The Latest Releases to Magento 2

So far, 2018 has been a big year for Magento. The community is abuzz with talk about Magento’s recent acquisition by Adobe. But at Gauge, we’re focused on some other important announcements: new & upcoming features!

Magento is cranking out some exciting innovations. Their quest is to make life easier for their retailers and they’re succeeding. Magento announced some significant changes in Summer 2017, and they’ve kept up momentum since.

Today we’ll highlight our favorite new features. First, we’ll detail some that were recently released in Magento 2.2.x updates. (You can see the full list here.) Then we’ll cover more improvements coming in Magento 2.3. The release date for 2.3 is shrouded in secrecy, but you can watch for it here.

On to the good stuff!

 

Magento 2.2.x: Available Now

 

New Features Released in Magento 2.2.0

Integrated Signifyd Fraud Protection
Protect your time and your bottom line by reducing fraud-related overhead, losses, and fees. Signifyd Fraud Protection monitors each purchase for fraud. Signifyd is a trusted service that makes it easier to identify suspect transactions, automate your back-end processes, and get paid for chargebacks.

 

Bundled extensions
Magento has ventured into new territory by bundling third-party extensions with Magento Commerce. The first is Magento Social. Easily connect your store with your brand’s Facebook page. Create a Facebook product catalog that works seamlessly with your Magento store. Increase your conversions by easily directing customers back to your Magento store.

 

B2B Commerce

Supported for Magento Commerce (Cloud) Pro subscriptions only

This is an exciting release for B2B retailers. B2B Commerce lets customers of B2B retailers create and maintain their own customer accounts. Even better, these customer accounts can accommodate teams of buyers. Team admins can assign a specific role and permission level to each user on their team. B2B Commerce has a flexible API that integrates with a variety of ERP solutions, making it an ideal solution for B2B.

 

New Features Released in Magento 2.2.2

Advanced Reporting

Magento has heard our frustrations about less-than-impressive reporting and really stepped up their game. New Advanced Reporting gives you much more flexibility to customize your experience and get the most from your data. Gain new insights and make smarter decisions with easy-to-use order, product, and customer reports, accessible right from the Magento Admin. Advanced Reporting is a free cloud-based service powered by Magento Business Intelligence.

 

Magento Shipping

Magento Shipping easily integrates advanced multi-carrier shipping and fulfillment solutions into your store. It’s powered by Temando software but baked into the Magento core platform. See a full list of enhancements and fixes in the Magento Shipping Release Notes.

It’s worth pointing out that you can still use other third-party shipping solutions. Some of our clients love ShipperHQ, which offers an easy-to-install Magento extension. But if you’d prefer a built-in service, Magento Shipping may be right for you.

 

Instant Purchase

Instant Purchase streamlines the checkout process by letting shoppers save their payment and shipping data. It’s a surefire way to increase your conversions at checkout. Contributed by Creatuity, this feature is now built into Magento.

 

Dotmailer Integration

Great news for retailers already using Dotmailer! Magento has integrated Dotmailer Marketing Automation software. This tool makes it easy to set up email marketing automation for your store. It was introduced to the Magento core in the 2.2.2 release, and in 2.2.4, they added the ability to create transactional email templates.

Just like Magento Shipping and ShipperHQ, other third-party services are still available. So if you’re a fan of another email marketing provider like Bronto, Klaviyo, or MailChimp, you can still use their Magento extensions instead.

 

Magento Functional Testing Framework (MFTF)

This is a technical improvement aimed at developers, but it’s still a great addition for Magento. The Magento Functional Testing Framework (MFTF) is an open-source cross-platform testing solution. It simplifies test creation, improves functional testing, and minimizes efforts to perform regression testing. In simple terms, it makes quality assurance testing easier for your tech team.

 

New Features Released in 2.2.4

Klarna

Klarna is a simple alternative payment solution for Magento 2. It gives customers the option to pay now, pay later, or make several payments on their purchases. This is a great feature for retailers with high-value products, whose customers can sometimes be turned off by price.

 

Amazon Pay

As one of the most visited sites on the internet, Amazon has built a lot of trust with online shoppers. This feature lets you take advantage of that trust by offering an Amazon Pay option for your Magento store. This is now built into the Magento core so you can set it up with just a few clicks. Amazon Pay offers a simple way to check out, so it’s bound to increase your conversions.

 

Vertex
As we recently explained, this summer the Supreme Court ruled that online retailers could be obligated to pay taxes in all states—not just the states where they have a physical presence. So the Vertex integration couldn’t have come at a better time. Vertex simplifies tax management and helps you stay compliant with regulations across the many US tax jurisdictions.

 

Magento 2.3: What to Expect

As we noted, Magento hasn’t announced an official release date for version 2.3 yet. The latest rumors say it could drop in late 2018. But we do know it will include lots of new features and functionalities. Here are some we’re looking forward to.

 

Magento Page Builder

This is by far the most exciting new tool slated for Magento 2.3. Adapted from Bluefoot CMS, Magento Page Builder will be a simple and easy drag-and-drop page builder. Magento acquired Bluefoot in late 2016 and will now offer the tool in the Magento core.

Marketers can use Magento Page Builder to create beautiful custom landing pages on the fly, without involving a developer. As a marketer with experience in Magento 1 CMS pages, take it from me: This will be a huge improvement. A beta version will drop first and the full version will be included as a patch release in future versions of 2.3.x.

 

PWA Studio

The second most exciting feature, and maybe the one with the most buzz, is PWA Studio. PWA Studio is a suite of tools, standards, and top-quality components for building and sharing Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). If you aren’t familiar with PWAs, now is the time to learn about them. They combine the best elements of web and mobile apps, allowing for push notifications, fast load times, offline use, and easier deployment and maintenance. PWAs will be the future of the internet.

 

Asynchronous Web APIs

Traditional APIs send out a call and wait for a response from the server. Asynchronous Web APIs turns that on its head. The Magento Asynchronous Web API will provide the ability to make a request (or bulk requests) without waiting for a response from the server. This will have many technical benefits, including improved performance and responsiveness.

 

Cache Management Permissions

Sometimes called cache permissions, Cache Management Permissions lets you control which users on your team can flush the Magento cache. This feature could be a huge help in preventing those frustrating cache catastrophes.

 

Declarative Schema

Another technical improvement will be support for Declarative Schema. With this feature, developers will be able to define or change the structure of a database in XML. Then Magento can convert the XML schema files into SQL statements and execute with ease. You can read more about this in the Developer documentation.

 

GraphQL

This feature will make it more efficient to request information over an API. In the past, whenever you requested information via API you’d get all attributes for a particular SKU in return, and then the information needed would be pulled from those results. With GraphQL, you can pull only the information you actually need. For some interesting details about this, check out this GraphQL discussion on the Magento Forums.

 

Multi-Stock Inventory

As its name suggests, Multi-Stock Inventory will let you define stock from multiple locations. This feature will be ideal for drop-ship business models. The Multi-Stock Inventory Github project gives a variety of details.

 

Amazon Third-Party Sales Channel

The Amazon Third-Party Sales Channel let you quickly integrate your store with Amazon so you can take advantage of the Fulfillment By Amazon program. This will make it easy to explore new sales channels for your brand.

 

Two Factor Authentication

This is another self-explanatory feature. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) will improve security by letting you configure two-factor authentication for your admin accounts. Extensions have been available for this for a while, but now it’ll be easier than ever to enable. Get more details in the Github project.

 

Message Queues

Message Queues solves another common frustration: lockups. Database lockups happen when multiple processes are being run simultaneously. Message Queues prevents these logjams by creating queues of tasks to be executed in the Magento backend. This feature has already been released for Magento Commerce; Magento 2.3 will extend support to Magento Open Source.

 

Now We Wait

There are lots of exciting things happening with Magento right now. These features will solve some common frustrations and open up new doors for Magento retailers. The Adobe acquisition could bring even more improvements, so we’re looking forward to learning more as the details unfold. We’ll keep you posted. And of course, if you’re looking into Magento 2 for your business, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to discuss your unique business needs and help you find the perfect solution for you.