Magento Takes Vegas – Everything You Need to Know About Imagine 2018

Magento Imagine is the Mecca of the eCommerce world. It’s the premier annual trade show for Magento – by Magento. Companies from all over the planet, from 50+ nations, come together in one spot to collaborate, connect, and show off what they’ve been up to behind closed doors all year.

This is the eighth Magento Imagine conference to take place and, by far, it’s the largest to date. Three days. More than 3,000 eCommerce expert attendees, 350+ individual companies, a slew of live performances, and one Jamie Foxx as MC. Number of torch-jugglers harmed in the process: Zero. All housed in the elegant, luxurious, and (seriously) expansive, Wynn Las Vegas hotel. Over 215 acres of 5-star casinos, conference halls, and resort amenities. Magento didn’t pull a single punch in terms of entertainment for this year’s event.

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Things are bound to get a little steamy when you call in the Foxx.

 

We’d be lying, though, if we said we – and everyone else attending – weren’t all there for one big reason…

The tech.

Magento Imagine always brings with it the releases, announcements, and revelations a tech conference of its size should. This round, though, exceeded every expectation. We’re still in the afterglow of the event, but we’re betting Magento Imagine 2018 will prove to be one of those that stands above and apart from the rest for years to come.

Magento’s theme for the 2018 show was “Lead the Charge.” Here’s the cavalry they called in:

Magento Imagine 2018 Announcements & Highlights

From general front-end experience improvements to back-end buff-ups, the new updates coming to Magento – May 2nd! – prove that the company refuses to do anything but innovate. At this point, ‘compromise’ isn’t in their vocabulary.

Friends in High Places: Magento Commerce’s New Integration Partners

Magento’s Solution Partners extend the platform’s power beyond what any eCommerce software could do alone. Here’s what you’ll be getting from Magento Commerce come May 2nd:

New Ways to Pay

Advanced payment capabilities like Amazon Pay integration and support for Klarna Checkout (which blow traditional payment gateways right out of the proverbial water) mean your customers’ checkout experience just lost every ounce of hassle. It means you are able to reach more people geographically than ever before, too, enabling customers to pay the way they want, in their own currency, with one-click repeat purchase functionality built-in. Mobile-first optimization comes standard. If you were looking for a way to cut down on customer abandonment, you just found it.

Bundled Up – Two Leading Extensions Now Come Bundled

  • Vertex Cloud: Tax technologies solutions platform, Vertex, has helped countless corporations, companies, manufacturers, and sellers get their sales and use tax data in-line and keep it that way for years. And now? Its power’s in your hands from Day 1. From tax calculations to returns data, everything you need is always in one place, within arms reach, housed safely and securely in Vertex’s cloud-computed fortress of finance. Too, because it’s automated Vertex integration gives you and your buyers instant tax and shipping rate calculation, streamlining the buying process from front-to-back.
  • dotmailer automated marketing: The industry leader in email marketing and automation, the first marketing platform to achieve global Platinum Technology Partner status and a long-time Magento Premier Technology Partner, now comes as a bundled staple of the most powerful eCommerce platform in the game. The amount of customization under dotmailer’s hood is staggering – yet it touts the most intuitive, easy-to-use, and thoughtful UI / UX of any automated marketing platform on, well, the market. Put simply: It’s like running into your living room in late December to find another Christmas tree under your Christmas tree. Bundled-in dotmailer’s the gift that keeps on giving.

The dotmailer booth in action…and don’t think we didn’t spot the freshly-polished Magento Award peeking out from the corner. Nice touch.

Faster, More Reliable, More Secure Shipping with DHL Integration Standard

Deutsche Post DHL Group has been officially named a Magento Premier Partner. With this announcement, and from the partnership, comes a totally souped-up Magento Shipping, replete with flexible, powerful shipping solutions. Too, DHL will provide engaging go-to-market strategies and best practices insights that aim to educate merchants on how to enhance their eCommerce shipping programs – all straight from the source of the people who know shipping best.

Inside the Studio: Magento Commerce Progressive Web Applications

Magento announced on day one of the event that a powerful suite of digital commerce tools is coming to Magento Commerce. Their Progressive Web Applications (PWA) Studio enables developers to build stores with app-like experiences. This benefits all mobile-using customers on the front-end with features that are poised to, as Jason Woosley, SVP of Product & Technology at Magento Commerce puts it, “drive loyalty and and make it easy to move from search to purchase.” Here’s what you’ll be getting, as listed on Magento’s site:

  • Tools to personalize content and add local preferences
  • Build and manage all channels and experiences via one code base, one deployment and app
  • Intuitive user experience with innovative commerce and CMS theming
  • Modularized component architecture to help drive opportunities for extension resellers
  • Purpose-built developer tools for fast prototyping, helpful debugging, rich feedback, and increased productivity

Global Updates for Magento Commerce + Magento Open Source

While the majority of Magento’s new bells and whistles are dedicated to improving their Magento Commerce and Magento Cloud Commerce experiences, everyone on the platform regardless of their edition can expect to see the following implementations alongside the rest:

  • A faster, more transparent, and flexible checkout is on the way. Reduce cart abandonment and increase your AOV.
  • Integrated shipping and tax solutions. Save time and simplify operations.
  • Faster image loading and search results mean you’re able to provide better shopping experiences at blazing speeds.

Those are the main technical updates announced at this year’s show.

What really makes Magento Imagine special though, the thing you’ll find beneath the glitz and glam, the keynotes and hotel penthouse keycards, is what makes Magento itself special: the Community.

Something incredible happens when a community so used to communicating remotely, comes together, face-to-face – those faces light up, and people start talking. The Magento community gets a rap for being diehard, and with good reason. How often do you get to sit down with a group of people who have the same intense dedication to their craft, people who are truly passionate about what they’re doing with their lives? Where each conversation is as inspiring and engaging as the last? There’s nothing else like it.

Conversation forges culture. And Magento Imagine is where eCommerce culture comes to celebrate, in a big, big way.

So we brought some conversation pieces of our own.

Kensium + Acumatica: A Virtual Warehouse Experience

This is the third, consecutive year that Kensium and Acumatica Cloud ERP have co-sponsored a platinum booth at Imagine to showcase Acumatica Commerce Edition. This year, instead of telling merchants how Acumatica ERP makes their lives better, we decided to show them.

We wanted a way for merchants to see how Acumatica applies to and improves each stage of the fulfillment process. So we built a virtual reality experience.

Post-Show Bonus: You get to experience Acumatica in VR from the comfort (and privacy) of your home, instead of looking like…well, this, in public.

The reception was incredible.

That’s why we, Kensium, go to conferences in the first place – to directly connect with our community, our partners and supporters, and the incredible community of Magento devotees at large. The makers, the mentors, and movers who make our jobs possible in the first place.

Breaking Out, Going Beyond: Talking Future-Tech at Imagine 2018

Kensium Solutions got the special opportunity to, directly alongside our partner, Acumatica, speak to the Imagine community about new and emerging eCommerce technologies. Our own Rahul Gedupudi (CEO) joined Acumatica’s Ali Jani, Vice President, on-stage to discuss the merits, risks, and rewards of A.I. and machine learning applications in eCommerce, blockchain technologies, the Internet of Things, multicloud computing, and natural language processing – and what it all means for our industry.

We couldn’t have been more pleased to see so many forward-facing industry leaders attend the breakout session. That shows indescribable promise of the Magento communities commitment to exploration and innovation. It was an honor to speak at the event, and we’re proud to be a part of the conversation driving eCommerce into the future.

Ray Allen Manufacturing Receives Highest Nomination in its Class from Magento

One of the very first adopters of Magento 2 and long-standing Kensium partner, Ray Allen Manufacturing, was recognized as a Magento Excellence Award finalist for Best Sales Channel Growth in the industry.

The Imagine Excellence Awards pay due tribute to merchants, developers, and partners who go the extra-extra-extra mile when it comes to innovation, teamwork, strategy, and business impact in the past year. With more than 250 submissions received this year spanning 16 distinct achievement categories, it’s a serious accomplishment and we’re over-the-moon for the Ray Allen team.

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Magento Imagine 2018 was an incredible experience – but it’s just one of many more still set for this year. Stay tuned right here for all the updates you need on where Kensium’s going next. On the itinerary: IRCE 2018 in our home city, Chicago. See you there.

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