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Thought Leaders in E-Commerce: Mark Lavelle, CEO of Magento Commerce (Part 5)

Posted on Thursday, May 18th 2017

Sramana Mitra: The model you’re talking about existed and Nordstrom is the one that pioneered it. The Nordstrom Personal Shopper was somebody who would have to curate something before you come in. You’re using digital technology to scale that. If you’re trying to do some commodity stuff, you really have no chance to compete. 

Mark Lavelle: Price arbitrage on commodities is not a good place to be in right now. We have Nestlé on our platform. They create whole products that are direct to consumer. We see B2B and manufacturers and consumer-packaged goods getting more aggressive and bullish in this area. The focus is back to your audience and the creation of products. The ability to source capital as your source demand is a huge change in how we used to do things.

Sramana Mitra: Is it in your product roadmap to do any integration with stuff like Kickstarter where a retailer who takes those orders will have to fulfill those orders as well. Is that part of the Kickstarter platform?

Mark Lavelle: Maybe you can help us with that. We’d love to have any product that starts with Kickstarter and needs to have a digital experience. You can get on Magneto easily these days with Magento Cloud and the powerful flexible application. We’ve come a long way. I think we’re geared towards this new style of commerce whether it be different demand generation, different channels of customer engagement, or the complexity of fulfillment and payment. Those are the things that we’re planning for. An entrepreneur generally has a vision for how they want their experience to be.  Our vision is Magneto is the last platform you’ll ever need because it’s a living evolving thing. It’s an open platform where hundreds of thousands of developers across the world are creating integration to Magento all the time. We have developers that are doing VR applications. These are the things that an entrepreneur thinks ahead.

Sramana Mitra: If I were you, I would partner with these Kickstarter platforms. I’m coming to the conclusion that if you want to be a niche e-commerce player, you really have to differentiate with product. You will not be able to differentiate on any of the other components and be able to compete with Amazon. Under the circumstances, the only place where you can compete is either by coming up with your own product or collaborating with designers. Somehow, your merchandising needs to be sufficiently differentiated that you have a compelling case where people will wait for your product even if it takes longer. Kickstarter is where all the new product development work is happening. These days, most entrepreneurs are trying to build a new product through Kickstarter. B2B is a different story. I like your B2B direction very much.

Mark Lavelle: I agree with you. I would extend your challenge around product experience. You can have a great product but not a great way to get it to the customer. As you were talking, I just Googled Magento and Kickstarter. Lo and behold, there was this large discussion in 2013 of this code that was a great integration between the two. We went through this age where GE was outsourcing their technology. This is actually a gift that Amazon has provided the world.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Thought Leaders in E-Commerce: Mark Lavelle, CEO of Magento Commerce
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