The big news for 2018 came back in April when Magento accepted Absolute as one of only 47 Magento Partners in the UK.
Achieving Magento Business Solution Partner status was a proud moment for all the team and represents a high quality threshold in terms of Magento development. It means Magento itself has recognised the quality of our business and its service offering. Being a Partner also gives Absolute a direct line to Magento’s development team, so that we can obtain additional support and advice for some of the more complex issues we encounter.
We’ve also added the M2 Solution Specialist qualification to our roster; this certifies our ability to analyse business systems and objectives, ensuring our sites deliver the solutions that are required, not only from a technical perspective, but also by understanding the role an ecommerce site plays in the bigger picture of our client’s business model.
Significant investment was made into the Magento Platform back in 2017 ($250 million) which has facilitated the release of new versions of M2, with improved feature sets, particularly within the Commerce version which now includes a B2B suite, elastic search, Multi-Source Inventory, Page Builder and PWA (Progressive Web Apps) studio.
June 2020 has been identified as a critical diary date for M1 admins; following Magento’s acquisition by Adobe in May 2018, Magento announced the end of life for M1 as of June 2020. With a market share of 9% in the UK and 13% globally (source: BuiltWith), this equates to over 3,200 UK sites still running on version 1.9 (plus more on 1.8 and 1.7). With only 47 partners in the UK, we’re forecasting a surge in demand in the second half of 2019.
Typically it takes six months to launch a mid sized M2 site, so if clients wait until the end of 2019, they face a lack of availability and escalation of price from those agencies with a proven record for delivering a new M2 site. We’re encouraging customers to start the dialogue at the beginning of 2019, to avoid disappointment and guarantee business continuity.
2018 has seen a number of non specialist agencies, who have previously delivered M1 sites for lower budgets, exit from the Magento market. Whether lack of M2 volume, or because the complexity of the M2 process is significantly higher than M1, the end result is that non specialist agencies in the East Midlands are not making the leap to providing M2. A by-product is that good Magento developers have been approaching Absolute for employment and we’ve been happy to welcome them! We’ve now increased the dev team to 10, of which 7 are Magento certified.
End of Life for M1 brings about the question of whether a client should migrate to M2 or consider an alternative platform. We’ve written an article to help with the decision.
Whilst typical project costs have risen when compared to M1, M2 sites are faster, more stable and provide enhanced functionality. The next year will see the mainstream adoption of PWAs which will enhance the customer experience even further. We launched our own PWA with Magento Ninja the Migration earlier this year.
Magento support as a dedicated service within Absolute which also grew throughout 2018. We recruited an experienced Magento account handler and devs to specifically respond to support clients, who now number over 40. In addition to clients for whom we’ve built sites, and who want ongoing support, we also have regular requests from M1 clients needing upgrades and M2 clients who had a site built by a third party, but are unhappy with the service levels they’ve received. You can find out more here.
Account wins for 2018 included Fired Earth, Teaching Art, Again Faster, Claybrook, KRCS, Alan Paine, Straightset, Daymark, Atomic, Olympic Shavers plus some other big names that are in the pipeline and due to launch early next year.
Our Branding and Design for Print team continued to work supporting their longstanding clients including the ROMO Group and Hillary’s Blinds, plus a number of retail accounts that use traditional marketing channels in addition to digital.
Concrete5 sites continue to offer a very powerful alternative to WordPress, with features such as drop editors, that make developing a content site extremely cost effective for non transactional CMS requirements.
The end result of all the team's hard work was a record level of turnover for the calendar year ending Dec 2018. Our sales are forecast to pass £1.2M, up by over 27% on the previous year.
To top off a great 2018 for Absolute, we won The Gold Award for Retail & E-Commerce on Friday 7th December at The UK Business Awards 2018. Known as the ‘Dons’, this is a well known and respected national competition and we were delighted to have received this recognition for the Magento site we built for Gift Pup.
2019 is our 25th anniversary and we’re looking forward to what this may bring!