1.What Managing a Magento Store Means
In a previous post, we’ve talked about what eCommerce management means, and we’ve sketched a checklist every merchant can follow to decide what’s best for their business, but now we’re gonna go further into what Magento website management is.
Magento is the most powerful eCommerce platform for small, medium and big-sized businesses and it offers everything you need to create an attractive and competitive online shopping environment, but sometimes its complex applications can make it harder to control multiple aspects of your business.
However, there’s always a way to improve your workflow, and with Magento, you have access to various tools to plan your marketing strategies, promote your business, manage the relationship with your clients, and easily perform the tasks that can bring you to a top position in a competitive e-commerce market.
Here are some of the management processes every Magento admin should get acquainted with to get the most out of their online business:
- Setting up the catalog & catalog structure, product types & relations, layered navigation tax rules, payment, and shipping methods
- Creating, managing and monitoring various business operations, such as orders, invoices, shipments, and return merchandise authorizations
- Using the Magento configuration settings to create the desired shopping environment for customers and an easy-to-use interface for employers
- Launching multiple websites and managing them for different business purposes
- Driving sales with search engine optimization techniques, promotions, and other marketing strategies
- Managing customer’s interaction throughout groups, wishlists, and other Magento customer features
- Using marketing features to create email marketing campaigns, banners and other promotions for buyers
Every seller knows that success differs from one business to another, and there are many variables and factors that influence the sales performance. On top of that, when it comes to managing your Magento store, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution that can guarantee an improved sales performance for all businesses.
Nonetheless, there’s always room for improving your workflow, and there’s always a better way of satisfying your customers’ specific needs, and make them come back to your store again and again!
2. Magento Website Management Best Practices
Having a well-developed eCommerce website is not enough to occupy a leading position in a highly competitive market: the bigger your catalog is, and the more product types you have, the harder it is to keep everything in place.
Although Magento is the most popular CMS, compared with other eCommerce platforms, it can sometimes give you a headache when it comes to managing your stock, products, customers or multiple websites.
Here are some tips you can adopt to streamline your data workflow on Magento.
2.1 Magento Stock Management Website Level
When it comes to the workflow you set up to manage your eCommerce website’s data, the inventory is one of the most central aspects of your business with a great impact on all your processes: a high inventory can block your finances, and a small inventory can put your business at the risk of frequent out-of-stock situations, that can further leave your business without active customers.
More than this, the success of your business depends on how fast, accurate and efficient your product management workflow is.
To avoid all the negative scenarios of not meeting the customer’s needs at the right time, the goal is to improve your workflow by keeping the stock constantly updated and minimizing the time spent doing it and the mistakes that appear when you manually manage your stock level.
To keep things in order, you can also use dedicated extensions and tools that can automatize parts of stock management practices and set up notifications to alert you when you’re on the verge of being out of stock.
We’ll talk more about the extensions that can help you streamline your workflow below, in the dedicated section below.
2.2 Magento Inventory Management Tips
There are three ways of developing a good workflow in managing your stock in Magento to help you avoid these negative consequences and support your business goals:
- first, you can use the Magento module and manually keep the inventory level in order;
- second, you can use third-party solutions such as stock management extensions or an independent stock managing system;
- third, you can hire a Magento specialist to handle your stock for you.
To improve your Magento store functionality on your own, you can use an inventory management extension. Magento Marketplace makes available for your numerous extensions with helpful features to build an efficient workflow for your eCommerce business, such as:
- drop shipping integration
- product availability status based on stock and real-time inventory updates and notifications
- import product info from Magento store or CSV into the management system
- configure a barcode scanning solution with your stock managing system, so when you scan the barcode of a product all the product details can be automatically entered the inventory
If your order rates are higher than 10 per day, then choosing an inventory system management is a better way of successfully handle all your Magento orders. Here are just a few examples of inventory systems you can use with Magento:
- Business Management Software | ERP
These are all third-party software solutions and require a monthly fee for the management features they offer, so it is important to keep in mind that there’s no perfect solution for all types of eCommerce websites.
Ask a Magento managed services expert to help you choose the solution that can properly serve your business goals and meet your requirements.
2.3 Magento Product Data Management
The product pages are the most important pages of every eCommerce website, as they contain all the data customers see before deciding to make a purchase.
In a previous post we’ve sketched an overview of what product management means, what tools and services all merchants use to easily manage their product pages, so here we’re gonna sketch some guidelines about how to better manage products in Magento.
You can manage your stock, inventory data, products, categories, product types, product images, and all their additional info from Magento’s backend catalog. To learn how to do it, check out Magento’ Product Management step-by-step tutorial.
Although adding a new product on your Magento website is easy, maintaining your product pages is not as easy to handle.
Having an online business means more than ordering your products and category list pages, and it includes, among other merchandising strategies, the following:
- Setting up both simple and configurable products
- Setting up Magento bundled products, virtual products or downloadable products, as it is the case
- Making use of grouped product functionality that can be used to promote three products intended to be sold together
- Managing different types of products
- Promoting your products across all your store pages
- Using merchandising rules
- Showing a featured product before users proceed to the checkout process
- Setting up the product pages according to your business seasonality
Having this in view, big retailers usually hire an agency for managed eCommerce services to help them adopt the merchandising strategies that help them grow their sales performance and streamline their workflow.
2.4 Magento Product Price Management
As every retailer already knows, the price is the most important competitive aspect in the market, for every type and size of business, no matter where merchants choose to sell their products or services.
In a previous post we’ve talked more about 3 pricing strategies every merchant can adopt to increase its profitability and boost sales, but now we’re gonna concentrate on the essential practices of managing prices with Magento.
To learn how to manage product prices in Magento, you can follow this this step-by-step tutorial.
Pricing your goods is one of the most complex strategies you can maintain as a merchant, and an effective pricing strategy starts with a testing phase and requires also an intuitive approach based on how you want your products to be seen on the market.
Regardless of your niche market, your type of business and the size of your catalog, a pricing strategy is a crucial aspect of your business that can directly impact your sales performance.
To maximize your profit, you should be able to find the optimum price for each good you sell, even adopt a hiding prices strategy.
At times investing in a price management software is crucial in order to keep up with a dynamic marketplace and manage to step ahead of your competitors.
Other times you can solve your product price management insecurities by outsourcing these tasks. Some retailers choose to manage all their data by a specialized Magento management agency, that can help them maximize their profits more quickly.
Magento offers retailers lots of opportunities to promote their goods, manage prices and even hide product prices on the shopping card.
Here are some of the essential strategies you can adopt with Magento when it comes to price management.
Setting Up Catalog Price Rules
This option is useful for the store owners and customers altogether because it allows the creation of different promotions or seasonal offers. Catalog price rules can be connected with a particular customer group on a specific period of time.
For a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it, check out Magento’s User Guide.
You can make use of catalog price rules to offer users a lower price by applying a discount if a set of conditions obtains. These rules are triggered before the product is added to the shopping cart and it can be applied automatically after customers enter a valid coupon code.
Hiding Product Prices
Hiding product prices from customers is an effective strategy that can help you increase your conversions, whether it is translated into sales, sign-up forms or others actions that can help you win more customers on the long run.
Here are the benefits and opportunities of using this pricing technique:
- If your goods have a high variability rate, as it is the case with goods made out of gold or silver
- If your products have a price restriction imposed by the manufacturer
- If you want to define a variable pricing strategy based on your customer’s behavior
- You also have to opportunity to vary your offer based on a definite amount of products you sell as it is usually the case with tourism offers
- And lastly, as we mentioned above, merchants sometimes hide the product prices from non-members to drive them to submit a form, login or click on the order button
Setting Product Prices Per Specific Store View
Another strategy for Magento merchants is to set up a specific price per each store view. You can use this strategy to adjust your prices for local customers, or each customer group, depending on the view each customer selects to enter your website.
You can also set up the price currencies based on the language version of your website selected by visitors. More than this, setting specific prices per store views allows you to adjust the storage and transportation costs for each area of delivery.
Setting product prices per specific store view can also be used to enhance your competitive capabilities and concentrate your marketing strategies on prices, products, promotion and places, known as the 4p marketing strategy.
2.5 Magento Customer & Groups Management
By default, Magento has three customer groups:
- Not logged in
However, you can easily create new customer groups, assign them to an appropriate class, and control the store behavior according to the rules you have programmed for each group.
This strategy is extremely important for all eCommerce businesses, as they can help you further define what you want to happen when a user that is part of a specific customer group visits your store, as it is the case with displaying different prices to different groups.
Let’s see what you can design to happen whenever a member of a particular customer group enters your store.
Applying Discounts vs Different Prices to Customer Groups in Magento
With Magento you program specific cart price rules to one or multiple customer groups to limit shopping cart price rules as you need to.
To do this, you can go to the Promotions Section and select Shopping Cart Price Rules or Catalog Price Rules. Next, specify the conditions you want to program and assign the customer group you want to apply it to.
It is important to specify here that there’s a distinction between the two options, depending on your intention: while the first one will help you use discounts as a promotional tool, the second will help you display a different price to customers that are part of a specific group.
Restricting Customer Groups in Magento
With Magento use third-party extensions to control the customer’s access to particular products from your shop. This is a useful strategy to apply in situations in which you sell products that have a limited area of shipping.
You can also increase your sales performance by displaying to relevant Magento customer groups the prices for certain products or categories of products for business or legal reasons and you can easily manage the retailer’s groups you own.
Manage the visibility of your product pages and category pages for each customer group using Customer Group Catalog Extension developed by Amasty.
Other useful features:
- Get access to catalog pages based on your business needs
- Hide prices and add to cart button
- Redirect to a CMS page or show 404 errors for products
- Remove products and category links
2.6 How Managing Multiple Websites in Magento Works
Magento comes with a valuable option that lets you run several stores, or channels, from a single Magento website. This feature is known as Multi-Store.
Every store can be configured to share either customer data or keep them entirely separate from each other while receiving orders separate for each store.
The multiple stores’ functionality allows you to sell products on different domains and manage all stores from a single Magento installation, without being required to log in as an admin for each website.
Here are the basic notions of the Magento MultiStore functionality that you can use to serve your business interests:
- The website is the top-level container for websites, shipping methods, and payment methods. If you want to have separate websites with different shipping methods, you have to create separate websites
- However, multiple stores can be configured from one website and every store can have multiple store views, that can share cart, user session, and other features while having separate catalog structures
- A store view can change the way each page is presented to users, and it is usually used to display a different language version of each store you manage with Magento
- For each Magento website, you can maintain a customer base, share customer accounts and use different currencies, create different product pricing
- For each store of each Magento website you have a different product catalog and product categories, all stores have the same currency and prices, and the same customer accounts
- For each store view, you can set up different languages while keeping the same root category for all store views and set different prices for each view
3. Magento Management Extensions, Tools & Software
Every eCommerce business needs to stay competitive and managing your website using extensions and other software systems is an important part of this. A poor inventory management can lead to troubling results that can put your business at risk.
Sometimes a weak eCommerce site management is caused by a lack of openness to third-party solutions that can streamline your workflow, add value to your business and increase your profit.
Another cause for a poor management is the misuse of the inventory system. According to “The Value of Inventory Accuracy in Supply Chain Management – Case Study”, more than 50% of the inventory entries of retailers appear to be erroneous.
This is why some merchants that have a Magento website choose to hire managed eCommerce service companies to handle complex management operations.
All in all, using Magento store manager extensions and plugins can add useful features to your Magento site and enable you to customize the functionality of your web store.
Connecting additional software with Magento can help you import or export product data, categorize products, quickly populate related product, enhance the security of your web store, update prices in bulk, make changes to your inventory, find out what products lack images, and automatize other manual tasks to keep your workflow going smoothly and effectively.
Here are some of the most useful extensions you can use with Magento to handle your store data and streamline the essential day-to-day operations.
3.1 Inventory Management Extensions
Inventory Management Magento Extension by Magestore
Initially designed for Magento 1x, Inventory Management for Magento by Magestore now meets Magento 2x specific functionalities. This extension is suitable for every small and medium-sized eCommerce businesses.
Inventory Management Extension by Magestore offers specific inventory management features, such as:
- Editing, adjusting, and transferring stock in line
- Automatic stock predictions and alerts
- It supports multiple warehouses
- It offers an optimized UI/UX design with Magento 2
- Includes an API to link it with other systems and extensions you are using on your Magento store
Advanced Inventory for Magento 2 by Wyomind
The Advanced Inventory extension is specially designed for Magento 2 to help you manage the stock manually or automatically from your back-office and follow the stock levels in real time.
Here are some of the additional advanced inventory management features:
- Stock management for each warehouse
- POS inventory synchronization with Magento
- Stock overview
- Manually and automatically dispatch orders by zip codes
- Notification for low stock by each warehouse
- Notification for orders placed
- Import product data from CSV files
- Automatically change the product availability based on the stock level.
3.2 Product Management Tools
Advanced Admin Products Manager by Iksanika
Advanced Admin Products Manager is an extension designed to help you keep your eCommerce business organized and manage your product pages effectively.
Here are some of the additional advanced product management features the extension offers:
- Add product attributes and edit products data efficiently in an organized and easily customizable grid catalog
- Advanced product updates
- Powerful filters for quick selection of products
- Mass actions updates that allow you to change attributes set for a group of products you have selected
- Allows you to easily and quickly export data in CSV and XML formats
- Plus multiple product editing actions such as duplicate, assign, remove and replace categories, update product data such as cost, price, assign special prices and modify prices
- It also offers specific features for stock management
Product Manager Toolkit by Amasty
Product Manager Toolkit by Amasty is a highly customizable extension that can help you organize your product management tasks efficiently in a personalized fashion. It is easy to use, open source, installs easily and respects Magento’s code architecture.
Here are some of the additional features the extension offers:
- Automatic status updates based on quantity
- Apply templates for each store
- Export product lists in CSV and XML formats
- Update and modify “special price” based on “price” and create special prices based on regular prices.
- Product attributes editing options, such as copy image or product details from one product to multiple products
3.3 Reporting Extensions for Magento Stores
Advanced Reports by Amasty
Advanced Reports Extension developed by Amasty is a powerful analytics tool that offers you the ability to obtain crucial sales data to evaluate the success of your sales strategies and make better sales predictions.
It is open source, easy to install and customize, and it is developed to fit Magento 1x and 2x code architecture.
You can customize and create the type of report you find useful to analyze and generate easy to read stats graphs, giving you the opportunity to export all reports you have created.
Here are the report types you’ll be able to generate using Magento Advanced Reports extension:
- Advanced Sales Report
- Sales by Product Report
- Sales by Weekday
- Sales by Hour
- Sales by Coupon Code
- Profit Report
- Country Report
- New vs. Returning Customers Report
- Bestsellers Report
4. Magento Marketing Management Overview
In a previous post we’ve talked about what eCommerce marketing management means, and now we’re gonna go into what Magento marketing management is.
As every merchant knows, having an eCommerce website is not enough to enter a competitive market and the success of every business directly depends on the marketing tactics each retailer adopts.
The ideal marketing strategy always depends on the size of a business and the industry in which it operates, an efficient marketing management of your online store should have as a focus the following aspects, in order to aim for a top position in a competitive market:
- Have a unique approach to understand their customer’s needs
- Learn how to identify the risks and price products in an optimum fashion that creates value over time
- Increasing the number of loyal customers
- Increasing the number of new customers and unique visitors each day
- Improving the customer’s perceived view of the company’s goods and services
Although Magento is one of the most popular platforms for eCommerce businesses that has the largest community of developers willing to give merchants pieces of advice, finding the best tools to use for promoting your website can be a difficult and a time-consuming activity.
Thus, every marketing team of an eCommerce business launched online on Magento platform should be well acquainted with all marketing and promote options Magento makes available for each merchant in order to:
- Create Customer Segments
- Create promotions with catalog price rules
- Create promotions with shopping cart price rules
- Make available the use of coupons for every customer
- Create banners and widgets
- Promote goods via email marketing and social media marketing
4.1 Magento Email Marketing Benefits & Tips
Email marketing is still one of the most successful and efficient marketing strategies you can adopt that can bring you an increased ROI compared with other marketing tools you can use for promoting your business on Magento.
Here are the data which proves the email marketing granted success, according to Entrepreneur Magazine:
- 71% of Americans prefer companies to communicate with them via email
- 91% of Americans agree to receive promotional emails
- 73% of American companies say email marketing is the most important marketing strategy they adopt
- 25% of American companies say that email is their top channel in terms of ROI
Although we’re gonna dedicate a future blog entry on the best marketing techniques you can use in Magento, here are some of the strategies you can efficiently integrate to efficiently maximize your ROI when it comes to email marketing:
- Use behavioral targeting: it allows you to send emails to customers in real time based on a previous activity they had on your website, such as: making a purchase, abandoning cart, abandoning account creation, re-engagement, recovery emails
- Ask for feedback emails: let your customers know that their opinion matters. Whenever a customer signs up for newsletters and email, it means that it has a personal interest in your company. You can add more value to this relationship by sending them emails asking them for a feedback on your services, goods and shopping experience they had on your website. Take into considerations their responses and you’ll have an increased chance of winning them as customers for a long term.
- Send notification emails: if you have contents that you promote only on social media, you can invite your customers to log in and see your promotional offers. This way your shoppers can stay in touch with your discounts and offers and you will be sure that they will not miss an update on their newsfeed
- Gain back lost customers: see what customers do not log in or shop from your store anymore and send them specialized offers via email. Other strategies imply sending them reminders not to lose their subscription. This way you can monitor which of them have a positive response and the ones that don’t can be erased from your database.
An efficient email marketing campaign can help you boost your customer’s acquisition rate and conversion rate, raise your brand awareness, build customer loyalty and build your customer’s trust in the goods or services you are selling.
4.2 Email Marketing Extensions & Software
When it comes to email marketing, the benefit of having an eCommerce website developed in Magento is that you have available numerous extensions that can help you integrate the best marketing features available for you to prosper your business.
Although you should choose the extensions that can help you accomplish your business goals, you can begin your searches by checking out some of the best extensions Magento experts generally recommend:
- MageMonkey (free, available on Magento Marketplace)
- Subscribe At Checkout by Mageside (free, available on Magento Marketplace)
- Wishlist Notification by Mates Marketing LLC dba Webinse (25$, available on Magento Marketplace)
- Abandoned cart / Follow up emails (free, available on Magento Marketplace)
- Responsive Transactional Emails M2 by MageTrend (49$, available on Magento Marketplace)
- Email Attachments M2 by Fooman (free, available on Magento Marketplace)
- MailChimp (free, available on Magento Marketplace
In a world of constant social marketing network evolution promoting your Magento store on social media is more than a must, if you want to generate effective leads, convert them into sales, and increase the number of potential customers that can remain loyal on the long-term customers.
Social networks are a necessary aspect of every eCommerce business that wants to stay competitive.
Although Magento is a feature-rich platform, when it comes to social eCommerce there are lots of third-party extensions that you’ll find available on Magento Marketplace that can offer you additional functionalities you can use to promote your goods.
Some examples include:
- Magento social login extensions: Magento Social Login by MiniOrange, Magento Social Login by Magestore
- Magento Social Share Buttons: Sociable by aheadWorks, AddThis
- Facebook integrations: Facebook Reviews by Amasty, Facebook Link by aheadWorks, Facebook Store application
However, integrating your Magento store with social media networks means more than simply installing an extension. Here are some guidelines you can take into consideration when developing your social media strategy to promote your Magento store:
- Setting up your objectives: the amount of traffic you aim to receive from social media, the number of followers, the percentage of visitors you want to receive and the number of conversions you aim for, the type of engagement, and so on.
- To meet your customer’s needs by posting the type of content they want to see, you have to first start by finding out what moves them. Get insight from your customers by monitoring their online interactions, activities and favorite posts on social media networks
- To do this, you can also take a look at your Magento store’s analytics, that can give you a valuable insight into your customer’s behavior. You can also find out where they are coming from, what type of content received a high engagement rate, and mostly when. This way you can develop targeted social media campaign that drives more valuable traffic to your store
- You should also pay attention to what type of content you post on your social media networks and optimize the content using high-conversion keywords to increase your visibility and target a larger audience for the good you are selling. Also, add images and other visual content to your post to increase your followers level of engagement.
5. How Can You Benefit From Professional Magento Managed Services
Taking care of all your day-to-day tasks that are required to effectively manage your Magento store can be an overwhelming job even for those of you that have the necessary skills. The bigger your catalog is, the more products and product types you have, the harder it is to keep everything in place, updated, promote your goods and accomplish all the technical support management tasks that are necessary to keep your customers satisfied.
This is why the most medium-sized to big-sized online business retailers choose to work with a specialized Magento management agency, that has a group of trained personnel to provide the support you need to create a pleasant shopping environment for your actual customers and easily attract more business.
To get the most value out of such a highly customizable and complex platform and benefit from all the management options Magento offers, you can ask a professional Magento management team to help you with three crucial aspects of managing your online store.
First, the strategic planning necessary to achieve greater success with your business, second the issue prevention actions crucial to increase your customer’s loyalty, and third, the management tasks destined to successfully promote your services or goods and help your business grow.
Here are some of the tasks Magento management professionals can help you with to achieve higher sales results with your store:
- Magento back office support
- Magento cost-effective support for updating your product attributes and managing your category pages
- Catalog maintenance
- Update and upload Magento product images
- Magento product listings and product upload services
- Setting product tags
- Magento product reviews
- Magento product pricing strategies
- Magento inventory management
- Magento URL rewrites and other SEO Services
- Magento marketplace management
- Magento comprehensive reporting
- Create and maintain revenue-generating campaigns on social media and via email marketing