Inchoo, a renowned Magento ecommerce agency based in Croatia, has been using a pure customer-centric approach to make a purposeful difference for merchants starting and growing their online business. We’re glad to have with us Maja Kokolari, CMO at Inchoo, to share their inspirational journey – how the company started from scratch and eventually came to influence the entire Magento and ecommerce community.
The Story Behind Inchoo
13 years ago, in 2008, Inchoo’s now-CEO Tomislav Bilić started moving his freelance projects to a new startup. At the time, he was working with different ecommerce platforms such as osCommerce, Zen Cart, and CRE Loaded.
In the same year, Magento launched its first version, and that platform was swiftly recognized for its immense potential to accommodate upcoming changes and growth in global ecommerce. Inchoo joined the Magento world in the earliest phase, and this is how its agency journey began.
“Just 2 years later, in 2010, Inchoo became an official Magento partner.”
With blog posts prepared by the developers, it quickly became the go-to website for finding solutions to the various challenges that Magento 1 store developers would face.
“So approximately 500 projects and 200 clients later – here we are!”
Build a Strong Foundation
Inchoo experienced steady organic growth from its inception, based on its high-quality development. But that meant we somehow managed to neglect the required adjustment of the agency’s organizational structure that should have accompanied our expansion.
We felt the consequences when it was too late, but we took our time and worked heavily on setting up great foundations that would allow us to grow even further in the future.
Biggest All Time Achievements
Thinking about it, I would split our greatest achievements in three main groups.
Our greatest achievement is a team of 50 talented people that were hired from a local pool of talent in a town of 100.000 people. We are very proud of our training programs and the efficiency of our knowledge development.
The second achievement is related to the recognition of our quality. One of our dearest clients, an independent fashion retailer operating from the UK, won The Best Mobile eCommerce Award at the prestigious eCommerce Expo & Awards ceremony. We have been part of this client’s success since 2012.
The third achievement we are very proud of is organizing the Developers Paradise Conference in 2016. It was the first-ever global Magento 2 development conference. We organized it in lovely Adriatic and we had over 300 attendees from all over the world.
Magento Is the Best Choice
Simply, because at that time, when the whole ecommerce ecosystem was much simpler and less saturated with platforms.
“Magento was the best solution for all types and sizes of merchants.”
We are definitely planning to stay with Magento in the future, but as it differentiates itself towards mid-market merchants, we do find a huge gap in the market regarding small and medium-sized businesses. This is why we introduced the Shopware development team, an open-source eCommerce platform that will be a great solution for unanswered SMB market needs.
Agility Is KEY
Since Inchoo is a full-service agency, our process of creating a Magento store starts with the project team gathering.
From there, we are ready to roll out a planning phase, where the project manager introduces the requirements gathered in the project scope to the Magento architecture team, UX/UI designer, front-end developer, SEO consultant, and digital marketing manager.
“The planning phase helps each and every team member understand the client’s goals, as well as the business and requirements & features vital for their users to have a seamless online experience.”
We create a lot of internal tasks & discussions in which our main goal is to plan out how the execution of the development will give the best final results.
Once the planning phase is completed, we are ready to start the design & development of the web store!
We are an agile agency, so during the development phase there will be some changes or new findings that we conclude will be more beneficial. But we’re always committed to excellence. We are always striving to deliver the best possible outcome to our clients.
“Our guiding principles of any work with the clients is to follow our vision of being a “merchant’s best friend” – and best friends will always give their best to you.”
Importance of Magento Hosting
Every merchant, when choosing a hosting provider for their Magento store, should check if the current solution already has rich experience with the platform itself. Magento’s architecture is complex, and it needs to have a hosting environment that provides quality, safety, and expandability as needed.
“We would also always advise making sure that the hosting and development partners are introduced and on great terms with each other so that you can always expect those two teams to be working on the same side when the problems occur (which is pretty much inevitable).”
Industry Hacks for Magento Merchants
“Our number one advice, except for the obvious one (experience, if you couldn’t guess) would be to make sure that your communication with the agency is great!”
Since you will probably be working with them for many months to come, it’s pretty important to have a partner that understands your goals and communicates with you on a daily basis.
Also, we find that it’s important to allow our clients to directly speak to their development team. So make sure that the communication between the “actual” developers, designers and consultants isn’t only through a middleman.
“Many issues are resolved much quicker if there is a direct line of communication through a collaboration tool.”
Finally, make sure that the agency that you are working with has a clear understanding of the development process itself. Find out how they work – is it through sprints or a waterfall project management approach? How do they define the task lifecycle and what is the expectation from your end? It will definitely help you to see the level of professionalism and understand how organized the agency is from the inside out.
The Future of Magento (Headless & PWA)
“Well, we were the ones who were pretty early onboard the PWA train – but we jumped off it as soon as we noticed that it wouldn’t be the best solution for any of the early adopters.”
The merchants’ trust was already disturbed with the problematic early versions of Magento 2, so going through the same issues with Magento 2.3 and its PWA studio release was a no-go for us. We simply couldn’t see ourselves delivering a high-quality solution with this. The same went with the alternative options that came right up at the market.
But the dissatisfaction with the default tech stack and complex-level standard Magento frontend architecture was palpable – so we tackled this by creating our custom compiler and introducing a more modern technology stack, which we use as a standard starting point for all of the projects we work on.
We are working on different initiatives, such as the Inchoo Developer Seniority Document, which is a public document for everyone who would like to become a part of the Inchoo team.
The general idea of the document is to prepare descriptions and expectations of each and every role from Junior up to Senior Level in our agency. Responsibilities are specified throughout the 3 categories: tasks, project, and process. The position of an employee is defined by the quality of approach taken in all three of those areas.
On the other hand, we also have quite a lot of employee engagement activities that are focused on making sure that everyone is heard, respected, and recognized as an important individual.
Motivation & Advice to the Magento Newbies
Welcome and don’t give up!
We’ve been in this for the last 13 years, and with all ups and downs, we can tell you only one thing: Magento managed to create and maintain a community so strong that it kept growing based on the contributions of exceptional developers and agencies, all of who wanted to make the experience of ecommerce simply better.
Abdur Rahman is the Magento whizz at Cloudways. He is growth ambitious, and aims to learn & share information about Ecommerce & Magento Development through practice and experimentation. He loves to travel and explore new ideas whenever he finds time. Get in touch with him at [email protected]