Ryan Urban is the Co-Founder and CEO at BounceX, an international marketing technology solution that brings a “logged-in” experience to logged-out website visitors across all their devices. They’re best known for their impact on triggered email performance and website personalization.
A veteran of the eCommerce space, Ryan was formerly Director of Acquisition at Bonobos and prior to that, Head of eCommerce at Brickhouse Security. He has served on the advisory boards of both BabyAge.com and Bonobos. Outside BounceX, Ryan spends most of his free time working on the behavior of his dog – Telemundo.
We spoke with Ryan to get his thoughts on the best way to gauge technology vendors, how eCommerce sites should be approaching personalization, and why you should ask him about his five-year plan.
TurnTo Networks: The market is awash in technology-based solutions. How do you think companies should evaluate potential vendors to make sure they’re worth the time (and money)?
Ryan Urban: When evaluating tech vendors, especially in the martech space, companies need to look past the sales pitch and consider what it’s going to take to get the maximum value and performance out of that tool.
Capabilities are just one part of the equation. What’s often overlooked is what’s necessary to execute on the technology’s potential. If you’re bringing on a solution, do you know what resources are required on your end to see value? Do you have those resources internally? If not, does the vendor offer them? If so, at what caliber and additional cost?A great sales pitch is just that...a pitch. Companies need to understand the full lifetime value of their investments—starting with knowing if they’re prepared internally to bring on the solution and ending with fully understanding its use case. If the idea of the technology sounds good, but you don’t have a tangible output or use case for it, it won’t be worth it in the long run. You’re often being sold the dream, but what can it do for you tomorrow?
TurnTo: It’s pretty much universally agreed that personalization is an important way to appeal to online shoppers, but the devil’s in the details. What are some personalization best practices that eCommerce sites should be thinking about?
Urban: When talking about personalization, eCommerce leaders need to first ask themselves what that nebulous word means to them. For all the talk about personalization, it is often manifested as simple product recommendations. But it’s really so much more than that, so retailers need to be truly introspective to determine what their goals are when it comes to personalization.
A good first step is asking themselves: what experiences should a consumer have on my site based on the way my consumers tend to shop, the products we sell, the industry and vertical we’re in and the price point of our items?Once they know what personalization means to their organization, they can dive deeper into how to build out those capabilities. This begins with bridging the gap between the data they have and their personalization goals. One way to do this is by building out their identification abilities by getting their consumers to identify themselves by providing their email addresses. Email is today’s universal identifier and if shoppers provide it, without logging in to a profile, brands can act on the wealth of historical and behavioral data they have on that customer to provide personalized experiences.
TurnTo: What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you, but no one ever does? And what’s the answer?
Urban: Everyone always asks me where the idea for BounceX came from. They ask about the past. They never ask about the future—about where we’re going. No one asks me, “Where will BounceX be in 5 years?”And the answer is: in five years, we’ll have ended spam-and-slam emails. We’ll be delivering real, one-to-one personalization for our customers and for their shoppers. And we’ll be at the point where we can use individual customer data, not segments and not cohorts, to inform experiences.
The age of personalization is really just beginning. We all have the basics down, but there’s so much more that we can do to improve the online experience and eCommerce in general, and BounceX will be on the front line of bringing those ideas and technologies to reality.
Get the latest eCommerce insights delivered weekly, for free: