Welcome to our new Developer Diaries Series, where we highlight the
incredible innovations in the Magento
Marketplace
and the people who make them a reality.

Commerce merchants must be efficient across all channels and
touchpoints. Customers expect efficiency across both their
in-store and online purchases. Fooman, a
long-time Magento developer partner, has been coding extensions
since 2008. For the past nine years, they’ve been bringing
efficiency across a number of commerce pain points to help
merchants save time and money. We sat down with
Kristof Ringleff
, Fooman founder, lead Magento developer,
and two-time Magento Master to learn about the top Fooman
extensions. 

Magento: How long have you been working on apps for Magento
Connect and/or Magento Marketplace?

Kristof: For an entire decade! I started
working with Magento way back in their pre-release phase in
2007. I always had an inkling in the back of my head that
commerce was going to get bigger and bigger and this was where
I wanted to be. Today, I consider myself the extension guy at
Fooman. I spend most of my time coding extensions, supporting
customers and communicating with others at various Magento
events.

Magento: How did Fooman begin?

Kristof: I started Fooman in 2007 just
before Magento came onto the scene. It definitely took a few
years for the business to grow, and it took time to hire my
first developer. But then it took off rapidly and it’s been an
amazing ride. We now have six people at the company working on
extensions and helping with customer support. I run Fooman from
Auckland, New Zealand, and work with talented people around the
world. To date, we have over 170,000 downloads worldwide across
160 countries. I’m always floored when I hear that number.

Magento: Which extensions are Fooman most known for? Walk us
through the features of popular extensions like Connect Xero
and Order Manager.

Kristof: We have around 20 extensions
live right now and they all follow the theme of “making life
easier” – especially for merchants. One of our biggest
sellers is Connect:
Xero.
This extension allows merchants to automatically
export Magento orders, customer data, items and credit notes to
the Xero accounting platform. Even when a merchant has
significant sales per month across different countries,
Connect: Xero takes the hassle (and time!) out of managing
those accounts.

Another popular extension is Order
Manager
. One problem we noticed in working with our own
customers was that processing many orders at a time slowed down
the merchant. This extension simplifies the order fulfillment
process and adds one-click bulk order processing
– everything from creating invoices to sending mass order
updates.

I love when customers email me to share how helpful they find
our extensions. That’s the most rewarding part of this all.
It’s really awesome to have people email or share a review that
our extension has simplified their business and lets them get
on with their job. 

Magento: Did your extension ideas come from your personal use
of Magento?

Kristof: Totally. Not only do we create
extensions, but we run our own Magento store to sell them. In
the early days of coding and working with Magento, many of our
ideas came from a personal need for these features to run our
own store more efficiently. We figured if we needed a feature
to run our own store, other merchants probably did as
well. Over the years, we’ve continued to work very closely with
merchants and developers who use our extensions, and their
feedback has kept us informed about what our customer base
requires.

Magento: What are some examples of merchants using your
extensions?

Kristof: One customer, Gifts Less Ordinary, a
luxury online marketplace offering unique and personalized
gifts, sells in six countries (with three more coming on board
this year). When they chose Connect: Xero, they needed a
solution that would give full visibility into Magento sales
data in Xero, and be 100% accurate and reliable. The company
has been able to automate processes and scale quickly across
multiple markets with our Connect: Xero. 

Magento: Any big projects on the horizon?

Kristof: We like to focus on the problems
that solve immediate merchant needs today. Our extensions
provide immediate time-saving benefits to merchants, so they
can focus on building their businesses. I am interested in big
trends like VR and AI, but those are further down the line in
terms of mass market adoption so aren’t among the immediate
needs of our customers. 

Magento: What are some of your favorite extensions aside from
your own? Are there any “must-haves” for Magento Commerce?

Kristof: There are so many extensions it’s
hard to keep track. Some of my favorites are the ones we use on
our own store like
SMTP Pro
, a plug-in email provider to send our emails. We
also use
MailChimp
to power our newsletter and sync subscribers to
our shop. 

Magento: Any advice for other developers?

Kristof: Listen to the merchant. As
developers, we’re two steps removed from end customers. And
customers are ultimately what drives merchants’ success. Be
open to additions and communicate with customers closer to the
final use of your code.