Welcome to Growth Interviews, the fun, stimulating and engaging series of conversations driven by digital business growth.

Our mission is to provide insights and ideas from world-class professionals on the topic of growth and to cut through the noise of so-called marketing tips and tricks, revealing the money-making strategies behind e-commerce.

Each episode is an intriguing challenge involving an insightful expert who reveals some of their best-kept secrets, which you can use right away to boost your business. 

In this week’s episode of Growth Interviews, we invite you to join our conversation with Brian Green, Adobe’s EMEA sales & marketing director in Enterprise Software who is currently driving the adoption of a market leading Digital Experience & eCommerce platform for building, delivering and optimising digital transformation.

With over 25 years’ experience in IT Sales, Operations, Marketing and Management, Brian has an extraordinary track record of success and leadership with Commercial and Public Sector customers in both the UK and across EMEA. 

Technology minded, Brian Green is recognised as someone with a strong understanding of technology and how it can be used to address a customer’s needs in every point of the customer journey.

In the course of the interview, we spoke with Brian about customer success, retention and growth and the methods merchants should apply to drive more revenue, better experiences, better customer retention. 

We’re sure you’ll have lots to take in from our conversation and what is the new incremental value we can bring to organizations, so free up your next 10 minutes and watch this video.

We hope you wrote down Brian’s valuable insights, but in case you didn’t, you can read the full interview. Growth Interviews is about learning from the best in the field so, if you would like to know more about customer retention and lifetime value, make sure you check out our previous Growth Interviews as well.

Beginnings and Focus on Open Source Software

What is your story of entering the digital landscape?

Brian Green: Okay, so most of my career, I’ve been in infrastructure sales. But clearly, I was really interested in getting more into the application stack and I had an opportunity to join Drupal. And so that’s where I cover an evolution of my career to get into open source software. I’ve been involved in Linux for years, and then Drupal also based on open source. I was involved in projects with those guys and I bumped into Magento. We started doing projects together where we were running Magento commerce as a back end to Drupal. And then over some time, Magento leadership convinced me to go and join Magento, and here I am.

How to build a Good Perspective for an eCommerce Project

How would you change the present e-commerce landscape?

Brian Green: When we’re making e-commerce projects, a lot of people are upgrading from a legacy project or they’re forced to look at e-commerce because of the physical retail pressure that everyone is under. So, sometimes, people get involved in e-commerce projects where the start of that project is a negative.

I’d really like to have a conversation with customers and merchants is to have a conversation about the positive. How can e-commerce which is now commerce. In my world, there’s no differentiation between e-commerce and commerce. And how we can look at, how we can evolve that business, do something new, see something positive, drive more revenue, drive better experiences, drive better customer retention. I like to look at what is the new incremental value we can bring to organizations opposed to having to react to a negative in the retail market.

eCommerce projects are affected by the legacy of their own beginnings. The pressure in the retail industry can put a positive or negative mark on a project and that mark could be decisive for the success or failure of an eCommerce.

Focusing on the positive, on the potential developments of the business and the new possibilities of a better connection with the customers and an increased retention are key to the new incremental value eCommerce can bring.

The Way Experience is Driving Behaviour

What is your take on customer experience?

Brian Green: Consumers have really changed. Our demands are completely different. I can remember the evolution of Brian as a shopper. And I can remember when I was younger with my parents, I remember one story I’ll share with you. I went to a local butcher shop with my mom and dad and I used to walk in that shop and that butcher would know who I was and literally know that I like sausages. I liked pork and apple sausages. And that was a rare experience to the fact that possibly 40 years later, I can still talk about it. That was an experience. I mean, shopping almost changed.

It became much more convenient. You know, these big out of city retail parks came up and it is about driving, greater choice. The choice now is enormous and very economic. But now, people have demands and really robust and good value pricing is given. So, that whole experience, the one from when I was a child and I remember is now what’s driving my spending. If we look at millennials, we now probably spend more money on experiences than we do on a physical device or a physical object. I’ll give you an example which I use. I’m a coffee snob. Frankly, I learned that from my wife.

But the issue with coffee, you can make a cup of coffee at home probably for 10 cents or a very small amount of money in the scheme of things. But we all go and pay 5 Euros for a coffee, 5 pounds for a coffee, 5 US dollars for a coffee and we sit down and enjoy that experience in a very different way than just throw some instant and make it in a cup with hot water on it. So, that experience is driving behavior. And of course, now, the challenge for us as we transform our businesses digitally is to provide that same experience in a digital medium that we expect in a physical medium. So, it being amazing creative, very engaging creative, awesome content just delivered to you irrespective of where you are and what device you’re engaging with me from.

Retail developed and so did the consumers and their shopping habits and in the short history of  this evolution we can see how everything is interlinked:

👉 The old retail was based on quality products, direct recommendation in the store from the sales personnel and the development of a personal relation that created a great experience for the customer and consequently fidelity.

👉 The market increase drove to systemic transformations in retail which created an incredible product choice with an immediate availability at great prices.

👉 Experience is in the present the most important differentiator that is driving spending and fidelity.

Creating Experiences Through Innovation

Are mid-range eCommerce players engaged in creating a better customer experience for business growth or is still a ‘nice to have’?

Brian Green: I’m very fortunate at Magento. I have the opportunity to speak to hundreds of e-commerce merchants every single day in my career at Magento. And I have to say some of the amazing innovation which is probably leading the world is what I call “mid-market”. Clearly, there are very large organizations that are transforming retail. Probably the most obvious one that we all talk about is Amazon. They’ve now raised the bar in terms of what people expected. And I think I mentioned yesterday in my keynote here in Poland that Amazon has almost become the Google of shopping.

However, I also said yesterday about a very small pizza delivery, a company that’s created an app that knows where I am, it knows my behavior, it would automatically deliver a pizza to me based upon the time of day I hit a particular location. That type of experience innovation is coming from the mid-market.

If we develop in a very agile way, the speed to market is so much faster than any enterprise. And if you have that agility and that creative thinking, you can innovate faster than a large company. And therefore, quite frankly, you can take advantage of that window of opportunity between your innovation and the large corporate sector. That’s the opportunity for those small businesses to grow and frankly make good margin.

Creating experiences through innovation is the most important aspect on which mid-range eCommerce companies should focus on as a main driver of differentiation from the competition and as a window of opportunity to get ahead of the big players in the industry.

Growth Strategies for Mid-Sized Companies

What growth ideas would give to mid-sized companies willing to grow in this economic landscape?

Brian Green: I’ll probably say two things actually. One of which is definitely focus on that end to end customer journey. From a commerce standpoint. Let’s think about that really clean content driven, amazing creative to engage, to attract that audience. Look at the shopping experience and make it as frictionless as possible; a great checkout, taking advantage of all the modern paying networks, also linked to shipping logistics. What I mean by that is, I make procurement decisions by based on the absolute delivery date because I’m possibly doing things the last minute. You have to look at that integration, so you’ve got a whole customer journey integrated. I would certainly recommend that because they become the most engaging experiences. And then, you also want people to come back again and again and again. And if you’ve got a great experience, people will probably know. If we go to a great restaurant in our local town, they give us great food with great service, you go back. The same is true in the digital world. So, I’m really asking people to focus on that.

And the second thing I would always stress is when you’re innovating today and when you’re designing technology, there is a sense to innovate yourself. And I think there are amazing tools, amazing content creation tools, amazing creative tools, amazing commerce tools, amazing shipping tools. I would urge people to look at how they can use off-the-shelf technology to build the platform so that you can innovate around the experience, around the customer journey rather than innovation around the app or developing a platform. And the reason I say that, this market is changing so fast and the least amount of customization that you do inside your own business, the better.

I’ve seen so many examples for the right reasons when commerce started, we all develop software and then we customize it to meet a particular need in the market because frankly, enterprise software companies like Magento, were not in front of that. I think we’re now in a much stronger position with Adobe to avoid the need to do customization. Customization can become expensive. I’m less concerned about the expense. I’m more concerned about shutting the door on what the next innovation will be. And in particularly in the mid-market, the speed of innovation is the speed of differentiation, and differentiation is an opportunity for your brand to become internationally recognized and for your business to grow. 

Strategies for mid-sized companies willing to grow:

👉 Focus on that end to end customer journey
👉 Look at the shopping experience and make it as frictionless as possible
👉 Integrate the whole customer journey to obtain the most engaging experiences
👉 Use off-the-shelf technology to build your platform
👉 Least amount of customization is most advisable
👉 Innovate around the experience and around the customer journey as the speed of innovation is the speed of differentiation

Conclusion

Innovation around customer experience, the integration of the whole customer journey and creation the most frictionless shopping experience are the main factors driving success for mid-sized companies.
For more valuable insights, make sure you come back to check out our next Growth Interviews as well. 

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