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New Brightpearl CEO: Automation Is Key for Merchant Success

Ecommerce has come a long way since the 1990s – consider that Demandware, a company that supports online merchants, announced last week that it will be acquired for nearly $3 billion. Demandware isn’t alone in offering solutions to multichannel merchants, and one rival announced the hiring of a new CEO to help it continue its global expansion.

Derek O’Carroll is joining Brightpearl from Symantec where he spent over 10 years, most recently serving as Senior Vice President of global field sales and marketing and Vice President for Symantecs Norton business, responsible for $1.7 billion of revenue globally.

O’Carroll told EcommerceBytes he was attracted to Brightpearl because he sees hyper growth potential. And he’s confident about going into the holiday shopping season. “One of the key reasons I joined Brightpearl was Andrew Porter, CIO, who joined mid 2014 from Deutsche Bank. Andrew built the financial processing systems for Deutsche Bank, a global trading platform processing massive amounts of financial orders every second. He has done a huge amount of work to ensure the Brightpearl platform is scalable and reliable for small and mid-size merchants.”

He also sees a good season ahead for sellers. “I’m optimistic our independent merchants will have an even bigger and better holiday season this year. We saw an increase in online sales more so than offline last year and we expect that trend to continue in 2016.”

As for the top challenges facing online merchants today, O’Carroll said understanding what it takes to scale and understanding profitability are key, as is figuring out the right technology to help them select the right solution. Another challenge – having the time to spend on activities to grow the business.

“Using real-time business performance data to conduct efficient procurement, online advertising, customer communications, and merchandising strategies which are tailored for each channel are the priorities high growth merchants want to focus on. There’s not enough hours in the day for most teams to focus on these key activities, especially if they don’t have a service such as Brightpearl to automate the processes which run the business on a daily basis.”

Are marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and Rakuten friends or foes for merchants?

“It really depends on the type of business and their target customer profile,” O’Carroll said. “Amazon is a fantastic channel for companies who are extremely efficient in terms of managing their pricing and distribution strategies. For those companies who are not prepared, Amazon can quickly destroy a price point. eBay has similar characteristics but tends to “cheapen” brands if used all the time. It can be very useful to run flash sales to clear stock, as can services such as Rakuten.”

The new Brightpearl CEO isn’t just an executive – he’s also an entrepreneur himself. In 1994 he founded Adnet, Ireland’s first online advertising agency building database driven websites and offering SEO services. And in 1999, he founded Vordel which became a leading provider of XML security solutions that was sold to Axway in 2012.

Brightpearl was founded in 2007 and has offices in the U.S. and UK. Used by more than 1,400 merchants around the world, its cloud-based software and services combines its merchants’ purchasing, inventory management, CRM, order processing, accounting, fulfillment, and reporting into a single platform.

O’Carroll said, “Today, customers have been trained by Amazon and others to expect very high levels of customer experience. High-growth independent retailers can compete by reaching the same levels of efficiency used by the bigger players.”

You can learn more about Brightpearl on the Brightpearl website.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.