Magento Blog


Inside Magento #8: Marketing Features

Magento's Marketing FeaturesIn many popular eCommerce solutions marketing features like coupons and tier pricing are expensive or difficult to integrate. Some Store Owners choose not to bother and miss out on valuable marketing features which can improve conversion rates. Magento is different. We believe that all store owners should have these features without costly integration struggles.

Magento includes a full set of marketing features out of the box. Varien's CTO Yoav Kutner says Magento's marketing tools are "second to none," but we'll let you decide. Included in the Beta 1 release are the following:

Tier Pricing: This feature rewards customers who purchase multiples of an item at a time. Buying one item might cost $10.25, while buying two or more will cost $9.25 each, three or more $8.25 each, etc. Store Owners set the prices and the limits, giving them complete control.

Coupons: We've also included a robust coupon tool, allowing Store Owners to create simple coupons for everything from rewarding long-time customers to promoting holiday specials.

Store Owners can define the following for a simple coupon:

  • Start date / end date
  • Discount % or $
  • Free shipping
  • Valid product list
  • Valid category list
  • Number of total uses
  • Number of uses per customer

With these tools, Store Owners can execute promotions like special gifts for repeat customers or a weekly coupon restricted to the first 20 customers to use it.

To create more complex promotions Magento includes a Rule-Based Pricing System managed through its Catalog. There are two areas a Store Owner can apply rules to: The Shopping Cart and the Catalog.

The Shopping Cart Price Rules are applied on the shopping cart page and act as coupons. Rules can be highly specific here, unlike in the simple coupon. For example, a Store Owner can create a shopping cart rule that gives 10% off any Cook Book (a subcategory of books, in this example), and also gives 50% off one Boston Red Sox coffee mug. The Store Owner can then limit the time for this promotion to a date range of July 14th-August 27th. Now the Store Owner assigns it the code "summerbaseball," and any customer who uses this code when checking out with cook books and a Red Sox coffee mug will receive the discount.

Catalog Price Rules are the tools used for storewide or category-wide promotions. Each valid product will receive the discount with no need for coupon codes. For example, a Store Owner wants to have a month-long sale in July and create a catalog rule called "July Sale" setting the date range to July 1st - July 31st. During this time, all products by manufacturer HP get 10% off. Also, all products of the "type" computer get 15% off. Since the store contains computers manufactured by HP, this can create an overlap. So, when creating the price rule, the Store Owner can choose to give computers built by HP either 10% or 15% off (by deciding which condition has precedence). The Store Owner could even add a third condition to "July Sale" that computers built by HP are 25% off.

Both the The Shopping Cart and Catalog rules can be applied to specific customer groups, making marketing even more flexible for Store Owners.

We can't wait to see how you use Magento's marketing capabilities when August rolls around. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Magento Behind the Scenes: My Account Dashboard

Welcome to Magento Behind the Scenes, a new series on the Magento blog that will take you behind Magento and give you insight into why we're making the design and functionality choices that we are, as well as giving you a sneak preview into what you'll be seeing come August. We're kicking off Behind the Scenes with an introduction to the My Account Dashboard. Below is the wireframe we are basing the design on:

(click on the image to see it full size)

Magento's My Account Dashboard

Magento's My Account Dashboard is a streamlined approach to presenting your customers with all of their account and sales information in one place. Our goal with this feature was to remove the frustration that comes with the text links that are found in many sites' Customer Accounts. Instead, we've made Magento's My Account Dashboard easier for your customers to browse without having to drill down into multiple pages, making desirable information the first thing that the customer sees.

We know how important it is for customers to be able to conveniently access their information. As our designer, Minu Oh, put it when asked about the Dashboard's structure:

"Customers need to find information pertaining to their orders or account information without having to go between multiple pages. We understand how customers scan web pages and what graphical elements give a page's content precedence. Web pages are read left to right and large, consistent bold headings give the contents visibility. This makes it easier for [the customer], and they are simply more open to further offerings of the store when all of their experiences are positive."

The My Account Dashboard is divided into two areas - the main customer account area, and the smaller shopping section on the right. When a customer accesses the Dashboard they can immediately see detailed recent order information and individual customer information at a glance. They can also see Recent Tags and Reviews in an easy-to-view format - we've capped them at five so that the Dashboard remains uncluttered. This gives the customer an intuitive layout that provides what they need to know at a glance, making the experience much smoother and, in the end, more positive overall.

We wanted to add to this positive experience with the account's shopping section. In it, the customer can find their Shopping Cart, Wishlist, and Last Viewed Items, keeping all of the products shown on the Dashboard tailored to the individual customer. For the customer's convenience, both the Wishlist and Last Viewed Items are also accompanied by product thumbnails to help influence a sale. The Wishlist and Last Viewed Items allow the customer to add products to their shopping cart without leaving the Dashboard. We also included a small marketing Callout area, allowing the Store Owner to post a banner advertising sales and specials.

This is only the beginning. In future, we plan to add even more features to the My Account Dashboard, including:

  • Personalized recommendations
  • Notifications of price-drops and specials on previously viewed items
  • Gift registry information
  • How many people used a user's tags
  • How many people found a user's reviews helpful

Watch this blog to see the design decisions as we fit these elements into the dashboard.

Love it? Think we're forgetting something? Leave us a comment and let us know!

We’re hiring: Join the Magento team

This is an exciting time to join Varien, the company behind Magento. We have a number of open positions, all on Magento’s core development team.


We are looking for exceptional candidates from anywhere in the world (we’re a global bunch, if you haven’t noticed). If you are passionate about online commerce, attentive to detail, willing to work hard to produce an industry leading product - we’d love to hear from you.


Open Positions:

Senior PHP Programmer
Senior Web / User Interface Designer
Technical Writer (Tech Team)
Technical Writer (Creative Team)

Want to Learn More About Magento?  The New Site is HERE!

New Magento Site Launch!

We’ve been promising Magento blog readers that this was coming, and today, itэs finally here!  We’re excited to announce the launch of the brand new Magento site, aiming to inform and educate you about the open-source eCommerce solution that will change the way that you do business online.  We’ll be updating it often, adding new features and keeping you in the loop on the Magento Blog.  Explore, and see exactly why we think you’re going to love Magento.

Videos:  Behind Magento and Open-Source eCommerce
Meet the team and learn why open-source eCommerce offers the most flexible solution for anyone in eCommerce searching for a product that can be uniquely tailored to what they need, not the other way around.

“Feature"ing Magento
Check out the new Features section to find out just how feature-rich Magento really is.  Each section is packed with detail so you can get a good sense of all that Magento can do right out-of-the-box in Beta1 (our first upcoming release).  You’ll see many of the features that have been asked about in your comments!

A Streamlined Magento
The site also features screencaps of Magento in action.  You may notice that we’ve improved on the initial design to make Magento’s administrative usability easier and more efficient, refining the interface and concentrating on how to pack as many features in with the sleekest interface possible. This latest version is user-friendly and extensible for developers ... check out some of the features in the screenshots below.  For the rest, you’ll have to explore the new site.

See Magento's Admin in Action

See Magento's Admin in Action

Follow the Road...map
We’ve also included a Roadmap to show you where Magento will be going in the future.  If you don’t see it in the Features section, it’s probably here.

Take a look at the site to see even more new additions.  We hope you leave it as excited about Magento as we are!  Stay with us on the Magento blog as we amp up the Magento coverage with new features, site updates and previews of Magento in action. Also, keep those questions coming on in the comments… we love hearing from you, and finding out exactly what you want to see from Magento!

Inside Magento #7 - Product Search

Simplify Your SearchThe first thing a majority of your customers will do on your site is search for a product, and you want to make sure that you can give them the best search experience possible.  We’re here to help.  Magento’s search lets Store Owners get the most out of their search capabilities, and helps your Customers find exactly the item they’re searching for as quickly and easily as possible.

Magento will provide on-the-fly auto-completion of searches, giving suggested search terms and number of results directly below the search box. As a customer types printer, for example, the search box will fill in relevent searches with result totals, such as in the screenshot of Google Search below:

An Example of How Magento Search Will Work

Magento also features advanced search, which allows Customers to search by Product Attributes defined by you, the Store Owner (for example: price range, manufacturer, category, etc). You’ll also have the ability to redirect certain search terms (to a custom landing page for advertising purposes, for example), and create synonyms for frequently misspelled words (typing “Mangeto” will automatically switch to “Magento,” for example), leaving complete control of the site’s search system in your hands.

This is only the beginning of where Magento can take your site’s search system.  In the future, the search will allow for misspellings, alternate spellings, and plurals of search keywords, helping your customers find exactly what they want.

Stay tuned for next week when you get to meet us, the team behind Magento, in the new Magento Videos and a brand new Magento website! You won’t want to miss them!

Inside Magento #6 - Ship to Multiple Addresses

Convenience for your customers should be a paramount priority for any eCommerce retailer. That's why Magento includes Multiple Ship-To functionality right out of the box, helping avoid the frustration that can occur when a customer is shopping for multiple people at one time. Instead of forcing them to place multiple transactions, they can quickly and easily ship to multiple addresses with one order. This can be especially useful around the holidays, when more and more people are doing their primary holiday shopping online.

Here's how it works:

  • As a customer is in their shopping cart, they simply select "One Address" or "Multiple Addresses" before proceeding to a check-out page.
  • Selecting "Multiple Shipping" allows them to select a shipping address for each individual item.
  • Once they've entered a location once, it becomes available for all other items in the order as well in the account's address book for any future transactions.
  • Each address is then organized for you as separate orders, keeping your fulfillment system uncluttered.

It's just one less reason for your customers to leave your store frustrated, and one more reason for them to come back again and again.

Inside Magento #5 - Product Tagging

An Example of Product Tagging

Everywhere you look, social shopping seems to be exploding in the world of eCommerce.  That’s why, in true Web 2.0 fashion, Magento will support the tagging of products in your online store.  Tags, essentially one-word descriptors that act as keywords, can be assigned by logged-in users to any product in any category, helping your customers organize and remember the products they’ve seen as well as aiding you in adding to things like search engine keywords.

Under each product, the shopper will find a small button labeled “Add a Tag.” They can add as many of these as they wish, and are even able to view a “My Tags” page in their personal account.  Others enjoying your store will be able to benefit from these taggers well, allowing them to click on the user-generated keywords and browse through all of the products that include that tag.  Not only that, but the administrator has complete control of the keywords, which have to be submitted for review before being included in a product’s current tags.  Once a word is approved, however, users can keep using it without it having to go through an administrator, saving you time and resources.

In short, it’s the implementation of social shopping made easy.

Looking for Translators …

We are getting closer to the launch of Magento and and are looking for contributors who want to help with the translation. We’d love to share Magento with the non-English speaking world ...

This includes the product itself and the upcoming community site. If you are interested, please leave a comment or contact us.

UPDATE (June 13) - we currently have the following languages covered:

French
Spanish
Hungarian
Russian
Ukrainian
Italian
Polish

If you can help with any other language, let us know ...

UPDATE (June 16) - more languages covered ...

German
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Slovenian

Any more? contact us

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