If you’re using Magento as your eCommerce platform, as hundreds of thousands of others are, you’re probably aware that its basic setup doesn’t suit 100% of your needs. Which is fine -- it's a platform, not an entire business in a box.
The process involves researching the web and the Magento Connect store to choose your own email management, currency/shipping conversions, automation tools, better-caching systems, social marketing tools, conversion optimizers, and much more.
To simplify the process, help reduce setup time or possibly help you discover something new for your store, here are 13 of the best (in no particular order) Magento extensions:
MatrixRate - by WebShopApps (free)
Shipment management isn’t easy, especially for new eCommerce sites. The worst part, though, is that some items are going to cost more than others.
For instance, a screwdriver being shipped to an alternate state/region, versus an entire play set, being shipped across the country, can’t both cost $3.95 in shipping. Matrixrate helps solve the problem of variations in shipping costs for weight, location, quantity and other variables. This is done by creating different tables that instantly apply 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 ticketed support? 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 tabs on current/past actions of the person you’re talking. With Olark, you'll find yourself asking fewer questions, wasting less time, and providing the best service to important customers.
(Tip: Olark integrates well with Zendesk).
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 receive a lift in personalization and relevancy. Bronto provides segmentation of your customers by the product or categories they’ve purchased. They analyze metrics such as Average Order Value, Last Order Total, and Total Revenue.
With Bronto, 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 deep list segmentation for emails with multiple versions is very important.
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.
Unfamiliar? Here's a brief summary of the benefits of an XML sitemap:
Within Google and Bing webmasters are sitemap submission areas for you to submit the created page. This will enable them to easily see your entire site in depth and crawl it better. This can potentially increase the amount of page’s that are indexed in the search engines and drive traffic to your site.
Magento-Wordpress Integration -by FishPig (free)
With Wordpress managing over 14.5 billion page views a month now, it's safe to state that most web users have become familiar with the framework. 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 also utilize Yoast’s SEO WordPress extension.
Optimizely allows for anyone to run A/B tests and track specific areas/metrics.
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, it will also deploy a copy of the temporary page until a permanent one can be established.
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)
What a blog is, and its usage is universal. That said, there isn’t much to elaborate on other than this is the current, most popular, blog setup for Magento stores.
It's easy to use (more importantly, free)! Don't let the lack of a price tag fool you into thinking it lacks in usefulness -- aheadWorks constantly maintains the extension and continuously updates it.
Yotpo - (free)
The reasons and capabilities for having a review system in place are clear: Content for SEO, increased purchase confidence, email-based review requests, and other such marketing buzzwords.
Yotpo provides everything you’re looking for in a review system and then even gives you the little things you didn’t even realize were needed.
They’re heavily focused on your success while using their tool, so, they ensure that your reviews are doing the best for your SEO, as they possibly can.
The best perk is the ability to filter out reviews. No, this doesn’t mean hiding unsavory things from customers (they appreciate reading the 3s and 4s for real world situations) but, we can all agree that we've had random pointless reviews posted on our sites before that simply need to go away.
Fooman Google Analytics - (free)
Fooman Google analytics provides deeper capabilities for your Google analytics. This includes tracking of Adwords purchases and conversions.
You'll get deeper analytics on how Adwords is converting for you as well as the ability to filter by customers.
Layered Navigation - by Aitoc
The Layered Navigation extension provides new filters, drop downs, and breadcrumb displays, helping guide your customers toward their product interests.
As stated in the 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 searching on your site easy.
One Page Checkout - by iwdExtensions - Free
This extension turns your former 4-6 step checkout process into one simple page for your customers.
A quicker checkout process typically increases cart conversion to purchase, thus lowering cart abandonment rate and the amount of money needed to spend on attempts to bringing those abandoned carts to purchase completion.
The extension also supports multiple languages and PayPal integration.
Every millisecond of load time matters.
Nitrogento gives your store a speed boost by helping you set up proper page caching. The only downside is the high price, but it pays for itself in the long-run.
If you’re a one-man 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, perspectively. For a bigger store with dedicated customer service professionals, you’re likely paying a pretty penny for their work, so why not help them organize, 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).
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