Magento Imagine Report

Big thanks to iamota for sending me to the 2017 Magento Imagine conference for the first time — what an event. Below is a quick writeup of some of the talks I was able to get to. If you don’t know about iamota and our kick-ass CMS/eCommerce integrations, check us out here: https://iamota.com/

If you go to Imagine for the first time, get yourself to the Sponsor Marketplace ASAP and visit the hundreds of vendors before their free handouts disappear. Sponsors were promoting products ranging from hosting platforms, shipping providers, tax rate services, smart search plugins, and so on. Everyone there claimed to integrate with Magento, but on closer inspection some were not completely supporting Magento 2.0 yet, bummer. Here’s a few of the more interesting companies I chatted with:

https://mailchimp.com (hosted email service)
https://www.braintreepayments.com (Paypal’s integrated payment gateway)
https://www.avalara.com/products/sales-and-use-tax/avatax-2/ (tax rate management)
https://www.sweettoothrewards.com/ (hosted loyalty/rewards plugin)
https://www.strakertranslations.com/ (translation service)
https://www.yotpo.com/ (all about customer reviews)

Magento Business Intelligence (BI) Platform: With the purchase of RJMetrics, Magento has created an intelligence platform focusing on analytics, reporting and smart user-focused marketing features. The key metrics presented were AOV and CLV segments, and how they changed based on variable pricing. A case study was also presented with Devlyn Optical, talking about using Artificial Intelligence integration for smarter product recommendations.

Magento Commerce Order Manager (MCOM): One of the latest products is a back-end service to help facilitate the complex fulfilment requirements for many larger enterprise businesses, and support omni-channel sales for smaller merchants. MCOM is configured for multi-node inventory, aggregate & safety stock, split payments/orders/shipments, and integrates as early in the user journey as the shipping and payment steps in checkout. MCOM can provide an invisible back-end service, or provide additional admin interfaces for your fulfilment team.

Responsive Web Design: Of the developer talks I went to, the most interesting was probably by Magento Front End Architect James Zetlen on responsive design. James demo’d a Progressive Web App look-and-feel to the mobile cart and checkout flow, giving the user an experience similar to a native app. The core features are instant progression through the UI (no page loads), 60 fps animations and offline browsing. This presents a few obvious programming challenges, and it will be cool to see some solutions in the near future.

Magento Cloud Enterprise: Developers had peek into the Devbox (docker container) & Magento Cloud Enterprise workflow. It’s nice to see that the two products were clearly designed with engineering and common agency workflows in mind. I won’t go into too much detail but the bottom line is that Magento Cloud Enterprise is a hosted solution geared towards agencies and merchants that do not want to deal with their own server architecture. It even uses cloud-based tech like Varnish, Fastly, New Relic and blackfire.io.

Magento Marketplace (new and improved): Submitting 3rd party extensions to Marketplace now triggers an Apple-like app review process. Extensions are automatically tested, manually tested and code-reviewed. Seeing how much junk there was on the old Magento Connect, the new process should help improve the quality you see through the store.

M1 -> M2 Upgrades: The Magento engineering team spoke about early results for merchants upgrading from M1 to M2. They’ve released a couple tools to help developers along the path:

http://devdocs.magento.com/guides/v2.0/migration/migration-tool-install.html
http://devdocs.magento.com/guides/v2.0/howdoi/migrate/migrate-code.html

The conclusion: tools will only get you so far, expect a long and complicated process.

General Keynote Session: With Serena Williams headlining the keynote presentations, we heard from a few business owners that have produced explosive growth in digital and mobile commerce.

Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (B2B): growth award — over 12,000 orders per day, $1.2b in revenue
Atlanta Hawks: top performer in marketing
Perch & Parrow (powered by JH): best mobile experience, 1.65% mobile conversion rate
Oliver Sweeney: excellence award
Virginia Hayward (powered by fisheye): innovation award
Sass & Bide (powered by Netstarter): best web design
Helley Hanson: trailblazer award

New Product Announcements:

  • Magento B2B
    - features include add to cart by SKU (and CSV upload), credit tracking, price lists
  • Magento Social
    - features include product feed syncing to social networks, ad spend management 
    - 10% of online sales are driven by social
  • Magento CMS
    - this product announcement follows the purchase of Bluefoot CMS
  • Magento Shipping
  • Magento Connectivity
    - integration with Augmented Reality
    - within 3 years 30% of orders will originate outside of the screen (voice, IoT, wearables, etc)
  • Magento Commerce Order Management
  • Magento Business Intelligence