Commerce is Changing – Hold On

Posted by: Karen Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

We sit here on the eve of the 5th Magento Imagine conference, the Wynn awaits us, and 4-5 days of information, networking, partying, and most likely a little chaos.


But as we anticipate what is probably the best eCommerce event on the calendar I can see that the landscape has changed, and I believe no-one is in any doubt that next year things will be very different.

So What’s Changing?

This is a personal view. I can only look from my own perspective and that of WebShopApps.  But I see a number of key changes happening:

  1. Uncertainty around eBay Enterprise Sale – It’s going to happen. I do not see an IPO. eBay will want to offload this by the close of year, I expect there is a round of discussions going on as we speak with interested parties.  I heard another acquisition for a much smaller company had over 80 different initial enquiries, so I’d expect a few for eBay Enterprise.  The question is “What will happen to Magento?”. I’ve covered this before but my own question is around Magento2 because if it is acquired it could well be that they put Magento into ‘Support&Maintenance’ and push customers onto their own platform
  2. Employee Churn – It’s 2015 (bloody hell, where did that go!) – Many of us have been in this space now for at least 5 years. The average time in an IT job is around 2-3 years, and technologists are naturally inquisitive individuals. You see already some people moving off the Magento platform, and new faces arriving. I’d expect to see a lot more movement this year, especially with the similar technology spaces available (e.g DevOps, Laravel, other Commerce Platforms)
  3. Acquisitions are Rife – It feels to me like the heady days of the late 90’s, there are investors everywhere, money is being thrown around, and many companies now are mature enough for acquisition. We saw this with the recent Perficient acquisition of Grand River/Zeon, and also with acquiring ShipStation/ShipWorks/Endicia all in the last 12 months.  In Europe Session Digital have also been busy acquiring. I see this increasing in 2015, and a lot of possibility around agency mergers/client sell-offs
  4. Merchants are Demanding More – Merchants are realising things should be simpler. Its not 2008.  They want better design, less worry, easier integrations, and greater power. Merchants are becoming tech savvy, they understand terms that a couple of years back meant nothing. Most of all what I see is that Merchants need simplicity, abstraction and to worry about their business. They want to use technology, not for it to be their total
  5. SAAS is very firmly here – We are all using it, whether for CRM, Email, Marketing, Project Management, Bug Tracking. Its more a case of where aren’t we using it?  And the open source nature of Magento needs to keep up with this. Yes it’s flexible, you can bend it in 200 ways, but do you really need to?  Its clear from the IPO filing announcement from Shopify that SAAS makes money, and that its in demand
  6. Merchants have more options – Magento is not the only decent Commerce Platform anymore. There is Shopify with 170K+ merchants , Bigcommerce(70K+ merchants) straight from a Series D funding round, Mozu rebranded from Volusion, Hybris now integrated into SAP, Demandware, eBay Enterprise and now even the Magento co-founder Yoav has brought out OroCommerce.  Merchants have choices, and they will vote with their feet. We may find some start spending less, others will spend more. Magento is in for a fight, and the instability around its sale will not help

Will this effect Magento Imagine?

I’d expect a lot of the eBay Enterprise team to be focused on:

  1. Potential Acquirers (who are sure to be in attendance)
  2. Large Merchants

I really hope they balance the conference and it doesn’t turn into the Enterprise show. This has typically been a great Community event, I’m sure there are enough of us to keep that spirit alive, but I hope the event’s team also get behind that idea and we aren’t just given 3 days of spin.

I think whatever happens there will be different streams of action, and enough people that you can find a suitable stream to join with.  If in doubt look for the craps table 😉

So What do We Do?

Stay alert, aware of the space you reside in. If you are exclusively working on Magento now just make sure your order book is full, and that you are keeping one ear to the ground. There is still a lot of traction in Magento, thats not going to change anytime soon, but for business owners dependent on Magento you should be thinking down the line, 12 months ahead, 2 years ahead.

For some companies in the Magento space its time to ‘pivot’ – we saw this potential a few years back and have spent a lot of time and effort building out in part to allow us to go onto other platforms.

Whatever you do just make your decisions wisely.  A guy said to me today ‘It’s going to be an heck of an Imagine’.  How profound that statement is.

Enjoy it, next year who knows where we will be.  But hey what exciting times. Are you up for it?? We are!

Leave a Reply