The Ability For Your Business To Innovate Depends On The Culture You Lead: In Conversation with Ollie Hunt
There is a lot said and believed in the eCommerce industry about innovation. But, what actually is it? Well, the meaning of innovation can be different for different businesses. Those who are operating offline as of now may consider developing an online store an innovation. For others, innovation might be integrating technologies like AI, AR/VR, or Machine Learning.
But, one important thing to drive innovation is the culture you set up. Let’s talk about it in our new expert Q&A segment with Ollie Hunt and understand what’s trending in the eCommerce world and how businesses can drive desirable outcomes.
So let’s get the talk started.
Who did we interview?
Ollie Hunt is Director Of Partnerships at DEV TEAM and an independent eCommerce consultant helping businesses augment Magento Development Teams for their projects. With over a decade of experience working in the eCommerce industry, he effectively helps online businesses with customer acquisitions, cost control, account management, and global expansion.
Q1: What exciting projects are you working on at present?
Currently working on a craft drinks marketplace. It’s a really exciting project for several reasons.
It’s a great concept/product – customers can find new craft drinks based on the drinks they already know and love, “if you like X, you’re gonna love Y.” It opens the door to new experiences. For craft drink makers, it puts their product in front of customers who will love it.
But, the most exciting thing about this project is the fantastic people working on it and the culture within the team; there are no egos or agendas and just an absolute passion for innovating.
Q2: What do you think are the most important trends in eCommerce for 2022 to increase conversions and boost sales?
Hyper-focus on “People”
Customer – Focus on the “existing customer” and their retention. We still see businesses spending and making efforts on ‘customer acquisition’ when customer retention should be their primary focus. Companies that really focus on their customer pain points and solving those problems will innovate within their space.
People & Culture – Technology is an enabler, but it becomes irrelevant without the right people and culture from the top down. It’s a talent market at the moment, and the businesses that can attract and retain the best talent will be able to pivot and innovate quickly.
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?
You’ve got to tick the boxes on a good buying journey, but it’s in the customer service department and post-sale that you win the customer’s hearts and build the advocacy. While technology is an enabler, it’s the human interaction that people remember, and being able to contact/speak/interact with a human in the business builds customer relationships. “Every interaction matters!” Both physical and online.
Q4: What technologies, platforms, or channels should marketers or brands use to excel in the digital commerce world and turn their businesses into brands?
Building out a best-of-breed “Connected Tech Stack” so data and information are shared across platforms and enables quick resolution/response/innovation is key. Time to implement or resolve needs to be as quick as possible. Too often, we see brands hamstrung by the inability to move quickly with their tech stack.
Pick the technology based on its ability to execute in a specific area and its ability to play well with other platforms.
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?
My hope is that there is NO ‘eCommerce’ industry, shifting the mindset from the silo’s of departments (brick-and-mortar Vs Online) to just one retail operation with connected touch points for customers to be able to interact with the business how/where/when they want/need to.
Businesses had to turn to online to survive, but so few have effectively weaved “digital” through their business, it’s seen as a department.
From a vertical opportunity perspective, the vertical that will see the most growth for me is the biggest and slowest moving – B2B. The last 2+ years have changed the working landscape, we’re not in the office anymore/as much, and B2B businesses have to shift to sell and serve anywhere.
Q6: Any specific tips that you would like to provide for brand owners, marketers, and others juggling to scale an eCommerce business?
Tip to the one person sitting in the top seat of the business, “Are you failing the business? Are you the right person to lead people forward? Are you able to embrace change/innovation and not fight it? The ability for your business to innovate and grow comes down to the culture you lead – embrace and champion innovation, celebrate failure, and go again.”
So, that was all about today’s session. We thank Ollie Hunt for talking to us and sharing essential insights about the industry. We hope you find this session insightful! For more critical discussions and insights, subscribe to our content and stay updated with what’s new in eCommerce and Magento.