An interview with Trevor Newell, Co-founder and president, SHOP.CA.

1. What does Smarter Commerce look like at SHOP.CA?
Smarter Commerce is integrated social-commerce at SHOP.CA. As we are becoming Canada’s number one online shopping destination, helping Canadian consumers have fun with their friends while they shop, share and earn rewards.

Customer Loyalty through the SHOP.CA Social Loyalty NetworkTM is powered by the key components of the SHOP.CA Marketplace-as-a-Service (MaaS) solution – and at SHOP.CA’s MaaS centre, is IBM Smarter Commerce.

The power of IBM’s Smarter Commerce allows SHOP.CA to focus on extending the core eCommerce feature-rich platform with ease and scalable integration to deliver SHOP HAPPY customers.


2. What new marketing trends are impacting your business?
Everyday, Canadian consumers are looking at new ways to buy products and engage with brands.  Day-to-day Customer engagement and help through social channels is fast becoming the expectation of our customers.  As Canadian consumers become ever more social and take the mantle as global leaders in online engagement and social-sharing, marketers must be ready to provide products, support and fun through these channels.

Online marketing through Apps, Search engine marketing and optimization and mobile are all beginning to witness a hockey-stick growth curve in terms of usage and sophistication.  The Canadian marketing experience is fast becoming one that is moving from push TV messaging, to one of online search engine marketing, social engagement and new generation media advertising.  Further to this changing landscape, SHOP.CA is leveraging emerging social media trends to empower SHOP.CA Members to benefit from taking their off-line discussions and taking them online to the SHOP.CA shopping community.


3. What is your definition of Smarter Commerce?
Smarter Commerce for SHOP.CA is about creating relevance. Relevant customer experiences through personalization on the site and in off-site experience. SHOP.CA leverages IBM’s LIVEmail for personalization and segmentation to create more relevant and higher converting shopping experiences. With Coremetrics and ExactTarget integration of LIVEmail, SHOP.CA Members receive more relevant emails, automated cart-abandonment emails and product review requests. That’s smart.


4. How does your marketing and IT department work together?
At SHOP.CA, the CTO and CMO have among the closest working relationships in the organization. There is constant communication between the two.  The CMO and CTO do not implement any plans without consulting each other. Even when the CMO is producing new ad copy, he runs it by the CTO.

As both leaders are steeped in customer data,  they continually share knowledgeable about the customers with each other, in order to improve messaging and the site experience. At SHOP.CA, the CTO and CMO work in adjacent workspaces so if they want to talk to each other, they can literally just knock on the wall.”  Their working relationship starts at the executive level and works its way to people in both functional areas who take their queue from the senior executives. The data systems of the organization support a focus on the customer and that helps foster collaboration.


5. How are you navigating the Big Data challenge?
SHOP.CA’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are powered by big data throughout the end-to-end consumer and supplier experience within the SHOP.CA Marketplace-as-a-Service.

SHOP.CA KPI’s like visits, add-to-cart, conversion, average order value, sales are powerful tool to manage forecasts. SHOP.CA manages KPI’s through MMC tracking by channel, user types and session flows in Coremetrics.

All of these tools help SHOP.CA turn data into daily intelligence that drive business decisions that create a more relevant shopping experience to drive more revenues.


6. How are you embracing the mobile channel?
Mobile and tablet at SHOP.CA is just beginning. Leverage the out of the box browser experience within Smart Commerce SHOP.CA is focusing on adding SHOP.CA Rewards and the SHOP.CA Social Commerce to the Smarter Commerce user experience. Mobile is not just another channel, but an amazing way SHOP.CA is embracing the connected-mobile shopper in Canada.


7. How does social media or social commerce play a role at your organization?
SHOP.CA has been social-from-the-start. SHOP.CA’s Members benefit from a Social Loyalty Network that rewards members for being social shoppers. At its core, SHOP.CAs loyalty program is built on a philosophy of making online shopping fun and rewards its members with a program where they can Buy MORE, Earn MORE.  This allows members to earn rewards with every order they spend.

The other pillar to this program is that they can also Share MORE, Earn MORE.  This part of the program embraces Canadians love of sharing and being social online, while rewarding them for their online engagement. Through gamification and badges, as members share more, the entire SHOP.CA community benefits from the social graph engaging together online.