Last week, the who’s who of eCommerce descended on Chicago for the annual Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, or IRCE. Before that circus – IRCE, still the most significant eCommerce event in the world – kicked off, BigCommerce, a leading cloud eCommerce platform, brought a select community together of partners and several hundred merchants for a day of possibilities and collaboration.

The backdrop for this gathering was the historic Morgan Manufacturing space in Chicago’s West Town, a beautiful environment filled with industrial elegance and legendary Chicago swagger.

The eCommerce Growth Summit was created to activate a community of thought leaders who want to drive the rapid evolution of eCommerce. The topics and insights discussed all revolved around growing business beyond your current comfort zone and geared towards overcoming common eCommerce challenges; breaking new ground as a business and sourcing partners to enable business through new channels, in new markets and to new customers.

Like any vendor summit, the opening keynote was led by the hosts CEO Brent Bellm. There were several product and program announcements along with more information about the BigCommerce’s exciting expansion plans following a $64 million growth equity investment led by Goldman Sachs. However, the focus of the day was not on BigCommerce; this indeed was a day to unite the eco-system and create a catalyst for eCommerce growth.

Partner-obsessed and Customer-centric

It was a very admirable approach by BigCommerce to step back and let their partners and customers take centre-stage throughout the day. It reinforced the sentiment that above all else, the company – with offices throughout the States, Australia, and soon the UK – solicits feedback from their community.

Not every platform player in the eCommerce industry plays the partner card as consistently as BigCommerce, and this has translated into mutual respect between the vendor and their strategic partners. With a stable yet flexible platform and the recent funding and expansion plans, BigCommerce seems well positioned to be a leading cloud player in our industry, but more on that later.

In the spirit of providing well-rounded insights to the attending merchants, speakers representing veteran BigCommerce partners and merchants were teamed up with brand new ones. Particularly engaging was a partner panel moderated by Eric Gutoski, Partner and Managing Director of the New York eCommerce marketing agency The BORN Group.

During the panel, specialists from WP Engine, Modern Tribe, and 5874 discussed how open source systems and SaaS cloud technology can play a collaborative role, and how Headless Commerce strategies allow leading brands to blur the lines of content and commerce. All speakers tried their best not to fall back onto industry buzzwords, but we all knew Headless Commerce was going to be front and centre at the event. After all, very much like the BigCommerce platform and its merchants, the concept has been challenging standard commerce solutions.

Headless Commerce

It still sounds more like a term that belongs in a B-rated Halloween movie, but over the last few years the moniker has nestled its way into our business, so we’ll continue to run with it.

The BigCommerce platform is meant to be a technologically superior cloud-based eCommerce platform, that is flexible and nimble. It’s not restricting what front-end of the sales channels look like, rather powering the merchants’ end-to-end solution through API-based technology. That is exactly what the concept of Headless Commerce is: decoupling the front-end user interface from the eCommerce platform, and all the technology in the back-end, using cloud technology and RESTful API to connect all the dots. In short: Headless Commerce allows creative merchants and agencies to build unique and original experiences for their users.

In today’s eCommerce world, where there seems to be an endless supply of similar merchants, it is critical creating such experiences if you want to stand out from the crowd. This was a lesson also shared with the audience by Keynote Speaker Jenny Fleiss, CEO & Co-Founder Code Eight and Rent the Runway.

Jenny co-founded Rent the Runway, a business that has transformed the retail industry by making designer clothing rentals a convenient, accessible and luxury experience for millions of women. She understood there was a specific niche in the fashion industry that no other company was successfully servicing. But even with a unique business model, she quickly learned her company had to develop highly-personalized, one-to-one shopping experiences.

Accelerating Growth

At the end of the day, attendees were sharing their best practices on how to grow a digital business. Expansion beyond the single channel or market concept is an immediate challenge for many growing Mid-Market merchants. Adding the complexity of multiple languages, currencies, geographies, and distribution networks, there are many questions for merchants today.

One of those best practices is leveraging AI and Social Commerce to fuel your digital growth in order to overcome some of these complexities and challenges. It was fascinating to hear Ken Natori, President of New York high-end fashion brand Natori, share his learnings with his peers.

A particular challenge when expanding beyond your current market and comfort zone is maintaining product information consistency and relevance across all your channels. This is where the Jasper PIM comes in. Our cloud-based Product Information Management (PIM) suite, is a solution built precisely to help merchants scale their business into a thriving global enterprise.

A perfect example of that is the recent expansion of Skullcandy Inc, the leading audio brand from Park City, Utah. Jenny Buchar and Kinsey Butler of their eCommerce team explained to the audience how their growth was only possible through the strong partnership of BigCommerce and the Jasper PIM.

Jenny shared that “Not only does the Jasper PIM have a lot of tricks up its sleeve, it also provides a very stable integration with the BigCommerce platform to run our websites globally.” In fact, since powering their eCommerce infrastructure by the Jasper PIM, online conversions for Skullcandy increased by double digits. Jenny summarized:

“Since implementing Jasper PIM we can’t imagine a world without it!”

Moving forward

Everyone involved can look back at a great Growth Summit, which was BigCommerce’s most significant event to date. Throughout the week of IRCE, the Growth Summit remained the talk of the town, maybe only rivaled by the ‘Growth Summit after party meets IRCE Kick-off party’: the eCommerce Speakeasy, where BigCommerce together with strategic partners ShipStation, Brightpearl, AmericanEagle.com and naturally Jasper PIM, hosted a sold-out party at the Untitled Supper Club.

Together with our partners the team at Jasper PIM is ready to help you grow your business! If you would like to learn more about how Skullcandy is growing their online conversions by partnering with the Jasper PIM, click here.

Do you want to explore our services? Feel free to reach out to us via:
https://www.jasperpim.com/free-demo