1)Introduction to Magento eCommerce Software
Ecommerce business has become the premier option for most Indian consumers. It enables them to purchase everyday necessities without ever leaving the comfort and safety of their home. This is by no means a solo effort. In order to serve 100 million people across this country, each and every ecommerce business needs help. This help is needed in all stages of order fulfillment, from offering customers items to finally delivering the chosen items. We're going to take a look at one of the major players in the earliest stages of ecommerce services.
In order to sell goods, a store must first be opened. For a traditional store, this means scouting out a prime location, renting a space there and setting it up to display your goods. For an e-commerce store, you'd find an online source to host your store, rent out that virtual space and then display your goods there. More or less the same, right?
Magento is one such online selling channel and eCommerce shipping solution. It is an open source platform that makes use of a wide range of technology to help ecommerce retailers manage, display and sell their inventory. Magento is essentially the place where ecommerce businesses set up their store front. Through this storefront, your customers get access to an online shopping cart facility, easy item search options and numerous other things. Of course, your customers' experiences will vary based on the various Magento systems you choose to use. Which is what we will be discussing in this article.
2)What are Magento Shipping Extensions
Shipping extensions, also known as shipping suite extensions are exactly what the name implies. They are extensions and plugins that can be added to your online storefront on Magento to optimise certain services. It's important to keep in mind that Magento isn't just a hosting platform, it is also designed to help streamline your customer experience. Think of it like this. If you buy a storefront on a main road in a prime location, that's essentially like getting your own secured website domain. It's great because you are the sole owner of this domain but you're also solely responsible for building it up and managing all customer needs. If you rent a space in a mall, however, you would likely get access to other facilities they offer or can choose what facilities you need quick access too. The situation is similar to Magento. You rent the space and use additional shipping suite extensions to manage orders being placed, create customised options for buyers, host promotional campaigns, link to social media, and perform numerous other functions.
3)Top 10 Best Magento Shipping Extensions Every Retailer Needs [2021 Updated List]
When you're setting up your store (being it physical or online), it's important to also create workflows for different functions. From marketing to customer communication, every task performed by your Magento storefront can be made more streamlined with the help of additional modules. These modules make it easier for your customers to search for products, avail interesting new discounts and keep track of their orders. While some major modules come at a price, many are also free. Below, we've listed a few must-have Magento shipping extensions that make your shopping and shipping experience better for customers.
3.1)Admin Shipping Method Extension
3.1.1)Features of this Extension:
- Storefront admins can create orders in the backend and assign free shipping rules to orders in accordance with the admin requirements.
- Admin shipping method can be pre-selected as the default shipping method for orders if required.
- Creation and printing of invoices and shipment details post completion of the order is automated.
- The name, title and error message displayed for the admin shipping method can be customised.
- This method is made available only in select locations and countries.
Free ($50 for installation) for the Magento Store Extension.
-Magento Community Version 2.2.x - 2.3.4
-Magento Enterprise Version 2.2.x - 2.3.4
3.2)WhatsApp Order Notification Extension by MageComp
3.2.1)Features of this Extension:
- It uses API integrations with Twilio and MageComp to send automated Order Notifications to customers via WhatsApp.
- The Whatsapp Order Notification Basic extension sends “Order Placed” and “Order Shipment” notifications to customers, while the Whatsapp Order Notification Ultimate Extension allows the admin to send more dynamic notifications based on different variables.
- With the Ultimate extension, the admin can create custom messages for different stores and events.
- WhatsApp number verification and store-based updates can also be set up using the Ultimate extension.
Free for Basic, $79 for Ultimate (plus $39 for Installation) for the Magento Store Extension
-Magento Community Version 2.0 - 2.4
-Magento Enterprise Version 2.2.x - 2.3.x
3.3)MatrixRate by WebShopApps
3.3.1)Features of this Extension:
- It allows the admin to set up and add different delivery and shipping methods for customers depending on the location of the delivery.
- This extension enables easier calculation of different potential shipping rates using a variety of metrics like delivery destination, quantity of products in a shipment, or weight of the shipment, among others.
- A bulk range of pin code serviceability is supported through this extension (eg: Shipping Method A is applicable to 3000-5000 pin codes within a certain region).
- Shipping rates may also therefore be calculated based on patterns filtered out through pin code zoning.
Free versions available by MageArray and WebShopApps
- Magento Community Version 2.0 - 2.3
- Magento Enterprise Version 2.0 - 2.3
3.4) Multiple Flat-Rate Shipping Extension
3.4.1)Features of this Extension:
- This extension allows the admin to calculate multiple flat shipping rates based on various different factors like cost of product, type of product, delivery destination, etc., so you are not limited by a single flat shipping rate.
- Between 5 and 10 different flat shipping rates can be determined and preset based on these factors, applicable to specific countries. For example, you can maintain a flat shipping rate for customers in the US and customers in Australia.
- You can better manage, organise and display these flat shipping rates to customers through your Magento storefront.
- Customers will receive an error message whenever they select a flat shipping rate that is not applicable to their country.
Free for Magento Community, $100 for Magento Enterprise
- Magento Community Version 2.2.x - 2.3.x
- Magento Enterprise Version 2.2.x - 2.3.x
3.5) Shipping Restriction Extension
3.5.1)Features of this Extension:
- This extension is designed to give you complete control over your shipping methods by enabling the admin to restrict shipping methods that are deemed unnecessary.
- These restrictions on shipping methods are determined by the extension through consideration of the product SKU, weight, type, size, delivery destination, as well as other factors like the total price of all items in the shopping cart.
- This extension also enables restrictions on shipping methods for orders placed on specific days like public holidays, or using coupon codes.
- The admin is enabled to create rules for the selection of shipping methods, and an error message is displayed to customers that select a shipping method outside these rules.
Free with MagePlaza, $69 for the Magento Store Extension
- Magento Community Version 2.3 - 2.4
3.6)Payment Restrictions Extension
3.6.1)Features of this Extension:
- Much like how shipping restrictions allow you to control shipping options for customers, this extension lets the admin customise payment options for customers from the backend.
-The admin can create conditional rules for various flexible payment methods. These rules can be based on product SKU, product features, delivery locations and even the store view (i.e., customers entering from a different store view will have a limited set of payment options).
- This feature supports all types of products and gives the admin full control to restrict and limit payment options available to customers for different products, promos and pin codes.
$68 (plus 25$ for installation) for the Magento Store Extension
- Magento Community Version 2.3-2.4
3.7) One Step Checkout Extension
3.7.1)Features of this Extension:
- This is one of the most popular Magento extensions and the original single-step checkout extension created by Magento. It allows you to customise the checkout experience for customers.
-This extension enables the admin to simplify the registration process and reduce the number of pages that need to be loaded to checkout a product.
- It converts the previous 2-page checkout process into a single page where all shipping costs, payment methods and customer information can be added and displayed.
-It provides auto-fill options for customer shipping details as well as auto-updates changes in prices/promos.
$590 (plus $85 for installation) for Magento Store extension
- Magento Community Version 2.1 - 2.4
- Magento Enterprise Version 2.3 - 2.4
3.8)Multi-Warehouse Inventory Extension
3.8.1)Features of this Extension:
- It is designed to enable better warehouse and inventory management, allowing an unlimited number of warehouses to be created by the admin to manage stock for different locations.
- The admin can accordingly determine better methods for distribution of stock and keep track of the stock more effectively by editing the value of existing inventory directly on the grid.
- Virtual warehouses can also be created by the admin which indicate the value of defective stock that has to be returned to the supplier.
$200 - $350 for external extensions
- Magento Community Version 2.3.x - 2.4
- Magento Enterprise Version 2.3.x - 2.4
3.9)Assign Order to Customer Extension by MageComp
3.9.1)Features of this Extension:
-This extension offered by MageComp enables customers that have previously placed orders on your ecommerce platform as a guest to add their guest orders to their official account.
- This extension can be easily disabled. When enabled, customers can access their guest orders through their account, thereby allowing you and them to better track their orders.
- The admin will be able to view and track order assignment activity made by customers from the backend.
-In case a customer enters the wrong order ID, they will receive an error message informing them that the order ID they entered is incorrect.
Free for Magento Community, $149 for Magento Enterprise
- Magento Community Version 2.1 - 2.4
- Magento Enterprise Version 2.1 - 2.4
3.10) DropShip Module Extension
3.10.1)Features of this Extension :
- This extension is effective for specific shipping partners, and enables you to store your inventory in selected warehouses prior distributed across your serviceable area.
- Your stock can then be stored in these distributed warehouses and orders can be shipped to customers from the available warehouse located closest to them.
- You are empowered through this extension to maintain only required stock in your store and leave distribution of the remaining inventory to your warehouse manager.
- After an order has been placed, the order information will be passed on to the warehouse manager who then ensures the order is processed and shipped.
$199 (plus $40 for installation) for the Magento Store Extension
- Magento Community Version 2.2 - 2.4
- Magento Enterprise Version 2.4
4)Criteria to Choose the Best Magento Shipping Extensions
Once you've got your Magento storefront up and running, you'll start looking for the best plug-n-play extensions to keep things running smoothly. But how do you determine which extensions are the right ones to get? The free extensions may be easy to choose from but when it comes at a price, it's important to know what you're paying for and how it helps you. Even the free extensions may not all be worthwhile for you and they could potentially create obstacles in the future. Here's a clear cut list of things you need to be aware of before selecting the best Magento shipping extensions for your ecommerce endeavour.
4.1)Industry of Business
Take a good look at the dimensions of your ecommerce enterprise. This means determining whether you are a retailer, a wholesaler, a vendor, etc. You can get a clearer idea of this by understanding who your customers are and therefore, what type of online shopping experience they need. For example, business A handles online sale of machinery parts while business B handles wholesale of machinery and equipment. The customers of business B would require more technical information to be provided as well as specialised shipping, as compared to those of the former. The extensions you would need to satisfy customers may thereby change.
4.2)Category of Products
A similar distinction can also be understood through the difference in products sold. Larger products have different shipping needs, as do fragile, high value or perishable goods. These would therefore need to be factored into the information displayed to customers on your storefront, which is where extensions help. An eCommerce enterprise selling furniture may have different shipping options than one that sells clothing and accessories.
We've mentioned compatibility multiple times in this article, more specifically, looking at the compatibility of different extensions with different versions of Magento, i.e., Magento CE (Community Edition) and Magento EE (Enterprise Edition). However, it's also important to remember that your ecommerce business uses multiple different systems. Compatibility must therefore extend throughout all these different systems, like those used for accounting and financial management, warehouse management and inventory management.
This is an extremely important consideration when it comes to choosing extensions. You need to take a good long look at where your business is lacking, how different speed bumps can be amended and what would contribute best to your growth. Accordingly, you may determine that the single flat shipping rate you've provided has expanded your customer base but resulted in heavy shipping costs for you. Adding the multiple flat shipping rates extension helps you solve this problem while still keeping your customer base intact.
The cost of an extension is extremely relevant to your bottom line. As is the cost of anything in your delivery mechanism. The idea of a cost-effective extension is not that the price of it should be low, but rather that the benefit obtained through use of the extension should outweigh the cost. Like in the example given above, losses are potentially reduced by creating multiple flat shipping rates, therefore making the extension worth its cost. Free extensions are also available and can provide immense benefit if utilised smartly.
4.6)Ease of Use
When it comes to technology, the name of the game is convenience. That's essentially the purpose of all of these innovative advancements being pushed forward in the logistics industry. It should make things easier for you and for your customers. So when you choose to purchase and use an extension, installation should be easy and functionality should be optimised. An extension that requires multiple steps to be carried out for each order is one that is decidedly inconvenient and therefore not worth continuing with.
When discussing the importance of cost, we mentioned the benefit obtained through use of the extension. This benefit is clearly quantifiable when you take a look at the features offered by an extension. Most extensions don't perform any one single action. They should ideally take care of a range of functions that exist in a particular area. The point of an extension is to add to a workflow, eg: the flat rate extension enables multiple rates to be determined.
These can then be levied on different locations. And then customers receive error messages in case a flat rate is not available in their destination. These are three separate features that create a smooth workflow, enabling you to keep rates steady and keep customers informed through the use of a single extension. So a good extension isn't necessarily one with a lot of features, but one with features that add up to a solid workflow.
As is the case with all things related to business, the customer is king. Ecommerce customers are doubly demanding when compared to others. This is because of the convenience and speed offered by it. Since the industry is so competitive, it's important to understand what your customers want and implement it as fast as possible. Maybe your customers are unsatisfied with the quality of product images being displayed. They may want more clarity on how they're eCommerce shipping cost was calculated. Or perhaps they want to be able to share their orders on social media. All of these are tasks that can be made possible through Magento extensions. Staying informed of these demands allows you to attend to your customers before they even have a chance to look towards your competitors.
Technology has long since been hailed as the way to the future and the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. The various extensions provided by Magento enable you to understand shipping rates more effectively and use them to create a seamless delivery experience. In many cases, private integrations can also be carried out that further streamline your shipping functions, like those provided by ClickPost. This type of eCommerce logistics intelligence platform enables you to combine your Magento shipping extensions with your shipping partner integrations. This turns your delivery mechanism into a strong well-connected network of resources, designed to push your ecommerce enterprise to the head of the online marketplace.