Selecting extensions for your Magento website!
If you use a popular platform like Magento then you already know that it has a lot of great features by default. These standard features cover most requirements of regular merchants.
However, if you run a business then you also know that your problems and requirements can be unique and rare.
A webshop selling perishable food items can have very different requirements than a webshop selling clothing items or downloadable music.
Unique and custom requirements are generally not handled by standard Magento features. Reason being that not enough users need or requested that feature for it to be developed and added to the standard Magento package.
Good news is that Magento is developed to be modular in nature. There is a base/core platform which handles the core operations and then additional extensions can be added on top to get more or custom features. You could develop your own extensions and add custom features to your shop. Another option is to find and use a third-party extension that was developed to handle requirements similar to yours.
One should consider using a third-party extension only when the requirements cannot be handled by standard features. If it is a minor feature then we suggest developing it in-house.
That way you will have more control over its quality. It is also a fact that there are times when a major features can take a lot of development and testing hours, so it is better to use an extension that is already available in the market for that specific feature.
If you go looking for Magento extensions then you can see that there are over ~1500 extensions (for M1 or M2 each) listed on official Magento marketplace itself. Magento Marketplace And then there are also hundreds of companies that build and sell thousands of these extensions on their own websites.
If your requirements are fairly common (one
step checkout page for example) then there is a big possibility that multiple extensions are offered by various companies.
It can be a daunting task to choose the right extension from all available options. Using a wrong extension can end up wasting a lot of your time and efforts.
We suggest you consider following 10 important factors while selecting extensions for your Magento webshop:
1. Features should match your requirements
Try to find an extension that matches your requirements exactly. An extension might have 100 other fabulous features but if it does not performs exactly what you want then it is not a good fit for you. Read extension user guide, check extension demo and ask their support if necessary, but make sure that the extension can do what you need.
It is also an idea to procure an extension and then further customize it to meet your exact requirements. But we advice that one should avoid modifying a third-party extension or building features on top of them. It might work fine initially if you have good developers, but it can also cause alot of issues once you want to update the original extension with newer version.
2. Extension documentation
Having an installation and user guide for the extension should be an absolute requirement. Never purchase an extension that does not has clear installation and user guides. Clear and precise user guides can help you save alot of time and also decrease the learning curve drastically. They also make it easier for non-tech. members of your team to understand and manage features of the extension easily.
At Hungersoft, all our products have extensive and clear documentation available. We also create additional supporting articles wherever needed.
3. Extension demo
When we go to buy a product in real world, we like to touch and see how it feels before buying it. That is not possible with virtual/software products. The closest you can come to that experience is by trying out the extension on a live demo build. In demo builds, you can see how the extension works on frontend and back-office and how its UI is built and arranged. You can try out all features and see how they work. This helps greatly when you are not 100% sure if the extension has the features you need.
At Hungersoft we try provide to provide up-to-date demo builds for all our extensions where you can try out all their features.
4. Customer reviews
Look for genuine customer reviews of the extensions you are planning to buy. Customers who have already used the extension can attest to its quality or its flaws. You can find these reviews on product pages of these extensions. Do not use this criteria as a mandatory requirement since it is possible that there are no reviews available on the extension page. Not every user writes reviews of the products they use. To be safe, do perform an internet search and see if any other users are facing any issues with the extension you are planning to use. If the extension causes any issues then someone somewhere might have come across it already and must have posted it somewhere on internet for help. If you see too many recent negative reviews or issues then it is wise to avoid such extensions.
At Hungersoft, we actively encourage our customers to submit their feedback and reviews for all our products. Most of our product reviews are positive and re-assuring.
5. Compatibility & updates
Make sure that the extension is compatible to the Magento version you have. It can cause issues in your webshop if the extension you install was not built to work with your Magento version. You can generally find this information on extension page itself, if not then ask the extension-maker.
Also, Magento releases frequent updates to their core files and add some new features too. They even release security patches occasionally. That means the core keeps changing, so it is very important that the extensions are also regularly updated to work with latest versions of Magento. Regular updates can also mean that the extension-maker is actively improving the extension and adding new features to it.
Our developers work very hard to keep all our extensions at Hungersoft.com up-to-date and compatible with latest versions released by Magento. We are also always striving towards adding more and useful features to all our extensions. Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome.
6. Extension price
Many companies provide extensions that have similar features. Most extensions offering the same feature are in kept similar price range by their makers. Extensions with more features might also be more expensive. You need to check the extension price and decide according to your budget. Do remember that expensive is not always the best, but there can always be valid reasons for a higher price. A cheaper extension which is buggy or outdated can end up wasting alot of your time and efforts later on. Choose wisely!
All our extensions at Hungersoft.com are competitively priced and we also run various offers and discounts during festive seasons.
7. Refund policy
Even after taking all the precautions, it can happen that you purchase and then realise that you do not need the extension or the features it offers. During those times, a positive refund policy can save your hard-earned money. Do look for refund policy of the extension-maker if you are not 100% sure that you want the extension.
At Hungersoft.com, we have a 14 day money back guarantee. You can try out our extensions during this 14 day period and in-case you are not fully satisfied with it then you can ask us for a full refund.
8. Quality and efficiency of support
We believe that the best customer-support is the one that is never needed. However, you will need to contact extension-makers on various occasions. It could be about general questions or queries or about issues you face with the extension you purchased. It can be very frustrating to not receive a reply about a critical issue on a live site or an issue which puts further development on hold. The industry standard is to reply within 24-48 hours on weekdays. Some extension makers reply very quickly and some take weeks to reply.
If you are not sure of their efficiency or reputation, try asking a feature related (genuine) query and see how efficiently and quickly your query is handled by their support. That will give you an idea of how good they are.
At Hungersoft, we try to reply to each message as soon as possible. We understand how important it is to get the right answers quickly, so we do not wait for 24-48 hrs or weekdays to reply. Many times you will be connected directly with the developers so as to save your precious time. Feel free to use the chat widget in bottom right corner or contact us via our contact form.
9. Consult your developers
If possible, have your developers take a look at the extension demo and code. The extension code quality can tell alot about the overall quality of the product. It is always better to discuss it with your technical/developer team, they might be even able to suggest you the correct modules that you should purchase.
We are sure your developers will love all our extensions at Hungersoft.com.
10. Use official extensions wherever possible
If you need an extension that connects your Magento webshop to an external service like a payment gateway or a shipping provider then it is always recommended to use their official extension. Most of these service providers officially support the extensions they have commissioned themselves, even if they outsourced the development to some other company. Their customer-support staff are trained and well-informed about their official extension's features and issues and hence act as first line of support. Many a times these service providers also have agreement with their technical/development parties where they pay for the bug-fixes in the user's webshops. This can save you from un-necessarily paying someone else to fix issues that are caused by the official extensions.
We hope this blog post was useful and you will keep all these factors in mind when you look for new extensions to add to your Magento webshop.
Happy extension hunting!