Just a few months ago we covered the news that BigCommerce had appointed Mark Adams as their VP for Europe. We have been lucky enough to secure an interview with Mark to introduce him to our readers and find out what he has planned in his new role.
With that said lets get straight into the interview.
Q. Firstly, congratulations on the new position Mark. For anyone who hasn’t heard of you before, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your history?
I’ll admit I am a bit of a geek. I really enjoy consulting brands on optimal eCommerce performance and am a passionate advocate of eCommerce evolution, having worked in the eCommerce sector since 2005.
Prior to that, I worked at tech and consulting firms selling software and consulting services to FTSE 100 and government organisations.
I joined BigCommerce from eComp Consulting, the IT and ecommerce consulting agency which I co-founded. Clients included retailers such as Aldi, Long Tall Sally, Cotswold Company and Andertons Music Co. I helped to integrate and launch their ecommerce platforms.
Previously, I ran eCommerce design and solution agency Portaltech, which grew to be the top global agency for hybris before it became part of SAP. Alongside the co-founders, we eventually led Portaltech through a successful acquisition process and transitioned the company to be a global leading systems integration firm, helping to grow the business in both the US and Europe.
Q. Obviously with any big role it can take time to settle in, but what do you see as your first priorities in the position as VP and GM for Europe?
BigCommerce is a well-respected and rapidly-growing player in North America and beyond, well known for its eCommerce SaaS platform for mid-market businesses (those driving between $1 million and $50 million in annual online revenue).
As we continue to grow, our focus is to bring those eCommerce advantages to more businesses across the UK and Europe.
My top priorities for BigCommerce are:
- Further developing the team here in the UK. Already 20 percent of BigCommerce customers reside outside of the US, and we want to build a world-class team locally to ensure that those merchants have on-the-ground service and support that empowers them to scale their business.
- Growing our community of partners to include best-in-class European technology and service providers.
- Executing on our UK strategy, which focuses on bringing eCommerce to market and acquiring customers across all three of our key business segments: SMB, medium and large enterprises.
Q. Over the years we have seen more and more eCommerce Software products hit the market, what makes BigCommerce stand out from the competition?
There are a couple of things that come to mind. First off, the market is changing. It’s moving from an on-premise, legacy way of buying technology, where the merchant owns the technology and is responsible for its maintenance and updates, towards Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
Moving to SaaS offers merchants a more cost effective, scalable and flexible model. It is disrupting major technology solutions across all industries, and BigCommerce is one of the few viable SaaS eCommerce platforms in market.
BigCommerce has a very open platform, which means that we are able to integrate ‘open-Saas’ to other third parties. This commitment to maintaining a partner-friendly platform is part of our DNA, and enables a nimble, scalable and best-of-breed developer stack.
A great example of this is the work we are doing with WordPress. Earlier this year, BigCommerce announced BigCommerce for WordPress, a full-featured integration that combines the flexibility of the WordPress platform with BigCommerce’s robust commerce engine.
With 30 percent of all websites powered by WordPress, it was important for us to extend our eCommerce capabilities to the millions of merchants using WordPress, giving them the flexibility to grow and customise their online store without sacrificing any of the front-end appeal.
I can’t think of many platforms that are solving such big challenges for a mass market. BigCommerce is one of the few eCommerce software platforms that has the size and scale to support three market segments – SMB, mid-market and enterprise – simultaneously.
It’s this rare flexibility that makes it possible for the company to execute on our vision and strategy of creating the world’s best SaaS eCommerce platform for all stages of a company’s growth.
Q. With your appointment it suggests that BigCommerce is now putting a big focus on the European market. Where do you see the biggest potential growth areas for European eCommerce currently?
Fast-growing brands in the mid-market segment are outgrowing their existing ecommerce legacy platforms. They want to control costs and enable greater flexibility. This is where moving from legacy technologies to SaaS delivers huge advantages. BigCommerce is in a great place to support those customers in the European market.
Though we are starting with the UK, it is not our singular focus in Europe. Germany is the second biggest ecommerce market by value and will very likely be the next port of call for BigCommerce, along with France, Italy and Spain. We are in the process of localising the platform for those European markets. Beyond Europe, it is our intention to use our new European office to serve the Middle East and South Africa, as well.
Q. What do you see as the biggest ‘game changers’ in eCommerce over the next 1-2 years and how can eCommerce businesses utilise them to their advantage?
In my opinion, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be one of the biggest eCommerce game changers, though it’s not currently being used to its full potential. Brands have only just started experimenting with AI, but I expect it’ll become mainstream in the eCommerce world over the next couple of years, particularly in the areas of customer service, personalisation and delivery fulfilment.
As an example, Oliver Bonas is using open source software to provide predictive intelligence through machine learning techniques. The retailer is using the technology to analyse customer behaviour on its eCommerce site to determine product recommendations and merchandising on its listings page.
Elsewhere, AI will be brought into operations in the warehouse to improve efficiency. For example, online grocery retailer Ocado has created a system called the Ocado Smart Platform where robots bring the shelf stacks to human workers, who pick out the right products and package them up to be sent out. These robots travel many miles a day at speeds faster than a human can walk, helping to streamline the retailer’s inventory logistics.
Q. Finally, where can people find out more about you and BigCommerce?
Our website – www.bigcommerce.com – is the best way to learn more about BigCommerce. I would also encourage people to subscribe to our blog – www.bigcommerce.com/blog – as a way to stay up-to-date on what’s happening with BigCommerce and the broader eCommerce industry.
You can also get in touch with me on LinkedIn.
We would like to say a huge thank you to Mark for taking the time out of his incredibly busy schedule to answer our questions.