Magento Innovations Lab: A talk with the innovator
If you've been in or around the Magento community, you've probably heard about Magento Innovations Lab. If you haven't, Magento will quickly break it down for you: "Our intention is to uncover and promote early stage, experimental, bleeding edge implementations of emerging technologies on the Magento eCommerce platforms."
We are very proud to say that our Lead Architect and Developer, Igor Ludgero Miura, had his work selected twice.
Igor worked on several extensions for Magento 1 and Magento 2 over the last few years. While some of them are inspired by his work with our clients and can be found on the official Imagination Media Github account, others were built simply to practice and showcase his innovative ideas.
"I see our clients trying to use what is "hot" in the market so, in exchange, I try to find ways to offer better shopping experience to their customers," explains Igor.
In the Innovation Labs, Magento selected two of Igor's innovative extensions. "SMS Transactional Messages" was selected in the second round, and "Crowd Funding and Shared Shopping Cart" was selected in the third.
The first extension adds a feature in Magento 2 which creates an SMS message to each e-mail template that is in Magento (including e-mail templates from 3rd-party modules). That means the Magento store will send an SMS message instead of an e-mail to the customer. Or, alternatively, it will send both.
If you believe you've already read something about it, chances are, you might be right. Magento wrote about it, so here is a reminder of what's this extension about.
Igor's second extension enables building crowd-funding websites using Magento. Using this feature adds another feature, a shared shopping cart, which can be used to place an order and share the payment with other people. Only when the total amount is paid, the order is invoiced and shipped.
Read more about this extension here!
While we were completely stoked about these two, what really got us going was the third extension Igor built. Yes, you read that right . There's more.
"I see a lot of new things coming with AR, says Igor. For example, Adobe is preparing a powerful new Augmented Reality (AR) authoring tool that makes it easier for designers to create immersive content. It will enable designers to create 3D elements and export them as a USDZ file. A USDZ file is a file compatible with Apple ARKit, which means that any user running iOs 12 and the Safari browser can open a USDZ file and get immerged in a full AR experience. My extension adds a feature in Magento 2 that makes it possible to add USDZ as part of product media. You can add the USDZ file to a product with only a few clicks and the customer can try or play around with the product while he or she is shopping."
Now, to put things into perspective, let us mention that AR is one of the "next big things" when it comes to e-commerce.
We're seeing enormous growth in the e-commerce arena, but we're still nowhere near to closing that mobile gap. We have joined forces with Magento, PayPal and HiConversion on a Mobile Optimization Initiative, but we still see AR as one of the perfect answers to increasing conversions in the mobile world. Using AR can help the customer understand what he or she is trying to buy and how will that fit with what they already own. After all, it is pretty hard to buy, for example, a sofa or a new dining table if you aren't sure it will match your existing furniture. It's obvious some industries and certain types of businesses will benefit greatly from this. With this extension, mobile phones can be used as a tool that enhances the customer experience and solves all of these problems.
How does it exactly work, you ask?
The idea was to bring AR to Magento 2 with only a few clicks, with no customizations necessary, while still remaining compatible with Adobe Aero.
"Adobe Aero is under a private test period, but the documentation says it will export USDZ files which are compatible with Apple ARKIT, explains Igor. Apple ARKIt is already built-in Safari in all devices with iOs 12. I created a Magento 2 module that adds a new button inside the product media content called `AR`. This button will show a pop-up where we can upload a USDZ file (the AR model) and a preview image that will be used to show a preview before the customer starts to use the AR experience. The Magento 2 extension adds this AR model to the product view page – it's a simple html <a> link with a different tag, rel="ar". I also added a js script to check if the current customer is browsing the page using iOs 12 and Safari. If all the requirements are met, we show them the link and the customer can start their AR experience with a simple click."
If we are to picture the previously mentioned customer who's buying a sofa, imagine how much easier and more enjoyable his or here shopping experience would be. They would be able to not only see the product before the purchase, but also be able to see if it is a good fit, how to position it in a room, how it interacts with the overall environment, and so on.
A store that offers that kind of experience is sure to attract many more customers than a usual e-commerce business. Customers today like to be treated like they are special and provided with a high-level experience. Experimenting with different products and their variations is only the beginning.
If you'd like to contribute to the afore mentioned innovations, feel free to do so here! Or, alternatively, contact us today to learn more about how we can make your e-commerce journey unique – to every customer visiting your store.