With the general availability of the latest from Magento (version 2.4.2) we can now harness a range of improvements, including more progress with headless commerce, new B2B capabilities, intelligent commerce, and improvements to the cloud infrastructure.

Here’s an overview:

Headless commerce

Adobe’s digital economy index says that smartphones are expected to contribute more than 50% of online spending by September 2022.

This means ecommerce businesses will need to refocus their efforts to engage with customers who prefer to use their mobile devices rather than their desktop.

Magento’s hybrid headless commerce options and improvements to their progressive web app (PWA) studio, will provide faster time to market and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for market-leading customer experiences on all devices.

The recently released PWA Venia store improves support for offline operation and push notifications to improve conversion rates and will make deployment in the cloud faster and easier. The new ‘My Account’ component will further speed up the process and will appeal to international brands.

Deeper integration with Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) will improve access to product and category information to create experience pages combining marketing and commerce content. Magento’s enhanced use of GraphQL, Facebook’s original data query language, as an alternative to REST and SOAP application programming interfaces (APIs) will also help developers to improve customer experiences.

Media management

The enhancements to Page Builder and the Media Gallery will make innovation and deployment faster and easier. Full-screen views will make the editing process more intuitive and content previews will help to improve user experiences.

New role resources for the Media Gallery will allow you to limit access, helping you to maintain control over who can upload and add assets to your content, as well as who can edit and delete them. Improved management of folder structures and the option to use web-optimized images will make content management more efficient and effective.

B2B features

There’s a new PWA for B2B which will streamline customer login and support assistance to buyers, with improvements for company query information and creating requisition lists.

New purchase order approval rules will make it easier to customize how purchases are reviewed and approved. They can now be configured and assigned based on a range of criteria, including order value, stockkeeping units (SKUs), and shipping costs. You can also support your customers’ purchasing policies with self-service approval workflows and pre-purchase approval.

To help your customers use their online purchasing and account management capabilities, new Seller Assisted Shopping functions will help your sales or customer service teams share your buyers’ experiences. They will be able to provide additional support with troubleshooting and help with customized storefront functionality, such as a product configurator. Your team can even create orders and quotes, add users or set up approval rules.

With added support for PayPal and other third-party payment methods, email reminders can be provided to make sure buyers add their payment details.

New additions to Vendor Bundled Extensions (VBEs) have now been successfully tested, including:

  • dotdigital (formerly dotmailer) for transactional messaging
  • Vertex to automate sales and tax compliance
  • Braintree to customize the checkout experience, with fraud detection and PayPal integration.

Enhanced API performance and admin response times, and support for complex catalogs that are up to 20 times larger than before, will also improve the overall B2B offer and scalability.

Intelligent commerce

Recommendations during your customers’ journey are influential. More than nine out of 10 customers will read reviews before buying, and the new intelligent commerce engine powered by Adobe Sensei artificial intelligence (AI) is getting into its stride.

The new visual AI algorithm will dynamically deliver items from your catalog that are visually similar without customers having to search or use the navigation.

Effective site search on your website is an increasingly important part of a successful digital strategy. Magento’s live AI-powered site search will provide features like intuitive search and ‘boost and bury’ responses based on product criteria. This software as a service (SaaS) option will allow you to implement your own logic to deliver search items based on your customers’ behavior.

In-store pickup

Buy online, pick-up in store (BOPIS) ordering is growing in popularity and can add a new dimension to your physical stores. Business Insider found that 85% of customers make an additional in-store purchase while picking up their online order.

The Inventory Management function now supports in-store pick up, so you can easily identify locations eligible for customer collections. The nearest or most convenient location can be chosen by your customer during checkout and a single click can notify them when orders are ready. This can also be adapted for kerbside pickups.

Cloud services

The scalability, performance, and reliability of the cloud infrastructure will also be improved. Remote storage and native Amazon Web Service (AWS) S3 will streamline management of media files like product images and descriptions. With copies of your content stored on distributed servers your page load times will be faster too.

Security

With increased remote working, security is more important than ever, so the Magento admin portal now requires two-factor authentication (2FA) for all users. To make it easier to keep up to date, the Composer Update Plugin automates several previously manual upgrade steps to make the process easier and safer.

Williams Commerce

Williams Commerce is a leading Magento Solution Partner specialising in consulting, design and build. Speak with one of our experts to find out more about how your ecommerce business can benefit from Magento in 2021.