Recommended Magento Modules - A Crowd-sourced List

Posted by Paul Rogers on 10 January 2013

With the Christmas period firmly out of the way, online retailers can finally start looking at improving their websites ahead of their busiest periods in 2013. 

With this in mind, I’ve compiled a comprehensive, crowd-sourced list of Magento extensions that are guaranteed to help Magento retailers get ahead this year. I was lucky enough to get contributions from a host of Magento professionals, all of which have provided details of their favourite modules for Magento.

Arush Sehgal, CTO of GET BRANDiD

Paul Rogers, Head of Digital Marketing at GPMD

  • SEOpack (Price: free) - This is our own Magento SEO module which is primarily designed to prevent faceted / filtered navigation from being indexed by search engines.
  • SEO Suite Ultimate (Price: $399) - This module provides an all-in-one SEO solution for Magento. Although I feel there are some areas that could be improved, this module allows you to set meta robots rules, create more effective sitemaps, implement the canonical tag and much more.
  • Yoast Meta Robots (Price: free) - This module allows you to quickly and simply assign meta robots to pages and sets of pages.
  • Mageworx Extended Sitemaps module ($79) - This module, which is part of the full Mageworx suite, allows you to make changes to the very basic Magento sitemaps.
  • The Categorisation Module (Price: TBC) - This module, which will be launched soon will allow users to create new categories in Magento and automatically populate them with products based on rules from attributes. 

Martin Dines, Web Developer at GPMD

Mark Slocock, Managing Director at GPMD

  • Locayta Merchandising extension (Price: Get in touch)
  • Wyonmind Shopping Feed (Price: $30) - This module allows you to quickly and easily create Google shopping feeds from your Magento products.
  • GPMD Checkout (Price: TBC) - We're really excited about launching our new Magento checkout (which is based on lots of research).

Ade Lewis, Director at Teapot Creative

Probably our most used Magento extensions (other than SEOPack) is OneStepCheckout (download here). We try to get any new clients we work with to include it in to their Magento stores.

We first started using OSC a couple of years ago when we were asked to refresh an existing Magento site for a new client. After creating a new template and launching the refreshed version of the site the conversion rate was better but the level of abandoned carts was still pretty high. One Step Checkout paid for itself in the first day that we installed it, the conversion rate went up again instantly. It isn't the cheapest extension around and there are free options for creating a one step checkout process but this is by far the best out there.

Installation of the extension is amazingly simple but one of the biggest factors for us is the level of support that you get from OneStepCheckout, they always go above and beyond their remit and their response times are always super-quick.

When we use OSC on a completely new site it is impossible to say what effect it has on conversion rates other than the fact that abandoned carts are always lower on sites that have One Step Checkout installed compared to those that haven't.

Tom Robertshaw, Director at Meanbee

  • Sweet Tooth (Price: free) - There are other loyalty extensions in the marketplace, but this is more than that. It's a focussed, extensible and innovative product which is perfect for our clients looking to engage and reward their customers more. Especially good at tying together online and physical world commerce. 
  • Brightpearl (Price: $99) - although not technically an extension, is the new kid on the block to shake up Linnworks when it comes to inventory management. Also positioning itself as a replacement to your Sage accounting package it's going to see huge growth in the next couple of years.
  • Blast Lucene Search ($148) - Everyone knows the default Magento search is incredibly basic. This is a cheap, quick and effective solution for many stores and is one that we use regularly. Just the weighting of different product attributes is worth it in itself.
  • Nitrogento (Price: $299) - For those clients that don't investigate Varnish, Nitrogento is another full-page caching extension provided by NBS systems that speeds up sites for our clients.

Michael Kreitzer, Certified Magento Developer at Demac Media

Dn'D Patch Index URL (Price: free)

Description: This extension dramatically improves the performance and time frame for indexing the Catalogue URL Rewrites. By default Magento creates URL's for all products and all situations whether it is necessary or not (if the products are disabled or for all possible product category combinations even if short URL's are being used). This module takes these situations into consideration and allows you to configure it so only the URL's you need are created.

Opinion: I have found this extension to be a great asset when dealing with Magento installs that have large catalogues with non-visible or disabled products. Depending on the install you can have tons of disabled products and/or ones that aren't visible individually (children of configurables), this will effect (some times drastically) the time it takes to index. Using this extensions helps address this issue, taking indexing from never completely and timing out, to completing in a couple minutes. A bonus side effect of this module is URL maintenance for child/configurables URL's when they are generated using the same name. If the child product was created first, normally it would have priority over the URL key (even though there typically not visible on the frontend), causing the parent products URL to have a '-1' appended to the end. Because these URL's for hidden products can now be disabled, the parent products can now have the desired URL's

Demac Media’s Attribute Sort (TBC - Not yet launched)

Description: This extension allows greater control over the sorting of the options within product attributes, giving the option to sort alphabetically, numerically and even drag and drop into the desired position.

Opinion: On a typical Magento site there is always a couple filterable attributes with a large number of options (brands, authors etc.). It is important to present these options in a customer friendly way, typically alphabetical. In the default Magento install you are forced to do this manually and this becomes unmanageable and very time consuming. This extension was created to address this issue allowing quick and easy control, thus it has become one of the default extensions installed on almost all of the Magento projects we work on.

Corey Slavnik, Certified Magento Developer at Demac Media 

Velite / Massredirect (Price: free)

Description: Velite’s Massredirect has been a very pleasant (free) extension to work with. The extension easily allows you to define a bunch of redirects. This is especially helpful if you are moving to a new site and have old URLs. The module essentially uses an observer to hook into the controller_action_predispatch event and then checks to see if the request is on a list of defined paths. (You define your own list in the module’s etc/ directory - the file’s called redirects.csv)

Opinion: We use this extension quite a bit even if the site says it has been deprecated. It still seems to work with our latest version of Enterprise Edition. It is very lightweight and unobtrusive and takes an inherently simple concept and keeps it simple. I would highly recommend at least trying this extension if you need to define any redirects, and I would recommend it over creating your own catalog URL rewrites as those change constantly.

Listrak / Remarketing (Cost: free)

Description: Listrak’s Remarketing module allows you to integrate Magento with your Listrak account. Note: it is free but you need a Listrak account to actually use this extension and find it useful. From the Magento Connect page, Remarketing allows you to integrate:

  • Shopping Cart Abandonment
  • Buyertrak - refillable/replenishable order reminders
  • Customer purchase metrics
  • Post purchase follow-up campaigns
  • Newsletter subscriber synchronization

It also automatically syncs order information to your account, and if you have customer purchase metrics setup it will sync that data as well. It actually extends the API to create its own endpoints which in turn allow it to sync to your Magento install and collect the most up to date information regarding subscribers and orders. It is quite unobtrusive and has not caused any difficulties.

Opinion: I have thoroughly enjoyed working with this extension as it’s very well coded. The code often runs in the background, implements it’s own sessions and tables, and the API is correctly done and refined. I have built on top of this extension to allow me to integrate with Listrak further, and it has allowed me to do so. It also has been useful to track cart abandonments and visually collect information for a shopping cart abandonment program. The only additions we have made to the actual extension is to add our own logging functions for more visibility into the API calls Listrak makes to our Magento sites.

Keegan Galea, Certified Magento Developer at Demac Media

WDCA Enhanced Admin Product Grid (Price: free)

Description: Enhanced Admin product grid allows you to add some information to your admin product grid, making it easier to manage your products. Information such as the image, date created, special price, descriptions and any other attributes you are using, can now be shown in the product grid. This gives you a wider range of options to filter by when editing or searching for particular products.

Opinion: This is a great extension (not to mention free!) that comes in handy on any site. As with any extension, there is the possibility of problems arising if you have any modules that are already changing the product grid, but if not, then you shouldn't see any issues with this extension.

Vinai Kopp Customer Activation (Price: free)

Description: When a customer creates an account, a message is displayed that they will not be able to use the account yet, and that they will receive an email when the account is active. To activate the account, the admin will then need to change the account active attribute on the customer in the backend. An email will then be sent to the customer informing them that they can now use the account.

Opinion: Clients often request for the functionality that this extension provides. It does exactly what it needs to do and it does it well. This is a great extension that I have used many times in the past and will continue to use in the future.

Allan MacGregor, Certified Magento Developer at Demac Media

Demac Media’s Visual Sequencer (Price: TBC)

Description: The Demac Visual Sequencer helps retailers that need to update and tweak the product position per category frequently. The extension provides an intuitive product drag and drop grid on the Magento backend and a series of default filters that can be used to arrange products in a quickly and effective manner.

Opinion: If you frequently need to change the products positions and you are frustrated by the lack of visibility of the product grid or the fact that it doesn't keep track of the position between grid pages, then the Visual Sequencer is a true time saver and a must-have tool for retailers and store managers.

Demac Media’s Canada Post integration (Price: TBC)

Description: If you need to integrate your store with Canada Post look no further, The Demac Canada Post extensions provides full integration with the Canada Post API and full support for all the day to day shipping operations, this extension not only offers rating integration but full support for the full shipping flow. Rating, shipping, printing manifests, shipment cancellation, detailed tracking and returns (EE version only).

Opinion: There is no other extension to provide complete integration with Canada Post, you don't even need to go to the Canada Post to create an account you can do it from the Magento backend, it supports Post office delivery, integration with Google maps, full tracking details and multi-shipping integration. If you truly want to support all what Canada Post has to offer this is the extension for you.

Paul Donnelly, Magento developer at Pierce Communications

Magic Zoom Plus from Magic Toolbox (Price: $70)

Customers like to see up close what they are buying, it’s not just an overview they want. When buying a car you don’t stand back and think OK I'll buy it. You want to get up close and see the fine details and Magic Zoom Plus for Magento does this with ease.

As well as the slick zoom functionality I really like the plethora of advanced settings available to you, it allows complete customisation of the extension to suit your needs.

Who Viewed This Also Viewed from aheadWorks (Price: $89)

Crosssells are important as we all know but they can be very time consuming adding them to each product. With WVTAV from aheadWorks, it does all the hard work for you or should I say your customers do all the hard work. Who better to inform customers of appropriate crosssells than the customers themselves. Each time a customer visits a product it displays products other users visited before and after visiting that particular product. WVTAV is pretty intelligent in that it logs the customers product views and only serves relevant products as crosssells. 

Matrix Rate from WebShopApps (Price: free)

Magento's default shipping methods are pretty poor and even for the smaller businesses selling online, I have found they are just not good enough. With Matrix Rate from WebShopApps, it gives you that little extra functionality which suits many, if not all, of our clients. It allows you to ship by destination and by price, quantity or weight of a product. It also allows you to attach custom labels to each shipping method (Express, Standard, Next Day etc.). 

Shipping Tracker from WebShopApps (Price: free)

Another WebShopApps extension we regularly install is Shipping Tracker. Shipping Tracker allows us to add custom carriers to our Magento stores. Carriers differ from client to client but with Shipping Tracker we don’t need to worry about that as it allows us to add any carrier the client requests. Shipping Tracker has a neat little feature where it has pre-set tracking urls as well as the option to add your own tracking url. When a tracking url is defined, the customer can link directly over to the carriers website to track their order via their confirmation email or customer account. 

Extension Conflict from Boost My Shop (Price: $19)

We have all been there, you install a few extensions and one stops working or worse breaks your site. It can be a real pain trying to manually find conflicts but I have found this little extension is a time saver.

Extension Conflict scans Magento and alerts us of any extensions that are conflicting. It also has a handy feature where it gives you a little help and suggests resolutions to the conflict(s).

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