Phillip Jackson, Imagine MC, walks onto the stage with the most adorable, sleepy, curly-haired puppy. It was hard to imagine anything could top that (see what I did there?), but the live demos from the Innovations Lab left the audience in awe.
Before jumping into the live demos, Jules Pieri, CEO of The Grommet, joined the stage to discuss how “small is the new big.” Unknown to probably most of the audience, brands like S’well, Fitbit, Banagrams, SimpliSafe, and Otterbox started on The Grommet. Each week, The Grommet is launching new products that solve a problem you didn’t know you have or ones that have an innovative business model.
In comparison, “big companies went into defense mode.” Pieri used Unilever as an example of a company that seldom launches new product lines in fear of the new brand taking share from its other lines. The lack of new products from massive companies can also be attributed to the fact that they spend too much on marketing and not enough on R&D. Consumers are taking notice. In the last six years, 19% of grocery shopping has moved from big companies to smaller chains and local stores as more consumers choose to “eat food from companies we’ve never heard of over ones we have.”
The more companies use cost-cutting as their leading strategy, the harder it is to be creative with products and solutions. Take Amazon—25% of their products come from China, and most of them are counterfeit. When shoppers buy these products and have a negative experience, they blame the brand, not the supplier. “Amazon is the largest net destroyer of innovation in American history,” says Pieri. She challenges the audience to, “get off the Amazon crack…Think very hard about the products you’d like to welcome into your home.”
Innovations Lab Live Demos
After Pieri reflects on the importance of innovation and creativity in commerce, Michelle Miller, Senior Manager of Solutions Innovation, and Phillip Jackson dive into Imagine Sneaks. Sneaks is the first glimpse into cutting-edge, new technology, some of which are on the market today. “It’s a reflection of the community and what’s possible with Magento,” says Miller.
First was the Visual Designer–a configurator that makes it easy for customers to design products on the fly and see an image of the end product before checkout (sounds like the custom card builder Blue Acorn iCi built for Topps!). In the demo, you can see the price dynamically adjusts as the user makes changes to the product. On the backend, each dynamic image is pushed from Adobe Scene 7, which integrates directly into Magento. The Magento admin can set different rules and dependencies to avoid users missing a step or creating a product that doesn’t align with the aesthetic of the brand.
Next, Ratnesh Kumar from Webkul demoed a machine learning innovation with its Mobikul app. With the app, Kumar searched for a product by taking a picture of an image and text from a catalog. The app uses the image or text to find the product on the internet. The results pull in the exact item along with product details, reviews, and price information. Customers can purchase the item directly on that page. The same app works with food. See a delicious meal pass you by at a restaurant, and you want to know how to make it at home? Take a picture, and the app will find the ingredients, recipe, and nutritional information.
The next innovation was an integrated technology with Magento that revolutionizes the mobile experience. Within an ecommerce furniture store, shoppers will find an augmented reality (AR) button in the top right corner. The demonstrator clicks on the AR button within a chair product page and virtually places it on the stage. The AR feature allows you to see how an item would fit in your home or space, if it works with the other furniture pieces and if the color right. As a result, merchants see fewer returns and calls to customer care. Later on, a similar feature is demoed using the Apple AR kit on the Magento swag site.
Lastly, Eric Hansen, CEO of Kraken Commerce, demonstrates VisualPartsFinder.com. Using a DeLorean as an example, he takes the audience through finding a replacement part for the “time machine.” He visits VisualPartsFinder.com and searches for the car using year, make, and model. The results present an interactive diagram of the hood of the DeLorean along with a list of the parts. He finds his part in the diagram and clicks on it to view the details. On the product page, he checks out using Magento Instant Purchase. On the backend, the diagram is built on top of a Magento Category structure. Admins can drag and drop hot spots in the diagram and link each hot spot to one or more products.
If you’re looking to create an innovative, personalized digital experience for your customers, or planning a replatform to Magento, feel free to reach out to us here.