I didn’t attend the day one Magento Live after-party. As a new father, I put my stay in London to good use: I went to bed. However, I heard a lot of good things the day after – Magento sure can throw a party!
Having written up a review of day one – I set off to the Park Plaza Hotel for day two.
We started with Pitchfest, a session in which several pre-selected participants presented an elevator pitch of their offering. Pitchfest featured DotMailer, Bronto, Nosto, Rackspace, On Tap, SLI Systems, Sagepay, and WebInterpret. All the pitches were great, with only the chap from Rackspace running out of time; but then, who hasn’t heard of Rackspace already?
Moving on from Pitchfest, Ryan Thompson – Head of Small Business at Magento – presented the next session, “Startup Success”. This included Oliver Tezcan (CEO at The Idle Man), Mark Bennett (Head of IT and Web-based Systems at Christopher Ward), and Ignacio de Paula (CEO at ebizmarts).
Oliver Tezcan led by explaining The Idle Man’s entrance to the Male fashion market. Formerly of ASOS, Oliver set up the brand to enter an industry that is predominantly furnished by women’s fashion. His talk focused on bootstrapping business ideas and “failing fast”. Oliver’s talk had some great takeaways and soundbites, such as “Done is better than perfect” and “If your first product is perfect, you are too late” – referring to checking something you think is going to work (as quickly as possible), prototyping the idea, before rolling it out to customers and improving from there. It’s a great way to find out where to put your effort. He also mentioned that if you are honest with yourself you can’t take on the industry giants as a start-up, so find your niche and be the best in that space – be the authority. One of his stats pointed out that returns in women’s fashion had an average return rate of 35%, whereas for men the returns rate is closer to 13%, so he found some real operational advantages in that are to ensure people get the right product first time.
Mark Bennett’s talk was an introduction into a start-up business (now 10 years old) that identified a clear niche market – gentleman’s luxury, affordable watches – and produced a product. However, he was initially unsure of how to get the product in front of customers. He mentioned that their initial marketing involved taking out three separate advertisements in magazines that were exactly the same, apart from the price. One was priced at £99, one at £179 and the last at £849 – all to find the right place in the market. Mark’s talk continued to show their vast progression, including their introduction to the Magento ecosystem. They found that conversions and sales improved by utilising price framing and by expanding the range to offer more – as a start-up brand people are always want to know what’s coming next. His talk finished with the information that they’d had a mountain named after them: Christopher Ward in Tajikistan. Certainly a new measure for success!
We use ebizmarts’ products in a large number of the Magento stores we support, so Ignacio was no stranger to us. Quitting his day job, he started an agency with a colleague that grew rapidly as they took on work across many disciplines, essentially saying ‘yes’ to whatever work came their way. Following a review of the plans, the team, and their skill set, they realised a change from a services agency to products was the right way to go for them, utilising the then new Magento marketplace to deliver their products. Now exclusively Magento developers, Ebizmart produce strong extensions for MailChimp and Sagepay. Their Sagepay module processed over 1.2 billion pounds of purchases in 2014. After in-depth research, they discovered that 65% of their customers had at least one retail location, and so, their latest work involves bridging the gap between their online outlets and their bricks and mortar stores – their EPOS offering.
Into the afternoon, several tracks were running and I bounced between a few rooms. I attended “Using Elasticsearch with Magento” by Stefan Willkommer, CTO and Co-Founder of TechDivision GmbH. Stefan did a great job of highlighting the ease of using Elastic. His company has built on top of the Enterprise Solr implementation in order to offer Elastic search in place of the search, catalog, and layer navigation options – all the while relieving the load on MySQL, as well as using a faster, more extendable solution. They’ve also built a message queue into their extension to speed up processing and indexing.
The next session was for the benefits or Product Information Management (PIM), which, while sounding quite dry and typical of ecommerce, got me thinking of the benefits of shifting from the basics of your stock catalogue to create something of real value. Jan Anderson of StoreGecko explained that knowing the quality of your product data can be essential in going the extra mile, not just for customers, but also to deliver uniqueness to search engines.
Altering your product data for different channels, with a variety of images or summaries, can all boost the experience and, in turn, sales. Additionally, using this data to identify which products don’t have images, or ones that don’t have related products, can all help drive incremental sales when that data is available. The session ended with a quick list of items that could revolutionise the future of online stores. For me, the most interesting thought was that of intelligent product pricing based on competitors, the market, stock, and many more factors.
After that session, I attended “Finding the Right Balance: Creating a Successful Customer Journey” by Kath Pay, Marketing Director at cloud.IQ. Kath’s session highlighted a lot of the great examples (and some not so great) of how effective psychology is in the persuasion of customers from a lead to a conversion. Touching on cognitive ease, reciprocity, loss aversion, social proofing, scarcity, and anchoring, it showed practical examples of how design, marketing, and development all need to come together in order to promote your brand, and, most importantly, get the customer to click through to your site or interact with a call to action.
My final session of the day (before grabbing a beer) was “Beyond the Payments Page” by Charles Heal, Head of Sales and Business Development at eBay Enterprise. There were some great takeaways from Charles’ session. He highlighted the rise of contactless payments (now accounting for 80%+ of payments through the London underground and overground service), NFC phones, Tablets and phones being used more and more within restaurants as a payment option, biometrics and then onto the rise of mobile payments – through Paypal, and soon, ApplePay. Charles’ session was about giving customers the payment options and flexibility they expect, highlighting that 11% of customers abandon their checkout process due to declined payment options.
Presentations are now appearing on magentolive.com/uk/schedule, so head to their site to take a look to find out more.
If you are looking for an agency to help you with your e-commerce store then Branded3 can help; feel free to get in touch.