Category Archives: News

PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: MediaCT

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 31, 2017

MediaCT is the leading Dutch commerce development agency, specializing in Magento Enterprise Solutions. They deliver the highest quality development and optimization of new or existing commerce sites. Their team stands for short communication lines and openness. From their office in Groningen they serve over 25 renowned e-commerce enterprises throughout the Netherlands – inspiring, motivating, and taking our clients to the next level.

MediaCTTheir team leads the pack with their marketing DNA, conversion-focused attitude and excellent technological know-how. MediaCT lurched their first Magento site at the end of 2008 and they have been a part of the community for almost a decade now.  This will be their third time attending PreImagine and first time sponsoring the event!

Tjitte Folkertsma of MediaCT shares his views on the PreImagine event and what he looks forward to most:

Why did MediaCT decide to sponsor PreImagine this year?

The reason I decided to sponsor this year is that I promised it to Ignacio Riesco & Kimberely Thomas (Magentogirl) last year 😉

How would you describe your past PreImagine experiences?

Every year it’s a special get-together with friends and colleagues from around the world celebrating the #real Magento community, learning from each other and having a lot of fun!

What is your favorite memory from past PreImagines?

I have several special moments at (pre)imagine.

Imagine is the place to get inspired and to get a feeling and connecting with what’s going on in the commerce and Magento world.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

Connecting with all the great people and friends we met at all the Magento events around the world.

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Don’t hesitate to become actively involved and get in contact with all the great people there.

Almost all of them won’t bite (watch out for Ignacio he might ;-), but besides him…. talk, learn, drink, interact, be inspirent, laugh and connect!

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PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Blue Acorn

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 30, 2017

IMG_9980-2Blue Acorn is a commerce agency that maximizes online revenue for B2C and B2B brands. Their team develops and optimizes ecommerce sites with solutions tailored to deliver results that matter most to your organization. Whether you need radical change or incremental improvements, their integrated team of designers, developers and optimizers work together to deliver engaging shopping experiences for your customers and efficient processes for you.

Blue Acorn has been a part of the Magento community almost since its inception. Around the same time Kevin Eichelberger was laying the foundation for what would become Blue Acorn, he heard about a new project called Magento. They’ve been an official Magento partner since 2009, and since then have won awards for partner of the Year, Best Web Design, Most innovative Site of the Year, and spirit of Excellence.

This is the team’s fifth year attending and sponsoring PreImagine. They even helped organize the first PreImagine back in 2013 and their founder, Kevin, was actually the first person to ever use the hashtag #PreImagine in a tweet.

We interviewed Bethany Kelley, PR & Communications Manager, to get insight on the Blue Acorn experience at PreImagine and what they look forward to most this year:

What is your favorite memory from past PreImagines?

IMG_9974The Road to Imagine in 2016 was a highlight! A group of Magento community members rode motorcycles to Imagine, and they drove all the way in to the poolside terrace at the Wynn.

In 2014, when PreImagine and Imagine were held at the Hard Rock, there were exceptionally delicious soft pretzels with cheese dip.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

PreImagine comes but once a year. We’re ready to soak up the sunshine, reconnect with old friends, and enjoy a poolside cocktail or two.

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

You’ll be able to scoop up some awesome swag from sponsors. Keep an eye out for Blue Acorn’s koozies and squish squirrels.

Do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Don’t forget your sunglasses! PreImagine is always held poolside at the Wynn, it’s beautiful and bright.

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PreImagine 2017 Sponsor Spotlight: Pixafy

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 29, 2017

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. Not to mention the synergies with their sister company, Net@work, who have unique expertise integrating with back office systems such as Sage and NetSuite ERP, CRM, HR etc. 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!

 

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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.

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!

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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!

Link to full article

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.

Link to full article

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!

Link to full article

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.

Link to full article

Are you Charging the Correct Amount of Sales Tax?

Author: Mark Faggiano  |  July 5, 2016

Calculating and understanding sales tax can be a bit complicated especially for those selling to customers throughout multiple states or countries. So, we have invited Mark Faggiano, Founder and CEO of TaxJar, to shed light on how you can ensure you are charging the correct sales tax. 


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We talk to tons of online sellers, and one of the most common question we see when it comes to collecting sales tax is: “Wait, am I doing this right?”

We get it. Figuring out which sales tax rate to charge your customers can be complex. Not to mention, there are probably 19 other things on your to do list ahead of “Make sure I’m not totally screwing sales tax up.”

This quick guide will explain why sales tax is charged the way it is in the U.S., and how to make absolutely certain you’re charging your customers the correct rate.

Sales Tax 101

Forty-five U.S. states and Washington D.C. have a sales tax. Merchants with sales tax nexus in a state are required to collect sales tax from their buyers in that state and remit the fund back to the state. From there, those funds are used to pay for budget items like roads, schools and public safety.

What Makes Up a Sales Tax Rate?

You’ve probably noticed in your day-to-day life that sales tax rates vary from place to place, even within a state or county. A few factors make up your standard sales tax rate:

State sales tax rate – Each state with a sales tax has a statewide sales tax rate, generally ranging from 4-8%. About 10 states stop there and only have a statewide sales tax rate for the whole state. But most states also have…

globe-usa-1309894-1279x978County and city sales tax rates – Cities and counties want money to fund budget items, too, so in most states they can also require merchants to charge a sales tax. City, county and other local rates are added on to state rates.

Example: The sales tax rate in Norfolk, Nebraska is 7.5%. That’s the 5.5% Nebraska state sales tax rate plus the 2% Norfolk city sales tax rate. (Madison
County, where Norfolk is located, does not have a sales tax.)

Special taxing districts – Sometimes several local areas will be part of a “special taxing district.” This generally occurs when a big project – like a public transit system – will affect multiple localities. One example is the “Metro Commuter Transit District (MCTD)” which encompasses New York City and 7 New York counties.

Example: The sales tax rate in Suffern, NY is a combined 8.375%. That’s the 4% New York state rate, the 4% Rockland county rate, and the .375% MCTD (special taxing district) rate.

Check out TaxJar’s Sales Tax Calculator to look up a sales tax rate for yourself.

Sales Tax Sourcing Rules

“Sourcing” is where sales tax gets tricky for eCommerce sellers. There are two main types of sourcing rules, and states fall into either category:

Origin-based sales tax sourcing – In origin-based states, if you are based in the state and not considered a remote seller, then the rules say you collect sales tax based on the total sales tax rate at your business location.

Destination-based sales tax sourcing – Most states are destination-based states. In destination-based sales tax states, the rules say that you should charge sales tax based on the combined rate at your buyer’s location. By now you know how tricky this can get, with all those different city, county and special taxing district rates playing their part. Two towns that are 10 miles apart can have vastly different sales tax rates.

All states fall into either the origin-based or destination-based category, with the important exception of California, which is a “modified-origin” state. (You can read more about California sales tax here.)

For eCommerce sellers with sales tax nexus in multiple states, it’s important to note that if you are considered a “remote seller” (not based in a state) then you are required to use destination-based sourcing even when selling into origin-based states. Again, there are exceptions in California, Arizona and New Mexico.

Sales tax sourcing rules can be tough to wrap your mind around, so we wrote a whole post about Origin vs. Destination-Based Sales Tax States.

Product Taxability

As if this weren’t confusing enough, there’s also the fact that some products aren’t taxable in some states. Or some products are taxed at a different rate in some states.

For example, in Illinois grocery items are taxed at a reduced rate of 1%. In many other states, grocery items are not taxable at all. In New York, clothing under $110 is exempt from sales tax. But clothing is taxable in most states.

Each state will have differing rules about which products are taxable and tax exempt.

Shipping Taxability

Then there’s the matter of shipping. Some states consider shipping charges part of the total sale, and thus taxable if the sale is taxable.

Other states do not consider shipping a part of the total sale as long as the shipping charge is separately stated on the invoice.

Still other states, like Virginia, consider shipping non-taxable except if shipping and handling are combined – then the whole charge is taxable.

Confusing, right?

How Can I Collect the Right Amount of Sales Tax?

In the past, it has been up to you or your shopping cart to ensure you’re collecting the right amount of sales tax from your customers all the while following sourcing and product and shipping taxability rules. What a hassle.

TaxJar’s SmartCalcs sales tax API takes care of all that hassle – and it’s absolutely free for Magento merchants!

No matter if you have nexus in multiple destination-based states, or sell a product that is taxable in some states and exempt in others, TaxJar has your back.

Check it out for yourself with a 30-day-free trial.

There’s a whole lot more to sales tax than just charging the right rate. For more info, check out our Sales Tax 101 for Online Sellers guide. Or start the conversation in the comments!

TaxJar, a Magento Premier partner, is a service built to make sales tax calculation, reporting and filing simple for eCommerce sellers. Try a 30-day-free trial of TaxJar today and eliminate sales tax compliance headaches from your life!


About the Author

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Mark Faggiano is the Founder and CEO of TaxJar – a service that automates sales tax compliance for over 5,000 eCommerce businesses. Mark has built a career around his passion for using technology to solve complex problems that hamper growth for small businesses. He previously co-founded and grew FileLater to become the web’s leading tax extension service for both businesses and individual taxpayers before it was acquired in 2010.

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