This was my first and last Imagine (of its kind). Which means I can't really tell you a lot about how it was the year before – or way back in 2011. What I can tell you is that this one was insane.
For anyone who's reading this, if you haven't heard about Imagine, you have no idea what you're missing out on. Imagine is Magento's flagship event, an e-Commerce mecca for getting things done, spurring important conversations with merchants and getting heads-up on any kind of technology updates that we should expect in the upcoming year.
This year was all about «expanding the experience» – and the entire layout of the event really served that purpose.
For starters, Imagine was attended by more than 3,500 attendees from 60-plus countries – and hosted 150-plus speakers who held more than 100 sessions. If that doesn't expand your experience, I'm not sure what will.
Calling All Partners!
With just the right balance of solution and technology providers on one side and merchants on the other, you're sure to find yourself in the middle of a conversation whose sole goal is to reduce the friction which sometimes (unfortunately) happens on e-Commerce projects. Magento and Adobe provided a strong call to partners of any kind to find ways to work together in order to reduce the frustration merchants feel when their problems aren't adressed timely.
It was also very clear that both of these MASSIVE companies took their time to establish their own line of communication. In the words of Adobe Vice President of Commerce Product and Platform Jason Woosley:
“As we near the one-year anniversary of the acquisition, we are well ahead of our integration goals. We’re driving greater value for our stakeholders, accelerating our product roadmap, leveraging Adobe’s scale to serve more customers across every industry and advancing our mission of using technology to connect and empower more merchants than ever before.”
To further buttress this claim, many of the Magento and Adobe employees took time to explain several benefits which the newly created blend of product offerings and services will allow.
Servings at the Magento-Adobe Table
For starters, there's Adobe Sensei, an AI and machine learning program that will be used to deliver product recommendations. If you've ever had a problem with cross-selling, up-selling or suggesting further purchasing options after a successful order, this is the solution you've been waiting for. Depending on the user and their behavior, Adobe Sensei will be able to "discover new look-alike audiences to approach and use predictive modeling to help you make better decisions."
As an integral part of the Adobe Experience Cloud, Adobe Commerce Cloud (formerly known as Magento Commerce Cloud) will allow you to use Adobe Analytics and Adobe Tag Manager. Also, you'll get access to Adobe Stock – a massive database whose images can be used in CMS pages without leaving the Magento Admin.
For Those Who Want MORE…
If that doesn't particularly excite you, then you may be happy to learn that Magento decided to implement one of the Adobe practices: Sneaks. This is essentially a central-stage showcase of some community-driven innovations around the products that various partners and individuals have been working on. In the words of Solutions Innovation Senior Manager Michelle MIller, “It’s a reflection of the community and what’s possible with Magento.”
In a truly proud and defining moment for Imagination Media, our very own Igor Ludgero Miura took to the Sneaks stage with his Augmented Reality. If you haven't read about everything AR can do to boost your business, it's time to explore more now!
Sneaks is also the perfect opportunity to explore what could be the ideal match for your business. It doesn't matter if you're a SMB or an 800-pound gorilla. Sneaks don't judge. They're a perfect way to explore what your customers really want and need.
Is Adobe Shaking Magento Up (Market)?
Because Magento Commerce Cloud comes with so many features right out of the box, it's no wonder some presumed Magento will be moving up market. However, Imagine provided confirmation that Magento is "...invested as ever in the mid-market.” According to Jason Woosley, “We (Magento) are continuing to invest in additional resources and capabilities to drive real revenue and profit growth for our mid-market merchants across channels.”
In order to help small and medium-sized business owners deliver excellent customer service across multiple channels throughout the entire shopping journey, some updates were made to the Adobe Experience Cloud. Sellers can now start offering their products on Amazon and launching marketing campaigns on Google – all by simply utilizing their Magento Admin dashboard.
Adobe Senior VP of Strategy and Growth Gloria Chen said: “Magento has brought many strengths to the Adobe family. We are committed to nurturing and building on these strengths – the platform, the community, and the SMB market.”
Chen spoke highly about Magento community, every member passionate about delivering high-quality services to online shoppers everywhere. She added that it's this dedication that will allow companies of all sizes to succeed in the online marketplace.
The cooperation between Magento (Adobe) and Amazon will be extended and explored further. In addition to the ability to sell products on Amazon from the Magento backend, Magento merchants will be able to get their own sub-store at Amazon – including individual categorization and, of course, individual products. While this program has already started on Amazon.com, it will also land in Europe in the coming months.
New Day, More PWA
Last year, Magento had a strong pitch towards PWA. This year, that didn't really change much.
Check out these changes:
Customers accessing a website from their mobile device will soon have the option to view suggestions based on their shopping history, create wish lists, access coupon codes, see more products and build credit and loyalty. In addition, the integration of Braintree from PayPal can help shoppers and merchants alike feel more at ease when completing a transaction.
There's even more yet to come. PWA technology is about to grow with truly explosive speed. Gartner predicts that by 2020, progressive web apps will have replaced 50% of general-purpose, consumer-facing mobile apps. For anyone who's already decided to add a PWA to their eCommerce operation and transform it into a powerful advantage on the marketplace, this comes as truly fantastic news.
As always, let's continue to march on.
We live in the golden era of technology and we might as well take advantage of every possibility that arises within the e-Commerce community. Magento features, PWA and AR are only few of them so – don't sit back, but make sure you enjoy the show!
You can start with official photos here!