Author Archives: Ashley Overton

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Commerce Hero

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 28, 2017

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.

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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!

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PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: TurnTo

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 27, 2017

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.

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PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Classy Llama

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 23, 2017

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!

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PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Vantage Analytics

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 21, 2017

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.

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PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Imagination Media

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 17, 2017

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!

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PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Gene Commerce

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 15, 2017

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.

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PreImagine 2017: A Celebration for the Magento Community

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 1, 2017

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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!

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2016 Holiday Shipping Cutoff Dates

Author: Ashley Overton  |  November 1, 2016

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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.

 

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ATX Magento Meetup: Magento 2 Blocks & Widgets and Success with Magento!

Author: Ashley Overton  |  August 15, 2016

Brett on Magento 2 WidgetsThere has yet to come a time when I have left an ATX Magento Meetup without learning new and valuable information. Last Thursday’s ATX Magento Meetup (held at Capital Factory in Austin, TX) included talks on both Magento 1 and Magento 2. Attendees were incredibly diverse and ranged from those just researching Magento’s capabilities to long-time Magento experts. Within these events you will receive valuable information in a relaxed environment that allows the audience to fully interact with those who wish to present. 

Last week we discussed how Magento’s features can save you time and money when taking on new projects, and how you can find success with Magento. Read on for a recap of what was discussed!

Save Money and Time with Magento 2

Bret Williams, author of “Mastering Magento 2” wowed all attendees with a talk on Magento 2 Static Blocks and Widgets. He explained how you can easily use Magento 2 to turn a lengthy and complicated processes into a 3 minute project. “Widgets are an underused, powerful tool,” Bret explained, “it allows you to concentrate on the heavy lifting parts [your clients] really need you for.”

In his talk, he shared an example where his client presented him with a project that required putting Javascript code on two pages. He walked through two solutions, one using Static Blocks and Widgets and another without. By utilizing Static Blocks and Widgets, he was able to turn a project that most would charge $1000 to complete into a $20 job. Within this short talk and demo, attendees learned how they can save time while saving their customers money. 

Success with Magento

Magento 2 widgets talkWe also heard from David Sheeley, a Magento developer that shared his journey to Magento and a company’s success story. The key take away from his talk was to do the research before committing to any platform. He walked the group through what statistics he found useful to not only understand why his site wasn’t seeing the growth he wanted before switching to Magento, but also what to look for when researching potential platforms. As a B2B retailer, they sell products that were larger in size and had a large catalog of products. The look of the site and the ability for the platform to handle the complexity of his products were the most important components in his search.

He found that Magento was able to fit the product catalog and complexity of the products while giving the front end of the site a complete make over. He was able to use Magento and third party extensions to make the site more user friendly and in result has seen a measurable increase in traffic and sales on the site.

More to come

We host the ATX Magento Meetup every 6 weeks at Capital Factory. The ATX Magento Group covers discussions over eCommerce development and design strategies, SEO Marketing, and related topics.

We encourage all who are interested in learning about Magento and/or those who want to share what knowledge they have to come and mingle with the group. You can find Magento Meetups worldwide with a network of over 4,500 members. So even if you aren’t in the Austin, TX area you may find one in your area or in a city you’ve always wanted to visit.

If you are interested in speaking at a future event in Austin contact us!

 

 

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Store Pickup Functionality is Now Available Magento 2

Author: Ashley Overton  |  July 21, 2016

We announced the release of ShipperHQ for Magento 2 at the beginning of this year and our customer growth on Magento 2 is constantly rising. To keep up with the demands of our customers, we are continuously moving ShipperHQ’s feature set forward. We are proud to announce that we have recently added Store Pickup to the list of advanced features available on Magento 2 so users can easily show pickup locations at checkout.

Why You Should Add Store Pickup to Your Checkout

We live in the time where everything is “Googled.” I am just as guilty as anyone when I say our generation will search the web for anything from cooking recipes to how to fix a car or fly a plane. Customers now want access to more information before they make a purchase or venture to the store. In addition to information, they are keen to look for savings and quick service. So why not give them what they want and add the convenience of Store Pickup to your checkout?

Cost

Customers love discounts and this is a great alternative to offering free shipping without having to cover the costs. According to a survey from eFulliment Service, close to 70 percent of respondents said they prefer cheaper shipping over fast shipping. By adding Store Pickup to your checkout, you and your customers can avoid the cost of shipping. They have the ability to reserve their products online and pick them up at their own convenience. This way you seal the deal before they even enter the store!

Convenience

Store Pickup can help you keep your customers satisfied. It allows your customers to check the availability of products. This way they aren’t faced with the disappointment of finding that the item is only available in one of your stores 50 miles away or online after they have already reached the store. If they find that the item is not available in a nearby store they then have the option to have it shipped to their house, request to have it shipped to the store for pickup, or they can have someone else pick it up for them at another location.

Research

Although they may end up buying the item in store over purchasing directly online, having products (even those only found in store) available for research is beneficial to your customers. This gives them the opportunity to read reviews from other customers and find detailed information on the products. This also ties into convenience as the can do all of this from the comfort of their home.

Store Pickup in ShipperHQ

ShipperHQ allows merchants to offer more to their customers while having the ability to add restrictions, discounts and surcharges to options shown at checkout. With the Store Pickup feature you have the ability to delight your customers with the opportunity to save money at checkout.

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The Store Pickup feature allows you to set as many locations as you want for pickup. You then have the ability to sort those locations by distance from the customer and set your account to only show locations that are within a certain distance. This feature has been available to our customer on Magento 1 and is now available to those on Magento 2.

Contact us for more information on Store Pickup and ShipperHQ!

 

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