MagentoLive UK 2017 Recap

The Conference

In June, Gauge marketing director Kali Keesee and copywriter Liz Pryor traveled to London’s Park Plaza at Westminster for this year’s MagentoLive UK. MagentoLive events are Magento-hosted regional events that bring retailers, agencies, and solution providers together to experience the Magento ecosystem in one place.

Each event includes presentation sessions, panel discussions, and workshops designed to inform attendees about the latest Magento news, allow discussion about eCommerce trends and challenges, and facilitate networking and connection within the community. Liz and Kali took full advantage of this opportunity as both attendees and presenters. In today’s blog post, they recap their experience and relate the valuable takeaways, announcements, and statistics they brought home with them.

Magento Live UK 2017
Magento always picks posh venues and swanky decor. This was no exception!

Session: Understanding the Total Cost of Upgrading to Magento 2

Full slide deck available here

With the sunset of Magento 1 on the horizon, this session tackled one of the big burning questions in the industry right now: How much money, time, and effort will it really take to migrate from Magento 1 to Magento 2?

Part 1: One Agency’s Case Study

Presenter: Rod Forsyth, Senior Consultant at Magento agency FitForCommerce

To answer that question, Rod Forsythe, Senior Consultant at FitForCommerce, presented a case study on the Magento 2 migrations his agency has done. The stats were pretty enlightening.

Migration Averages

Standard Magento 2.o Implementation:

  • Time: 4.2 months
  • Cost: $205,000

Standard Magento 2.1 Implementation:

  • Time: 3 months
  • Cost: $133,000
  • Biggest time investments: Front end development & integrations; roughly 28% of timeline spent on each

Complex Magento 2 Implementation (usually includes extensive third-3rd party integrations):

  • Time: 6 months
  • Cost: $319,000
  • Biggest time investment: Complicated integrations; roughly 42% of timeline

Major drivers of cost and time for any Magento 2 Implementation:

  • Data migration
  • Complex UI requirements
  • Business-specific customizations
  • Third-party integrations
  • Partner experience level

After his presentation, Rob invited two of his retail clients to discuss their specific projects, highlighting their very different migration experiences. Of course, every migration project lies within a spectrum, from the very simple to the very complex. While Rob’s stats represented the middle ground of averages, the retailers represented two opposite ends of the spectrum. Oliver Sweeney’s migration was quite complex, with a variety of different integration challenges and customizations, while Sana Safinaz had a very simple migration with no complex integrations or customizations.

Complex Migration: Oliver Sweeney

Presenter: Alex Barbier, Director of Digital Marketing

Key Stats:

Luxury shoe brand Oliver Sweeney was an early adopter of Magento Commerce Cloud (formerly Magento 2 Cloud Edition), and they’re extremely pleased with the switch. It’s easy to see why; after migration they saw an increase of over 20% in mobile conversion rates and a nearly 15% increase in revenue year-over-year. The investment of time and effort was certainly worth it for them.

It’s important to note that Oliver Sweeney was using the Magento Commerce Cloud platform (formerly Magento Enterprise Cloud). We heard from many retailers who opted for the Magento Cloud platform instead of the hosted (or “on-prem”) version of Magento 2 Enterprise. These Cloud customers had some compelling testimonials. They found the Cloud edition easier to use and, like Oliver Sweeney, saw some pretty outstanding results.

Simple Migration: Sana Safinaz

Presenter: Moeed Ahmed Sheikh, Deputy Manager of Digital Business

Key Stats:

  • Development Time: 450 hours/30 days
  • Cost: Not given
  • Integration Types: Order Fulfillment, POS
  • Extensions: Instagram integration

On the other end of the migration spectrum, luxury fabrics & fashion brand Sana Safinaz touted an amazingly fast 30-day Magento 2 implementation.

This was an entirely bare-bones project with only the most basic integrations—nothing complex or customized—so it’s hard to even compare it to Oliver Sweeney. Whether to include it here was a difficult decision, because very few migrations would be this lean. Ultimately, however, highlighting its simplicity can give a realistic example of what a light, fast migration could look like.

Key Takeaways

  1. In this presentation we saw a major push for Magento 2 Cloud Edition, and it’s easy to understand why. It seems to be effective and retailers have seen favorable results with it.
  2. Lots of variations factor into the time, budget, and effort needed to make any Magento 2 migration—on both the Cloud and hosted versions.
  3. Each implementation is unique, but these statistics can help clarify the time, effort, and money to budget for your project.

Panel Discussion: Reflections on Upgrading from Magento 1 to Magento 2

In this panel, eCommerce experts Steven King from Kurt Geiger and Mark Purdy from Tom Dixon discussed their firsthand experiences with transitioning from Magento 1 to Magento 2. Each had a unique perspective and key takeaways to share.

Deep Dive: Luxury Shoe Brand Kurt Geiger

Panelist: Steven King, Head of Technology

Kurt Geiger is one of the most popular luxury footwear brands in Europe. They didn’t have a real business case for upgrading; for them, moving to Magento 2 was all about the technology. They needed a platform that would scale with them as they grow.

To test drive the Magento 2 experience, they chose to start with one of their smaller brands,Nine West. First, they gathered a team of internal developers to work on their project and dove into the Magento U training courses for Magento 2.

“Really take the time to do the training before you put together your requirements and collaborate with your partner.” – Steven King, Head of Technology, Kurt Geiger

Next, they focused on “trimming the fat,” cutting the 50 extensions used on their Magento 1 site to only 6 on their new Magento 2 site. This was a necessity; at the time, few extension developers had released Magento 2-compatible versions.

The limitation forced the Kurt Geiger team to take a hard look at their site, identify what core functionalities they absolutely needed, and make smart decisions. Then they developed customizations to fill any gaps left by missing extensions. (Since this project’s completion, the market has grown. Newly released Magento 2 extensions would eliminate the need for many customizations today.)

Key Results

Kurt Geiger’s upgrade to Magento 2 has shown some significant results and benefits.

  1. Access to new features and functionalities, including a fully responsive layout, guest checkout, and Magento CMS
  2. A 40% increase in mobile conversions
  3. Faster site speeds, including a 40% reduction in page load times
  4. Increased customer engagement, including longer browse times and increased product education
  5. Faster development time
  6. Improved testing framework
  7. Simplified new feature implementation—what used to take 4 weeks now takes 1 day!

So what’s next for Kurt Geiger? After the success of their Nine West test drive, they plan to tackle a new ERP integration and upgrade their larger sites to Magento 2. Definitely an impressive success story!

Deep Dive: Iconic Lighting & Interior Design Brand Tom Dixon

Panelist: Mark Purdy, Head of Digital

Lighting & interior design brand Tom Dixon did have a business case for upgrading to Magento 2: Converting their primarily brand-focused site into a true eCommerce experience. They treated their move much like a complete replatform, rethinking and reimagining every aspect of their eCommerce business.

Unlike Kurt Geiger, Tom Dixon enlisted the assistance of a technology partner to manage their Magento 2 migration. Their first step was to find the right partner. Marc Purdy explained that picking the right partner was one of the toughest decisions of the whole process. Choosing the right partner is a challenge for any retailer, but it was particularly tricky for this project. Their roadmap needed to include some bits and pieces unrelated to their eCommerce site, like moving their warehouse operations and adding new store locations. Their partner would need to be able to support all aspects of the project.

When asked what he looked for in a partner, Purdy offered some golden advice: “Match your business with your partner’s business in both size and culture. Find the right fit for you.” Sharing a culture with your agency can make all the difference, and Tom Dixon is the perfect example of that.

Purdy described his personal, hands-on management style and explained that he needed a partner who would allow him to be closely involved in the day to day. He and his team interviewed dozens of agencies, eventually winnowing the possibilities down to two: a large agency with dozens of Magento 2 builds under their belt, and a smaller agency with only one build to its name. In the end, they went with the smaller firm because it was a better culture fit.

For their upgraded site, Tom Dixon incorporated new features designed to assist customers with the buying journey. Taking full advantage of the enhanced Magento CMS features, they added product stories to product detail pages. This took a bit of development right off the bat, but the payoff was worth it in the end.

Before launch, the Tom Dixon team had some concerns about a certain customer segment. Architects and interior designers use large screens, and the team was concerned the new experience would lower engagement. But after launch, they saw opposite results—improved statistics not just for that customer group, but across the board! Purdy said his team really enjoys the more intuitive nature of the Magento 2 admin. It’s cleaner and easier to understand.

Key Takeaways

  1. Take advantage of the Magento 2 training
  2. Extensively plan out your build
  3. “Trim the fat” and decide what you really need to succeed
  4. Choose your technology partner wisely. Make sure they fit your business in both size and culture.
  5. Take advantage of the new features and snazzy admin in Magento 2

Session: Turn Shipping into a Profit Machine

Presenters: Gerry McGowan, Head of Shipping & Logistics at Magento

Rob Gibson, Channel Partner Manager at Temando

Full presentation available here

In this session, Gerry McGowan from Magento and Rob Gibson from Temando teamed up to discuss some common eCommerce shipping challenges. They also announced some new exciting things coming to the world of Magento Shipping.

Everyone in eCommerce knows that shipping is a huge challenge. Gerry went through some eye-opening statistics:

  1. 50% of cart abandonment is due to shipping
  2. 86% of consumers expect to see shipping options at checkout
  3. 34% of online retailers take 1-2 days to ship an order (and if it takes you longer, you are behind)
  4. Retailers can see an up to 75% reduction in cart abandonment by adding more shipping options at cart

So what’s to be done about these challenges?

Magento & Temando: Shipping Solutions for Everyone

To answer that question, Magento announced a new partnership: Magento and Temando are working together to roll out new functionalities in Magento Shipping. This is very exciting news for the many retailers who struggle regularly with shipping conundrums. Want to get rid of table rates? Apparently, here is your chance.

The goal of this partnership is to easily connect retailers with global carriers, drive cart conversion and revenue, automate fulfillment, and reduce shipping-related costs. It sounds like a great feature for the future of Magento and its users.

Key Takeaways

  1. It’s essential for retailers to start paying attention to their shipping strategy.
  2. Magento recognizes the importance of this.
  3. Magento & Temando are developing new solutions that will be native to Magento.
  4. These solutions are designed to give retailers more options to use in their shipping strategies.

Workshop: Magento’s Design Thinking Process

This workshop covered the basics of the Design Thinking process used at Magento, with a focus on research and prototyping. We learned how the “Magento way” of brainstorming and collaboration can deliver great customer experiences and improve business results. Then we practiced using their methods to build and test ideas quickly.

This was a hands-on session. After an overview of the ideas behind the process, we split into groups of three for some practical application. Each group chose one of its members’ sites to use for the exercise. We did some basic user testing, walking through the chosen website while the retailer asked us to find specific items and complete some tasks. The retailer then explained why certain design decisions were made. Finally, we gave feedback and discussed the experience from both the user and retailer perspectives.

Overall it was a great experience to hear why certain design decisions were made from a merchant’s perspective. We especially appreciated the chance to get a rare, up-close-and-personal look at what goes on behind the scenes at a company as big as Magento.

Key Takeaways

  1. Frequent prototyping and iterative user testing can help you spot areas where perspectives are misaligned.
  2. Spotting misalignment can stop problems before they become widespread.

Session: Grow Your Business with Multichannel Marketing

Presenters: Us!

Kali Keesee, Director of Marketing at Gauge Interactive

Liz Pryor, Copywriter & Content Strategist at Gauge Interactive

Allyson Van Houten, Head of Partnerships at MailChimp

Slide deck available here; full presentation will be linked as soon as it’s available

Yes, we were the presenters for this session, and we presented to a packed room. Our friends at marketing automation platform MailChimp invited us to share the stage with their Head of Partnerships Allyson Van Houten.

Together, we discussed how MailChimp’s marketing automation features can help grow your business, and explained why retailers should upgrade from Magemonkey to MailChimp for Magento. These are topics we strongly believe in—in fact, we’ve discussed them in several blog posts—so we were thrilled to present on this subject.

Using scenarios from Gauge client OldTimeCandy.com we spoke in detail about the success of email automations like welcome series, birthday emails, and abandoned cart responses. We also talked about a case study we completed with OldTimeCandy.com, testing Facebook ads posted and managed via MailChimp. We even brought some candy to share with our new London friends, who may not have been familiar with iconic American candy brands. Then we closed with an open question and answer session.

Old Time Candy Booth
Public Speaking 101: Bring a handout your audience can really chew on

Altogether, this presentation was a success and a fantastic experience. We were excited to share some of the experience and knowledge we’ve gained through our work with OldTimeCandy.com—one of our favorite clients—as well as other Magento retailers. The audience was engaged and had a lot of smart questions for us. And as always, we love working with MailChimp. Liz and Kali were honored to share the stage with Allyson.

Multichannel Marketing Presentation

Wrapping It Up

At Gauge, we often talk with our clients about the loneliness of eCommerce. As a retailer, it can be easy to feel isolated, stuck with trial and error to find out what works and what doesn’t. But eCommerce is both a big industry and a small world. Conferences offer an important (and easy) way to overcome that loneliness, get connected with the eCommerce community, and learn from the stories of others.

From global eCommerce trends to the real impact of Brexit, MagentoLive UK 2017 offered a lot to learn. We met great people and had some amazing experiences. If Magento is coming to a city near you, take advantage of it and attend. The gain is well worth the investment.

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