Now that Magento Imagine 2019 has come to an end, the road ahead is likely on the forefront of all our minds. The many engaging experiences and lessons from the conference have certainly made a big impact on everyone who had the privilege of attending, whether in person or through live streaming the event, and each one can be extremely helpful to the future. So, the question now becomes, which lessons will be the most useful to you? How do you take everything you’ve learned and apply it to your value proposition or business strategy going forward?
It always helps to review the content. We can start by breaking down two of the most jam-packed days of the event into bite-sized and more manageable pieces, attempting to flesh out some of the most important aspects in each. This can help to isolate and highlight the experiences you may have found to be the most important, so you can focus on applying the most relevant ideas directly to your business plan, and perhaps even to your life in general.
Monday’s General Sessions & Keynotes
Phillip Jackson – Master of Ceremonies
Magento Master and an eCommerce Evangelist at Something Digital, Phillip Jackson, started off the event with his humble charisma and humor, as well as delivering a really insightful speech. He spoke about the importance of transitioning to the future and the meaningful impact of doing less, better. One of the books he mentioned, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, promises to help you do just that.
His main message – We never leave our past completely behind us, but it does not have to define us. We pick up things through each phase of our journey that can help us transition into the future.
Gary Specter – VP of Commerce Sales at Adobe
Magento is one of the most engaged communities in the world. This was something Gary Specter highlighted in his speech, while also paying tribute to Mark Lavelle and his many contributions. He went on to talk about the generational interpretations of what the customer experience is, and how you need to design the customer journey across all channels.
“[There are] so many ways for you to reinvent yourself and the experiences that you create,” he said, while talking about the accomplishments in the Magento Innovations Lab. With the rise and expansion of modern technology, through experiences like artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, we have the opportunity and the tools to reshape and redesign the dynamics of the customer experience like never before.
Gloria Chen – SVP of Strategy & Growth at Adobe
Gloria Chen came on stage next to talk about the merger with Magento and the strategy behind it. This ‘marriage’ of the two companies was part of a larger vision, to create experience-driven commerce and empower people to change the world through digital experiences. She used many examples of people using technology and digital expression to shape the world, from filmmakers to a variety of digital artists.
The main point here was, along with simplifying access to the amazing Adobe tools, the community of Adobe and Magento are merging to drive innovation. With an amazing gift to the audience announced, 12 months free of the Creative Cloud Photography Plan, attendees can take direct advantage of this opportunity to redefine their digital strategy.
The Immersive Power of Adobe
The session continued with Rob Giglio, SVP of GTM & Sales at Adobe, talking about eCommerce sales and marketing strategies. He showed a video highlighting the customer journey, as seen through Adobe’s eyes, providing even more insight into Adobe Advertising Cloud and the strategy of targeting customers through search engine keywords, as well as personalized recommendations and communications.
Specifically, there was a focus on using tools like Adobe Campaign, Adobe Audience Manager, and Adobe Experience Manager to increase open rates and click-through rates. In closing, these were a few more things highlighted:
- Find ways to get close to your digital customers, since you do not have the luxury of being near them in a physical store.
- Get more data, to better engage with the customer and drive the customer experience.
- Continue to innovate and iterate your message to the customer, as everything is always evolving.
- Testing is the key to finding the best success, and automating is the best way to optimize your workflow.
After this speech, Jason Woosley, VP of Commerce Platform & Product at Adobe, took the stage to expand upon the idea of exceeding expectations through experience-driven commerce. With Adobe Commerce Cloud, you can leverage the Magento platform to operate any business in any industry, across all business channels, from B2B to B2C, and beyond.
He announced Adobe Sensei coming to Magento Commerce, with new personalization capabilities, powered by a machine-learning framework, that will offer intelligent recommendations based on customer behavior. Also, with the algorithmic solutions found in the new Adobe Experience Platform Extension, merchants will be able to dive deeper into metrics and create smarter workflows. This will allow brands to connect their Magento Commerce data with the power of Adobe Analytics.
Additionally, Woosley announced the new omnichannel capabilities on Magento Order Management, as well as the general availability of the Amazon Sales Channel and Google Ads Shopping, making it easier than ever for Magento merchants to sell on these channels.
Tuesday’s General Sessions & Keynotes
John Stockton – Senior Director of Product at Magento
Starting off the second day, John Stockton took the stage to talk about the roadmap for Magento. He began by showing a video about Magento Page Builder, with its easy to use and ‘what you see is what you get’ design interface. It boasts the ability to create pages 10X faster than before.
Then, he went on to Progressive Web Apps (PWA), explaining that the new Magento PWA Studio makes it simple to create amazing front-end experiences and to build next generation mobile experiences. Mobile phones are the new computers and the single most used interface of the current generation, and it’s vital that merchants strategize and optimize for its use to stay one step ahead in the world of digital commerce.
Steve Krebsbach – SD of Global Cloud Operations at Adobe
As a business, how big do you aspire to be? In his speech, Steve Krebsbach said, “You can get as big as you want, we’re not going to get in your way, and we’ll help you get there.” Starting out as a single tier architecture, Magento Commerce Cloud has now become a two tier architecture to allow for larger scalability, and it will grow even more in 2020 to offer cloud native services.
Then, in his own version of an ‘Oprah’ giveaway moment, Steve pointed out to the crowd and exclaimed the offer of free training for Commerce Cloud Developers in Magento U. If there was ever an opportunity to take advantage of learning and development, this is it!
Jenny Cheng – VP of Global Professional Services at Paypal
Jenny Cheng spoke on the bold changes happening in our society. From artificial intelligence and augmented reality, to the evolution of robotics, what was once considered science fiction is now transforming the reality of our here and now. In particular, the waves it is making in commerce, and the way to steer this new technological ship, became the focus of her speech.
Predictive shopping is one way that this evolution is taking shape in digital commerce. Paypal is evolving with the change and helping consumers and businesses in many ways, by leveraging new technology like smart payments and partnering with platforms like Instagram and Magento, to simplify and optimize the way shoppers use the checkout process.
Gary Vaynerchuk – CEO of VaynerMedia & Chairman at VaynerX
As an early adopter of digital commerce, Gary Vaynerchuk has built his empire and reputation from the keen recognition and capitalization of some of the most relevant trends in the industry. He is passionate about using media to create a unique voice, citing the importance of differentiation in the modern and evolving world. “The only way you’ll penetrate in a world of this much content being put out, is by putting out something that brings value to your target audience,” he said, while talking about the importance of using channels like LinkedIn to create brand awareness.
He also gave clout to using the regrowth of certain channels to your advantage, such as Podcasts, which has seen a resurgence in listeners in the last few years and shows no sign of slowing down. Trends are always changing, but they come from an organic place. The advantage you need to find is more a matter of human behavior than it is of consumer behavior.
Other Highlights & Key Takeaways
HP was highlighted for its ability to increase profitability and create a consistent experience for shoppers around the globe. Gillian Campbell, VP of Omnichannel Strategy & Operations, took the stage to talk more about HP’s global initiative to transition from lackluster sales to a progressive customer conversion rate.
They were able to do this through a smarter, more targeted marketing approach and by leveraging data and technology. “We need to be agile,” she said, while talking about the decision to partner with Magento on their path to global transformation.
Experience businesses are also using innovative strategies to expand their reach. Aubrey Bergauer, Executive Director at the California Symphony, spoke about how their organization had to overcome the ‘availability heuristic’ in order to retain donors and attendees. In short, this is when businesses look at the wrong problems to solve, and they remain stagnated.
The product is not always the problem. Sometimes, the solution to stagnation means turning to your customers for the answers, and using strategies like direct engagement, researching the user experience, and building diversity-friendly spaces.
After so many new announcements at the event, there is much to look forward to. With Adobe at the head of the household, we all knew the capabilities of Magento would be ramped up, but these new relationships between the commerce end and design end are truly spellbinding. It’s clear that Adobe and Magento are taking every experience in digital commerce to a level of pure artistry.
We found so much to learn from at Magento Imagine 2019, with engaging sessions and impactful speeches abound. There is far too much to cover in just one blog, but we hope this analysis helps you reconnect with some of the moments you found most inspiring for the road ahead. At DCKAP, we look forward to using all the lessons we learned to make a greater future, not only for ourselves, but also for all of our partners and customers.