What I Wish Someone Told Me Before My First Trip To Magento Imagine - 2015 Edition

Are you headed to the Magento Imagine conference in April? If so, you might want to check out what ended up being my most popular article of 2014 - What I Wish Someone Told Me Before My First Trip to Magento Imagine. A majority of that article is still relevant for #ImagineCommerce 2015, with a few tweaks and new hints:

  1. Imagine 2015 is back to its usual spot on the calendar in April instead of May. That means it won't be quite as hot, but Vegas still averages a high of 80 F and a low of about 60 F during that week of April each year. It's entirely possible it will be even warmer than that - as I write this, the forecast for the next week for Vegas has highs as high as 91 F. The evening events will be cooler this year than last year, though, from the looks of things.
  2. I just want to really emphasize what my original article says about how quickly Imagine passes by. If you see someone you've always wanted to talk to - stop, and talk to them. Even if you miss a session, do it, because before you know it Imagine will be over and we'll all be headed back home. There's several people I wanted to talk to last year that I just didn't get a chance to because I said "I'll catch up with them tomorrow"
  3. Don't assume you have to go to every single session to get the most value out of Imagine. Doing so may leave you exhausted, overwhelmed and missing out on some of the best conversations that are held in the hallways, on the casino floor and throughout the hotel.
  4. This year's event is at the Wynn. The Wynn has a great location on the Las Vegas Strip - across the street from Fashion Show Mall, and at the same intersection as Treasure Island, the Mirage and the Venetian. If you time it right, you can walk down to the Bellagio (a bit less than a mile from the Wynn) and see the fountain show there, then walk back towards the Wynn and catch the volcano at the Mirage on your way back, along with seeing a number of the great Vegas casinos on your way.
  5. The official hashtag this year is #ImagineCommerce. Also, a number of Magento community members now use the hashtag #realmagento instead of #magento due to the amount of spam that occurs on the #magento hashtag.
  6. Speaking of hashtags - some of the greatest unplanned, spontaneous happenings at Imagine are organized on Twitter. Even if you never tweet, keep an eye on the #ImagineCommerce hashtag or follow me on Twitter - @JoshuaSWarren - and stay in the loop with what's going on at Imagine.
  7. A number of community members have written their own guides to Imagine. If you've written one, send me the link on Twitter and I'll post it here. So far, I recommend starting with the 'Taking Advantage - Magento Imagine' article by Karen from WebShopApps.
  8. If you haven't already, go back and read last year's article - What I Wish Someone Told Me Before My First Trip to Magento Imagine - it has even more great tips for your trip to Imagine.

I'm looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones at Imagine this year. If you see me at the conference, please don't hesitate to say hi! Don't worry if it seems weird to introduce yourself to someone you follow on Twitter but have never met; I've gotten very used to people saying "Hi, Josh! I follow you on Twitter!".

Why I Built Launchpad & How It Will Create More Clients For You

Launchpad? What's That?

If you haven't heard about Launchpad yet, it's an affordable, powerful Magento-based eCommerce system that is completely different from all of the other packaged Magento installations out there. It's affordable ($4,000), has no ongoing license fees (it's a one-off purchase) and it's completely open.

Why'd You Build It?

Launchpad hasn't been a cheap project - our team has invested over 800 developer-hours into it at this point. Other agency owners are no doubt running the numbers in their head now, thinking about how much revenue those developers could've generated by working on custom Magento implementations for large customers. But I've kept investing in Launchpad to get it to where it is today for a very personal reason - I'm passionate about freedom, openness and creating a level playing field for all merchants.

I believe that a merchant should:

  • Have the same level of features on their eCommerce site, no matter what their budget is. Great products and great service should win the battle for the consumer's dollar, not just great budgets.
  • Be in complete control of their business, able to change hosting providers, agencies and platforms when they feel it's appropriate, and never be locked in.
  • Build a successful online presence on truly open technologies.

Some of the cloud-based eCommerce systems out there solve that first item, but not the other two. Systems like Magento solve the second two, but not the first one. So, I set out to build something that would combine all of the features and affordability of the cloud-based systems with the openness of Magento.

Why Should I Refer People to Launchpad?

As an active member of the Magento community, I feel like it's important that we as a community have a Magento-based option for every size merchant, but especially the smaller merchants, and those options should make it easy to move up. When smaller merchants are referred to BigCommerce or Volusion or the like, they're gone. Those cloud-based systems sink their teeth into them and do everything they can to keep them. They're generally never going to come back to Magento, no matter how large they grow.

So, if we want our ecosystem, our community, our marketshare to continue to grow and be healthy, we have to direct merchants into an option that gets them "hooked" on Magento while still allowing them to grow and move from an entry-level option to a more serious Community-based option all the way up to a fully custom Enterprise build.

I'm hoping Launchpad can fill that role - it's designed so that after the site is launched, the merchant can take it to any agency, any freelancer, or even maintain it themselves. So you can send merchants to it and know that we're going to convert them into Magento users that remain active in the Magento ecosystem and will continue to have a need for a Magento developer, Magento extensions and other services for years to come.

So, next time you come across a merchant who is looking for an eCommerce site but doesn't have the budget for a custom Magento build, I hope you'll refer them to Launchpad. For $4,000 we'll get them live on a solid, open Magento-based solution in just 2 business days, and once they're live, they're free to hire you for any other work or services they need. It's truly a win for everyone in the Magento community every time we sign a new merchant up for Launchpad.

I'm anxious to hear any feedback the community has - I want this to be a solution that the community feels strongly about, so if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please post them here or reach me on Twitter at @JoshuaSWarren.

A quick thank you to the Magento community and

I just wanted to take a second to say thanks to everyone out there on Twitter, on and to the Magento community as a whole. I've grown Creatuity very slowly over the years - we don't really have a marketing budget, or marketing department for that matter - it's all been on word of mouth and referrals and developing a reputation for solving some of the most challenging problems with Magento and taking really good care of our clients while doing it.

Because of this, every single referral means quite a bit to me and to all of us at Creatuity. That's why I wanted to say thanks - we've seen a sharp increase in the number of merchants coming to us saying they were referred to us by someone in the Magento community. A story I heard about how a client found us a couple of weeks ago is a great example of this.

This merchant first saw me on and reached out to a few other people on MageHero first. Almost all of them indicated they were too busy to take on the project, but that they should call Creatuity for help, because we'd take care of them.

So - to all of you who have referred merchants to me and the rest of the Creatuity team - thank you. I really appreciate it and I want you to know we will continue to do great things, so you can always trust that the merchants you send to us will be taken care of.

The Magento 2 Certification Problem

With all the discussion around the technology behind Magento 2, the release schedule and the excitement of how Magento 2 will help transform eCommerce, I have to admit, I hadn't thought at all about certifications for Magento 2 until someone at Magento asked my opinion about it. So here's the challenge - when Magento 2 launches, how will an employer or merchant know a developer knows Magento 2? Magento (both as a community and as a company) has always made it clear that they understand that a big part of the success of Magento is thanks to the large, vibrant community of Magento developers.

However, the current Magento training and certifications cover Magento 1, not Magento 2. New things are in the works, but with the release date of Magento 2 approaching quickly and fairly major changes still taking place in the codebase, how do you have a way on Day One of Magento 2's release to know a developer is Magento 2 ready?

In an ideal world, all of us Magento developers would be spending a significant amount of time staying up to date with the changes the Magento 2 team is pushing each week on Github, and we'd all be studying and learning Magento 2 in-depth over the next 11 months until Magento 2 is released.

However, Magento 1 developers are in high demand. We all have our Magento 1 work to do, and we all seem to be getting even busier.

So, let's say Magento 2 is completely feature/architecture frozen by the end of March (a date I made up, by the way, just as an example). The Magento 2 release date is Q4 of this year. For this example, we'll say that's on December 31st, 2015.

That works out to 9 months. 9 months to prepare a complete training program or certification exam, release it to the community and for Magento 1 developers to complete it. Split that time 50/50, and let's say Magento Inc spends 4.5 months preparing this information, giving Magento 1 developers 4.5 months between when the training is available and when Magento 2 goes live.

How many of you, while still completing your Magento 1 work and maintaining your other commitments could go from 0 knowledge of Magento 2 to ready to take and pass a certification exam in 4.5 months?

I'm sure there's some of you saying "Oh, yeah, that's more than enough time". And that's awesome. You'll be one of the trailblazers on Magento 2, and that's something the community really needs. However, that's not what the average developer is saying.

Here's an example - there's less than 450 Magento Certified or Certified Plus Developers in the United States. Let's say 20% of developers feel they can get trained up on Magento 2 and certified on it in 4.5 months (and from the conversations I've had, I think 20% is probably high). That means that if they all are able to achieve that, that gives the entire US market only 90 people who are able to become Magento 2 certified by launch day.

No one is really sure yet what user demand will look like - Magento 1 will continue to be supported for quite some time, so many merchants will stay on or implement on Magento 1 in 2015 and 2016. But there will also be quite a bit of buzz and excitement about Magento 2, and I have a feeling that there are many people on aging platforms that are waiting for Magento 2's release before they make the switch to Magento. Add to that how many merchants plan major projects or migrations for January, and you can easily see how there will be significantly more Magento 2 implementations than official trained/certified Magento 2 developers in December or January.

So, as a community, how do we handle that? How do we make sure we're not only preparing ourselves for Magento 2, but also making sure that merchants and employers are able to identify those developers who really are prepared for Magento 2? I don't think anyone has a practical, workable solution yet, so I'm curious to see what the community thinks and what we can come up with as we discuss this.

Making Magento go fast by Thijs Feryn @ThijsFeryn at #phpworld

Making Magento go fast by Thijs Feryn @ThijsFeryn at #phpworld Magento can be a little slow, but it's tremendously flexible.

Presenting today from the perspective of a hosting company employee who knows a lot about PHP but not a lot about Magento and approached it from a hosting/operational standpoint.

Remember the basics - activate caching, flat catalogs and JS & CSS minifcation.

The Magento compiler is a lie - it's invented for people who have no bytecode caching, but everyone should have that now.

Magento cache by default is on the disk - var/cache/

Move the Magento cache to somewhere faster. Could try APC or memcached. Memcached support allows multiple servers.

Magento uses a 2-level cache, a fast backend (adapter) and slow backend (disk).

You can put your slow backend (var/cache)on tmpfs.

PHP is slow - especially the older versions.

Remember - many types of PHP caching doesn't work well with fast-cgi because everything is in multiple, separate processes. Every process has its own APC cache.

With php-fpm you can configure a master process that stores the byte code cache so each child process uses same cache.

Opcache is awesome and a lot faster than APC.

Get all of your caches in memory!

The database is important for Magento performance - give MySQL more RAM. MySQL should use 80% of your database server's memory.

If you have lots of traffic to Magento, try turning off query caching and use the memory for the buffer pool and other uses in MySQL.

Check the setting innodb_flush_log_at_trx_commit - try to change it to 2 or 0.

Setup 2 database servers - one for reads, and one for writes.

Redis is GREAT - use it! Redis has built-in deplication, multiple data types, doesn't require a 2-level cache.

Store your sessions in redis so that sessions are shared between all of your web nodes.

Varnish is fast and scales - sites have powered 40 million users per day with only 2 Varnish servers.

Varnish only works on static items - product catalog and CMS pages. Not on checkout. It's great for static content, but it doesn't have SSL support. You have to terminate SSL before it gets to Varnish - use something like haproxy or nginix.

Look at using Turpentine - it allows you to use ESI or AJAX with Varnish and Magento.

If you can't use Varnish, use Lesti FPC.

If you're using Varnish or LestiFPC, turn off the visitor log tables, because they are no longer accurate. Convert them to blackhole tables.

Magento's default search can be a full-text search on the database - replace this with something better. Try using elasticsearch.

Host static files separately on a CDN.

Use Redis "clustering" to remove Redis as a single point of failure. Try Redis-cluster or Redis Sentinel - there's a Redis Sentinel patch for Cm_Cache_Backend_Rails.


Seeking the Magento Community's Center of Gravity Meet Magento New York 2014 Talk

This Meet Magento New York 2014 Talk is "Seeking the Magento Community's Center of Gravity" with Kurt Theobald. Community events help us maintain a voice as a community driven ecosystem, so events like Meet Magento are important.

Magento really took off with the small and medium business market. That’s where Magento made its claim to fame.

Magento Inc is shifting focus to serve the mid-market, creating a gap with the small/medium business market.

Today is about discussing the problem and the path towards solving the problem.

Merchants have a challenging time getting any help from the Magento ecosystem/community.

Merchants have to find, evaluate and install solutions, but with so many countless extensions in Magento Connect it's challenging to find good solutions.

Magento Gold partnership doesn't mean quality - it means a company is willing to pay $10k/year for the label. This is because Magento’s business models towards the partner programs never matured. Let’s solve the problem as a community.

It’s very difficult for excellent partners to get the attention they deserve from Magento merchants.

As a community, let’s come together and lift up the high quality agencies that don't market well.

Let’s collaborate with those that do good Magento work and compete with the ones that do crap work.

Let’s marginalize and vaporize the fakers and superficial marketing fronts in the Magento ecosystem!

Right now the Magento community is acting like a bunch of independent cats, giving up what makes Magento powerful.

Let’s have a club mentality but let’s be virtuous - repel the junk and invite the quality.

It's not about any one agency - it's about protecting the Magento community by providing many quality options for merchants.

This isn’t a fork - we want to stay in unity with Magento.


Saving time and money with Vagrant - Meet Magento New York 2014 Talk

This is the Meet Magento New York 2014 talk "Saving time and money with Vagrant" with Tim Broder. Vagrant lets you QA server configurations for your Magento site just like you do your code.

Vagrant lets you setup a dev environment for a new project in 5-6 commands and about 10 minutes.

Everyone benefits from Vagrant - solo developers, startups, agencies, large scale businesses.

Vagrant helps with complex stacks - such as using Solr, Varnish, etc. - getting it all setup in one Vagrant box saves a lot of time.

Chef, Puppet, Docker, Ansible and Salt are all options for provisioning Vagrant boxes.

Slides, examples and much more are available here.

Magento Security and Us Meet Magento New York 2014 Talk

This Meet Magento New York 2014 tech track presentation is Magento Security and Us by Lee Saferite. Limit your attack surface - don't open unnecessary ports, and ideally use a server in a different subnet from your web server to provide SSH access into your site.

External log file storage - if your server is compromised, you can't trust anything on it. Transfer logs to a 3rd party service or another server in realtime.

Backup security - your backups contain all of your data - it should be secured well.

Your Magento site shouldn't have any writable PHP code - only var and media need to be writable, and they should only be writable by the web server user.

Magento extension authors should define specific, granular permissions in their extensions so that Magento site owners can restrict who can do what.

Don't install extensions directly from Connect - you need to run a code review/security audit first. You also don't want extensions that automatically update, because you don't know what their code might do.

If you're online for long and you're selling online, you will be a target, and at some point you will be compromised. Have a written incident response plan for what needs to be done when this happens so that you're prepared for it.


Persuasive E-Commerce Meet Magento New York Keynote

This keynote from Meet Magento New York 2014 is "Persuasive E-Commerce" by Guido Jansen. Online merchants have a big problem because online conversion rates are very low versus offline. Offline - 20-25% conversion rate; online is 2-10% conversion rate.

Online sales don't have the same level of personalization and sensory input as offline stores.

Automatic thoughts and actions drive much of our purchasing behavior. These are called heuristics in psychology, and they can lead to cognitive biases and prejudice.

Always be testing.

Social proof is a powerful force. Try things like in the past month X customers bought this product. This works well for socially acceptable products, but not for socially undesirable products.

Authority, liking and scarcity are other forces that persuade us to purchase.

There is no average customer - there are large individual differences.


Ben Marks Update at Meet Magento New York 2014

This keynote from Meet Magento New York 2014 about the state of Ben's role as Magento evangelist after 6 months on the job, and discussing the Magento community as a whole. Ben is discussing Intent vs Reality of his first 6 months on the job at Magento.

Advisory board - intent - empower core group to work with Magento employees. Reality - Ben is still directly facilitating communication.

Use GitHub like GitHub - intent - use Github for Magento 2 in the proper way. Reality - requires a lot of work & prioritizing; in progress.

Magento Connect - intent - improve functionality and general extension quality. Reality - a lot of work has gone into this already, but there is more to do.

Forums - intent, replacement with something better - reality, in progress, but not there yet.

Translations - intent - remove old tool, replace with crowdsourcing. Reality - in progress, but not there yet.

We will have a monthly community report from Ben to the community soon.

Developer documentation will be on GitHub soon - and it will accept pull requests.

Magento 2 will be in developer preview in December.


Magento: A Journey Down the Open Road Meet Magento New York 14 Talk

This talk is "Magento: A Journey Down the Open Road", a Meet Magento New York 14 Talk by Yoav Kutner. It was surprising to see how many people were using Magento for non-eCommerce purposes.

Based on this experience, OroCRM was written with a layer between the app and the framework - Oro Platform.

Oro Platform has ACL's built in, also Grids and reports and a workflow system.

The technology stack for Oro Platform is great thanks to it's fresh start. PHP >= 5.4.4., Symfony2, Doctrine, PHPUnit, HTML5, CSS3.

Oro Platform is focused on quality - 65% unit test coverage, code standards, and more.

Existing CRMs didn’t fit for eCommerce - is a shopping cart a lead? Opportunity? That's why Oro CRM is focused on being an eCommerce CRM.

Oro CRM collects data from multiple channels and segments customers.

Don't just want to look at how many people add items to the cart - we want to know who added items to the cart. Segment to specific users.

OroCRM integrates with Magento, Amazon and eBay.


Working with Magento Extension Providers at Meet Magento New York 14

This talk is from Karen Baker from Web Shop Apps, entitled "Working with Magento Extension Providers". Badly written extensions have literally caused eCommerce businesses to fail.

The Magento ecosystem consists of Magento itself, design agencies, individual developers, technology partners.

There are several types of extension providers:

  1. Domain experts
  2. Innovators
  3. Custodians - selflessly look after things
  4. Hackers
  5. Copiers

The current Magento extension marketplace is Magento Connect.

6505 extensions in Magento Connect, 33% increase since 2012. 15 extensions called Shop, 9 extensions called One Stop Checkout. 132 extensions with Ajax in the name. Half of the extension providers on Magento Connect only list free extensions.

1/3rd of extension authors on Magento Connect have “Mage” in their name, and that needs to change.

When you filter out the bad actors on Magento Connect, you come up with list of top extension providers, and when you look, none of their extensions are easy to find on Connect.

There's a top 6 Magento Connect providers producing 1 in 5 extensions on Connect.

Of those top 6 Magento Connect providers, only 1 is innovating, other 5 are copying, and Magento should stop this.

Fundamental problem of Magento extensions is that copying an extension and providing bad support is order of magnitude easier than innovating.

Bad extension authors cheating the Magento Connect system are hurting the extension authors that want to innovate.

The Magento extension market is $50mil+, and a lot of bad people that are stealing code is making that money. By taking that money out of the Magento ecosystem and into bad actors, it hurts the entire Magento ecosystem - those that aren't innovating, that are just stealing code are hurting our ability to innovate.

Magento ecosystem gets too focused on the code sometimes, and forget about the merchant. Focus on the merchant.

If something that

How to fix connect:

  • Make it plug & play
  • Give it structured format for pricing, support, etc
  • Zero tolerance approach to copying
  • Consolidate
  • Community curation
  • Quality
  • Encourage innovation
  • Revenue model for Magento - without revenue, they have no way to invest in cleaning up Magento Connect

Magento should be open and inclusive, not a clique-y club.

We need to improve engagement with merchants, collaboration between agencies, extensions and on boarding need to be simplified. There needs to be trust with extensions, and we need a faster speed to market.




Hacking Magento: Creating an HTML5 Canvas Customizer on Magento Bundles - Meet Magento New York 14 Talk

This Meet Magento New York 2014 talk is Hacking Magento: Creating an HTML5 Canvas Customizer on Magento Bundles by Philip Jackson. When consumers control the features of a product, they have control over the process.

Customization vs personalization: customization is unique, has unlimited choice, is made to order. Longer turnaround, lots of planning. Personalization is prefab, limited choice under an existing SKU, shorter turnaround, could be purchased on impulse.

In the next 5 years, 20% of eCommerce transactions will contain a customization step.

In the 1590's commerce had a large shift with market segmentation and emergence of customer choice. Niche products, especially in home appliances.

Customers are more likely to engage with a brand and convert when customization is available. The time spent in customizing a product develops a connection with the user, which makes them more likely to order.

Current generation product customizers should use HTML5 canvas that generates a PDF for web-to-print.

Raphael and Fabric.js were evaluated - Raphael was built in 2008 and not very well maintained, so Fabric.js was used.

Update: Philip has uploaded his slides to Slideshare.


Varnish Cache and its usage in the real world Meet Magento New York 2014 Talk

This talk at Meet Magento New York 2014 is Varnish Cache and its usage in the real world by Ivan Chepurnyi. Varnish is a way to accelerate sites such as Magento websites by caching as much content as possible.

Varnish is controlled by VCL - the Varnish configuration language.

vcl_recv is the entry point for a customer request, and you can detect a customer segment based on cookies and serve a specific type of content for that segment.

vcl_hash builds the cache hash for a page - it gives the possibility to serve different content based on customer device type, detected customer segment, etc.

Secret of successful Magento Varnish integration is in 4 key components: headers, cookies, Javascript and browser storage.

Varnish is all about communication via headers - specify cache TTL from Magento in headers.

Cookies connect dynamic actions, shopping cart, etc., in Magento and Varnish.

Javascript is used to serve dynamic content via AJAX calls.

Browser storage should be used to minimize AJAX calls.

There's a framework that already caches basic pages in Magento, and you can easily add your own page type. Ivan has released the code on GitHub at


Two Approaches to Responsive Web Design: Pure and Hybrid - Meet Magento New York 2014 Talk

This Meet Magento New York 2014 talk is Brendan Falkowski's "Two Approaches to Responsive Design" presentation. Adaptive vs responsive - adaptive design serves a specific size; you basically have 2 sizes - small screen and large screen. It doesn't support both tablet and mobile well.

Adaptive layouts don't work well for new or 'in between' screen sizes - i.e., the iPhone 6+ screen size isn't served well by adaptive layouts.

Responsive proxy sites are a good middle ground - build a mobile-first responsive design on an m-dot site, keeping a separate desktop site until you're able to change your desktop site.

Dynamic serving involves looking at the user agent and other data and dynamically serving only the items needed for the user's screen size and device type.

Responsive design with server-side components blends responsive design with dynamic serving.

Badly written or blocking JS/CSS can derail search spiders.

Some RESS implementations use MobileDetect or WURFL frameworks to implement RESS.

RESS's biggest impact on UX was navigation - being able to serve completely different navigation menus to different devices allows for better usability and easier design.

Magento responsive sites can be and are fast - focus on the things that are important on the frontend and your site can be fast.

Responsive has a lower total cost of ownership since you're only maintaining one codebase.

Retina images are tricky - the best approach for now is a plugin called picturefill. #mm14ny

Magento Imagine Slides, Sessions and Reactions

I plan to post all of the slides, sessions and reactions to Magento Imagine that I come across in this article - I'll update this article as I find more. If you presented at Magento Imagine, please tweet a link to your slides with the #MagentoImagine hashtag and I'll add it here, or post a comment below with the link and I'll get the post updated ASAP. Thanks, and thank you everyone for such an amazing time at Magento Imagine this year - already looking forward to 2015! Simple Steps to Win the Site Performance Battle - Nexcess Breakout Session

Responsive Breakout Session Presentation by Eric Wiese

If you don't see the presentation you're interested in listed here, check the Imagine website to see if it's been posted there.

Also, there's a few reaction articles being posted, which I'll list below. Let me know if I missed your article!

Alan Storm's Imagine 2014: Magento 1.9 Infinite Theme Fallback

Wednesday Afternoon General Session Magento Imagine 2014

Well, it's that time again - time to say goodbye to Magento Imagine. With a lot of excitement in the air, the attendees of Imagine have gathered again in The Joint at the Hard Rock for the final general session of Magento Imagine. Announcing winners of the giveaways, etc.

Showing a customer success story of Terracycle, a Magento customer, and the CEO of Terracycle is now on stage.

Garbage doesn't exist in nature. Everything around us will become garbage one day. Consumption + complex materials creates garbage - we each consume 10 times more stuff than people did 100 years ago. What we buy today is what gives us pleasure, not what we need to survive. Garbage is a major issue - 5 billion tons per year. There are 5 floating garbage balls in the Pacific Ocean, each the size of Texas. 25% of our garbage ends up in the ocean, 5% is recycled.

The answer to the garbage problem is changing how we consume - buy consciously. Buy refill pouches, reusable containers, durable and not disposable items. Terracycle took an interesting path - started out selling 'worm poop liquid' in reused Pepsi and Coke bottles. Went beyond that, though, to transform the entire industry by looking at how to apply the lessons learned on that product to the entire recycling industry and the problem of garbage. Tom challenges merchants that are here to also look at the waste stream their products create and engage consumers on what happens when the product is used - collect, recycle and reuse your used products.

Now we're seeing another customer success video, this time on The Athlete's Foot in Australia, another large-scale multichannel retailer using Magento.

Now Michael Dart, author of the New Rules of Retail, is on stage. There have been 4 waves in retail - Producer Power in 1850, Marketing Power in 1950, Consumer Power in 1980 and Technology Power in 2011. Power of total accessibility - more and cheaper access, quicker and easier access, much smarter access. 80% of consumers that own smartphones are using them when shopping for major items, and it's changing their decisions.

Consumers have gone from needing stuff to demanding experiences.

Consumers have gone from conformity to customization.

Consumers have gone from plutocracy to democracy.

Consumers have gone from wanting new stuff to wanting new and now.

Consumers have gone from self to community.

Consumers have gone from technology for work to technology for life.

In this world, to be successful, there are 3 principals to think about: create a neurological connection, preemptive distribution, superior value chain collaboration.

There's 3 steps to creating a neurological connection - Pre-shopping anticipation -> actual shopping experience -> consumption or using product or service.

Preemptive distribution - reach the consumers in the most effective and compelling way before the consumer even knows they want it.

Increase collaboration among your value chain. Embed technology throughout your business and value chain.

3 retail competitive segments - commodity (driving price down), omni-channel to consumer (engagement between the brand and the consumer), extreme value.  Retailers should move towards the omni-channel to consumer and engage with their consumers.

Every retailer needs to think like they're Silicon Valley - analytics, mobility/tech, social marketing need to be core competencies.

Virtual Reality for eCommerce will the final frontier for the new rules of retail.

Now we're watching a highlight video of Magento Imagine.

Roy is back on stage thanking everyone - sponsors, the Magento team, and his final note was that even though he's leaving Magento, he's confident the eBay/PayPal/Magento team, working with the community, will continue to carry Magento forward to great things even after he's no longer involved.

Magento Imagine 2015 date has been announced - it will be April 20th thru 22nd in Las Vegas at the Wynn. Great to see the event moving to an even larger venue, and on the strip!

Inbound Marketing for eCommerce - Magento Imagine 2014 Breakout session

This session is Inbound Marketing for eCommerce: Double Down on Content to Create a Scalable Customer Acquisition Strategy with Ethan Giffin, Founder & CEO, Groove and Michael Sapera, CFO & Director of IT, Perlis Inc.

Why focus on content?

Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram - 79% of online shoppers spend at least 50% of their shopping time researching products. 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their blog. 67% of B2C companies and 41% of B2B have acquired a customer through Facebook. So, content is important - it generates customers. Finally, Google's Panda & Penguin updates make content vital for SEO. Inbound vs outbound marketing. In inbound marketing, communication is interactive and two way. Outbound is just broadcasting a message out (TV, radio, etc). Customers come to you via search engines, referrals, Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. Marketers are providing value and educating their customers to help them make a purchase decision. Seeks to entertain or educate.

Elements of Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a hub and spoke. It brings in blogging & content strategy, public relations, SEO, ratings & reviews, PPC, retargeting, social media, online video, conversion optimization and email nurturing. Inbound marketing cycle - Attract -> Convert -> Close -> Delight. You turn strangers into visitors via blogs and social media. Visitors turn into leads via forms, landing pages, etc. Leads turn into customers via emails and sales workflows. Customers turn into promoters for your brand via events, social and smart content. Closing the loop on your marketing - tie everything together. Make sure you aren't just acquiring customers and then not nurturing the relationship to encourage them to come back.

Goals & Planning aka "The Mission Link"

Rare for small to medium eTailers to plan, but they should. Focus on 3 main metrics - average order value, traffic and conversion rate. GPCT - Goal -> Plan -> Challenge -> Timeline. Set realistic goals. Example goals to consider... Increase: monthly visitors, conversion rate, average order size, email list, search traffic, etc. Conversion rate worksheet at (as an aside, that's a great example of Inbound Marketing and Hubspot in action on Groove's site). Optimal frequencies - test for your audience, but a guideline is 1-2 blogs per week; 4+ emails per month and 5-30 social updates per week. Start a content calendar.

10 Ideas for Creating Quality Content in 2014

Give your site some soul. Talk about yourself. Tell your story. How are you different from the big boys? What's your history? Write good content. Create buyers guides. Have an opinion. Show your expertise.

Check your product descriptions. Don't use the manufacturer's default description!

Classify your catalog - productions for promotion (low traffic, high conversion). products to remove (low traffic, low conversion - if you don't outright remove them, at least noindex them), top selling products (high traffic, high conversion), productions needing optimization (high traffic, low conversion).

Blog top lists - top problems, top solutions.

Versus & compare - interview your audience and write comparison articles because prospects are always looking for education. Type your first keyword into Google, then vs, and look at the auto suggestions are - create content around that.

Show your experience - let prospects know your project and industry experience. Create "How To's", not too technical or detailed, just to show your expertise. Great things to create videos around as well.

Stay Connected!

Social media contests - don't have to be big; even just giving away a drink koozie got hundreds of comments and entries.

Start an email welcome series.

Cart abanondment email series - multiple points of followup, start with simple giveaways. This one process saved one Magento merchant $31,000

Start a birthday email series.

Put a form on your thank you page after an order with some followup questions for birthdate and other customer segmentation info.

Send a post-purchase followup - send emails requesting reviews. Visitors expect 3-7 reviews per product. Don't use Javascript-based reviews systems, get the content on the page in a Google-friendly manner.


More information about HubSpot connector? It will feed historical data and current behavioral data from Magento into HubSpot.

How do you get people to engage with your content? Especially people 30+ to engage with your content and social. It's challenging. There's different ways of engaging - if you're a B2C brand engaging an older demographic, it's challenging, but there's ways to do that. Don't try to get them to download an eBook - email and blog posts are the best ways to engage that demographic.


Magento 2 Service Layer Breakout Session Magento Imagine 2014

This session is Magento 2 Service Layer: A Deep Dive into Customer Service presented by Chris O’Toole a Software Engineer at Magento. Chuck Choukalos, a product manager at Magento responsible for the service layer, is introducing the overall idea of the service layer.

The service layer streamlines customizations to allow easier installation & upgrades and simplifies external integrations. Consolidate business logic into the service layer.

What is a service layer?

The service layer encapsulates the domain model, data source and data store in turn. The UI and the web API interacts with the service layer. The service layer in Magento 2 sits between blocks or controllers and the models. Template -> block -> service layer -> model -> resource. For controllers, controller -> service layer -> model -> resource.

Services in Magento 2 will be stateless, making them easier to expose via a REST API. No need to make multiple calls to setup and then run an action.

Example Interactions

Before service layer, the template interacts with the block, which interacts with the model. Requires 5+ calls that aren't cleanly separated. There's the possibility and temptation to access the model directly when you shouldn't.

With the service layer, there's fewer calls and the actual models are hidden from the template and block.

Using the Customer Service

Example is writing an extension which will allow you to create customers from an outside source such as PayPal, Facebook, Google, etc.

In the customer model there's 72 public methods - can be daunting. The service layer simplifies that to 25 methods.

Chris walked us through writing this customization - much, much simpler using the service layer. Bring on Magento 2!

Writing your own Service

For instance, if you want to email store owner if a customer is created via an integration. You create a new service that your code calls.

Handling Upgrades

Services are versioned in Magento 2. When interfaces are changed in Magento 2, a new service layer version is created but the old one is still there. This allows you to upgrade and then work on the migration to the new service version at your leisure.

Creating a Web API

A simple XML file defines your API route, the service it uses and resources. Magento 2 service layer team is looking for feedback on what authentication methods developers would like to see concerning API calls in Magento 2. The service layer sits between the API framework and the models, including converting JSON to the proper data object.

Benefits Provided by the Service Layer in Magento 2

  • Consistency
  • Separation between presentation layer and business logic
  • Easier to customize Magento 2
  • Backwards compatibility to make upgrades less painful
  • Create web APIs via simple XML


Testing - integration tests are written while writing the service layers. Unit tests are also present to test the service layers. Finally, integration testing is run on the service layers.

Versioning - both services and data objects are versioned. Take a look on Github - i.e., 


Wednesday Morning Keynote/General Session Magento Imagine 2014

With a lot of groggy faces in the room after last night's legendary Imagine party, the general session started off with a bang - literally! A Native American dance group, complete with pounding drums snapping everyone awake. Jamie Clarke joined the stage, and shot Magento t-shirts containing free passes to Magento U courses into the crowd. Then, Jamie discussed how Purina used Magento to launch their innovative Just Right system.

Mark Lavelle is now conducting a chat with PayPal CEO David Marcus. As CEO of PayPal, David focuses on the vision for the future of money, and sees that money is going to change more in the next 5-10 years than it has in the past 50 years. PayPal has launched 5X new products in the past year than in previous years. PayPal connects everyone for transactions - merchants, users, people.

Open source is important for the world and for the Magento platform specifically. PayPal has recommitted to open source in the past 18 month, and has a head of open source. PayPal is releasing code into the open source community - PayPal wants to take payments to a better place that doesn't involve swiping a card.

David discussed Bitcoin - geeked out a bit about the math and trust behind Bitcoin and the block chain, and mentioned that if you live in a country where your currency is devaluing quickly, storing your money in Bitcoin can be your best choice, but that for now it's an investment vehicle and there's not a sufficient regulatory framework for PayPal to directly get involved with it.

David is discussing his background and path that brought him to PayPal. As a fast growing business, you have to work hard and find your growth vector. Best quote - starting a business and growing it involves "hundreds of near death experiences".

Now we're watching a video about Alex and Ani, and why they selected Magento to power their fast-growing business. They selected Magento because it allows you to customize your store's visual presence. Finally, they mentioned that they have ran 3 different Super Bowl ads and Magento powered through that level of traffic with no problems at all - Magento scales!

Now Carey Lohrenz, the Navy's first female F-14 pilot, and among the first to fly on and off aircraft carriers. Spent 10 years planning, briefing and executing missions as a Navy fighter pilot. As an F-14 pilot, it wasn't just physically and intellectually demanding, it also required managing and leading a squadron flying $1 billion worth of military equipment. You don't win in a competitive environment when you're looking down responding to emails - you win when you're engaged. You should be the catalyst.

Purpose, focus and discipline allows you to succeed. If you lose sight, you lose the fight, as F-14 pilots say. Be tenacious. Be able to be a great teammate and make excellent decisions even in impossible situations. Live on the edges of the envelope - if you aren't a bit afraid, if you don't have a fear of failure, you're not pushing forward hard enough. There's a connection between failure - people who define failure as something that has taught them a lesson are more successful.

Fear hates focus. Identify 3 priorities and focus on them and success to eliminate fear. Don't be afraid to share lessons you've learned with the entire community. Stay focused on what matters and have a sense of purpose - keep working as if you have the opportunity you want.

Plan - don't just fight fires, but plan - have clear objectives / rules, have expectations /accountability and plan to debrief. Even in creative fields, you have to have structure and planning. A written plan increases your chance of success by 90%. Be committed to excellence.

Watching a video of night landings on aircraft carriers and how pilots work through the fear involved - stay focused on what matters and knowing what you need to accomplish. Fighter pilots and high achievers aren't fearless - they just use the fear and power through it.

Now we're watching another Magento customer success story - City Winery. City uses iPads and Magento to provide a paper-less, ticketless system. Magento provided 70% of what they needed out of the box. Magento gave them a solid foundation that scales and doesn't crash.