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Creating Digital Attends Magento Imagine 2015

As Magento’s Imagine Conference wraps up in beautiful Las Vegas I feel it is only appropriate that I share my experience.  First off, its official – Magento is the largest ecommerce platform and ecosystem in the world.  It runs more websites, has more extensions, more community members, and contributes to global commerce second to none.  It is refreshing to see the system continue to grow strong.

Customers are Setting the “Norm”

The Toys R Us Chief Digital Officer mentioned that customers are setting the new norm.  Customers expect to have the option for in-store pickup, they expect to have the option to get the product in 2 days or less, they expect quick sites, they expect mobile on their phone and tablet.  If you don’t offer that kind of shopping experience, they will leave your site and go onto the next competitor THAT does.

Performance

Not as much of a focus as it was in New York, but everyone was reminded that website speed and page load times have a direct effect on site bounce rate and cart abandonment.  Again as mentioned in New York, sub 2 second load times are optimal.  As New Relic kindly pointed out that “user action” needs to be enabled within 2 seconds or less (ideally less than 1 second).  This doesn’t necessarily mean that all items on a page need to be done loading, it means that a user must be able to take action on the site in that amount of time.  Also, Magento’s days of being slow are long gone.  The speed and performance enhancements that have been gained in the last few releases shows that performance is still a priority for the core Magento team.  Magento is not the “Slow Bloated Engine” that the naysayers and competing companies like to say it is to sell their product.  Its clear that professionals, like Creating Digital, working and building sites on Magento know how to optimize it properly and how to host it.

Merchant Expectations

My biggest gripe with Magento has been the lack of bundling of additional modules.  For example, today’s merchant expects a one page checkout, full hero menu’s, best-in-class search, or ajax add to cart.  Often times we find ourselves rolling 5 or so modules just to do a simple Magento site.   It’s good to see a product like Nucleus Commerce come to market with a coupling of tightly tested modules ready to go in a theme that is ready to be skinned.  This platform comes with a yearly licensing fee that will provide continual improvement and ongoing support.  The product is well worth the fee to get a jump start into Magento.

Small Business Magento

Working and running a Magento store is not for the faint of heart.  A new product called Launchpad will allow an agency to launch a pre built, pre themed store for a small business at a much lower price point.  A fully functional store with a prebuilt theme can be launched within a few business days, not a few months.

Launchpad features below:

  • Google Analytics Setup
  • PayPal Setup
  • eBay Integration
  • Responsive Theme
  • Google Rich Snippets
  • MailChimp
  • MageMail
  • Customize theme colors
  • Blog
  • Pinterest Rich Pins

Personalization

My personal favorite – personalization is a thing I have been preaching for a long time now.  A vendor called Nosto.com can do this very well and has a low barrier of entry.  The module can be installed and configured within 10 minutes.  They don’t charge you monthly; they charge you based on performance.  They are growing rapidly and have about 6,500 customers and are adding about 100 a day at the moment.

Tax

As more and more success retailers grow in new states and markets, they need to make sure that Uncle Sam is being paid properly.  This can be very cumbersome and challenging.  Taxjar, a well-respected player in the tax management and software space has now entered the Magento eco system.  The pricing is among the most competitive in the Magento community.  You can begin getting tax quotes for as low as $10/month.  Yes, that is substantially smaller than the competition!

Search

Algolia is looking like a new emerging player with a very good module that integrates easily and functions beautifully. Again a company that has a low entry price, meaning that any merchant can try them out for less than dinner and beer (atleast a NYC dinner and beer!)  Working with many small and medium sized businesses we always like the technologies that we can get up and running quickly and have a low price entry point so our merchants can quickly see and gauge results.

Amazon Payments

Amazon made a hard push this year to be in the Magento space.  The module is very cool allowing your customer to enter their Amazon username and password and then pre-load their saved billing/shipping addresses and then use their stored credit card.  Pricing is comparable to other Merchants (2.9% and $.30).

Magento 2

Of course the biggest news of the conference was the all day sessions on Magento 2 and what it means for developers and service providers.  It was made clear that Magento 1 is here today and will continue to run and be supported for years into the future.  Magento 2 will be the engine that will serve us for the next decade or more.  It was made clear that merchants should not wait or worry about doing a deployment of a Magento 1 site as it will be supported and tools will be made for migration of data.  Timing is still set for end of the year.