eCommerce Trends

Kadro Solutions Recognized as a 2021 Top B2B Company and the Leading eCommerce Developer in North Carolina

2021 Clutch Awards for Kadro Solutions - top eCommerce and B2B company in North Carolina

Kadro Solutions Garners Dual Recognition from Clutch as a 2021 Top B2B Company and as the Leading eCommerce Developer in North Carolina

eCommerce continues to accelerate at a rapid pace driven by diverse business, technological, health and social factors. It is one of the most efficient and practical means to keep business going and growing despite ongoing global adversities. That’s why the demand for eCommerce development has skyrocketed, especially since the beginning of 2020.

During the prestigious Clutch 2021 Leaders Awards, Kadro received two distinct honors. First, as one of the Top B2B Companies in North Carolina and second, as the highest-ranking eCommerce Developer in North Carolina!

We’re honored to recognize North Carolina’s best B2B companies for 2021,” said Clutch’s Customer Operations Representative Austin Ellis. “These providers excelled in their respective fields and have shown that they can provide high-quality services to their clients.”

Kadro is no stranger to such recognition. The company was also recognized by Clutch in 2020 as one of North Carolina’s top e-commerce developers. But for 2021, we grabbed the top spot.

We are honored and pleased to be recognized by Clutch for the 2nd consecutive year as a leading B2B company in North Carolina and this year we also grabbed the top spot as highest-ranking eCommerce Developer in North Carolina. 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 recognition from many satisfied Kadro customers serve as testament to the success of our ongoing efforts. Learning more about our diverse clients by visiting the Kadro Client Portfolio page.

Thank you to everyone, especially to our clients who generously reviewed our services on Clutch. We take this opportunity to encourage you to visit our Clutch profile to learn more about what our clients are saying >> Kadro Client Reviews | Clutch.co

ABOUT KADRO SOLUTIONS:

Founded in 2001 and located in Raleigh, North Carolina, KADRO Solutions is a top-tier software engineering firm that drives business growth through an array of available eCommerce services and solutions using popular platforms like Adobe Commerce (Magento), BigCommerce and Ultra Commerce. At Kadro, our experienced U.S.-based team is exactly what you need to help launch your eCommerce endeavors. We really do make a company’s vision for selling online a reality. Contact our sales team at (877) 435-3453.

ABOUT CLUTCH:

Clutch is an established B2B review and rating platform dedicated to the design, development, marketing, and business services industries. Every year, the site’s team goes through a meticulous evaluation process to determine firms that embodied excellence and growth. Top performing firms receive a Clutch Leaders Award.

Kadro eCommerce Insights Newsletter July 2021 Issue

July 2021 Edition

News, insights and information from the rapidly changing world of eCommerce designed for the online merchant!

OPENING THOUGHTS

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As July comes to a close, many retailers and B2B suppliers turn their attention to back-to-school. Yes it's back-to-school (BTS) time again. Retailers across the country are rolling out their BTS online and in-store programs. According to one source (a KPMG study), back-to-school spending should rise 9% this year. Popular BTS product categories like apparel, footwear and school supplies will again see increased traffic. BTS is a great opportunity for a wide array of product retailers to accelerate their sales and revenue in advance of the 2021 holiday season. Given their online presence in a popular BTS category, in this month's newsletter it's fitting that we feature one of our footwear clients, Houser Shoes.
     

CLIENT SPOTLIGHT

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Kadro has been providing eCommerce development services to Houser Shoes (https://www.housershoes.com/) since 2014.  With their upgrade to Adobe Commerce over a year ago, Kadro developed a solution that easily allows third-party EDI-based drop-ship vendors to integrate with their eCommerce system.
 
Over the past 12-months, Houser Shoes has significantly grown its revenue and profit by adding over a dozen dropship vendors to their online product catalog.  This has allowed them to increase the total SKUs in their product catalog by over 15%, without having to take physical inventory.
 
This expansion of their product offering has enabled Houser Shoes to offer a larger selection of brands, styles, and "edge-sizes" of popular shoes to their customers.  Brands onboarded using this process have included Dockers, Dansko, HH Brown, Wolverine, Clarks, Alegria, Timberland, New Balance, Reebok, Circus, Bernie Mey, Spring, Georgia Boot, Carolina Boot, Lamo, and Jambu. 
 
Kadro has made the product onboarding, inventory management, order management, and fulfillment process of the additional dropship vendors easy by building a facility in Adobe Commerce to provide various file transfer types and protocols including EDI file formats for inventory (846), purchase order (850), acknowledgments (997), and shipment notification (856) with admin-configurable support for varying EDI segment structures.  As a result of these tools, the effort to onboard each new drop-ship vendor can be completed in less than two days of labor.
 
By expanding their product catalog with these dropship vendors, Houser Shoes can leverage their customer loyalty rewards program to offer the expanded product selection at great prices.
 
Overall, by adding a dropship marketplace to their existing eCommerce business, Houser Shoes has significantly grown their business.

Read more about the Houser Shoes/Kadro relationship on the Houser Shoes Portfolio page.

     

TECHNOLOGY SPOTLIGHT

mabl

Mabl is the leading intelligent test automation platform built for Agile teams. It’s the only SaaS solution that tightly integrates automated end-to-end testing into the entire development lifecycle. With mabl, it’s easy to create, execute, and maintain reliable tests, allowing software teams to increase test coverage, speed up development and improve application quality.

 

At Kadro, we believe in automated testing as a means to improve test coverage while decreasing the overall amount of project time dedicated to QA. Mabl and the mabl trainer have provided a SaaS platform that enables our QA team to effectively automate their existing test cases.

 

Leading ecommerce brands like Ritual, FIGS, and Dollar Shave Club rely on mabl for automated UI testing that ensures a seamless customer experience. Download mabl’s 2021 State of Testing in DevOps survey to learn: 

  • How testing impacts the customer experience
  • What types of software tests are being automated
  • How leading organizations are adopting DevOps
     
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START SELLING ONLINE SOONER!

This service is designed for those looking to start selling online faster with a powerful, feature-rich, custom Adobe Commerce (formerly called Magento Commerce) website. It's a scalable solution that can grow as your business does delivering lower initial project costs and higher value.

Learn more. Visit our Accelerated Magento Website Development page.

     
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MAGENTO PROJECT GONE WRONG?

KADRO PROJECT RESCUE SERVICES CAN HELP! 

 

eCommerce projects don’t always go as planned. This can occur for many reasons. No matter what the reason, Kadro can help. We offer a comprehensive array of website project rescue and support services tailored to each client’s needs.

 

Visit our Magento Project Rescue Services page to learn more.

     
MEET OUR NEWEST TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS
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UC1

Founded in 2009, BigCommerce’s mission is to help merchants sell more at every stage of growth, from small startups, to mid-market businesses, to large enterprises. As a leading Open SaaS solution, BigCommerce empowers merchants to build, innovate and grow their businesses online. More than 60,000 merchants worldwide rely on BigCommerce to help fuel their online business success.  STAY TUNED FOR A FUTURE ANNOUNCEMENT AND UPDATES.

Ultra Commerce is an enterprise eCommerce platform for B2B, B2C and Marketplaces. Its fully integrated platform features built-in OMS, CMS and PIM, providing a seamless end to end customer experience and helping customers grow their online business. Ultra Commerce boasts a truly global network of teams and partners to best service their international clientele – offering more than just a platform but a technology partner for them as they grow.  READ THE ANNOUNCEMENT 

Visit our PARTNERS page to learn more about our extensive array of technology partners.

     
ARE YOU READY TO MOVE TO ADOBE COMMERCE
(formerly known as Magento Commerce) 
OR UPGRADE TO THE LATEST VERSION?
Let Us Know
     
2021 Midyear tax changes - Avalara

FREE SALES TAX CHANGES UPDATE NOW AVAILABLE!

Commerce, whether online or omni-channel, is complex and ever-changing. One area that seems particularly fluid is tax compliance. Our partner, Avalara is sharing their 2021 sales tax changes midyear update to help you navigate the complicated world of tax compliance and prepare for the future. As state and local governments reopen after last year’s COVID-19 outbreak, it’s more important than ever to stay informed about legislative changes and emerging trends. Review the update to learn about new tax exemption considerations by state, details about obligations from increased marketplace sales, effects on the international market, and more.

 

Get your copy today! 

     

EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT

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Meet 
Lara Wasilkoff
Software Engineer  

What do you do at Kadro and how long have you been with the company: I am a full-stack software developer who builds custom functionality for Magento sites. Recently, I’ve also taken on a few additional responsibilities, including spearheading our new automated testing efforts with Mabl, as well as leading backend training for new hires and co-ops. I have been with Kadro for about two years.

 

If you could do anything you want right now, what would it be: Travel the world! I absolutely love exploring new places and experiencing new cultures, and I have been cooped up for far too long.

 

What’s your favorite food: My favorite go-to food, without a doubt, is tacos, but I also love sushi, scallops, or really any type of seafood.

 

Have any pets: No pets, but I do have a lot of plants!

 

What do you dislike or dislike doing: Mondays, am I right? Seriously though, I tend to put a positive spin on everything so nothing is ever that unpleasant. Oh except for karaoke, that is. Karaoke is definitely a dislike.

 

Favorite karaoke song: I cannot stand karaoke. Music in general though is a huge part of my life. Attending concerts, whether they be small local shows or large-scale festivals, is probably my favorite way to spend my down time.

 

What gets you out of bed in the morning (motivates you): The sun, primarily. Rainy days are always a struggle. 

 

Biggest recent professional accomplishment: I recently got certified as a Magento Commerce Business Practitioner.

 

Most interesting recent experience: I went ziplining for the first time a few weeks ago and it was exhilarating! I was up in the mountains near Asheville, and it was the perfect way to both appreciate the beauty of nature and get the adrenaline flowing.

 

What is one unique thing about you that few people know? I love to cook. I’m a big fan of clean eating too so I’m always trying out new recipes that are healthy, without sacrificing on flavor. One of my more notable dishes recently was chimichurri-marinated tuna steaks with avocado and spinach.

     

NEW ARRIVALS

Welcome the newest addition to the Kadro family!

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Justin Irene (the one in the cap) 

Full Stack Software Engineer

 

Raleigh-native Justin Irene is a 2019 graduate of NC State with a BS in Computer Science. This is actually Justin’s 2nd tour with Kadro as he originally was brought in via Kadro’s participation in the Cooperative Education Program at NC State and worked at the company from 2018-2019 .

 

After graduation in 2019, he and his girlfriend (who also graduated from NC State) moved to Chicago for two years until career opportunities brought them back to the East Coast and a reunion with Kadro.

 

Welcome back to the Kadro family Justin!

     
Featured Kadro Blog content:
  1. Bridging The Gap Between Customer Expectations And Reality , an informative article from a Kadro tech partner, Annex Cloud.     
  2. Oh no, I’m about to lose my cookies! , with new restrictions on the horizon that will impact online marketing and advertising, what’s a retailer to do? 
  3. Business License Compliance Framework, a look at business licensing with our partner Avalara. 
  4. Setting up Google Tag Manager for Adobe Commerce, an informative article by Kadro's Senior Business Solutions Analyst - James Bruner
  5. Deciphering a Magento Website's Delivery Times Dilemma - an interesting article about overcoming technical challenges for a client written by one of Kadro's Senior Software Engineers - Logan Wilkerson.
     
Posted in Magento Thought Leadership, Kadro Newsletter and eCommerce Trends

2021 Sales Tax Changes Midyear Update Report

Avalara 2021 Sales Tax Changes Midyear Update Report

A lot of changes happened during the first half of 2021. This informative mid-year update to the 2021 sales tax changes report from Avalara delves into those changes and much more. The report goes beyond sales and uses tax compliance and will highlight key developments in a number of focal industries. Review the update to learn about new tax exemption considerations by state; details about obligations from increased marketplace sales; effects on the international market and so much more.  

Learn more and download the report here >>>>> https://avlr.co/3yJ31cZ

Business License Compliance Framework

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Does your business have lots of physical locations? Are you looking at adding even more?

Acquiring and managing hundreds or thousands of business/professional licenses and permits across a large business doesn't have to be a manual compliance nightmare. Read this paper to gain a better understanding of the framework for managing business licenses, permits, and tax registrations, and learn how Avalara can help you manage it all through a single application.

Read the Business License Compliance paper »

Business License Compliance

Licensing your business for operation is generally not a one-time, one-stop activity and, if you are selling online, the number of licenses you’ll need increases because you are selling cross-border.  You can try to maintain current licenses manually but why not automate so you are notified when:

  • licenses need to be renewed
  • a new product or tax jurisdiction is added
  • municipalities update their regulations without notification

An automated business license compliance solution does the research for you and will provide an efficient workflow, custom reports, task management tools, and dynamic calendars to keep you tax compliant.

Read the Business License Compliance paper »

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The Ultimate Guide to Exemptions Certificates for Sales Tax Compliance

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Achieving sales tax compliance in today’s complex environment is no easy feat. There are changing rates to calculate, evolving requirements to monitor and a wide array of exemption certificates to manage. Companies must handle every step correctly, and each one is riddled with potential pitfalls. This guide will help your business navigate all those challenges.

Get Avalara's Sales Tax Guide 

Pay or Don’t Pay?

If you are in the business of transacting business, you know there are a multitude of laws and regulations you must follow to remain in business or, at the very least, to not pay penalties for non-compliance.  Making sure you pay the right amount of sales tax to the government is an obvious example of when you want to ensure compliance.  

And knowing when you don’t have to collect and pay sales tax is equally important because you have to able to prove retroactively why you didn’t.

Generally speaking, the scenarios where a sale can occur without sales tax being collected are:

  • The buyer, such as a school or non-profit, is deemed tax-exempt by law
  • The buyer is going to re-sell the product to their customer
  • The product being purchased, such as some foods, is tax-exempt by law.

As a seller of products, and also many services, such as landscaping in Texas or accounting in New Mexico, there is a simple way for you to stay on top of sales tax compliance – automate it and avoid:

  • Overpayment
  • Credit rebilling
  • Product delivery delays

Learn more about tax-exempt sales with Avalara's ultimate guide 

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Setting up Google Tag Manager for Adobe Commerce

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Google Tag Manager (GTM) has become an incredibly powerful tool in eCommerce when it comes to tracking user behavior, gathering analytics, tracking affiliate activity, and user testing. Over the years I’ve watched the platform and technology grow beyond the original purpose of tag management. As a result, I’ve updated our approach to using it to make our work more efficient and effective. Below are a few tips to help you make sure you’re getting the most out of Google Tag Manager for your Magento eCommerce site.

Go Native

If you’re using Magento Open Source, you will need a module to provide you with the dataLayer, but if you’re using the more advanced Adobe Commerce, Adobe has already provided a baked-in solution. Simply look under the Google settings in the admin, add your container ID, and you’re set. Assuming you haven’t done any major customization to your templates, Magento will now be providing dataLayer information for all your primary events. Pretty cool.

  • Impressions (category pages and related product sliders)
  • Product Detail (aka Product Pages)
  • Adding and removing items from the cart
  • Checkout events
  • Transactions (order success)
  • Promo Views (for promotional content like banners)

Are You The One?

I still see many clients using different GTM containers to manage different environments, like a development environment versus production. But I found the process of exporting and importing tag information between different accounts, and having to review and adjust any tags that overlapped or were overridden - well, cumbersome. Even the built-in environments seem a bit clunky to me. As a result, requiring human intervention as part of the process inevitably leads to errors. Conversely, by setting up all of your environments using the same container will not only simplify your management, but reduce some risk while you’re at it.

Ok, ok, get on with it already... It’s pretty simple really. Look under the Built-In Variables section and make sure you have ‘Page Hostname’ checked. With that enabled you will now see the host name coming through on events (e.g. staging.domain.com, www.mysite.com, etc.) and more importantly, use this data to set conditions. We can now create a trigger that may only fire on our staging environment, and configure a custom variable to use a lookup table so we provide different analytics IDs based on your hostname. On top of that, deployment doesn’t require merging containers or switching environments; which would result in twice the testing cost. Once your tags have been confirmed in Preview mode, it’s as easy as updating a trigger and publishing the changes to your site.

Copypasta

There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. Use templates or built-in tags whenever possible. More often than not you can find good examples of all your major tags. Custom tags are great but they add risk: thorough testing is required, and introducing any broken (or potentially malicious) JavaScript to your page could be catastrophic.

Less is More

When my family goes on vacation, it doesn’t matter if we’re leaving for just one night - sometimes my family needs EIGHT bags worth of stuff. It’s madness, and really causes me more stress than it should. So, my advice? Be mindful not to overpack for an overnight trip and when you’re reviewing your tag plan: minimize your tags. How many tags are too many? I don’t know, and I haven’t seen any conclusive performance testing to give any better advice other than the following: being nice to people, use your good common sense, and follow best practices:

  • Pause or remove any tags not relevant to current tracking or testing
  • Remove tags and triggers not being used
  • Remove any custom variables not being used

For the “remove tags and custom variables”, I recommend that you should audit all of your Google Tag Manager entries once a quarter to make sure obsolete tags and variables are no longer being used.

Keep It Tight

Lastly, tag Management isn’t a “set it and forget it” situation - this isn’t the Honda Civic you drove for four years of college without ever once changing the oil - it’s important to review your tags and update accordingly as technology and your business needs grow. But you also don’t need to review your implementation every single day or week.

The platform is growing and more tagging is coming into play as we find new ways to offer personalized experiences to our customers, which is exciting but requires regular maintenance.

Added Bonus

Google Tag Manager is also an excellent way to manage all of your 3rd party scripts for affiliate tracking, live chat, digital marketing, or advertising and social media tracking. Set up your ids as variables just like we set up our ecommerce tagging and you’ll keep the data clean. The added bonus: no need for code deployments or providing more admin access.

Naughty x Nurture Podcast eCommerce and Fishing Episode with Kadro

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We’re casting a line to lure you in to listen to the next installment in the Naughty X Nurture podcast series by dotdigital where you’ll hear Ariel Mordetsky (Kadro), Jeff Roth (Avalara) and your host Gavin Laugenie (dotdigital) discuss the similarities between eCommerce and fishing. Have we hooked your interest? Get on board starting Friday, April 23rd. It will be reel fun!  Listen in https://bit.ly/3xdkutW