As expected, Magento’s 2014 Imagine conference was packed with information and experiences that we here at DEG are still talking about (and not just because we won Magento’s “Spirit of Excellence” Award and Just Right from Purina was showcased on the main stage). A lot happened, more than can be shared in a blog post, but I’ve gathered some highlights from the conference below. Imagine 2014 further evidenced that Magento continues to mature as a major player in e-commerce and its market share is growing – so pay attention.

 

DEG wins Magento's Spirit of Excellence AwardBig brands, front to back

You name it, they’re on it. B2Bs, B2Cs, B2B2Cs are all using Magento as their platform of choice for commerce, lead generation, and point-of sale. Seemingly, no two companies are leveraging the platform in exactly the same way, but they’re all seeing success. Magento is definitely in the enterprise mix, as evidenced by the brands who were spotlighted at the conference:

And it wasn’t just about the websites and brands. More than ever, vision and strategy took center stage more than ever before in the sessions and keynotes. Here’s a taste of what we saw and heard:

The year of mobile

While mobile continues to grow exponentially, only about 6% of Fortune 500 companies have mobile friendly sites.  Check your web analytics, folks. The numbers bear out that the world is not waiting to get home to learn more about you. Mobile continues to grow and companies need to address its specific needs and use cases in a better way. Magento, partnered with responsive design, is helping companies address this important traffic segment.

 

FEATURED BLOG: Refactoring Magento for Responsive Design

 

It’s about omnichannel…

As long predicted, companies are finally starting to break down the silos between e-commerce and their retail stores. The best ones are taking what is working in each channel and applying to the other. Whether this is in-store sales reps taking shifts on live chat or applying web analytics KPIs to the in-store experience, companies are starting to see that the benefits of each channel can apply across the organization.

…And data is helping

Companies are pulling data together from multiple sources to find ways to segment customers and create personalized experiences. Website data, marketing channel data, purchase data and third-party demographic and behavioral data are all coming together to help companies segment and target customers with the right message at the right time.

Innovative engagement

Several companies talked about how they engage with customers in ways that Amazon cannot compete. Loyalty programs have taken many forms, but the advice from the Imagine sessions and show floor was to keep it simple. Difficult-to-navigate programs don’t inspire loyalty, and they have the added detriment of being hard to manage. Keeping it to a simple give-to-get is probably more effective than a convoluted maze of point tracking, bronze-to-diamond level membership, and progressive discounts – especially if the program is newly introduced.

Imagine 2014

B2Bs and consumer behavior

B2Bs do not sell to companies, they sell to people at those companies. People are online, shopping at Amazon or Walmart, on their smart phones looking up information and running their companies online. B2B buyers are moving online and businesses have to change the ways they do business to meet the changing expectations. These people are used to e-commerce shopping experiences and are coming to expect similar experiences when doing business for their companies.

 

From the dais

On top of some great sessions with industry leaders, Imagine featured top-notch speakers that kept everyone engaged and inspired. Malcom Gladwell, Michael Dart (a great session on the new rules of retail), TerraCycle’s Tom Szaky, Roger Wade (retail in cargo containers!), and Jamie Clarke keeping it all running as the conference’s emcee.

In past years, Imagine has been a good, solid show for those who were already on the Magento platform and were hoping to optimize or be introduced to a new tool. But Imagine 2014 will be remembered as the year that Imagine stopped being a “Magento” show and became an “e-commerce” show – meaning that no matter what platform you happen to be on, Imagine further increased its depth and offered significant insight with regard to strategy and marketplace vision. We already can’t wait for the 2015 show.

We’ll see you there!

And in the meantime, we’d love to talk to you about a smarter, closely integrated approach to e-commerce.

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