If there’s one key characteristic that our successful high growth, commerce customers share (apart of course from a top-notch product) it’s the importance they place on planning. From product releases, to marketing, site updates through to introducing new processes and technology into their teams, the commerce team that plans, is the commerce business that succeeds.
The commerce team that plans, is the commerce business that succeeds. Whilst it sounds obvious, so many we’ve worked with, just don’t do it, or just don’t plan far enough ahead.
Whilst it sounds obvious, so many companies that we’ve worked with just don’t do it, or at least just don’t plan far enough ahead. We’ve noticed that the clients who value planning, routinely make better, more informed decisions, are more strategic and are able to focus and communicate their needs to get the best results from our team and our strategic partners.
I think it’s true to say that where companies have involved us as valued partners in the planning, vision and strategy, ahead of time, it’s filtered down to every aspect of the company including to us as suppliers. In this scenario we can’t help but get caught up in going that extra mile to help deliver on a big shared vision.
Working with so many companies at such different stages of their journeys, provides us with a unique perspective on this and often, it’s something that’s usually very evident early on.
Running through every successful commerce business is a beautifully simple and clear purpose.
We routinely introduce both new and established businesses to Shopify, and we notice that ‘purpose’ can be in many different states. In the more established replatforming projects, it can be perhaps a little dulled by persistent issues and failures. Whilst, in the case of early startups, it can be a rough diamond that needs revealing, whilst for some it is already highly polished and it’s our job to keep it that way.
Regardless, running through every successful commerce business is a beautifully simple and clear purpose, and whilst it’s a-lot to do with the product and it’s positioning, it’s also more nuanced than that. We’ve found that there is almost always a bigger vision beyond just selling more stuff, that importantly, there is an aspect of emotional connection from the customer to the brand and it’s product elevates it’s customers through association and ownership.
Whilst it’s all true that finding a niche, un-supplied demand, better quality at a cheaper price or even more convenience at higher cost can be successful strategies, it not always as clear cut as that. There always exists a dynamic interplay between products and culture that the most successful commerce business seem to be able to naturally tap into.
More and more we see our successful commerce clients, be it from fashion, to home goods, from retail to services, paying more attention to what their brand means at an emotional level for their customers
For example if you take the humble Baseball Cap, you might say, it’s an incredibly saturated oversold market, but it’s not entirely about the physical product, it’s what the owner gets by purchasing that product. Yes they get a Baseball Cap, but also by extension and most importantly, if you have your brand positioning right, it elevates your customers. It’s the artwork, the slogan and the attitude the brand stands for, that customers identify with it, and creates value.
More and more we see our successful commerce clients, be it from fashion, to home goods, from retail to services, paying more attention to what their brand means at an emotional level for their customers and importantly reflecting that through all aspects of their commerce operation, from storefront to right through to order notification.
So yes, it’s all about the product, but also, clearly, that’s only half the story.
This ‘P’ almost goes without saying, but all the commerce businesses we’ve seen thrive, invest in passionate talented and accountable people. Yes, technology is great, life changing perhaps, but it ultimately fails without people driving its value and making sense of it.
This fundamental principle was highlighted to me recently at a Shopify Partner meet-up.
In a presentation that was fundamentally about ‘technology’, Patchworks presented an impassioned people focussed story about what makes a complex integration project successful.
Yes, technology and the competence of the team you hire is important but it wasn’t the key ingredient.
It turns out that is having a someone who can own and drive the process from the client side, acting as a bridge for the client and suppliers is the difference between a projects ultimate success and failure.
Whilst having essentially a client side project manager isn’t a huge revelation, it certainly resonated with my experience, and I spent much of my time nodding furiously at the points raised.
It really identified and highlighted something that was almost hiding in plain sight, that successful commerce business invest and place importance on having the right people, on both sides of the client supplier divide.
The final ‘P’ that I wanted to share with you (sorry!) is potential.
In almost every case throughout our ten years, it has been apparent that the commerce companies who can identify the potential of technology, can see it’s importance and value for their business and perhaps, most importantly, act on it, tend to be leaders or at the very least contenders in their markets.
The laggards (and we’ve worked with many in our time) tend to refuse change, become insular and as a direct result, cumbersome, as their competitors adopt faster and smarter ways of reacting and selling to their markets.
Taking a forward thinking, fit for purpose solution approach always trumps sticking with the devil you know.
In our 10 years experience taking a forward-thinking, fit for purpose, solution-focused approach always routinely trumps sticking with the devil you know.