Speaker’s Corner: Featuring Stefan Chiriacescu, Founder & CEO, eCommerce Today
Tell me about eCommerce Today, its work, and projects…
eCommerce Today is an eCommerce Managed Services Agency. Our mission is to help our clients run their businesses. We have clients that give us the keys to their online business, and we remotely take care of their store maintenance and optimization, catalog work, email marketing, digital advertising, and marketplaces. And they focus on product development and strategy, going to trade shows, and taking care of warehouses (picking, packing and shipping orders, handling returns, etc.). But the vast majority of our clients use our services for website maintenance and optimization and email marketing. Basically, we come on board and complement their existing eCommerce team.
What are the challenges within the Ecommerce industry today?
There are many challenges that eCommerce business owners face. For new businesses, it is the lack of a team or a budget for a team of specialists. Usually, the business owner tries to do a lot of things themselves, which means cutting corners and not having anything great (website, ads, emails, products). With established businesses, we usually find that they are stuck in old patterns and not adapted to today’s services that customers are used to. One challenge everyone struggles with is inventory – having the products to sell in stock – finding a good inventory source.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way you go about business?
COVID has boosted our business as everything has moved to the Internet. We have a lot of clients who were focusing most of their efforts and budgets into their physical stores, and we told them years ago that they needed to improve their websites and online efforts. Since COVID started we’ve been busier than ever because all of our clients want to grow their e-commerce businesses but know they don’t have the staff or knowledge to succeed.
What trends do you see for the future?
I think that in 1-2 years it will be impossible to find a physical store that does not have an eCommerce website. Before COVID many established retail stores did not sell online. We STILL see that customers who are not yet used to selling online are hesitant to invest in an online business because they are not familiar with eCommerce. However, this is becoming more and more mandatory and every store must also have an eCommerce website.
What is your biggest objective as a speaker?
I love speaking at eCommerce conferences because it gives me the opportunity to give back. Every day I talk to business owners and realize that there are many recurring problems. I try to write about these problems on our blog to help our readers, but at conferences I can pick a topic and really focus on it – giving concrete information that people can then use in their daily work.
Could you share with us the points of discussion (the input that you provided) during the panel(s) at the Ecom World 2022 conference?
At Ecom World 2022, I presented the topic “Build a killer email marketing team”. I broke down the topic from an agency perspective to help both agencies and eCommerce managers. I started with the basics and then went into the proper structure and even shared procedures that professionals can use for great results, over and over again.
At Ecom World 2021, I spoke about “Marketplace Domination – A proven approach to selling and scaling on marketplaces.” I dispelled the 5 biggest myths that our own customers have and then explained how to succeed as a business selling on marketplaces.
As a leader, what are the factors both professional and personal that drive you? What keeps you going?
I wake up every day and enjoy going to work because our work is very visible and measurable. Our customers see the results in terms of increased sales and cost savings because of the right implementation. It’s also great to see my team’s knowledge grow with each new client and situation we tackle. Because of our diverse client base and range of services, all of my team members have reached the point where they can become consultants because their understanding of eCommerce goes beyond that of a single website, industry, or vertical.
In your opinion, do digital events give you a similar level of feedback/result vis-à-vis the live versions? What would you say were the biggest pros and cons of both formats? Which do you prefer?
Digital events are better because they reach a larger audience. The message gets across, there is a recording of the event that attendees can watch later, and it is more informal, so the pressure of public speaking is not as great. Live talks tend to have more qualified attendees, so I feel we are more likely to form partnerships after an event, but the overall reach is limited.
In your opinion, what are the top 3 challenges to returning to ‘In-Person’ events? How could we mitigate risks?
Boring the attendees – you basically have to give up on the pitch – ok, you know what you’re going to talk about, but be prepared to ask the audience some questions and solve their problems better
Focus on sales – ok, every speech has a commercial component – as a speaker you want to expand your network and attract new clients, but that shouldn’t be the focus of the speech – the focus needs to be 100% on providing useful information to the audience.
Digress – be prepared to break off the speech, accept feedback and adapt. The audience acts as participants and your speech should be adaptable to different scenarios and audience requirements.
Eventible.com is a review platform catering to B2B events. Given how review-driven our lives have become today, do you think reviews will bring in a level of transparency to the events industry? Would you rely on event reviews from other speakers if you had to make a speaking decision?
Absolutely. I think any speaker deserves 5* as long as their speech focuses on conveying useful information and is not a sales pitch. However, I value my time as much as anyone, so I want to know if the speaker at an event I will be attending typically sells their services instead of teaching and helping their audience grow.
Finally, do you have a favourite mocktail or drink? We’d be delighted to know.
Ha! Interesting questions – I guess I’m not a cocktail guy. I love a big glass of tomato juice after a long run – I love tea during the day when I’m doing my calls – I enjoy a good IPA for a BBQ – I enjoy a good red wine in the evening – I think the occasion makes the drink 😊.