Forix Web Design http://www.forixwebdesign.com Website Development Mon, 10 Oct 2016 22:23:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.4 Sexy Hair a Finalist for Magento Excellence Award http://www.forixwebdesign.com/blog/2016/04/01/sexy-hair-a-finalist-for-magento-excellence-award/ Fri, 01 Apr 2016 22:10:58 +0000 http://www.forixwebdesign.com/?p=3136 SexyHair-Imagine-2016-Exellence-Awards-Finalists

Forix is pleased to announce that Sexy Hair’s innovative website has been recognized as a finalist for the Magento Excellence Awards. The winners will be announced at the 2016 Magento Imagine conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, April 12th. Sexy Hair’s website is driven by a mobile-first user experience, designed specifically to meet the majority of visitors on the devices they use most. With bold aesthetics, celebrity iconography, and a hair quiz to match users with the right products, Sexy Hair’s website saw a conversion increase of 99.88% in the first two months after launch when compared year over year.

The website is competing in the Best Mobile Experience category. To learn more about the finalists and judging categories, read more on the Magento Blog.

 

SexyHair-Award-Finalist-for-Mobile

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Site Launch: Pacific Yurts http://www.forixwebdesign.com/blog/2016/01/14/site-launch-pacific-yurts/ Thu, 14 Jan 2016 23:18:24 +0000 http://www.forixwebdesign.com/?p=3118 pacific yurts image

Forix is thrilled to announce the launch of the new Pacific Yurts website. Forix developed key features for the new website, including 360 Virtual Tours, a 3D Yurt Builder, and a streamlined browsing experience for visitors.

Pacific Yurts is the premier yurt merchant in the Pacific Northwest. In 1978, Pacific Yurts became the first to manufacture yurts using architectural fabrics and structural engineering, paving the way for yurts to become popular attractions at ski resorts and campgrounds. In 1993, Oregon became the first state to incorporate yurts into its Parks Department as year round camping facilities. Since then, at least 17 other US States have introduced yurt camping into their own parks departments. Pacific Yurts has been at the forefront of the yurt industry, and as part of the redesign of the website, became the first yurt company to have an online yurt builder for customers. Pacific Yurts allows consumers to design, price & build a custom yurt for personal, business or government use in several sizes.

Pacific Yurts needed a more interactive way to educate visitors on yurts features. To better visualize different yurt floor plans and attributes, Forix developed a 3D Yurt Builder. With the yurt builder, visitors can create a yurt to their exact specifications and see exactly how it would look set up. In addition to the Yurt Builder, Forix also developed 360 Virtual Tours.

Since launch, the site has seen increased user engagement, with a 35% increase in pageviews and time spent on the website.

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New Site Launch: GloryBee http://www.forixwebdesign.com/blog/2015/12/17/new-site-launch-glorybee/ Thu, 17 Dec 2015 19:43:04 +0000 http://www.forixwebdesign.com/?p=3112 glorybee

GloryBee, a supplier of honey and other food supplies to natural food manufacturers and stores, needed a cohesive web presence and a design facelift for their digital shopping experience. With intuitive navigation through simplified user flow, the new GloryBee.com was developed and designed to be faster, scale for growth, and increase revenue for the brand. Forix launched GloryBee’s digital shopping experience months ahead of schedule, just in time for the holidays.

With content fragmented across seven domains, Forix designed and developed a new e-commerce system for GloryBee under one URL. Forix developed two storefronts for wholesale and retail customers. For wholesale customers, Forix developed a separate but connected storefront that showed different pricing rules based on wholesale customer type. Forix also customized the Magento implementation with visual marketing modules, improved site taxonomy, and innovative UX.

“The entire team at Forix is friendly, patient, knowledgeable, and a true pleasure to work with. We’re extremely thankful to have found Forix. They went above and beyond when designing our new website and we’ve had nothing but compliments from our customers,” said Eric Engelstad, Marketing Technologist at GloryBee. “We’re looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship and growing our business with Forix.”

With a more robust and seamless e-commerce presence, GloryBee can now easily create and manage content across storefronts. GloryBee’s new digital commerce platform is built with Magento Enterprise. With the largest market share of top e-commerce sites, Magento had the flexibility to scale for GloryBee’s future growth.

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Forix Releases Interactive E-Commerce Success Guide for Clients http://www.forixwebdesign.com/blog/2015/10/06/forix-releases-interactive-e-commerce-success-guide-for-clients/ Tue, 06 Oct 2015 22:45:39 +0000 http://www.forixwebdesign.com/?p=3091 Sucess Guide-Blog Details Graphic

Over Forix’s last 8 years of planning, designing, developing, and optimizing e-commerce sites the relationship we built with our clients is our most important success metric. We believe in these relationships because they empower us to create and build successful companies online. To date we’ve launched over 200 sites. However, as you know simply building a digital shopping experience is just the first step in developing an effective e-commerce channel. It’s what you do with that experience that results in real and long-lasting success. In our never-ending effort to help clients differentiate themselves and compete within their dynamic marketplaces, we are constantly striving to develop customized solutions that increase online revenue and streamline operations.

It’s for these reasons that the Forix team is proud to announce a new, interactive e-commerce Success Guide that is uniquely tailored to fit each client’s specific objectives. By identifying opportunities to drive dramatic growth online, the Success Guide provides recommendations for optimizing every facet of an e-commerce business, from generating new customers to streamlining back-end logistics.

So, what does this specifically mean for you?

For our current clients, you’ve been asking for it and here it is – this customized and interactive E-Commerce Success Guide is your personal playbook to:

  1. Drive more qualified traffic to your online store

  2. Convert more shoppers into customers

  3. Turn first time shoppers into lifelong brand advocates

  4. Increase profitability by streamlining operations

For future Forix clients the Success Guide is yet another addition to the multitude of tools that we will use to achieve your objectives. Because we believe that our client relationships are the driving force behind our success, our promise is to be your strategic e-commerce partner that continually delivers news ways to support your growth objectives.

The world of e-commerce moves fast. New technologies and tactics are consistently leveling the competitive landscape, providing Forix and our clients the opportunity to differentiate and grab new market share. Navigating these changing landscapes and capitalizing on the opportunities that arise requires a strong relationship with a strategic e-commerce partner with the proven experience to make recommendations that will have the greatest business impact. Thank you for allowing us to be that partner.

site search 2

Sincerely,

The Forix Team

 

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Tips to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment http://www.forixwebdesign.com/blog/2015/09/28/tips-to-reduce-shopping-cart-abandonment/ Mon, 28 Sep 2015 18:26:53 +0000 http://www.forixwebdesign.com/?p=3081 Online shopping has pretty much become a norm, and the retail industry comfortably straddles both web and mobile sectors. However, the retail industry still continues to suffer from the bane that is shopping cart abandonment – where shoppers add items to their cart, but leave the site without completing the purchase. The average rate of abandonment this year has been 68%. As more and more users turn to online shopping, this rate will only increase if retailers do not take the necessary steps to improve their customers’ shopping experience.

shoppingcart-infographics

This infographic highlights the main causes of cart abandonment, and provides tips that online retailers must follow to reduce the frequency of cart abandonment on their sites

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Why Magento is Ideal for E-Commerce http://www.forixwebdesign.com/blog/2015/06/24/why-use-magento-for-e-commerce/ Wed, 24 Jun 2015 21:01:18 +0000 http://www.forixwebdesign.com/?p=3051 Finding the right platform to power your E-Commerce website is a crucial step to establishing a strong web presence.  Scalability, security and extensibility are some of the key factors that businesses look for while setting up their online store.

In the following infographic, we explore how Magento currently dominates the e-commerce platform field, and why it is an immediate choice for many businesses. Both the free and enterprise editions of the platform have a lot to offer in terms of technical support, flexibility and security. The infographic also highlights key features of the Enterprise edition.  The Enterprise edition comes with a host of features that give store owners the means to manage their store efficiently; from an interactive drag-and-drop interface to informative support and analytic tools, store owners can manage and monitor every aspect of their website.

Magento E-Commerce Infographic

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How the Google Algorithm Change Will Impact Your Website http://www.forixwebdesign.com/blog/2015/04/14/how-the-google-algorithm-change-will-impact-your-site/ Tue, 14 Apr 2015 18:32:23 +0000 http://www.forixwebdesign.com/?p=2979 monitor smartphones and tablets

The newest Google algorithm change is set to happen on April 21. This new algorithm, like the algorithm change before, is in favor of the consumer. Users will now see mobile-friendly websites first on mobile search results. Websites that are deemed mobile-friendly by Google’s criteria will have a “Mobile-Friendly” label under their search listing.

With this change in how Google ranks search results, the mobile friendliness of your site will now be taken into account. This new change will affect websites who have yet to make mobile design a priority.

From Google:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

So what makes a website pass this test?

There are 4 criteria that individual pages on a website must meet to earn the mobile-friendly label.

  1. No software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash.
  2. Text that is readable without zooming.
  3. Content that adjusts to the screen size so consumers do not have to scroll horizontally or zoom.
  4. Links are placed far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped.

Google determines that these conditions are met by their web crawler. Since mobile-friendliness is determined on a page-by-page basis, it is necessary for site owners to determine that the entire website passes, and not just the major pages.

How Do I Check If My Site is Mobile Friendly?

Google has two tools to check a site’s mobile friendliness:

  1. Mobile Friendly Test – Simply input URLs to check if they pass Google’s test. If there are any errors, the test will show them and offer suggestions on how to fix the errors. Here’s what the test looks like:

Website test2. Mobile Usability Reports – This feature is recently new to Google Webmaster Tools. The Mobile Usability Reports will show you common usability issues with your mobile site, so that you can fix them to improve mobile experience for your users.

Do you have questions about the mobile friendliness of your site, or want to update to responsive design? Contact Forix today.

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Avalara Names Forix as Top Regional Referral Partner of 2014 http://www.forixwebdesign.com/blog/2015/04/08/avalara-names-forix-as-top-regional-referral-partner-of-2014/ Wed, 08 Apr 2015 22:07:01 +0000 http://www.forixwebdesign.com/?p=2972 Avalara Integration Partner Award

Avalara, a leading provider of compliance solutions related to sales tax, VAT, and other transactional taxes with cloud-based software, announced Forix as its Top Regional Referral Partner for 2014. Forix works with clients to provide Avalara integration with several e-commerce platforms, including Magento, as well as providing Avalara ERP integrations.

Avalara’s sales and marketing awards, given to top-performing business partners, recognize Development & Solution Partners, Marketing & Sales Partners, and Accounting & Consulting Partners for helping their clients and customers to realize the strategic and operational benefits of cloud compliance solutions to increase the velocity of their own business growth.

“Forix is an Avalara partner that significantly contributed to their customers’ success by partnering with Avalara,” said Falle.  “We take great pride in recognizing business partners that solve critical pain points for our mutual customers and clients, while simultaneously growing their businesses along with Avalara – and we look forward to many years of continued mutual success.”

The Forix team looks forward to continuing its partnership with Avalara and providing essential Avalara integrations for clients.

 

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How to Prepare a Magento Site for Traffic Spikes: A Case Study on Ssekodesigns.com http://www.forixwebdesign.com/blog/2015/03/05/how-to-prepare-a-magento-site-for-traffic-spikes/ Thu, 05 Mar 2015 22:33:15 +0000 http://www.forixwebdesign.com/?p=2564 Sseko Magento Site Speed Case Study

 

The Challenge:

 

Sseko Designs, one of Forix’s clients, is more than an e-commerce fashion brand. It has a vision to promote ethical fashion. Sseko Designs supports women in Uganda by employing them to make beautiful sandals and providing a means to pay for college education.

Sseko was soon to be featured on the show Shark Tank. Shark Tank, a competitive reality TV series, has aspiring entrepreneur-contestants make business presentations to a panel of “shark” investors. Being on this national show would be great exposure for the brand. However, based on viewership stats on the show, Sseko could easily see a traffic spike of 30 times more than their Magento site was equipped to handle. Magento is also slightly notorious for slow site speed if not optimized correctly. This dream come true could quickly become a nightmare if the website went down. The opportunity could not be wasted, and downtime is never an option.

Spoiler Alert: Despite an over 1,000% increase in traffic on the day of airing, Sseko’s Magento site not only handled the surge perfectly, but additional optimizations were able to reduce page load times by half.

 

The Solution:

 

Forix teamed up with Bulletproof to ensure that Ssekodesigns.com didn’t crash during this huge opportunity. Michael Baker at Bulletproof was responsible for creating and configuring the server environment and monitoring the site during the launch. Below are the solutions that were implemented:

 

  1. Upgrade servers to be HVM rather than paravirtual – By changing the Server Instance to c4.xlarge, this allowed us to take advantage of Amazon’s Enhanced Networking. Amazon’s Enhanced Networking provides a much higher throughput to support the workloads of the project.
  2. Migrate to Nginx from Apache – Apache slows down under heavy load because of the need to create new threads and processes for each connection. Nginx does not create new processes for each web request, instead it handles connections asynchronously using a pre-determined number of threads. Each connection can handle many simultaneous connections, allowing improved scalability under heavy traffic.
  3. Create an Autoscaling group to launch servers on demand – In preparation for the broadast, Bulletproof launched additional instances of the site to disperse the high volume of incoming requests. As processing power, memory, and network utilization were consumed, the auto scaling group automatically launched additional instances to keep the site stable and fast.
  4. Utilize Amazon Cloudfront CDN – A CDN, also known as a Content Delivery Network, improves speed and scalability by spreading static content such as images, CSS, and JavaScript to servers throughout the world, this improves response time by geographically locating the data closer to the users, and taking strain off of the web server. Bulletproof also pre-warmed the CDN’s cached content, as well as cached content in Magento to ensure that as many requests as possible were pulled from cached sources during the broadcast as possible.
  5. Implemented Full Page Caching in Magento CE – Full Page Caching comes standard with Magento Enterprise, but Ssekodesigns.com is currently on Magento Community Edition.  In the Community edition, an extension is required to cache full page content. Forix implemented a full page caching extension, and served that cached content using Redis.
  6. Bulletproof created a static html version of the homepage, and served that static content from the CDN. This dramatically reduced the resources required for the page that would receive the most traffic
  7. Move to Redis – Redis is a highly scalable key-value data store. Unlike the default file system caching of Magento, the entire data set is stored in-memory. This makes caching with Redis extremely fast. In addition moving sessions and caching to Redis reduces requests to MySQL, improving database response by serving requests faster than MySQL could otherwise. Before the airing, Bulletproof launched additional Redis nodes, and managed them using a Redis cluster. This leveraged the speed of Redis across multiple instances, further improving scalability.
  8. Pre-warm the Elastic Load-balancer – It is also key, when expecting a large spike in traffic, to request Amazon to pre-warm the elastic load-balancer. This allows Amazon to pre-configure the load-balancer for expected capacity ahead of time.

 

The Results:

 

The Traffic Spike:

 

sseko traffic graph

 

 

 

Site Speed:

Sseko site speed

 

Compared to the previous weekend, Ssekodesigns.com site sessions during and after airing on Shark Tank increased by 1,173%.

Compared to the previous month, Sseko’s average page load time decreased over half, despite the huge spike in website visitors.

 Sseko compared to last month

 

 

Conclusion:

 

With a lot of pre-planning and work with Bulletproof, Sseko’s website was able to withstand a huge increase of traffic and even improve performance. Magento is known for being a bit sluggish, but with the right modifications, any Magento site can be optimized for site speed.

Ben Bohannon, co-founder of Sseko Designs, also had a chance to answer a few questions from the Sseko side of preparation for the airing of Shark Tank:

What sort of work was involved from a marketing/staffing/inventory side to prepare for the broadcast?

A lot when into the planning!  From a staff perspective we added an additional Customer Care role.  We wanted to make sure that new potential customers or people interested in the Sseko mission had a great experience with our team.  We had our online marketing team prep our community, and encourage them to watch the show and show their support for #teamsseko.  The night of the event we were following every major #sharktank on social media to make sure we could interact and most often thank new excited customers.

How long had you been planning and scheduling work in preparation for the broadcast, and how was that different than other major special sales, or holiday season preparation?

This was the first time we have every ramped up our environment for a major event.  We knew we needed to optimize our codebase before we even started scaling out our server environment.  We started on optimization work on our site 4 weeks before the show ended up airing, and Bulletproof had 2 1/2 weeks to build out a scalable environment that would be able to manage the influx of users to the site.

What were the most important functions or features of Magento that enabled your success?

This would probably be better answered by Cody at Forix and Michael at Bulletproof!

 

Have your own Magento site speed issues? Contact Forix today for Magento site speed optimization options.

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A Review of WooCommerce http://www.forixwebdesign.com/blog/2015/03/03/woocommerce-review/ Tue, 03 Mar 2015 18:25:49 +0000 http://www.forixwebdesign.com/?p=2556 woocommerce-logo

Is WooCommerce Right for Your Business?
In the sea of WordPress plugins, WooCommerce by WooThemes just looks like another free WordPress plugin. However, you would be extremely hard-pressed to find a similar plugin which holds the same level of potential for merchants.

Launched in late September 2011, WooCommerce now supports a large percentage of the ever-growing e-commerce industry, boasting over 1.6 million downloads from across the globe. WooCommerce is designed for the small to mid-sized online merchants using WordPress. The plugin became famous for its simplicity to install and customization (not to mention being free as well).

In this WooCommerce review, we’ll look at this powerful online store platform’s best features, its benefits for online merchants, and its overall performance. Here are five of the notable advantages of using WooCommerce as an e-commerce platform.

 

  1. Ease of use. WooCommerce is a user-friendly platform that is very simple to get started. If you have experience with WordPress, installing the WooCommerce plugin will be a piece of cake. Past and present users of the WordPress platform will benefit from being able to recognize the user-friendly WordPress interface. Users without WordPress experience can also implement the app with ease, as the necessary steps are clear and well laid out.
  2. Customization. WooCommerce is a flexible platform – from the front-end user experience and design to the back-end administrative tools, you will have control of the look and feel of your store. WooCommerce uses PHP, which is a common skillset among developers.
  3. Content. Content is still king in 2015. Since WordPress made its name through its amazing blogging capabilities, development with WooCommerce sets businesses up with robust content publishing tools at their disposal, since there is no need for an added CMS integration.
  4. Server Requirements. Since WooCommerce is an extension of WordPress, there are very few server requirements. If your server supports MySQL or PHP, there shouldn’t be any issue.
  5. Extensions. There are many free extensions available to users of this platform, as well as paid options. Install extensions to add a range of features, from making your site multilingual to creating custom product tabs.

While WooCommerce has some very attractive features, there are many e-commerce platforms available that are much more powerful than WooCommerce. Magento, an enterprise solution used by leading companies has more features and offers greater versatility. Most WooCommerce users will need to buy several plugins, which are priced from $49 all the way up to $199, in order to use the platform to its full potential. However, compared with several other e-commerce platforms that are subscription-based or take a portion of store revenue, the cost of WooCommerce extensions are minimal. WooCommerce has limited API extensions, default features, and documentation (it was first released in 2011) as well.

WooCommerce seems to be the perfect platform for small to medium or new businesses and for those already familiar with the WordPress CMS. The e-commerce platform is very user friendly and operates with the same style as WordPress, but it does lack some features and functionalities that may be beneficial for enterprise e-commerce sites.

Curious about WooCommerce development in Portland? Contact Forix to get the conversation started.

 

 

 

 

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