If you agree, I want to ask you a few questions to help our customers understand how our company works behind the scene. Also we can talk about the working process you’re using every day.
So, let’s begin! What is your background ?
I joined the Business Tech adventure in March 2012, almost 1 year of good memories.
My professional track was relatively undetermined until my university years. After choosing a scientific orientation in French seconde (10th grade in the US), I eventually got my Baccalaureate in Social Economy.
It is only later that I realized what I wanted to do, once I was admitted at the I.U.T. (Technological University Institute) in Nice, in their computer science department. I then got my Bachelor’s degree in “Multimedia and databases”. I highly recommend this program by the way.
I then quickly caught the web development virus.
The economic context from 2001 to 2002 did not allow me to immediately work in this field, but I got to acquire great experience by working for companies such as IBM and Steria.
Eventually, I got to do what I really enjoy and work in the field of my passion, with more great companies such as Monaco Telecom or Orange / France Telecom where I was a senior developer with an emphasis on back-office for almost 6 years.
What is your job at Business Tech ?
I’m a Senior Web Developer and Technical Lead. I’m also in charge of level 1 and 2 tech support.
Why did you choose Prestashop ?
PrestaShop is an excellent solution for small and medium-sized e-merchants, which represent the core of our target market as a module developer. It also has a few large companies among its clients, but they’re usually the exception rather than the rule. Very large merchants usually go for custom-made solutions or more expensive platforms such as Magento, Hybris or InterShop. As developers, PrestaShop is very pleasant to work with: it is flexible, powerful and accessible all at once, which makes development fast and relatively easy, and its learning curve as not as steep compared to the more complex solutions mentioned. As for merchants, the back-office is very easy to get acquainted with, and they can quickly start focusing on their core business: selling. Because of its simplicity, it also makes development cheaper and therefore represents a smaller investment for merchants getting started.
About Prestashop 1.5 : which challenges did you run into to make all Business Tech’s modules compatible ?
The main challenge was to identify all the new features and functionality and to track down the technical changes they implied.
Which specific difficulties did you face ?
The hardest part came from the fact that PrestaShop itself was still improving some features and the code was still changing quite a lot from one version to the next. All the special cases in the code coming from PrestaShop’s flexibility and new features was also challenging.
What would you say were the strengths of this new version ?
The new back-office, with a cleaner layout allowed for better ergonomics and a more intuitive usage. The menus have been rearranged in a more logical way.
Can you tell me more about the future of Business Tech’s PrestaShop modules ?
- Google Merchant Center
The integration of Google Adwords (advertising on Google). This will allow merchants to easily associate their Adwords campaigns to their product feed, and segment them. This will allow for much greater visibility.
- Facebook PS Shop Tab
We are thinking about adding in a little while some statistics reports that will allow merchants to better understand the impact of the module on their number of fans, Likes on products, as well as general traffic and clicks from the Facebook application to the main PrestaShop website.
- Google Rich Snippet + Product rating and reviews
This module’s incredible power has already been confirmed by our clients, but the new features and functionality will definitely position it as the absolute top module in its category: import of existing customer comments from PrestaShop’s native Comments module, a new visual “badge” with ratings average and other information to be displayed on the homepage, product category pages and product pages, as well as individual pages for each review to allow for better SEO and integration with social networks.
- Order and Tax Report
This module has by now reached its maturity, but we are still going to add a couple new reports : one for accounting purposes that will list returns / credit slips, as well as another one, with a CRM orientation and that will focus on customers. It will then be a very complete reporting module, essential to the success of any merchant, small or large.
Some of Business Tech’s modules have become free. Can you tell me more about this ?
We have indeed made the following modules free: “Ookoodoo”, “The Fancy” and “Used Products VAT Reports”. Ookoodoo is a universal wishlist service. The Fancy is the newest social network, with an emphasis on E-commerce. As for the last one, the name speaks for itself. These modules will no longer be developed or maintained as we prefer to focus our efforts on our best-selling modules.
What can you tell me about your tech support role ?
This role requires a few qualities: professionalism, good organizational skills, as well as a kind temper . We often deal with people who have little to no technical knowledge at all that don’t always have enough financial resources to get hep from a web agency. You really need to be patient with them and provide quality follow-through, even though we offer paid installation services for our modules.
One of the nice things about this job is that we have clients all over the world. So, of course, a good mastery of the English language is mandatory. But that allows us to be confronted with different cultures and to better understand e-commerce mechanics in each country.
What type of e-merchants do you meet when performing support ?
Most of the time, we deal with small merchants. Of course, we also get a fair share of “medium” or even large shops, some of them with catalogs containing several dozen thousand products.
Which problems do you most often face with these merchants ?
Quite often, it is their lack of technical knowledge and time spent explaining to them how PrestaShop itself works and its impact on our modules. It is therefore important for merchants to read the documentation included with each module carefully.
Thank you Thomas! I heard some rumors that Business tech earns more and more great reviews from our customers on AddOns and on our online shop, so a big Bravo because we all know that your job is not so easy!