March 29, 2020
Loren Padelford | Selling With Ease Using Shopify And Shopify Plus

Loren Padelford | Selling With Ease Using Shopify And Shopify Plus

Hi everybody and welcome to AQ’s Blog & Grill. We’re happy to have Loren Padelford with us here today. Loren is the new VP of sales with a
company called Shopify Plus. Now if you haven’t heard of Shopify and Shopify
Plus you should because they’re going to change the landscape, they’re already
changing the landscape in e-commerce and it’s a Canadian company. And we’re very excited. So welcome Loren. Thank you very much. I’m excited to be here. So tell us a little
bit about the Shopify and then the Shopify Plus story. How did all this get
started? And what is it that you guys are doing that is creating all of this change?
Sure. That’s a good question. And it started with our founder, Tobi, and his desire to sell snowboards. He tried to figure out how to sell snowboards, he
tried to buy software, and he couldn’t buy the software to allow him to sell
snowboards. So being the clever software engineer that he is, he wrote his own, along with our co-founders. And so Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows
entrepreneurs of all sizes, whether you’re starting up at home or you’re an
entrepreneur that works inside of a Fortune 500 company, to start a store, run
a store, manager an online store selling products locally or globally. Yeah. So
we’re the back end that powers all that capability. And Shopify Plus is then
the enterprise version. So Shopify was started to help entrepreneurs start
companies and grow those companies. Shopify Plus allows them to grow larger and allows large brands to also run global e-commerce capabilities on Shopify. Wow. And you guys, as we look you up on
Google, you’ve probably heard of them. They’re a search engine. A small company. If we look up Shopify in the Google ecosystem, you guys are rated as number
one or number two in the world. Yeah. So whoa congratulations. Thank you and you know we’re very happy and we’re rated that because of our customers, 243,000 merchants worldwide run on Shopify, which is over $10 billion
that have gone through Shopify since its inception. Amazing. So it’s quite a big ecosystem and we’re constantly trying to make that
better. Yeah. So what is it that makes Shopify more unique than the competition
or better than the competition. What is the secret sauce, if you will, that
Shopify then Shopify Plus is adding to those merchants? So it’s a good question and I think it comes down to experience, user experience. The nice part about what
Shopify does versus, say, Amazon is Shopify lets you own a store and lets you
control the store. You’re not putting your products on and then
we’re selling for you. Right. You’re putting it on and selling it yourself. So
you get to decide how it looks and functions and feels so you can tailor it to
the experience of your local region. That’s super powerful because it lets you
be the entrepreneur and it doesn’t rely on us trying to figure out your
region for you. So it’s very powerful software that’s very easy to use. And so
if you have no technical background and you want to start selling the jacket
you’re wearing your ability to go on Shopify, start a store, take a picture of that, load it up and sell it online, I mean you could do that in an
hour. And so we’ve given people what has been very expensive capabilities very
cost effectively, very easy to use. And I think that’s why we have so many happy customers. Yeah, easy to use. Now is that as
important to the enterprise customer? It’s probably more important to the
enterprise customer. Because? Their history with software is not good. We all know the companies out there who sell large, big-ticket items that take forever to implement and are a pain to try and manage and so what’s fascinating is if you’re the enterprise they’re still people. And so we
go to work for the enterprise, we use these tools that are hard to use and we
go home and use tools that are easy to use. And we wonder why is that the case.
And so I think it’s probably more valuable that it’s easy to use for the enterprise than the entrepreneur. Right, yeah. So what’s the market space in terms of geography that
Shopify and Shopify Plus are operating in. Is this a North American play? Have you expanded beyond the geographical borders of North America? We have customers in 170 countries. 170. Yeah so we have customers all over the world which is fascinating because commerce
and retail is different in geographic regions. So we really get this really
interesting perspective on shopping worldwide. We feel like consumers these
days want a relationship with the products that they buy and the
manufacturers that make them. Clearly there are commodities that it’s like if you want to buy toilet paper, you know. But for most of our bigger-ticket, more involved
processes we want to know who made it and so our platform allows you as the
manufacturer and maker to have a one-on-one relationship with your
consumer and we feel like that changes that dynamic greatly. Yeah and let’s face
it, Loren, this economy is based on customer experience and I
mean Joe Pine wrote about this in 1999 in the Harvard Business Review with a
partner saying okay we’re now in the experience economy which people kind of went well, I don’t know. Well now we know because the customer
has all the power. You have go where they want and buy where they want. I think we’re
this really interesting time in history. So commerce has been the same for
thousands of years. The merchants controlled the entire experience. Right. You had to come to them to get products. And wherever they were was how it happened. Whatever products they had was what was available. Well in the last 10 years that’s done a complete 180. Now
the consumers run everything. So the consumers want it where they want it, when they want it and how they want it as fast as they want it. They want to be able to give it back, they want on their phones, they want it on their computers, they want to walk into a store, they want to buy it on
the phone. Like the dynamicism is just exponentially growing. That
combined with entrepreneurship which is just it’s always been a thing but as the
economy changes and as technology advances the ability to become an
entrepreneur has become much easier. Yes. And so with tools like Shopify you
can start a store and start selling things and become a business in hours instead
of weeks, months, years as it used to take. And so those two things we think create a really interesting you know vortex of change which is commerce is just different from
now on. And entrepreneurs become more valuable because people want to relate
to the other side. And if I have a choice between a a faceless corporation who may
or may not be evil and being able to really personalize the relationship and
personalize the exchange, I think I would do that. Now what are the most popular
categories, if I’m a Shopify entrepreneur, what am I selling? What are people buying? So it’s really interesting. The breadth of
of merchant, of seller on Shopify is enormous, everything from you know a
maker who knits hats in their basement and sells them online, right, to Procter
& Gamble. Yeah. All sell on Shopify. And so that gives us a huge variety of things. The
biggest categories are things like fashion, so if you’re a fashion designer, hats, t-shirts, dresses, shoes, whatever it happens to be. Huge category. It’s also just a huge
category online. Electronics manufactures, Kickstarter programs – the
guys who are making these cool little widgets and toys and drones and all this kind of stuff – big sellers on Shopify. Food and beverage – one of our biggest customers is
Budweiser. No kidding! Who sells beer online, right, in various
countries around the world. And so organics manufacturers and things
like that. So it really is fascinating what people sell online and sell on Shopify and
some of the biggest categories are things you’d never think of, like one of
the biggest there’s a number of very large sellers on Shopify that sell hair
extensions. Okay. Tens of millions of dollars a year on hair extensions. Like
this is fascinating that this is a market. Yeah. Globally anything’s a market. So many
buyers, right? That’s I think one of the advantages now have been an entrepreneur and using something like Shopify is before you’d start a store on Main Street
and you had access to the geographic people that walked by your store.
Now you can take that same product and within a day expose it to the whole world. And
so that’s very powerful. Now what kind of programming does Shopify do and then
we’ll talk about Shopify Plus. What kind of programs do you offer to these entrepreneurs to help them make a better business or to be successful
as a seller. Yeah so we actually do a lot. So we have a very big blog / Shopify
University which is just chock full of videos and blog articles about how to
make your store better, how to optimize it, where to get products from, all these kinds of things so that the entrepreneurs can come and learn how to be an entrepreneur online. We do something
called the retail tour which is where we send Shopify – called Shopifolk – now all over North America and around the world to meet consumers and
meet merchants face-to-face and show them how the technology works and do workshops and things of that nature. We also have our customer support group who takes calls from all over the world. There’s hundreds of them and they help
merchants you know use our tools better. So we are actively trying to help people
learn how to be an entrepreneur because most of us don’t come out knowing how to do that. Right. No, of course not. Now how are you doing that then on the Shopify Plus approach to
enterprise? So there’s another group of entrepreneurs – they’re just big ones. And
so that’s the way we look at it is the enterprises want to be entrepreneurial. Right. They want to be nimble and fast and
creative. They want to act like entrepreneurs. And so we’re giving them
those capabilities and so what we go and do is we try and help them be entrepreneurial. You might work for General Electric but you’re still a person and you might work in a very entrepreneurial group at General Electric and we want to help enable that entrepreneurism even inside large companies. And so we don’t really draw delineation between the two groups. Everyone wants to act like an entrepreneur and we’re trying to help them. Yeah, so what are some of the more recent success stories then Loren of you know how you’ve been successful with Shopify
Plus to bring out that entrepreneurial mindset into actual success stories? Sure. I’ll give you a great example which is
Mondelez. So if you’re familiar with Mondelez – giant $30 billion dollar packaged goods companies. They own Oreos. Everyone knows who Oreos is. So they wanted to do this really innovative campaign with
Oreos where they let you customize the packaging that your Oreos came in.
Nice. It’s called Oreo Colorfilled. And so what this meant is you had to have
the ability to go online and pick the package and then pick the colors and
pick the pictures – So there are millions of potential options that you
could come up with that allowed you to get custom-packaged Oreos. And so they
internally said you know they have every vendor in the world that helps them all
the software and their internal team said this is going to take two years for
us to build the program and get the website ready and get ready to sell it and this was last year. And they said if only we could be ready for Christmas. So they came to
us and we talked about what we could do and we took a two-year program and made it two
months. And so they were live for Christmas selling custom-made Oreo packaging by
the millions, got lots and lots of press. Could not understand how we were able to
do that at their scale. I mean it was just a fabulous – we wrote a case study on it. Just a fabulous example of a very large company trying to
act like an entrepreneur and we gave them the tools to do that. So that’s
where we see our success and so yeah Plus has been around for 18 months. It’s
grown from three people to over a hundred that work just for Plus and over 1,000 customers now trust Plus with their e-commerce world. Excellent. So as you’ve grown the Shopify Plus team from one to a hundred, what are the hundred people doing? That’s a good question. You should know. Yeah, I should know. Everything. So you know you can think about Plus as a startup inside of Shopify. So we have design in UX, we have engineering, we have sales, we have account management, we have recruiting, we have
operations, like we have anything a company would have, Plus has. And so we
treat it like a startup because while it’s on the same mission as Shopify – make commerce better for everybody – it has a slightly different customer group and so
we chose to act like a startup and act entrepreneurial inside of what is now a
fairly large business. Isn’t that great? I think what is going to happen, Loren, I
think we’re seeing it happen already is that unless larger organizations start
to act like startups, have the same feeling, they’re going to be left behind
and they’ll become roadkill. There’s just going to get run over by organizations who are
being entrepreneurial, who are being a agile. Who are taking that two-year
timeframe and saying we’ll have you ready for Christmas. Yeah I think you see that.
I think it gets talked a lot about in retail, bricks-and-mortar to online.
And I think that’s too simplistic but what it is is old world thinking clashing with new world and the traditional offline retailers, the retailers we all grew up with, are struggling to understand how to
compete against pure e-tailers and online and so that’s where we come in
and say you can. You just have to start thinking differently and using different
technology. I think I love at the end of every TV commercial or radio ad for investor advice it says past performance is not indicative of future
performance and I always think that’s the greatest tag line for commerce is
what you’ve done does not guarantee what you’ll do, right? And commerce is just
proving that constantly. Yeah. So what’s going to be next then for Shopify and
Shopify Plus? I mean you guys have kind of gone into a whole new territory. It’s
like the wild wild west. You’re trying to stake your claim and you’re trying to get return on that investment but it’s still going to be rapid change. So what are you seeing coming up in the near future? I
mean I think we see a lot of technological advances. So take things
like VR, AI, mobile, social commerce, conversational commerce, commerce via text messaging, things like that. There’s just so much movement
around based on these phones that we all carry and this technology that’s so new, about how shopping going to work. And so you know Tobi has a great saying
which is like there are two types of people in the world related to virtual
reality: those who think it’s going to change the world and those who haven’t
tried it. And I think that’s great because I don’t know how you can
see virtual reality and not realize it’s going to change everything we do. You
know shopping used to be work. I had to get out of my house and get in my car and go to a
place and then I had to look at stuff and then maybe they had it – and so what technology
has done is reduce the workload for shopping and so that the goal is reduce
it to near zero. You can now with things like Sirius – you
just tell them to buy you things. It just like shows up and so I don’t have to do anything anymore. That is a huge cultural thing. May be good,
may be bad, I mean I don’t know. But it’s change. It’s definitely the way we want to do it. It’s change that’s happening. So in your programs to help your Shopify Plus customers and your Shopify retailers you’ll probably sooner or later be saying okay here’s how a drone delivery service
could work. Yes. It’s not ours but here’s a way for you to think about the logistics. Absolutely. So we did an experiment with not drones but with Uber right for
delivery. So we did Uber Rush. We were the first company in the world to partner
with Uber for delivery service in New York. And that’s another example of looking at
logistics in a completely different way. There’s Uber drivers everywhere and if they can show up at your store and bring you a package, why wouldn’t you do that? Why do I have to wait for UPS or FedEx when I have Uber everywhere. You’re giving then the e-tailer and
and your enterprise customers you’re giving them the flexibility to make sure
their customers are happier sooner. We’re giving them the power to engage the
customer where the customer wants. How about that? Well you guys can’t fail. This is a sure thing, Loren! It’s a very exciting company. We do a lot of very cool stuff. Yeah and you’ve
gone public. We went public a year ago. Yeah and so I can buy shares. You
can buy shares too at home. Just tune in to – what’s your listing on the New York
Stock Exchange? Shop. Shop! Oh my god, it’s so easy! So easy. And you’re the best at it.
According to third parties. You guys are the best. Well we strive really hard to give our
customers the best tools absolutely. Loren. Thanks very much. Thank you. So Canada pay attention. Listen up. Start using Shopify-connected retailers. Thanks again. By for now. AQ’s Blog & Grill

2 thoughts on “Loren Padelford | Selling With Ease Using Shopify And Shopify Plus

  1. Interviewer is a bit annoying in is hand movements and "yeah!, really?!". This video is more like an infomercial for Shopify. Good quality video though

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