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How Brent Bellm is helping small companies grow with BigCommerce

Brent Bellm understands the importance of scaling up a company. As the CEO and chairman of ecommerce company BigCommerce (Nasdaq:BIGC), he’s helped the company grow into a corporation with over 60,000 customers including leading brands in almost every B2C and B2B category, such as Sony, Ben & Jerry’s, Nikon, Nestle, and Procter & Gamble. BIGC went public on the Nasdaq in August 2020 under Bellm’s leadership.

In a recent Town Hall with retail investors, Bellm talked about the future of ecommerce and where he sees the sector growing in the next few years.

The below is excerpted from Bellm’s Town Hall, which can be viewed in full here.

The ecommerce sector is on an upward trajectory

One retail investor asked Bellm about his thoughts on the future of the ecommerce sector. “The last 25 years of ecommerce growth will pale in comparison to the next 5–10 years,” Bellm said.

It took the first 25 years of the internet for the ecommerce industry to grow from 0% to 11% of U.S. consumer retail. But that is going to quickly change, Bellm believes.

“At current trends, ecommerce will quickly get to 20%, 25%, and then 30% of all U.S. consumer spending. This is arguably the biggest, fastest economic transformation in history. At BigCommerce, we’re doing all we can to power and enable this growth,” he said.

Packaging helps build your brand

Packaging is more important than people might realize when it comes to ecommerce. It’s a way to build up customer experience and a memorable package can help drive repeat business, Bellm said.

“Not only is it a way to surprise and delight the customer who made the purchase, but you can entice them to share the experience via social media where it will be seen by other potential customers,” he said.

And it doesn’t need to be complex or expensive, and still create a memorable experience Bellm added.

“It’s more about the level of personalization that you put into it to connect with your customers; for example, adding a personalized or handwritten note. This is especially important around the holidays when shoppers expect a festive and delightful unboxing experience.”

Make sure you have the right target marketing

Online marketing is a key component of ecommerce, and making sure you have the right tools is essential. Many companies use demand generation, a targeted marketing program to drive awareness of a company or brand.

Bellm shared that companies using demand generation should make sure they have two things.

“The first is connecting your product catalog into the leading advertising and marketplace channels. The second is optimizing the data from your website that you are allowed to use in each channel.”

BIGC is able to help companies do both using Feedonomics, which brings customers products across hundreds of channels and provides optimization tools across search engines, social media, affiliates, display ads, and marketplaces.

Brands are going to become more hybrid

Besides extensive growth in the ecommerce sector, we are also likely to see a more hybrid approach to shopping, Bellm said.

“We’re seeing merchants take an increasingly hybrid approach to retail, so having a strong omnichannel strategy is key.”

That’s one reason BIGC helps merchants integrate products with other marketplaces and social commerce platforms, he added. For example, they have a Google native app that lets small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. connect with Google Merchant Center to add products for free, and create Google ad campaigns to reach more customers.

If you’re going into ecommerce, build a brand that sets you apart

Any company needs to find a niche that sets them apart, and that’s especially true for ecommerce.

For BIGC, that meant having an open SaaS platform as opposed to a closed SaaS platform like Shopify and other competitors have. Instead of a “one-size-fits-all” approach we’ve taken a flexible approach so merchants can grow and scale up with BIGC, Bellm said.

“Our Open SaaS platform approach is what sets us apart by combining sophisticated enterprise-grade functionality, openness and performance with SMB-friendly simplicity and ease-of-use—all in a single platform delivered through the cloud.”

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