It’s the time of the year when businesses are expecting to make a large number of sales online since Cyber Monday has just passed and Christmas is around the corner. Most online businesses run on the Magento ecommerce platform and, according to Built With, Magento is one of the most widely-used shopping cart platforms in Europe and the U.S. with total market share of 14.87%.

It is also important to note that the Magento platform has some restrictions and if the CMS’ best and most valuable features aren’t  installed correctly, then your site will be turning away sales and customers.

So, whether you’re considering switching eCommerce platforms to improve your sales conversions or if you want to ensure your Magento-powered website is generating revenue and increasing your customer base, then follow these six steps.

1. Dedicated Magento Web hosting

Despite its popularity, Magento is slow compared to its competitors, however its performance can be improved by using a good hosting service. We advise companies to run Magento on a dedicated machine to achieve the best performance. It is important that you choose a web host which is scalable, integrates well with the cloud and offers exceptional 24/7/365 customer support, to ensure that when the website goes down you can get it back up again quickly reducing the amount of loss the company suffers.

2. Speed up your Magento Store, the faster the better

Although having dedicated hosting for your Magento website will help, somewhat, with the speed, there are other actions that can be taken to improve this.

Research has found that customers are likely to abandon a website if the page does not load in a maximum of five seconds and Google suggests that the website page load time should be two seconds or less; so anything which takes more than two seconds will also have a negative impact on search engine rankings.

One way to improve the performance is to enable Cloud Delivery Network (CDN) and Full Page Caching (FPC).

If your store is built on the Magento V1 Community edition then you will need a FPC extension:  you will find that FPC is included as one of the core features of Magento V1 Enterprise Edition and it can be enabled easily by going to ‘System’ then ‘Cache Management’. However, you do not need any third party FPC extension if your store is built on Magento2, FPC now comes with Magento2 as a native feature.

3. Improve and simplify the checkout process

Customers are more likely to abandon their shopping carts during the checkout process when it takes more than a minute to finish the transaction.

Have you noticed how Amazon’s checkout process works? According to this survey the average online shopping cart abandonment rate is around 69%, a rate you can easily avoid by making the checkout process easy, intuitive, brief and secure. We have noticed that our clients noticed an increase in sales when the Guest Checkout option was enabled. It’s always a good idea to keep Guest Checkout option open to allow more flexibility on your Magento store.

One way to increase the sales is to integrate Paypal Express Checkout with your store. It allows customers to place their orders without having to go to the shopping cart and checkout pages as PayPal has all of the customer’s information already stored: it also gives the buyer the added security of knowing that PayPal is safe to use.

Make sure that Paypal Express Checkout button is enabled on the product page, shopping cart and the checkout page.

4. Customers love free shipping

According to Magento’s official blog, shipping cost was another of the main reasons for shopping cart abandonment: either the shipping cost was too high or free shipping was only offered on large orders.

According to a ComScore study free shipping drives more sales and gives you an extra edge on your competitors’ websites. Nearly 60% of customers are more likely to add more items to their shopping carts when free shipping is offered on the website.

5. Improve Magento Search

Magento’s native installation comes with a handful of useful features. Some of them are ready to be used right away but some need customisation. Magento native search is one such feature and is ready to use as soon as Magento is installed on the server.

Magento search allows customers to search the catalogue but the results are not personalised and not accurate. Despite Magento being considered to be one of the best ecommerce platforms on the market like many of its competitors, it has its limitations. Catalogue search is Magento’s limitation.

Since Magento is highly customisable we can improve the search feature and make it faster, accurate and personalised by integrating AJAX search and algorithms to make it more customer focused. So, in a nutshell, better search results = more sales.

6. Localisation and Internationalisation

If you are planning to sell your products in multiple countries or regions, it is important to showcase your products in the respective currencies and languages in order to attract the wider market.

One of the best features of Magento is that it allows you to offer the same catalogue in multiple currencies without having to setup a new website for each region or country.

Magento is, no doubt, one of the best ecommerce platforms with endless possibilities but it is important to focus only on those features which are going to make a difference in your business.

One key thing to remember is that sales to your customers is your return on investment so it’s important that your website is built with their needs in mind.

Customers love fast and robust websites with great imagery, personalised search and free shipping so, where possible, make sure that your website has it all.