Recently I worked on a big e-commerce site, of course based on Magento, and one of the task was to fix an issue with a follow up email extension. I suddenly discovered the extension to be the aheadWorks follow up email module and I was really surprised to find it not working. aheadWorks has a lot of extension and is a well know company for its quality Magento extension (for example the follow up email extension count a 4.9/5 rating).
Actually it was not an extension problem, but a conflict with another module (very invasive, even Magento has problem with that module) and the only small glitch with the follow up was an email template issue (a wrong product link).
At the end it was due to a very old version of the aheadWorks follow up email module and a simple refresh of the prepackaged email template solved the problem.
The urgency to solve the issues with a follow up system (being it the one of aheadWorks or any other supplier) was due to the high conversion that kind of emails have. Sending an abandoned cart recall with a free shipping coupon or a little discount let an e-commerce site to recover 10 to 15% of the “lost” customers.
Without doing nothing else than set a simple mailing rule!
I used this opportunity to give a better look to this module just in case it could be useful on other project. I was impressed!
The rule engine is incredibly powerful. You have rules for any kind of event (from the abandoned cart to the birthday) and for any event you can set a series of email with configurable intervals.
The level of automation and the flexibility of the configuration is incredible. And it is even easy to configure! Surely that module should be in the list of the priority modules to have.
If you are a Magento consultant/agency or an e-commerce owner you should definitively take a look to the feature list of this module.
The price is very cheap
To someone the price could seem high, 149$. But this module is not something to improve the layout or the back end, this module is a money machine. So, it will pay back it self in a really short time.
Money machines are all the modules that increase the e-commerce revenue, this is how I define them.
Most of the time e-commerce owners spend a lot of time changing the colors of the main page or centering a text or fine tuning the font size. All that is important, but not necessarily produces more sells, so it can be just for the glory (of the e-commerce owner).
Follow up email, newsletter, social network integration, caching to speed up the site vice versa can produce money, directly or indirectly. And usually that can be measured: tracking the e-commerce sells with Google Analyitcs you can add a note on its diagram on the date you made a change to the site and look at the sells increase or decrease.
So before pay for a custom extension, take a tour over the Magento modules offers and think if some of them can be a money machine for you. Change the home page color is not a priority!
Since I cited the modules of aheadWorks, you can start from their site, but do not exclude the Magento Connect site (pay attention to the low quality modules, they can compromise your installation!).