The Wednesday Stack: A Passion for Commerce

Magento

In our coverage of the Adobe Summit back in March, we had plenty to say about Marketo, the B2B acquisition which shifted its annual Marketing Nation event to be part of Summit; less about Adobe’s other splashy 2018 pick-up, the global eCommerce provider Magento. Magento is hosting its annual Imagine event separately from Summit. In fact, it gets underway in Vegas today. Gary Specter, Magento’s VP of commerce sales and customer success jumped on the phone with me to sing its praises.

“Imagine is our largest partner and eco-system event. There are hundreds of thousands of developers who have built careers and companies, working with, on top of, and around Magento. People come to Imagine, and because of their livelihoods, the passion the community invests in this event is phenomenal. People from all parts of the world, working together for years to create Magento extensions, integrations, payment and shipping processes; so Imagine is more than just Magento to community, it’s community to community.”

The passion won’t drown out the messages though:

  • As mentioned at Summit, Magento is going to power Commerce Cloud, one part of the overall Experience Cloud. “While the idea is to promote Adobe Commerce Cloud at the enterprise end of the market,” explained Specter, “we won’t exclude selling it to the midmarket; but we will position Magento Commerce as a standalone for the midmarket, just as we always have, and continue to invest heavily in that segment”
  • Magento Open Source isn’t going away. This is the solution for small businesses and start-ups that build their initial online stores on Open Source, and as they grow, graduate to Magento Commerce
  • Note also a native integration with Amazon. Said Specter, “This is incredibly powerful for our midmarket merchants who also want to sell multi-channel through Amazon.” Connecting Amazon selling back to the Magento dashboard means product category and inventory synchonization, and the ability to manage Amazon orders and customer accounts within Magento itself
  • A new Google Shopping ads channel means Magento clients will be able to acquire, convert, and engage with customers across the Google network. This includes access, through the Magento dashboard, to Google’s machine learning-based campaign optimization capabilities. Product catalog also stays in sync with Google
  • There’s a continuing commitment to progressive web apps (“Game changing,” said Specter), which we discussed in more detail here.

Magento, of course, has many legacy customers who aren’t otherwise Adobe customers. Will they continue to be supported? “Magento Commerce is not just for the midmarket. If a large enterprise wants to use it, standalone, they absolutely can; and they can leverage the open APIs to use whatever other solutions they choose to use. The flip side is also true. If one of our smaller customers now wants to leverage all the good things they can get from Adobe, we now provide a venue to do so. There will be no forced migration one way or the other.”

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Chris Wood adds:  Magento has also announced the full integration with Avatria’s recently-launched flagship platform, Avatria Convert, which helps online retailers increase their conversion rates through intelligently constructed categories on their eCommerce site. The integration allows users to select how frequently updates come in to maximize the site’s performance, and they are further empowered with granular configuration options for product categories and lists. Avatria Convert draws on Google Analytics data and machine learning to determine most-likely purchases and to generate rankings according to 40 different product, sales and customer behavior metrics. 

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If Imagine is just getting underway, Engage 2019, celebrating the omnichannel experience delivered by Aptos, is just past; but I caught up with Nikki Baird, VP of retail innovation, decompressing post-conference in her Orlando hotel. 

The takeaway from the main stage was that we’ve hit an inflection point – after the recession it was all gloom and doom, but now retailers feel like they can finally make progress against the challenges they face.” One example where Aptos has helped out is with order management at Tillys. In an iinitial effort to implement omnichannel use cases, said Baird, “They learned a lot including things they did not anticipate. When they tried to tackle it again in the 2017-2018 holiday season, they were able to attribute five percent sales growth attributed omnichannel.”

In a room full of retailers, did Amazon and Alexa cast a shadow? Baird agreed that brands do a face challenge: if consumers use Alexa to just order more of the same kind of dog food, how do you market to them to persuade them to switch? But: “There are places that Amazon cannot compete in – customer experience and journey for instance.”

As far as product announcements, the main focus for Aptos has been on making their products easier to implement and use. Aptos ONE, which sits alongside Aptos Store, is a micro-services based cloud platform, which increases customers’ agility in responding swiftly to constant and disruptive changes in the market (micro-services are essentially pieces of functionality often found in apps, but which can be adapted and deployed without a full app development cycle).

There were also updates to Aptos ONE Store Selling. The Store Selling mobile app will permit fast and flexible transaction processing at the point of customer engagement. Store Selling will also now integrate with Aptos Merchandising, CRM and Audit and Operations Management solutions, as well as integrated payment through Aurus and Adyen.

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Finally, if you were thinking of reaching out for last minute tickets for the 2019 Marketing Hall of Femme induction gala tomorrow at SAP’s Next Gen Lab in Manhattan — too late!  We are actually sold out, and excited to welcome senior women marketers, and their colleagues, for a great program, led off by SAP Global CMO Alicia Tillman. Look out here for all the coverage.

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