Archive for March, 2014

Fedex Web Service Change: Impact on Magento & Free Patch

Posted by: Genevieve Thursday, March 20th, 2014

FedEx Logo

Earlier this week some Magento merchants began to experience issues with the standard FedEx carrier including issues retrieving rates, tracking information, and generating labels. Magento Certified Developer Phillip Jackson (; on Twitter @philwinkle) was one of the first to dig into this issue and helped us narrow down the cause.

What happened?

Beginning on Sunday, March 16th FedEx began to shut down the Web Services endpoint used by Magento. This endpoint’s URLs have been deprecated and, while still responsive in some regions, FedEx plans to shut them down worldwide. While FedEx has not made any public announcement to this effect, we have had it confirmed by several FedEx Web Services representatives that this is the case and that FedEx has distributed official internal documents outlining this move.

To put it as plainly as possible, FedEx is in the process of moving and they haven’t left a forwarding address.

How does this effect Magento merchants?

If you are among the merchants effected by this change you will be unable to generate FedEx labels in Magento and may experience issues retrieving rates and tracking information. If you are not experiencing any of these issues then it may not be necessary to apply the patch below. You or your developer should, of course, evaluate any new extension for your Magento site before installation.

If you are no longer seeing FedEx rates on your site or are no longer able to generate FedEx labels, you will need to install a patch or update to restore these services. See the “What Should I Do?” section below for instructions.

For those looking for a more technical, manual approach, Phillip Jackson has published the changes necessary to correct this issue on Github.

What Should I Do?

If you are running Magento CE 1.6 or above (EE 1.11 or above)…

download and install our free FedEx Web Services Patch March 2014.

If you are running Magento CE 1.5 and below  (EE 1.10 and below)…

you’ll need to download and install our free FedEx Web Services Patch May 2012 which has been updated to include the fixes from the March 2014 patch. You will only need to install this patch, not both patches. See our blog post on the May 2012 Fedex Ship Manager retirement for more details.

If you have the WebShopApps Dimensional Shipping extension installed

we have an update for this extension which includes the same fix as our March 2014 FedEx Web Services Patch but also corrects the same issue in our extension. Please contact us to receive this update. You will only need to install this update, not this update and the new patch.

Potential issue with meter numbers

Another potential issue with FedEx Meter Numbers has been identified as effecting some merchants. This is not likely related to the issue above and will not be fixed with the FedEx Web Services Patch. We’ve had some reports that a few merchants have stopped receiving FedEx rates, tracking, and labels due to expired Meter Numbers. The merchants have needed to call FedEx technical support and request a new Meter Number be issued for their account.

Final notes

We have provided this post and the associated patch for the benefit of the Magento community. This information is correct to the best of our knowledge. If you have additional questions we recommend that you contact your web developer or FedEx representative.

WebShopApps are Magento Platinum Industry Partners, Gold sponsors of Magento’s Imagine eCommerce 2014 conference and premier providers of shipping solutions for rate management in Magento. Browse our current catalog of Magento shipping extensions or contact us to discuss your needs. We’re on Twitter @WebShopApps.


Get Your Customers Coming Back

Posted by: kalen Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

WebShopApps is pleased to welcome Kalen Jordan (@kalenjordan) of MageMail for this guest article.

As a Magento merchant, you’re always on the hunt for new ways to bring in new customers and increase sales.  You’re probably putting a lot attention into ways to attract new customers, and may not realize that you have a massive opportunity right under your nose with your existing customer base.

Customer lifecycle email, put simply, is individualized email that’s sent to the right customer at the right time.  You may be doing email newsletter blasts on a monthly or weekly basis, and that’s great – you should continue to do that.

But you can complement that email strategy with targeted emails that will on average have much higher engagement rates, and more importantly, conversion rates.  Triggered lifecycle email tends to have open rates over 60% and a revenue per email rate anywhere from $1.50 to $5 easily.

There’s nothing that surprising about this really – individualized emails that make sense for me, as a customer, are going to be more interesting for me, and I’m going to be more likely to buy.

So what types of emails are we talking about exactly?

Well, abandoned cart emails are a great example that you’re probably already familiar with.  Customers come to your store and begin to checkout, getting far enough that they’ve already given you their email address, but they leave the checkout at some point – why knows why!  Maybe they were comparison shopping, maybe they just got distracted by their daughter wearing a Mailchimp hat – there’s no telling.

But that’s a great moment in that customer’s lifecycle to reach out to them and try to close the deal.  They’ve already come to your site, been interested enough in a product to add it to their cart, and they’ve even given you their email address.

Abandoned cart emails give you an opportunity to overcome some of the objections that they may have to purchasing – maybe they’re worried about price, so a discount could easily close the deal.  Maybe they aren’t sure how good your customer support will be, so reassuring them about your quality support will be very helpful.  Maybe they just needed a simple reminder.

Another example of a great lifecycle email is a product recommendation.  Let’s be honest – all of us in the eCommerce game are trying to do the types of things that Amazon is already doing – and here’s a great example.  You’ve probably received an email recommending cross-sells to you if you’ve ever made a purchase at Amazon.  And they’re based off of the “people who bought X also bought Y” logic.

Having a customer who already made a purchase with you and hasn’t returned it is a fantastic opportunity to sell them on other related products.  Now again, your email newsletters may be doing something similar – introducing new products or highlighted products – but those are being blasted out to all your customers, regardless of their specific interests.

A recommendation email is particularly powerful because you’re recommending products that are closely related to the one they already bought!

One of the concerns that you may have here, particularly if you have a decent-sized catalog, is that you may not want to go through the hassle of manually assigning related products and cross-sells in Magento for your entire catalog.

This is something that I tried to solve with MageMail by automatically generating those related products based simply off of past customer behavior.  So there are lots of options here – but the key is that you want to find a way to recommend highly relevant products to your existing customers.

Well, I hope your appetite is whetted and you’re starting to get the value of targeted lifecycle email.  If you’re interested to learn more about lifecycle email, there’s an email course on seven lifecycle emails that can help to drive revenue which you may be interested in checking out.

Please feel free to post questions in the comments!


About Kalen Jordan

Kalen is a passionate Magento developer living in Pasadena, California with his wife and daughter. As the lead developer for a Magento Enterprise merchant, having previously worked for a Platinum Industry Partner, and as the founder of Magento extension company – he knows (and loves!) the Magento platform deeply.  He was recently listed among the top 12 Magento experts on Twitter, and his responsive email template work was featured by eBay.

Kalen is building MageMail – a customer lifecycle email extension for Magento. Interested in learning more about customer lifecycle email? Get the free email course on 7 lifecycle emails that are guaranteed to increase sales.

Magento – Now and The Future

Posted by: Karen Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Been meaning to write this for a while. It’s interesting to think about Magento, where it’s come from and where it’s going.  The recent Meet Magento in Spain raised the question about the future of the Magento eCoSystem, and raised questions around Magento/eBay itself, and the future of the community. So here is my perspective, from the viewpoint of someone who talks to web design agencies and merchants on a daily basis.

Magento is maturing

Magento is only going to get bigger. There is so much momentum inside Magento, there are thousands of companies relying on it for their income, they are not suddenly going to switch off.  It may plateau slightly, it’s going to happen, and there will be competition, if there wasn’t then this wasn’t a good market to be in.

eCommerce is a massive area, and there is plenty of space in it for the likes of Shopify and Magento, plus the smaller niche ones like Brilliant Retail. Just because Shopify may be gaining customers it doesn’t mean that they are taking them from Magento – they are in a different space. I’m seeing people daily jump from Shopify to Magento as they expand upwards, and likewise I’ve seen a few (not many) companies move away from Magento onto a simpler hosted solution.

eBay is not going to dump Magento. Apart from anything else it must have some serious revenue coming in via PayPal, and events such as Magento Imagine give it a chance to reach those merchants. Magento is a gateway for PayPal Sales to reach merchants, why else do you see PayPal speaking at key Magento events?

No company will retain staff indefinitely. Companies are lucky if they hold onto an employee for more than a couple of years in this space.  The true test of a company is if the leader can be absent and the company still stands up.  My view is that Roy Rubin will move on in the near future, but Yoav did and we survived, we just need to accept that things do not stand still, and that this is a good thing. We slowly all will move on, move around, that is life.

The eCommerce space is maturing

Merchants are more aware of the need to reach mobile, the tablet, even heat maps, targeted newsletters and how investing in refining the small parts can add up to a big change in profit margins.  Words like omni-channel and responsive are now commonplace, whereas even 18 months ago they seemed new concepts.

eCommerce companies are growing up, demanding more, earning more, and wanting choice.  They are design aware, no longer do we have those scrappy hardware sites aimed at 40 year old men that used a phone to make an order. It has changed, the 40-year old is still ordering on his mobile, but now it is via a website.  This change has happened over the past couple of years, I’ve seen it in the sites I deal with and the demands we get around shipping.

The Community

I said at the start of 2014, this is the business-end of Magento now, and thats what I feel.

Is that to say the community is dead?  No absolutely not, it is very much alive and kicking. But many of us are time poor, it’s hard for us to give significant time to the community, the place where we connect is at events such as Magento Imagine.

There is a small group of people/companies that make their money from the community directly, and they are behind some of the drive for change, but actually the rest of us are just getting on with it and making small differences where we can. To see a great example of many people making a small difference just look at Magento2 on Github.

The community isn’t something Magento should create, it’s with us, we define it.  But Magento are a part of it, and they should remain so, it’s not about them and us, it’s about all of us. What worries me sometimes is I feel people don’t like change, or they want to control something because ‘they were there first’.  Life isn’t like that, and I believe it shouldn’t be like that. WebShopApps has to fight for it’s place to remain at the top of the game around shipping, that’s how business should be.

Change is good, because whilst there is change there is innovation.  And for me personally thats why I got into this space, and why I’m still in it.

I truly hope the community doesn’t splinter, to me it’s important we work together, thats what will keep Magento strong, not going off in some random direction.

It’s not a revolution, it’s an evolution, which I hope we are all a part of.

What’s Our Goal

Speaking from a purely personal perspective my goal is to move eCommerce forwards in the world of shipping, to make solutions that simplify our customers lives and push the boundaries in terms of technology.

Within that I love the community and feel that it can provide help to improve Magento, but it must be inclusive, self-less and free. That’s a true community, and I actually think we already have it. I just hope it’s not lost by a rejection of change.

And Magento 2

Well this needs to happen. I believe it will, this year.  But if it doesn’t I’m not sure it will actually matter.