All posts by Wiserobot

How To Gather Customer Feedback

Your products are high quality and reasonably priced, but if it is not what people want, then these advantages will become meaningless. In order  to become a successful retailer  being a good listener is a must. You need to open your ears to know what your customers really want and get  deeper insight about what you are offering. Here are three primary ways with which you can gather customer feedback for your e-commerce businesses.

Include a  Product Review Section

It would be a huge loss if a Magento online store was not equipped with a product review section because it’s regarded as one of the most vital parts of an e-commerce product page. This is a direct way to know what other people think about your products and it provides objective comments from existing customers who have already experienced your products and can point out their strengths as well as weaknesses. This also means that you as the store owner can get a clearer picture of what’s going on and what (if anything) needs to be improved. In addition to being a  feedback channel, product reviews are also an efficient method to help manage customer care as well as building customer confidence and ultimately managing their expectations.

Creating a product review section is relatively effortless, but effectively controlling one is a very different ball game. One of the risk factors you might experience is spam comments which could potentially mess up everything in your page. So stopping spam at all costs is essential.

Execute an Online Survey

If your  customers are unwilling to tell you what they are thinking, ask them: “What is your dream product” or “How do you think about our new look” etc. Running an online survey campaign is a good step toward getting customer feedback. A survey can be both long or short, this is up to you and what you expect your customers will appreciate.  

How to gather customer feedback - WiseRobot

Short survey: The number of questions should be a few  only and be displayed on the relevant content page. If there is a general question like “how did you find our website”, then placing it on the checkout page is reasonable. Short surveys usually have better response rates than long surveys because they don’t take too much time to complete.

Long survey: Typically, most of your customers won’t be happy to answer the questionnaire because it’s too long. This leads to a low response rates so a special discount code attached might be an incentive  to encourage them to fill out the survey.

Listen to Social Networks

There is no denying that since  social networks appeared our daily habits have changed.  Social networks had more than 1,8 billion users all over the world by 2014, among those Facebook takes 56% and is the biggest. These huge numbers have shown that the social networks today have already become indispensable for both normal users and online marketers.

Social Networks have contributed much in branding, positioning, advertising, and especially connecting business and their customers. Don’t let these helpful tools slip through your grasp if you want winning insights into your buyer community. All compliments, complaints or any queries can be directly asked and answered in a simple post right away.  You also can do live chat with your current and prospective customers via social media, at the same time using their embedded messaging features.

In order to establishing a survey application for a Magento website or building up a professional review section with anti-spam function, don’t hesitate to contact us!

[Infographic] UK Online Shopping Portrait

Online Shopping in the UK is continuously on the rise and has no signs of stopping. Known as the current largest online retail market in Europe, in 2014 the UK gained  £44,97 billion  from online sales,  increasing by 15,8% on 2013 and expected to grow by 16,2% in 2015 and reach £52,25 billion. (source: Center for Retail Research)

E-commerce in the UK is increasingly attracting more customers because of its practical benefits like saving time and money, large shopping networks with multiple choices, fast and easy purchasing, etc. Additionally, the improvement in security for online payments, transparent policies, good customer care as well as fast and free shipping services also contribute to enhance the satisfaction of the British online shopper. That has encouraged them to buy more online and also recommend to their friends and colleagues to do the same.

Another reason for this relentless growth is the increasing popularity of mobile devices, including both mobile phones and tablets. The year 2013 is considered as a milestone of  m-commerce and is known as the year of mobile devices in the UK. In 2014, overall sales via mobile devices was £8.41 billion and this figure is predicted to grow up 30% and equivalent sales gained £14.95 billion in 2015. The main reason for the British to engage in more online shopping by mobile devices is convent support from online shopping applications. Clothing, accessories, music, and mobile apps are among the main items being purchased  via mobile devices.

Check out the UK online shopping infographic below to find out more its key numbers and trends.

 UK Online Shopping Portrait.

Extra services for online stores

Have you ever thought that customers need more motivation to make a quick buying decision instead of moving from this product to that product and leaving without making an order?

There is no doubt that most buyers especially love free services and many will solely buy items with free services attached. That’s why extra services are becoming an indispensable part in the aggressive business world. Many giant companies provide several kinds of free services to inspire their customers to purchase more as well as retain loyal buyers and attract new ones. Here are some free services that guarantee better conversion rates which you can apply to your store.

Free Shipping: Is undoubtedly one of the best ways to attract customer’s orders and is normally available only for domestic shipping. Just the appearance of the phrase “free shipping” on a web store seems to be a marketing punch towards competitors who cannot provide this and is a great way to compete in avenues such as CPC advertising.

extra services - free shipping

Executing this service clearly depends on your financial capability because the cost of shipping will affect your margin. Therefore, you need to take into account the effect this may have on your business and your bottom line. Moreover, you ought to set a minimum purchase value for free shipping which still makes it affordable to both you and your customers which is a juggling act, you may even wish to provide free shipping just for certain SKU’s to remain competitive or for certain brands or other criteria whilst not for other product lines. Having a threshold will also encourage your customers to add more items into their shopping cart in return for the free shipping and help you to earn more profit to offset against the cost of transportation.

Free Gift Wrap: Wrapping meaningful gifts in order to show your present love and caring to your beloved is essential for some purchases. As a store owner, besides providing multiple products to diversify customers’ choices, you should provide a free gift wrapping service if people tend to buy items as gifts and then send to another address directly, also a message should be able to be added to the gift purchase in order to make it personalized.

extra services - free gift wrap

The cost to a business for this extra service is not considerable and does not require a high degree of skill to achieve. This service can please your customers by meeting their needs without asking them to pay more money. Hence, you will increase your sales margin and acquire new purchasers. The smallest details can make the biggest difference.

Private discount: Private discount means promotions for specific customers or groups of customers. If you want to attract new buyers, the promotion might be 20% off for the first purchase. If you would like to present a thank gift for your loyal customers, why not send them a promotional email with an attached discount code for the next order for example? And if your customers just purchase only one time and have not returned to your site since, a discount program also may be useful to pull them back.

You can apply a suitable discount level to each group of people. Regarding a program for loyal customers, we suggest you should give them something more special than normal customers.

Feel free to Contact Us if you need any help implementing these types of services on your Magento store!

Up-Selling and Cross-Selling Techniques in Magento

In this article we discuss two sales techniques which are often used in both online business and offline business to increase revenue and profit in a fast, simple and easy way namely “Up-Selling” and “Cross-Selling”. These are common techniques implemented throughout a business process.

Up-selling is a sales technique that a seller applies to motivate their customers to buy another more expensive product with more features than what he planned to purchase at first in an attempt to make a larger sale. It is like a customer who buys an iPhone 6+ instead of iPhone 6 after hearing a great number of cutting edge features of the latest version and its promotion.

To be able to up-sell effectively, the first thing you need to do is to be aware of the needs of the customer and to comprehend how to make the questions to find out the necessary information in order to understand their real needs. You also need to be well-equipped with adequate knowledge about the products being sold as well as price, promotion related and the relationship between this product to other products. From these points, a business can introduce the right one according to its customers’ needs.

This is also a popular technique which is employed to inspire a customer to buy more items related to what he has just bought. It means after purchasing his iPhone 6S, the customer will be offered more some accessories such as a case, USB charging cable, shell holster, back cover, etc. Another typical example about cross-selling which we usually see in a fast food store is: “Would you like fries with that?”

up-selling and cross-selling

In order to cross sell you need to ensure that you have enough additional products and make clear which are the well-matched couplings or perfect triads. You may also tie them up in a bundle with a more attractive price than placing each item individually. That will be a good hook to push the customers to pay more and increase your order value.

In traditional commerce, these sales techniques rely heavily on the talents of a salesman; yet in e-Commerce, it is a technique used when building a website system. An extension or store which can integrate both up-selling and cross-selling function is a must-have to be able to track your customers as well as their behaviors and automatically recommend more similar products and accessories based on your websites data. Contact Us for more information if you would like help in managing an effective up-selling and cross-selling campaign on your Magento store.

USPS Shipping Error for USA to Canada Shipping

An unexpected USPS shipping error occurred to most Magento stores in the USA who are using the USPS Magento module in their shipping methods to ship to Canadian customers. This error caused some confusion for both us and our clients during the last two weeks.

Normally, USPS has three options in their service, including (1) First-Class Package International Service, (2) Priority Mail International and (3) Priority Mail Express International, but the problem only happened to the second one “Priority Mail International”. This option suddenly disappeared from the estimate shipping column so that shoppers couldn’t choose this shipping method during their check out process.

USPS shipping error 2

More dangerously, the error sometimes turned the “Priority Mail International” option into an empty label option at a price $0.00 for Canadian orders. This means that our clients had to provide a free shipping service, or contact the shopper to redeem the correct postage value causing considerable inconvenience.

USPS shipping error 1

Here is what we detected after checking the file log: The Origin ZIP Code was absent.

<ServiceErrors><ServiceError><Id>50050</Id><Description>The Origin ZIP Code and the Destination Postal Code is required for Priority Mail International when mailing to Canada.</Description></ServiceError></ServiceErrors>

And this is our solution: The Origin ZIP Code injected. We added in line 394 file app/code/local/Mage/Usa/Model/Shipping/Carrier/Usps.php as below (shown in red):

$package->addChild(‘Width’, $width);

$package->addChild(‘Length’, $length);

$package->addChild(‘Height’, $height);

$package->addChild(‘Girth’, $girth);


$package->addChild(‘OriginZip’, $r->getOrigPostal());


It seems that USPS have since fixed this issue but we believe that a soon to come update may cause this again. So for now, everything is back as normal. If this issue appears again when USPS release their changes to their API within the next few weeks as per their recent email sent to one of our clients affected by this on May 7, 2015 at 6:28:30 AM PDT:

“May 31, 2015 USPS Web Tools will be implementing modifications and additional features to the U.S. Postal Service APIs. The following changes may especially impact shipping systems:

– Origin ZIP Code required for Priority Mail International to Canada
– Modified special services
– Modified service IDs
– Modified available mail classes for Merchandise Return Services”

Therefore this information should help people out when they encounter this error which was caused by the first bullet point change listed above.

We hope others will find this information useful.

Comparison Shopping Trend and Comparison Sites

If offline shopping can make customers spend a whole day going around, paying more for their movement, effort and time to examine the best quality product at the lowest possible price, then online shopping can be said to be in complete contrast to it. Electronic commerce can help customers easily find their favorite products at attractive prices with just a click.

Nowadays, online shopping has evolved to a higher level, more modern and functional due to the development of the internet and e-commerce in which a great number of websites referred to as “Comparison Sites” or “Shopbots” have been established. This has generated a new shopping trend named Comparison Shopping. The most important sense of Comparison Shopping is to save money. It is absolutely good to compare prices before deciding to buy any items. To execute a comparison shopping, all customers need to do is to start up their computers, open a new browser, enter a Comparison Site and type in the search box the item which they are looking for. A result page with a wide range of products from many different sources will be returned with full information and images.

comparison shopping - google shopping

In recent years, Comparison Shopping has become more common than ever. Its popularity has opened a new opportunity for online merchants to boost sales by collaborating with Comparison Sites which can increase their internet presence as well as improve potential customer accessibility to their online stores. In addition, click conversion rates from browsers into buyers in Comparison Sites is much higher than advertisement banners since most customers employing comparison shopping are considered as prospective ones. Once they search for an item, it means they are truly in “ready-to-buy” position, not just “window shoppers”. Therefore, getting access to these customers is very important and Comparison Sites are extremely effective within the e-commerce industry.

In terms of expenditure, we can divide Comparison Sites into three groups. The first one is Comparison Sites which are free to upload products on their sites such as Bing Shopping or TheFind. The second one is going to charge your a cost – per – click (CPC) fee like Google Shopping, Nextag, PriceGrapper, Amazon Product Ads, Become, Pronto,, ShopZilla etc. Meanwhile, some such as SortPrice or Oodle offer a free but limited service. It can means your listing will be limited in number and visibility, and have a poor technical support.

Comparison sites - process

In case retailers or manufacturers want their goods to be displayed and offered on a few of CSEs (Customer search engines) at the same time at a reasonable price, they can use services from ChannelAdvisor for example, exhibit their products on several Comparison Shopping Websites like Google Shopping, Microsoft’s Bing, Nextag etc, and advertise them on the best marketplaces as eBay, Amazon, Newegg etc.

Comparison shopping - Channeladvisor

When utilizing an all-in-one service from a service like ChannelAdvisor, retailers can escape from a busy and complicated multifaceted retail experience. With an account on ChannelAdvisor and a connector module to their Magento store such as our ChannelAdvisor to Magento module, retailers are able to keep track all orders and information which then flow into the Magento platform website from ChannelAdvisor and vice versa enabling them to unify their data management flow to just one system.

In short, be wise to choose a good CSE which is appropriate for your business and your budget. CSEs cannot decide the success of any businesses, but it certainly has been and will be an invaluable assistant to your day to day business management.

[Infographic] The panorama of global e-commerce business

In the current age of technological development, the Internet has truly become an indispensable element in daily life of the majority of people around the world. According to the United Nation Broadband Commission report, there are more than 40% of the world’s population already using or having used the Internet and the number is expected to rise over 50% in 2017. Along with this development, the online shopping trend is growing too. Cimigo’s research releases that 90% internet users would be online shoppers in the near future. The figure in this study is a good sign forecasting a bright future of the global e-commerce business trend.

So WiseRobot have released this new e-commerce infographic including information about developmental history, main features, and classification of, as well as showcasing a range of statistics about the modern e-commerce world as it stands.

ecommerce infographic

Top three open source search engines

In current e-commerce scenario where online retail owners are competing to win front seats with racing speed, a slow page loading is considered as a silent killer and a snail’s pace of searching process is regarded as a disease which make your customers feel sick and tired of. Be an extra feature of Magento Community Edition but its default search function is not really highly evaluated. Almost users complain that this search tool is too slow and inefficient. Thus, the mission of online merchants is to upgrade this function in order to make the search process easier, faster and more precise.

open source search engine

The easiest way to meet the current needs is to install a searching module to replace the default search tool. Although there are many vendors who offer a variety of modules based on different technologies, but the most three open source search engines are Solr, Sphinx and Lucence.

Sphinx – The SQL Phrase Index is a free open source full-text search serve. As an independent search engine, it is fast and suitable for other applications. Sphinx was specially designed to be compatible with SQL databases. This Application programming interface is used in many languages like PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby, Java and MySQL storage engine. It is also very easy to utilize in a new language.

Solr – An open source platform provides a useful search function to those who want to build a search tool for their website or to make a specific search page to search music, film or to seek a job. The Solr uses the Lucene TM Search Library and extends it. Additionally, Solr’s major features include powerful full-text search, hit highlighting, faceted search, real-time indexing, dynamic clustering, database integration, rich document (e.g., Word, PDF) handling, and geospatial search.

Lucene – An Open source library with full text search support is developed by Dough Cutting and managed by the Apache Foundation Organization. This is a tool applied to create an index for the text used in the search engine. The Lucene helps process input documents for plain text to generate an index and supply search mode based on this index. A leading Lucene – based Magento module developed by WiseRobot’s programers is Lightning Search Extension. This module enables the searching process to work in a flash. Your customers can save their valuable time and therefore be motivated to purchase more. In order to get more knowledge about the full features and the functionality of each, please visit our Lightning Search Extension‘s page. The demo and user guide are also available for your checking out. Read more about the interview with Kevin Irish from one of our key clients to know his experience with the module. 

Kevin Irish ( “at $199, the Lightning Search Extension is a steal!”

After noticing trouble with their conversion rate metrics, our client – attempted to find out the reasons behind it and then realized that most of the customers left its store simply because they were not patient enough for the standard Magento search process which is slow and does not provide optimum results. In order to avoid revenue loss, needed a thorough e-commerce solution.

Prior to Lightning Search extension, we designed Import / Export, JavaScript force refresh / no-cache, ‘Video XML Sitemap, ‘Shelving walk through’ and other custom developments for Storables. More importantly, we have never stopped trying to fulfill their requirements during our three-year cooperation.

To meet their business needs, WiseRobot’s programmers worked on building out our Lightning Search module for them based on the Zend Lucene indexed search to supercharge their Magento platform. The Lucene Search technology makes the searching process shorter and stronger since many indexes are automatically created and collected in the Lucene library where the entire search process takes place. Therefore, a rich result page, in less than no time, will be returned even if typing incorrectly. Customers will find everything easier, faster, more precise and convert their searches into orders.

Here is the interview with Kevin Irish – e-Commerce Manager of

Q: Can you say a few words about Storables and how you became involved with Magento as the web store?

A: Storables operates 05 B&M locations on the West Coast, and an e-Commerce branch to serve the rest of the United States. I am the e-Commerce Manager for, responsible for all web content and marketing. Storables had recently migrated to a Magento store prior to me entering this role, with the thoughts and hopes of utilizing its flexibility and scalability to offer a unique shopping experience.

Lightning search extension by wiserobot

Q: Why did you decide it was necessary to upgrade your search function?

A: We were using another third party search function that was not returning the results our shoppers were expecting, and we losing conversion because of it. We attempted to adjust this module, but many key functions were still not customizable as we needed.

Q: What were your expectations in this upgrade, simply a quick search or did you expect other benefits?

A: We wanted accurate results. If someone searched “garment rack”, the results should be 100% of our products which hold clothing. Another issue we have is that our products server many different functions, so it might be logical for someone to search “pet food” if they are looking for a container to store their pet food, but the exact container can be used to store bulk foods such as rice or beans.

Q: What do you think about Lightning Search extension‘s performance after six months installed? Which dynamics do you think are particularly good and Why?

A: The WiseRobot Search module allowed us to fill all our search needs. It was not perfect right away, but that is to be expected. But the WiseRobot staff worked with us, adjusting attributes, attribute search weighting, and customized the module to fix our exact needs. The “search term” feature is particularly useful for us, as it allows us to funnel the user to what we think they are looking for. We use this feature to direct searchers to category pages, based on a wide range of search terms. For example: DVD bin, DVD basket, DVD holder, DVD storage, DVD container, DVD movie, blue-ray movie, etc… all direct users to our media storage page, no matter what synonym they search.

Q: How is your conversion rate affected now with the addition of our module?

A: Once we fine-tuned the search results, we have seen a significantly noticeable increase to our conversion rate. We have also received far less phone calls from shoppers who see a product in-store, but are unable to find the same product online.

Q: Some web store owners worry about installing extensions like this, that it would take them a long time and specialist IT knowledge required for example. How was your experience with this addition?

A: We too are worried about such IT issues. The helpful staff made the back-end process a breeze.

Q: What about the cost for this supercharged process? Do you think it is a reasonable price? ($199 we are thinking currently)

A: At $199, this module is a steal. I know for certain we make this cost up on a daily basis, simply because shoppers are able to find the products we offer. Before, the shopper had to work hard to browse our product offering.

Q: Would you like to share any hot tips for using this module effectively?

A: Test lots of searches. It will take some time balancing the attribute weight, but once you do, the results on your conversion rate will be well worth it. And again, we practically like the search term redirect. It allows you to steer browsers exactly where you want them to go…even if they do not know themselves.

Q: This is not the first time you have worked with WiseRobot. Can you tell us a bit about your previous experience with WiseRobot?

A: Storables has worked with WiseRobot for over three years. We are able to turn any idea into reality, simply by outlining what we need in simple English. They take care of everything else. They break down large projects into smaller tasks, and are very transparent on their progress. If something is not perfect, it can be addressed early on, and corrected quickly. To date, there has not been a task where we do not feel satisfied with the final outcome.

Q: Thank you Kevin. We look forward to working with you in the future!

[Infographic] Magento overview – The best CMS for e-Commerce business

Choosing a suitable Content Management System (CMS) is the key to open the door of success in the e-Commerce world. In spite of the appearance of great number of CMSs on the marketplace at the present time, but Magento, with an open source foundation plus strong and rich features, has been keeping its position on the top.

In order to meet growing demand of e-Commerce clients, Magento has launched three Editions with a lot of highlights and great features including Enterprise, Magento Go and Community. Each merchant can choose the most optimal edition which suits his business size, budget and orientation best.

Enterprise is a perfect edition for medium-large sized businesses, providing a full set (or suite) of tools and features to build and set up an amazing e-Commerce website in a short time. Meanwhile, Megento Go is generated solely for small businesses. It is a smart edition with many advantages such as: flexibility, ease of use and reasonable cost, etc,. You also can design your store by yourself without technical expertise. But this edition is no longer available on the market any more because it was shut down on February 1st, 2015 for some reasons. The last but certainly not least is the Community Edition. This is the most widely used edition and available as free downloads. This edition is fully open source but not supported by the Magento team. That means you need specialist knowledge or assistance from an agency like WiseRobot to ensure successful implementation of your store. Magento Community Edition can be upgraded and extended with more than 5,000 extensions, including our own. That might be the reason why many tech savvy as well as merchants favor this edition.

Check out the Magento overview infographic below, created by WiseRobot, for more information about this CMS.

Magento overview infographic