What do you find in this article?
Can you introduce yourself?
I am the Global VP of Marketing at Shopgate and currently oversee all marketing and brand efforts, marketing services for our dealers and our affiliate program. I am a seasoned tech marketer keen to develop marketing strategies that combine traditional techniques with new technologies. My areas of expertise include developing marketing strategies that focus on acquiring and retaining customers and B2B customers, building strong marketing assets with simple, coherent messages, and optimizing large-scale marketing budgets.
Can you tell us something more about your career?
After completing my undergraduate degree in International Business from St. Edward's University in Austin, I decided to do my MBA at SEU. I completed my MBA in Global Business in 2007. I joined Shopgate in December 2015 as Vice President of Marketing, Services and Partnerships, after spending 8 years in tech start-ups focused on mobile consumer apps.
My professional trip to Shopgate, however, was an incredible ride.
My dad was a civil engineer and so I spent my entire childhood traveling and living around the world – the Philippines, the Azores and Japan. After a few years in Japan, my parents decided to set up a Maintenance Repair and Operations (MRO) supply business with a focus on Government Services Administration (GSA) contracts in Asia. I started to work administratively side by side with my parents. I have learned accounting, payroll, international vendor payments, human resources, bidding on GSA contracts and general business management. This experience taught me at a young age how much work is needed to run a business. Most importantly, I have learned that if you are not passionate about your work, the chances of failure are higher and life in general is much less fun. As a seasoned government engineer, my father was passionate about changing the way the MROs managed by the overseas military bases were used, and designed programs to make the purchasing process more efficient and improve the morale of military personnel at the bases , I was not that interested in government contracts, but I was fascinated by international trade and understood different economies and the cultures that drove them.
I honestly never thought that I would be involved in marketing and never thought that I would be involved in the technology. During the graduate school, I was approached by a member of the St. Edward Graduate Advisory Council on a startup he had started, and he offered me an internship in structuring the user experience architecture. During our startup, I switched to marketing and finally led the marketing activities. At that time I was worried because I was not sure if I had the creative talent. I am extremely pragmatic and logical. It turned out that my creativity is to be inventive, to see the big picture, and to find out what puzzle pieces are needed to get there. At that point I realized that I would become a marketer.
What does Shopgate do for merchants?
Shopgate offers a range of customer-centric omnichannel commerce solutions that unlock the vision of innovative retailers, helping them increase business traffic, increase revenue, and deliver the ultimate customer experience with the power of a mobile shopping app, clienteling, and omnichannel to create fulfillment – all for integration into the eCommerce platform or OMS of a retailer. These Commerce solutions based on the Shopgate Connect platform were developed specifically for the individual requirements and the expandability of small and medium-sized retailers. Shopgate offers future-oriented retailers the edge they need to create the true omnichannel experiences that today's consumers demand.
In today's retail reality, retailers need to be able to provide consumers with a seamless omnichannel experience across all touchpoints. That does not stop when you buy on the phone. There must be a connection to in-patient facilities for customer-oriented personal consultations and the ability to pick up and return goods in the store. Shopgate's omnichannel commerce solutions provide pioneering retailers groundbreaking results with a user-friendly, customizable and cost-effective platform.
What developments have you observed in the field of e-commerce / mobile in recent years?
As we all know, the hype surrounding the supposed retail apocalypse has consistently focused on the death of the store. But the real truth is that hysteria is really unfounded. Retail changes, but does not die. The retail store is not only alive and well, it also gets more imaginative. Here we saw how the development of e-commerce and mobile really got going. Retail winners are always one step ahead of the physical store, breaking the boundaries between digital and physical. Much of their digital business success is leveraging the mobile channel to provide consumers with a convenient and seamless shopping experience.
With smartphones now playing the role of the actor in all aspects of consumer life, it is not surprising that buyers expect their mobile phones to support the shopping experience, especially when it comes to fulfillment options such as BOPIS and ROPIS or collaboration With them, a retailer goes in a more personalized way via push notifications or clienteling capabilities.
Do you believe that omnichannel is adopted by the majority of traders, or is it a trend that creates the conditions for something else?
We believe it's not so much a matter of adopting the concept of "omnichannel functions" as of making personalized and consistent experiences the new norm for the retail industry, not just a trend. Customers are not interested in distribution channels – they are only interested in when and where (and how) they want to receive the products. Modern shoppers also want to feel special when they visit the store or browse online, and want to have a unified experience across all channels. As I said earlier, the idea of omnichannel is really about making retail more attractive and entertaining – we call it Omnichannel from Shopgate!
What are the issues you most often encounter at traders who are ready to develop an omnichannel strategy?
The biggest problem we're seeing are retailers / dealers who do not have a seamless brand experience across channels. Today's shoppers find it difficult to feel like the "star of the show" as they get different experiences across different channels and touch points. Confused customers can become dissatisfied customers, making it more important than ever to combine all systems into a single experience that meets their expectations. Consumers should only experience one brand, rather than worrying about how to navigate through all channels.
What mistakes do you encounter most often when dealing with e-commerce / omnichannel merchants?
Consumers today have very high expectations: they want to use mobile apps in the store, they want to shop online and shop in the store, they want to use multiple channels while shopping and they want a more memorable, personalized customer experience. We see that many traders are missing out on these expectations by not providing native access to mobile apps with relevant engagement, or offering convenient fulfillment options like BOPIS or simple returns in the store. Many retailers also miss the mark when it comes to their store employees by not getting the tools they need to access customer profiles or find inventory.
What trends do you see over the next five years?
I think that at a very high level, we will continue to see the merging of physical and digital business, as customers are demanding. Over the next five years we will continue to see:
- Seamless Shopping Experience – Consumers' shopping experiences and transactions can be easily transferred from digital to physical channels.
- Faster and more convenient shopping experiences – Fulfillment options become more efficient and customers have access to real-time information from retailers about news, promotions, and product lines.
- Customer centricity is becoming the norm – Consumers expect retailers to interact with them through technology touch points such as segmented in-app push notifications and relevant cell phone notifications.
What are the upcoming Shopgate projects?
In early 2020, we will be launching some key brands for our new suite, and we're excited to share them as soon as they're live.
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