As a busy eCommerce marketer, you want a website that functions well out of the gate and requires very little in the way of maintenance. At the same time, you want functionality that’s perfect for your unique store, not some one-size-fits-all package with no flexibility.
The software developers behind large and popular eCommerce platforms like Magento and Shopify understand this, and want to give you what you’re looking for. But, it’s difficult and impractical for them to regularly update and release the entire platform just to include one small functional enhancement.
That’s why the eCommerce plugin was created.
What is a plugin?
In non-techie terms, a plugin is simply a small section of code created to fit seamlessly into a larger program to accomplish a specific purpose.
Picture it like a timer for a lamp in your house. It plugs into the wall and the lamp plugs into it, providing you with the ability to automatically set your light to turn on and off at certain times – functionality you didn’t have before.
In most cases, large eCommerce platforms open up their code to third-party developers so that plugins can be created quickly to greatly expand the functionality of the base platform. This gives users even more options to fine-tune their online stores to their own specific needs.
This is a huge plus for store owners because they are able to customize the entire front end and back end of the shopping experience without having to hire private developers or spend a lot of time fighting with code themselves. And, it’s great for the eCommerce platform developers because plugins enhance their user experience dramatically.
What can an ecommerce plugin do for your site?
As a busy eCommerce pro, you want the best of both worlds: a fully customizable platform that allows you to create the best customer experience you can, while boosting profitability and efficiency. You also can’t waste a lot of time or effort achieving that because you have a business to run, products to make or obtain, and orders to fulfill.
eCommerce plugins make all of that possible.
You can think of your eCommerce platform’s plugin store as an app marketplace specific to that platform. Just as you’ve come to expect for your mobile device, if you’ve ever said to yourself, “Man, I wish I could get my store to do this…” there’s probably a plugin for that.
While some require a purchase or monthly subscription, many are provided for free. There are likely many different plugins offering variations of the functionality you’re looking for, so you can experiment and see what works best for you.
Getting a plugin up and running on your store usually takes just a few minutes to install and set it up.
For a perfect example of how plugins can enhance your admin and your shoppers’ experience, check out the ecommerce recommender plugins that we’ve developed for fast and simple integration on the Magento, Miva Merchant, and DemandWare platforms. A Shopify plugin is on its way soon.
If you want to see how the Strands Recommender plugins work in action: