With a massive pulse displayed on the main stage, visitors filed into the conference hall at Tobit.Software in Ahaus, Germany to gear up for the main keynote. In a twist of events, the Chinese National Circus opened the ceremony and set the mood with a gravity-defying act, hand-balancing atop a tier of chairs. In this moment, the event's theme, “eCommerce circus”, was vibrantly brought to life.
The Shopware Communtiy Day was a cabaret of versatile acts – we’re not talking about the circus anymore, rather eCommerce itself – as everyone at the event found something that met their appetite. When all was said and done, over 1,500 guests, 40 exhibitors and 70 presenters from all walks of eCommerce left the arena with a satisfied experience.
Shopware CEO Stefan Hamann took the stage for the opening keynote, as he does year after year, to address the latest news concerning Shopware and the enormous Community. This year carried special flair, as it was not only the 5th Community Day but Shopware’s 15th anniversary rocking the eCommerce scene.
Shopware’s international expansion was paramount importance in the keynote. Having become partners with international technology providers such as Avalara, Pay.nl and Nosto, Shopware also expanded internationally with a number of strong reference shops. Later this month, the Segway shop from the Netherlands goes live, which was built by Sition, yet another strong Dutch partner. The online shop from Gaastra – a Dutch sportswear company with a huge international presence – was also recognized as an incredible example of a successful project relaunch. Sharaf DG, one of the largest players in electronic goods in the United Arab Emirates, also went live, following an incredibly short implemention period.
Hamann announced that the first major partner from the United Kingdom, Cromwell Business Solutions, is planning a total relaunch of more than 35 online shops using Shopware as a basis. Following this international thread later in the day, Shopware’s first partner from Italy, Portaltech Reply, took the main stage to discuss best practices for successful cross-border eCommerce projects.
Additionally, Hamann shared that Shopware is now a public project on Crowdin, which is an open translation tool to facilitate in the localisation of the software. For an idea of the power behind this tool, in only one week, contributors were able to translate nearly 80% of Shopware to Bulgarian. We tip our hats to our contributors!
Innovating with the Community
Shopware pays close attention to the people using and contributing to our software. To recap, this year included several User Groups throughout Germany, the first Open Hackathon and the introduction of Shopware Insider, a program where qualified individuals can participate in the early stages of project development. Additionally, thanks to the Community and their requests, the latest version of Shopware came with several features that were voted on per our open Issue Tracker. Those, plus other technological highlights with Shopware 5.1 include:
* Possibility of changing between variants without reloading the product page
* Media manager fundamentally reworked – now includes a recycling bin
* Master data for products have been improved for better usability – now there are three additional tabs: Properties, Cross-selling and Resources
* Import/Export has been integrated into the standard version of Shopware (formerly an Advanced Feature)
* Inclusion of Elasticsearch in the standard version of Shopware
* Upgrade to PHP 7, thereby offering up to 50% increase in performance
* Improvement of core architecture – core now separated into individual areas, thereby making the system more agile
And these just scrape the updates and improvements. Hamann continued with his keynote to address another topic of significance: the new innovative features that come with Shopware 5.1, specifically Digital Publishing and Product Streams. For more information, head over to our info page about 5.1 then download and experience the latest version, first-hand!
Inspiration from every walk of eCommerce
When we promise diversity, we deliver. From the main stage, we welcomed a number of well-known experts from every walk of eCommerce. A prominent theme: the way people interact with the digital world is transforming. This was especially addressed in the presentations from Carsten Cramer, Director of Marketing from Borussia Dortmund (one of Germany’s most well-known football teams, whose fan shop is built with Shopware) and Johannes Altmann, eCommerce influencer from Shoplupe.
Cramer’s presentation packed a full-house, and for reasonable cause. Nearly everybody – regardless if they were a fan or not – has at some point interacted with the digital world of Borussia Dortmund. This is because the famous football team has mastered the art of digital presentation. They have created an app for game day, where a wireless connection from the stadium allows users to create live streams from the game, so that an audience from outside the stadium can participate. BVB is highly active on social media channels, engaging fans on multiple levels, via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. This way, user generated content creates a buzz leading up to the game and continues once the final whistle is blown.
Their motto “Echte Liebe”, or “True Love”, is meant to incite passion and motivation rather than impulse for buying. Fans of BVB feel highly connected to the brand and part of a community – certainly this is promoted by the digital opportunities provided by the brand. Cramer notes that fans will only purchase products that fuel their emotion, and the ultimate goal of BVB is to build a digital world that is full of meaningful experience. The brand does not focus on commercial ends, but rather ways in which they can interact with and motivate passion their fan's passion for the team.
Later, Johannes Altmann, one of the most influential voices in German eCommerce, took the stage to address online shop usability. In his message, Altmann emphasized that there should be a rich story behind every online shop; that online retailers are responsible for creating visibility as a tangible brand. It is no longer excuseable for online shops to look similar - Altmann argues for richer online experiences by creating louder brand identity, which in the long run, makes the brand more relatable. To achieve better brand representation, Altmann suggests online shops ask themselves three questions: 1) Why do I sell these products; 2) How do I sell them; 3) What do I sell? Then frame a story around their answers.
Covering all 70 presentations would size to Homerian proportions, however you can still get an insider’s look into some of the other presentations thanks to our archive of Shopware tech talks. Moreover, you can head over to the Shopware technical roadmap, which was created by our team of developers.
Open ears and eyes for the future
Innovation and creativity go a long way for modern, successful eCommerce projects. Shopware Community Day is all about bringing the most adventurous, forward-thinking minds in the industry under one roof so that together, we can set the path for this quickly evolving industry. Our platform is an amalgamation of these innovative ideas; and certainly one that you and your online shop can evolve with in the future. Plus, we throw killer after parties that include fire dancers.
So as you can imagine, this was only the tip of the iceberg. For an impression of the power packed in a Shopware Community Day, you must experience it for yourself. Fortunately, you can already save the date for the next big event: 20th May 2016.
Can't wait until then? Then schedule an appointment to meet us next week at dmexco in Cologne!