The second day of Imagine 2014 launched in high gear this morning as all gathered for the 9:00 a.m. general session and keynotes. Caffeine in hand, excited attendees poured into the hall, securing their seats for the main event they have been waiting for. This year's Imagine being no different, available seats were heavily sought after and once again scarce. You could see and hear the anticipation building in the room as the crowd eagerly waited for the last few minutes to pass prior to lift-off.
Upon entry, one couldn't help but be in awe of the huge and innovative conference stage (thanks to Magento’s Head of Design, John Couch, and his team). The main stage features a three-story tall, 68 feet wide x 22.5 feet high (to be exact) 3D projection mapped sculpture that will evolve over the course of the conference. What makes the stage truly unique is that it does not have an actual screen built into it. Instead, content is projected via 3D directly onto the entire surface of the stage to create a very immersive experience for our attendees, making the entire stage, literally, into a screen. This testament to creativity allows us to visually transform the stage throughout the conference, engaging responsively to the many live performances. The lights dimmed with a masterful musical opening that featuring a flautist accompanied by Taico drummers. What a great way to get the mood just right for the morning session!
Opening Keynotes by Roy Rubin and Mark Lavelle
Magento COO and Co-Founder Roy Rubin followed and articulated that we are in the midst of a dramatic transformation in commerce.Technology has become the key driver of experiences behind the scenes, and this vision has defined the theme for this year's Imagine, "Transform." Roy further elaborated that transformation isn’t a one-time event, and that it’s a process and a reminder that, no matter where we are today, we need to be moving toward a better tomorrow. Roy brought his keynote to a close by sharing three customer stories that exemplify the transformation that our customers are achieving using Magento and eBay Inc. technologies: Boxpark, Jane Norman, and Stella & Dot.
Mark Lavelle, SVP of Product and Strategy for eBay Enterprise, came to the stage next with the announcement of today’s release of Magento Community Edition v1.9 and Enterprise Edition v.1.14, followed by perspective on the power of responsive themes, and the Magento 2 release.
Kurt Theobald, the co-founder and CEO of Classy Llama, joined Mark to speak to the new responsive theme, and elaborated that the new responsive reference theme encompasses all major flows, product types, top features, and uses. Christopher Murray, eCommerce Manager at 3M, detailed how this is proving true for 3M, and Mark also mentioned Halluhber, and Conran Shop as examples of the success of the new responsive theme.
Closing out the morning session was extreme adventurer and storyteller, Jamie Clarke. Never one to mince words, Jamie said that to achieve true "transformation," one must be in the right place at the right time, and be willing to engage by jumping into the fray to mix things up.
Cutting Edge Breakout Sessions
Shortly after the commencement of the general session and keynotes, the morning also held host to several breakout sessions. Amongst the noteworthy sessions included a panel on "Navigating Channel Conflict," featuring eBay Enterprise's Director of Client Services, Noel Hedgecock, with spokespeople on hand from Nestle Purina North America, Alex & Ani, Munchkin, Harbor Freight, and Corra. Each spoke to their own company's channel strategy—evolution, conflicts, and alignment of channels that complement each other. The discussion and Q&A also delved into topics such as eCommerce pricing strategy, metrics, as well as the outlook and priorities in the months ahead. The synergy in the room, the fostering of open dialogue, and the insights being shared are what Imagine is all about!
Following a well-received networking lunch, the afternoon sessions kicked-off in high gear. Highlights from the first afternoon breakout sessions included a panel on "Innovative Approaches to Engaging Customers & Sustaining Success," featuring Magento's Head of Worldwide Sales, Ben Pressley, along with spokespeople from Harvey Norman, Frank & Oak, Peet’s Coffee, Brighton, and Julep. The conversation opened with each speaking to how their organization is innovating their eCommerce operation to drive customer loyalty and success. Topics ranged from personalization and customization, to seasonality, freshness of product, and new technologies such as emerging digital storefronts to showcase merchandise in new and exciting ways. The panel also conveyed that the culture of innovation requires measurement, and there is increased attention being applied to testing and resulting metrics.
Highlights from the late afternoon sessions included a panel on "Charting a Course to Global eCommerce Expansion," with eBay Enterprise's Managing Director, International, Micheal Kliger, along with spokespeople from Hermes Int'l, Mothercare, Paul Smith, Rackspace, and Volcom. Each brand spoke to their approaches, best practices and lessons learned from entering new markets, and how they've successfully engaged new customers while driving growth and innovation in the process. Topics also included overall country selection process, resources, shipping options, challenges, and obstacles, as well as solutions around localized operations, costs, and profitability.
Also well attended was the session entitled "Transforming Your Physical Store Into a Next Generation Fulfillment Juggernaut." The session, led by Harvey Norman's Chief Digital Office, Gary Wheelhouse, and Temando's CEO and Managing Director, Carl Hartmann, spoke to how today's smart retailers are leveraging physical stores to provide a competitive advantage for driving online sales. As technology is transforming consumers' expectations, a demand has been created for new shipping realities—faster, cheaper, optimized. Shipping programs such as Ship from Store, Click and Collect, and Same Day Delivery have all become a necessity to meet the demands of the customer, and, if done right, also provide and opportunity for growth.
Evening Excitement: Malcolm Gladwell and the Legendary Imagine Evening Event
The evening activities will soon commence with a session featuring renowned and best-selling author, Malcolm Gladwell, which includes Q&A with Mark Lavelle, eBay Enterprise's SVP of Product and Strategy. The discussion will end on a high note, directly leading attendees to the "LEGENDARY Imagine Evening Event." The perfect way to wind down a day full of so much excitement, insights, dialogue, friendship, and most importantly, opportunity!
Tomorrow’s activities begin bright and early with the general sessions and keynotes starting at 9:00 a.m. This second day of morning keynotes will also not disappoint as highlights include a Fireside Chat with PayPal President, David Marcus, and Mark Lavelle, SVP, Product and Strategy for eBay Enterprise. Closing out the morning session will once again be Extreme Adventurer and Storyteller, Jamie Clarke.
Breakout sessions will begin at 11:15 a.m. with intriguing topics including: "Tackling Multi-Channel Complexity on Magento," "B2B Commerce in B2B World," "Magento + Retail Order Management," and "Increase Conversions and Repeat Purchases by Delivering the Right Messages and Offers to the Right Customers at the Right Time."
If you are at Imagine in person, we encourage you to take pictures and tweet from the event—tag #MagentoImagine on Twitter! For those following the Twitter feed, please re-tweet and help spread the excitement to your followers from beyond Las Vegas!
If you’re following the event from home, be sure to check out the magine website for the latest agenda, news and updates. Don't forget that you can also follow us on Twitter @Magento.