Magento has become a popular platform for e-commerce professionals because it is open source, making it easy for marketers and qualified coders to customize web stores that meet the individual requirements of each online retailer.

Out-of-the-box, Magento is a robust e-commerce engine. But no platform can be all things to all retailers. Over the past seven years, a community of developers has evolved around Magento’s open source ecosystem. This engaged community has created a number of tools that can help e-commerce managers increase revenue and save money. Here are 4 essential Magento extensions we can’t live without…

RJ Metrics

This SaaS tool connects directly into Magento’s databases, and can slice-n-dice the data in almost any way imaginable. All e-commerce sites depend on sales from repeat customers, and the cohort analysis and customer long-term value (LTV) data illuminated by RJ Metrics can provide valuable insight for driving more revenue. Reports are organized into dashboards, and individual permissions can be set so that stakeholders have access to only the information they need. It’s also possible to schedule automated emails and send reports as frequently as required. For example, I send company executives a top-level overview each week, and my team a more granular set of data daily. The Philadelphia-based team is always attentive and can configure the graph, table or pie-chart of your dreams.

Special Promotions Pro (Amasty)

SPP extends Magento’s native Shopping Cart Price Rules and opens a new world of personalization possibilities. With SPP, specific offers can be served based on customer groups or even order history (a great way to build customer loyalty). And customers can be easily rewarded for simply buying more. For example, a “Buy X, Get Y” offer can be set so that the least (or most) expensive product is discounted. There are over a dozen options, and a detailed configuration guide that makes set-ups a snap.

FeedPro (Gomage)

FeedPro is a Magento extension that provides product information from your online store directly to Google, Yahoo!, eBay, and more. An unlimited number of feeds can be set up with custom configurations, so that different data and prices can be sent to each of these places. It also provides a permanent URL so that search engine and marketplaces can easily access your data and help you sell more.

Shipping Restrictions (Amasty)

Online fraud costs e-commerce sites over $3B per year, and crooks are continually devising new ways to bypass payment gateway filters. With this Magento extension, shipping restrictions can be set based on country/state/zip/street address, customer group, order total, weight, or even products attributes. It may not stop a fraudster’s initial transaction, but it will prevent repeat hits by the same criminal. This tool can also be configured to keep specific products from being shipped to places known to have high levels of counterfeit or fraud.

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2 Responses to 4 Essential Magento Extensions That Boost Revenue

  1. Kyle Duford says:

    While I agree with Mark in general, it’s important to always vet these extensions and plugins during a long QA process. Sure, Magento advocates the “ease of using” their proprietary Magento Connect tool (much like Word Press’s extension manager), but large brands using Magento are wise to download the plugin/extension, upload it through a GIT repository to a development or staging environment and thoroughly test it — the interactions, the impact on performance, and especially the checkout. It’s doubtful that larger companies are using vanilla installs of Magento without some — if not extensive — customization.

    Also note that Magento and its directory don’t officially sanction these extensions, so any notes on compatibility are from the developers, not Magento themselves. During QA, or even before buying you should do your diligence, asking questions like: Does it play nicely with other extensions? How about older versions of Magento such as Pro? Does it come for Community or Community and Enterprise, and if so, what release level?

    Always — and I can’t stress this enough — QA new modules and extensions. You’ll be happier you did.

  2. Travis Romine TravisRomine says:

    I have had great luck with the Amasty suite of plugins and Special Promotions Pro is awesome. It really allows you to do any type of creative discount you want to offer.

    Kyle brought up an interesting thought about compatibility. Unfortunately with older versions of Magento it’s easy to get trapped into not updating to newer versions. Staying at least somewhat current with your platform is important on many levels.

    Many platforms can cause havoc when updating and require help from a developer. Some retailers will test the waters and update Magento themselves which often has dire consequences to site functionality and can straight crash the website.

    Remember your website is your lifeline to sales, what does even a few hours of downtime cost you? It’s always best to get help updating Magento especially if you have a bunch of extensions running.

    I’ve had clients running older versions of MIVA, Magento or outdated ASP sites like Able Commerce. These merchants often just see sales declining or plateauing because their site no longer uses best practices.

    Attempting to save money by hunkering down with an outdated platform or website is a dangerous and often fatal business mistake.

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