In the Ecom Experts, we focus on e-commerce thought leadership and insight by conducting short interviews with industry leaders and influencers who, through their unique experience and category leadership, have gained special perspectives on the growth and direction of online shopping.
Name: Eric Lituchy, CMO, Phone.com
How did you end up in ecommerce?
In 1995, I started a company called Ale In Mail. It was a beer-of-the-month club that grew into a slew of clubs like cigars, coffee, tea and hot sauce. I sold the business in 1998 and started Delightful Deliveries, which sold gourmet food gifts. The internet was just starting to become popular and it was a natural channel for the business. For nostalgia, you can see how the website looked in 2000.
What is your biggest strategic focus to drive online business in the upcoming year?
Without a great user experience, it is nearly impossible to compete with companies like Amazon. The complexity is that UX isn't just about the web experience, it permeates every aspect of the shopping experience from the landing page the visitor sees when they first visit the website, to the checkout experience, to how the package arrives in the mailbox.
What two or three things are the most critical to a brand’s success online?
By far the most important factor in a brand’s online success is customer service. It's not just good service that matters, but memorable service. In most categories, I think it's safe to say that price needs to be competitive as well. It amazes me how many businesses, especially manufacturers, don't understand that the same product is just a click away. Brands selling unique products have different problems and I think connecting with the consumer is most vital for this segment.
What’s the last unexpected purchase you made online?
While I love the subscription model, it can become problematic. I have a puppy named Maggie and my wife signed up with Chewy.com for dog food. Unknowingly, I also signed up with Amazon Subscribe & Save for dog food. Needless to say, we unexpectedly have way too much dog food in our basement.
Any e-commerce predictions for the upcoming year?
1) Warby Parker will continue to get too much press; Great brand, but the media needs to spread the love.
2) Conversion optimization and personalization will become more mainstream and grow more sophisticated.
3) Full-screen video homepages will go the way of the carousel.
4) My wife will receive more shipments from Zulily than the average American receives from all ecommerce companies combined.
Connect with Eric on Linkedin.