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Building a Global Software Company From Australia: Bigcommerce Co-Founder Mitch Harper (Part 7)

Posted on Monday, Oct 6th 2014

Sramana Mitra: So merchants in India can pay in Indian currency to subscribe to Bigcommerce? There is a problem in India with currency as you know.

Mitch Harper: They have to pay us in US dollars, but they can accept in their local currency.

Sramana Mitra: That’s an issue in India. A lot of people find it difficult to buy services in USD.

Mitch Harper: It’s growing but it’s not a massive market for us.

Sramana Mitra: I wouldn’t think it is. It actually is very small and is dominated by Flipkart. Amazon is investing a lot. It’s been hard for Indian e-commerce to grow because the logistics infrastructure is terrible.

Mitch Harper: I can imagine.

Sramana Mitra: Delivery is very hard in India. Where to from here? What are your big plans? What strategic levers are you going to move going forward?

Mitch Harper: That’s a really interesting question. The big focus for us is becoming a commerce platform. One of the biggest challenges that merchants have is how do they tie all of their inside data together across multiple channels of online stores, brick-and-mortar stores, and mobile sales to get a full picture of their shoppers, which most merchants can’t see across. That’s something we’re looking and tackling moving forward over the next years. It’s a huge problem for merchants but it’s also a huge opportunity.

If, for example, someone walks into your store and you know that they just bought something in your online store last week, you can walk up to them with an iPad and suggest similar or related products to them while they’re browsing your store. If someone buys from your brick-and-mortar store, you can log that order into your database, and when they log in to your online store, they can get a discount because they’ve already purchased something from your brick-and-mortar store. A huge wave of commerce that’s about to hit us. eBay is dabbling but no one’s really owned that omni-channel approach to commerce. That’s what we’re working towards.

Sramana Mitra: There is a lot going on in the social commerce area. Twitter has introduced a buy button. Facebook is started to let you do commerce on their platform. All that needs to be tied back to the store right?

Mitch Harper: Yes, it does. We think about the hub and spoke models. We look at Bigcommerce as the hub and those social channels are just spokes that drive visitors or shoppers to our merchant store. I believe that Twitter and Facebook will partner with platforms like us.

Sramana Mitra: Is that starting to happen?

Mitch Harper: Nothing I can mention but I’m sure something will happen in the future. They’re very good at what they do. They understand who the leaders are in the space. If you look at their history of partnerships, they do partner quite deeply with companies.

Sramana Mitra: What about virtual currency? How is that impacting your world?

Mitch Harper: It’s not really. I don’t think Bitcoin has cut through yet. It’s still in the early adoption stage where some merchants are accepting it. For the most part, our merchants aren’t accepting virtual currencies at the moment.

Sramana Mitra: I imagine a very small number of merchants are accepting Bitcoin at this point.

Mitch Harper: Let’s say for example, it’s accepted through Apple Pay, that gives a validation that it’s a currency. Something like that will move more into the mainstream. I think we’re still a few years out if Bitcoin does make that leap from early adoption to mainstream.

Sramana Mitra: Is there anything else you want to share in the story?

Mitch Harper: I love your mission. I love that you’re trying to help entrepreneurs get to a million dollars in revenue.

Sramana Mitra: Thank you. It was a pleasure talking to you.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Building a Global Software Company From Australia: Bigcommerce Co-Founder Mitch Harper
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