Last week was the second time the Meet Magento Switzerland took place. A part of our team was present to discuss current developments and opportunities in Swiss e-commerce in general and the situation of Magento in particular. With Andreas, Christian and Sonja we had exactly as many people present as there were tracks. Just like last year, the Business track and the Developer track offered talks all day long. In addition, the agenda was complemented by a few shorter talks in the Start-Up track during the afternoon. Here, the focus was on marketing relevant topics. It was a great variety of topics, ranging from tips for successful AdWords and remarketing (“Never suggest a product more than 7 times”), the presentation of a personalisation tool to a general introduction to Lean Start-Ups. One of these talks was held by Sonja, called “Personas – Invent Your Real Customers”, which was the ideal connection between personalisation and the idea of customer development as promoted by Lean Start-Ups.
Diverse Talks about Magento and E-Commerce in Switzerland
Meanwhile, the talks on the ground floor of the idyllically situated hotel shed some light on the current developments regarding Magento 2, presented best practices for KPI monitoring and a comparison of the search engines ElasticSearch and Solr. From our point of view the latter was difficult to comprehend since many of the addressed flaws in Solr have been fixed for quite some time now. The differences between ElasticSearch and Solr are actually much smaller; in the end it’s a matter of opinion which search engine you prefer for your Magento store. What is more important than the search engine is the integration in Magento because only if the module used for the integration supports all of the search engine’s functionalities and is able to represent them in Magento, you can profit from the search engine’s advantages.
From a business point of view, Alain Veuve’s talk about perpetual disruption was certainly one of the most inspiring inputs of the event’s programme. It’s not just digital transformation that merchants should be prepare for. Especially the digital business sphere changes at an increasing pace. New requirements arise so fast that it’s hard to plan ahead. In order to stay competitive, according to Veuve merchants should not prepare for new technologies in the short term, but for constant change in the long term. Therefore, structures which are too fixed on securing a status quo need to be broken and replaced by a culture that is able to adjust to new market developments. It takes a real change culture to be able to succeed in an environment of constantly changing requirements.
The panel “Ladies in Commerce” introduced four women who have found their callings in e-commerce and who rough up the market by their innovative concepts. The presentation only offered a short insight in the different personalities and their perspectives on the market. Longer, separate talks would certainly have attracted an interested audience.
The Active Magento Community
Apart from the talks’ technical input, our main motivation to go to Zurich was the direct exchange with other community members. From dinner on Thursday until breakfast on Saturday morning there were a lot of opportunities for conversations which we gladly took. As at other Magento events, a Magerun was part of the day’s agenda, too. It’s always a great way to supply yourself with a lot of oxygen before the conference starts. During the run we discovered a nice track taking us across the Rhine to Germany and back.
— Benno Lippert (@bennolippert) 23. Oktober 2015
After the last session finished, the sporty part continued: the after show party included a bowling contest which was very popular the year before. During the contest, the good live music unfortunately took a back seat though it certainly would have deserved some more attention.
Considering that Switzerland is still an interesting, growing e-commerce market, it’s rather surprising that the event had less attendees than at last year’s premiere despite of its manifold talks. Magento, represented by Community Evangelist Ben Marks just like in 2014, is currently in a period of great changes. The release of Magento 2 is right around the corner – according to Ben Marks we may expect the release in November. Therefore, it’s even more important to keep at it right now and learn about new developments so you’re able to adjust to new requirements.
Which changes exactly await the Magento community, that became apparent at the adjacent Hackathon in Zurich. Three out of six teams worked on Magento 2 related issues. Together with his team mates, Andreas worked on an adaption of FlexCMS for Magento 2. His experiences with the Magento 2’s status quo are summarised in a separate blog post.
We would like to thank the organisers, especially Sylvain Rayé (diglin), for this successful Meet Magento in Switzerland. During our return we had a lot of ideas and thoughts in our luggage, which will certainly be on our minds for a little while longer.