Magento 2 is out! (w/ Demo)

magento 2 logo

On November 17th, 2015 Magento took off the reins & released Magento 2.0 into the wild — and we’re excited more than ever for what this means for the future of ecommerce!

While we’re not yet recommending that clients upgrade until the initial kinks are worked out (1.8x & 1.9x are stable & will be supported for a couple more years), we wanted to give you guys an opportunity to take a look around the new backend. WARNING: It may or may not be addicting. 🙂

Frontend Demo:
magento2.wexdemos.com/

Backend Demo:
magento2.wexdemos.com/wxadmin79

Backend Login:
username: wexdemo
password: demouser1

If you haven’t gotten a chance yet to read through our quick overview of what’s new in Magento 2.0, take a moment to familiarize yourself a bit first.

Note: This demo is running the default “Luma” theme. The only thing we did aside from tweaking a few of the products is enabling GZIP compression. Otherwise, this is a stock install & is what you should be expecting from a fresh install in terms of content, features, and performance. (We also hid a few backend features for this demo account: because internet.)

The Magento name, logo, and branding are copyright of Magento, Inc. All right reserved.

Magento 2 Is Coming (like an 18-wheeler with its brakes cut)

Back on July 15, 2015 Magento 2 hit a large milestone in its quest to release into the wild the much anticipated General Availability (GA) release in Q4 2015.

Magento 2 was originally announced in 2010 (yes, you read that right) & was scheduled to be released in Q4 of 2011, but they decided last minute to scrap their plans of building on top of the v1.x codebase & instead decided it needed a major overhaul to support future growth. So here we are, a few years later, and the biggest ecommerce platform is set to release its much anticipated version 2.0!

What’s New?

  • Performance Improvements — For Example: Fullpage cache is now baked into Community Edition (can I get an amen?)
  • Improved Scalability
  • Upgrades will be much easier (leading to less costs for you!)
  • Leverages HTML 5 (finally) and an improved CSS Preprocessor
  • Customization process is streamlined
  • Front-end portion of the software is decoupled from the backend store logic (making updates much easier to test and reducing much of the risk incurred in earlier versions when updating storefront designs)
  • And of course, visual updates for the backend! (See below)

New Admin Login Page:

magento 2 login page

New Dashboard:

magento 2 dasboard

Simplified Navigation:

(The backend menus have now been moved to the left hand side, simplified, and visual cues added)
improved magento navigation

Cleaner Product Edit Page

(including easy enable/disable product in top right hand corner, drag & drop images, and the most used settings at the top w/ the advanced setting collapsed so you’re not overwhelmed)
magento 2 product edit

In Conclusion

It’s pretty hawt! We feel like a kid in a candy store and we can’t wait for the official release! That is all 🙂

Ps – Wanna stay in the know? Follow us on Facebook/Twitter or check out this site. (& no we didn’t create that site)

Ebay Sells Magento

On November 2, Magento CEO Mark Lavelle announced, that their parent company Ebay has sold Magento (along with eBay Enterprise) to a consortium of buyers led by Permira Funds & formed a new independent company called Magento Commerce.

Back in 2010, eBay invested in Magento (then an in-house product of Varien), and was quickly spun off into a stand-alone venture. One year later (June 2011), eBay purchased the remaining stake of Magento. While under the eBay umbrella, Magento’s revenue grew five-fold, they made large investments in the core platform, and added mobile and omnichannel products. Magento, more focused than ever, began looking for partners/buyers in early 2015 to be able to take them to the next level. And it looks like they’ve found a solid backing! Permira Funds has funded big brands like Hugo Boss, Teamviewer, and Pharmaq. It’ll be exciting to see what Magento does now that they’re fully focused, backed, and have gained “big time player” enterprise experience underneath the ecommerce behemoth eBay.

Read more about this exciting change here.

Ebay Turns 20 Today

ebay logo
What’s more sobering that realizing that one of the earliest successful internet companies is 1 year shy of being able to drink?

20 years ago, on Labor Day Weekend, Pierre Omidyar began what eventually evolved into what we know as ebay today. Yes, that’s right, one of the earliest Silicon Valley e-commerce success stories, now turns to its third decade of business operation.

Some stats to blow your mind:

  • It’s estimated around 800 million items are being offered for sale on any given day.
  • iPhone/Android apps have been downloaded 279 million times
  • Ebay Motors has sold enough cars to encircle the moon more than 4 times
  • The number of paintings ebay has sold could fill the Louvre over 45 times
  • Originally called “AuctionWeb”, changed to eBay 2 years later
  • The eBay name comes from Omidyar’s consultancy firm Echo Bay Technology Group. he settled on ebay.com because he discovered that his desired domain echobay.com was taken by a gold mining company. #TheStruggleIsReal
  • One of the 1st items sold was a broken laser pointer for $14.83

eBay & PayPal Split?

What?

In the second half of 2015, pending the signing off of regulators, PayPal plans to spin off into its own publicly traded company.

Why?

Mounting pressure from the likes of Alibaba, Apple Pay, and their shareholders – and more importantly new market opportunities in mobile payments – has brought PayPal to the point where they need to go do their own thing again. PayPal’s vision & eBay’s vision no longer align as they once did, and hey there’s more money to be made outside the comfort of the tech marketplace powerhouse of eBay, so why not?

In the end, PayPal is limiting itself by staying with the eCommerce giant, so heading off on their own will open up opportunities that previously weren’t available to them (ie – having strategic partnerships with eBay’s competitors that could launch PayPal ahead into the future).

What does this mean for eCommerce store owners?

Honestly, probably not much will change as far as your current integrations, but it’s too early to tell. We’ll keep you posted as things evolve.

Apple Pay, Magento & You

apple pay mobile paymentsToday, Apple announced its much anticipated mobile payments solution. If you haven’t been reading the tech blogs all day, we got you covered. Some have called 9/9/14 the day the credit card died. Obviously time will tell, but it does look very promising.

In a nut shell, you enter your credit card details once in your iPhone (either manually or by taking a snap of your card with your camera), Apple stores it securely, and you just swipe your phone (without having to wake it up) at participating vendors. So far McDonald’s, Subway, Macy’s, and Staples are among the many (220,000+) that will be accepting it at its launch in October.

Ok, so what does this mean for online retailers?

Apple will have a system set up similar to PayPal (button)…the only difference is…on your iPhone, you just tap the button & it’s bought – that’s right the end of having to type all your shipping info in & credit card details – is almost here! For the mobile world, this is a dream!

How will we be implementing it?

As more details come out on how to implement this payment solution on ecommerce sites (specifically Magento powered websites), we will be all over it. Our passion is to make the mobile purchasing process better & faster for the client, so you better believe we’ll be on top of this.

For more info, check out the very informative Apple Pay’s page: apple.com/apple-pay

Fresh Air, Fresh Snow, Fresh Direction

This past weekend we had the opportunity to travel to a mountainside cabin in Canaan Valley, West Virginia to work on future plans for Wex Marketing. 2013 has been excellent year for us–a year of facing big challenges, pushing our learning to new levels, and really hitting our stride. In the past four years, we have narrowed and refined the services we offer, creating our niche in the ever changing zone between marketing strategy and tech services. This year, after a series of successful projects, we have concluded that we are most in our element when we are working on ecommerce projects. The necessity of strategic thinking, technical competence, and measurement-based decision-making when building and growing online stores is both challenging and thrilling! So, having decided to focus our energies on ecommerce projects in the future, we headed to mountains to polish our plans and set new improvement goals.

When we arrived at the foot of our mountain in Canaan Valley, however, we found our way blocked by a formidable layer of snow on the road. Our little Stratus was simply not up to the climb, so we trekked our luggage pack-mule-style up the slippery path to our cabin (a free team-building expedition?) Despite the chilly start, it was a wonderful time of lengthy discussions, mile-long charts, massive amounts of coffee, hundreds of Post-It notes, and even a bit of relaxation.

We are excited to see what 2014 holds as we refine our vision and seek to serve our clients with new energy!

Mountain trek

The cabin

Note-taking

Post-It glory

Heated "discussions"!

More than you can imagine.

The mountaintop

Introducing the New East Coast Diesel eCommerce Site

Over the last several months, we holed up in our office here at Wex for weeks at a time, working into the wee morning hours, to complete the new ecommerce site for East Coast Diesel, a performance truck parts store and diesel shop in Jonestown, PA specializing in South Bend Clutch, BD Diesel, Edge, AirDog, and many other performance diesel brands. A few thousand pounds of coffee (and nightmares in the form of running strings of PHP code) later, we launched the new site. Because it is an ecommerce site, it will continually evolve and improve, but we are thrilled with how it has turned out so far!

THE STRATEGY BEHIND THE PROJECT

Previously, the ECD site was built on the Zen Cart e-commerce platform. It was lightweight, easy-to-understand, secure, and stable. So why put the costly, time-consuming effort into changing to the current Magento CE platform? Because long-term growth requires attention to the details.

You see, we made a lot of modifications to the Zen Cart platform to make it work as well as possible for East Coast Diesel’s selling strategy–but as their sales increased and their products grew, we recognized the need for greater attention to the details of their selling strategy as well as the experience of their customers. Thus, rather than modify Zen Cart into instability, it was time to move to a more powerful selling platform. Magento is more complex to modify than Zen Cart, and it requires a much more powerful (and costly) server setup to run, but its complexity provides the basis for a far more flexible structure.

Specifically, due to Magento’s powerful taxonomy, we were able to modify the ECD store to allow customers to sort product listings by price, manufacturer, the specific diesel truck they own, or any other category-specific product attribute. Customers can easily browse a single set of products through three different taxonomic menu breakdowns: product type, brand, and truck application. Like Amazon or other large sellers, East Coast Diesel will now be able to suggest related or complementary products that customers can easily add to their carts with the click of a button. Truck parts can be sold in customizable bundles, allowing the shop owners to create package deals.

Filters for Performance Diesel Products

Moreover, the Magento platform is an overall solid choice for growth. Even if it is not lightweight in terms of server resources, it is secure and stable. It has a solid backend for managing products, inventory, specials, sales, and transactions. It has a convenient login for customers to track their orders, request refunds, and print invoices. With our modifications in place, it has all the bells and whistles of social sharing options, easy contact buttons, and visual navigation.

THE NEW LOOK AND FEEL

In redesigning the site, we wanted to give East Coast Diesel a big, bold, masculine image while preserving the simplicity and navigability that is essential to ecommerce. Using the blues, oranges, and grays from their branding, we built the site with big buttons, a logo-based brands dropdown, and strong, clean typography. We put a huge slider on the homepage so that they can feature sales and new products, but we also put a box for their YouTube videos so they can show their customers that they are not just distributers–they are diesel truck drivers who compete in pro stock diesel pulls around the country. We also made sure to make the site responsive for mobile and tablet browsers, ensuring that their phone number appears at the top in the mobile version for those wanting to click-to-call from their smart phones.

East Coast Diesel's New Ecommerce Site

All said, we are excited to be a part of East Coast Diesel’s marketing strategy and we are excited to help them leverage the power of Magento’s many ecommerce features. Please take a moment to visit their site and tell us what you think: www.ecddiesel.com