Transcript of the ThinkShop session “Taking a Shopper-Centric Approach With the Bolt Network Effect” with speakers
At Adobe, we’re really focused on how commerce experiences are evolving and how we can make it easier, faster, and remove friction. Bolt has really innovated in the space and Magento has worked with Bolt for quite some time now, with our strategic partnership with our pre-built integration between the Magento platform and the Bolt Network.
We’re very excited to have Steven join us from Industry West, a longtime customer of Adobe/Magento. Let’s dig into why Industry West chose to implement the Bolt Network on their sites and delve into the impact Bolt has had on their customer experience, their metrics and more.
Steven, what led you to pick Magento as your ecommerce platform?
When we were on Drupal and it came time to move, we wanted to modernize the tech stack. We were in the growth period, and we needed a platform that could grow with us. That’s why we looked over to Magento and decided to go with Magento Commerce.
To add some background: We have multiple sites: the main site, industrywest.com; designtrade.industrywest.com, which is geared more towards our trade partners, and we also have infavorof.com. And that’s really the magic for me. We’re able to host all those sites and share one backend, which makes the maintenance a lot simpler compared to what we had in the past. If we were still where we were before, we would have multiple sites and multiple backends to take care of, but going through Magento allows us to get the complexity of our business that we were growing into, while still being able to scale as we grow.
What were some of the catalysts that were driving that growth and the decision to invest in modernizing your tech stack and ecomm platform?
Well, ecommerce moves quickly, and we wanted to be strategic in how we were growing. We now have a store storefront in Soho, and we were able to run a POS off of this same system and share inventory. That could have been really complex to deal with but we’re able to do all of that through the Magento install – and it’s working really well.
But the main catalyst was the complexity with the configurable SKUs that we have. A simpler ecommerce platform wouldn’t be able to hang with us for that. We knew that even when we were going from 5 to 50 to 100 SKUs, we needed something that would continue to grow with us and handle the complexity.
With Magento and Bolt, we’re able to grow and still have a lot of freedom to open up another site whenever we really need to be able to experiment. That complexity of making something that looks easy to the consumer that we know is really complex on the backend, it’s like that analogy: “The swan is beautiful on top of the water, and the legs are furiously moving under the water.” I think Magento and Bolt will allow us to maintain that easy customer experience.
I’d love to pick your brain a little bit around what’s changed in the market. As we think about the impact that COVID has had overall on the online retail space, but specifically for Industry West, what are some of the things that you believe are really important looking forward – thinking about checkout, payments, and that frictionless experience and the consumer behavior that you have seen?
Well, everyone knows that 2020 changed ecommerce and how customers behave. We definitely saw that in different sections of our clients or the trade customers. There were a lot of projects that were either on hold or went dormant, but we’re starting to see those creep up again. We also noticed that folks are spending more time at home, and the D2C business started to expand. We were selling a lot more retail – not the 40 chairs for the coffee shop, but the new lounge chair and the sofa for the living room.
And so for us to be able to make that pivot without leaving the trade behind is an advantage. It’s not necessarily the tool that you’re using, but as the ability to try things out. That’s where we find a lot of value in Magento and in Bolt. With the One Click Checkout that Bolt provides, you’re able to basically just turn the switch once you’re configured and give it a shot. Try things out, figure out what works, quickly understanding where customers are in the buying funnel, and make it as smooth as you possibly can. The more friction you can remove, the better.
We’ve talked a lot about a platform that you can grow with and the complexity of growing as a company, which was where this more scalable architecture of Magento really came in. But in a lot of the conversations, there seems to be a benefit of “setting it and forgetting it.” A lot of merchants that we talk to are looking at Shopify and they tell us it’s expensive and that it doesn’t do everything they want it to do, but that that maybe okay because then they don’t have to hire as many engineers or manage their online store as closely. Help us understand why you decided not to do that and what the things are that you would think about instead.
There are good things and bad things about a simple solution like Shopify. It crossed our mind as we were making the move, and honestly, we could have gone either way. I think that their platform can be great if you only have a handful of SKUs but if you want to be able to grow your business, grow the ecommerce side of things and handle it in a very mature platform, then Magento is the way to go. We created a platform that holds all of our sites and all the backend – that’s something that we wouldn’t be able to do on other sites like Shopify.
We’re running all of our ecommerce sites off the one platform and I’m sure Shopify is great for someone who would need to come right out the box – it’s easy to make it work. But if we would have gone that route, we would probably not be in the situation that we are now in terms of our ability to scale quickly. Like when we need to set up a new site, spin up new features or have a crazy sale that’s going to get a massive amount of traffic within a short amount of time – being able to handle all of that not only from the front end but with Magento as well is key.
Plus the ability of being able to do what you want, and do it at scale. At least at the time when we were looking at Shopify, that was the biggest thing: if you’re looking at rapid growth, I would start on a platform that’s going to scale with you as you grow your business, and be there to help you along your journey.
That’s one of the things that Bolt has: the trust. We’ve been working with Bolt since September, and everything has been great since we launched it. It’s the same thing with Magento and working through Adobe. We trust in our partners. It is a partnership and we couldn’t do what we do without the partners that we have. This “platform as a service” that you offer, it’s not set it and forget it. The analytics that Bolt now provides are amazing. Being able to see which credit cards have the biggest AOV, who has abandoned carts – all that data you can find elsewhere. But being able to have one program and open that up to our finance team… I just don’t see that happening with any other platform.
Want to learn more? Watch the full webinar.
Peter Sheldon, Senior Director Commerce Strategy, Adobe
Peter is a well-known industry expert in ecommerce and omnichannel technology, having previously held the role of Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. He spent five years leading Forrester’s global research on digital commerce technologies, helping to challenge the thinking and lead change for ecommerce executives undertaking major digital transformation and commerce technology programs. Today Peter leads commerce strategy for Adobe.
Steven Scarborough, Ecommerce Director, Industry West & FAVOR
Steven runs eCommerce production and strategy for B2B and B2C clients at Industry West and FAVOR. He brings 15 years of experience in product design, user experience, and strategy from startup, academic, and enterprise organizations.
Bob Buch, Chief Business Officer, Bolt
Bob oversees BD, partnerships, and corporate strategy at Bolt. He brings over 15 years of experience, including revenue, product marketing, and business development at both startups and large organizations. He’s described as one of the most creative thinkers (across all departments) and one of the best deal makers in Silicon Valley.