July 24, 2020 by Ben Chafetz

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Magento Platform And Online Store

Magento is a great eCommerce platform for both developers and users alike. Developers love it because it’s flexible and customizable with eCommerce features and add-ons in your online store. Users love it because of its ease of use and its ability to be tailor-made to fit your own storefront needs. 

Magento is considered one of the best eCommerce platforms to simplify site management for store owners, increase productivity for staff, and lead to a great online shopping experience for customers that inspires loyalty and increases sales.  

It’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular eCommerce platforms–it’s a powerful tool that provides small business owners tons of options. Unfortunately, as great as “so many options” is, it may also mean you aren’t using this eCommerce solution to its maximum potential. 

A Magento development agency like 121eCommerce can advise you on the most effective tools and integrations to suit your business needs and to ensure you’re getting the most out of your Magento eCommerce store. Because after your hard SEO work with potentially costly SEO tools to get your customers to your online store, you’ll want to make sure your customers stay long enough to actually end up putting in their credit card information and making a purchase.

In this guide, we’ll provide you with an overview of the tools available to you to give you an idea of the possibilities. While they may not all be suited to your specific online store just yet, it’s good to have an overview of what is available to you as your business grows. That’s one of the great things about Magento–whether you’re small and simple or multinational and complex, the platform can scale to meet your eCommerce business needs.

We’ll break down the features by categories and discuss how these different components of eCommerce software can increase your customer experience, optimize your workflows and save your employees time, and enable you to access more data sources. 

Before we get too into the weeds, it’s important to mention that there are two versions of Magento: Magento Open-Source and Magento Commerce

Magento’s open-source eCommerce platform is free to use, but as is expected with a free eCommerce platform, it’s more limited in what it comes with  in terms of add-ons, plugins, and even CSS capabilities. 

Magento Commerce is set up as a PAAS that charges a monthly fee which scales with your sales, but is much more robust with its built-in features like being able to instantly sell products versus going through the full checkout process, inventory management, cart recovery, customer support integration, help with shipping rates, easier order management, and much, much more. 

So much more, that below, we’ve marked any Commerce-only features with an asterisk to note this distinction.

Website UX

Having a great website is key for any website builder across any online store. Unlike a physical store where it’s a bit of a pain to get back in your car and drive to a different store, with an online store, your competitor is just a click away. You want to make sure you are doing everything in your power to keep your site visitors on your site and your site only until they pass through the checkout process, through their payment options, and on the “order confirmed” screen. Better yet, you want them to keep coming back as regulars to fill their shopping carts time and time again. 

How can Magento help you do all of this? 

There are multiple features included in the eCommerce solution that helps make it easy for you to optimize your front-end experience and minimize any user-experience pain points that may deter people from completing their checkout. 

  • Integrated Checkout, Payment and Shipping
  • Instant purchase
  • Mobile optimization
  • Site search
  • Fast page loading*
  • Product Recommenders*
  • Rewards Points*

All of these features are ultimately here to increase your bottom line, but how they do that is by increasing customer loyalty. Making the checkout process simple and straightforward on its own will result in a higher sales rate. Since consumers are so used to the streamlined process at big retailers like Amazon or eBay, they’re used to having convenient features like one-click checkout if they’ve shopped with you before. 

Luckily, you can integrate similar features into your own online store to create that smooth and easy checkout process; you can even offer PayPal express checkout to boost customer trust even more, especially in the sale of digital products or in a dropshipping-based business. To smooth it out even more, Magento 2 can easily handle over a million products in your online store, which can feel like having unlimited product capacity, giving you more room to boost inventory and reach more customers. 

About 45% of consumers are shopping online from their phones, which means you stand to lose a good half of your potential customers if your site isn’t working seamlessly across all devices. 

What’s great about Magento is that it has mobile app optimization already built in. Fast page loading, which is especially important for mobile shopping, can be the thing that sets your online shop apart from your competitors. A few seconds lost in loading can mean the user has opened up Facebook to check a message and forgets all about adding your product to their cart. One thing to consider integrating as well is live chat support or even offer instant phone support–this can help keep customers engaged in your online store instead of wandering off into Apple’s app store instead.

Navigation is also key when it comes to the right eCommerce platform best practices. You want to make it as easy as possible for a customer to find what they are looking for and buy it. Site search is expected, and when it’s missing from a site, especially an eCommerce site, users can often become frustrated. Even if you feel like you’ve made your URLs easy to decipher, it’s not likely that a customer will want to navigate your product pages by tinkering with the address bar. 

Many users are oftentimes just browsing, as they would in a physical store. They don’t know all you have, so you need to showcase your items to them on your eCommerce website. A recommender system powered by Adobe Sensei really comes in handy here where the algorithm can pick up on the last few items a customer has searched or clicked into to show them what others have purchased in the past alongside those items. This way, even without a built-in site search engine, customers can view relevant products they didn’t know they were even looking for. 

Finally, once a customer has purchased something, you want to entice them to come back repeatedly. Offering rewards points or incentives to spread the word to others, like discounts or gift cards for referrals, is a great way to keep people happy and talking positively about your company across review sites, blogging sites, and in their social circles (an easy way to get into social media integration). 

B2B Functionality*

Selling to businesses is vastly different than being a consumer brand, which means you need an infrastructure that supports this. Magento shines when it comes to providing Commerce users with the toolkit to make B2B sales streamlined. 

Businesses oftentimes have multiple buyers at various levels who all need access to vendors. Magento enables multiple accounts and permission levels. Your customers may have different needs or volumes, which means you may want to present your products differently depending on the customer in question. Magento makes catalog customization and specialized pricing simple. 

Just as with B2C, you still want to enable easy checkout flows, even though B2B generally is a bit more involved with the purchasing process. Magento allows for easy quote requests, streamlines ordering with SKUs or CSV file uploads, and speeds up orders with requisitions lists for fast reordering.

Improved Efficiency

Magento has so many tools and integrations that will seamlessly sync up various systems on your back-end. If you still have any processes that require manual entry of the same information, these are areas where Magento shows its true colors. Gone are the days of filling out multiple spreadsheets when an order comes in.

Magento provides support for large administrative teams with the following tools that minimize mundane data entry and maximize efficiency:

  • Catalog Management
  • Content Staging and Preview*
  • WYSIWYG Page Builder
  • Visual Merchandising*
  • Optimized Cloud Commerce*
  • Global Availability*

Allowing your staff to easily manage content, like updating products, and even build up landing pages like for special promotion, will save time and reduce costs of having an external agency responsible for the more routine updates. The learning curve isn’t too bad either-drag-and-drop interfaces are incredibly user-friendly and won’t require much technical knowledge from your team, meaning less time spent on Google trying to figure out how to change a product description, and more time spent where it matters like optimizing marketing features in your email marketing

Content Staging allows you to create pages and schedule them in advance, so you have the flexibility to make your Christmas sales page in August and have it completely polished and ready to launch at the start of the holiday season. 

The cloud service support Magento offers makes hosting and deploying internationally a breeze. It’s reliable, the hosting is managed, and you have a PCI certified infrastructure that ensures data protection of all sensitive information. (On this note, keep in mind that transaction fees, payment gateways, payment processors, and the way your web hosting works with your business plan and even domain name may need special attention when you start to cater to international markets!)

Data Management

Online businesses create a lot of data and having ways to collect it, analyze it, and act upon it are critical to business success. With Magento tools, especially its Business Intelligence tool, you can leverage the power of data to guide important business decisions, like optimizing your online advertising budget. Further, data management tools can ensure compliance, especially when it comes to storing personal and financial information securely. 

  • Advanced Marketing Tools*
  • Business Intelligence Dashboards*
  • PCI Compliance*

Advanced marketing tools, like the Product Recommendation system we previously mentioned, are powerful segmentation tools that work to enhance the user experience through customization, but ultimately improve your marketing and targeting to increase sales.  

Magento’s Business Intelligence dashboards are really powerful in bringing together all your data from multiple sources and crunching the numbers in one place in over 100 ready-to-go reports. Gone are the days of manually comparing 4 different spreadsheets to figure out which campaigns had the best ROI. Feed all your third-party data, along with your sales history and customer information into one tool which can help you make connections that you simply would have not been able to before integrating them all together.

Last, but certainly not least, Magento is PCI compliant which means the platform is set up to safely and securely transmit customer financial data. Since you are in eCommerce, you’re likely not going to be a cash only business, so PCI compliance will build trust with your customers who may be apprehensive already about shopping online.

Summary

There are so many features of Magento that set it apart from its competitors when it comes to being one of the best eCommerce platforms, making it the favorite among business owners. 

Magento Commerce goes a step further and provides 24/7 support and a specialist account manager who will work with you. 

If you are working with Magento Open-source and are interested in migrating to Magento Commerce, an expert agency like 121eCommerce would be able to ensure a smooth transition. They can advise you on the best integrations based on your business needs, and work with you to implement them and sync them into your existing systems.

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