Author Archives: Ashley Overton

An Agriculture Technology Startup uses Shipping to Increase Ecommerce Customers by 22%

Author: Ashley Overton  |  April 19, 2017

This post starts off our Customer Success Story Series. This success story highlights a ShipperHQ merchant on Bigcommerce that was able to break through the challenges they faced as they expanded to the ecommerce market in order to keep up with customer demand.


Bright AgroTechVertical farming came about as a way for farmers to avoid costs associated with growing food. Since then, the vertical farming space has become quite noisy. Bright Agrotech, an agriculture technology startup, chose to address the increase in demand for these farming supplies by expanding to the ecommerce market. In doing so they knew their situation was unlike most ecommerce merchants’ and they would need to conquer their pretty unique shipping challenges in order to beat out their competition and successfully sell online.

Bright Agrotech guides modern farmers to plan, build and operate successful businesses and ultimately build a new, local food economy based on transparency and trust. Their approach is to Equip, Educate and Empower. With these 3 E’s, Bright Agrotech gives modern farmers the hardware, software, and services they need to make a positive impact on local food economies.

The company expanded to the ecommerce market around 2014 and immediately knew that they would face challenges delivering their unusually large and bulky items to their customers. They were dealing with multiple packages per product, dimensions that resulted in balloon charges (or that exceeded carrier requirements), and freight shipments. After their first few months as an online store, they migrated to BigCommerce in hopes that they would be able to find a solution.  

Putting Your Shipping Strategy to Work

Bright Agrotech started their online journey knowing what they wanted to show and offer their customers at checkout. But, they faced issues when it came time to relay this to their customers on their frontend. Initially the team used BigCommerce’s builtin shipping options to apply flat-rate shipping on their larger items to cover what they thought their average costs would be.

Perry Baptista, Chief Operations Officer describes what challenges the company faced:

Without a shipping calculator that was prepared to handle all of the above, we were frequently unable to charge accurate shipping rates. Nearby customers ended up largely overpaying for shipping, and we had to eat the cost on more expensive shipments. Our customers had limited shipping choices or less-than-complete information about how their shipment would arrive.

Trust me – having a freight truck show up at your house when you’re expecting UPS is a jarring experience that usually results in a number of additional costs for both the customer and us.

The team quickly realized they would need a more powerful shipping calculator to handle their shipping needs. Knowing that building a custom solution would turn out to be extremely costly, they began their search for an application that would fit their needs and were led to ShipperHQ.

Shipping large Items

Increase Conversion through Improved Shipping

June 2016 was the beginning of change for the Bright Agrotech team. They found their solution, now it was time to put it to action and see the results. 

Directly after the implementation of ShipperHQ and other process improvements, they noticed an increase in their ecommerce order fulfillment efficiency.

Perry Baptista explains the effects of their improvements:

I am pleased with the results we’ve been able to achieve. If I compare March 2016 through December 2016 to the same period in 2015, we’ve had a 17% increase in our conversion rate.

Prior to adding ShipperHQ, Bright Agrotech only offered one shipping option, which was “Standard Shipping.” If you take a look at their current checkout, they are now able to offer up to 5 different carriers and 3 shipping speeds. And, they can now incorporate multi-origin shipping information into their shopping cart and shipping quotes. Not only do they have more options to satisfy their customers, they are able to meet increasing demand by reducing the amount of customer service and internal time spent on shipping arrangements.

Bright Agrotech Checkout

Perry Baptista further explains their improvements:

Before ShipperHQ, we’d actually call customers if they had been massively undercharged for shipping. Customers weren’t happy at the additional charges, we weren’t happy about the high costs, and we were both out a ton of time – the most expensive part of all!

Now, even with a 22% increase in ecommerce customers this year, they have not needed to increase their fulfillment or shipping staff. By making use of advanced features such as Dimensional Shipping, LTL Freight and Carrier Rules, Bright Agrotech was able to tell ShipperHQ exactly how their large items need to be handled and what they want their customers to see based on zone, product size and more.

Perry Baptista explains how ShipperHQ has made shipping large/bulky items easier:

Bright AgroTech & ShipperHQ

First, ShipperHQ allows us to assign multiple shipping boxes to a single BigCommerce product. Many of our large items, like the ZipGrow Farm Wall, ship in two or more boxes, and BigCommerce’s basic shipping calculator could only calculate real-time quotes on one box per product. Using ShipperHQ’s dimensional rules feature allows us to accurately quote the correct number and size of packages in real time.

Second, ShipperHQ can quote shipment of an item via freight carriers, which was needed for our large ZipGrow Commercial Bundles. This is one of the only shipping programs on the market I’ve seen with this functionality. Many of our products can only ship cost-effectively via a freight method, so being able to pull real-time freight quotes improves Bright’s bottom line while giving our customers an accurate representation of how their items will arrive.

Finally, I love that ShipperHQ can restrict carriers and zones. For international customers, we only use USPS, so it only makes sense to limit an international customer’s options. Within the US, we prefer to ship only UPS on large items from our warehouse. Being able to clearly define via ShipperHQ what a large item is and restrict its shipping methods is amazing.

Bright Agrotech Free Shipping

The Boundaries are Endless

The company has been able to expand their checkout in ways they were unable to imagine before. With additional options and the ability to control what their customers see at checkout they have been able to broaden their reach, opening them up to thousands of potential customers and are able to cover their shipping costs. Now, they rarely have a shipment they can’t send. Even if they are unable to serve a location, a customer will be informed that they can’t automatically ship to them via the website, which has allowed them to save tons of customer service time.

As always, we are happy to watch Bright Agrotech grow and expand new horizons. We are excited to see what is in store for the company’s future and what more they will be able to accomplish.

Link to full article

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: MageMojo

Author: Ashley Overton  |  April 1, 2017

MageMojo built their hosting company specifically and only to host Magento stores. They specialize in doing one thing and doing it really well so they are able to offer faster performance, deeper support, and lower prices. “We’re making Magento great again!” says Eric Hileman, Co-Founder of MageMojo.

The MageMojMageMojoo team has been a part of the Magento community since 2009. In addition to providing the community with great service, they are very active in showing their support. This will be their second year attending and sponsoring PreImagine and they are also organizing Meet Magento NY this year and plan on going big!

Eric sheds some light on what it’s like to be both a guest and sponsor at PreImagine and how to get the most out of your evening there:

Why did MageMojo decide to sponsor PreImagine this year? 

We love to support community events in Vegas, especially since the Wynn is expensive.  PreImagine needs all the support it can get in order to put on a great event (and open up that bar!).

How would you describe your past PreImagine experiences?

As a sponsor Good! ★★★★☆

As a guest Excellent! ★★★★★

What is your favorite memory from past PreImagines?

Favorite memory was thinking how beautiful it was out there on the Sunset Terrace in the evening surrounded by Magento community members from all over the world.  That was the first time we’d seen people whom we’d only known from their twitter profiles, IRL.  It was a feeling of inspiration that really energized us for the next couple days.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

We’re looking forward most to spreading the word about the Magento Security Council we co-founded and the free malware scanner the Council put out.  We’re also giving free 3 month memberships to Nomad Mage for continuous learning.  Spreading education about security while also learning from our Peers is exciting!  We’re ready to collaborate on more initiatives with other community members!

What would you list as the biggest benefit of attending PreImagine?

PreImagine is the eye of the hurricane. Everyone is crazy busy leading up to Imagine.  We all arrive in Las Vegas and have that one day where everything is calm.  PreImagine sits in that calm window and gives everyone a chance to take a breath, say Hello to old friends, and relax for a little while before the whirlwind begins again Monday.

Do you have any advice for first time attendees? 

There’s no need to be shy. Find the people you recognize from twitter, stackoverflow, etc, just walk up and introduce yourself.  We’re all here for the same reason and you’ll find you have a lot in common with everyone, if you open up!

Link to full article

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Avalara

Author: Ashley Overton  |  April 1, 2017

Avalara, Inc., is a leading cloud-based software platform provider that delivers a broad and growing array of compliance solutions related to sales tax and other transaction taxes, such a value-added tax. Avalara helps make sales tax compliance simple and automatic for businesses of all sizes.

25980220464_ce0f8f9905_zTheir end-to-end suite of solutions automatically determines taxability, identifies applicable tax rates, accurately calculates taxes, prepares and files returns, remits taxes, maintains tax records, and manages tax exemption certificates. The Avalara team has been a member of the Magento community for 5 years. They are proudly sponsoring the PreImagine event for a third year, but this will be their first time attending.

Although Amiee Keenan, Partner Marketing Manager of Avalara, will be joining us at PreImagine for the first time this year, she was happy to shed some helpful knowledge she gained from attending other conferences and what she is looking forward to this Sunday:

Why did Avalara decide to sponsor PreImagine this year?

This is a great show. It is a great way to kick-start the conference.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

Personally, this is my first year at Imagine so I look forward to learning, networking, and being in the booth.

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

I have attended many conferences. There is a lot of walking so good, comfortable shoes are the key to get you through.

 

 

Link to full article

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Vantiv

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 31, 2017

Vantiv is a leading payment processor differentiated by an integrated technology platform. They offer a comprehensive suite of traditional and innovative payment processing and technology solutions to merchants and financial institutions of all sizes, enabling them to address their payment processing needs online, in-store, or omnichannel through a single provider. According to the Nilson Report’s latest annual U.S. Merchant Acquirer Rankings, Vantiv now processes more domestic debit and credit transactions than any other acquirer in the United States.

26492812792_c304b85aae_zThe Vantiv team has been a member of the Magento community for the past four years and they are very excited to be participating in their very first PreImagine event this year!

Alain Gendre, Sr. Partnership Manager of ecommerce, took time out of his day to share why their team is excited to sponsor this year’s event and what they are looking forward to as we get closer to PreImagine:

Why did your company decide to sponsor PreImagine this year?

Vantiv recently became a Magento Select Technology Partner and is investing significantly in our Magento partnership. The Imagine event is the perfect venue to promote our new relationship.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the Magento Commerce family: merchants, partners, and developers. Additionally, as an avid tennis fan, I can’t wait to see and hear Serena Williams, who will be the guest speaker at Imagine.

What would you list as the biggest benefit of attending PreImagine?

PreImagine is the best way to connect with the hardcore Magento fans ahead of the Imagine event. If I can use a football analogy, it is equivalent to a tailgate party before a very big Patriots game – it’s a lot of fun with great networking and camaraderie. You definitely don’t want to miss it!

 

Link to full article

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: MediaCT

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 31, 2017

MediaCT is the leading Dutch commerce development agency, specializing in Magento Enterprise Solutions. They deliver the highest quality development and optimization of new or existing commerce sites. Their team stands for short communication lines and openness. From their office in Groningen they serve over 25 renowned e-commerce enterprises throughout the Netherlands – inspiring, motivating, and taking our clients to the next level.

MediaCTTheir team leads the pack with their marketing DNA, conversion-focused attitude and excellent technological know-how. MediaCT lurched their first Magento site at the end of 2008 and they have been a part of the community for almost a decade now.  This will be their third time attending PreImagine and first time sponsoring the event!

Tjitte Folkertsma of MediaCT shares his views on the PreImagine event and what he looks forward to most:

Why did MediaCT decide to sponsor PreImagine this year?

The reason I decided to sponsor this year is that I promised it to Ignacio Riesco & Kimberely Thomas (Magentogirl) last year 😉

How would you describe your past PreImagine experiences?

Every year it’s a special get-together with friends and colleagues from around the world celebrating the #real Magento community, learning from each other and having a lot of fun!

What is your favorite memory from past PreImagines?

I have several special moments at (pre)imagine.

Imagine is the place to get inspired and to get a feeling and connecting with what’s going on in the commerce and Magento world.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

Connecting with all the great people and friends we met at all the Magento events around the world.

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Don’t hesitate to become actively involved and get in contact with all the great people there.

Almost all of them won’t bite (watch out for Ignacio he might ;-), but besides him…. talk, learn, drink, interact, be inspirent, laugh and connect!

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PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Blue Acorn

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 30, 2017

IMG_9980-2Blue Acorn is a commerce agency that maximizes online revenue for B2C and B2B brands. Their team develops and optimizes ecommerce sites with solutions tailored to deliver results that matter most to your organization. Whether you need radical change or incremental improvements, their integrated team of designers, developers and optimizers work together to deliver engaging shopping experiences for your customers and efficient processes for you.

Blue Acorn has been a part of the Magento community almost since its inception. Around the same time Kevin Eichelberger was laying the foundation for what would become Blue Acorn, he heard about a new project called Magento. They’ve been an official Magento partner since 2009, and since then have won awards for partner of the Year, Best Web Design, Most innovative Site of the Year, and spirit of Excellence.

This is the team’s fifth year attending and sponsoring PreImagine. They even helped organize the first PreImagine back in 2013 and their founder, Kevin, was actually the first person to ever use the hashtag #PreImagine in a tweet.

We interviewed Bethany Kelley, PR & Communications Manager, to get insight on the Blue Acorn experience at PreImagine and what they look forward to most this year:

What is your favorite memory from past PreImagines?

IMG_9974The Road to Imagine in 2016 was a highlight! A group of Magento community members rode motorcycles to Imagine, and they drove all the way in to the poolside terrace at the Wynn.

In 2014, when PreImagine and Imagine were held at the Hard Rock, there were exceptionally delicious soft pretzels with cheese dip.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

PreImagine comes but once a year. We’re ready to soak up the sunshine, reconnect with old friends, and enjoy a poolside cocktail or two.

What would you list as the biggest benefit of attending PreImagine?

You’ll be able to scoop up some awesome swag from sponsors. Keep an eye out for Blue Acorn’s koozies and squish squirrels.

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Don’t forget your sunglasses! PreImagine is always held poolside at the Wynn, it’s beautiful and bright.

Link to full article

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Pixafy

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 29, 2017

Pixafy is an ecommerce agency anchored in tradition and deeply invested in the future of digital commerce. They are online retail experts that specialize in B2C and B2B implementations. Not to mention the synergies with their sister company, Net@work, who have unique expertise integrating with back office systems such as Sage and NetSuite ERP, CRM, HR etc. Pixafy’s highly experienced team includes engineers, UI developers, designers, marketers and system architects. They provide their clients digital transformation and channel harmonization across aspect of their ecommerce universe.

The Pixafy team has been apart of the Magento community from the very beginning in 2010. “Like many companies here, Pixafy is proud to be an OG,” says Aleza Shapiro, Senior Marketing Manager. Although this is the first time they have sponsored the event, they haven’t missed one PreImagine and have had a chance to watch the community evolve and grow over the years.

We were lucky enough to interview Aleza and get real insight on the Pixafy experience at PreImagine:

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 11.10.48 AMWhy did Pixafy decide to sponsor PreImagine this year?

We love and respect the Magento ecosystem and that’s exactly what PreImagine stands for.

How would you describe your past PreImagine experiences?

All smiles and hugs. There are so many connections that have been made over the years. The band’s back together again!  

What is your favorite memory from past PreImagines?

All the fun Magento swag people have collected or made in the past year they want to share/show off.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

I always love the General Sessions. The Magento team definitely provides #allthefeels

What would you list as the biggest benefit of attending PreImagine?

Enjoying a refreshing drink in the sun with longtime friends that feel like family. We’re all here because we bleed orange.

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Comfy shoes. Even though I don’t usually leave the Wynn during the conference, Vegas is YUGE!

 

Link to full article

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Commerce Hero

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 28, 2017

Commerce Hero is the first developer marketplace focused exclusively on Magento developers.  The Commerce Hero team helps to connect merchants and agencies with developers for contract or full time work. If you’ve ever tried to find a good Magento developer before, you’re likely familiar with the pain point that Commerce Hero is working to solve.

Kalen Jordan, founder of Commerce Hero, has been apart of the Magento community since 2011, and have attended PreImagine pretty much every year since it started.  He sponsored a couple of years previously through MageMail, his other business in the space. But, this will be Commerce Hero’s first appearance at the event! 

Kalen took time to discuss his experience at PreImagine, what he and the Commerce Hero team is looking forward to this year
and much more:
Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 11.33.15 AM
How would you describe your past PreImagine experiences?

PreImagine is always a blast – I get to see all the old friends that I’ve met over the years in a more relaxed environment, before getting into business mode for the conference proper.

What is your favorite memory from past PreImagine events?

Seeing the #RoadToImagine guys roll in on their motorcycles. Also, hanging with my buddies Phil, Jenn, Ben, and Jonathan.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

Unleashing our new Commerce Hero T-shirts on everyone. Also, showing everyone our custom Commerce Hero coasters that happen to have contact info on the back of them.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 11.35.32 AM

What would you list as the biggest benefit of attending PreImagine?

PreImagine is basically #realmagento IRL.  No other time or place you can see all those people in the same place.  Also, this might be the only place you can go at Imagine with a green badge without getting attacked by salespeople.

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Don’t overthink it – relax and enjoy yourself.  And don’t be shy!

Link to full article

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: TurnTo

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 27, 2017

14115411277_f08372ca71_kTurnTo is the fastest growing provider of customer-generated content solutions to the Internet Retailer Top 500 and Top 100 for the second year in a row. The TurnTo platform works for both brands and retailers, and has been built to meet the needs of today’s consumers who are increasingly mobile and desire authentic content. With a suite of four solutions – Ratings & Reviews, Community Q&A, Visual Reviews and Checkout Comments – TurnTo clients are able to connect more content and more types of content,
better SEO, and deeper merchandising insights. The TurnTo team works to provide their customers with a better user experience.

TurnTo has been apart of the #Magento community since it was founded in 2008. They are ecommerce platform agnostic but almost a third of our clients are using Magento. They were lucky to learn the ins and outs of the #realMagento community five years ago from greats like @kpe, @benmarks, @magentogirl, and @WebShopApps Karen Baker, which is how they knew they had to sponsor #PreImagine.

This will be TurnTo’s first time attending and sponsoring the event. But, we were lucky enough to gain some insight from Justin Poole, Head of Partnerships at TurnTo, as this will be his fourth time joining us at PreImagine:

Why did TurnTo decide to sponsor PreImagine this year?

TurnTo solutions rest their hat on the value of sharing of authentic user feedback, so sponsoring an event put on by the #realMagento community just makes sense. It’s what we’re about. I also have a deep respect for the founders and promoters of the event.

9919912786_c153c4d3fa_kHow would you describe your past PreImagine experiences?

It may be the hottest, most crowded, hardest time to get a drink at Imagine, but it’s always been my favorite part. It feels how the Magento community should feel, which is great because even when it doesn’t feel that way, you know that it can. It’s flexible and scalable like that.

What is your favorite memory from past PreImagines?

My first time at PreImagine was also my first big Magento event with my employer at the time. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a patio full of competing Magento agencies. When I came face to face with two members from one of our biggest competitors, I was so happy to discover that they couldn’t have been nicer. While swaying at a respectably consistent pace, they told me, “Listen, you’re gonna win some deals that we want, and we’re gonna win some deals that you want. That doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. The good news is that there’s plenty of deals to go around.” They were right.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

Magento kicks off on my birthday this year, so I’m hoping for the gift of a hangover-free PreImagine, followed by three more glorious nights of celebration. Was that answer too selfish?

What would you list as the biggest benefit of attending PreImagine?

Getting to spend some real time with the #realMagento community. This isn’t a merchant-heavy event, and that’s what makes it so great. You get to spend your first few hours at Imagine focusing on your colleagues, partners, and competitors that make the space so great.

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Arrive early. Stay late. Wear your badge, but not your blazer. If you need sunglasses, bring those too.

Link to full article

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Classy Llama

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 23, 2017

Imagine Classy LlamaClassy Llama focuses on understanding the challenges their ecommerce clients face and work with them to design and implement solutions to those challenges. They work with companies who prefer a consulting and implementation partner that acts as an integral part of their team. The Classy Llama team works to create value for their clients that positively impacts their business, pivoting from a tight relationship with each of them.

The team joined the Magento community in early 2008, and have loved every minute of it. They have referred hundreds of clients to the platform and only build on Magento. Classy Llama provides wise counsel and excellence in implementation that sustainably drives their business to new levels of performance and their team members have depth of character that drives genuine interest in each of their client’s success.

In addition to their involvement in the community, they have attended PreImagine every year since it started in 2012. And, we are delighted to have them as first time sponsors this year!

Kurt Theobald, CEO of Classy Llama, explains what you can expect while attending PreImagine in this witty interview:

Why did Classy Llama decide to sponsor PreImagine this year?

We believe in building genuine relationships with our clients and partners, which helps us to create an immense amount of value for them. The very nature of Pre-Imagine is centered are building those kinds of relationships with others in the Magento ecosystem. So for us, we see Pre-Imagine as an obvious event for Classy Llama to get behind.

Classy Llama Imagine

How would you describe your past PreImagine experiences?

Because we have been a part of the community for a while now, Pre-Imagine feels a lot like a family reunion. We have a chance to all come together with our partners and friends as we share a memorable experience together and recount the tales of Magento past.

What is your favorite memory from past PreImagines?

Kalen Jordan’s mage socks. Oh, and that time that Ben Marks fell into the pool.  Oh, and when, in a flash of passion, everyone decided to have the Magento logo tattooed on their faces permanently.  That was awesome… until we had to have them all surgically removed later…  Ah, the memories are rich and many (and mostly made up).

What are you looking forward to most this year?

Releasing our 10th anniversary Super Llama!

What would you list as the biggest benefit of attending PreImagine?

Reconnecting with some of the best people in the Magento ecosystem!

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Don’t wait in line for taxis at the airport. Ride for free in one of the Llama Limos that will take you from the airport to The Wynn on Sunday. No need to RSVP, just look for us out at Terminal 1.

Oh, and don’t forget to ask Philip Jackson about his new Winkle toupee swag!  Hint:  It goes on your head and makes you look as awesome as he does every day. Gonna get me some Phil hair!

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