Magento 2 Posts

Diving Into the New Magento 2 Features for Marketers & Merchandisers

As you’ve probably heard, Magento 2 has a lot of amazing new features – from a completely redesigned admin panel, to technical updates and everything in between.

Magento 1 was primarily built by developers and most knowingly worked on by developers, making it harder for less technical users to navigate. Merchants with little technical knowledge and no coding background usually found Magento difficult to use.

Diving Into the New Magento 2 Features for Marketers & Merchandisers

Some would end up spending hours and hours learning how to change one simple feature, or some would have to hire a development agency to help them out. As a marketing professional, these technical obstacles can make it hard to work on Magento sites, but with the new marketing and merchandising features, it will make your life a bit easier!

Choose the Best Magento 2 Hosting

The choice of hosting is probably among the first encountered problems when you start launching a new Magento 2 store.

The quality of provided hosting services determines further success of the entire online business. And if you want the store to be available 24/7 for customers, reliable in the eyes of search engines, fast and convertible, you need to closely and carefully consider all available hosting options.

Choose the Best Magento 2 Hosting

The first step to take is to get acquainted with the system recommendations provided by Magento. Magento 2 applies requirements for both software and hardware and they are a bit higher than the ones necessary for Magento 1.

Magento 2 System Requirements

Basic Software

  • Operating systems (Linux x86-64) – Linux distributions;
  • RAM – 2 Gb and more;
  • Web server – Apache 2.2 or 2.4 or nginx 1.8+;
  • DataBase – MySQL 5.6.x;
  • Composer – latest version;
  • PHP – 5.5.22+, 5.6.x, 7.0.2, 7.0.6.

Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition Market Perspectives

Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition was first announced during Magento Imagine in April 2016 and since than it was heavily discussed and reviewed.

The technology stack and capabilities were unveiled by Magento itself and multiple community members. Besides, Magento provided us with the detailed technical documentation on deployment and usage just immediately after the release.

Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition Market Perspectives

So, six month later we are examining its current position within the specific market segment of Enterprise PaaS and SaaS solutions.

Provided Benefits

The main idea behind Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition is to create a product combining the flexibility of cloud solutions without multitenancy constraints. Traditional SaaS product innovations mostly depend on the providers’ initiatives and can hardly be driven by merchants. Meanwhile, Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition allows store owners to tailor technologies to their business easily.

All the available patches on Git can be tested and implemented instantly after their uploads. As far as testing environments use same databases and settings all the tested changes can be easily pushed to live stores without any risks to fall over. That’s a really unique opportunity and huge advantage.

Offered Technologies

Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition consists of a bunch of effective solutions making the final product a great alternative to established enterprise platforms.

  • Cloud Infrastructure. Powered by Amazon Web Services;
  • Platform as a Service;
  • Magento Enterprise Edition;
  • Performance Management Tools. NewRelic, blackfire.io;
  • Content Delivery Network, DDos Protection. Powered by Fastly.

This way, the dedicated structure of Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition provides all the benefits related to cloud computing, including flexibility, confidence, scalability, business focus and peace of mind.

Market Perspectives

Magento is actually a PaaS solution, but it have to compete with both PaaS and SaaS products and the number of worthy competitors is pretty large.

Magento 2 Stores: The First-Year Study

Of course, Magento 2 is far from the product maturity, and in fact it is just getting formed as a standalone product within the market.

But, we are all keen to know everything about those new stores made on Magento 2. How are they? What do they look like? What do they sell? Where are they coming from?… Well, we made some studies and are ready to present you the profile of the first Magento 2 stores below.

Magento 2 Stores: The First-Year Study

Study Description

The study uses the Magento 2 stores data provided by BuiltWith. The data sample value is 1% of all detected Magento 2 stores in operation randomly selected from the pre-filtered M2 stores list.

First Observations

Walking through the list of provided stores we need to notice that it contains a lot of non-operational, purely promotional and sites containing only sample data and default themes. We find it natural as far as many users are just getting acquainted with the platform and we witness their first steps towards the new functionality.

As for other parameters, they are largely similar to Magento 1, but have some naturally grounded differences. Below, we’ll compare two platforms in details and try to explain you, why Magento 2 is cheaper and more english-related.

Magento 2 Stores

By Languages

By languages, Magento 2 is mostly presented in English, in particular it is used in 73% of all investigated stores. According to our previous study, it is more than in Magento 1 EE (71% of all stores) and considerably more than in Magento 1 CE (62%).

 Diagram 1. Magento 2 Stores by LanguagesMagento 2 Stores by Languages

The main reason for that state of things is that we didn’t find any sufficient number of stores in Spain, where Magento 1 is currently pretty popular.

By Countries

We have already mentioned, that Magento 1 is a greatly diversified platform that made a successful leap from the U.S. to Europe and even Asia. Apparently, Magento 2 had no enough time for the same conquest and shows higher concentration in the U.S.

Diagram 2. Magento 2 Stores by Countries

Magento 2 Stores by Countries

The number of detected countries of Magento 2 stores is actually the same or even higher, but they are scarcely represented there, perhaps, except the UK. In Magento 2 we have almost the same enumeration of embraced countries, but their shares are different a bit. For example the Netherlands take a significant share among the early Magento 2 adopters. But, as the platform develops the Dutch share will likely decrease, just because of the population limitations.

Magento 1 vs. Magento 2: Should I Stay or Should I Go

Back in November of the last year, when Magento 2 was launched, it garnered a lot of excitement. And, in the next couple of months, the popularity and awareness of it increased manifold.

Magento 1 vs. Magento 2: Should I Stay or Should I Go

Many early adopters have already started experiencing the benefits by migrating to Magento 2, for example Venroy, a fashion portal that specialises in male beach resort wear.

“Magento 2 has played an important role in helping us reclaim our brand and reconnect with our customers. With a production schedule of only 8 weeks, we were able to use much of Magento’s capabilities ‘out of the box’ to deliver a unique, mobile optimized brand experience. Magento has transformed our business and delivered exceptional results from the get go,“ said Sean Venturi, co-founder of Venroy.

However, while a number of Magento 1 users migrated to Magento 2, others were happy to keep using Magento 1. And, those who heard about and plan to adopt the latest Magento 2 are unsure whether it is worth considering. The reason for this, as we can see it, is simple. Store owners are not fully aware of the Magento 2’s potential and how to capitalise it to their advantage.

New and Free. Rich Banner Slider for Magento 2 Stores

What is the way to spectacularly present your brands (products, services, promos, etc.) in just 2 or 3 seconds to a new visitor of your store?

New and Free. Rich Banner Slider for Magento 2 Stores.

Rich Banner Slider. Frontend View.

You may say there is an ocean of ideas, but we’d like to present your a ready-to-use solution – Rich Banner Slider for Magento 2.

The Rich Banner Slider extension for Magento 2Free. That’s the core definition of this extension, both in terms of price and your freedom to use an overwhelming number of ways to welcome and endear an online visitor. The module works just according to the classical marketing funnel (Attention -> Interest -> Consideration), and you already see that newbie seriously evaluates the possibility to make some purchases in your store.

Traditionally we do not only pay attention to the frontend functionality, but also provide Magento admins with advanced usability and rich configuration options. The whole process of creating and placing new banners will hardly take much longer than the time customers spend to walk through the slides in front.

Rich Banner Slider Features

  • Multiple banners;
  • Advanced banner location, display, and animation options;
  • Multiple slides;
  • Advanced slides targeting, scheduling and segmentation options;
  • Slide statistics;
  • Included unit tests.

Magento 2.1: Features and Fixes

Magento 2.1 was announced back in April by Paul Boisvert during the keynote at Imagine 2016. According to Paul, the update was planned for this June, and the Magento team kept its promise.

Magento 2.1: Features and Fixes

This is the first 2.X update of Magento and the community lays great hopes on it as far as it seems to become the most stable version containing the smallest ever number of errors and issues. Due to the dramatic quality increase Magento 2.1 is expected to be much more comfortable for both final users and development companies and able to start the mushroom growth of new Magento 2 stores.

Magento 2.1 Features

Enterprise Edition Features

The provided Magento EE 2.1 new features are quite impressive and make a real difference in in-store marketing and merchandising.

Content Staging and Preview
Today, time is the biggest value, so fast-moving e-commerce allows succeeding to only those who can outpace competition and predict customer needs.

The Content Staging and Preview feature allows managing and providing new content much faster and without inconsistency. Now you can stage, preview, schedule and approve different content easily and without the need to involve IT experts.

User-friendly dashboards enable multiple marketers to create and schedule individual promotions and combine them easily into global campaigns. The new functionality allows you to preview the changes across the store, including product and checkout pages, from the outset and forget about this piece of work hereinafter.

Who Viewed This Also Viewed for Magento 2: Take the Product You Like

All over the sales process merchants overcome the distrust typical of all customers as far as they unconsciously expect some pitfalls and disappointments regarding their purchases. The smartest decision on this way is to provide them with some respected opinions expressed by similar shoppers.

Who Viewed This Also Viewed for Magento 2: Take the Product You Like

We’ve already took advantage of this idea in several marketing Magento 2 extensions, e.g. Who Bought this Also Bought and Product Questions. And, here comes one more customer-oriented Magento 2 module able to advise confidentially and persuade softly – Who Viewed This Also Viewed for Magento 2.

Who Viewed This Also Viewed for Magento 2

This module is especially beneficial for the customers looking for the best value for their money. In order to make the most optimal decision they need to consider all options and Who Viewed This Also Viewed provides them with this very opportunity.

The core idea of the extension is pretty simple as it analyzes previous page views and suggests alternatives to the currently browsed product. Most of the work is made behind the scenes, still Magento 2 admins have several important configuration options in their hands. Below we’ll discuss them in more detail.

Who Viewed This Also Viewed Frontend

Who Viewed This Also Viewed Frontend

Who Viewed This Also Viewed Features

Alternative Related Products

Who viewed this also viewed provides a convincing logic since it is based on automatic processing of customers’ shopping behavior within the store. Visitors realize that the suggested products are not appointed by the owner, but reflect the pattern of the other shoppers’ choice. Intuitively, this understanding makes them trust these offers more than other related product suggestions.

Magento 2 Security

Transactions and sensitive data security requires from store owners thorough and constant monitoring and upgrade.

Magento 2 Security

With the improvement of protection methods the ways of hacking and fraud advance in absolutely the same degree and their scale sometimes is just staggering.

Global Cybercrime

Suffice it to say that among the major crimes committed on the internet in 2015 were the following cases (Source: Forbes.com):

  • Anthem Inc. – 80 million patient and employee records stolen, including birth dates, home and email addresses, Social Security IDs, etc.
  • Ashley Madison – 37 million clientele records hacked and made public;
  • Office of Personnel Management – 21-25 million federal worker records, including unchangeable credentials like fingerprints;
  • Kaspersky Lab reported in their blog that they found some facts of spying on famous people, including participants in the international negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program.

In the digital world we currently leave these are really dangerous and scarring cases affecting our wealth and privacy. Usually we deal with less impressive data volumes, of course, still it doesn’t relieve us of the obligation to keep secured every handed record.

Despite that the above examples are not connected with ecommerce directly this area suffers not less than other digital areas. According to Trustwave, 43% of all data breaches investigated in 2014 were made in the ecommerce retail industry and 23% in 2015, accordingly. Well, it was a great improvement, but e-commerce still remains the most attacked retail digital sphere worldwide.

Most often, victims are located in the US, UK, and Australia. And, the most desired targets for digital thieves are credit cards data (POS environment), CNP (Card Not Present) transactions, proprietary information, financial credentials, etc.

Magento 2 Testing

The same as for any product, quality is the biggest concern of all software providers. And other than a brilliant idea, wide test coverage is the shortest way to create a first-class software product, and Magento 2 is no exception.

Magento 2 Testing

Magento 2 has been intensively tested during the development and implementation stages asking for the same approach from the entire community. Today adopting the process of code verification and validation is the matter of survival and future success. The software development practice is abundant in this field and offers multiple test methods and approaches able to ensure the necessary quality and shorten the entire development period.

Software Testing

The software testing theory includes different types of tests levels and methods coming from particular development goals and needs. White-box and black-box testing approaches; static and dynamic testing methods; unit, integration, interface component, system and operational acceptance testing levels, and even a huge set of testing types – that’s just a short enumeration of available testing opportunities.

Of course, a software product or even platform is not able to include all the said above options, and it is hardly needed. On the contrary, an optimal testing strategy involves only few tests that cover maximum sensitive product aspects. Especially that possible mistakes do not always originate from the code and can be made on the design stage as well. But, the sooner we detect an error the less damage it causes, including financial costs.

Magento 2 Testing

Magento 2 Testing Guide defines six types of tests provided within the platform:

  • Functional testing – refers to one of the highest testing levels and determines Magento 2 as black box analyzing the provided in the browser result from the user perspective;
  • Functional API testing – allows you to test the platform and client-side application interactions through Magento 2 API;
  • Integration testing – analyzes the process of interaction between two modules at different levels of isolation;
  • JavaScript testing – tests the accuracy of JavaScript functions;
  • Static testing – refers to the static code evaluation based on Magento Coding Standards;
  • Unit testing – automatically tests separated objects, classes, etc. in isolation.

Magento 2 testing options are not limited to the named above basic types of tests and the platform also enables you to carry out performance, integrity, legacy tests, etc.

This way, Magento 2 offers much more opportunities for testing than the previous version of the platform and enables you to test the code, certain configurations and functionality from different angles.

Destination Magento 2

Sooner or later all Magento users will face that challenge deciding to migrate from their old Magento versions to the latest most powerful and advanced e-commerce platform Magento 2.

Today this decision doesn’t seem to be too urgent since Magento is going to support its previous versions for another three years… Oh, sorry, for 2.5 years already. Time is running out and it’s better to be fully prepared for moving at the moment you will be really ready to start it on your store.

Magento 2 Migration

Currently, ‘challenge’ is the best word to describe the entire process, as far as Magento 2 is significantly different in terms of the architecture, database structure, file system, etc. So, you need to get ready for a small battle that is worth winning to port to Magento 2.

Magento 2 Data Migration

Before the Migration

Before the migration you should think about a lot of things and make some preparations to start the migration procedure.

New Magento 2 Store. Depending on the method of migration, of course, still in most cases, you will need a fully prepared Magento 2 store to start the migration. Magento 2 has a different technology stack and usually requires more server resources, so this stage will also include a new relevant hosting.

Magento 1 Copy. The safest way to migrate data is to replicate the Magento 1 database and use it for the upcoming migration.

Migration Method. Also, you should select the best way for migration taking into account multiple aspects we are going to talk over a bit later.

Downtime. During the migration your Magento 1 store will stay inactive for some time that have more negative impact on big stores, of course. This time comes, when you are ready to change production to Magento 2.

Migration Data Portion. Apart from a great chance to reduce the time of process, migration is high time to clean the store from unnecessary customizations, extensions, and even not used product attributes, and other unnecessary data. You can migrate either the entire database or only some data, e.g. customers or orders, or you can limit the data value by a certain period – 6 months, several years, etc.

Manual Operations. Neither a way of migration will allow you to avoid manual tasks.

Consider Security. Make sure that the copied database and migrating sensitive data are not accessible from the outside and remain secured during the entire process.

Magento 2 Pack: The Shortest Way to Start on Magento 2

Usually, bulk purchases are price advantageous and allow you to buy an item within cheaper than at the regular price.

But, if the product set within the bundle is fixed, it may force you to pay for unwanted items…

M2 Extension Pack

Leaving aside other cases we may say that Magento 2 Extension Pack from our company is really beneficial, because we made it that way. It allows you to choose any products you want and save.

M2 Extension Pack

General Benefits

  • High quality extensions. All the provided extensions cover only most required Magento 2 functionality areas and are compliant with the best industry practices;
  • Attractive Price. The pack allows you to purchase five Magento 2 extensions and save in average 25% + from their initial prices;
  • Freedom of choice. You can include any M2 products from our catalog to you package sets;
  • Wide range of products. Take your pick from currently existing products or any future extensions to be released in 2016.
  • One year free support services. The package deal includes 360 days of tech support and free updates.

M2 Extension Pack Customers

Starting a new store is always a challenging task especially when you pick Magento 2 to build you success on. You will certainly need several extensions to satisfy just initial functionality needs, and that is the logic we follow offering the products package option in our store.

Using our M2 Extension Pack pioneering Magento 2 owners are able to get access to some demanded products ensuring their successful launch.

Customer Success Stories

This package deal is not purely unique for our customers. Many of them have already taken advantage of this offer and found it great. Here is what Sandy van Markus, Dampershop.nl, is telling about his experience with Magento 2 and the pack:

“We sell electronic cigarettes in the Netherlands and in the rest of Europe. The decision to move to Magento 2 was made because we liked the provided functionality and interface of the new platform.

Furthermore, we found that Aheadworks already have an essential number of really great M2 extensions complemented with quality support services. So, the choice of Magento 2 extensions provider was just simple.

M2 Extension Pack was a good price option considering all the included extensions. We do not currently use them all, but anyway the pack is a good solution. It looks even more beneficial with the included extended support, which is great at Aheadworks. They provide you with a lot of technical expertise and here you have a lot of nice people to talk to.”

Aheadworks Product Owner Stanislav Golodov: “Often, a Challenge Requires Thinking Out of the Box”

What is the way a new product passes from the idea to market? What does the Magento extensions market require most of all? Is product management mostly about brilliant insights or routine data analysis?

We are talking to Stanislav Golodov, Aheadworks product owner celebrating today his 5-th anniversary in the company.

STANISLAV GOLODOV

STANISLAV GOLODOV
AHEADWORKS PRODUCT OWNER
5+ Years of Product Management Experience

AW: Hi Stanislav, great to talk to you on this day when you are celebrating such a notable anniversary. First of all, I congratulate you on this occasion. Hope you’ll continue your great mission in our company making more and more high-quality products for Magento stores.

Our readers are keen on diving deep into the specific features of the product owner’s work at Aheadworks and hearing the latest product news and future plans. So, tell us a bit about your duties and what your work is about.

Stanislav: The main task for me is to look for the Magento functionality bottlenecks disturbing most of our customers, find appropriate solutions for them, and determine if a certain product solving that problem is going to be in demand. Of course, we aim to resolve issues with our products in the most efficient ways.

In order to offer only hottest product features you need to track both customer feature requests and global ecommerce shifts.

The process for designing a product is the following. I investigate market demands, find some possible solutions, estimate them and choose the best variant, and then prepare a detailed product specification. As soon as the product is at the development stage, I also look through the very  process of coding in order to make sure that the implementation doesn’t differ from my initial idea.

Upon the release I still follow the product in the market and determine the functionality scopes for updates. In order to offer only hottest product features you need to track both customer feature requests and global ecommerce shifts.

See You at Imagine 2016: Where and When

Imagine, the biggest and most influential Magento event, is ready to go again this April, and we are happy to join the entire community, meet old partners and friends.

Imagine 2016

However, the conference is so huge, just like the community behind it, so below we also walk through some major company events within the conference and a little beyond. Hope this small guide will help you save your time, have fun and meet us at Imagine 2016.

aheadWorks at Imagine 2016

Imagine 2016 is going to become a unique event edition since it is held just after the M2 release primarily aiming to establish the new platform a rightful Magento 1 successor among community members and worldwide.

We also share the passion and thrill about the new platform opportunities and will bring them in the news regarding our latest Magento 2 extensions, their functionality and technical background. In the last six months we developed 12 fully operational Magento 2 solutions including high-priority features, integration, functional and unit tests.

Even more, we have a lot of modules to be developed this year in our roadmap and are ready to discuss our plans with our customers and partners during the conference. So, we invite you to join us on April 11-13 in Las Vegas.

aheadWorks, Booth #32, Sponsors Marketplace

aheadWorks, Booth #32, Sponsors Marketplace

This year aheadWorks is a Silver Sponsor of Imagine 2016 and we welcome our customers and friends to visit us in the booth # 32 on Tuesday, April 12, 8:30 AM—6:30 PM and Wednesday, April 13, 9:00 AM—2:00 PM. Please feel free to provide partnership offers, functionality improvement suggestions, business cards, hugs, and high fives. 🙂

Our Imagine 2016 Team

While you stopped for a moment considering and planning your visit, let us introduce our Imagine 2016 team.

NATALLIA KUKURUZINA
NATALLIA KUKURUZINA
AHEADWORKS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

The atmosphere of openness makes Imagine for me a pure flash of inspiration and long-awaited event. This year I will be happy to share our plans regarding aheadWorks Magento 2 solutions and discover new ideas and opportunities. I’m looking forward to meet old friends and new people. So, join us there.

ALEXANDER GALTSOW
ALEXANDER GALTSOW
AHEADWORKS, VP PARTNERSHIP AND COMMUNICATION

Imagine is much more than another business conference. It’s rather a yearly family event to me, a chance to reconnect with old friends, meet new ones, and spend three days surrounded by thousands of people sharing the same passion – Magento.

VITALY VERBITSKY
VITALY VERBITSKY
AHEADWORKS, SALES MANAGER

Imagine 2016 is a great opportunity for me to meet other guys and companies from the Magento ecosystem, share experience and learn more about Magento 2. This year is going to be exciting for all community members and Imagine is an awesome chance to bring us together to improve the best Ecommerce solution.

Except the meetings welcomed in the Sponsor area in our booth, we also invite you to appoint one-on-one conversations with our CEO, Natallia Kukuruzina. You can schedule a meeting to discuss strategic partnership, sales cooperation or any other issues here.

Pre-Imagine Events Start the Fun

#RoadToImagine 2016
For some people Imagine 2016 will start long before the official opening and far from Las Vegas. Four friends (Bret Rasmussen, Steve Deckert, Brendan Falkowski, and Kuba Zwolinski) are going to take a 2700 mile motorcycle tour through the desert to reach the 2016 Magento conference.

These guys are seemingly the first to take their trip to Imagine 2016, and we wish them the best of luck.

4th Pre-Imagine MageHackathon 2016
Still, the majority of attendees will start arriving on Saturday, April 9, which is the time for the 4-th edition of Pre-Imagine MageHackathon. This is going to be a two-day event providing food, drinks, and a lot of coding for all dedicated Magento developers.

  • Web Site 4th Pre-Imagine MageHackathon 2016;
  • Organizer – Fabrizio Branca, AOE;
  • When – Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 10:00 AM – Sunday, April 10, 2016 at 3:00 PM (PDT);
  • Where – Wynn Las Vegas – 3131 South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109.