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Magento Imagine 2017: Keeping Customers at the Core

Christian Sharrow-Blaum • April 19, 2017

For the past six years, the annual Magento Imagine conference has acted as a magnet for the best and brightest in the global commerce ecosystem. The 2017 iteration brought together over 2,500 experts from over 45 countries, all looking to inspire, educate, collaborate, and celebrate.

The strength of Magento Imagine is in its numbers: there are so many smart and innovative people and partners involved in the event, that every session is profoundly insightful. LYONSCG’s own Katie Dunlap had the opportunity to present and share her vision on how to deliver unified commerce with Magento Order Commerce Management to create long-term success.

Magento Imagine
LYONSCG VP of Customer Success Katie Dunlap presents at Magento Imagine 2017

Katie’s wealth of experience in eCommerce consultation injected this session with a level of detail and knowledge that created significant value for all those in attendance. With unified commerce top-of-mind for many of today’s merchants, this session was especially insightful.

Unified commerce boils down to a promise: to deliver seamless interaction between customer and brand anywhere at any time. Customers are known to retailers regardless of where they interact; in-store, online, through social media, it does not matter.

According to Forrester, unified commerce is the “coordination of traditional channels – marketing, selling, and fulfillment – and supporting systems to create a seamless and consistent customer experience.” The figure below displays this visually.

Magento Imagine
A visualization of the unified commerce ecosystem (source: Forrester Research)

As you can see, every channel, touch point, and system must roll together into an integrated system that customers interact with no matter when or where they come calling.

Like most shifts in this industry, unified commerce is driven by the customer. As Katie Dunlap said during the session, “the customer is at the core!” Today’s customers don’t just want seamless brand experiences, they expect them. To address this expectation, retailers face the challenge of providing customers with an experience that is truly unified and tailor made to what that customer wants.

Magento Imagine
The LYONSCG team at Magento Imagine 2017

Strategic Approach

Katie and LYONSCG as a whole have significant experience in delivering unified commerce solutions to our clients, and Magento Imagine was a fantastic platform for Katie to shed light on our unified commerce best practices. The approach boils down to four steps:

1. Build a Strategic Plan

With the customer at its core, the plan should scale and ensure positive customer experiences throughout its execution. Change management will be a significant asset; adaptability and agility are necessary for success. The plan should also take a broad and holistic view of all that comprises a unified commerce solution as well as company needs.

2. Gather Requirements

Once the plan is in place, customer data needs to be used to inform decisions, requirements, and capabilities. Identifying current needs and future goals along with asking plenty of questions will sharpen the focus on what systems work for you and which ones do not.

3. Understand and Identify Systems

Steps 1 and 2 should provide plenty of information to know what is needed to move forward. Now, you need to analyze which, if any, current systems can fulfill the plan, and which systems, capabilities, and key partners are still required to meet your goals.

4. Measure, Evaluate, and Modify

After selecting partners and systems to implement, change management is a must in this stage. Your must monitor and shift your approach based on results. This industry moves quickly, so regular check-ins and tweaks are encouraged.

Magento Commerce Order Management

Unified commerce is an interesting concept in that it represents more than easily making customer channels seamless, but the total integration of every system in the commerce sphere. Katie’s session highlighted this and focused on Magento Commerce Order Management, a brilliantly flexible tool that coordinates customer experiences and gathers information from every touchpoint. Their solution also coordinates enterprise inventory, store fulfillment, tax, fraud, returns and shipping management.

OMS platforms like Magento’s act as a vital bridge from eCommerce, customer service, and POS applications to fulfillment functions. This bridge is what unites the back-end systems to the front-end experience, creating a single-source of order data and optimizing the functionality that gets orders to customers faster.

Just a concept a few years ago, unified commerce is here-and-now for modern retailers. Katie Dunlap’s thought provoking session and Magento Imagine 2017 as a whole confirmed the importance of unified commerce and the need to keep the customer at the core of any and all retail decisions.

Christian Sharrow-Blaum

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Christian Sharrow-Blaum

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