Paul do Forno brings over 25 years of experience in digital technology and commerce to today’s conversation. He’s led the digital experience for some of the world’s most iconic brands, including General Electric, Siemens, Target, Foot Locker, and Hyatt, and has been a key driver of the digital transformation that has shaped the modern commerce experience. Today he is a Managing Director at Deloitte Digital and a leading voice in ecommerce and all things digital.
A digital transformation has occurred, accelerated by the rapid rise of ecommerce and a global pandemic. In this dynamic discussion, do Forno dives into his holistic approach to the commerce experience, highlighting some of the opportunities and challenges facing enterprise and B2B brands today.
Paul do Forno is a Managing Director at Deloitte Digital and a leader in the Commerce Practice. He brings over 25 years of experience in strategy, digital, and technology, leading the Commerce Practice Eminence initiative as well as the go-to-market for B2B Commerce. In the past, Paul has led some of the world’s largest digital platform programs with brands like General Electric, Siemens, Target, Foot Locker, Hyatt, and many more, driving commerce and digital transformations.He is a frequent speaker at digital and ecommerce events as well as being featured as an ecommerce subject matter expert on many publications. He has worked closely with the research analysts and holds several executive advisory board positions with top digital platform vendors.
Jay Myers: Paul. Thank you so much for coming on our show. It’s a real pleasure to have you here. Just for all our listeners, give us a quick background who you are and your interesting journey with e-commerce?
Jay Myers: Paul. Thank you so much for coming on our show. It’s a real pleasure to have you here. Just for all our listeners, give us a quick background who you are and your interesting journey with e-commerce?
Paul: Sure. My name’s Paul Forno. I’ve been doing digital and web and e-commerce for almost 25 years, mostly e-commerce for the last 20 years. I grew up in Canada, graduate of Waterloo, computer science up there. And I got involved early on in the web and got lucky to work on some really great big e-commerce projects. I helped Target move off of Amazon back 12, 13 years ago. I’ve been involved in pretty much every commerce platform and enterprise that’s been out there from Oracle, Hybris, Adobe, you name it, I’ve built with some pretty big brands out there. So I’ve been pretty lucky to be on the consulting side and help everything from strategy to building, to running e-commerce shops.
Jay Myers: And you’re with Deloitte digital now, and is your title commerce and digital transformation leader?
Paul: I’m part of the leadership team, managing director, and I helped to run our digital commerce practice in the US and lately while I’ve done a ton around B2C over my career in the last couple of years, I’ve really focused around the B2B commerce space.
Jay Myers: So what does a day look like for you at Deloitte? What is entailed in that role?
Paul: One of the things hats that I wear is part of why I’m talking here. I lead up our eminence. So I’m more of the guy that’s out there in the marketplace, really talking about the importance of e-commerce and really banging the drum of how to really drive e-commerce on scale and how to make it happen, especially for large enterprises. So I spend a lot of time working on our positioning for the future, working with vendors, all the kind of major e-comm vendors out there to the ecosystem. And I also worked very closely with a number of different clients and helping them through these big digital transformations.
Jay Myers: So why don’t we start there? Like that was one of the things I wanted to make sure to dive in with you, is there’s definitely digital transformations happening right in front of us, somewhat accelerated maybe by what’s going on in the world. I think I read a blog post that you wrote a while ago, but you’ve got this kind of holistic view of retail. How are brands in your opinion evolving to have more of a holistic view of the commerce experience?
Paul: What’s interesting is the evolution of what’s happened. And how commerce I believe is at the center of it all and commerce, I’ll just say more generally digital, especially for retailers at the center of it all. Because historically being the old guy in the room, if you go back 15, 20 years at that point, even 10 years back to some brands, when they talked about e-commerce, they almost treated it like store number 999, right? Like, yeah, it does it’s revenue. It’s over there. It’s a small percentage. It’s less than a few percent. It’s cool and interesting, but it’s not going to move the needle overall. And what’s gone almost to the other extreme is now people are talking that e-commerce is everything and retail is dead. And instead of me being the big proponent, like banging the drum of e-commerce, I’m like, hold on guys, retail is still going to be around. Commerce is going to be important, but it’s at the center of this digital transformation. Part of what the broader discussion, when we talk about digital transformation, especially for retailers and brands, is thinking about the influence that digital makes. It’s easy for people to jump to just hitting the button of the order. That’s only one part of it like acquisition, building, the awareness, how that filters through.
And then the other thing that in fact as really come to the forefront so much is the after purchase process and how important that is. So, hey, it’d be really great if I get this delivered and the expectations that companies have made, that I’m going to get this product in two days and continuing to push that and understanding that whole life cycle of delivery and how do I make that profitable and all of those things and customer service after the fact. Some of those areas as commerce becomes a bigger proportion of overall retail, those are the things that now many retailers are spending a lot of time to try and figure out.
Jay Myers: What would you say are some of the biggest challenges that retailers are struggling with as they make this transition?
Paul: Again, depending on different segments. So maybe I’ll just talk about a couple of different segments, cause it’s very different areas. First of all, let’s talk about grocery. In the past year, because of COVID, there was a massive, the largest growth in any segment was grocery and in different baselines in US, around almost a hundred percent increase in grocery pickup. So the challenge for grocery in many ways, what you’ve seen is a large constituents of people that hadn’t purchased online and picked up. In fact, another interesting factoid from this past year, the largest segment of grocery growth was actually from boomers that they were forced to order because of COVID. And because of that, we’re actually seeing that adoption sticking because to get people to change, they just need to do things a couple of times. If you look at what’s happening across the board and grocery, then massive buy online, pickup in store. So being able to go there, park and get your products delivered.
How do you now refactor what stores look like to align for a huge proportion of sales being picked up, and the micro fulfillment? So that whole area for groceries around micro fulfillments and what a lot of companies are doing on top of just the overall challenges for grocery in delivering, all of that is all in play. So that’s probably one of the biggest areas of changes.
Jay Myers: Just out of curiosity. Do you think buy online, pickup in store is going to be a trend that sticks or will people get? I get frustrated waiting in a parking lot to get my order, like the whole last mile. I think, I feel like it’s going to be solved. I’m curious of your thoughts.
Paul: I think it’s going to continue to refine. I think what we do is in many ways, look to other places and see what’s happened there. So if you look at proportionately to the UK, which is a good relative factor, groceries are delivered and have different, instead of like now they plan for it, they have, drive-throughs where you can pick up groceries and they drop it off. So they’ve planned ahead of time and they also have delivery schemes that already at a proportion are way up there. So part of what you have now is just the grocery industry is catching up. For example, Kroger is investing in 20 major fulfillment areas in the US. So micro fulfillment that would allow for not just dark stores with robots, powered by Ocado to bag and have that already, then you just drive through, so a very automated way. You’re going to see that continue to evolve and improve.
Jay Myers: In other verticals like one of the questions I wanted to ask you is about opportunities for brands for large retailers listening. What are some of the biggest opportunities for them right now in the next year or two?
Paul: I think and again segments, if you look at segments of retailers that have retail spaces and how best to invest, some of the things that they’re thinking about, what is the mix, because the landscape is changing and hey, if you’re not working site all this time, I might not need the same mix of clothes. So leisure suits, sweat pants. So one you have just the changing workplace, is going to change the product mix. So number one is, how do you plan appropriately your product mix. Number two, if you’re not interacting with your customer online and you have that relationship that they came in the store, how do you have that authentic connection to your source? So they’re looking for lots of different social ways and ways to interact with your customer.
So some of the things that you’re seeing are, again, a great place to look is what’s happening in China and things that have come over? People are testing, live streaming and being able to sell via videos and interaction. In fact, even some retailers I’ve seen employees walk around with video and facetime products. I think the whole engagement of employees is going to change the format and that’s really some of the things. I mean, it’s such a broad question, but like, those are some examples of some of the big changes coming.
Jay Myers: Given all these offline, online, merging, like what kind of architecture are you seeing brands use to put themselves in a good position for just all the different channels they are selling the different ways they’re selling and to kind of future proof this next phase of commerce.
Paul: Number one thing is, one from a user experience, design perspective is reducing all the friction and it’s a never ending story. Like how do you make it something that’s responsive, fast, is coming up and continually evolving. Then how do you continue? And that’s the stuff that sometimes people want to jump to the cool and neat things, but like what really moves the bottom line is that relentless look at friction points, meaning, okay, I add a product, how many clicks does it take to checkout? And things popping up and shouldn’t have popped up. Those are what actually drive real revenue gains by iterating. So that for sure is an area of all of the progressive web apps that are out there and the refinement of that, for sure. We’ve helped a number of big retailers who just a few years ago, might’ve implemented an enterprise CMS as their front end and then migrated off to a progressive web app framework like React. So that’s probably one of the biggest impacts that I see, especially from the front.
Jay Myers: Yeah. It’s interesting. We actually had Finbar, he’s the CEO of Shogun. They have a progressive web app solution. There are a few of them out there. He was saying that some of the brands that have implemented a progressive web app front end are seeing close to 30% increase in conversion coming from social traffic and not from Google or not from search, but social, which kind of makes sense because when you’re scrolling on Instagram, your thumb is in this second mode, like a post, your site needs to load almost as fast as the next post because that’s the mindset the customer is in. And then if it doesn’t, then they’re gone. That’s interesting. I know B2B is an area you focus a lot in, I’d love to pick your brain a bit on that. What are you seeing in B2B commerce right now? I know there’s been lots of talk about like the trends and the digital transformation because of pandemic and everything else, but what’s going on in the B2B world.
Paul: B2B is a massive opportunity. So just to give you kind of context, like in the US I think the estimate for 2020 is 17 and a half trillion dollars of B2B payments done, meaning transaction between businesses. The current estimate is about half of those payments are done manually. Meaning a check sent in the mail, a wire sent, it’s not done through an online portal like EDI, et cetera. The other 50%, one of the largest portions is EDI and that’s about 40%, pretty substantial. Like the first electronic way that’s been around for 30 plus years, but still very onerous and then procurement platforms and then B2B commerce. B2B commerce is the place that’s growing the most.
So when you look at that opportunity and when I use the term B2B commerce, it’s all about how do you make sales digital. I say it that way, because it’s not just about the order because the first thing that I talked to large enterprises, they’re like, oh my guy is not going to place the order online. You’re not going to replace my sales guy. So the discussion is actually what B2B commerce is there to do is help reduce all the friction of you interacting with the sales person. So for example, let’s just say I’m a manufacturer and I sell parts to a lot of other companies. Most of what’s happened in the past is, hey, I take that guy out for dinner, we’d get an agreement, we shake our hands and then the secretary would send a bill, well now that’s fine but it’s evolved.
A couple of things have driven massive change, especially over the last year. First of all, the largest constituent of people working now are millennials. And their expectation is, Hey, I just need to look up my order status. Oh, you don’t have a customer portal. Oh, why not? People are being asked to do more with less. So B2B commerce helps to drive that overall sales process.
Jay Myers: The things that you’re mentioning are the same things that we heard about B2C 10 years ago, or 15 years ago, like you’ll never replace the sales person. People need to talk to someone when they’re buying a car or a mattress, that’s all going to be replaced digitally. I actually think that digital could serve better a business, like in my head, I’m seeing tight integrations between the suppliers and point of sale and knowing sales levels and even using data across other stores, what’s selling, if customers are buying this and this store, augmenting it with other products, it’s really not effective of store placing manual orders. But you said that’s 40% of the way orders are done B2B.
Paul: Yeah. Via EDI. But again, in the day, remember in contexts stepping back when this first started 40 years ago or so, that was a huge step forward. And you have these infrastructures for large companies, like the Walmarts of the world that already set to transact that way, that that’s what happens. The opportunity on B2B and more as you see some of these manufacturers, industrial companies, in many ways, it’s not necessarily to replace the salespeople. It’s to make them more effective that they spend the time doing high value stuff. Because when we do lots of interviews, we hear, what do you spend your time on? Well, I get called on where’s my order? That’s number one. When is it going to get delivered? Oh, can you reprint my invoice? Like on and on where the B2B commerce will allow that facilitation, Hey, go to a website or look on your phone and it facilitates that.
If you look, we’ve done the studies on voice of the customer, and what’s different about B2B, as opposed to B2C, there’s a lot more personas that you interact with to make a sale. There may be procurement. You have the sales guy, you have the person ordering it, you have the operations, you have a receipt. There are so many people as part of a complex sale to make a decision it’s very different. So you can’t just say, and sometimes when B2B companies hear like, Oh, well, solution should just be, you need to make it like a great user interface and make it like B2C. Then that’s kind of just naive way of thinking of B2B. You really have to think about it as a complex buying process. And how do I reduce the friction across all of that web of decisions and purchasing?
Jay Myers: Is there an ideal setup for a brand? This is maybe a hard question, but like if you started from scratch and you wanted to do B2B properly, do you have an idea in your head what that looks like?
Paul: Yeah, of course, B2B is a very massive marketplace. We’re talking trillions of dollars, so different. A chemical company versus a distributor, very different businesses, but I’ll just highlight on the one side, like what you’re seeing this evolution is, you’ve probably heard of CRM, tracking an opportunity, tracking a lead, and then it might go manual. So what this is doing is having a whole connecting the dots and commerce seems to be the glue in the middle to connect CRM to the ERP and into your marketing. It all connects all those dots in a complex sale. So having a way now that there’s platforms out there that are fully integrated with CRM, integrated with product and search, et cetera, and being able to then connect with your ERP, that’s kind of where B2B companies want to go.
Jay Myers: So what would you say are some of the mistakes that B2B brands are making, like the biggest thing that you just go, ah, that you cringe about with B2B right now?
Paul: Number one thing, because there are so many people involved is, the change management of it. And that means not including the salespeople as part of a process. We had an example one time where we had to come in and the company had implemented this, they spent a ton of money on B2B e-commerce ordering and it looked great. We went and talked to the clients. And what we quickly found out was, one of the clients said, Hey, I like Joe, Joe’s my sales guy. He told me if I order through here and not through him, he’s not going to get his bonus. Well, aha. Don’t make, e-commerce a disincentive, you’ve got to make your sales people, your biggest proponent and change agent to drive people there.
Jay Myers: And it should actually empower sales reps more because digitally, if someone’s in a certain region, like if a sales rep is a rep for a certain geographical area, that can be really easily digitally tracked and attribute sales, commissions and everything else like it should be.
Pauls: Yeah. In fact, the other things as you’re going up. So what we have, we’re dealing a lot with the first stage of B2B where, Hey, I don’t even have a good portal. Or I built a portal, a super simple portal. I have a great example. We’re working with a client now that they built something in 2006, but now it only literally works in I E explore. And they have to have an old NT box to order their stuff on, like all of their clients and we need to migrate them. So one step is just getting the basics up.
One of the huge benefits that again, for the salespeople, B2B commerce is to empower sales people like, Hey, wouldn’t it be interesting if your client is looking at these products and you get that nudge. Oh, did you know your customer happened to be looking at all these products yesterday? Hey, here you go. That’s great Intel. Right? So as you go up the maturity curve there are things like that, there are things such as dynamic pricing and using pricing incentives to actually build that into the buying process, such that once you’ve gotten over the basics and people feel more comfortable, how do you then optimize the pricing so that you are pushing more to the online channel?
Jay Myers: Yeah. We’re seeing that a lot too, as well, too. I want to get into a little bit, I’ve heard you host a couple clubhouses. We’ll see how clubhouse pans out. People aren’t, aren’t using it anymore. Who knows but back in the day, a month ago it was all the rage, kind of on the topic of like headless commerce, modular, composable commerce. I know you have some thoughts on that. And one thing I heard you say one time is like, and I would agree with it, but headless is not for everyone. It is definitely not the right solution for a lot of brands. I’d like to kind of dive into that a little bit. First of all, what did you mean by that? We talked the other day and you made that comment I thought it was interesting.
Paul: First of all, I think it’s hyped up by a lot of vendors that it’s self-benefiting, who has the most headless or who is the truest headless, almost like a purity test. I think that you’re having the wrong conversation. If you go back to what we talked about before that user experience and reducing friction and what are the tools to help facilitate that and you have the customer at the center, if those are tools that help you to that goal, then great. But picking a platform just because it’s headless or more headless than the others necessarily doesn’t help you. And especially for some, and I’ll use different segments on the B2C side for smaller companies, they might not have the developers to maintain that ongoing, to have a pure headless support, because it’s a lot more development to keep up. Whereas in general, and I’ve been doing this a long time of just being able to have an integration strategy that allows you to take advantage of components that are out there to quickly integrate them. That’s more important.
Jay Myers: Yeah. So the word headless, I agree. And I think part of the reason is like, the way it’s defined is not consistent. How do you define it? I want to jump into the component aspects in a bit.
Paul: Yeah again headless becomes, I’ve heard different people define it from there’s an API micro architecture, that wraps APIs that enables, and the more cloud-native these APIs are, that’s much more supposed to be the best headless per say. And again, there are advantages to all of those, but for some companies being able to have a platform that can be somewhat headless, have a way to interact with others, but also have things that work straight out of the box and integrated will be good enough because if you don’t have anything online, your just trying to get stuff out there and you’re going to differentiate on your product and differentiate on other things, you necessarily don’t have to build it from the ground up. It can be as simple as, it’s defined as just when your front end is separate from your backend, that’s a headless architecture, or it can be as complex as when you do commerce anywhere, whether that’s through voice or through TV or through social media or videos, that can also be a different head to your commerce.
Jay Myers: We’ve had bold for a couple of years and this isn’t like a coined, we use the term modular commerce. I think now the industry has kind of adopted composable commerce. And it’s the concept of, I think that might’ve been what you’re getting at, which I want to dive into a little bit, but we see that every single brand has a unique, there isn’t the right order management software for every brand. There isn’t the right CMS for every brand. There isn’t the right product information management tool, like every brand kind of has a unique challenge. We found recently that kind of piecing together the core components of what makes up your e-commerce stack has worked really well. I think like five years ago, this would have been really challenging mainly because not every piece had APIs to integrate with each other, but it seems to be becoming more common and solving really unique problems. I’m just curious if you’re seeing that too. And what your thoughts are on that approach.
Paul: Yeah. I mean the one use case that both composable and headless work really well are in large existing implementations where they need to do maybe something new for one of the brands and they don’t want to touch the main line and, the main capabilities or incrementally go through that change and also have the capability to drive to support that. And really seeing that, being able to leverage the tools. I think the biggest thing that’s changed, especially in the last five years is around just the quality and the support of all the different cloud providers and the InterCloud capability. So it’s more doable, but because literally, it’s funny because I tell the story and I keep forgetting, I remember 2005, Hey, we want to get your e-commerce store going, but it’s going to take six months to order your hardware, to have the boxes and installed at the air. So it’s not just a button. So just this, all of the push around, all the different clouds, the inter cloud capability has really enabled this. But what I think is more important is, it’s not as important that, Hey, you have an API, but what your APIs do, right? Like, do you have a good checkout? Do you have a good subscription capability? That’s really, what’s important. Not that it meets a certain test of capabilities. So we really look to what are the components and capabilities that we can stitch together that add value and not really trying to make it a litmus test.
Jay Myers: And then have you had a brand, worked with brands that have gone through this and then had to kind of swap out different components and gone through that process?
Paul: Yeah, definitely. And that’s the case where it works especially well, where you can pull out, cause back in the day there were platforms that were integrated front and back, and very hard to pull out bits and pieces. You couldn’t get in along in the process. So now even the platforms that aren’t pure headless have a lot of flexibility. And so being able to differentiate. For example, if bolt commerce has a better subscription capability, that’s a way to very quickly add value. So we’ve seen that a lot, very specific things, be it subscription, different payments, capabilities, different functional tax services, all of those things become part of what really is driving I think the transformation, as opposed to like, I’ve got to change everything at once. It’s really based on the opportunity of what are the opportunities by functional area.
Jay Myers: What do you think it’s going to look like in five years, like for larger brands, from a technology standpoint?
Paul: There’s been a lot of debate and we’ve talked a lot about it, more and more and I think commerce is getting there. In some ways, some of the things are becoming more of a commodity, right. And to differentiate like the expectations coming out of the cloud providers is they hit a button and they have a commerce capability. So I think that one expectation. Second is I think there’ll be some more standardization of interaction of the APIs. People will get a view of some of the stuff that’s already happening around, tax services, different payment services that are able to plug in and shared with that whole orchestration around it, is just going to make it easier. So on the one side, when I said over the long-term, those that do have headless are great micro services architecture are going to be able to evolve better, but today they’re not a silver bullet. So I think what you’ll see is a continuation of that trend, but then there’ll be just more interconnected to everything.
Jay Myers: What do you think would make your life like with the brands that Deloitte works with, would make your life so much easier if a technology existed or was improved? What is the biggest missing piece right now for enterprise brands?
Paul: And this is something that we’re spending a lot of time at is and research around how to connect with the right messaging at the right time. And this means there’s so much data out there. How do you use that data? I’m sure you’ve been to websites and you just bought there and then they’re instantly showing you the same product again, or they say hi, Mr and they spell your name wrong. I think the biggest challenge, and this is where if you’re rooted in understanding brands or retail, part of what you want to do is be like your best-trusted person who sells you something, who understands and reacts to you and be able to interact in a way. So the subtlety of now, especially as the consumers is changing, people don’t want to be sold to. How do you authentically have a communication with them such that you’re true to the brand, but you’re not overly selling. And so that fine line of how to have that conversation, while it sounds somewhat simple, it’s super complex as that evolves all the time.
Jay Myers: So that really comes down to the relationship between the brands and the customers. Really. And there’s still a bit of a wall there you would say, like it’s still not.?
Paul: Yeah we’ve got a whole bunch of, and we bring together like a interdisciplinary team. So one bringing data from advertising world, and especially with what’s going on with Facebook, it’s going to be so much more important that each brand owns their own data, the first party data and driving all of those insights. So you’ve got that first party data. You have all of the transactional data, you have the in-store data. How do you bring that all together and then have a great conversation and continue to evolve that and to do it on scale? That’s a lot, we’ve partnered with a bunch of platforms, but we have a platform called hucks that’s focused on bringing all these data together so that we can then have that right conversation.
Jay Myers: I heard a good quote the other day, you want your customers to come to you for revenue, profit, lifetime value, et cetera. Customers are coming to you for a relationship. They want a relationship with a brand, but brands do very little. I mean, there’s some that do a great job at it, but anything you can do to have that communication, whether that’s on the site, through emails, through social, I see that as such a huge opportunity right now. And there are a few brands that I buy from that do a fantastic job at it. But for the most of them, I feel like it’s just a product in the catalog. And there’s just a huge opportunity to improve there.
I’d love to get into a couple of lightening questions here, just being before we run out of time. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to see these, but I ask everyone these, and one day I’m going to throw them all on a blog post, all the different questions, that will be a book or something but what would you say first question is the biggest mistake in e-commerce either you’ve made or most likely that you see brands make?
Paul: That is a good question. I would say in underestimating, the fulfillment and the packaging.
Jay Myers: I like that. Do you have a pet peeve when you shop online?
Paul: I do and they’re still out there, any checkouts that have like way too many things to fill out. It drives me insane.
Jay Myers: There’s like the checkout 1.0 and checkout 2.0. I could go down a rabbit hole now if I want. What’s your favorite thing about your job?
Paul: Well, I really appreciated it now that I’m not doing it after 20 years of flying a hundred thousand plus miles and getting to go around the world to conferences and meet with customers around the world. I haven’t flown for work in over a year. I miss that. So I’ve got to say my being able to travel, to meet really cool people.
Jay Myers: Yeah, me too. As much as I sometimes hate conferences, you miss them when you’re stuck.
Paul: When you haven’t done it for a year yeah.
Jay Myers: There’s going to be a lot of hugging at the next big e-commerce event. What’s your favorite online store or last place you bought something?
Paul: The last place I bought something, which I happened to be, I think I’ve done this way too much over the past year is eBay. The only thing I buy on there is tragically hip concert posters.
Jay Myers: Is there like any that you don’t have yet?
Paul: I have a couple, there’s one from 1995 concert tour with Doves all in formation. That’s the one I’m really looking for.
Jay Myers: So you just randomly check every week and see if they’re on there.
Paul: Oh, I’m on Kijiji. So even though I’m not in Canada I have updates off of that and eBay and there’s actually, if you can believe this, there’s a Facebook group just for tragically hip poster.
Jay Myers: Amazing, it’s funny. I asked this question to everyone and Kelly gets from commerce tools. He said his favorite store was eBay too, but he collects cashmere sweaters.
Paul: Oh, there you go. You learn something new all the time.
Jay Myers: What is the number one thing you think stores could be doing to grow sales, but they aren’t?
Paul: Some of them are doing it better, especially these days. I think taking advantage of email, it’s easy to forget the trusted tool. It still converts really, really well. It’s almost like it’s not as cool as doing the next new social media campaign, but especially with getting your first-party data, getting people’s emails is all the more important.
Jay Myers: And its own, right? It’s yours. You own that media and Facebook or Apple, or like no one can take that away from you. And I always think 90% of the emails I get from brands, I delete without even looking at them and probably 10%, I actually share, I’ll forward them to people. And I always tell people when you’re writing your emails, write it so that people share it, not write it to sell or to buy, put opinion articles in there, put something that would create a share. I think that’s good. My last question is, a lot of our listeners are business owners, entrepreneurs of all sizes. You’ve been in the space for a long time. Do you have any favorite quotes or advice or things that you live by, last piece of parting wisdom from Paul?
Paul: I guess from thinking about e-commerce and kind of what’s most important. So many times people get so in the minutiae of the latest and greatest and spending time with the customer. I use examples from enterprise and different for entrepreneurs. On the enterprise side, the one thing that I thought that some retailers that I’ve worked with before fantastic, is to make sure that people rotate through the customer service center and listen into calls. Spend the time listening to calls, spending time, I’m based here in Columbus Ohio, limited brands, Victoria Secret, Abercrombie are based here. And Les Wexner who had been the longest serving CEO of a Fortune 500 company, he would always go into the stores and like listen to the customers and really get the pulse. Number one thing is continually find all ways to listen to your core customer. When it comes down to it, you need to have that connection.
Jay Myers: So many companies try to shield their team from customer support. It’s like a wall and they think they’re good if they can shield it and everyone else can work. But actually that is informing your company and your people, what your customers want.
Paul: Yep. I’ll just say one last thing, we do this every black Friday, which is probably a big day in your world too, like black Friday and Cyber Monday. We kind of have a all hands on deck ad bowl. Then we go from, well, I guess it starts Thursday night ad basically through Monday we have people working like 24 hours in, but not just our support team, all our devs help do support as well. And they’re on chat and they’re answering tickets and it’s always every year, such a great time for the developers and the product managers who are building the products, answering support tickets, and they’re always come away with, oh, we can make this better. Oh, this is a problem. Oh, we can fix this. I couldn’t agree more. And so we do that one time a year for three nights through black, Friday and Cyber Monday and always good things come from it. So I like that.
Now that I’ve thought about it too, I mean, the other thing I would say about e-commerce, which is, cause I get this all the time. Like, Oh, we’re going to implement it and then we’re done. E-commerce isn’t set it and forget it like that late-night infomercial. It’s you got to build it and that’s just the start. So you have to continuously feed it, learn from it, iterate, keep reducing all the friction points.
Jay Myers: Yep. I like it. Paul, thank you so much for coming on. This has been really good. Do you want to just throw out, I guess it’s Deloitte digital if people want to learn more about what you do or is there anywhere else you want to direct people to?
Paul: Sure. Yeah. Deloittedigital.com. We just did an update for our new branding, new growth, pretty interesting perspective. You can find me, I tweet a lot about e-commerce on the Forno P on Twitter. So feel free to follow me and I share lots of great stuff.
Jay Myers: I’ll just throw this out there too. Didn’t you recently win with Deloitte the largest enterprise service provider of the year?
Paul: Oh, look at that. He’s even given us a free commercial to remind me. Yes for Forrester, we were the top-ranked e-commerce globally service provider. So just to give you a sense, we’re doing work and helping with four of the top internet retailers. So on the large enterprise space, very big brands and fantastic, we probably have the largest by far across the globe, everything from design, we have digital studios to development, our development is mostly based out of India, but we have development centers around the world in Romania, et cetera. And then we operate them as well.
Jay Myers: Awesome. Very thankful to have you and wish you all the best and stay safe.
Paul: Thanks. Cheers.