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    The JetRails Podcast

    For The Ecommerce Community

    Transitioning From Magento 1 to Magento 2
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 1

    To kick start the podcast season, we launched Episode 1 about Transitioning From Magento 1 to Magento 2 that includes our friends at Collins Harper.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • Can you upgrade from Magento 1 to Magento 2? or is it a replatforming?
    • What considerations should merchants have when thinking about moving from M1 to M2?
    • How can you best plan a timeline for making the transition?
    • What are common stages for the migration process?
    • What are web hosting considerations? Is it wise to build and launch your Magento 2 site in your Magento 1 hosting environment?
    Progressions of Magento 2
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 2

    A follow-up to our first episode, and looks at the Progressions of Magento 2 from its initial launch in 2015, through the release of Magento 2.3.1 in 2019. We touch on some of the major improvements to Magento that came with 2.0 and subsequent releases.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What were the initial improvements going from Magento 1 to Magento 2?
    • What progressive changes were incorporated in Magento 2.1, Magento 2.2, and Magento 2.3?
    • What is the cadence of new Magento feature releases?
    Best Practices for Magento Data Management
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 3

    Dives into Best Practices for Magento Data Management and includes guests from 121eCommerce and nChannel for a discussion about Magento’s API’s, flat-file import and export, and connecting directly to Magento’s database.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • Why is managing data in an eCommerce system like Magento a complex topic?
    • What are the key differences between using APIs, direct to database connections, and file import/export or upload/download processes?
    • How do these methodologies impact:
      • The health of your website?
      • Time and resources to manage your data?
      • Hosting costs, speed, and uptime?
      • Scalability?
      • Maintenance time and costs?
      • Risks and points of failure?
    The Past, Present, and Future of Online Reviews
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 4

    Includes special guest James Denker of Trustpilot for a multifaceted conversation about generating more orders with a proactive strategy for product reviews and merchant reviews.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What’s the history of online reviews?
    • When did spammers and bots join the fray?
    • What are the key differences between Product and Customer reviews?
    • Where can you display or use the reviews that you’ve collected?
    • What are the impacts of reviews on SEO and SEM?
    • What are some best practices for soliciting reviews?
    • What if you haven’t been soliciting reviews historically? Can you catch up?
    • What can merchants do about negative reviews?
    • How can reviews impact long-term customer success?
    • Should reviews be “editable” or “deletable”?
    • How do historical players like the BBB handle this?
    • Are reviews an area that merchants can compete against Amazon?
    • What are some review “issues” to watch out for as a consumer and as a business?
    Comparing Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce on B2C Shopper Experience
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 5

    Includes Alex Povolotski of Collins Harper and is our first episode in a series that compares how the free Open Source version of Magento and the paid Commerce version. We discussed features that retailers can use in Magento Commerce to improve the front-end user experience, along with ways that Magento Open Source users can add similar functionalities to their stores.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What are the key differences between Magento Open Source and Commerce?
    • What are Magento Commerce license fees like, and when is the investment a good choice?
    • Is it better to use extensions with Magento Open Source in some cases?
    • What are the decision points that you should be thinking about before choosing one or the other?
    Increasing Orders Through eCommerce Optimization
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 6

    Our first episode on conversion rate optimization and how to compete in an eCommerce landscape dominated by behemoths like Amazon. Jay Omar from Bolt joined us to discuss important solutions, including checkout optimization and credit card fraud prevention built to minimize friction for shoppers. 

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • How do you create an instant buying experience?
    • How does trust play into a winning checkout strategy?
    • Do shoppers expect a particularly consistent experience?
    • How much or little choice should shoppers have as they navigate the checkout process?
    Competing with Amazon’s Delivery Data
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 7

    We take a very different look at conversion optimization. This interview, which includes longtime eCommerce merchant Raphael Neff of ChessHouse.com and Akhilesh Srivastava the founder of Fenix Commerce looks at removing friction from the shopping experience by sharing accurate real-time delivery estimates, similar to what Amazon is able to do. Seeing this technology come to market for merchants of all sizes helps to highlight that for those that are in it to win it, it is possible to compete with the user experience of even the largest eCommerce websites.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • How important is the shipping experience for the retailers and their shoppers – both post and pre-purchase?
    • How important is it to try to compete head-on with Amazon? Can merchants win back some direct sales?
    • Amazon has helped to shaped consumer expectations about eCommerce shipping. Who else is influencing shopper expectations?
    • With Amazon, free shipping doesn’t always mean free or convenient returns. Should we expect this to change?
    Can Shoppers Trust Your eCommerce Site As Much As They Trust Amazon?
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 8

    Includes special guests Eric Thorson and Mark Wilkinson from the Norton Shopping Guarantee team for a discussion about making shoppers feel comfortable making purchases on your eCommerce site. In a time when identity theft is common, it’s more important than ever to instill confidence in shoppers so that they purchase directly from you. Tune in to learn what savvy merchants are doing!

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • Why don’t some shoppers trust eCommerce sites?
    • What are some of the top ways to build trust?
    • What are the changing trends in this arena?
    • What are reasonable expectations of adding trust symbols and solutions to an eCommerce site?
    • How do you track success?
    Can You Compete With 2-Day Shipping?
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 9

    Includes George Wojciechowski, Co-Founder of ShipBob. In a nutshell, shoppers expect orders to be delivered quickly and cheaply. Merchants are compelled to compete. We discuss logistics, fulfillment, and other important factors… and Robert finally finds out where the name ShipBob came from!

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • Why do merchants use 3PLs and fulfillment companies to warehouse and fulfill goods?
    • Are there fringe benefits?
    • How does this impact shipping speeds and costs?
    • Do merchants go all-in on fulfillment, or do they sometimes mix using their own fulfillment with a 3PL and/or dropshipping?
    • What are some of the typical objections from merchants?
    • Is this a cost center in order to improve conversion rates and lifetime customer value? Or do some merchants see a net savings?
    • How do returns get handled when you’re using 3PLs?
    Are you leaving $$$ on the table with your shipping carriers?
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 10

    Features Jose Li, Founder & CEO of 71lbs as we touch on fees from shipping carriers like UPS and FedEx. The reality is that most shippers are paying these carriers more in fees than they should be. For instance, if a shipment arrives late, you may be entitled to a full refund. Learn from an expert about where you’re overpaying your shipping carrier, and how to recoup those funds.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • How can a merchant make sure they’re optimizing their shipping costs?
    • Why are so many of these optimizations not automatic?
    • Do carriers deny claims?
    • What actionable insights come out of better shipment analytics?
    The Journey to Entering the Magento Marketplace
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 11

    Features Brandon Gell, the Founder & CEO of Clyde and Dan Kozlowski, the Founder & CTO of Xumulus as we discuss the experience of these two teams working together to get Clyde’s Magento Extension created and listed in the Magento Marketplace.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • Why build an extension or integration for Magento?
    • What is the submission and approval process like when trying to get an extension listed in the Magento Marketplace?
    • Is there room for improvement in the process?
    • Is listing an extension enough? or is it important to engage with the Magento community in other ways?
    • How important is attending Magento Imagine?
    Are you really listening to your eCommerce Analytics?
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 12

    With the help of Meaghan Connell & AJ Yager, the founders of Praxis Metrics, we’ve certainly given merchants a lot to think about. If you want help understanding what stories your data should be telling you, we’ll help you to identify major KPIs and metrics that will empower you to improve your eCommerce business.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What is the “data maturity” spectrum, and how do merchants identify where they are on the spectrum? What can they do to advance to the next stage?
    • How can small (or large) businesses use data to rapidly scale?
    • What Questions should eCommerce merchants be asking when looking at their data sets?
    Best Practices in eCommerce QA Testing
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 13

    Robert is joined by Bhavani Ramasubbu, QA Lead & Quality Architect at DCKAP, and Karthik Chidambara, DCKAP’s Founder & CEO. Learn more about how DCKAP took their own strive for excellence in web development and created a QA solution that’s now used by other developers and agencies.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What should development teams be looking for in QA?
    • When should QA be conducted?
    • What are common QA roles that members of a dev team play to help check each others work?
    • When a bug is found, what’s does an effective workflow look like to both document and resolve the issue?
    • What types of systems help to manage and track QA?
    eCommerce Email Marketing Optimization
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 14

    From building strong lists to sending the right content to the right shoppers at the right time, there’s a lot that can impact the success of your E-mail campaigns. At the end of the day, they can have an outsized impact on your customer lifetime values. Intrigued? Be sure to listen in to hear great tips and recommendations from our guests, Joe Devine of Emarsys and Steve Wagner of Webbula.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • How do you continue building a healthy subscriber list?
    • What goes into list hygiene and making sure lists are accurate?
    • When should you send out eBlasts?
    • How do you craft great email subject lines?
    • Are there keywords that will tank campaign success?
    • Should you be varying the types of information shared in your email campaigns?
    • How can segmentation and personalization improve success rates?
    • How many e-mails are too many?
    • How can you react to your email marketing analytics do better communicate with your subscribers?
    • What are the impacts of landing page quality and speed?
    • What can you do to make sure your landing page is ready for the traffic spike an email campaign can generate?
    •  How can you supplement and append to your email lists and what are the benefits?
    Why BigCommerce is Betting on Headless Commerce
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 15

    Daniel Fertig, Global Director of Agency Partnerships at BigCommerce joins for a conversation about Headless Commerce. Creating opportunities for merchants to marry together a SaaS eCommerce platform (BigCommerce) with a range of different frontend CMS solutions like WordPress and Drupal, has created an “Open SaaS” option for eCommerce store owners to benefit from. Learn more about Why BigCommerce is taking this path, and what their experiences have been in bringing these solutions to market.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • Why is BigCommerce betting on Headless Commerce?
    • BigCommerce Headless is still relatively new. Anything interesting coming down the pike? 
    • What’s it been like for a SaaS provider like BigCommerce to get more involved with open source communities like WordPress and Drupal?
    • Does Headless Commerce have different implications for SMB vs. Enterprise? 
    • How about custom frontends (Without an off-the-shelf CMS)?
    • Are there opportunities for more agencies to participate as BigCommerce partners around Headless Commerce?
    Magento Web Design & Branding Process Best Practices
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 16

    Includes Robert Floyd, a Product Designer and Creative Director at Gauge for a discussion about designing Magento websites. If you’re planning to have your Magento store designed or re-designed, do you know what to expect? Well, after listening to this conversation, you’ll be much better prepared for a successful design project!

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What’s the first design asset that an eCommerce merchant should have created?
    • Do they need a full style guide with colors, fonts, and other standards?
    • Once they have their “brand” assets, what’s next? 
    • Should merchants communicate directly with their web designers before getting the first draft?
    • Do you need to determine features and functionalities before you begin creating designs?
    • Do you start with wireframes? Or go right into full drafts?
    • Do you use image and content placeholders? Or try to use real content?
    • Do you start with desktop, mobile, or both?
    • Which page do you start with?
    • Do you design layouts for product, category, and other pages simultaneously, or wait for approval on the initial page first?
    • Do you provide mockups of all pages, including login pages, wishlists, the shopping cart, and checkout pages, etc? 
    • What software do you use during the process?
    • How do you present these designs to clients? And how do clients sign off on them?
    • How important is it to have experience with Magento before providing design mockups?
    • Is the process different if you’re redesigning a live website?
    How Partnerships are Contributing to the eCommerce Ecosystem
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 17

    Take a dive into the world of eCommerce Partnerships with us. Should your eCommerce platform, agency, host, and other vendors be partnered? What are the benefits and risks? What’s in your best interest? Rachel Jacobs of Ecommerce Partnerships helps us break down a complex topic to give you a peek behind the curtain.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What are the different types of partnerships that exist in the eCommerce ecosystem today? How are they different?
    • Who engages in these relationships?
    • What are the nature of these relationships? What are the net benefits?
    • What are some of the requirements of these relationships?
    • What are some of the key differences between partner ecosystems in eCommerce?
    • What are some of the risks associated with creating these partnerships?
    • If you’re a merchant, what should you look for when choosing an eCommerce platform in regard to partnerships?
    • How about when choosing an agency?
    • What should an agency be doing to improve its customer success through partnerships? 
    • And what about SaaS Providers? What should their partner program look like?
    • Is there such a thing as too many partners? How should they be targeted?
    How Magento stores are running pay for performance advertising
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 18

    Includes Cooper Harris and Daren Limas of Klickly for a discussion about pay for performance marketing. After all, what brand wouldn’t want to ads with a guaranteed Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) for their Magento store?

    (Special Offer – Klickly is currently by invite-only, but as JetRails Podcast Subscribers, you can skip the line.)

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What has the traditional digital marketing landscape looked like over the last decade?
    • What Pay for Performance options existed?
    • What are the risks of traditional digital marketing campaigns?
    • What does a modern eCommerce pay-for-performance campaign look like? 
    • Is there a minimum amount of data required to reasonably focus a pay-for-performance campaign?
    • How do Shoppable Ads impact campaign success?
    Navigating the End of Life of Magento 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 19

    A discussion with Brandon Alberts of NuEthic about how merchants are (and should be) addressing the End of Life dates for Magento 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2. We also talk about the sunset of Temando which powered Magento Shipping, the deprecation of payment gateways like CyberSource and eWay from Magento’s core, and the release of Magento Patches for Magento 2.3.2+, giving merchants a choice to patch rather than upgrading their sites.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What is the cadence of Magento releasing new minor and major versions?
    • What are some major end of life dates for early Magento 2 versions?
    • What other patches and changes have been coming to Magento 2?
    • What does the future of Magento 2 look like?
    • Has the cost of building a Magento site changed in any dramatic way?
    Vetting Web Development Freelancers
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 20

    Learn about many of the challenges faced when hiring freelance web developers. Raleigh Leslie of Codeable shares information about how members of open source communities like WordPress and WooCommerce are improving this process.

    (Special Offer – JetRails Podcast listeners are invited to take advantage of a $60 credit to try out Codeable for the first time.)

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What are some best practices for vetting web developers and experts?
    • What if a developer produces bad code?
    • Can you rely on freelancers to manage ongoing site updates, or is it all one-time work?
    • Can one person really be great at frontend, backend, and other web development specialties?
    • What’s the correlation between price and quality in web development?
    • How should web developers address customer dissatisfaction? 
    Magento Extensions go SaaS
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 21

    Includes Virgil Ghic and Tristan Oker of WeltPixel & WeSupply for a discussion about Magento Extensions publishers creating SaaS solutions.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • Why are some extensions are being packaged as SaaS offerings?
    • What are the benefits to merchants?
    • What are the down sides?
    • Is there a trendline that we should expect to continue?
    How to Choose eCommerce Extensions and Apps
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 22

    Derric Haynie of eCommerceTech.io joins Robert to best practices for choosing and reviewing eCommerce Apps, Extensions, Modules, Plugins, and other Addons and integrations for your online store.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What are some of the tools that eCommerce stores add to their websites?
    • How do these addons differ?
    • Who’s writing all of this software?
    • What are the pricing models usually like? Is that a big differentiator?
    • How will these costs grow as you scale?
    • What is it that you are actually paying for?
    • What should support look like for these addons?
    • Should there be a trial or money-back guarantee?
    • What’s the likelihood of addons conflicting with each other?
    • How do you resolve conflicts?
    • Do ratings and reviews paint a clear picture of quality?
    • Is it best to get addons from an approved source, like the Magento Marketplace?
    • Does it matter if a development team has written many add-ons, or just 1?
    • In today’s global economy, does it matter where the addon developers are located?
    • What can you do if you’re not sure if an extension is compatible with your eCommerce version?
    • If a solution is SaaS, how do you know if it’s being properly upkept?
    • Is there a difference between how a startup should choose add-ons and an enterprise?
    • How do you compare features and functionality?
    • Are there common threads to look for when comparing add-ons? 
    • What are the risks of adding on too much software to your eCommerce site?
    • How many addons is too many?
    • What are some of the addons that everyone should be at least considering for 2020? 
    The Future for Magento 1 Users
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 23

    It’s now anticipated that a very large number of websites will remain on Magento 1 after the official end of life of the original Magento platform. Mark Lewis of Netalico joins for a conversation about how Magento 1 websites can address security and other concerns after the official Magento 1 End of Life.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • Why are so many users still on Magento 1?
    • What are the common misconceptions that merchants have about Magento 1 end of life?
    • For those with budget constraints, what approaches should be top-of-mind for minimizing the risk of staying on M1?
    • What else should M1 users be thinking about moving forward? Extensions? Integrations? Compliance?
    Securing Magento and other CMS-based websites
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 24

    When’s the last time you really made sure your website was secure? How would you know if it wasn’t? We invited Victor Santoyo of Sucuri to chat with us about the state of the web for owners of websites built on major platforms like Magento, Drupal, WordPress, and WooCommerce. Tune in, and learn how to mitigate your website security risks, including if you’re operating an eCommerce site!

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What does it take to keep website security solutions up-to-date in a world of ever-evolving threats?
    • Where do new malware scanner definitions and rules come from?
    • Are malware scanning and intrusion detection enough?
    • What are some of the “hottest” trends in website threats and security? 
    • What are hackers after? Credit Cards? A platform to send out spam? Getting web visitors to download malware?
    Delivering Seamless Omnichannel Experiences With Magento 2
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 25

    Merchants have address customer needs and expectations. An omnichannel experience has the ability to allow you to support shoppers seamlessly across systems, channels, and even physical brick-and-mortar locations.

    This episode was recorded right before social distancing measures called for stores in the USA to close their doors, but we’re quickly seeing just how vital omnichannel strategies – like Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) – are to commerce businesses of all sorts.

    Whether you’re using Magento or considering it, tune in to learn insights from Ivona Namjesnik of Imagination Media, and learn how to develop an omnichannel strategy with Magento 2.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What does Omnichannel mean in eCommerce?
    • Does the definition change whether you’re talking about Retail, B2B, Marketing, or other specific channels or segments?
    • How is Omnichannel different from Multichannel or Unified Commerce?
    • How has Magento been evolving to deliver better Omnichannel experiences?
    • What are some of the best examples of Omnichannel commerce?
    • Are there still Omnichannel experiences that are hard to deliver?
    Planning, Building, and Maintaining Custom Websites and Applications
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 26

    Growing and established businesses often require websites and apps that aren’t prefabricated. Starting from a feature-rich eCommerce, CMS, or other frameworks will often be your best bet,  but when cookie-cutter solutions won’t due, you need to think outside of the box.

    Tune in to learn the in’s and out’s of having your project custom-built risk analysis as we talk through project planning, development standards, and long-term maintenance with Tim Dolloff, EVP of Client Engagement at Liventus.

    If your organization is in a rush to launch something new due to COVID-19, like a new eCommerce site that you believe will require a complex site build, be sure to check out this episode.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • How do you decide that one projects should be custom-built?
    • If they are going to be custom, should you use pre-existing components of one type or another, or should every line of code written from scratch?
    • What does a proper project planning stage look like? 
    • Is the budget set in stone based upon the project plan?
    • Once built, how do you address maintenance? 
    • What type of documentation do these projects normally require since there are no pre-existing user guides? 
    • Are there common concerns when being asked to create custom software solutions?
    • Are there fringe benefits to custom solutions?
    Achieving eCommerce Growth in a Down Market
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 27

    We’re all living through economic turmoil that’s hard to compare to any other specific event in recent times, but this isn’t the first recession or crisis that businesses have had to contend with. Sasha Berson of Catapult Revenue shares feedback on how online stores can position themselves for long-term success, even during a pandemic.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • While current market conditions are unique, what insights should we be paying attention to from previous recessions and downturns?
    • What are some top marketing tips for the current climate?
    • Outside of sales being down, what real-world issues have made operations harder for some businesses? and what kinds of solves can they apply?
    Combatting eCommerce Fraud During a Pandemic
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 28

    It may not come as a surprise that Fraudsters don’t stop placing eCommerce orders with stolen credit cards because of a pandemic. Learn how to protect your bottom line without blocking good orders and other insights from Rafael Lourenco of Clear.Sale.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • Do fraudsters target particular types of merchants or sites with stolen credit cards?
    • Are fraudsters mainly based in one country or region?
    • Are there trends and spikes in fraud attempts? Are they predictable?
    • Are there telltale signs that an order may not be legitimate?
    • If a merchant fulfills an order placed with a stolen credit card, what happens?
    • Are there less apparent signs that an order is fraudulent that they’re likely to miss out on?
    • Who are these fraudsters?
    Adobe is Not Extending the Magento 1 End of Life. Get Ready!
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 29

    The end of life of Magento 1 has been known for some time, but in this episode, we talk with Rico Neitzel of Mage One about keeping M1 sites secure once Adobe stops publishing patches for Magento 1 users.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What kinds of security do Magento 1 users need now that M1 is no longer receiving patches from Adobe?
    • How are security vulnerabilities identified?
    • How often should patches be released?
    • Can users stay on Magento 1 indefinitely? 
    • What are best-practices for managing Magento 1 extensions at this point?
    Moving B2B Ordering to eCommerce
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 30

    eCommerce is certainly not just about retail and direct to consumer websites. B2B websites allow a wide range of organizations to sell effectively online too. That includes manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and other suppliers that provide products to retailers and resellers, as well as organizations that simply sell goods that are intended to be used commercially.

    It’s become harder to sell in-person in showrooms and at tradeshows, while it’s simultaneously become more difficult for business operations to be handled from central offices. These realities are providing clear advantages to organizations that are set up for eCommerce.

    In this episode, which includes insights from Angela Murphy of MSTS, we discuss features, functionality, and efficiencies that you can build into your B2B online store without reinventing the proverbial wheel.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What are some of the top pains in trying to take a B2B sales process online?
    • Where do many B2B businesses get stuck when moving sales operations to eCommerce
    How Online Merchants Get Liquidity in Times of Turmoil
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 31

    Businesses are facing unique cash flow challenges. While many eCommerce stores are seeing an uptick in sales, that can’t be said for all online merchants. Then again, even if eCommerce stores are seeing sales increase, multichannel organizations with brick-and-mortar operations are still feeling the impacts of social distancing.

    Access to capital is important when you need to compensate for market disruptions, but it can be equally crucial when you need to purchase more inventory or bring in more labor to meet increases in demand.

    Traditional loans and lines of credit can be helpful, but the tech industry has created special data-driven products just for eCommerce businesses. In this episode, Alex Sklar of Payability helps to shine some light onto specific offerings for online sellers, while also talking about the economic landscape that merchants are currently facing.

    Special Offer from Payability for JetRails Podcast Listeners/Viewers: $250 Sign on Bonus + Preferred Rates for High Volume Businesses! http://go.payability.com/JetRails

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What are healthy reasons for merchants to need more liquidity?
    • What are the options on marketing for accessing credit as an eCommerce merchant?
    How Magento 1 Sites Can Remain PCI Compliant after EOL
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 32

    In this episode, we spoke to some of the major challenges around PCI Compliance for users of Magento 1, now that it’s reaching its end of life.

    Joe Rollinson of BestWorlds joined for a conversation about the risks and challenges associated with running end of life software, and the path forward for M1 website owners.

    Since taping, this topic has continued to evolve, and the JetRails team has continued to expand our services and partnerships to support M1 EOL sites. Still need assistance staying compliant while on Magento 1? We’re here to help!

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • Many agencies and Magento themselves are putting a lot of content out about migrating from M1 to M2. Why are some focused on helping merchants remain secure and compliant on Magento 1?
    • What are some of the reasons merchants are still on M1?
    • Why should a merchant who will still be on Magento 1 in July care about PCI compliance?
    • Are there any “magic bullet” options that can take me out of scope or make me compliant on M1?
    • Is there a way to stay compliant on Magento past June?
    • Where can merchants get patches?
    • Are there other concerns to staying on M1 after EOL?
    • Are there key differences between Mage One and Open Mage?
    The Art & Science of Digital Merchandising Optimization
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 33

    It’s easy to take for granted just how many people and systems impact product data. With so many cooks in the proverbial kitchen, digital merchandising can rise to the occasion, or fall like a failed souffle.

    Steve Engelbrecht of Sitation joins for this episode as we look at how product information and taxonomy intersects with site navigation, digital marketing, site search, conversion rates, cross-channel selling, and more!

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What’s the difference between digital marketing and digital merchandising?
    • Why do businesses need assistance with Digital Merchandising?
    • How many departments within an organization should be impacting product data?
    • What are the direct and indirect effects of digital merchandising?
    • With so many stakeholders and so many impacts, what are common digital merchandising issues and problems?
    • Is having a PIM or similar software platform enough? 
    • How do business size and business growth impact digital merchandising needs and challenges?
    What's up with changing eCommerce payment standards?
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 34

    Magento is in the process of deprecating just about all of their historical payment gateways from Magento’s core. It will now be up to merchants to install Magento Extensions in order to utilize most payment systems. Why is this happening? What’s changed? What are the implications for merchants and developers? Alex Povolotski of Collins Harper helps us to break down this topic, and also sheds light on an important risk that he recently ran across with a major payment gateway.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What is PSD2 (aka 3DS 2.0)?
    • What are the implications for merchants?
    • Where are most merchants sitting with this? Are they complying? Or like retailers that still allow shoppers to swipe their credit cards, are many still using old tech?
    • What’s the impact on Magento sites specifically?
    • What can a merchant expect it to cost them to upgrade to a compatible gateway?
    • If they don’t upgrade, are they at risk of being kicked off their current gateway?
    • Have there been similar regulations? Should we expect more?
    • What’s up with increases in fraudulent credit card authorizations, where cards are simply being tested to see if they’re active and valid?
    SEO Best Practices For Migrating a Magento Site
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 35

    When migrating to a Magento 2 store, the majority of the focus is typically on design and development. What about SEO? If you don’t follow best practices, you can easily suffer significant losses when it comes to search engine rankings, organic traffic, and ultimately, sales revenue. That’s why we invited Rita Demyanchik from the Mobecls team to discuss how to retain and improve SEO rankings during a site migration.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What’s the difference between launching a new site and migrating an existing site, such as from Magento 1 to Magento 2?
    • What can merchants do to ensure their SEO rankings hold stead or improve with their new site launch?
    • What can users anticipate happening to SEO rankings in the days and weeks after site migration?
    • If SEO rankings drop, what can be done to help them rebound?
    • Is a migration an opportunity for link-building related to the relaunch of a site?
    Can Dev Agencies Change The World?
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 36

    What if dev agencies started to evolve into Public Benefit Corporations? What would change? Who would be better off?

    In this episode, Robert is joined by Charles “Carlos” Fry of Code Exitos for a discussion about why his agency is following the path of companies like Allbirds, Ben & Jerries, Bombas, New Chapter, Patagonia, and Tom’s Shoes to operate as a “B Corp”.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What is a B Corp?
    • How many exist?
    • Can B Corps still be publicly traded? 
    • What teams in the website/ecommerce world are B Corps?
    • Does this impact the quality of their work?
    • How does this impact their clients?
    • Should we hope to see this trend continue?
    Helping Your Website Live On The Edge
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 37

    If you want your website to accel when it comes to speed, security, scalability, and reliability, then you’re undoubtedly using an edge network to both deliver a better experience to your web visitors and keep your hosting server(s) stable and safe.

    How does an edge network work? Will this tech give you a leg up on your competitors? Should you be using different vendors for CDN, WAF, and other solutions that live on edge networks? We tackled this (and more) with Stewart McGrath of Section.io in this informative episode!

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What is an Edge network?
    • What are some typical systems that are leveraged when a user visits a website before their web hosting server is ever reached?
    • What are some of the biggest benefits of using all of these off-server systems?
    • What are other common elements that businesses expect?
    The benefits of Product Information Management (PIM) solutions
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 38

    In previous episodes, we’ve discussed optimizing product data, and the term “PIM” always comes up. So we invited Jon Marsella of Jasper PIM to break down what a good PIM does, and how product information management software can bring a lot of value to businesses with eCommerce sales channels.

    If you enjoyed this episode, you’ll probably like episode 33 on Digital Merchandising too!

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • How many products do you need to benefit from PIM software?
    • How many sales channels do you need to benefit from a PIM tool?
    • Why doesn’t every merchant that fits this profile use a PIM?
    • What data is often missing in channel management systems like ERP and POS?
    • How can a PIM system help you to:
      • Improve your conversion rates?
      • List on additional sales channels?
      • Enter New Markets?
      • Standardize data and cut down on duplicate entry and human error?
      • Get products into sales channels faster?
    • Is a PIM limited to the product data?
    • Is a PIM a one-way street for pushing out data? Or can it collect data and present analytics as well?
    • Where do many businesses fail with deploying a PIM?
    • When should you be thinking about PIM?
    Site Search, Navigation, and Mergers, Oh my!
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 39

    Nextopia and Searchspring spent years competing head-to-head to provide eCommerce sites with the best site-search and navigation tools. They each honed their solutions to help shoppers connect with products that they were most likely to purchase.

    Then they were both bought by the same company.

    Now they’re one company: Searchspring.

    What’s happening behind the scenes? Why is their tech so valuable? Why do merchants need help from a company like Searchspring to deliver better shopping experiences? We’ve got answers!

    Thomas Turley peels back the curtain on the merger, and on how Magento merchants are solving site search and navigation challenges.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • People have been excited about ElasticSearch being supported in the latest versions of Magento Open Source. How does it stack up?
    • How can you tell if your site search is working well?
    • How much time should merchants be spending on personalizing site search results, such as by setting up synonyms and forwarders?
    A Look into the World of Magento Extensions
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 40

    How has the world of Magento Extensions evolved? Which types of extensions are in demand? How does the Magento Marketplace fit into the mix? What are the top support issues faced by extension developers? A few weeks ago, Robert sat down with Alexander Galtsow and Artem Kuznetsov of Aheadworks.com, a RaveDigital company, in order to get answers to these questions and more!

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What changes have been happening in the Magento Extensions ecosystem in recent years?
    • What’s the breakdown like between demand for Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce Extensions?
    • Do extensions help Open Source users enjoy features that they’d otherwise need a Magento Commerce license for?
    • Have some Magento 1 extensions become obsolete? As in, Magento 2 users simply don’t need or want them?
    • Does the opposite hold true? Is there a demand for M2 extensions that didn’t exist with M1?
    • What are the most in-demand extensions?
    • How do Magento Extension development teams differentiate themselves?
    • Do many people buy extensions directly through the Magento Marketplace? 
    • Why don’t more merchants review extensions in the Magento Marketplace?
    • Do extension developers hold back from listing all of their extensions in the Marketplace?
    • Why are M2 extensions often more expensive than M1 extensions?
    • Do extension developers copy work from other extension developers? If so, is it a big problem?
    • Are there extensions that have flopped and simply not been met with demand?
    • Have Magento releases, like Magento B2B, MSI,  PWA, or Open Source support for ElasticSearch had any impact on extension sales?
    • Are GDPR extensions a big sales category? or was that more of a fad?
    • What are common support issues that extension developers have to contend with?
    • How are extension developers impacted by Magento Patches and Updates? Is it difficult to keep putting out new extensions while maintaining and supporting existing extensions?
    • As new Magento Commerce features are released, like PageBuilder, does demand grow to build extensions with similar features for Magento Open Source users? 
    • Are Magento users willing to pay a subscription to extension developers, or are they strictly looking for one-time-fee options when purchasing extensions?
    Why were we chasing waterfalls in the first place?
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 41

    How have web development agencies stepped up their project management in recent years? How do they take a philosophy of healthy internal and external communication and deploy it in the real world? What’s the practical difference between project management principles and styles like Waterfall and Agile/Scrum?

    Learn how to set your team up for success in a complex project, like the buildout of an eCommerce website as Matthew Krecker of Liventus joins Robert to share experiences and expertise around project management.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • Why is project management in web development so difficult?
    • What’s the most common style of project management that people think of?
    • Why are common points of project failure that relate to project management styles?
    • We often hear about Agile and Scrum at the same time. What’s the difference?
    • Do you need to staff differently for Agile/Scrum?
    • How do you make sure you’re delivering value?
    • What goes into a sprint?
    • Does that process work well for projects of all sizes?
    • How big of a change is this for an agency or dev team?
    • How does Scrum impact team collaboration, cohesion, and overall teamwork?
    • Is there only one way to make Agile/Scrum work?
    • Is Agile/Scrum for everyone?
    Evolving from Legacy Systems to Unified Commerce
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 42

    While having a strong eCommerce solution is tremendously important to retailers and wholesalers alike, so is streamlining inventory, sales, and fulfillment across sales channels. Customers expect a fast and seamless experience powered by systems that keep your website, stores, fulfillment centers, and other parts of your physical and digital footprint synced up.

    Simply pushing data updates once a day isn’t going to cut it at a time that shoppers want to order from their phone and pick up from your store an hour later.

    Anil Patel, the CEO of Hotwax Commerce joins for a discussion about how merchants are breaking down silos that store key data by deploying meaningful solutions to better manage inventory, order, and other vital data.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What key operational systems are missing from eCommerce solutions?
    • What can truly unified commerce deliver that siloed eCommerce solutions can’t?
    What eCommerce SEOs need to be doing in 2021
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 43

    Organic search engine optimization isn’t as easy as it used to be, but it can still be among the most lucrative and cost-effective marketing opportunities for eCommerce websites. Vlad Mkrtumyan, CEO of LogicInbound, shares insights on strategies that continue to succeed for eCommerce stores.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • A long time ago, there were big changes in SEO when algorithm updates like Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird were pushed out by Google. Is SEO still changing? Or is it pretty stagnant?
    • What really moves the needle these days?
    • Lots of places SEOs used to go to build backlinks are now NoFollow. Where can users go for backlinks these days?
    • What’s special about SEO for eCommerce sites?
    • What are common issues that SEOs run into when taking over campaigns from other practitioners?
    • Outside of content and link building, what do SEOs often overlook? 
    • How long does it take for an average SEO campaign to generate ROI?
    • How should business owners judge SEO campaign success? Work completed? Rankings? Traffic? Conversions?
    • How much work does an average SEO campaign take? 
    • What kinds of tasks happen in an average month of an active SEO campaign?
    • What are some of the fringe benefits of an SEO campaign, beyond improved search engine rankings?
    • Since SEO campaigns are long-term, how often should merchants be reviewing their SEO data? 
    • Are ranking scores still important? Like Domain Authority and Page Authority?
    • What are some of the best SEO tools? 
    Do Payment Processors Work For Merchants?
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 44

    Every time you accept payment through your eCommerce website, you have to wait for monies to arrive in your bank account knowing full well that you’re paying more than you want to be for payment processing. What if it was more like using Venmo, where money transfers more directly from bank account to bank account. Robert sat down with Max Robbins from the Paystand team to learn why eCommerce payment methods aren’t evolving as quickly as other payment methods, and what Paystand is doing to improve outcomes for business and shoppers.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • How did Credit Cards, Debit Cards, and ACH take over payment processing?
    • What are the pros and cons for merchants?
    • How has the payments market been correcting itself to accommodate Peer-to-Peer (P2P) payments?
    At 20 Years Old Drupal Is Still Turning Heads
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 45

    Tim Lehnen, the CTO of Drupal.org joins for a conversation about the past, present, and future of Drupal. At 20 years old, this open-source CMS is almost old enough to buy alcohol in the USA, and it’s continuing to evolve and progress to meet challenges and demands in market. At the same time, the community driving that evolution is one of the healthiest and most successful in the tech world.

    …and if you’re a member of the Drupal Association, don’t miss out on these special member benefits that JetRails just announced:
    https://jetrails.com/drupal-association-member-benefits/

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • How did Drupal get its name?
    • What’s propelled Drupal to the front of the CMS pack for mid-market and enterprise organizations in recent years?
    • BuiltWith shows well over half a million active Drupal sites. Is that accurate?
    • What are some of the notable Drupal sites in the world?
    • About how many devs are actively contributing to Drupal’s core code?
    • Who are some of the bigger contributors?
    • With an open-source platform like Magento, Adobe sets the product roadmap. Who determines Drupal’s roadmap?
    • What’s new in Drupal 9?
    • How hard is it to upgrade from a previous version of Drupal to the latest version?
    • Are there challenges for the Drupal community related to simultaneously maintaining multiple major versions of Drupal (ie. Drupal 7, 8, and now 9) as well as modules and integrations for these different versions?
    • What’s exciting in Drupal’s roadmap?
    • How integral is DrupalCommerce to the overall Drupal ecosystem?
    • Is Drupal being used as a CMS side-by-side with platforms like BigCommerce a good thing? Will we continue seeing more and more systems leverage Drupal as the CMS of choice to manage the front-end experience for other platforms, such as for headless commerce?
    • What are some of the biggest challenges that Drupal may face in the near future?
    • Will there ever be a paid version of Drupal?
    • What has the Drupal community learned from the DrupalCares initiative?
    The story behind friendly fraud, and how you can stop it
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 46

    When we’ve talked about fraud in past episodes, we’ve mainly focused on thieves and hackers. Yitz Mendlowitz or PAAY joins to discuss a kind of fraud perpetrated by a larger number of eCommerce shoppers, so-called “friendly fraud”. Don’t let the name fool you – friendly fraud can be quite damaging to your eCommerce business, but luckily, the payment card industry has created standards to help you avoid this pitfall.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What is so-called “friendly fraud”?
    • Why is the onus on the merchant in friendly-fraud situations?
    • What impact does this type of fraud have on merchant processing fees?
    • What kind of impact does 3-D Secure have on e-commerce businesses?
    Optimizing eCommerce Post-Purchase Interactions
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 47

    eCommerce businesses are often quick to invest in the pre-purchase experience. That includes a wide range of marketing and website experience optimization. What’s often neglected is the post-purchase experience, which can play a heavier role in crucial metrics like customer lifetime value (CLV). Customer experiences after they’ve provided their payment to you also directly impact reviews, chargebacks, and customer service and reputation management expenses – which can quickly erode profits. Tune in to learn more from Robert’s conversation with James Denker of RelayCloud.io.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • Before a purchase is made, the shoppers are wooed. What happens post-purchase when once the sale is made? Is the honeymoon over?
    • Do most transactional e-mails and order notification satisfy customers?
    • What kinds of post-purchase customer expectations have mass retailers like Amazon created? 
    • What are common points of friction between merchants and customers?
    • Just how much can a positive post-purchase interaction impact customer retention and lifetime value?
    • What’s the impact of proactive post-purchase optimization on customer service expenses? 
    • Is there an impact on chargebacks and negative reviews?
    • Do a lot of post-purchase customer experience problems stem from a lack of integration between software systems?
    • How do merchants analyze the data post-purchase interactions? It’s easy to see what happens pre-purchase with Google and other Analytics software, but what about after-the-purchase?
    • Should post-purchase interactions be streamlined? Or like so many business operations, do they need to be tailored to the business?
    Kick back with eCommerce automation evangelists
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 48

    When you want to know which new car is going to hold up well, you don’t ask the dealer. You ask your car mechanic, insurance agent, or even a company that sells extended warranties for automobiles. Why? These are the folks that know which vehicles are costing their customers more in the long run.

    That’s why we invited Dave Malda of eBridgeConnections and Wayne Thompson of Optasy onto the podcast. Like our host, Robert Rand, they each have unique experiences from working within the eCommerce integration community.  These 3 former competitors can now kick back and share insights into how consumer expectations have been changing this year, and how eCommerce operations have been working to keep up.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What eCommerce integrations are experiencing demands increases?
    • Has demand for any integrations cooled off?
    • What platform-specific challenges are merchants running into?
    • Do integrations commonly need to be adjusted and tailored? or can they be used off-the-shelf?
    • Without in-person tradeshows, what’s driving new partnerships and alliances in the eCommerce world?
    Can a Knowledge Base Improve eCommerce Metrics?
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 49

    Online stores can compete for eCommerce shoppers by optimizing their businesses in many ways, including by providing phenomenal customer service. However, like most things worth striving for, that can be easier said than done… especially as brands scale-up. In this episode, Robert discusses Knowledge Base (KB) software with Matt Romans of the Guru team, including opportunities to document pretty much every process, procedure, and piece of information that’s important to your business and your shoppers.

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What is a Knowledge Base (KB)?
    • How do knowledge bases compare to FAQ and Q&A features in websites?
    • What are some common use cases for KB software in the eCommerce industry?
    • What’s the persona of an eCommerce site that’s in obvious need of a KB?
    • What are common use-cases for a KB outside of customer support?
    • Why do some companies make their KB private? Isn’t it more cost-effective to help customers find answers themselves?
    • What kind of net-impact do eCommerce companies experience after deploying a KB?
    • What kinds of systems do knowledge bases need to integrate with, and why? 
    What 20,000 Magento users have in common
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 50

    In eCommerce, you need to get a lot of things right. Your checkout may be the most important of them. If you can’t get shoppers across the finish line, all of your hard work quickly goes down the proverbial drain. That’s why we invited a company that does nothing but focus on delivering an improved checkout experience for Magento stores to chat with Robert for this episode.

    ***Be sure to listen through the end of this track to catch a great blooper from the taping of this episode!***

    Guest: Thien-Lan Weber, OneStepCheckout

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What has the transition from Magento 1 to Magento 2 looked like for a Magento extension developer?
    • Do Magento extensions collect store data and share that with the developers of those extensions?
    • What’s ExtDN and how is it impacting the Magento community?
    How to know if your Magento site is healthy
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 51

    You’ve invested into your Magento site, but you have a sneaking suspicion [or a whole bunch of red flags] that are telling you your site is not healthy. Maybe there are errors. Maybe your site is too slow. Perhaps it’s not ready to handle your traffic peaks or hasn’t been hardened against security threats. It could just be that there are technical issues holding you back from strong SEO rankings.  You need a Magento audit!

    Guest: Guillaume Le Tual, MageMontreal

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • When should a Magento site get audited? 
    • Is there an average time investment that goes into a Magento audit?
    • What are common items that should be included in a basic audit?
    • What about a more comprehensive audit?
    • What’s the alternative? Is it basically the store owners having to accept more risk?
    • Are there times when the results of an audit are so extreme that it’s more cost-effective to start building a fresh site?
    • What more commonly turns up in these audits?
    • What tools do auditors and merchants use to check the health of their Magento sites?
    • What are common issues on the hosting side, as opposed to within the Magento installation itself?
    eCommerce Accessibility Compliance is Finally Becoming Mainstream
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 52

    Outdated eCommerce sites leave disabled shoppers, such as those with visual, auditory, and cognitive disabilities, out in the cold. More modern stores have been doing a much better job when it comes to servicing these customers. While some stores are chasing these customers and the good PR that comes from being inclusive, others are reacting to regulations and legal actions.

    Tune in to learn about achieving eCommerce accessibility and compliance!

    Guest: Simon Dermer, eSSENTIAL Accessibility

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What are the benefits of addressing accessibility issues in your eCommerce site?
    • What are the risks associated with not being compliant?
    • What are the common adjustments that need to be made in order to be compliant?
    • Which team members within an eCommerce organization participate in accessibility compliance-related tasks?
    • Is it easy for a site to fall out of compliance once it’s already been made compliant?
    • Are there still disabilities and special needs that are challenging for websites to support?
    • How long can it take for a site to initially become compliant?
    • Are there situations where a site has to be rebuilt to meet accessibility goals?
    • Are there any countries with more stringent requirements than the United States that merchants should be aware of?
    • Do merchants often see a sales lift, or some form of ROI when deploying assistive technology?
    • Do some merchants get sold on the wrong compliance goals or solutions?
    Should eCommerce stores send shoppers personalized videos?
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 53

    Even before 2020, eCommerce stores were striving to build stronger relationships with their shoppers. While it may not be possible to recreate an in-store experience, if you want to retain your customers and have them excited to do business with you, review your store, and recommend you, you’ll need to treat them like more than a customer number. Video technology can bring shoppers one step closer to in-person interaction with your team, and can be effective with the right tools and processes.

    Guest: Oli Bridge, Bonjoro

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • What’s the ultimate goal of using video as opposed to written or other more traditional communications?
    • Why don’t more eCommerce merchants use recorded video messages to communicate with shoppers?
    • Are videos best personalized for individual customers? Or used in batches, such as to message a segmented shopper list about a new product offering?
    • What’s the best medium to deliver videos to shoppers?
    • What kinds of content and messaging work best?
    • How do you decide which shoppers to make personalized videos for, and when?
    • What kind of eCommerce data points help this process?
    • How can merchants measure success?
    • What kind of lift will an eCommerce store see from these activities?
    • Beyond the numbers, how do shoppers react to video messaging?
    • To do this well, what kind of hardware and software should merchants have? Is it a big investment?
    • Does the process get faster/easier over time, and perhaps better as merchants learn which campaigns work best for their businesses?
    The Next Generation of eCommerce Workflows
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 54

    Data doesn’t just need to get from one system to another. It needs to be transformed through automated workflows in order to save eCommerce merchants time and money, and increase customer satisfaction. Learn how technology providers and service providers are coming together to solve challenges and increase eCommerce business efficiencies.

    Guests:
    – Ramesh Cooke, LYSI Consulting
    – Nate Roybal, Workato

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • How has the data integration industry evolved in recent years?
    • What’s the difference between integrations and workflows?
    • When is it ok to use an off-the-shelf integration, and when do you need to engage with experts to help you customize your integrations?
    • What are some examples of workflows that businesses are thriving with?
    • For website owners, especially those with eCommerce stores, what are some of the most common integrations?
    • What are some common stumbling blocks that businesses should avoid when planning out integrations and workflows?
    The eCommerce Conversion Rate Optimization Mindset
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 55

    Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) doesn’t come down to a standardized checklist. It’s a state of mind. You need to learn about your target market, and engage in a continuous cycle of improvement of your eCommerce and marketing operations.

    Over time, you start to understand how to positively impact sales to particular customer segments and you can lean into winning strategies. You can even use tech to help automate some facets of CRO – but not nearly all.

    As technology and consumer preferences evolve along with the markets you compete within, your eCommerce sales channels should be evolving too.

    In this episode, we discuss examples of what actually helps or hinders eCommerce sales, and a whole lot more!

    Guest: Rob Hammett, Justuno

    Examples of questions that you’ll get answers to in this episode include:

    • Should eCommerce store really use Upselling, Cross-Selling, Related Products, Most Purchased Products, Most Viewed Products, Previously Viewed Products? Or is there a way to find balance?
    • How heavily does psychology play into conversion optimization? Are a lot of shoppers impacted by features intended to keep them from being distracted and interrupting their shopping journey, like countdown timers and exit offers?
    • Do some overlays, like cookie and data consent banners cause friction?
    • Does anyone actually read the privacy terms? Or do they simply click to get rid of the popup?
    • In general, what’s the balance between healthy and unhealthy popups, lightboxes, and overlays?
    • Can different types of popups hurt SEO rankings, cause issues for ad campaigns, or simply increase exit rates?
    • What’s the most important call to action aside from making a sale? Capturing the shoppers e-mail address or cell number? Offer to connect with them through Facebook Messenger? Getting them to take part in a contest? 
    • Do a lot of merchants do a good job of communicating with shoppers through a variety of mediums? Or are most still siloed with e-mail?
    • Do a lot of shoppers agree to get push notifications through their web browser, like Google Chrome?
    • How important is segmentation and split testing to conversion rate optimization? Do most campaigns work similarly for different stores? Or is it really a test and measure approach?
    • How much of this is best accomplished with human strategy and how much best solved with data and AI?
    • How much data does it take to become really actionable? Is it based on the number of site visitors, customers, or purchases? All of the above?
    • Do a lot of merchants vary their offers and promotions based on devices (like mobile vs desktop) and the location of the shopper?
    • Do cart abandonment campaigns to bring back shoppers really work? Or is it a placebo effect because those shoppers were going to come back anyway?
    Gift Card, Coupon, and Loyalty Optimization Strategies
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 56

    When eCommerce merchants talk about gift cards, loyalty programs, and coupons, they’re often discussed as features, rather than strategies. That can lead to a lot of missed opportunities to engage with shoppers and get them excited. That does, of course, include having the right functionality to support your strategies, but features are only a means to an end. The goal is always to find ways to appeal to consumers, which can be extra difficult for multichannel merchants, or merchants that don’t start off with the capability to combine these features or run advanced campaigns.

    Guest: Pravin Kamble, 99minds.io

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • Common challenges merchants face when it comes to gift cards, loyalty/reward programs, and promotions.
    • Features and strategies that can help improve campaign results.
    • Examples of using these features in conjunction with each other.
    • Challenges and solutions for sellers that have both eCommerce and brick-and-mortar stores.
    • Upcoming opportunities to sell more gift cards to shoppers.

    Additional Resource:

    In this episode, Pravin mentioned an upcoming project, RallyGiftCard.com. As an eCommerce merchant, you can request to list your gift cards on this site by filling out a quick Google form: https://forms.gle/2wtW24QANBfEar5u8

    BFCM 2020 is now history - Let's learn from it!
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 57

    Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) 2020, and the rest of the holiday shopping season is now history. Black Friday was up 22% year-over-year. Cyber Monday was up 15%. It’s 2021 and shoppers are still waiting on back-ordered items and finally getting around to returning holiday purchases.

    It’s hard to imagine an online merchant that couldn’t or shouldn’t learn from this past Q4. Listen in as eCommerce industry veterans attempt to piece together just what happened, and how we can all learn, grow, and improve.

    Guests:
    Jane Powell – CloudCafe.io
    Russell Wollam – BrandNexity

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • What were the real problems merchants faced in this Q4?
    • Was growth a bigger issue for website infrastructure, shipping + logistics, or returns?
    • What challenges did sites with limited-inventory items, like Playstation 5 consoles, face?
    • Were experiences of multichannel and omnichannel merchants different than D2C?
    • Do current supply chains handle eCommerce returns efficiently?
    • What can merchants do to avoid repeating the mistakes of brands that experienced failures?
    Tackling the Challenges of eCommerce Operations
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 58

    Online stores experience operations challenges as they scale up. In some cases, it’s with forecasting and inventory management. In other situations, there are delays in fulfillment operations. While every eCommerce business is unique, this episode pulls at some common threads that store owners are tethered by as they grow.

    Guest: Chad Rubin, Skubana

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • What are legacy ERP and operations software platforms missing that are important for eCommerce businesses?
    • How does operations software impact:
      • Order fulfillment timelines
      • Inventory management
      • Data entry and errors
      • Multiwarehouse and multichannel growth
      • Bundling, kitting, and order splitting
      • Tracking margins, operating costs, and profits
      • Business forecasting
      • Cross-departmental analytics
    Magento Extension Insights for 2021
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 59

    What Magento extensions are in demand? What are merchants and developers asking for? How has demand for different extensions changed in the last year? What are extension developers doing differently to better service eCommerce businesses?

    We had a lot of questions, and we certainly weren’t disappointed by the answers. Tune in to learn more!

    Guest: Sergej Derzap, Amasty

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • Why are Magento extension development teams partnering up with each other, and what does it mean for merchants?
    • Which versions of Magento are extension developers most focused on?
    • What extensions have seen increased demand in the last year?
    • What are new extensions are teams like Amasty working to deliver in 2021?
    Do you have to sell on Amazon to Advertise on Amazon?
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 60

    Most merchants think of Amazon’s marketplace as a competitor first, and a place to list products seconds. As part of selling your products on Amazon, you’re given the option of promoting those listings… but the Amazon Demand-side Platform (DSP) is capable of a whole lot more. You can take advantage of Amazon’s vast reach and data sets to target shoppers with ads that lead to your own eCommerce website.

    You read that right. You can run ads that lead to your own “.com”. You can also run ads across Amazon’s advertising network which includes properties like IMDb, Twitch, Zappos, and Goodreads.

    Guest: Joseph La Selva, Perpetua.io

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • Where can ads appear within the Amazon marketplace?
    • What is the Amazon Demand Side Platform (DSP), and how has it been evolving?
    • What is the billing model for running ads through Amazon? Are the fees per-impression, per-click, or does Amazon use a different model?
    • Aside from having ads appear in relation to certain products or keywords, Amazon has lots of consumer data to draw from. What kind of targeting features are they making available to merchants?
    • Can DSP ads display on other websites, outside of Amazon.com?
    • Can you use Amazon’s DSP for retargeting, much like you would other digital ad platforms?
    • How about e-mail lists, and lookalike audiences? Are they supported?
    • How long does it typically take to optimize a campaign and identify if it’s profitable?
    • Why do some of these particular Amazon ad campaigns fail?
    • What’s a healthy ad budget to test out?
    Google Analytics 4, Microsoft Clarity, and Other eCommerce Analytics Insights for 2021
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 61

    Your online store is only as good as the data you’re using to optimize it. Whether you’re trying to find the best sources of new customers, or improve the shopping experience on your site, analytics data can make or break your business. In this episode, we expand on the topic of eCommerce analytics, discussing tips, tools, and recommendations for businesses that are looking for a competitive edge in 2021. That includes discussions around newer systems like Google Analytics 4 and Microsoft Clarity. In addition, we share information about important and evolving concepts around cookies, bot traffic, and other evolving considerations.

    Guest: Chris Mercer, MeasurementMarketing.io

    Resources mentioned in this episode:

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • How does tracking eCommerce data turn back into $$$ for merchants?
    • Is analytics data being significantly impacted by ad blockers and other privacy measures?
    • Does bot traffic throw off analytics data in a major way?
    • How can merchants identify healthy benchmarks for their eCommerce sites?
    • Google is promoting Google Analytics 4. What should eCommerce businesses be aware of about GA4?
    • Is Microsoft Clarity worth testing out?
    Allowing eCommerce Shoppers to Personalize Their Own Shopping Experiences
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 62

    When we think of website personalization, AI is often top of mind. However, trying to predict what a shopper wants is not often as beneficial as allowing them to customize their own shopping journey. It’s not about averages or guesses, it’s about listening to people and treating them like highly-valued individuals. So, we called in an expert to discuss how eCommerce stores are allowing online shoppers to personalize their own shopping experiences.

    Guest: Gen Furukawa, Co-Founder at Prehook & Co-Host of the Cart Overflow Podcast

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • What types of questions should eCommerce sites be asking shoppers?
    • Is it better to keep the tone very formal, or go for a more fun vibe?
    • Will shoppers will actually answer quizzes or other questions?
    • How should merchants invite shoppers to take a quiz? 
    • How can merchants leverage these quiz answers once they’re received? 
    • What kind of net results should a merchant be aiming for from this type of optimization campaign in terms of CRO and CLV?
    • What are some brands that are doing this really well? 
    B2B and B2C eCommerce Insights for 2021
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 63

    eCommerce is always evolving. In this episode, you’ll hear stories from 3 industry insiders as they discuss what’s already changed, what’s changing… and even some predictions. Along the way, you’ll learn about the intersections of eCommerce with other important areas, like Sales Tax and ERP solutions. You’ll also hear about different disruptions and improvements being experienced by different eCommerce merchants, including B2C/B2B and SMB/Mid-Market/Enterprise businesses.

    Have you been missing sitting down with experts at eCommerce trade shows and learning what’s really going on? Then strap yourself in and get ready for our longest episode yet!

    Guests:

    • Shannon Kelly, Vertex Inc
    • Ted Stenstrom, Kensium Solutions

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • What kinds of disruption have eCommerce merchants been weathering in the last year?
    • How have businesses successfully navigated those waters?
    • What challenges lay ahead?
    • How different have these experiences been for B2C/B2B, as well as SMB/Mid-Market/Enterprise merchants?
    • What kinds of curveballs are sales tax regulations throwing at eCommerce businesses?
    • How is ERP software impacting fulfillment and other logistical issues of eCommerce operations?
    Which parts of your eCommerce email campaigns can you outsource and which can't you?
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 64
    Chances are your eCommerce business is already running email marketing campaigns. At the same time, it’s likely that you aren’t maximizing those campaigns. So we thought we’d talk to an email marketing expert about some of those advanced features and concepts that may be worth another look. At the same time, we were curious to get feedback on when it’s time to call in the cavalry, and when you need to find the bandwidth to tackle tasks in-house.
    Guest: Mike Arsenault, Rejoiner.com

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • What minimum role does an eCommerce brand need to play in its email marketing?
    • Beyond sending newsletters and messages about sales, what kinds of automation and advanced campaigns should eCommerce brands be focused on? 
    • How should transactional emails fall into email marketing strategies?
    • How do list growth and data hygiene fit in? How do merchants ensure that their lists and domains remain clean and deliverability remains extremely high?
    eCommerce Customer Experience Optimization Tips for 2021
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 65

    Many of our podcast episodes touch on increasing KPIs like conversion rates, average order values, and customer lifetime values. For this episodes, we tried to take a step back  and think more about the mice (ie. eCommerce shoppers), as opposed to making it all about the mousetraps.

    Guest: Will Laurenson, CustomersWhoClick.com

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • How do you begin evaluating an eCommerce website in regard to the customer experience?
    • Is simply converting a site visitor into a customer the be-all-end-all goal?
    • There are a lot of average sites out there. Is an off-the-shelf experience sometimes enough?
    • What’s most important in delighting customers these days? 
    • What kinds of unique experiences do shoppers actually like/prefer? 
    • Is there such a thing as over-optimizing the customer experience?
    • Are any old standards falling out of favor?
    • What’s new in 2021 and what’s coming down the pike? Are there new optimizations that we should all be watching?
    Best Practices for Auto Updating Your Website
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 66

    Highly customizable applications like Drupal and Magento have made auto-updating elusive. That’s left users applying updates manually. For some organizations, allocating resources to patch and update software in a timely fashion is a real challenge. So, we asked an expert in the area of auto-updating for these kinds of platforms what a healthy workflow can look like.

    Tune in to learn about the pros and cons of common practices for updating CMS, eCommerce, and other open-source software. This includes whether following generalized compliance standards like PCI-DSS is enough to keep your website safe.

    Guest: Johannes Noll, Codario.io & CodeShield.io

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • Why have platforms like WordPress already introduced auto-updating?
    • Why is this less common with more complex platforms, like Drupal and Magento?
    • Aside from updating the core coding of a platform, what about modules, plugins, extensions, and other add-ons? Is that equally challenging?
    • What holds back business owners from updating their CMS and eCommerce software, including add-on modules? 
    • How is the market solving for this?
    • How much time and money can organizations save with more automated processes?
    • Are there any prerequisites, other than using a version control system, like GitHub?
    • Aside from the obvious business disruptions, what are evolving risks related to not updating your site in a timely fashion?
    Learning from prices on competing eCommerce websites
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 67

    Online shoppers compare your prices to those of other eCommerce stores. How do you track and use competitor pricing and inventory availability? Can this practice help you to increase your prices? Which products should you track, and how often should you adjust prices? Not sure? Well, get ready to learn how eCommerce merchants are tracking competitors and optimizing their product prices continuously in this episode about eCommerce product price comparison, analysis, and strategy.

    Guest: Burc Tanir, Prisync

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • What are key takeaways merchants get from observing how their competitor’s price products? Is it all about a race to the lowest price and thinnest margins?
    • How does inventory availability fit in? If products are selling out elsewhere, is it time to raise prices?
    • Are there times when it’s difficult to scrape data from competitors, or are all publicly accessible prices easily crawled?
    • Is it more important to be cost-competitive on big-ticket items that draw shoppers in, but easier to charge a bit more for addons and secondary items?
    • How often should merchants be adjusting product prices?
    • If you’re a brand with your own Direct 2 Consumer goods, is it still important to monitor competitor pricing trends, even though the products aren’t exactly the same?
    • What about products that are subject to MAP pricing? Since the minimum price is set by the manufacturer, do these simply get excluded from repricing efforts?
    • Do manufacturers use similar scraping technology to make sure that online retailers aren’t breaking MAP pricing rules?
    How Privacy is Getting Both Harder and Easier for eCommerce Merchants to Manage
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 68

    Managing customer data and honoring data privacy regulations has been getting more complex for eCommerce merchants. There’s GDPR from the EU, CCPA from California, LGPD down in Brazil, and now VCDPA in Virginia.

    Consumers and the governments that represent them are demanding the right to be forgotten (the right to the erasure of data), along with a range of other rights, from the ability to access and rectify information to the ability to copy or move data (ie. data portability).

    So, we called in an expert to discuss how merchants are keeping shoppers happy while solving the technical challenges that these regulations are creating.

    Guest: Mate Prgin, Enzuzo

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • What are the compliance burdens on eCommerce merchants?
    • Does using 3rd party vendors and apps reduce risks and obligations?
    • What do the risks and fines look like if you have a data breach or otherwise run afoul of these laws?
    • How does data privacy impact day-to-day operations, and are merchants at risk of not meeting customer expectations?
    Magento Training and Certification Tips, Trends and Advice
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 69

    Whether you’re a frontend dev, backend dev, eCommerce manager, marketer, or other stakeholder, figuring out how to gain expertise in Magento can be difficult. If you want to improve your work and advance your business or career, you’ll appreciate this episode!

    We cover everything from where to get started, to how to become a rockstar in the Magento community.

    Guest: Joseph Maxwell, SwiftOtter

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • If someone wants to learn more about Magento for the first time or is just getting hired by a merchant or agency that uses Magento, where should they start learning more about Magento?
    • What about as they become more advanced?
    • What differentiates between a basic developer and a rockstar? Is there something that devs can do to up their game?
    • Does training have a direct impact on happiness in this business?
    • As Magento is open-source, if users have questions, where should they go for answers?
    • Are Magento Commerce users more reliant on Adobe for getting questions answered?
    • How do certifications fit into the mix? What kind of value do they bring?
    • Do you need an amount of hands-on experience to pass a Magento certification exam?
    • How long does it take to study and prepare for a Magento certification exam?
    • How has the acquisition by Adobe impacted education and certification for the Magento community at large?
    These Aren't The Coupons You're Looking For
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 70

    Browser extensions like Honey and Capital One Shopping (formerly Wikibuy) promise to give shoppers the best coupon codes at checkout automatically. For merchants, it’s like someone’s standing at the checkout handing out photocopies of exclusive coupons – something they’d never stand for at brick-and-mortar stores. Shoppers wind up using coupons that weren’t intended for them, hurting margins and making it harder to attribute sales to marketing and retention campaigns. So, we called in an expert to discuss both the problems and solutions.

    Guest: Matt Gillis, Clean.io

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • What is malvertising?
    • How are eCommerce stores being impacted by browser extensions like Honey and Capital One Shopping?
    • How do these browser extensions make money?
    • How can eCommerce merchants block the use of these apps?
    The Intersection of eCommerce and LTL Freight
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 71

    Whether you need to move items in bulk, or simply need to deliver heavy or oversized items, less-than-truckload (LTL) freight is often your best bet. Demand for this type of service has been going up for lots of reasons, so we decided to get some answers.

    Guest: Anthony Charland, Kuehne+Nagel

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • What are the differences between national and regional freight carriers?
    • How are freight carriers addressing increased demand from their clients?
    • What are the challenges of using LTL Freight for residential deliveries?
    • Has the move to distributed warehousing had a major impact on the freight industry?
    The Growth of eCommerce Buy Now Pay Later
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 72

    As eCommerce “Buy Now, Pay Later” solutions continue to grow in popularity, we decided it was time to take a 360-degree look at these payment solutions. As with other categories of eCommerce addons and integrations, these fintech solutions bear some similarities to each other, but they aren’t nearly the same. In fact, some even stack together. They’re also servicing a sizable market. In some cases, they even build their own loyal followers who prefer online stores that allow them to pay with their favorite financing solution. Are you as curious as we were about how savvy merchants are leveraging solutions that allow shoppers to pay over time? Then you’ll love this episode!

    Guest: Kali Keesee, Katapult

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • Which consumers prefer to use Buy Now, Pay Later solutions?
    • Why aren’t these shoppers opting to use Credit or Debit cards to pay?
    • How do these systems compare to retail solutions like layaway and store credit cards? or 0% financing offered by some retailers, like furniture stores?
    • What are some of the core differences between different solution providers like Affirm, AfterPay, Bread, Katapult, Klarna, PayPal Credit Sezzle, SplitIt, and ViaBill?
    • How are Buy Now, Pay Later fintech companies making money? Are the buyers paying interest or fees or are the costs paid by the merchants?
    • What types of products align well with these offerings?
    • What average cart values are a fit for financing, consumer loan, pay over time, and lease-to-own solutions?
    • Do returns become more complicated with one of these payment solutions involved?
    • What kinds of terms are shoppers given?
    • Are credit scores or other determining factors involved in issuing credit to shoppers?
    • What happens if the shoppers fall behind in payments?
    eCommerce Loyalty and Improving Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 73

    In the eCommerce world, 2020 was spent acquiring and supporting new online customers. In 2021 eCommerce merchants are taking advantage of their recent growth by putting a greater focus on retention and customer lifetime value (CLV).

    So, we decided to spend some time discussing ways to keep your shoppers engaged with your brand AND loyal to your store. Through the process, we also unearthed some policies that you’ll want to avoid.

    Guest: Fiona Stevens, LoyaltyLion

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • How can eCommerce stores use automation to improve customer retention without losing the personal touch? 
    • How are merchants breaking shoppers into customer tiers to better engage with loyal customers?
    • What are some of the more interesting and effective loyalty campaigns being operated by online stores?
    • Can loyalty points incentivize shoppers to purchase new products or to buy merchandise that a seller wants to prioritize, like closeouts?
    • What can/should eCommerce websites incentivize shoppers to do, other than making purchases, to improve CLV?
    • Why do some merchants fail when it comes to loyalty and retention campaigns?
    Optimizing Your Growing Tech Stack
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 74

    The longer your business is operating and growing, the more software you’ve inevitably deployed. Over time, your organization can easily wind up with a variety of software subscriptions and solutions that aren’t in alignment with your needs or goals. Some aren’t well used or are redundant and should be eliminated. Others stop being a good fit as your business evolves.

    Whether you’re an eCommerce manager, IT director, CMO, COO, or someone else that’s responsible for signing off on a lot of software, choosing and tracking those systems rarely gets easier. That’s why we’re excited to release this episode about tech stack optimization. We discussed how both end-users like merchants, and aggregate users like digital agencies, can better manage their tech stacks.

    Guest: Sheryl Shultz, CabinetM

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • Once organizations have better insights into all of the tools in their tech stacks, what are some of the typical next steps?
    • Is this about a one-time or occasional cleanup or are businesses best-served by tracking their tech stacks in an ongoing fashion?
    • How often do organizations wind up with the wrong tools for the job, based on their size, skills, and needs?
    • Is integration still one of the main sticking points that makes a solution a good or a bad fit for a particular user?
    • What are some of the most common factors leading businesses to choose the wrong tools or vendors? Are they sold on marketing, brand awareness, and hype? Or is something else going on?
    • Do enterprises typically have a good handle on managing their software and technology usage? Is it the smaller businesses that need more help?
    • How much of this process really needs the human touch?
    The Magento ecosystem moves beyond Luma
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 75

    The Backdrop:

    Luma is the default theme that Magento 2 websites around the world have been using for years.

    It’s several years old, trying to compete in the fast-paced world of eCommerce. So the question is “Is it the best solution?”.

    There are Magento themes for sale that are full of bells and whistles. They’re intended to give you lots of extra features quickly, but also add complexity and technical debt for your developers.

    Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are another way to go, but as newer entrants into the market, they bring their own challenges.

    Enter Hyvä:

    An experienced Magento developer was planning to build an eCommerce site for his wife’s business and wanted to use Magento. However, he was dissatisfied with Luma and its old coding languages and methodologies. He wanted something cleaner, built with newer coding languages.

    They say that necessity is the mother of invention. In this episode, we chat about the variety of theming options that led Willem Wigman to create Hyvä, as well as what a theme like Hyvä can mean to the Magento community – from the happiness of developers to the Google Core Web Vitals scores earned by merchants, and the billable hours needed to build and upkeep a Magento 2 store.

    Guest: Andreas von Studnitz, integer-net

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • Luma arrived with Magento 2 in 2015. Once the bugs were worked out, was it ever “great” from a development standpoint?
    • What are the core weaknesses of the Luma theme that make developers want something else?
    • In 2019, PWA Studio became available to Magento users. It’s now up to version 10. Why aren’t we seeing more merchants use this solution?
    • How do 3rd party PWAs stack up for the average Magento users?
    • How long did it take for Hyvä to become market-ready?
    • What are some key strengths of Hyvä compared to other solutions like Luma and traditional Magento 2 themes?
    • Is it more work to integrate extension with Hyvä?
    • How does maintaining the frontend compare with Luma?
    • Can you earn better Google Page Speed Insights scores when using Hyvä?
    • What has the impact been on new site launches? Does using Hyvä take less/more time than Luma?
    •  Has working with Hyvä been a substantially different experience for developers?
    • Hyvä is compatible with Magento 2.4 and above. Are there any other considerations around who should be considering using this theme? Are there times when Luma, PWA, or options should be chosen?
    • Hyvä provides the option of using the existing Luma checkout or its own Hyvä checkout. What’s the difference?
    • Since it only launched earlier this year, what’s still in the works for Hyvä? 
    • What kind of support do merchants receive when they purchase Hyvä?

    Additional Resource about Hyvä that you may find helpful:

    Successful projects with Hyvä – The impact of Developer Happiness from Andreas von Studnitz
    eCommerce Platform Total Cost of Ownership
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 76

    We’ve entered a new reality in which eCommerce platforms can’t stop talking about their low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). They all seem to believe that they provide the lowest TCO. It begs the question, “how are they all coming to different conclusions?”

    However, the deeper underlying question is “should TCO really be as big a decision-making factor as these platforms are trying to make it?”

    In this episode, we try to dissect eCommerce platform TCO as a concept, while also pointing out other hugely important factors, such as opportunity costs.

    Guest: Ben Marks, Shopware

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • Why is Total Cost of Ownership treated like the holy grail by eCommerce platforms? 
    • Why don’t any two platforms run the numbers the same way? Is there an inherent bias?
    • What’s most often left out of these equations?
    • Why don’t platforms look at the same length of time when calculating TCO?
    Open Source vs Closed Source eCommerce Platforms
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 77

    In episode #76, Ben Marks and Robert Rand took a deep dive into eCommerce platform Total Cost of Ownership. It was Part 1 of a double-header, and leads directly into this episode in which Ben and Robert discuss Open Source vs. Closed Source eCommerce.

    If you’re tired of sales teams pitching what’s great about their eCommerce platforms and simply want to learn the actual pros and cons to look out for, this episode is for you!

    Guest: Ben Marks, Shopware

    In this episode, Ben and Robert touch on important differences between open and closed source platforms, including:

    • Communities/Ecosystems
    • Website Ownership and Suspensions
    • Data Ownership and Privacy
    • Reliance on 3rd Party Apps
    • The Impact of 3rd Party Apps on Security, Scalability, Speed, and Reliability
    • Fees and Penalties for Growth
    • Conflicts between Extensions vs Apps
    • Who Controls Available Integrations and Apps
    • Abilities to Customize Your Website and Stay Ahead of the Curve
    • What Happens If You Need Core Customizations
    • What If You Need Multiple Websites/Storefronts
    Is It Ever Ok To Link Shoppers Away From Your eCommerce Store?
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 78

    The eCommerce industry is fixated on getting shoppers to make immediate purchases.

    Striving for a higher conversion rate is always healthy, right? The challenge is considering what will really impact that conversion rate in the long run.

    What’s not talked about often enough is that online shoppers aren’t always ready to make a purchase. Many are simply researching.

    However, this way of thinking has caused many shops to avoid linking to off-site content. The emphasis is instead on keeping the shopper on-site, pushing them directly toward making a purchase.

    In this episode, we discuss when linking to off-site content can actually increase important metrics like customer lifetime value and how this practice can be healthy for your marketing campaigns too!

    Guest: Scott Rogerson, Upcontent

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • When should store owners link to offsite content?
    • What are best practices for outbound linking?
    • How will linking offsite impact SEO campaigns?
    • Should stores consider linking to 3rd party content from their marketing campaigns as well?
    • Which merchants are reaping the benefits of outbound linking campaigns?
    How Your Website Platform Impacts Your ADA Compliance
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 79

    Popular tools that market themselves as solutions to make websites accessible to people with disabilities have been coming under fire. Apparently, some haven’t been living up to their missions. So we thought it would be interesting to look at this topic from the ground up.

    In this episode, we discuss the role of your CMS or eCommerce platform in ADA Compliance, but we don’t stop there. We share information on just how far tools can go in solving your compliance needs, and what else you still need to be aware of. We even get insights into the legal ramifications of non-compliance… including who is being targeted by lawsuits.

    Guest: Scott Trachtenberg, ADASiteCompliance

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • What kinds of ADA compliance issues can apps and software tools solve, and what requires human intervention?
    • Does your CMS or eCommerce platform have a big impact on your ability to be ADA compliant?
    • Is this a zero-sum game where either you’re compliant, or you’re not? Or, can you tackle this in stages, much like you might approach loading speed optimization?
    • Other than webpages, are there other digital assets that need to be optimized for ADA compliance on a website?
    Generating eCommerce Sales Through Platforms Like Google and Instagram
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 80

    Learn how eCommerce stores continue to experience growth through ad networks like Google Shopping and Instagram. Beyond simply setting up campaigns, you’ll hear about common challenges and strategies for achieving success.

    Guest: Tony Capetola, Sales&Orders

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • What dictates which paid marketing channels eCommerce brands should be using to promote their products?
    • Is simply listing products through platforms like Google Shopping enough?
    • Where do merchants commonly fail or underachieve with these sorts of campaigns?
    eCommerce Brands Choosing SMS over Email
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 81

    Consumers open text messages. That’s more than can be said of e-mails.

    This is leading more eCommerce merchants to embrace SMS. However, stores still need to treat this communication channel with the respect that shoppers demand.

    Most of us already receive basic text messages or push notifications from major brands… but what if you added dimensionality to SMS, allowing shoppers to respond to your texts and get answers, delivering conversational commerce experiences?

    Guest: Rev Reddy, VoyageSMS

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • What types of communications are texts well suited to when it comes to eCommerce? 
    • How long has SMS been a manageable communication channel for eCommerce merchants?
    • What challenges are still being tackled by eCommerce SMS platforms?
    • How do open rates for SMS compare to email?
    • Does SMS replace other communications channels like email, or compliment them?
    • Why are a majority of merchants still using email as their primary communications channel?
    • What are some examples of highly successful SMS campaigns?
    • Why have some merchants historically failed with SMS campaigns and communication channels?
    You Can No Longer Rely On Email Marketing Open Rates
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 82

    Apple’s iOS15 is promises to significantly limit your ability to know if emails are opened by their recipients. Digital marketers need to prepare for this shift in available data and analytics. Moving forward, it will be important to consider which metrics to look at in order to best optimize email campaigns, including those run by eCommerce merchants to keep shoppers engaged and coming back to make more purchases.

    Guest: Jon Pruitt, Omnisend

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • How is iOS 15 going to impact e-mail marketers?
    • How were marketers traditionally leveraging data on e-mail opens?
    • How accurate was this data previously?
    • Was it a good measurement to leverage in recent years?
    • Moving forward, what should marketers be tracking instead?
    eCommerce Acquisitions - Learning from Failures and Successes
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 83

    Every year, more online stores are bought and sold. At the same time, many eCommerce business owners find themselves unable to find the right buyer in order to achieve their exit goals.

    Learm what you can do in order to set yourself up for an eventual successful acquisition.

    Guest: Joe Valley of Quiet Light Brokerage, Author of The Exitpreneur’s Playbook: How to sell your online business for top dollar by reverse engineering your pathway to success.

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • Who is purchasing eCommerce stores?
    • Is the demand for acquisitions growing?
    • How much annual revenue does a typical eCommerce store need to be generating in order to be interesting to these sorts of buyers?
    • What kind of multiple do these businesses typically attract?
    • Is there a minimum valuation that piques the interest of merchants?
    • Is it all about metrics like revenue, profit margins, and customer lifetime values, or are there other considerations, like brand awareness, that can influence valuations?
    • What can merchants do to improve their valuations? 
    • Are there risks to trimming too much fat and then not getting acquired?
    • How long does the process usually take?
    • Are the payments typically structured or contingent on the business continuing to perform for a period of time after the sale?
    • Do the acquired stores continue to be managed independently, or do they usually get absorbed in order to consolidate staff and vendors?
    • Do new owners pump money into these businesses to improve them?
    • How important is culture to an acquisition? Is it wise to combine with a company that operates very differently or has significantly different values?
    • Are there common reasons that acquisition deals fall apart, or businesses never come to terms with a buyer?
    Elegantly splitting orders to improve Magento order fulfillment
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 84

    Some eCommerce businesses utilize complex order fulfillment software. Others rely on succinct solutions to address needs, like order splitting.

    Why split orders? Maybe you’ll be fulfilling an order from multiple stores or warehouses. Maybe you want to split an order between in-stock items and back-ordered items. Perhaps items need to be shipped separately or uniquely, such as oversized items.

    This may all sound obvious, but just because it’s logical, doesn’t make it simple. Not all eCommerce businesses have the same needs or requirements.

    This is a great example of how Magento Extensions can greatly improve business efficiencies and customer satisfaction.

    Guest: Rajneesh Vyas, SunArc Technologies

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • Why do eCommerce merchants need to split orders?
    • How does this impact the order fulfillment process?
    • Does this have an impact on customer satisfaction?
    Balancing eCommerce Ad Campaigns to Generate Higher ROAS
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 85

    There are distinct similarities between attracting shoppers to eCommerce stores and to physical stores, but it’s not the same thing.

    When a consumer visits a brick and mortar store, they’re exhibiting a stronger intent to make a purchase. Online shoppers are typically still researching.

    That means that treating every ad click like it’s going to convert into a sale can be a costly mistake. In this episode, Robert and Brendan discuss how to properly balance your marketing to (1) attract new shoppers, (2) educate them, and (3) ultimately help them decide to make a purchase.

    They go farther by sharing insights on balancing campaigns across different advertising platforms, like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube… and dealing with the challenge of optimizing marketing spends based on which platforms and campaigns are actually delivering the best results – including return on ad spend (ROAS).

    Guest: Brendan Hughes, Optily

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • How can eCommerce merchants use ad campaigns to make sure that they’re both engaging with new audiences and nurturing existing audiences?
    • Is it fair to directly compare the ROAS between these types of campaigns?
    • What are the risks of not keeping a healthy balance between top, middle, and bottom of funnel campaigns?
    How Message Queuing is Modernizing Magento 2 Store Performance
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 86

    RabbitMQ has been integrated with the core of Magento 2 for a long time now, but many Magento users don’t know much about it.

    We thought we’d go down this rabbit hole with you.

    Yes, we went there. 🐇

    Guests:

    • Ed Byford, RabbitMQ/VMWare
    • Rob Neumann, CSS Commerce

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • What is a message broker/queue manager, and why is it important to your eCommerce business?
    • Why did RabbitMQ become a native integration in Magento 2?
    • Why are Magento 2 stores opting to use RabbitMQ instead of MySQL for message queuing?
    • What’s unique about RabbitMQ as an open-source message queueing software?
    • How are savvy developers and merchants leveraging RabbitMQ to assist with integrating ERP, PIM, and other software platforms?
    Creating a Data Driven Culture In Your eCommerce Business
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 87

    Whether they started there or not, eCommerce stores are in the data business. Data helps with everything from forecasting sales and stocking products, to understanding profit margins on items, to optimizing the shopper experiences.

    In this episode, Nick shares his wisdom from his years at Etsy and Jet, and from his role as CEO of DAS42. Learn about common data analysis challenges that your business should watch out for and best practices that you should be benefiting from.

    Guest: Nick Amabile, DAS42

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • Should the IT leadership within an eCommerce company be spearheading analytics and business intelligence, or should someone else be steering the ship?
    • What are some of the best platforms for unifying eCommerce data and analytics?
    • Once data is flowing to a unified system, what kind of deliverables should eCommerce merchants be looking for? Are there reports they should be sure not to overlook?
    • How does data privacy and security impact efforts to centralize data analytics and business intelligence?
    How Live Chat is Generating a 5X eCommerce Sales Lift
    The JetRails Podcast - Episode 88

    On just about every episode of our podcast, our guests describe different ways for merchants to improve an eCommerce store’s bottom line. Few tell us that they can come anywhere close to generating a 5x increase in eCommerce sales, which makes this episode especially intriguing.

    While we may be biased about businesses that have “Jet” in their name, we still asked this guest tough questions about live chat. This episode delves into best practices for staffing, dealing with upset shoppers, avoiding chat-operator burnout, and more!

    Guest: Mike Christie, JetSpring

    Examples of topics discussed in this episode include:

    • Should live chat be proactive, reactive, or both?
    • How is live chat different when it’s used for eCommerce stores?
    • What is specifically allowing live chat to impact sales statistics drastically?
    • What is the process of finding, training, and retaining live chat operators like?
    • What are key KPIs for individual chat operators, or for an overall live chat program?
    • How does live chat stack up against other modes of communication?
    • Should chatbots be integrated as part of a live chat solution?
    • What can cause live chat initiatives to fail?
    • How should chat operators deal with upset shoppers?
    • How do you avoid chat operator burnout?
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    We know that for many merchants and ecommerce practitioners it can be hard to keep up with the latest and greatest news, tips, and insights. At JetRails, we strive to bring you meaningful information through our blog, our social media accounts including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. We’ve even begun taping videos with industry experts to help provide content in a more dynamic format. However, many of you are maxing out on screen time, limiting your ability to stay in-the-know on topics that are crucial to your success. That’s why we’ve created “The JetRails Podcast,” a podcast for folks in the ecommerce industry created by the ecommerce hosting experts at JetRails and featuring guests from across the spectrum of web development, digital marketing, tech, and ecommerce management.

    We highly encourage you to subscribe to The JetRails Podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts such as:

    The videos of our podcasts are available on YouTube and Facebook.

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