Meet Magento NYC 2018 was a hub of innovation. Technologies, merchants, and industry leaders all had a chance to come together to meet, discuss, and learn. During the event, mediaspa’s own CEO, Gary Benerofe hosted a session where he explored the factors that make an extensive, complex project a success – a set of principles we call “Maverick Commerce.”
Maverick Commerce is composed of the following ideals:
- Be Fluid
- Be Kinetic
- Be Transparent
- Be Lightweight
“Work smart or fail” is the common theme throughout all components of Maverick Commerce. This mantra is critical because ecommerce is extremely competitive. If a merchant has an inefficient process, doesn’t know how to interact with their agency, or has the wrong technology stack, they are most-likely losing ground to their competitors. Following the principles of Maverick Commerce will put you and your company in the best position for success.
Being fluid means being responsive, being flexible, and being adaptive. In the ecommerce world, the status quo is never your friend. This is an ever-evolving business, and merchants’ needs are going to change on a daily basis. When mediaspa meets with merchants, one of the first thing we say is “teach us about your business.” We ask questions and get to know as much as possible about what makes their company tick, because if we don’t understand what’s driving success, we don’t have the ability to manage tasks or expectations. What we look for in a client is a true partnership. A fluid team doesn’t say “that’s not my job” or “that’s the way we always did it.” A fluid team says “how do we get there” or “what is the right outcome?”
In physics, kinetic energy is the work it takes to get an object moving to a certain velocity, as well as the work that it takes to drop an object down from that velocity to zero. It takes the same amount of work on the way up as it does on the way down. To be kinetic in ecommerce is the same principal. The work and effort it takes to ramp a project into full production takes a lot of energy. If a project is blocked, momentum is really lost. A blocker can’t be dealt with effectively without a fluid team. Your team needs to know what the next tasks are, and you can’t define what those tasks are without knowing the priorities of the business.
Be honest – transparency only helps your business. Be honest with money, about what things cost and what’s expected. This will ensure you don’t end up with a lesser team because you’re underpaying, or with an agency who’s taking advantage of you because you don’t understand the costs. Financial transparency is even more important when it comes to how an agency bills clients. At mediaspa, we work on a time and materials basis. We believe this structure is best for our brands and for our agency. Every mediaspa client knows how many hours are spent on each task, and those hours are pre-approved. The final component of transparency is to respect the spirit of the agreement, know what’s expected of you, and of the client.
To be lightweight is to simplify when and where you can. Use the out-of-the-box features of the technology that you’ve chosen. Before bringing on a third-party technology, make sure your needs exceed the full capability of the out-of-the-box solution feature. If they do not, you’re potentially creating technical debt that you don’t need to manage. Another important point is to use approved extensions (when possible). Magento, for example, has gone through the process of approving extensions and having a better marketplace – start there. We also advise hacking the design process. The days of custom designs that take months and have high price tags are over. More often, we’re taking that time previously spent on heavy design to do user research and user testing. We then take those findings and create data-driven design that can often leverage a pre-built theme or template. We may customize that template, but we have the data to inform the content strategy that will drive the user experience. Lastly, only customize when absolutely necessary. There will be times when this is appropriate due to unique business needs, but there should always be a justification.
By observing these Maverick Commerce principles, merchants have the ability to scale for growth without financial bloat or unnecessary technical debt.