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Best Magento POS (Point Of Sale) Integration Solutions

To no surprise, Google recently revealed that the term “Magento” was searched more than the word “eCommerce”. As Magento is being adopted to a great extent by established businesses, the need to integrate the store point of sale (POS) with the online store is of vital importance. Having such an integration helps streamline your transactions, avoids double data entry, and synchronizes the inventory between the POS and Magento as often as every minute. Therefore, finding and choosing the best software for Magento and your POS integration is more essential than ever. There are a few components that any online store needs to have, particularly if there’s a physical version of the store as well.

- The ability to keep track of inventory so that a product can be re-stocked prior to selling out.
- A seamless purchasing option that accepts and records payments appropriately.
- The ability to add, modify, or change product information into the system without fear of double entry.
- Saves time in all aspects of the business, whether that’s from adding information, making a transaction, or modifying a component during the selling process.
- Generates reports so that sales can be tracked and customer data can be monitored

There is a broad spectrum of different POS systems that integrate with Magento Community or Enterprise editions. All in all they fall in three types of Magento POS  integration solutions. The first one is purchasing a Magento POS integration extension in the Magento Connect Marketplace. Second, is by purchasing a one time software license that comes with a more expensive price tag than the first option and a set up fee. Third, using a POS integration application that has a monthly reoccurring fee.  In many cases, choosing a specific POS system will by default be choosing the POS integration system you will need to use.

Listed below are several Magento POS extensions, POS systems, and POS integration applications that can help you make the best choice for your business.

Paypal In-Aisle Selling
Microbiz
Modern Retail
VendHQ and VortexHQ
LightSpeed
X POS
IWD Magento POS
NCR Counterpoint + Center Stage’s CPMagento

Paypal In-Aisle Selling

Paypal In-Aisle Selling essentially gives the store clerk and associates the ability to walk the floor of their business and speak to the customers directly. There, they can use some form of mobile device (such as an iPad) to process payments that will be rerouted through the Magento site.  Different payment options are acceptable, including: PayPal, Credit Card, Cash, or Check. An Invoice can also be drawn up and given to the customer if needed.

Paypal In-Aisle Selling may be good for some businesses. From our research, however,  it seems to have bugs. There isn’t a lot of traffic on the Magento Connect website, and it hasn’t been well supported elsewhere. It is free, but it’s provided as is. It also relies on internet connection as you are directly rerouting all sales through the online store. Should that fail, your business would essentially shut down as you couldn’t process any transaction.

Microbiz is a POS

Microbiz is a POS system that has a plethora of information on their website. Their willingness to explain each step of their process answers a lot of questions up front, and they’re working hard to be as transparent as possible during the purchasing process of their system.

The key with Microbiz is that they’re focussed on making sure that their POS system looks and acts identically like the Magento admin. This way you’re not learning how to read and interact with two different interfaces, you’re only managing one and you don’t have to fight with reworking or re-entering information

Existing settings, product/customer records, copies attributes, departments, and categories from MicroBiz Cloud POS will transfer to Magento site, or vice versa. You can also set it up so that either your Magento site’s updates take precedence over your MicroBiz or the other way around.

Like Paypal In-Aisle, MicroBiz can connect to various devices including iPads and Androids, however it also works on stationary devices like PC’s and Macs. This allows for mobility while also establishing a counter operation as well.

MicroBiz is unique in that it specifies a multi-language and multi-currency option. This is an excellent feature for those who have international sales and need to switch back and forth between various currencies often.

FREE CONSULTATION!

Need help integrating your POS with Magento? Contact us today to talk about how we can help you. We have a variety of solutions to fit MOST budgets! Give us a call or fill out our contact form with as much information as possible by clicking here and you will receive a response, typically within hours!

New products can be easily entered into either MicroBiz or Magento directly and it will appear naturally on the other system. Parent SKUs and child SKUs are created relatively easily, and categories/attributes are set up to make finding and identifying products quicker and easier to manage.

MicroBiz tracks the real-time store POS inventory and ensures that items are reordered once stock becomes too low. It also allows for different stores to set unique pricing to the products on their shelves, allowing for diversity for their client base instead of locking storefronts into a pre-set amount.

MicroBiz generates reports that show 12 months of sales as well as all records of purchases and receiving. You can manage multiple vendors and can even reject delivery, back order, and track partial orders.

MicroBiz can be run without a Magento site, as it was initially used as a standalone system for both single and multi-store retailers. Data is synced automatically throughout the day from the online to physical store which ensures there are fewer problems with inventory at the end of the day.

MicroBiz does not work with Magento Go or Enterprise editions. Continually, if you do use MicroBiz for your eCommerce site, you can only operate a single Magento website at one time. Therefore this is not recommended for a store that manages multiple Magento sites simultaneously, or for a big business that uses one of the different Magento platforms.

http://microbiz.com/magento-pos/

It is priced at $900.00

Modern Retail

Modern Retail’s Magento QuickBooks POS integration is exactly as it sounds. It integrates the pre-existing QuickBooks POS system with Magento. This integration will only work for those that are already using this system.

Modern Retail’s integration system takes information from your QuickBooks POS and transfers it to your Magento store where it can be edited and merchandised into Simple or Configurable products. Completed orders and customer information gathered on Magento can be sent back to QuickBooks POS where inventory is then adjusted and new customer information (if applicable) is added.

Pricing updates, changes, and adjustments can be made automatically as well. Purchases and new products can be added directly to the Magento store which can then be transferred back into QuickBooks. The two systems will sync to one another generally every 30 minutes, but you can configure this to receive/send information at whatever intervals you prefer.

There is an element of customer support here, as Modern Retail will assist you in editing store information, adding attributes, and helping to create new items as necessary.

To run this integration system you would need to have Magento Community or Enterprise Edition 1.7.0.2 or higher
- Magento API Version 2.0 or higher
- PHP version 5.3 or higher.
- Server running the Magento API must have at least 1 GB of memory.

There is an initial setup cost of $2,000.00. This covers installation of the extension, initial product upload, training, and support. After that it will cost $75/month.

Modern Retail does not allow the store to install the system on their own, as they want to ensure that it’s properly configured and working appropriately. It is not clear whether Modern Retail will work with QuickBooks Multi-Store.

http://www.modernretail.com/magento/integrations/pos/quickbooks/

QuickBooks Point of Sale can be found here: http://quickbooks.intuit.com/point-of-sale/

Its starting cost is $1,199.95 for its basic package, $1,699.95 for Pro, and $1,899.95 for  Multi-Store.

VendHQ and VortexHQ

VendHQ is the POS System and VortexHQ is the integration that connects it to Magento. They seem to be run and operated by different companies, but the system works well together and so it hardly matters.

VendHQ works both online and offline, and can accept any form of payment necessary. This works out well for those who are concerned about their online store being the only way they can run purchase through their physical one. It’s compatible for PC or mac, and is designed for efficiencies.

There are several quick keys that can be used, and taxes are made to be easily customizable, receipts can be made to look unique, and customers can be tracked by their purchases. VendHQ also provides special options such as layaways/laybys and loyalty money/points. You can adjust loyalty spending however you deem best, whether it be a broad blanket plan or a per item point count. All customer account information is stored and monitored so you can check their transaction history at any time. You can input new customers at the point of sale, or transfer bulk information via CSV files as necessary.

Like other POS systems, it will automatically track, update, and record your stock levels and send you a notice so that you never have too much or too little stock on your shelves. It will prompt you into action whenever you need to reorder products. Similarly it will allow you to register new SKUs and barcodes whenever you need to in order to keep your inventory up to date.

VendHQ also maintains a variety of reports that you can check into at anytime. These include: sales and stock, history, line-by-line, payment types; as well as weekly, monthly, and yearly totals.

VortexHQ works exclusively with the VendHQ POS system, and is focussed primarily on small and midsize companies.

FREE CONSULTATION!

Need help integrating your POS with Magento? Contact us today to talk about how we can help you. We have a variety of solutions to fit MOST budgets! Give us a call or fill out our contact form with as much information as possible by clicking here and you will receive a response, typically within hours!

This integration system pushes product titles, long descriptions, prices, images, tax, SKU & Quantity from VendHQ to your Magento Go/Community Edition online stores. Essentially, any information that you have on VendHQ in regards to your products and clients will be transferred into Magento Go and Community Edition. You can update sale information as needed, and you can alter or access customer information as well.

Any changes to your Magento site will sync to your VendHQ site. VortexHQ is stored on secure serves and is backed by a 256-bit encryption SSL.

There are several tutorial videos available online that prospective stores can look at before they purchase, and Vortex offers a 30 day free trial with no restrictions, obligations, or set up costs to help you see if its the best fit for you. They offer customer service via email and chat support 7 days a week.

There are several payment packages that are associated with VortexHQ. As it’s an Australian based company, there are two different pricing matrixes available.

For “Outside” Australia:

-Manual Sync (meaning you would have to manually sync your inventory, stock, and SKUs between the platforms) $15 USD/month

-Scheduled Sync (automatically syncs per hour) : $25 USD/month

-Automatic sync (automatically syncs ever 1.5 minutes): $50 USD/month

For all Australian companies, prices include GST:

Manual Sync: $16.50 AUD/month

Scheduled Sync (per hour) : $27.50 AUD/month

Automatic sync: $55 AUD/month

http://www.vendhq.com/?partner_code=digiclou&utm_campaign=reseller

http://www.vortexhq.com

 

LightSpeed

LightSpeed’s integration system is once again only for LightSpeed’s POS. LightSpeed’s interface can look messy at times. There’s so much happening on the screen that it can seem overcomplicated and a bit overwhelming. While using LightSpeed Pro may help streamline things for some companies, it might take a learning curve in order to truly stand behind it and use it efficiently.

Visually, LightSpeed uses different colors indicate different statuses on products and transactions. Once the colors are memorized it should help streamline things. LightSpeed does offer reports to show you what you primarily sell and can connect to Google analytics to assist you with managing your web traffic. Other features like Mail Chimp can also be integrated into LightSpeed so you can utilize a variety of different effects.

LightSpeed’s POS monitors inventory control, tracks stock, submits purchase orders, and even sets up automatic reorder points. It syncs into Magento, but there’s no clear description as to how it syncs or if there are automatic features involved. It can be put on a mobile device so that employees can walk about the store, and it will work with a card swipe plugin as well.

LightSpeed stores all information “in the cloud.” This can be beneficial to you as if anything should happen to your physical data, you will still be able to access your information and ensure that everything is running smoothly. However, LightSpeed is designed for Mac and iOs exclusively and so there is no PC or Android component.

LightSpeed also has a variety of themes that you can use to physically create your online store to your customers. This offers a unique design aspect that alters it somewhat from the standard POS systems available. Because of this it seems like an all in one inclusive: the ability to show what the website will look like to others, as well as utilizing a POS system that communicates with Magento.

LightSpeed doesn’t host the Magento database, though it does connect to it. There is no clear description of what, if any, advantages there are to using LightSpeed. Rather, it seems focussed primarily on its store POS system and not eCommerce. eCommerce for LightSpeed appears to be merely an afterthought. The themes are a nice addition, but it seems to distract from the overall purpose of what a POS integration system actually is about. While LightSpeed might be fantastic for small businesses’ physical in-person sales, it isn’t set up to be especially user friendly for eCommerce work.

http://www.lightspeedretail.com/webstore/

http://www.lightspeedretail.com/help/using-magento/

You must request a quote in order to gain pricing information for LightSpeed POS systems.

X POS

X POS’s integration system to Magento is specific for X POS. What’s most important about X POS though is that unlike many of the other POS systems out there – this one will connect to Magento Enterprise Edition. Larger businesses that use Enterprise will be able to connect to their POS system without having to change anything over, and this can open a lot of doors for those who were having difficulties before.

X POS maintains an offline feature that enables transactions to still be processed without the internet. Once connection is restored it will autoupdate with any transactions created while offline. It will accept any type of transaction, whether that be a swiper mode for credit card, Authorize.net or PayPal. Its online store can or can save credit card information so that repeat customers won’t need to continually enter their card information.

For convenience, it has an auto-find search feature, which allows stores to look for items by typing in part of a name, product id, or barcode. Orders can be edited or discounted on the fly, can be saved or cancelled at any time. A calculator is present on the screen to help with any computations that may need to be made.

Inventory is tracked and monitored to ensure proper stocking, and there are a variety of reports that X POS creates including a cash drawer report.

By logging into your Magento account, your X POS will automatically come up and any information you put into this page will transfer over to your Magento.

Recommended use is Firefox, though it can be used with chrome as well. However Safari or IE have limited functionality. This can be problematic for some businesses who don’t use either Firefox or Chrome.

http://saas.smartosc.com/resources/2012/05/pos-point-of-sale-offline-swiper/

One time cost: $599.00

IWD Magento POS

IWD POS Extension is another POS System that integrates with either Magento Community or Enterprise. There is no additional integration process or purchase that needs to be made once the initial system is set in place. 

IWD POS System can accept a variety of different payments including a card swipes and cash payments. Product scanners can be used in store to relate to any product that you may have, it is designed to be as user friendly as possible for the sales associates. One unique feature is that sales can be tracked by which associate is using the register, and so you can monitor employee work as well as customer purchases.

IWD works on a variety of operating systems including both Mac and PC. It also supports Magento multi-store functionality – so it’s an excellent tool for larger businesses that are trying to monitor a large amount of data and transactions.

It’s more simplistic visually and that can help cut down on some of the confusion that may arise while processing a transaction. Graphics of products can be put in the POS system to make it easier to find and record, overall turning the process away from being solely text based. Customer accounts can be created at any time and you can search for, and modify, these accounts whenever necessary. Customer wish-lists can also be created on their account pages. Discounts and order comments can be added to purchases as well.

IWD’s specific Magento information isn’t described in great detail aside from the fact that it is automatically a part of the system. You can track orders and sales via Magento, and assumedly you can run reports through it as well. Inventory stock levels should be visible and managed too, but again – there’s no clear information about this on their website or other instructional venues.

http://www.iwdpos.com

Pricing: $45/mo/user

NCR Counterpoint  + Center Stage’s CPMagento

The last and most complete POS and Magento integration is NCR’s Counterpoint SQL, a leading  POS management solution, and Center Stage’s CPMagento. We have personally worked with Center Stage and their team on multiple projects, and can testify that their integration is one of the best in the market.

Counterpoint SQL serves as a store inventory and POS management. Some of its features are Counterpoint eCommerce software, email marketing, credit-card processing, mobile device integration, client purchase history, automated purchasing, tier pricing, gift cards and loyalty programs. CPMagento, on the other hand, is the software that functions as a bridge between Counterpoint and the Magento Store.  CPMagento Integrates items, customers, orders, invoices and order tracking numbers between NCR CounterPoint and Magento eCommerce GO, Community or Enterprise!

When using Counterpoint and CPMagento, data is entered only in Counterpoint and CP Magento pushes it up to the website and vise versa.  CPMagento supports CounterPoint SQL version 8.46 and Magento Community up to 1.9, Magento Enterprise 1.13 and Magento GO.  Integrations with older versions of Magento are possible, but may lack integration functionality due to limitations in the Magento API. Additional time will be required for testing CPMagento integration with older versions of Magento. The Integration supports linking one or multiple Magento Stores to a single instance of CounterPoint SQL.  It is possible for unlimited Magento Stores to be linked to unlimited CounterPoint SQL instances and the inventory synchronization even every minute.

Counterpoint and CPMagento work well for big, well established businesses who make at least 500K in annual sales. The Counterpoint license will need to purchased directly from NCR or an NCR partner and the CPMagento license is purchased from Center Stage. If you already use Counterpoint and are interested in a demo of how CPMagento integrates between your POS and Magento, contact us directly and we will arrange a phone call with Center Stage for you.

If you think that there is another POS that integrates with Magento, or need to add your thoughts to the conversation, feel free to comment below.

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Responsive Magento Template vs. Mobile App Extension

Most companies who own a Magento eCommerce store want their customers to be able to access the website through their mobile devices. There are two ways to go about this: First, for Magento stores that are not responsive,  an extension  can be purchased that makes the website mobile friendly by adding the mobile app extension to the website. The second option is using a responsive template that already has that feature built in from the beginning.

However, if you already have a website that isn’t already responsive, choosing to redesign your site onto a responsive template can be a difficult decision. While choosing a mobile extension from the Magento Connect Marketplace may seem like the most convenient and less expensive route, it can often lead to challenges and complications that you hadn’t foreseen. A responsive template is the most cost effective decision in the long run, and it is the easiest to maintain.

To be clear, using an extension to make your Magento store mobile friendly is effective. The mobile app extension will do what it is designed to do. However, the true drawback of going this route is the amount of work that needs to be put in to keeping the mobile app website up to date and running. Every time you want to update your website, a second step would have to be made in order to update the mobile version of your website too. Your app essentially acts as its own website, requiring its own maintenance and upkeep. Overtime, this can heavily increase the amount of money your company spends on your website, exceeding the overall cost of redesigning or transferring to a responsive template from the get-go.

In addition to the fact that your website needs to be updated in two places, if a website has too complex shipping, subscription options, or discount codes it is often quite difficult to make this functionality work on the mobile version of the website exactly the same as on the actual website. As a result, visitors that are accessing the website via a mobile device are not offered the same user experience and see the options that show on a regular browser leading like this into a lost sale.

With a responsive template everything will update at the same time through one admin panel. One adjustment to your site will affect your mobile site, and vice-versa. There’s no separation. All changes whether it be content, organization, design, or others take place in one location.

Continually, mobile apps cannot be indexed through search engines. This will effect your overall Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking as your traffic patterns won’t register appropriately. With the responsive template, all traffic will be directed to one location, and so your ranking should not be affected negatively.

 

Mobile App User: Kombucha Brooklyn

 


Responsive Magento Template User: Junie Moon

 

Conclusion

Responsive templates can easily fit into any platform and there are no extra steps you need to follow. They are already built and ready to go, so you don’t have to worry about whether your e-commerce site is fitting correctly on a customer’s device.  Many online shoppers use smart phones or tablets to purchase their goods. They scroll through hundreds of product listings a day, and if they see that your site is not working correctly or easy to navigate, there is a strong chance they’ll leave your site. Having a responsive Magento template can benefit your company and your customers by circumventing this issue.

It would make things easier and faster.  While there may be more cost in setting a responsive template up from the beginning, it will save money in the long run as it is easier to update and manage. While using an extension to create a mobile version of your Magento store, also known as a  mobile app, can work well too, the excess time and money spent keeping both the mobile app and the main site running simultaneously and effectively may not be worth it. 

If you are creating your Magento website from scratch, choosing to build  it with a responsive template is the ideal way to go. It is more expensive as an  upfront investment, but it saves time, money, and energy in the long run by allowing you to have both a computer and mobile friendly site up and running in one fell swoop.

 

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How To Safely Upgrade From Magento 1.7 To 1.9

One topic of discussion that always leaves room for debate among the Magento community is how to upgrade your Magento store. Due to the unique nature of each store, it’s easy to run into errors or complications. If you are trying to upgrade your Magento store from Magento 1.7.0 to Magento 1.9.1, the following tips and tricks may help streamline your process. These are not always mentioned in the tutorial guides, but can save you a lot of time and energy in the long run.

Step 1: Ensure You Have A Dev Environment

Depending on which web host you have, you can clone your live site either for free or for a small fee. This is called a “dev environment. ” Nexcess allows you to do this for $25. With this clone, you can edit and make changes on the dev environment without altering your live site. That way if something breaks or a problem is found, your live site will remain unaffected.

Step 2: Back Up Your Database And Magento Files

It is critical to backup your app folder. It contains third party modules and your child theme/custom theme. Before you upgrade, make sure you have a backed up file for this folder in case anything should happen. You can do this through SSH, but you can also download it via the ‘file manager.’ If you want to play it safe, download the folder via file manager or FTP. You can also download the js, media, skin, lib and package folders as well. There is no harm in having every key folder and file in the Magento install backed up, but do not forget to back up your app folder.

Step 3: Upload Magento 1.8 Files To Your Dev Magento Environment

Without having to worry about custom modules or themes being overwritten, all that happens here is the newer versions of core Magento files overwrite the older ones. This is perfectly safe and can be done via FTP or SSH. If you are comfortable moving what will be a ‘magento’ folder, which contains the files from the Magento 1.8 zip file, and moving its contents to the root magento install, SSH is for you. If not, don’t worry, just use FTP and grab some coffee as it will take some time. Once the files are replaced, run the url of your domain and you should see your site operating normally.

Check For Bugs/Errors

I found one compatibility issue with Google Checkout. Google Checkout discontinued service/support in November of 2013 so Magento 1.8 decided not to include it. Therefore, if you have Google Checkout module installed on 1.7 or prior, and then upgrade, you will see a conflict. The solution is to remove the Google Checkout folder from the ‘lib’ folder in the Magento root install. Back up your database, and then go into PhpMyAdmin. There, look at the ‘core_resources’ table, scroll through each page until you see a reference to Google Checkout and delete it.

After that, go into the core_config_data table and back it up. When you return to it, use this query: “Select * from core_config_data where path like ‘%google%’”. You will find one record with a path listing ‘google checkout’. Delete that.

Afterwards, delete app/code/core/Mage/Googlecheckout and then clear cache. You should be good to go.

Step 4: Back Up Database And App Folder

At this point, you should have a Magento 1.8 loading without errors. Just in case something may go wrong with the 1.9 upgrade, you should back up your database and app folder.

Step 5: Add Magento 1.9 Files To Your Root Web

At this point you are basically doing the same thing you did for step 3. Upload the files from version 1.9 to the root web and when you are done point your browser to the homepage. Afterward , visit the admin and check the footer. You should see it state Magento 1.9.

A Few Other Reminders:

1.) Always leave System –>Tools–>Compilation disabled in your admin.

2.) Do Not Rush This Process

The reason I say this is each situation is unique and your modules may involve custom code or extensions that were not meant for the upgrades (Such as the Google Checkout module). While you should be fine for the most part, it would be wise to review your extensions and confirm that the developer has ensured compatibility with 1.9. If not, try 1.8 and stay with that for the time being if you find something you depend on is not ready for that upgrade. While it may never be the case, it is always best to do as much research as you can and play it safe.

 

 

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One Step Checkout for Magento: Awesome Checkout vs. OneStepcheckout

We recently got the chance to work with a new checkout solution called “Awesome Checkout” which is built by a company called Anatta Design. The extension was used for a client of ours who is using Magento Enterprise. Awesome Checkout claims to be “full of shortcuts” and to eliminate checkout errors, making a swift checkout “foolproof”.

While Awesome Checkout has a customizable admin panel, we modified the checkout’s CSS file and found it to be well-organized and simple. It was easy to implement the brand with the CSS, but anyone who is less code-savvy could use the admin to achieve their desired look. For more customization, Awesomecheckout’s “Awesome Package” ($999) offers styling.

What Makes it different?

The first thing you’ll notice about Awesome Checkout is that it is full of prompts, suggestions, and shortcuts. Once you begin entering your email, Awesome Checkout Immediately detects whether or not you have an existing account. Then, you can choose to either log in, or continue as a guest.

Awesome Checkout also immediately notifies users if they may have inputted incorrect or incomplete information. This is great because you don’t need to get all the way through checkout before finding out you needed to give your last name along with your first name. The feedback isn’t always negative. Sometimes Awesome Checkout just wants to remind you that certain inputs need to be formatted in a certain way.

Awesome Checkout will complete your address for you once you enter your zip code, which makes this step quick, because you don’t have to find your state in a long drop down.

Awesome Checkout Pros:

- Easy to Customize the styles, colors, buttons, and page elements.
- Clean, Responsive design works well in desktop and mobile views.
- Helpful tips and prompts along the way
- Autofilled address based on Zip Code
- Compatible with most popular payment gateways and shipping providers
- Available in seven different languages
- Ability to easily back-track and correct errors along the way.

Awesome Checkout Cons:

- The checkout page needs a little extra customization work. While it comes with a header and footer area, your Magento partner will need to add the header and footer from your theme for a completely integrated look.
- The layout is not as simple to change as the styles and colors. While we originally wanted to try a two-column layout, we realized that with all the prompts and suggestion, this would become extremely complicated, so we saved time by keeping it simple.
- Awesome Checkout is a little more expensive that OneStepCheckout ($199)

Overall Recommendation:

Awesome Checkout is a good solution if your biggest concern is getting users through checkout as quickly as possible. It’s helpful along the way, and integrates very well with your Magento Website (as long as you have a knowledgeable Magento partner who can style it and add your header and footer).

We have personally found it easy to work with and during testing, have found the checkout process swift and easy, whether you choose to check out as a guest or as a registered customer.

What we did:

We have used OneStepCheckout on multiple occasions to eliminate the traditional Magento six checkout steps and create a simple and easy checkout process.

We installed and configured this checkout extension, and then used CSS to style it to match the branding of our client. I found this theme a little more challenging to style than Awesome Checkout, because it relies too heavily on images in its styles. For example, the “place order now” button uses a gradient image in its background, which is quite annoying from a developer’s perspective. The numbered steps also use images, which is unnecessary.

What Makes it different?

OneStepCheckout claims to “simplify the checkout process” and eliminating “unnecessary questions”. OneStepCheckout also eliminates the idea of checkout out with registration as part of the checkout process. Instead, customers can choose to login via a link outside the form, or they can create an account by simply adding a password after they’ve entered their billing address.

OneStepCheckout’s claim to fame is the use of a single page that never bounces users anywhere else, allowing them to see the the entire checkout process to understand where the end is. It also automatically updates the “Review Your Order” segment , so customers can be sure their order will be placed correctly.

OneStepCheckout Pros:

- Keeps the user on one page, where the end is in sight.
- Removes the confusion that sometimes comes when users need to choose whether to checkout as a guest or a registered customer
- Aims for simplicity and the elimination of anything that may be unnecessary.
- Cheaper than Awesome Checkout. Currently costing $149

OneStepCheckout Cons:

- This checkout is not responsive, which is a big problem for most modern websites. Hopefully OneStepCheckout will update to be responsive, but I have personally styled the OneStepCheckout to make it mobile-friendly, and it wasn’t that difficult.
- Styling the OneStepCheckout involves overwriting image backgrounds and image graphics, which is unnecessary.
- We have found that OneStepCheckout sometimes “hangs” when calculating information, which caused a problem.

Overall Recommendation:

OneStepCheckout is a really good solution if you’re looking for simplicity. Your customers will be able to visually understand that the checkout process will be quick and easy. Because of the “hanging” problem we’ve encountered, make sure you test thoroughly and ask your Magento partner if they can share any unit or performance test they have performed with this method, to make sure it will work well with your website.

In Conclusion:

These are two really great checkouts that we’ve had success with. Your choice depends on a couple of factors. While Awesome Checkout is extremely helpful and almost foolproof, OneStepCheckout makes the process visually simple and makes the process in its entirety easy to digest.

 

Posted in Magento Checkout | 2 Comments

Why Hover States Matter

You’re probably wondering why hover states on your website matter so much. It’s something that often gets overlooked, but in the web design world they’re very important for the user experience and functionality of your website.

 

Okay, What’s A Hover State?

First off, a “hover state” is a link located anywhere on your website that changes its’ color or design once the user hovers over it with their mouse. Most users are familiar with this, but this is when you would see the little arrow change into a hand with a pointing finger. This allows the user to know that this object is clickable.

Example from CatScarf

 

But Why Does It Matter So Much?

The user needs to know when and where to click. This is how people navigate through your site. If they can’t figure it out, there’s a good chance they’ll get frustrated and leave.

Here are a few ways to have an effective hover state:

  1. When the link isn’t active, make sure to let the user know that it’s an actual link and they are allowed to click. Like stated above, the arrow needs to change to the pointing hand.
  2. Some websites remove the underline that usual appears under a link. If you happen to do this, make sure the user knows it’s clickable.
  3. Having a hover state in your navigation is extremely important. Without it the user will not know where to click. They could be hovering between two links without knowing the actual location of the pointer.
Example from Munchery

 

Conclusion

To make it absolutely clear to your user that the link is indeed a link, you can either have the text bold or a different color that separates it from the rest of the text. The link won’t get lost within the text by doing this.

Images or buttons that are links can have a hover state as well. The color of the image or button could change or it can be a completely different image.  Just make sure the user knows it’s clickable.

Example from Matt & Nat

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