23 May 2014
Magento is one of the best web development platforms for creating ecommerce websites, which is why we use it to build so many of our clients websites. So when it gets an upgrade it's a pretty big deal for us.
Here are just a few of the highlights that are getting us excited about Magento 1.9:
The default theme is responsive
The default theme now comes with responsive web design features as standard, which means that even the most basic site is automatically optimised for use with tablets and smart phones. It won't matter for most developers, but it's nice to know it exists for those who like to reskin the default theme.
Support for cross-border trade
Also known as pricing consistency, cross-border trade is a great asset for merchants in the European Union that operate across different territories but only want to show one price. Before now if tax rates were different between territories the price of the product would change to accommodate, which is a bit unfair on customers who are shown one price but are charged another. This update essentially allows you to set the price in the admin, which is then the price the customer pays.
Improving ecommerce functionality
Most of Magento 1.9's upgrades can be seen in the checkout. This is a key area for any ecommerce store, and anything that can be done to increase sales and keep customers happy is definitely worth doing. For example, Magento claims that the Bill Me Later service means you can capture 18% more sales by providing customers access to financing, at no additional cost to you.
A better checkout experience
Another update seeks to simplify and speed up the PayPal Express Checkout experience. So when a customer's credit card is rejected the store can now allow alternative payment options. The upgrade has also eliminated the steps in the checkout process that meant you had to click Update Order before Place Order, as well as giving you the option to enable or disable the order review page.
The 1.9 upgrade also comes with a lot of security enhancements and bug fixes, to further protect both customers and businesses using the platform. Also, due to FedEx in the US changing how their system works you'll need this update in order for Magento to retrieve shipping rate information or print shipping labels.
Finally, the more techy among you will be glad to hear that the new update also supports PHP 5.4 and has upgraded Zend Framework to version 1.12.3.
If you want to hear more about the latest upgrade read the release notes here.