Why Workarea: Q&A with BVAccel CEO Jonathan Poma
We caught up with Jonathan Poma, CEO of BVAccel, to discuss the brand new partnership inked with Workarea. BVAccel is the newest member of the Workarea Solution Partner Network and will be developing next-level shopping experiences for brands and retailers on the Workarea platform. Let's talk answers with Jonathan!
Your team evaluated several ecommerce platforms before choosing Workarea. What industry challenges led BVAccel to go with Workarea as its next ecommerce system?
I can confidently say that we deliver value for some of the most forward-thinking, industry-leading, and trendsetting brands in the world. Partnering with Workarea is nothing more or less than BVAccel looking out into the future and ensuring that we’re aligned with platforms and partners whose values align with ours and who we know will help ensure that we’re delivering value to the world’s leading merchants confidently into the future.
BVAccel developers are now building sites on the only ecommerce platform using Ruby on Rails. How do you think this will impact your team’s work?
We’ve always believed in a weird juxtaposition of ethics when it comes to how we work: we believe in the importance of constraints and the power that comes with effectively embracing them. However, we also believe in challenging the status quo and pushing the limits of everything we touch to maximize value delivery for our clients.
Ruby on Rails provides us with the language and the framework to do both of those things. Workarea will definitely lay wider tracks that enable our team to bring some new thinking to our clients.
In terms of what that enables, I think it will lead to more performant solutions that deliver better results for merchants and their customers.
What should the digital commerce space expect from BVAccel builds on Workarea?
It’s an interesting balance to strike considering ecommerce best practices but enabling brands to shine through. If we were looking solely for best practices, we’d all turn to Amazon and shut down our storefronts. But winning brands and their customers don’t have a relationship built purely on utility. Winning brands also win because of their authenticity, because of their transparency, and because of the trust that builds with their customers. And those aren’t just words on a page. Rather, those winning traits infiltrate the entire ecommerce experience, from homepage and navigation, through search, wayfinding, and the entire shopping experience. A
At the end of the day, Workarea is a platform that puts the power in merchants hands, enabling them to leverage all aspects of their brand and their content to deliver a memorable, engaging commerce experience to their customers. We’re investing in Workarea because of that.
How does BVAccel evaluate the needs of retailers to help them choose the most fitting ecommerce platform for their team?
It’s all about TRUST. Nothing else is more important. And in my opinion, wisdom trumps knowledge every time when it comes to building trust. And wisdom comes from experience combined with introspection.
Bottom line: we’ve built more ecommerce experiences than most agencies in the world, and we’ve approached them all mindfully. Sure, we’ve made mistakes—everyone makes mistakes, but we’ve used those mistakes as learning experiences to help us ensure that we’re getting better every day. And “better” means more efficient. It means higher velocity. It means seeing mistakes before they happen. It means saying what we mean, and meaning what we say. It means seeking first to understand, and then to be understood. It means ALWAYS advocating for our clients and what we believe is best for them.
Ultimately, that means that we are always working to listen better, it means having more perspective, and it means that we work hard to understand our clients’ needs better than they do. Combining those things, we’re confident when recommending platforms and partners to merchants.
If you had to pick one thing that Workarea solves best for today’s online merchants, what is it?
I’m gonna pick two things:
1. A customer-centric approach to wayfinding. Architecture, navigation, search, and filtering are key components. If those things aren’t on point, merchants and consumers will both have a terrible experience. Workarea gets that, and it shows in the product from end-to-end.
2. Merchandising and high-fidelity content management. People have been talking about “the convergence of content and commerce” for years (myself included). The Workarea platform is taking bold steps in that direction.
What advantages does Workarea offer the retailers of tomorrow that BVAccel serves?
Reliability, performance, velocity, and (the right) tools. Like I said—our values and ethics align. So long as we both stay true to those merchant-centric properties, we’ll all win.
What’s your advice for retailers on the fence about which ecommerce platform to bet their online business on?
Progress over perfection, and commitment over consensus. Oh…and find a partner you trust.
Now, to get to some brass tacks and out of the clouds:
– Pick a SASS platform. Get with it: the whole world, for the enterprise and consumers alike, is shifting toward a preference for access over ownership. The last thing in the world a merchant should be worrying about is the site’s reliability, performance, and uptime. I fundamentally believe that no merchants should be worrying about AWS or Rackspace or their VPS or their load balancers or whether or not their site can handle their growth.
– Market Validation: Look around at other merchants and brands that you admire…what platforms do they use? How did they make that decision? Most of the time you can ask them.
– Be data-informed, not data-driven: At some point, you’ve got to be able and willing to pull the trigger and commit. In this new digital world, I see many organizations move too slowly because they want to look at all the data. In the end, data should be used to validate or invalidate your gut, and you’d better have a gut that’s right most of the time. Trust it.
– No decision by committee: Empower one person in your organization to own the decision, set a deadline, and allow anything that fits through the goalposts.
Your background is in data analytics, ecommerce strategy, and design. How do you see your skill set driving growth for retailers on Workarea?
For us, that background is all about building on best practices, enabling our clients’ brands and values to shine through, and enabling them to be confident and unwavering while making high-velocity decisions. If we do our jobs right (and we will), we should be helping merchants grow revenues faster and more profitably, while building longer-lasting, higher value relationships with every consumer that decides to be their customers.
Last question. You’ve seen many sites that Workarea merchants have created. Which is your favorite and why?
Limecrime.com is definitely our favorite. When we look at it objectively, it blends ecommerce principles and best practices with the brand’s aesthetics in a way that works. There are subtleties in the way the platform really enables the brand to shine through that I really admire. Sure...the product offering (may or) may not be my jam, but the way the brand voice really shines through and that the storefront embodies the brand’s personality is spot on.
Brand Value Accelerator is a leading Shopify Plus, Optimizely and eCommerce Marketing Agency.