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ICYMI CartCon 2024: Unifying Commerce, Together

Jul 01, 2024 - Jack Ulrich & Josh Smith
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ICYMI CartCon 2024: Unifying Commerce, Together |


Last month, the inaugural CartCon brought together senior leaders from the world’s most celebrated brands. The event was designed to unite customers and partners across the ecosystem to engage in discussions and thought leadership around the topic of unified commerce. This unique platform for education and networking converged innovative minds aiming to reshape the future of commerce. Through a jam-packed day of insights and content, we’ve distilled some of our favorite takeaways from the event. 

Takeaway 1: Focus on your differentiation (reduce distractions from everything else) 

Tony Hawk’s journey 

Imagine kicking off an event with the legendary Tony Hawk. Hawk shared his incredible journey from pioneering the skateboarding scene to building a globally recognized brand. His talk covered launching one of the most successful video game franchises of all time and his continued professional skating at 56. Hawk’s narrative of persistence and focus on core competencies was a powerful start. He revealed that his brand, Birdhouse Skateboards, thrived when he reduced control over tasks outside his expertise, highlighting the importance of maintaining high standards while allowing flexibility in achieving them.  

Hawk's message was clear: to excel, you need to focus on your strengths and delegate other tasks. This focus allowed him to maintain quality and innovate continuously while placing him in the best position to promote the company. 

Michael Mahoney from Misen 

Michael Mahoney, CEO of Misen, shared Tony Hawk's sentiment by emphasizing the importance of sticking to what you do best and outsourcing the rest. He highlighted that robust processes, rather than lofty goals, drive success. His philosophy, encapsulated by the idea that "You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems," resonated deeply with the audience. 

Mahoney’s insights were particularly relevant in the context of operational efficiency and profitability. By focusing on core competencies and outsourcing non-critical tasks, Misen has streamlined operations and improved profitability, demonstrating the power of strategic focus. 

Musa Tariq on Staying True to Your Brand 

Musa Tariq, whose career spanned top brands like GoFundMe, Airbnb and Burberry, stressed the significance of brand authenticity. He urged companies to remember why they earned the right to exist and to remain true to their core values. Tariq’s insights into finding fresh ways to connect with new audiences while staying rooted in core brand principles provided a powerful framework for maintaining differentiation in a crowded market. 

Tariq’s tenure at Burberry, where he took risks, experiencing both commercial victories and failures while spearheading digital strategies that transformed the brand, served as a compelling case study and lesson for the audience. His advice to remain authentic while innovating and reaching new audiences resonated as a timeless strategy for brand longevity and customer loyalty.

Takeaway 2: Simple but strong processes can overcome people challenges 

Michael Mahoney on transformation 

Michael Mahoney continued to provide valuable insights on transformation, stressing the importance of process over people. He argued that effective transformation relies more on having strong, simple processes in place rather than focusing solely on individual talents. This approach ensures consistency and efficiency, driving sustainable growth. 

Misen’s commitment to refining its processes has been key to its operational success. By prioritizing streamlined workflows and clear guidelines, Misen has been able to overcome challenges that often hinder larger, more complex organizations. 

Mo Beig from Janie and Jack on accurate and timely data 

Mo Beig from Janie and Jack emphasized the critical role of data in decision-making. He discussed how closing financial books quickly—within five days, in their case—provides timely insights that enhance agility and responsiveness. By having accurate and up-to-date information, business leaders can make more informed decisions, ultimately leading to better outcomes. 

Beig’s emphasis on the speed and accuracy of data underscores the importance of efficient processes. This ability to quickly access and analyze data allows Janie and Jack to stay ahead of market trends and respond rapidly to changes, ensuring their continued competitiveness. 

Panel insights: Maximizing value & minimizing exposure as your business scales 

Processes are critical to most business areas, especially value growth and risk management. The "Maximizing Value & Minimizing Exposure as Your Business Scales" panelists covered several ways to ensure the proper processes are in place to safeguard your business and protect its assets. 

A great tool Jim Knox, Managing Director at Aon, suggested is creating a simple risk matrix. This matrix would document the various issues and risks that could befall your business, determine the severity of each risk and its mitigation strategies and then determine which risks your business is comfortable bearing and which require mitigation. Creating a process to document the known risks and make educated decisions has helped Jim and his team better tailor risk strategies to their clients. 

Takeaway 3: Controlling brand quality across channels 

Tony Hawk on brand quality 

Tony Hawk also discussed the importance of controlling brand quality across various channels. His experience underscored that while it’s crucial to maintain high standards, it’s equally important to be adaptable in how those standards are achieved. This adaptability has been a cornerstone of his brand’s success across different platforms and products. 

Mo Beig on Amazon 

Mo Beig provided a compelling case study on how Janie and Jack manage their brand on Amazon. By owning their presence on the platform rather than relying on resellers, they ensure consistent quality and customer experience, which is essential for maintaining brand integrity. 

Beig’s approach to Amazon underscores the importance of direct control over brand representation. By managing their own storefront, Janie and Jack can uphold their standards and deliver a consistent experience, which is crucial for building and maintaining customer trust. 

Panel insights: Ecommerce marketplaces - Navigating opportunities and challenges 

With the rise of online marketplaces and third-party sellers on those platforms, the topic of brand quality across channels was top of mind for the "Ecommerce Marketplaces" panelists. Many brands have resisted adopting online marketplaces, but the ever-growing number of sellers and marketplaces has made this approach challenging. Kohl Perkins, Senior Director of Business Strategy at Walmart Marketplace, put it succinctly when he said brands shouldInvite customers through the front door; don’t try to police the back door.” 

This is a profound insight for brands to consider as they develop their marketplace strategy. Your products will likely be sold online by third-party sellers, so providing your customers with a trusted, well-designed, and merchandised marketplace storefront can help build brand trust and loyalty and increase sales through a new channel with new customers.  

Conclusion: Charting a new course for commerce 

CartCon 2024 was a testament to the power of community and collaboration in revolutionizing the commerce landscape. The insights gained from this event will undoubtedly help shape the strategies and actions of the participating brands as they navigate the future. By bringing together industry leaders in such a focused and engaging environment, has set a new standard for educational and networking experiences in commerce.

We look forward to continuing this journey, united in our mission to revolutionize commerce.