The Magento Imagine 2013 Conference was a hit! The venue was at the M Resort, just 15 minutes off of the Las Vegas strip. At first I was a bit surprised to be so far from the strip but it did not detract from the conference at all. In fact, the M Resort (coincidence that Magento chose the "M" Resort) was completely decked out for the conference and it felt like we owned the place. Aside from the incredibly great food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and the great entertainment, the education, training and networking were well worth it. Check out the conference blog for more details on the sessions. But enough about the experience, lets get down to ecommerce business!
Mobile and eCommerce
The conference started out with John Donahoe, CEO & President, eBay, Inc. John's focus was on the ever-changing commerce environment. In short, John stated that technology is enabling consumers to be in charge. The new retail interface is not the store, the window or the TV, it is the digital presence. Consumers want convenience and the ability to dictate what they want, when they want it and how the receive information. Shopping has changed and many consumers are turning to mobile devices for shopping online. Below is an amazing statistic.
People are buying 10,000 cars a week on the eBay mobile app
Equally amazing is the fact that 21% of buyers on eBay are multiscreen buyers, meaning they keep multiple browser screens open to jump from one product or offering to another to instantly compare options.
Over the past two years, I have attended several conferences, including, Channel Advisor's Catalyst Conference, HubSpot's annual conference, and Magento Imagine. The one thing these conferences all have in common is that there is an ever increasing focus on mobile device internet consumption. The numbers of people using mobile devices is growing rapidly and as they become part of our lives we as consumers are doing our research and making our purchases on a mobile device.
Jeff Jordan, Partner, Andreessen Horowitz, stated that he predicts Best Buy will be out of business in 1-2 years. Online retailers can sell products cheaper and consumers have more confidence in product research when they can compare all options online. For offline retailers, bankruptcies have been increasing ever year. Additionally, products that you would never imagine being sold online are coming into the mainstream, such as: Warby Parker which sells prescription eye glasses online for about half the cost of your eye doctor.
Amplience is a really cool product that I found while at the Magento Conference. This software as a service (saas) allow companies to create dynamic rich media focused web pages that help to convert vistors into buyers. As stated on their website: "Amplience is a rich media sales and marketing platform that simplifies the production and distribution of interactive campaign and product media. The result is agency quality digital experience at 10% of the cost." I am definitely looking forward to using this for our clients at SyncShow Interactive and its not just for ecommerce. It can be used for non ecommerce websites as well.
Magento Community vs. Magento Enterprise
For those of you that are considering a new eCommerce website, Magento offers two popular options. One is the Community edition and the other is Enterprise. Community is free and is a fantastic platform for small businesses just getting into eCommerce. We typically recommend companies consider Enterprise when they reach $1 million in online sales. However as confirmed at the conference the Community edition has bugs. It lacks support and it is slower to load than the Enterprise edition. One company stated that they spent more money in fixing Community than it would have cost to upgrade to Enterprise (Enterprise comes with support and an annual fee). Another company LOVESAC, which sells furniture online, stated that their sales went up 300% since Enterprise's launch. Their average order value (AOV) increased by 15% and their conversion rate went up 68%. From 2008 to 2010 they experience stagnant online growth with Community and sales skyrocketed immediately after they implemented Magento Enterprise.
Again this year, the Magento Imagine 2013 Conference was a winner. I expect the impact of conferences like this to explode in popularity as eCommerce continues to defy our expectations.
Another post by Chris Peer on Mobile or eCommerce: Why Your eCommerce Site Sucks: How to Stop the Bleeding.