Imagine 2014 brings together nearly 2,000 merchants, developers, digital industry experts, partners and open source enthusiasts to Magento’s exclusive eCommerce event at Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas. The conference took place over a three-day schedule with networking sessions, informative sessions and collaboration. Imagination ran rampant throughout the conference with a kickoff party sweetening the deal. Here is a brief account of the Magento Imagine eCommerce 2014 Conference :
Imagine 2014 eCommerce Conference began in sunny Las Vegas with sessions and insights sparking new ideas and fueling partnerships. The day’s event began with eBay Inc. Merchant Solutions Forum, specifically designed for global Solution Partners. The interactive session encompassed commerce solutions that will stimulate growth in their businesses on Magento as well as other development opportunities across Braintree, PayPal and eBay marketplaces.
The afternoon started with a Magento eCommerce session called “How to Achieve Success Using Magento’s Extensive Network of Solution Partners,” discussing the need for establishing long lasting and high value partnerships with Industry Partners. The day also saw a dedicated Magento U session for those that are looking forward to expand their understanding of a multi-website business and focusing on Magento’s multi-site architecture.
The “Imagine & Marketplace Grand Opening” commenced in the afternoon showcasing over 100 exhibitors showing their latest innovations and offering a great opportunity to meet with existing customers and attract new ones. Late afternoon saw two BarCamp Networking events, one for developers and one for the designers. The session involved rapid presentations on a plethora of Magento topics like “Maximizing Customer Experiences through a High Performing Web Design,” and “Magento Mobile SDK for iOS and Android.” The evening session was full of open night of networking for all attendees.
The general session began early in the day at 9:00 am with keynote speakers. Pumped up with caffeine, excited attendees geared up for the main event. Magento COO and Co-Founder Roy Rubin opened the conference with an introduction on this year’s theme, “Transform.” He explained how transformation in technology and vision comes about gradually and with due diligence we should move towards a better tomorrow. Mark Lavelle, SVP of Product and Strategy for eBay Enterprise, announced the release of Magento Community Edition v1.9 and Enterprise Edition v.1.14. He also elaborated on the power of responsive themes and upcoming release of Magento 2.
Kurt Theobald, the co-founder and CEO of Classy Llama, explained how the new responsive themes encompass major flows, top features, product types and uses. There were many more speakers like Christopher Murray – eCommerce Manager at 3M and Jamie Clarke – extreme adventurer and storyteller, talking about perseverance and the courage to try new things.
There were many breakout sessions like “Navigating Channel Conflict,” featuring Noel Hedgecock, eBay Enterprise’s Director of Client Services and other spokespersons from Alex & Ani, Nestle Purina North America, Harbor Freight, Munchkin, and Corra. Each speaker gave details of their company’s channel strategies including evolution, conflicts and alignment of channels so that they complement each other.
The afternoon included breakout sessions like “Innovative Approaches to Engaging Customers & Sustaining Success,” that included a panel featuring Magento’s Head of Worldwide Sales, Ben Pressley and spokespeople from Peet’s Coffee, Brighton, Harvey Norman, Frank & Oak, and Julep. Other sessions like “Charting a Course to Global eCommerce Expansion,” with eBay Enterprise’s Managing Director, International, Micheal Kliger and “Transforming Your Physical Store Into a Next Generation Fulfillment Juggernaut” led by Harvey Norman’s Chief Digital Office, Gary Wheelhouse, and Temando’s CEO and Managing Director, Carl Hartmann, were also in full swing in the afternoon. These sessions dealt with the need to test metrics, solutions around localized operations, their costs and profitability and shipping programs for products.
The evening was buzzing with excitement as it featured the renowned and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell as a keynote speaker. The evening ended with a Q&A with Mark Lavelle leading to the “LEGENDARY Imagine Evening Event.”
The morning keynotes set the mood for the last day of the conference. The morning Fireside Chat, David Marcus, PayPal President and Mark Lavelle, eBay Enterprise SVP of Product and Strategy clarified the process of innovation going on at PayPal and the way customers pay for their products. The conversation also covered PayPal’s commitment to open source and its Developer Community. David closed the chat with a great 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 morning also featured a very special keynote with Care Lohrenz who is the first female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot in the U.S. Navy. She shared her experiences and challenges, and included a segment on overcoming fear. She elucidated that fear is an inhibitor, and only by completely disrupting ourselves could we deliver exceptional results. Jamie Clarke spoke of how Magento clients are innovating their businesses on a regular basis. Clarke welcomed Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle, a fearless company that is fighting for the future of our planet. Szaky spoke passionately about the importance of recycling, that even small steps lead to huge changes.
More speakers and breakout sessions marked the day. Some of the most thought provoking breakout sessions included “Tackling Multi-Channel Complexity on Magento,” guided by Darryl Aide, Managing Director at Ampersand Commerce, and Gavin Williams, eCommerce and Digital Marketing Consultant for Harvey Nichols and “B2B Commerce in B2B World,” led by spokespeople from Internet Retailer, BookPal, Zoetis, Implant Direct, and Zeon.
A session called “Automation Nation: Increase Conversions and Repeat Purchases by Delivering the Right Messages and Offers to the Right Customers at the Right Time,” was co-led by Danny Essner, Magento’s Head of Merchant Marketing and Steve Susina, Marketing Director for Lyons Group. The session included topics such as automation pros and cons, two tier approach of both web and email, importance of demographic and buying cycle.
The evening brought a spectacular musical performance followed by the announcement of the winners of the “Magento Site of the Year Award.” The Imagine 2014 was brought to an end by Roy Rubin thanking all attendees and sponsors for making the event such a huge success and reminding them that with their help, the opportunities of growth and success with Magento is endless.
Deepak Wadhwani has over 20 years experience in software/wireless technologies. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies including Intuit, ESRI, Qualcomm, Sprint, Verizon, Vodafone, Nortel, Microsoft and Oracle in over 60 countries. Deepak has worked on Internet marketing projects in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange Country, Denver, Nashville, Kansas City, New York, San Francisco and Huntsville. Deepak has been a founder of technology Startups for one of the first Cityguides, yellow pages online and web based enterprise solutions. He is an internet marketing and technology expert & co-founder for a San Diego Internet marketing company.