Alan Trzuskoski from Abe’s of Maine – Podcast Transcript

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Shaun Ryan:  [0:04] Hi. I’m Shaun Ryan from SLI Systems and this is the eCommerce podcast. Today, I have Alan Trzuskoski the head of eCommerce for Abe’s of Maine. Welcome Alan.

Alan:  [0:14] Trzuskoski: Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Shaun:  [0:15] So, traditional question to get us started. What was the first thing you ever bought online?

Alan:  [0:21] Oh jeez. It’s been a long time. If you’re talking about an actual product, I’m not sure. But the first thing I ever paid for online was Sierra Online which was the early stages of social networking. It was a place where you could play some of the Sierra video games like The Red Baron and then one of these other role playing games online, through the Internet, with other users as well as chat in chat rooms.

Shaun:  [0:49] Ah, cool. And that’s a new one and that counts. [laughs] What was your most recent purchase?

Alan:  [0:58] Most recent purchase? Well, I just bought “From Good to Better”, I think is the name of the book and “How to Win Friends and Influence People” on the recommendation on some of my professors from my final semester of my MBA.

Shaun:  [1:16] OK. And were they physical books you bought?

Alan:  [1:21] I’m sorry?

Shaun:  [1:22] They’re books that you bought.

Alan:  [1:25] Yes, they’re books.

Shaun:  [1:25] Cool. And then, where did you buy them from?

Alan:  [laughs] [1:29] Amazon.com.

Shaun:  [1:30] Amazon.com.

Alan:  [1:31] It’s like the world’s largest bookstore. [laughter]

Shaun:  [1:33] Yeah. I had a funny feeling you were going to say that and I trust that the experience was a good one.

Alan:  [1:38] Yes, it was.

Shaun:  [1:39] Yeah. So, Alan, could you give me a little bit of background on yourself? How did you end up at Abe’s of Maine?

Alan:  [1:46] Sure. Well, it’s funny how I wound up at Abe’s of Maine. It’s kind of one of those stories that exemplify it’s not necessarily what you know it’s who you know.

Shaun:  [1:55] Yep.

Alan:  [1:55] Of course knowing something always helps, but I actually wound up at Abe’s of Maine because I was a client success manager for PowerReviews and I had met the CEO of Abe’s of Maine and he told me a little bit about his problems of what he wanted to accomplish in the coming years. And I thought about it a lot and I said, “Well, you know, for free advice, if it were my business, these are the things I would do.” [2:25] And one thing kind of led to another and they asked me to switch teams. So, it was really a great relationship change because I still work with PowerReviews, but now I get to leverage the relationships from being back on the client’s side.

Shaun:  [2:42] Cool. And what’s your history before then?

Alan:  [2:46] Before that, sort of similarly, I was actually a web analyst at B&H which sells electronics and cameras in New York City and on the web.

Shaun:  [3:01] Cool. And you’re actually based in Maine, is that right?

Alan:  [3:08] No, we’re actually based in New Jersey.

Shaun:  [3:10] In New Jersey. [laughs]

Alan:  [3:11] The store was founded in Maine about 30 years ago. The first five or ten years were in Maine, but the three brothers who are the founders of the business decided to move back because they’re originally from Brooklyn and bring the business back to Brooklyn for probably about 10 or 15 years, and then in the past five or so years, they’ve been in New Jersey.

Shaun:  [3:37] Great. So three brothers started the company?

Alan:  [3:41] Yeah. So it’s a family owned and operated business, which is very interesting and unique. It has its challenges, but it also has a lot of benefits of being a family owned and operated business.

Shaun:  [3:53] And was one of those brothers called “Abe?” [laughs]

Alan:  [3:56] Yes. My boss is Abe.

Shaun:  [3:57] Your boss is Abe. So Abe is still around. Great.

Alan:  [4:00] Yes.

Shaun:  [4:02] Just a little bit more about the company. So, what do you sell, predominantly?

Alan:  [4:10] Predominantly we are a consumer electronics and specialty photography shop. We are selling more and more appliances as time goes on. So that’s kind of what I think may be one of our growth categories.

Shaun:  [4:27] Right. So that’s what leveraging the brand so that you can sell more to your customers.

Alan:  [4:35] Exactly.

Shaun:  [4:36] Yep. And do you have physical stores?

Alan:  [4:40] We have one physical location. It’s in the front of our corporate office which is in the front of our fulfillment/shipping center. So, it’s good to have a store. I think that, in a lot of ways, that’s required just to be authorized for a number of different brands.

Shaun:  [5:01] Right. OK. I’m very familiar with that. I’ve seen that sort of set up with other customers of ours. So, tell me a little bit, what’s special about Abe’s of Maine? What makes you guys stand out?

Alan:  [5:19] What makes us stand out? Well, it’s a funny question and actually we’re going a little bit of ‑ not a rebranding, but a deepening of the brand. Our focus on service and family orientation is really what is at the core of this business. [5:35] I’m relatively new to this business. I’m there since January, so almost six months.

Shaun:  [5:41] Yeah.

Alan:  [5:43] But really, just focusing on that family and service is what we’re going into the future with. And that’s, I think, what’s unique about us.

Shaun:  [5:55] OK. Cool. So, can you tell me a little bit about the economics of the business? Is the business growing? If so, how fast has it grown over the last year?

Alan:  [6:07] The last year presented its own problems. I think pound for pound the world, everybody was having problems over the past couple of years. So growth was slow to flat, somewhere in between those areas depending on what part of the year you’re talking about. [6:26] So year over year some things were flat, but the holiday seasons were good. So I think, as a whole, we’re up a little bit and I think that I see a lot of growth in the coming year. We’re doing a lot of stuff. Since I’ve been here, we’re doing a lot of stuff to really tighten up the ship.

Shaun:  [6:48] So I’m interested to hear about that stuff. You mentioned some new categories potentially, what else are you doing to help accelerate growth?

Alan:  [6:58] Well, we are also getting a little bit more meshed with you guys, actually. We are trying to tighten up some of the real estate and leverage you to host much more than just our search pages. We currently have a browse funnel as well as a search funnel and they’re two funnels that don’t really match. [7:23] So we’re going to, once we get our search funnel to its final state, we’re going to switch the navigation funnel over to an SLI hosted funnel so that it’s a very similar experience in both search as well as browse. And that way we can also merchandise effectively and similarly in both places. And hopefully get our users from start to product page in less clicks and a less confusing manner.

Shaun:  [7:52] OK. Yeah, that does make a lot of sense and obviously I’m a little bit biased here. But I think the general idea of having a consistent experience between your search and your navigation is a good one because then your users only have to learn one interface ‑ where your refinements are, what ordering options do you have, what view options. It’s going to be a consistent interface between search and nav. So you should see benefits from that.

Alan:  [8:21] Absolutely, I’m sure of it.

Shaun:  [8:22] So, what other initiatives do you have in the pipeline to help improve growth?

Alan:  [8:30] We’ve got a little bit of personalization going on. As well as just investing in new acquisition channels to bring more traffic to our site. In addition to that, trying to found some more strategic relationships in the existing channels that we have. [8:49] So whether it be in the affiliate channel, a little bit of a deeper relationship with some of our top affiliates so that they’re even more excited about sending traffic our way. As well as some of the new growth channels, whether it be Bing or additional Google advertising. We’re seeing a lot of traction in the Bing and the Yahoos of the world.

Shaun:  [9:17] That’s interesting. Is that because their growth of the search pie is increasing or is it because there aren’t as many advertisers there so there’s more opportunities on the advertising side of things?

Alan:  [9:32] I’m not a hundred percent sure, but I’d probably go with their piece of the pie is getting bigger and the combination of there’s just less competition on that side of the fence.

Shaun:  [9:45] Yep. Yeah, that makes sense. So, you mentioned the personalization. What are you looking to do there?

Alan:  [9:59] Well, really, we’re kind of restructuring, as I mentioned, some of the funnel to get users from the home page to the actual product page. So, on the home page and our category level pages, want to put some personalization ‑ “You viewed this, you might like this better.” Or, “You should check out these products.” [10:25] Those types of things. At first at the bottom of the page, but also try and send, via email, a follow up email after somebody’s placed a purchase. These are some of the accessories that you might like to purchase.

Shaun:  [10:40] I got it. Yep. So there’s personalization based on browsing history and on buying history, both on the site and via email.

Alan:  [10:48] Exactly.

Shaun:  [10:49] Great. So, can you tell me a little bit about the technologies that you use to run your online store? You mentioned using SLI, but what else are you using?

Alan:  [11:00] Let’s see, we’ve got PowerReviews. We use Answer Box as well as rating and reviews. So, Answer Box has actually been ‑ we did a little bit of analysis on it, essentially as an acquisition channel. And if you take our service fees and all the details of that and look at just the traffic that comes back from the email that gets generated from answering a question, it’s a really efficient acquisition channel.

Shaun:  [11:32] Ah, interesting.

Alan:  [11:32] So that is one of the technologies that we invest in, both monetarily as well as people‑wise.

Shaun:  [11:38] So, can you tell me a little bit about the product that’s a question and answer product or so, right?

Alan:  [11:43] Yes. Yeah. That’s right. Sorry, I should have backed up a step. So, it’s essentially the opportunity for the user to ask questions on our product page and either the community to answer that question or one of our in‑house experts to answer that question.

Shaun:  [12:02] OK. And when someone has a question answered that increases the likelihood that they’re going to make a purchase?

Alan:  [12:08] Right. Because the PowerReviews system generates an email going to the user that says, “Here’s the question you recently asked and now here’s the answer that either in‑house specialists answered or the community member answered.” So, it has got the question and the answer as well as links back to the particular product page that the question was asked on.

Shaun:  [12:33] Cool. Cool. That’s real interesting. So, any other technologies you find that are worth your while?

Alan:  [12:44] Those are the big ones. There are definitely a number of other technologies. Google Analytics for AB testing and general tracking. I know SLI is the big one, but in addition that, we’re looking at some of the ‑ I’m forgetting your analytics product’s name right now. But we just implemented that recently. We’ve got a test going to see whether the grid view or the list view is a more effective conversion method.

Shaun:  [13:20] OK. So you’re doing the mulitvariant testing with the conversion optimizer.

Alan:  [13:24] Yes.

Shaun:  [13:26] Excellent. The results from that are going to be really interesting.

Alan:  [13:29] Yeah. And not to carve so much on SLI just because it’s an SLI podcast, but we recently, also, implemented Ajax and it really looks fantastic on the site. And I know my boss was a little bit blown away by the new user interaction that he had on the website.

Shaun:  [13:51] Great. So, I’m obviously fairly familiar with that, but [laughs] for the benefit of our listeners, could you describe what you mean by the Ajax?

Alan:  [14:00] Sure. Well, Ajax is ‑ you might know a little bit more about ‑ but it’s basically a new coding style so that the whole page does not have to reload. Instead only portions of the content within the page reload. So, if you were on abesofmaine.com and did a search for Nikon and then you wanted to narrow by category, you could click the particular category and be left‑hand attribute navigation as well as the header and the footer would still remain. And then the products in the list view would fade out and then would fade back in with products that match the narrowed down inquiry.

Shaun:  [14:45] Cool. That sounds like a good description. So the benefits are it’s just a slicker, faster interface.

Alan:  [14:55] Yes. And we’ve got other things coming out that ‑ Ajax was kind of the base level and then we’ve got some stuff that we want to layer on top of that which, actually, quite literally, are layers when you mouse over an image showing the larger image and a couple of other details.

Shaun:  [15:13] Great. Yeah. So that’s a common technique for when you have your products in a grid view, you use the mouseover pop‑up to show larger images and more details about the product.

Alan:  [15:25] Exactly.

Shaun:  [15:26] Right. So, what are your biggest headaches, Alan?

Alan:  [15:32] Biggest headaches. A system that grew organically for a number of years since the early days being on the web and selling products through the web. And it kind of grew more dramatically for the past ten years and I still have some legacy stuff that I have to deal with [laughs] on a regular basis.

Shaun:  [15:58] So, legacy system. Yeah, so it’s good you’ve grown. But do you see yourself replacing that system at some stage?

Alan:  [16:08] It’s tough because some elements of it have grown ‑ actually predate the web. So some things are kind of 20 years of development. So, replacing it, yes. I would love to replace it, but I think that it may be a much larger project than it may be worth. [16:28] But maybe that’s something to do. Hopefully, with the implementation of all this new stuff, I can justify the budget to replace everything.

Shaun:  [16:38] Yep. Fantastic. Finally, Alan, there’s obviously lots of stuff happening in eCommerce, lots of different trends. How do you keep up with it all and what do you see as the most important things?

Alan:  [16:56] Well, the trends, how do I keep up with it all? Through networking. I attend some networking dinners and I try and touch base. From being a client success manager, I have some good contacts with counterparts at businesses that are non‑competitive with mine. [17:14] So, I keep in touch with them on, maybe, a monthly basis. We’ll have a call‑chat about what’s the latest and the greatest. Then, also, I love to talk to vendors because they know all the latest and the greatest technologies and how they can benefit me even if I haven’t implemented them.

Shaun:  [17:36] So, what are some of those latest and greatest things that you are thinking about that you haven’t implemented yet?

Alan:  [17:48] Retargeting. I’d love to get deeper into the personalization. We don’t actually have it on our site so much. So, those are the big things I’d love to get involved with on the medium‑term.

Shaun:  [18:03] Excellent. Well, it sounds like you’ve got a lot of opportunities ahead of you, Alan. So, I just want to wrap up there and thank you very much for your time today.

Alan:  [18:12] My pleasure.

Shaun:  [18:13] Thank you very much. That brings us to the end of the eCommerce podcast. I’m Shaun Ryan from SLI Systems. Thank you. 

Shaun Ryan:  [0:04] Hi. I’m Shaun Ryan from SLI Systems and this is the eCommerce podcast. Today, I have Alan Trzuskoski the head of eCommerce for Abe’s of Maine. Welcome Alan.

Alan:  [0:14] Trzuskoski: Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Shaun:  [0:15] So, traditional question to get us started. What was the first thing you ever bought online?

Alan:  [0:21] Oh jeez. It’s been a long time. If you’re talking about an actual product, I’m not sure. But the first thing I ever paid for online was Sierra Online which was the early stages of social networking. It was a place where you could play some of the Sierra video games like The Red Baron and then one of these other role playing games online, through the Internet, with other users as well as chat in chat rooms.

Shaun:  [0:49] Ah, cool. And that’s a new one and that counts. [laughs] What was your most recent purchase?

Alan:  [0:58] Most recent purchase? Well, I just bought “From Good to Better”, I think is the name of the book and “How to Win Friends and Influence People” on the recommendation on some of my professors from my final semester of my MBA.

Shaun:  [1:16] OK. And were they physical books you bought?

Alan:  [1:21] I’m sorry?

Shaun:  [1:22] They’re books that you bought.

Alan:  [1:25] Yes, they’re books.

Shaun:  [1:25] Cool. And then, where did you buy them from?

Alan:  [laughs] [1:29] Amazon.com.

Shaun:  [1:30] Amazon.com.

Alan:  [1:31] It’s like the world’s largest bookstore. [laughter]

Shaun:  [1:33] Yeah. I had a funny feeling you were going to say that and I trust that the experience was a good one.

Alan:  [1:38] Yes, it was.

Shaun:  [1:39] Yeah. So, Alan, could you give me a little bit of background on yourself? How did you end up at Abe’s of Maine?

Alan:  [1:46] Sure. Well, it’s funny how I wound up at Abe’s of Maine. It’s kind of one of those stories that exemplify it’s not necessarily what you know it’s who you know.

Shaun:  [1:55] Yep.

Alan:  [1:55] Of course knowing something always helps, but I actually wound up at Abe’s of Maine because I was a client success manager for PowerReviews and I had met the CEO of Abe’s of Maine and he told me a little bit about his problems of what he wanted to accomplish in the coming years. And I thought about it a lot and I said, “Well, you know, for free advice, if it were my business, these are the things I would do.” [2:25] And one thing kind of led to another and they asked me to switch teams. So, it was really a great relationship change because I still work with PowerReviews, but now I get to leverage the relationships from being back on the client’s side.

Shaun:  [2:42] Cool. And what’s your history before then?

Alan:  [2:46] Before that, sort of similarly, I was actually a web analyst at B&H which sells electronics and cameras in New York City and on the web.

Shaun:  [3:01] Cool. And you’re actually based in Maine, is that right?

Alan:  [3:08] No, we’re actually based in New Jersey.

Shaun:  [3:10] In New Jersey. [laughs]

Alan:  [3:11] The store was founded in Maine about 30 years ago. The first five or ten years were in Maine, but the three brothers who are the founders of the business decided to move back because they’re originally from Brooklyn and bring the business back to Brooklyn for probably about 10 or 15 years, and then in the past five or so years, they’ve been in New Jersey.

Shaun:  [3:37] Great. So three brothers started the company?

Alan:  [3:41] Yeah. So it’s a family owned and operated business, which is very interesting and unique. It has its challenges, but it also has a lot of benefits of being a family owned and operated business.

Shaun:  [3:53] And was one of those brothers called “Abe?” [laughs]

Alan:  [3:56] Yes. My boss is Abe.

Shaun:  [3:57] Your boss is Abe. So Abe is still around. Great.

Alan:  [4:00] Yes.

Shaun:  [4:02] Just a little bit more about the company. So, what do you sell, predominantly?

Alan:  [4:10] Predominantly we are a consumer electronics and specialty photography shop. We are selling more and more appliances as time goes on. So that’s kind of what I think may be one of our growth categories.

Shaun:  [4:27] Right. So that’s what leveraging the brand so that you can sell more to your customers.

Alan:  [4:35] Exactly.

Shaun:  [4:36] Yep. And do you have physical stores?

Alan:  [4:40] We have one physical location. It’s in the front of our corporate office which is in the front of our fulfillment/shipping center. So, it’s good to have a store. I think that, in a lot of ways, that’s required just to be authorized for a number of different brands.

Shaun:  [5:01] Right. OK. I’m very familiar with that. I’ve seen that sort of set up with other customers of ours. So, tell me a little bit, what’s special about Abe’s of Maine? What makes you guys stand out?

Alan:  [5:19] What makes us stand out? Well, it’s a funny question and actually we’re going a little bit of ‑ not a rebranding, but a deepening of the brand. Our focus on service and family orientation is really what is at the core of this business. [5:35] I’m relatively new to this business. I’m there since January, so almost six months.

Shaun:  [5:41] Yeah.

Alan:  [5:43] But really, just focusing on that family and service is what we’re going into the future with. And that’s, I think, what’s unique about us.

Shaun:  [5:55] OK. Cool. So, can you tell me a little bit about the economics of the business? Is the business growing? If so, how fast has it grown over the last year?

Alan:  [6:07] The last year presented its own problems. I think pound for pound the world, everybody was having problems over the past couple of years. So growth was slow to flat, somewhere in between those areas depending on what part of the year you’re talking about. [6:26] So year over year some things were flat, but the holiday seasons were good. So I think, as a whole, we’re up a little bit and I think that I see a lot of growth in the coming year. We’re doing a lot of stuff. Since I’ve been here, we’re doing a lot of stuff to really tighten up the ship.

Shaun:  [6:48] So I’m interested to hear about that stuff. You mentioned some new categories potentially, what else are you doing to help accelerate growth?

Alan:  [6:58] Well, we are also getting a little bit more meshed with you guys, actually. We are trying to tighten up some of the real estate and leverage you to host much more than just our search pages. We currently have a browse funnel as well as a search funnel and they’re two funnels that don’t really match. [7:23] So we’re going to, once we get our search funnel to its final state, we’re going to switch the navigation funnel over to an SLI hosted funnel so that it’s a very similar experience in both search as well as browse. And that way we can also merchandise effectively and similarly in both places. And hopefully get our users from start to product page in less clicks and a less confusing manner.

Shaun:  [7:52] OK. Yeah, that does make a lot of sense and obviously I’m a little bit biased here. But I think the general idea of having a consistent experience between your search and your navigation is a good one because then your users only have to learn one interface ‑ where your refinements are, what ordering options do you have, what view options. It’s going to be a consistent interface between search and nav. So you should see benefits from that.

Alan:  [8:21] Absolutely, I’m sure of it.

Shaun:  [8:22] So, what other initiatives do you have in the pipeline to help improve growth?

Alan:  [8:30] We’ve got a little bit of personalization going on. As well as just investing in new acquisition channels to bring more traffic to our site. In addition to that, trying to found some more strategic relationships in the existing channels that we have. [8:49] So whether it be in the affiliate channel, a little bit of a deeper relationship with some of our top affiliates so that they’re even more excited about sending traffic our way. As well as some of the new growth channels, whether it be Bing or additional Google advertising. We’re seeing a lot of traction in the Bing and the Yahoos of the world.

Shaun:  [9:17] That’s interesting. Is that because their growth of the search pie is increasing or is it because there aren’t as many advertisers there so there’s more opportunities on the advertising side of things?

Alan:  [9:32] I’m not a hundred percent sure, but I’d probably go with their piece of the pie is getting bigger and the combination of there’s just less competition on that side of the fence.

Shaun:  [9:45] Yep. Yeah, that makes sense. So, you mentioned the personalization. What are you looking to do there?

Alan:  [9:59] Well, really, we’re kind of restructuring, as I mentioned, some of the funnel to get users from the home page to the actual product page. So, on the home page and our category level pages, want to put some personalization ‑ “You viewed this, you might like this better.” Or, “You should check out these products.” [10:25] Those types of things. At first at the bottom of the page, but also try and send, via email, a follow up email after somebody’s placed a purchase. These are some of the accessories that you might like to purchase.

Shaun:  [10:40] I got it. Yep. So there’s personalization based on browsing history and on buying history, both on the site and via email.

Alan:  [10:48] Exactly.

Shaun:  [10:49] Great. So, can you tell me a little bit about the technologies that you use to run your online store? You mentioned using SLI, but what else are you using?

Alan:  [11:00] Let’s see, we’ve got PowerReviews. We use Answer Box as well as rating and reviews. So, Answer Box has actually been ‑ we did a little bit of analysis on it, essentially as an acquisition channel. And if you take our service fees and all the details of that and look at just the traffic that comes back from the email that gets generated from answering a question, it’s a really efficient acquisition channel.

Shaun:  [11:32] Ah, interesting.

Alan:  [11:32] So that is one of the technologies that we invest in, both monetarily as well as people‑wise.

Shaun:  [11:38] So, can you tell me a little bit about the product that’s a question and answer product or so, right?

Alan:  [11:43] Yes. Yeah. That’s right. Sorry, I should have backed up a step. So, it’s essentially the opportunity for the user to ask questions on our product page and either the community to answer that question or one of our in‑house experts to answer that question.

Shaun:  [12:02] OK. And when someone has a question answered that increases the likelihood that they’re going to make a purchase?

Alan:  [12:08] Right. Because the PowerReviews system generates an email going to the user that says, “Here’s the question you recently asked and now here’s the answer that either in‑house specialists answered or the community member answered.” So, it has got the question and the answer as well as links back to the particular product page that the question was asked on.

Shaun:  [12:33] Cool. Cool. That’s real interesting. So, any other technologies you find that are worth your while?

Alan:  [12:44] Those are the big ones. There are definitely a number of other technologies. Google Analytics for AB testing and general tracking. I know SLI is the big one, but in addition that, we’re looking at some of the ‑ I’m forgetting your analytics product’s name right now. But we just implemented that recently. We’ve got a test going to see whether the grid view or the list view is a more effective conversion method.

Shaun:  [13:20] OK. So you’re doing the mulitvariant testing with the conversion optimizer.

Alan:  [13:24] Yes.

Shaun:  [13:26] Excellent. The results from that are going to be really interesting.

Alan:  [13:29] Yeah. And not to carve so much on SLI just because it’s an SLI podcast, but we recently, also, implemented Ajax and it really looks fantastic on the site. And I know my boss was a little bit blown away by the new user interaction that he had on the website.

Shaun:  [13:51] Great. So, I’m obviously fairly familiar with that, but [laughs] for the benefit of our listeners, could you describe what you mean by the Ajax?

Alan:  [14:00] Sure. Well, Ajax is ‑ you might know a little bit more about ‑ but it’s basically a new coding style so that the whole page does not have to reload. Instead only portions of the content within the page reload. So, if you were on abesofmaine.com and did a search for Nikon and then you wanted to narrow by category, you could click the particular category and be left‑hand attribute navigation as well as the header and the footer would still remain. And then the products in the list view would fade out and then would fade back in with products that match the narrowed down inquiry.

Shaun:  [14:45] Cool. That sounds like a good description. So the benefits are it’s just a slicker, faster interface.

Alan:  [14:55] Yes. And we’ve got other things coming out that ‑ Ajax was kind of the base level and then we’ve got some stuff that we want to layer on top of that which, actually, quite literally, are layers when you mouse over an image showing the larger image and a couple of other details.

Shaun:  [15:13] Great. Yeah. So that’s a common technique for when you have your products in a grid view, you use the mouseover pop‑up to show larger images and more details about the product.

Alan:  [15:25] Exactly.

Shaun:  [15:26] Right. So, what are your biggest headaches, Alan?

Alan:  [15:32] Biggest headaches. A system that grew organically for a number of years since the early days being on the web and selling products through the web. And it kind of grew more dramatically for the past ten years and I still have some legacy stuff that I have to deal with [laughs] on a regular basis.

Shaun:  [15:58] So, legacy system. Yeah, so it’s good you’ve grown. But do you see yourself replacing that system at some stage?

Alan:  [16:08] It’s tough because some elements of it have grown ‑ actually predate the web. So some things are kind of 20 years of development. So, replacing it, yes. I would love to replace it, but I think that it may be a much larger project than it may be worth. [16:28] But maybe that’s something to do. Hopefully, with the implementation of all this new stuff, I can justify the budget to replace everything.

Shaun:  [16:38] Yep. Fantastic. Finally, Alan, there’s obviously lots of stuff happening in eCommerce, lots of different trends. How do you keep up with it all and what do you see as the most important things?

Alan:  [16:56] Well, the trends, how do I keep up with it all? Through networking. I attend some networking dinners and I try and touch base. From being a client success manager, I have some good contacts with counterparts at businesses that are non‑competitive with mine. [17:14] So, I keep in touch with them on, maybe, a monthly basis. We’ll have a call‑chat about what’s the latest and the greatest. Then, also, I love to talk to vendors because they know all the latest and the greatest technologies and how they can benefit me even if I haven’t implemented them.

Shaun:  [17:36] So, what are some of those latest and greatest things that you are thinking about that you haven’t implemented yet?

Alan:  [17:48] Retargeting. I’d love to get deeper into the personalization. We don’t actually have it on our site so much. So, those are the big things I’d love to get involved with on the medium‑term.

Shaun:  [18:03] Excellent. Well, it sounds like you’ve got a lot of opportunities ahead of you, Alan. So, I just want to wrap up there and thank you very much for your time today.

Alan:  [18:12] My pleasure.

Shaun:  [18:13] Thank you very much. That brings us to the end of the eCommerce podcast. I’m Shaun Ryan from SLI Systems. Thank you.