Newcastle web design agency Peacock Carter

What does a Magento developer do?

If you’ve been exploring different ecommerce agencies to work with, you may well have come across Magento a few times by now. But what does a Magento developer do? How is a Magento developer different from other web developers?

The simplest answer is that a Magento developer develops Magento websites, but that’s not particularly useful or comprehensive as an answer, is it?

So, what is Magento development?

The first step is to look at what Magento development is, and to understand that, we need to understand what Magento is. Magento is an ecommerce platform built to allow web developers a stepping stone in creating ecommerce websites – websites that allow you to sell products, services or downloadable content to customers. Rather than building the same core features of an ecommerce website (a product catalogue, shopping cart, checkout) each time, Magento provides these core features ready for customisation.

Magento development covers a huge range of skills and tasks, from installing and configuring your Magento store to building Magento themes and developing custom features for your website.

What does a Magento developer do?

A Magento developer works to build, support and improve Magento websites. Typically, designing and building a Magento website requires a team of Magento developers, web designers and others to fulfill all of the skills required. A Magento developer is simply a web developer skilled with the Magento platform.

A Magento developer may work as a freelancer alone, or within a Magento agency such as Peacock Carter. Magento developers can be roughly split in to two separate skillsets themselves:

  • Frontend Magento developers build Magento themes and work to replicate the design a web designer provides in to Magento – ensuring that your website looks great, and is responsive (mobile-friendly) so that it works effectively on smartphone and tablet devices.
  • Backend Magento developers focus on building features for your Magento website, whether that’s via existing Magento extensions or bespoke code.

Magento developers can also become a Magento Certified Developer (MCD), Magento Certified Developer Pus (MCD+) and a Magento Certified Frontend Developer, which means they’ve passed an exam of multiple choice questions relevant to that field.

Typical Magento developer tasks include:

  • Installing and configuring Magento
  • Building Magento themes from provided designs
  • Optimising Magento’s performance / loading times
  • Configuring Magento’s stores to support multilingual and multicurrency set ups
  • Installing, testing and configuring payment gateways such as PayPal, SagePay, Authorize.Net, etc
  • Integrating other business systems in to Magento – including accountancy software, custom relationship management (CRM) software, and other business applications
  • Performing audits of Magento websites for search engine optimisation

And, of course, if you’re looking for a Magento development agency in the North of England, we can recommend a good one!


Who uses Magento?

Magento is the most popular ecommerce platform in the world, with both small retailers and large companies making use of its purpose-built ecommerce functionality. Usually, when businesses are considering moving to a new web platform or redesigning their website, the best thing to do is look at their competitors’ websites and other relevant businesses with great websites. So, with this blog post we’d like to look at the big blue-chip companies who make the most of their Magento website.

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4 ideas to increase customer spend on ecommerce websites

You have an ecommerce website, and it’s generating a comfortable number of orders, but you’d like to increase your website’s turnover.

You have a few options open to you – sending more potential customers to your website via digital marketing such as search engine optimisation and pay-per-click advertising, or increasing spend from your existing customers.

Here North East ecommerce agency Peacock Carter provide ideas to help you increase your existing customers’ spend with you.

This article was originally posted on bDaily.

1. Set your free delivery threshold carefully

Do you offer free delivery on orders over a certain amount? It may be wise to review this. If you set your free delivery threshold to just above the average order value, you may be able to entice customers to add another item to their order and increase your turnover – just beware of raising this too high and putting customers off entirely!

2. Introduce a loyalty points system

If increasing your average order value isn’t working, you could try starting a loyalty points reward scheme for your store. These can work by simply allowing customers to accrue a certain percentage of their purchase (say, 5%) in points which can be redeemed on your store; the extra incentive to gain enough points for an additional “free” order can become a powerful driver for increasing your store’s turnover.

Leading ecommerce platforms such as Magento and Shopify have the ability to launch these systems relatively easily, and the rewards can be huge.

3. Offer a free sample

There’s something humans like about receiving a free sample without asking – it appeals to our curiosity, especially if it’s from a brand or company they’re already familiar with. Sending customers a free sample may tempt them to buy an additional product line, or even help upsell them to a superior brand of the same product from you with a better margin, whilst providing a more personal touch for your customers.

Just be sure to target the free samples carefully, ensuring the product offered will appeal to the customer!

4. Email your customers if they don’t check out

This is an often-missed trick for smaller ecommerce businesses, and can yield great results. If your ecommerce software is worth its salt, it will likely have the ability to see abandoned carts – that is, customers who have added products to the cart without completing checkout. You can wait a set period of time (say, a few days), and then email the customer to check if they have any queries, and remind them they have products left in their shopping cart. Sometimes, all you have to do for more sales is to ask!

As with any email communication, be careful with how frequently you contact customers – some can find it intrusive and that may cost you future sales.

This is just a small sample of what is available to ecommerce merchants to help them to sell more, and it’s worth measuring and refining your processes as with anything in your business; if you’d like to discuss your ecommerce project further with us, please get in touch.

Sunderland Digital: Next Generation of Ecommerce

Sunderland Digital – The Next Generation of Ecommerce

I’m looking forward to speaking tonight at Sunderland Digital tonight on the theme of the “next generation of ecommerce”.

Sunderland Digital is a relatively new monthly meeting for those working in – or interested in – the creative, digital and technology sector in Sunderland. Held at Sunderland’s Software Centre, the evening has speakers from Moltin, the ecommerce API, and Salesforce, too. It’s great to be invited and to share knowledge in our field with others in the region – something Peacock Carter is very passionate about, alongside promoting ecommerce web development as an interesting industry to work in.

For those unable to attend the event tonight, I’ll be posting my slides online later this week.

Magento and the next generation of ecommerce

As ever, our favourite ecommerce platform at Peacock Carter is Magento, and my talk will provide attendees tonight with an introductory-level flavour of what Magento is, who uses it, and the future of ecommerce for the platform with Magento 2. Key topics include:

  • A brief history of Magento
  • Magento Community Edition vs Magento Enterprise Edition
  • A showcase of big-name brands around the world on the Magento ecommerce platform
  • Magento’s features, from catalogue management to promotional rules and built-in SEO settings
  • Magento Enterprise’s additional feature set
  • Changes in Magento 2
  • Magento 2 highlights for web developers

As ever, I’m sure there will be time for a few questions after my talk – just keep them easy, as it’s been a long week so far! I look forward to seeing you all in Sunderland tonight.

Web design projects

What to do when a web design project goes wrong

Web design projects can go awry for many reasons. Perhaps the agency you’ve employed misunderstood your brief; the specification was wrong; the agency didn’t have the skills it claimed to have; the project is more complicated than anticipated; the agency has lost a key member of staff.

Whatever the reason web design projects going wrong can be very stressful – it can delay product launches, marketing campaigns, and disappoint your customers. So, what can you do when a web design project goes wrong?  

As a web design agency who have been around for over 10 years, we see a lot of “web design rescue” projects coming in. This article is aimed to help you detect the “bad smells” of a project going wrong, and how to rescue the project, based on our experiences.

Bad web design project smells

The first trick in your arsenal is to detect a bad – or potentially bad – project. One or two of the below indicators may occur in any given web design project, but if you nod your head at the majority of the below, your web design project may be in trouble:

  1. Long times between contact: are you struggling to contact your assigned project manager? Do team members take a long time to reply to emails? We’re all busy, but if you’ve lost your communication lines with the team working on your website, your project may be turning sour.
  2. A lot of what you were promised in initial meetings with the agency is now “unachievable” in the budget. Web design agencies can be guilty of over-selling, and once you have committed may try and reduce the features and scope of the project to keep the project sustainable for them. There are many genuine technical reasons an agency may decline a particular feature, however.
  3. Deadlines pass without contact – projects can overrun, but you should be informed ahead of a deadline if it won’t be made.
  4. Work presented is hugely different from the specification or project brief you had approved. Communication is a large factor in any project’s success, and it can cause huge misunderstandings in how your project develops. Bear in mind your web design agency may be working in a sector they’re not familiar with, which brings its whole new dictionary of jargon and acronyms; you may need to clarify how your industry works, and key processes within it.
  5. Poor quality control: if you’re receiving work of poor quality, it may be down to the agency’s quality control processes. Bugs are a natural part of any technical project, and no project is ever “bug free”, but agencies should be aiming to minimise the bugs in a system in a consistent process.

How to rescue your web design project

Every project is different, but there are many common factors in “bad” web design projects, as you’ve seen above. Below is a list of suggestions to help you rescue your web design project:

  1. Talk to your web design agency: this may seem obvious, but let your existing agency know you’re unhappy, and work with them to resolve it. Whilst transferring your project to a new web design agency may seem tempting, this can often over-complicate the issue and delay the project further. This is because the new agency will need to get up to speed on the project, and work out what is complete, and what is in need of rewriting or additional work. For simpler issues, therefore, it can be best to stick with your existing agency to complete the project.
  2. Mediate; if talking directly to your web design agency isn’t working, trying contacting a third party web design consultant who can help ascertain the state of the current project from a technical viewpoint, and where the issues lie.
  3. Consult other agencies: we offer website audits which can give you an idea of the state of the work that has been completed, and where you stand. These can be a great way of maintaining your relationship with the agency, and providing a guiding hand in ensuring you’re receiving work of a good quality to your requirements.
  4. Build on the existing project, or start it again? This is a question we’re asked frequently for “web design project rescue” scenarios – should you keep the work completed so far, and have another agency build on that, or start again?
  5. Most of all, try and remain calm – work with your agency, rather than – in all likelihood, they will want the project to succeed just as much as you do.

Need help to rescue your website project?

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you rescue your web design project, please do get in touch. Peacock Carter have over 10 years experience in mediation and auditing web design projects to help resolve issues between clients and agencies.

Magento 1 DIY book

Magento 1 DIY book

We’ve been at it again here at Peacock Carter: after the Magento 2 Theme Designs book was released late last year, we’ve since acted as technical reviewers for Apress’ new release, Magento 1 DIY.

The Magento 1 DIY book, by Viktor Khliupko, aims to empower smaller business owners, allowing them to create their own Magento store, and get up and running.

What does the book contain?

The book is a respectable 221 pages in length, and covers content split in to five key sections:

  1. Set up – this section covers installing and configuring your Magento store, and your product catalogue
  2. Sales generation – a look at techniques to promote your products, from social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, to more traditional digital marketing like search engine optimisation (SEO) and paid advertising (PPC)
  3. Growth – this chapter looks at how to automate key ecommerce processes in Magento
  4. Enterprise – a walkthrough of Magento Enterprise’s key features, and how you can replicate them in Magento Community using existing third party extensions
  5. The final section, Custom Magento Development, covers deeper customisation of Magento for those new to the platform

The Magento 1 DIY book provides a good overview of Magento’s functionality for those interested in ecommerce and without web development experience.

Our involvement with Magento 1 DIY

Peacock Carter’s involvement with the book comes from our involvement as technical reviewers on behalf of the publishers, Apress. As technical reviewers, we were tasked with verifying the technical correctness of the book’s content and any code samples, as well as providing guidance on best practice for Magento development and configuration. This content is then fed back to the author before the book is published.

Our director, Richard Carter, has authored 4 books on the Magento platform, and been involved in the technical reviewing of content in many other publications.

If you’d like to work with Peacock Carter on your next Magento project, please do get in touch.