PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Pixafy

Pixafy is an ecommerce agency anchored in tradition and deeply invested in the future of digital commerce. They are online retail experts that specialize in B2C and B2B implementations. Pixafy’s highly experienced team includes engineers, UI developers, designers, marketers and system architects. They provide their clients digital transformation and channel harmonization across aspect of their ecommerce universe.

The Pixafy team has been apart of the Magento community from the very beginning in 2010. “Like many companies here, Pixafy is proud to be an OG,” says Aleza Shapiro, Senior Marketing Manager. Although this is the first time they have sponsored the event, they haven’t missed one PreImagine and have had a chance to watch the community evolve and grow over the years.

We were lucky enough to interview Aleza and get real insight on the Pixafy experience at PreImagine:

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 11.10.48 AMWhy did Pixafy decide to sponsor PreImagine this year?

We love and respect the Magento ecosystem and that’s exactly what PreImagine stands for.

How would you describe your past PreImagine experiences?

All smiles and hugs. There are so many connections that have been made over the years. The band’s back together again!  

What is your favorite memory from past PreImagines?

All the fun Magento swag people have collected or made in the past year they want to share/show off.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

I always love the General Sessions. The Magento team definitely provides #allthefeels

What would you list as the biggest benefit of attending PreImagine?

Enjoying a refreshing drink in the sun with longtime friends that feel like family. We’re all here because we bleed orange.

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Comfy shoes. Even though I don’t usually leave the Wynn during the conference, Vegas is YUGE!

 

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Commerce Hero

Commerce Hero is the first developer marketplace focused exclusively on Magento developers.  The Commerce Hero team helps to connect merchants and agencies with developers for contract or full time work. If you’ve ever tried to find a good Magento developer before, you’re likely familiar with the pain point that Commerce Hero is working to solve.

Kalen Jordan, founder of Commerce Hero, has been apart of the Magento community since 2011, and have attended PreImagine pretty much every year since it started.  He sponsored a couple of years previously through MageMail, his other business in the space. But, this will be Commerce Hero’s first appearance at the event! 

Kalen took time to discuss his experience at PreImagine, what he and the Commerce Hero team is looking forward to this year
and much more:
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How would you describe your past PreImagine experiences?

PreImagine is always a blast – I get to see all the old friends that I’ve met over the years in a more relaxed environment, before getting into business mode for the conference proper.

What is your favorite memory from past PreImagine events?

Seeing the #RoadToImagine guys roll in on their motorcycles. Also, hanging with my buddies Phil, Jenn, Ben, and Jonathan.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

Unleashing our new Commerce Hero T-shirts on everyone. Also, showing everyone our custom Commerce Hero coasters that happen to have contact info on the back of them.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 11.35.32 AM

What would you list as the biggest benefit of attending PreImagine?

PreImagine is basically #realmagento IRL.  No other time or place you can see all those people in the same place.  Also, this might be the only place you can go at Imagine with a green badge without getting attacked by salespeople.

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Don’t overthink it – relax and enjoy yourself.  And don’t be shy!

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: TurnTo

14115411277_f08372ca71_kTurnTo is the fastest growing provider of customer-generated content solutions to the Internet Retailer Top 500 and Top 100 for the second year in a row. The TurnTo platform works for both brands and retailers, and has been built to meet the needs of today’s consumers who are increasingly mobile and desire authentic content. With a suite of four solutions – Ratings & Reviews, Community Q&A, Visual Reviews and Checkout Comments – TurnTo clients are able to connect more content and more types of content,
better SEO, and deeper merchandising insights. The TurnTo team works to provide their customers with a better user experience.

TurnTo has been apart of the #Magento community since it was founded in 2008. They are ecommerce platform agnostic but almost a third of our clients are using Magento. They were lucky to learn the ins and outs of the #realMagento community five years ago from greats like @kpe, @benmarks, @magentogirl, and @WebShopApps Karen Baker, which is how they knew they had to sponsor #PreImagine.

This will be TurnTo’s first time attending and sponsoring the event. But, we were lucky enough to gain some insight from Justin Poole, Head of Partnerships at TurnTo, as this will be his fourth time joining us at PreImagine:

Why did TurnTo decide to sponsor PreImagine this year?

TurnTo solutions rest their hat on the value of sharing of authentic user feedback, so sponsoring an event put on by the #realMagento community just makes sense. It’s what we’re about. I also have a deep respect for the founders and promoters of the event.

9919912786_c153c4d3fa_kHow would you describe your past PreImagine experiences?

It may be the hottest, most crowded, hardest time to get a drink at Imagine, but it’s always been my favorite part. It feels how the Magento community should feel, which is great because even when it doesn’t feel that way, you know that it can. It’s flexible and scalable like that.

What is your favorite memory from past PreImagines?

My first time at PreImagine was also my first big Magento event with my employer at the time. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a patio full of competing Magento agencies. When I came face to face with two members from one of our biggest competitors, I was so happy to discover that they couldn’t have been nicer. While swaying at a respectably consistent pace, they told me, “Listen, you’re gonna win some deals that we want, and we’re gonna win some deals that you want. That doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. The good news is that there’s plenty of deals to go around.” They were right.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

Magento kicks off on my birthday this year, so I’m hoping for the gift of a hangover-free PreImagine, followed by three more glorious nights of celebration. Was that answer too selfish?

What would you list as the biggest benefit of attending PreImagine?

Getting to spend some real time with the #realMagento community. This isn’t a merchant-heavy event, and that’s what makes it so great. You get to spend your first few hours at Imagine focusing on your colleagues, partners, and competitors that make the space so great.

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Arrive early. Stay late. Wear your badge, but not your blazer. If you need sunglasses, bring those too.

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Classy Llama

Imagine Classy LlamaClassy Llama focuses on understanding the challenges their ecommerce clients face and work with them to design and implement solutions to those challenges. They work with companies who prefer a consulting and implementation partner that acts as an integral part of their team. The Classy Llama team works to create value for their clients that positively impacts their business, pivoting from a tight relationship with each of them.

The team joined the Magento community in early 2008, and have loved every minute of it. They have referred hundreds of clients to the platform and only build on Magento. Classy Llama provides wise counsel and excellence in implementation that sustainably drives their business to new levels of performance and their team members have depth of character that drives genuine interest in each of their client’s success.

In addition to their involvement in the community, they have attended PreImagine every year since it started in 2012. And, we are delighted to have them as first time sponsors this year!

Kurt Theobald, CEO of Classy Llama, explains what you can expect while attending PreImagine in this witty interview:

Why did Classy Llama decide to sponsor PreImagine this year?

We believe in building genuine relationships with our clients and partners, which helps us to create an immense amount of value for them. The very nature of Pre-Imagine is centered are building those kinds of relationships with others in the Magento ecosystem. So for us, we see Pre-Imagine as an obvious event for Classy Llama to get behind.

Classy Llama Imagine

How would you describe your past PreImagine experiences?

Because we have been a part of the community for a while now, Pre-Imagine feels a lot like a family reunion. We have a chance to all come together with our partners and friends as we share a memorable experience together and recount the tales of Magento past.

What is your favorite memory from past PreImagines?

Kalen Jordan’s mage socks. Oh, and that time that Ben Marks fell into the pool.  Oh, and when, in a flash of passion, everyone decided to have the Magento logo tattooed on their faces permanently.  That was awesome… until we had to have them all surgically removed later…  Ah, the memories are rich and many (and mostly made up).

What are you looking forward to most this year?

Releasing our 10th anniversary Super Llama!

What would you list as the biggest benefit of attending PreImagine?

Reconnecting with some of the best people in the Magento ecosystem!

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Don’t wait in line for taxis at the airport. Ride for free in one of the Llama Limos that will take you from the airport to The Wynn on Sunday. No need to RSVP, just look for us out at Terminal 1.

Oh, and don’t forget to ask Philip Jackson about his new Winkle toupee swag!  Hint:  It goes on your head and makes you look as awesome as he does every day. Gonna get me some Phil hair!

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Vantage Analytics

2015-04-24 19.06.40Vantage Analytics is a powerful advertising and analytics platform for ecommerce retailers and brands of all sizes looking to analyze and grow its ecommerce business. Their team has worked with thousands of brands and retailers in over 124 countries. The Vantage platform automatically analyzes ecommerce data, generates insight and builds sophisticated ad campaigns that test hundreds of versions of ads to zero in on the most effective creative and copy.

Vantage has been apart of the Magento community for four years and has had the opportunity to attend and sponsor PreImagine for the past 3 years. Aran Hamilton, President & Co-founder of Vantage, shares his favorite PreImagine memory, great advice to newbies and much more:

Why did Vantage Analytics decide to sponsor PreImagine this year?

Best place to meet some of the smartest and most fun people in ecommerce today. Plus you know – beer.

How would you describe your past PreImagine experience?

 It’s a great informal opportunity to hang out with industry experts (and old friends).

2016-04-10 18.39.28What is your favorite memory from past PreImagines?

The group photo – it’s such a great tradition and nice to have something to look back at.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

We are most looking forward to networking with the Magento community to hear what they have been up to over the past year and the latest innovations they’re working on.

What would you list as the biggest benefit of attending PreImagine?

You get to network and get to know some of the best and brightest members of the Magento community.

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Make sure you mingle! There is so much to learn from this group, and so many interesting people to meet.

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Imagination Media

IMG_1169Imagination Media is an ecommerce solutions provider that focuses on delivering brilliant, intuitive and effective integrated solutions built on the Magento Platform. Imagination Media customizes ecommerce solutions to fit their customer’s business logic and allows retailers from all industries to be able to seamlessly integrate their online and in-store operations.

Imagination Media has been an active and involved part of the Magento Community since its formative days. Today they continue to contribute and create as a proud part of this bold community. The Imagination Media team is a rare blend of experience, expertise, commitment and dedication. They understand the Magento platform and never stop working to create custom solutions that are perfect for their customer’s needs.

In addition to their Magento knowledge and expertise, Imagination Media has been around the block when it comes to PreImagine. This will be their third year attending the event and second as sponsors.

Ali Ahmed, President & Founder of Imagination Media, sheds some light on what it’s like to be both a guest and sponsor at PreImagine and how to get the most out of your evening there:

IMG_1234Why did Imagination Media decide to sponsor PreImagine this year?

Sometimes in the day to day grind we feel like we fail to fulfil our obligation to the Magento community and all that it has done for us. PreImagine is a way we can buy a fellow community member a beer and say thank you – we jumped at the opportunity to sponsor this amazing event again this year. It is truly an honor to be associated not only with this event, but with everyone who attends and contributes to the experience.

How would you describe your past PreImagine experiences?

As a sponsor –We didn’t really pay much attention to being a sponsor last year. It didn’t change much for us, we enjoyed it as much we did when we were just guests.

As a guest – The event really makes you feel like one big extended family. It’s a genuine feeling of community.

What is your favorite memory from past PreImagines?

It’s Las Vegas, so excuse us, please. Memories in that city can be a bit…hazy. I think our favorite memory was the group photo at the very end.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

We’re looking forward to connecting with other passionate and creative members of the Magento community. And we’re looking forward to learning from them. We look forward to meeting new members of the Magento community we haven’t met before. We can’t wait to be there again!

What would you list as the biggest benefit of attending PreImagine?

The free drinks. And the free A/C! Some of the scenery isn’t bad, either. Oh, and seeing you guys again!

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Come in with an open mind. Come hungry to learn and ready to connect. Come prepared to work hard and play hard too – remember, this is Las Vegas, baby!

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Gene Commerce

IMG_1832Gene Commerce was built with the intention of not being “just another digital agency.” Gene is an SI that helps brands achieve online success using the Magento Enterprise Platform. They place great emphasis on the importance of putting their hearts and souls into everything they do and have built a team consisting of people who are passionate and ambitious about what they do. This extends over to their clients and has helped them to develop a number of software products for Magento.

Gene has been apart of the Magento community since the company was formed in 2013 and is a UK-based Magento Professional Solutions Partner. Gene is the team behind the Braintree extension and subsequently the Apple Pay extension which is launching on Magento 2 this week. Their team proudly created and developed BlueFootCMS which was acquired by Magento late last year to help power the CMS capability on Magento 2.

Although The Gene Team is joining us for the first time as a PreImagine sponsor this year, they are not new to the scene. They have attended PreImagine the last two years and have had some great experiences along the way.

We interviewed Matt Parkinson, Managing Direct of Gene Commerce, to get insight on the Gene experience at PreImagine and what they look forward to most this year:IMG_1834

Why did Gene decide to sponsor PreImagine this year?

As we’ve attended for the last 2 years we felt it was only right we contributed – there are also 8 of us attending so we wanted to pay our way and ensure as many as possible could also attend.

How would you describe your past PreImagine experiences?

As a guest it is one of the highlights of the week, catching up with everyone before the busy 3 days start, a great venue and everyone seems to be there.

What is your favorite memory from past PreImagines?

Convincing my wife on FaceTime that the Magento tattoo I was having done was permanent.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

The key note speeches [at Magento Imagine] have to be up there plus winning back all the money I lost last year on the tables.

What would you list as the biggest benefit of attending PreImagine?

Apart from catching up with many friends it is a great opportunity to meet and talk to new community members.

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Get there early and talk to as many people as you can.

PreImagine 2017: A Celebration for the Magento Community

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If you have attended Magento’s Imagine conference in previous years, I’m sure you’ve heard stories or maybe even had a chance to experience the Magento community celebration, PreImagine. If not, I highly recommend you look for #PreImagine on Twitter to get a taste of the excitement around this event in the community and to see what’s to come this year.

PreImagine is always held the day before Imagine and sets the mood for the conference by giving you the chance to mix and mingle with members of the Magento community in a fun and much more casual environment. While PreImagine has always been a chance for long-time Magento community members to reconnect, this is an open event so don’t be shy about attending if you’re a first-timer. Especially if you’re new to the community, PreImagine gives you the chance to get to meet in real life the people you probably already have seen (and maybe even talked to) virtually on Twitter, in blog posts, or elsewhere on the internet. Even for the old-timers in the community, there are always people to connect with that maybe you just haven’t had the chance to talk to yet. With the help of the many generous sponsors over the years, PreImagine is completely free so that finances aren’t a barrier to connecting with the others in the community.

Our team has eagerly attended PreImagine since it began 6 years ago, and we are more than honored to be organizing the event this year! We’re also proud to be sponsors again this year. Sponsors have always been key to making the event successful by keeping it free for attendees, collaborating with fellow PreImagine sponsors to get the word out, and to show support for the Magento Community that has always been critical to the success of the platform and the hundreds of thousands of retailers worldwide who use it.

Aside from PreImagine being amazing itself and serving as the pregame for the Imagine conference, it is located in Las Vegas. Magento obviously knows location is everything! You will find tons of fun things to do outside of the conference, so you may want to plan to come in a day or two early or leave a day or two later to have a chance to enjoy everything going on outside of the hotel walls. There are plenty of bars and restaurants around the hotel and, as you would expect, loads of casinos. Many Imagine attendees come in a bit early to take part in things like hackathons, MageRun, and, of course, PreImagine.

No matter the reason you decide to attend PreImagine: the great networking over complementary food and drinks, awesome swag, a fun time at a cool location, or to be involved as a sponsor, you will be more than pleased that you did. PreImagine is truly a party you don’t want to miss!

If you will be in attendance this year, be sure to find the ShipperHQ team to connect and grab some swag. We are psyched to see everyone this year and would love to meet some new friends. 

PreImagine 2017 will be held at the Wynn Hotel, Sunday, April 2nd at 5PM. See you soon!

2016 Holiday Shipping Cutoff Dates

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With the Holiday Season quickly approaching, it is crucial to ensure your customers get their orders on time. Although it may happen more often than we like to admit, there is nothing worse than waiting until the last minute to ship out a gift and having to face the task of ensuring the order makes it to its destination in time. To keep your holidays bright and to relieve some of the stress, we have put together a quick summary of the shipping cut-off dates for some of the major carriers. You will find it extremely helpful to stay on top of current cut-off dates for all carriers you plan to use. Below you can find the 2016 holiday shipping dates and news.

UPS

With eCommerce making a rapid increase, it’s important to stay on top of the new deadlines this Holiday Season.  The UPS year-end holiday schedule starts in November and makes its way to the end of December. You can download and print the schedule from the site to ensure easy access. Here is a summary for the most frequently used UPS services.

Service Ship By Notes
UPS Ground Contact UPS Dependent on origin and destination
UPS 3 Day Select December 19th US Domestic shipments only
UPS 2nd Day Air December 21st US Domestic shipments only, some limitations in Alaska and Hawaii
UPS Next Day Air December 22nd US Domestic shipments only, some limitations in Alaska and Hawaii

* Between Nov. 21st and Dec 30th, a limited number of UPS Ground and UPS Standard packages that have transit times of three or more days and specific origins and destinations will require an additional day in transit. Contact UPS for more information.

FedEx

FedEx is anticipating a record-breaking peak holiday shipping season this year, and has gone as far as hiring an additional 500 employees to cover the rush. They have advised that you take note of Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, which makes losing track of shipping deadlines even more detrimental. Luckily, they offer FedEx SameDay which is available every day of the year. FedEx also offers a Get Rates and Transit Times application to their customers so they can easily find the FedEx delivery option that will get their shipment to its destination in time. But, if you are looking to avoid the rush, we have listed the last days to ship your packages so they arrive on or before December 25th below.

Service Ship By Notes
FedEx Home Delivery & FedEx Ground Contact FedEx US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx First Overnight December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx 2 Day December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx Priority Overnight December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx SameDay December 25th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico

USPS

Although USPS encourages holiday shoppers to ship as early as possible, they have gone ahead and provided a list of shipping deadlines just in case you are faced with last minute shopping. They have provided the mail-by-dates for all their domestic and international services. Below you will find a quick summary of some of their services.

Service Ship By Notes
Standard Post December 15th US Domestic shipments only
First Class Mail December 20th US Domestic shipments only
Priority Mail December 21st US Domestic shipments only
Priority Mail Express December 23rd US Domestic shipments only

As we hope you find this helpful to your holiday shipping, our summaries should only serve as an outline for you shipping management this season. We have provided information for some of the major carriers, but you should keep up to date with restrictions and options from other carrier you wish to use as well. You can find helpful information by visiting the carrier’s website or you can contact your carrier representative with specific questions.

 

International Express Shipping Strategy for The Holiday Season

The holidays are coming near which means it is time to start thinking about what changes you may need to make in order to keep your international customers happy. So, we have invited Pompey Mansilla, Co-Founder of ILS, to share advice on how to put an effective International shipping strategy in place for the holiday season. 


 

Holiday gifts

Summer: suntan lotion, palm trees, and an ocean breeze are now behind us.  Gone are the days when school started after Labor Day; kids are already back in school and Halloween is fast approaching, which can only mean that The Holidays are right around the corner.

Internationally, August is the biggest vacation month and now everyone globally is preparing for The Season.

E-COMMERCE IS E-SSENTIAL

Already accounting for nearly 10% of global retail sales, e-commerce has become a critical component to global commerce.

In 2015 alone, more than half the world’s mobile phone-owning population accessed the web. And that figure is forecast to steadily climb. Many of those people will not just access the web for information or send emails or engage in social media. Instead they virtual window-shop and eventually purchase products.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM ACTUAL SMEs

  • Starting small is the approach Sarah Davis, owner of Fashionphile, recommends.  She started selling eBay and today does more than $15M in annual revenue, with 30% of her sales coming from international buyers.  Her advice:

“Just sell one item internationally. EBay and PayPal allow you to put your toe in the water and get used to selling internationally, and them amp up from there.”

  • “We do ship internationally!  We do also charge for international shipping for orders under 300$. However, I would say that it is currently a pain-point for us because we aren’t able to deliver 100% the quality of shipping service for our international customers like we are for our domestic ones. Example: We are unfortunately unable to generate free return labels for our international customers. Following tracking is more difficult because of dual tracking numbers (one while in the US / one internationally). You have less control over the shipment, etc., etc. It’s another thing on the list of “need to solves”

     Darby – Owner Smoke Cartel

RESEARCH DEMANDS FOR YOUR PRODUCT AND LOCAL BUYING TRENDS

A helpful resource is PayPal’s PassPort site, which has a wealth of information about global buying trends for specific countries. For instance, PassPort breaks down, by country, the top shopping categories, how often shoppers purchase from countries like the US, their buying motivations and potential barriers. It also summarizes local customs, trends, taboos and even holidays of each country – so you sell the right products to the right customers, marketed in the right way.

Grey November, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are nearly here, and businesses are already placing their holiday marketing plans into high gear. Specials and promotions, as well as creative discounts are just about lined up.  Unique seasonal partnerships are ready for launch.  At the same time, companies are addressing the key challenges that stem from higher volumes of store and site visitors, training seasonal staff, testing website infrastructure and coordinating with suppliers.

Both online retailers and brick-and-mortar operations are also taking a hard look at another element that will be critical to their overall success: shipping and logistics.

Just how active is the world of shipping during the holiday season?  Consider these numbers: at DHL Express, during the 2015 peak season (the Monday after Thanksgiving until Christmas) delivery volumes were 41% higher than the average daily volume in our third quarter, and 25% higher than peak season in 2014.

To ensure your company can survive the peak holiday season and literally deliver on what your customers have ordered – on time, on target, and in one piece – you’ll want to have a clear shipping strategy in place.

The best way to develop an efficient, cost-effective and reliable shipping strategy is to work with an experienced shipping and logistics partner who understands high-volume planning.  If you operate globally, you will want to make sure that your international shipping process in particular can handle increased demand. 

In addition to finding the right shipping partner, retailers want to ensure you clearly display estimated delivery dates and ordering cutoff dates for Christmas delivery.

  • All DHL services are time definite and offer you secure door-to-door delivery service of goods and documents to and from virtually every country in the world. Whether you need your shipments delivered early morning or by the end of the working day, our services offer full track-and-trace visibility so you always know where your shipments are.
  • ShipperHQ, the ultimate shipping rate management solution, has partnered with International Logistics Solutions (ILS) to make international shipping simpler and more cost-effective for small to medium sized merchants.
  • As an Authorized DHL Agent, ILS gives US merchants access to DHL Express services while offering them lower rates and excellent customer service from international shipping specialists. With DHL Express, merchants have the ability to delight their customers and raise their brand image with a one to three day transit to almost anywhere in the world with full door to door tracking.

You can set up an ILS Account and speak to a representative to learn more about ShipperHQ and ILS combined.


 

About the Author

LINKEDINPICTURE Pompey Mansilla is the co-founder of 2 companies within the DHL Express Network, along with his partner, Rick Betancourt.  International Logistics Solutions is an Authorized Reseller specializing in international shipments from 1-400#.

In addition, Direct Hit Logistics provides pick-up and delivery service for DHL Express with over 400 routes in the Southeastern United States.  They are the largest representative of DHL Express in the country, from a combined sales and operational platform.