Magento Showcase Posts

Serious about Starting an Online Business? Then Use a Serious Platform like Magento.

Last time we found out the position of Magento in Hungary, and today we move to the Netherlands.

CactusPlaza came into existance around 12 years ago where student Allard wrote articles on cactus cultivation and shared his propagation experience during and after his study biology. After he started to get a lot of e-mails with a question like “Can you sell me some of those plants…” a small shop was born.

I spoke with CactusPlaza’s owner and managing director Allard Bax to learn more about making an eCommerce store from scratch.


What: is an online shop in Cacti & Succulents and other Exotic plants. We ship plants, seeds, and accessories. We started our website around 12 years ago. There have been many changes over the years.

We are using Magento for 3 years and last year we started using aheadWorks extensions with much satisfaction.

Where: Roden, The Netherlands

Q: You have been running your store for 12 years. How many people work in your company?

Allard: 2 people and occasionally 1 or 2 more.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your business, and how you became involved with Magento.

Allard: We started with Oscommerce. We were hitting a wall in terms of SEO and website functionality. Besides this we needed restyling. Magento is one of the leading open source shopping systems and we heard good things about it.

Search Autocomplete and Suggest in use. ‘We were not completely happy with the default Magento search tool. The Search Autocomplete and Suggest extension is a must have.’

Q: What was the hardest thing in launching a Magento store?

Allard: There is a learning curve if you want to do everything yourself. Tuning your extensions and your hosting so everything is running as best as possible – that was the hardest to accomplish.

Q: Why did you choose aheadWorks as a Magento extensions provider?

Allard: Having many different extensions with different companies is, in my opinion, inefficient in terms of time management, communication with programmers and costs.

Besides of this, the risk of having technical conflicts between extensions tends to be much bigger if you work with many different extensions from different companies.

We choose aheadWorks because they have the best and largest range of Magento extensions. Their programming is clean which keeps our website as fast as possible and their service is also swift and friendly.

Magento Success Story – Remaining Afloat in B2C Ecommerce Market for 14 Years

In this Magento success story we showcase WebAruhaz, the first webshop in Hungary that is still in operation today.

Like many eCommerce stores, Szabolcs Banffy, CEO and Chief Development Officer of WebAruhaz, started off using the OSC solution. As the store continued to expand, however, changing to another platform came into question. Szabolcs was thinking of creating his own shop system until he discovered Magento.


What: Online and offline shop for printers, printing supplies, toners and ink cartridges.

Where: Budapest, Hungary

Magento store use case

Q. How long have you been running your store?

Szabolcs: We’ve had the online shop open since 1999. Our physical shop opened in 2004.

Q. How many people work in your company?

Szabolcs: 5-8 people are working for us generally.

Q. Tell us a little about your business, and how you became involved with Magento.

Szabolcs: The first shops we created were rental shops: for other people to rent and use, not for our own use. We chose the domain name at a time when online shopping was mostly unheard of. It was only later that we realized we had a very good name (webáruház means webshop). This gave us a big advantage, even though it was not purposeful. 🙂

We are the first webshop in Hungary that is still in operation today. We opened our own shop in 2004. With free solutions to create your own store, leasing online shops became a thing of the past. This is when we started using the OSC solution. We were using that for 7 years.

With development being stopped on it, changing to another shop system became more and more of an issue. The code had been modified so heavily, it was easier to completely switch to a new system. For quite a while, we were thinking about creating our own shop system from scratch. We invested a lot of time into researching other shop systems, both free and commercial ones. Finally, Magento came into picture.

aheadWorks extensions in use
Z-Blocks above and below the header on the checkout page.

Customer Success Story: a Way to Increase Mobile Sales by 15%

There are million Magento stores with a wide range of extensions aimed at engaging customers and helping merchants boost sales.

Since I like to see what solutions the store owners have chosen for these purposes, I’d like to share with you a success story I’ve got from one of our customers. Read on to learn how iPhone Theme helped Zap Sweets increase mobile sales by 15%.


What: Not only does Zap Sweets specialize in bulk confectionery but they stock a vast range of wholesale retro sweets, chocolate, fudge, American candy, drinks and lots, lots more.

Where: London, UK

Q: Tell us a little about your business, and how you became involved with Magento.

A: The business was initially established in 2009 after planning to launch an online e-commerce store. Whilst many ideas were discussed, finally the idea of creating a confectionery store that was a fun, modern environment where customers could browse and reminisce about sweets from the past won the battle!

When the researching began, we researched many shopping carts to find the most suitable to the business. Magento was our favorite from the very start. It was packed full of features and could be easily customized to our needs.

Q: So, you had no experience with Magento. What was the hardest thing in launching an ecommerce store?

A: Launching our Magento store took around 3-4 months from start to finish. The majority of the time was spent adding products and uploading good quality images to attract customers to our store.

We also spent a lot of time optimizing and tuning our store to ensure that it runs at lightening speeds! We combined and tweaked the JS/CSS files to ensure that any unused code was removed. We also took full advantage of the .htaccess file and installed Varnish on our VPS server which cut loading times by almost 3s! It has paid off in the long run as our customers often compliment us on our fast site.

aheadWorks extensions in use

How to Increase Sales by 8% with only 4 Items in Catalog

This month we’ll spotlight Magento store that has only – attention – four items in the catalog, Kirkland Science Labs!

‘Life should be good’ the company’s slogan says, and the business IS good confirms Brad Dennis, the store owner I had the chance to talk to. Read on to learn the company’s follow up strategy and how the store managed to increase sales by 8%.


What: Kirkland Science Labs design and sell supplement stacks. A stack is a synergistic formulation of nutrients that work together to help you achieve your goals faster.

Where: Seattle, US

Q: How you became involved with Magento?

A: We have been running our store a little over a year. But we used this platform for an earlier business so we had experience with Magento.

Q: What was the hardest thing in launching a Magento-based store?

A: Design is definitely the hardest part. It’s a real intensive process getting the store & emails themed and developed the way you want. Especially with add-ons.

aheadWorks extensions in use

Image Slider, Featured Products, Z-Blocks & Knowledge Base in use.

Dealing with the new, resource-intensive platform

Many store owners often ask me how to take part in our regular ‘Store of the Month’ section and submit their store. Well, there are no explicit steps. Some merchants showcase their stores in our forum, others left reviews on the extensions they’ve bought on the product pages. So, any activity is welcome!

This time I had the opportunity to interview Stefan Schwann, the chief of web development and design of electronic4you, to gain some insights into what goes into creating a Magento store from scratch and why the platform continues to be so popular.


What: This Austria based retailer sells electronic items, like TV’s, audio products, handies, smartphones, tablet computers, etc. They sell products online and provide shipping within the country and outside Austria.

electronic4you has eight stores were customers can pick up their online orders or take a look at a product before buying it.

The company’s goal is to provide the best quality, price and customer service.

Where: Klagenfurt, Austria

Q. What attracted electronic4you to Magento?

A. Back in 2010, when we began the development of our store we faced the problem of choosing a platform.

We carefully analyzed pros and cons of existing ecommerce platforms and the decision fell to Magento. It was the best platform existing on the market at that time.

Magento can handle a huge amount of products and orders without any problems and the customization of the look and feel is also easy.

aheadWorks extensions in use

Focusing on a better product visibility with Magento extensions

I had a chance to prove the theory that you are just six degrees of separation from anyone in the world recently. Reviewing our customers stores to choose the one for my ‘Store of the Month’ section I stumbled on Dip ‘N Dive.

The first thing that attracted my attention was the fact that the store used 12 aheadWorks extensions, quite many, I thought. Secondly, they had been involved with Magento for two years.

As chance would have it, Oleksiy Chaukin, the person I contacted, appeared to be our former countryman. Moreover, the friend who recommended Oleksiy extensions happened to know aheadWorks owners. In my case the chain of acquaintances had four intermediaries. 😉


What: Established in 1976, Dip ‘N Dive maintains a full service retail store, travel department, teaching facility and repair center. For over 30 years Dip ‘n Dive has been instructing and outfitting divers all over the world. At they train new divers, advanced divers, master divers, or even dive masters and instructors. The retail store features the latest in diving equipment from nationally recognized manufacturers.

Where: Buffalo, NY, USA

aheadWorks extensions in use

Moving from Magento Community to Enterprise

Thousands of companies are using Magento Enterprise to grow their online businesses. Today I sat down with Michael Carlisle, CTO at MusicShop, to learn more about the challenges they faced moving from Magento CE to Magento EE edition.


What: The Music Shop Online originally started out as an eBay store. It ran out of the Brisbane office of The Music Shop retail store in Australia. As the eBay store grew, the Managing Directors could see the potential for the online market space, and decided to launch its own website called in 2007 and consequently had to move into their own 400m square warehouse in Salisbury, Brisbane Australia.

Over the past 4-5 years, has grown considerably and has added to their online business, which sells cycling accessories and components. Because of this growth, and moved into a much larger distribution centre boasting 2500m square warehouse space at the start of 2012.

Where: Salisbury, Brisbane Australia

Q: You own two stores. How long have you been running each of them?

A: has been running since 2007. commenced on July 2011.

Q: Tell us a little about your business, and how you became involved with Magento.

A: We initially became involved with Magento very early on when the platform was in Beta stage in 2007.

Even in Magento’s Beta form, it still boasted better features and options than what was offered at the time on other platforms. And of course, it was open source.

More so than, Magento offered a very active community on their forums for support, and a positive development path which was key to us joining so early on.

aheadWorks extensions in use

Store spotlight: Magento as a natural progression of change

Hi there and welcome back to our ‘Store of the Month’ series. It has been always interesting to learn how our customers came up with Magento platform, what features attracted them most of all, and what issues they probably faced.

Today I had a chance to speak with Jerome Ng, an aheadWorks community member and a General Manager of online audio products shop TREOO. Jerome can be rightfully considered a pioneer for Magento, as they started to use the platform when Magento was at its infant stages.

In this interview, Jerome expands on moving from Zen Cart and his attempt to self code.


What: is a Singapore based e-retailer of genuine portable audio products. They provide an online platform that connects distributors & manufacturers of audio brands to audiophile clients.

Where: Singapore, Singapore

Q: How long have you been running your store?

A: We have been in business since October 2008, so up to 3 years and running.

Q: Tell us a little about your business, and how you became involved with Magento.

A: We started with simple accessories shop on Zen Cart, drop shipping products from Apple accessories to even sex toys during our startup period. It was a period of trial and error, learning to code and to design. Nobody saw it coming to today’s success.

We improved on our site design till we meet Logitech who wanted to utilize our platform to develop their eCommerce project. We realized that this was a great opportunity to tap on and to improve the site.

Magento was new but it was a platform that people were talking about. There were so many great things about an eCommerce store that allowed people to easily upgrade their sites (as compared to Zencart). So, it was a natural move (except for the harder migration part).

aheadWorks extensions in use

Venturing into Magento: customer experience

It’s always a pleasure to aheadWorks to promote our customers’ stores and see how our extensions help your busyness thrive.

This time we reached out to Carlos, eCommerce manager at In this interview, Carlos speaks about high level of professionalism that reveals in the services he provides to customers as well as in professional software they use in their Magento store. So I asked him to expand on the idea.

What: Beauty online store with perfumes, cosmetics, makeup and hair care.
Where: Sevilla, Spain

Q: How long have you been running your store?

A: The store opened in January 2012, but we changed its name in March 2012.

Q: Why did you choose Magento as your current platform?

A: We have pitched on Magento for its flexibility to use only one catalog, admin site and settings in only one platform for different sites. Also we had experience in PHP development and use of open source software.

aheadWorks extensions in use

How One Plain Magento Extension Increased Sales

Hi there and welcome back to the store of the month showcase! In this section we call our clients to share tips how to run a successful Magento store and what extensions help merchants fulfill unique business needs and even the not-so-obvious store requirements.

Please meet Magento merchant Jan-Christoph Gack in our monthly store showcase.


What: offers a wide range of approximately 4,500 products of the following categories: biological (organic) food, natural cosmetics, ecological washing agents, baby care and baby and child nutrition.

Where: Bruchsal, Germany

Q: How long have you been in business? Can you tell me a little about your company and network?

A: Our company was founded by my father Hans-Georg Gack back in 1994. We’re an official dealer of many well-known brands, like e.g. Rapunzel Naturkost, Naturata, Lebensbaum, and many more.

Our customers mainly intend to consume healthy food, partly vegetarian or vegan food. Many of them want to use natural cosmetics, produced without animal-testing and partly without perfume.

aheadWorks extensions in use

Magento extensions for any idea you may have

Three weeks ago I put out a call on our Facebook fan page for submitting your store URLs. I’ve had a great time looking through all of them and have picked one favorite to tell our community about this Magento store success & experience. Thanks to everybody who has sent one in.

So, meet Magento merchant Bart Nanka in our monthly store showcase.


What: Mudbrick Cottage Herb Farm is a family owned business. The store sells organic herb plants, dried herbs, spices, and herbal teas.

Where: Gold Coast, Australia

Q: How long have you been running your store?

We have been running our store on Magento since November 2009.

Q: Why did you choose Magento as your current platform?

I researched a lot of the good ecommerce platforms around, but none have the flexibility and the amount of users and developers contributing to the platform. Making it easy to find answers to your problems and extensions for any idea you may have.

What keeps me trying new AW extensions? – Their return policy.

Hi there. Here’s another post in our Store of the Month series. Today I’m talking to Brian M. Balster, Director of Marketing at MorterSupplements.


What: These stores sell alkalizing supplements, vitamins, minerals, and herbal tinctures.

Where: Monticello, IA, United States

Q: How long have you been working with Magento, and what attracted you to the platform?

A: I have been running my store for 6 years already. We previously were with X-cart and wanted a more robust software system. We researched many of the popular ecommerce options and Magento seemed to be the most customizable. So we just started fresh with Magento.

aheadWorks’ extensions in use

Confessions of a Magento Store Owner

One of my jobs here at aheadWorks is to highlight our clients’ stores and listen to what vendors say about Magento extensions they have chosen to organize their day-to-day operations.

This time I had a chat with Nicolò Bottazzi, the founder of a web store who two years ago faced the necessity to move from a custom platform to Magento as more reliable and stable platform.


What: Salustore is an Italian wellness store that has been operating since 2000 and has a strong reputation for the sale of haircare products. It sells more than 200 different products.

Where: Bergamo, Italy

aheadWorks’ extensions in use