One of the best things about Magento is how customisable the platform is. The standard installation is unlikely to meet all of your unique requirements, but the multitude of different extensions allows you to create an eCommerce site that is perfectly suited to your business needs. Utilising the ‘out of the box’ solutions from a community of developers, these include everything from enhancing the customer experience through to simplifying site management.
But having so many options can be overwhelming when it’s time to decide which ones you need. We have compiled a list of the most popular add-ons that can take your site to the next level.
3 out of 4 customers deem reviews to be important to the purchasing process
When someone is researching your product or service, a positive review can be the catalyst to get them over the line and into the checkout. A steady stream of trustworthy and authentic reviews is a proven tool to help convert browsers into shoppers, and Yotpo gets reviews from 6- 10% of your buyers. It does this by automatically emailing them within the timeframe you have specified, and allows customers to write a comment directly from their inbox. This is the only reviews extension to offer this feature, and is the easiest and fastest way for your customers to send any feedback they have. It’s also completely customisable, to match the overall design of your store and brand. Finally Yotpo optimises your reviews for SEO, improving your site’s ranking in the search engines.
Yotpo has a rating of 4.7/5 on the Magento Connect store, and is free to install.
A blog allows you to be more creative and give your brand a voice
Establishing credibility is an important part of an eCommerce site, and a blog allows you to delve into more detail about the product or service that you are offering. It’s a platform for your customers to get to know you, and because many eCommerce sites don’t have one it also gives you an edge over competitors. Announce upcoming products and promotions, answer common questions about your industry, share a story about the business – there are so many potential topics that will engage your audience and position you as an expert. Content marketing is only increasing in importance for SEO, and a blog containing keywords and search terms along with relevant back links will boost your ranking in search engines. This leads to an increase in traffic and, if your site ticks all the boxes, ultimately sales.
Blog by aheadWorks is currently the most popular blog extension for Magento sites. Despite being free it is constantly being updated and offers great support for any issues or questions that you may have.
Email is by far the most effective way of directly affecting your bottom line and actually growing your business
Getting your email campaigns right is essential and Bronto is the number one email marketing provider to the Internet Retailer Top 1000. It allows you to send highly targeted and informed email campaigns that can be customised according to what kind of products the customer looked at, or where they got to in the sales cycle. For example it can be used to send people reminders of the wish lists they have created, or target those who have abandoned their checkout just before purchasing. This gives you a second chance to contact people who are close to converting, boosting sales. With 95% of online consumers using email, and 91% of those people checking their account at least once per day, a powerful and effective email campaign platform is an important part of your marketing arsenal.
One of the standout features of Bronto is its reporting and post campaign analysis. This allows you to monitor metrics such as click through rates and track conversions, along with basic reports showing things like bounce and open rates. Using this data you can then review and refine your campaigns in order to improve results and cultivate strong relationships with your customers.
Other advantages include the ability to schedule campaigns (great if your target audience is in a different time zone), and add product recommendations to transactional emails (based on factors such as recently viewed, bestsellers, new products etc).
Basic membership is free, and with so many features rolled into a simple to use platform it’s easy to see why Bronto has a rating of 4.4/ 5 in the Magento Connect store.
The checkout is the final step between you and a sale, so it’s essential that you get it right
The job of a checkout is to convert a visitor to your website into a customer, so you need to make sure that this process is as simple and streamlined as possible. While a few people will be committed to purchasing your product, many will ditch their shopping carts if there is any kind of obstacle. Your goal is to minimise the abandonment rate which will in turn improve conversion rates and drive revenue.
While it’s important to take into account your individual business needs and customer preferences, OneStepCheckout is a great option for simplifying and speeding up the checkout process. It reduces the default Magento checkout style from six steps down to one, with all unnecessary questions removed. The 3 column layout means that all of the required details are in front of the customer from the start, and the order can then be completed with just one click.
Running in over 12,000 Magento stores, OneStepCheckout is a renowned and well tested option. It’s used by major companies such as Quiksilver, DC Shoes, Skull Candy and Kitchen Warehouse, and has a rating of 4.4/ 5 stars.
Ajax Cart Extension by Magestore
Loading time is a major contributing factor to page abandonment
The speed at which a visitor can navigate your eCommerce is a massive contributing factor in conversion rates. KISSmetrics conducted a study on how page load speed affects customer behaviour, and they found that for every one second delay (or three seconds of waiting) customer satisfaction decreased by about 16%. By taking away the need to reload the page every time your customer adds or removes something from their shopping cart, you are saving valuable seconds that add up to an improvement in page abandonment and conversion rates.
Ajax cart extension streamlines the process of adding products to the shopping cart, meaning that things can be added or removed effortlessly and without wasting time having to wait for the page to reload. This works on both the shopping cart and wish list page, meaning that your customer can continue shopping with minimal interruptions to their experience. It displays a pop- up window when a product is selected, rather than taking them to the product page. Options such as colour, size etc can then be selected, before being added to the shopping cart. The customer can choose to either continue shopping or go straight to the checkout. You can then choose to display related products (up- sells or cross- sells) which the customer can also add directly to their shopping cart from the pop- up.
This is done in a way that is simple and effective, without overloading the customer with unnecessary information. Another great feature is the fact that the pop-up is completely customisable with a variety of templates available, so you can match the design with the overall look of your Magento store.
For more information on improving your Magento eCommerce website check out our articles on How to speed up your Magento store, and the Benefits of using Magento as your eCommerce platform.