What We Learned at MagentoLive Conference 2019

November 20th in Web Development 4 minute read

We recently attended the MagentoLive Conference, a two day conference organised by Adobe in Amsterdam for developers, business owners and those looking to adopt Magento as their eCommerce platform.

Community

The first thing that struck us was the sheer scale of the event now that Adobe is driving the product forward, from the moment we stepped on the plane we were surrounded by fellow attendees, and this only increased as we arrived at our hotel and began to walk through the city. Adobe are clearly investing a lot in pushing Magento and there was a great deal of buzz surrounding the event (although perhaps opening the keynote with a street dance was a step too far).

Magento Commerce

A consistent thread throughout the various keynotes, sessions and workshops was with Magento Commerce, the paid version of Magento, that offers additional features, including a suite of B2B functionality, along with the paid cloud services they provide, which all look very promising. It’s understandable that Adobe are keen to promote the monetised version of the platform after such a heavy investment in 2018, but it did raise concerns amongst the team about the future of the open-source version and whether the community will be able to prevent the free version from becoming a more inferior and less relevant product to its paid alternative.

Progressive Web Apps

It was no surprise that there was a lot of talk surrounding Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and their role in the future of the eCommerce landscape. At Zeal we’ve experimented with Vue Storefront, a Vue.js based, de-coupled PWA front-end that integrates with a number of popular eCommerce platforms’ APIs.

At the conference, Magento’s own solution PWA Studio was being pushed, hard. It’s moved on from our original look at it in late 2018 and whilst it looks promising and worth revisiting, we’re still not sure that it’s production ready. Unfortunately one of the talks we attended, specifically about PWA Studio was disappointing and the supporting Git repo that attendees were invited to check out after the session was vastly out of date and didn’t support the latest version of Magento – surely an essential requirement at the brand’s annual conference.

Having said that, there’s no doubt that this is the future of eCommerce and Adobe are playing catch-up with some of the other platforms and open-source solutions out there, but the capabilities and possibilities are exciting. Headless solutions are clearly here to stay, and there was an interesting session at print.com’s talk where they shared their experience switching their infrastructure to a de-coupled approach using Magento 2, with a Vue.js front-end, as their eCommerce platform and content managed via Contentful. The resulting customer stats included a 4.8/5 satisfaction rate, 46% conversion rate, and 50% retention rate amongst their audience base.

A/B Testing / Data

At Zeal we always ground our UI and UX decisions in data, so it was good to hear members of the panel discussion hosted by PayPal exploring different companies’ experiences surrounding the differences small changes in the checkout process can have on your revenue per visitor (RPV). For example:

  • One company found collapsing the coupon and promo fields in the checkout saw an increase in ~14% RPV
  • Removing distractions such as wishlist saw an increase in 5% RPV
  • A simple change like changing the basket icon to a secure lock icon on the checkout button saw an increase in 7.4% RPV.

In the same discussion there were some interesting points raised about the future of checkout, and a shift towards ‘checkoutless’ eCommerce – whereby users use their wallet to purchase items instantly instead of going through the whole checkout experience.

As keen advocates of A/B testing and monitoring small changes to user’s journeys to assess RPV and conversion rates this session certainly gave us some interesting things to explore.

Personalisation

We’ve been experimenting with on-site personalisation for both our eCommerce and brochureware clients over the last year or so and it was exciting to see Adobe pushing this topic. The majority of the talks surrounding this were from 3rd party software providers, like Klaviyo, and had more of a leaning towards B2B than B2C but it was reassuring to see that this is a part of the Magento community’s roadmap.

Overall the conference was a great experience and it was useful to share stories and experiences with some of the wider Magento community. As with all things in the development world, it’s important to keep adapting and incorporating emerging technologies and practices – so it was reassuring to hear how PWA, headless and personalisation – three things we’ve been developing at Zeal recently.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how Magento 2 and personalisation can help your business, get in touch.

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