Interview Posts

Meet Magento Spain 2014 Leaves Excellent Impressions

A few weeks ago we published a Magento Events schedule for all Magento-passionate people. Meet Magento Spain 2014 was the first in that list and the first Meet Magento event in Spain. Now we know that it was a great success.

The event gathered many famous Magento people and companies – about 50 speakers and more than 30 sponsors in total. Twitter was full of positive feedback on the event and gratitude to the organizers.
So, we asked some speakers of  Meet Magento Spain 2014 to share their impressions about the event from the inside.

Question: Meet Magento Spain 2014 just finished. Could you, please, share your impressions about the event in just a couple of words for our readers? What were the most exciting things and/or presentations for you personally?

Ben Marks

Ben Marks: Ignacio, the whole interactiv4 team, the sponsors, and Netresearch did an amazing job in Madrid with Meet Magento Spain. It’s easy to forget that the Magento community experience isn’t as well entrenched outside the US, UK, and Germany. Image source: es.meet-magento.com

There were many of us from the US and Germany who have been to community events, and none of us were anything less than impressed with the first Meet Magento Spain. I have to believe that one of the primary goals for this first year was to introduce the spirit and strength of Magento community to a new group of people. The organizers and sponsors accomplished this goal to an amazing degree.

The best news is that, due to this success, we know the next iteration of Meet Magento Spain will be bigger and even better (I for one cannot wait to go back). A better, broader, more diverse Magento community strengthens things for every member, for our clients, and for our clients’ customers.

Now I just hope the interactiv4 men and women can relax, get some sleep, and celebrate their success!

E-commerce Potentials in China

Get to Know About E-Commerce Trends and Magento in the Most Exciting Online Market Worldwide.

According to eMarketer’s latest forecasts, in 2014, for the first time, consumers in Asia-Pacific will spend more on ecommerce purchases than those in North America, making it the largest regional ecommerce market in the world.

Beginning in 2016, China will overtake the US in spending

The eMarketer report also notes that ‘the Chinese e-commerce market is second only to the US, but this is not expected to last much longer’.

This year alone, business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce sales are expected to reach $525.2 billion in the region, compared with $482.6 billion in North America.

Recently we’ve expanded our partner program with Bluecom Solutions in Asia and asked Patrick Deloy, Executive Director, to comment on China’s e-commerce market and its path to world domination.

Bluecom’s expertise is in the planning, development, and support of complex e-commerce platforms for medium to large international B2C and B2B companies.

Bluecom has offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong & Vietnam and focuses especially on the China and APAC online markets.

What’s the percentage of the Magento market share in China?

I would position it somewhere at 2-3% of the market maybe. Unfortunately I do not have specific numbers for that, but we can see more and more merchants in the region (multinational companies as well as local companies) looking closely at Magento to set up their e-commerce operations in China and the APAC region.

Two of the main reasons are that the implementation budgets are usually a bit lower than in Europe or the US, and Magento can flexibly adjust to the local requirements (e.g. payment integration, checkout modification, logistics connection etc.).

Magento in the People. The Most Interesting Fragments of the Interviews Posted in Our Blog

Editor’s note: Magento is so widely extended that it is hard to estimate the number of people associated and involved in it. In our blog we interviewed a lot of brilliant persons who told us with passion about Magento and now is the time to recall and get inspired by their most remarkable quotes.

Keren AminiaAbout Magento Products
Keren Aminia: My favorite Magento product is Magento Community Edition.  It has changed the world of online commerce more than any other shopping cart.  From the outset, it has created tremendous opportunities for developers and merchants to enter the world of ecommerce and to grow thriving businesses with minimal investment.

About Magento Community
Zapsweets.co.uk: We have had a few problems during our time with Magento, but they have all been solved with ease. The Magento community is very helpful and has helped us with any issues that we have had. It may seem a little slow to begin with, but, with some tuning, it can run at very fast speeds. Our recommendation would be to choose Magento and never look back.

Starting with Magento
Allard Bax: I would have a general advice for people who start an online shop. Be serious with it. Magento is a powerful tool but it takes time, dedication and some money to grow your online business. If you are serious about starting an online business then use a serious platform like Magento.

Tom RobertshawAbout Magento Events
Tom Robertshaw: Under my belt I have Magento Imagine, Magento Live UK, Meet Magento Netherlands, Mage Hack UK as well as bringing Magento knowledge to my local eCommerce and tech forums.

In terms of ranking, it depends what you’re looking for. For developers, the hacks are the best. You’re focused on experimenting and pushing the boundary in a certain area. I’m also very grateful to the people that commit their time to the bugathons.

For the decision makers and the consultants I’d really recommend Magento Imagine to get a good understanding of where Magento has come in the last year and also a feeling for what its focus is going to be for the next year.

Magento Offers Huge Opportunities for Family Owned Companies to Spread their Wings.

‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ sang Marilyn Monroe and nothing changed since that time. Why I tell you about these rocks? Because in this blog post we spotlight a jewelry website run on a Magento platform with over 30,000 products in their catalog. Impressing, isn’t it? What impressed me more is the company’s 40-year history and… beautiful gems of course.

Recently I spoke to Kara Mangiere, Director of E-Commerce at J.R. Dunn Jewelers, to learn more about a key to a long-lasting business behind the company.

Kara Mangiere

Director of E-Commerce at J.R. Dunn Jewelers
I have used aheadWorks with two different organizations and I think one of the things that developers will consistently find is a very responsive support team offering a suite of stable and reliable extensions for Magento. Sadly that is not the case with every extension development team creating Magento add-ons.

Who: jrdunn.com

What: J.R. Dunn Jewelers has been synonymous with excellence as an authorized dealer for luxury lines such as Breitling, John Hardy, Roberto Coin and Mikimoto. For over 40 years, three generations of the family name have served customers through its 8,000 square foot retail store and website jrdunn.com.

Where: Lighthouse Point, FL USA

The physical store appeared over 40 years ago. What made you go online?

In 2005 many independent jewelers felt people who were buying jewelry on the internet were not their customers. Fortunately for J.R. Dunn Jewelers, they decided not to take that approach and embraced the web and launched their e-commerce site in 2005 long before many jewelry designers had considered a web presence. The company soon discovered that the web offered an amazing opportunity to cultivate new clients both domestic and international.

Keren Aminia: “The Magento Community is Stronger than Ever”

Editor’s note: 2014 has just begun and the entire Magento community is keen to know about Magento plans and strategic ideas for this year. We were curious to hear about the brightest upcoming events and new educational opportunities we can apply to study Magento deeply and extensively. So, we addressed all our questions to one of the most competent persons in the Magento world – Keren Aminia.

Keren Aminia Twitter Profile

KEREN AMINIA

DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS OPERATIONS
As Director of Business Operations, Keren leads Events Strategy and Execution for Magento and is the Executive Producer of Magento events spanning the globe, including the award winning Imagine conference. Keren’s tenure with the company has seen her champion many successes while under the previously held role of CFO, including oversight of the Finance and Operation Organizations, HR, Business Affairs and Administration.

Keren kindly found time in her busy schedule and answered our most pressing questions about Magento, and we are highly grateful to her for this exclusive interview.

aW: How do you assess the results of the previous year for Magento?

Keren: Magento closed 2013 on a high, surpassing 208,000 Community Edition customers and over 2,600 Enterprise Edition customers. The Magento community is stronger than ever. Our 200+ partners and 7K+ extensions represent a $1B service ecosystem, a real juggernaut of innovation, which we’re taking aggressive steps strengthen and improve.

We took an important step in November by becoming part of eBay Enterprise. This combination of the extensive ecommerce, multichannel and marketing capabilities of eBay Inc. together under one umbrella offers an unmatched portfolio of capabilities that seamlessly deliver integrated commerce solutions to drive merchant revenue and growth.

aW: What are the strategic plans of Magento for 2014?

Serious about Starting an Online Business? Then Use a Serious Platform like Magento.

Last time we found out the position of Magento in Hungary, and today we move to the Netherlands.

CactusPlaza came into existance around 12 years ago where student Allard wrote articles on cactus cultivation and shared his propagation experience during and after his study biology. After he started to get a lot of e-mails with a question like “Can you sell me some of those plants…” a small shop was born.

I spoke with CactusPlaza’s owner and managing director Allard Bax to learn more about making an eCommerce store from scratch.

Who: cactusplaza.com

What: CactusPlaza.com is an online shop in Cacti & Succulents and other Exotic plants. We ship plants, seeds, and accessories. We started our website around 12 years ago. There have been many changes over the years.

We are using Magento for 3 years and last year we started using aheadWorks extensions with much satisfaction.

Where: Roden, The Netherlands

Q: You have been running your store for 12 years. How many people work in your company?

Allard: 2 people and occasionally 1 or 2 more.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your business, and how you became involved with Magento.

Allard: We started with Oscommerce. We were hitting a wall in terms of SEO and website functionality. Besides this we needed restyling. Magento is one of the leading open source shopping systems and we heard good things about it.

Search Autocomplete and Suggest in use. ‘We were not completely happy with the default Magento search tool. The Search Autocomplete and Suggest extension is a must have.’

Q: What was the hardest thing in launching a Magento store?

Allard: There is a learning curve if you want to do everything yourself. Tuning your extensions and your hosting so everything is running as best as possible – that was the hardest to accomplish.

Q: Why did you choose aheadWorks as a Magento extensions provider?

Allard: Having many different extensions with different companies is, in my opinion, inefficient in terms of time management, communication with programmers and costs.

Besides of this, the risk of having technical conflicts between extensions tends to be much bigger if you work with many different extensions from different companies.

We choose aheadWorks because they have the best and largest range of Magento extensions. Their programming is clean which keeps our website as fast as possible and their service is also swift and friendly.

Magento Success Story – Remaining Afloat in B2C Ecommerce Market for 14 Years

In this Magento success story we showcase WebAruhaz, the first webshop in Hungary that is still in operation today.

Like many eCommerce stores, Szabolcs Banffy, CEO and Chief Development Officer of WebAruhaz, started off using the OSC solution. As the store continued to expand, however, changing to another platform came into question. Szabolcs was thinking of creating his own shop system until he discovered Magento.

Who: webaruhaz.hu

What: Online and offline shop for printers, printing supplies, toners and ink cartridges.

Where: Budapest, Hungary

Magento store use case

Q. How long have you been running your store?

Szabolcs: We’ve had the online shop open since 1999. Our physical shop opened in 2004.

Q. How many people work in your company?

Szabolcs: 5-8 people are working for us generally.

Q. Tell us a little about your business, and how you became involved with Magento.

Szabolcs: The first shops we created were rental shops: for other people to rent and use, not for our own use. We chose the domain name at a time when online shopping was mostly unheard of. It was only later that we realized we had a very good name (webáruház means webshop). This gave us a big advantage, even though it was not purposeful. 🙂

We are the first webshop in Hungary that is still in operation today. We opened our own shop in 2004. With free solutions to create your own store, leasing online shops became a thing of the past. This is when we started using the OSC solution. We were using that for 7 years.

With development being stopped on it, changing to another shop system became more and more of an issue. The code had been modified so heavily, it was easier to completely switch to a new system. For quite a while, we were thinking about creating our own shop system from scratch. We invested a lot of time into researching other shop systems, both free and commercial ones. Finally, Magento came into picture.

aheadWorks extensions in use
Z-Blocks above and below the header on the checkout page.

Tom Robertshaw: “For Magento the Next Year Is Going to Be Very Interesting to See How eBay Continues to Absorb It”

It doesn’t happen to me every day to interview “crown jewels” of Magento community. But from time to time I approach the brightest minds in Magento universe and publish the results of my conversation with them (remember aheadWorks interviews with Andre Gugliotti, Mario SAM, Hirokazu Nishi, Kuba Zwolinski)?

This time I talk to the guy who is extremely popular in Magento development circles and famous for his in-depth eCommerce surveys we’re all looking forward to every half-year. Tom Robertshaw, welcome on stage!

Tom Robertshaw
Tom Robertshaw is on the left

The Only Lady in aheadWorks Support Team Answers 40 Customers’ Questions per Day

Ekaterina_Sobolkova_aheadWorksHere in aheadWorks blog we publish a lot of information regarding our Magento extensions and development process. It’s such a shame we tell you so little about our support department.

aheadWorks support team is just as big as our development crew (!). Support engineers and customer care specialists literally work days and nights to make you, our customer, happy. You communicate with them daily, but barely have an idea of who they are, and we feel guilty about that. Today we put a spotlight on aheadWorks support starting from the talk with the only lady in aheadWorks support team – Ekaterina Sobolkova.

Ekaterina Sobolkova is a Customer Care Team Leader in aheadWorks. She has been working in our company for 1.5 years and has already answered 5,142 tickets so far! It is about 40 customers’ questions per day. It is rather impressive for such a fragile girl, isn’t it?

Ekaterina has kindly agreed to answer our questions and share some private information with our blog readers.

What types of questions do you usually answer?
E: The majority of my tickets are presale questions – whether the extension can do this or that, what are the main functions of the extension, is it compatible with the merchant’s Magento version, can he or she get the discount, can we customize the extension for customers. Also it happens very often that a presale question turns into technical.

Ekaterina, you have answered so many customers’ questions. What are the most popular?
E: Typical support questions for Magento development company are:

  • Can your extension do this or that?
  • I can’t place the order. What should I do?
  • I can’t log in. What should I do?
  • Can you give me the discount?

Is it hard to be the only lady in the support team?
E: It’s quite OK! In childhood I used to play with boys more often than with girls. Moreover, our team is very friendly and willing to help, so there is no big difference between men and women here.

Miguel Ignacio Balparda: “Magento in Argentina Is in the Early Stages of Adoption and Businesses Can Take Advantage of It”

Right after the interview with Mario SAM, Magento developer activist in Brazil, was published, that same day I got the email from another Magento enthusiast from Argentina willing to write something about eCommerce in his country.

Argentina! That’s awesome, we shouldn’t miss that boat,” I thought and arranged a talk with Miguel right away. Continue reading and dig deeper on eCommerce market in Argentina with Miguel Balparda and me.

Hello everyone! I am Miguel Ignacio Balparda, Senior Magento developer at Santex.

I have been working with Magento for 4.5 years. At first, I began to work for a small Magento company and then I got into developing on some Zend Framework based CMS. Once I became familiar with Magento, I started developing my own extensions and also working on a couple of large eCommerce stores.

Miguel Ignacio BalpardaMiguel Ignacio Balparda

I like sharing knowledge about Magento. I have co-hosted the online meetup from Italy where I currently reside for Santex Argentinean offices. We discussed the importance of eCommerce trends, considering that businesses are now “e-oriented”.

What’s the Magento status in Argentina? Is it popular?

Mario SAM: “We Respect Extension Providers Who Speak to Brazilian Magento Community in Portuguese”

It’s so much fun to be a part of Magento universe. The United States, Magento cradle, is no longer a sole proprietor of Magento mainstream; this eCommerce platform has spread far overseas with many outstanding local leaders eager to share Magento wisdom. Mario SAM, one of the winners of “Magento PHP Developer’s Guide” in aheadWorks blog, is such a Magento activist in Brazil.

We have already published the post about Magento in Brazil by André Gugliotti in our blog. Mario will be glad to tell more about Brazilian Magento market and his expectations on its prospects.

Mario SAMHi, guys, I’m Mario SAM from mariosam.com.br. I’m Brazilian and never give it up!

I started working with eCommerce in 2006, even created my own eCommerce system fully in J2EE (Java). Back then I was in love with the code and had been teaching Taekwondo classes.

When Magento was released in 2008, I accepted the possibility to abandon my project and fully dedicate myself to the business.

Mario, how did you decide to launch a website with Magento tips?

I had a site about technology in general, where I talked a little about everything I did – JavaScript, CSS, XML, PHP, Java, SQL, etc… the blog was a mess of information.

Later I noticed that Magento-related posts began to gain prominence. Besides, it was very difficult to find Magento tutorials in Portuguese, so I thought of creating exclusive blog tips for Brazilian Magento audience by myself. The blog was a success and won the TOPBLOG 2010 technology.

How do you recognize what tips should be posted?

At first, I reviewed frequently asked Magento questions on the forums and used them to write posts. To my surprise, the most simple and very basic Magento tips are the ones that generate more page views.

Hirokazu Nishi about Magento in Japan: “I Recommend Starting a Business on Magento Here, but with Caution”

As time passes by, I become convinced that Magento is very similar to Julius Caesar in its quest to conquer the world. Turned out, this famous Roman emperor took up the reins mostly of European terrains, but Magento, it seems, cherishes plans to gain the whole planet.

When a high popularity of Magento in Europe and both American continents is no longer questioned, Asia is still perceived as a tidbit by rival eCommerce platforms. It’s especially true for a tech tycoon Japan.

Common understanding of Magento state in the Land of the Rising Sun is vague. If you also wonder what’s going on in Japanese Magento market, meet Hirokazu Nishi for a brief talk. Currently he works as CTO at Celtic Corporation (which appears to be aheadWorks Official Partner!) and is in charge of Magento Meetup Tokyo organization.

Hirokazu Nishi

Hirokazu, you provide Magento technical support and extension development service in Japan. How did you get interested in Magento in the first place?

H.N.: At the end of September 2007 I found the article about a new eCommerce software. It was an early version of Magento and I felt it would become a great platform. Then I started using Magento.

Customer Success Story: a Way to Increase Mobile Sales by 15%

There are million Magento stores with a wide range of extensions aimed at engaging customers and helping merchants boost sales.

Since I like to see what solutions the store owners have chosen for these purposes, I’d like to share with you a success story I’ve got from one of our customers. Read on to learn how iPhone Theme helped Zap Sweets increase mobile sales by 15%.

Who: zapsweets.co.uk

What: Not only does Zap Sweets specialize in bulk confectionery but they stock a vast range of wholesale retro sweets, chocolate, fudge, American candy, drinks and lots, lots more.

Where: London, UK

Q: Tell us a little about your business, and how you became involved with Magento.

A: The business was initially established in 2009 after planning to launch an online e-commerce store. Whilst many ideas were discussed, finally the idea of creating a confectionery store that was a fun, modern environment where customers could browse and reminisce about sweets from the past won the battle!

When the researching began, we researched many shopping carts to find the most suitable to the business. Magento was our favorite from the very start. It was packed full of features and could be easily customized to our needs.

Q: So, you had no experience with Magento. What was the hardest thing in launching an ecommerce store?

A: Launching our Magento store took around 3-4 months from start to finish. The majority of the time was spent adding products and uploading good quality images to attract customers to our store.

We also spent a lot of time optimizing and tuning our store to ensure that it runs at lightening speeds! We combined and tweaked the JS/CSS files to ensure that any unused code was removed. We also took full advantage of the .htaccess file and installed Varnish on our VPS server which cut loading times by almost 3s! It has paid off in the long run as our customers often compliment us on our fast site.

aheadWorks extensions in use

How to Increase Sales by 8% with only 4 Items in Catalog

This month we’ll spotlight Magento store that has only – attention – four items in the catalog, Kirkland Science Labs!

‘Life should be good’ the company’s slogan says, and the business IS good confirms Brad Dennis, the store owner I had the chance to talk to. Read on to learn the company’s follow up strategy and how the store managed to increase sales by 8%.

Who: kirklandsciencelabs.com

What: Kirkland Science Labs design and sell supplement stacks. A stack is a synergistic formulation of nutrients that work together to help you achieve your goals faster.

Where: Seattle, US

Q: How you became involved with Magento?

A: We have been running our store a little over a year. But we used this platform for an earlier business so we had experience with Magento.

Q: What was the hardest thing in launching a Magento-based store?

A: Design is definitely the hardest part. It’s a real intensive process getting the store & emails themed and developed the way you want. Especially with add-ons.

aheadWorks extensions in use

Image Slider, Featured Products, Z-Blocks & Knowledge Base in use.

Any Ideas on Brazilian eCommerce? Boleto Bancario, Installments, Bargento Brazil…

Since my first days in Magento ecosystem for over a year by now, I regularly meet smart, broad-minded and open folks who are passionate about Magento in a very extraordinary way, as it might seem.

These people educate themselves constantly and their Magento expertise is heavily based on their willingness to get and share knowledge they possess. They spend a lot to cross half the world to participate in Magento events and often invest their private funds to organize meetups and hackathons of their own.

It’s not fair that you may not know them well. From now, I will try to bring popular Magento enthusiasts to our blog and reveal their personality to you. And you can challenge them with questions and comments!

Today I’m glad to talk with Andre Gugliotti, Brazilian Magento Evangelist, the organizer of Bargento Brazil and the author of webinar series in Portuguese about basics and tricks for Magento developers.

Andre Gugliotti