EBay's <em>other</em> spinoff, Magento, retools its platform for the social era

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Shortly after spinning off PayPal, eBay shed another unit, the e-commerce powerhouse Magento Commerce, which is working to spread its wings beyond its core specialty of e-commerce sites.

To achieve this new goal, Magento turned its attention to social media, and today announced a built-in process for merchants to link their catalogs and promotions to Facebook and Pinterest without additional technical work, as part of an overhaul of the company’s cloud-based tools for merchants.

Magento merchants previously needed a separate integration with a third party to promote merchandise on social media, according to Bob Moore, Magento’s head of business intelligence.

With Magento’s new tools, a merchant's entire store can be "contained within a Facebook page,” Moore said. When consumers opt to make a purchase through social media, Magento will redirect the shopper to the merchant’s site.

The improvements stop short of enabling consumers to purchase items directly from social media, but Magento is now much closer to making that happen, Moore said.

“As moving payments to social channels becomes more mainstream, we’ll be prepared to enable it with this upgrade, which is a really powerful step in the evolution of social advertising,” he said. Moore said he expects Magento will eventually support more social media platforms and—most likely—messaging apps when that technology evolves further.

Magento today also announced several other enhancements, including the full integration into its core systems of Bluefoot, a content management module the company purchased late last year. This integration will streamline merchants’ ability to launch and edit content within their websites, and Magento has also given merchants greater control over shipping and fulfillment options.

For business-to-business e-commerce customers, Magento is releasing new tools today to streamline shopping for corporate customers to make it “more like a B-to-C experience,” Moore said.

“B-to-B websites typically are more complicated for users to navigate than consumer-targeted sites, and the purchasing process is often more complicated, but we’ve upgraded our tools for B2B sites so companies can more easily customize their sites to fit their merchandise and policies,” he said.

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