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nopCommerce vs Magento: Weighing up the best eCommerce platform

By | Blog posts, eCommerce
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Which is the king of the mid-sized – enterprise level eCommerce platforms?

Since 2008, Magento has been leading the charge regarding eCommerce platforms.

With the release of Adobe Magento Commerce, the competition in the market place has been rising. The dark horse competitor, nopCommerce, has become a remarkable challenger to Magento, and with good reason.  Here’s the competition broken down.

Price

nopCommerce is open source and free. It doesn’t demand any subscription fees however it will require some expenditures, such as hosting and potentially some extensions for features that are not available straight out of the box. However, it’s very unlikely that the cost of these extras and plugins will have a higher total that the cost of the Magento Commerce edition.

Magento has a free plan – Magento Open Source 1 and two paid plans under Magento Commerce. Magento Commerce has plans ranging from £14,500 to £17,500 but can rise to £60,000 + a year for their cloud based solution.

In our opinion, nopCommerce offers the best value for money.

Features (out of the box)

nopCommerce comes packed full of features straight out of the box. These include SEO features, product management, a complex discount engine, inbuilt analytics, multi-lingual capabilities, multi-store, multi-vendor features, payment and shipping customisations. It doesn’t stop there, it has tier pricing (great for wholesale vs consumer pricing), recurring payment/subscription engine, and probably the most surprising, it also has an inbuilt loyalty scheme.  These integrations notably come at no extra cost and are all out of the box.

Magento does not come with this range of features straight out of the box. However, all can be added by using third-part extensions (plugins). One potential pitfall is that with Magento, adding these extensions can lead to conflicts within your site, such as adding a feature can cause another not to work.

However, the features differ greatly between Magento Open Source and Commerce. With Magento Commerce, you ARE provided with extras such as tier pricing, customer loyalty tools, inventory management tools, flexible pricing tools, coupons, up-selling and cross-selling tools. But these do come with the additional price tag.

Due to the fact that with nopCommerce you’re provided a wide range of features straight out of the  box, we believe nopCommerce edges Magento regarding standard features.

Customisation

Both are open source (Magento still offer an open source version), they are able to be customised to meet the requirements you need. Both have open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to interact with databases, other software, Google merchant and product feeds, and more. Also, inbuilt functionality can be enhanced with plugins and integrations provided on the marketplaces. Both of the solutions have large marketplaces. Some of those extensions are free while some might cost you. Besides plugins, you can install new themes for your store.

nopCommerce has rather a good reputation for how smoothly plug-ins can be personalised. With Magento on the other hand, developing and customising modules require highly experienced developers.

However, both platforms are rather advanced for users who only have basic technical knowledge. Therefore, this would require a professional developer to deliver a complex customisation.

Both platforms provide a great starting point for customisation.

Security

This is one of the major dividers between nopCommerce and Magento. nopCommerce is written on ASP.NET, this means it is hosted on a Microsoft server. Magento is written on PHP, which is community driven and usually hosted on a linux server.

Arguably, ASP.NET is considered one of the most productive environments and it is faster, this means you’ll spend less time and money on resources and cheaper hosting. nopCommerce also has a malleable architecture that allows developers to override most of the functions from plugins without touching the core. It is easier and faster to customise.

Magento (the open source version) has a checkered history from a security perspective. Some users have experienced repeat issues with the security of their Magento store. Magento releases security patches in each version upgrade and sometimes even in between. This is valid only for the Commerce version. Open Source doesn’t even get regular security updates, the patches are only introduced when they become commercially viable. 

In our opinion, from a security perspective nopCommerce wins hands down. 

Support

Both nopCommerce and Magento offer product documentation that will give you basic knowledge on how to use each platform. Both also have forums where members can try and help each other. Both communities have more than 200,000 users however nopCommerce’s seems more active with 190k+ post over Magento’s 73k+.

Fear not, you wouldn’t have to rely on forum posts and documentation to fix your problems, paid support is available. nopCommerce’s premium support costs £77 per month. However you can only pay for 3 months (£231) or a whole year (£617).

Magento Open Source only offers support with community forums whereas Magento Commerce includes a 24/7 professional technical support system through a ticketing system or by phone.

This will really depend on your agency and what support they can provide based on their support levels.

Conclusion

Both platforms are powerhouses in the eCommerce industry, allowing businesses to create wonderful eCommerce sites for their customers. Magento has been around a lot longer and with over 140,000 sites running on Magento compared to nopCommerce’s 50,000, it is clear that Magento is still the most popular.

However, nopCommerce is more secure, provides more at less cost, faster running and an ever-growing solution. It is ultimately the individuals choice but nopCommerce seems fit for the future of eCommerce.

If you’re interested in getting to know nopCommerce, find out more here.

Digitisation of businesses in a locked-down era

By | Blog posts, Digitisation
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Digitisation of businesses: expedited

Time for our businesses to adapt to the new workplaces

If, in your board meetings, you were listening to your team uttering phrases like “considering”, “planning”, or “assessing” transitioning to a more digitised way of doing business then the recent COVID-19 situation will have forced you to speed up any sort of assessment.

The businesses that are still trading, and mostly flourishing, are the ones that weren’t focussing on their traditional working practices. They were the ones that were already embracing the new suite of digital platforms available to us all, and adapting every facet of their business to be as user-friendly as the tools we use in our everyday life.

Businesses have woken up to the fact that everyone now expects their work life to be as simple and straightforward as their personal life. It doesn’t matter if you are a B2C artisan gin distillery or a B2B HR platform: the ones that have been flexing their digital muscles are the ones that are forging their way to the front of the pack.

Taking cues from the trail blazers

There are countless examples of outstanding digitised user experience across just about every parts of our lives, and B2B businesses have been playing catch up with their consumer cousins for some time now. We see examples of amazing user experience in the consumer world every day including:

  • Amazon’s one click ordering
  • Setting up a new Apple iPhone
  • Contactless cards and Apple Pay on your phone
  • Renting a house on AirBnB
  • Starting a new current account on Monzo
  • And ordering your fresh food delivery that arrives at a time to suit you.

Where we’re seeing digitisation success

We have a very broad client base here at DPC+UP and as they get used to working from their dining room tables and hastily constructed home-offices, we are seeing the more-digitised businesses genuinely reaping the rewards.

One of our clients who have always sold training courses for their products are building some e-learning courses for remote instruction and accreditation. Using Adobe Captivate (and an e-learning expert) we are taking their courses into customer’s homes as well as hosting Q&A sessions with experts via webinars.

Another client, MicroBarBox, an online retailer of cocktail gift boxes has partnered with a gin tasting experience (Madam Geneva & Gent). Along with with Zoom’s fantastic video conference capabilities, they have taken the gin-tasting parties into their customers dining rooms (I have to admit that this has been the best “testing/tasting” for a client that I have ever had to do…).

It’s not just our traditional consumer eCommerce clients who are reaping the rewards, many of our B2B clients have implemented online product ordering. We’ve been using a number of slick eCommerce platforms that allow their customers to order and re-order effortlessly.

Even if your customers don’t have to pay for goods online, the eCommerce platforms that we use work just as well for B2B clients. This is a lot to do with the fact that they have many of the features needed “out of the box”:

  • Tier pricing for different clients
  • Quantity pricing
  • Loyalty scheme
  • One-click re-ordering
  • Comprehensive product search including AJAX auto-predict search boxes
  • Multi-lingual sites all running from the same platform
  • Orders emailed to purchasing with PO’s attached

Most of the solutions however are rooted in two common features: MANY of them have implemented a flexible and feature-rich eCommerce platform, but ALL have enhanced their online communication channels.

Getting to grips with new tools

As a global cloud based agency we have a team of around 200, the majority who work remotely, and we have found ourselves well-positioned to advise our clients on our methodology and platforms that make our company work on a day to day basis. We talk to clients about:

  • how we use Slack for inter company discussions and project communication
  • how we use Zoom for face-to-face meetings and webinars.
  • how we use a whole suite of online products for time-management, project management, client requests, invoicing and collaboration.

Our parent company, UP THERE, EVERYWHERE, has been helping one of our biggest clients, Galderma Aesthetics, with what is emerging as a very common problem in these times:

How to stay relevant to our customer-base in these locked-down times?

The travel bans and social distancing had made their usual communication channels redundant, so UP devised, produced and hosted a suite of webinars for their customers with phenomenal results. This morning, our general manager hosted 3 webinars for them across timezones on ‘how to optimise your website’. They had an audience of over 1,000 Health Care Professionals for each session. Creativity can take its form in many ways, and none better than the ‘creative use of technology’!

Can we do things better?

Now, more than ever, is the time where we should all be asking ourselves, can we do things better by using the digital tools that are ubiquitous in all our lives?

Can we make our work-lives as easy as our personal lives?

The answer is invariably, “Yes we can!”
We would love to help: Get in touch

Working effectively from home: Webinar on remote working and collaboration 

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Working together when apart: Webinar on remote working and collaboration

Webinar: March 31 | 2PM GMT / 3PM CET

Suddenly, many businesses and people around the world are being forced to adopt a remote working strategy when they are not used to working this way. How can you optimise the experience? Join UP member and organisational consultant Peter Bjellerup for a webinar on more effective remote working strategies.

Join us to get hands-on tips for effective communication in the time of coronavirus

At UP THERE, EVERYWHERE, our business model was built on the idea of remote working, and we’ve been working together with close-knit but dispersed teams around the globe for more than a decade. Now, we’d like to share some of our remote working strategies with you.

How do you make work work, when you don’t do it at work?

In this hands-on webinar, Peter Bjellerup, a new member of UP, but long-timer at working, meeting and collaborating remotely, will share his experience from years at IBM, as a world-wide consultant and expert in online collaboration.

After running two webinars in Sweden (in Swedish) with Hej Engagemang that required adding extra capacity to cope with demand, he will now do it in English with UP to reach English-speaking expatriates in Sweden as well as beyond the Swedish population of ten million.

Peter will take us from a (brief) helicopter view of the characteristics of different aspects of remote work and various remote work climates to useful routines for teams and individuals. The presentation will cover:

• Leading and teaming remotely
• Guides of engagement
• Selecting tools – the big picture
• Cloud files – good practices and valuable features
• Group chats – good practices and valuable features
• Create and manage – a mixed bag of tools
• Remote meetings – do’s and don’ts and characteristics

The presentation will last 45 minutes, and we intend to leave the remainder of the full hour for Q&A.
The section on remote meetings is supplemented by very hands-on advice to be found in these four blog posts by Peter a.k.a. The Social Swede

Join us on the 31st March Register for the webinar

DPC+UP are looking for a digital marketing project manager!

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dpc are hiring... are you the right fit for us?

We are on the lookout for an ambitious digital marketing project manger.

We are looking for an amazing, charismatic, data-driven digital marketing project manager to run marketing funnels for our clients (paid and inbound).

We’re looking for a brilliant Project Manager/Digital Manager, you can work with our wider team, suppliers and clients but who also likes to get their marketing hands dirty.

Through paid marketing channels you will help and manage our clients to acquire new leads and customers through online pay-per-click and social media ad campaigns.

You will run external, online acquisition marketing, managing the strategy, execution, and optimisation across paid channels.

And using HubSpot you will run campaigns that attract site traffic, converting that traffic into new leads for the business, and nurturing to close those leads into customers.

Check out the role here: https://dpc.agency/join-us/dpc-digital-marketing-project-manager-inbound-and-paid/

Please only apply if you think you would like to work for a forward thinking, fun, ambitious, energised, and slightly different agency.

DPC is acquired by UP THERE, EVERYWHERE

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New agency to become DPC+UP

UP THERE, EVERYWHERE, the Global Cloud Based Agency, has acquired UK based digital agency DPC.

UP THERE, EVERYWHERE, founded in Stockholm, Sweden, in January 2011, is a cloud based brand and digital marketing services agency. The company has a global client base including such companies as Jenoptik, Galderma, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Polaroid. UP has reported sales in 2018 of 42 MSEK (€4.0 M) and has creative hubs in Stockholm, Uppsala, Hamburg, Amsterdam, London and New York. The agency also works extensively in China and Australia.

DPC (The Digital Parent Company) is a full service creative, digital agency that develops web and e-commerce solutions as well as digital marketing through pay per click (PPC) campaigns.  Reported sales of DPC in 2018/19 were £650,000 (€720,000). Clients of DPC include innocent (drinks), Kelly’s Storage, the BVA  (British Veterinary Association), Colas, and The London School of Economics (LSE).

DPC, which is based in Guildford, south of London, was founded by Kate Darracott and Managing Director Graham Darracott in 2009.

The companies have already started working on a number of joint projects together over the past few months.

Graham Darracott, one of the founders and Managing Director of DPC, said: ‘It was an obvious match, both companies share many of the same ethical values, and just as importantly share the same vision to change the way agencies are structured. This is a great way for both companies to grow and add valuable resource and skills to our combined offering.’

Julian Stubbs CEO and co-founder of UP THERE, EVERYWHERE said ‘We saw from the first meeting that DPC was a great fit with what we do and the way we work at UP. We have global teams working in the digital content and inbound marketing area and DPC create great web and e-commerce solutions and run PPC (pay per click) campaigns for their clients.’ He went on to add ‘We have been planning the integration of DPC and UP for some time now and we can’t wait to get started on this next exciting chapter of our journey together.’

A short film interview is available here.

The deal has been brokered by David Blois of M&A Advisory, London, UK.

Additional information and contacts:

Ronja Larsson, UP THERE, EVERYWHERE International AB

Mail : ronja-l@upthereeverywhere.com

UP THERE; EVERYWHERE International AB, Grevturegatan 27, 114 38 Stockholm, Sweden

DPC will change its name to DPC+UP with new branding to reflect this change

A new site launch for Touchstone Underwriting

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A new site for the UK insurance underwriter

A new site for Touchstone Underwriting

It is always good to announce a new site launch, yet we are often too busy to tap out a few words to acknowledge the hard work the dpc team put into launching a new site or store. This month we have launched a number of new sites, but one really deserves a mention as the team managed to get it live in six weeks.

A humungous effort from everyone saw the new Touchstone Underwriting site  go through IA, design, development, content population, QAT, UAT and then launch in what has to be a record time. Especially as there were hundreds of policy documents that had to be not only transferred from the old site and system to the new one, but redirects set up and tested for each and every document.

The client was a dream to work with (thank you Priya for all your hard work) and the end result is a fabulous new site, stunning design, and happy agency and client.

A testament to our systems and processes.

The site was built on WordPress, check out the new site here:

https://t-u-l.co.uk

Leica distributor, Hudsons, launch new eCommerce store

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A new eCommerce site for Leica distributor Hudsons.

A new eCommerce store for Hudsons.

Construction and surveying professionals regularly turn to Hudson’s dedicated team of experts to find the best laser and safety equipment for their projects, fleet hires, instrument servicing and training.

During 2018 Hudsons acknowledged that they needed a new eCommerce store to accommodate the huge range of equipment that they now stock and so they appointed dpc to design and build a new store for them.

Shopify was chosen as the platform and then (following our proven process) we wire-framed, and then designed and built the new store. The end result is a stunning store with a design and user experience firmly aimed at surveying professionals and the construction industry.

The tasks we completed:

  • Wireframes/IA
  • Design
  • Theme build
  • Shopify set up and configuration
  • Bespoke product pages developed
  • Payment gateway configured
  • Shipping configured, notifications designed and configured
  • Product data exported from legacy system and imported into Shopify
  • Copywriting and content population
  • Testing and setting the site live

The site was built on Shopify.

https://hudsons-uk.net

Plastic Generation: trying to help save our planet from plastic destruction

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A site highlighting the damage caused to our world by plastic & the steps being undertaken by some to change things.

Plastic Generation: trying to change the way we treat our world.

With the turn of the new year dpc are immensely proud to announce the launch of a new site that we hope will make a difference to our gorgeous world: Plastic Generation is a news site highlighting the damage caused to our world by plastic and importantly, the steps being undertaken by some to change things. It was the brainchild of a few business owners who want to make a difference.

Plastic is everywhere, if we wanted to go plastic free we simply couldn’t. It’s in our clothes, our seas, our cosmetics, our transport, our homes and it’s firmly embedded in our food chain.

Most people proudly declare their plastic stance pointing to their recycling efforts, it makes them feel good and ticks a box for them. The reality is though that most (91%) of plastic is too contaminated to recycle, so it’s either incinerated or chucked in landfill.

Surely we can and should do more, the legacy we are leaving is not a good one.

Plastic Generation is about discovery and understanding, it will try and educate ourselves, call out the bad guys and highlight the good ones.

We are immensely proud to be working with such a brilliant organisation and are trying to make a difference to our incredible planet, which we seem to be intent on destroying with our need for plastic.

The site was built on WordPress.

https://plasticgeneration.com

British Veterinary Association choose dpc.agency as their digital partner

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British Veterinary Association choose dpc.agency as their digital partner.

British Veterinary Association choose dpc.agency as their digital partner.

BVA is the national representative body for the veterinary profession in the UK, a not-for-profit organisation so all money made is reinvested to serve the veterinary profession.

They are the only UK veterinary association that looks after the interests of all vets in all disciplines. They have more than 17,000 members and the association is able to provide a voice to represent members on a legislative basis, and provide services to support them.

After a competitive pitch the BVA have appointed dpc to work with them to ensure their website and digital activities remain at the forefront of the “not for profit” sector, and that their website and digital content perfectly serves their membership.

We are immensely proud to be working with such a brilliant organisation and are looking forward to making a real difference to the organisation.

5 Reasons every company NEEDS a Christmas party

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5 Reasons every company NEEDS a Christmas party

5 Reasons every company NEEDS a Christmas party

As you may know, Team dpc like to “work hard to play hard”, and this years Christmas party is no exception!

This year has seen dpc launch over 30 new websites and e-commerce stores, 12 digital marketing campaigns and welcome 5 lovely new team members. All while remaining committed to our weekly Friday afternoon pub lunches amassing to a healthy 104+ bottles of sauvignon blanc… and that is just one of our UX designer’s, Emma’s, tab!

dpc truly believes that a rewarded workforce makes for a happy client base and a healthier bottom line.

That got us thinking, what benefits are there to a company Christmas party?
More specifically, what makes it worth the hangover in the morning?

There is sometimes a negative perception of company Christmas parties, fuelled by pinched pockets, relaxed inhibitions, office gossip and inappropriate photocopying (no names mentioned)!

However, it is important not to underestimate the benefits that can be delivered through the excessive wine guzzling and competition for the most deliberately garish festive jumper.

A company Christmas party can be a great way to re-energise the workforce, celebrate success and reflect on the year’s achievements before the start of a productive new year. It seems shocking, then, that 32.3% of employees do not have an office Christmas party, according to a recent survey.

Here are 5 reasons why your company should have a Christmas party:

1. It unites employees, bringing them closer together

It is all too easy to forget that your fellow employees spend their time doing a lot more than just their job, and if you don’t spend time with each other outside of work, there is probably a lot you don’t (and shouldn’t) know about each other, although this is easily solved with a few jaeger bombs.

Christmas parties can bring the workforce together, strengthening team dynamic in a friendly and relaxed environment, promoting good conversation and a night of stress-free fun!

These experiences aren’t to be underestimated; shaky video footage of a slightly tipsy colleague attempting to chat up the bartender makes a great fuel source for further embarrassment and insult down the line.

2. It provides an opportunity for reflection

A company Christmas party is a great opportunity for reflection. Talk about the year’s success, and how you can do things better in 2019. It is also a great opportunity to reiterate company values and mission, although we don’t recommend telling your clients how great you are via those drunken text messages. Airplane Mode it is then.

3. Motivate employees for the year ahead

A Christmas party can be a great tool for motivating your employees. It is a perfect reminder that although problems often arise in business, once dealt with appropriately, you can come together as a team and for the night at least, forget and move on. Thanks vodka.

4. Christmas parties don’t have to be absurdly expensive

A Christmas party doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. For the average UK employee, a Christmas party budget of £75 a head works out at less than 0.025% of their salary. It is worth knowing however, 28% of employees thought their employer could do more for the company at Christmas, so try not to be too tight..!

Believe it or not there are also tax benefits to hosting an Office Christmas Party! Even HMRC wants you to let your hair down and have a good time!

5. It is an opportunity to create stories

Depending on how big you go (how much you all drink), a Christmas party is perfect for creating those embarrassing stories (or god forbid, photos) that come back to haunt your colleagues again and again for years to come.

As Christmas speedily approaches, we are proud of our achievements of 2018, and look forward the exciting year ahead, and the opportunities it may bring to advise, assist, and evolve businesses who require a digital facelift in 2019.

As for our party, all is set for a outrageous night.
From all of us at dpc, have a very, Merry Christmas.

P.S. – We’re curious, what have you got planned for Christmas?