Highlights, Takeaways, and News from Magento Imagine 2017: Part 1

Day 1

The ParadoxLabs team hit the ground running on Monday, April 3, 2017, ready to learn about powering the future at the 2017 Magento Imagine Conference. After a quick cup of coffee and a bagel, off we went in many different directions to collect as much information as possible. Here is Part 1 of 2 about our time at Imagine and everything we learned. Select topics will be covered in more depth in the weeks to come.


Magento Business Intelligence: Data-Driven Strategies for Online Growth with Robert J. Moore, Head of Magento Business Intelligence, Magento Commerce

“Our mission is to inspire and empower data-driven people.”

Business Intelligence was a hot topic at Imagine, as evidenced by my sitting on the floor for the session. Robert J. Moore was CEO of RJ Metrics, an advanced cloud-based analytics solution that Magento acquired last year. He discussed the impact of segmentation, explaining that it is about understanding which customers are good for your business, applying a data-driven strategy, and knowing the customer across platforms with aligned identification. Moore emphasized that BI can be used for in-depth analysis of your customer database, so you can segment your clients and identify big spenders.

Highlights:

  • 68% of customers will never purchase a second time
  • Retention rates will rise along with increasing orders by the customer, who become more loyal over time
  • “The Magento BI is an efficient way to align all your customer and business metrics in one easy and flexible platform” – Robert J. Moore
  • Segment customers by early behavior, such as orders, downloads, and combined actions
  • Look at long-term patterns, such as whether downloads have a positive or negative impact on repeat purchase behavior and CLV
  • Apply strategy and use these insights to shape customer acquisition focus

Key Takeaways:

  • Being a top performer guarantees outsize returns and opportunities
  • Top performers outperform their peers at acquiring and retaining customers and driving their CLV
  • Data-driven strategies are the key to this performance

 

Technical Deep Dive: Omnichannel Solutions with Magento Commerce Order Management with Mark Hatch, Director Product Delivery, Magento Commerce

MCOM is a modular, cloud-based platform designed to provide centralized inventory, orders, and fulfillment. It provides more advanced order and stock management to Magento and it’s a SaaS product, hosted on Amazon AWS that offers out-of-the-box connectivity to Magento Digital Commerce.

Magento Commerce Order Management offers an advanced but still simple solution for omnichannel retailers and B2B companies to manage stock across several locations. Sounds pretty cut and dry, but I needed to know what MCOM could actually do, and the panel did not disappoint.

Highlights

  • Pool your stock across warehouses and stores
  • Set up different shipping rules; for example, to have safety stock margins in your store to ensure you don’t sell stuff you don’t have
  • The ability to source items and order from the best location according to defined rules, such as opening hours, or when the courier comes to collect
  • Optimize your order packing flow
  • Support many different fulfillment cases
  • Ship from own locations
  • Ship from distributors
  • Drop shipping
  • Digital content
  • Pre-shipped orders
  • In-store pickup / Click & Collect
  • Ship to store

Key Takeaway

MCOM empowers merchants to leverage more on stock across locations and make local stock global. In doing so, the local store has more flexibility to sell seasonal goods, or avoid overstock capacity. MCOM offers an in-store interface to handle Click & Collect orders. For retailers, MCOM closes the gap between physical stores and online shopping, and offers a more advanced control inventory. Many merchants have legacy ERP solutions, and MCOM provides an opportunity to support a true omnichannel solution without being completely dependent on the ERP solution.

 

Technical Deep Dive: Expert Guidance on Migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 with James Cowie, Technical Architect, ECG, Magento Commerce and Gordon Knoppe, Business Solutions Architect, ECG, Magento Commerce

This session was all about understanding what your eCommerce platform is like today and what your future goals are before you plan a migration. Architects from the Magento Expert Consulting Group defined the best practice for crafting a migration strategy, and shared practical advice for data and code migration.

We learned that preparation is fundamental to a successful migration, and that should always begin with analysis:

  • Requirements (get rid of obsolete features)
  • Code audit (remove unused deprecated code/functionality)
  • Theming (create theme approach)
  • Testing (mapping test to requirements)
  • If you have third-party extensions, check that the feature list matches between M1 and M2 extension versions.

In regard to development:

  • Consider the time needed for the rewrite (learning M2 & implementing functionality)
  • Be selective with functionality
  • Use a data migration tool to migrate database (Store config, Products, Customers, Promotions, Orders)
  • Consider using code migration to create the first “prototype”

 

Design Thinking: Design Review Workshop with Eric Erway, UX Manager, Magento Commerce, Ann Hudspeth, UX Design Manager, Magento Commerce, and Guliz Sicotte, Director of Product Design, Magento Commerce

Design thinking is a repeatable method for creating great ideas and products. It’s based on an understanding of your customers and their needs. This framework is practiced by the Magento User Experience Team and was a big part of Magento 2 and other new Magento products.

Elements of great design are:

  • Empathize: Gain a real understanding of your users and problems
  • Define: Synthesize the data and understand root causes
  • Ideate: Brainstorm solutions to the problems identified
  • Prototype: Build a simulation to better understand your design
  • Test: Evaluate your design to learn if your solution really works

 

Understanding the Total Cost to Migrate & Implement on Magento with Richard Adams, Sr. Consultant, FitForCommerce, Alex Barbier, Digital Marketing Director, Oliver Sweeney, Craig Peasley, Sr. Director of Product Marketing, Magento Commerce, Jonathan Stephens, General Manager, Audio Advice

Magento 2 has been on the market for 17 months, and now has 200 active Enterprise Edition sites. But what is really required to re-platform a web store? FitForCommerce interviewed 20 clients on M2 to find out what it cost and how long it took to implement M2.

FitForCommerce covered three different types of projects and spoke to 20 merchants in the US and Europe. They developed two profiles: standard and complex. The results of the research did not include branding, content creation, or hosting. They found that the average implementation time for a standard implementation is 4.2 months. They also asked respondents how much effort the different activities took. The session also covered an M2 case study with Oliver Sweeney and an M2 case study with Audio Advice.

Magento 1 is still going to be end-of-life (no more support or updates) November 2018.

 

Technical Deep Dive: Everything Was UI Components & Nothing Hurt with James Zetlen, Frontend Architect, Magento Commerce

This session introduced UI Components, new and powerful tools in the Magento-verse.

The Magento team covered things that could be improved in UI components:

  • xml “ergonomics” readability
  • extension points
  • documentations
  • error messages

Should we use them today? Well, everything can’t be a UI Component yet; the team recommended to use them for admin work only for now.

 

The day closed with a networking dinner event out on the Sunset Terrace with a live band and plenty of food and beverages to go around. One tip though – avoid the soft pool side lounge chairs; they may not be entirely dry, as the signs promise (we may have learned this the hard way..)!

Since there was no way to attend every session, the Networking Event on Monday night allowed me to interact with many systems integrators and merchants that made some very important things come to light:

  • Merchants should start on their upgrades soon
  • Magento 2 has stabilized sufficiently
  • Extensions are more and more available
  • Tools for migrating data from 1 to 2 are very mature

I have to honestly say that the absolute best part of the day came when various members of the Magento team took the stage and rocked out to Pat Benatar’s Hit Me with Your Best Shot.

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