5 questions about Magento: trends, news, challenges with Sergej Derzap

Magento trends and challenges
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We sat down with our very own CEO of Amasty, Sergej Derzap to discuss current news, challenges and trends for Magento in 2023. Additionally, we've talked about Amasty's plans for the future and got a few sneak peaks. 

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Sergej, thank you for coming in today! To kick off the conversation let's talk a bit about you for those who don't know you yet. How did you come into the Magento world and why are you still passionate about it and e-commerce in general?

My pleasure. I started my career as a developer for a large international outsourcing company, growing there for 10 years. Eventually, I became the Resource Manager and the Operations Manager for one of our major customers. 

Then I shifted to a product domain, joining Juno to build the TechSupport team from the ground up. I also started EMBA education and then was promoted to Site & Operations Manager. 

At EMBA I met Alex, Amasty's CSO and Founder. And it was a fateful encounter, we spent hours talking through Amasty's potential and growth. It's always a challenge to discuss what can you do better and differently for an already steady and successful company. So when Alex offered me to join Amasty as a CEO and accept this challenge, I couldn't say no and this is how I got into Magento hands-on. And while the challenges change over years, I'm still excited about the company and e-commerce world.

Amasty serves both individual merchants and large corporations. What would you name a top 1 challenge for both parties for 2023 when they are coming for Amasty services? 

If we talk about a single challenge, regardless of the size or lifecycle phase, then it is definitely the cost of development. Extensions have always been an answer to how to get the required functionality in a fast and cost-effective way. For the last several years, we have also been working on reducing maintenance costs. Taking into account that Adobe releases new versions every quarter and that each release has something that is backward incompatible, it could be challenging for a 100% custom Magento website. With this in mind, we have launched our joint service with JetBrains. It helps make the cost of ownership predictable during any phase of the website lifecycle.

Among the current discussions in e-commerce and specifically in the Magento community is whether to create a mobile-responsive Magento store or invest in a mobile-first store, maybe even an app. What's your take on that based on your extensive expertise? 

I believe there is no one-size-fits-all solution. My recommendation would be to start by understanding your client and the product. For instance, fashion shoppers tend to spend more on mobile than desktop, while car shoppers tend to prefer desktop or tablet. This is just one example and it doesn't account for geographic or age-related factors, which can also be critical. However, I hope it helps illustrate that your approach should be driven by your business. Fish where the fish are, not where it is more convenient for you.

One of the major e-commerce disruptions these years is probably AI, especially now, with the ChatGpt hype. It looks like every business is using AI to optimize and speed up work processes, creating copy, images, logos, and even brands from A to Z. A year ago, you foreshadowed the hype and partnered with SpeedSize to harness their media optimization algorithms. What's the next big thing you're looking to adopt next and enhance Amasty's already strong proposition for businesses? 

My mantra is to help our clients sell more, better, and faster by focusing on a primary goal. Speedsize is a great fit for our Google PageSpeed optimizer because it offers an option to preserve both 4k HD quality and speed. Some of our clients were looking for a solution, so we created a beta with Speedsize. The results were satisfactory, so we developed a solution that integrates the power of AI frictionlessly, almost in one click. Similarly, we introduced frictionless integration with Adobe Live Search, another AI-based service. We are constantly reviewing our portfolio to identify perfect matches for such integrations in the future, but only when it truly adds value for our clients.

Speaking of trends, new App Builder and API Mesh by Adobe are to be available for Adobe Commerce. Do you think it’s a giant leap for the community and Adobe creates a pathway to connect within the ecosystem? Some say it’s revolutionary, what do you think?

It depends whether you are a user of Adobe Experience Cloud or not. If you are, and Adobe Commerce is one of your Adobe solutions to provide a best-in-class shopping experience through personalization, it definitely sounds promising. However, if you are using Magento Open Source for your business, I do not see any added value here.

While Magento 2 is out there for quite some time (since November 17, 2015), the majority of stores seem to be reluctant to migrate and they stay with Magento 1. Apart from potential costs, do you see any other reasons to refrain from migration? 

Magento 2 is a more sophisticated and powerful tool than Magento 1. However, it may not be necessary for every business. For some, Shopify or WooCommerce may be better solutions. Once a business grows, the need for Magento 2 may arise. Therefore, business necessity should be the trigger for adopting more advanced technology, rather than just its availability.

Do you have questions for Sergej? Please leave your comments below we'll be happy to answer any and all of them!

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