Insights from Magento Imagine 2018

By Justin |  Apr 30, 2018 (8 min read)


What started eight years ago as a way to connect the global eCommerce community has grown. Magento Imagine 2018 was an oasis of insight, innovation, and interesting people.

This year at the Wynn in Las Vegas, we saw over 3000 eCommerce enthusiasts and Magento experts all together in one place. The goal: to discover new innovations, and to connect with those who are able to help support the development of Magento.

The Magento Imagine 2018 event was a chance to see what’s changing, what’s emerging and who is offering the most interesting insights this year.

Along with David, our lead developer, I was fortunate to be there the whole three days and took a ton of notes. Magento themselves have recapped the main Keynotes, so I’ve put this review of Magento Imagine 2018 breakout sessions, as a way to share with other our team of developers and anyone else who couldn’t make the event.

Tom Kawartka

CEO of Divarte
Session: How to Successfully Onboard End-Clients to B2B Platform
Key Message: “Building a platform is one thing; getting users engaged is another”.

magento imagine 2018

Tom is an expert in the eCommerce space and the CEO of Divante. His view was that successful B2B business are focussed on digitizing the ways they onboard users.

Three key takeaways:

User research and creating personas. Doing this first will help you to know your clients. To avoid the pitfalls of over complicating your website, you need to get a sense of what your customer sees, feels and how you can help them. In a sense, this helps you know the value you create, and then design your onboarding accordingly.

Making Data easier. Tom said that people hate to input data manually, therefore it is valuable to import as much data as much as possible for your clients

Build Support Channels. Find ways to enhance the whole buying process for your customers. For example, while your customer is browsing, a function might be set up to prompt the call center to call the customer. The call center can see what the client is browsing for and help the client by answering questions and completing the sale. This approach builds the ‘digital bond’ with the client and shows the level of support that your company provides.


Jonathan Koo

Head of Demand Generation, Adroll
Session: Marketing at the Speed of eCommerce
Key Message: “Connect to one source of truth, so you can target your customers to make tangible decisions.”

magento imagine 2018

Jonathan Koo explored the mindset, skillset, and dataset needed to build a successful eCommerce marketing strategy. He broke it down into three important points:

The Growing importance of digital footprint. The statistics show that more and more people are using social media for customer service support. This is why your brand needs to be everywhere.

You must connect your data and unify your customer persona. There is so much data out there on your customers today, it can be confusing and overwhelming what to focus on. For this reason, you need to choose one source of ‘truth’, so you can target your customers accurately. A great way to do this to learn how your customers are browsing, using their past history and how they interact with you.

Automation can drive results. Once you’ve collected and unified the data, you can then personalize it. At this stage, a lot of the process becomes more automated, even though for the customer it still feels personal.


Skye Spear

VP of Sales & Partnerships, Signifyd
Session: Accelerate Your Digital Transformation
Key Message: Go from Merchant-Centric to Customer Centric

magento imagine 2018

Skye shared the fact that today we are seeing the rise of digitally native brands. They don’t need the traditional storefronts to succeed. Because of this, the playing field is level. The experience of the customer becomes the key.

Here are some key points:

It is essential to plan for the global market. A high percentage of customers are now willing to go across borders to find what they want and need. 
You must know what ‘fast’ means to your customer. Some people will consider two days fast, and others might be same day or within a few hours.

Don’t dismiss brick and mortar. With the rise of technology, it’s surprising to see that a large percentage of younger shoppers still enjoy the experience of shopping in-store. The experience between the eCommerce and brick and mortar should be aligned.

Automation means more time with customers. Once you have your processes automated, you can spend more time focused on your customers and the experience you can provide them to build loyalty.


David Christy

Managing Director, Commerce, Weidenhammer
Session: 5 Essential Marketing Tools to Accelerate Your Business
Key Message: “SEO is the modern equivalent of the yellow pages for business.”

magento imagine 2018

David provided some key insights both into the world of SEO, and also the tools that Magento has to enhance your SEO success. Hey are some important points to remember:

SEO is important. There’s nothing that Search Engine’s love more than sitemaps. One of the key factors is to utilize headers and title tags on your website. These should ideally be created manually. Also important to make sure you optimize your website homepage description and title.

Use integrated marketing tools. Today there are so many ways you can enhance your user traction through tools such as email marketing campaigns, forms, and popups. Magento has some great ways to make this work in an integrated way, and some examples of them are Dotmailer, Listrak, Mailchimp, Emarsys.

Magento Visual Merchandiser is a huge help. It offers help to you with Product Sorting, Display Modes, Smart-category Rules. This allows you to do the same thing as stores such as Walmart or Target. When products are placed strategically, they can significantly increase the average order value. Magento Page Builder is being launched in the coming months (in Magento 2.3) enabling marketing departments to create specialized landing pages without the assistance of a developer.

Social Integrations and the new reality. Everyone is on Facebook today, and allowing them to use this login has advantages for you. Your customers who log in with their Facebook account will offer you more user data. Magento social connects everything to Facebook and allows you to use Facebook Ads to boost traffic. Along with this, you can make sales on your Magento store inside of Facebook.

Channel Integrations offer a huge advantage. If you want to publish your products to feeds (Google Shopping, Bing Shopping, Amazon, eBay etc) there are Magento extensions that are easy to use and configure. Amazon channel integration will be part of the base build in a future release, which is exciting.

Ashley MacPherson & Jennifer Small

Solutions Architect, Magento Commerce
Solutions Consultant, Magento Commerce
Session: How Order Management Powers 5-Star Customer Experience
Key Message: “Order management is the key to delivering on customer expectations.”

magento imagine 2018

In a world of high competition, one way you can stand out is through ease of ordering. The experience of buying is key to the customers overall satisfaction. Here are some key points to consider:

What is a 5-Star Customer Experience for your Business? You must consider each aspect of the process logically, and help the customer to know as much as possible. Consider sharing factors such as delivery ETAs, local online inventory, ship to store options, online returns, etc.

How can you better manage the Customer Expectation? The more you tell the customer up front, the better they will feel during the ordering process. Text updates or order statuses, and same-day delivery are becoming a common part of how customers buy.

How do you mitigate bad customer experiences? All bad experiences that a customer has today are shared with at least one other person. This is why accessibility, consistency, and transparency are key.


James Zetlen

Frontend Architect at Magento
Session: Sweet Themes are made of these
Key Message: “PWAs are being looked at as the potential future of ecommerce”

magento imagine 2018

Progressive Web Apps are a key part of the integration of app technology into websites. Magento is trying to lead the charge by creating a framework that is extensible, community-driven, and built on modern technology.

Magento is focused on moving from servers to the cloud. Responsive web design was ‘raised’ in the cloud, but PWAs were ‘born’ there! There is also great excitement and attention from Google around PWAs.

Progressive Web Apps also create a reliable app structure that you can build for everyone and for the future.


Chris Hedge & Craig Peasley

Senior Director of Product Management – Magento Commerce
Senior Director of Product Marketing – Magento Commerce
Session: Tools from Magento to Accelerate your Growth
Key Takeaway: “An Intelligent Customer Experience is a key to engagement”.

magento imagine 2018

It looks like 2018 is shaping up to be a record year for eCommerce. Over $2.8 Trillion dollars in revenue is the proof. The most important factors influencing growth are conversion rate optimization, multi-channel shopping, mobile shopping, to name a few.

You must consider all 4 of the stages of consumer buyer behavior:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Conversion
  • Lifetime Value

Many eCommerce businesses miss the opportunity for lifetime value. We must consider whether customers are returning to buy.

You must also be aware of ‘wayfinding’ – meaning can your customers find their way to the products you offer easily? Users with correct first clicks will convert to a sale over 87% of the time. Users with incorrect links will only convert 46% of the time. This is significant to think about in your eCommerce website.


Magento Imagine 2018 Recap

There were a lot more sessions, but these were some that impacted my understanding of the changing digital marketing and eCommerce landscape. In my opinion, Magento is leading the charge in this area and has a lot to offer and business looking for an eCommerce website.

You can find the full notes from each session online at The Magento Imagine Website as well as links to each of their social accounts. Kalen Jordan has a great recap video on youtube to give you a feel for the event.

magento imagine 2018

Along with the speakers, it was great to attend some of the activities such as Road to Imagine and spend some time getting to know other Magento Developers, Magento Masters, and Magento podcast MageTalk, and MC for the event, Phillip ‘Phil Winkle’ Jackson.

Now it’s time to get some work done… see you all at Magento Imagine 2019!


The Brandastic team are certified Magento developers based in Orange County, California. Through our knowledge and experience, we can help you take your eCommerce business in the right direction. Contact us today to see how we can help grow your business sales through a Magento eCommerce website.

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