Hiding in plain sight: Lesser-known features of Magento

Posted by Pixafy Team

Hiding in plain sight: Lesser-known features of Magento  |

Magento’s robust and flexible eCommerce platform offers its users the ability to deeply customize and fine-tune their sites, utilizing tools that can help grow and manage online businesses. With such feature-rich options, there are bound to be some “hidden” tools within Magento and modules that can prove to be useful. We asked our Pixafy team to identify some lesser-known features in Magento they have found to be handy, and are sharing the results with you.

Admin Session Lifetime

Have you ever spent time editing a product description only to find that you’ve been timed out by the server after you click “Save”? This can happen because your Admin Session is set too low. Here’s an easy fix:

  • In System > Config > Admin > Security > Session Lifetime (seconds)
  • Set this to a value above 3600 seconds so you don’t get logged out of the Admin every 60 minutes.

Nested Static Blocks

Static Blocks are useful for dividing up different types of data blocks, helping to simplify content updates. Do you have a lot of content in the CMS > Static Blocks? To make it more manageable for end users, here’s how you can decrease the amount of content in each static block:

  • Nest several static blocks into one block (using Widgets) that can be called on a Category or Product Page.

Manage Ratings

You can add more rating criteria for your products, allowing your customers to rate your items based on quality, speed of delivery, service, etc. To do so, go to:

  • Catalog > Reviews & Ratings > Manage Rating
  • Add / enable star rating criteria.
  • Note: Manageable at the Store View level

Admin Actions Log

The Admin Actions Logging section allows you to choose which actions you want to record in the log file as they happen. This can be helpful for diagnosing any issues you may encounter. To get a report that allows you to review the log files, go to:

  • System > Admin Actions Log
  • Select the check boxes next to any actions you want logged.

This is a great way to know who broke what! 🙂

Tier Pricing

Tier Pricing allows you to price items differently for higher quantities. With this useful promotional tool, you can easily offer incentives for customers to buy in bulk with Tier Pricing in Magento.

ex:  Buy 1 for $10. Buy 5 or more for $8 each. Buy 10 or more for $6 each!

To set up Tier Pricing, go to:

  • Magento Admin > Catalog > Managed Products
  • Create a new product or find and click the item you want to add to Tier Pricing
  • Click Prices > Add Tier
  • Enter the “qty” to start tier pricing.
  • Enter the new “price per item” that will take effect at the specified quantity.
  • Click Save. The tiers are now visible in your shop.

Customer Group Pricing

Customer Group Pricing allows you to offer different pricing to your various groups of customers. For instance, you can set up special prices for Retail, VIP, Wholesale, and Staff groups. There are no template modifications, layout changes, or any other alterations necessary that run the risk of breaking your Magento design. Customers in different groups simply see their respective group pricing. You can also enable the setting to hide product prices for visitors that are not logged in, while simultaneously urging customers to log in to view prices.

Product Alerts Notification

The Product Alerts section helps customers get notified about products. For instance, visitors can sign up to get notified when an out of stock product comes back in stock, or when a product goes on sale.

To set this up, go to the Product Alerts section to configure the following:

  • Allow Alert When Product Price Changes,” when set to “Yes,” displays a link on all product pages to allow customers to sign up for price change alerts.
  • Allow Alert When Product Comes Back in Stock,” when set to “Yes,” enables customers to sign up for email alerts notifying them when the product is back in stock.

Do you have any useful “hidden” or underutilized Magento features and modules? We’d love to hear about them in the comments! 


This post is part of a series on lesser-known features of popular platforms: