News, insights and information from the rapidly changing world of eCommerce designed for the online B2B and B2C merchant! In the November 2020 Edition.....
Holiday specials brought to you by select Kadro online merchant customers
A look back and at today for Kadro's first customer - REEDS Jewelers
Technology Partner of the Month - Vertex, a leading provider of business tax software and services
Did you know about Kadro's Marketplace services?
Kadro's Site Analysis & Optimization Services (SAOS) can help to ensure that performance issues don't interfere with your online business.
Meet Elyse Robillard, Kadro's Senior Project Manager
Kadro named a North Carolina Top Performing E-Commerce Developer
Explore recent blog posts
SAVE-AT-HOME HOLIDAY SPECIALS BROUGHT TO YOU BY SELECT KADRO CUSTOMERS
Groomers, kennels, veterinarians, breeders, and active pet enthusiasts have access to over 10,000 national-brand and exclusive PetEdge-brand products through our website and catalogs.
Browse through our wide collection of affordable shoes by designers, clothing, footwear, and accessories for women, men, and children.
Hungry Harvest is a farm to doorstep produce delivery company on a mission to eliminate food waste and end hunger. Since their inception in 2014, they have rescued over 22 million pounds of fresh but oddly-shaped or surplus fruits and vegetables from going to waste.
Founded in 2002, SeaDek® Marine Products, part of Hyperform Inc., is a leading developer and manufacturer of innovative marine decking materials and lamination for OEM boat builders in the marine industry as well as to boat owners seeking custom products. Made from closed cell PE/EVA foam, SeaDek Marine Products offers safe and comfortable alternatives to marine traction products currently on the market.
Get special holiday savings from these Kadro online merchants by visiting our holiday promotions page! Holiday savings end 12/31/20.
Since 2001, Kadro has worked with REEDS Jewelers as their eCommerce solutions provider and partner. Over that time, we have delivered on multiple site redesigns, a re-platforming, the implementation of a number of custom site features and integrations, and evolved REEDS online business to an omni-channel solution.
We believe that this relationship speaks well of our ability to evolve with the needs of our clients, our extensive eCommerce expertise, and our commitment to customer service which has resulted in the common experience of satisfied and loyal clients.
Looking back a few years, in March 2018 Kadro and REEDS successfully launched the re-platform of REEDS.com B2C website onto Magento Commerce. The success of this project was largely measured by achieving functional parity with well-established business processes and mission critical back-office integrations required to operate their online business. It was a large collaborative effort between REEDS' eCommerce and IT teams, Kadro, and a number of other technology partners.
More recently, we worked with REEDS on a redesign of their website. You can see it here at https://www.reeds.com/.
News, insights and information from the rapidly changing world of eCommerce designed for the online B2B and B2C merchant!
In the October 2020 Edition.....
- Kadro named one of the Top Performing E-Commerce Developers in North Carolina
- SeaDek Marine Products - World leader in innovative marine non-skid flooring makes the switch to Kadro
- Technology Partner of the Month - Braintree, A Paypal Service
- Kadro's Site Analysis & Optimization Services (SAOS). Don't let site performance issues interfere with your online business.
- Meet Allison Holadia, Kadro Customer Support Specialist
- Magento 2.4 - Packed with new features designed to enhance the B2C and B2B customer experiences
- Explore our latest blog posts
Kadro named one of the Top Performing E-Commerce Developers in North Carolina
The team at Kadro received some exciting news this month from Clutch, the internationally-renowned B2B rating and review platform. Kadro was named one of North Carolina’s top e-commerce developers for 2020. Clutch praised Kadro's e-commerce strategy, consulting, design, and development expertise! According to Clutch and their research, amongst all providers in North Carolina, Kadro is consistently one of the best!
Founded in 2002, SeaDek® Marine Products, part of Hyperform Inc., is a leading developer and manufacturer of innovative marine decking materials and lamination for OEM boat builders in the marine industry as well as to boat owners seeking custom products.
In 2019, SeaDek moved their eCommerce website from an ASP/.Net implementation to Magento Commerce cloud. Sadly the move to Magento Commerce was not a good experience and resulted in a highly unstable implementation, many of the Magento platform's capabilities not being effectively utilized and the SeaDek team growing frustrated as they faced constant site and operational issues that were compounded by lack of support and responsiveness from their systems integrator at that time.
To combat this business-impairing situation, in June 2020 SeaDek hired Kadro. The objectives of the new relationship were:
Jason Gardner, VP Marketing & Advertising at Hyperform, Inc. framed the situation and subsequent SeaDek/Kadro relationship this way...
“After a nightmarish development phase and long-delayed launch with another development company we were left with a half-baked website that lacked functionality and wasted valuable money and resources. Poor communication, lack of quality control and extensive use of offshore developers resulted in a horrible experience.
Making the switch to Kadro made all the difference. From the start, they visited with our department managers and team members to understand our company and our needs both short term and long term. Communication has been clear, concise and timely and the quality and efficiency of the work has exceeded expectations."Kadro went to work in the transition and rescue of the SeaDek.com Magento site performing a detailed review of the site's implementation as well as conducting a thorough Requirements Discovery session with the SeaDek team to fully understand the current website implementation challenges, eCommerce business challenges, and a go-forward plan to provide the support and development that SeaDek needed. Kadro's assessment and subsequent plan were geared towards establishing system stability and enabling the SeaDek team to focus on growing their business versus fighting website issues on a daily basis.
TO READ THE FULL STORY VISIT THE SEADEK PORTFOLIO PAGE ON THE KADRO WEBSITE AND TAKE A LOOK AT THEIR CURRENT WEBSITE.
Technology Partner of the Month
Braintree provides the global commerce tools people need to build businesses, accept payments, and enable commerce for their users. Braintree permits the use of many payment methods including alternative payment methods such as PayPal, Venmo, ApplePay and GooglePay. With Braintree and Magento 2, merchants get comprehensive payment options to allow customers to pay via their preferred method, the potential for more mobile revenue via a fast, simple checkout process, robust fraud protection & PCI compliance, and expansive global reach via a network of more than 300 million active consumers (Paypal 2020 Q2 data).
Turbo Boost Your Magento Website with Site Analysis & Optimization Services (SAOS) from Kadro
Site running slow? Inconsistent performance? Need a partner who has the expertise to improve your website's performance? We can audit your website environment and propose solutions to your site’s functionality and performance woes.
Say hello to Allison Holadia, Customer Support Specialist at Kadro
The famed football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “It takes months to find a customer… second to lose one.” This statement has been validated by volumes of survey data over the years and I suppose a bit of common business sense as well. It’s surely true that customers quit doing business with a company due to bad experiences and thus businesses must approach every support interaction as an opportunity to delight or displease.
Good customer support starts with the human touch, often boosted by a dose of technology. It's reinforced by the understanding that customer support/service is the cornerstone of the business and the foundation of the customer experience.
It is with this brief preface that we introduce Allison Holadia, Kadro’s Customer Support Specialist. Like many at Kadro, Allison has been with the company for quite a few years now. She started in 2007 after leaving the eCommerce Department at a long-time Kadro customer (the first customer actually), REEDS Jewelers. Given her familiarity with Kadro and its services, Allison was a natural fit.
Also like others in the company, Allison wears many hats. No literally, she has lots of hats and wears them. But she also “wears lots of hats” when it comes to her role at Kadro.
Knowing the customer and their website(s) reinforces the support process…
Allison has been an integral part of many new website launches and upgrades over the years. Regardless of the project size, Allison considered each to be a major project. "It’s exciting to be part of a new website project from start to finish," mentioned Allison. A current project Allison is participating in is the new Hungry Harvest project. She is the QA lead on this website, so she’s responsible for all aspects of testing. Being part of the QA testing team allows Allison to get to know the new website in great detail. This familiarity spills over to other types of website projects like upgrades which typically include the addition of new features and functionality. When support issues come up, it really helps to have this hands-on familiarity with both the customer and their website which adds context and relevance to the support request or issue.
Great people meeting an array of business and technological support challenges…
Kadro really is a place full of great people. The staff exhibits a true team attitude which makes working at the company a very positive experience. Everyone is always willing to help and teach others when needed. And no day is ever the same. For Allison, each day’s course is charted by the variety of support issues and new website feature requests received. These make each day unique providing her and other team members with a new sets of challenges to meet and more interesting projects to undertake.
She can go the distance… in the long run… (and swim and cycling)
Outside the office, Allison’s hobby and favorite interest (other than her 2 kids of course) is training and competing in triathlons. She has competed in multiple sprint triathlons, as well as many half and full marathons. She has competed in three half Ironman’s (70.3 miles) and finished her first full Ironman last year (140.6 miles).
For those not familiar with what an Ironman competition is, it’s an endurance multi-sport race consisting of swimming, cycling, and running over various distances. But 140.6 miles? Really? Now that’s impressive!
With the physical and mental demands of competing in endurance events, it’s not surprising that Allison spends a great deal of her spare time participating in swimming, biking and running training.
Should you have the occasion to be on the phone or emailing support at Kadro, you’ll likely have the opportunity to communicate with Allison. If you do, take a minute to ask how her training and competing is coming along.
Magento 2.4 - packed with great enhancements to make the customer experience even better
Magento is a powerful, flexible, reliable and popular commerce platform used by hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide. And the latest version of Magento adds to this legacy with great new features for both B2C and B2B eCommerce and omni-channel merchants. Here a peek at just a few.
There's so much more. Contact a Kadro representative to learn more about Magento 2.4 and how it can help make your vision for selling online a reality!
Recent Blog Posts
More informative blog posts! Stay tuned for future announcements.
The team at Kadro just received some exciting news from Clutch Analyst Jake Cox! He called to let us know that internationally-renowned B2B rating and review platform, Clutch, named Kadro one of North Carolina’s top e-commerce developers for 2020, praising our e-commerce strategy, consulting, design, and development! Now’s a particularly unique and important time to invest in your existing eCommerce business or to consider starting one, so we value that we’re being recognized as a great investment for businesses. According to Clutch and their research, amongst all providers in North Carolina, Kadro is consistently one of the best!
"We are honored and pleased to be recognized by Clutch as a leading B2B company in the United States. Since Kadro's founding in 2001, we have worked diligently to build a company founded on technical expertise, responsiveness to changes in the eCommerce market, outstanding customer service, and superior project outcomes. Accolades such as this and the positive words from many satisfied Kadro customers serve as a testament to the success of our ongoing efforts,” said Ariel Mordetsky, VP of Revenue at Kadro.
Clutch is the world’s leading B2B ratings and verified reviews platform. Located in the heart of the District of Columbia, Clutch has a team of dedicated analysts who conducts reviews with clients from around the world. Then, their editorial team independently verifies the content and curates it into the case study style format that Clutch offers, ensuring that you are receiving all the information that you need as you purchase B2B services! Clutch is the gold standard for B2B ratings and reviews, and we’re honored to maintain a stellar review average on the platform!
In a recent review, the owner of Garman Homes praised Kadro’s e-commerce development!
We’re incredibly grateful to all of our satisfied clients! To join their ranks, please contact us today!
See Kadro’s complete Clutch profile by clicking this link…. https://clutch.co/profile/kadro
Insights for September 2020
The first Weekends Only showroom opened its doors in 1997, which established the foundation for the 5 stores open in the greater St. Louis area today. More stores followed in Castleton, Indiana (greater Indianapolis area) in May 2015 and in Greenwood, Indiana in February 2018.
Weekends Only employs a unique retail concept with their showrooms only open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. This allows them to save their customers time and money, providing a non-commission, shopping and purchase experience that adds value to customer's lives.
The company added to its brick & mortar footprint in 2013 with the implementation of their first e-commerce site, making all deliverable items available any day of the week.
Weekends Only moved their eCommerce solution to Magento Commerce in 2017-18, but ended up facing many challenges.
So in late 2018, Kadro begin working with Weekends Only to address the website and backend integration issues they faced.
Here is what Scott Antrobus - Product Manager, Digital Enterprises - Weekends Only Furniture & Mattress had to say about the Weekends Only and Kadro relationship.
“Before partnering with Kadro, we worked with two very different Magento Solution Partners with limited results. After a rocky launch with the first, we decided to "upgrade" to a "Platinum" partner to ensure that all future development followed best practices. Unfortunately, we saw a lot of the same problems resulting from poor communication and hand-offs to overseas developers.
We learned from the challenges of those relationships that we needed a partner who could be agile and accessible without compromising quality and structure. After meeting with a long list of potential partners with indistinguishable technical capabilities, we selected Kadro because of their flexible and direct communication, transparency, and integrity. Since then, Kadro has helped us achieve stability and substantial growth, and have proven to be a solid partner that we can trust and rely on.”
Kadro conducted a thorough discovery session with the Weekends Only team to identify and prioritize each of the on-going issues and challenges they faced with operating their new eCommerce site. That resulted in multiple development and build cycles to address the open issues and to achieve stability for their online business.
Subsequent to the site stabilization phase of this project, Kadro developed many more features and functionality for Weekends Only.
With consistent sales growth experienced over the years, Weekends Only is proud to hold a place in Furniture Today’s list of Top 100 U.S. Furniture Stores.
TO READ THE FULL STORY VISIT THE WEEKENDS ONLY PORTFOLIO PAGE ON THE KADRO WEBSITE.
Technology Partner of the Month
Amazon Pay offers Amazon customers a fast, convenient, and secure checkout experience backed by Amazon’s technology, innovation and advanced fraud protection. Amazon Pay makes it easy for hundreds of millions of customers to pay for products and services using the information already stored in their Amazon accounts. That means you can reduce cart abandonment, optimize your checkout flow, and easily activate the Amazon customer base. And it quickly and easily integrates into Magento eCommerce stores.
Kadro was featured in a recent Amazon Pay Partner Spotlight piece. Read the spotlight by clicking here!
Say hello to Daniel Friel, VP of Operations at Kadro
Daniel’s Kadro story began in 2004, a mere three years after the company’s founding. He has the distinction of being the first student accepted into the company as part of Kadro’s participation in the Cooperative Education Program at NC State University. The University-sponsored Cooperative Education program permits students to work multiple work-terms in a relevant field to their major to gain first-hand experience in the workforce. Kadro still participates in this meaningful program (see our co-op web page) to this day and routinely retains a number of Computer Science co-op students on rotation during each of the Spring, Summer and Fall school terms. Needless to say, Daniel completed his studies at NC State and earned a BS degree in Computer Science.
Reflecting back to those days in the Co-Op Program, Daniel shared his feelings about the experience. “I've enjoyed watching that program grow from 1 student per semester to the 17 we had this summer. And yes Kadro does hire former co-ops, at least 5 in the last year in fact.
Skip forward 16 years and you’ll still find Daniel in the offices of Kadro (well less so at the moment due to COVID restrictions), but now as Vice President of Operations. Along the way he’s held a number of positions like Software Engineer and Director of Engineering. One could say that he is a living testament to what hard work, perseverance, dedication and smarts can do to help propel a career from student to executive. Keep this in mind you NC State students thinking about participating in the Cooperative Education Program. It can be a great stepping stone to future long-term career success.
WHAT DOES A VP OF OPERATIONS DO AT KADRO?
Wear many hats! Basically this means doing whatever is needed to complete customer eCommerce projects in a timely and efficient manner. The role most definitely extends beyond what would classically be considered operations.
For the last several months, Daniel was focused on delivering petedge.com You can read more about that project in the July 2020 edition of Kadro eCommerce Insights newsletter and also check out the work on their Portfolio page on the Kadro website.
On a broader scale, Daniel continues to help manage a variety of projects, deliverables and resources. He has championed software engineering best practices and code reuse, architected an array of software solutions and helped to improve customer website performance. And he piloted the development of Kadro’s Marketplace Manager product offering.
Given his many years in the company and expertise in software engineering, it's not very surprising that Daniel is also an integral part of the company's interview and hiring process. As we said, he wears many hats.
WHAT DOES DANIEL FIND PARTICULARLY REWARDING ABOUT HIS TIME AT KADRO?
The variety of technical and business challenges the company gets to solve for its customers and of course the many talented people that work here. They are a dedicated team of developers with a passion for problem solving in what most describe as a relaxed, fun environment. “It’s great to have seen Kadro grow from around 10 people to the current 60,” Daniel remarked.
WHAT HAS CHANGED IN THE WORLD OF COMPUTER SCIENCE AND SOFTWARE ENGINEERING SINCE THE EARLY DAYS?
The programming languages and technologies have certainly changed a number of times. Yet at the end of the day, our success is all about helping solve customer’s challenges with whatever tools and technologies are at our disposal.
BEYOND THE OFFICE
Daniel “wears a number of hats” outside the office as well. He’s a big Formula 1 racing fan (me too!), enjoys watching the NFL and gets in a few rounds of golf as time permits. And when he’s not doing all of that, you may find him out walking with his wife, kids and puppy, a 6 month old sheepadoodle named Finn.
Recent Blog Posts
- BOPIS – Spicy Filipino dish or eCommerce business strategy?
- What is one of the biggest challenges to running a successful eCommerce store?
- Your eCommerce Store Customers Want This!
More informative blog posts! Stay tuned for future announcements.
Want to make future newsletters better? We'd love your feedback!
Stay up-to-date on all the latest Kadro and eCommerce happenings by engaging with us on social media!
Posted in Kadro Newsletter
BOPIS – Spicy Filipino dish or eCommerce business strategy? YES!
In a prior blog post entitled Your eCommerce store customers want this!, I pointed out the fact that in today’s world of online commerce customers expect both convenience and choice when it comes to paying for the items they buy online. But what about convenience and choices in other aspects of the online purchase? When actually receiving those online purchased items, not so long ago a consumer had two choices – buy online and have them delivered OR go to a store to buy them and take them home from the store. For what is sometimes termed a pure online retailer, the choices for their consumers remain the same, buy online and get it delivered. But for those merchants who have an eCommerce website and physical store location(s), their consumers often have another option called BOPIS, also sometimes shown as BOPUS or click-and-collect. This hybrid shopping and delivery choice can present a real competitive advantage over the pure online retail experience.
BOPIS. WHAT IS THAT?
BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) is an increasingly utilized tactic for consumers to shop and place orders online and then pick up their purchases at brick-and-mortar stores, sometimes even the same day. BOPIS is a part of the larger multi-channel shopping trend that has been emerging since around 2013 when retailers like WalMart, Target and others began to adopt the tactic. It allows retailers and consumers to merge the online, in-store and mobile experiences when selling products and making a purchase respectively.
CONSUMER SEE TANGIBLE BENEFITS
A customer’s BOPIS purchases will be stored in any number of locations at a retailer’s store - the customer service desk, a storage locker or in a designated BOPIS location for convenient in/at-store pickup. At times, that pickup can occur on a 24/7 basis for extra consumer convenience. To help incentivize BOPIS activity, some retailers offer discounts on BOPIS orders. And the consumer knows for certain that the item is available in advance of a store visit, which in the past could result in out-of-stock disappointments. One additional benefit of BOPIS is the local effect. Consumers get the chance to buy local and pick up from a retailer in their local community which helps to support the local economy and at times local manufacturers as well.
RETAILERS GET BOPIS BENEFITS AS WELL
For retailers, it allows them another path to shape the customer experience by encouraging shoppers to visit their brick-and-mortar stores, while still doing the shopping online. This can provide a number of additional retailer and consumer benefits like providing an avenue for additional sales to occur in-store during pickup, a mechanism for strengthening customer engagement and affording the potential for increased brand loyalty. BOPIS can also reduce retailer delivery and fulfillment costs.
BOPIS CAN PRESENT RETAILER CHALLENGES
Yet BOPIS is not without its challenges for the retailer and their eCommerce systems. The retailer must be able to show inventory visibility in real-time at its store locations so customers know what's currently available and where it is available. With the trend towards greater online shopping continuing and the desire to be as contact-less as possible in retail transactions as part of the COVID response, stores are looking to rethink their layouts to better handle the volume of online orders and to accommodate things like curbside pickup services. They have to also examine their product ordering and inventory processes to ensure that they can fulfill orders quickly and without excessive out-of-stock occurrences. Plus there is the ever-present risk of a greater degree of fraud.
IS BOPIS BEING USED?
According to retail trend information published by Offers.com (2020 Retail Trends), 64% of U.S. adults will use BOPIS in 2020. It seems to be a particularly popular option among busy parents in the 35+ demographic.
Again referencing research published by Offers.com, consumers like not having to pay shipping and not having to wait for an item to ship as key reasons. There are others factors as well like avoiding possible package theft risks when an item is delivered and being able to instantly check their order and return it immediately is there is something wrong.
Not all items are ideal for being included in the BOPIS model, but plenty of today’s most popular product categories work well in this shopping and pickup model such as consumer electronics, apparel and even groceries.
HOW DOES KADRO FIT IN?
For the online retailer, whether you choose to offer BOPIS or not, it’s essential that you choose the right technology partner to help you create and support your ongoing ecommerce business. Kadro offers a broad spectrum of eCommerce services including B2B and B2C eCommerce website development, Marketplace solutions, analysis and optimization services, ERP/OMS/PIM/CRM integrations and more. With a team of knowledgeable, certified Magento 2 developers and as an Adobe Gold Solution Partner, we have been successfully delivering eCommerce solutions for our clients in a wide array of industries since 2001. When you are ready to make your vision for selling online a reality, we are here to help. Give us a call at 877-435-3453 and be sure to spend some time on the website for more information about Kadro and all of our services.
Oh and for those of you curious about the spicy Filipino version of BOPIS, Bopis is a spicy Filipino delicacy made of minced pork lung and heart cooked in onions, garlic, and chili peppers. Popular as an appetizer, it is also commonly served as a main entree. Like adobo, afritada, and other Filipino classics, there are many regional interpretations of this dish. Happy eating!
What is one of the biggest challenges to running a successful eCommerce store?
Taxes. More specifically sales and use tax.
Fluid would certainly be one way to describe the world of tax. It’s a world where change is inevitable and not being knowledgeable and compliant is both risky and quite possibly costly. If you are like most eCommerce retailers, you want to sell your product(s) everywhere you can. The more geographic areas your eCommerce store reaches the greater the sales potential. The downside? Navigating the troubled waters of tax rules and regulations.
Did you know that there are more than 12,000 state and local tax jurisdictions in the U.S.?
And their rules and regulations are constantly changing!
Given the unprecedented changes to both selling and buying behaviors resulting from COVID-19, businesses large and small across the country are responding to a new economic reality; a reality in which e-commerce is playing a greater role. And many predict that the role of eCommerce will continue to expand with its changes being here to stay.
So one can surmise that with fundamental changes in how people shop and purchase in favor of eCommerce businesses, more tax regulations and increased potential for audits will not be far behind.
What’s an eCommerce business owner to do? The smart bet would be to manage your entire sales and use tax process with tax technology automation from a provider like Vertex, a Kadro technology partner.
- Over 40 years experience in tax technology
- More than 4000 customers
- Their solutions are used by over 55% of the Fortune 500
Vertex Indirect Tax is designed to manage the end-to-end tax lifecycle -- automating calculation, returns, and exemption certificate management in a single solution. The system integrates with your Magento eCommerce platform (You are on or considering Magento for your eCommerce needs aren’t you?) to deliver accurate tax calculation on every sales transaction.
With Vertex Indirect Tax:
- Charge Your Customers the Correct Tax on Every Sale
- Pay the Right Tax on Your Purchases
- Get Accurate Tax Reporting and generate signature-ready returns
VERTEX offers other tax solutions as well for things like payroll taxes, lease taxes and more.
Read more about Vertex solutions by visiting the Solutions page of their website.
Tune in to one of their informative webcasts by visiting their Webcasts and Events page.
Don’t let taxes get in the way of your eCommerce business.
Posted in Sales and Use Tax
Insights for August 2020
- Uno Alla Volta showcases artisan-crafted products and collectibles via its upgraded and enhanced Magento 2 B2C website
- Technology Partner of the Month - Gorgias, provider of Helpdesk Solutions for eCommerce
- Meet Karen Abrams, Software Quality Assurance Engineer
- Explore our latest blog posts
Upgraded and Enhanced Magento 2 B2C eCommerce Website Showcases Uno Alla Volta's marketplace of artisan-crafted products and collectibles
Uno Alla Volta means "one at a time." It’s a meaningful way to describe the products and collectibles designed and handcrafted by artisans throughout the world that are available for purchase on the Uno Alla Volta eCommerce marketplace. The artisans making the products sold by Uno Alla Volta use techniques and technologies that are both old and new – some passed down through the generations, others more modern and newly developed.
The Uno Alla Volta vision is “to bring the human connection into every interaction with every customer, artisan, co-worker, and supplier – thereby enriching their lives. By so doing, we enrich each of our own lives as well.” This vision manifests itself in the Uno Alla Volta storefront, a place that provides handcrafted fashion and designer accessories, home decor, kitchen, decorative glass, and pottery sold to consumers across the globe.
The Uno Alla Volta story is one filled with the essence of craftsmanship and the joy of human spirit. Learn more about it at About Uno Alla Volta https://www.unoallavolta.com/about-us.
Back in early 2019, Uno Alla Volta was facing a number of business and technical challenges. The initial implementation of their Magento Commerce website by a previous partner did not meet the company’s expectations. The website had ongoing performance and reliability issues which negatively impacted their eCommerce business.
Uno Alla Volta hired Kadro to assess and improve their eCommerce solution on Magento Commerce. The project direction and goals became clear quite quickly. Reorient the site's implementation to a Magento-standard approach, stabilize the website’s implementation and in so doing return the company’s eCommerce business to a path of growth that supports their customer base.
So the team at Kadro got to work and within a few short months was ready to implement a revised and stabilized Uno Alla Volta website. Looking back from today, one can say that the project goals were achieved. The site is now more stable, updates for minor and major Magento upgrades are less costly, the site's content is easier to manage, and the site search experience is greatly improved.
Here is what Martina Honovich, Digital Marketing Manager at Uno Alla Volta, had to say about the experience.
“Our partnership with Kadro started as a site rescue. After a failed migration and launch to Magento with a different vendor, the Kadro team worked endlessly to get our website stable, upgraded and back on track. We needed a partner to step up and support us through it all and Kadro has delivered. I look forward to the continued partnership as we enhance our website and drive growth to reach our eCommerce goals.”
“We extend our sincere appreciation to the management and marketing team at Uno Alla Volta for placing their trust in Kadro during a particularly precarious period for their online business,” stated Ariel Mordetsky, Vice President of Revenue at Kadro.
To learn more about this project, visit the Uno Alla Volta Portfolio page in the Portfolio area of the Kadro website.
Technology Partner of the Month
Gorgias provides helpdesk solutions for eCommerce helping merchants transform their customer service from a cost center into a profit generator. With Gorgias, online merchants can provide enhanced, personalized, customer experiences based on data from their Magento eCommerce platform. The system provides the ability to create rules-based automated responses to repetitive customer questions which saves valuable support agent time. And the system uses advanced machine learning to detect the intents and sentiments of customer messages which helps merchants set priorities and categorize tickets based on what they're about. Learn more by visiting the Gorgias website.
Quality assurance, perhaps not the most glamorous sounding occupation, yet none is more essential to the success of software development and implementation projects. After all, it is quality assurance professionals that ensure a company meets their clients' expectations by making certain software builds, in this case Commerce websites, are thoroughly tested from top to bottom and are in-line with the company’s quality standards, customer’s requirements and overall project deliverables.
Enter Karen Abrams, Kadro’s Software Quality Assurance Engineer
Karen is both a company and industry veteran having worked at Kadro for over 12 years and before that for many years at other well-known technology companies. As such, Karen has worked on just about every project that has come through the door at Kadro - testing almost all of them. Aristotle reportedly once said, “Quality is not an act. It is a habit.” Karen is in the habit of ensuring quality in the websites Kadro engineers for its clients. That’s why she is in charge of QA for the entire company. Of her role she states “I never thought about a QA job, but it's perfect for me.”
What does it take to be a successful quality assurance engineer?
- A mixture of technical and interpersonal knowledge, skills and experience.
- Absolute attention to detail.
- Strict adherence to processes, especially ones centered around software testing.
- A firm grasp of computer science and software engineering principles.
- The innate ability to communicate to individuals within a diverse project team that they are doing something wrong. This is something Karen points out as being “getting paid to do what comes naturally.”
How does Karen match up against these success criteria?
Pretty well we’d say! After all, academically she was her high school’s valedictorian and she followed that up rather nicely with what we’ll call triple success at the collegiate level by earning a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Vanderbilt University. Why triple success? She did it with a triple major in electrical engineering, computer science and math. Now that’s impressive! Always one to keep the acquisition of knowledge at the forefront, Karen is also a Adobe Certified Expert - Magento Commerce Business Practitioner which obviously comes in handy given her involvement in all those Magento website projects for Kadro customers. May need a bigger business card though to fit that one in.
Change will do you good
Karen has seen her share of change over the years as Kadro matured from a company located in a small office off Old Wake Forest Drive in Raleigh, with barely 10 people, a handful of projects, and a ping pong table (a useful outlet for finding inspiration and channeling frustration) to what she describes as the present first-class office space on Corporate Center Drive where the company is headquartered now. It’s a company that has grown to a staff of over 60 people (all U.S. based) and more projects than she’d care to count.
When asked about what she likes about Kadro, Karen mentioned a few things. First on the list, the respectful environment. “Anytime I say something, it's taken seriously and acted on quickly (unlike with children or the ex)”. Ah, she has a sense of humor as well. Other things she particularly likes, “My smart, dedicated, hard-working coworkers and being able to work from home occasionally (pre-Covid era) and full-time now.”
Outside of the office, Karen pursues her long-time interest in Genealogy, a subject that continues to gain widespread attention, and she keeps up-to-date on the world of finance by listening to financial podcasts on a daily basis, plus she’s an avid reader - historical fiction about women is a favorite.
New Blog Post
Your eCommerce Store Customers Want This!
More informative blog posts and an eBook! Stay tuned for future announcements.
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Posted in Kadro Newsletter
There are many keys to being a successful online merchant. But in the end it’s really all about the customer experience, whether your customer is a business or an individual consumer. As a person who has overseen the creation and operation of a number of B2B and B2C eCommerce websites over the years using Magento and other technologies, I can speak first-hand about the importance of customer experience and two essential factors that are sometimes taken for granted or simply overlooked – convenience and choice. Online shoppers value these two things greatly and typically make the decision about where to shop and buy weighing these heavily in their decision criteria.
Fortunately Magento Commerce, in conjunction with its many technical partners, provides an environment that gives you, the online merchant, an optimal mix of convenience and choice. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the area of payment gateways. In case you are unfamiliar with the term “payment gateway”, it is a third-party service provider that automates payment transactions between an online store and its customers.
In today’s world of online commerce, customers expect both convenience and choice when it comes to paying for the items they buy online. Choosing the right payment solutions provider is therefore something you should take seriously. When selecting a payment solutions provider you don’t have to pick just one, although many of the major players in this space offer a wide array of payment choices so it certainly is possible to select just one. The goal is to provide your customers with both convenience and choice, so providing several payment solutions options would typically be preferable.
The universe of choice in this area continues to expand. Today I’ll focus on a few options; some of which you mostly likely have heard of, others perhaps not. This is NOT an exhaustive list of available choices. Remember that the payment solutions options you choose should align with your short and long term business goals and should also meet your needs in terms of price, security and functionality.
So let’s explore in brief a few of the major players - Amazon Pay, Braintree, APS, Authorize.net, and Cybersource.
One of the top payment solutions available for eCommerce businesses today is Amazon Pay. Amazon Pay is a solution that hundreds of millions of Amazon customers know and trust. Offering Amazon Pay as one of your payment options can provide a number of advantages to both you and your customers including optimizing and simplifying the checkout process in just a few clicks for those customers with Amazon accounts using their Amazon account information; enhancing the customer experience and improving customer satisfaction with Alexa by allowing delivery notifications via Alexa-enabled devices to reduce customer concerns about their order status and advanced fraud prevention which is a critical element in the online commerce world.
Braintree offers payment solutions that cover a number of popular and emerging payment methods. The company points out that they are the only payments platform that delivers PayPal, Venmo (in the U.S.), credit and debit cards, and popular digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay in a single, seamless integration, so an online merchant gets a wide array of choices right from the start.
With Braintree solutions you can drive greater conversions, increase operating efficiency, expand your business reach and help to mitigate risk related to fraudulent transactions while keeping payment data secure and maintaining PCI (payment card industry) compliance.
APS has been in business for over 11 years providing reliable, omni-channel, B2C and B2B integrated payment solutions for businesses. APS Payments seamlessly integrates with multiple leading ERP, eCommerce, CRM, POS, and Mobile applications. APS Payments is a payment gateway and processor that is trusted by thousands of merchants daily to process payments.
The company works diligently to offer the lowest credit card processing rates, provide strong processes to help reduce risk and to supply the best payment solutions for its customers.
Authorize.net has been working with merchants and small businesses since 1996. As a leading payment gateway, Authorize.Net is trusted by more than 430,000 merchants, handling more than 1 billion transactions and $149 billion in payments every year.
Authorize.net makes it easy for customers to pay by accepting the payment types they prefer to use including major credit cards, signature debit cards, e-checks and digital payment solutions. Authorize.net supported payment types include Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, JCB, PayPal, Visa SRC (Secure Remote Commerce), Apple Pay, Chase Pay and E-check.
As with other payment solutions, Authorize.net offers retailers a wide array of convenient features designed to make it easier for you to focus on your business and customers. Take the worry out of payments and payment processing with solutions from Authorize.net.
Started in 1994, Cybersource pioneered online payment and fraud management services for medium and large-sized merchants. Today, Cybersource’s modular platform lets you select the payment management solutions you need, when it’s right for your business - to help maximize growth. Aside from payment acceptance solutions, Cybersource also provides robust fraud & risk management solutions and top-notch customer service. Plus merchants can access additional services, including global tax calculation, recurring billing and more.
You can find a list of more of our technology partners by visiting the PARTNERS page of the Kadro website.
So there you have it, a glimpse into the world of payment solutions for online retailers. As you can see, there are many, many payment options and solutions providers for an online retailer to consider. And most of the providers make the same general claims about their focus on data security, PCI compliance, fraud protection, range of payment options and flexible pricing, so it will take an investment of your time to learn about the option(s) that may be best for you and your online store. It’s time worth spending as the payoff in terms of more satisfied shoppers and customers can be significant.
Kadro is here to help. Should you want to learn which solution(s) is best for you, contact your Kadro Account Manager. Don't have one yet? Give us a call at (877) 435-3453.
Insights for July 2020 - In this issue
- Boss Pet Products, Inc. (dba Boss PetEdge) successfully re-platforms two B2B eCommerce websites to Magento 2
- Miss the July 9th webinar on building a Multi-Vendor Marketplace? Watch the replay.
- Technology Partner of the Month - dotdigital
- Meet Cameron Rogers, Director of Engineering at Kadro
- Explore our latest blog post
New B2B Magento Websites Launch: PetEdge and Boss PetEdge Dealer Services
PetEdge website shown above...
We love our pets. And all that love requires a very large industry to provide the goods and services pet owners demand for their animals. 67% of U.S. households own a pet which equates to 84.9 million homes*. Most popular pet in these households? Dogs. Yes, the pet industry is big business. It estimated that $99.0 billion will be spent on our pets in the U.S. in 2020. According to the 2019-2020 APPA National Pet Owners Survey
According to data from IBIS World, there are some 133,669 grooming and boarding businesses alone in the U.S. Then there are the various pet specialty, hardware, farm and general merchandise stores, veterinarians and humane societies all of which support the health and well-being of our pets.
Companies that exist to support this diverse array of pet industry businesses supply a plethora of products and often rely on advanced technologies to get the right products to the right business efficiently. Such an enterprise is Boss Pet Products, Inc.
Boss Pet Products, Inc. is the largest supplier to pet-care professionals and independent retailers offering over 12,000 national brand and exclusive PetEdge branded products. They operate two eCommerce websites which are vital elements in their ongoing business success.
KADRO was selected by Boss Pet Products, Inc. (dba Boss PetEdge) to engineer the re-platforming of their two B2B eCommerce websites and CRM system from a legacy SAP Web Channel Experience Management (WCEM) implementation to the Magento Commerce platform, while maintaining their real-time connectivity to their SAP ECC ERP system.
The new Magento-powered websites, which were launched in May 2020, deliver an enhanced user experience for pet professionals and wholesale buyers, an improved mobile shopping experience, enhanced tools for content and product catalog management, enhanced integration with back-end systems and a custom CRM system integrated with the websites order management functionality.
“Evolving our eCommerce business onto Magento’s state of the art platform is paramount to delivering on the needs and expectations of our customers. Completing this major project without incurring any downtime was a tremendous success and Kadro lead us expertly every step of the way.”
Miss the July 9th webinar Building an Online Community Marketplace?
Technology Partner of the Month
Founded in 1999, the company’s mission is simple: powering customer engagement across all touchpoints. This award-winning, global enterprise has offices in 9 countries and over 350 employees who help fulfill the mission for thousands of brands. Engagement Cloud empowers marketers to acquire, convert, and retain customers at scale. Users can connect with CRM and ecommerce systems, surface powerful data, and automate intelligent cross-channel messages that resonate with audiences. You’ll find dotDigital and all our technology partners on the Partners page of our website.
Meet Cameron Rogers, Director of Engineering at Kadro
North Carolina native Cameron Rogers began his career at Kadro as a software engineer some eight years ago by way of the Cooperative Education Program at NC State University which Kadro has been an active corporate participant in for many years. University-sponsored Cooperative Education programs allow students to work multiple work-terms in a relevant field to their major to gain firsthand experience in the workforce. Cam graduated from NC State with a degree in computer science.
Over the years he has worked on major projects for a number of Kadro customers like REEDS.com, BoatOutfitters.com and MasonJars.com and has supported numerous other company projects as well.
In speaking about his tenure at Kadro Cam stated “I really enjoy the atmosphere and culture we have at Kadro. Kadro is a very open, friendly and collaborative environment. Over the years I've really been able to build strong relationships with my co-workers and can honestly say some of my best friends work alongside me every day.”
Outside of the office Cameron is active in sports and outdoor activities like basketball, football, ultimate frisbee along with traveling, hiking and exploring.
Not surprisingly, he’s also a big NC State fan, but moves a bit further down the coast when it comes to his favorite football team which is the Atlanta Falcons. Well we guess the Panthers have some work to do.
You can learn more about Kadro’s participation in the Cooperative Education Program at NC State University by visiting our co-op page.
New Blog Post
Marketplace vs Dropship - Which one’s right for your eCommerce website?
Posted in Kadro Newsletter
The realm of B2B eCommerce continues to evolve driven by the ongoing impact of COVID-19 which has accelerated growth in the sphere and spawned new business opportunities that reach beyond the predominant channels and methodologies in place today.
An eCommerce area where an evolution can clearly be seen taking place is in online marketplaces. We are all very familiar with the major 3rd party players in this space like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Rakuten and Alibaba. These giants have transformed the retail landscape capturing greater and greater percentages of consumer shopping and purchase behavior. In line with that, one must not ignore the foray that Amazon for one has made on the B2B side of things with Amazon Business. In spite of the dominance exerted by these large organizations, we have seen movement over the past three years in a different direction. That direction points to more businesses of all sizes considering the formation of their own marketplaces with the subsequent desertion from major 3rd party marketplaces. https://bloom.bg/3eYlLL8
Perhaps these businesses have identified an opportunity to serve a regional or local community focusing on local sellers/retailers. Such new marketplaces are setup to provide a diversity of product offerings through their local sellers and they tend to attract local buyers to their online environment. It’s a find it and buy it local approach. This new breed of marketplace may also be founded on a desire to focus on a specific niche of products, like for example hand-crafted goods. In any case, the goal is to provide quality local sellers and goods in support of local communities.
A germane question that logically comes up is should an eCommerce business grow by building its own multi-seller marketplace or instead go the drop-shipping route? There can be pros and cons to each direction that one should consider en route to answering this question.
This helpful diagram illustrates who assumes responsibility for key elements of the online selling process.
One significant difference in being a seller on a marketplace versus setting your online business up around the drop-ship solution is how inventory is controlled. As a marketplace seller, the matter of inventory is left in your hands. If you choose to expand your business via drop shipping, your eCommerce store’s inventory rests in the hands of the drop-shipper(s) you use. You take on all other aspects of the business operation as shown in the left hand column under DROP-SHIPPER SOLUTIONS.
How can starting a marketplace benefit B2B businesses?
B2B businesses can benefit in a number of ways.
- If you already have customers coming and buying from you when you establish a marketplace, you can help increase their spend, because they can find more products that they want to buy. This is of course similar to what one finds in the consumer marketplace environment and it has the ability to influence both customer satisfaction and retention.
- A key difference in marketplace versus drop-shipping and warehousing is that you can increase your revenue without all of the operational expense associated with product management. And you can get rid of warehousing and inventory concerns that often show up with drop-shipping.
While these benefits are certainly positive, owning a marketplace does come with its share of possible issues, issues that you as the marketplace owner get to deal with. Remember that you have to deal with multiple sellers. And sometimes sellers have problems like they don't deliver on time. They may not be putting the product that you want on your marketplace or they may not do so as professionally as you would want. As marketplace owner you take on the responsibility of managing seller issues like this and more. It’s your marketplace brand after all. Think of it this way, when people order something from a marketplace and the product doesn't show up on time, who are they mad at? Probably not the seller. They're mad at the marketplace. Whereas, if the seller runs their own online store as a stand-alone business, any problems are theirs alone to address.
The bottom line is that there are important things to think about and plan for when considering starting your own marketplace.
A great place to learn a bit more about this subject is by listening to the podcast “Should You Build Your Own B2B Marketplace.” It’s part of the Adobe Commerce Talk series and features a discussion with Malcolm Allen, CTO of Kadro. It is available on the Kadro website here. https://lp.kadro.com/commerce-talk-podcast-with-kadro
Given KADRO’s distinctive position as a software engineering company that:
- supports the engineering, integration and implementation of individual eCommerce websites on the Magento Commerce platform
- helps businesses efficiently participate in 3rd party marketplaces
- builds marketplaces for clients wishing to start their own.
we occupy a pivotal vantage point in supporting all these paths to eCommerce.
Whichever path to eCommerce success you may choose, we are here to help.
Posted in eCommerce Trends