30-Enterprise-FeaturesAs a Magento consultant I often get asked what is the difference between Magento Community and Magento Enterprise editions, and if Magento Enterprise is really worth the cost. So I have put together this list of powerful features that you can utilise using Enterprise Edition, I’ll then leave it up to you as to whether you think it is worth the cost 🙂

Most features can be built into Community Edition via add-on extensions, I will cover that in a later post. However if you want all or most of these features then it’s more efficient to get Enterprise Edition. I’m not a believer you can build a comparable Enterprise Edition site through using Community Edition plus third party extensions.

 

1. Private Sales & Catalog Events
This feature allows you to create your own exclusive VIP shopping club where customers login to access special prices or exclusive product offerings. This can be ideal for moving excess stock product lines or providing a preview to a new season of clothing for example.

private-sale

As part of the Private Sales functionality you can create Catalog Events which are assigned to categories within your store. You can promote the event by a event ticker or countdown timer and also your own custom graphic that displays optionally on the category and product pages. By default any product within a category associated with a private sales event has add to cart functionality hidden from the general public making the prices shown exclusive to your private sales members.

countdown-ticker

Membership to the Private Sales group can be done via Invitations or front-end registration. The example on the Magento enterprise demo store shows paid member registration through the recurring profile feature in Magento.

 

2. Customer Segments

This is one of my favourite features for it’s ability to group customers by profile and also behaviour for increased target marketing. It works by setting up conditions that assign customers to the segment based on Customer Attributes (eg. Gender, Date of Birth etc.), Shopping Cart, Products and Sales data.

segment

You can use multiple conditions if needed and the Shopping Cart & Product conditions target visitors as well as registered customers. Once your segments are created then they can be referenced throughout other areas of your Magento site – some of which are covered further in this post.

 

3. Customer Attributes

Customer attributes provide an easy way of collecting additional data on your customer which you can prompt them for when registering. You can select whether your attribute can be referenced to create a customer segment or not. These attributes you can optionally show to your customer or only show in the backend for administrative purposes.

 

4. Rule-Based Product Relations

After working on Magento stores over the past 5 years I would say less than 20% of clients have utilised the related, upsell and cross-sell product features in Magento, despite their obvious benefits to the customer experience on the front-end. This is mainly due to Community Edition requiring these associations to be manually selected for every product. This is great if you only have a small store as your product associations can be well defined, but when you have hundreds or thousands of products this becomes a tedious exercise.

The Rule-Based Product Relations in Magento Enterprise fixes this issue by creating conditions or rules to which your related, upsell and cross-sell products are automatically assigned. It works by creating 2 sets for rules, one for “Products to Match” and the other “Products to Display”. Let’s work with example that we’re selling Womens dresses and we want to show our range of Necklaces to accessorise the dress as upsell products. Obviously not every dress is going to go with every necklace so if the customer is looking at a purple dress then I want them to see the purple necklaces as upsells.

Under ‘Products to Match’ – i’m going to select the category ‘Dresses & Skirts’

product-rules1

Then add another condition for Color = Purple

product-rules2

Under “Products to Display” – I will do the same but select the category Necklaces.

The end result will be that any product in Dresses & Skirts that has the colour purple will show products from the Necklaces category that are also purple in the upsell product block.

You can also reference your customer segments within your product association rules to increase relevancy of product associations to those customers.

 

5. Visual Merchandiser

This is a great feature for any store with a large inventory or if you’ve struggled maintaining product > category associations. It allows you to create rules to which a product should be assigned to a category and also provides a visual drag-and-drop interface for setting the order your products you want your products to display in, previously only done by numbering the order of your items from 1 to 1000.

A common problem I have encountered is the duplication between attributes and categories. A category is often created for a page to be included in the store navigation – for example you might want a Shop by Brand option in your main store navigation so there is a category is created for each brand that you sell. There is also a product attribute called brand (or manufacturer) so a common mistake is to select your brand but forget to also associate it with the brand category.

With Visual Merchandiser this association can be automated. For example under the category “Nike” you can set up a category rule that will automatically associate products where Brand = Nike. You can have multiple attributes so to create the category “Nike Shoes” then you can define a category rule to associate products that match Brand = Nike and Product Type = Shoes – so you never need to remember to go into each product and select manually select the category “Nike Shoes”. This is explained further in this video

 

6. Automated Email Reminder Rules

This feature allows you to create a series of rules to automatically market your customers. A popular utilisation of this feature is for abandoned shopping carts but you can also use it to reference wishlist items.

As shown in the example below, we’re going to market customers who abandoned their cart 1 day ago

email-reminder

 

7. Category Permissions

This feature can be useful if you have multiple customer groups or have a wholesale customer base, it allows you to control the visibility of the entire category, pricing and add to cart functionality by customer group.

You can set your default permissions under the configuration, so if you wanted to block your entire catalogue from public access then you can do that through the configuration:

category_permissions

These permissions can then be overridden for each specific category – for example in the screenshot below I am hiding prices and add to cart from the Not logged in customer group (i.e public) for the Womens category

category_permissions2

 

8. Website Restrictions

If you have multiple websites set-up in Magento, the Website Restrictions functionality can allow you to control access to each website.

For example, the previously mentioned Private Sales functionality would commonly be linked to a separate website in Magento where you can configure the access restrictions as shown below.

website-restrictions

 

9. Assisted Shopping

This feature allows you to manage a customers cart from the Magento admin panel. It works by locating the customer profile and then selecting ‘Manage Shopping Cart’. This then loads up the contents of the cart for you, as shown below. You can then either edit or add items to their cart for them to later complete their purchase themselves. Or you can create an order on their behalf with their cart contents, this can be useful if the customer has had some issue with checking out.

assisted_shopping_cart

 

 

10. RMA (Return Merchandise Authorisation)

The RMA functionality in Magento Enterprise allows your customers to submit a RMA request form. The availability to submit an RMA can be controlled at a product level.

The RMA request can be submitted for 1 or more products associated with an order and requires the store owners approval. Approval / acceptance can be made in full or partially. For example the customer may want to return 2 items but their reason for returning 1 item may not be acceptable but you can accept the return of the other item.

Once an RMA is accepted the customer then needs to send the item back to you, once received you can then elect to refund the customer or provide them with store credit.

 

11. Store Credits

When processing returns and refunds (either through RMA functionality described above or credit memos) you can optionally refund the order with store credit. This allows the customer to return to the store at a later time and make another purchase, during the checkout process they are provided the option ‘Pay with store credit’.

You can manage or update a customer store credit balance anytime through editing their customer profile, to which you can optionally send an automated email with a personalised message of their credit balance update.

The usage of store credit keeps a full history that is visible to you and also optionally visible the customer through their account section.

At time of writing store credits don’t have any option to set a validity period or expiry.

 

12. Gift Cards

Enterprise supports 3 types of gift cards;
– Virtual (the gift card is emailed to the recipient)
– Physical (the gift card is sent to the defined shipping address at the checkout)
– Combined (the gift card is both emailed and sent)

The gift card is a product type in Magento and is quite easy to set-up. You can allow the customer to enter the value of the gift card themselves (but define a min and max value) or configure pre-set values to select from. When ordering the gift card the customer types in the recipient details and their message, as shown below.

gift_card

Redeeming the gift card can be done on the shopping cart page before proceeding to the checkout and they support partial redemption.

The email design for the gift card can be selected when setting up the gift card but only supports 1 design so it does lack some gift card design features that are available in some 3rd party gift card extensions.

You can set an expiry date on gift cards.

 

13. Gift Wrapping + Options

The gift options support offering gift wrapping at the checkout (with option to set a fee) and also an option to request a printed card which also has associated fee you can configure.

There is also the standard option to allow a gift message that is also available with Magento community.

 

14. Gift Registry

The gift registry is designed for customers to create their own special event gift registry for a wedding, engagement, birthday etc.

Under the customer account options, the customer can set-up as many registries as they like and then invite their friends and family to view it.

Adding items to the registry is done by adding items to the cart and then choosing option to add to gift registry

gift-registry-items

 

15. Rewards Points

rewardRewards points allows you to create your own customer loyalty program which is a proven method to increase customer retention rates. It works by setting up your points currency – for example 1 point = $1.00 or 100 points = $1.00. You then set-up ways customers can earn points and once these points are earned the customer can redeem these against their order at the checkout.

If you’re familiar with Magento’s shopping cart pricing rules then within Enterprise edition it allows you to reward points within the rules. For example you might have a promotion to Buy 2 T-Shirts and get $10 off, instead you could offer Buy 2 T-Shirts and get 100 rewards points.

Assuming your points currency value is 10 points = $1.00 then this will calculate to the same value discount. The key difference between these two offers is that using rewards points the customer is rewarded for their first purchase but can’t redeem the discount until they buy again resulting in two sales. This can be continued if the customer receives further points for their second purchase and so on.

You can also use rewards points as refunds and manually adjust a customer reward points balance through the Magento backend.

 

16. Invitations

This allows customers to invite their friends to join as a member of your store like ‘Refer a Friend’.

 

17. Promotional Banners

The promotional banners allow you to upload promotional images which can then be associated with customer segments or pricing rules (or a combination of both). The power of using banners in association with customer segments is it allows you to offer real relevancy in your promotion to that particular customer segment. It can also be used to avoid common issues like advertising Free Shipping to a customer who might not be eligible for it.

The placement of the banners on the page can be varied according so default positioning available within Magento or defined by your Magento developer.

 

18. Order by SKU

This is a great feature for B2B / Wholesale merchants. It allows you to provide the customer with a CSV of items they want to order. Then all the customer needs to do is register or login to their account, go to Order by SKU and upload the CSV. It then adds the items defined in the CSV to their cart.

 

19. Sales Archiving

If you’re running a Magento Community store then you’ll be all too familiar with annoying way that (without customisation) you can’t hide completed, fraudulent, test or cancelled orders from your sales grid. With Enterprise you can set at what order status the order should be considered as archived and removed from your sales grid. I wouldn’t recommend getting Enterprise just for this feature but it’s a nice value-add 🙂

 

20. Admin Actions Logging

Ever wondered who did what in your administration? With admin actions logging you can set-up logging for the various areas of your site administration. The logs can be viewed at any time by exporting a CSV / spreadsheet and logs can be set to rotate at set time period to avoid getting excessively large.

 

21. CMS Page Hierarchy

The functionality of the CMS pages is extended in Magento Enterprise to allow selection of a parent page which is much needed for stores that may have a lot of static content.

 

22. Scheduled Import / Export

This is a great feature if you need to regularly supply product data to others or import data supplied from another source. Imports can fetch files remotely at specified time intervals and import the data into your store. For example if your supplier generates a data file with stock updates every 24 hours, then this feature can be utilised to automate the import of this data into your Magento store.

The export feature (following some configuration) could support shopping cart comparison data feeds as well be used for integrations between Magento and a 3rd party application if the integration relies on import / export functionality.

 

23. Content Staging

The content staging is a separate website view where you can preview your changes to products, product descriptions, cms pages etc. before going live. It is password protected and references the same database as your live website.

The general workflow is that new content is created and updates are performed and previewed on staging. Once ready to go live you can then merge this into the live website (this merges in all your changes including any system configuration changes). Of course there is a roll-back option if something goes wrong.

Each staging website has a event history so you can review the changes that have taken place before merging them into the live site.

This is ideal for planning major changes to your store like having store-wide themes for occasions like Valentines Day, Halloween and Christmas.

This shouldn’t be confused with a development staging site where code changes are performed, this should always be separate to a live website.

 

24. Administrator Roles by Store / Website

If you run a multi-website or multi-store installation, this feature allows you to setup administrator logins but restrict access to particular websites or stores.

 

25. Secure Payment Bridge

This is a PA-DSS (payment application data security service) certified payment application that helps merchants meet PCI compliance. It avoids the need for the entire installation to PCI Compliant. To learn more about the secure payment bridge you can download this pdf from Magento.

 

26. Configurable Order Tracking Widget

This allows customers to track the status of existing orders and returns without the need to log into their account.

 

27. Full Page Caching

The full page cache dramatically improves Magento performance, and is used on category, product and CMS pages. As described by Magento “Full-page caching improves response time and reduces the load on the server. Without caching, each page might need to run blocks of code and retrieve information from the database. However, with full-page caching enabled, a fully-generated page can be read directly from the cache.”

 

28. Multiple Wishlists

Enterprise edition extends the functionality of Wishlists to allow customers to create multiple lists which is great for different events like Weddings or Birthdays. Customers can copy or move items from list to list and also elect if the wishlist is public or private. Wishlists can be referenced by the Automated Email Reminder Rules (mentioned above) making it a very powerful tool to encourage customer to buy.

 

29. Product Category Purchase Permissions by Customer Group

This feature allows you to restrict purchasing or visibility of a product category to certain customer groups. This is particularly useful for merchants selling a mix of wholesale and retail products or if you have a private sales group.

 

30. Solr Search

Saving the best until last. As any leading ecommerce retailer will tell you effective site search is critical to sales conversion. If you’re familiar with Magento Community then it’s often received a lot of flack over it’s search relevancy – out of the box it’s pretty bad. Magento Enterprise comes with an improved Mysql fulltext search engine which is better, but to take it one step further you can link it to external search Solr.

Solr is the leading choice for site search for many reasons, the 3 key features in using it with Magento Enterprise are:

  • Spelling correction (eg. Did you mean?) – if your customer mistypes their search phase with standard search they will receive something like:
    search_misspell2
    Using Solr, instead they receive suggestions as shown:
    search_misspell
  • Search suggestions, this displays other related search phrases that may better suit the customers criteria making it easier to find their product. See example below for search for “portable hard drive”

search_result

  • Auto suggest – this suggests search results as you type. Below is a small snapshot from dicksmith.com.au when starting to search for keyword computer

auto-suggest

  • Faceted Search – this feature works with Magento’s layered navigation (often referred to as “Shop by”) where search results can be filtered down by various attributes. This is native to Magento but Solr improves the performance and relevancy of layered navigation results.
  • Returns results faster – Solr search outperforms the standard search quite considerably.

The best feature of Solr is it’s capability to be optimised to your particular website. Search behaviour can vary significantly – what works well for one website might be completely different to another. Solr allows you to adjust settings in real time to increase relevancy and split test the most effective search results.