On the day before the conference, the JH team decided to make this event as epic as possible. Seven of us in total travelled down to London – 4 of our developers and 3 MagentoLive UK attendees.
The 4 developers we dragged along with us were to sit the Magento certification exam. After a tense hour or so with gritted teeth, we ended up being hugely proud of our dev team as all 4 passed with flying colours. For JH, this meant these team members will add to our existing portfolio of certified developers – further strengthening our links with Magento.
All in all, JH started the event with big smiles on our faces. As we knew how much hard work our devs had put in, we gave them a work-free afternoon to play in the capital – I’m sure they took full advantage of this and the word pub was mentioned a few times.
For the three of us attending the event, this gave us even more enthusiasm to turn this conference up to 11 (not that we needed any more encouragement!). Although not as sunny as Magento Developers Paradise, MagentoLive UK had all the flavours we like to be just as awesome.
On the afternoon prior, we had a solution partner event which was held by the Magento team. It kicked off with the guys running through the current plans for Magento. This covered Magento 2.0, current plans for the Magento 1.X system and the partner listing page.
This side of the conference really does give you a great insight into the minds of the Magento boffins and how they see Magento growing as a platform. One of the major positive notes to come out of the talk was the continued support of the 1.X system and how they are looking to make performance enhancements over the next 12 months to existing platforms.
There were always going to be questions raised about Magento 2.0 and its current status. So we were pleased to hear that this is being treated as a project and they are accepting ongoing community feedback on the continued development of Magento 2.0. Most importantly for us, it will only be released when it is ready.
From a partner side, it was really interesting to hear what other agency’s views were on the current state of Magento and what issues they deal with on daily basis. On a personal note, I really like seeing that Magento seemed to be really interested in taking feedback on board and striving to improve the working relationship between Magento and their partners.
The evening began with a pre-event party which was sponsored by the lovely people of Webshoppapps and Ebizmarts. This was brilliant opportunity for partners to talk to other partners and clients. We also had the chance to chat to the senior Magento team – putting faces behind the names we know so well.
“Remove the E in E-Commerce”
On the day of the conference we arrived at the venue to pick up our name badges for the day. Before us lay a hall filled with stands from various industry partners. There has to be a special mention from us to Gary Forman who MC’d the event. I must say, he did a great job in keeping us entertained and energetic for the day ahead.
At the start of the event there was an opening keynote from Roy Rubin, CEO Magento, discussing the current state of Magento and the movement into the mobile platform.
Next on stage was John Lunn the EMEA Director of Innovation, PayPal. His talk was about Customer experiences with Commernce and how John put it “Remove the E in E-commerce.” The talk was very interesting as it featured customer shopping habits. In today’s world, people want to find goods at the cheapest price, in stock and don’t want to queue. For the consumer to achieve these shopping goals, normally they would be look online but it was really interesting to here how your traditional Brick and mortar stores are evolving to keep up with these high demanding customers. PayPal is working very closely with these traditional stores by looking at upgrading their EPOS systems and looking at new and exciting ways for people to purchase goods in these stores such as In store Check in and purchase. Image a world where you could pick up a product scan the barcode, check-in and pay for your goods without ever queuing, This is the future of your every day shopping.
What’s your Track?
After this the day was split into two different types of talks: The business Track and the technology Track.
As one of the project managers here at JH, I tended to stay around the business track talks. The other two in our team went down the technology track talks. Overall this meant we gained a complete view of the whole conference, and meant we could compare notes when we got back to sunny Nottinghamshire.
The first business track meeting was ran by Charles Nicholls, the Founder of Seewhy. The topic of his talk was looking at customer buying habits and cart abandonments. Some interesting stats that he discussed were that a huge 97% of visitors to your website won’t buy. Even though mobile usage on websites is on the increase, the level of abandonments on mobile is around 97%. Interestingly, one of the main reasons people abandon a cart is due to shipping and handling charges being too high – A rather substantial 44%.
The main thing I take away from the talk is looking at how JH as an agency can liaise with clients in lowering cart abandonments. We think that by looking at customer journeys and the potential for re-marketing e-mails, we can work towards considering improving these statistics.
Next was a talk by Conan Reidy, the VP of business Development at Zendesk. Personally I thought it was great to hear from a speaker who was as passionate about customer service as we are here at JH. The summary of the talk was simple – really happy customers equals increased sales. Some of the top online companies are driven by brand loyalty and this usually comes from the customer service they offer. From a Magento side, the interesting news was that Zendesk now has an official module available for download to integrate with Magento. This will be very useful for customers who use Zendesk as they will be able to handle most tasks directly within Magento without having to log into Zendesk.
In between talks, we were spending time looking around the exhibit hall and talking to the various industry partners that had stalls set-up on the site. Some of these partners were people we’d met before, others that we had talked over the phone but never met in person and others we’d never dealt with before. It is always good to see the Ebizmarts guys again and this time they were branding the Mailchimp hats. That, as you can see, we modelled quite fashionably.
Finally meeting some of the partners we had worked with but never met was a brilliant experience. We had the chance to provide feedback on our experiences using their system and they were able to provide us information on future plans or new functionality that they had implement. A great example of this was when dealing with the Postcode Anywhere team they were demonstrating the new Capture + technology which I would highly suggest you look at.
We also met a number of new partners that we hadn’t dealt with in the past and for us, meeting them in person was much more valuable than an email.
JH was introduced to a number of different services that we hadn’t dealt with before but the one that really caught my eye was Bronto. Bronto is a Marketing platform for Commerce with some very interesting filtering functionality. Based on their demonstration on the show floor we have been able to create ties with a new partner that maybe we wouldn’t have if we didn’t meet them on the show floor.
At the end of the day there was a closing summary by the Magento team and a little fun involving how the hunt for Dido went. In case you were wondering there was some semi-success in this endeavour as seen below:
The night ended at with the world famous Magento after party which ended in more networking drinks. However as @sherrierohde brilliantly put it: “What happens at the after party stays at the after party.”
Overall, this was our second time at Magento Live and in our view it was a great success. We managed to get developers certified, hear the latest news coming out of Magento and meet some epic people along the way. These events really do bring the best people from the Magento community from all over Europe into once place and shows as ever how strong that community is.
Roll on 2013 and the good times ahead.