Magento stripped to bare – a contemplative guide on Magento features
Magento is one of the most used opensource e-commerce software. Around 50000 web-shops are running using Magento and some of them are even companies like Lenovo, Samsung, The North Face, Nespresso etc… So what makes Magento so famous and easy to use? Following are some of the features in Magento which maekes them the favorite for e-shop owners and developers…
-> Global usability
-> Design flexibility
-> Analytics and reporting
Multiple websites and stores
With Magento you can manage multiple websites using only one CMS…!!! That is one of the amazing features of Magento so for example if you have three websites like, shoes.com, t-shirt.com and hats.com you can manage all these three websites with one CMS using Magento. You can also manage multiple stores in the same site with the same CMS.
Magento is Multilingual and that means you can have your website in French, German, English or in any other language. And also since you can have multiple websites and stores using the same CMS, you can also have one website in English and another in some other language. So for example if you have a website which sells cigars, you can have it in English like cigars.com, and have it in German like cigars.de specifically for the German market and all these with one CMS. That is one good feature which you won’t find in most other opensource e-commerce software’s.
Localization is a feature which will be useful if you have a global customer database. The currency localization can change the currency in the site according to the location of the customer. So for example if you have a site which sells shirts and it shows the price in USD (United states dollars), and if you have set up currency localization for India, if a person access the site from India then the site checks the IP address of the person accessing the site and it sees that the customer is from India and then the price of the product is changed to INR (Indian national rupee). This can be done with EU and other countries as well.
Multiple currencies can be used in the site. For example if you want the price of the products to be in euros or in dollars, you can decide that from the CMS, which can be a handy feature when you are having a global customer base or website for different regions
This feature helps admin to change features of the site according to countries, for example in user registration, certain countries can be disallowed and also it comes handy when certain shipping methods are available in certain countries. So admin can specify shipping methods depending on the country and also the payment method can be specified according to the countries.
Magento templates are 100% customizable, that means there is no restriction while creating the design for a Magento site and these templates can be uploaded thru Magento CMS and can be used in the site. And also theme management can be an useful feature, say for example different themes can be designed for the store like winter, summer, autumn etc and they can be uploaded to the site from the CMS. And admin can change the theme of the user side from the CMs, so when its summer Admin can change to the bright sunny theme and so on, these small knick knacks can create an impression in the customers minds…
iPhone optimized themes
Magento themes are iPhone optimized and they can be views in iPhone and which makes mobile browsing easier.
Gift coupons management in Magento has not much of a limit and can be used in a wide variety of ways. Coupons can be created for a customer group, for a time period, for a total amount of purchase, certain products, certain categories of products, certain stores etc… And the discounts also can be managed in different ways like buy X and get Y free, buy X and get 50% off in Y etc…
Pricing and discount options
There are different pricing and discount options available, like Multi-Tier pricing, where users get a discount on the products if they buy a certain number of the same product. For example if you buy 3 shirts you get a 10% discount on the total amount. This can be set in the CMS using the multi-tier feature. Another option will be Bundled products, this feature lets the admin to bundle different products and offer a discount for the bundle. For example a user purchases a shirt, a pullover and a t-shirt then user gets a 15% discount on total price. Another feature will be Customer group pricing, where the admin can create customer groups and offer different prices for the same product to different customer groups.
Recently viewed products option let users view the recently browsed products, and recently compared products let users view recently compared products after they view a product. Users can create a Wish list and can send it to a friend by email or by RSS. There is also a RSS feed available for new products or for products with special tags, so users don’t have to browse the site to know whether there is a new product in the site or a new product of say for example with tag ‘sneaker’ is available on the site, it can be viewed in their RSS feed. Send to a friend feature for a product is also available, which can also be restricted to registered customers or also to all customers.
Check out options in Magento is vast and flexible. Magento has a one-page checkout which is hassle free and simple and less frustrating for users where they don’t have to go to multiple pages and fill different forms for check out. In this case simple = good!! SSL Security support is available for both front end and back end. Other features are shipping to multiple addresses for the same order, guest check out; where user can check out without registering to the site. And another useful feature is a saved shopping cart with configurable expiration date. This comes handy when users can do the payment at a later point of time and still the products are in the cart. Certain shipping options available are flat rate shipping per order, per item and free shipping.
Payment in Magento can be configured from the CMS in two ways, first one is to authorize and charge so that the amount is charged soon after authorization and second option is to charge on creation of invoices in which the amount is charge after invoice creation. Different payment methods are available in Magento. Multiple PayPal gateways like website payment standard and website payment pro, Website payments pro UK and PayPal Payflow Pro. Payment can be also integrated with Authorize.net, Google checkout, saved credit card method for offline payments, Checks / Money orders, Accept purchase orders. And there are a lot of other payment extensions available in Magento, there are around 30 or more payment extensions available and some of them are like, iDeal, ePay, Fontis Australia, Secure Trading XPay mode, ChronoPay, PayPoint.net, VCS, WorldPay etc…
Order management in CMS
The CMS has a feature to create a customer and also to do a purchase. Admin can view the customer profile and can view the shopping history of the customer and also different features like view shopping history, view cart, view compared products list, view wish list, view last ordered item etc… There is also an option for Call center (phone) order creation with this feature customer can call a 1800 number and can place orders and a user assigned by the admin can create a order for the customer by the given details…!!! There is also an Order and Account Email updates option which will email customer for all updates on their order and for the account.
There are a lot of options available to view the product and product related features some are,
- Listed / grid view of products
- Product reviews
- Filter by product tags
- Popular search terms cloud
- Configurable search with auto-suggested terms
- Cross-sell, up-sell and related items
- Multiple product images and image zoom
There are features where customers can submit product tags which can be approved by admin and displayed in the site and same for product reviews. Other product related features in admin are batch updates of products where admin can choose a range of products and attributes can be updated for the whole chosen batch of products. There is also an option to create customer personalized products, like upload text for embroidery, monogramming etc…
Analytics and reporting
All content pages have tags and Google analytics option and products are integrated with Google analytics. There are reports available in the system, some of the are,
- Best customers report by total and number of orders
- Best purchased product report
- Best viewed product report
- Sales report
- Coupon usage report
- Tags report
- Total sales invoiced / refunded reports
- Search terms report
- Product reviews report
- Low stock report
- Abandoned shopping cart report
- Tax reports etc…
So with this wide range of options Magento is one of the most sorted out open source e-commerce software’s in the web. Even after you develop a web application in Magento you need to spend some time in studying the CMS so that the admin can manage it with full features. And it is also a good option to assign different admin users for managing the site depending on the size of the shop. In short we can define Magento as strong, flexible and robust. Have fun trying out this amazing product!!
You can find this article also on Jeffy’s blog: http://francisjeffy.wordpress.com/