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 team of analysts who conducts reviews with clients from around the world. Then, their editorial team independently verifies the content and curates it into a 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!
The most important thing to note about the way the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped retail is that the change is not for the short term.
Shopping might return to something closer to what it was in February 2020, but it will never be the same. The staying power of the significant move to online shopping, the embrace of curbside pickup and the arrival of new online shoppers is evident from the magnitude of the trends and their endurance.
The numbers tell the story. The mass movement to buying online was the sort of social change you see in the midst of dramatic world events. In the first full month of the pandemic, global online sales on Signifyd’s Commerce Network doubled year over year. In month two, they were up four times.
The increase in sales began to settle down as consumers realized stockpiling wasn’t necessary. But they realized something else, too. Shopping online was convenient, provided a greater selection and fit with their lifestyles. Even in August — five months into the pandemic — ecommerce sales were up 34% over August 2019.
Looking at how consumers are shopping provides further evidence that there has been a tectonic shift — and not a change that will settle back to the way things were. Before the pandemic, curbside pickup was practically a novelty, save for some big boxes offering grocery pickup. In 2019, only 17 of the Internet Retailer 1000 offered curbside pickup, according to Digital 360.
Today, the number of retailers offering the service is hard to pin down due to the acceleration of the trend. But it’s evident that curbside has become a go-to for plenty of shoppers. Signifyd’s Pulse data shows that buy online, pick up at the curb sales grew nearly 500% in April, compared to the beginning of the year. While that figure has also simmered down a bit, curbside sales were still up about 250% during the first week of September.
So, where people are shopping has changed dramatically — the move from in-store to online. How people shop has changed dramatically — buy online, pick up in-store or at the curb orders are soaring. But the factor that is likely to cause the most lasting change is the dramatic change in who is shopping online.
A smart aleck would say everybody. But the significance behind the wisecrack is that a whole new cohort of consumers are shopping online for the first time. And the trend is enduring.
The number of new shoppers buying from the more than 10,000 merchants on Signifyd’s Commerce Network more than doubled at its peak in May. We define a new shopper as a consumer we have not seen on the Commerce Network in the past year.
More important than the number of new shoppers flocking to ecommerce during the pandemic is the fact that those first-time buyers return to shop online again. About half of those new shoppers make multiple online purchases within 30 days of their first purchase.
It makes sense, right? Someone who hasn’t shopped online or hasn’t shopped online in some time, finds there aren’t other options with non-essential stores closed and with the best advice being avoid leaving home. So, she or he orders online. And the experience is a little unfamiliar — searching for products, typing a credit card number into a form, maybe creating an account. But the goods arrive with no complications and pretty quickly, too.
At that point, the new shopper knows the drill; the buying process is familiar. Maybe she or he has some information autofilled, which makes things easier still. And so the shopper buys more from more places more often and in fact becomes one of those who makes multiple online purchases for weeks.
All this has catapulted ecommerce years into the future. Pre-pandemic, eMarketer predicted e-commerce would grow 19% in 2020. Signifyd data shows e-commerce growing at an average of 139% a month for the five full pandemic months of the year.
Of course, maintaining that torrid growth rate requires that retailers keep their new customers once they acquire them. Those new customers are arguably a retailer’s most valuable in that they required relatively little acquisition cost, compared to the pre-pandemic days of bidding up digital ads on Google, Facebook and Amazon.
To that end, retailers will want to build marketing campaigns that cater to new customers through promotions, personalized suggestions and loyalty programs. As importantly, retailers will want to audit their entire buying journey. The goal is to make sure the merchant is providing exceptional site search, seamless checkout, instant fraud review, timely delivery and responsive customer support.
After all, the world of retail has changed. And no one wants to be left behind.
Weekends® Only Furniture & Mattress - Omni-Channel Retail with Magento Commerce
Technology Partner of the Month - Amazon Pay
Meet Daniel Friel, VP of Operations
Explore our latest blog posts
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Business buyers are shopping on Amazon more than ever before. Today a growing number of B2B businesses are building their own marketplaces - and expanding their market share. If you want to be a leader and grow faster, it may be time to launch a marketplace of your own. Join Shannon Hane, senior product marketing manager at Adobe, and Malcolm Allen, Kadro's CTO, for an enlightening podcast.
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.
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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