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Episode 30
April 10, 2017

Future of Content

We sit down with Acquia to talk their new partnership with Magento, the role of personalization, and recap of ShopTalk 2017

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Phillip: [00:00:40:10800] All right, welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce. I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:00:44:60300] I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:00:45:46800] And we want to present to you live, our first live broadcast today. We're here at Shoptalk 2017 at the ARIA in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Brian: [00:00:55:52200] Yes.

Phillip: [00:00:56:9900] Pretty good show. Big show.

Brian: [00:00:57:49500] Big show. Fun stuff. Lots of cool stuff going on here.

Phillip: [00:01:00:36000] Second year of it's running and really glad to be here today. And we actually corralled some kind of awesome people to bring along with us for the ride here today on the podcast. We have the folks from Acquia. So welcome. And I'll let you guys introduce yourselves.

Chuck: [00:01:15:28799] I'm Chuck Fishman, Director of Industry Development for media, entertainment, and retail. And I've been with Acquia now four years. Great ride.

Brian: [00:01:25:12600] Sweet.

Phillip: [00:01:25:12600] Awesome.

Ken: [00:01:26:20700] I'm Ken DeBlois. I'm a product manager to Acquia and I manage our commerce offering and our personalization software called Lift.

Laura: [00:01:33:64800] I'm Laura Brooks. I'm the newest member of the Acquia team. Been here almost well a month now, and I'm going to really be heading up where we take Acquia going forward in terms of what our commerce strategy is.

Brian: [00:01:44:72000] Great.

Phillip: [00:01:44:72000] Awesome. So for those who aren't familiar already with Acquia, although I think you're a very large name. Tell me a little bit about the solution. What do you do? Who are your clients and how might people know you?

Brian: [00:01:58:43200] And what is Acquia's story?

Phillip: [00:01:59:4500] Yeah.

Brian: [00:01:59:36900] How'd you get to where you are?

Chuck: [00:02:02:80100] So Acquia is a platform for digital experiences and digital experience is a buzz word. But if I'm trying to explain it to my grandmother, I say the digital experience is a desktop web site. It's a mobile app. It could be a screen. So, for instance, we do the New York MTA. And when you're in the subway and you see those screens say when the next train is coming. When is the M train coming? That's also Acquia infrastructure. And we have a lot of products and services. We have a product called Acquia Cloud Site Factory. And what that is doing is allowing companies that have a portfolio of those digital experiences, of web sites, of apps to scale. So, for instance, Nestle is a customer using site factory. Thinking of Pfizer. Every time they launch a new drug, for compliance reasons, they have to have a digital marketing component to that that allows consumers to find out information. I represent the entertainment as well. So Warner Music, Universal Music, they use that product to any time they sign a new band or a solo act, they need to have that that web site and that experience for the artists. And there's some commerce about that, too, like if I want to buy the merchandise. We also have a product I think we'll talk a little bit about called Acquia Lift, which is allowing to take that same content you're displaying on a web site or a mobile app and put it in context for that individual user. And we're also now integrating with the best in breed commerce platforms, like Magento we have a partnership with. So I hope that gives a little bit of idea of what we do. We have great customers like Nasdaq. I mentioned Pfizer, one of my favorite media clients, BBC Worldwide and their store. So we could go on and on all about all the great clients we have. But hopefully did that explain it, guys?

Phillip: [00:03:52:61200] Yeah that's great.

Brian: [00:03:52:61200] Absolutely.

Phillip: [00:03:53:18000] So so you're kind of at the edge of the content to commerce story where companies with very large content needs or frequent and very powerful needs in their publication of content, like media outlets potentially when they're making their foray into commerce you are sort of there with all that, with the total solution.

Chuck: [00:04:18:14400] We are definitely there, total solution. And also we're helping companies scale. Because the last thing you want to do is have... Let's say you're having like a big concert. I won't name any specific brands. But you have to sell 300,000 tickets in an hour. Or we do the Grammys, for instance. Grammys have 500 million page views in a single night. So we talked about the products. We talked about Acquia Cloud Site Factory and Lift. We also do the support. Because we're talking about sites that need to be secure, scalable, and reach millions of consumers.

Phillip: [00:04:51:32400] Wow.

Brian: [00:04:53:65700] Huge. It's exciting. But what I think is most interesting in coming from a long history of like Magento background.

Phillip: [00:05:02:21600] Yeah.

Brian: [00:05:02:42300] Actually, we're here at the Magento booth.

Phillip: [00:05:04:39600] Yeah.

Brian: [00:05:06:15300] Broadcasting live from the Magento booth. And that gets back to your connection and where you're headed, what you're trying to roll out. There's not actually that many solutions that can do what you're doing at scale. And I think that's, for me, coming from the commerce background, I think having a solution like yours available and easily integratabtle with a solution like Magento is, it's kind of a game changer.

Phillip: [00:05:34:59400] I'll sort of open the question out to you guys. How do you think the market has fared in your space? It's probably too simplistic to call you a content management platform. Right?

Chuck: [00:05:46:75600] Right.

Phillip: [00:05:47:11700] Because you're so much more so.

Chuck: [00:05:48:37800] So to answer your question about the edge. That's really up to the companies. And it's a business transformation issue. So just to give you an example, the record labels, like Warner and Universal, they have Magento stores, but the experience is maybe off to the side. We see like a two sites syndrome. So we're hoping that our customers and our prospects really begin this transformation of integrating the storytelling with their products and then integrating the commerce on that page. So we're offering the platform to do that with with a partner like Magento. But that's really going to be the marketplace. And I think Laura can talk to that. The marketplace is going to have to lead that.

Laura: [00:06:30:70200] Yeah, absolutely. So you touched on this earlier about the importance of content. And we're firm believers that content is really ruling all of the digital experiences these days, both in terms of how you get your brand message out there and how your prospects and how your customers explore your brand, but then how they kind of migrate over to the transaction side.

Phillip: [00:06:50:3600] Right.

Laura: [00:06:50:33300] And I think what retailers specifically are struggling with is all that information that they need to have, product information, brand information. And knowing that in order to stay relevant, they're going to have to address creating the eCommerce experience that is much more experiential and much more dynamic.

Brian: [00:07:05:73800] Yeah. Yeah.

Laura: [00:07:05:73800] And they struggle to understand how to do that. And so it's not just about the two site syndrome, which is really the tip of it. But it's how do you get all that information? How do you know about your users to serve it up within the context of commerce that feels very relevant and very personal? And that's really where we come to the table with solutions that help people bring it all together. And the fact that it's open source, so Magento, of course, being an open source, sort of core to both of our DNA. They are the transaction engine, and we come in with that sort of ability to aggregate and manage the content and also inform the personalization piece of it to really round out the experience for customers.

Phillip: [00:07:45:54000] And two site syndrome, meaning the commerce experience feels fundamentally like a different experience from the content experience.

Ken: [00:07:54:5400] Yeah. So that's a little bit where our product roadmap kind of is now and is going where customers can choose kind of if they really need that two site experience and can use a subset of each of our products to to kind of fulfill a need if they want to have a separate store than their main digital experience. But what we're seeing for brands that really want to create that like unified, clear understanding, really connect with their consumers, they want to create that whole experience and have the freedom of their marketing team and their development team to build that. So they want to make sure that they can create the content, whatever that content looks like, however it looks like. They want to personalize that content. They want to be able to make rapid sites and change them quickly based on whatever new products has come out or new experience they need to create some events coming up. And our platform allows them to do that and this partnership, if they want to create the entire experience, will take all the power of an eCommerce platform and bring it to all the power of an open source, scalable, digital experience platform.

Phillip: [00:08:54:81000] I mean, I'm really curious, actually, because you've got my gears turning. One of the things that we combat in eCommerce in particular is the idea that commerce should be enabled everywhere now. Consumers sort of demand that they can engage in commerce on their own terms wherever they happen to be. That's really what commerce is today. How do you think that that mentality is affecting the consumption of content?

Chuck: [00:09:22:53100] That's a great question. So, I mean, I could talk about that from the media experience. That's what's exciting about Acquia being based on Drupal, open source content management. So I'm sure there are components of commerce that it can syndicate. With content, we see our media clients really want to have Google accelerated mobile pages, so that if they're searching for the content, the Google result will return and then can actually hit that page. Or if there's a Facebook audience, they want to use Facebook Instant Articles to be in the feed. Now, there are two Drupal modules, both for Google accelerated mobile pages and there's a Drupal module for Facebook Instant Articles. Both of those exist in the community and can be integrated into your Acquia platform, so that you can reach those audiences.

Phillip: [00:10:11:65700] Wow.

Chuck: [00:10:11:65700] I've been in retail covering retail for about eight months. I'm seeing some vendors around like Holapick. I know retailers are really interested in visual commerce.

Phillip: [00:10:21:72000] Yeah, definitely.

Chuck: [00:10:22:45900] And because Drupal is open source, there are about thirty thousand active developers working on modules and maybe the number's bigger than that, Ken? But there's a really robust community developing these modules. I believe that whatever your solution is, if you want to atomize that commerce, so to speak, and put it on a different platform or work that platform, there's probably a module to extend it. But you have to have that core platform that you can do everything in one place. Right? And what we see with retailers or even media companies is that they're going into six different dashboards. I want to look at my Google analytics. I want to look at this other business intelligence software. How do you bring that back into a core platforms, so that you can syndicate content and commerce out and bring people back in?

Brian: [00:11:13:33300] You've touched on some pretty big challenges that retailers are facing right now. How to actually manage all the systems that they're running, how to aggregate that data and use it to actually drive what types of content they're serving up and so on. It sounds like what you're doing is really going to help solve some of those problems. What are some other challenges that you think the retailers are going to face in 2017 around content and commerce? What have you guys come up against?

Ken: [00:11:46:48600] I think actually getting successful personalization is one of the hardest things that retailers know they need to do. They need to connect more meaningfully and deeper with their consumers. And to do that, they need better understandings of the actual segments of who's buying their products, what they look like, and then figuring out what kind of optimizations and testings and experiences that they need to create based on personalized content. So both understanding like really who their visitors are and really what kind of content they need take to get those users to buy their products. It's a huge, it's not just a... You know, we offer a technology solution to do that, but it also requires, in some cases, some business transformations or investment in agencies that will help with the strategy and the creating that whole process. And then how to operationalize that review of segments, that review of content and make sure that once that personalized experience is set up, it's a machine that needs to keep running.

Phillip: [00:12:45:64800] Yeah.

Ken: [00:12:45:78300] And it's a different way to think about campaigns. It's very different from what we've done in the past. So we have a really great customer success team that helps our customers kind of start, kind of bootstrap, and get up and going in that process. I'm really excited about the work they're doing with our customers, but there comes a point where the customers have to own it.

Phillip: [00:13:02:36000] Yeah.

Ken: [00:13:02:49500] And then just have to figure out how are they going to change? How are they going to either add resources internally or extend their reach to agencies to help them?

Brian: [00:13:11:35100] Do you have some different technologies and tools that you would recommend to help drive that that an agency would leverage to help optimize that experience?

Phillip: [00:13:22:27899] Or a merchant?

Brian: [00:13:24:40500] Yeah a merchant. Yeah, yeah.

Ken: [00:13:24:40500] So we often recommend the Lift tool that we sell for Acquia. We recommend that one of the first things folks do is actually let the profile manager piece of that to sit on your website for six months or however long your your dev cycle is before you rate it, while you're building while you're developing your strategy and collect as much profile data as you can. And as that profile data is getting collected by your existing customer base, then you can do some analysis on that data, start to figure out who your segments are, start to plan what you're going to do as as you know, build your side or build your digital experience. For folks that are looking for a complete re platform or at an opportunity where they really want to revisit their content. We also recommend just like a deep like architecture workshop. Actually taking a step back and looking at your content because content can be really complex and actually thinking about what good structured content means. So if you're selling an apple and you're going to create an Amazon Alexa experience, and you want to be able to say, you know what an apple or a tomato... Like some people say tomato. Some people say tomato. How do you have to actually make sure that the Alexa can hear that word appropriately if you're going to have a skill that does that and then ties that to the tomato SKU. So all of those thoughts that need to go in, that planning, that understanding of what the structured content should look like...

Brian: [00:14:42:61199] Content strategy,

Ken: [00:14:43:54900] It's content strategy. So if you do both that content strategy up front and if you do both, that kind of like collecting of data upfront to then get rid to build what you're ready to build.

Phillip: [00:14:54:45900] The thing I encounter a lot is a merchant who says, "Oh, this all sounds great, except we're already spread thin. We're doing 100 things already, you know, to also do personalization... Well, it's almost like we need to hire someone full time just to run it. We need to have someone dedicated who's only thinking about personalization." And my response to them is, "Maybe. But I guarantee there's five things you're doing that I have absolutely zero ROI that you need to drop and stop doing it right now."

Brian: [00:15:23:3600] And there are five things that I can tell you right now that you can do that, actually bump your ROI.

Phillip: [00:15:26:73800] Yeah. Right. That's really interesting. So one of the things we like to ask here, and Brian's very touched on a little bit, is what challenges do you see in the marketplace for you to have to overcome, for Acquia to have to overcome, to get to the customers that need your product?

Laura: [00:15:50:54000] I think one of the things that, and I know this as a former commerce business owner, and what I'm hearing from a lot of retailers and brands out there is the idea that they have to go through a business transformation. And that seems really hard and really huge. And it's about some of the things that you touched on, Ken, which is internally aligning and organizing for digital and taking an outside/in view rather than an inside/out view. So not exposing your organizational silos to your customers, but starting to think about the customer first and their journey, and then organizing around that because one of the most difficult things is to get everybody on the same page about what the customer experience is that you're offering, who owns what piece? Because as we all know, especially in large organizations, everybody owns the customer experience, but everybody has different jobs with different sets of responsibilities. So, yes, it's about the technology, but it's also about how do you organize, how do you talk to one another? How do you share responsibility? And then let technology that hopefully pulls it all together make it easier for you to have a line of sight on what you're ultimately going to deliver.

Phillip: [00:16:53:24300] Wow.

Brian: [00:16:54:53100] That's amazing.

Phillip: [00:16:54:53100] So tell me a little bit about the announcement of a partnership with Magento. Sounds pretty strategic. And from what I just heard, sounds like you guys have a very similar outlook on how you leverage open source and community. Give us a little bit of a download there.

Ken: [00:17:12:25200] So open source, API first, community model helps innovation grow faster. And that's what we, both of our organizations really want to help our customers be able to innovate as quickly as possible to create the experiences they want. Our excitement and kind of the crux of this partnership, I think, is about being able to help customers do that transformation easily. So to Laura's point, it's challenging for organizations already. So we want our tools to make it as easy as possible, to not require our customers to rip and replace. So personalization is one of the biggest things in commerce right now. Our personalization tool is ready to easily just be integrated into Magento's site. So if folks want to use Magento as their digital storefront and have that as their primary shop, easy integration right there to start to add personalized content coming right from your content management system, right into your store front. A lot of our customers that are our combined customers are already finding ways to create what we were talking about earlier, that completely unique experience on the Acquia platform that leverages Magento as a back end. And we're finding ways now to speed times of delivering on that. It's really important to us that our customer is not hit those bottlenecks of huge re platforming. We want to be able to help them onboard as quickly as possible, use the tools that we're doing to create new experiences at the speed they want to innovate. So we're looking to build a more product functionality between our products that will enable that kind of fast thing to both happen on the open source sides, but also for customers that just want to be able to just launch and run. We want them to be able to have their products ready and then create amazing experiences to engage their consumers.

Brian: [00:20:00:50400] Yeah, I think that is what I was kind of alluding to earlier. This is actually a really groundbreaking partnership because the speed at which Magento customers are now going to be able to actually provide that level of personalization to our customers, I think it's almost unprecedented. And so just personally I'm really excited for this partnership because I can think of many ways that my customers are going to be able to use this.

Phillip: [00:20:29:32400] Right. Well, how often do you find two companies that has seemed to have the same story?

Brian: [00:20:34:63900] Right. Yeah, that's also so true.

Phillip: [00:20:35:46800] It's just kind of it's like you were made for each other.

Brian: [00:20:38:68400] It's almost like opposite ends.

Phillip: [00:20:40:36000] Yeah.

Brian: [00:20:40:69300] Magento kind of coming from the background they came from, and then you guys kind of coming the Drupal route. It's quite an interesting, sort of like similar...

Phillip: [00:20:47:79200] I also think, too, and, you know, we're sitting in the Magento booth, so I'll keep the rhetoric down a bit. But my sense with Magento is that they've really struggled and clawed to try to get upmarket, and it's been hard for them and potentially aligning with a company that already has upper market brands and is trusted as a name to serve well in that space to align with you... It's going to help maybe bring you guys down market a bit, and it's going to help bring them up market a bit. So I don't know if that's... I don't know if I'm reading those tea leaves correctly, but it sounds like it's going to be a mutually beneficial partnership.

Laura: [00:21:28:34200] Well, that's exactly right. The real heart of any partnership is mutual benefit, right? That's exactly what... There's a podcast, a really interesting podcast, with both Tom Ericsson and Mark Lavelle, talking about where the benefits are, about the partnership, and why we've gotten together. It's really exactly that. There is benefit on both sides. We share that core DNA, that core background, and it's just such an opportunity for us to bring what we do well to complement Magento and what they do well. And that's really the strength that it is, that compliment of each of us having expertise that works well together, serving what the customer ultimately needs.

Phillip: [00:22:05:79200] So I'm sort of known in our circles for giving some sort of futuristic talks. We happen to be at Shoptalk where you see a lot of futuristic things floating around. What do you think of this show? And have you seen anything that's really striking, or is this just another industry event that you just kind of have to come to?

Laura: [00:22:30:27000] I'll make one observation and then I'll let Chuck express his thoughts. But one of the things I'm noticing is that there is a sea of technology vendors here, and I think what I'm seeing personally and what I can see on the faces of some of the brands walking around is there is a little bit of an overwhelming sense of how all these different technology vendors are the same or how they're unique and a little bit of awesomeness around which ones do I need?

Brian: [00:22:57:41400] Yes.

Laura: [00:22:57:68400] How do they play together? How do they play differently? How many point solutions do I need and who is in which space? So I think there's a bit of an overwhelming sense with understanding where the digital technology landscape is going and understanding how to navigate and really sort of synthesize it down into what's important to me.

Phillip: [00:23:16:61200] Hmm.

Brian: [00:23:16:81000] Yeah. Yeah. Actually, we talked about this when I got back from NRF, and I had the exact same impression, which is you walk in to a show, a show like Shoptalk or NRF, and if I were a merchant, I would have no idea what to do because...

Phillip: [00:23:34:89100] Yeah. Where do I start?

Brian: [00:23:36:25200] Like you mentioned, everyone saying the same things or similar things or there're a few lines of thinking. And so what I recommended after NRF, and I want to recommend is after Shoptalk, as well, and it's very similar to what you said, which is you need to have a game plan going in. You need to do research going in and having a trusted consultants, whether that's internal or external...

Phillip: [00:23:59:72000] Or a partner.

Brian: [00:24:00:49500] Or a partner that can sort of help give you some education or help provide a game plan or partner with you on a game plan is really a good way to leverage an event. It's a better way to leverage rather than coming in blind and just wandering the floor.

Chuck: [00:24:16:75600] You can't come in blind Shoptalk. One of the things I'm here to experience is the retailer stories. So Uri Minkoff's story about how Rebecca Minkoff is trying to create an interesting experience in the fitting rooms where I can turn down the lights, and I can buy right in the fitting room and no one has to know and how they're doing their business intelligence that, you know, Uri Minkoff can talk to Alexa and get his store stats or product stats. That's really interesting. The gentleman from Dick's Sporting Goods. They have completely brought digital not just from their digital experience, but they've put it all over the store.

Phillip: [00:24:55:78300] Yeah.

Chuck: [00:24:56:28800] So I'm here to hear those retailers stories. I think one thing that's great about the Acquia/Magento partnership is that we're also doing this for digital agencies, for the design agencies, because they're going to be the ones that do the user experience and work on top of that for their clients. And so by having this partnership, we're allowing an agency to just turnkey, know that it's going to work, and we're here to support it. And then they can do the development work on that. So I'm also meeting with a lot of agencies here and learning about what they're working on. I think the content at Shoptalk is just amazing.

Brian: [00:25:31:52200] Content is amazing. I sat in on Lowe's Innovation Lab talk earlier. And it was one of the best talks on innovation I've heard.

Phillip: [00:25:38:15300] Which I think we can probably have an entire episode just on that.

Brian: [00:25:42:6300] It was amazing. And so what really separates Shoptalk from other shows that I've been to is just like you mentioned. The quality of content and sort of the thinking ahead is on a different level, I think, with this show than at other shows that I've been to. So that's really exciting. Actually so that leads me to another question, which is where do you guys kind of see commerce going? We kind of talked about the immediate future, but more in the next three to five years. And what are you guys sort of planning to address where you think it's going?

Phillip: [00:26:21:81900] And I would almost just interject there to say... And do you really think that we'll be buying virtual reality grocery store experiences for our retailers sometime soon?

Brian: [00:26:36:44100] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:26:36:44100] I'm so glad this year I feel like they've toned down the extreme far future experiences a bit. And it's all sort of the within your reach.

Brian: [00:26:47:77400] Within three years.

Laura: [00:26:49:83700] I think one of the things that I've seen a little bit, more than a little bit, quite a few times here is we've been talking forever about omni channel. Everybody gets omni channel. Everybody gets that the consumer's driving how they want to shop and interact with brands. And so a lot of it has been about using your tablet or your computer or your phone to buy online and pick up in the store. And that's sort of the most simplistic model, but what we're seeing a lot here, which is really cool is the use of technology in the stores to play a different role.

Brian: [00:27:20:67500] Yes.

Laura: [00:27:20:67500] And that's to inform, to broaden what a customer has in terms of product information or customer service support. Lowes talked about, the little LoweBots that are roaming around. We've seen some robots over in the corner. It's about how that technology is being in the store and all the data and all the information that it's collecting to put it out in real time. Talk about real time. I'm in the store, and I have an interest or a need to learn about what I want to buy. Not relying on people that need training, but relying on these little bots that can be where you need to be and tell you anything you need to know is hugely powerful. I mean, that, you know, that used to feel like light years away. It's not. It's today.

Phillip: [00:28:02:42300] Right. And if there's anywhere where I actually I can never find someone to help me, it's in a home improvement center.

Brian: [00:28:10:70200] Yeah, "I was talking to somebody else."

Phillip: [00:28:11:74700] Yeah, I kind of love the LoweBots. I also think that we have a an interesting outlook where I sort of I let him be very bullish on things, and I think I can be the cynic, if I can be bearish on things. I really feel like retailers, there can be some apathy there because they see companies like Lowe's who are just doing these incredible groundbreaking things and they can't even get the right search results on their website.

Ken: [00:28:47:58500] Yes.

Phillip: [00:28:48:3600] And I think that you can really start to feel a little bit, it's not overwhelmed, it's you can sort of get defeatist about your ability to even do the simplest things.

Chuck: [00:28:58:54000] Some of this is being a victim of your own success. Right? If you're a retailer, and I won't name the name, and you're growing 40% year over year with your eCommerce business, would you change your platform? Would you enhance your platform when that that return has been 40% year over year? That's something to think about. And then on the flip side of that, there's some small issues that need to be hammered out. I mean, the American Disabilities Act means that you have to have certain font colors to display your products. And if you don't have that, you could be fined or you're going to risk your business.

Phillip: [00:29:30:63000] Yeah. Lawsuit, yeah.

Chuck: [00:29:30:63000] So there is just kind of those aspects of that's what is kind of holding some of the retailers back with their digital experiences, both the success of their business and some of the small minor things they need to consider in user experience.

Phillip: [00:29:44:71100] It's interesting, you touch on ADA a bit because the agency, Something Digital, that I work for, we do a lot of WCAG compliance work, and especially in the realm of eCommerce, it's incredibly difficult because experiences are so unique to people and to the various platforms. You were talking omni channel, Laura. So many platforms where we have to be accessible now. If you are a small or mid-sized retailer, it is really hard to keep up. So I do think that platform enablement becomes key. So we have to have these things built into platforms. We can't be reaching toward... I struggle with that idea because we've just touted how awesome an ecosystem can be, because it can provide all this functionality. But there's something to be said about a large enterprise platform that can do everything and do it to the level that a large enterprise really needs. Because I know I can't... There're 300 search providers here. None of them are going to the WCAG 2.0 triple-A. None of them. And if that's my criteria, who do I turn to? I'd say it's an interesting challenge to solve at that scale. So what's next? What do you see? Where's Acquia going? What does 2017 look like? Any product announcements? What are you guys fighting for this year?

Laura: [00:31:13:45000] We are putting a lot of bets on commerce, just as one avenue, one growth avenue. Of course we have a lot of other things. My joining Acquia, I think is a sign that we really want to make a commitment to the content for commerce, content and commerce imperative. The personalization aspect as well, and how do we leverage the tools that we have? And can you talk about Lift? To really power the commerce, experience, knowing that commerce is going to be all about personalized experiences and multi-channel. And how do we how does actually I want to build a strategy around being a bigger player? That's really a lot behind the Magento partnership at its roots. So we're making a very clear statement that we want to be in this space. We believe it has tremendous opportunity, and we're going to build out a strategy to do that. And I know we talked a lot about the challenges that retailers have in understanding how to do these things. Sounds great on sales sheets. Sounds great in pitches. But it's hard. And people need advice, and they need prioritization, and they need structure to go after it. And that's where the agency partnerships and having people that know the space and you can trust to guide you is going to be critical.

Brian: [00:32:26:83700] Huge. I agree.

Phillip: [00:32:29:30600] It is like a breath of fresh air for someone to finally say that something is not easy, because I feel like all I hear anymore is how easy everything is. Plug and play. Up in 10 minutes. You're ready to go. These things take careful thought and consideration and trusted partners to help you implement. And these are things that are just painful enough you don't want to switch platforms every three or four years. So you want to make sure that you're sort of identifying the right platform for the far future. And seven years is an eon in our space. You think what we were doing seven years ago. My God.

Brian: [00:33:07:72000] I mean, we were touching mobile for the first time.

Phillip: [00:33:11:6300] Yeah.

Chuck: [00:33:11:38700] I heard a retailer mention Blue Martini. And I felt old.

Brian: [00:33:15:5400] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:33:15:5400] {laughter}

Chuck: [00:33:16:85500] They're still on Blue Martini.

Laura: [00:33:18:48600] I feel old because I know who Blue Martini is. I'm old, too.

Chuck: [00:33:24:7200] There is an entropy, right? You've been on a certain platform for number of years. You've customized it, and you're reluctant again because you have the order flow and transactions happening to make that change. But I think one of the things that Laura and I are looking at is who is upset with their commerce platform and is looking to make a change? And then Acquia is using that as a lever to say, "Okay, we know you want to go from X to Y, but have you thought about your content and personalization strategy?" And then, "Let's partner with that new Y platform, hopefully Magento, that you want to go to and create a more whole solution."

Brian: [00:34:06:58500] I think it's the right timing because oftentimes, at that point, retailers are making their decisions.

Phillip: [00:34:17:29700] You have to read the unhappiness phase.

Brian: [00:34:19:84600] If you come in later it just creates more problems because you're usually having to rip something out. And that could be a little bit harder. I like that strategy.

Laura: [00:34:31:66600] It can be, and Chuck is absolutely right. And that's what we're thinking about. On the flipside of that is part of what we bring to the table is the fact that you don't have to rip and  replace if you can't afford to or you don't want to.

Phillip: [00:34:44:32400] You can layer on service.

Laura: [00:34:46:39600] We can fit in where you need us to fit in. And that's part of the modular flexibility that is so appealing.

Brian: [00:34:52:33300] That's huge. That means you guys can really come in at any point in the cycle. But I do like the strategy.

Phillip: [00:34:58:65700] I was actually just kind of talking about the show and interesting things that I've seen this. I think it's Applause over there. So we don't really get into this too much in the eCommerce space. We always talk about, like sort of risk mitigation. And when we are getting ready to launch a new site, and I don't know if you guys experience this at all, we always prepare a merchant for an immediate dip in conversion. There's that little speed bump you go over as your experience changed and your most familiar customers are coming up to speed on your new experience. Applause actually was showing me that they have a managed beta platform for opt in beta management for you to sort of have very graceful change over in site. Gosh, is that needed? We really need that. And I hear so much about A/B testing, but who A/B tests their check out? It's hard stuff to do. It's almost not even worth the headaches, but a full platform switch can be even scarier. And yeah, having those gradual opt in, you know, we're not all Yahoo! And maybe I guess Altaba is what they're calling now, but we're not all at the level where we're developing these large solutions that allow opt ins, and we sort of optimize and test and change things in regard to our most frequent users. I'm really interested in things like that where I see it doesn't have to be explained to me what the value is of it, where somebody might question, you know, everybody seems to be giving away and Alexa device at this conference. Someone might question how their content or their commerce play works in voice commerce. They don't even understand how they could work in that space. That is a solution I think that makes a lot of sense to a lot of people.

Laura: [00:36:51:66600] I'm so with you. I'm one of those people that have lived through the site redesigns or the huge transitions of certain bolted on technologies, be it search or be it analytics. You always worry about the risk to your current customers. You spend a lot of time as part of our planning for this project, sort of preparing the executives for that little dip that could happen. So the fact that there's a solution that could come in to help with that and allay some of the complexity and some of the risk associated with these big projects is brilliant.

Phillip: [00:37:23:87300] Yeah. And I hope we start to see more services like that. That's a pretty niche service. But I think if we see more like that, I see that as merchant enablement. I think that is the future, if I have to sort of co-op our name, that is the future of commerce is it's more about enabling merchants to sort of play in the same space that the Amazons of the world play in, which is, you know, no merchant and certainly that's not a thing that's core to Magento. You don't really do a lot of platform switching. Hopefully if you're Magento, you stay on the platform for a long time. So you're not looking to jump platforms a lot. So, again, I see more of that. And, you know, we've seen some other review plot. There's some interesting stuff at this show.

Brian: [00:38:07:30600] Absolutely. Yeah.

Chuck: [00:38:08:44100] The one that's getting buzz is TrueFit.

Phillip: [00:38:11:41400] Yeah.

Chuck: [00:38:11:84600] So know your size accurately across all retailers. That is pretty cool.

Phillip: [00:38:17:2700] And they have an insane number of brands that look like they've all signed on for that.

Ken: [00:38:23:27000] Yes.

Brian: [00:38:23:27000] We talk about body data a lot on the show.

Phillip: [00:38:24:72000] Yeah. So it'll be out before this. But we had Body Labs. Are you familiar with Body Labs at all?

Chuck: [00:38:30:80100] No, but my wife just bought me a scotch and soda bomber jacket and it's back in New York. She's bringing it to me in Miami. And I went to go try it on in Las Vegas, make sure it fits. If it doesn't fit, go get the other size. I'll return it. I don't have time for this. Like I need a TrueFit.

Laura: [00:38:51:7200] There's been a lot of talk at the conference about digital moments and the desire to give people back their time. The ability to sort of take a heavy lifting out of the errands or out of those little tactical things that have to get done. But really not the way people want to spend their valuable time anymore. So how can convenience things help to give people back time?

Brian: [00:39:12:20700] Totally. We talked about this on the show a little bit, but this idea of personal efficiency based commerce and how to catch people along the way, so that they don't have to spend time doing things that they really don't need to be doing. I talked about this a few episodes back, and I think it was with Amber Armstrong. But the idea is essentially, I think efficiency almost became a dirty word, a little bit. For just a little while. We were really focused on design and experience and so on. I think that's gonna change again. We are already seeing this come back quite a bit, but people's time is their most valuable asset. And so why not make sure that whatever it is that we're selling, make sure that people are going to be willing to pay a premium to get that time back.

Phillip: [00:40:05:30600] That's interesting. Another thing I see, too, is hyper local. People are talking more about their neighborhood corner store more than ever. And that store and the demands on that store to be able to have the convenience factor that Brian was just talking about. Supply chains is not a thing that they even think about. They're just trying to stay ahead of it every day. And my mom was a small business owner. She had a number of bakeries, and she was there at 2:00 in the morning baking the bread. You know, it's like you can't at that level to also think about how customers, you know, have buy online/pick up... We're gonna have to have a range of services. That is the future of commerce, in my opinion. The range of services that enable merchants to play at a higher level.

Laura: [00:41:00:5400] You've stood in line at Starbucks then around the corner.

Phillip: [00:41:02:25200] I did.

Chuck: [00:41:05:19800] Why? Brand loyalty, I guess. There is free coffee all over the place.

Phillip: [00:41:07:20700] Yeah, that's true. That's true.

Laura: [00:41:10:85500] I was making a point.

Phillip: [00:41:10:85500] It is incredible, though. You see the line that kind of wraps around. That actually is a great example of how no matter the amount of convenience, people will go out of their way to be inconvenienced, to engage in a brand that they have a passion for.

Brian: [00:41:24:17100] Yeah, but they've got voice ordering now, so...

Laura: [00:41:25:45000] That's emotional loyalty.

Phillip: [00:41:28:3600] Yeah. But they're not in the ARIA. Yeah, that's interesting. Well, thank you guys so much for joining us.

Brian: [00:41:34:36900] Yeah, it was great.

Phillip: [00:41:35:27900] How can we direct people your way? Where can we send them?

Laura: [00:41:38:42300] Yeah, I think that has very accessible ways to reach anybody based on your interests.

Phillip: [00:41:47:4500] And that's

Laura: [00:41:49:80100] Yes.

Brian: [00:41:49:80100] Awesome.

Phillip: [00:41:50:54900] Well, thank you so much, Chuck Fishman, Ken DeBlois, Laura Brooks from Acquia. Thank you so much for joining us today.

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