Choosing a Magento extension provider is a hard nut to crack. The market is overcrowded with numerous agencies that offer Magento customization services. How to make a good choice and not to toss all night dithering between dozens of options?
Let’s deal with it.
WHY MAGENTO EXTENSIONS ARE A MUST?
You might ask, “Why does my store need any extensions?” The answer is simple. Default Magento can’t offer you E-wallet systems, customer rewards, affiliate programs and other useful features. Let’s be honest, every website owner wants to have some extra tools that will boost sales and increase customer traffic.
TO CUSTOMIZE OR NOT TO?
Wait a minute, “Why should I customize the extension? I paid for it! Aren’t all the necessary features in?”
It’s a good question, and it has the right to exist. The truth is, customization is inevitable. You’re already using some 3rd-party apps, extensions or modules. Here’s where the problems occur – compatibility. You need customizations to make modules from different providers or custom ones work with each other or to embody your most incredible ideas. Remember, everything that may come to your mind can be implemented on your website.
Now let’s look at the financial side. Here are some stats for thought. We’ve researched about 300 online stores that use Magento extensions, whether customized or not. 88% of them use customized Magento extensions, and their revenue is 24% higher. Your investments in extension installation and further customization will pay off and bring additional profit. I didn’t say it for the sake of a witty remark. If you want to grow margins and surpass other web stores, you need extensions and further customization.
CHOOSING A MAGENTO EXTENSION PROVIDER
I hope we sorted out the benefits of Magento extensions and their customization. It brings us to the issue of choosing a Magento extension provider and a supporting company for further customization.
Key points you need to consider when choosing an extension provider:
- Compatibility of modules;
- Compatibility with your future updates;
- Solid and fast support;
- Regular updates;
- Extendibility (opportunities for customization).
Last but not least, you should look at the code. If your extension provider has a faulty code, their modules will crush your online store, which will lead to losses in profit and customers. It’s definitely not the result you expect installing the extension.
These were the key points we considered when choosing extension providers to work with, and Amasty fits all the criteria.
We weren’t invited here for just throwing compliments. Amasty team has already proved its expertise, reliability and the quality of their extensions. We’ve been partners for 6 years, and we know what we are talking about. Just check customers’ reviews: regular updates, compatibility, fast support. By the way, It’s a real pleasure to work with their code.
Today we’ll look at Amasty extensions from the point of view of a Magento development company that customizes their products.
Here is the list of the latest customizations that provided quick and cheap wins to store owners:
- Magento 2 Store Locator;
- Magento 2 Free Gift;
- Magento 2 Customer Attributes;
- Magento 2 One Step Checkout;
- Magento 2 Sales Reps and Dealers.
I’ll consider them in detail below.
CUSTOMIZING AMASTY MODULES: 5 CASES
CASE #1. CUSTOMIZING STORE LOCATOR FOR MAGENTO 2
Magento 2 Store Locator is a must for stores that sell their goods offline. It’s the easiest way for your clients to find the nearest shop using their smartphones, which are always at hand.
Store locator is really user-friendly. All you need to do is to open Magento 2 locator and set all the necessary information in a few clicks: current location, search distance (this makes the search process maximally convenient, as a customer sees the distance pic between their current location and your shop).
One more useful feature is an advanced filter, which will help your store stand out from numerous similar shops. For example, parking availability, payment methods, brands, etc.
It looks like the module is fully functional, so why bother with customization? In fact, customization can bring you some more benefits. Store Locator customization can help you boost your dealers’ sales and relieve some of your store management headache.
CUSTOMIZATION: LET DEALERS MANAGE THEIR OFFLINE STORES ON YOUR WEBSITE
Store Locator allows you to enable dealers to manage their offline stores on your website.
Magento 2 Commerce has a default B2B module. This module allows you to create accounts for your big clients (companies/organizations), or your dealers. They purchase goods from you and resell them online or offline.
These dealers also have offline shops that should be shown on a website. If you had hundreds of dealers, would it be a cakewalk to add all of them manually? Not at all. That’s why we were asked to extend Store Locator to let the dealers do it by themselves. As a result, each partner got access to Store Locator and managed to add their stores. No routine manual work – no headache. It’s a win-win situation for you and your dealers
CASE #2. CUSTOMIZING MAGENTO 2 FREE GIFT
95% of consumers say a free gift with purchase increases their brand loyalty.
Do you use this trick? No? What a pity! Free Gift tactic works well for many online stores. Let’s be honest, we all love freebies. Gratis products attract our attention even if we don’t need the main item. Isn’t it appealing to get a free necklace in addition to a dress or sunglasses with a sunblock? That’s what makes customers come back to your e-shop searching for new offers and promo-actions. Free gifts increase your conversion rate, brand awareness, attract new clients and turn them into loyal customers.
Default Magento 2 has a limited set of promotion features. That’s why you need an additional tool to start a solid promotion campaign based on free gifts.
Let’s figure out three main features of this extension:
- Additional promo actions, such as auto add promo items for each N-th product, auto add promo items with every X$ spent, etc.
- Informative banners and labels. The extension offers nice eye-catching labels, banners and texts. They will help you to inform your site visitors about current and upcoming promotions.
- Enhanced user experience. Your clients are able to choose a free gift; you can offer them a configurable product as a gift, so they can choose the most suitable size or color option. One more useful feature is the opportunity to add non-free products as well. Solid discounts are as good as free items.
CUSTOMIZATION: BEES AS FREE GIFTS OR HOW TO SHOW PRODUCT SPECIFICS IN A GIFT POPUP
The extension works well if you’re selling usual goods like clothes, cars, cosmetics, etc. But what about a rare niche and specific products? Let’s say, bees and equipment for beekeepers. The retailer should observe some conditions for the delivery of a certain type of bee: temperature, season, month. There’s a 100% chance that the owner of this store has a module that calculates the ideal time to ship particular bee species. And here some problems may occur, as custom modules may be in conflict. To solve this contradiction, we combined two modules and added a custom multi-calendar field to Amasty Free Gift popup. When a customer chooses bees as a free gift, he is offered to choose one of the possible days to get free bees taking into account the peculiarities of certain species.
CASE #3. CUSTOMIZING MAGENTO 2 CUSTOMER ATTRIBUTES
Data collection is your marketing strategy trump: the more you know about your customers, the more benefits you have. Detailed customer information helps to adapt business and products to the most demanding customers. Default Magento registration fields are not so diverse, and collecting only essential data will hardly be enough to create a solid business strategy. In this case, you need an additional tool. Amasty’s Customer Attributes extension will help you make data collection more efficient.
Why is it so good? First of all, you’re absolutely free to create any extra attributes on the registration page. Company, position, favorite product, ‘How did you find us”, etc. You can also give your clients the opportunity to select customer groups. These extra attributes save your precious time on defining customer groups. In one word, you can add to a registration or checkout page whatever you want. You can even add “What is your favorite film” attribute provided that it helps you to improve your audience analysis.
Admin users can track all the data using the “Reports” option. A detailed stats report is presented with nice diagrams. The information is based on dropdowns, multiple choice options, checkboxes and radio button stats.
CUSTOMIZING INFORMATION FIELDS FOR EVERY TASTE
One of the only requests for customizing this module is a redesign or replacement of the information fields. When you create a new block of additional fields, Amasty module just adds it to the native one. That’s why merging additional fields into different sections isn’t so easy. Moving information fields between blocks can disrupt the work of the displaying block scheme. There are two ways of dealing with this issue:
1. Time- and money-consuming option. Create an absolutely new custom block with all the necessary information fields. We were asked to find another solution, as our client wanted to save time and money. Although, we could implement it (what would be better for both parties).
2. Cheap and cheerful option. The problem can be solved on the frontend by shifting fields to the right place after page loading. The only disadvantage of this method is that the customer can see the previous block position and after a few seconds blocks will bounce to the right place (if a user has a slow internet connection). To discard this effect, we can make all the blocks invisible until the page will load and all blocks will bounce to the right place. It will change the position of the fields but not the whole page design.
CASE #4. CUSTOMIZING ONE STEP CHECKOUT FOR MAGENTO 2
Statistics show that customers often refuse to purchase during the checkout process. It happens because of complex checkout forms. Checkout process should be as simple as possible. That’s the reason why the Amasty team developed One Step Checkout extension.
All the checkout, steps are placed on one page, which makes the checkout process easy and fast. You can customize it in your own way. Choose 2- or 3-column layout according to your visual preferences. Then select a theme and text color, font size and family, thumbnail size, titles and descriptions.
Customers are allowed to change product quantity or buy goods without registration. Occasional users can just enter their email for a quick purchase. All the fields can be added, disabled or customized. Nothing to add? There is one option – personalized checkout template. It will save your clients’ time and boosts sales.
The extension makes the checkout process really convenient, but there is always a way to make it even easier and faster. You need some social buttons on the checkout page.
You may ask, “Why this feature wasn’t added as a native one?”
First of all, the most wide-spread Magento extension problem is their compatibility with custom modules. This extension was built to match as many various extensions as possible. Integrated social buttons could destroy both codes: yours and the native.
What is more, it’s hard to define which social media channels your customers use. It may be not enough to add standard Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Some clients can use some local and less popular social networks. There’s no sense in adding all the possible channels. After all, you know your customers and the networks they prefer.
It’ll be easier to address Magento supporting company or a coder to implement social buttons you exactly need. This will enhance user experience during the checkout process without hurting your budget.
CASE #5. CUSTOMIZING SALES REPS AND DEALERS
What makes consumers spend more than they planned or buy something they don’t even need? Personalization. Every customer wants to feel attention and care. A savvy dealer is able to boost your sales and make this process more personalized to satisfy the most demanding clients.
That’s the essence of Sales Reps and Dealers extension. You attach dealers to your clients, change them, let shoppers choose the dealer they want, control your dealers’ performance.
How will your store benefit?
- Dealers are provided with a handy tool to manage their stack of orders and sell products more effectively.
- Personal managers are assigned to wholesale or VIP customers to ensure a pleasant shopping experience.
- Customers are assigned to admin users, which stimulates positive relationships between shoppers and your team.
CUSTOMIZATION: TRANSFER YOUR OFFLINE WORKFLOW PROCESS INTO MAGENTO BACKEND
Usually, clients ask us to make some cosmetics works to improve UX during the checkout process. For example, to add dropdowns to choose dealers, text fields if the dealer isn’t in the list or choosing the closest dealer when an order isn’t assigned.
Also, we’ve received requests for customization of the admin area and its settings. It can block dealer’s access for dealers to the admin area, product restrictions, separate emails templates (no totals, no pricing, DDN, claim timer – name, SKU, qty, DDN etc.), adding dealers to API and other features.
AFTERWORD FROM AMASTY
We strive to provide top quality and meet the trickiest challenges our customers face, but each particular case is unique, so advanced customization may be required.
Our partners at Mobecls are doing a great job tuning our modules for each store in particular. Thanks for sharing their experience!
Have you ever used customization?
Please leave comments below.