An interview with commercetools: “Introducing a major e-commerce player in the Australian market”
“Most of the new customers that migrate away from an existing commerce stack to commercetools are investing with us for the ‘unknown factor’”, Bruno Teuber.
Bruno Teuber, Switzerland based Chief Revenue Officer at commercetools, has recently been visiting Australia as part of their launch in this market. Together with Joshua Emblin, commercetools’ Sales Manager in ANZ, he met with foryouandyourcustomers for an interview. They provided a fascinating insight into their approach for Australia, and how they differentiate from other e-commerce offerings. Luckily, Bruno’s travel and our meeting happened just a few days before COVID-19 related restrictions made international travel ineffective.
Bernhard Mueller: I have been watching commercetools’ journey closely during the last year. A lot of good things have happened to you. You started networking in Australia last year in June with your first Conference in Australia with foryouandyourcustomers at Online Retailer 2019. You just hired Joshua, who’s based here in Melbourne to take the lead building your local business. You have also already won a very iconic Australian brand as your first local customer. You are tackling the Australian market at speed! Why do you believe that Australia is the place to be for commercetools? Bruno Teuber: First of all our recent investment allows us to go faster than before globally. That allows us to be selective in which places and regions we want to win new customers and make them successful. Asia Pacific and Oceania have a slightly different approach to the rest of the world, it seems that companies here are waiting for the first mover in the market. For us, it is all about how we can find our first mover. We have now only been on board for about six weeks and have already two solid opportunities and one existing customer. These are potentially our first movers, if we win them, the next five are going to be a lot easier. It’s like a poker game, it’s all about who will be the first and then the next will follow.
commercetools provides their cloud-based e-commerce platform now also in Australia. Backed by a capital injection of USD $145 Million from Insight Partners, they are well-positioned for further growth.
Bernhard Mueller: The fact that you are building a local team and host your platform in Australia shows a lot of commitment and will help with being successful in this new market. Our business started in Australia only two years ago – we have a common challenge taking a business that works very well overseas and bringing it down under. What do you think is the biggest challenge for commercetools in this market? Joshua Emblin: The biggest challenge is getting the word out, get people across commercetools and showcase the platforms’ key differentiators. Once our first customers here are established and happy, a good relationship with them will set us up for further success and other customers will follow.
Bernhard Mueller: What are some of the tips and tricks to get your first and second customers on board? Joshua Emblin: I am quite fortunate that I have been in the market for the last 15 years and know my way around. The platform leads itself to a proof of concept which helps to get retailers across the platform and its capabilities. The platform has rich functionality which can be utilised flexibly, which is one of its key strengths. Another thing that will assist our growth in Australia is leveraging the power of our partner network, including foryouandyourcustomers as a key global implementation partner.
Bruno Teuber is presenting their advantage of having a flexible platform which facilitates rapid changes.
Bernhard Mueller: You mentioned the platform leads itself to a proof of concept? If customers are interested in running such a proof concept what would they need to do? Joshua Emblin: You can go to our website and start a 60-day trial. That will grant full access to the platform and to all the documentation you need. You can create API keys and start interacting with the platform and even start integrating it with your established apps and systems. Our commercetools team is available to help you out to address any functional or technical questions. We often see that use cases from an initial 60 days trial are directly turned into a production environment. Nothing is lost after an initial trial period and development can continue directly from there.
Bernhard Mueller: In your marketing statements you talk about the MACH architecture – which indicates that speed and technology-led are important in your branding. Do you think that customers are interested in your platform as an option to quickly refresh their technology stack, or rather the business features in e-commerce that wins them over? Bruno Teuber: Most of the new customers that migrate away from an existing commerce stack to commercetools are investing with us for the “unknown factor”. What does that mean? There are a lot of things in the marketplace that we don’t know yet, things that are going to change rapidly in the future. In order to be able to adapt to those changes (e.g. new point of sales, new features, etc.), you need a platform that is flexible and doesn’t limit you in a situation where the “unknown factor” triggers rapid change. A perfect example of that is our Audi showcase, which allows in-car electronic commerce, provided by Audi on a single fully assembled hardware front-end with commercetools as commerce back-end. A few years ago, nobody thought that this would happen one day! A lot of use cases will evolve, and companies need a platform that is ready to deal with such future opportunities.
Bernhard Mueller: We saw a very similar effect with our Geberit case, where foryouandyourcustomers implemented commercetools. Geberit is a leading global sanitary products manufacturer. The business wanted details of their product catalogue – including 3D models of their products – to directly feed into the planning software that architects use. That feature was piloted within a few days and implemented within a few weeks. That was a real gamechanger for Geberit – it enabled Architects to easily position their products and accessories, such as sinks, bathtubs, but also plumbing and piping, etc. in their plans, thus making it much easier and friction-less for architects to suggest Geberit’s products in their plans to customers. What are other interesting use cases do commercetools’ customers apply? Bruno Teuber: There is another interesting case around integrating online and offline customer journeys. E.g. you can start assembling an order online and then finish it in a retail store. Commercetools was used to establish the integration between the two customer journeys. Another novelty is using voice: During the last year, screen-less digital commerce became more widely adopted as people feel more comfortable to talk to Alexa, Siri, Google, etc. However, speaking from a device is very different to a traditional screen-based user interface. Today, we don’t know yet what the user interfaces of the future will look like, but lots of new ones will pop up. Our headless platform means that companies can use the best user interfaces for their use cases and still have the same e-commerce features available across them. A key advantage of being a headless e-commerce platform is that you don’t have to think about the front end and how it will be in five years.
Bernhard Mueller: Thank you Bruno and Joshua for your time and this interesting conversation. I wish you both and your global team a lot of success here down under!