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Announcement | September 12, 2019

A Glimpse into Ecommerce Platforms in 2019: Magento, Sitecore, Shopify Plus and Salesforce

The world of ecommerce never sleeps, so it’s important to stay on top of every update to stay in the loop.

SmartOSC is proud to be partnered with the leading platforms and innovators in the industry, so this article will summarize their notable announcements and improvements so far and remaining in 2019.

Magento

Since its acquisition by Adobe last year, Magento has made great strides in maintaining its role as a market leader in the PaaS classification. That being said, improvements are constantly being made to the commerce cloud and its integration with the rest of the Adobe cloud ecosystem. Watch for these key items in 2019 and ongoing:

Security Improvements

Magento now offers Composer packages that add an option for Google reCAPTCHA and CAPTCHA to the Payflow Pro checkout form. It is strongly recommended to install those packages to enhance the security of your ecommerce store.

There was a critical SQL injection vulnerability that was identified in previous versions that is now fixed in the latest release. This vulnerability can also be solved in previous versions by applying a patch.

Enhancements

In the latest release, Magento introduced Page Builder, which is a tool that allows merchants to customize [their] content page layout using a friendly drag and drop visual content editor. Users don’t need to have any knowledge of HTML or CSS to be able to use the tool.

Order creation workflows were also improved to avoid delays on editing billing and shipping addresses.

Features

The Inventory Management tool has multiple new features thanks to the community members who developed the enhancements. They were included in the latest Magento release. The most notable features are the optimization of the bulk transfer of inventory, the Elasticsearch support and the Distance Priority Source Selection Algorithm (SSA), which helps to calculate the shortest distance for deliveries, resulting in reducing costs by shipping orders from the closest inventory locations. [Globalization Partners International]

Magento Imagine

Magento imagine 2019

On May 13th-15th, 2019, SmartOSC attended the 9th annual Magento Imagine conference in Las Vegas. This event focuses inspirational keynote presentations from leaders in the ecommerce industry along with networking and tips for how to better use the platform. Some highlights included:

  • The integration of Magento Commerce with Adobe Commerce Cloud alongside Adobe marketing, advertising and analytics clouds

  • Adobe Sensei AI framework brought to Magento Commerce

  • Increased focus on progressive web apps (PWAs) for the future of mobile commerce

  • Amazon sales channel integration

  • Omnichannel order management

Sitecore

Sitecore, the quintessential digital experience management software is constantly advancing. For ecommerce businesses, the most important evolution being Sitecore Experience Commerce.

Sitecore Experience Platform

Create fully personalized shopping experiences with Sitecore Experience Commerce:

  • Craft and control personalised commerce experiences

  • Leverage Sitecore’s marketing automation, content management, data, and insights

  • Create storefronts, product pages, carts, checkouts, accounts, and more

  • Nurture customer relationships before, during and after the transaction

  • Test and optimise promotions, user journeys, personalisation rules, and more

Most of the core Sitecore announcements came from last year’s Sitecore Symposium, and more are expected from the same event later this year:

“One of the main announcements that was made at Sitecore Symposium 2018 was Stylelabs acquisition. Earlier this year, Sitecore published a press release announcing the immediate availability of the Sitecore Plugin for Stylelabs DAM (Digital Asset Management). This is the first integration between both platforms and it enables users to combine web content and digital assets in marketing workflows, improving the efficiency and productivity of content producers. This plugin is compatible with Sitecore Experience Manager and Sitecore Experience Platform versions 8.2.7, 9.0.2 and 9.1 as well as Sitecore Experience Commerce version 9.0 update 2.

Another announcement at Sitecore Symposium 2018 was an entirely new content editing experience, which appears to combine Experience Editor and Content Editor.

Additionally, during Sitecore SYM 2018 there were many sessions about JSS (JavaScript Services), an SDK for JavaScript developers that enables you to build solutions combining Sitecore and modern JavaScript UI libraries and frameworks. The usage of JSS has grown considerably in the last year, so we expect more to come on this topic during 2019.

Finally, another item to mention is Cortex, which is Sitecore’s machine learning engine. It collects and processes huge amounts of data, enhancing the customer experience by providing personalisation, automation and segmentation to marketing teams. This technology will have a large impact on how data is processed and used in Sitecore’s platform and will certainly be evolving during this year.”

[GPI]

Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus continued to nurture their wholesale capabilities to attract more B2B merchants and posit a more competitive stance against other leading platforms. SmartOSC attended this year’s Shopify Unite in Toronto, where some excellent progress was outlined regarding ecommerce innovation:

  • Enhanced storefront design features: a previous setback for Shopify users were the customisation restrictions with the theme editor, namely for any pages other than the homepage. Shopify has announced sections on every page and master pages among other features.

  • Video and 3D Product Pages: Products can now be displayed using video or augmented reality for full effect.

  • Elevated POS: New features more closely connect the online-to-offline experience. The improvements include combined loyalty and promotions, faster, more simple, and unified retail payments.

  • Fulfillment, Delivery Profile, and Order Editing APIs: These features will make it easier to automate fulfillment and self-help processes so merchants can focus more time on growth.

  • Actual multi-language, multi-currency support: Merchants will no longer need to rely on 3rd party extensions, meaning more accurate translations and conversions.

The New Shopify Plus

  • A new admin interface that rolls up insights across all of your stores, allowing you to see key insights about your entire business

  • Shopify Flow will see a new home in Shopify Plus, and user admins and assigned staff members will be able to copy flows across all stores

  • Read more about the New Shopify Plus: https://www.shopify.com/enterprise/unite-2019#1

Faster Speed & Localised Servers

Enable Subscriptions in your Shopify checkout

  • Grow your recurring revenue stream with subscription solutions integrated in Shopify’s checkout

  • Later this year, app developers will be able to use our checkout app extension to seamlessly integrate their apps with Shopify, allowing customers to purchase subscription products without leaving your checkout: https://www.shopify.com/enterprise/unite-2019#8

Theme Sections

  • We’re extending our code-less customisation capability to all pages of the online store

  • Sections can now be used on every page type on your store, allowing merchants to make quick layout and content changes: https://www.shopify.com/enterprise/unite-2019#3

Order Editing

  • Merchants will soon be able to edit open orders at the buyer’s request

  • Our new order editing features will enable apps to add, remove, or replace items before the line item has been fulfilled, expect some exciting new apps to come out with this API: https://www.shopify.com/enterprise/unite-2019#3

Shipping Profiles

  • Shipping profiles allow merchants to set custom shipping rules based on product details like size, weight, or shipping origin

  • You can use shipping profiles to offer customers more accurate shipping rates that won’t cut into profit margins: https://www.shopify.com/enterprise/unite-2019#4

New Shopify POS

Shopify Fulfilment Network (US)

  • Expanding into the US will soon be easier with the huge announcement of our new Shopify Fulfilment Network

  • A geographically dispersed network of fulfilment centres with smart inventory-allocation technology, powered by machine learning: https://www.shopify.com/enterprise/unite-2019#5

BigCommerce

BigCommerce features

BC is a burgeoning platform with a lot to prove, so they’ve set the pace with consistent improvements to functionality, engagement, and product releases up to now with no signs of slowing down. Expect to see great things from BigCommerce to come, and enjoy the impressive range of features and benefits that have rolled out this year to date:

  • Best-in-industry Shipping Rates

    • Partnership expansion

    • International and Third-party Logistics

  • Headless Commerce, integration with:

    • Bloomreach

    • Sitecore

    • Adobe Experience Manager 

  • Enhanced Social Media Integrations (Facebook Marketplace, Shopping on Instagram)

  • Amazon Product Catalog Import Tool

  • Custom Checkouts, automatic image optimisation

  • Accelerated mobile pages with AMP

and many more to come.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Salesforce seeks to further improve its commerce cloud while increasing cohesion with the entire Salesforce cloud software suite.

Notable improvements to SFCC in particular included:

Next Generation of Customer 360

Salesforece customer 360

The next generation of Salesforce Customer 360 will enable:

  • Data Unification and Consent Management

  • Advanced Audience Segmentation

  • Personalised Engagement Everywhere

  • Optimisation Based on Einstein Insights

New Salesforce Commerce Cloud Page Designer

  • Create—Simply click, drag and drop components like new or seasonal merchandise, banners, carousels and more into any digital storefront. Now, companies are armed with the tools they need to build deeply customised, robust webpages, leveraging a library of reusable components.

  • Preview and Schedule—Preview website content by device type across desktop, tablet and mobile, enabling companies to surface the most relevant content to their customers. 

  • Reuse—Quickly configure and update pages by saving and reusing components and pre-built page layouts from any digital storefront.

Increased Capabilities of AI in Customer Service

With Einstein Bots, service leaders and admins don’t have to be data scientists to take advantage of cutting edge AI capabilities. We’ve made the setup process easier than ever, with a new map view that gives admins a visual guide to help design conversations, ensuring customers won’t get stuck in a dead-end during a service interaction. The new exact match capability lets admins quickly create intent models that train Einstein Bots to quickly recognise what customers are asking for and help them instantly. And dynamic routing directs customers to a specific queue based on their conversation, ensuring customers are on the best path to quick resolution with the right agents.

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