Celebrating Community and Collaboration: Magento Imagine 2019

My team and I recently attended Magento Imagine 2019. Heading in hopeful, we were excited about the informative keynotes and breakout sessions that explored the new ideas coming from Magento. With the recent Adobe acquisition of Magento, we were curious about the effect it has had on the eCommerce ecosystem and what the plans are for the future. Similarly, we were eager to connect with partners and merchants to discuss their biggest challenges and excitements about 2019. Of course, we expected to learn a lot at this year’s conference, but I think that it far exceeded our expectations.

What stood out to me at Imagine 2019 was the openness toward dialogue and discussion. The eCommerce community has always embraced collaboration, but this year, in particular, felt especially welcoming, and our team walked away with tons of valuable insights that we hope to take to our clients.

This conference provided us with a plethora of information and knowledge—some of which I felt I knew, but it was nice to get affirmation, and some were new insights entirely. For me, there were three key statements that sum up my experience and I know that they can benefit your team as you move forward this year.

Affirmations, Insights, and Innovations

Doing more “things” doesn’t mean more money.

Doing more doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be more successful. Sometimes, it puts you in a place to be mediocre at a lot of things, instead of being really good at one thing. Often, merchants feel obligated to continuously add to their store in order to keep up with the latest technology or trend. In reality, merchants really need to listen to their customers and make decisions based on what is best for them—choosing their features wisely so that they are adding simplicity and not complexity.

A practical way to accomplish such is through user testing and AB testing. We cannot stress enough the importance of leveraging these two tools, and it was clear at Imagine that this was something that everyone agreed about. The most common mistake merchants make is not testing their new ideas. It’s a mistake to assume that all your ideas are great, even if they fit into “best practices”. It’s worth the investment to confirm your assumptions through proper user testing and AB testing.

 

Success does not always come from doing what your competitors are doing.

Your competitors are not always right! Instead of constantly studying what others are doing, sometimes it’s best to look inward and provide the services your customers crave to the best of your ability. Ask yourself, “what is our organization capable of doing really well, and how does that benefit our customers?”

I attended a session lead by Anita Andrews, Director of CX Strategy at Magento, where she discussed creating memorable experiences for customers. Some of the key points in her presentation truly resonated with me:

  • Competitor driven anxiety is the business version of keeping up with the Jones’
    • What are they doing?
    • How are they doing it?
    • When did they do it?
    • Where is it happening?
    • Who are they working with?
  • Unless you know your competitor’s performance, use their journeys as motivation, not direction.

These ideas set off a light bulb in my brain, she was completely right! So often we focus on doing everything someone else is doing, we lose focus on our own business. Unless we truly know if these features are working for our competitors, it’s a waste of energy and resources to focus too much on what new features they are rolling out. Instead, focus that time, energy, and resources on your customer’s demands and making sure that their experience is the best it can be.

 

You can still compete with Amazon.

It’s easy to feel defeated against the eCommerce giant, Amazon—especially after recent announcements of 1-day Prime Shipping. However, that doesn’t mean the end for everyone else. I was speaking with one of our partners and we both agreed that 1-day Prime Shipping isn’t the end for all other merchants. There are still plenty of ways for a merchant to differentiate themselves from Amazon and offer something that Amazon can’t: a personal and connected experience. Smaller merchants have an opportunity to connect with their customers in ways that Amazon cannot, such as personalization and direct contact. It’s important for merchants to take advantage of the ways they can be different and not feel weighed down by Amazon’s sheer size and power.

How do you accomplish this you ask? Be available to your customers through personalized experiences. Provide in-depth knowledge of your products, simple and effective user experiences, and just being good people. Amazon’s size restricts their ability to truly know their customers and create real conversations. Use that to your advantage. It’s a fact that customers will often stick with a brand that they have built a relationship with and trust. Many customers are totally willing to wait just a little while longer for a package if the experience is top notch.

What Does the Future of Magento Imagine Look Like?

After the announcement of Adobe’s acquisition of Magento and the surprising exit of Magento CEO, Mark Lavelle, many feared for the future of Magento Imagine. Would this be the last one? We were pleasantly surprised to find out quite the opposite. Magento announced they will be hosting Imagine again, in conjunction with Adobe Summit. We don’t know the place but we do know the dates.

 

Community is Key

Whether it’s playing with puppies, grabbing some merch from the swag store or gorging yourself on some great food, Magento Imagine is a valuable conference, not just for those who work with the platform every day, but for those with a genuine interest in eCommerce. It’s more than just a place to network and hear amazing speakers, like Gary V, it’s a place to get energized about the future of eCommerce. It gives us and others the opportunity to learn from the experiences of many in the community. The various keynotes and breakout sessions offered valuable insights as well as validation that we are doing the right things. What stuck out the most from Magento Imagine was affirmation—that we are heading in the right direction. Magento as a platform is strong and continues to value the community, and it’s clear that Adobe sees the importance of that community and will continue to support it.

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