Magento – Now and The Future

Posted by: Karen Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Been meaning to write this for a while. It’s interesting to think about Magento, where it’s come from and where it’s going.  The recent Meet Magento in Spain raised the question about the future of the Magento eCoSystem, and raised questions around Magento/eBay itself, and the future of the community. So here is my perspective, from the viewpoint of someone who talks to web design agencies and merchants on a daily basis.

Magento is maturing

Magento is only going to get bigger. There is so much momentum inside Magento, there are thousands of companies relying on it for their income, they are not suddenly going to switch off.  It may plateau slightly, it’s going to happen, and there will be competition, if there wasn’t then this wasn’t a good market to be in.

eCommerce is a massive area, and there is plenty of space in it for the likes of Shopify and Magento, plus the smaller niche ones like Brilliant Retail. Just because Shopify may be gaining customers it doesn’t mean that they are taking them from Magento – they are in a different space. I’m seeing people daily jump from Shopify to Magento as they expand upwards, and likewise I’ve seen a few (not many) companies move away from Magento onto a simpler hosted solution.

eBay is not going to dump Magento. Apart from anything else it must have some serious revenue coming in via PayPal, and events such as Magento Imagine give it a chance to reach those merchants. Magento is a gateway for PayPal Sales to reach merchants, why else do you see PayPal speaking at key Magento events?

No company will retain staff indefinitely. Companies are lucky if they hold onto an employee for more than a couple of years in this space.  The true test of a company is if the leader can be absent and the company still stands up.  My view is that Roy Rubin will move on in the near future, but Yoav did and we survived, we just need to accept that things do not stand still, and that this is a good thing. We slowly all will move on, move around, that is life.

The eCommerce space is maturing

Merchants are more aware of the need to reach mobile, the tablet, even heat maps, targeted newsletters and how investing in refining the small parts can add up to a big change in profit margins.  Words like omni-channel and responsive are now commonplace, whereas even 18 months ago they seemed new concepts.

eCommerce companies are growing up, demanding more, earning more, and wanting choice.  They are design aware, no longer do we have those scrappy hardware sites aimed at 40 year old men that used a phone to make an order. It has changed, the 40-year old is still ordering on his mobile, but now it is via a website.  This change has happened over the past couple of years, I’ve seen it in the sites I deal with and the demands we get around shipping.

The Community

I said at the start of 2014, this is the business-end of Magento now, and thats what I feel.

Is that to say the community is dead?  No absolutely not, it is very much alive and kicking. But many of us are time poor, it’s hard for us to give significant time to the community, the place where we connect is at events such as Magento Imagine.

There is a small group of people/companies that make their money from the community directly, and they are behind some of the drive for change, but actually the rest of us are just getting on with it and making small differences where we can. To see a great example of many people making a small difference just look at Magento2 on Github.

The community isn’t something Magento should create, it’s with us, we define it.  But Magento are a part of it, and they should remain so, it’s not about them and us, it’s about all of us. What worries me sometimes is I feel people don’t like change, or they want to control something because ‘they were there first’.  Life isn’t like that, and I believe it shouldn’t be like that. WebShopApps has to fight for it’s place to remain at the top of the game around shipping, that’s how business should be.

Change is good, because whilst there is change there is innovation.  And for me personally thats why I got into this space, and why I’m still in it.

I truly hope the community doesn’t splinter, to me it’s important we work together, thats what will keep Magento strong, not going off in some random direction.

It’s not a revolution, it’s an evolution, which I hope we are all a part of.

What’s Our Goal

Speaking from a purely personal perspective my goal is to move eCommerce forwards in the world of shipping, to make solutions that simplify our customers lives and push the boundaries in terms of technology.

Within that I love the community and feel that it can provide help to improve Magento, but it must be inclusive, self-less and free. That’s a true community, and I actually think we already have it. I just hope it’s not lost by a rejection of change.

And Magento 2

Well this needs to happen. I believe it will, this year.  But if it doesn’t I’m not sure it will actually matter.


5 Responses to “Magento – Now and The Future”

  1. Elena Leonova says:

    Great summary. Yeah, things change and we need to adjust to those changes. We’re constantly showing our focus on Magento2 by showing your what do we do week by week. Community can change a lot, and Magento and I personally would love to hear perspective of every community member whether changes, we’re doing, help you to succeed with Magento. huge thanks!

  2. Adam Moss says:

    Nice article Karen – though the last paragraph kinda contradicts itself!

    The key thing is that Magento and it’s community have never stood still – we’re always coming up with ways of improving the product and moving with the times. I’ve honestly not seen any signs of things slowing down.

  3. Karen says:

    Hah, yes well Adam the contradiction is intentional. Magento2 IMO needs to happen from a trust/innovation perspective, but from a business/merchant perspective I’m not sure it actually matters, we are all innovating anyway as you comment. Thanks for your feedback, always great to hear from you. Hopefully catch up at Imagine, we need to have a beer together.

  4. Well said Karen. As Elena said we want and need the community to be vocal and give feedback. Our commitment should be evident in the weekly push to github. We do need to improve the speed by which we respond to and take in changes from the community and we do have resources working on that. Hopefully some more announcements coming soon in the realm of community.

  5. Guido Jansen says:

    Karen, good post! Although the feelings and idea described in the presentation are not mine alone, the presentation you are referring to was given by me so I feel I should respond here too. On Twitter I got the idea you see things differently but reading the above post I think we are not that far apart at all.

    Let me respond to your points:

    Magento is only going to get bigger > Couldn’t agree more. We are still in the „early adopter” phase, the biggest part of market/journey still ahead of us.

    eCommerce is a massive area > Yes, competition and niche products are always good for balance. And it’s not only about how we divide the cake, but also about making the cake itself much bigger.

    eBay is not going to dump Magento > I hope not and PayPal probably gains a lot from being integrated in Magento. The problem I mentioned in my presentation is that we have no clue about what they want to do with Magento, what their big vision for it is and that it keeps shifting focus (Mage 1, Mage 2, etc.).

    No company will retain staff indefinitely. > True, but, as in my previous point: we need a strong vision(ary) pushing the product/company forwards. That doesn’t necessarily need to be a founder, but I haven’t seen anyone else stepping up and showing this to the world. I bet you don’t just tell your staff what to do and leave it at that. Telling people how and why is what inspires them to go further. Knowing why keeps everyone aligned.

    The Community > If you abstracted “the community is dead” from my presentation I really need to change it because indeed, the community is very much alive and kicking :). The problem I see though is that Magento isn’t leading the awesome community they have. And again: that is their choice and that is ok.

    But I don’t think it helps anyone if we all just keep focussed on ourselves and “just getting on with it”. Like you say it: single companies can only focus on themselves, fighting for it’s place to remain at the top of the game. But everyone trying to get a bigger part of the pie doesn’t help to grow the ecosystem and actually make a bigger pie. We as a community can achieve so much more if we can get together and collaborate on certain areas where it doesn’t make sense to compete (like organizing events or creating localized editions).

    “The community isn’t something Magento should create, it’s with us, we define it. But Magento are a part of it, and they should remain so, it’s not about them and us, it’s about all of us.” > I couldn’t have said it any better!

    “I truly hope the community doesn’t splinter, not going off in some random direction” > This is exactly what I see happening if we don’t work together and what we’re trying to prevent here.

    And Magento 2 > I also don’t think Magento 2 itself will matter much. But it’s a bad sign it’s announced 3 years ago and like you said: innovation means you need to change. Standing still is deadly. It would be great if the world sees continues incremental improvements, maybe something like a 6 month release cycle with STS and LTS versions like many linux distributions have to keep the momentum going.

    I think now is the time to work out future plans and act to get organized (the community together with eBay) to push Magento forward in the years to come.

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