Royal Mail April 2014 Updates

Posted by: adam Friday, April 4th, 2014

Logo of the Royal Mail

As of the 31st of March, 2014 the UK Royal Mail instituted changes to their rates and services. Information on the updated rates and services can be found on the Royal Mail website. While changes are not extensive, they do include lower shipping rates for Small Parcel shipments and a few changes to delivery types.

We have updated our Royal Mail Magento extension to reflect these changes. Our Royal Mail extension allows Magento customers in the UK to easily offer Royal Mail as a shipping option to their customers. Find more details, a live demo, and documentation on our Royal Mail extension page.

If you’re an existing customer who has purchased our Royal Mail extension within the past year, just send a message to support@webshopapps.com to receive an updated CSV file and instructions for updating your extension’s rates. If you would like additional support making this update, you are welcome to purchase a Silver Support package and send us an email to support@webshopapps.com and we’ll be glad to help you.

Fedex Web Service Change: Impact on Magento & Free Patch

Posted by: Genevieve Thursday, March 20th, 2014

FedEx Logo

Earlier this week some Magento merchants began to experience issues with the standard FedEx carrier including issues retrieving rates, tracking information, and generating labels. Magento Certified Developer Phillip Jackson (www.somethingdigital.com; on Twitter @philwinkle) was one of the first to dig into this issue and helped us narrow down the cause.


What happened?

Beginning on Sunday, March 16th FedEx began to shut down the Web Services endpoint used by Magento. This endpoint’s URLs have been deprecated and, while still responsive in some regions, FedEx plans to shut them down worldwide. While FedEx has not made any public announcement to this effect, we have had it confirmed by several FedEx Web Services representatives that this is the case and that FedEx has distributed official internal documents outlining this move.

To put it as plainly as possible, FedEx is in the process of moving and they haven’t left a forwarding address.


How does this effect Magento merchants?

If you are among the merchants effected by this change you will be unable to generate FedEx labels in Magento and may experience issues retrieving rates and tracking information. If you are not experiencing any of these issues then it may not be necessary to apply the patch below. You or your developer should, of course, evaluate any new extension for your Magento site before installation.

If you are no longer seeing FedEx rates on your site or are no longer able to generate FedEx labels, you will need to install a patch or update to restore these services. See the “What Should I Do?” section below for instructions.

For those looking for a more technical, manual approach, Phillip Jackson has published the changes necessary to correct this issue on Github.


What Should I Do?

If you are running Magento CE 1.6 or above (EE 1.11 or above)…

download and install our free FedEx Web Services Patch March 2014.

If you are running Magento CE 1.5 and below  (EE 1.10 and below)…

you’ll need to download and install our free FedEx Web Services Patch May 2012 which has been updated to include the fixes from the March 2014 patch. You will only need to install this patch, not both patches. See our blog post on the May 2012 Fedex Ship Manager retirement for more details.

If you have the WebShopApps Dimensional Shipping extension installed

we have an update for this extension which includes the same fix as our March 2014 FedEx Web Services Patch but also corrects the same issue in our extension. Please contact us to receive this update. You will only need to install this update, not this update and the new patch.


Potential issue with meter numbers

Another potential issue with FedEx Meter Numbers has been identified as effecting some merchants. This is not likely related to the issue above and will not be fixed with the FedEx Web Services Patch. We’ve had some reports that a few merchants have stopped receiving FedEx rates, tracking, and labels due to expired Meter Numbers. The merchants have needed to call FedEx technical support and request a new Meter Number be issued for their account.


Final notes

We have provided this post and the associated patch for the benefit of the Magento community. This information is correct to the best of our knowledge. If you have additional questions we recommend that you contact your web developer or FedEx representative.

WebShopApps are Magento Platinum Industry Partners, Gold sponsors of Magento’s Imagine eCommerce 2014 conference and premier providers of shipping solutions for rate management in Magento. Browse our current catalog of Magento shipping extensions or contact us to discuss your needs. We’re on Twitter @WebShopApps.

 

Get Your Customers Coming Back

Posted by: kalen Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

WebShopApps is pleased to welcome Kalen Jordan (@kalenjordan) of MageMail for this guest article.

As a Magento merchant, you’re always on the hunt for new ways to bring in new customers and increase sales.  You’re probably putting a lot attention into ways to attract new customers, and may not realize that you have a massive opportunity right under your nose with your existing customer base.

Customer lifecycle email, put simply, is individualized email that’s sent to the right customer at the right time.  You may be doing email newsletter blasts on a monthly or weekly basis, and that’s great – you should continue to do that.

But you can complement that email strategy with targeted emails that will on average have much higher engagement rates, and more importantly, conversion rates.  Triggered lifecycle email tends to have open rates over 60% and a revenue per email rate anywhere from $1.50 to $5 easily.

There’s nothing that surprising about this really – individualized emails that make sense for me, as a customer, are going to be more interesting for me, and I’m going to be more likely to buy.

So what types of emails are we talking about exactly?

Well, abandoned cart emails are a great example that you’re probably already familiar with.  Customers come to your store and begin to checkout, getting far enough that they’ve already given you their email address, but they leave the checkout at some point – why knows why!  Maybe they were comparison shopping, maybe they just got distracted by their daughter wearing a Mailchimp hat – there’s no telling.

But that’s a great moment in that customer’s lifecycle to reach out to them and try to close the deal.  They’ve already come to your site, been interested enough in a product to add it to their cart, and they’ve even given you their email address.

Abandoned cart emails give you an opportunity to overcome some of the objections that they may have to purchasing – maybe they’re worried about price, so a discount could easily close the deal.  Maybe they aren’t sure how good your customer support will be, so reassuring them about your quality support will be very helpful.  Maybe they just needed a simple reminder.

Another example of a great lifecycle email is a product recommendation.  Let’s be honest – all of us in the eCommerce game are trying to do the types of things that Amazon is already doing – and here’s a great example.  You’ve probably received an email recommending cross-sells to you if you’ve ever made a purchase at Amazon.  And they’re based off of the “people who bought X also bought Y” logic.

Having a customer who already made a purchase with you and hasn’t returned it is a fantastic opportunity to sell them on other related products.  Now again, your email newsletters may be doing something similar – introducing new products or highlighted products – but those are being blasted out to all your customers, regardless of their specific interests.

A recommendation email is particularly powerful because you’re recommending products that are closely related to the one they already bought!

One of the concerns that you may have here, particularly if you have a decent-sized catalog, is that you may not want to go through the hassle of manually assigning related products and cross-sells in Magento for your entire catalog.

This is something that I tried to solve with MageMail by automatically generating those related products based simply off of past customer behavior.  So there are lots of options here – but the key is that you want to find a way to recommend highly relevant products to your existing customers.

Well, I hope your appetite is whetted and you’re starting to get the value of targeted lifecycle email.  If you’re interested to learn more about lifecycle email, there’s an email course on seven lifecycle emails that can help to drive revenue which you may be interested in checking out.

Please feel free to post questions in the comments!

 

About Kalen Jordan

Kalen is a passionate Magento developer living in Pasadena, California with his wife and daughter. As the lead developer for a Magento Enterprise merchant, having previously worked for a Platinum Industry Partner, and as the founder of Magento extension company – he knows (and loves!) the Magento platform deeply.  He was recently listed among the top 12 Magento experts on Twitter, and his responsive email template work was featured by eBay.

Kalen is building MageMail – a customer lifecycle email extension for Magento. Interested in learning more about customer lifecycle email? Get the free email course on 7 lifecycle emails that are guaranteed to increase sales.

Magento – Now and The Future

Posted by: Karen Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Been meaning to write this for a while. It’s interesting to think about Magento, where it’s come from and where it’s going.  The recent Meet Magento in Spain raised the question about the future of the Magento eCoSystem, and raised questions around Magento/eBay itself, and the future of the community. So here is my perspective, from the viewpoint of someone who talks to web design agencies and merchants on a daily basis.

Magento is maturing

Magento is only going to get bigger. There is so much momentum inside Magento, there are thousands of companies relying on it for their income, they are not suddenly going to switch off.  It may plateau slightly, it’s going to happen, and there will be competition, if there wasn’t then this wasn’t a good market to be in.

eCommerce is a massive area, and there is plenty of space in it for the likes of Shopify and Magento, plus the smaller niche ones like Brilliant Retail. Just because Shopify may be gaining customers it doesn’t mean that they are taking them from Magento – they are in a different space. I’m seeing people daily jump from Shopify to Magento as they expand upwards, and likewise I’ve seen a few (not many) companies move away from Magento onto a simpler hosted solution.

eBay is not going to dump Magento. Apart from anything else it must have some serious revenue coming in via PayPal, and events such as Magento Imagine give it a chance to reach those merchants. Magento is a gateway for PayPal Sales to reach merchants, why else do you see PayPal speaking at key Magento events?

No company will retain staff indefinitely. Companies are lucky if they hold onto an employee for more than a couple of years in this space.  The true test of a company is if the leader can be absent and the company still stands up.  My view is that Roy Rubin will move on in the near future, but Yoav did and we survived, we just need to accept that things do not stand still, and that this is a good thing. We slowly all will move on, move around, that is life.

The eCommerce space is maturing

Merchants are more aware of the need to reach mobile, the tablet, even heat maps, targeted newsletters and how investing in refining the small parts can add up to a big change in profit margins.  Words like omni-channel and responsive are now commonplace, whereas even 18 months ago they seemed new concepts.

eCommerce companies are growing up, demanding more, earning more, and wanting choice.  They are design aware, no longer do we have those scrappy hardware sites aimed at 40 year old men that used a phone to make an order. It has changed, the 40-year old is still ordering on his mobile, but now it is via a website.  This change has happened over the past couple of years, I’ve seen it in the sites I deal with and the demands we get around shipping.

The Community

I said at the start of 2014, this is the business-end of Magento now, and thats what I feel.

Is that to say the community is dead?  No absolutely not, it is very much alive and kicking. But many of us are time poor, it’s hard for us to give significant time to the community, the place where we connect is at events such as Magento Imagine.

There is a small group of people/companies that make their money from the community directly, and they are behind some of the drive for change, but actually the rest of us are just getting on with it and making small differences where we can. To see a great example of many people making a small difference just look at Magento2 on Github.

The community isn’t something Magento should create, it’s with us, we define it.  But Magento are a part of it, and they should remain so, it’s not about them and us, it’s about all of us. What worries me sometimes is I feel people don’t like change, or they want to control something because ‘they were there first’.  Life isn’t like that, and I believe it shouldn’t be like that. WebShopApps has to fight for it’s place to remain at the top of the game around shipping, that’s how business should be.

Change is good, because whilst there is change there is innovation.  And for me personally thats why I got into this space, and why I’m still in it.

I truly hope the community doesn’t splinter, to me it’s important we work together, thats what will keep Magento strong, not going off in some random direction.

It’s not a revolution, it’s an evolution, which I hope we are all a part of.

What’s Our Goal

Speaking from a purely personal perspective my goal is to move eCommerce forwards in the world of shipping, to make solutions that simplify our customers lives and push the boundaries in terms of technology.

Within that I love the community and feel that it can provide help to improve Magento, but it must be inclusive, self-less and free. That’s a true community, and I actually think we already have it. I just hope it’s not lost by a rejection of change.

And Magento 2

Well this needs to happen. I believe it will, this year.  But if it doesn’t I’m not sure it will actually matter.

 

WebShopApps opens in the US

Posted by: Karen Thursday, February 13th, 2014

As normal, life is busy at WebShopApps.  I’ve sat back tonight under orders from our new Partnership & Marketing Director Daniel to give you an update on where we are right now. Now, I could give you a pumped-up blog about how great we are, and god bless america, etc. But I’m not, I’m going to speak from my heart, because thats all I know how to do.

As many of you may know, I started out writing extensions back in 2008 when I was on sabbatical from my work in London.  My husband was an eBay Powerseller, and had a small eCommerce store hosted online.  I fell into Magento, and then, well, it took over my life.  In 2013 I made the decision to move my family to the states, we had a lot of business in the US and I wanted to get back my evenings by getting employees in the timezone where we were so active.

A New DawnSo here we are, we moved to a great city Dublin, Ohio. I came to the states to work, and thats why I sited the office here, in the American Midwest, it’s where the work gets done, no nonsense or hype.

Our aim here is simple: we are working hard to help you the merchant get the best out of your eCommerce store in terms of shipping rate calculation logic.  And we are here for the Web Design Agencies and Independent Developers to give you the support you need so you can get on with the job of creating great sites.

Some people think WebShopApps is a big business, well let me tell you it’s not. Each and every team member makes his mark, we work hard, and we care about each and every one of our customers and their success.

We are fully invested here in our staff, we now have offices in the UK and US, we support home-grown staff, we train graduates, and we are a diverse and, I hope, interesting group. We have 5 staff attending Magento Imagine and I’d encourage you to come chat to us, come see this great young team and the passion they have.

If you are looking for a shipping solution for Magento I would encourage you to talk to us, come support the WebShopApps story, and help us help you into the future. It is only with your support we can continue to innovate and evolve this world of shipping. Come understand why we are the #1 shipping extension provider in the world, and the only extension company that is truly innovating shipping.  You decide our future, and I hope you choose us.

My promise to you: well, I’ll continue hopefully to keep it real, to think about the small guy, to respect you and help you concentrate on what you do best.

Oh, and I’ll finish on the fact I’ve not yet got my evenings back, my husband reckons I might be a workaholic, I prefer to call it driven ;)

Announcing WebShopApps’ Partnership With Endicia

Posted by: Daniel Monday, February 10th, 2014

Announcing the WebShopApps Partnership with Endicia

WebShopApps, experts in the field of eCommerce shipping and a Magento Platinum Industry Partner, is excited to announce our partnership with Endicia, a leading provider of USPS shipping tools and a proud partner of the United States Postal Service. Endicia gives merchants the tools they need to grow their business by letting them buy and print legal USPS postage right from their computer. WebShopApps has been producing powerful, high-quality shipping extensions for Magento merchants since 2008.

Introducing Endicia Shipping from WebShopApps

The result of this partnership is the USPS Shipping via Endicia extension which gives Magento merchants access to USPS shipping rates, printable postage labels, Endicia account management, shipment tracking, and more right from their Magento admin panel. By getting access to all the tools you need to manage your USPS shipping from inside Magento, you’ll save time and effort.

Ship & track, all in one place

We know how important access to tracking information is for eCommerce merchants so we’ve built USPS shipment tracking information into the Magento admin panel. Additionally, your customers will receive tracking updates right in their account pages on your site reducing the number of “where’s my order” messages your customer service staff needs to answer.

Ship USPS even if you use custom rates

The USPS Shipping via Endicia extension from WebShopApps also gives you the ability override shipping carriers selected on purchase in the Magento admin panel. You’ll be able to charge custom rates or even offer free shipping and still have access to hassle-free USPS shipping and tracking. For example, if you want to offer standard shipping based on a simple table rate all your customer will see on checkout is the appropriate rate based on that table. However, when you ship the order from your Magento admin panel, you’ll still be able to select USPS shipping via Endicia and generate the appropriate postage label.

Manage Your Endicia Account

You can also manage your Endicia account from inside Magento saving you time and effort. View your account balance, reset your passphrase, or top up your Endicia account without leaving the Magento admin panel.

Get Endicia Shipping from WebShopApps

We’re introducing our USPS Shipping via Endicia extension with a special price of $99 for Community Edition sites and $199 for Enterprise Edition. This introductory price only lasts until March 10th.

Learn more about the extension by playing with a live demo or reviewing our Knowledge Base.

MagentoLive Germany 2013 Recap

Posted by: Daniel Thursday, February 6th, 2014

It was a chilly November evening in Munich, Germany when developers, merchants, representatives from Magento, eBay, and Paypal gathered at the Rilano No. 6 bar & restaurant for the MagentoLive Germany 2013 pre-conference party. Two of the WebShopApps UK team, Josh and Raf, joined the fun and connected with other Magento developers, some wonderful WebShopApps customers, and others in the Magento community. A highlight of the evening was meeting a number of owners of small to mid-sized businesses who had recently moved or are considering a move to Magento.

Noam Inbar presenting Zooz.com. Photo from

On Tuesday, the conference began in earnest with registration and breakfast and an opening session featuring several members of the Magento team and executives from eBay and PayPal. These included Roy Rubin, COO and co-founder of Magento; Jimmy Duvall, Head of Product at Magento; along with others.

After the opening session, attendees split up to attend breakout sessions which included a rich mix of speakers from both international and German companies. One presentation that particularly caught the attention of our team was given by Noam Inbar, VP of Business Development at Zooz. She talked about different ways to reduce conversion friction by simplifying checkout with the goal of increasing conversion rates and decreasing cart abandonment.

Throughout the day, Raf & Josh had time to learn more about some of the exhibitors at the conference who Raf noted “were completely different” from the exhibitors found at UK conferences, except for the “the big names.” To him, “the standouts were the German companies focusing solely on the German speaking market.” German-speaking Europe (Germany, Austria, & Switzerland especially) has a large and growing Magento community and are increasingly represented at worldwide Magento events.

MagentoLive Germany 2013 was yet another example of the strength of the Magento community and its broad reach across languages and regions. For our team it was a great opportunity to connect with many members of that community from hosting companies and software providers to developers and merchants.

USPS® API Update January 2014

Posted by: Genevieve Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
USPS Logo

© United States Postal Service. All rights reserved.

Many of our customers who are using USPS®‘ API to get postal rates have received notification in the past weeks that an update will be released for the API effective January 26th, 2014. The United States Postal Service has documented the changes in a press release on their website. As a service to our customers, we have reviewed the new API documentation and have done extensive testing using the test API servers which USPS made available on Wednesday, January 14th. We have tested Magento® from version 1.4 to version 1.8 Community Edition and version 1.7 to version 1.13 Enterprise Edition against this change. Our conclusion based on this research is that we expect there will no interruption of service to USPS users on Magento.

While we do not expect these changes to have any significant impact on the business operations of our customers, there are some things worth noting:

  • This release includes price increases to some services.  No action is required here, you will automatically see the updated rates. You can review these changes in the USPS press release of September 25th, 2013.
  • Standard Post service has been removed for zones 1 – 4, for both rates and labels. Customers who rely on this shipping method should ensure this will not have any negative repercussions.
  • Some additional services have been added: “Priority Mail Express 1030 AM Delivery” and “First Class Metered”.  These are not supported by current Magento or the July 2013 USPS patch and so will not be automatically available as a shipping method. Support for these services will require Magento to release an update to their USPS carrier logic.

As we’ve previously announced, you will need a patch to see rates for USPS on Magento after their July, 2013 API update. However, no changes to this patch are required for the January 2014 API update and if you have already installed this patch it will continue to work as expected.

This post is provided for information only and we encourage all of our customers to contact the USPS if you have concerns about how these changes will effect your business operations.

WebShopApps are Magento Platinum Industry Partners and premier providers of shipping solutions for rate management in Magento. Browse our current catalog of Magento shipping extensions or contact us to discuss your needs.

USPS API Update July 2013

Posted by: Josh Friday, July 26th, 2013

USPS have released details of their forthcoming API update due on 28th July 2013.

If you don’t update your Magento installation you will stop receiving USPS rates for most services other than Standard Post, Media Mail and Library Mail.

WebShopApps have analysed the update and have decided to release a free patch to the community to ensure you can continue using USPS with the new API.

USPS LogoThe most significant changes the update brings are:

  • Rebranding of shipping methods, for example Express Mail is now called Priority Mail Express
  • Time in Transit estimates where available. For example you will now see something like Priority Mail 2-Day, Priority Mail Express 1-Day and so on.

 

We have qualified this against Magento 1.4.1 upto Magento 1.7 – you can download the extension via the WebShopApps site.

This extension is free and unsupported. If you require advice or assistance then we encourage you to purchase a support package.

If you are running Enterprise Edition then we recommend you download the official Magento patch in your downloads area on Magento once available.

If you are running the WebShopApps Dimensional Shipping extension please contact us for an update to this. If you are running Dropship, Handling Matrix, Shipping Override, or Shipping Insurance you may need to update your configuration to reflect the new shipping methods.

WebShopApps are premier providers of shipping solutions for rate management in Magento. Contact us to discuss your needs.

WebShopApps goes Platinum

Posted by: Karen Monday, May 20th, 2013

It seems barely yesterday that I was trawling the internet in search of a good eCommerce platform to use for my husband’s site. I remember looking at osCommerce and thinking there has to be something better out there. I was fed up with hosted solutions, I wanted control, I wanted flexibility. This was 2008, just over 5 years ago. Magento was the platform I chose, and shipping seemed to be the area I fell into.

Today in 2013 WebShopApps sit here with the honour of obtaining Platinum Industry Partnership status with Magento, and well it’s pretty shocking we have come so far in such a short space of time. I didn’t give up the day job until summer 2009, took on my first employee Josh in Feb 2010. Now in 2013 we have just signed leases on our US Office in Dublin, Ohio and by the summer will have employees in the UK, Australia and the US.

Something people maybe don’t appreciate about WebShopApps is that much of what we do and achieve is down to sheer hard work and determination. You can often find me sitting on skype at night, answering calls, dealing with chat, helping people out with their shipping configuration, coming up with new ideas with customers on how to improve their shipping rate calculations. Nothing here has changed since the early days, maybe its because I’m terrible at delegating(!) or maybe its just that I like to keep it real.

With this Platinum Partnership we remain a small company, bootstrapped, trying to find our way in this chaotic world of eCommerce. I personally value each and every customer that has or will buy our extension, we truly appreciate and value your business with us. Thanks to all the one-man bands that support us, whether you are a small eCommerce store or a lone developer. Thanks to the agencies that we love like Yoma, Blue Acorn, Lyons & Something Digital. We appreciate your business, and I personally appreciate your support and friendship.

I have to also thank Magento, not just for being a great platform for companies like WebShopApps, but also to our Industry Partner contacts Carly, Ryan and Aleza, for well just being there and supporting our business. You have put your faith in us over the years, and I hope we will continue to deliver innovative products that meet the demands of this fast paced industry.

We are embarking now on a change in our business, we will shortly be opening up the Early Access Program for our cloud based offering ShipperHQ to the Magento community. We have learned a lot about shipping and eCommerce over the past 5 years and I believe ShipperHQ.com will be a game changer in shipping rate calculation logic. We look forwards with you to the next chapter.