Imagine 2019: Magento Expands Everything

This week was Magento Imagine 2019 with 3,000-plus ecommerce leaders from around the world converging on Las Vegas for breakout sessions, live customer panels, and much more.

The team at Zaius was lucky enough to attend for the first time this year, now as one of the newest Magento Technology Partners. It was great to see a different approach to an industry ecosystem and how Magento (now part of Adobe) impacts the enterprise retail tech market by cultivating a true community that thrives together.

In particular, this year’s Imagine focused on expanding things: the experience, the tech family, and the entire enterprise. Here are some of my personal takeaways from the show, including the trends and technologies that will impact ecommerce and Magento customers in the coming year.

Expanding the Experience

The product message was clear at Imagine: from the wi-fi network password to branded walls and the product keynotes, everything focused on bringing commerce into the content experience. This makes sense since Adobe is encouraging the enterprise and is most excited about the Magento acquisition. Kudos to Adobe for generally avoiding the use of the term Headless Commerce, and instead leading with a real vision of what a commerce/content mashup will be.

However, I was hoping the vision would extend even further. Yes, the team hit play on the requisite product video of the shopper journey. You know the one: shopper browses, expresses interest, brand retargets, converts and serves into a loyal customer. But the real retail message needs to go deeper and center even further on the customer.

The shopper is everywhere, but is the customer data there? I mean not just in different marketing channels and devices, but into the hands across the retail organization that need to have a complete view of the customer. Customer data today needs to empower the marketer, the merchandiser, and even the customer service agent. The feedback from dozens of retailers I spoke with was right on — it is clearly time to not only expand the experience, but also to bring customer data intelligence across the organization.

Expanding the Family

This year’s show was the first planned event since the Magento-Adobe tie-up, and was a four-day corporate version of ‘meet the parents.’ Adobe played the role of parents, assuring the ecosystem of their commitment to supporting the community and keeping all the known and loved bits intact. Likewise, the Magento leadership was strong in support and committed to stewarding the community forward into the future.

At times, all this assurance felt a bit harsh in tone, though clearly, the team wanted to share a clear mandate that symbiosis will continue to dictate success. It was hopefully reassuring to everyone in the community and will be a continuing process to see how the relationship evolves.

Expanding the Enterprise

Gone are the days of the insular approach towards operating in the industry. Instead, Imagine brings the entire ecosystem together. Brands, retailers, tech partners, and solution partners stand together and look for shared benefit. This is no walled garden, but rather a living breathing organism that Magento has raised.

The community of partners and developers — the essence of what built Magento — is absolutely respected and ushering in a new day of what enterprise tech will look like. You can feel it even at registration, where the giveaway bag was, of course, stuffed full of sponsored one-pagers – 70 of them!

Notably, there was an even split between technology and solution partners and a number of collab efforts between partners. The community is what makes Magento go. This ecosystem actually likes each other! Even in the tight quarters of the partner marketplace where we exhibited there was a great buzz amongst our neighbors.

I couldn’t be happier that Zaius is now a Magento Technology partner, and as of this week, we stand alone as THE only certified B2C CRM extension available. There’s more about our partnership and the extension here.

Big thanks to the entire team, especially our partner folks — Ryan, Travis, Sofia and Andre, at Magento for hosting a terrific community event — and for the ‘replacement’ t-shirt for me (thanks Gary).

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