If you use Magento to power your Ecommerce store then read on because we’ve hand picked a collection of the best Magento Extensions and Plugins that you can use to take your online store to the next level.
Magento is possibly the most robust Ecommerce platform available and it’s no surprise that it’s the fastest growing in its space.
Supporting more than 200,000 businesses globally with its flexible, reliable and scalable open-source solution, Magento has grown to be the most trusted platform by businesses of all sectors, sizes and budgets.
Many successful companies ranging from Samsung, Nike, Lenovo, Olympus, Ford, Paperchase, Farlows, Links London, Harvey Nichols and many others rely on Magento for managing their online stores.
What’s more, a survey conducted in 2013 on the top one million Alexa-ranked websites found 26% of them to have been using Magento.
So if you run an online store you must have considered running your website on Magento.
However whilst Magento comes packed with tons of features there’s an ecosystem of additional tools that expand Magento’s functionality. They go under the collective name of Magento Extensions.
Magento Extensions is a collection of all the extensions that help add extra functionality to your Magento site. Want to track sales, make check-out easier or boost the conversion rate? Don’t worry, there are extensions for that.
The trouble is that there are TONS of them to choose from.
So we’ve done all the hard work for you. We’ve filtered through them and hand picked some of the best for you and categorized them for you in one easy reference guide.
So, let’s get stuck right in and explore the many ways that Magento extensions help you better manage your site.
But first, here’s a list of the topics covered – to help you navigate better:
- Improving Sales
- Google Shopping
- Referrals and Loyalty Rewards
- Customer Experience (CX)
- Customer Service
- Backend & Admin
- Inventory Management
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
- Social Media
- Image Management
- User-Generated Content (UGC)
- Social Media
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
- Order/Checkout/Shopping Cart
- A/B Testing
- Email Marketing
- Where to Get the Extensions
Getting online is one thing. Succeeding online is another matter altogether.
Selling is hard work and it’s something you need to keep on top of. Realistically you can’t expect to launch a Magento site and it just starts to do all the selling for you.
You need some help for that.
Well you’ll be happy to discover that there are some amazing Extensions that will help you dramatically improve your sales effort.
Let’s have a look at a few:
When you search for a product on Google, sometimes you’ll see results which contain product ads. Typically, the ad will contain the product image, description, the price and the seller.
This is courtesy of Google Shopping, which is a PPC product ad service that displays product ads in Google search results.
These product ad campaigns also feature product data such as reviews and are promoted to your target audience.
There are several extensions on Magento that can help you sell on Google Shopping. They include:
Google Shopping Feed
To set up your Google Shopping account, you’ll need to export your products to the service so you can begin your campaign. This can be very tiring and time-consuming.
Google Shopping Feed takes the work of your hands by automatically uploading the products to Google Shopping.
You can export your feeds whenever you want or schedule regular uploads.
The extension also allows you to choose specific products to upload. You can also select the most appropriate product description as well as unique product identifiers.
Google Shopping Feed Generator
Like the previous option, Google Shopping Feed Generator lets you easily export product lists to Google Shopping. But it’s much more than that.
Customers who use Google Shopping can easily find and compare products from different sellers before they buy. Thus, as a shop owner, the extension is a chance for you to differentiate your product from others in its category.
You can define your products on the basis of various features such as type, visibility and category. It allows you to automatically or manually generate files and multiple Google XML files.
On Google Shopping, the extension lets you add custom options depending on your products and customers.
The following two are some of the best Magento Extensions for improving sales:
Magento Daily Deals Extension helps you set up and manage deals on your online store in an easy yet professional manner.
The extension features an interactive countdown timer that displays how long the customer has before the deal expires which motivates them to buy.
There are three tabs which display a different level of urgency so your customers are able to review the day’s deals, upcoming offers and even all deals. This allows them to track your deals easily.
Daily Deals also gives you complete freedom over customisation. You can set the time intervals as you wish, display the deals on either the right or left sidebar, background colour, etc. you can also highlight certain offers to make them more attractive to customers.
Price: $39.00 – On Magento Connect
Ever imagined yourself becoming the next eBay? Well, Magento can help you achieve that dream.
All you have to do is create a store and allow external sellers to list their products on it. In turn, you’ll get free promotion, a growing stream of visitors and customers and a build-up of your reputation.
Who knows? Before long you too could be hosting 165 million eager users on your store.
To get you started you’ll need the Magento Multi-Vendor extension.
As the seller, the extension allows you to approve, register and disapprove sellers via a single control panel.
You can also view the seller’s products, approve and disapprove any that in any way violate your terms of service. You’re also able to view orders placed by customers from one place.
Sellers are also given enough freedom to make their offer appealing. They have control over everything relating to their product, from their profile, orders, invoices, payments, etc. They can also get notifications regarding their products.
Customers are able to view any seller’s profile, their products, check stock availability, compare prices for different sellers and even leave a review after making a purchase.
In short, this extension takes care of everybody.
Price: $199.00 On Magento Connect
Referrals and Loyalty Rewards
According to a study conducted by Ogilvy, Google and TNS, 74% of consumers view word-of-mouth as a key influencer of their buying decisions. Another study says, “On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.”
The statistics, once again emphasise the importance of referrals and loyalty reward schemes.
Together these two tactics form one of the most effect marketing methods.
The following extensions make it easy for you to leverage the power of referrals and loyalty rewards.
Refer a Friend
Using Refer a Friend, you can reward your customers whenever they refer people to your store in an easy and flexible reward program.
The extension allows you to set and change bonuses as you wish. You can set it on fixed-rate basis or percentage discount.
To start bringing in referrals, a customer gets a link that they can share on social media, email or their blog inviting people to the store. The bonuses received can be redeemed in various ways – which you set.
For example, the customer could choose to pay for another purchase or simply get partial discounts for any following purchases.
They are also able to see their reward history, see the referrals’ total purchases and view the summary of their activity any time.
Price: $69.00 – On Magento Connect
J2T Reward Points + Referral Program
J2T Reward Points + Referral Program helps you reward your customers whenever they register, place an order, refer a friend or even when they post a review.
This means you can reward your customers at almost every step of their buying journey to keep them motivated and completing goals.
These points are then redeemed for a discount on products bought at the set rate – which you can easily set from the control panel.
The extension allows you to customise almost anything you can think of in your reward program including the criteria for getting points. For instance, you may award points after every step or after a couple of steps. You can also set the maximum number of points that can apply to an order.
Oh, and did we mention you can set the points expiration date and send an automatic alert to customers when their points are nearing expiration? Well, you can.
Price: €49.99 – On Magento Connect
Most merchants overlook the benefits a gift-card program can bring into their business. Gift cards encourage people to look around stores they normally wouldn’t. For instance, if you have an electronics store, a new customer might decide to check in just because they have the gift card for products you have.
In that way, that card serves as the customer’s doorway into your business. That and many other benefits such as a boost in brand awareness, improving sales, maintaining current customers and even reducing fraud makes gift cards a tactic to consider.
Gift Cards helps you reap these benefits by making it easy to offer and sell gift cards to your customers by allowing them to choose between three types of cards: email-sent, print-out and post office delivered gift cards.
The extension gives complete back-end control over the process. You can set up everything from the value of the card, the codes, the currency, expiration date and even bulk creation of gift cards, among other great features.
Price: $149.00 – On Magento Connect
Affiliate programs when run correctly can help increase website traffic, increase the number of leads and ultimately improve sales.
However, because of the many myths surrounding these programs, most small business owners never consider applying them in their marketing.
But once you learn to do it well, affiliate marketing can be a very cost-effective way to boost traffic to your site since you only pay for the visits that generate sales.
The following extensions can help you kick-start your affiliate program on Magento:
Affiliate programs when run correctly can help increase website traffic, increase the number of leads and ultimately improve sales.
Affiliate is one of the best affiliate marketing extensions on Magento. It allows you to create multiple programs, each with own commission rates, target groups and product categories.
Your affiliates can get referrals using a link, on email or through a code. This flexibility allows your affiliates to use their preferred channel.
You’re also able to customise everything in your program including the links, redemption (discount on products or cash payment), commission rates, etc.
Yet another affiliate extension that goes by its category name, Affiliate (by MageWorld) helps you build a strong affiliate program to grow traffic and drive sales.
Customers with links can easily refer others through email, banners, social media and IM.
As the store owner, you can create multiple programs promoting specific products, categories or brands.
The extension also supports multi-level affiliate marketing programs to encourage referrals.
You are also given complete control over the extension. From account management to users and payment, you can set up everything according to your business model.
In a survey conducted by Econsultancy, 58% of the respondents said they had abandoned a cart because they were concerned about payment security. In the same study, 44% of UK shoppers had abandoned at least one cart because the payment form was too lengthy and complex.
Payment is usually the last step in a customer’s purchasing journey. However, while they may have completed all the other steps, poor handling of this step could see your customer leave with their cart full and no purchase.
Balancing the need for security and checkout length are just two of the many things you need to balance to ensure your customers have a smooth checkout process and reduce the rate of cart abandonment.
And the good news is you don’t need an extension for each element. One robust extension will usually do the job.
Payment & Shipping By Customer Group
Payment & Shipping by Customer Group lets you create and display different payment and shipping methods for your various customer groups. This allows you to, for instance, reward existing customers by offering discounts on shipping as well as provide incentives to new customers.
The easy-to-use interface makes it easy to use for customers.
You can set it so that some methods are only displayed to a certain group of customers while others are displayed to others, giving certain groups of customers access to more methods.
It allows you full frontend and backend customisation for complete control over the process.
Planet Payment Module
With Planet Payment Module, you can accept payment in various currencies and over 300 credit and debit cards.
Nowadays, more and more ecommerce companies are adopting the tech feature that allows their customers to enter their credit card data while on the site instead of leaving first. This is known as the Hidden Authorization and comes with Planet Payment Module. This feature ensures that your site does not save any credit card data making your store PCI-compliant.
As the store owner, you can enable or disable any card from the admin. You also have control over how cards are displayed on the front end. You also manage transactions, making it up to you to approve or decline any transaction.
Customer Experience (CX)
In their McKinsey & Company post, Brooke Boyarsky, Will Enger, and Ron Ritter say, “To Provide a distinctive experience for customers, an organization must unite around the goal of meeting their true needs. Done well, the effort can power a vast amount of innovation.”
So, how important is customer experience?
A close look at companies that have been able to skilfully manage customer experience shows lots of benefits: More satisfied customers, less churn, more revenue and more satisfied and collaborative employees.
A sound CX strategy also allows you to understand your customers better.
In this category, we look at the two major sub-categories that greatly impact the customer experience in online shopping: Search and Customer Service.
This might not be the first thing that pops into your mind whenever you think about tweaking your digital marketing strategy, but search is a really (really really) important feature on Ecommerce websites.
In the same way a sales assistant shows the customers around in a brick-and-mortar store, an effective search feature helps customers navigate their way around your online store.
SDL Fredhopper’s UK sales director, Allyson Tremblay writes, “Customers who use an onsite search box result in an average conversion rate of 2.4% against the 1.7% rate of customers who don’t.”
In the same post she explains that besides helping your customers find their way around your store, the search box should also serve as a way for you to better understand your customers’ shopping habits. This, she says, should enable you to serve them better.
From that perspective the following extensions are great additions to your Magento store:
Ajax Filter and Cart
AJAX has quickly grown to be one of the integral parts of many modern websites. Most established brands have integrated AJAX to their web applications.
The reason it’s become so popular is that with AJAX, web pages don’t have to be constantly reloaded to display content. They’re just much faster and seamless.
This improves the interactivity between the customer and the website. Another benefit is that compared to the traditional back and forward button AJAX makes navigating around your website much easier.
Ajax Filter and Cart changes the category page filters and “Add to Cart” options from traditional to AJAX-based to provide better search experience to your visitors by eliminating page reloading. To filter, all a customer has to do is check and uncheck the displayed boxes.
Its functionality is open-source and it’s easy to install, customise and filter.
Quick Ajax Search
Quick Ajax Search is another AJAX-based search tool.
With this extension on your site, your visitors are offered auto-complete and suggestions as they type their queries. Making it easier and faster to search and view what’s on your store.
You can display the category filter alongside the search box and you have the option of displaying the search box either on the right or left sidebar.
Besides that, you can also customise the suggested-results window to increase clicks.
With InstantSearch+, your customers’ search experience on your store is boosted through a robust auto-complete and auto-suggest feature.
Starting from the first character they type in the search box, customers are able to quickly see results and these are filtered as they continue typing. It even corrects any spelling errors on the customer’s part.
The tool also understands human language so that queries made by customers are answered with expected results.
For instance, a customer could search for “Blue t-shirt under $100” when you don’t have “Blue” in your description for the product. InstantSearch+ will understand the keywords, the price range and the attribute to give relevant results to the customer.
It works seamlessly on all devices.
Price: Free for up to 250 products. For larger stores, the price starts at $19.99 and has a 30-day trial period.
Nowadays, customers will stay with you if you offer them the products they want and if you can build a strong rapport with them.
Customer Service is at the heart of that.
The following extensions will help you achieve a high level of customer service.
All sales begin with a conversation. That’s why having a chat tool on your store is really important, especially in the digital age.
The simple fact is that your customers are used to chat. They do it everyday on their phones.
They expect the same with the businesses they use. Customers don’t want to email you for an answer. They don’t want to wait. They want answers in real time.
That’s the power of chat.
And Zopim Chat is one of the best chat extensions available today.
By simply clicking the chat button, your customers can talk to you directly and easily. This not only allows you to showcase your products but is also a very direct and effective way of knowing what your customers want and expect.
But the extension does much more than just allow you to chat. For instance, it allows you to monitor the customers while they are on your site. You can see their entrance point, their current physical location, URL and if they are repeat visitors.
Price: Free (plus ongoing licence costs)
In a simple four-step installation process, LiveChatInc will take over your chat experience and significantly improve how you’ve been interacting with customers in your store.
It allows you to give permission to various members of your staff to make sure that all customers as well taken care of no matter what time of the day they make enquiries.
By giving you real-time interaction capability, the extension helps you provide a secure and reliable communication channel, improve the level of satisfaction for the customer, and increase your sales conversion rate.
Price: $16.00 (plus ongoing licence costs)
LiveAgent is another great chat extension.
In addition to chatting on your site, LiveAgent incorporates Twitter, Facebook, email and even voice chats – allowing you to manage those elements from a single easy-to-use all-in-one dashboard.
In email chart, particularly, the extension allows you to answer emails as if it were instant messaging. It lets you scan multiple email accounts and sort the emails into various departments for easy navigation.
You can also respond to Facebook messages and tweets – directly from the dashboard.
And that’s just a fraction of it. At the time of writing this, the developer states that LiveAgent has 179+ features and that more are regularly added.
Price: Free (plus ongoing licence costs)
Advanced FAQ Module
Instead of having to answer every question every single time, why not create a list of FAQs and save both you and your customers the trouble?
Advanced FAQ Module not only allows you to do that but also present the questions in an appealing layout that lets the customers easily read through the questions and answers.
You can set questions, sort them into different categories and present them in a beautiful jQuery animation effect. Thus, on back-end, you have an easy time showing the FAQs and on front-end, the customer enjoys an animated FAQ section.
Instead of having to present all FAQs in the traditional listicle way, you can simply present the categories and just by a single click, the customer will be able to expand and view the FAQs in the particular section.
Backend & Admin
E-commerce has a lot of moving parts. How many?
Well think about the platform, Content Management System, Product Information Management, Customer Relationship Management, Content Delivery Networks, customer reviews, email, M-commerce, payment, SEO, social media, analytics,…okay, you get the point.
It’s a long list!.
But how you handle those elements could make or break your business.
You need to manage your stock, take care of shipping once a customer completes a purchase, manage the invoices and general administration and reporting.
With so many things to think about each day, how do you properly manage your store without losing your mind?
By automating as much as possible. And fortunately there are loads of extensions for much of this side of things.
Here’s a selection of the best.
Effective inventory management can make or break an Ecommerce business.
Basically if you don’t know where your inventory is at any given time, it’s going to be tough trying to sell it.
Luckily, there are loads of extensions that can help you handle your stock effectively on your Magento store.
Inventory Manager lets you easily keep a product count and plan inventory at any time. It also allows you to assign count to other users.
The extension will allow you to control and manage your store’s real stock easily – saving you a heap of time in the process.
Multi-Warehouse Inventory Management
If you hold stock in more than warehouse and wish it could be easier to manage the inventory then Multi-Warehouse Inventory Management is the answer to your prayers.
The extension allows you to create multiple warehouses, set unique shipping origins and manage the inventory across stores.
You don’t have to worry about mix-ups anymore as each of the warehouses will receive its own order notifications. The warehouse will then be able to identify the orders, manage invoices and take care of credit memos.
In short, the extension allows each warehouse to act independently whilst giving you global control over everything.
If you ask online shoppers what their top three reasons for abandoning a cart are, most will probably have shipping as one of the top reasons.
So, what’s the deal with shipping that would make a shopper leave your store disappointed and without completing their purchase?
You might be thinking “shipping fees” but while 61% of shoppers attribute cart abandonment to high extra costs such as shipping fees, it might not be the only reason your next customer leaves an unpaid cart behind.
It’s the way you handle your shipping that influences the level of satisfaction of a customer. What carriers do you use? How long does it take you to deliver? And how do you pack the orders?
The following extensions will help you streamline your shipping strategy so you have less people abandoning their cart and more happy customers.
MatrixRate is one of the most popular shipping rates extensions for Magento.
It allows you to show tabular rates for different customers in an easy-to-understand layout. It allows you to display custom rates basing on delivery method, destination, cart weight, subtotal, quantity, ZIP code, etc.
You also get examples on how to use it so you hit the ground running.
The extension is widely used in the UK, Europe, Australia and the US.
While shipping fees might not be the reason most people abandon full carts, when handled poorly, shipping costs can be the reason most of your customers don’t complete the purchase.
Trying to come up with an effective pricing strategy can be stressful.
Shipping Rules is a Magento extension that aims to help you do away with all the stress associated with tables, spreadsheets and matrices by helping you configure shipping costs in the same way that you’d lay out promotion rules.
You can set costs basing on cart total, cart weight, cart item count, shipping country, shipping state, shipping postcode and customer group. Nice!
Shipping Restrictions allows you to easily set shipping costs by restricting the methods by country, product, brand or product attributes.
It also allows you to base the restrictions on order total, customer group, weight, or any other parameters.
Once you buy the extension, you get lifetime support and you can request design customization from the developer.
This might not be the most exciting part – or the best use of your time – of your online store but invoicing is an indispensable part for your business.
Luckily, you don’t have to be an accounting guru to get it right. And that’s a relief for a small business owner who’s the CEO, marketer, sales manager, designer, dispatcher and part time accountant.
The following extensions help lighten the accounting load for you.
Basing on pre-selected payment methods, Auto Invoice will automatically generate invoices and shipments on all new orders.
Once an order reaches a certain status (that the extension allows you to set) it will automatically generate the invoice and add comments on the invoice.
PDF Invoice Pro
PDF Invoice Pro allows you easy and complete customization of your invoices.
You can set up invoices in a well laid out PDF document.
You have the option of designing your invoice using the easy-to-use HTML/CSS standard or modify your invoice using the WYSIWYG editor meaning even non-techies can do this.
You can even add a QR code or Barcode, customer and product attributes, and product thumbnail images to your PDF invoice and choose and layout from the variety of layouts.
The following extensions help you easily manage and edit your orders as well as get regular reports on your store.
With Order Manager you can easily edit orders and edit/delete comments.
The extension lets you make changes on items in an order, the order status, the destination, the shipping method and the payment at the click of a button.
Extended Reports provides you with real-time reports and revenue metrics in a single pane of glass.
With the extension, you can view reports such as the number of visits to your store, the store revenue, number of orders, average order value and the conversion rate – in real time.
You can also segment the reports using the calendar feature so you only get reports only when you need to.
The extension also gives you a clear visualization of your sales funnel by showing you the number of visits to the store, visits to product pages, visitors with products on their shopping carts and purchases.
One of the limitations that some order editing extensions have is creating duplicate orders when you edit an order. Order Editor allows you to re-authorize and edit an order without duplicating that order.
Providing both quick and detail editing options, the extension lets you edit the payment method, shipping method, date, price and quantity of items, tax, etc. easily and quickly.
There’s no point in having the most amazing Magento Ecommerce store if no one’s visiting it.
That’s why it’s vital to have an effective Ecommerce SEO Strategy in place.
Fortunately Magento helps you on that score straight out of the box with SEO friendly features like these:
- Succinct URLs that don’t have odd characters,
- well-structured HTML,
- automatically-generated Google sitemaps, and
- complete control to you – as the store owner – over SEO assets
So, how do you take advantage of this opportunity to make your site stands loud and proud at the top of the search rankings?
Why, with these Magento SEO Extensions of course!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Two of the best ways to improve your store’s online visibility is through Ecommerce Content Marketing and by ensuring site performance is always at its best.
These extensions come in handy on these scores.
Nowadays, blogging is an (almost) indispensable tool for all businesses. On your Magento store, you need a blog to create content that engages and interests your target audience.
Simple Blog is one of the best Magento blogging extensions.
It allows you to run a fully optimised blog within your store.
As the owner, you have control on the blog publishing and how categories appear on the blog. It’s fully open source and has an easy installation and usage process.
It’s also created as per Magento programming guidelines so it adheres to best practice.
To make your blogging both fun to you and interesting to your audience, Blog Pro allows you to create and publish blog posts with images, videos, thumbnails and several other blogging effects – without compromising on the responsiveness.
The extension also allows you to integrate the blog with social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.
The extension allows you to set the blog up so that you get notifications on any new comments on your blog posts or when a scheduled post goes live.
Customers are also free to subscribe to posts so they receive comments on those posts.
Last but certainly not least is WordPress.
As you’re probably already aware, WordPress is (by far and away) the most popular blogging platform out there.
And you can integrate your WordPress blog with your Magento store to ensure that the familiarity and functionality of the platform comes with you to your Magento site.
It’s easy to install and use and doesn’t require any core WordPress or Magento file modification.
Once integrated, you can apply your Magento theme to your offsite WordPress blog for uniformity and brand identity. You can also keep same URLs without any compromise to your existing SEO.
Even after integration, the extension will support a lot of the plugins that WordPress supports, further assuring you of the stable functionality.
Since 2010 website loadspeed is a stated Google Ranking Factor. When you also consider the increasing trend towards mobile browsing and the importance of fast loadspeeds for mobile use it’s no wonder that Google will naturally prioritize fast and responsive sites.
The thing is that when it comes to improving website loadspeeds there are dozens of factors that come into play. Many of them are minor design tweaks that may cost more to implement than the return they generate.
Once you’ve addressed that then you’ll find that caching is one of the best practices to reduce the amount of time your website pages take to load. Instead, of having to download the same web files every time they come to your site, the visitor’s browser gets temporary data that ensures that the user doesn’t have to wait long every time they come to your site.
PageCache is one of the best caching options to make your Magento store fast, responsive and boost your search engine rankings.
It’s easy to use and accurate – it will cache only pages that need to be cached.
The extension comes with up to three cache levels, each varying in speed and site coverage:
- Primary Page Cache
- Secondary Page Cache
- Lightening Page Cache.
Turpentine is another effective caching extension for Magento that works with Varnish – a fast caching reverse-proxy.
Turpentine performs full page caching and allows automatic clearing of cache on certain actions. For instance, it can automatically clear product pages after saving.
It also supports site crawlers and has an in-built basic site crawler.
PPC, also known as Paid Search Advertising (PSA), is a component of the broader Search Engine Marketing (SEM). If well executed, PPC can be your ticket to online business success.
But many small businesses ignore PPC not realizing the many benefits it brings to the business. For instance, PPC is cost-effective. While it’s true that poor PPC management can drain a lot of money, careful planning will result in a high ROI. PPC is also the fastest method to acquire targeted traffic.
With these and many other benefits, you can’t afford to miss on PPC advertising.
To help you with that, Magento supports several extensions that are aimed at helping you boost your PPC campaign.
One that stands out is Clever Adwords.
The most demanding part of a Google AdWords campaign is setting it up. With Clever Adwords, you can stop worrying about all the time you need to spend creating and uploading your campaigns.
In just 5 steps, you can configure the extension so that your campaigns are automatically uploaded to AdWords.
The extension will create text ads and images for you, automatically. The only piece of work on your side is creating a Google AdWords account. Clever Adwords will analyze your Magento site and create unique campaigns based on your products and Magento categories (which you’ll have created already.
With the extension, you just need about 5 minutes for configuration and the 48 hours that Google AdWords needs to process and review your campaign.
Social media is increasingly important for Ecommerce success.
As an Ecommerce store owner you can’t afford to forget about this important aspect when you’re setting up your Magento store.
So, what should you focus on?
The primary areas you have to take care of are image management, user-generated content and social channels.
Let’s look at each of them in turn.
Consider the following:
- It is estimated that almost two thirds of social media consists of images
- On Facebook, images containing posts account for almost 90% of all interactions
The message is clear – the social web is visual.
That’s why image management is very important to your business. Not only is it important for social media though, it also provides more information about the product, attracts potential customers, influences buying decisions and helps create product and business awareness.
The following extensions do a great job in helping you with image management:
Image Optimizer not only reduces your image file size while maintaining their quality but also helps improve on your site’s speed.
It’s easy to install and use and allows you to optimize images by the click of a button. For advanced users, Image Optimizer allows you configuration access to fully customise optimization options.
Ajax Mass Image Uploader
Ajax Mass Image Uploader claims to help you reduce product image management time by 95%.
One important feature is that it allows you to bulk upload images. Using the drag and drop feature, you can easily add multiple images to a page on the store.
You can also update multiple products at the same time. For instance, you can remove all the images tagged with certain products or reset thumbnail images on several products at the same time.
With these and more features, this extension allows you to keep your store’s images organised at all times.
All in One Banner Pro
All in One Banner Pro lets you manage multiple banners at the same time with up to 26 sliding effects.
You can also include URLs in your banners to make them clickable as well as add titles and descriptions.
The extension is easy to install and configure and has a great user interface.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
Do you want to know what your customers want?
You just need to listen to them.
Online business is very much a two way street these days. You have a multitude of channels to reach your audience and they have the ability to provide plenty of feedback. If you let them.
That’s what’s known as User-Generated Content (UGC). This includes reviews, comments on social media, and any other type of content that comes directly from the users.
The following extensions will help you capture what users are saying about your business and industry.
Good customer reviews are like pure sold gold.
They’re spoken in customer-speak and that’s hard for even the best copywriter to copy.
But getting reviews can be hard work. That’s where Yotpo comes in.
Yotpo reviews makes it easy for you to generate reviews by automatically requesting those reviews from customers for you.
Using an in-mail form, the extension asks your customers to review your business and, to make it more convenient for them, lets them write the review within the body of the email.
As a result, you get more reviews because of the short and easy process.
Instead of directly generating reviews from your customers, ContentPlum helps you leverage the user content left on social media platforms. That means you don’t even have to ask. The users don’t even have to know you want to know what they are talking about. ContentPlum just listens.
The extension also allows you to share social mentions on your products from various social media channels – such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and RSS Feeds – for social proof and product buzz.
You can customize the themes, colours and fonts and also enable/disable certain social content so you have only what you’re interested in. You can choose to selectively approve the content to be displayed on your website.
If your store isn’t fully integrated with social media the following extensions help you change that.
Online users don’t want to keep creating accounts everywhere they need to log in. So why not let them use their existing social media accounts to get into sites like yours?
Social Login lets your store visitors to login into your store via up to 16 social channels (I don’t think I can name 16 social channels!).
As the admin, you choose where you want to place the buttons – Home page, customer login or customer registration page? You decide.
The extension can also display the buttons as pop-ups.
It can support multiple store, it’s fully open source and has a simple installation and setup process.
Sociable helps improve your business’ online visibility by adding social sharing buttons that allow users to share any page on your website on their social media profiles.
It allows you to track the most bookmarked products on the site which is perfect in helping you tweak your marketing strategy.
The extension comes with up to 17 pre-installed services and allows you to add more or disable some of them. You’re also able to sort how these services appear on the site.
AddThis is another social sharing extension that lets users promote your site by sharing the content on 330 (yes, I had to double-check that too) social and bookmarking sites. Think Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and 325 other sites.
But apart from that, AddThis also lets you in on a hoard of metrics. For instance, you can see what your visitors are using to share your content, the content they’re sharing most, text they are copying, and a lot more – in real time.
As the name suggests, Facebook Reviews helps you get the content that people leave on your Facebook business page.
Using the extension, you can see what reviews are left by credible Facebook profiles. This allows you to get rid of spam and know what your real fans want.
The extension also allows your customers to post reviews your Facebook page directly from your store – the review is posted both on the product pages and on the social networks. This improves your social proof. Cool!
Are your customers and potential customers sitting at home browsing on a desktop or laptop?
The answer is a big fat “No” to that one.
The simple fact is that we’re past the mobile tipping point – mobile is where the action is these days and that’s only going to increase.
Mobile Commerce (M-Commerce) is where the action is and according to a SCORE study, “73% of mobile searches trigger follow up actions (calls, visits, purchases or shares).
Needless to say, mobile has grown to be a critical aspect of business. Any business who’s not investing in mobile is risking missing out on a big piece of their potential revenue.
So, does Magento provide room for this?
Absolutely – yes, it does. With the following extensions, your business could get a competitive advantage over less savvy competitors:
oscMcart Mobile App
oscMcart Mobile App is a native Magento mobile app that completely sync’s with the backed to give you full control.
It supports different payment gateways such as bank transfer, PayPal and cash on delivery.
The app also integrates with default Magento shipping methods.
oscMcart Mobile App also works on Android.
Appy Pie Mobile App Connect
Appy Pie Mobile App Connect helps you build your own mobile app.
Using just your current Magento site the extension allows you to create an iOS, Android, Blackberry 10, Windows 8 and Kindle Fire app for your business.
And you don’t need any technical skills to build the app. All you have to do is give to the extension access to your Magento store’s API.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
If you’ve got a great strategy for getting traffic and a great set of products, wouldn’t it be a shame if you weren’t able to convert that traffic into paying customers.
That’s where Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) comes into play.
You might be doing everything else right. But if you don’t have the right strategy for converting your visitors into customers, all your effort might be wasted.
This section is about extensions that help enhance your checkout process, email marketing and testing your methods.
One of the top reasons why shoppers abandon shopping carts is a lengthy and complicated checkout processes.
To improve your conversion rate therefore, you have to ensure that your checkout process is as easy as possible and takes the least time.
These extensions will do the hard work for you.
One Step Checkout
One Step Checkout eases the process for your customers by displaying all the steps on a single page.
The extension comes with a 4 checkout column layout styles and unlimited colour options to allow you to have a checkout page that reflects your brand.
The auto-suggestion of customer addresses is also a step towards making the process as convenient to your customers as possible.
On the back end, the extension makes your work easy by letting you manage your fields easily using the drag and drop capability.
Quick OnePage Checkout
As the name suggests, Quick OnePage Checkout helps display your checkout form on just one page without reloads, making it fast and convenient for your customers.
With this extension you can allow your customers to either checkout as a guest or easily create an account directly from the checkout.
The customer is allowed time to verify their order before placing it, to avoid any errors.
The extension is AJAX-based and has a very responsive layout.
TH Online Price Bargaining
Everyone loves a bargain! And that includes your customers.
TH Online Price Bargaining allows your customers to bargain and get the best offer on products before they can place an order.
This not only helps you to give them better deals than they would get somewhere else but also boosts your engagement with them.
You can set it to allow bargains based on certain criteria. For example, you can set it so that only registered users can use the bargain feature which would increase the number of registered users.
Price: $59.00 – What a bargain!! 🙂
“Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.” – David Ogilvy
To know what’s working and what isn’t, you have to keep testing your methods.
While some of the extensions highlighted above come with A/B Testing features, the following extensions are purely dedicated to A/B Testing.
A/B Testing lets you see the kind of impact certain changes on your store’s pages have on the overall conversion rate.
The extension will allow you to create two versions of the page you want to test and display the pages randomly. After a certain period of time, the extension compares the number of conversions and gives you the winning page.
Now that’s neat.
A/B Testing by Amasty
A/B Testing by Amasty helps you conduct both split and multivariate tests basing on various product attributes.
To help you make a decision, the extension provides you with real-time data on visits, conversions and the rate changes.
Can I just say that if you’re not doing email marketing you’re not doing any marketing? I mean, you might be doing some other forms of marketing, but you’re definitely not exploring all the sweet spots of digital marketing.
With studies recording an average of 3800% ROI for email marketing, I think my point is well made.
Check out the following extensions that Magento store owners use to make sure they don’t miss a piece of that pie. After that, look at what experts predict on the direction of email in 207 as well as how to brace yourself for the year ahead.
Email is still one of the most cost effective ways of converting browsers to buyers.
Luckily, as a Magento store owner there are several tools that allow you to maximise on your email marketing investment.
Newsletter Popup lets you grow your email list by displaying popups on your site.
The extension comes with more than 30 popup options so you can experiment with a variety to see what converts most.
Not only that, but the extension also allows you to test and look at various metrics so you can improve on your popups.
You can display coupons to encourage subscriptions and set when to display the popups.
MailUp helps enhances your email marketing campaign by merging campaign management features with automated messaging.
It supports multiple stores and syncs any subscription preferences.
With the extension, you can easily segment your lists and test your methods.
MageMonkey is the official MailChimp extension for Magento and allows you to easily integrate with MailChimp and Mandrill so you can sync your Magento and MailChimp lists.
MailChimp’s segmentation features allow you to create segments in your list using any customer attribute. This helps you to understand your customers better and send more targeted messages.
Creating repeat customers from first-time customers takes effort. By using certain extensions you can ensure that one purchase leads to another and another – creating brand ambassadors along the way.
Follow Up Email
Follow Up Email lets you send follow up/trigger emails to both your customers and potential customers to encourage them to buy more.
The best part about it all is that the messages are automated and customized. You can set how frequently you want to reach out to your customers and change it any time.
With this extension, you can reach out to your customers about almost anything. For instance, you can send them an email giving them a window within which when they order they can receive a certain percentage discount.
Smart Alternative Product Selector
With Smart Alternative Product Selector, you can suggest alternative products to your customers depending on their current habits which identify what they are most likely to be interested in.
With a complete customization package, the extension lets you set the number of alternative products to display. This lets you show an optimum number of products to avoid appearing to be too pushy.
You can set the price range, category, ascending and descending order and update them any time.
Automated Related Products
Similarly, Automated Related Products helps you display related products to encourage the customer to buy.
Each of the displayed products has an AJAX-based “Add to Cart” button to make sure the user stays on that particular page to add an item, making it very user-friendly.
For you, it’s easy to install and customise the CSS/HTML formatting.
For an ecommerce retailer, security is the linchpin of your online business success.
Well, according to US National Cyber Security Alliance, 60% of small companies go out of business in half a year after a cyber-attack.
And no, these aren’t just US statistics. According to the 2015 Information Security Breaches Survey, the average cost of the worst breach had doubled to £75 – £311K in 2015 as compared to 2013 when it was ‘only’ £35 – £65K. The Government Security Breaches Survey reports that 74% of small businesses reported at least one security breach in 2015.
The point is: You have to be more vigilant about how your approach the security aspect of your company. And remember, as Dr. David Day says, “We’re no longer in a situation where it’s a case of ‘if I’m going to get breached’. It’s more a case of how often you’re going to get breached and how long those people are going to be in for.”
So, whether it’s backing up or guarding your site from cyber criminals, you need to be the closest you can to 100% sure that your data is secure.
Luckily, Magento is built around a community of people who care about all aspects of your business – even those you forget time and time again.
To protect you from hackers, here are some of the best extensions made for the platform:
MageSecure – Security Extension
MageSecure protects your store by regularly conducting tests for vulnerabilities that hackers might exploit to get into your site.
The extension tests to see if the URL on your admin login page is exposed. It also checks to see if your Magento Downloader login screen (where you download everything, including extensions) is vulnerable. Then it gives you alerts about any impending dangers and recommends appropriate action.
Other tests that MageSecure will conduct and advise you on include: A test to see if your files are publicly displayed; if you’re using the current version of Magento for your store; admin panel security; HTTPS test; and if your repository is exposed.
MageFirewall Security will protect you from both external web attacks as well as cover you from any security issues that might arise from within the Magento platform.
By applying Ninja Firewall rules, the extension will blacklist attackers and block them from accessing your site. Ninja Firewall is one of the most effective standalone security applications.
MageFirewall Security has a scanner that runs and recommends you concerning your store setup – to make it sturdier.
Whenever a file is changed, deleted or modified in any way, the extension, through the Recently Modified File scanner, will alert you so you can verify that the change was made by someone authorized. If not then this is your cue that someone broke into your site.
On top of all these features is a 24/7 dedicated support team to help you with anything concerning your site’s security.
As the name suggests, Login Security is dedicated to making sure that you don’t let in malicious people as you get into your admin panel.
The extension checks the set password on each page to ensure that neither you nor your customers are compromised.
Its security is also browser-sensitive. Meaning, if for instance, you usually login via Firefox and you decide to reset your password on Chrome and the rest is successful, you’ll be able to access your admin panel through Chrome but not on Firefox – you’ll be automatically logged out.
The extension is easy to install, use and manage.
This is another extension that protects your store backend.
Because you can no longer just rely on a password to protect your business, TotalSecurity features a Two-Factor Authentication (TFA) process.
When logging in, the extension will send you an email token for further verification. In case you don’t get that token, TotalSecurity will send you what it calls a “SUPER PASSWORD”.
Another power feature of this extension is that it allows you to view and keep track of all the IP addresses visiting your admin panel. You can easily check to see if the address in question is authorized and block if otherwise.
You can also add various IP addresses to a Watch List or a White List.
MageFence is a great all round security extension that is focused on preventing Brute Force Attacks, monitoring file and code changes and stopping unauthorized logins.
It works by regularly scanning your site and notifying you of any security threats so you can take action to prevent any damage to your site or your reputation.
It starts by running an initial baseline audit to identify if there are any existing security issues you need to address. Once you have the initial safe, secure baseline (Create Starting Point) this is used as the reference point for future scans. If any deviations from this point are detected then MageFence will notify you.
MageFence can be set to run at the time that you determine to ensure optimum performance is achieved and so it does not coincide with other important times (e.g. peak sales or regular backup schedule).
Another important feature is that MageFence will check your site against the latest Magento patches to ensure that your site is fully up to date.
They also include a free 2 Factor Authentication Extension to secure your Magento admin area as well as ongoing support so you can always ensure that your Magento site is safe and secure.
Price: $159 (+ optional $49 professional install)
If you thought hacking was bad, just consider what would happen if you lost your data!
The effects of data loss can bring an end to a fast-growing business. To prevent that from happening, take precautions while you can.
Backup Guard Lite
When you backup your site, you not only intend the data to be safe but also want to know that you can easily and quickly access it when need arises.
Backup Guard Lite gives you that in an easy one-click backup process.
You’re not limited to the number of times you can backup your site. Thus, you can run a backup with every small change you make to the site. Also, you can have file and/or database backup as you please.
The extension also allows you to custom-backup your site where you can back up only the files and folders you want at any particular time.
MagePlace Backup Extension
MagePlace Backup Extension is a premium extension that lets you easily backup your site to the cloud where you can quickly access it in case of an emergency.
To emphasize on the need for regular backing up of your site, the extension allows you to set a backup schedule which is independent of your presence and participation.
Like the previous, MagePlace Backup will let you choose to backup everything or just what you need.
It supports AmazonS3 Storage Service, Google Drive, Dropbox and Box.com, allowing you to set up offsite backups. You can sync these with your computer and have the backup easily accessible from any computer you choose.
You can also easily delete old backup files by either setting an expiry date for the files or setting it so the earliest files are deleted first when a certain number of files is reached – to reduce the clutter.
Magento Extensions Cheat Sheet
OK, we’ve covered a lot of ground haven’t we?
To help you find exactly what you’re looking for quickly we’ve prepared this quick cheat sheet for you.
Referrals and Loyalty Rewards
Customer Experience (CX)
Backend & Admin
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
User-Generated Content (UGC)
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
There you go. A list of extensions that is aimed at keeping your Magento store performance at its best yet.
We understand that there are numerous extensions you can choose from and we haven’t got the space to include them all, but we’ve focused on giving you a range of options you can rely on.
We hope you’ve found our list of Magento plugins and extensions useful and we’d love to hear from you with your suggestions and ideas.