This week, Phillip talks with Ian Leslie, CMO at Industry West on topics that every CMO needs to know.

Show Notes:

Main Takeaways:

  • Ian Leslie, the Chief Marketing Officer at Industry West, joins in on today's episode.
  • The modern CMO goes beyond just driving awareness for your brand and relies on your knowledge of the tech stack and how to leverage that tech stack to reach customers that you need.
  • Ian gives some insider perspectives on what is working and not working when it comes to marketing for a successful ecommerce brand.
  • How can you best arm yourself to be a successful marketer in a world that is oversaturated with content and noise?

What's the Story?: Some Background on Industry West:

  • Industry West is an eCommerce furniture company that has been around for about ten years and was founded by Jordan England and Anne England.
  • Jordan and Anne were looking for chairs for their house and went straight to the manufacturer, where they had the idea to sell those products to consumers.
  • Ten years later, Industry West has furnished many spaces owned by name brands, and you have probably sat on Industry West furniture without knowing it.
  • Ian has been with Industry West for about five years now.

The Nuts and Bolts: What's Inside Industry West's, Tech Stack?:

  • Industry West is running Magento 2.3, which is tied into Netsuite that pulls order in real-time into Magento.
  • Salesforce is being added to the sales team very soon.
  • On the eCommerce side, Industry West uses Nosto for personalization, onsite search functionality with Klaviyo, dotdigital for journey building and consumer-side email, ShipperHQ, and TaxJar.
  • Now that they are breaking into brick and mortar, Industry West is using ebizmarts for its POS (which is just a skin for a Magento store).

The Modern CMO: How Times Have Changed:

  • Ten years ago, CMOS did not have an in-depth knowledge of their tech stacks that is required to be successful in our current climate.
  • For someone who was raised as a digital native, technology has become engrained in the language of an omnichannel marketer.
  • Being on the ground with technology and genuinely understanding the functionality behind it is critical in knowing how to implement that technology best.
  • How can you get to know your tech stack better?

The Trade Market: Acquiring Brands as Customers:

  • The trade market uses a lot of the same digital platforms that are on the B2C side of the business.
  • Primarily, trade customers shop as if they are a regular consumer and have a lot of the same questions regarding the products.
  • Once the trade customer is acquired, the focus shifts to the retention of that client and getting the buyer to purchase for additional clients or locations.
  • The trade market is still an old-school industry when it comes to the tech stack, and there are emerging companies that are serving this vertical.

New Ventures: InFavorOf.com:

  • Industry West just launched a new venture called Favor.
  • Two holiday seasons ago, Industry West noticed a massive uptick in the interest of homewares, so they created Favor to serve this interest.
  • Favor is a different aesthetic than Industry West and focuses on an altruistic effort of working with real people who work with textiles.
  • When you are very broad in category, you begin to lose the nice that initially made you stand out, so branching off into a sister company could alleviate that dilution.

What Works and What Doesn't: An Insider's Perspective:

  • Industry West has seen significant wins with personalization regarding what is being recommended to customers to changing the homepage depending on the buyer.
  • One to one chat has also proved exceptionally fruitful, and people that chat with a rep online are much more likely to place an order.
  • There have been some large one-off buys with larger publications that have not proven to be an effective use of funds.
  • What are some efforts that have proved lucrative to your brand, and why do you think they worked?

The Industry West Outlook on 2020: Projected Wins and Potential Battles:

  • Industry West is growing quickly but is still entrepreneurial and has a consistent forward push across all employees of the company regardless of position.
  • The ability of the founder to source products and getting designers to want to work with Industry West is another great strength of the company.
  • A weakness (but more so an opportunity) is that Industry West is entirely bootstrapped, so everything goes back into the company, which is a fantastic opportunity to not answer to any investors granting a nimble and agile ability to adapt to change.
  • Industry West is profitable, and a lot of the unicorns that have received tons of venture capital will prove not to be profitable.

A Potential Economic Slowdown: Are You Prepared?:

  • Is Industry West prepared for a potential economic slowdown within the next 18 months?
  • Industry West as begun accounting for tariffs by swallowing the costs on some of the pricing.
  • There is always a swing in the economy during an election year, and Industry West keeps tabs on loan rates and interest rates.
  • They are so fluid in how they operate at Industry West, but that doesn't mean that they aren't worried about the potential repercussions on an economic shift.

The Next Five Years: What Does the Future Hold for Industry West?:

  • Strategic growth for both brick and mortar and online business are consistently on the horizon and part of the strategy for Industry West.
  • For the first time, they are beginning to understand the levers and seeing particular outcomes for actions taken.
  • Brick and mortar expansion is a goal, and they are looking at presence in Los Angeles within the next few years.
  • Everything that comes in for business is primarily inbound, and Industry West is going to start exploring trade shows as a potential method of acquisition.

The Future Commerce Wrap Up: From Chipotle Child Slaves to Exciting Newsletters:

  • Chipotle was fined $1.4 million in a recent child labor case for having dozens of 16 and 17-year-old employees work for longer than 9 hours a day and more than 48 hours per week.
  • Brian and Phillip think that there will be much more third party validation so that consumers can see what is going on at chains like this in regards to their labor force.
  • Phillip is consistently impressed by a weekly newsletter from Sari Azout called Check Your Pulse, a tech and startups newsletter designed to make you feel human.
  • If you're not subscribed yet to the Future Commerce Insiders Newsletter, then you should do that right now!

Brands Mentioned in this Episode:

As always: We want to hear what our listeners think! As a marketer, how can you arm yourself with knowledge of your tech stack to take your business to the next level?

Let us know in the content section on Futurecommerce.fm, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Linkedin.

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Retail Tech is moving fast, but Future Commerce is moving faster.

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