The biggest achievement for any organization is to see the associated community grow.
A growing community indicates that customers trust the product and that the team behind the brand is serious about feature addition and improvement.
In this backdrop, let me introduce Thien-Lan Weber who engaged the community across the board and saw the product grow in both users and brand reach. Thien-Lan Weber has more than 20 years of experience with well-known companies such as eBay and PayPal.
So, let’s discuss how Thien-Lan Weber has to offer to our readers.
Cloudways: Thien-Lan, thank you for joining us for this interview. Let’s start with the highlights of your career.
Thien-Lan: Thanks for having me.
I’ve been working for over 20 years now, the first 10 years in offline marketing as a Management Consultant at Accenture, then a Product Manager at Clarins and Brand Manager at Johnson & Johnson. Then, the next 10 were with ecommerce, first with eBay, PayPal and now with OneStepCheckout since 2016.
Cloudways: How will you describe Magento in a single line?
Thien-Lan: Magento is a very popular ecommerce platform, with a strong community sharing values of openness and collaboration, with a mission to help merchants make the most of their online stores.
Cloudways: How would you compare Magento with other ecommerce platforms? What was your reason behind choosing Magento?
Thien-Lan: Magento was easy to use and accessible to most with Magento 1 peaking at over 250,000 live installations. It is now shifting to a more powerful platform with Magento 2 that allows a larger size and therefore more complex organizations extract the most from their online channels.
The reason why OneStepCheckout chose Magento in the first place was the Magento 1 native checkout that was suboptimal. Our product solved a real pain point for all merchants regardless of their region and industry vertical.
We followed the evolution of the platform and launched our product for Magento 2. Although the pain point doesn’t look so obvious with default checkout consisting of two steps instead of 6 in the case of Magento 1, it is still there with research showing that the key drivers of cart abandonments are still not addressed.
Cloudways: Being a CMO at OneStepCheckout, how would you differentiate your OneStepCheckout extension with other available extensions?
Thien-Lan: Starting out in 2009, we are the original “one step checkout”, and what makes us unique is that we are the only extension developers that gained over 20,000 customers with just a single product. We don’t offer hundreds of extensions because we want to specialise and be the best at what we do.
In our business model, the same team provides support and builds the product. That means that they can solve issues faster and incorporate all customer feedback into new releases.
That being said it’s not all about us. It’s about merchants. When they tell us that we helped them improve checkout conversion by 3x, it feels really awesome. When they write reviews praising the quality of the support team, it’s what makes the difference.
We’re glad the quality of our product and support has been recognized by the community and allowed us to be an active member of of the Extension Developer Network (extd.org)
Cloudways: Magento 1 support is going to end in June 2020. What would be your advice for the users who are still using Magento 1.x?
Thien-Lan: There is no doubt Magento 2 is more powerful but more complex and the total cost of ownership (TCO) is higher than Magento 1. As such merchants need to look at their needs, their shopper experience, and their budget to see if a migration is the right thing to do now.
Consider this: Our own webshop is running on Magento 1, and we are not planning to migrate it to Magento 2 for now, as with less than 10 SKUs and virtual shipment, it doesn’t make business sense yet.
However, we ran a survey among our customer base and more than half are migrating to Magento 2. So we’ve collected tips from experts on how to run a smooth migration. You might not think about it but it could be a good opportunity to review categories or even renegotiate terms with your payment provider!
Cloudways: And what OneStepCheckout is planning for their Magento 1.x users?
Thien-Lan: In our survey, 30% of our M1 customers said they would stay on M1, wait and see. If we extrapolate this to our whole base, it’s over 6,000 stores who are staying on Magento 1 and a few thousand more who are planning to migrate but haven’t yet.
That’s why we’re committed to supporting those customers for as long as they need it, even beyond June 2020.
That means keeping Magento OneStepCheckout extension up-to-date with all the security patches that might come from Adobe or other services such as Mage One that just launched a Support Service for Magento 1.
Cloudways: What would you like to say for the Magento community? How would you summarize the Magento community in one word?
Thien-Lan: I’d say: keep putting the customer first, and that’s the merchant. We need to adapt to their needs and not the other way round.
As for the Magento Community, the first word that comes to my mind is: Friends (think “ I’ll be there for you” song )
Cloudways: What’s your reaction to the cancellation announcement for Magento Imagine at Adobe this year and how do you react to this global health crisis?
Thien-Lan: Like everyone else in the community, I’m disappointed. Imagine is our yearly highlight, it’s the best place and time where we catch up with agencies and technology partners and meet new people.
We had also planned to catch up with our peers from ExtDn and other friends we made over the years. We are all keen to help out each other so this event would have been a good opportunity to keep the finger on the pulse and understand what everyone’s priorities and pain points are.
As for the Coronavirus issue, you know what? I’m only a few kilometers from the border with North Italy! 😱 Fortunately, One Step Checkout always had distributed teams so internally there are no big changes for us, we keep chatting on Skype and handle customers’ emails from our respective desks in our respective cities!
That’s also why we crave in person gatherings and were so much looking forward to attending big events like Imagine at Adobe.
We were hoping to shoot some of our customers and partners for an upcoming advertising video.
Last but not least, we applied for an award alongside Magento Enterprise Solution Integrator Webjump on our joint customer Nestlé Health Science, so we hope to get nominated and win. Not sure how that will take place online…
Cloudways: What would you like to say about official Magento events?
Thien-Lan: Imagine is always where big announcements are made so it’s always good to have the finger on the pulse and hear it first hand.
Imagine is also where you can catch up with the Magento employees that matter for your organization (the Marketplace team in our case). It’s good to meet those guys face to face at least once a year and align our objectives.
As I said, this event is now bigger and richer so there is a whole catalog of sessions you wouldn’t have had access to in the past. I expect this enhancement would help advance skills and provide a new perspective on things.
Last but not least, networking opportunities will be endless. For us, it’s always a pleasure to catch up with our agency and technology partners, meet new people like Santi from Cloudways whom we met in Amsterdam during the last Magento Live Europe. We might also catch up with our peers from ExtDn and other friends we have made over the years. We are all keen to help out each other but how can you help if you don’t know the pain points?
Cloudways: Everyone follows industry influencers. Name the Magento influencers who have inspired you.
Thien-Lan: One is Ben Marks. Everyone knows him and yet he stays so humble and so friendly. His attitude is always positive and he’s a talented drummer (see the last question). He’s a true inspiration.
Cloudways: Would you prefer shared hosting or a cloud hosting environment like Cloudways offered for Magento powered stores?
Thien-Lan: This is a business decision made by analyzing the commercial, risk and site performance metrics. So every merchant is different and we know many of our customers are happy with their Cloudways environment like the Russel Hobbs store in South Africa.
Cloudways: Can you please share the picture of your workplace?
Thien-Lan: Beauty of working for OneStepCheckout and most companies in the Magento ecosystem is to be able to work remotely.
I moved to the French Riviera in September but I stay in the same time zone as my colleagues based in Norway while enjoying slightly warmer weather.
Notice the colors of the chairs and table.
Cloudways: How do you spend your free time? Do you like sports, traveling, entertainment, or hanging out with friends and family?
Thien-Lan: As my husband travels a lot, I spend a lot of time looking after the kids and have less time to travel myself.
Since I arrived in France I found a rock band where I am the drummer. We play U2, Metallica, Pink Floyd, and Muse. This takes up most of my free time as I’m not that good and need to catch up. So I practice a fair bit and hang out with the rest of the band, who like me, have a day time job.
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Syed Muneeb Ul Hasan is a Magento Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed Magento Hosting Platform. He is an expert in PHP and Magento and prefers to educate users in the implementation of Magento. When not working, he loves to play games and watch cricket.