The Role of MVP in eCommerce: In Conversation with Kim Wallentin Jepsen

How do you build an eCommerce business? Well, it is not as easy as a walk in the park, and you will require to invest your time and effort to build a successful eCommerce business.

However, things can go easier if you make the right start.

By right start, we mean investing in the MVP and making changes to your product as per the evolving needs of your consumers. It is a proven way to succeed early in not just eCommerce but many other industries. In today’s expert Q&A segment, we will discuss MVP and other eCommerce trends to help you prepare for the modern eCommerce era ahead.

So, let’s get started.

eCommerce Expert: Kim Wallentin Jepsen

Who did we interview?

Kim Wallentin Jepsen is the CEO of Nabay Technologies LLC. With more than a decade of experience, he is a strategic leader with proven business transformation and growth hacking skills for the international retail and eCommerce sector.

Q1: What exciting projects are you working on at present?

At Nabay, we are working on scaling the business and gearing up for regional expansion. We are pretty ambitious and believe that there is room in the market for an eCommerce marketplace that focuses on allowing our sellers’ “brick & mortar” identity to shine in a marketplace.

We are also running a super exciting MVP project, “Let’s Nabay,” which is our “refer-a-friend” program, and the consumer feedback is positive. We decided to test a format without having all the tech in place. The goal was to understand whether our idea resonates with consumers or not. I believe launching a project as an MVP is an excellent way of testing the market before going all in.

Q2: What do you think are the most important trends in eCommerce for 2023 to increase conversions and boost sales?

In our region (the GCC), the key trends of 2023 would be live streaming and shopping directly via social media.

Shopping via social media feeds is already huge here. But, it goes largely unnoticed as it is currently dominated by small home businesses that cater to each other, where you can buy virtually anything. For example, my family buys anything online, from chili sauce to traditional home remedies, and even rent farm stays via social media, especially Instagram. There is scope for more organized players to enter this space and engage with the customers where they want to engage.

Live streaming, I believe, is a natural extension of the above. Hosting live sessions directly with the audience that wants to engage with your brand without going to a “brick & Mortar” outlet will be a key part of an omnichannel experience. It will soon be the norm that savvy sellers will adopt in this region.

Another interesting new addition to the GCC markets, which has yet to be considered a trend, is Phygital stores. Recently, 6th street, an online regional marketplace, took the plunge and opened a “Phygital” store in the new Dubai Hills Mall. I have to say that I was a bit skeptical initially. Still, I found myself actually being a customer in the store whenever I visit Dubai, as it caters to most of my family’s requirements. The kids love playing (and shopping) via the tablets they have in the outlet; interestingly enough, the showroom is always full. Time will tell if the concept of a pure online player going physical with a high emphasis on the text will work.

Q3: Customer Experience is at the heart of eCommerce. What should a good eCommerce customer experience journey look like, according to you? Is it all about digital touchpoints, or do physical interactions matter as well?

I am a bit old-fashioned here. I believe that ALL opportunities for interactions matter, and when a customer wants a physical interaction, the opportunity should be provided to them. In this region (The GCC), being able to contact and reach a human/or go to an office and meet one is still a significant driver of consumer trust. At Nabay, most consumer inquiries come in via WhatApp and often as a voice message, so it plays a key role.

Good eCommerce CX should understand the regions/markets they operate in, and what good CX looks like in one part of the world may be considered obsolete in other parts.

Q4: What technologies, platforms, or channels should marketers or brands use to excel in the digital commerce world and turn their businesses into brands?

With the chance of sounding like a cliche, all the channels your target audience uses are essential. To become a brand in an already crowded space, you must focus on all the platforms, channels, and technologies used by your audience. Also, it is vital to really understand the audience.

Q5: What potential do you see for the eCommerce industry as a whole? And which industry verticals would take the biggest piece of the pie after the surge in eCommerce sales due to the pandemic?

eCommerce will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. But, brick and mortar will still play an essential part, especially in regions like the GCC, where Malls (due to the summer heat) play a much bigger role than mere shopping. It’s where you go to meet your friends, for entertainment (Like SkiDubai), etc.

And I think it is interesting to see that, for example, the Mall of the Emirates (in Dubai) now has a “concierge” service where you can drop your shopping off, and it will be delivered to your home at your convenience. More services will pop up to keep customers coming to malls and compete with eCommerce.

I have noticed that grocery shopping will take the most market share in eCommerce. It is a tedious task to go to a crowded hypermarket to shop. With eCommerce players like NOON in the UAE now offering a 15 min service – it’s hard to see WHY anyone, in the long run, would want to go through the hassle of visiting a hypermarket if you can get all your shopping carried directly into your home.

Q6: Any specific tips that you would like to provide for brand owners, marketers, and others juggling to scale an eCommerce business?

I am a fan of MVP and pilot projects before we go all in. And for small startups, it is crucial to invest in MVP first.

Wrapping Up

So, that was all about today’s session. We thank Kim Wallentin Jepsen for talking to us and sharing essential insights about the industry. We hope you find this session insightful! For critical discussions and insights, subscribe to our content and stay updated with what’s new in eCommerce and Magento.

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