Out of the box, Magento is one of the most powerful ecommerce platforms available. There are many tools available with a base Magento store that make online retail simple for stores all over the world. The added value with this platform is the amount of extensions available to a store owner. Most of these extensions are low in cost and easy to install. Several extensions available for the Magento platform today can drastically alter the shoppers’ buying experience and increase conversions. Below are just a few extensions that will bring an inexpensive boost to your Magento store.
The Vertical Navigation extension is very valuable for a store with a wide variety of products. This extension automatically pulls the categorized organization of products and renders a menu in the sidebar. This allows visitors to easily navigate the many categories and subcategories of products available. Customers will be able to find the products they are looking for quickly and efficiently. From a design standpoint, the category navigation is easy to style and is flexible with jQuery. Another nice aspect of this extension – it’s free! Click here to view this extension on Magento Connect.
The Greenbrier Store utilizes vertical navigation on all of their interior pages. These keeps their large catalog of products well-oragnized and easy to find.
The Follow Up Email extension is an incredible tool for any Magento store owner. This extension is primarily used to enhance the store’s client relationships. Automated emails can be sent from the store when a client purchases a product, adds items to their wishlist, abandons their cart, or even has a birthday. Various email templates can be configured to alert the customer of these events. After a shipment is made, an email can be automatically schedule to prompt the customer to write a review of the products received. These automated emails are usually quick to setup and can be a great way to stay in contact with your account holders. This extension is also free for the Magento Community edition and can be found on aheadWorks.
The Follow Up Email extension allows the store administrator to set rules for all automated emails. These emails can be very targeted for specific cart events and can be tracked with Google Analytics.
A lightbox is a great way to showcase a product without taking up too much page real estate with large photos. This extension allows the visitor to expand every product photo to full size without leaving the product page. For some products that need to show case intricate detail, the lightbox extension could go a long way. It is a simple, yet elegant way to upgrade your product display. This extension is also free and available for the Community edition. Click here to view this extension on Magento Connect.
This is another valuable extension from aheadWorks. With this extension installed, visitors can login and purchase products with their Facebook account. This provides additional convenience to the shopper by removing the account creation step from the checkout process. When users purchase items through Facebook, their purchased products are automatically shared with their Facebook community. Facebook “Like” and “Send” buttons can also be added to all product pages. This extension provides valuable viral marketing on the world’s largest social network and requires little to no maintenance once it is installed. Click here to view the extension details. This one isn't free for all versions of Magento, but definitely worth the small investment.
These are just a few of the many extensions available for the Magento platform. I've used them recently in several of our eCommerce projects with great results. They are reasonably priced, well developed and supported, and will make a world of difference in both the customer experience and backend management of your store. If you have any questions about using extensions, I encourage you to contact us or leave a comment below. If you have a favorite extension for Magento, we'd love to hear about it.