Magento Imagine 2017 Highlights and Takeaways
Magento Imagine is the largest conference of its kind, with over 2,500 E-commerce specialists, merchants and sponsors coming together.
As Bharat explained in his pre-Imagine blog post update, we were excited to hit the ground running. There were a number of key topics from a company point of view that we had a major interest in. Chief amongst those were, the B2B module for Magento 2, the Magento product roadmap, MCOM and of course the Magento PAAS offering, Magento Cloud Edition.
So, without further adieu, here are my highlights of Magento Imagine 2017
Magento has partnered with Shopial to introduce new social commerce capabilities. This Magento 2 extension acts as a gateway between the merchant's Magento store and Facebook page, enabling easy-to-use, powerful functionality.
BENEFITS FOR MERCHANTS:
- Easily connect your Magento e-commerce store to Facebook Business Page
- Create a Facebook store with all e-commerce products
- Any changes made to your catalogue automatically update on your website
- Easily create and manage Facebook ads
- All traffic is directed to your Magento store
- Easy to use, 3 click setup
- Store design is fully customisable to match the look and feel of your site
- Everything is easily managed from Magento backend
Magento has teamed with Temando to provide a cutting-edge shipping solution. This intelligent, multi-carrier platform allows retailers to streamline the shipping process.
BENEFITS FOR MERCHANTS:
- Multi-carrier integration from Magento admin
- Dynamic shipping rates calculations using shipping rules
- Functionality helps lower shipping and operational costs
- Ship from multiple locations or warehouses
- Quote, book and generate shipping labels with chosen carrier service
- Automation features to help streamline fulfilment from multiple locations and create new, customer-focused omnichannel experiences
Security continues to be a topical issue for merchants, as was highlighted often throughout the conference. E-commerce sites are under the threat of continuous malicious attacks, such as:
- DDoS Attacks
- Account Takeover
Typically, e-commerce companies handle a lot of sensitive data, such as customers' personal information, payments and orders). Merchants should actively invest in e-commerce security, as the cost of not going so can be hugely damaging for business (resolution cost, penalties, bad PR, etc.).
SOME PROACTIVE SUGGESTIONS TO MAINTAIN SAFETY & SECURITY
- Complete workflow for admin account creation, deletion, roles, permissions and assignments
- Ensure unique logins are used for admin accounts
- Secure password reset policy
- Restrict admin access to specified IPs
- Devise a Magento data breach Response Plan
- Ensure all development environments are secure
- Ensure all security breaches are continuously monitored and patches are deployed immediately
Magento Business Intelligence
Magento has acquired SAAS based business intelligence tool called RJ Metrics. The tool is rebranding as Magento Business Intelligence. The product will come in two packages. Essentials, which is intended for small merchants and Pro which is aimed and larger merchants. Both packages integrate with Google Analytics as a data source, however, the Pro product can add unlimited additional data sources beyond GA.
BENEFITS FOR MERCHANTS:
- BI tools allow Magento merchants to develop data driven strategies to increase customer acquisition, customer retentions and CLV (Customer Lifetime Value).
- BI tools provide is accessible using separate interface where Merchants e-commerce team can drill-down the customers profile, orders, segmentations etc.
Magento 2 Migration
More and more sites are moving from Magento 1.x to Magento 2.x. Of course, this is a trend which will only accelerate as we move closer to the end of life for the M1 product in November 2018. At Imagine, this was reflected in some best practice information for developers tasked with Migrating from M1 to M2.
CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE MIGRATING TO M2:
- Conduct a Gap Analysis of features between M1 and M2
- Code Analysis between M1 and M2
- 3rd party extension code analysis to ensure compatibility.
- Data analysis
- Analysis: Prepare template for migrations stages
- Implementation: Under each stage, list steps, tools and other implementation details
Magento Marketplace Extension Quality Controls
Magento has created a dedicated department to manage the extension releases to its marketplace. Before an extension will be released to the marketplace, the extension quality will be throughly tested using various tools and processes. Some of them are given below
- Code sniffer: https://github.com/magento/marketplace-eqp
- Test under Production mode
- Test for Varnish
- Performance tests
- Units Tests
- Integration Tests
I'm glad to see tat Magento are making great strides towards building a marketplace that developers and merchants can rely upon to provide quality extensions.
MCOM - Omni-Channel Experience
Magento Commerce Order Management brings together data from all of your sales and fulfilment channels. It's perfect for organisations with complex sourcing, sales and fulfilments channels. In a world where retailers are moving ever closer to an omni-channel experience for their customers, it is essential that to e-commerce and fulfilment toolset keeps pace with the requirements of businesses.
- Multi-node inventory allows you to have a single view of complex inventory nodes and locations.
- You can route an order to a location which is economical to ship from (close to order delivery address, near pick-up store)
- Effectively combine inventory for online and offline.
- Use stock safety-margins to avoid over-selling of stocks
We learned that MCOM is a highly modular product and that 80% implementations will be consistent across different projects. 20% of implementation will be custom, depending on the needs of the business or project.
Enterprise Level Global B2B E-Commerce
The presenters from Mars Inc. talked about how they recently developed a global program for the whole organisation, with 6 different business sections. Their challenge was to provide the best in class direct eCommerce capabilities. The question 3 years ago was whether to create one shopper brand/country or one platform to cover everything; Mars Inc. chose the latter with a rollout of B2B, B2C and B2B2C on the Magento Enterprise platforms.
Some key takeaways from their talk.
- Building on Magento provided a base level of standard features but allowed individual brands an element of flexibility.
- Mars developed a blueprint and allowed brands to use it to add their own functionalities on the top of it.
- Mars used WV approach where standards are applied at a high level and then individual brands are given the flexibility to implement a solution in the way they want.
- High-level standards allowed consistency at the corporate level such as PCI compliance, IT security and project governance.
Magento Front End: From Zero to Hero
Alex Somerville, Front-end Practice Lead of Demac Media & Bartek Igielski, Lead Front-end Developer at Snowdog gave an interesting talk about the improvements in the M2 front-end. Below are the slides from their excellent presentation. Some of the highlights from my perspective where:
- SnowDog: FrontTools: https://github.com/SnowdogApps/magento2-frontools
- Linting: Linting is the process of running a program that will analyse code for potential errors.
- SASS is getting more community backing then LESS
- Grunt vs Gulp: Gulp is getting more community backing.
- Code Linting: Static analysis of source code
- PostCSS: Autoprefixer and CSSNano
- HotReload: check CSS changes straightway in browser whilst editing CSS in PhpStorm
- Meanbee: CSS Preload, CVG Helper, Web App Manifest, Service worker
- Browser cache busting:
Magento Cloud Performance Testing
- If you can’t measure, you can’t test and optimise
- Profile memory, profile CPU, Profile Network/Data traffic e.g. loading and saving huge data chunks in Redis
- HTTP Requests: e.g. measure external web service performance
- Check resources consumptions when ‘composer install’ using profile
- Performance Recommendations: E.g. modifying PHP settings dynamically, other Magento/PHP recommendations
- Rules/Tests: Set rules on page speed, CPU speed, API response SLAs, Max no of SQL queries and etc. Defined in ‘backfire.yaml' which lives in root directory
- Scenarios: more useful for listing pages without any context
- Performance Automation: Code is continuously being checked for performance regression. Webhooks to start the build, part of a daily workflow.
- Blackfire in production: Is better than News relic which monitors every request. Blackfire will only run profiles which developer asks. New Relic checks high level, but BF shocked function level.
- Production Installation: PHP extension which runs the profile and dumps off the data to BG Agent which runs some processing and send the data back to BF. Multi-node setup e.g. Elastic Load balancer?
- Blackfire CLI tool to trigger profiles from terminal
- Blackfire Companion: Chrome extension
Magento enterprise cloud edition is gaining huge momentum and more 50% new merchants are opting for Magento cloud edition. Magento enterprise cloud edition provides some cutting tools and services which are usually used by high traffic e-commerce websites.
- Fastly use varnish and good to distribute traffic using multiple regions throughout the world. Also, it provides built-in anti-DDOS features.
- Blackfire.io: Use to measure performance after every code push. Developer can write performance tests which get executed after new code is pushed to ensure continues live e-commerce site stability and performance
- New Relic: Production level performance monitoring tools