Nautical CEO’s Digital Market Success Strategies
Despite the unstoppable rise of the online market model, it remains difficult to create e-commerce markets. There are so many vendors, third-party apps, devices, and consumer preferences to consider.
The question is no longer about your online presence. This is the distance you can reach.
That’s why Ryan Lee, together with co-founders Niklas Halusa and James Throsby, set out to create Nautical Commerce, a multi-vendor platform that aims to make marketplace technology accessible to businesses of all sizes, from startups to businesses.
In this Q&A style interview, Lee shares the inspiration behind the creation of Nautical, common e-commerce brand issues, and how entrepreneurs can stay ahead of today’s competition.
Let’s take a look at some of his experiences and advice.
The founding story of Nautical
In June, Nautical trade raised $30 million to evolve multi-vendor marketplace technology.
“This funding is validation that we are focused on the right problem, especially an issue that is having a huge impact on the e-commerce market,” Lee told SEJ.
“Also, there are a variety of markets, and at the moment we are mainly focusing on a few market models. This funding will allow us to expand the network a bit and help more organizations who dream of becoming multi-vendor markets.
What prompted you to start Nautical?
Ryan Lee: “There are three things that inspired me to found Nautical:
First: I had the unique opportunity to peek behind the veil and see that many organizations faced a similar problem in that they wanted to enable multi-vendor commerce, but the technology didn’t was not accessible.
I saw a clear opportunity for Nautical’s Marketplace Platform to power these businesses much faster than the typical two to three year implementation timelines and massive capital outlay.
Two: My previous experience was really at the intersection of commerce, FinTech and logistics. This includes my time at Apple and launching Apple Pay internationally, my role as a product manager at a FinTech startup, and my work for a B2B logistics startup.
Everything I’ve done so far has been heavily back-office focused. I am very passionate about the back office and the opportunities to optimize and reduce manual and labor intensive work.
Three: I’ve seen so many retailers struggle to be both tech companies and retailers. Most tech companies have 90% margins. Retailers who manufacture and distribute goods that end up in the hands of consumers do not. Because retailers operate on low margins, they aren’t able to build the way a tech company would.
We’ve seen organizations try to be both – Sears, JCPenney, Borders – and ultimately they failed because they weren’t focused on their greatest customer value.
Overcoming e-commerce barriers
What do you think are the common pain points of e-commerce brands? Do you have any strategies for approaching them?
LR: “One of the most common problems with e-commerce brands is bringing new product lines to consumers with intent to buy. We’ve been in this world where marketers extend the network by serving ads everywhere.
For a while, it was relatively easy to find out where your shoppers were, but now, with privacy changes in iOS 14, it’s much harder to find your customers and target ads.
From now on, it is imperative to offer all the products that a consumer would want when he arrives on your site and also to participate in the marketplaces. When buyers visit a market, purchase intent is higher. I’m excited to see how marketplaces are growing and becoming a channel to increase revenue. »
What is the biggest but most underutilized opportunity in the SaaS market today?
LR: “So many companies are focused on optimizing the shopping experience. But for marketplaces, distributors, or any business with vendors on their platform, removing friction to sell and participate in this ecosystem is equally important.
The most underutilized aspect of SaaS is the back-office automation that companies like Nautical are helping to digitize. Many businesses are digitized online and can support e-commerce, but they are not digitized in the back office.
Organizations tend to devote manpower resources to this problem which they ultimately have to scale linearly with revenue growth. Nautical can help businesses using the market model scale without having to linearly add headcount to grow. »
What recommendations do you have for e-commerce sites and fledgling brands to help them get started on the right foot?
LR: “For e-commerce sites and brands that want to start off on the right foot, make sure you’re not trying to build your e-commerce stack yourself.
Leverage enabling technology that gets you up and running quickly to validate your business model and experiment with new vectors and products.
Companies that think they can be both a retailer and a technology company ultimately fail. You have to choose a path. »
If you had to summarize the role and value of a digital marketer, what would they be?
LR: “The world is digital. Today, digital marketing is nothing but marketing. For many businesses, your website is your public brand.
A digital marketer should focus on more than clicks and paid ads. They need to deeply understand their audience to deliver useful content and create strong brand affinity. »
Speed wins the competition
Any advice for young marketers aspiring to a leadership role in optimization, data application and FinTech? How about those launching their own startups?
LR: “The term that resonates here is ‘analysis paralysis’. No amount of data can teach you what you can learn by simply doing it.
My recommendation to new entrepreneurs who want to validate their passion projects or business ideas is to find a platform that allows you to validate your business model as quickly as possible, with the least amount of upfront capital.
It is very easy to formulate a grand plan that takes two to three years to execute. The problem is that it is two to three years and a capital investment that you will never recover. If you can compress that to 30, 60, or 90 day increments, that gives you a clear advantage over any competition due to speed to market. And speed wins.
I practice martial arts, and we have a saying, Speed beats strength and technique beats speed. Speed always beats someone who is more capitalized because you learn faster.
The technique in this analogy is to have experience in this industry. Even if you don’t have e-commerce experience, speed is definitely an advantage you can have over someone who is well capitalized.
Featured Image: Courtesy of Nautical Commerce