E-commerce is one of the hottest spaces for technologists. From billion-dollar corporations such as Amazon to emerging giants like Shopify, every business owner is thinking "online" as a means for expansion.
Keren Kang, the CEO of Native Commerce, is changing the e-commerce game. Having started her career in the gaming industry, she is approaching e-commerce with a vision that most in the industry don't have.
She finished 2015 with more than $23 million in revenue and expects to close out 2016 with over $30 million.
I had a chance to interview Ms. Kang about her vision for Native Commerce and she highlights the 3 reasons why e-commerce is a critical component to nearly every business model.
1. Growth of e-commerce
2016 is the year companies are increasingly choosing to add e-commerce to their business and marketing platforms.
"Every business owner should understand that eCommerce isn't the means to an end, but rather, the means of the beginning," explains Ms. Kang.
"Once an e-com store is live the possibilities have opened - social media acquisition, worldwide penetration and email marketing."
Ms. Kang says the future is knowing your customer. Not as a whole demographic, not even as a cohort. It's about dynamic stores displaying exactly what it is that the visitor is looking to buy. "If we're doing it right, you'll never hear about Native Commerce. Instead, you'll hear all about our 50
2. E-commerce can strengthen leadership
Leadership is one of the most critical components of growth in any company, but especially e-ommerce.
"If the leadership is poor, the company will be poor. If the leadership is great, you've got a fighting chance to be great." Kang points out. "Leadership is the thing behind the wheel. It drives. It gets you to where you need to go. And it's not just in executive leadership - it's the leadership of the team, the managers, the coordinators. Every department needs it....and really the employees secretly crave it. Without leadership, they don't know the end goal, the reason they're coming in every day and busting their ass."
Ms. Kang believes her background in the gaming industry has given her a unique and exceptionally valuable way of building her company and leading her staff. "We have an organization that stems from experience in the games space.
The organizations are typically divided into two teams: live and launch, which have different dependencies and skill sets. Live is wholly dependent on the customers actions, wills, wants. Launch is concerned with the technical aspects that make the game function and get it done in a crunch." Kang explains.
"These require completely different skill sets, personalities, and levels of expertise. Here at Native Commerce, we've adopted that philosophy. We are able to figure it out if one of our employees is naturally more successful at building or maintaining. Are they more successful at doing something different every day, or does success come with doing similar things and mastering things? The answer to those questions builds our live and launch team."
3. Profitability is undeniable.
The profit margins on eCommerce companies are proving to be off the charts. However, that comes with growth that can be a challenge to manage and sustain. E-commerce sales are expected to grow to more than $400 billion in the next several years, with Forrester Research estimating $414 billion in sales in 2018 and
"This keeps me up at night. It's a good problem to have and there are things we've done organizationally and culture wise to sustain it, so far," Ms. Kang says. "Sustaining and maintaining operations was a huge step for us. Things like customer service and satisfaction, legal and human resources, accounting and finance...all things that we entrepreneurs brush to the side, must be a priority."
And Ms. Kang is quick to point out that Native Commerce is entering the mobile commerce space, as well. And she's not alone. In 2015, mobile commerce sales totaled over $104 billion in sales, that's up 38.7 percent from 2014. In fact, Internet Retailer estimates that mobile commerce in 1015 will grow more than twice the rate of total eCommerce sales.
"Solid growth comes by celebrating wins and recognizing weakness. We understand where we are weak, and we don't try to become experts in it. We just don't have that kind of time. Instead, we find the experts we need to get the job done."
And if you are wondering....yes, Native Commerce is hiring.
What are your thoughts on e-commerce?