On Feb. 7th-9th Magento held its first-ever Imagine eCommerce Conference, and WOW was it a success! More than 600 merchants, developers, partners and sponsors – from 27 countries – gathered at the Hilton LAX to learn, collaborate, party and interact with the Magento ecosystem. Before we get into the highlights, a quick note to say that we are working to gather all the videos and slides from the keynotes and breakouts and will post back on the blog with a link once everything is available ... so stay tuned.
Before the presentation began, attendees watched an introductory video, and Bob Schwartz stepped on stage to welcome everyone and introduce Roy and the Day 1 Magento Keynote.
The main keynote was the appropriate stage to announce new Magento products as well as updates to existing products, and this was indeed the focus. Here's what was covered:Magento Enterprise Edition 1.10
Magento Go was introduced as a hosted, SaaS service designed for small and emerging merchants who want the benefits of selling online, without the complexity of managing servers and software. It provides them with a robust platform at a cost that any small business can afford.
Magento Go includes these key benefits for small and emerging merchants:
During our Day 1 morning keynote, we introduced this fun video, highlighting the benefits of Magento Go:
Roy then continued to introduce the Magento Go Platform. When we created Magento Go, we realized that we needed to infuse it with the DNA of Magento - it's ability to be extended by YOU, the community and ecosystem of developers and partners. That's why we also announced the Magento Go Platform at Imagine, a Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution that will enable developers to build applications for Magento Go, just as you have built for our deployed editions. The energy & creativity of the Magento development community meets the SaaS environment, that’s what the Magento Go Platform is all about!
The Magento Go Platform features a full range of APIs that will expose all of Magento’s functionality, both front-end and back-end, to developers. The Platform uses best of breed open standards, such as OpenSocial and OAuth, and developers can use any programming language to create applications.
Magento Go Apps will work both on our SaaS and our deployed products of Community, Professional, and Enterprise Edition - enabling developers to write applications once and deploy them across all of Magento’s solutions.
The Platform will launch in beta soon, stay tuned for more updates.
Magento Mobile for iPad and Android
Like the iPhone version, Magento Mobile for iPad and Android enable merchants to create branded, native storefront applications that are deeply integrated with Magento’s market-leading eCommerce platform. Now merchants can provide the best shopping experience possible to customers based on the device they are using. And of course, Magento provides an industry-leading mobile web shopping experience for any customer that does not have your native application installed.
Magento Community Edition 1.5
Magento Community Edition 22.214.171.124 includes these key features:
Blake Nordstrom, President and Director of Nordstrom, Inc., and his company take great pride in customer service and he led off his presentation with the thought-inspiring, “If you are talking about customer service, you are not doing it.” From there he explained the customer service difficulties facing his chain of specialty apparel stores. Nordstrom pointed out that today’s consumers point to companies like Amazon and Zappos as companies with great customer service pushing the traditional “brick and mortar” stores and their “human interactions” down the list. Nordstrom said that today stores like his have to realize that the customer is in charge and will dictate experience, and on top of that, each customer may want to dictate their individual experience. Now more than ever, the retailer has to be customer focused, not just customer driven.
“There are some areas of business where you have to maintain financial and operational disciplines and be thoughtful about change, and there are areas where you can’t go fast enough, mobile is one of those.” Nordstrom, like many retailers expanding their presence, cited mobile as an area where the company is exploring a number of intriguing technologies and opportunities.
Starting his presentation, Walker told conference goers that they can no longer think of just eCommerce or, for that matter, just commerce. Instead, he said, “We can’t just drop the “e.” We have to blow it the hell up.”
In place of the traditional model of eCommerce that many in attendance were familiar with, Walker presented a new business model “The Era of Agile Commerce.” This new era, said Walker, is not about multi-channels but rather about touch points. With the advent of the super-connected customer, there are more places that consumers are going for information and retailers have to cater to this. However, Walker warned that retailers must not lose focus of seemingly antiquated touch points, like telephone customer service, as many consumers still rely on and desire them.
GoDaddy President and COO Warren Aldeman entertained the audience with his company's famous Super Bowl commercials, including the most recent version which had just aired three days prior. Warren's key messages to merchants were that you have to "go big" to get big, you can't grow your business if customers can't find you, and that sometimes you need to take your message offline to be found online. These are certainly all important messages for Magento merchants who are always looking beyond the technology to understand how to grow their online businesses.
Adelman also spoke of the importance of customer service and has pushed within GoDaddy to make customer service important. Not being able to make it an external message as much as he’d like through advertising, he has turned to transforming his company’s customer service internally. From holding contests where employees can win “mortgage for a year” and trips to exotic locales, Adelman has kept his customer service representatives motivated and happy, which has led them to producing fantastically in their jobs interacting with customers.
Naveed helped educate Imagine attendees about the tremendous opportunity mobile presents to eCommerce merchants. He showed how smartphone adoption is faster than desktop and notebook computers, and that soon more people will access the Internet through smartphones than through computers. Naveed also showed data from the 2010 holiday shopping season that placed mobile commerce growth rates at over %100 per year!
As the former CEO of open source database company, MySQL AB, Marten Mickos knows open source. Mickos explained how the Internet is finally reaching everyone, especially through mobile devices breaking down the final barriers. He went on to discuss how the entire online and ecommerce world runs on open source – these companies are at the leading edge of technology and they have decided on open source. Openness creates it’s own “lock-in” through loyalty and the investment of the community in the success of the project. He closed his presentation with his vision of how more and more of technology, including more of the eComerce ecosystem - is moving to the cloud.
After a full day of keynotes and breakout sessions, everyone was ready to eat some good food and relax with friends and colleagues. Everyone jumped into Hummer limos for a quick ride over from the Hilton LAX to Magento's Culver City headquarters, where LA's famous food trucks were awaiting them.
The Imagine eCommerce Conference featured a Swag Shoppe. Magento turned its sponsors into "merchants," asking them to forgo their usual giveaways (pens, yo-yos, etc.) for premium "swag" that would be available to attendees for purchase through the Swag Shoppe. Attendees could use "Magento Dollars" that they received by meeting with the sponsors to make purchases of the sponsors' swag from the Swag Shoppe. Our sponsors did a terrific job providing great swag, including laptop bags, hockey jerseys and dancing robots!
After the final keynote on Day 2, Magento President and conference MC, Bob Schwartz, closed out the conference with a heartfelt thank you from him, Roy, Yoav and the entire Magento team. He invited all Magento employees onto the stage to share their gratitude to the entire Magento Community who have enabled Magento's success over the last three years.
Before Bob closed out the conference, he treated everyone to a quick video summarizing the conference:
With Magento you're going places, and we want to help you get there.Stay tuned for more information about future Imagine eCommerce Conferences, and we hope that you can join us in shaping the future of eCommerce.