Why Use a Magento Solution Partner?

Magento Gold PartnerThis year, to support the growth and success of its Enterprise customers, Magento introduced several moves focused on strengthening the Magento Solution Partner Program.

As Magento Enterprise merchants’ needs continue to evolve, their success depends, more and more, on the quality, technical depth, track record and expertise of their Magento Solution Partner.

There are only a few Magento Solution Partners in the US driving the mid- and enterprise-level retail market. And Guidance leads them all with more implementations and more Magento licenses sold.

Leading all other Magento Solution Partners in quality and sophistication, Guidance provides the US market with:

As a Diamond sponsor at Magento Imagine this year, Guidance will be onsite at the Las Vegas show this year to meet with merchants and Enterprise retailers.

If you are considering a move to Magento Enterprise or want to learn more about how mobile and tablet computing are changing the face of eCommerce, come visit us at Imagine.

Imagine 2012 – Magento

IMG_0794I received my Magento 2012 Imagine book in the mail today. In looking back through all the faces and events that occurred at this year’s event, I couldn’t help thinking about all of the great Magento initiatives, projects and clients we served at Guidance. 2012 was a big year for Guidance and Magento. And I’m looking forward to Imagine 2013 and talking about our “Next Story…”

Customers Expect Same Holiday Shopping Experience Online and In Store

It’s that time of year again! With the holiday season less than a month away, you and your marketing departments are already planning shopping strategies both on- and offline.

Have you considered the role smart phones, tablets and mobile apps will play in your overall sales this year? 

A study recently published by Google indicates that the lines between online and offline shopping have blurred, with little difference in customers’ (user) experience.

According to the study, shoppers intend to spend more this holiday season, and they will also be doing a lot more research on products, brands and prices. It’s interesting to note that:

  • 51% will research online, then purchase at a store location;
  • 44% will research and purchase an item online;
  • 32% will research the item online, go to the store to see the item as well, and then make the actual purchase online; and
  • 17% will check out the item at the store, and then purchase it online.

Quite often, shoppers are using one of several mobile devices to find information. Your website and/or mobile app should accommodate varied mobile devices by loading quickly, while still being informative and visually engaging.

Whether viewed from a desktop or mobile device, a strategically planned website can turn online shoppers into buyers! Here are a few tips to get ahead of your competition:

  • Communicate with your customer by considering demographics and customer feedback.
  • Go for a more creative look and feel that will function well for both mobile and desktop applications.
  • Integrate with social media sites for customer convenience, visibility and to stimulate interest in your product.
  • Make the site easy to navigate with simple check-out procedures. Offer PayPal. Include wish lists and merchandise suggestions. For security, use SSL encryption.
  • Provide rich product detail, including graphics and reviews, so shoppers have all the information they need.

A positive user experience, whether online or in-store, is essential for making the sale and having a return customer who will recommend your brand to others.

The Best… Again…

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Guidance was recently honored as one of the “2012 Best Places to Work in LA” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Out of the thousands of businesses in L.A., we are especially thrilled to be recognized as one of the best once more.

Winning the LABJ honor for the third time is exciting. We participate largely to learn from the LABJ survey which evaluates several areas of employee satisfaction, among other things. But receiving this honor again reinforces that a team with great people can achieve great things.

This ranking is dedicated to identifying and recognizing the best employers in Los Angeles County. The list is determined by the results of a two-part process designed to gather detailed data about each participating company. In part one, the employer completes a questionnaire and in part two, employees of the company complete an employee survey.

Thank you Los Angeles Business Journal and thank you to our Guidance team for making this happen!

Charity Tuesday: ONEHOPE Wine Supports Boys & Girls Clubs

WWW.ONEHOPEWINE.COM

My good friends at ONEHOPE Wine showcased the Santa Monica Boys and Girls Clubs in their Charity Tuesday campaign today.  Shoppers at ONEHOPE Wine were able to checkout and donate 10% of their purchase price to the Club.

Each Tuesday, ONEHOPE offers the “Shop & Give” drop-down on every product offered in the ONEHOPE Wine store.  10% from every product purchased at ONEHOPEWine.com is donated to a charity of your choice from the drop-down.

Every Charity Tuesday, ONEHOPE introduces and features a new non-profit in the Shop & Give drop-down, allowing them to give hope to a greater number of important causes beyond those they support all year.

 

WWW.SMBGC.ORG

In addition to being a Guidance client, ONEHOPE is one of a few special companies in which I invest my time, energy and money.  Jake, Mike, Tom and their army of entrepreneurs are a bunch of good people up to good things.

 

I’m proud of their support of the local kids in our community.  And I hope you’ll remember ONEHOPE Wine the next time you’re shopping or dining out.

Feeling "Gilt-ii" About Buying That New Purse?

The new Gilt-ii (pronounced “guilty”) plug-in for Gilt.com members is a clever idea – one worth checking out.  Here is how it works and why it’s worth noting:

Using the plug-in, you add items to your cart for, let’s say, 10 minutes.  While they are in your cart, they are not directly available to other buyers.  So quantities typically run out, and some buyers are out of luck.

But during those 10 minutes while the item is in YOUR cart, you can auction it off to other buyers, right from your cart.  You can even make a premium if other buyer bid it up.

I understand the plug-in works on a few other sites, other than Gilt.com.

For the rest of us in the ecommerce space, the idea of auctioning items in a cart during a flash sale with high demand and limited quantities offers a neat alternative to, “Sorry, all items are sold out!”

Is Your Traffic Up 160%?

I love reading about my clients in the news.  It’s especially cool when I read about their growing sales or online traffic results.

A money manager buddy of mine at Wells Fargo Securities sent me this little gem last week…

“unique visitor growth accelerated in April, to up 155% yr/yr vs. up 41.4% last month. On a 2-year trend, traffic was up 160% vs. up 53% last month.”

This is an analyst’s report on the increased online traffic results for Foot Locker in the month of April.  Foot Locker is a long time Guidance client and a true success story in the online retail market today…

Old Mobile Vendor Gets the Boot in Favor of Guidance

Today’s article in Internet Retailer Magazine acknowledges the work that Footlocker.com and Guidance did earlier this year to re-launch Foot Locker’s portfolio sites on a new and much improved mobile platform.

As shown on the iPhone 4

IR’s own Kevin Woodward offers a great enumeration of the functional enhancements and new features found in several of Foot Locker’s online brands, including Foot Locker, Champs Sports and CCS.

Leveraging Foot Locker’s online partner of over 10 years, Guidance was tapped to re-launch the online stores between January and early March of this year.  “By using them for our mobile sites we were able to share features and functionalities between our online channels,” said a familiar spokeswoman at Foot Locker.  The mobile sites were previously developed and hosted by a third-party mobile shop.

All told, Guidance launched 8 new mobile Foot Locker brands earlier this year, including Eastbay, Foot Locker, Champs Sports, CCS, Foot Action, Final Score, Kids Foot Locker, and Lady Foot Locker.  (When linking to those sites from this post, keep in mind it will take you to m.footlocker.com, for example, which is optimized for mobile vs. desktop browsing.)

12 Years with Microsoft

For our twelfth consecutive year, Guidance has renewed its partnership with software giant Microsoft. And we are particularly thrilled about it this year for various reasons.

Unlike previous years, the renewal process required a few additional steps that made it more challenging for Guidance and other Microsoft partners to update their status. Microsoft Certified Professionals were required to renew their certifications, which in some cases involved taking brand new tests for subjects that weren’t even covered by books or any other kind of training material. But our team pulled through and successfully passed all four tests that are required to achieve the Web Developer 4 certification, which allowed guidance to earn the Web Development competency.

Since 1999, Guidance has been working with Microsoft applications such as Commerce Server, SQL Server, SharePoint, Dynamics and others to build many of our clients’ online and desktop solutions. We are proud of our long-standing relationship with Microsoft and look forward to many more years of successful partnership.

Wow… "bonus!"

Did you know that in 2010, of the companies in the US who traditionally pay bonunes, less than a third paid them out? And in 2009, less than 25% of companies paid out their bonuses!

At Guidance, we’ve been paying annual and even semi-annual bonuses consistently since September of 2003.

This morning, I had the pleasure of handing bonus checks to the Guidance employees for the profit period of 10/10 – 03/11. These days we pay them out every 6 months to get the cash into our employees’ hands quicker.

I heard some great stories about how, “…this money will really come in handy to furnish the new house I just bought,” and, “oh, I can’t wait to buy a new MacBook Air.”

Bonus day is always a good day. And I feel fortunate that Guidance is able to provide that for its team.

See you in another 6 months!

–jason