If you’re using Magento as your ecommerce platform, as hundreds of thousands of others are. You’re probably aware by now that its basic setup doesn’t suit 100% of your needs. Nor should it, it's a platform, not an entire business in a box. You’ll need to search the web and the Magento Connect store and choose your own email management, currency/shipping conversions, automation tools, better caching systems, social marketing tools, conversion optimizers, and much more.
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it.
I want to make it easier and provide you with a quick list of the 13 best extensions for your store to help reduce that setup time or possibly, discover something new for your current store. (These plugins are listed in no particular order)
MatrixRate - by WebShopApps - Free
Managing shipping isn’t easy, especially if you’re a new ecommerce store. The worst part though is that some items are going to cost more than others, potentially a lot more. A screwdriver being shipped to somewhere else in the state/region vs. an entire play set being shipped across the country can’t both cost $3.95 in shipping. Matrixrate helps solve the problem of the variations in shipping costs for weight, location, quantity and other variables by creating different tables to instantly applying a shipping cost to your customer’s order an amount that doesn’t end up leaving a giant hole in your pocket.
Not a fan of ticket based support? Or want to have live conversations in addition to your ticketed support (Tip: Olark integrates well with Zendesk). Olark will have you covered. This isn’t the only support - chat box software out there but it is my favorite, because of its customization and reporting capabilities. Olark allows you to keep abs on what the person you’re talking to is doing or did. Enabling you to be able to ask less questions, waste less time, and provide the best service to important customers.
Bronto offers a best-in-class solution for driving revenue with targeted email and cross-channel marketing campaigns. By sending messages based on past-purchase data from your Magento website, your marketing can be much more personal and relevant. They provide segmentation of your customers by the product or categories they’ve purchased; Analyze metrics such as Average Order Value, Last Order Total and Total Revenue; Send everything from simple newsletters to automated reminders for wishlists and abandoned carts. If you’ve ever sent out a mass message and it flopped, you know that customization of who gets or doesn’t get what versions of an email is very important.
I find this to be highly impressive: Bronto’s stats page boasts a 99+% delivery rate, an average 20% open rate and 3.5-4% click through rate for the last 90 days (Source - Bronto.com).
XML map creator - by Magestore - Free
This extension allows for easy setup and creation of multiple XML sitemaps for your site. For free! If you’re not familiar with the benefits of an XML sitemap, it’s simple. Within Google and Bing webmasters are sitemap submission areas, you take the created page and submit it to them. This will enable them to easily see your entire site in depth and crawl it better, potentially increasing the amount of page’s that are indexed in the search engines and driving traffic to your site.
Magento-Wordpress Integration -by FishPig- Free
With Wordpress managing over 14.5Billion Page views a month now (source), we’ve all become familiar with the framework. But if you’re already reading this far, I’m assuming you probably didn’t choose to go with the woocommerce platform. Never fear! This plugin by Fishpig allows you to integrate Wordpress into your Magento base.
Bonus goodie: If you’re familiar with the Yoast extension for wordpress, you probably went looking for the Magento version. There used to be one, but with Fishpig’s Wordpress integration extension you can utilize Yoast’s SEO wordpress extension.
Optimizely allows for anyone to run A/B tests and track exactly the areas/metrics they’re focused on. With its drag and drop visual editor it requires no more than the basic setup to begin using it. Not only does Optimizely allow you to test pages but it will deploy a copy of the temporary page until a permanent one can be established.
If you’re already familiar with Optimizely, you’ll absolutely love this extension because it enables revenue tracking and the ability to run advanced targeting tests which would’ve needed custom coding to achieve before.
Blog - by aheadWorks - Free
We all know what a blog is and what its used for. As a result, there isn’t much to say other than this is the current most popular blog setup for Magento stores. Easy to use and did I mention FREE! While yes, it is free, aheadWorks constantly maintains the extension and provides continual updates for it.
Yotpo - Free
Content for SEO, increased purchase confidence, email based review requests, and other such marketing buzzwords. You already know the capabilities and reasons to have a reviews system in place. Yotpo takes everything you’re looking for in a review system, gives it you, and then even gives you the little things that you didn’t even realize you needed. They’re heavily focused on you succeeding while using their tool so they ensure that your reviews are doing the best for your SEO that they possibly can. Best perk: you can filter out reviews. No this doesn’t mean hide things from your customers, they appreciate reading the 3s and 4s for real world situations, but we’ve all had random pointless reviews posted on our sites before that just need to go away.
Highly highly recommend for everyone, ever!
Fooman Google Analytics - Free
Fooman Google analytics provides deeper capabilities for your Google analytics. This includes tracking of your Adwords purchases and conversions. Get deeper analytics on how Adwords is converting for you in addition to the ability to filter by customer.
Layered Navigation - by Aitoc
The Layered Navigation extension enables new filters, drop downs, and breadcrumb displays to help guide your customer towards what they’re looking for or interested in. As I stated in my 10 ecommerce design tips article, “When a customer becomes lost, you’ve lost a customer”. Make sure your navigation and filters are set up to make finding what they’re looking for easy.
One Page Checkout - by iwdExtensions - Free
This extension turns your former 4-6 step checkout process into one simple and easy page for your customers. Making checkouts quicker typically increases the number of completed carts, lowering your cart abandonment and the amount of $ you'll need to spend on trying to bring those abandoned carts back. The extension also supports multiple languages, and paypal integration.
Every millisecond of load time means the world to your ecommerce business. Nitrogento gives your store a speed boost by helping you set up proper caching on your pages. What more do you need to know? The only downside is the high price but over time it pays for itself.
If you’re a one man band (or lady band) and just need to get your customer support a bit more organized, Zendesk is a great, cheap way to do so. For a single agent (agent = you), you’re only looking at $12 a year or $2 a month. If you’re a bigger store with dedicated customer service professionals then you’re paying a pretty penny for their work, why not help them be organized, monitor and improve your company’s service reputation for what is still a fairly low cost of $59 a month (especially compared to their salaries).
BONUS: AddShoppers - Free
Disclaimer: I work for AddShoppers and you're probably reading this article on the AddShoppers site. That being said, as a consultant I still highly recommend the applications that are provided for anyone looking to boost revenue with smart influencer marketing. If you have social sharing buttons on your site already, switch to AddShoppers! You'll be able to identify your top influencers, boost social sharing & referral sales, increase conversion rates, and capture more email addresses.
Want to learn more about AddShoppers? Join an upcoming live demo to see our influencer marketing platform in action!
Written by: Mitchell Abdullah