Join us for VISIONS Summit NYC  - June 11
STEP BY STEP Season 10 Episode 2
November 22, 2022

[STEP BY STEP] The Consumerization of B2B

Venture Capital has been powering brands in the modern era and has also shifted with the changing times. How has Forerunner experienced those changes over the past decade and what opportunity is there ahead? Kirsten Green, General Partner at Forerunner Ventures joins this episode of Step by Step to talk about the evolution of eCommerce, the massive monetary potential of the B2B industry, and the role of data and research in eCommerce. Listen Now!

<iframe height="52px" width="100%" frameborder="no" scrolling="no" seamless src=""></iframe>

this episode sponsored by

Table Stakes 

  • “The customer wants what they want, where they want it, when they want it, how they want it, and the job of a business is to understand what that means for them in the context of all the channels that are available.” - Kirsten
  • The evolution of eCommerce has now also led to the expectation of delight and excellent experience from business tools and software that used to be mostly about functionality
  • One of the original promises of direct to consumer was to take out the middleman because middlemen were expensive, but did that work?
  • “The transformation of this industry happens in partnership with the evolution of consumer behavior and expectation and the technology that allows those expectations to be met.” - Kirsten
  • The word is that 12 - 25 trillion dollars is the opportunity that B2B transactions offer within the next few years, which is enormous
  • “Staying grounded and where there are those kinds of big opportunities and seismic shifts in business and investing into those is what we spend the lion's share of timing consideration around.” - Kirsten
  • Kirsten believes we are in a pre-data era, not a post-data one, and actually we really need to be sharpening our worldview through research and engaging and getting ongoing feedback about what's going on with the consumer, the user, the mindset, and behavior, which is evolving at a breakneck speed
  • “One of the biggest challenges to work through in the evolution of business, whether it's a B2C company or a B2B business is really bringing the user, the human, along in that journey in how they use and leverage the technology and their willingness to do that.” - Kirsten

Associated Links:

Have any questions or comments about the show? Let us know on, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. We love hearing from our listeners!

Phillip: [00:00:11] Hello and welcome to Step by Step, a podcast by Future Commerce, presented by Balance. I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:00:52] And I'm Brian, and this is Season 10 of Step by Step. Woo! And you are listening to Episode 2 of 3. So if you are just jumping into the series midway through, I really suggest you go back and listen from the beginning. It is a little bit shorter of a season of Step by Step than maybe you're used to. Three parts packing a punch.

Phillip: [00:01:14] Yes.

Brian: [00:01:15] And I'm going to foreshadow just a little bit. Can the punch get any bigger than this next episode?

Phillip: [00:01:22] I don't think it can. I don't think it's possible. We sort of hinted in the first episode of this season that we're coming full circle and to get a little nostalgic, we've covered a lot of ground in the ten seasons of Step by Step that we've had. And there have been times where it felt like 101. This season, I think we have three episodes, and I feel like we're getting the 101, maybe the 401.

Brian: [00:01:48] The masters.

Phillip: [00:01:49] Yeah, we're going straight into the deep end in that we're going to talk to somebody here, our guest today, who hasn't just really changed the way that venture capital has made investments in consumer or redefined what venture capital is at the early stage, Kirsten Green has basically single handedly with Forerunner Ventures created an entire consumer expectation around brand and direct to consumer and changed an entire industry in the last 10 to 12 years. And we would not have the eCommerce industry we have today if it wasn't for Forerunner. And so Kirsten is going to absolutely take us along on the ride of how she's rethinking Forerunner's thesis for a new era as we come into another ten years of a new cycle that is going to see digital transformation come for the next industry, and that is B2B payments.

Brian: [00:02:51] Yeah, I think that if there's ever a bellwether, Kirsten would be that. And so if she's paying attention to this, you should be too and you need to learn about it. And who better to learn from than Kirsten and the other guests that we've had on the show? This is really cool to have her on as well because if you all go back in the time machine to Step by Step Season 1, you'll remember that we actually had Brian O'Malley from Forerunner Ventures on the first season of Step by Step. And so it's really cool to come around on our 10th season and have someone from Forerunner back on the show and to go from what does investment look like in eCommerce and digital and consumer and now swing around ten seasons later and say, "Okay, what does investment look like now into the next frontier of digital transformation?" That's exciting.

Phillip: [00:04:03] And I would say that we're going to give a ton of reasons why you should be thinking about the next generation of digital transformation investment and why potentially the home for that investment or the opportunity for that investment should be in modernizing how B2B is performed and particularly that B2B payments relationship that you have. Of course, this season is brought to you by Balance. That is their bread and butter. And full disclosure, Forerunner is invested in Balance. So it's no secret as to why Kirsten might be here. But I think when you're looking at an era that we live in where margins are razor thin, there's a lot of economic uncertainty, businesses have sort of been really slow over the past decade to actually modernize a lot of those practices that are very manual, especially on financial operations size, you have so much opportunity there to make your employees, much happier, the folks in finance much happier. You're going to reduce that window of the time that it takes to actually get paid and to pay vendors. You're going to have a happier employee experience all around, and you're going to have to find new ways to drive profitability in your business in this next few years anyway. So now is the time to start thinking about how you're going to do that. And I think that this season's going to prepare you for that.

Brian: [00:05:28] When times are good, it's easy to get comfortable and not make changes and protect yourself for the next steps of your business. But things have been changing. There have been challenges coming into your industry and you know it. But things have been so good that you haven't had to make the changes you need to make. And so now is that time where if you don't, you're going to fall behind. So this is also a defensive move. It's opportunity for growth, but it's also an opportunity to make sure that you keep your customers.

Phillip: [00:06:05] Yeah. And no better person to talk about how to do that than the person who's literally investing in the future. So today we're going to get right into it. Kirsten Green, General Partner at Forerunner Ventures, is going to tell us how you can prepare for the next generation of digital transformation investment in B2B payments Step by Step. Today we welcome Kirstin Green from Forerunner Ventures. Kirsten is no stranger to being on the cutting edge as a General Partner at Forerunner. Kirsten has led some of the most notable consumer investments of the modern era, and that's not even an exaggeration, literally building the future. Welcome to Future Commerce, Kirsten.

Kirsten: [00:06:57] Oh, well, thank you for having me. And thank you for that very kind introduction.

Phillip: [00:07:02] It's warranted. We're sort of coming full circle. Forerunner helped us to launch Step by Step as a series many years ago. Brian O'Malley back in the day came on in I think 2018, Brian?

Brian: [00:07:13] Yeah, something like that. Yeah, it was a while ago.

Phillip: [00:07:15] When we were talking about, I think we launched Step by Step with what the heck is venture capital? And so to come full circle to actually talk about the thesis of how venture capital has been powering consumer brands in the modern era, but also how that's shifting and how the world is shifting around it. So that's what we're going to get into today. Can I just open by asking you, how has the world changed in this last 8 to 10 years as Forerunner has been building its business?

Kirsten: [00:07:43] Wow, It's changed a lot. I think that I've spent so much time in the last year in particular thinking about the change that we all just endured the last couple of years due to the pandemic, which was definitely monumental, but looking back ten years and thinking about where we were in terms of digital adoption and in terms of business evolution relative to where we are now, and as we look for the next decade, there's been an extraordinary amount of development evolution and really so much of it has been powered by people and people adopting technology and the changes that have been inspired by that.

Brian: [00:08:33] A lot of this change has occurred. I feel like just the past couple of years we've seen a lot of shifts and you had your initial thesis was sort of around consumer and direct to consumer and using technology to help accomplish that. But recently we've seen a little bit of a change in the way that technology is affecting how people purchase things. So is eCom a legacy channel now? How do you see eCom changing right now?

Kirsten: [00:09:09] I definitely do think that eCommerce is table stakes in the kind of context of commerce. It is a vital channel really for any service or product. The way you execute it or what you actually deliver on a digital landscape varies from company to company, but I think it's more or less mandatory that you have some presence that way. And that's something, listen, eCommerce now has been around since maybe Amazon sort of really brought it to market in the late 90s. So we're 25 years into this, and I think that we'll keep seeing some evolution in it. But if I think back on kind of first principles, when Forerunner was starting, one of the impetuses or our original investment thesis was really the evolution of the retail business model where instead of eCom being an adjunct business, it became sort of like center stage and a way to launch a business and go to market. And arguably part of our investing thesis at the time was that that was a more efficient and more compelling way to launch a business. But I think even then, thinking about how that might evolve over time, the idea really, I think for anybody who's imagined building a business that could reach scale, that can really impact a broad consumer landscape, we've sort of lived by this motto of [00:10:47] "The customer wants what they want, where they want it, when they want it, how they want it." And I think the job of a business is to understand what that means for them in the context of all the channels that are available. [00:11:00] And so at this point, there's I think, again, getting back to what I said in the beginning is that like eCom really is table stakes for being part of the commerce landscape.

Phillip: [00:11:12] That customer, too, is changing and the definition of that customer is changing as it's becoming more inclusive of different types of consumers. And now, certainly, we're seeing a lot of digital transformation over the last decade kind of powering the change of what we call a consumer. A business buyer is now a form of a consumer to some degree, depending on the channel in which they're purchasing. Amazon's been on a tear trying to move businesses and SMBs in particular to business purchasing on Amazon. There is a lot of signal all over the place that businesses are making huge investments in dragging the legacy parts of their sales organizations in the B2B space to self-service and digital. Would you say that this represents sort of like a broadening of that thesis at Forerunner where there's an opportunity to sort of power that next generation of what the definition of a consumer is, Kirsten?

Kirsten: [00:12:03] 100%. I think if you look back on the evolution of eCommerce in particular, it really was led by the business to consumer movement. And in that evolution, consumers formed new habits, new expectations, and new ways of doing things became routines. I think that expectation and that way of engaging has become the norm for people in their consumer life. At the same time, there's been a real blurring of the lines between work and life, and I think that's been happening on a continuum as evolution always does. But it certainly got accelerated, particularly in the last two years when people brought their offices into their homes and really saw a blurring of the lines literally. And I think that is part of just this acceleration of people just expecting that what they have access to or what they've grown accustomed to in their personal lives and being serviced really as a consumer where business is courting you for your attention and trying to delight you and please you is now being taken over to the workplace where people are expecting that same kind of experience from the tools and software that they use there. And so that presents a lot of opportunity and in some ways a lot of need because I think the first generation or the existing generations of business tools were really largely about functionality. And I think now there's this whole other dynamic of user experience that's as important.

Brian: [00:13:52] So we're going to amplify the B2B experience.

Kirsten: [00:13:56] Let's do it. Yeah.

Brian: [00:13:59] Yeah. I mean, you think about B2B right now as it stands, actually, I have this thought that there's a lot of stuff that happens in B2B purchasing that we've actually been trying to shift over to direct to consumer channels for a while, like 1 to 1 relationships and personalization, which happens often in B2B contexts, but they usually happen with much more antiquated tools or in old school ways. How do you see technology kind of coming in and changing some of that? Are we going to start to actually cut out some of those things that were so powerful to B2B before and sort of make them third parties or cut them out of the way? Like those 1 to 1 relationships that were built over years, does technology displace?

Phillip: [00:14:45] Brian, are you asking the disintermediation question but in a different channel?

Brian: [00:14:49] I maybe, yeah. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:14:50] Okay.

Kirsten: [00:14:52] Well, I mean, I think you bring up some really interesting points, which if you think about one of the reasons that maybe the evolution of B2B commerce has lagged B2C commerce, it is uniquely different from B2C commerce. It is driven by personal relationships. It's underpinned by business-related buying behaviors and characterized by larger transactions. A lot of times there are negotiated volume discounts and there's been less optionality in how a transaction is settled or paid. But I think that there's a lot of that that certainly can be done more efficiently and better by leveraging technology where it doesn't undermine the personal relationship or the aspect of decision-making between whether two people ultimately want to do business together. It's just that some of the ways in which it gets executed could again mirror more of what people are used to doing in the B2C landscape and just ultimately be a better, more efficient experience and I think ultimately be more importantly efficient for business and better for those business models.

Phillip: [00:16:16] There's the other side of it, too, where there is a narrative around the great eCommerce and digital shift that happened in the last 15, 20 years that removing the middleman provided some tangible benefit to the end consumer because middlemen make things more expensive, so by disintermediating and going direct with your consumer, you have greater margin advantage in your business, but you also have potentially lower cost of goods, making it a more attractive channel. And maybe that was true at one point in time. I look around now and eCommerce is nothing but middlemen, and I'm at fault. I built this industry too. But I look around and I think to myself, "Are we now going to do that for B2B? And is that even possible because of the number of those relationships that are required to make these extremely intricate decisions? A lot of times it's not just pricing and parts and gizmos. It's not widgets. I mean, a lot of times, I've done some work in HVAC, in aerospace, and these are incredibly complicated things to sell and to buy. So you can't really take humans all the way out of it, can you? I guess that's the question.

Kirsten: [00:17:33] I don't think so. And I don't think we want to. I think the best use of technology is something that makes the human connections or the actual execution of the business transaction just more efficient and better. And instead of maybe being able to leverage technology to have better modeling or transparency into pricing, more efficiency in terms of how you're putting orders together and building invoices, etc, or executing the transaction. I don't think anybody that's in business and appreciates the relationship side of it is necessarily excited about that part of it. So it's taking the actual execution of some of the details or the data discovery that helps frame the negotiation and bringing efficiency and automation to that part of it so that you can even lean on the part that's the human connection in a more impactful way.

Phillip: [00:18:51] So allowing you to focus less on the intricacies or the minutia and more on the actual things that require human intervention. Brian, we've talked a lot about that.

Brian: [00:19:58] Yeah, we have. Yeah. Good friction. You want to get rid of all the bad friction that's in the business transaction and you want to make it something that's where the necessary engagements are a lot easier to facilitate.

Kirsten: [00:20:12] Right.

Brian: [00:20:13] Yeah. It sounds like you've thought a lot about this, Kirsten. Has your thesis always had B2B as a component, or have you had to adapt it as you've seen how technology is starting to change other parts of digital?

Kirsten: [00:20:31] You know, actually... So I think in our venture capital ecosystem, a lot of people do really associate Forerunner as a business to consumer focused firm. And I think part of that is because we were early supporters of some of the brands that were part of this new evolution of DTC companies. Warby Parker. Chime. Glossier. Away. Those companies helped define that business model and that movement, and we were fortunate to get associated with them. But in truth, we have always focused on a variety of business models and with the real heart being the transformation of this industry and [00:21:13] the transformation of this industry happens in partnership with the evolution of consumer behavior and expectation and the technology that allows those expectations to be met. [00:21:24] And so we've always thought a lot about who are the businesses on the front lines and how are they improving the business models or improving the experience for the consumer. But very similarly, what are the tools and services that they need to bring those experiences to life? And very organically from the earliest days, for example, we made some investments in the business to consumer facing companies, and we're on a journey with those founders to learn about how to bring their businesses to life in efficient ways and what software could be leveraged. And so we learned and met with companies that were creating the marketing automation, that were creating the websites, that were bringing tools like subscription to market, and really understood the value in those products because we knew where the demand existed on the business side. And so since the very start of Forerunner, we have also invested in B2B companies. I think over the journey of ten years as we've watched this landscape, the consumer landscape, broadly continue to transform and evolve, we are continuing to make every effort to stay in front of where things are moving, and sometimes it's being led by the consumer side and sometimes it's being led by the B2B side because one or the other might be leading or be behind and playing catch up. And so sometimes we have more attention focused in one direction or another. For instance, in our most recent fund, I think just under 50% of the investments were in B2B companies. That was definitely more heavily weighted than in some of our earlier funds.

Phillip: [00:23:06] Hmm.

Brian: [00:23:07] I see two sides to this transformation. One would be transforming existing business to business transactions. The other would be sort of coming at this from the sort of original direct to consumer angle that you talked about as those businesses look to expand and grow. It seems like there's a huge opportunity for them to expand out into more B2B and more, dare I use the word omnichannel type relationships. Which side of the equation do you see Forerunner focusing on more? Helping businesses that have traditionally been direct to consumer sort of expand out? Or to help businesses that started with more traditional B2B channels or offerings to modernize?

Kirsten: [00:23:53] Very sincerely, I think there's still a tremendous opportunity on both of those sides. I do think that we spent a good amount of time over the last 18 months really asking ourselves and exploring why the B2B segment was as far behind the B2C segment as it has been and what it would take to transform that part of the business, which is exponentially bigger than the B2C side. And I think that we're now in a place, at least our hypothesis is, that enough of the people working in the context of B2B companies have an expectation that they should have better tools, that they should be able to transact more efficiently. It's like, once again, the user almost pulling the business along, certainly having the technology capabilities to transform those businesses. The partnership of those two things coming together feels like there's a Golden Age opportunity for a lot of the B2B businesses to transform, if not a need for them to transform.

Phillip: [00:24:57] This is the sort of the crux of the previous conversation we had, Brian, with Paul de Forno on the show, and he was extremely quantitative. His analysis was, what was the number, 12 trillion dollars? Some unfathomable number. There's a 12 trillion dollar opportunity on the table, and that is in these business to business transactions. There's this insane amount of payment volume. Some portion of that is going to be digitally innovated or transformed through other means to make that easier, or whatever... Faster, less expensive. Reduce the amount of time that it takes to actually remit. That seems very quantitative. I also kind of keep hearing about people saying that there's it's hard to quantify certain things right now because things look so uncertain. So, Kirstin...

Kirsten: [00:25:50] That's true. I was just thinking while you were saying that I was looking up what stats I had on the market size. And here's one that says global B2B eCommerce is estimated to reach 25 trillion by 2028.

Phillip: [00:26:03] Oh, the TAM is twice as big. Okay, great. {laughter}

Kirsten: [00:26:05] Twelve sounds good. Twenty-five sounds better. It's all pretty enormous.

Phillip: [00:26:09] It's an enormous number. But even in light of what the market size opportunity is, it seems hard to quantify, and right now, none more than ever, it seems like there's a little bit of uncertainty as to what the next year to 18 months might bring us economically. So I guess the question is, is there also a qualitative insight that you can bring to the table to say this is the time to be investing in payments innovation in particular?

Kirsten: [00:26:37] One of the things in venture capital is we are making a best effort to think about tailwinds that are propelling markets to change. And that is a journey, whether you think it's a few year journey or if you decade journey. And so [00:26:58] staying grounded and where there are those kinds of big opportunities and seismic shifts in business and investing into those is what we spend the lion's share of timing consideration around. [00:27:10] When we think about a tough 18 months, that's when the conversation gets very tactical about how will a challenging economic environment for 12 or 18 months impact your priorities or expectations of growth and how you invest in that growth. And those are really two different things. They're both really relevant, but we're never investing with a 12 to 18 month mindset. It's really that bigger picture.

Phillip: [00:27:41] Oh, sure. Yeah.

Kirsten: [00:27:42] So I think that the conversation across the venture capital landscape and businesses that are funded by venture capital is very different this year than it was the 12 months prior. And that's probably true in business in general. But we are having a lot of conversation about business fundamentals and a lot of conversation about business models and what it takes to de-risk a business and scale a business and how we plan for balancing those. And to me, in so many ways, that feels so much better a place to operate from. So, yes, the market is I think it's probably fair to assume that the B2B cycles of selling and new products are going to take a bit longer in a market where there is as much uncertainty. But I think that the mindset and the priorities are in a direction that's more likely to create value and lay solid business foundations.

Phillip: [00:28:47] In the sort of pre-read we sent over, there was this question that I'll admit that AI helped me to write. So if you don't like it, you can blame GPT3. Do you feel like you're having to trust your gut more these days? And is that a scary thing?

Kirsten: [00:29:01] I love it that I gave you the question about trusting your gut.

Phillip: [00:29:05] That's true.

Kirsten: [00:29:06] Think about that. Think about the irony in that. I think the other part of that question was this "Are we post-data era?"

Phillip: [00:29:13] Yeah.

Kirsten: [00:29:13] So do you trust your gut? I mean, honestly, I think if anything, [00:29:17] we're kind of in a pre-data era where we really need to be sharpening our worldview through research and engaging and getting ongoing feedback about what's going on with the consumer, the user, the mindset, and behavior. And all of that is evolving at a breakneck speed. [00:29:40] And there is a lot of uncertainty, as you called out right now in particular. And there are also a lot of life-altering shifts that have happened that we don't know what the longer-term implications are. So in my mind, I feel like there are a lot of important data points to consider. And really it's complicated. And the trick is to figure out which ones of those are noise versus signal and how do you translate any data that you can collect into what people actually do. And then, of course, to marry that with directionally where you think things are going. And so I think particularly early-stage venture capital is always a dance between some grounded research and market sizing or behavior mapping. And just what your gut instinct of how that might play out is.

Brian: [00:30:35] I want a whole Kirsten Green article just on what a pre-data world means.

Phillip: [00:30:41] Well, I know how you would write that. Brian has this whole thesis about quantum thinking and quantum mechanics and quantum computing and how we haven't seen anything yet as far as data collection and metadata about that data is concerned. Yeah.

Kirsten: [00:30:55] Right. So therefore we are pre-data. {laughter}

Brian: [00:30:58] We are.

Phillip: [00:30:59] I think it plays into his thesis for sure. I'm thinking there are a lot of industries that tend to lag behind. I think you're probably thinking more macro, like how technology, let's say, Balance, for instance, who's helping make the season of Step by Step possible... How does payments innovation solve for lots of industries, not specific ones, but do you see some industry innovation that's more niche? And are those signals of where there's a broader opportunity at play?

Kirsten: [00:31:31] I mean, we definitely do see plenty of people that are going to market, at least with a niche proposition. And I think that in some ways, in some businesses, that's the right way to go to market. You probably do want to step back and ask the question, "Okay, if we're successful in that market, what other opportunities does that unlock?" Either adjacent opportunities or across categories opportunities. But it is hard. There are a lot of different ways you can go about building a business. And I think you could argue whether depending on the business, you're better to go niche or whether to go better abroad. It's not always one or one or the other. So if we do hear a pitch or a go-to-market that feels niche, we do challenge ourselves to think about if we're successful in that segment are there other ways, are there other places you can take this business? And how adjacent are they or how different do they need to be over time? Some niche markets, though, are big and significant on their own too. They're just specific.

Phillip: [00:32:45] One of the challenges of having this conversation is B2B payments is so broad it almost becomes tough to discuss. Because we're not talking about sort of the inefficiencies of certain industries. In our last conversation, Brian, I think about industrials or textiles or there are certain industries that have specialized software and specialized supply chain. There are a lot of things where they have become sort of cottage industries of software unto themselves. Aerospace definitely is one of them. So I think to myself, "What's the next phase of conversation that we have at Future Commerce about how you take this signal that Balance and others in the space are trying to innovate on the payment side and how you have that a very specific conversation about, say, agriculture and how payments innovation and agriculture will push a whole industry forward.

Kirsten: [00:33:34] You can probably explore that from the sector standpoint. I think the other way you can kind of look at a market or sort of bifurcate market is on business models or approaches. So there's the whole category of digital marketplaces. Then there's the category of distributors and wholesalers, or there's the category of manufacturers. And I think there's probably more uniqueness between those buckets than there is maybe between segments.

Brian: [00:34:11] Make sense. I agree.

Kirsten: [00:34:11] And so zeroing in on a segment... What is it that modern marketplaces, what are the tools or technologies or access they need to be successful and to be efficient? And then really exploring like how you approach that whole segment and articulate your value proposition and have it be across different categories, but that are executing a similar business model? And that allows you to be a little bit chunky or broader, but still have a focus.

Brian: [00:34:48] I think that's smart. Breaking it down sometimes makes it easier. But yeah, like you said, keeping it broad enough, you can still have that big market. It's a good way to put it.

Kirsten: [00:34:57] And you mentioned Balance, and I love to be able to talk a little bit about Balance. I do think that like it's a really important evolution for the B2B commerce category generally, whether you're talking about marketplaces, distributors, wholesalers, or manufacturers, which is how do they get paid? How do they execute payments? And what are the impacts of improvements or efficiencies for both sides of the equation? The buyer or the seller. And I would venture to say that it's highly relevant in all those categories, and there's opportunity to modernize it and improve it for better business. But there are nuances certainly between those particular business models and the companies that have adopted those business models relative to how they might embrace change, which I think is always [00:35:58] one of the biggest challenges to work through in the evolution of business, whether it's a B2C company or a B2B business is really bringing the user, the human, along in that journey in how they use and leverage the technology and their willingness to do that. [00:36:15] Which gets back to the point we made earlier, which is how we think about where we are in the cycle of really starting to unlock technology innovation in the context of B2B commerce and having that be as much fueled by the people that are working at those companies and their expectations of how they should be able to do their tasks and having that in and of itself be a pull for the industry to come online, not to mention the business efficiencies that can happen.

Brian: [00:36:43] Kirsten, it's been such a pleasure talking with you through this whole process. And before we go, one question I'd love to ask is in a sentence or two, what is the future of commerce?

Kirsten: [00:36:54] In a sentence or two? What is the future of commerce? That's a big question.

Brian: [00:36:58] It is. I know.

Kirsten: [00:36:59] I think that we are somewhere on a continuum of really bringing what we have all historically known as offline commerce and online commerce together into an experience that is more fluid and that is better all around, better from a business execution standpoint, and better from a consumer standpoint. And there's a lot of things that go into what makes something better, which kind of speaks to what the scale of the opportunity that exists or the need that exists to actually deliver on that. But it's we still have a lot of room to improve on the personalization front. We still have a lot of room to improve on the efficiency and the discovery side. There's still a lot of room to improve on how something gets from one place to another. So really all aspects of it I think are still going through evolution, including who the retailer is and where a transaction or a sale originates. I think it's encouraging, from our viewpoint, how many people are inspired to explore those possibilities and start new businesses on that front.

Brian: [00:38:07] I love that.

Phillip: [00:38:07] I couldn't think of a better way to end that than ending with possibilities because I think that's where this whole journey began is the possibilities. And I think that we have a huge, very bright future ahead of us. I know that sometimes those things seem challenging to see when you're trying to plan out next year.

Kirsten: [00:38:27] Trying to plan out next year that I think everybody agrees with is going to be challenging, But it also affords the opportunity to kind of have, like we talked about earlier, just better balance and not just be thinking about one aspect of the business growth and thinking more holistically about the health of your business and the foundation that's being built.

Phillip: [00:38:46] Incredible. Kirsten Green.

Kirsten: [00:38:47] Thank you guys for having me on.

Phillip: [00:38:50] Thank you.

Brian: [00:38:50] Thank you.

Phillip: [00:38:51] Thank you for coming. Thank you so much for listening to this season of Step by Step. You can find more episodes of this podcast and all Future Commerce properties at You can sign up too to get invited to any of our events that we have coming up. We have so many amazing events, everything from happy hours and get-togethers around conferences, to our salons. You can get on the list and you'll get our newsletter which comes out twice a week, The Senses, that's everything that you need to know about how brands and people intersect and how commerce happens. That's called The Senses. Comes out twice a week. You can get that and more, including your invitation to all of our events at Thank you so much for listening. Remember, the future of commerce is what you make of it. Commerce will shape the future, and we can shape commerce.

Recent episodes

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.