For Magento merchants, Magento 2 offered new levels of e-commerce success. Magento 2 addressed many of the shortcomings of the original Magento, with improved performance, better extensions, faster checkout process, a simplified admin panel, and plenty more room for innovation.
The merchant beta version of Magento 2 was released in July in 2015. Compared to the original Magento, there are fewer extensions to choose from.
However, this is no reflection on their quality! The latest Magento 2 extensions represent the refinement of decades worth of Magento and e-commerce experience. New extensions have allowed merchants to take full advantage of the flexibility Magento 2 offers.
Magento is notably powerful and flexible when compared to its competitors: platforms like Shopify are cheaper and easier to use, but significantly more limited in their capacity. Flexibility, power, and customizability are the three things that make Magento amazing.
Flexibility and customization are exactly what the following extensions emphasize. Core features such as SEO tools, blogs, and product FAQs are something that every e-commerce platform provides but not something that every e-commerce platform maximizes.
Magento 2 extensions help you get away from mediocre e-commerce. Below I will identify ten types of Magento 2 extensions that will take your store to the next level.
Rearranging how you display products, increasing your production capacity or manual inventory tracking are all aspects that can be an unnecessary drain on your time.
A product options extension simplifies any changes you may want to make, and makes them in bulk! It also lets you speed up pricing options while improving the visual presentation, product templates, variant customization, and inventory tracking.
One popular choice is the ‘Advanced Product Options Suite Extension For Magento 2’ by Mageworx.
2Out of Stock Extensions
If your products are out of stock, it probably means you’re doing something right. However, it probably doesn’t make your customers happy, and if left unattended too long will drive them away and have an adverse effect on SEO. You want an extension that lets customers know when the product(s) are back in stock.
The ‘Magento 2 Out Of Stock Notification’ extension by BSS Commerce is a great pick—it has over 1000 downloads and excellent reviews. It sends emails to customers, letting them know when products are back in stock, which will help regain leads and hopefully get conversions out of previously out of stock options.
Such extensions give you fresh data about what out of stock products customers are actually interested in—is the product highly sought after? Or is this just a one-off? Finally, it’s a great way of increasing customer loyalty and bettering the average user experience when your inventory is temporarily lacking.
SEO is and will always remain an important marketing strategy. It’s highly effective and has a broad amount of benefits: businesses who find themselves at the top of SERP rankings immediately boost their revenue, and this is only possible with effective SEO tools. Some of the benefits of SEO best-practice are:
– Increased traffic (organic)
– Quantifiable return on investment (ROI)
– Cost-efficient marketing strategies
– Increased brand awareness
– Easier site navigation (for consumers and crawlers)
One of the best extensions for this is the SEO Suite Ultimate Extension for Magento 2. The suite is an all-in-one package that improves SEO within the Magento core. Including meta content optimization, duplicate content solutions, layered navigation, and rich snippet optimization.
Nowadays, almost every e-commerce store features a blog. A blog has the potential to become a powerful SEO tool and driving force in business success. It’s a fantastic place to build customer loyalty, as long as your content is meaningful to your readers.
Here’s a nice change of pace compared to the other extensions mentioned in this list; the ‘Better Blog’ extension from Mageplaza is completely free! This extension is built into your backend, so you can manage your Magento store and promote your blog simultaneously.
If you have a WordPress background, integrating with WordPress is another great idea. This takes a little more effort but provides a tonne of benefits once completed. WordPress is one of the most popular CMSs for a reason!
In large businesses, there are so many products, finances, and promotions that need to be tracked and reported on. Being able to categorize and filter all of this data into clear and measurable categories and time periods is an essential tool.
Doing this manually will take an unthinkable amount the time—by the time you’ve categorized things yourself, the data will be irrelevant.
This ‘Magento 2 Advanced Report’ extension from Land Of Coder can create 28 different reporting categories so you can maximize the number of insights and sales trends to act on. Each report has a smart filter so you can measure the data you think is most meaningful.
For Global Businesses: Shipping Restriction Extensions
Magento 2 is the optimal option for many companies with global success. Global expansion is exciting, but it needs to be done right, as new countries bring different shipping regulations and restrictions.
Doing this research can take some time which—in any thriving business—can be hard to find! For any international e-commerce store, it’s recommended to install a Shipping Restrictions Extension. Shipping restrictions set clear parameters around which shipping options are possible.
This also ensures your business keeps within legal boundaries and generally decreases the potential for negative user experiences.
Layered navigation is an awesome Magento 2 feature that allows your customers to find the products or services they want easily. The default navigation is imperfect, though, and its restrictions and issues that can cause you to lose conversions.
If a customer has no chance to find a product and compare it to others, they’re likely to look elsewhere. Product navigation should be flexible but simple for customers, and this is exactly what a navigation extension ensures. Such an extension is essential for businesses with a large inventory.
One popular choice is the ‘Layered Navigation’ extension by Mageplaza.
7Customer Support Extensions
Customer support channels are critically important; for every eight sales, a Magento merchant will receive a new customer query. You can imagine how these queries will quickly become unmanageable.
A helpdesk extension increases customer satisfaction and retention while ensuring that you or customer support have more time to reply to customer queries.
While live chat can provide a solution immediately (query dependant), both features are needed to make a successful Magento store, as you greatly increase the quality of your average user experience.
The ‘Help Desk’ MX extension from by Mirasvit allows you to optimize the support side of your business. One extra feature that sets it apart is its reporting and customer feedback channel, which helps you improve your customer support as you grow.
8FAQ Extension on Product Pages
Naturally, when shopping online, customers will have questions about products. What these questions are can vary greatly, but if there are commonly occurring ones, you should make efforts to implement a ‘frequently/commonly asked questions’ page or edit product descriptions. Having the data to create such a page is one of the benefits of installing a product FAQ extension!
These questions often represent key decision moments for a customer. Being able to confirm the measurements of that pair of shoes quickly is the difference between a customer converting or visiting a competitor site.
Furthermore, a FAQ section gives proof that other customers are interested in this product—if people are asking questions, it means they’ve been thinking about buying. It establishes social proof that encourages the modern consumer to purchase.
I would recommend the ‘FAQ & Product Questions’ extension by Amasty.
9Promotion or Special Offer Extensions
Percentage based discounts, “buy one get one free,” bulk discounts, limited time offers or increased reward systems—these are all great ways of driving more traffic and growing business revenue. Such offers are an awesome way to stop your Magento store from stagnating by exploring new opportunities to better your service.
To offer such promotions, you need an effective extension. The extension needs to be flexible, as there are many ways in which these promotions can work. Once again, Amasty is your friend with its ‘Special Promotions’ extension.
10Optimizing your Magento 2 Store and Extensions
Not all of the specific extensions mentioned in this article will fit the exact needs of your business, and some of the features (although they’re great) may not be necessary.
This is where it may be good to hire a Magento developer to optimize your store—its extensions, theme, and other features. Why should you consider this? Mainly because it saves you a lot of time and stress.
Magento 2 is a complex but flexible platform, and taking the technical burden off of your shoulders gives you more time and energy to focus on your product or service itself!
Who Should You Hire?
When hiring Magento developers, I would stay clear of freelancers. Magento 2 stores require constant maintenance, so you want a developer who is happy entering a long-term working relationship that requires specific task development as well as maintenance after development is complete.
Hiring from web development companies that specialize in Magento development is your best option. These two development teams have excellent reputations:
Sparx IT Solutions: this company has over 30 Magento experts who have completed over 1000 projects combined. They also have experience in almost every technology stack you can think of, so they’re likely to cover your technological preference!
CodeClouds: this development team is bigger compared to Sparx IT Solutions and also have plenty of dedicated Magento developers. They are technically brilliant, but their Magento prowess really shines from their understanding of the best e-commerce practices and applying it to meet client business requirements.
Another aspect that sets them apart from other large development companies is their pricing options: they offer dedicated developer packages, so you can increase or decrease your hiring plan to meet current project needs.
Only the TYPES of extensions mentioned in this article are necessary for Magento 2 success. It’s up to you to research the best extensions for your business that provide the most benefit.
Sometimes it can be better to invest more in expert Magento developers rather than implementing more costly extensions. The best developers will customize such extensions, so you gain the most benefit possible, at a lower price than investing in a suboptimal extension.