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Magento end of life: Is your website affected?

by  David Dwyer on  12/12/2016

What else should you consider in the design and development of your online store?

If you run an e-commerce business or are thinking of launching one, Magento is probably towards the front of your mind.  

What you may not know is that older versions of the Magento e-Commerce platform have been put on notice – they are facing end of life in June 2020. This means that Magento 1.9.x will no longer be supported with security or quality patches after that point. And depending on the version you are running, may already have ceased receiving quality patches. 

But rather than shed a tear, let’s look to the future. Upgrading to the latest Magento platform should not be seen as just another cost. It is an opportunity to innovate your whole e-Commerce proposition and take advantage of the consequent benefits including ease of use for customers. 

 

What does a good e-Commerce website look like? 

Much as the base functionality of online shopping is well established, the trend is still towards innovation and recreating the feeling shoppers get in bricks and mortar stores.  

As technology advances it’s essential you incorporate this into your offering because your competition will be. 

This means good quality design and development of your online store today is a must. Shoppers expectations have fundamentally changed, making them much more demanding. They want their products or services immediately, and to have the freedom to complete the transaction where (device – mobile, desktop, tablet), when they want (timing) and how they want (payment acceptance – Facebook’s Libra (future), Apple Pay, Credit/Debit Card, Bitcoin, PayPal, the list goes on…).  

Such expectations and behaviour have driven online sales, and equally, good online shopping experiences drive consumer behaviour. It is a virtuous circle for online retailers. 

 

Appearance matters in online stores!  

A professional look, underpinned by good user experience (UX), is so important nowadays. Looking back, early online stores fulfilled the function of the one-off sale, but not much beyond this to enhance the lifetime value of a customer.  

So it helps to put yourself in the users' shoes ie get into their mindset so that they feel as engaged as if they’re shopping in a physical store but from the comfort of their own home.  

If you have a physical store this may mean getting ensuring your digital design is consistent with it. And if you don’t, putting the same level of design consideration in as if you were designing a bricks and mortar business.  

Many businesses have already evolved to cater to this demanding marketplace and improved the buying experience in their e-commerce website. This is why the Magento end of life news should be seen as an opportunity rather than an obstacle if you are yet to evolve. 

We talked about achieving consistency with a physical store, if you have one. And equally, you’ll also want that consistency throughout your digital footprint. You probably do this already, but think beyond your actual website and consider your presence across the net, on social media and review sites for example. 

 

What else should you consider in the design and development of your online store? 

As the design and development of online stores has evolved, many aspects of the shopping experience have been simplified for the purchaser. Let’s take a look at ways this is achieved. 

Good UX in online stores 
UX (User eXperience) has become far more significant in the design stage, so we see the latest online stores being more intuitive. This means making the purchase process as easy as possible. Ways you can achieve this including cutting out unnecessary stages or screens and using well-considered button copy (e.g. “Secure Checkout”) , calls to actions and prompts to the user. 

Responsive design in online stores 
In just a few short years, responsive design – that is a website which senses the screen size it is being viewed on and automatically optimises itself -  has gone from being to a nice touch to a must-have. In fact, given that more than half of UK online retail sales are made through a mobile device, we would recommend taking a mobile first approach. 

Promoting your online store through social media 
Should your online store “always” be promoted on social media, do bear in mind that it’s not necessary to be on every social network. Some won’t be right for your business. Our advice is always to go where your customers congregate and in the first instance “ensure you’re fabulous on a few versus mediocre on many”. 

Spend the time and/or budget to get your online communication strategy clearly defined. This should include which social networks most suit your business, for example is Facebook the best place to sell engineering bottling line parts (definitely not) versus B2C (Business to Consumer) products which are. Then you can use these channels to share offers, discounts, promotions as appropriate, as well as for customer service when required (Twitter is excellent for Customer Service management). Remember the difference between Social Media and Search Engines are that in Social Media you’re targeting a demographic (ie Facebook has 400,000 data points for each user) whereas in Search Engines you’re targeting someone who is expressing a need or interest via their search phrase. 

Great customer service for your online store 
And while we are on the subject of customer service, ensure visitors to your store can get all the information and customer service required. An FAQ page is a great passive way to do this. But it will normally be best to complement this with other ways in which visitors can find out the information they need. “Get in touch” options like a telephone number, email address, contact form, and instant messaging or chat functionality. This will help inspire confidence and trust in your customers and give you more chance of keeping them on the page if they encounter a problem. 

 

Magento end of life – Contact us if you’re affected 

Our software engineers at Inspire are highly experienced in working with Magento.  

Our Magento software engineers can explore how we can get you onto am up-to-date e-Commerce platform and ensure that all the latest design trends and functionality are built in to get your online business flying. 

We create striking e-Commerce websites that really work for your business and add value.  

If your e-Commerce website is looking a bit dated or will be affected by the Magento end of life announcement and you have questions about then either contact us or give us a call as to how we can help? 

Copyright Protection, Developer SOS, e-commerce, Magento e-commerce, UI, User Interface, UX Design, Web Design
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