Magento Imagine 2016: Day 2

Monday signalled the official start of Imagine Commerce 2016, and the Wynn Hotel was buzzing with attendees, running around with their Magento backpacks full of gift goodies and name tags flying behind them, as they rushed to find their conference rooms. The attendees were treated to a PayPal-hosted breakfast at the start of the day, with a Merchant & System Integrator Payment Panel. As everyone involved in eCommerce knows, the payment step of the checkout process is vital to online commerce and business growth. Therefore, it stands to reason that positive upgrades to the payment system will grow your business by increasing the number of orders and providing a better user experience for your customers. Panelists at the breakfast talked about effortless payment experiences, easy payment integration, the significance of security, how to increase mobile conversion, and globalisation.

The panel was composed of:

Moderator: Andy Barker, Head of Strategy & Growth, Global Payments, Magento

Rick DeWalk, eCommerce Technology Manager, Le Creuset
Chris Guerra, Chief Marketing Officer, Blue Acorn
Bob Meyer, Managing Director US, Gorilla Group
Daniel Nettleton, eCommerce Manager, Espresso Parts
Rob Tull, Director of Solutions, Classy Llama
Shane Vaughan, President of eCommerce, Agri Beef (SnakeRiverFarms)

After breakfast, the attendees could attend any number of the following events.

Commerce Conversations Session I

This session had attendees sitting at various round tables with the intent of encouraging networking and cooperation by promoting the investigation of different eCommerce topics via group dialogue. Attendees introduced themselves, shared their ideas and best practice, and learned how their peers tackle challenges and trends. The session kicked off with the question, "What current trends are impacting your business?" followed by, "How do you stay ahead of customer expectations?" What happened in reality was open, honest discussions between participants who talked about their current struggles and expectations for their businesses. We saw a lot of advice being passed around, and attendees learning from one another.

Many retailers and smaller business owners were looking to refine their businesses and find out more about Magento 2. It was interesting to observe what issues smaller business owners are facing.

In regard to Magento:

  • Is it worth moving my business to Magento 2? What will it offer me?

In regard to common challenges: 
  • How can I acquire new traffic on a budget?
  • How can I face the growing competition online?
  • What online advertising works best for my particular business?
  • Behavioural targeting on social is a great (cheap) way to reach new traffic; but what channel is best for my business?

In regard to advertising via social networks:
  • Instagram is currently very effective, with traffic resulting in great conversion rates.
  • Instagram is a great channel for niche products, as followers on Instagram tend to be more loyal than their Facebook counterparts.
  • Releasing freebies through influencer targeting is a cheap way to gain traffic, but finding the right influencer and the right market takes time and energy. 

In regard to multi-brand versus single-brand businesses:
  • Single-brand businesses want to convey their brand story, and aim for a fantastic experience with a personal touch. For a multi-brand retailer, transparency is crucial to beating competitors, and delivery especially must be transparent.

Design Thinking Workshop for Agencies & Technology Providers - From Guesswork to Innovation: Using Design Thinking to Transform Your Business
Great design doesn't happen by accident; designers utilise a method called "Design Thinking" to lead them to the correct results. This session explored how successful product teams use this process to resolve challenges. The session provided attendees with techniques for carrying out budget-friendly user research in order to better understand their visitors, analyse issues, and deliberate on solutions. This session featured the following speakers.

Eric Erway, User Experience Design Manager, Magento Commerce
Keith Howard, Head of Product Design & UX, Magento Commerce
Ann Hudspeth, Sr. UX Manager, Magento Commerce
Marissa Rodriguez, User Experience Architect, Magento Commerce

Keith provided an overview of Design Thinking, which was also utilised when designing Magento 2.0. Magento 2.1 will be released at the end of 2016. The phases of Design Thinking are as follows:

  • Empathise to gain a deeper understanding of users and their issues and get feedback about the site from users who have never bought the products. Have a beginner's mind and engage with the audience in their context, and engage with extreme users, which will help to amplify the needs and desires of your audience.
  • Define by synthesising data to understand root causes. Any solution that is designed needs to be crafted towards the target audience. Define the problem, put together a Customer Problem Statement and ask the client the five "why" questions.
  • Map out the customer journey in the context of search, evaluate, decision, and purchase. 
  • Ideate by brainstorming solutions for the problem identified via methods such as rapid sketching, active brainstorming, process flows, and participatory co-design (designing with the customer).
  • Build a prototype to better understand the design. The simulation should be easy to build, either as storyboards, or in physical, digital, or paper form. Modern technology allows to quickly test a low-cost solution to the issue without having to create the full product.
  • Test your design to learn if the solution really works, identify the testing team, and create the scenarios. Then, write the test plan, recruit the participants, run the test, analyse the data and report the findings.

We also learned that Design Thinking and the Agile method work very well together. Then we participated in a workshop, where in group of three people, we took on the roles of note-taker, participant, and observer to test different mobile solution providers to see how easily we could perform certain tasks from an end-user perspective. We realised that although we had similar end tasks, our routes and expectations were completely different. We were also recommended a book on the topic. 

Magento 2 Developer Deep Dive
This session was meant for frontend and backend developers, and technical executives in particular. The Magento Engineering Team experts guided the participants through deeply technical topics related to Magento 2, which included the Magento Marketplace Update, leveraging Magento 2 to improve extensions, and Magento 2 development practices. For more in-depth information, click here.

Magento U: Introduction to Requirements Gathering for Magento Implementations
This session was designed to provide attendees with efficient strategies and knowledge for gathering requirements to produce a superior quality product and a successful Magento implementation. Participants left with a deeper understanding of requirements gathering and should possess the ability to convey concise expectations for their internal teams and development partners. Steve Kukla, Certified Solution Specialist from Magento Commerce, shared his know-how about best practice on this topic.

After the morning sessions, the Imagine attendees were treated to lunch on the Sunset Terrace and yet another opportunity to network and make new business contacts. After quickly powering up various electronic devices, it was back to learning! As a few of the sessions had a "part 2" in the afternoon, we will not cover them separately, but instead, include all information together.

Intelligent Sourcing: It's More Than Just Multi-Node Inventory
For those attendees who need, or will need, a multi node in Magento 2, they may very well also require the sourcing and inventory capacities of Magento Commerce Order Management. This session was designed to show participants how the MCOM can help manage the complications of operating inventory across progressively more complex fulfillment networks. The speakers shared how sourcing logic can be used to execute more deliberately in the use of inventory. This will result in lower costs, an increase in both velocity and utilisation, and a better customer experience. 
The speakers were:
John Baxendale, Solution Architect, Magento Commerce
Rob Sweeney, Director, Product Management, Magento Commerce

Startup Success
This session featured several startup owners who talked about what makes a successful startup, from the very beginning of the journey to enterprise-level, and about the lessons they learned on their eCommerce journey. 

Moderator: Mark Lenhard, SVP of Strategy & Growth, Magento Commerce
Dale Majors, CEO, Bikewagon
  • Dale advised against the "Only One Who Cares Syndrome," whose signs include low trust, dictating how things should be done, a culture of fear, filtering all decisions through one person, and low morale. 
  • Dale's recipe for success included:
    • stepping away to gain clarity.
    • getting the right people on board.
    • criticising the "what" and not the "how."
    • moving from "stepping on toes" to high transparency.
    • weekly performance report in Salesforce to track key metrics and benchmark.
    • delegate, train, and repeat.

Drew Pearson, Co-Founder, CEO, LEWK
  • Drew shared the lessons he has learned and advised to:
    • love what you do.
    • not confuse first with being the best.
    • become a master.
    • align yourself with smart people.
    • have difficult discussions early on.
    • test, learn, iterate.

Angela Tsay, CEO & Creative Director, Oaklandish
  • They learned that your customers are not just the people who buy your product, and to tap into identity and subcultures to grow your brand.
  • They also learned to use a blend of traditional media and social media to spread the message.
  • The omnichannel approach should be used to reach different customer segments, and that it's vital to retain a sense of discovery, and to connect via emotion and nostalgia.

John Webber, President, Carved
  • The challenges included growing profitably, building the right team, and staying ahead of the competition.
  • They learned to build the company from its sales, to own or control as much of the process as you can in order to be closer to your customers, and to create a well-loved brand.

Sponsors Marketplace Opening Reception
The marketplace featured dozens of businesses, from eCommerce solutions providers to interesting technical companies. We met with several companies such as:
  • FedEx CrossBorder enables retailers to reach customers in new markets by integrating FedEx CrossBorder into their existing eCommerce website. By utilising specialised tools, a merchant can get rid of payment, customs, and language barriers from a customer's shopping experience. International customers can visit a site without the retailer having to deal with any international shipping or paperwork, because the global orders ship via FedEx Crossborder. 
  • Fanplayr is an eCommerce marketing solution that gives merchants a segmentation engine that targets users in real-time with relevant offers and messages to increase conversion rates.
  • Straker Translations offer a translation extension that provides complete automisation of the translation process. It's easy to install and set up in Magento, it's scalable up to eighty languages and thousands of products. Simply put, it offers human-quality translation for eCommerce sites at cost-effective rates.

Magento 2.0: Merchant & System Integrator Perspectives
This session provided participants with first-hand experience from Magento 2 Beta Merchants and their system integration partners. The session was created to prepare attendees for a Magento 2 project and how certain key revisions in the platform can positively guide a business. 
Speakers included:
Brian Beck, SVP of eCommerce & Omnichannel Strategy, Guidance
Ashley Gensler, CEO, Loom Décor
William Mahar, VP of Marketing & eCommerce, Leading Lady
Jeanie Peterson, Co-Founder, SOL Lingerie
Michael Rosenthal, Technical Project Manager, Alpine Consulting
Kaushal Shah, Director, Magento Practice, Perficient Inc.

Introductory Overview of Magento Commerce Order Management (MCOM)
This session analysed the motivators and chances that generate the need for order management. The speakers profiled the merchant that is ideal for MCOM, what issues it solves, and what positive opportunities it establishes. Key capacities and functionalities were also reviewed in detail. The speakers at this session were Philipp Barthold, VP of Omnichannel Technology, Magento Commerce, and Kian Gould, Founder & CEO, AOE.

Vaimo is actually the implementation partner of four out of the total seven MCOM projects shown that are either are launched or projects in progress. It was rewarding to see Vaimo as a one with most experience with MCOM projects. MCOM is aimed at retailers with high complexity in the supply chain, and it provides merchants extensive flexibility in both inventory and order management. MCOM is a great match for retailers with omnichannel needs. 


Here's a few key points:
  • MCOM is a SaaS OMS platform, with a seamless integration to Magento 1.14 and 2.0
  • MCOM is a new product, built from the start of 2012 on PHP
  • MCOM integrates all of a retailer's order channels into one platform
  • MCOM can build complex rules, inventory, and order automation
  • MCOM offers payment and fraud services
  • An iOS is available for stores to fullfill orders sent by MCOM

MCOM solves issues such as:
  • multiple inventory placements - MCOM can dispatch the order to the location that can fulfill it the cheapest and fastest way
  • automatically splitting orders on different inventories to meet the delivery
  • built-in automation rules

Solutions Spotlight
This interactive session featured chosen-in-advance sponsor participants who each presented an elevator pitch about their services and products. This fast-paced session explored the usability, purpose, target users, and the business impact of a product or a service. 

Finally, the day came to a close with the Opening Night Networking Event on the Sunset Terrace, and dotmailer's Platinum Party at XS Nightclub at the Wynn Hotel. 



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