Pod1 hosts Varien (Magento) gathering
5 years ago
Shoreditch House was the venue for a meeting on January 12th between senior staff from Varien (the developers of Magento), Pod1 and a group of people who influence the eCommerce decisions of many of the UK’s leading retailers. The meeting was organised to help in the exchange of knowledge and ideas about what UK retailers are looking for from an eCommerce platform, how Magento might meet their needs, and the potential obstacles to Magento’s uptake. After brief introductions to Pod1 and Varien, an open discussion led us into many of the more interesting areas of the eCommerce world.
Discussion ranged from the need for simplicity and easy operation for the very small retailer to the challenge of getting an open source application accepted by a big corporate IT department. For many retailers, it’s clear that the eCommerce team is small and busy, with has high targets and high expectations set for it. Any eCommerce platform needs to help the team do complex, powerful things with ease. Merchandising is a critical task for any eCommerce team, and platforms need easy to use, powerful merchandising capabilities.
For the larger retailer the robustness of the platform, how well supported it is (24 hours per day, 365 days per year) and easy integration with corporate systems like the CRM database are more important. Vendors developing for any client need to make sure the latest whizzy front-end feature isn’t going to break the back-end administration system, and isn’t going to be a nightmare to operate.
Many retailers want to buy a turnkey solution that they just use, without the aggravation of having servers and IT teams of their own, and they increasingly ask for hosting that will get bigger and faster when it needs to (on Boxing Day, for example) and then gets smaller and cheaper when the website’s quieter.
Varien shared a great deal of information about the current and planned capabilities of Magento. They have a team dedicated to high availability enhancements and performance improvements, and regular improvements are being released to the community and enterprise editions. They hope to release a version of Magento for another database (other than MySQL) very soon. The new version of Magento Connect will be ‘super easy’ to use and support charging for extensions as part of the download process. The Magento development team certainly sounds very busy.
As hosts, we hope everyone learned something from the encounter. We certainly came away with lots of ideas, information and determination to make our flavour of Magento even better than it already is.