The e-commerce site for SOL is the first in North America to migrate to Magento’s newest software.

A lingerie retailer that emphasizes selecting bras with expert fitters’ help has upgraded its e-commerce site with Magento Commerce’s new 2.0 software, aiming to triple its online sales and increase its mobile conversion rate by up to 30% in 2016, the company’s co-founder says.

SOL, which stands for Store of Lingerie, replaced its plain-text home page at Solgirl.com with one that features stylish color photos of bras, new product categories, the retailer’s blog and profiles of the retailer’s expert fitters, called SOL girls. SOL, which has sold goods online for eight years, made the transition to Magento 2.0 in late October as a beta-use customer and is the first retailer in North America to debut on the Magento 2.0 e-commerce platform, SOL co-founder Jeanie Peterson says. Previously, SOL used the Magento Community Edition. Magento asked Guidance, one of Magento’s strategic solution partners, to identify a merchant for the beta program, and Guidance selected SOL.

The new version of Magento, two years in development, is available commercially on Tuesday.

Of the top 1,000 online retailers in North America, 178 use either the free Community edition or Enterprise versions of the Magento platform, according to Internet Retailer’s Top500Guide.com. That makes it the top e-commerce software used by the largest e-retailers. And more than 250,000 websites operate on the Magento platform, according to research firm BuiltWith Pty Ltd. Magento is an open-source software platform, which means the core software code is publicly available. Developers access the code and build new features that then become available to other users.

SOL  was up and running on the Magento 2.0 platform in 90 days, says Brian Beck, senior vice president of e-commerce and omnichannel strategy at Guidance Solutions Inc., the web developer SOL hired to set up the new site on Magento 2.0. Guidance retail customers include Foot Locker Inc., No. 54 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, and Toms Shoes LLC (No. 249), and it provides web hosting for The Great Courses (No. 301).

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SOL pays Magento a set licensing fee that covers ongoing software development and updates for the Magento 2.0 Enterprise Edition. The programs for SOL’s web store, marketing and customer service run on the Magento platform.

The platform upgrade comes with a new administrative dashboard that Peterson says will help cut by 20% the time staff spends adding products and managing merchandising messages.

Other site improvements, Peterson says, include:

  • 50% faster page load times, including faster loading of the home page and product and category views. Magento Commerce CEO Mark Lavelle says changes in Magento 2.0 software make it easier for retailers to expand, upgrade and build features that provide scale, performance and security to sites running  on their own servers or on public or private hosted servers. .
  • The ability to run paid and organic search campaigns with custom content and rich media, such as video.
  • A feature, “My Drawer,” set to debut in early 2016 to let customers maintain a virtual drawer of past bra and other lingerie purchases, and to store future purchases. The feature will let SOL make automated recommendations of products that will fit each shopper, based on past purchases, brand preferences and other shopper choices.
  • A responsive design, which Guidance implemented so that the single website adjusts to the size of whatever smart-device screen a shopper is using. This change is aimed at achieving SOL’s goal boost its mobile conversion rate 20-30% next year. Peterson declined to disclose the current conversion rate.

Magento, newly spun off from eBay Inc., is now owned by the Permira Funds, a London-based private equity investment group.

Gartner research director Penny Gillespie says customers using Magento have typically expressed higher-than-average satisfaction on performance and cost of ownership, based on Gartner’s market research. She says the biggest challenge now will be for Magento to move users to the 2.0 version while ensuring that older extensions get updated and are available to customers that are not ready to move, she says.

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Forrester Research analyst Brendan Witcher says Magento 2.0 is fundamentally a new platform for the company on which it intends to deliver a faster pace of innovation.

Witcher identifies the new aspects of Magento 2.0 as:

 Updated architecture: Magento 2.0 includes a major upgrade of the underlying open source modules and libraries to make it easy to work with for developers and partners. There has been a big focus on making the code base more modular, which will make future upgrades easier, especially for merchants leveraging extensions from Magento Connect. 

 Performance and scalability: A focus on scalability—a new caching system and database separation are two examples—aim to rebut previous perceptions that older 1.x versions required customization in high-scale environments. Magento 2.0 has been engineered to support scalability on par with other leading enterprise e-commerce platforms in the market and support tier 1 online retailers.

 Updated responsive storefront: Magento 2.0 ships with an updated responsive design reference theme with a new ‘best practices’ enabled checkout experience.

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Refreshed admin tools UI: Magento has simplified the admin UI and has added a number of new capabilities to the admin tools to simplify common merchandising tasks such as new product creation. 

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