2018 has come, and ecommerce game is stronger than ever. Today, we asked our experts among Senior Magento and PHP developers from NEKLO to share their views on what both developers and merchants can expect from the platform and the ecommerce sphere as a whole during this year.
What are your general expectations for Magento development? What course it will set in 2018 and which trends will affect the market the most?
Paul Ivanov, Magento Developer:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will grow and so will the need for chatbots. 2017 was a big year for AI and it looks like 2018 will allow it to grow even more. AI is taking the world by storm, transforming our work and personal lives, and revolutionizing the ecommerce world as well. Chatbots have been dominating Magento ecommerce marketplace for the whole year, and they will continue to do so. What’s so good about AI? It allows merchants to understand the behavior of their buyers, to cater services to meet buyer needs, and it provides analytics to guide sellers to develop targeted marketing to reach their ideal shoppers. Designed as an alternative to human customer service representatives, chatbots are smart software that adapt machine language technologies to understand customer needs In 2018, I expect to see chatbots in most, if not all, Magento apps or websites.
Mikhail Klimovich: Senior Magento Developer
I suppose we can already see the process started. Magento will continue to promote Magento 2 and finally encourage those who still are on Magento 1 to make a migration decision. They will invest time and effort into migrating all the features they already have, but I don’t think the whole thing happens in 12 months. Magento announced itself that there is no end of Magento 1 support in the foreseeable future, at least now.
Also, Magento developers will continue fixing bugs, happening here and there because of backward compatibility issues. Probably, that’s the most important job for them right now. Extensions market is growing and becoming more complicated, and so do merchants’ requests. I think, working on API is also on their list
Ruslan Ogorodnik: Senior PHP Developer
To be competitive on the ecommerce market, you need things to happen fast. I think, the main task for Magento development team is to increase the speed of work on Magento 2. There are a few ways to achieve this:
- Extend the share of work on the API;
- Distribute the calculations of shipping costs, taxes, inventory of goods and move them out of the checkout process to make it faster.
- Improve various reports, sales information, and other useful statistics for B2B and B2C clients.
When it comes to the development side, I expect the test framework to be improved. It includes on covering the code with autotests from both PHPunit side and Selenium sides. And of course, Magento will encourage Magento 2 migration.
Maintaining two versions of the platform while providing upgrades is a huge scope of work that requires development resources. As an active member of Magento community, I suppose that the work of Magento contributors will be encouraged.
Working with ecommerce projects for so long, you must be noticing general tendencies that are gaining recognition in 2017. What are the eCommerce trends that will get a boost in 2018?
The statistics speaks for itself. One in six Americans now owns a smart speaker. That’s about 39 million people. In other words, the growth of smart speakers usage is 128% from January 2017. 51% of the respondents said they use their smart speaker more often than they did the first month they had it. Amazon had sold "tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices" during the holiday season.
The next trend is voice search. When Siri first came out, I didn’t think that I would actually make this shift; it's predicted that 50% of all search will be voice search by 2020, and that number is rising and affecting the eCommerce world.
Mobile shopping is the king. According to the statistics on the projects I am familiar with, up to 50% customers shop via mobile. The trend is obvious and not new, ecommerce developers will continue to focus and contribute to mobile versions of web applications more.
Another vector of ecommerce development are omnichannel sales. It implies that the purchase can be made at the any touchpoint on any device, and there are no boundaries for marketing possibilities. Brands and companies don’t stop at plain advertising anymore. They work on making every platform they have access to a shopping platform. Developers’ task in this case is to make everything integratable and interactive, and create ways for a customer to process an order right from a youtube video to their smart watch, for example.
Mobile development will definitely become more sophisticated. Merchants want simplicity to work with, and customers expect wider choice and higher speed. I think, both Magento and other ecommerce platforms will tailor its mobile applications towards working with multiple sellers, and aggregating similar offers of different sellers. The other focus will be mobile design and performance. Developers are aimed to reach the same functionality and usability level, compatible with the desktop version exceed it later.
In general, Magento will be focused on customer experience in 2018, making it convenient and easier to complete the purchase no matter what sales channel you choose. Another huge trend that will rock any business in 2018 is mobile ecommerce and endless possibilities it holds.