The ecommerce landscape is evolving at a record-breaking pace. According to Adobe Analytics, online sales for the holiday season in 2020 showed a massive 32% year-over-year increase that’s equivalent to nearly two years’ worth of growth.
Since its launch in 2008, Magento has changed the playing field for online businesses globally. Google Trends shows that for the better part of a decade, the term ‘magento’ was searched more often than its competitors and even the all-encompassing term ‘ecommerce’.
In 2021, Magento ranks third as the ecommerce technology used by the top one million websites globally. Although this might seem like a concerning statistic, we believe it’s part of a long-term strategic approach to positioning Magento as the ecommerce platform for established businesses.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the future of Magento 2 and what you should expect from the platform in the next decade.
The future of ecommerce
Ecommerce today is not only about a product or its price but also about the customer experience. Creating valuable buying experiences through improved personalization will be the key to achieving ecommerce success in the 2020s.
Generally, merchants only personalize shopping experiences on a macro level by segmenting their customers into a handful of groups to tailor their offerings. However, with the rapid evolution of technology and the advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), the future of ecommerce will focus on leveraging AI to create personalized experiences.
Over the next decade, adopting an omnichannel strategy will be crucial for increasing sales. As the touchpoints between a business and its customers increase, ensuring consistency across the entire purchase cycle will be essential to creating a seamless shopping experience.
Rise of marketplaces
McKinsey & Company predicts that digital ecosystems based on the marketplace business model will account for nearly 30% of all global revenues over the next five years. With the growing dominance of marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba, the marketplace revolution is already taking place.
The traditional model of B2B commerce will be revolutionized over the next decade. Today, most B2B businesses rely on a network of dealers and retailers to build brand awareness and reach potential clients.
Over the next decade, B2B businesses will move towards building D2C (direct-to-consumer) channels to take ownership of their customer data and optimize the customer experience.
What the future holds for Magento 2
Adobe constantly strives to remain at the forefront of innovation which cannot but influence the future of Magento 2. Their acquisition of Magento in 2018 has allowed the platform to benefit from Adobe’s advanced portfolio of technologies.
Ecommerce systems built using a monolithic architecture are often criticized for being rigid and complex. Magento implements the concept of modularity in its architecture to ensure extensibility without compromising on its code integrity. Even so, it cannot scale individual components as effectively as an entirely decoupled system.
Adobe’s current focus on improving GraphQL coverage for B2C use cases in Magento and their plans of introducing B2B coverage are crucial signs pointing towards a headless future. GraphQL already powers the Magento PWA studio project, and their focus on improving its functionality demonstrates their intentions towards making it the primary API for the Magento frontend.
Headless commerce opens the possibilities for creating innovative shopping experiences that boost customer loyalty and increase sales. Opting for a headless system allows merchants to create omnichannel experiences by integrating their online stores with point of sale and ERP systems.
Building a service-oriented infrastructure complemented by microservices makes it easier for merchants to integrate various business aspects, such as inventory systems and marketing programs.
Easier integrations create opportunities for more advanced Magento extension development and allow developers to create feature-rich websites. Most importantly, using a headless architecture that employs multiple lean microservice stacks provides merchants with better flexibility, agility, and performance. Check here to learn more.
A push for PWAs
Adobe introduced support for Progressive Web Applications with Magento 2.3, allowing Magento developers to build PWA websites using the Magento PWA studio project.
As the push for headless commerce gains momentum, you can expect to see a rise in the number of businesses adopting PWA mobile websites. With increased adoption, the costs of development will decrease, thus improving the accessibility of PWAs for merchants globally.
More importantly, the speed at which businesses can develop and deploy changes to their websites will see tremendous improvements. Employing a headless architecture and using a PWA website will provide marketing and design teams more freedom and mobility to conduct A/B tests to gather insights and implement features that boost conversions.
More Adobe integrations
Adobe introduced the integration of Magento 2 with Adobe Stock in Magento 2.3.4 — a move that was initially expected to take place in later versions of Magento. This demonstrates Adobe’s intentions towards creating tighter integrations between future versions of Magento and Adobe’s Commerce Integration Framework (CIF) in the years to come.
One of the primary benefits of integrating with CIF is its support for headless and omnichannel experiences courtesy of its GraphQL endpoints. It also offers out-of-the-box support for Magento and has a serverless, microservice-based business logic layer that allows better customization and extension of the commerce functionality in Magento.
Enhanced search functionality
As of Magento 2.4, Adobe requires all users to configure and use Elasticsearch as the default catalog search engine. While many have been critical of this move, the introduction of Elasticsearch introduces endless possibilities for Magento 2 over the next decade.
Elasticsearch is one of the world’s most powerful search engine technologies employed by leading global tech companies like Uber Technologies, Udemy, and Slack Technologies. It supports using multiple languages, stop words, synonyms, and real-time search analytics.
More importantly, Elasticsearch is ideal for horizontally scaling the platform and allows merchants to integrate voice and visual search into their stores. A survey conducted by ViSenze showed that 62% of Gen-Z and millennial consumers wanted visual search capabilities while shopping to help them discover and identify products on their mobile devices.
Leading apparel retailers such as Uniqlo, ASOS, and Target have already implemented visual search functionality into their retail channels. Integrating alternate search capabilities such as image search allows users to click photos of products in a physical store to find them through their apps or websites.
Adobe’s survey of over 400 business decision-makers revealed that over 91% made significant investments in implementing voice-related functionality. This shows that Adobe’s push for Elasticsearch in Magento is a step in the right direction as far as the future of Magento 2 is concerned.
Concerns about Magento’s future
Ever since the acquisition of Magento by Adobe, the Magento community has been concerned that the platform would turn into a paid product. However, Matt Asay, then Head of Developer Ecosystem at Adobe, was quick to lay those concerns to rest. He put out a tweet confirming that Magento would continue to remain open source forever. And this remains true even today as Adobe continues to develop and support Magento 2 Open Source and hasn’t shown any signs of stopping.
In 2018, Magecart, a consortium of malicious hacker groups, had targeted thousands of Magento websites using common PHP Object Injection (POI) techniques, leading to doubts about Magento’s security.
However, the vulnerabilities were related to third-party extensions. The platform itself was always secure, as its developers had replaced vulnerable functions in an update in 2016.
Taking their commitment to security a step further, they’ve also deployed several security features since then to fortify the platform. As of Magento 2.3.5, all installations support strict content security policy headers out of the box and allow users to configure those policies based on individual requirements.
Adobe has enforced the use of two-factor authentication on all Magento installations starting with version 2.4. They’ve also introduced substantial security enhancements in the latest release, 2.4.2, that help address remote code execution vulnerabilities.
Adobe made it easier for Magento users to deploy the latest security updates to the platform by introducing security-only patches for Magento. These patches allowed users to pick up critical security updates while postponing feature- or performance-related updates for up to six months.
Magento’s here to stay
Magento has seen its share of ups and downs over the years as the platform changed ownership multiple times while trying to keep up with the global community demands. With Adobe, Magento has finally found its place in the industry and is evolving to target its audience effectively.
Magento’s future holds great promise for businesses of all sizes that are looking to embrace the future of web development and create highly integrated omnichannel experiences. With some help from Adobe’s advanced ecosystem of marketing tools, Magento has a future that’s full of opportunities.
Over the next decade, Magento will no longer fight to be the most popular ecommerce platform. Instead, it will focus on becoming the most well-rounded ecommerce platform that’s capable of delivering high-quality shopping experiences for its users.