April 16, 2013

This is a guest post by Steve Shaw. Steve is Head of Digital at leading SEO & Digital agency http://www.branded3.com/.

Since starting to use Magento for our clients from version 1.2, there are a number features that we all wish were inbuilt to the platform. With each new release of Magento we get to see some of these features realised which means we no longer need to write custom code or look to third party plugins to provide.

Here we take a look at some of the more recent features that can offer efficiencies along with cost savings from plugins and scalability for customer groups and personalised catalogue pricing.

1. Customer Group based pricing

The latest release offers the ability to specify a base catalogue price per customer group, this means that you can offer different prices for groups such as Trade, Professionals or Premium customers. This can be a great way to build customer loyalty and an easy implementation.

Catalog -> Manage Products -> Edit Product -> Prices

2. Coupon code auto-generation

A great little tool for use in promotions rather than thinking up your own coupon codes you can let Magento control these for you. You can specify coupon length, prefix and suffix items along with a step number for dashes, ideal if you want to generate codes similar to those used on Xbox live.

System -> Configuration -> Promotions

3. Bank transfer payments

This is a requirement that a lot of clients required plugins for but now comes as standard! Essentially the system allows the option to create an order without requiring payment details from the customer but instead gives them payment information to send an bank transfer. As an alternative MOTO transactions can be used to take payment and move the order into fulfilment.

System -> Configuration -> Payment Methods -> Bank Transfer Payment

4. Email logos

This is listed as an improvement on the platform more than a feature but one we’ve seen so many sites become the victim of: Demo Store logos in transactional emails! The latest version allows you to specify a correct logo for use in the templates direct from the admin interface rather than editing the templates direct.

System -> Configuration -> Design -> Transactional Emails


A feature for the more security conscious administrators, captcha can be enabled on the admin login and forgotten password screens along with options for the customer forms: login, forgotten password, checkout as guest and register during checkout.

Captcha helps reduce down the threats of automated attacks that are trying to post into your sites forms which is never a bad plan, however it should be used in the right places as it may become more of a problem as a barrier to real customers than the threat automated attacks would bring.

System -> Configuration -> Admin -> CAPTCHA

Overall the 1.7.x platform offers a lot more features to the community and licensed users including over 500 fixes to previous functionality. It’s certainly a platform we’ll be continuing to use and deliver business changing ecommerce solutions with.

Image credit: thefixer


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