Mateusz Ogonowski is the CEO & Co-founder of our partner – Conversion and Growcode. For 10 years, he has been using data and analysis to help online stores increase conversions. During our Open Day we asked him a few questions about the eCommerce business, partnerships and the future.
1) Together with Mariusz Michalczuk and Paweł Ogonowski, you manage Conversion – a company that deals with the optimization of online store conversions. Let’s go back 10 years – where did the idea for this business come from? How did it start?
Mateusz Ogonowski: Our story is very simple. Together with Paweł, I founded an online store in 2006, in the best industry in the world – home electronics 🙂 We were competing with two large online stores that existed at the time, nobody remembers them anymore – Agito and Max24.pl. After some time, it turned out that we were good at using data to improve our store’s conversion rate. We then decided that since we can do it for ourselves – and obtain a conversion rate that was very, very high for the time – why not share it with others? That’s when we founded the company Conversion, started to create content about what we do, and people started talking to us about doing joint projects.
2) From the perspective of these 10 years of cooperation with your customers – the owners and managers of online stores – what problems do they face most often?
MO: The problems are different for various industries. They often ask, for example, how can we get anything worthwhile from this data? “I have these Google Analytics, sometimes I have a data warehouse, and even if I somehow integrate this data, I don’t know what to do with it.” Another common problem is how to manage IT? 😉 In general, cooperation with IT is one big story about what can go wrong in any business. We also often encounter questions about dealing with complaints in the store. Returns and complaints are still a problem for many online stores and this subject – seemingly commonplace – it is still of key importance for them.
3) Do you sometimes see some stores who have great marketing, a well-designed store, and yet still struggle e.g. with bad reviews due to customer service, or delivery…
MO: We used to see things like this when dropshipping became fashionable – beginners in eCommerce decided to use this model to avoid dealing with logistics and deliveries, for example. Yet they still often ended up with bad reviews because of packages not being delivered on time. Now things look a little different – this business model is not so fashionable. Delivery time has ceased to be a problem, now it is about the quality of the delivered package. An order that is complete or incomplete, poorly packed, or damaged, and requiring a complaint is something that really annoys customers.
4) Are you a supporter of building in-house competences in your company or do you think that there are areas that should be outsourced, because an expert would do it better?
MO: I used to have such impulses – I really thought that you had to do everything yourself inside the company. But then I came to my senses. It turned out that not everything has to be done in-house, because it is often a total waste of time. Some things can be outsourced to experts and they can offer value, and some things just have to be gotten rid of. If in some areas we do not want to build value for the client or even want to build this value, but we are really hopeless at it – it is better to outsource it so that it is done better. For example, we are the company to which the conversion rate optimization and development of the online store has been outsourced. On the other hand, we are also handed some processes that don’t work at all.
5) Do you think that outsourcing some areas can help your company grow faster?
MO: The fact that we outsource has several dimensions. On one hand, we don’t have to learn how to manage it, and we don’t have to employ another person. Recruitment takes up a lot of time and is very risky. But we often don’t have to spend the money on costs associated with learning new things. So, if you consider it this way, outsourcing accelerates the development of the company.
6) What role do you think its partners can play in the development of the online store?
MO: Choosing a partner can either really accelerate development amazingly or it can bring eCommerce business to a screeching halt. I know many such internet businesses, where they have a really great product, produced in Poland, competitive, suitable for the foreign market, and ready to succeed. However, there is only one small problem, namely, an IT partner that takes months to implement even a small change to the website. For example, they might estimate the installation of a top layer that would change the language of the site depending on the location at three and a half months of work. Well, you won’t go far with such a partner.
7) And in what direction do you think the eCommerce industry is going? Maybe it’s a little “clichéd” to ask the question – what will eCommerce look like in 5 years?
MO: I think we will be seeing a movement towards big, strong brands rather than towards a simple marketplace. Simply having cheap goods to sell cheaply and via traffic secured from price comparison websites will no longer be the most important thing. Brands will be important – just like eCommerce’s development in the United States. There are fewer multistores, multibrands, and online stores of this type. And if they are, they are individual stores that achieve a very great success, but also build a brand. There is a well-known store that sells animal food – chewy.com. This store is a total phenomenon – it is the first eCommerce store, which was sold for more than a billion dollars, i.e. it is the first eCommerce unicorn in the world. And this is not a store that we choose in order to find the cheapest product, but rather one that has been built on a brand, and communication.