Magento Live UK 2014 – The Best Yet?

Posted by: Karen Thursday, July 17th, 2014

And so once again Magento hits London for the annual Magento Live event, this time in the summer, just barely a couple of months after Imagine.  I was talking to one guy and eventually we figured out that it was 3 years back in 2011 when the first Live event happened, with a view of Big Ben from a slightly different but similarily awesome viewpoint.

So did it meet expectations?  There was no Roy Rubin, the startup founders had departed, the eBay crowd had truly arrived, were they going to be able to handle this unique and wonderful UK Magento ecosystem consisting of entrepreneurs, one-man developers, and merchants large and small, or would they fall flat and it be the end of Magento as we know it? All the ‘oldies’ from the ecosystem were looking for the cracks, the corporate tone, the ‘we don’t really care but we will try to kid you otherwise’ approach.

And the Result is In

Actually from the feedback I received and the way I saw it (which is obviously the only view I can state) I think they managed to pull it off. Magento survives, and actually it might even prosper under this new management team.  What was clear to me was that this event was well thought out, organised, and full of clearly intelligent people from the eBay side. I would argue actually this event in terms of the message from the management team was stronger and more consistent than at Imagine – where I personally felt it was a little conflicting.

You can tell some things are still being worked out, but their message was extremely clear:

  • This ecosystem is totally unique within the eCommerce space and we must preserve and nurture it
  • Open source is here to stay
  • Magento is doing great things, there are some amazing customers using it and market share is increasing

We needed to hear this.  But what we wanted more was to feel it. And we did. We felt like we are a part of something that still has a lot of life left in it, and that our participation was understood and appreciated by Magento. Everyone in this ecosystem knows that the role they play, whether it be large or small, involves a heck of a lot of hard work, dedication, and passion. It was nice to know from the very platform that we all rely on and have nurtured ourselves over the years that those at the top haven’t discounted us, they are starting to understand us and realise what we bring to the table.

So who was there?

In the end there were over 700 attendees. I counted the rows in the keynotes and the numbers looked sound to me.  At times it was standing room only.  The web design agencies were in full presence, though only OnTap had a stand.  Jonty from Red Box Digital seemed to crop up a bit on stage, he clearly is running a very professional influential company, great to see such a genuinely nice chap starting to reap the rewards of his total utter dedication to this space.  There were many other quality partners around including The Distance, Limesharp, The Pixel, Creare Group, Healthy Websites, Hunters Design to name just a few.  I spoke with many of these agencies, and they are all growing, all raising the bar, and all finding that Magento is growing in popularity still, which is great to hear.

There were a great many merchants in attendance, obvious from their green badges.  Many were household names, I won’t divulge for competition reasons but from talking with these merchants they all said to me they got a lot out of the event, the content in the breakouts was useful, and the ability to connect with other merchants and indeed speak with agencies, technology partners and Magento gave them a much needed opportunity to re-evaluate and learn.

Our great friends over at SLI Systems had their usual presence, they were professional, courteous and engaging. Their stand was always busy, clearly search is hot in demand at present, and they know how to do the job well.

From the eBay side there were various heads, including those of Small Business, Product Management, Marketing, eBay Enterprise, together with the architectural innovative brilliance of the likes of Brent Peters and John Lunn.

And of course WebShopApps – we hosted the opening party, and the family friendly open atmosphere was exactly what we wanted, no segregation, just everyone hanging out and enjoying the evening free of the stresses of everyday work for once.  It was the perfect start.

The Venue

The move to the Plaza Hotel was needed, the venue near St. Pauls was too small, and having the large exhibition area where food was served worked well for all, we mingled and networked much more than previous years I felt. Having the evening event in the same venue was also appreciated, it just seemed more intimate, even though there was more space. This is the same venue for next year, and I suspect off the back of this year’s event there will be an even bigger crowd, this really is the eCommerce event to attend right now.

So What was Missing?

So all this positive talk, surely something wasn’t right?  Well, I think Magento should have joined the community event on the Tuesday evening and actually taken off their jackets and come mixed in a neutral setting with the masses, that would have been great. Though we did get the pleasure of both Ben Marks and Beth Gomez joining us, and in fine form too!

I think there are still questions around whats going on with Magento, and it would have been nice if they had cleared up some of these. The biggest question that I think a few of us pondered was:

“Where does the platform finish and the ecosystem begin?”

It’s clear that there is a push down from eBay Enterprise into the Magento space. Magento need to clarify how far that push down goes, because let’s face it right now we are all growing up with our customers, and we want to continue to grow up with them. If eBay Enterprise is this large monolith where our best customers depart to never to be seen again I think there will be some questions asked, as we in the community have really been key contributors to their success (and in turn Magento’s), we aren’t going to sit quietly by and let that just happen. I think the same applies around the lower end of the market, with the disappearance of Magento Go (which wasn’t even mentioned) what are Magento’s plans here, and if its still being worked out please be transparant and tell us. Because if the move is to Big Commerce (as the emails and news reports suggest), well that affects a lot of agencies, hosting providers, technology partners and indeed merchants.

Then we had the boxes for suggestions for Magento 2 – what did people most want to see. For pretty much every box there already exists extensions that solve the issue (e.g. Import/Export capabilities around orders).  If Magento is going to build such features that could impact on the ecosystem my feeling is they need to be very transparant so that companies have time to react to that, otherwise they risk de-stabilizing the great work being undertaken by innovative companies.

And Lastly

I think this was the best Magento Live event ever.  It was true, intimate, honest and well executed by a management team less interested in fame, career progression and parties, much more interested in results, stats and diligence.

Well done to the Magento team, and keep up the great work. But remember – in the words of keynote speaker Mariana Mazzucato

- “We should be building mutualistic ecosystems rather than parasitic ones”

 

 

WebShopApps – A Unique Proposition

Posted by: Karen Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

What do WebShopApps Do?

This is a question we ask all prospective staff members. If they can’t answer with a few key words (one of them involving shipping), then usually the interview is over within 5 minutes and we just pad it out for 20 minutes more to be nice!

But a lot of people don’t get what we do, I suppose we have literally been so busy over the past 5 odd years that we don’t sit back and explain it too well. We remain busy, which is great, but now I have a bit more time available so I thought I’d share my view on what WebShopApps is about

To me WebShopApps is this today:

“We are Subject Matter Experts in the area of Shipping Rate Calculation in Magento eCommerce”.

So what the heck does that mean?

Well we understand shipping. Completely and totally.  We understand Magento around shipping, completely and totally.

And our focus – its in the cart, the checkout, around being able to get the most accurate rates, and/or manipulate shipping rates to increase your profits, make you more competitive, or just because you have some awkward item that costs you more to ship than you make in revenue.

How does this Help me as a Merchant?

We can talk in your speak, we have dealt with thousands of clients over the years and come across pretty much every shipping scenario there is. We understand how shipping works in eCommerce businesses, and as such we can understand your needs and translate those into providing solutions that work for you.

How does this Help me as a Web Design Agency?

Shipping is pretty damn boring if you are a web designer. We get that. We take the strain off you.  We can deal with the shipping, from requirements thro to implementation and testing.  You can concentrate on pretty things like design, widgets and graphics, we deal with the boring mechanics and maths of shipping.

And the Extensions

Well we have written a lot. More than I can feasibly count anymore. But we have a core suite that works for 97% of our customers, you would be surprised what we can do that you may have thought didn’t exist.  Freight, Dropshipping, Dimensional, Custom product rules, handling fees, surcharges, you name it we have done it.

We had the most powerful shipping extensions on Magento back in 2009 and we have them still today. Because we are passionate about 2 things – the customer, and shipping.

Yep I know its boring

But we love it.  Contact us to discuss your needs. Oh and did I mention we have offices in the US and UK (and an engineer out in AUS). Why? Because we want to be close to you.

IRCE 2014 Roundup

Posted by: Daniel Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Last week 10,000 of the best and brightest eCommerce minds in the world gathered in Chicago for the Internet Retail Conference & Exhibition. Karen and Daniel from WebShopApps attended and spent time connecting with partners, friends, and customers as well as keeping our finger on the pulse of eCommerce. Here are some highlights:

  1. Endicia‘s event on Tuesday evening at Ignite Glass Studios was a unique take on a partner event as we gathered around the glass kilns enjoying appetizers and drinks while watching the craftsmen mold molten glass into a unique sculpture.
  2. Magento‘s Tuesday night event brought everyone to Public House, one of Chicago’s finest gastropubs. Over a delicious buffet and some great local beers, we reconnected with many partners and friends (and perhaps snuck a peek at the NBA game every once in a while).
  3. I had the opportunity to attend the comScore 2014 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper presentation on Thursday afternoon. Full of great information for merchants on what online shoppers are looking for and the popularity growth of non-traditional, cross-channel shopping in offerings like In-Store Pickup.
  4. Our friends from Classy Llama had a great booth with a beautiful hardwood floor and were promoting their new Llama Commerce Magento platform. One to keep an eye on!
  5. We introduced our new eCommerce shipping platform, ShipperHQ, to many of our friends and partners who weren’t able to attend Magento’s Imagine eCommerce 2014 conference and, again, were thrilled by the response! Get in touch if you want to see the future of eCommerce shipping.

Throughout the exhibit hall, the number of new services available to eCommerce companies was amazing. From search engines, to live support platforms, to monitoring and analytics, the eCommerce market is coming into its own. IRCE was another confirmation that frequent innovation is key to success and WebShopApps is proud to be one of the companies driving eCommerce into the future.

A Week with WebShoppApps

Posted by: emma Monday, June 9th, 2014

After meeting Karen at an engineering conference held by my school I asked if I’d be able to undertake work experience with her company. It seemed the perfect opportunity – an impressive company, an industry suited to my interest and based near to where I live. I’m so glad Karen agreed to take me on for a week as having completed it I can say it was honestly an invaluable experience.

When I arrived on my first day I was a bit worried I’d be sat around with nothing to do as I’d often heard about friends being given boring jobs that no one else wanted or given the role of tea-maker. However, on my arrival I was given a project and a laptop that was to be mine for the week as well as a temporary email account with the company. This made me feel really welcome to begin with but it was the staff’s friendly and helpful nature that made me feel at ease and made the week so much more enjoyable.

Most of my independent work centred on web page design, doing my own research and producing reports to suggest updated designs for the company site. I also spent a lot of time shadowing the different staff members to learn about their different roles in the company as well as more in-depth information behind how the apps work. I learnt a lot of technical information too such as getting much more familiar with Linux, how to use servers and debugging computer code. It was so interesting to see how different members of the team would work together to solve particularly challenging problems, especially as I was often clueless as to possible solutions. The fact everyone was so happy to explain fully what they were doing and answer my questions meant I learnt so much more than I would have just from observing. Occasionally we’d go off topic, talking about things that I didn’t understand, outside of what was currently necessary of the task, answering some questions I’d had for a long time.

On top of this I learnt a lot about the work environment, colleagues and working life. Being treated like another member of staff made me feel independent and mature while the jokes and conversations kept it from feeling too serious. Given that I hope to move into this industry it was especially helpful to learn how a relevant company operates, for example the hours and what it’s like to work at a computer for long periods of time. I also learnt more about PHP and code, especially the debugging process, which should be really helpful in my future studies.

Overall I had a brilliant week, really fun and exceptionally useful. I feel a lot better prepared for my plans to study computer science at university and more confident that I will enjoy the subject. I had such a great time I was a little sad to be leaving after what felt like such a short week. However with some WebShopApp goodies and possible opportunities to return next year I couldn’t be upset for long.

Magento 2 – Time to get Behind It

Posted by: Karen Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

What’s to get Behind?

The standard joke in Magento has been around when will Magento 2 appear. Since it was first announced in 2010 there have been several false starts, partly to blame for this has been the eBay buyout of Magento, the change of CTO’s, Product Manager’s, X.commerce, and so on.  But, in my opinion it’s now time to put those jokes to bed, to get behind the team who are building Magento 2 and as a community show them our support.  I think this is especially important at this time when a lot of the development team are in the Ukraine, we need to show them we care about what they are doing, and indeed value and respect them for working on this great project.

So What is Magento 2?

When Magento 1.0 arrived back in 2008 it was a game changer. Its architecture was hard for many to understand, involved real programming, and I believe for the first time ‘professionalised’ the craft of PHP software development for the mainstream web design agency.  It brought along a fantastically extensible, innovative UI, gave the ability to cutomise it to our heart’s content and right from the start supported the ability for the community to play their part in adding functionality.

It wasn’t the Magento ecommerce product itself that was great, it was the architecture that it was built on, the framework. Because that enabled developers like myself to dream bigger dreams than the Magento team, to create beautiful sites, and craft Magento into what we wanted it to be. Collectively we all created the Magento that it is today.

So, I hear you asking, where does Magento 2 fit in? Well, when Yoav and Roy conceived Magento 1 I’m sure they didn’t anticipate the rate of growth, the usage or the demands that would be placed on the platform.  It was 2007/2008, just when the first iPhones were announced by Steve Jobs.  Things have changed.  It’s full credit to the team that created Magento 1 that it’s still thriving today. But with Magento 2 we have an opportunity to re-think, to assess the current technologies, to redo the components that cause most pain, to build a platform in 2014 that will work in 2020.

What’s our say?

When I say ‘we’ I do mean ‘we’, as I’ve said many times before, this is no longer just about Magento/eBay, it is about us all. We collectively have an amazing amount of knowledge and experience, far more than the current paid Magento team, and it’s clear to me from their actions that Magento/eBay are receptive to taking onboard our feedback, our comments. That’s not to say everything we suggest they should listen to, because they shouldn’t, they ultimately should decide, and we need to trust that.

RoadMap

Magento 2 can be downloaded on github today. A beta for developers is planned for Dec 2014.  This will give people time to test, create modules, themes, feedback issues, etc.

The Merchant Beta is due for middle of 2015, I suspect Magento Imagine will announce a beta customer. From then on an iterative agile release approach is proposed, with the team focused on a single set of goals, delivering those goals, then moving onto the next piece of functionality. This is a great way to run a team, and get’s my approval.

When/What to Learn?

I’ve personally shied away from getting too involved in learning Magento 2. We did an extension on it last year, didn’t find it too bad to convert, but a lot has changed since then so it seems pointless to try to keep up. What I do though, and I encourage my team to do, is:

  • read the blogs around what’s happening
  • create a default site monthly
  • browse the code
  • follow the github threads/issues
  • read up on the technologies and approaches being used

Here are a few snippets that I see cropping up lately:

  1. It is clear someone in the Ukraine has the Gang Of Four book on their desk(!), and although a tough read I’d encourage any serious programmer to obtain your own copy, its pretty much a bible amongst serious devs (and yes, I’ve read it on numerous occasions and recommend if interviewing for Goldman Sachs/ThoughtWorks!!)
  2. AOP is another term we see banded around, in laymen’s terms this is about separating out the business logic within magento (orders, checkout, customers) from the actual plumbing (e.g. transactions, authorizations), in turn extracting the parts that ‘cut across’ into separate blocks (concerns) e.g. Logging, caching, persistence
  3. Clearly having an understanding of responsive design, JQuery, CSS3 is all mandatory for you frontend folks, if you don’t know it by now, well time to switch on
  4. The Service Layer is another interesting aspect, the short version is that it’s a way of abstracting out the Model/Persistence layer from the view/controller/external api.  This allows greater modularization, a consistent and defined approach, plus hopefully stops crap being written ;)

Unit testing will be a must – see the  Magento Testing Framework, this is a big leap forwards. With Magento 2 testing is there by default and I hope/assume they will release an extensive set of unit tests, then enforce all new extensions submitted go through checks around test coverage as a minimum.  This one change will significantly increase the quality of the extension marketplace, and in turn increase the takeup of Magento2.

I’ll leave it to others to give you the detailed perspective, my point here though is that none of this is rocket science, but start learning now, as when this fully arrives you will be prepared, you will understand.

Conclusion

I’m encouraged by what eBay is doing, as some of you may know I don’t suffer fools gladly and I’m pleased that some of the ‘fluff’ has been removed from the Magento space. There seem to be a number of people here now who genuinly want Magento 2 to work, are passionate about it as a technology, it’s not about them trying to move their career forwards or being flashy about being the head of this that or whatever, they just believe they can do a good job and are working within a team to ensure that happens.

What’s being done here is to be commended, as the reality is that many of us rely on Magento for a good deal of our income, and really our future is in their hands to a degree (of course unless we diversify which many of us are doing). It would be easy for eBay to walk away from open source, they owe us nothing, but they haven’t, and we need to acknowledge that commitment sometimes.

To those amongst us that are ready to knock this I’d say the past is gone, people have changed, stop whining about what wasn’t done and look at what is happening now. Go contribute on github if that is your skill, go give your feedback if you are a business owner, but then support this effort, or go find somewhere else to hang your hat.  Because we have moved forwards, the train has pulled away and it’s time to go have some fun with the future!

Magento Imagine 2014 Wrap-up

Posted by: Karen Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Once again companies and individuals from around the world headed to Vegas for 4 days of Magento, networking, keynotes, casino’s and partying.  The conference moved from it’s remote M Resort location to the slightly less remote Hard Rock Hotel.  Here we mingled in with tourists, listened to crazy music blaring whilst trying to have breakfast meetings, and I’d say it generally felt a little less personal than when we literally took over the M Resort venue. But it’s location nearer to the strip was certainly welcomed, and well, its nice to have a change.

The People

The keynotes introduced some new faces, most significantly Mark Lavelle, who has a frighteningly long title of Head of Global Product and Strategy at eBay Enterprise & GM Magento. Another name for the future was Brent Peters, the CTO of eBay Enterprise.

The guest keynote speakers were of top quality once again. My particular favourite was Malcom Gladwell. Apart from the fact he spoke about shipping for a good 30 minutes (which I hope for once made it non-boring!) he brought up the argument that being disagreeable was actually a good thing. So that justified the last 20 years I’ve been in IT, finally I found someone who was telling me standing up and being counted and not worrying about what people think is a good idea!

Roy Rubin was at his last Imagine as an employee of eBay. It was certainly sad to see him go, but in a way I’m pleased we can now move on and focus on the future.

Product Highlights

CE 1.9/EE1.14 was introduced via a great video from The Buzz Lab about Classy Llama and 3M.  CE1.9 is a collaboration between Magento and Classy Llama/Brendan Falkowski

which gives us a theme with jQuery, a responsive design and CSS5 built in. It’s great to see Magento/eBay working with the community here, I’d encourage them to do this more, use the resources you have as we have the expertise, plus also the drive and passion to make things happen.

Magento 2 was discussed, and some very broad timelines given. It seems a Release Candidate may be out by March 2015, though they are taking an iterative agile approach so it sounds like some features won’t be added until Q3 2015. Magento 2 does look pretty cool tho, from my discussions I get the impression they now have a good team on this, with good overall direction and a focus on delivering a MVP as opposed to a ‘perfect solution’ (which we all know is non-achievable).  They seem to be thinking for the first time about how this will be used/extended, over and above some of the lower technological aspects that really won’t mean much to merchants/agencies/developers.

There was a fair amount of talk about Magento Enterprise and eBay Enterprise, personally I find the fact that both are called Enterprise confusing, and it seems clear where this could go. It seems eBay is building out features for eBay Enterprise, and I can see this floating down to the Magento Enterprise offering. Personally I think this will be a bad move, as the companies in the community are building far more superior offerings already, eBay should look to partner/white label rather than trying to build in house – the whole success of Magento has been built on the foundation of a community marketplace, changing that seems wrong.

Transforming

The topic of the conference was ‘Transform’, so I thought I’d take a look at some of the companies there that I saw were transforming themselves.

1) Classy Llama – They are offering a ‘turnkey’ type Magento offering where you can get hosting, a default Magento platform, extensions, etc and from there adapt to create your Magento store. This is really aimed at being a beefed up Magento Go, and I have a feeling they will do it better!

2) WebShopApps – ShipperHQ.com was launched at Imagine, this is a cloud based shipping rate solution encompassing the best of the WebShopApps extensions into a single cohesive solution. This was met with great feedback at Imagine and we are now working with a number of Enterprise clients doing a managed rollout of this great solution. Expect a lot more info over coming months!

3) UK company Red Box Digital won the Magento Site of the Year – Best Design award at Imagine with Paperchase.co.uk. This is a great company WebShopApps work with a lot, congratulations to them on this well-deserved award.

 

 

Roy Rubin Moves on from Magento

Posted by: Karen Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Well, it’s been coming a while, and finally less than 2 weeks before Imagine Roy Rubin announces he is stepping down from Magento.

Roy, along with Yoav Kutner, first brought us the Magento platform back in 2007/2008, initially under the Varien company.  Since then it’s been a fast ride for many of us as we, along with them, have kept up with the frantic pace of growth of the Magento platform.  An eBay buyout back in 2011 left some of us worrying about its future, but here in 2014 we can see this is a platform that is definitely here for the long haul, thanks in large part to the great extensibility and flexibility it offers, and also in part due to the vision Roy and Yoav have had.

Thank You

I’d personally like to extend my deepest gratitude to Roy for all that he has done to aide and enable companies and developers such as WebShopApps in being able to participate in this great journey. We owe him and Magento itself a great deal, indeed for myself Magento completely changed my life, bringing me to live on American shores, giving me the passion and enthusiasm to step beyond my comfort zone and see my own vision for the future of shipping in commerce.  Without the support of people like Roy encouraging us to step up and to innovate and, more than that, believing in us, well, where would we be now?

It’s only natural that there comes a time the founder will want to move on. By their nature founders are innovators, they are creators, they are looking for the next big gig.  For someone like Roy who has spent many years in this space I’m sure it will be great for him to step out and enjoy the thrill of small startups again, to search for that next big ‘thing’.

Where does this leave us?

Where has our leader, our visionary gone? Is Magento falling apart, is the monolith which is eBay going to wave its corporate wand and try to stifle this great community that is full of people with a startup agile mentality.

I can only give my personal view on this. Which is actually I think this is a good move that it has been done before Imagine. Because now we can look forwards to the future of Magento, and this is our future, we are now in the driving seat here, all of us that run our own companies, its time for us to step up and be counted.  Magento is there, its a platform, it has a great reputation and great traction, its used by companies from the Mom and Pop store right up to the multi $100M organisations.  Roy has done his job. We now need to do ours.

What I would say is that in the type of community we are in we love figureheads, we like personalities, and we want to be in this exciting tech space where companies have a ‘face’.  So please Magento, all I ask is you keep it cool, you keep some personality and you keep your individuality. I recall saying a long time back to Matthew Mengerink – ‘Who do you want to be known as – the Apple of eCommerce or the Microsoft?’ I’d ask that again.

 

Three Reasons You Should Visit Us at Imagine

Posted by: Daniel Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

In just a few weeks the WebShopApps team is going to be setting up at Booth #60 in the Imagine eCommerce marketplace. Here are the top three reasons that you should stop by whether you’re a merchant, designer, developer, or just want to learn about the latest innovations in eCommerce shipping:

1. We’re Announcing some Exciting Stuff!

In 2008 we revolutionized Magento shipping with the release of our first extension, MatrixRate. In 2014 we’re doing it again. With ground-breaking partnerships and revolutionary product announcements this year is going to be one for the books. Watch this space and stop by our booth to join the revolution!

2. Meet our Team in Person!

We’re coming in full force to Imagine with 7 team members from 3 continents! Our team is friendly and knowledgable so, whether you’re a card-carrying techie, a business-savvy luddite, or somewhere in between, we’ll be glad to talk to you about the ever-evolving world of eCommerce shipping. Our mission is to make eCommerce shipping easier for merchants and developers, stop by and see what we can do for you!

3. We’ve Got Gifts!

We always come prepared with a few presents for those who stop by for a chat and we’re particularly excited about the one we’re bringing this year! We don’t want to give too much away just yet but we think it’ll help keep you running through the entire conference. Curious? You’ll just have to stop by and find out!

There’s plenty more reasons but we think these three are plenty. If you want to schedule a time to talk to one of our team members, contact us or just stop by Booth #60!

Royal Mail April 2014 Updates

Posted by: adam Friday, April 4th, 2014

Logo of the Royal Mail

As of the 31st of March, 2014 the UK Royal Mail instituted changes to their rates and services. Information on the updated rates and services can be found on the Royal Mail website. While changes are not extensive, they do include lower shipping rates for Small Parcel shipments and a few changes to delivery types.

We have updated our Royal Mail Magento extension to reflect these changes. Our Royal Mail extension allows Magento customers in the UK to easily offer Royal Mail as a shipping option to their customers. Find more details, a live demo, and documentation on our Royal Mail extension page.

If you’re an existing customer who has purchased our Royal Mail extension within the past year, just send a message to support@webshopapps.com to receive an updated CSV file and instructions for updating your extension’s rates. If you would like additional support making this update, you are welcome to purchase a Silver Support package and send us an email to support@webshopapps.com and we’ll be glad to help you.

Fedex Web Service Change: Impact on Magento & Free Patch

Posted by: Genevieve Thursday, March 20th, 2014

FedEx Logo

Earlier this week some Magento merchants began to experience issues with the standard FedEx carrier including issues retrieving rates, tracking information, and generating labels. Magento Certified Developer Phillip Jackson (www.somethingdigital.com; on Twitter @philwinkle) was one of the first to dig into this issue and helped us narrow down the cause.


What happened?

Beginning on Sunday, March 16th FedEx began to shut down the Web Services endpoint used by Magento. This endpoint’s URLs have been deprecated and, while still responsive in some regions, FedEx plans to shut them down worldwide. While FedEx has not made any public announcement to this effect, we have had it confirmed by several FedEx Web Services representatives that this is the case and that FedEx has distributed official internal documents outlining this move.

To put it as plainly as possible, FedEx is in the process of moving and they haven’t left a forwarding address.


How does this effect Magento merchants?

If you are among the merchants effected by this change you will be unable to generate FedEx labels in Magento and may experience issues retrieving rates and tracking information. If you are not experiencing any of these issues then it may not be necessary to apply the patch below. You or your developer should, of course, evaluate any new extension for your Magento site before installation.

If you are no longer seeing FedEx rates on your site or are no longer able to generate FedEx labels, you will need to install a patch or update to restore these services. See the “What Should I Do?” section below for instructions.

For those looking for a more technical, manual approach, Phillip Jackson has published the changes necessary to correct this issue on Github.


What Should I Do?

If you are running Magento CE 1.6 or above (EE 1.11 or above)…

download and install our free FedEx Web Services Patch March 2014.

If you are running Magento CE 1.5 and below  (EE 1.10 and below)…

you’ll need to download and install our free FedEx Web Services Patch May 2012 which has been updated to include the fixes from the March 2014 patch. You will only need to install this patch, not both patches. See our blog post on the May 2012 Fedex Ship Manager retirement for more details.

If you have the WebShopApps Dimensional Shipping extension installed

we have an update for this extension which includes the same fix as our March 2014 FedEx Web Services Patch but also corrects the same issue in our extension. Please contact us to receive this update. You will only need to install this update, not this update and the new patch.


Potential issue with meter numbers

Another potential issue with FedEx Meter Numbers has been identified as effecting some merchants. This is not likely related to the issue above and will not be fixed with the FedEx Web Services Patch. We’ve had some reports that a few merchants have stopped receiving FedEx rates, tracking, and labels due to expired Meter Numbers. The merchants have needed to call FedEx technical support and request a new Meter Number be issued for their account.


Final notes

We have provided this post and the associated patch for the benefit of the Magento community. This information is correct to the best of our knowledge. If you have additional questions we recommend that you contact your web developer or FedEx representative.

WebShopApps are Magento Platinum Industry Partners, Gold sponsors of Magento’s Imagine eCommerce 2014 conference and premier providers of shipping solutions for rate management in Magento. Browse our current catalog of Magento shipping extensions or contact us to discuss your needs. We’re on Twitter @WebShopApps.