The third day of the Imagine conference included a chat about the payments revolution, and more. After a long night of partying at the "Legendary Imagine Evening Event," attendees eagerly gathered at 9:00 a.m. for the general session and morning keynotes, excited for yet another day of open dialogue, insights, and inspiration.
The lights dimmed with a great opening performance to start the morning off right, this time featuring Native American dancing and drumming.
The morning session commenced with our good friend, Jamie Clarke, taking the stage and speaking to how Magento client Purina enables him to customize special pet food to meet the dietary restrictions that will enable his dogs to thrive. Be sure to check out the Purina Just Right site.
The crowd was then witness to a special Fireside Chat featuring PayPal President, David Marcus, and Mark Lavelle, eBay Enterprise SVP of Product and Strategy. Speaking to the payment revolution, David began the chat with a focus on how the world is ripe and ready for a huge transformation on how we envision the intersection of money and commerce. "We will see more change in the next five to ten years than we have seen over the last 50 years," said Marcus.
The conversation shifted to PayPal's commitment to open source and its Developer Community. With a new Head of Open Source role created and since filled, PayPal is assessing the ways in which they are currently using open source software, and are seeking to improve collaboration on projects both inside and outside the company. Further, PayPal has redesigned their Developer site and sandbox so that Developers can find the tools, documentation and resources they need quickly. And, the new PayPal mobile SDK is available for iOS and Android for developers in more than 30 markets around the world.
Mark noted that, together with PayPal, we share quite a few merchants across Magento, PayPal, and Braintree. David spoke to the power of PayPal's payments network supporting 140 million customers. Together with the disruptive innovation of Braintree, they are able to drive a significant change to meet the needs of users demanding seamless and one-touch checkout experiences. This is great news for all our merchants, as it is now easier for their customers to checkout, including repeat purchases.
David also spoke to PayPal's "Beacon," which can seamlessly send two-way communications back and forth from a consumer's mobile device, making it easier to pay in-stores than a credit card, all without the need for either consumer or merchant to connect to WiFi.
Speaking to his own journey, David closed out the chat with this advice for entrepreneurs: “Fight harder than others, be as resilient and agile as possible, iterate faster than your competitors, and find your vector of growth."
The audience was then treated to a very special keynote featuring, Carey Lohrenz, the first female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot in the U.S. Navy. Carey brought her own experiences to the forefront, aligning them with the challenges that many of us face in our own businesses. Amongst them included a segment dedicated to overcoming fear. She explained that we shouldn't let fear be an inhibitor, that it's only when we completely disrupt ourselves that we can truly deliver extraordinary results. Main takeaways included: "Fear hates focus," "Get comfortable being uncomfortable," and "We can survive solo, but we will win together."
Once again, extreme adventurer and storyteller, Jamie Clarke, closed out the morning keynote with special reference to the amazing things that Magento customers are doing in the Food and Beverage segment: Naturebox, DiBruno Brothers, Cameron Hughes Winery, Lobstergram, and Carlo’s Bakery (of Cake Boss fame). The morning also included video success stories for Magento merchants, Alex and Ani, as well as City Winery.
Shortly after the commencement of the general session and keynotes, the day held host to several breakout sessions. The brilliant breakouts included: "Tackling Multi-Channel Complexity on Magento," led by Darryl Aide, Managing Director at Ampersand Commerce, and Gavin Williams, eCommerce and Digital Marketing Consultant for Harvey Nichols. The session spoke at length to the growing demands of consumers, and how retailers need to invest in cross-channel technology or they will ultimately lose customers and sales. Retailers need to ensure that all consumer touch points are quick, stable, and optimized, and the need to use data in a smart and engaging way, providing consumers with what they want now and in the future.
Also well attended was the session "B2B Commerce in B2B World," led by spokespeople from BookPal, Internet Retailer, Implant Direct, Zoetis, and Zeon. Conversation quickly ensued with an emphasis on how to address the fact that as B2B buyers move online for research and transactions, B2B businesses must change the way they drive sales. While the shift in technology is forcing a behavioral metamorphosis, there does indeed lie a huge growth opportunity. B2B merchants and partners who are willing to acquiesce and properly leverage new channels and experiences are destined to maximize their customer reach and overall sales.
eBay Enterprise's Wilson Hughes and Bob Meixner presented a session entitled "Magento + Retail Order Management." Together, they detailed how Magento and eBay Enterprise have combined the highly flexible, open source front end customization of Magento’s Enterprise Edition, along with the eBay Enterprise modular omnichannel solution suite, including a retail optimized order management platform. The latter being a decoupled, modular, extensible, and highly scalable distributed order management platform as a service, designed specifically to meet the needs of retailers.
Magento's Head of Merchant Marketing, Danny Essner, co-led a session with Steve Susina, Marketing Director for Lyons Group, entitled "Automation Nation: Increase Conversions and Repeat Purchases by Delivering the Right Messages and Offers to the Right Customers at the Right Time." The session spoke to both the positives and negatives of automation, including the limitations of sole emails that fall short of creating a personalized experience. For success, merchants need a two-tier approach that consists of both web and email. However, it's important to interpret demographic and behavioral data to understand who the customer is, and where they are in the buying cycle, so that the communications are relevant and personable.
The afternoon general session and keynote began with another innovative and mesmerizing musical experience. A drum-off ensued between Taiko drummers playing along with non-traditional drummers using metal ladders, creating a myriad of new sounds.
Following the musical performance, Imagine Emcee, Jamie Clarke, announced the winners of the "Magento Site of the Year Award" (Merchant and Partner):
Best Design: Tie between Mophie/Submodal and Paperchase/Redbox Digital
Most Innovative: Glassful/Pixafy
Most Transformed: Toy Zoo/RocketWeb
Jamie then welcomed to the stage, TerraCycle CEO, Tom Szaky. TerraCycle is a company that enables consumers to collect traditionally non-recyclable waste that is then reused, upcycled, or recycled into thousands of various consumer products and materials. Tom spoke to the how everything is recyclable, and that even small steps can lead to a massive change. He challenged the audience to think about how the products they create can be collected at the end of their lifecycle, that through this non-linear thinking that true magic can happen at the end of the process.
The audience was then shown a video success story featuring Magento merchant, Athlete’s Foot AU.
Next to the stage was Michael Dirt, Co-Author of "The New Rules of Retail." Michael spoke to how the retail world is undergoing a fundamental transformation and as such, consumers are now in charge with retailers having a hard time meeting their demands and expectations. He went on to say that traditional retail will shrink and that Silicon Valley will be involved in all things retail. He also spoke to how brand messaging is being taken over more by the consumer than the retailer, and how virtual reality will be the most important technology to watch over the next few years.
Magento COO and Co-Founder, Roy Rubin, closed out the afternoon session by thanking Magento's many event sponsors for their support, helping make Imagine 2014 another spectacular event. He then reminded attendees that he would soon be moving on from Magento. He conveyed how Magento is stronger than ever, that the company remains committed to the success of its vibrant, global community of Merchants, Partners and Developers, and how proud he is of all that has been achieved together. Roy went on to say that we have only seen the first chapter of what Magento can deliver, and that together with their help, the opportunities for growth and success are endless.
If you were at Imagine in person, we encourage you share your pictures at #MagentoImagine on Twitter! For those following the Twitter feed, please re-tweet and help spread the excitement to your followers from beyond Las Vegas! Don't forget that you can also follow us on Twitter @Magento.
It's bittersweet that the Imagine 2014 conference must come to an end. We look forward to the many ideas and innovations that will come as a result of the newly formed friendships and partnerships made this week, those that will ultimately fuel opportunity and growth for our Merchants, Partners, and Developers in the months ahead.