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m2

Overview

Recently I managed to get to MagentoLiveAU held at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney earlier in November. It was a 2 day event but really I think it was a 1 day event without an opening key note address session like most events which I thought was very odd.

What would have been considered the opening session presented some interesting aspect of eCommerce and the whole event was sort of split between technical sessions and business sessions.

Apart from the Magento2 session the rest of the technical sessions were not overly useful to me. The business sessions on the other hand were interesting in that the rapid changes in the mobile world is changing the way people do online sales. So some interesting statistics came out of the session, in short Magento is now used by 33%+ of e-commerce retailers worldwide with a 43% uptake in established countries and 23% in emerging economies. eBay indicated that of all the top e-commerce sites in Australia, Magento held over 50% of the market, UK market share was 42%, France represented 30% and Germany was 26%.

It was also outlined that e-commerce was growing at 16% while normal commerce growth (worldwide) was only 5%.

The uptake of mobile technology has been prolific but this has not translated to an increase in sales for most merchants. Discussions with participants revealed that users use the cart to hold items they browsed on their mobiles and when they get access to a desktop PC they then went through the process of sales.

Catering for this change in shopping habits and the low conversion rates for mobile users is pushing the network of service providers and system integrators to ramp up the customer engagement effort with a range of email engagement tools becoming available.

Building a database of potential and existing clients, doing active promotions on sales, new stock as well as addressing cart abandonment and conversion rates has become a high priority. So there were numerous vendors in the trade hall with products to address this need, I managed to visit all the vendors and grab their literature for later review.

Responsive web sites for mobiles also featured in many presentations and its now a high priority to tap the desktop/tablet and mobile markets.

Magento2

I particularly liked the Magento 2 technical presentation, I had not delved much into version 2 until the talk and afterwards some research showed the same talk was presented at many previous Magento Live events around the world so the slide material is easy to find.

So the new and exciting bits ? A new architecture that allows Magento to be positioned as a client-server engine. Now this wasn’t actually mentioned in the presentation, I spotted it by the slides and confirmed it with the presenter Paul Boisvert after the presentation. I also ran a number of technical implementations passed him and realised the direction Magento is going but its not been publicised in that way, perhaps to make it simple for people to transition before they find out the new possibilities it could open up.

The new architecture means a more solid API, and the API will enable a more modular approach so a Magento store did not necessarily have to be hosted on the Magento server directly but on front end servers if needed. All accessed via the API leaving the back end to chug along nicely. This also allows Docker deployment of web sites to be used to scale up a Magento site.

What was clear in the talk was the changes to the administration side of Magento, the move to Magento 2 will cause a lot of third parties pain as the code for the admin interface has been moved into each module. I suspect that as modules are updated, the admin code can be easily updated to reflect the changes.

The technology stack has been updated, this has been on the cards for a while with many developers wanting JQuery to be natively supported as well as HTML5, CCS3 and {Less}. A suite of performance tools and new installers with a CLI and Web installer now being made available.

Round table talk fest

I particularly liked the talk fest session introduced for the first time. Basically a round table session of people with a member of the eBay/Magento team and questions presented to the room. The table then discussed the issues and these were to be fed back into the development process for enhancing Magento2. I estimated that the room held around 200 people so it was noisy and difficult to hear ideas from people on the table during this time but the idea was sound and the Magento team got some great issues to follow up.

Several key issues were raised from this session:

  • Shipping!

  • Quality of extensions

  • Extension bloat causing instabilities.

  • Shopping robots building pricing tables of your web site and the issues this causes both economically and while they crawl the site.

  • Multiple Inventory sites.

  • Native Ebay integration.

  • API for CRM and ERP packages.

  • Common B2B language and interfaces.

  • Payment gateways.

  • Low conversion rates from mobile users.

The buzzword for the session appeared to be “Omnichannel Marketing”, basically engaging the customer no mater the channel they used to reach you. lets see where that goes in future. There were also presentations on security, performance and some interesting case study style presentations from merchants who moved to Magento.

So to wrap up, would I go again? yes but only for the 1 day and fly home afterwards.

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