Retailers – your life just got easier. 5 new Magento features you need to know about

5 New Magento Features

Magento have just released an update for Enterprise Edition 1.14.1 and Community Edition 1.9.1. – and they come with heaps of new features. This is our Top Five list of the new features that are going to help our ecommerce clients the most!  Jason, (LogicSpot Magento Developer Extraordinaire), spent some time telling Rachel (LogicSpot Resident Ecommerce Expert) about the new Magento update today and she’s pretty excited. Here are her top 5 picks.

1. Drag and Drop Merchandising

Visual Merchandising is meant to be a fun job that combines smart data analysis with a creative eye to make your catalogue pages beautiful, on-brand, and highly shop-able. I think it’s safe to say that Magento’s number/position “system” doesn’t make this super easy… truth be told, I actually developed my own “system” that involved (full disclosure) printing catalogue pages, cutting out products, and arranging them on my desk. Okay – this may say more about me than Magento, but it’s safe to say that anyone who has used the ancient number/position system will know how cumbersome it can be.

Luckily for us, we finally have Drag & Drop Merchandising direct from Magento. Developed with On Tap Group, this replaces the old number/position based ordering system. It gives the ability to: 1. Bulk add/remove products, 2. Set up rules to automatically and assign products to groups, and 3. Fix your hero products to the top of the page.

AKA: 1) Save Time, 2) Systemise and 3) Be Commercial.

Rachel's desk...before and after.

Rachel’s desk…before and after.

This is Great News for those of you who want a commercial catalogue page that looks good, but who don’t have all day. Watch the below video, and two more, for a very exciting preview and some training. Here are links to the Drag and Drop Merchandising feature and a tutorial on the Visual Merchandiser.

2. Colour Swatches for Products

I could never understand why such a great platform didn’t provide this feature, but colour swatches are here! What’s more, this can also be easily extended to show rich product content, such as Fabrics, Textures or Finishes. This tool helps you up-sell, it streamlines your customer journey, and it improves your conversion rate on your core lines. I ask you in all seriousness – where has this been all my life?!

3. Responsive Email Templates

Did you know that 48% of all emails are opened on a mobile device? Me too – which is why I’m SO pleased about this new feature: fully responsive email templates for your Order Confirmation and Fulfilment emails. They are going to need some TLC from your Magento developer to bring them in line with your brand and other collateral, which will be well worth your time.

The Confirmation & Fulfilment emails are a crucial part of a sale, and shouldn’t be overlooked. In providing a totally necessary and quite boring service, they present an opportunity to market to the people you know already really like your brand (well, enough to buy from you anyway). Doing this right will help you drive repeat sales through building customer loyalty, confidence and satisfaction. Right now, you’re missing out on almost HALF (well, 48%) of those people, who are trying to view those emails on their phone or tablet. Ouch!

4. Wish Lists & Gift Registry

Wish lists are a great way for you to manage the customers who aren’t quite ready to buy, and customers love it as a way to shop around, research, and keep you in mind. In a very exciting adaptation of this feature, Magento have added Gift Registries, and Multiple Wishlists – and this couldn’t have come at a better time with Christmas around the corner. There’s nothing like getting your customers to do your marketing for you…!

5. Quick, Stable and Secure

Having a site that works quickly, securely, and that performs consistently is the name of the game – and Magento knows the score. With over 70 updates, improvements and patches, the new version of Magento is faster, more secure, and more robust. It has been optimised for the latest PHP (5.5) and MySQL (5.6) which has shown to make sites up to 25% faster.

What this all means for you, is faster page loading for your customer, shorter de-bugging time for you and your developer, better return on the resources you’re already paying for – and a site that’s ready for your next phase of development, whatever that may be.

Summary

You may have been able to get some of this functionality into your site through 3rd party modules or plug-ins, however it’s a really big deal to finally have this all in one place. Having fewer plug-ins makes your site faster and more stable, quicker to load, lighter to host, and easier to de-bug. Not to mention there are no extra fees to 3rd party providers.

This update is Magento’s response to merchants’ requests for a better user and customer experience, and it includes some great technical advances. All in all, these updates really make Magento the face of ecommerce. Please note – not all the features are available in Community, but Enterprise is now available for download/upgrade.

And the Runners Up are…

For good measure, there are three other features that we think deserve an honourable mention:

Universal Analytics

Magento has updated its Google Analytics integration to use the new standard Universal Analytics interface, which can be extended to use Enhanced Ecommerce and other Custom Metrics and Dimensions. Great news for us data gatherers, and I’m looking forward to rooting out richer insights! Anyone who needs a hand making the most of this should get in touch as this is a real passion of ours and we can definitely help.

Add to Cart by SKU

This new feature is an absolute lifesaver for B2B clients: Add to Cart by SKU. This was notoriously tricky before, with hyphenated SKUs a total no-go. This will come as exciting news to our clients with an integrated ERM, a separate trade site, or anyone who does a lot of catalogue sales.

Better Experience for Multi-user Admin

A huge amount of development has been done on the Magento Admin area to make it more efficient for larger teams of content editors. This means that you and your whole team can use Magento to update products, categories and CMS pages seamlessly, making you more dynamic, reactive, and productive.