This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors.
shopify, people, brands, headless, company, business, web, big, platform, excited, magento, agency, salesforce, enterprise, retention, ecosystem, e commerce, customers, working, challenges
Noah Rahimzadeh, Maier Bianchi, Mariah Parsons
Noah Rahimzadeh 00:04
Hey retention pros. I'm Noah Raheem today and I lead partnerships here at Malomo. I'm super pumped to continue to chat with ecosystem experts alongside Mariah, who you all already know and love, say hi, Mariah.
Mariah Parsons 00:16
Hey, everyone, as you probably know, retention Chronicles likes to bring in some of the best retention focused brands in the Shopify ecosystem.
Noah Rahimzadeh 00:24
Well, we don't just feature brands, we also feature some great thought leaders in the Shopify ecosystem that serve brands.
Mariah Parsons 00:31
And because we always want these conversations to be fun, you'll hear us talk with our guests about what they're excited about and what's helped them get to where they are today.
Noah Rahimzadeh 00:39
We hope you'll stick around to learn and laugh with us retention Chronicles
Mariah Parsons 00:43
is sponsored by Malomo a shipment in order tracking platform improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our episodes at go malomo.com.
Noah Rahimzadeh 00:59
Welcome back to the first recorded episode of 2023. Here on retention Chronicles. Really excited for today's episode, we've got a year here from Meijer agency. I met I met one of his employees, Yannick in what was in New York, and then Toronto back to back weeks of travel for a couple of conferences in late 2022. And we hit it off, so we had to have somebody from the Meijer on and we thought no better than then the founder may here. So great, great to have you, Mayor.
Maier Bianchi 01:39
Thanks for Thanks for having me on. I'm excited to talk today.
Noah Rahimzadeh 01:42
Love it, love it. Well, before we get into things obviously want to know more about the agency and your focus and then get a little bit into retention and a holiday recap. We like we said before we started like to keep these like really personal and you know, human. So we'd love to open it up to you and learn a little or hear a little bit about one or two things that you're excited about in your personal life before we talk shop.
Maier Bianchi 02:09
Okay, in my personal life, just went through a major milestone, I had open heart surgery in December. So that was a big deal, I found that I had a, you know, heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which apparently affects one in every 200 to 500 people. So it's more common than you think. And basically, opt didn't have a surgery, which would allow more blood flow to left ventricle. And I'm excited about that, because it should allow me to be more active and live a more active lifestyle. I'm a parent, have five kids, so like, you know, I want to be able to run with run with them and do more on that front. So I'm basically excited about, you know, leading up to it, it was a big focus of like, really Zen and like, hey, this has to happen. And then all my mind was heavy on that for the months that it was upcoming. And then since that there's been that like, coming down period, but then the like, Hey, what is 20, you know, coinciding with the new year, and like, what is 2023 hold, and so like, you know, I'm grateful to be here, and just counting my blessings in terms of like, you know, living where I live in being able to get the medical care that I got. But then like, at the same time, I had to slow down the business, when that was coming, because you know, you want to just keep opening new threads. But if you know, you're gonna, like hit a stopping point, you got to kind of not open up new threads. And so what I'm most excited about is to like, regain some momentum, and, you know, continue to grow the business. We had a great year last year. And so like, just personally, for me being able to do that from a new perspective, or a new lease on life means a lot.
Mariah Parsons 03:49
That's yeah, it takes a lot of willpower to do that. Congrats. That's huge, right, like to be able to step back and prioritize yourself. Yeah, yeah, it
Maier Bianchi 03:58
was hard. I'm lucky you have a great team, you know, like people stepped up and like, held it down. And also the timing was right, for the end of the year chose to do it. Like when things typically slow down, but no, like shout outs to everyone on the team who, you know, really took the leadership while I was not able to so,
Noah Rahimzadeh 04:16
so of the, you know, three to 500 people that that have it, I imagine not all of them elect to go through the surgery. Is that, is that fair to say? Yeah,
Maier Bianchi 04:26
not everyone's a candidate. I mean, there's people that are get this surgery in their 80s or in there, like, you know, up to old ages to get it. It has to do with like a lot of people don't get diagnosis. For this condition. There's actually a charity called the hypertrophic cardiomyopathy association for hcm.org If you're interested, but basically, a lot of people find out about this through like, sudden cardiac death of a family member or through other things happening or it gets misdiagnosed as like just a heart murmur. And so I think like through more screenings and that kind of stuff, and then access to water what are known as Centers for Excellence, where there's like specialists who specialized in this condition. That's why I feel lucky to live in, like, you know, in New Jersey, where I live where there was a place like an hour away, because let's just say someone lives more remote, and they don't have access to it, or there's, you know, doctors are less familiar with it. It is really like, like I said, it's common, and if people know about it, but they don't always screen for it. So I would just say, like, from that perspective, yeah, not everyone can get surgery, but people are on different drugs. And so, you know, my belief system was just like, I wanted to, like tackle it head on, but also have to, like temper my expectations. Now, see, I recover. And like, I still may be on some kind of medication, but like, you know, but definitely, you know, this pose like increased the passageway by which blood can flow. Because, you know, like, the symptoms are, when you're under high heart rate and exercising, you get out of breath, like the kind that I had the obstructive kind. And so, you know, the idea was to just tackle it head on. So you know, it was definitely like an elective surgery. I didn't have to do it. And I just kind of like, once I got the idea in my head, that I could do something about it. I went for it. So yeah, it was a big, it was a big move. It took a good definitely took a lot of like, mental energy to focus on it.
Noah Rahimzadeh 06:15
I'm sure. I'm sure. Well, glad that it went well. And you're here with us, which is, which is
Maier Bianchi 06:21
so impressive. Yeah, it's only been three weeks. It's pretty wild.
Noah Rahimzadeh 06:25
Oh, my goodness, what was the recovery time? Like? Like, well,
Maier Bianchi 06:29
yeah, so I mean, total recovery times, like six weeks plus, like, you have to do some like rehab and like exercise type rehab. But like, the main thing is healing of the broken bone, like, you know, they actually cut open your sternum. And so that's the number one thing is like, not lifting anything, not supposed to drive because of risks from like airbags and and that so just still have to, like, take it slow. And I would say the first couple of weeks were the most painful, like was in the hospital for about a week. And then yeah, I don't know, it all seems like a blur right now. But I'm entering between the third and fourth week right now. So like, I would say, it's remarkable. Yeah, like a the care and the doctors and all the nurses and whatever one did in the hospital, but then also, like, it's been good, and how it's been improving from day to day, noticing a lot of improvement. And so it's like, also just working on my mind state, I would say like, you know, as the winter, things are kind of gray, even though it's not that cold right now, it's just kind of like, you know, just coming back from it, and like, finding a new focus, you know, like getting focused in a different way on like health and fitness. And so, you know, just that while also being an entrepreneur and trying to get back into that, but like not trying to put too much pressure to go full throttle so quickly. Because then you realize you're like just, you know, shortchanging yourself of actual time to like, recover. So to balance.
Noah Rahimzadeh 07:48
Yeah. Well, incredible, quick recovery. And also just like hats off to you for for electing to do that. I think like, it's awesome that hopefully, it'll pave the way to be able to, you know, like you said, keep up with the kids. And, yeah, live a fuller life with them. So that's great. Did you did you get to spend time with them around the holidays, as you recall? Yeah.
Maier Bianchi 08:12
Definitely. Like, and that's what's cool. Just took it slow, like, was grateful just like, you know, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, just like hanging out doing nothing crazy, no traveling, like, just being home and enjoying each other's company. And, you know, the kids are off from school. So it's like a good time for that. And so yeah, just just a little things, you know, like, once again, just not everybody can do that or be in that position. So, you know, just grateful for for that really like and like what, what's, you know, just what's to come and being a part of that. For sure. Yeah. It's beautiful.
Noah Rahimzadeh 08:48
So let's get into the mire a little bit. Like I said, at the top I met Yannick, who's your head of partnerships, I think.
Maier Bianchi 08:58
Yeah. Strategic Partnerships and business development. Yeah, I
Noah Rahimzadeh 09:02
met him in New York for a tenants conference. And then I we were together again, the next week in Toronto for her Shopify conference unite. Yeah,
Maier Bianchi 09:11
that was an October.
Mariah Parsons 09:13
Yeah. I think it was October. Sounds about right. So
Noah Rahimzadeh 09:19
yeah, early November. But yeah, we hit it off. He's got tremendous energy. And just an awesome dude. And, you know, as he told me a little bit more about the agency, I thought that it was a really unique sort of approach that you all take in your area of focus is a little bit, I think, different than some of the other partners that we have. So I'm glad that sounds like we're going to be able to team up on some projects in the new year. But for our listeners, I'd love to start with like the background of the Meier in your founding story. Given that that was That was you, that's all you
Maier Bianchi 09:56
Okay. Um, yeah, I'm trying to think where to begin like, basically founding the company in 2014. And then was doing more like freelancing and that type of stuff was originally focused on Magento and some Shopify but mainly Magento. And then around 2017 decided to go like, Hey, I don't want to, you know, work as an individual anymore decided to go build it as like more of a full service agency. And so that story really began 2017 2018. And so it's been like, you know, some good growth in that time span. And I think what makes us unique, is that we have a very, like merchant focused perspective, like, we're really strong advocates for our customers, and like, passionate in how we support them. And that's what kinda like, has us standing apart, even if they've worked with some much bigger companies, or more well known companies, we've been able to succeed in certain situations where they've been dissatisfied with other agencies. And I would say, that's because I didn't come in, like, for better or for worse, didn't come from an agency background when I started an agency, which I wish I knew more when I got into it. But basically, had worked in many different roles at a business, right, like, as a developer, as a CTO, or working in the back office, working in POS systems working in inventory, receiving shipping, merchandising, front of the office, like, you know, sales, customer service, so being able to like, empathize with all the different roles that are in business. And the different challenges, I would say, is part of why we're passionate, or, you know, we treat the business as if it's our own, and like work from that perspective backwards. And then I would say, That's why like, we work well with leadership of businesses, or the C suite, or like people that are like the owner operators, or department heads, like people that have real like, something to gain or to lose out of it. And, you know, so it's just been cool in this experience, because we've worked with also companies of different sizes, like from startups, or more like publicly traded companies, or more enterprise companies. And the common thread just seems to be like, when you care it like shows and like, it's appreciated. And so just want to have more opportunities to do that, or be in meaningful conversations, because that's where I feel like we can make more of a difference is if we're like, working with the key decision makers, as they're making decisions, which was part of the reason why I went from being a developer to wanting to do this, was because often, when you're a developer, you're just there at the whim of like, decisions that have been made. And then you're, I call it like a pendulum, you know, like, the decisions are being made up here. But then the swings are much bigger at the bottom. And so I just found that, like, if I'm able to work at the nexus of Business and Technology, you know, find that sweet spot. So that was kind of like, how we got here. And then of course, there's been a lot of ups and downs. A lot of, you know, like, like I said, I went from working in a company to doing you know, making zero overnight and having to rebuild, or in the agency cycle, there's been a lot of ups and downs and good years, bad years, obviously, the pandemic, you know, was rough, in terms of just like, changing expectations in the world, or changing circumstances or costs. And so it's just been crazy, but 2022 was good. So trying to build on that momentum. And like, just keep going forward. And it's like, it's a lot. It's really a lot when you're like, you know, because like I'm the sole opera, you know, operator, but at the same time, have a team, but I would just say it's like, you know, I don't have like a co founder who handles one side and a hand on the other. So it's been a lot of navigating, but not, you know, hard to navigate. But that's why it's cool to have like, various people that I trust and working with, like strong technical leads, or you know, strong business folks like Yannick and like it's been great to and also Yannick who I've been friends for a long time. So it's, you know, great when you have people you can trust, who want to see you do well. And I think that just is so important in any kind of journey in life to have people that are like, advocating for you as you're figuring things out.
Noah Rahimzadeh 14:08
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You know, our, our company was founded by co founder, two guys co founder, John Anthony, and they talk about that a lot. Like, they can't imagine starting a business totally on their own without that other person. Like, how difficult that that would be. So I don't necessarily feel your pain directly, but I can understand that it's probably very tough challenge. Also, like, just given the fact that you started all the way back in 2014. And you were like, specifically doing Magento work. I would imagine that was like a new business idea, you know, overall, like, what was the climate like for Magento agencies in 2014?
Maier Bianchi 14:52
It was definitely better than for Magento agencies. You know, but it was it was more just because I had like worked in that platform as a developer and specialist, and like, do you know, so originally I was trying to go for something like, specialized in that area. And then it blossomed into like, because the company was originally called something different. And then in 2016, changed the name to the Meijer, which means, like, be one who enlightened which is like, it's kind of like someone said, Oh, name it, you know, do something with your name, and whatever. But like, the point is, it's like we're helping businesses make empowered or informed decisions by educating them on what they're doing. And so having a more global ideology really helped because we're also platform agnostic. Now, we heavily support Shopify, big commerce, other platforms like that. And also be spoken like headless type work as well. And so I would just say, through having worked in that, like in the in the foundational stages of the company working at startups that were going to enterprise and seeing a more expansive like software development, culture, and product management culture really opened my eyes to a lot of things and like, versus when I was working before starting, the company was more like a small company that was doing well. But you know, when you're like a small company, everyone wears a lot of hats. And so it's very much more like, not anything goes but you're like doing whatever it takes. Versus like in bigger businesses, there's departments, there's different command and control structures and practices. And so I would say, that was also cool was like absorbing different types of practices, which allowed us to be more adaptable to different kind of business climates. And so that really, like added to the maturation of the company. And then one other areas like because, you know, I started working in this field, let's just say and like, I mean, started working in the field more in like, oh, seven, but then like, in 2010, started building more relationships. That's where like, met a lot of meet a lot of partnerships met a lot of people in the community. And so we have like an expansive partner program, and we're excited to have Malomo as our partner. And like, through that, as well, there's like a fabric of how you can help people. Because helping Pete like, I didn't get I didn't know, you can build an agency to scale and sell. And I wish I knew about that, when starting it. Once again, it was more about like, well, I want to help businesses help people, you know, got into it for more like, entrepreneurial and altruistic reasons. And then, and then, like, what I would say is also like, through the relationships, and the people we've met, has also been part of the learning and educational journey. And so that's like, another thing I'm really grateful for, that has shaped us is just like, through, you know, seeing people advance in their careers, or seeing people go from company to company in their field, it's like, led to a lot of doors being opened, or it's like, it's cool to see how this e commerce ecosystem has come even since 2014. And how, like, you know, so many things have risen, like, you know, there's been a rise and fall, but also just more like, more accessible, I would say. And like there's more access information more. We're, you know, everyone's pretty inclusive, even though it's like business, but like, people are still always down to help each other. And it's like a big community. And so that's what I like, is like, when we go, when you're more in person, or in face to face and events, everyone's really cool, and you make new friends, like just like how you and Yannick met, and like that story, and like you know how meeting Mariah today and excited to make new partnerships and meet new friends. It's like always like, I don't know, I find that's what's different about this industry. People don't always always get it. You know, they hear partners, and they're like, What do you mean partners? And it's like, it really is like this expansive network of a fabric of companies helping other people succeed. So that's what I like about it.
Noah Rahimzadeh 18:38
Yeah, I think one thing that definitely sticks out is when you talked about like the startup versus enterprise,
Mariah Parsons 18:45
I know you're gonna bring
Noah Rahimzadeh 18:48
Brian on we're like looking at each other through the Zoom like, this was like, I know is like the wild wild west I came from like enterprise Mar tech companies. Yeah. Like, the difference is night and day between like the red tape that was ever present prize to like, now it's like litter, I call it the wild wild west of E commerce, because that's what it feels like, day to day, and I love it. Like, I appreciate it so much more like you don't have to get all those approvals to your point earlier with the pendulum like, everybody's, you know, has a hand in swinging it from the top. So I enjoy that more. It's more stressful a lot of times, but it's also fulfilling.
Maier Bianchi 19:29
Yeah, because you can actually accomplish more or do what you want to do and like you're getting you know, you're getting you're working more directly hands on probably right like, and also was your experience like I find that like in certain those situations with red tape things move slower or so it's like you'll work for a long time on a project and then it could get cancelled months later after you put a lot of sweat into it. And that can be depressing and so like, I like when things not move too fast. But when you're able to like actually account version execute and iterate. That's what's fun about it.
Mariah Parsons 20:03
100%? Yeah, yeah, I was gonna say like, it's very energizing to come from, like an area where it's like, okay, you know that the time between working on something, and probably seeing it come to fruition is way shorter, because you're going to be wearing all those different hats, and you kind of have to make a bigger impact when it comes to, like, not having as many teammates or as many resources as others or bigger companies. So
Maier Bianchi 20:36
yeah, that's how it always feels, right. And then you're in, in this world where everything's like social media, you're always exposed to like, what are you what everyone, you know, everyone wants you to see that they're doing and so it's, it's a lot mentally like, but it's good when you have supportive colleagues, or you at least are in like, even if it's a certain kind of environment, it's like more, so you know, you're supporting each other. And I think that's what makes it fun is like accomplishing things as a group. And like, just the small things, you know, like, getting those wins.
Noah Rahimzadeh 21:02
Yeah, and I think maybe the most important thing about all this, and you touched on it a little bit a year, but like, the fact that because we can move so fast, that just means that we can serve our joint customers so much quicker, like all of the three months of red tape that you have to jump through at the enterprise. Now, granted, they are like a lot of times more complicated technologies, that you're stitching together more complicated projects, but it is more fulfilling for us to be able to say like, you know, the Meyer has a client that needs an order tracking solution, or whatever it may be like, that can literally be done in over coffee in New York, right? Like, we can make that happen for a client.
Maier Bianchi 21:42
Exactly, then you can get a demo faster or prototype. Yeah, like new features can, depending on the feature releases, you can get an issue addressed faster. That's what I that's exactly what I mean. It's like so much more satisfying versus like, people are like, oh, yeah, we've been trying to get that for six months, and you can't get it. And I would say that's the same thing. And like the agency cycles as well, like when there's too much process, it can get in the way, or there's, you know, too rigid structure can get in the way. But at the same time, you know, like, obviously, companies that have more resources are better equipped, or have more equipped to like, take on certain things differently. But at the same time, there's strengths and weaknesses to both approaches. So I totally know what you mean.
Noah Rahimzadeh 22:23
Yeah, yeah. One thing that I'm curious about now, so you like started, enterprise Magento and overtime have migrated or not necessarily migrated. But you've become platform agnostic. And it sounds like there's this big focus on Shopify. So I'd love to get your take on, especially as Shopify starts winning these bigger enterprise brands. And they just had some big product release. It's going to help with that. Yeah, the
Maier Bianchi 22:46
commerce components. Yeah.
Noah Rahimzadeh 22:49
So how are you thinking about? You know, when Shopify makes sense, versus another ecommerce platform for the brands that you're working with?
Maier Bianchi 23:00
Yeah. So I would say that, like, when you're in the platform selection process, it's different than when you are on a platform, and you're thinking about migrate, you know, like, there's different business functions you have to address. And so I would say, like, the reason businesses that use Magento, or Adobe commerce use it is when they have very custom, bespoke needs, or they need to, like, make the thing bend to their will from any down from any level, it allows you to do that. And then with Shopify, you find that you're more working around or creating systems to work with what they give you, but then you can still do anything, just your approach has to be different. And so I would say, we've seen a situation where I think big companies are just tired of being tied down to like legacy systems. And now that they're able, like, you know, like there's been an infusion of different levels of talent, or people that have experienced coming from successfully doing DTC going places. And so I would just say, you're seeing like, I like that Shopify is now meeting those brands where they want to be right, like, I think Mattel is one of the key partners, they announced, where it's like, Hey, if you want to just use Shopify as checkout, you can, which technically you could before anyway, but you might have needed to do other things to get it right, because you can launch a Shopify checkout by API, but now maybe they're decoupling things more. And so I just think from a development perspective, Shopify is picking up that which only makes them more competitive against other platforms like Salesforce or Adobe. And when Truthfully, I'm excited about that, because it's still, if you're good technologists, like you know, if a company has strong technical leadership, or has an agency like us with strong technical leadership, it then comes down to the business requirements and like, how can we solve for x and like, make you successful at your challenge, right, which ultimately revolves around selling or engaging with your customers, but at the same time, it's really like solutions oriented and so That's how we approach it. It's not just like, Oh, you have to fit into this box. It's like, what is the best solution for your business at this time, but then also looking forward to three, five years because you can't predict the future. But also companies don't have the cycles to like, make such major changes, and then go back on it, which you often can see happening, right? Where they like, make a short sighted decision to replatform. Or say, Oh, we're just gonna go this direction, but they don't think about SEO, or they don't think about how it's going to impact their integrations with other things. And then they find themselves kind of like scrambling. And so that's where, like I said, we want to be involved in the conversation before those decisions are made, so that you can make more educated, informed decisions. And so that's kind of like, I would say, like, one platform I'd like to be more familiar with is Salesforce, just because there seems to be a whole niche there. But at the same time, that's a very like, segmented ecosystem. And I like that Shopify, Adobe, big commerce and other, you know, like, I guess those but also we're looking at like commerce tools and things like that, where that's commerce was a super enterprise. But like, once again, it's all about how can you use the tools to achieve a vision that fits how this business owner wants to sell, or how the stakeholders want to sell. Because often, you know, not every company is a startup, they've been around for a while, or they're b2b, or they're evolving, and they've done X successfully for years. But now they need to digitally transform or just fix this part of their business that isn't working. And these are all tools that help you get there. And so that, you know, I know, that's like a lot of different words about it. But I just feel like, I feel strongly that it has to do with approaching the problem and applying solutions versus just saying, Hey, we're gonna start with this just because,
Noah Rahimzadeh 26:46
right? Yeah, it's an interesting perspective. And also, I'm really, I'm really interested by your comment that like Salesforce is a more of a niche ecosystem, because I think that if you're especially if you're talking about commerce cloud in particular, yeah, Salesforce was, it's funny because they, you know, one of the big value ads initially of going with Salesforce is because of like their app exchange and all basically what Shopify has executed on over time. And like in the new age, and Salesforce, maybe has like, fallen behind a little bit on that idea of like a more open ecosystem.
Maier Bianchi 27:23
You mean, like with their cartridges and things like that? Right.
Noah Rahimzadeh 27:26
Yeah. Yeah. So that that's great perspective. And I think that, you know, frankly, like, we just we're specific to the Shopify ecosystem. We don't have any other e commerce platform integrations. Today, we do have an open API. So it's possible, like to your point, but but you'd have to do dev custom dev work to make that happen. But yeah, so we most of our agency partners, I would imagine, and like, as far as I know, are also specific to Shopify. So it's, it's interesting having your perspective where you're working sort of platform agnostically across the board, and like when you would when you would go away from Shopify, do you see a world where Shopify ends up like owning the E commerce market? Like they make enough enhancements to become compatible enough across? You know, all of the different market segments to be? Yeah.
Maier Bianchi 28:20
I mean, I think b2b is where there's going to be more there has to be more growth for Shopify, but I think it's happening, right. I think we're living in a world where you've seen it, its trajectory only keep going up. And you know, and I think it also comes from the fact that, like I said, there's a lot of people that have seen success in the Shopify ecosystem. So it's self propelling, because it's like, hey, if you've been able to make X brand, X millions of dollars, well, then let's do it again, following a similar playbook. And there's been a lot of that. And so I just think, as trends shift, or as things shift, like socially, or, you know, consumer tastes, but also like, you know, these external forces like Google and cookies, and, and like advertising or like laws changing in Europe, which affects Facebook, I would say that's where we're seeing brands have to like push how they engage with customers and how they acquire traffic. And so I think it just always going to be something that's like shaking it up. But because Shopify is such a big company now, and they're continuously innovating, and there's so many people that are passionate members of the ecosystem, like ourselves included, like, you know, like, if you want to do web three and token gating, you can do that on Shopify, if you want to focus on loyalty, you can do that on Shopify, if you want to focus on any aspect of your E commerce experience, or go omni channel, and like, you know, the POS part of it's growing. So I would just say it all is at the mercy of how each part of the product matures, but because there's so many invested parties, I would say they're propelling it forward. And like this whole commerce components launch, I think is a statement a, I guess for like shareholders and Like trying to address that market fit. But then I think also because it's them, they can actually push that forward a year from now and have more better clients. Because, you know, why wouldn't brands want to take advantage of more being like be able to be more dynamic? And just say, hey, we want to, like, like, I think one of the quotes from the article was like, Oh, we want to meet our customers where they are. And I think that's so important. Because if Shopify allows you to easily engage on so many channels, then why wouldn't you go that route, because that helps remove the friction of if you have a strong marketing team or a strong EECOM team, and you can actually, hey, roll out your product data, rollout, everything, get to market faster, that's the whole goal, right is selling. So yeah, I like anything that removes that friction, because that's where you see E commerce being the most frustrating is when brands can't get out of their own way, or there's institutional challenges, stopping them, you know, like, or a lack of focus on certain quality control aspects of the data that maybe prevents your customers from seeing your products in the best way. And so at least there's, you know, platforms like Shopify that allow you to do that. And the rest is up to you.
Noah Rahimzadeh 31:10
Right. Yeah. I'm so happy that you mentioned web three, because it's on my list of things to talk to you about. But before I go there really quickly, I wanted to ask you about headless and where you see that going with Shopify hydrogen, and then continuing to do work there. Do you see any any like headless platform sticking out to you is like, these are the leaders that that will own that space? Or, you know, Shopify is gonna get to build their own thing that's going to be just as great as anything. Third party, what's your what's your stance? And when should brands think about moving to Atlas?
Maier Bianchi 31:50
Yeah, I mean, I think we've seen that like boomerang effect, where a lot of people went for it, and then went backwards. We're like, Oh, this is not for us. And so I think we still are in a world where not, it's not a great fit for every brand, because it adds a lot of technical complexity, when they should be focused on selling. But having worked on like headless architectures, since like, 2015, I can say, it's also really powerful, because it allows you to tie it together, whatever vision whatever systems you want. And I've seen that in different, you know, different business verticals. And for example, what I'm excited about is, so there's one company we partner with called the storefront, they started as an idea by a company named Devonte, some years ago, and now they are the de facto leader in like headless ecommerce, because there's just so many people that have uptaken, their project, and they're part of that mock Alliance. And so I think, just like with commerce tools, and, you know, there's a lot of people pushing it as the mock Alliance now, like composable commerce, and they're kind of rebranding it as such. So I would say you're gonna continue to see it grow. And then I'm also excited about Shopify as hydrogen, trying to trying to build a demo on that, actually, I would say where you run into challenges is like the content management. So you want to try to like use what the platforms offer, or like, find the most, you know, easy way to manage your content, because you know, when you bring in these third party, CMS is, then you're at the whims of what you can do with those platforms, like your content, foals are your other types of CMS is and I would say, that's just where it gets challenging for business teams to operate all these stacks, versus like, not necessarily the you know, like, I guess you can consider Shopify monolithic, right, even though it's kind of headless itself, the way it actually is coded. But, you know, I would just say that, like, that's where I see the challenges continuing is just that you're having to cobbled together disparate systems, but the speed and then I'm also just excited about like underlying technologies like next Jas, and what they allow you to do. And so it's an area that I want to continue to, like steward and grow, and work on when applicable, but I just don't think it's going to be the right answer. For most mid market or small brands, or even enterprise companies are shying away from it, right? Like we work with some companies that, say are on a headless, but the headless is more proprietary. And that's what you have to watch out for when it's like one company built this library built this flavor. And then you have your infrastructure and all the containers associated with it. So at least if Shopify is doing it, it's democratized because it's their ecosystem. And I know they have like the oxygen, which is their, like, delivery method of it. And so I know that has to mature more. So let's say at least if there's like an official corporate flavor of headless, that keeps it as a safer bet, of when and where to do it, because at least it's officially supported. Versus the second you jump out of it right now. You're going down one company's path, you're going down your agency's path or your dev teams path. And then what happens when either personnel changes or no one's around to support it. And so that's why I'm a big fan right now of like, Hey, if you're on a Shopify 1.0 theme, let's get you to a 2.0 theme. And our whole thing is like admin editability. Why the rebuild from you know, because we work with next gen theming engines on Magento, like hyva. And the whole point for us is like, make it so business teams can update content without a developer. That's the number one goal, whatever, whichever flavor you're using, try to keep it as friendly as possible for people to like, operate the website on a day to day basis. But I still find that by not being headless, you can still iterate faster, unless you have a much bigger set of resources. Because at the end of the day, yes, there's also platforms like Shogun front end, and certainly specialize in and we're partnered with them to and they're specialized, headless front ends. But once again, once you get into that you're married to it. And you have to in like, there's not always integrations available things are direct integrations, it's not like you can just plug and play apps as easily. And so I think that's the number one challenge of going headless is, you don't have that extensibility. And you have to build so many components yourself. Right? And so that's why inherently it's a very risky proposition for most brands. And so it's like, not recommended, but at the same time, it's cool. And there's a reason to do it for speed and performance. But you have to have the right set of circumstances and just I don't think it checks the boxes for most people. But still, I'm down with it.
Mariah Parsons 36:23
But overall, still like it.
Noah Rahimzadeh 36:27
Yeah, so it sounds like in summary, like, you know, probably not for any brands outside of enterprise unless you like really have your an in house team that can support it. And then you're confident is is there a stick around and and develop like the right SOPs in case they do leave?
Maier Bianchi 36:44
Yeah, yeah, sure. Because maybe say you start out good, you achieve some goals. But then does the company have the stomach to keep investing in or, you know, because it gets expensive. And I think that's where we've seen some challenges arise, or it's a bumpy road to get there. And then once they get there, they lose stamina for the project. So sure,
Noah Rahimzadeh 37:02
sure. Okay, switching gears a little bit to web three. It's funny, I just had a client call earlier today, where they were, we were talking about some like popular use cases with Malomo. And they were like, we get all that like that works. For some brands, it doesn't really work for us, we want to build a community and have like a web three spin to it. And this is like the first time hearing about that. There are a couple of our partners on the agency side, the Meijer being one of them, who have a web three component to their sort of offering and their approach. So I guess, like, maybe a good general question is like, Where does web three fit in E commerce in your, in your perspective?
Maier Bianchi 37:47
Okay, so the part I like about it is if you can tap into communities like like, you know, for, like loyalty purposes, or get, you know, like, for example, say there's already a popular NFT are token out there, and you're able to, like, open up like a pathway on your store. So that, hey, holders of this token, get some kind of benefit, or like, that is really cool. And then also, as you see brands are wanting to launch their own NF T's and their own tokens and their own loyalty programs. I think that's also cool, because you're tapping into that excitement and that fervor and there's a lot of people that still believe in the technology. And so I think it's like, that is just going to continue to evolve. Because you know, there's more advanced networks coming out. And like there's big companies that are doubling down on it. And so I think that there's going to be some component of web three, that's going to intersect with E commerce where eventually you might get the whole decentralized aspects of it and get people transacting on the blockchain. But I like it more right now for tapping into affinity and, and kind of like helping you expand your reach to consumers, once again, meeting them where they are, or taking advantage of cutting edge things like because think about it if you're like a company like I don't know Tim Hortons or some like company that already has an expansive loyalty program, Starbucks or like, someone that's able to already have a lot of users. If you add something else, you're more likely to continue to excite them or capture them or like, I'm also big into like, VR and mana vs and like, that type of stuff, too. Like, I've had extensive interest in that space for a while. We're actually part of like a, a company called Krypton Labs, which is like a an accelerator and in the space down in Miami, and so, you know, we obviously fulfill some of the EECOM and Dev side, but like there's, you know, so it's like, wanting to support brands as they explore this, I think is key, because not like, I think that's what we like once one one thing like Yannick and Alexei is like web 2.5 Right? It's like the intersection On the on ramp, like helping traditional brands, figure out where this sits in their strategy and how to like adopt it instead of just turning a blind eye to it, which is not necessarily the most future proof way to make decisions. And so that's what has me the most excited about is that there's still so much like Greenfield and like, blue ocean to conquer in web three. And it's not just like, even though you've seen once again, so much happen. It's still not. I think we're still on like the tip of the iceberg. Really? Yes. Go ahead. And
Mariah Parsons 40:32
well, I was I was, I was actually going to add, so in my past, I've done some consulting with a web three CRM. And super interesting. And that's like, because of that consulting. That's why I really dove into web three. And it was very centered around like, how do how do you propose to a brand like that, they'd want to use a web three CRM. And one of the things that we ended up speaking to was trying to use, you know, people who are like people with wall addresses as like, tap into FOMO marketing. So like, people who are going into events, right, like, because that's a, to my understanding, at least, like maybe you're, you're, I think, a way bigger expert on web three than I am, of course, but like a big sidearm, or a big proponent of web three is the exclusive events that someone might be invited into, as well as the like loyalty programs. So I think that is also a really interesting thing to look at where it's like, how could have like, Oh, someone who is a really big affiliate, or really big, who really loves a brand, like how could a brand then have, like, an exclusive event or like, get tap into that FOMO marketing tab, like paired with those loyalty programs? Like really, really interesting stuff?
Maier Bianchi 42:06
Exactly. Because also, like, you know, like, what happens on the blockchain is public, right? Like, you can see, you don't necessarily know, what address is attached to what person but it's like, all there to see. And so I think it's, and that's exactly what, like, what you're saying resonates with me, because it's like meeting people where they are, wouldn't you be more excited if a brand was noticing that, hey, you're part of this movement, or were creating more value for our customers by tapping into this. And I think that's where people shouldn't turn their noses up at it and find a way that works for their brand. Because there are so many flavors of it in so many different types of communities to tap into. And it's getting, it's like, you know, it's not so cost prohibitive, to generate your own NFT or generate something like exclusive and create that FOMO. Like, you know, like, you know, I mean, like, say, for example, I like, I don't know, like there's a company called Squaresoft, right, they make like Final Fantasy and video game stuff, and, and they're trying to like, you know, marry the toys that they you know, like, there's the whole collectibles industry. And they're trying to marry that with digital ownership of it. And it's, you could see, it's the same tired approach. But it's also like, people keep chipping away at it. And it does create some kind of FOMO because people who are have affinity for a certain brand property or a certain product are going to inherently be drawn to it like flies, and you're going to get those people. So I think if brands could work backwards, and like try to bring in common people more and create more incentive to open a wallet, which is actually really easy, then maybe that will create one more touch point of loyalty, or, Hey, now that I have this thing, you know, like if Macy's did it, for example, I think would be huge. Because, you know, people who have Macy's cards or who have the company credit card or like Best Buy, right are like people that are already shopping at these big department stores. And they just took it one step further. But like you said, it's harder for those companies to move in on their red tape and legacy systems. Yeah, exactly. But I think they would be like market movers at the same time. So
Noah Rahimzadeh 44:11
yeah, I I love it selfishly. I'm sure Mariah does too, because like, what I'm hearing is the web three component really comes down to like retention play more than anything else. You know, all the use cases that you just talked about? Mayor are like, we've got the customer like now how do we keep them rather than we're going to attract them because we have this like new shiny object? And I'm sure that that's part of it. Like there's some there's some benefits to acquisition. But to me, it sounds like the bigger application is customers become stickier once they've made this commitment to your brand. And you know, the loyalty use cases in the subscription program use cases are all very much retention focused, would you would you agree with that? Yeah. And
Maier Bianchi 44:57
you're also giving more utility or more ways. to engage with a brand, which I think is what brands are looking for, right? Because I think that is a good segue into the whole retention conversation and how you like, you know what, what brands are doing or not doing to retain their customers.
Noah Rahimzadeh 45:14
Right? Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. I'm happy. We had a chance to talk about that, because that's the first time we've talked about what Yeah, gotten the pods happy.
Maier Bianchi 45:22
I'm sure they'll make very happy.
Noah Rahimzadeh 45:25
And also like, very tangible use cases. I think, like I understand the application better now for for E commerce brands. So that's really helped. Awesome.
Maier Bianchi 45:34
Yeah, I think you're gonna see more of it.
Mariah Parsons 45:37
Yeah, yeah, definitely, too, as we spoke about just different platforms, and like, even like Shopify or like Salesforce, and I think like HubSpot, being in there, like true, like web two CRMs. I think like, the more that like the web three space is looked into, and like you said, like, the bigger brands start to explore, right? It's a domino effect. But the mixing of like, web two, and web three, I think will be really interesting if like, could you even use, like NF T's or something for like, email capture, or like, SMS capture, like, really, really interesting stuff that I feel like we don't get to chat about a lot, as much. So really, really fun stuff. Awesome.
Maier Bianchi 46:20
And I think that goes back to what you said before about Shopify too. Because once again, in 2022, they made a big push to like to encourage web three stuff on their platform. And then now let's see where it goes or see how brands want to adopt that component.
Noah Rahimzadeh 46:37
Exactly. Yeah. Awesome. We're coming up at time here. Mayor, this has been awesome. Thanks so much for joining fresh off the heart surgery and look great. Before we wrap up, going to bring it back to the personal side, you've had an awesome career so far, and especially when it comes to the E commerce space. So one thing we like to ask is what what is like one thing that sort of guided you throughout your entrepreneurial journey, one tip or trick or thing that you want the audience like take with them as a guiding principle.
Maier Bianchi 47:14
Yeah, I mean, these may seem common sense, but you can't give up right? If you give up, then you're not in the game anymore. So having developing some kind of sense of resilience in the face of problems that and then also, if you notice your problems now, versus your problems of five years ago, or two years ago, if this if the scope of your problems is growing, it means you're growing. So that's one way that people who think they're static can actually realize that they're moving forward at all times. And then you can look at the flip side of that, which is to never stop learning, you know, because we, you can always learn something new, you know, all the way to the end of your life. And I think that's something that we get caught up in is like, when you're doing so much of the same thing. Or you're like seeing success in one way you don't keep your eyes open. And so that's another thing that's always been important to me to keep keep perspective on is to keep learning and being inquisitive. And, you know, open minded, and I think that's also solid advice for people.
Noah Rahimzadeh 48:16
Awesome. I love that if the scope of problems are growing, you're growing. Never Yeah, I met for myself. I love that.
Maier Bianchi 48:23
You could use that reflection.
Noah Rahimzadeh 48:25
Yeah. This has been so good. Thanks so much for joining man. We really appreciate it. It was great to finally meet a little bit more formally and looking forward to doing some cool things with the Meijer in 2023.
Maier Bianchi 48:41
Yeah, thank you for having me on the retention Chronicles and we're excited to work with you and grateful for this opportunity to chat today. Thank you so much. Awesome. Thank you