In 2018, it was big eCommerce news when tech giant Adobe purchased the Magento platform for $1.68 billion. Since then, Magento has experienced many enhancements, including artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities powered by Adobe Sensei.
Today, more than 250,000 global eCommerce merchants are doing business on Magento. A feature-rich interface and abundant customization options are among the reasons big brands like 7-Eleven, Nestle Gerber, TiVo and Rite-Aid have made a digital home on the platform.
This article is for you if:
- You’re researching which eCommerce platform will best accommodate your business
- You are adding a digital component into your business for the first time
- You’re considering switching eCommerce platforms and are curious what Magento has to offer
- You want to connect with an eCommerce expert who will help guide you
Since its affiliation with Adobe, Magento has been making headlines more often, and it’s timely to note that “Adobe Commerce Powered by Magento” is the latest official language used when referring to the platform. In this article, we use the terms “Magento” and “Adobe Commerce” interchangeably.
April 27-28 marked the second consecutive year that the world-famous Adobe Summit was offered as a digital experience. In 2020, during the wake of COVID-19, Adobe turned on a dime to offer a last-minute virtual conference to attendees who would have otherwise met up in Las Vegas. Fast-forward through one year of a global pandemic, and commerce has experienced a drastic shift.
According to Jason Woosley, VP of commerce and digital experience at Adobe, the commerce industry advanced by several years from 2020-2021. In fact, he said digital commerce is on track to see its first $1 trillion year in 2022.
How is Adobe keeping up with the permanent changes in consumer behavior caused by COVID-19? And more importantly, why should you care?
We’ve combined information from the digital summit with our industry expertise to bring you the following insights. (The Magento release notes are also available online, so you can stay up-to-date with the latest updates to the platform as they are rolled out).
1. Magento is Focused on Omnichannel Experiences
What is omnichannel? In the retail world, it means taking a multichannel approach to sales. It’s when brands strive to provide seamless customer experiences, whether the client is shopping online from a multitude of devices or visiting a brick-and-mortar location. So, what’s Adobe Commerce doing to address the need for omnichannel experiences?
- Ship-from-store and ship-to-store functionality allow merchants more flexibility when getting their merchandise to their customers. This means you have the option to ship merchandise from a local store rather than a warehouse. It also helps ensure you always have inventory at the right store at the right time.
- Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) capabilities cater to modern shopping behaviors. BOPIS, also known as “curbside pickup” gained rapid popularity during the pandemic, growing by 57.4% in 2020. Now that customers have grown accustomed to the convenience BOPIS offers, it is here to stay. Merchants that embrace this growing trend will undoubtedly win more business than those that don’t.
- An “endless aisle” of inventory allows customers more options to purchase items from global inventory while allowing merchants to fulfill the orders from anywhere. Tapping into an expanded supply chain ensures customers never part with your brand empty-handed and empowers you to foster a reputation for reliability.
2. Adobe is Keeping B2B Commerce Top-of-Mind
While Magento is a robust solution for brands in many niche industries, accommodating the unique needs of B2B merchants is becoming more of a priority for Adobe. During the pandemic, there has been a dramatic shift to digital in the B2B space. In fact, 85% of B2B companies shifted models to include digital commerce in 2020.
Translation — If you’re a B2B merchant that has not recently evaluated its digital standing, you’re behind (and Adobe Commerce is doing everything it can to win you over).
Not only is operating a functional online store less optional than ever for B2Bs, but their buyers are also growing accustomed to the process, revealing an overwhelming preference for digital-first over in-person interactions. That means there’s no turning back when it comes to B2Bs offering online buying options.
So, how is Adobe striking up a digital romance with B2B merchants? According to Woosley, the company is striving to integrate an end-to-end experience for B2B buyers through enhanced buyer workflows.
- With Magento, business buyers in the B2B space are empowered to set up and manage their own approval workflows for individuals within their company directly from the storefront experience. This adds an extra layer of convenience, which everyone loves.
- Many B2B transactions can’t be completed without signed agreements. The Adobe Sign Extension allows for document approval and signing to be completed during the checkout process, which is shown to minimize cart abandonment.
- Many B2B merchants have a massive product catalog, and Adobe Commerce now provides support for enormous SKU counts.
If you’re a B2B merchant who is looking to launch or enhance its digital presence, Adobe Commerce is well worth considering.
3. Adobe Commerce Keeps Innovating
When selecting an eCommerce platform, there are many routes you can take, so don’t settle for a solution that doesn’t check all of your boxes. Not only should your eCommerce platform be able to scale with your business, it should also keep up with the latest trends and technologies.
During the Adobe Summit, Woosley shared several new features that are keeping Magento on the leading edge of eCommerce tech. Here’s what we learned.
Smart Product Recommendations & Visual AI
At last year’s Adobe Summit, Magento announced new product recommendations powered by Adobe Sensei. The technology crunches millions of data points in real-time to deliver the most relevant results instantaneously. With the extension, merchants can control how and where on the site recommendations are shown to customers and choose between the following types:
- Most popular
- Customers who viewed this also viewed that
- Customers who bought this also bought that
Why is this such a great thing for merchants? AI-powered product recommendations are a proven way to increase conversion rates — and we’re not talking about small numbers. In the past year alone, Woosley reported that Adobe Commerce merchants who use the technology have seen a 50% increase in customer conversion. We attribute this to two things:
- AI-powered product recommendations cater to customers in a meaningful way by showing them the most relevant items.
- 56% of online shoppers say they are more likely to return to sites that feature product recommendations, according to Invesp.
With AI-powered product recommendations fueling so much success, Adobe is rolling out its next wave of product discovery.
Imagine visiting your friend’s house and falling in love with their lamp. You want to purchase one just like it, so you take a photo, upload it and leave it to AI to dynamically deliver visually similar items.
That’s what Adobe’s new Visual AI algorithm brings to the table. The technology unlocks a whole new way for potential customers to discover your merchant catalog, bringing in business that would remain otherwise untapped.
Adobe Commerce is also incorporating AI into its real-time search capabilities. The cloud-based SaaS service automatically analyzes data to deliver hyper-relevant search results. It incorporates modern, intuitive search experiences, such as:
- Search as you type
- Query auto-complete
- The ability to implement custom marketing and promotion logic
- Dynamic real-time data regarding buyer behavior, conversion rates and sales velocity
You likely see the value of adding all of the above to your merchant toolbox. However, if you think of high-level search functionality as a “nice to have” rather than a “must-have,” consider the following.
Searchability goes hand-in-hand with online shopping. After all, every customer is literally searching for something.
Furthermore, how many times a day do you use a search engine? For most, it’s difficult to imagine a world without them. The need for maximized search operability should not be overlooked by any eCommerce merchant today. Sub-par search capabilities are a user experience red flag, and the right tech will equip you for success in this important area.
Adobe Commerce is rolling out its Seller-Assisted Shopping feature that connects authorized sales reps and support staff directly to customer accounts, so they can quickly and securely assist buyers. Woosley calls this a “consigliere-level personalized experience” that helps brands deepen their relationship with customers.
As much as we all dread it, sometimes we find ourselves having to contact the customer support department of a brand we do business with.
According to Woosley, “headless commerce has moved from a buzzword in the industry to an established strategy.”
A headless architecture decouples the front-end and back-end systems and “allows for limitless flexibility,” he said.
The front-end is typically referred to as a “theme” or “template.” When the front-end is loosened from the back-end, developers can then use APIs to deliver content, products and payment gateways to any type of device, including kiosks and smartwatches.
What does this mean for merchants on Adobe Commerce? Essentially, this type of deployment allows them to cast a wider net, and why limit your reach if you don’t have to?
Site-Wide Analysis Tool
Woosley describes the Site-Wide Analysis Tool as “Best-Practices-as-a-Service.” It conducts proactive site reviews and makes suggested changes to improve site performance. “It’s like having a personal support rep on your team working 24-7 to identify and remediate site configuration challenges,” Woosley said.
From a site maintenance standpoint, this tool could be your tech team’s new BFF. The tool analyzes a store’s implementation (including integrations and customizations) and uses the information to diagnose, recommend and guide on implementation best practices. This helps save time on troubleshooting and guesswork so issues can be resolved in a timely manner to keep websites working optimally.
4. Adobe Commerce is Leveraging Important Partnerships
Adobe is a tech giant with an outstanding reputation, which carries a lot of weight when it comes to securing quality partnerships. Merchants that use the Adobe Commerce platform reap the benefits of that. Here are a few of the high-profile partnerships Adobe is leveraging for its commerce endeavors.
A partnership with UPS’ ShopRunner Membership Program enables free 2-day shipping, free seamless returns and a 1-click checkout experience. Two-day shipping is a huge perk that drove massive success for Amazon Prime, and now merchants on Adobe Commerce are able to compete with that.
Through this partnership, Magento merchants can secure fast, competitive financing. This allows them to easily access capital for inventory or marketing initiatives to accelerate growth.
Store associates can use ebizmarts’ mobile point of sale (POS) system to access products, pricing, coupons, and manage orders and returns from an iPad. This allows for better omnichannel experiences because sales associates are able to pull up online orders and customer data on the spot. Additionally, the ebizmarts system stores buying behavior and preferences data, so associates are able to engage with customers in a more personalized way. As we touched on earlier, personalized experiences drive customer loyalty.
5. PowerSync is Here to Guide You
Adobe continues to breathe new life into Magento by providing an unparalleled toolbox of resources for eCommerce merchants and their customers. With a track record of leveraging technology to the fullest in everything it touches, the Magento eCommerce platform is no exception.
The innovations revealed at Adobe Summit are a testament to how Adobe is reimagining eCommerce based on consumer needs. One thing that’s for certain is that merchants who choose Adobe Commerce Powered by Magento can count on ongoing innovation and improvements.
If you want to learn more about how Magento can help you grow your eCommerce business in 2021 and beyond, schedule time on our calendar for a complimentary, risk-free conversation with one of our eCommerce experts.
Still not convinced? See first-hand how we helped our customer, LuxAnthropy, enhance its Magento eCommerce website to improve traffic and drive sales. Read the case study now.