Home Discovered Podcasts Episode 8: Inside the operational playbook with Rachel Tonner, Ben Marks & Maier Bianchi

Podcast

Episode 8: Inside the operational playbook with Rachel Tonner, Ben Marks & Maier Bianchi

Episode Description: Step into the bustling world of ecommerce operations with Rachel Tonner in this enlightening episode. Rachel hosts Ben Marks from Shopware AG and Maier Bianchi of…

Episode Description:

Step into the bustling world of ecommerce operations with Rachel Tonner in this enlightening episode. Rachel hosts Ben Marks from Shopware AG and Maier Bianchi of Bemeir, both leading figures with vast experience in ecommerce.

Together, the trio navigates the intricate terrains of operational efficiency in an industry known for its rapid pace, and turbulent market challenges. They share intriguing stories that reveal how various personas—from the back office user and shopper, to the marketer and e-commerce director—navigate the challenges and triumphs of daily operations.

While technology and AI undoubtedly play a part, this episode hones in on the strategies, adaptations, and forward-thinking approaches that truly drive efficiency. Listen to how businesses, irrespective of their tech stack, can elevate their operational prowess, ensuring a seamless shopping experience for end users and smoother workflows internally. We also broach the topic of “AI Washing” and how to cut through the clutter when choosing technologies.

For anyone keen on understanding the nuts and bolts of operational efficiency in ecommerce, and how to achieve it, this episode promises to be an enlightening journey. Dive in!

Guest BIO:

  • Ben Marks, Director of Global Market Development at Shopware: Ben is a seasoned leader with 20 years in e-commerce. Passionate about open-source commerce, Ben’s deep insights into the industry’s needs drive global growth. He is a community builder, serving as a key figure in the Magento Association and contributing to a $5 billion/year ecosystem. As a Magento evangelist, Ben has delivered presentations worldwide, holding multiple certifications and sharing expertise in articles.
  • Maier Bianchi, Founder of ecommerce agency Bemeir: Maier holds the pivotal role of leading businesses into the modern digital economy. In a world that evolves like an ever-flowing river of time, Maier emphasizes the need for collaboration to adapt and thrive. His mission is clear: success should be a shared journey, not an exclusive destination.

References:

Transcript:

[00:00:00] Rachel Tonner: Welcome to the discovered podcast. I am Rachel Tonner. I’m VP of marketing at Klevu, AI search and merchandising software. I’m here with two amazing guests today. We’re going to be talking all about operational efficiency. How kind of a I is helping with that, but also not talking just about a I in this.

[00:00:18] Rachel Tonner: , we are going to dig into the different personas,, who use e-commerce, either back office systems or the websites or, you know, planning for development and how we can all kind of master operational efficiency within those parts. Ben, Maier, can you introduce yourself, please? 

[00:00:38] Ben Marks: Hey, yeah, Ben Marks here from Shopware. I serve as a global marketing global market development person.

[00:00:44] Ben Marks: No, I’m talking about marketing. We’re talking about marketing and the roll up. Yeah, so I just spend my time really just trying to help spread the good word about Shopware and making sure that Shopware is in the places where it should be, and that we’re fully into the markets where we already are.

[00:00:59] Maier Bianchi: And hi, I’m [00:01:00] Maier Bianchi, founder of Bemeir. We are a full service web design and development agency with a focus on e-commerce, and I’ve been working in e-commerce for the last 15-20 years, and I’m really passionate about spreading awareness about heart disease in the e-commerce world as well.

[00:01:14] Rachel Tonner: Yes, I love the work that you’ve done on that. It’s really inspiring. , we’re all humans, aren’t we? And it’s lovely that you brought that into the space as well. , I think we’ve all been in the industry for about the same amount of time. I personally have known Ben from Magento days, and I know you have as well.

[00:01:31] Rachel Tonner: So to each of you, why is operational efficiency so important? And like, in the age of AI, kind of how is that? Become more important or is it kind of like a buzzword now? Do you think what are your views on this 

[00:01:46] Maier Bianchi: topic? Maier you want to take this? Yeah, sure. So my views on operational efficiency in the e-commerce world: Is it becoming really important at all different stages of your life cycle?

[00:01:59] Maier Bianchi: Like if you’re a [00:02:00] small self funded owner operated business or if you’re a mid market Or enterprise business, because you have different budgets you’re trying to draw from, or you have different goals you’re trying to achieve. And every move you make could be a push and pull against those budgets. And so you have to make clear cut choices and decisions that have consequences.

[00:02:19] Maier Bianchi: So at each link in the chain, you might feel those pressures. And then what I like about AI and what it does for operational efficiency is it can really increase operational efficiency if you do it right, because it can be a force multiplier or help you get more done in a shorter time span in a given role, like marketing or sales operations or customer service.

[00:02:42] Maier Bianchi: And then you can make better decisions faster, which is literally the definition of efficiency in a way. So I’m really bullish on that, but applying it is really the science. Yeah. 

[00:02:52] Ben Marks: Yeah. And for me, it’s, it’s, you know, operational efficiency. It’s, it’s always, it’s always, it’s incremental, right? And it always starts a novel, but then it [00:03:00] becomes normal.

[00:03:00] Ben Marks: So when you think about , businesses finding new tools or new technologies coming along, like AI , in its current iterations. And people start to find ways to, you know, to, to, to supercharge what they’re doing in their own business. And, and, and that can give an outsized benefit in the short term, but then over, over a relatively short period of time, I mean, and I think these days when we see innovations come in, you’re looking at six to 12 months and then all of a sudden what was novel is now normal, and that means that.

[00:03:31] Ben Marks: far from being, you know, a nice to have, it quickly becomes imperative that anyone operate or avail themselves of these efficiencies because that is exactly what your competitors are doing. And then if it’s efficiencies relating to the customer experience. That’s going to be, it’s going to become an expectation, right?

[00:03:52] Ben Marks: Whether that’s, you know, the years ago would have been reducing friction in the checkout, but now it’s all about how [00:04:00] quickly can you get people the information that you want? How quickly can you get them the things that they’ve ordered and so forth? So, so again, my takeaway from this is just always it starts, it starts really like new and interesting and then very quickly becomes the next expectation.

[00:04:16] Rachel Tonner: Absolutely. And Maier,, you work with a variety of e commerce platforms like Shopify, Magento like shopware. From your experience, are there common operational challenges that cut across these platforms as you’re trying to put them into place with clients? 

[00:04:32] Maier Bianchi: Yes. So the biggest challenges that people face are how to use the right apps, extensions, plugins in the ecosystem, and how to stay on top of the ever evolving platform needs.

[00:04:44] Maier Bianchi: Meaning in each of those platforms you mentioned, for example, in Shopify, there’s a lot of technical debt around the checkout for merchants and getting into the new checkout extensibility feature. Or if you’re on a 1. 0 Shopify theme. And making it to the 2. 0 Shopify [00:05:00] theme space so that you can take advantage of greater integrations and CMS management, which is an operational efficiency because you can rely less on the developer to make those changes.

[00:05:10] Maier Bianchi: That’s huge. Same thing with Shopify, where if you get so entrenched in one. Apps ecosystem. You can, you know, then if you have to change that app or if something changes, you have to make business changes to suit that. Or if you’re, you know, if you’ve outgrown a solution, you have that temporary pain point of getting to the next solution.

[00:05:29] Maier Bianchi: And then, for example, in Magento you have a lot of customizations that you might have made or internal code that you’ve made that’s customized or a third party code where you’re relying on an outside developer, like an extension provider. to add functionality to your store, and you’re limited by what support they can provide if you run into a challenge.

[00:05:48] Maier Bianchi: And then on top of that is the overarching layer of upgrades and hosting. And so once again, at different parts in your cycle, you’ll have different efficiency challenges to manage in [00:06:00] those platforms. And then once again, how you work with your development team, how you work with your hosting company, how you work with third parties is so critical in the Magento space.

[00:06:10] Maier Bianchi: And then with shopware, which is a newer entrant to the U S market. You have more flavors to choose from in a flatter way, meaning there is a platform as a service solution. There’s a self hosted solution, and then there will be a SAS solution in America in the future. But there’s a SAS solution in Europe right now.

[00:06:27] Maier Bianchi: And so depending on which flavor you’re on, you still have certain challenges, right? Like maintaining your database, maintaining your catalog, maintaining your same thing, the plug in architecture and ecosystem. So I would just say that how you respond to those and how you develop a business plan to be proactive on those things across whatever platform you’re on will keep you as a business that has that at the forefront versus if you’re constantly reacting and you’re constantly running from one fire to the next, you’re not going to be very efficient because you may take your foot off [00:07:00] the pedal on another initiative to go deal with something else.

[00:07:02] Maier Bianchi: And so having a really forward thinking approach and not kicking the can down the road is just a general. You should reserve a certain percentage of your attention for that at all times when running an e-commerce platform. Well said. 

[00:07:14] Rachel Tonner: Yeah, absolutely. Back in the day e commerce platforms kind of were. Like the all in one solution, you got the platform and every platform wanted to be an all in one solution and, you know, Salesforce has kind of gone that route and the ecosystem is all within, within Salesforce. Although, of course, there’s third party apps and stuff, but they, it’s definitely like a monolith, isn’t it?

[00:07:36] Rachel Tonner: Ben, Shopware has seen some significant evolutions, Mayer just mentioned you have different types of of the platform from your vantage point, what have been the most kind of pivotal changes over the years for Shopware, how do you enable this new kind of composable way of looking at 

[00:07:52] Ben Marks: things?

[00:07:53] Ben Marks: Yeah, it’s, so the real, the real beneficiary well, the beneficiaries of [00:08:00] All of the, the, the, the collective advances in e-commerce tech are the merchants and by extension, their customers. And what I mean by that is. That, you know, going back 20 years ago, was very much roll your own, there was nothing portable, nothing consistent, there wasn’t really a marketplace of ideas for this stuff.

[00:08:22] Ben Marks: And then you quickly step forward into the 2010s, and then certainly where we are in the 2020s. And what you have is you have, , more evolved sort of classes of solution from from sass all the way up to sort of an enterprise grade, roll your own. But those even even as you get into the larger sort of solution spaces, right?

[00:08:41] Ben Marks: The bigger problems that mid market businesses have that And that, that enterprises have there are, there are vendors whether it’s the e commerce sort of hub itself or the, the the integrating technologies around it, where their solutions are inherently more flexible, inherently more pluggable and inherently more [00:09:00] sort of self contained and robust.

[00:09:01] Ben Marks: And that’s where, that’s where shopper is really, I think, like placing its innovation and its innovative thought is like, Hey, let’s. Let’s go ahead and let’s, let’s, let’s be a turnkey solution, right? Because you know, because that is, a good way to get people up and running quickly, but you have to make sure that you are leaving room for flexibility if you want to serve that mid market space.

[00:09:25] Ben Marks: And I’m going to go ahead and throw out a, you know, definition of mid market here, and we’ll say anything from 10 million all the way up into the 300, 400, 500 million space, right? It really, it’s a, I’m often saying that it’s a. Like GMV is a blunt tool for defining both businesses and the complexity of their problems, but we’ll just say for argument’s sake.

[00:09:48] Ben Marks: You know, it’s really nice as a business, even, even established businesses doing a lot of turnover. They still, when they decide to especially when they decide to replatform, they have to, you know, they have to know [00:10:00] that that investment is going to start to return quickly because they’re comparing it against their solution, which is already, you know, that the tap is already open and the money’s already coming out.

[00:10:10] Ben Marks: So you know, you have to be there to meet them. With the expectations that they have that they’ll be up and running on your platform quickly, but then that they will be able to have their needs met by what your platform enables either directly or especially is the case for us. And as the case for composable players that they can custom tailor the solutions that they need, especially with the help of a capable, competent agency like the Meyer

[00:10:36] Rachel Tonner: so mid market, yeah, I totally agree with you that GMB is like a really blunt tool. I think mid market ranging from that to that is super wide, but we also define it in a similar way in play too. And instead, I kind of like to look at the shape of the team. I think, you know, we have enterprise clients who are using Klevu Solutions because there’s lots of AI in the background and they can kind of just [00:11:00] kind of set and forget stuff.

[00:11:01] Rachel Tonner: Enterprise clients that might have like one or two e-commerce operators in the back end. And then there’s enterprise clients that have a team of 40, 50 merchandisers, and they just want to pin things to specific places on pages, and that’s not what Kaleibu is for, you know, so I think there’s definitely a place for, for everyone in the market and looking at that kind of team makeup at that team size., so Maier, when you are working with a client how does team like makeup come into your, , planning 

[00:11:31] Maier Bianchi: with them? It comes into it a lot because you know, like how, when you’re an agency, you’re constantly looking for, Hey, who’s our ideal client profile. And I think one of the things that I’ve developed over the years is a certain empathy for the different positions that people find themselves in.

[00:11:46] Maier Bianchi: And so I’ve mentioned owner operators at the beginning of the call and they have a certain They have a certain slice that you can dissect them like meaning. Are they solo? Do they have a team? Who is there? How do they execute things? And then you have other types of [00:12:00] businesses which have either some C level person running the e commerce like it’s it sits under the CMO or the CIO or the head of it or someone who’s really high up in the organization and then it cascades down or they work with their colleagues.

[00:12:14] Maier Bianchi: You know, meaning it’s like a group effort and people handle certain elements of it. And then also we might find ourselves working more with an E-Com director as our key point of contact who then reports to a more sea level person, but they’re not in the day to day. And so I would say that based on those makeups of teams, we have to cater what we’re doing differently.

[00:12:34] Maier Bianchi: So, for example, someone might say, Hey, just give me the facts. Someone else might want a lot of hand holding an explanation or they come to you already with, Hey, these are my priorities. Let’s follow this and then of course we may have to push back and say hey Have you considered this on your roadmap or other times?

[00:12:49] Maier Bianchi: We’re leading the conversation in road mapping with the client on a frequent basis so I would say it’s about being dynamic and And understanding who you’re dealing with and [00:13:00] then trying to respond accordingly To fit their needs meaning are they trying to stay within a certain budget if that’s the case you have to be really scrappy and really Dynamic like I’m going through one of those situations right now.

[00:13:11] Maier Bianchi: So it’s like Everything should have an ROI attributed to it. Or you might say, Hey, what can we recommend that will have the best ROI that will open up a budget for the future? And so I would say in a cost conscious world, which we live in right now, and a lot of budgets are strained, I would say that’s one hat that we’re wearing. how can I save you money?

[00:13:31] Maier Bianchi: And I think that’s also like a risk mitigation perspective as well. And I don’t care who you’re dealing with, you know, being risk tolerant is a big part of managing it because you’re still there, there’s still goals and KPIs that have to be hit in any given quarter or month. That’s really 

[00:13:48] Rachel Tonner: interesting way of looking at it.

[00:13:49] Rachel Tonner: Like, you know, you think about an eCommerce free platform or something like that. It’s like a set project with a set budget. But what you just said is about investing in the tools that will actually bring value to [00:14:00] then reinvest back into the project. And I think that’s a really interesting way of approaching things, especially in these times when.

[00:14:06] Rachel Tonner: It’s all about cutting for the com directors, 

[00:14:09] Maier Bianchi: especially in a replatforming. It’s not about just getting the replatform done. It’s having a plan to succeed on that, you know, and we’re talking about that as well. It’s like the months after matter almost as much as the run up. 

[00:14:21] Rachel Tonner: And how do you go about it?

[00:14:23] Rachel Tonner: Making those decisions, like you were talking about the project you were just working on. Can you give two examples like that project and something else where you had to be creative? 

[00:14:35] Maier Bianchi: Yeah, so I would say patience is key and understanding where someone is coming from and how you can best fit into the situation because you may want to react in a moment and then you have to kind of.

[00:14:46] Maier Bianchi: Take it all in and think about it. And I would say in that situation, for example, where the budget was lower, I started thinking about, Hey, how can we recommend services or recommend things which [00:15:00] create more revenue, which then have a greater impact on the business versus there’s only so much you can do with custom development.

[00:15:06] Maier Bianchi: There’s only so much you want to do with custom development. And I think it’s important to draw the line effectively in a limited budget situation and try to be scrappy. So that’s one. And then in another situation where say you’re working with a larger business. And they have a certain, they want to have certain things be done in house, right?

[00:15:24] Maier Bianchi: Like we work with some enterprise clients and they have an in-house team, but then we’re an extra piece of their team or we’re fulfilling a certain function. I would say in those cases, it’s about listening, being responsive and like having the resources to meet the needs that they have. And then communication, I would say, is the other big piece of it.

[00:15:44] Maier Bianchi: It’s making sure that there’s an understanding before you do something. The whole measure twice, cut once philosophy. And also I find that people at the higher level who are working in a very regimented Company or they have very limited windows on their schedule. They [00:16:00] appreciate proactive and forward communication because it helps them do their job more efficiently versus if you’re working with someone who’s more like, Hey, you can reach me anytime.

[00:16:08] Maier Bianchi: Those people might prize more just, the merrier, but keep the signal from the noise. Meaning they’re always welcoming something valuable. But you have to just be careful when and how you give that information. 

[00:16:21] Rachel Tonner: Yeah, and Ben kind of on that similar strain of thought,, can you share a standout success story from a software build where operational efficiency directly led to significant business growth, whether that was like an immediate thing or part of a wider plan?

[00:16:37] Ben Marks: Yeah, I mean, actually, I can honestly point people to you know, to case studies. We maintain a pretty good catalog of case studies there and they and we try to drill into some of these really meaningful details so that it’s not just a Hey, here’s this great logo and they’re using us. It’s just like, Hey, here’s here’s here. The ways where we were our solution being implemented [00:17:00] changed things.

[00:17:00] Ben Marks: And of course, it’s not it’s not it’s not purely It’s not purely our effort. Of course, it has to do with the people working on the site as well, but like you know, media and technique you know, German media tech supplier you know, they have an extensive, you know, extensive catalog.

[00:17:17] Ben Marks: A huge list of B2B customers. And by implementing us from a, you know, in this case, it was from a previous solution. But we even see progress when businesses have moved from our previous major version shopper five over shopper six. The improvements that come, they are, they come in a couple different classes, and I think it’s actually really important to talk about improvements sort of in general, in this, you know, in this era where, like, we know AI is supercharging is or can supercharge business operations and can help you.

[00:17:51] Ben Marks: Connect better with your customers. But for us, it could be as simple as having the flexibility to either have integrations [00:18:00] that weren’t possible before or to have better integrations that weren’t possible that weren’t as easily possible before. And that frees up time and resources. Both inside the effort from an operational perspective.

[00:18:14] Ben Marks: And then also if you’re working, whether you’re working with an internal team or you’re working with an agency that actually, you know, every, every, every, every task that you take on comes with an opera. It comes with an opportunity cost. And what we want to do is we want people.

[00:18:31] Ben Marks: We want to want people to have enough of the right solution in front of them with enough, you know, and by that, I mean enough flexibility to do it. Kind of build in the nuance so that, you know, build the noise quickly so that you’re spending the time on the right things and for less and less effort, you’re getting more and more positive outcomes.

[00:18:51] Ben Marks: You know, in the case of media technique, I mean, it was, it was an improvement, like, just, just overnight improvement in rank. It was a search engine rank. It was customer loyalty [00:19:00] loyalty. Customer loyalty jumped way up. I mean, that’s and you could get into the, the. The weighting of these benefits as well, because, you know, if you’re taking care of customers that you already have and you’re increasing their engagement, their order value, their lifetime, sort of their lifetime value you know, those are customers you’ve always already acquired, right?

[00:19:21] Ben Marks: So that’s that’s that’s a great cohort to you know, to to further engage and to optimize for You know, just it really, for me, it comes down to I want to pick out something that Maier just said, which was , about the what were the words you used? Oh, but signal signal versus noise. And this is where I see, you know, again, you’ve got sort of two classes of improvements that that that that come in the space, you know, there can be a lot of just sort of low level hard noise because because again, integrations are clunky or it’s tough to get information in and out of the system.

[00:19:56] Ben Marks: And then there’s the whole other problem that we’re having more and more of these [00:20:00] days as businesses are getting better and better at using the data. That is all around them. How do you make sense of that data and how do you, how do you make sense of that data in a timely way and without having to do, you know, these, these kinds of deep dives and, and, and deep kind of analysis.

[00:20:19] Ben Marks: And that is where, you know, this is where we’re starting to see AI really come in because it is just, it’s serving both as the interface on the, sort of on the front end for the operations it’s serving as an interface, you know, and natural language interface insight into. These huge data sets that were there and and, and, and then on the back end, it’s, it’s sort of the, the, the analysis and , the assembly of this data.

[00:20:45] Ben Marks: So that’s how businesses are, you know, really, when you put those two things together now, you’ve really supercharged your business. But like I was saying in the, in the intro, we, You know, this, this stuff is still a little bit, it’s still a little bit [00:21:00] novel and we’re still seeing businesses like make decisions and, and, and building the right kind of functionality and use the right tools so that they get this outsized benefit and it just, it jumps them up relative to where they were just a few months ago, but over time.

[00:21:14] Ben Marks: Your competitors are going to be doing the same thing. So again, it becomes the new normal. And then we move on to the next plateau. This is all I’ve seen in this business. It’s nothing but a history of like, ongoing plateaus, right? 

[00:21:28] Rachel Tonner: Yeah, but that’s kind of where I do think I really believe that these third party apps really come into their own because if a business specializes in that thing, then they’re more likely to innovate on that thing.

[00:21:42] Rachel Tonner: And probably, you know, if you buy a third party out for something like CMS, or for search and merchandising, or whatever else. you’re bound to have the innovations like probably three to five years before you would do if you tried to build it yourself. So there’s this, yeah, [00:22:00] retailers really need to be smart about what they choose to kind of build themselves or go native with and what they actually go to a specialist for.

[00:22:07] Rachel Tonner: Because in the short term, those specialists can reap, like you can reap the

[00:22:15] Rachel Tonner: That’s why you should be using them. And then, you know, innovate from there. 

[00:22:20] Maier Bianchi: and I actually have a great example of that, if you don’t mind. And then a quick interruption was like you mentioned Klevu, obviously you work for Klevu. They’ve been doing NLP with search for a very long time and analyzing your datasets and then added the personalization element to it as well, which takes, you know, real time store data.

[00:22:37] Maier Bianchi: And so I would say that’s an example of companies being on the forefront of it. So any company that was using this software for years before. Has been benefiting from AI without even knowing it. And it’s like, you don’t wonder why is this better? Because it knows the difference between a jumper and a hoodie, but to the user, it gets you the same results.

[00:22:54] Maier Bianchi: And then for example, on the other side, there’s a company we work with called Octane AI. And once [00:23:00] again, they had AI in the name before it was cool. Since like 2017. And they now have a review mining feature, and I think that’s so powerful because that’s an example of a large data set that you would have had to pay a specialist to analyze before or run it through some esoteric program, and now it’s democratized, and so whoever is using it really can benefit, and now those thousands of customer views, you can actually learn something, whereas before you had to either You know, divine the fates, depending on which one you read at which time or, you know, you would not have too much volume of data and then proactively you have monitoring now.

[00:23:35] Maier Bianchi: So you know how there’s so many vanity metrics like conversion rate or things that people pay attention to and run to one side or the other when it happens, but you can also now have a I watching your back. So if a trend starts before you spot it, you can see it happen faster. And I think that’s where business owners could really take advantage of it.

[00:23:54] Rachel Tonner: Yeah, so we’re mentioning some tools here. I’m really interested. Like, you know, what are some tools that you [00:24:00] guys know about that aren’t a I washing or what they say that are actually really full. I 

[00:24:06] Ben Marks: mean, I can, I can jump in here, of course, right? So, well, and, and, Maier, you, you, you’re, you’re absolutely right to call out you know, Klevu and, and, and, and, and a few others.

[00:24:15] Ben Marks: I mean, it has been interesting watching the businesses that have been doing, they’ve been dealing with, you know. Especially the big data side of AI. I mean, that’s really what AI has meant up until the chat GPT moment, right? Yeah, it is, you know, sort of figuring out how to assemble and then make sense of and then provide timely response based on So as someone is sitting there, you know, with their, you know, they’re getting, getting the right products in front of the right customers.

[00:24:43] Ben Marks: That is, that is a freaking superpower. And that’s something that we, as a, you know, we shopper as, as a platform, we’re not in a position to do because you all have been like, you know, Clavey have been doing this for so long. But, what we have done. As you know, earlier this year we released, we were the first [00:25:00] and basically really still are the only e-commerce platform to have an AI suite.

[00:25:07] Ben Marks: We call it AI copilot and it’s a collection of functions and it’s, you know, there’s like eight or nine functions at first, and these were, but these will go beyond just purely. Generate automatically generate product descriptions, right? That’s been that’s been sort of everyone’s little like sort of straw man ai feature But we just looked at we looked at where we could quickly apply sort of this this this post jet chat tpt release moment and how can we effectively just Help people who are already doing the work in the back end, do what they do better more efficiently in a more targeted way.

[00:25:43] Ben Marks: And, and, and it’s ultimately this really nuanced, and it’s not even stuff that we can really, like, you, you can’t just say like, Oh, hey, I was able to provide much more contextually meaningful images and descriptions or being, being able to manage my media so much better. Then you can go into each of these things and, and kind of [00:26:00] on their own, they’re not.

[00:26:01] Ben Marks: It’s not necessarily marquee features, but it’s emblematic of exactly where this thing is happening. And by the way, I’m not trying to brag about the shop. We’re being first necessarily. We happen to do it quickly. And that has, that says a lot about just sort of our approach and how open source and the size of our company works and the focus of our company.

[00:26:18] Ben Marks: But this is also going to be normal. Right. Because Shopify quickly came out with their announcement. BigCommerce recently announced something with, you know, with Google, right? This every, every store operator can expect this in the near future. But I think, you know, I do, I am proud of the fact that this shop came out with, with, with, with meaningful, like incrementally meaningful AI functionality that just takes what people are doing.

[00:26:43] Ben Marks: You know in their day to day job and just makes it better, faster easier , cheaper. 

[00:26:48] Rachel Tonner: Sounds like you guys are operationally efficient 

[00:26:51] Ben Marks: We are we are we are we are we’re doing a pretty pretty good job We’ve had a it’s been a it’s been a hell of a good year. I say 

[00:26:59] Rachel Tonner: Yeah, [00:27:00] interesting story from from clay side on this topic as well Like back I guess five years ago Niraj had developed this conversational search app called Klevu moe moe means high in finnish And literally no one was interested.

[00:27:15] Rachel Tonner: It was like, they kept bringing it up to the business. The business was like, no, it’s not commercially viable. No. And then chat GPT hit and then we launched it and it’s been really cool. And now we’re bringing in that conversational element into the main search product that’s going to launch. But yeah, it’s amazing how this just kind of changed people’s perception of what was possible.

[00:27:38] Rachel Tonner: And really. Speed up the innovation in that particular area. 

[00:27:45] Maier Bianchi: Yeah. Yeah. Sorry. I was just gonna say, I know some marketers that are using it heavily, like using AI heavily to get a better output, meaning they’re able to generate campaigns faster or produce content faster and do the job [00:28:00] that normally would have taken weeks in a couple of days.

[00:28:02] Maier Bianchi: And I think that Thank you. Is operational efficiency in a nutshell?

[00:28:08] Rachel Tonner: Absolutely. Well, thank you both so much for joining. Are there any kind of last remarks where people can get some more information about what you’ve been talking about? 

[00:28:18] Ben Marks: Oh, good question, really good question. 

[00:28:21] Maier Bianchi: Meaning like, where can they follow us? Or what can you, 

[00:28:24] Rachel Tonner: if you just want to plug something like I don’t know, Ben, is there a URL you want to say about the conversation?

[00:28:31] Ben Marks: Gosh, man, yeah, of course So I mean, it’s like, you know featured right there on shopper. com You can find out more information about both what we’ve built and what we’re building. We maintain a public roadmap you know both for the informational purpose, but also so people can actually sort of Help us prioritize.

[00:28:47] Ben Marks: So if they see something that they like, and then, you know, and then it’s an aside that we’re also kind of designed for innovation. So we want people building stuff in and around the shop or ecosystem. So [00:29:00] it’s good just to connect with us in general again. You can connect with me online, but also one of our co CEOs, one of the co-founders Stefan is he’s pretty active on linked in and he’s regularly prognosticating about what’s going on.

[00:29:17] Ben Marks: And a lot of these days, what’s happening with what’s happening with sort of the virtualization of the shopping experiences. And you’ll also see our CTO, Mark Stanley is talking about this, talking about this regularly, but in general, I just want to admonish everyone when you see claims, especially around AI these days, always, always keep in mind.

[00:29:38] Ben Marks: A grain of salt, always think critically about whether this is, you know, a meaningful, significant value driver, or if it’s just a little bit of fluff, because there’s been a lot of that. 

[00:29:52] Maier Bianchi: And on my end I would just say on my team, we’re doing a lot of the like scientific research or API development research around [00:30:00] AI and like, what are the best models and what the products that Google Cloud offers versus Amazon versus Microsoft and really playing with a lot of it.

[00:30:09] Maier Bianchi: And so I would say that leads to. Exploration of how people build these products because there’s always these fly by night. People go to market, but I also admire the fact that you have a lot of these solo developers building things fast and getting products out there and then blowing up overnight.

[00:30:24] Maier Bianchi: But I would just say in the more serious realm of e-commerce, you can’t really take those risks with your business. And so it’s important to tie AI back to a business need. And then, as far as resources where to get in touch, can always reach out to me on LinkedIn. Happy to share resources and knowledge and these learnings that I spoke about or find ways to collaborate on these efforts.

[00:30:47] Maier Bianchi: Awesome. Thanks, guys. Thank you, Rachel. Thanks, Rachel.

More Resources

Podcast

Episode 1: Paul Smith’s Journey to a Fast and Flexible E-commerce Platform

From the challenges they faced with their website to their decision to go headless, Hannah Bennett, Head of Digital at Paul Smith, shares valuable insights into pushing her team and improving their UX/UI. Tune in to discover the unique challenges of building a fast and user-friendly e-commerce platform and gain valuable knowledge in e-commerce, UX, and digital leadership.