August, 2017

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Shopify vs. Magento: The Tide is Shifting

Just a few years ago, it was virtually unheard of for an ecommerce site to use anything but Magento for their shopping platform needs. Certainly a platform like Shopify wouldn’t have been in the running for what most considered a “top-tier ecommerce platform.” Slowly but surely, though, these sentiments have begun to change and, in ever increasing numbers, marketers and business owners have begun to look to Shopify instead of Magento. Amazingly, in June of 2016, Shopify overtook Magento in terms of Google trends.

In fact, we here at Group 8A had one of our biggest months ever using Shopify and have been exceedingly satisfied with our choice of platform. Although, the decision did not come easy and we had to look at many different factors to determine which platform would best suit our needs.

Here are a few of the features we took into consideration when making our decision between Shopify and Magento.

Ease of SEO

It might seem counterintuitive when there are so many other aspects to take into consideration, but for a business like ours that exists in an increasingly competitive marketplace, SEO is key (read: king). Furthermore, more than 35 percent of consumers begin their purchase through Google, so it’s no wonder why great SEO integration can make or break a business.

To be fair, both platforms easily allow the imbedding of page URLS, meta-descriptions, page titles, independent links, etc., which will allow your business to tailor your text to help boost the presence of a page or a site and with it your search engine rankings. But only Shopify has Traffic Control, a handy app that allows you to manage redirects so you don’t lose traffic or SEO rankings after migration. An app like this is absolutely imperative if you’re considering changing platforms.

Of course, Magento being open source, the SEO option could be unlimited if you have the technical know-how. If not, you might end up shelling out lots of money finding somebody who does.


Pricing should have probably been our first consideration (and for the folks with the money, it probably was) and both Shopify and Magento have their pros and cons.

Magento Community Edition is 100 percent free. Of course, if you want to upgrade to Enterprise Edition, you’ll have to request a quote from the company, which can be a hassle and potentially very expensive (in the $18,000 range).

Shopify has a few different pricing options for businesses.

  • $9/month + 2.9% + 30¢ credit card fees
  • $29/month + 2.9% + 30¢ credit card fees
  • $79/month + 2.6% + 30¢ credit card fees
  • $299/month + 2.4% + 30¢ credit card fees

Just looking at the raw data, it appears as if Magento Community Editon is the better option of the two, and it certainly could be if you’re looking for something a bit more rudimentary and hands on. But if you take into consideration what Shopify offers its users that Magento doesn’t— 24-hour customer service, tools for manual order creation, and fraud analysis features— it’s clearly a very good option.

Likewise, the price of hosting your site is included in your Shopify subscription. If you’re using Magento, you’ll have to sign up with a third party hosting platform, which could cost anywhere from a few bucks to several hundred dollars a month.

Related: Shopping Cart Throw-down: Which Ecommerce Platform Reigns Supreme?


For advanced users, Magento can be the easier of the two to edit files, as it will connect you directly to an FTP client. But for less experienced users, this might be a bit confusing and possibly very difficult. There exists a decent theme marketplace but, unfortunately, many of the themes aren’t quality-controlled so using one could be dicey. Some are free but most of Magento’s themes will cost anywhere between $50 and $300.

Shopify has a good many more varieties of themes overall, which are easy to adapt without any knowledge of code or coding. A casual glance over the look of the builds show an abundance of themes that are sleek, powerful and, most importantly, mobile friendly.


As a business, we pride ourselves on always being available to our clients, and when we were looking for a platform, we wanted the same customer service made available to us.

To that point, and to vastly oversimplify it, Shopify has support and Magento doesn’t.

To be fair, Magento has a dedicated community support forum full of knowledgeable and helpful developers. But unless you yourself have a background in developing, or have hired someone that does, this may be of no use to you, especially if your site goes down at 3AM Christmas Eve and there’s no one to troubleshoot with.

Shopify’s customer support is unmatched. They provide 24-hour support staff available over live chat, email or phone, a blog — Ecommerce University — full of valuable advice, and, yes, even user forums.

Group 8A isn’t the only business to have success with the Shopify platform. Others too have seen massive increases in site conversions after migrating to Shopify. Overall, yes, both platforms boast some great features and, in the end, it’s going to come down to which is more ideal for your specific business and will best serve your strengths.

Swiss fashion brand Strellson sells clothes for Facebook likes

Strelsson, Switzerland’s biggest menswear manufacturer, opened an online shop where consumers won’t need to pay money to get a fashion item. In order to be the owner of a trench coat or pair of jeans, consumers need to collect a certain amount of Facebook likes on a shared post.

Strellson’s Like Shop is part of its original online store, but the biggest difference is there’s no way you can pay with euros of Francs. The Swiss company says it’s the first online shop where you can pay with likes. “All you need to do to get your favorite look from our collection: choose it, share it with a personalized Facebook post and encourage your friends to pay for it – with their likes.”

Friends and family of the customer have to click on the link in the generated post and like the entry on the website. Likes of the actual Facebook post won’t count towards the like score. At the moment, a polo shirt is being sold for just 50 likes, while a leather jacket costs 500 likes. Currently, 14 items are up for sale, although one is already sold out.

Improving brand recognition

The Like Shop was made by advertising agency Serviceplan Campaign X, which says the aim of the campaign is to “achieve a viral effect using like requests and post-sharing with the aim of broadening the community and improving brand recognition.”

Strellson's Like Shop.


Swiss fashion brand Strellson sells clothes for Facebook likes

Changing B2B Marketplace Calls for New Sales Skills

There are three key moments when salespeople can maximize the value in a customer relationship instead of allowing it to leak out, according to Corporate Visions, which announced a new sales skills program on Thursday.

Those three turning points occur during deal negotiations, when securing customer renewals, and introducing strategic price increases, the company said.

“Traditional negotiations training programs have focused heavily on deal negotiations,” said Tim Riesterer, chief strategy and research officer at Corporate Visions, “so they’ve covered the first of the three areas.”

Sales Process Evolution

Certain egregious sales behaviors — including indiscriminate discounting to secure a deal — have led both companies that bought training and those that offered it to believe focusing on negotiations was sufficient, “with documented payback in reduced discounting and increased deal profitability,” Riesterer told CRM Buyer.

With the sales, purchase and usage process evolving into more of a Products as a Service experience, he said, “the pressures and the opportunity have shifted to the other two areas — renewals and price increases.”

Training vendors by and large have not updated their intellectual property or programs to reflect this trend, and enterprises “have been slow to realize the need and potential crated by these situations,” Riesterer pointed out.

“Neither have done the research to realize the psychology of those moments requires new skills and competencies to be effective,” he maintained.

Many of the training programs available in the market focus on general sales strategies or negotiation techniques, noted Cindy Zhou, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

Corporate Visions’ Course

For deal negotiations, Corporate Visions’ Capture Value skills program will teach salespeople how to accomplish the following:

  • Creatively manage negotiations from a low-power position to create pricing uncertainty in commoditized markets;
  • Expand deal size by introducing unconsidered needs and capabilities;
  • Drive agreement and consensus in multibuyer decisions; and
  • Avoid unnecessary discounts.

“My research shows that the average number of decision makers involved in a B2B sale has grown from five people to seven over the past year,” Constellation’s Zhou told CRM Buyer. The ability to navigate multiple decision makers and build consensus among them “is a necessary skill set for modern B2B sellers.”

Renewals have become an important part of growth, as more companies sell multiyear agreements, managed services, and other recurring revenue products and services, especially because the first years of the initial agreement usually are the least profitable, Corporate Visions’ Riesterer remarked.

Selling renewals requires “additional skills to reinforce their status quo bias; demonstrate progress, results and business impact; as well as to position your new advances and capabilities,” Riesterer said.

Increasing pricing without jeopardizing the customer relationship “calls on yet additional sales conversation skills in positioning, presenting and securing the desired price increase,” he added.

The Corporate Visions course costs US$2,000 per person, with discounts for larger groups. It is offered in three formats.

Automation and the Sale

The typical B2B sales cycle can “be upwards of a year, depending on the size of the purchasing organization,” Constellation’s Zhou noted, and B2B sales are most complex at the enterprise level.

That complexity could be why B2B sales increasingly are being automated and going online — and possibly one reason Amazon Business Marketplace surpassed the 1 million customer mark wtihin 15 months of its launch in April 2015.

Startup firm Qurious offers an eponynously named artificial intelligence sales platform that shows salespeople real-time battlecards in response to customers’ questions and objections during a sales call.

When the Qurious platform detects a trigger during a phone call, such as a buying signal or objection from the customer, it displays a contextually relevant battlecard to help guide the conversation.

Each battlecard is tracked and linked to outcomes, so salespeople can see what’s working and conduct A/B tests on different battlecards. Qurious also offers best practice templates.

Corporate Visions’ training program would be more for “complex, enterprise B2B field salespeople rather than inside sales reps who are more vulnerable to automation,” Constellation’s Zhou observed.

However, the course’s principles “can be equally applied to inside sellers or account managers,” Riesterer maintained, as well as “customer service or success managers.”

European E-commerce Report 2017 extensively covered

Exactly two weeks ago, Ecommerce Europe together with EuroCommerce & the Ecommerce Foundation officially presented the European Ecommerce Report 2017 at a Press Conference at the Press Club Brussels. The report shows ecommerce trends, facts and figures, and offers insights into each of the European e-commerce markets. Many interesting findings are included in the Report with the main takeaway being that e-commerce is growing exceptionally, particularly in Southern European countries. Secretary General of Ecommerce Europe Marlene ten Ham kicked off the Press Conference after which Jorij Abraham – Managing Director of the Ecommerce Foundation – presented the findings of the report. Lastly, Christian Verschueren – Director-General of EuroCommerce – moderated the Q&A coming up as a result of the presentation.

On the report

Ms. Marlene ten Ham, Secretary General of Ecommerce Europe, stated: “We are very pleased with the figures that are presented in the report, as stimulating European ecommerce is one of our main objectives. We strive to create a level playing field for online trading in EU countries and our work is more likely to be successful when we gather the right facts & figures”.

European e-commerce turnover increased by 15% to €530 billion in 2016. For 2017, the European B2C e-commerce turnover is forecasted to reach around €602 billion, a growth rate of nearly 14%. Western European countries continue to lead the way, as the largest market for ecommerce, with the UK topping the list with approximately 33% of the European online sales. In the mature ecommerce markets, the proportion of consumers shopping online is highest, 87% in the UK, 84% in Denmark and 82% in Germany for 2016. In contrast, the share of people shopping online are the lowest in Romania, Macedonia and Bulgaria.However, central and eastern European countries are on continuous growth. Sales in Romania increased by 38%, while the Slovakian and Estonian market augmented by 35%. Ecommerce, combined with the EU Single Market, is offering a unique an opportunity to sell and shop across border without travelling or setting up shop in another country.

Media coverage

The joint press conference drew extensive media coverage with several journalists and press officers attending the presentation. Among the media outlets that covered the European Report were the following websites:

  • POLITICO Pro Technology, 26 June 2017
  • Ecommerce News Europe, 26 June
  • European Supermarket Magazine, 27 June
  • RetailDetail EU, 27 June
  • RetailDetail NL, 27 June
  • Revista info retail, 27 June
  • Fashion United, 27 June
  •, 27 June
  • KashmirWatch, 28 June
  • Puromarketing, 29 June
  • IT Reseller, 29 June
  • Emerce, 27 June

UPDATE 19/07/2017: 

The  European Ecommerce Report 2017 has received  even more   coverage in the past two weeks in the Vietnamese, German (article in the 4 July edition of the Lebensmittelzeitung) and Spanish media

India’s e-commerce market to touch $33 billion this fiscal, says govt

New Delhi: The e-commerce segment in India is growing and is likely to touch US $33 billion this fiscal, the Parliament was informed on Friday.

In the 2016-17 fiscal, the online market had grown by 19 percent, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs C R Chaudhary said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

“India’s e-commerce market is estimated to be US $33 billion in the financial year 2017,” he said, quoting industry body NASSCOM’s latest estimates.

On consumer complaints, the minister said that as many as 28,770 complaints were registered against the segment on the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) last fiscal.

Around 11,596 complaints were related to non-refund of payment while the rest were about defective products delivery, deficient services and poor quality/fake products, he added.

“The complaints are forwarded to the companies concerned for resolution,” he said.

If consumer complaints are not resolved and if there is no response from the company, then consumers are advised to approach appropriate consumer forum, he added.

At present, there is a three-tier quasi-judicial mechanism in place for redressal of consumer grievances at district, state and national level.

To protect consumer interest, he said, the government has made several provisions to strengthen the consumer grievance redressal mechanism in a bill which was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August 2015.