Magento 2

Hi Thomas, and thanks for this interview! Could you tell our readers a little bit about the Meet Magento Association and your work in the Magento community?

My name is Thomas Goletz, I’m president of the Meet Magento Association. The Association is a non-profit organisation which handles all activities around international Meet Magento events, Developers Paradise and the Localised Magento Edition. We just started with the Association this year, so there is even more to come. We’re planning to establish the Meet Magento Association as the first contact point for merchants, agencies and technology partners, to sum it up for the whole community – similar to the concept of our Meet Magento events.

How did Meet Magento first get started, and what was the idea behind it?

Meet Magento started in Germany in 2009. At this time the Magento hype in Europe wasn’t on a roll as we know it today. Netresearch Founder & CEO Thomas Fleck had the idea to meet other people working with or interested in Magento. He was in close contact with the Magento founders, Roy and Yoav. They discussed Magento in Europe, and were more than happy to see such a come-together taking place. We decided to name it simply “Meet Magento” and chose the Netreseach hometown of Leipzig as the first place for Meet Magento. The idea was to create an event where the whole Magento community could meet.

The first event sold out very quickly; due to the limitation of the venue we had 200 attendees. Over the years it became the must-attend event for the German Magento Community, with more than 600 attendees today. Other countries are very impressed with what we’ve achieved in Germany, and because of this we’ve received many requests from partners who would like to host their own event. In 2012 we started events in Brazil and Poland, and this year we’ve had events in over 21 countries – and there will be even more in 2016.

What is it about Magento that makes it such a global ecommerce platform?

Magento was one of the first shop systems available in an open source edition, and it can be adjusted for use in every country in the world. When it came to the market, there was no comparable software to it. That’s why there was a real Magento buzz worldwide in the beginning and the community around Magento developed very quickly, with the help of Meet Magento. And now, a few years after the big buzz, the community is the reason why it’s still so successful. There’s no other shop software with such a strong community, helping each other.

Magento 2 was released recently, with lots of improvements on the original Magento. How do you think online retailers and customers will benefit from the widespread use of Magento 2?

Magento 2 is important for developers and for merchants. It solves some of the weaknesses of Magento 1, i.e. extension handling or development approaches. We’ll soon see that developers will choose M2 to build shops for their customers. This doesn’t mean that all M1 shops will be migrated on M2 though. Magento 1 will stay alive for some more years. But M2 will be the epicenter for innovation in Magento. All the strengths which made Magento 1 the worldwide leading ecommerce software can be found in Magento 2. Online retailers and customers will get the perfect platform to realise their online business models. It’s good to see how positive the reactions are among customers and in the community.

Magento is already in widespread use all around the world. What would your advice be to businesses thinking about using the Magento platform? What are the benefits of choosing Magento over other ecommerce platforms?

The benefit of Magento is that you can adjust it perfectly to your needs with various extensions. With Magento 2 just released, this could be a good time to start now with Magento. However you have to keep in mind that not all extensions are available yet for Magento 2, so you need to check this in advance. My advice would be to find the right partner to help you. A very good partner would also recommend other shop systems, in case Magento wouldn’t suit your needs.

But the main advice is always this: prove your business model and invest time into it before you start to implement it into software. Magento is perfect to realise your ideas, but Magento alone won’t make you successful.

Magento is a complex, powerful CMS which may present something of a steep learning curve for inexperienced users. What do you think are the main challenges for inexperienced users, and what would your advice be to them in order to get the most out of the Magento platform?

The Meet Magento Association is offering a Localized Magento Edition for certain markets. This is a special Magento Community edition where all settings for your local market have been done already (currency, taxes, legal). If this edition is available for your market you should take it into consideration, as it’s definitely easier to start with this. It’s also a great tool for experienced developers as you can just skip the setup.

If you’re a merchant, the most important thing is to find the right partner. Our goal is to make this easier within the Meet Magento Association.

If you’re a developer I would recommend that you become part of the community and attend one of our events. Besides the Meet Magento events I like to highlight Developers Paradise. This is an international Magento developers conference. The next event will take place in Croatia from 25th to 28th April, and the focus of all sessions will be Magento 2.

So what does the future hold for Magento, and Meet Magento? How do you see the platform’s community and capabilities growing in the future? (Are there any plans for Meet Magento activities in the UK?)

We’re happy that Magento is now independent again, backed by Permira Funds. I think that was an important step, just like the release of Magento 2. Magento 2 has a bright future ahead. I’m sure that the company will focus on the enterprise business in the future, but I think this is fine. The community has grown up now and can manage itself. All we need is a great product, and we definitely have this now with Magento 2.

As I mentioned before we would like to grow the Meet Magento Association on an international level, just like the Meet Magento events. We’re also planning to start in the UK, as this is quite an important Magento market. We’re currently looking for the right partner for this venture.

Many thanks for your time Thomas, and we wish you all the best with your upcoming global events!

What are your thoughts on the Magento 2 platform? Let us know in the comments below!


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