version is compatible with Magento 1.4 only.

Download Magento Extensions3 Download FREE Magento 1.6 Extensions

Extension by: Yoast.com

6. Tell A Friend Magento Extension:

Tell a friend module is used to tell a friend about the site.

Download Magento Extensions3 Download FREE Magento 1.6 Extensions

Extension By: magepsycho.com

7. Magento-WordPress Integration Extension

Now integrate wordpress with Magento. You can easily add your wordpress Blog with Magento  Store.

Compatible with: 1.3, 1.4, 1.4.1.1, 1.4.2, 1.5, 1.6, 1.6.1

Download Magento Extensions3 Download FREE Magento 1.6 Extensions

Extension By: fishpig.co.uk

8. Zizio Social Deals

Launch your social deals, campaigns and successfully promote and close them, using social networks.

Compatible with: 1.3, 1.4, 1.4.1.1, 1.4.2, 1.5, 1.6, 1.6.1

Download Magento Extensions3 Download FREE Magento 1.6 Extensions

Extension By: zizio.com

9. GooglePlus Extension for Magento

This Magento extension adds Google +1 (Google Plus One) support to your Magento store. This Google-feature (similar like “Facebook Like” feature) can be added to all your Magento catalog-pages.

Download Magento Extensions3 Download FREE Magento 1.6 Extensions

Extension by: yireo.com

Comment below with what type of extension you’d like to see!

New extension: Slideshow module for Magento

JS Promo Slider Magento Extension

Good things come to those who wait… The Magento JS Promo Slider module is available for download

JS Promo Slider Magento Extension

JS Promo Slider Magento extension

We have been hard at work creating a nice little Magneto extension that is sure to brighten up even the most boring website.

This little Magento gem allows you to scroll or slide your images across the screen in a sleek fashion!

The JS Promo Slider module, makes use of Javascript to bring you an image slider that was previously only possible using Flash.

This lightweight module also comes with a host of easy to configure options to allow you to really customize the functionality and behaviour of the slider.

Want to see it in action?

We have set up a slideshow demo for you to check the module out in all its glory, so have a look at the demo website and leave a comment here about your thoughts!

Modules features include:

  • Out of box install
  • Options to customize the behaviour
  • Add links to your slides
  • Allows for mulitple sliders to be used on the same page
  • Fully compatible with IE7, Safari 2, Firefox 1.5+ (mac +win), Opera
JS Promo Slider Magento Extension

Good things come to those who wait… The JS Promo Slider module will be available for download for only $50.00!

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