Something Digital - Magento Imagine

Magento Imagine Recap

We knew going into Magento Imagine this year that it was going to be one for the books. With a record number of attendees, SD featured on multiple panels and speaking sessions, and our very own Phillip Jackson as MC we knew we had to make this our best Imagine to date and we have to say, Imagine did not disappoint this year. Amazing sessions, Jamie Foxx as the Marquee Keynote Speaker (if free comedy shows are your thing, they’re ours) and the cherry on top of the sundae? SD taking home the Magento Shooting Star Award!

Imagine was packed this year with a record number of merchant attendees and Magento didn’t disappoint with the content they provided both merchants and vendors. Check out our top three takeaways from Magento Imagine 2018.

1. Magento Cloud is here to stay. If you’re a system integrator (SI) that implemented Cloud when it was first released you may remember some road bumps along the way. At Imagine this year there were an abundance of sessions with both merchants and SIs talking about their experience with Magento Cloud and how they can make it better.

2. Magento is constantly upgrading their platform. Magento made quite a few announcements during Imagine about upcoming features and functionality that will be introduced into the platform. Not to mention Magento 2.3.

3. Magento B2B is going to be big. There was a lot of talk about B2B at Imagine this year and even more B2B merchants in attendance. There was no shortage of sessions about B2B and how merchants can utilize the Magento B2B platform to sell directly to their customers.

We can’t wait until Magento Imagine 2019 (May 13-15)!

See you in 2019 Vegas!

Something Digital - Magento Imagine

Something Digital at Magento Imagine 2018

Imagine was a blast last year and the Something Digital team can’t wait to see what Magento has in store this year!

We’re obviously so excited that our very own Phillip Jackson will be the Master of Ceremonies and onstage doing the thing he does best (well one of the things), I mean look at his hair, he’s basically a professional hairstylist.

If you get tired of Phillip and want to see another SD team member then come visit us at booth #223 for premium swag or talk to one of our experts on design, development, marketing and more! Feel free to reach out in advance, any one of our experts can be booked through Brittany at [email protected]

[Win Something]

Drop your business card off at our booth #223 for a chance to to win up to six giveaways from our clients Jack Rogers, Fuzzy Babba, Malin+Goetz, Riley, Lib Tech and! Winners will be announced at the following times:

  • Monday, April 23 at 6:00 pm
  • Tuesday, April 24 at 6:00 pm
  • Wednesday, April 25 at 12:30 pm


[Join Something]

We’re pretty proud that we have both SD clients and SD team members represented onstage this year at Imagine. If you want to catch one of the sessions you can see the schedule below.


  • Lafleur 2, 10:30-11:15AM: The Merchant Perspective: Stories of Success in Scale and Growth
    • Featuring: Ian Leslie, Industry West
  • Encore Theater, 3:30-5:00PM: General Session
    • Featuring: Phillip Jackson, Something Digital



  • Encore Theater, 9:00-10:30AM: Keynote Speaker Session
    • Featuring: Melissa Ben-Ishay, Baked by Melissa and Phillip Jackson, Something Digital
  • Latour 5, 1:30-2:15PM: Leading the Charge: Tales from Building a Magento Business Practice
    • Featuring: Jon Klonsky, Something Digital
  • Lafleur 1, 3:45-4:30PM: Magento Commerce: Evolution to the Cloud
    • Featuring: Heather Kaminetsky, Riley and Max Chadwick, Something Digital
  • Encore Theater, 7:00-8:00PM: General Session
    • Featuring: Phillip Jackson, Something Digital



  • Latour 5, 9:30-10:15AM: Retrospective: The Magento Commerce Cloud at Work
    • Featuring: Jon Tudhope, Something Digital
  • Encore Theater, 11:00AM-12:00PM: General Session
    • Featuring: Phillip Jackson, Something Digital


We look forward to seeing you in Vegas!!!

Ask Us

SD Office Hours: Ask Us About Magento, Ep. 11

Welcome back to SD Office Hours! Wow we’re already at 11 episodes and this episode is a special one. We’re live from Seattle!

Want to know the questions/answers asked without watching the whole video? Check out the cheat sheet below!

  • How hard is it to implement Magento’s new B2B product? – 3:12 – 7:04
  • Phillip give us a little preview what you’re doing as MC of Imagine and is Mark still in the bathroom? – 7:08 – 10:55
  • How long should it take to build a Magento 2 theme? My SI thinks it should take 400+ hours. – 11:12 – 15:30
  • When should I abandon my broken Magento site and just rebuild? – 15:33 – 26:50
  • When should we use a PIM? –  27:00 – 30:30


Join us live for the next SD Office Hours on Facebook or join us through zoom! You can find our schedule on Facebook and make sure you RSVP so you never miss an episode!

Phillip Master of Ceremonies

SD’s Phillip Jackson to be the Master of Ceremonies for Magento Imagine 2018

Magento Imagine 2018 Master of Ceremonies, 3x Magento Master, 5x Magento Certified, 15 years of experience creating unique online customer experiences, organizer of the Magento SoFla Meetup, host of Nomad Mage and host of podcasts MagetalkFuture Commerce, Merchant to Merchant, and SD Office Hours and if you’re still reading this; what do all of these awards, activities and accolades have in common? They all belong to Mr. Phillip Jackson.

That was a long way of saying (and tooting Phillip’s horn) that SD’s Phillip Jackson, our Ecommerce Evangelist is the official Master of Ceremonies at the 2018 Magento Imagine Conference. Please join us in congratulating Phillip for this tremendous honor to host one of (if not the largest) ecommerce conferences in the world. If you’re not familiar with what Magento Imagine is, it’s one of the largest ecommerce conferences held by one of the largest ecommerce platforms, Magento. It’s a place where thousands of individuals who are passionate about ecommerce and innovation get together to share their stories, experiences, and expertise of Magento. If you’re interested in sponsoring or attending make sure you sign up soon! Magento Imagine will be held in Las Vegas at the Wynn, April 23-25.

Make sure you check out the full interview with Phillip on becoming the Master of Ceremonies and a pretty funny video featuring Magento CEO, Mark Lavelle.

If you liked this blog make sure you check out our recap from Magento Imagine 2017.


How to Drive Repeat Customer Success with Magento Business Intelligence (BI)

Business intelligence (BI) is certainly a hot buzzword, and if you’re like a lot of ecommerce managers up to your ears with work, you generally don’t have time learn every buzzword in the zeitgeist. You may already pull a half dozen reports out of Google Analytics, why bother with more?

But BI is to Google Analytics what a rotary phone is to an iPhone. BI can be game changing for your business, and it’s well worth adopting. Why?

To begin, when you use a BI tool, such as Magento’s Business Intelligence, you essentially create a data warehouse using data from all the systems deployed throughout your business: website analytics, CRM, OMS, ERP, help desk, inventory management, email management and so on. Those datasets are layered on top of one another in visual dashboards, letting you spot interesting correlations, and ask very strategic questions based on what you see. It offers a level of insight that’s impossible to achieve by manually merging data in a spreadsheet. And it’s fully automated.

How to Know if You Need BI

You know you need BI if:

  • If you, or someone in your company, spends a good chunk of time merging myriad datasets into a single Excel spreadsheet to arrive at some kind of understanding of what has happened in your business.
  • You want to know what’s happening now in addition to what just happened. Reports tell you what happened yesterday, last week or some other past interval. Only a dashboard fueled by BI can tell you what’s happening right now.
  • You’re considering making changes to your business, say expanding into a new market or your product suite. BI doesn’t just tell what’s happening; by layering on multiple data sources, it tells you why. And that, in turn, will help you assess the risks and opportunities of more strategic moves.


It’s Easy

You don’t need to be a data geek to gleam insights from BI. By definition BI is highly visual, offering dashboards that highlight correlations between datasets that would otherwise be difficult to see. You can then drill down into the data, and begin to ask additional questions and test hypothesis.

A New Level of Insight

Google Analytics and similar website analytics programs do a great job at tracking metrics such visitors to your website and conversion rate. But those metrics don’t offer the critical context you need to home in on your most profitable customers, and drive ROI. To understand which customers cohorts will drive your business forward, you need to understand their lifetime value (LTV).

With a BI tool you can merge conversion rate and visitor information with actual revenue data to arrive at customer lifetime value. Then when it’s time to make critical decisions, such as product selection or pricing, you can see the impact of those changes on the LTV of the customers you acquire.

For instance, let’s say you sell a product for $200 and that your margin on that product is 45%. Now that lets you know (because you’ve used a BI tool to get LTV insight) that customers who purchase that product have a $2,000 LTV. This is strategic information, because it means spending up to $150 – $200 to acquire that customer will still deliver stellar marketing ROI. Without that LTV data, you might not be willing to spend that much for the customer.

Snapshot of What Best Behaving Customers Look Like

BI also allows you to track LTV by customer behavior and segments. For instance, do shoppers who purchase a particular line of products have a higher LTV than your overall customers? What are the LTV of customers by geographic location, age, gender, income or by any combination of attributes? Which channels — Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, email newsletters, etc. — deliver the greatest number of high LTV customers? Are there behaviors and demographics that indicate a consumer who will purchase just once vs. those who will purchase frequently? What about time in between purchases?

A thorough understanding of LTV dynamics will help you drive ROI by:

  • Focusing your marketing promotions on products that attract your most profitable customers.
  • Model your most profitable customers by demographic and behavior use those models to target consumers who are new to your brand.
  • Target consumers in the channels in which they’re most likely to respond, thereby driving return on ad spend (ROAS).


Out of the Box Plug-ins Means Fast Implementation

Once upon a time, business intelligence was a hugely expensive proposition, one that required engaging an army of system integrators to merge disparate data sources. Today’s SaaS, API-driven tools, particularly Magento BI, has leveled the playing field. Merging data from tools such as Google AdWords, MailChimp, Salesforce, Facebook, Zendesk, SurveyMonkey and many others is a simple one-click process. The plug-ins — not your IT department — will retrieve and normalize the data automatically, allowing you to set up a robust BI tool in less than a day.

Once all of this data is centralized in your dashboards you can begin to compare how each channel/campaigns perform with your particular customer segments, and quickly identify which have the best LTV.

Attribution Models

One of the most frequent questions we hear at Something Digital is: How do I establish an attribution model? Online retailers want to know which channels deliver the most profitable customers so that they can focus their marketing spend on them. BI sheds light on attribution.

By tracking trends on a wide variety of data points, BI can tell you how your customer cohorts first engage with your brand, as well as show you where the gaps in your understanding of your attribution might be.

Once your understand how customers arrive at your site, you can then probe on a deeper level, such as:

  • Which channels are best for brand new customers?
  • Why does one channel bring in customers with a higher LTV than another?


Assess All Your Customer Touchpoints

So far I’ve talked about customer acquisition and sales, but as every retailer knows, sales are hardly the sole customer touchpoint. Fortunately, BI can deliver insights into all interactions customers and prospects have with your brand.

For instance, let’s say you wish to know how many customers experience a slower than normal time-to-ship for their orders. More importantly, you want to understand the impact of such delays on their LTV.

The first question alone is extremely to answer because you’ll need to pinpoint when the packages shipped, when they left your warehouse, when the customers actually received them. BI can pull all of these datasets from your internal (OMS, CRM, ERP) and external (UPS deliver) sources.

Once you have that data in your dashboard you can then determine the impact late shipment has on your customers. Are they more likely to return their product if they received it late? Are they more likely to cancel their order? What are their purchase patterns after receiving a late package? Are they less likely to become a repeat customer if we ship poorly on the first time?

Each question leads to additional insights, all of which are actionable. For instance, if customers with behaviors and demographic attributes that indicate a high LTV receive their packages late, you can proactively send them a coupon or offer by way of apology.

BI insights can help you improve interactions with every customer touchpoints by allowing you to monitor every part of the customer lifecycle, identify where your trouble spots are, and more importantly identify what your company is doing right and focusing on those activities.

Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty deserves its own blog post, it’s worth mentioning now how BI can help you build a customer loyalty program that rewards your brand promoters without breaking your bank. For instance, you can take advantage of the one-click access to SurveyMonkey from Magento BI to understand how customer sentiment affects purchases, and how purchases affect customer disposition. By layering sentiment data onto purchase data, you can begin to understand what motivates your brand promoters, and ways to reward them.

One Final Thought

While everything I’ve described above should great and amazing, I can promise you this: it’s only going to get better! Magento is investing serious research and development into its BI tool, adding new functionality while driving the cost down. Expect to be dazzled at this year’s Magento Imagine.

If you have questions about you Magento BI let us know!

Like this blog? Check out this blog on why you need Magento BI.

Written by: Phillip Jackson, Ecommerce Evangelist


Ask Us

SD Office Hours: Ask Us About Magento, Ep. 10

Welcome back to SD Office Hours: Ask Us About Magento episode 10! If you want to know what we think of ElasticSearch or how you can prep for the M2 certifications, watch the episode below.

Want to know the questions/answers asked without watching the whole video? Check out the cheat sheet below!

  • I know ElasticSearch comes native in Magento – do you use it for your clients? Can you tell me more about what it can do? How do I set it up? Do you have alternatives that you recommend? – 4:20 – 13:50
  • Do you recommend using a theme for Magento? Do you have any that you recommend? – 13:57 – 24:55
  • What’s the best way to implement infinite scroll? – 25:08 – 40:40
  • What’s the most innovative feature that you’ve seen implemented on Magento in the past few months? – 40:46 – 47:20
  • Do you have any recommendations for prep for the M2 dev certification? – 47:25 – 54:40


Join us live for the next SD Office Hours on Facebook or join us through zoom! You can find our schedule on Facebook and make sure you RSVP so you never miss an episode!

SD Office Hours

SD Office Hours: Ask Us About Magento, Ep. 9

Welcome back to SD Office Hours: Ask Us About Magento, episode 10! Do you want to know what our process is for deployment, how to sell digital products, or why we like working with Magento watch episode 10 below!

Want to know the questions/answers asked without watching the whole video? Check out the cheat sheet below!

  • I’m a dev considering learning Magento – what are some the reasons you like working with Magento? – 6:55 – 15:55
  • I wrote a customization for a customer that I think I could turn into an extension for the marketplace. Do you have any advice on the best way to approach? – 16:05 – 27:05
  • What tools do you use for deployment/what’s your process? – 27:10 – 33:30
  • I’d like to be able to sell customized products. How would I best handle in Magento? – 33:35 – 41:05
  • I currently sell physical products through Magento but I’d like add digital products that would accompany my physical products. I’d like to sell them as a package but also I want to sell the digital products individually – what’s the best way to do this in Magento? – 41:10 – 45:40


Join us live for the next SD Office Hours on Facebook or join us through zoom! You can find our schedule on Facebook and make sure you RSVP so you never miss an episode!


Magento Master

Congrats 3x Magento Master Phillip Jackson

Our Ecommerce Evangelist, Phillip Jackson was named a Magento Master: Mover for the third year in a row.

Movers are Magento’s top advocates and ecosystem thought leaders who have demonstrated their expertise in driving innovation through Magento solutions.

Phillip was selected as a Magento Master for 2018 based on his 2017 contributions through organizing the Magento SoFla Meetup, hosts Nomad Mage and hosts the successful podcasts MagetalkFuture Commerce and Merchant to Merchant, with over 50,000 monthly listeners. He is also the co-host of SD’s own SD Office Hours for Magento—a bi-weekly webinar answer LIVE Q&A about the Magento platform and ecosystem.

Movers are influencers in the industry in delivering best-of-class Magento implementations and advocate for Magento at industry events.*

We’re so proud of Phillip and the other Masters: Movers named for 2018!

You can meet the other Magento Master: Movers here.

(*Source – Magento Blog)

Forget the Myths: What You Really Need to Consider When Selecting an eCommerce Platform

Full Disclosure: It’s no secret that we at Something Digital are fans of Magento. Our blog is filled with stories about the platform, we participate in the Magento Community, speak at their conferences, and we initiate and sponsor events around them. That said, about a year and a half ago we expanded our partnerships to include other platforms because, at the end of the day, we are focused on delivering the right solution for each client, and that goal trumps loyalty to any partnership.

However, we have experienced some unfair mud slinging toward Magento from their competitors which is creating confusion in the market, and we wanted to dispel a few myths so retailers can make the right choice for their businesses.

Myth #1: Magento is pulling the plug on Magento v.1, forcing all customers to upgrade whether they want to or not

Contrary to what you may have heard, Magento IS NOT pulling the plug on the first version of its platform and forcing retailers who are happy to migrate to version 2. The truth is, Magento has committed to fully support M1.x until the end of 2020 (and that includes any necessary security fixes). To be clear, since M2 launched in November 2016, merchants will have in total four full years of runway to upgrade.

Myth #2: You need an advanced engineering degree to implement Magento

We’ve been in this business for 14+ years and have worked with online retailers and ecommerce sites of all stripes and sizes and I have to say, we find the new Magento Enterprise Cloud offering removes many technology and security elements from the merchant’s plate.

That said, some retailers have more complicated selling models, customizable products, multi-warehouse delivery, multiple currencies, or want a shared shopping cart to work across multiple brands. These are functionalities that require additional engineering, which is where system integrators, like Something Digital, come in.

Myth #3: Once You Buy, Magento Waves Good-Bye

I’ve heard a lot of chatter that once you sign the contract for Magento, you’re on your own from a technical point of view.  But I can assure you that both Magento and its partners, such as Something Digital, are there for the long term, actively working with you to ensure your success.  Magento’s focus on its Enterprise Cloud product is the best indication of how the platform plans to support merchants in the long term. In fact, Magento has the largest market share of any ecommerce platform, and is still growing.

And no platform has an established developer community like Magento’s, which continuously provides core updates, innovative extensions and add-ons. The community offers a lot of brainpower and creativity for you to tap into.

Myth #4: Magento will Nickle & Dime Merchants

Be wary of claims regarding costs. There are many providers of cloud-based ecommerce platforms that tout a low cost, and that may be fine if you are a small retailer with simple needs. If you need extras, the costs can creep up. As for Magento nickling and diming its merchants, the company bundles its features into its basic packages that include robust business intelligence platform, Magento Social, which allows you to sell on social media, and a new performance monitoring tool called New Relic.

The bottom line, for all but the most simple needs, the “real cost” of a solution requires a detailed discussion with the provider.

Myth #5: Magento’s B2B/Enterprise Product is Overly Complex

B2B ecommerce itself is different than B2C. Enterprise class sellers require key features, such as omni-channel and order management capabilities. They also need to integrate seamlessly into other business systems. Additionally, enterprise-level sites often require a higher degree of customization, especially as it pertains to the customer experience. That level of customization isn’t easily accomplished with out-of-the box templates.

And again, Magento and its partners ecosystem are available to businesses to deliver solutions based on each customer’s unique needs.

Questions to Ask

Before you make a platform selection, Something Digital suggests you compile a list of questions that reflect your 5+ year strategy. These questions should factor in your plans for international expansion, new products, fulfillment options, future sales and marketing channels.

Something Digital’s team can provide a questionnaire to assist with this process. If you’d like more information contact us here.

How Being Available on GitHub Has Changed Magento Development (for the better) at SD

Magento has always been an open source platform. If you ask me, this fundamental tenant of the software is likely the biggest contributor to the platform’s success.

With Magento 2, however, this open source ethos has been taken to the next level. Now, the source code for the software is hosted on GitHub, where a dedicated “Community Engineering” team is responsible for triaging issues and pull requests contributed by the Magento community.

In this post, I’ll discuss how being available on GitHub has changed the Magento development experience at Something Digital, for the better.

A New Approach To Implementing New Features / Platform Improvements

In the Magento 1 days, if you wanted to add a new feature to the Magento platform, the approach was simple. Build a module to implement the desired functionality and install it on the code base in question. At Something Digital, we’ve done that countless times. In fact, we have made many of those publicly available on our GitHub page, and there are even more that we’ve decided to keep private.

With the Magento 2 code base being available on GitHub, however, things have changed. Now we’re presented with a few options…

1. Custom build and install a module as we would have done in the pre-GitHub days

2. Contribute the changes back to the Magento code base via a pull request and upgrade when the changes become available

The main benefit of the latter option is that the code we write and submit via a pull request becomes an official part of the Magento code base. As such, we do not have to worry (hopefully 😀) that future changes to the Magento code base will break our customizations. Further our changes are now available to and will be used by the Magento community, meaning Magento core developers or Magento community contributors can enhance or bugfix the changes we introduce.

The main downside to the second approach is that going through the code review / release process adds some additional time to the overall turnaround of the change which may or may not be tolerable. However, while the changes are going through review, we can generate patch files to apply to our client’s sites, prior to upgrades being available through official Magento releases.

As you can imagine, we typically favor the latter option whenever possible.

GitHub Issues

Another major improvement that has come with GitHub hosting is GitHub issues. While there are many channels for “Googling” Magento (StackExchange, Magento Forums, various blogs), GitHub issues provide a unique environment that is unparalleled by any other.

Among other things, issues on GitHub provide references to specific lines of code, labels and responses from Magento core engineers, and workarounds identified by community members. They’ve been invaluable for our team to get to the bottom of issues reported by our clients.

Git Blame / Pull Request Audit Trails

Finally, by being on GitHub, we are able to use the powerful Git tools such as git blame to understand the code archeology of any and all code in the Magento code base. We can then review commit messages and conversations about the changes that happened via a GitHub pull request. Again, this has come in handy more times than I can remember.


All in all, being available on GitHub has been very beneficial to our development process at Something Digital. If you’d like to continue the conversation feel free to hit us up @SomethingDigitl on Twitter or on our contact form!

Written by: Max Chadwick, Senior Programmer