A Recap of Magento's Imagine Conference, Part 1
I attended the Magento Imagine Conference in Las Vegas last week as a speaker and attendee. This was the third year of Imagine and, as promised, it was an exciting and energizing event consisting of workshops, networking, self-promotion and a lot of Vegas-style glam. What's obvious is that Magento, owned by eBay, is on a roll. It launched over 900 websites on its Enterprise platform last year, accounting for 80 percent growth. Magento has over 150,000 merchants on its platforms, including Community, Professional and Enterprise editions.
The conference's general sessions were dynamic, multimedia presentations served up by top management at eBay, PayPal (also owned by eBay) and Magento. The breakout sessions were more roll-up-your-sleeves, practical and actionable programs. Some were specific to Magento, but surprisingly many were general e-commerce marketing and strategy sessions.
It was crystal clear in both the general and breakout sessions that there are some powerful trends driving the e-commerce industry, which is evolving far beyond e-commerce. The single most obvious and overwhelming dynamic is that consumers are quickly becoming device agnostic, shuttering traditional marketing channels and presenting brands with huge challenges and opportunities.
The customer is in charge and expects to be catered to with personalized, curated content presented to them in a seamless omnichannel experience. Responsive designneeds to be a priority to answer this demand for a uniform screen experience.
Some obvious signals? Consider the following:
- The iPad is only three years old, but has already seamlessly integrated itself into our daily lives. iPad shoppers have a four to five times greater value to retailers than customers using other devices.
- Ninety percent of mobile device owners keep their smartphones or iPads within a three-foot span the entire day. They're never out of touch.
- Two billion people have internet access today across the globe. Within 5 years, that number will double.
- Forty-five percent of ALL shoppers do some kind of research on a mobile device before purchasing hard goods and 25 percent buy on their phone and never go into a retail store.
- Eighty percent of consumers shopping in stores use their phones for some type of intelligence gathering.
- Nine percent of all retail sales are now transacted online.
Monday, April 8 Breakout Session
SEO for Magento Merchants by Kevin Eichelberger from Blue Acorn
Major points covered in this session include the following:
1. Google rankings are broadly determined by three factors:
- On-page content, including video. This accounts for approximately 30 percent of your organic search ranking.
- Sitewide factors such as response and load time, site architecture, age of site/domain, and keyphrases in domain/URL. This accounts for approximately 10 percent of your organic search ranking.
- Offsite factors such as quantity and quality of links, brand mentions, social influence. This accounts for approximately 60 percent of your organic search ranking.
2. SEO challenges facing retailers include the following:
- content duplication — each URL on your site should have unique content and keyphrase focus;
- nonunique product data (i.e., using manufacturer information with no alterations); and
- insufficient use of friendly URLs.
Tuesday, April 9 General Session
John Donahoe, CEO, eBay
Donahoe's keynote presentation focused on how technology is "obliterating" the lines between online and offline retailing, calling it all "connected commerce." He identified the three biggest movements as:
- omnichannel commerce;
- unprecedented mobile commerce growth; and
- price competition.
Donahoe stated that consumers are in charge and that retailers must reach out to them, not vice versa. He believes this sea change, triggered by technology, is nothing less than revolutionary in scale. We're witnessing the growth of a collaborative, sharing economy that's using technology, which is going to continue to evolve exponentially, Donahoe said.
Donahoe highlighted four key areas of focus for eBay — mobile, local, global and data. Merchants who have truly conquered mobile see up to 50 percent of their sales through non-PC devices. This doesn't mean you can ignore the rise of emerging markets that are easily accessible now by international payment and shipping providers, even to the smallest of merchants, Donahoe cautioned.
Other Magento speakers emphasized that there are still huge opportunities for evolving e-commerce technologies, which will crush archaic processes such as the checkout process and associated web pages.
Tuesday, April 9 Breakout Sessions
Traffic Jam: Going Beyond Search Engines
Josh Kaplan, True Action (moderator); Kyle Faino, Super Supplements; Corey Frons, Bulb America; Ross Kramer, Listrak; and Tomer Tagrin, Yotpo.
Ross Kramer from Listrak emphasized that retailers should be driving 20 percent of their revenue from email marketing. One way to do this is by building your list with a modal acquisition sign-up form (i.e., a pop-up). This can be done nonobtrusively, but definitely don't do it on your mobile app, Kramer warned.
Faino of Super Supplements said that his company uses a series of "welcome" emails once a visitor signs up, not just a generic "thank you for signing up" confirmation.
The panelists also emphasized that the vast majority of online retailers aren't using cart abandonment emails. Cart abandonment emails should be sent 24 hours (at most) after abandonment, three days after if there's still no purchase, then five days after the initial abandonment with an offer.
Tomer Tagrin from Yotpo highlighted his company's unique product review platform that integrates the social component to a much higher degree. Its platform is called "Social Reviews," and it has a very high conversion rate for review responses.
Corey Frons from Bulb America discussed his company's successful loyalty rewards program. Consumers earn loyalty points for signing up to the program, recommending the Bulbs America site to others via social media, making a purchase, writing a product review — essentially any actionable item.
Part two of my recap will appear in tomorrow's issue of ROI Report.