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March Meeting Recap

From: Ashley M.
Sent on: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 5:21 PM


Thanks to all who attended the meetup last night. It was great to see some familiar faces and meet some new attendees! Below is a recap of the night. In short we heard about some innovative features on Magento [like a live glasses try-on feature and some interesting product building tools], discussed merchandising strategies to set up intuitive taxonomy/search, and brainstormed ways to improve bulk price changes! 

Hopefully we will see you all next time, April 2! The venue might change as well so we will be in touch.


N.E. Magento Meeting – Monday, March 5, 2012

Location:  Arlington Public Library, Arlington MA.


Upcoming News & Events:

Several participants will attend Imagine, the Magento conference in Las Vegas April 23++. We expect new product announcements (Magento 2?) at that event and participants will share conference news with us at our Monday, May 7 meeting.


Best Practices & Innovation

Thanks to Janet Anthos, JGA Merchandising for Magento, for bringing her years of experience merchandising with retail stores, television and more to provide insight on how to think through a product taxonomy and customer buying intentions carefully before setting up the attribute sets that will govern “search” and structure on your magento site. 


Magento builds in strong “search” functionality but it needs the merchant’s and site designer’s careful assessment to create categories, sub categories, attributes and attribute sets that help the customer find the products effectively. Attributes are grouped to form attribute sets, creating reusable groups of options that can be used for similar products [i.e. an attribute set for water bottles, different than an attribute set used for outdoor clothing]. These products are distributed in categories, which can be used in conjunction with attributes to filter product results.


Main Event

Thanks to Gregory Segall, President, One Pica, for his “Main Event” presentation on  innovative ways to use Magento to tie together “Community”, “Commerce” and “Content”. 


Using examples from,,,,, and Racing the Planet [in development], Greg showed us a wide range of ways to encourage customer involvement with a site. Leaderboard functions, reward points, social media, a social “wall” for customers, interactive functions and more.


Zenni allows customers to upload their own photos to try on various styles of eye glasses resulting in a conversion rate jump from 5.9% to 15%. Foodzie uses a private sale/ subscription model. Crumbs lets the customer drag and drop photos of selected cupcakes they want to buy into the cupcake tin and have price automatically calculated in the cart. Racing the Planet provides a tremendous amount of product detail like weight, recommended use, etc. to enable a customer to “build and fill” their own backpack and order the group of products on line. Greg mentioned and as useful tools to integrate social media onto a site.  


Tech Topic

Barbara Thornton, Founder/ President,, shared her recent experience trying to upload changes to the “special price” fields for over 100 configurables. The import file did not change the data. Apparently for February, an “02” month, Magento has preferences about leading zeroes that are different than what it shows on the Actions/ Update Attributes page in the Admin Panel’s “Catalog/ Manage Products” section. However, all the offending “special price” fields could be wiped clean by selecting all the relevant configurables and putting a checkmark next to the “special price” attributes  on the Update Attributes page, but leaving the fields blank.


Problem Solving:

Jeff Collins, Founder/President,, shared his frustration at the time it takes to upload price changes for the 50,000+ SKUs. During this upload time, the search functions on his site search/indexing can be down for several hours. 


Shout Out/ Feedback

The group is considering rotating the meeting between 3 locations - Arlington, Boston’s Back Bay area and the NERD center at MIT. The group also wants to lay out several month’s of meeting topics in response to member interest. Please see the Polls section to vote and the Discussion section to add new ideas!


Next month:  Angela Boyiates,, will be the Main Event, taking us on a deep dive into using social media with Magento.




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