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It was so wonderful to see so many people at the Magento Imagine conference last week.

You might have seen me walking around with a camera during the conference; I’ve put together a summary of what I learned at the conference, using photos to help me remember it all…

Enterprise 1.13 Released

The biggest news was the release of Enterprise version 1.13, announced by Magento founder, Roy Rubin (below):

Roy Rubin Announces Magento Enterprise v 1.13 at Magento Imagine Conference

Magento’s CTO, Matthew Mengerink

Magento’s Matthew Mengerink spoke about what to expect with Magento’s new Enterprise 1.13, including faster indexing:

Magento CTO

For merchants with large catalogs (i.e. 50,000 products or more), Magento Enterprise 1.13 offers an 83% faster re-indexing time. And the ability to instantly have products displayed on the site, instead of a twelve-minute delay for version 1.12.

Faster Full Reindexing for Magento Enterprise 1.13

What Magento Enterprise 1.13 means is that with the same hardware, you can accept 33% more orders per day:

Magento Enterprise New Stats

Magento Has 26% Marketshare:

Magento has gained marketshare, and more than 150,000 websites run their eCommerce systems on Magento.

Magento has 26% of the eCommerce sites in the Alexa 1 million most trafficked sites, worldwide:

Magento - 26% Marketshare in Alexa top 1 million sites

Magento Community 1.8 To Be Released Soon

Magento will be releasing Magento Community 1.8, and for anyone worried about the Magento acquisition by eBay, there were many, many assurances that the community platform would continue to be updated.

It’s clear that Magento knows that the open source, Community version, was the springboard that propelled them forward, and allowed the premium version of Enterprise.

Magento Community Edition - 1.8

Our MC, Gary Forman, Director of Marketing for Magento:

Gary kept the keynote presenters rolling:

Mgento keynote moderator

… unless he was tied up:

Magento - Gary Tied Up

Mobile, Mobile, Mobile. And Responsive Design.

Other than the launch of Enterprise 1.13, the biggest theme of the Imagine conference was the focus on mobile. Mobile payments, mobile options, how PayPal is seeing exponential growth in mobile payments through their system.

James Barrese, the CTO of PayPal, spoke about new innovations from PayPal, and the shift in the market:

Pay Pal Director

According to James, the average US consumer’s phone is never more than 3 feet away from them:

Mobile is big

96% of mobile users search for product information from their mobile device.

Mobile - phone within reach

And 80% use their device in-store.

80% of Mobile Users use their device in-store

People are clearly using their smart phones to buy stuff. In 2009, PayPal handled only $141 million mobile transactions. In 2013, PayPal is expecting $20 billion in mobile transactions:

Mobile Payments Skyrocketing

One reason people turn to PayPal: they can checkout quickly and easily, with just an email address and a password. It’s tough to type in a long credit card number, billing and shipping information, on a small credit card-sized screen.

A new innovation is "Order Ahead" by PayPal. It allows you to use a mobile website, hooked into your Magento store, to allow customers to place an order, and have it ready at the store for pickup.

Imagine going to Jamba Juice (this is the example that James used), and bypassing the line, because you placed an order online. It’s ready for you, with your name on it. And you don’t have to do anything other than pick it up.

PayPal - Order Ahead Extension

PayPal also released an extension for Magento that allows "In-Aisle Selling."

If you’ve ever been to an Apple store, this is the same functionality of someone who comes up to you with a mobile device (i.e. an iPhone, iPad, Droid, or other tablet), and swipes your credit card with a credit card reader.

There is no checkout counter.

If you want to give this experience to retail customers, it’s now available via a free PayPal extension in Magento.

In Aisle Selling for Magento - PayPal

Responsive Design:

Because so many people are using mobile devices, including iPhones, iPads, Droid Devices, and various-sized tablets, many of the speakers focused on Responsive Design.

For those who partied a bit too much and didn’t attend the various breakout sessions, responsive design allows you to come up with one single design for your site, and have the layout shift and change, depending on the size of the device.


Responsive Design Layouts


For a traditional PC or laptop, you might offer a three column layout, appropriate for a screen that’s 1000 pixels wide, as pictured above on the left.

For a tablet using touchscreen technology, the site might shift to two columns, or just have a smaller overall footprint, as pictured above, second from the left. For an oversized phone (i.e. Galaxy), a wider look, like the layout second from the right.

For an iPhone, a small, one-column feel, like the one all the way on the right.

Responsive design adds a bit of complexity to the design process, but allows you to have one website across multiple devices, regardless of screen size:Mobile Screen Sizes

Mobile User Stats (US):

  • 50% of US Smartphone users use their mobile device to look up restaurants and bars.
  • 31% to research or book travel
  • 76% watch videos on their mobile devices
  • 80% visit social networks (But really, who are they kidding. It’s Facebook.)
  • 46% use their phones to research future purchases.

    (Source: Google 2012)

Responsive Design – Good For SEO.

One of the problems with separate mobiles sites (m.dot sites, they’re called), is that Google has to index that site, and treats it as a completely separate site, with a different URL structure, and often its own subdomain.

Responsive sites often have better search rankings, because Google can index one site, not worry about duplicate content and the end user experience on different browsing platforms.

Apps Are Out. Responsive Design is In.

With more than 800,000 apps available for the iPad, iPhone and Droid, consumers are increasingly not downloading dedicated shopping apps. And if they do, they are logging in once or twice, and then deleting them. This is great news. Rather than spend a ton of time, money and energy trying to

What this means is that companies can focus their resources on their Magento site, instead of trying to keep a main website, a mobile site, and apps for the iPhone, iPad and Droid devices.

Measure What Mobile Devices Matter For You.

Skinny Ties found that iPhone users spent 5.3x more than Android shoppers. While this might not be true for your site, this means that more resources will go to supporting iPhones vs. Androids for Skinny Ties:

Skinny Ties

Year Over Year (YOY), Skinny Ties found a 57.8% increase in transactions. Revenue from iPhones (after they implemented a responsive design) was up 473%. Android devices were only up by 187%.

Magento is Used By A Lot of Fashion Sites:

Magento is used by many of the largest names in fashion. Just don’t ask me to tell you all of them.

But one I did recognize was Christian Louboutin. Probably because I read about their quest to trademark the red soles of their high heels in the Wall Street Journal.

Sharon Meers, head of Enterprise Strategy for Magento, introduced a surprise fashion show, featuring products by Magento fashion eCommerce sites:

Magento used in Fashion eCommerce

As a photographer, it’s always fun to have a surprise fashion show to shoot! Here are a few images from the models, wearing clothes, shoes and handbags from high-fashion Magento stores. All of these images were shot on the Canon 5D Mark III, using the 70-200 mm f/2.8 lens, handheld, without flash. Settings were 1/200 second, ISO 3,200, f/3.5, with manual exposure.

Magento used in Fashion eCommerce

Magento used in Fashion eCommerce

Magento used in Fashion eCommerce

Magento used in Fashion eCommerce

Magento used in Fashion eCommerce

Magento used in Fashion eCommerce

Magento used in Fashion eCommerce

Magento used in Fashion eCommerce

Magento used in Fashion eCommerce

Magento used in Fashion eCommerce

Magento used in Fashion eCommerce

Wow… those are some crazy shoes:

Magento used in Fashion eCommerce

Magento used in Fashion eCommerce

Gary, striking a pose at the end of the fashion show:

Magento used in Fashion eCommerce

Steve Levitt, Author of Freakonomics Spoke:

Steve was one of the better and entertaining speakers at the conference. I’ve been a big fan of his books, and he said that his success in economics was based on finding a unique niche (i.e. studying call girls or drug dealers), and finding results that change conventional wisdom:

Steven Levitt

Jane McGonigal Spoke About the Value of Gaming:

According to Jane, more than 1 billion people around the world play electronic games. And after her talk, I’m convinced it’s not such a bad thing:


According to Jane, 71% of US workers are not engaged.
(Although I’m sure 100% of my team is ;)

Unengaged Workers in US

Gamers play games as a way to express their creativity, curiosity, and create a sense of contentment, awe and wonder:

Top Ten Emotions Solved by Gaming

And in clinical trials, casual gamers outperformed pharmaceuticals for anxiety and depression:

Gaming Outperforms ADHD Medication

I don’t have any images of the massive, multi-player thumb wresting session, as I was a participant, and put the camera down…


Why Upgrade to Magento Enterprise 1.13?

Magento’s creative partners created a couple of videos to show current Enterprise customers why they should upgrade.

Doom and Gloom:

Magento - Upgrade or Die

And rainbows and unicorns… featuring Roy Rubin:

Magento - Riding Unicorns

And Magento CTO, Matthew Mengerink:

Magento - CTO Riding a Unicorn

Campy Song

Taylor McFerrin, Music Entertainment:

Music sets the mood, the tone, and the vibe.

Instead of a "Hey you guys, quiet down and listen to a boring speaker," the Magento Imagine conference featured the amazing music of Taylor McFerrin.

Taylor started and ended much of the show, and I was able to capture some fun images of him performing from my seat in the front row:

Taylor McFerrin

Taylor McFerrin

Taylor McFerrin

Taylor McFerrin

Taylor McFerrin

Taylor McFerrin

Taylor McFerrin

Taylor McFerrin

Parting Shot:

Here’s a parting shot of the Las Vegas strip at night from the M Resort, taken from my 6th floor window:

Magento Conference - Las Vegas Strip at Night

I know I didn’t cover everything…
I know I didn’t mention everyone who spoke.

I didn’t take images of eBay’s CEO, John Donahoe. (He sat in a place where it was tough to shoot.) He’s clearly worried about competition from Amazon.com.

I also didn’t take images of Jeff Jordan, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Jeff was funny, and talked about the eventual demise of big box retailers as more and more eCommerce shifts to the Web. He was teriffic.

Jamie Clarke told a great story of adventures on Everest (he climbed with a friend of mine, Wally Berg, on one expedition), and crossing a huge desert on camels. He knows gear, so he’s started an eCommerce website, using Magento. Very entertaining guy.

There was another panel or two of Magento Enterprise retailers from around the world (interesting stories), and lots of breakout sessions that I wasn’t able to attend.

My apologies for anything I missed, left out, or omitted.

See you at Imagine next year…


Jeff FinkelsteinFounder, Customer Paradigm
Jeff Finkelstein
Founder, Customer Paradigm



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P.S. All of the images above were taken with the Canon 5D Mark III, with either the 50mm f/1.4 lens or the 70-200 f/2.8L lens, handheld, without flash.

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