Magento Live UK: 2014

This week, Branded3 attended MagentoLive UK 2014. This was a two day event at the Park Plaza in London aimed at Merchants, Vendors, Developers, Affiliates and Marketeers.

With such a large array of potential audience members, the Magento Team gave a series of great general and breakout sessions that were focussed more on specific audiences, such as the technical or marketing track.

The morning kicked off with a general welcome session, including information from Braintree about their advances with integration of PayPal, repeat billing and the security enhancements around saving card details online through Braintree.

This was a really exciting area as it covered topics such as mobile payments and PCI compliance by taking all payment information out to Braintree rather than trying to contain it within your own apps or sites.

This meant things like single step payments, subscriptions and purchases without the need to re-enter your payment details could all be delivered with just a few lines of code.

Some highlights from the other sessions throughout the day…

Technical – Threading with PHP

Something that a lot of PHP developers probably know about, but Stefan Willkommer gave a great introduction with a few examples and then really tied it into an offering of what can be done with Magento.

Threading can give great speed improvements for core setup tasks, like importing products, customers or orders.

Technical – Predicting KPIs using Machine Learning

Dhruv Boruah gave a great talk on using Machine Learning to predict customer behaviour. With the recent launch of the Azure Machine Learning Environment, this was something that really interested us.

Dhruv’s presentation concentrated on gathering insight on customers currently browsing the site, from the Magento log tables (how long they’ve been on the site, what they’re looking at, what the last page they looked at was) to then cross-referencing this with the Magento order tables.

This means that the Machine Learning Environment could effectively predict whether or not the customer was likely to commit to a purchase before they hit the checkout funnel.

Knowing this, you can offer the customer more incentive to complete at the checkout by, for example, offering them a discount. Or you could see that the order value was below the average order value and offer other items to up-sell.

If they are likely to convert, you could still offer incentives once they have checked out, such as discount codes to use later in the week.

Technical – Magento Test Automation Framework

The Magento Test Framework (MTF) will replace the current Test Automation Framework and will cover:

  • Functional Tests augmentation (together with M2 updates)
  • Reporting Tool
  • Modularity support
  • Input Data (Data Sets) management improvements

You can find out more information at https://github.com/magento/mtf

Marketing – Marketing Boot Camp

The eBay enterprise team gave a series of small talks to cover some of the marketing services they offer and how the power of the eBay network, including PayPal, gives them a unique lens and wide reach to 2/3rds of all Internet traffic.

The affiliate team gave some very interesting trends and statistics about the resurgence of display and affiliate marketing due to the launch of advertising within Social Media platforms along with the technical ability to advertise through mobile apps.

In the States, the marketing spend has seen a trend of higher investment on paid search than on natural. This has seen a shift from the last few years and it is expected that Europe will also follow suit next year.

The team also gave some very interesting insights and challenges to the typical pre-conceptions of affiliate marketing and when you look at the volume and scale of data that they have, they can see real business benefits and returns when using the right affiliate networks and partners.

Technical – Creating A Better Experience Through Responsive Design

Tom Robershaw from Meanbee gave a brilliant presentation regarding some of the pros and cons of the current Magento responsive landscape and introduced a mix of responsive and adaptive considerations for building a theme.

He also covered where touch points needed to be altered to create a better administrative experience for customers to take better advantage of the functionality that is given to them.

A brilliant talk with a lot of food for thought – highlighted by the fact that we had to watch from the hallway as the room was packed.

Deck: https://speakerdeck.com/meanbee/creating-a-better-experience-through-responsive-design

Technical – Can Your Magento Store Scale for Cyber Monday?

Alistair Stead’s talk showed some of the larger scaling issues with Magento and ways to overcome a handful of them. He described how throwing additional hardware at a problem might not necessarily lead to the best outcome and how software and technology stack are your best friends if you ultimately know the platform inside out.

Deck: http://blog.sessiondigital.com/post/91937505439/magentolive-uk-2014-scaling-data-in-magento

Marketing – Optimize Your Site Conversion for Holiday 2014

Matt Althauser GM of Optimizely gave a really interesting talk on MVT and CRO. The talk was great as it wasn’t a sales conversation but a real open discussion around what you can do to get the best out of the traffic you have – and that you can use the coming months to get things working as best as possible before the holidays season in late November and December.

Some of the items discussed, although they might seem like common sense, came across with a fresh view all built around the mandate of “Test it with your own audience” and one that often gets left out: “Will the benefits and results of these improvements outweigh the cost of this change?”

A good example of this was the use and cost of producing videos for category pages that, when tested, only gave a 0.2% increase in average order value.

  • H1 – Headline statements
  • Calls to action
  • Product Reviews
  • Product Images
  • Video use on a site

We left the session quite excited and re-engaged for the opportunities of CRO and testing to not only find ways of improvement, but to also learn and validate the reasons behind our approach here at Branded3.

Next Year

Magento has announced that Magento Live UK will return next year in June (22rd-23th, 2015), so hopefully, we’ll see you there!

If you’d like to discuss any Magento development with us, then please get in touch.

By Douglas Radburn. at 11:24AM on Thursday, 17 Jul 2014

Doug is our Senior Open Source Web Developer since bringing his knowledge and skills to Branded3 in 2009. A founding developer of our Twitition and Competwition platforms, Doug has also been lead in our Open Source Projects on Magento ecommerce solutions and Wordpress CMS platforms. Follow Douglas Radburn on Twitter.

comments