Imagine Commerce 2015 —A Guide for Merchants

So it’s April again, which means Magento’s Imagine Commerce conference is just around the corner!

This year eBay Enterprise have taken things up another notch and the conference will be held at Wynn Las Vegas from 20–22 April 2015. This will be my third year in a row attending and my second as a Magento Enterprise customer and no doubt it will be the biggest event so far with 2,400 developers, merchants and solution partners in attendance.

Wynn Las Vegas — venue for Imagine Commerce 2015

This will be the first Imagine without Roy Rubin, the co-founder of Magento and inspiration behind the conference in previous years and so it will be a great opportunity to understand more about what Magento looks like in the post-Roy era and hopefully to hear more about the future for Magento in light of the upcoming eBay / PayPal split.

Imagine Commerce is known for attracting great speakers and throwing a great event including the now legendary evening event on the eve of the first full conference day — last year’s evening event at the Hard Rock Hotel set a new standard and no doubt moving to Wynn Las Vegas will raise the bar yet further.

Is this the location for the Legendary Evening Event at Magento Imagine 2015?

Speaking of Wynn, the headline industry speaker this year is none other than Steve Wynn, Chairman and Chief Executive Office of Wynn Resorts. Steve Wynn is the man credited by many with transforming Las Vegas in to what we see today through his development of The Mirage, Treasure Island and Bellagio before more recently building Wynn Las Vegas and Encore. No doubt Mr. Wynn’s headline speech on Tuesday evening will follow in the footsteps of Malcolm Gladwell in 2014.

Highlights for Retailers

So what other highlights are there to look forward to for merchants and retailers? Below I’ve picked out a few of the sessions and events which I think are “must sees” for retailers planning their visit.

The dates and times below are based on the provisional Imagine agenda but do make sure to check the final timings on arrival!

Omnichannel Intelligence — Monday 12.30–3.30pm
Omnichannel is the topic on every retailer’s lips in 2015 and whether you’re at the start of the omnichannel journey or have established plans in place this promises to be a really great start to the conference — registration is required and more details are on the Imagine website.

Merchant to Merchant Sessions — various times on Monday
For the last few years the Enterprise Merchant to Merchant sessions have brought retailers from different markets around the world together to exchange ideas and experiences and are always a really useful way to meet other retailers and find out their challenges and experiences. These sessions are invite only so contact your Magento account manager for details.

Opening Night Networking — Monday 7–10.30pm
The calm before the conference storm and always a good opportunity to put names to faces and continue conversations from earlier in the day.

Tuesday starts with the General Sessions featuring executive speakers from eBay Enterprise and merchants and partners and it goes without saying that these are not to be missed so here is a run down of the most interesting looking breakout sessions for merchants. I’ve specifically picked out generally non-technical sessions but as you’ll see from the agenda if you have a technical focus there are unsurprisingly a great many sessions in that area too. There are a few clashes so you’ll need to plan carefully with your team!

Behind the Scenes of Rebecca Minkoff’s Omnichannel Innovation
Tuesday 11am-12pm

Silk Road to China: A Taobao and JD Case Study
Tuesday 11.30am-12pm

Omnichannel Marketing Strategies: Going Beyond Search
Tuesday 1.30-2pm

Responsive Design Along the Conversion Path
Tuesday 1.30–2pm

Priceless Information: Business Analytics on Magento Panel
Tuesday 2–2.30pm

Giving your Brand a Digital Makeover: A Garrett Popcorn’s Case Study
Tuesday 2–2.30pm

Data Driven Growth for your Online Store
Tuesday 4.45–5.15pm

Crack the Code with Product Data in Magento
Tuesday 4.45–5.15pm

And of course Tuesday isn’t complete without the Legendary Magento Evening Event (8pm-late!) and wherever that may lead!

Whilst Wednesday might well start with a sore head for many, the sessions continue at pace with another set of General Sessions beginning at 9am followed by a final round of Breakout sessions.

Wednesday afternoon has a slightly different agenda this year with the opportunity to take part in a Designer or Developer BarCamp — for merchants the Designer BarCamp includes a focus on UX and could certainly be very interesting for retailers. If you’re a Magento partner then Wednesday afternoon sees the return of the Magento Partner Summit.

As well as the sessions I’ve picked out above for retailers there are many more great technical and business sessions lined up and so if you’re interested in something specific then be sure to check the provisional agenda.

A word about Magento 2…

If you or members of your team are more technical then you’ll be pleased to see that there are a full compliment of Magento 2 session running through Monday and a number of the breakout sessions also cover Magento 2. I’ve also got no doubt that Magento 2 will feature prominently in the general sessions.

‘How do I migrate to Magento 2?’ is undoubtedly one of the key topics and concerns for many merchants however I think that right now whilst it’s still at Developer Release Candidate it’s important to keep Magento 2 in perspective. It will be the future for Magento and probably for your Magento-based store however it’s still a little early to be planning your migration and so I think it’s interest this year is still primarily for the technical audience.

Above all, Imagine Commerce 2015 is about taking time out from your day to day business, reflecting on what other people are doing, learning where Magento is going next — and hopefully having some fun in the sun!

See you in Vegas!