Here is a write up from the Magento Imagine 2014 Vaimo representation with Staffan Palopää, Markus Åberg, Krister Lenman, Andreas Hjelming, Brendan Peo, Kevin Clarke and Wilko Nienhaus visiting Las Vegas. The Magento’s worldwide conference that attracted this year more than 1700 people, was held in May 12-14 in the Hard Rock Hotel.

May 10: 

Staffan Palopää and Wilko Nienhaus went out and attended with other Magento Running Community members the The Las Vegas 5K running event, which is one of the most exciting destination 5K races in the country. 

May 11-12:  

Official registrations to Imagine 2014, meetings with Magento Executive Team, meetings and networking with the Magento community members throughout the day and attending the Pre-Imagine party. 

May 13:

Andreas Hjelming and Wilko Nienhaus attended the Magento 2 Front-end Architecture session, where they talked about:

- Multilevel Theme inheritance
- Html 5, CSS 3. LESS
- Magento UI library, php LESS compiler
- RequireJS
- Out-of-the-box responsive design support
- No SASS for core. LESS was chosen over SASS, because LESS has more stable PHP based compiler


Brendan Peo: Magento announced a new certification: Magento Solution Specialist. This focuses on understanding the platform strengths, weaknesses and features to reduce customization. 


Krister Lenman: SEO Blueprints: Build the Right SEO Foundation into Your Magento Site presented by WPROMOTE

1. Get the URL right, it should be understandable
2. Website structure should be understandable

3. Show Breadcrumbs for CMS Pages
4. Product name is important and should be readable by Google
5. Unique content is the key, avoid duplicate content on your site
6. Inventory Management, offer to email the client when product is back in stock 
7. 404... create a custom page with relevant links. 404s straight from google equals lost opportunity
8. 301 instead of 404
9. Content on Category page is important
10. Product page: reviews, why to buy, related products (up-sales & cross sales) 

Thank you WPROMOTE for a good presentation!


Wilko Nienhaus and Andreas Hjelming attended Magento BarCamp. 

Listening to eBay developers talking about their experience with TDD on Magento 1.x projects. Conclusion: not always easy to do tests first at unit level in M1.x, but any type of testing is better than no testing. Testing first at e.g. Integration level works well.

Magento 2 configuration XML. Because xml is validated it’s guaranteed bug-free. Main focus was to improve performance, separate unrelated configurations and untie the application from the source format of the configuration.

Scaling Magento by order sharding. With a small hack, one can send orders to different backend databases to scale the writes. Of course admin can no longer show all orders in one grid, so another small customisation is needed to allow the admin user to choose the shard. A little experimental but good to know that the basics are not too hard.

Magento 1.9 and 1.14 versions were released today at Imagine. Magento 2's roadmap announced: beta version will be released before December 2014, Magento 2 official release before March 2015. 


Brendan Peo: Imagine 2014 is officially starting. Opening Keynote! Main Theme/Topic for the event is all about transformation! 3 Key ingredients to transform a business: Passion, Dedication and Love.


Wilko Nienhaus: Magento's new responsive theme is a collaboration between Magento, Classy Llama and Brendan Falkowski. Apparently Magento have cut a lot of theme code calling it a major re-architecture. Here is a new responsive theme in action:

A lot of great re-architecture promises to make Magento 2 an order of magnitude better for developers to work with. It will be simpler to extend, more scalable, have better quality (automated tests built in) and easier to integrate with. Magento 2 will also support multilevel theme inheritance. As a part of the theme xml configuration you can specify a parent theme. In this way you can create as many fallbacks as you want.


Krister Lenman and Markus Åberg: Mining for Gold: Discover Hidden Customer Gems through Site Search. Using a live customer example, only 16% of the visitors used search on the site but they contributed to 54% of the online sales. Average order value is 9% higher than for browsing clients. Five times higher conversion rates for search users. Site-search visitors have also lower bounce rate, more page views and they stayed longer on the site. Why? Searchers purchase now, navigators may purchase later. 

Tips & tricks for Search
- As Humans Speak Human Language, use a semantic search engine like Solr -> the color brown might be equal to espresso for some retailers.
- Are you selling what the customers are searching for?
- Never show blank results
- Show similar categories instead of showing zero results
- Use your search data to develop your strategy - use Google Analytics
- Make popular products easily findable
- Optimize your site for the most popular search terms
- Tag the product attributes based on search results 

Thank you Celebros for the presentation!  


Wilko Nienhaus and Staffan Palopää:  Magento 2 Frontend Session

More extension points in layout xml, so you can make changes by adding xml, instead of overriding existing xml

Frontend will be switched entirely to Jquery. Admin will stay on prototype for now, because it's not customized often.

14 agile teams are working on Magento 2. They are co-located in Kiev and Los Angeles, usually 4-6 team members, running 2 week sprints, each team have their own team mascot.

Seems like they are "scoping off" Magento 2 a bit better than before by for example dropping the visual design editor and Twig, it might be a good thing because then they'll be more likely to launch on plan. (Andreas Hjelming: Reality is setting in J) 


Wilko Nienhaus: talk

Multi-threaded application server for PHP implemented fully in PHP. Makes infrastructure components accessible to PHP developers. Also speeds up application (with some customisation) by keeping application persistent in memory. Speeds up Magento by 62% in their benchmarks. They are implementing everything in PHP: from web-server, to SQL proxy, to SSH server, to Live-Debugger (without xdebug), to application server management console. Interesting, definitely needs to be checked out


Krister Lenman: Conversion Science Session – Blending Qualitative and Quantitative Data to Make Informed Website Decisions presented by Blue Acorn

"Lets make smarter eCommerce decisions"
Why does companies re-design their web sites?
- Increase Average Order Value
- Increase Conversion

39% fail with improved conversion after re-design

Tips & Tricks for success when you re-design your website:
- User Surveys
- User Testing
- Prototyping
- Conversion Testing
- Web Analytics
- Heat maps
- A/B testing
- Roadmap that includes goals and "How do we measure success?"
- A/B testing of the new vs old site not just features 

Kevin Clarke: Online Revenue Growth Oxygen Session
A new simple, yet effective tactic:
- Tie up the email you collect with the newsletter sign-up/pop-up to the Magento abandoned cart cookie... up to 40% open rate on abandoned cart emails without the customer doing a registration or purchase process.

May 14:

Andreas Hjelming: At the general keynote with Wilko Nienhaus listening to Paypal's president talking about the transformation from cash transactions. 

Wilko Nienhaus: Breakout session on Search:
- make the search bar really visible
- adapt search results pages to fit the products, e.g show dresses in portrait mode, show sofas landscape
- incorporate non-product content into your search, including social media (e.g. return results linking to recipes when you sell ingredients, return blog posts and twitter mentions in search results, etc)
- mobile users search at a much higher rate than desktop users
- look at your search terms to find out what your customers are telling you
- SLI Systems' search solutions learns from customer searches to continuously improve relevance.

Magento 2 FE: "Visual Design Editor" (aka. drag and drop frontend customization) is put on ice because for small customers it does not give enough flexibility, and large customers want custom themes anyway.


Krister Lenman: Ways to Crash an eCommerce Business by Sean Percival

- Hire smarter people than yourself
- Arrogance is going to be expensive
- You need to get the delivery organisation right 
- Fight with your vendors more
- Set good expectations with customer - surprise the customer with quicker delivery
- Give discounts when you mess up with orders
- Easy to have products with just too low margin
- Test upfront (then test more), everything from different products to your online store 
- Avoid discounting in the beginning 
- Make tough price switches early
- Find secret unsexy revenue 
- Fundraising is very tricky for e-commerce companies
- Marketing is difficult, try different options
- You have to try 10 things to get 1 that works
- Assume 100% of sales comes on the 2nd visit

Andreas Hjelming: Three years of official support for Magento 1.x after Magento 2.0 is released

Staffan Palopää: Recommendations from Ampersand on Selling Multi-Channel:
-Have a single view of products in PIM
-Have a single view of stock across all locations in ERP
-Have a single view of the customer in CRM
-Integrate with Magento and use Magento as a thin frontend layer and promotion engine

Vaimo won the Magento Spirit of Excellence Award!

Best Magento Sites of the year:
Best design: Paperchase (by Redbox Digital)
Most Innovative: Glassful (by Pixafy)
Most transformed: ToyZoo (by Rocket Web)



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