Magento Extension Roundup - December 2017
24 Jan 2018, by Toby Faux
0 Comments · Posted in Magento Extension Reviews

    In our last Magento extension round-up for 2017, we look at a way to control which customer groups can use specific payment methods, as well as a Magento 2 extension that lets you create your very own chatbot! We also look at a couple of Magento 1 extensions that help with store monitoring and order notifications.

    Magento 2

    Customer Group Payment Filters by Galactic Labs

    Customer Group Payment Filters

    Customer groups are a handy way to offer discounts on some products to different types of customers in your store. By default, Magento 2 includes customer groups for guests, registered users, retailers and wholesale customers. It's also very easy to create new groups to represent customers who might fall into other categories, such as loyalty program members or B2B partners.

    Sometimes it's desirable to limit the availability of certain products, categories, or even store features to customers who belong to particular groups. This extension allows you to control which payment methods are made available to customers in the checkout based on which group they belong to. For example, you may wish to make a specific payment method available exclusively to registered customers as a means of incentivising users to sign up. Alternatively, it might make sense for you to enforce upfront payments for orders placed by new wholesale customers. In either case, this extension makes it simple to put the necessary restrictions in place.

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    Magento Chatbot by blopa

    Magento Chatbot

    This extension allows customers to interact with your store from an instant messaging interface with the aid of a chatbot. Chatbots are a novel way for customers to engage with brands, and have seen an increase in popularity over the past couple of years. With over a billion monthly active users on Facebook Messenger alone, it's no wonder companies like Pizza Hut, Spotify and Lyft have turned to chatbots to extend their customer experiences beyond traditional channels.

    Although this extension was only released in December, it already boasts an impressive list of features. Customers can search your store's products, add products to their cart, track their orders and more, all by sending and receiving instant messages. With integration, the extension can even perform natural language processing!

    Something to consider before installing this extension is that the initial version only works with Facebook Messenger (you'll also need to set up a corresponding Facebook app). However, support for Skype, Telegram, WeChat and WhatsApp is already in the works. If you're interested in exploring new ways for your store to reach customers, this extension might be worth keeping an eye on.

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    Magento 1

    Order Alert Notifications by Curotec

    Order Alert Notifications

    If your store has ever encountered an issue that prevented customers from checking out, you'll know that a timely response is critical to minimising the impact on sales. However, sometimes a showstopper bug can go unnoticed until a user reports the issue, by which time many would-be customers may have already abandoned their orders! The idea behind this extension is to notify store admins if no orders have been placed within a certain interval. This interval is configurable, so you can specify longer periods for stores that process a lower volume of orders.

    One advantage of this extension over other monitoring mechanisms is that it watches for a broader symptom of checkout problems, rather than trying to detect particular errors. However, all it takes is one successful order to reset the clock, meaning an error that affects most (but not all) customers won't sound the alarm. Furthermore, despite being configurable at the website and store configuration scopes, the extension only attempts to confirm that at least one order has been placed within the configured interval for the entire Magento installation. With this in mind, we recommend supplementing this extension with other, more robust error notification solutions.

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    Send Email on Order Status Change by ambimax

    Send Email on Order Status Change

    This is a simple extension that does exactly what it says on the tin: sends an email to a recipient of your choosing each time an order's status changes. You can also specify which particular statuses should trigger the email, as well as modify the email's subject and body. However, there's currently no way to configure different recipients or templates based on which status the order has been updated to without further modifications. This extension might be useful if you run a smaller store and like to be kept in the loop without having to constantly log in to the admin panel.

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    Please note that Fontis conducts extension reviews independently, but that a review does not constitue an endorsement.