So you have done your research and chosen to build your store in the ecommerce platform Magento, but now you’re left asking, “What next?” Surely there are simple tweaks you can do to your online store that will not only make the shopping experience more enjoyable for your consumers, but encourage them to buy more.
Well, there are––whether it’s a more intuitive shopping cart, cross-selling similar products, a newsletter informing consumers about new or promotional sales, a loyalty system, or mobile tracking capability, here are 5 basic plugins that every Magento store should start with.
1. Shopping Cart
Though products may be the most important component of your ecommerce store, the shopping cart is arguably equally as important. Think, how can a customer make the purchase without a fluid, functioning cart? We’ve all been to websites where the shopping cart is finicky, or perhaps off-putting because every time you add a new item, the page refreshes and you lose your place in the search results index. And then what happens in this scenario? You don’t want to go through your searches again and find the spot where you were last browsing so you say, “forget it” and move on.
Don’t let this play out with your online store. Invest in a good shopping cart such as AheadWork’s Ajax Cart Pro Magento Extension that utilizes animation to add or remove items from the shopping cart without having to refresh the page. In addition to its effectiveness, it was well-received by past users and is one of the more affordable, easy add-ons a business can purchase for their Magento store.
2. Cross-selling Related Products
How often have you skimmed the web looking for a specific item, and then found accessories or similar products that were suggested by a site alongside your original search? Ecommerce giant Amazon does this quite well with a sidebar of similar products other consumers also viewed––but this capability doesn’t have to be just for big box online stores like Amazon. With this automated related products plugin from Magento Connect, your customers will be given a list of your items for sale that are similar or additional accessories to their search item––ones that other customers purchased together––encouraging them to browse more and purchase more than what they originally came for. Not only is this plugin a benefit for your business, but customers tend to like the suggestions as well, educating them on what else they can buy to add to their product or for them to cross-compare different items and features. With this Magento extension, upselling isn’t just a technique for brick and mortar stores anymore.
Newsletters are a valuable marketing tool for ecommerce websites. Much like the booming presence of social media, newsletters put your brand out there and opens a communication channel between your business and its consumers. Not only does it increase your company’s visibility, but it is a big opportunity to showcase your new or best products, get word out on sales and promotions, and increase engagement rate with announcements such as a give aways or new campaigns. With plugins such as Mailpro’s newsletter extension, it’s as simple as plugging in the information you’d like to share with your customers in a ready-made template and adding images and banners. The extension does the rest––sending it to consumer in-boxes and dishing out all your most important updates and website tidbits.
4. Loyalty program
Loyalty and reward programs are ubiquitous with commerce––a loyalty card at your local grocery store allows you privy to special discounts and promotional rewards––so it makes sense that the same system is common online as well. Ecommerce loyalty programs are almost a must nowadays. Competition is already stiff with pricing since the internet has made for a large pool of competitors with similar products, but what can put your store over the edge is a great loyalty program rewarding your buyers for their purchase. Most consumers will be swayed to shop at a store with better rewards such as discounts on future purchases or a free gift with orders. While this may sound complex to set up and keep track of points or purchases, basic plugins such as the loyalty program from Aitoc make it simple even for the most basic, new online store. Reward your customers for shopping with you and keep them coming back time and time again.
5. Mobile tracking
Mobile tracking is without a doubt a necessary component of any online store now. Nearly everyone has a smartphone, and absolutely everyone is impatient when it comes to waiting for a purchased goodie in the mail. To save your sanity and avoid an endless number of emails and calls asking where their packages are, give your customers the ability to check their package’s tracking from their phone. No need to deal with UPS, Fedex or any of the other mail carriers for each purchase made on your site; with a simple, basic plugin like Mobile Order Tracking from AheadWorks, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3––install the extension and it takes care of the rest. Your customers will receive a tracking number after their purchase is made that they can plug into a data field, and their contents whereabouts are instantly pulled up from mailing databases. Sit back and relax with a mobile tracking Magento plugin for your ecommerce store.
Starting a new online store, especially for smaller businesses, can be intimidating with the sheer number of existing ecommerces already out there. But you’ve done your homework and have chosen a great platform to build your store, and with these simple, basic Magento plugins, your online store will be all the better.
Having an intuitive, operational shopping cart, offering automated similar product listings and newsletters to promote products and specials, a loyalty program to reward your consumers’ purchases, and the capability to track orders online via cell phone are all vital components of an online store in this day and age. So give your online store the edge over competitors with these five plugins. The necessary ecommerce additions are accessible even to the smallest and least tech savvy ecommerce.