Top 10 Magento Extensions for 2020

Top 10 Magento Extensions for 2020

With the new year approaching it seems everyone is in the business of list-making and we didn’t want to be left out. So here is our list of the Top 10 Magento third party apps and extensions for 2020.

10. Urapidflow Product Import/Export

One of the most feature-rich, robust product export/import extensions for Magento. This extension allows you to set up multiple profiles and export/import product data to/from different locations using FTP. It can also send and receive product information based on logical conditions created within the extensions simple to rules generator tools. This extension is the easiest to use when importing Magento product information.

9. Xtento

Xtento is the most stable and powerful order export solution available for Magento. It allows merchants the flexibility to set up multiple profiles and export orders to many different places using one extension. These exports can be done in any text-based format (Text/TXT, Tabbed, CSV/Excel, XML, JSON, SQL, ASCII/Fixed-Length-Files) and can include any required field. Xtento can be used to connect your store to almost any CRM, ERP, warehouse, drop-shipping or shipping system. Merchants are also empowered to set up an unlimited number of export profiles. All of this can be accomplished from within the admin interface of the extension.

8. Subscription & Recurring Payments

If you’re selling a product or service on subscription then this extension may be a great solution for you. Subscription & Recurring Payments by aheadWorks allows you to create subscriptions with multiple products, create separate shopping carts for subscriptions and more. Built-in to the extension is the ability to handle multiple languages and stores, allowing you to localize recurring payments and subscriptions to all possible markets. A big win for B2B businesses.

7. Mageworx SEO Suite

Mageworx is your all-in-one SEO extension. Its advanced templates allow you to mass-optimize any meta values, descriptions, URL keys, SEO names, etc. for any of your products, categories, CMS, and category filter pages. It also comes complete with a full arsenal of SEO tools, allowing you to tackle such tasks as eliminating duplicate content, adding breadcrumbs and setting redirects and more. It also includes the Wave Crypto Payments extension which enables merchants to collect crypto payments via their eCommerce store as well.

6. ShipStation

ShipStation is excellent for merchants who need a shipping label printing solution that can scale. Its built-in automation engine allows merchants to have a hands-off approach with low overhead. All while providing branded and customized labels, packing slips, and shipping confirmation emails. And, if you have multiple Magento stores, ShipStation allows you to manage and organize them all from a single account. ShipStation also boasts integrations with ERP systems like Acumatica and Netsuite. The extension is also fully integrated with more than 25 shipping carriers.

5. ShipperHQ

We touched on ShipperHQ slightly in our recent Top Shipping Rate Quote Solutions blog but this app is a must-have for most Magento merchants. ShipperHQ gives you control over the shipping rates and methods you show customers at checkout while also providing you with a wealth of options such as multi-location rating, in-store pickup, dimensional shipping, carrier rules and more. 

ShipperHQ also allows for customization in their Magento extension, allowing you to make adjustments within the Magento checkout code and cover every feature you may require for powering shipping quotes.

4. Klaviyo

Klaviyo’s power lies in its segmentation and targeting. Its web-tracking system is top notch as it uses specific browsing behavior to segment visitors so they receive specific ad campaigns and emails based on their on-site activity. Klaviyo will help you identify the visitors to your site, who looked but didn’t buy, who is a frequent visitor, who hasn’t visited recently, who left their cart full without purchasing, etc. Then, you can implement a campaign designed around the visitors’ site-specific actions.

3. TaxJar

For businesses, it’s always tax season. And our #1 choice to to help with your eCommerce taxes is TaxJar. Currently being utilized by more than 15,000 businesses worldwide, TaxJar is used by large and small businesses alike. The app features Magento’s SmartCalcs API, which determines if, when, and how much sales tax needs to be applied and collected on any purchase, foriegn and domestic. It allows users to program individual products for different tax rates for different states. But the automation doesn’t stop there. TaxJar will also accumulate your annual taxes over the course of the year and can file your taxes directly with your home state.

2. Yotpo

Native Yotpo integration is a fairly new, but powerful addition to the extensions library. Yotpo integrates with Magento to collect, display and manage customer content. This content includes photos, videos and reviews. Social proof is increasingly important when it comes to driving revenue in eCommerce and Yotpo curates and places that social proof right on your product pages, meaning that visitors don’t have to leave your site to go looking for it.

1. Klevu

While we covered Klevu in a previous blog that doesn’t mean we’re going to shy away from singing its praises again here. Klevu remains our favorite  on-site search option. Klevu is low-maintenance, easy to implement and it will provide you with unique insights over time as its machine learning develops a greater understanding of the topics  your visitors are engaging with on-site. We particularly like the Autocomplete feature, which will make suggestions to your site’s visitors while they are typing in their search. Overall, Klevu is a great resource for merchants and adds to the overall shopping experience for your customers.

To learn more about any of these extensions  and how to make the absolute most of your eCommerce site in 2020, contact us today.

People Skills – Who You Need to Make an e-Commerce Initiative Work with CEO Brian Dwyer

People Skills – Who You Need to Make an e-Commerce Initiative Work with CEO Brian Dwyer

Creating a successful eCommerce company starts with the people. It’s vital that you have a cohesive team that can work together and grow together. In this presentation from the 2019 AASA Technology Conference , Brian Dwyer showed attendees how to staff an eCommerce team that will accomplish their goals, short and long term.

Download the entire powerpoint here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1htpOMvlD2OqmRlGCnpA3xsA8Vh2yxsv9/view?usp=sharing

To learn more about how to optimize your new website, or if you’re in the market for a new eCommerce site, contact us today. In business for over 20 years, our certified Magento developers and marketers know the eCommerce site art and science front-to-back and can help you make the absolute most of your site and your brand.

 

PHP v5.5 to v5.6 Could Affect your Magento Installation

PHP v5.5 to v5.6 Could Affect your Magento Installation

php55to56
By Greg Reedy, PHP/MySQL Developer at InteractOne

What you need to know about upgrading PHP v5.5 to v5.6

If you’re a Magento merchant or developer, you’re well aware that the platform is well into its new life as Magento 2, however, you may not be aware that it is also well underway into a new life of patches and upgrades. Magento 2.0 was released in Q4 2015, and now – at the time of this writing – has iterated from version 2.0.0 all the way up to 2.1.1. That’s eleven minor version upgrades!  Now, is that something new or abnormal? Nope. This happens all the time with software, but sometimes updates occur within these minor upgrades that can affect things immensely, so it’s important to keep on top of what has changed and how it could affect your Magento store’s online environment.

Magento is, of course, built on PHP, and in an effort to stay up-to-date with technology, the requirements to run Magento have updated as well.

In the initial minimum requirements published with the M2 release, PHP versions 5.5.22 to 7.1.0 were acceptable.

from the original Magento 2 Developer Documentation

PHP

5.6.x
5.5.x, where x is 22 or greater
7.0.2 up to 7.1.0, except for 7.0.5
However, upon the release of Magento 2.1, support for PHP 5.5 ended.

from updated M2 Developer Documentation

System requirements

Our technology stack is built on PHP and MySQL. Magento 2.1.0 supports:

PHP 5.6 We do not support PHP 5.5x
PHP 7.0.2, 7.0.6 up to 7.1
MySQL 5.6
Apache 2.2 or 2.4
nginx 1.8(or latest mainline version)

Why does this matter?

It matters because your hosting company is likely about to automatically upgrade PHP on all of their servers to 5.6 from 5.5, and your M1 installation may not be ready for it! One day you wake up, your site is down, and clearing those Magento caches has zero effect.

All you see is something like this in the error log:

ERR (3): Deprecated functionality: iconv_set_encoding(): Use of iconv.internal_encoding is deprecated  in lib/Zend/Locale/Format.php on line 311

Why is this happening?

Because PHP 5.5 has come to an “end of life” (EOL) and nobody invited you to the funeral!2016-09-30_1142

So long PHP 5.5!

tombstone

How do I fix it?

To keep your sturdy M1 site humming right along, there are a few simple fixes to get it to play nicely with PHP 5.6:

Fix #1: Upgrade to the latest version!

Magento’s latest releases of M1 have made the backwards compatibility to handle the deprecated functions. You can simply upgrade to the latest versions of Community Edition (1.9.2.4) or Enterprise Edition (1.14.2.4) and the deprecated functionality shouldn’t be an issue.

Fix #2: Patch the offending files in the Zend

The main issues really fall in the Zend library that ships with M1. If upgrading isn’t immediately possible (let’s inject here that official upgrades and updates are always recommended), a mediary solution can be to simply patch the offending files in the Zend folder by copying them to your local codepool and modifying the necessary lines.

Copy from:

lib/Zend/Locale/Format.php
lib/Zend/Service/Audioscrobbler.php
lib/Zend/Service/Technorati.php
lib/Zend/Validate/Hostname.php
lib/Zend/Validate/StringLength.php
lib/Zend/XmlRpc/Client.php

Copy to:

app/code/local/Zend/Locale/Format.php
app/code/local/Zend/Service/Audioscrobbler.php
app/code/local/Zend/Service/Technorati.php
app/code/local/Zend/Validate/Hostname.php
app/code/local/Zend/Validate/StringLength.php
app/code/local/Zend/XmlRpc/Client.php

Edit the newly copied files by searching for “internal_encoding” and replacing it with “default_charset”. Be sure that the “internal_encoding” string is a parameter of an iconv related function, otherwise it will break the code. (EXAMPLE: Don’t replace any other parameters or variable names by accident, such as “mb_internal_encoding” or “$internal_encoding” or any other unrelated elements, or you may otherwise certainly break your code.

In the official releases of the latest versions, the files listed above have defined constants to compare the PHP version against and they set the encoding accordingly.

Example:

2016-09-30_1334

However, setting the encoding in the above listed files to a fixed value should be fine as long as the PHP version is 5.6 or above.

Example:

2016-09-30_1342

With the actively occurring PHP upgrades happening now among hosting companies across the internet, it’s imperative to make sure your online store is up-to-date and ready. Many hosting companies will upgrade their servers without warning which could cause major outages and downtime. It is often up to merchants to be pro-active and ensure their stores remain open for business in the event of an unanticipated update such as this (which is no longer in the distant future!).

Contact InteractOne today and have our Magento team review your site’s integrity and viability for growth!

Improve Magento Performance By Upgrading to PHP7

Improve Magento Performance By Upgrading to PHP7

PHP7 Magento

What to Know About Upgrading to PHP7

PHP7 is here and our developers noticed some impressive speed improvements right off the bat. It’s important to keep your Magento server up-to-date for security and performance, but we recommend upgrading to PHP7 for noticeable Magento performance improvements. After some benchmark testing, we noticed a 70% decrease in page load time and 30% less memory consumption across the board on a base installation of Magento 1.9.

Our Lead Developer wrote some simple directions on upgrading to PHP7 from PHP5 on Ubuntu. These should be performed by a developer or system admin – Contact us for help on upgrading to PHP7 on any Magento install.

There’s only a couple of minor quirks, like not having dl() support which killed a couple of the extensions that had copy-protection on one site.  There are a couple of minor things to do to make PHP7 work but it’s covered below.

If you’re ready to take the Magento/PHP7 plunge and are using Ubuntu, then this is how you can do it:

  1. Remove PHP5 (Warning: This will remove PHP5 from your system completely.)
    • sudo apt-get purge php5-*
  2. Add the PHP7 repository
    • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php
    • sudo apt-get update
  3. Install PHP7
    • sudo apt-get install php7.0
  4. Install PHP7 components 
    • sudo apt-get install php7.0-cli php7.0-common libapache2-mod-php7.0 php7.0 php7.0-mysql php7.0-fpm php7.0-curl php7.0-json php7.0-cgi php7.0-mcrypt
    • sudo service php7.0-fpm restart
    • sudo service apache2 restart
  5. The Magento PHP7 Fix

Here are some common problems with Magento after installing PHP7 – 

  • If Apache is dumping plain text php instead of rendering it, then be sure that you’ve installed libapache2-mod-php7.0.
    • sudo apt-get install libapache2-mod-php7.0
    • sudo service php7.0-fpm restart
    • sudo service apache2 restart
  • Getting a white page or error about mcrypt in Magento?
    • sudo apt-get install php7.0-mcrypt
    • sudo service php7.0-fpm restart
    • sudo service apache2 restart

Still not feeling confident? If you aren’t ready for upgrading to PHP7 on your own, give the experts at InteractOne a call today at (513) 469-7042 or fill out our contact form.

Use this tool for Magento Security Patches

Use this tool for Magento Security Patches

MageReport - Magento Security Patches

We recently teamed up with hosting specialist, byte, to be a part of their Magento support system for MageReport.com.  MageReport was created to protect the performance and security of Magento shops. By sharing their tools with the rest of the Magento community, byte hopes to increase the overall security of Magento worldwide.

We are certainly happy byte chose to share their useful tool. After using MageReport for scanning Magento sites, we were extremely impressed with the level of detail and accuracy it provides. MageReport is a definite asset to Magento merchants and the Magento Community.

How MageReport works

MageReport is a free service that checks the security status of Magento stores with lightening quick results. The report not only shows insight on the security status of scanned shops, but also on how to fix possible vulnerabilities. While it is not possible to see existing Magento files from the outside, MageReport uses behavior-based identification patterns. All possible because each Magento patch introduces subtle changes in behavior.  In addition, it’s possible to request a few static files and derive the Magento version from that.

MageReport.com checks Magento shops for the following known security vulnerabilities:

  • Credit Card Hijack

Magento Security Patch - Credit Card Hijack

  • Ransomware
  • Cache leak vulnerability
  • Guru Inc Javascript Hack
  • Outdated Magento version
  • Unprotected development files
  • Default /admin location
  • Unprotected Magmi
  • Unprotected version control
  • Outdated server software
  • Security patch 5994 (admin disclosure)
  • Security patch 5344 (Shoplift)
  • Security patch 6285 (XSS, RSS)
  • Security patch 6482 (XSS)
  • Security patch 6788 (secrets leak)

Magento Security Patch 6788

  • Security patch 7405 (admin takeover)

Magento Security Patch 7405

  • SSL Certificate check

Head over to MageReport.com to read more about the Magento tool and to scan your site for security patches.

If you need help applying Magento Security Patches, head over to Magento Security Patch SUPEE-6788 and Magento Security Patch SUPEE-7405 or Contact us.

Top eCommerce platforms: Magento, WooCommerce and Shopify

Top eCommerce platforms: Magento, WooCommerce and Shopify

Top Final Smal
By Amanda Watkins, Marketing Communications Manager at InteractOne

Top eCommerce platforms, which is best for you?

We chose to compare and contrast the top eCommerce platforms by market share for the top 10k sites based on data from BuiltWith.

Starting an eCommerce business can be exciting and rewarding. One of the first important steps is deciding on the type of platform to use. When it comes to building, managing and running your website, you want to choose the right platform that will propel you to success, not a failure – especially if financial resources are limited.

As a long time senior Magento partner, we have worked on a lot of websites for many different levels of companies. While Magento is our platform of choice, we understand that it isn’t for everyone and every business. Whether you are just starting out or are ready to take your business to the next level it’s important to understand what you are getting into.

According to BuiltWith, Magento, WooCommerce, and Shopify are top platforms by market share for the top 10k eCommerce sites.

All three platforms are chosen by top companies, but which is the top eCommerce platform for you?

Magento

Magento Community and Magento Enterprise editions are dominating the eCommerce platform community with a combined total of 20%. Free to download for the community edition, open source, powerful and scalable, it’s no surprise that Magento is the most used eCommerce platform worldwide.

Magento Pros:

  • Feature-rich, out-of-the-box with flexible options for nearly all languages and currencies
  • Thousands of extensions are available thanks to the flexible API architecture
  • Manage multiple stores from one admin
  • Supportive Community with a slew of developers and partners ready to build and solve problems
  • In-depth training available to help you get started
  • Two editions are available, community for small businesses and enterprise for larger merchants

Magento Cons:

  • Magento can be very complicated for a non-tech savvy merchant
  • Development can get expensive, especially for custom work and qualified help
  • Self-hosted, meaning it requires a Magento hosting provider

WooCommerce

Gaining a lot of attention with 8% of the eCommerce platform community, WooCommerce is quickly becoming one of the most used eCommerce platforms. Different from Magento and Shopify, WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress and easily integrates into any WordPress site. Free to install, user-friendly, familiar and open source it’s no surprise WooCommerce is gaining popularity.

WooCommerce Pros:

  • Easily integrates with WordPress
  • Easily customizable with plugins
  • Developmental resources widely available via WordPress developers
  • Built-in blogging for easy Marketing and SEO
  • User-friendly interface

WooCommerce Cons:

  • Lacks scalability
  • Basic features require plugins that are becoming more costly as the platform gains popularity
  • While aspects of WordPress are simple, plugin additions can get complicated
  • Self-hosted, meaning it requires a hosting provider

Shopify

With also 8% of the eCommerce market share comes Shopify. Shopify is notably different from Magento and WooCommerce in that it is a SAAS (software as a service) platform – not open source or downloadable (the code is proprietary). Designed for ease of use, Shopify is a one-stop-shop supplying hosting, set-up and customer support, making it an easy choice for busy or less tech-savvy merchants.

Shopify Pros:

  • Easy to use and set up
  • Hosting provided
  • Technical support provided
  • Comes installed with many basic payment options

Shopify Cons:

  • A commercial product requiring monthly fees
  • Inventory restrictions dependent on your payment plan or level
  • A limited number of available free themes
  • Lack of flexibility – Limited number of available add-ons

Which is best?

All three are top eCommerce platforms and have their pros and cons. The key is choosing which one you can live with, or more importantly, can afford. Magento is a market leader for a reason. It’s scalable, customizable and ready for global eCommerce. Although potentially pricey for smaller companies expecting a customized shop, Magento is a great investment for businesses whose growth is dependent on a flexible and powerful platform. WooCommerce’s easy integration into WordPress is worth noting. Bloggers turning merchants with basic tech savvy could likely profit from WooCommerce. However, WooCommerce merchants are discovering increasing prices with the increasing popularity of the platform. Finally, Shopify provides real benefits for smaller companies with all-inclusive pricing for hosting, support and set up and is a great choice for the busy or less tech-savvy merchant.  Nevertheless, successful merchants could quickly outgrow the platform and need to migrate to a more scalable platform.

Tracking Multiple Domains With Google Analytics

Tracking Multiple Domains With Google Analytics

It is possible to track across multiple domains with analytics, for instance let’s say you have your main site (mainsite.com) and your shopping cart, reservation widget or countless other scenarios (othersite.com).

You can feasibly track everything that goes on within these two domains under one profile so that you can get all the attribution tied into one place.

To get started you will need to have the ability to access both sites or have someone that has access that can install code for you.

First thing first, sign into your Google Analytics account go to the admin tab then the tracking info tab under that, you should see something similar to this:

Google Analytics Tracking Pixel

You will want to select multiple top-level domains from the radio buttons and then copy the code and put it your text editor. This is where you tweak it to fit your multiple domain website.

You’ll notice is there’s a couple of new items in the code:

  1. _setDomainName
  2. _setAllowLinker

Now add to the code, here’s the first trick to remember the domain you set refers to what site it’s actually going on. For instance the code that goes on your mainsite.com is set to “mainsite.com” and when you put the code on the other site you change that to reflect the root so it will be “othersite.com”

Here’s what that looks like:
var _gaq = _gaq || [];
_gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-xxxxxxxx-1']);
_gaq.push(['_setDomainName', 'mainsite.com']);
_gaq.push(['_setAllowLinker', true]);
_gaq.push(['_trackPageview', '/dynamic funnel tracking']);

There’s a few more steps, however before we get to those let’s talk for a minute about tracking dynamic pages like some shopping carts or lead generation funnels.

In the case of dynamically produced pages you would put something after the back slash to ID that page.

You can build an actual URL like /step_one.html or you can build it to simply be something like this /step1.

It makes no difference whatsoever just name it what you want and write it down so you can build a goal funnel with this later on.

Now for the second component of this set up you will need to link back and forth from the sites, that could be with an add to cart button a link or even a form.

When using a form you need use this piece of code inserted into the form:

<form name=”f” method=”post” onsubmit=”_gaq.push([‘_linkByPost’, this]);”>

When you’re linking to the othersite.com you need to use a different piece of code and looks like this:

<a href=”http://othersite.com/intro.html” onclick=”_gaq.push([‘_link’, ‘http://othersite.com’]); return false;”>Add To Cart</a>

Realize that if you’re on the othersite.com linking back to your mainsite.com you need to use something similar to the one above, however it has to have the right link in it and it will look like this:

<a href=”https://www.interactone.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/catalog.html” onclick=”_gaq.push([‘_link’, ‘http://mainsite.com’]); return false;”>catalog</a>

Now that we’ve gotten through all the tags and what goes where we need to build another profile that will track all of your domains together, this way you will always have baseline historical data for your domains that you can refer to when setting up filters in your new profile.

Here are the steps to accomplish this:

  1. From the account home page of your analytics account select the account under which you want to add the profile.
  2. Click the Admin tab in the upper right hand corner of the page below the “my account’ settings.
  3. Then click on the desired profile
  4. Click on the tab that says filters and new filter and then set up your filter to look like the image below.

GA Profile Filter

There you have it check back later for your data if you run into issues feel free to post your questions below.

Content Management Systems – CMS

A big frustration many organizations have is managing content for their websites. Often Word Docs are passed along a chain of 3 to 4 people before the content actually gets posted to the website and by the time the content goes live it may already need to be revised.

“Why can’t we just update our site whenever we want” seems to be the million dollar question. We’ll I’m happy to announce that there is a solution for this question. Enter the age of Content Management Systems (CMS).

CMS come in many different sizes, shapes and colors but in the end they all serve to help organizations directly edit the content on their websites without having to get a tech person (IT) involved.

Some of the most popular CMS softwares are:

* Xoops – www.xoops.org
* Drupal – www.drupal.org
* Light-N-Easy – www.lightneasy.org
* Adobe Contribute – www.adobe.com

No matter which CMS solution you choose you will need the help of a competent web design firm to install/configure the software and train your staff on how to use it. Once the software is installed and running your organization can benefit from the increased speed and efficiency of managing it’s website content without calling IT.