Indeed, Magento is considered one of the most powerful eCommerce platforms in the world, providing retail enterprises with the functionality they require to establish a profitable digital business (from order management and inventory tracking to marketing and beyond). However, in recent years Magento has been slowly losing its popularity. According to BuiltWith, Magento now holds 3rd place in eCommerce technology usage distribution, with Shopify and WooCommerce ranked 2nd and 1st respectively.
Why is that so? The good news is that this ranking was defined by the quality of the Magento platform. One of the reasons why some merchants prefer to adopt alternative solutions is because using Magento requires programming skills, which can be simply unavailable for many teams.
Interestingly, this factor may also be considered one of Magento’s advantages, as coding provides enterprises with unprecedented customization freedom. As a result, merchants that are ready to invest in Magento-based development can reap numerous benefits. In particular, teams can tailor Magento solutions to their unique workflows and operations through customizations, thereby increasing the platform’s value and, consequently, ROI.
This article provides some tips on how enterprises can customize their Magento solutions and explains what business benefits it can bring.
5 Ways to tailor Magento perfectly
Developing a Custom theme
Merchants that initiate the development of Magento-based stores sooner or later face a dilemma – to use a ready-made template or develop a custom theme. Even though there are hundreds of different Magento templates on the web, many enterprises prefer the latter, more challenging path. One of the reasons is that custom themes help integrate existing workflows with the new Magento ecosystem more smoothly.
For clarity, let’s look at one example. Let’s say, an eCommerce brand decides to build its Magento store, where the admins should be able to manage the catalog, specific product attributes and types, and multimedia. Now developers can select a relevant theme from the Magento marketplace or develop a custom one.
In the first case, no one can guarantee that the theme is truly future-proof. Alternatively, the developers can design a theme tailored to the specific team’s needs and aligned with existing organizational workflows, with the UI fully corresponding to the team’s requirements.
With a custom theme, it’s possible to gain maximum value from the Magento platform and use it to the teams’ full advantage. At the same time, eCommerce brands can organically deliver their message to the audience since their custom theme will reflect these brands’ image and voice.
Developing a Custom extension
There are no one-size-fits-all eCommerce platforms in the world, and even the most sophisticated solutions like Magento cannot cater to every team’s needs. This is where custom extensions come in handy. With their help, enterprises can access specific feature sets (even those that cannot be accessed via pre-made extensions available on Magento Marketplace).
Although extensions are just modules, in practice they can solve pressing business challenges and become of great practical value. For instance, the default Magento functionality doesn’t provide enough capabilities for increasing the search engine visibility of web stores, which calls for using third-party services to perform such activities. Alternatively, merchants can develop custom extensions that would cover all the missing functionality.
Integrating Magento with Third-party services
Besides the abovementioned ways of adapting Magento to one’s business, another option is to integrate Magento with third-party products and services. For example, developers can use APIs to deploy custom integrations that can help to tailor Magento to back-office workflows better and extend the default platform functionality. Here are just a few types of solutions that can be easily integrated into the Magento commerce ecosystem:
- CRM – Salesforce, Zendesk, HubSpot
- ERP – SAP, Acumatica, Odoo
- Payment services – Paypal, Stripe, Square
- Marketplaces – Amazon, eBay
Building a Magento-based PWA
Progressive Web Apps is one of the newest concepts in web development, enabling enterprises to build apps that can run equally well on the web and mobile regardless of the device type. Today, merchants can use the Magento PWA Studio tools to develop their Magento stores as PWAs, thereby gaining many practical benefits.
First, customers can install PWA-based stores as a typical mobile app, which can be a win-win for both users and merchants. For users, the advantage is clear – they can interact with an online store just as if they were using a native app on their mobile devices. Enterprises, in turn, can implement typical mobile app features (such as notifications and reminders) to provide marketing managers with the tools they need for increasing conversion rates and improving customer engagement.
Second, since PWAs work in combination with data caching technology, customers can use a digital store when offline or having a poor internet connection. Of course, a customer is unlikely to complete a purchase in such conditions. However, he or she will still be able to browse the catalog or add products to the cart, which may also positively affect the number of conversions and sales.
In addition, the development of PWA allows enterprises to increase the security of their digital stores and, in particular, enhance the safety of customer data. PWAs are based on HTTPS protocols and SSL certificates, and technologies ensure a secure exchange of sensitive information (for example, customer data, such as purchases and transactions).
Last but not least, PWAs can help merchants gain a competitive edge in terms of Search Engine Optimization. Considering that PWAs have URLs, they can be indexed by Google, which means enterprises can attract more customers and thereby increase their revenue.
Optimizing Magento functionality
Alternatively, developers can edit the in-store checkout page to improve the overall checkout procedure. For example, merchants can simplify their checkout processes to improve user experience and increase the percentage of completed purchases. Also, this way, developers can enhance checkout performance and allow users to complete purchases in a couple of seconds, which can lead to reduced cart abandonments.
Depending on their specific business needs, enterprises also can rely on Magento tools to develop custom loyalty campaigns, create custom product builders, or fine-tune customer experience. To discover more customization options, merchants can contact expert Magento consultants. This way, merchants also can make sure that they use Magento’s potential to the maximum.
Thousands of merchants still use Magento in their day-to-day eCommerce operations because of the flexibility this platform provides. Still, each team should consider tailoring Magento to its unique workflow; only in this way can merchants fully tap into the platform’s potential, thereby increasing its ROI and business value. To do this, teams can develop custom extensions, design custom themes, build PWAs, or integrate their Magento solutions with third-party services.
Regardless of how Magento customization is carried out, teams should also keep in mind one crucial thing. Future-proof customization (be it integration or development of a custom theme) is possible only with a detailed analysis of existing workflows, a thorough outline of technical requirements, and well-mapped data flows.