Our ‘Profile: A Day in the Life of’ feature takes a look at some of the global professionals working across performance marketing. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the flourishing industry.
In this edition we head to Ulyanovsk in Russia, to speak with the Chief Executive of Ecwid, Ruslan Fazlyev.
Job title and company:
In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?
Ecwid is a free shopping cart that allows anyone to easily create a professional online store and embed it into any existing site, blog, mobile, or social network in five minutes (we call this a “sell anywhere” approach).
What are the company’s unique selling points?
Ecwid is a multi-platform shopping cart widget which enables merchants to create – with no IT support – integrated online storefronts encompassing traditional e-commerce, mobile and social commerce sales. It is a new breed of shopping cart software offering superior performance and flexibility. It is Cloud-based; lightning-fast; works with any existing sites and takes less than five minutes to set up.
Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones?
Ecwid recently announced that we have surpassed the milestone of 500,000 customers worldwide, spanning 175 countries and 45 languages. The Ecwid Facebook app is also now the leading shopping cart application on Facebook, with more than 50,000 merchants operating stores on Facebook.
Over the past year, Ecwid has also successfully built partnerships with leading hosting, web design, website builder and CMS companies which use the Ecwid shopping cart as their preferred e-commerce application. Today our list of partners includes such marquee names as WordPress and Endurance International (parent company of major hosting services including HostGator, Domain.com and others). This increases our reach tremendously. Also, these partnerships underscore Ecwid’s ultimate mission to democratize e-commerce – making e-commerce available to all merchants wherever they may wish to sell, online and around the world.
In May, we secured a series B funding round: $5 million from Runa Capital and iTech Capital. We will use these resources to continue to build out our strategic partnerships, and enhance our product.
Duration in current role:
I have been the CEO of Ecwid since its founding in 2009.
Where are you based?
I am based in Ulyanovsk, Russia, along with the Ecwid technical team. In 2012, we relocated the company headquarters to San Diego, California.
Previous performance marketing-related companies you have worked at:
Before Ecwid I was a founder and CEO at X-Cart, world’s first PHP e-commerce platform. X-Cart was then also the first on the market to use SEO as the key traffic driver. SEO was a terrific tool back then. X-Cart’s demo shop had a certain brand of vacuum cleaners used as demo goods. These demo pages appeared higher than the manufacturer web site in Google search. This was just a side effect of X-Cart optimisation for eCommerce SEO. But each era has what it perceives to be the top lead-gen vehicle. Social tops it these days, that’s one of the reasons we founded Ecwid.
What are your main job responsibilities?
As noted above, I am focused on continuing to build out Ecwid’s footprint around the world, and enhancing our product. At Ecwid, we view excellent e-commerce shopping cart functionally as a key component of the performance marketing and advertising paradigm. By definition, performance-based advertising is a form of advertising in which the purchaser pays only when there are measurable results – which in some cases are credit card transactions. Major retailers who advertise brands on their homepage often must use completed purchases as the metric for determining their compensation. In order for performance marketing and advertising agreements with brands to create strong revenue streams, retailers need to pair these agreements with storefront technologies that are highly functional, easy to navigate and ultimately drive conversions.
Similarly, leading brands are making major investments to advertise on the world’s most popular websites, which increasingly includes the leading social networks like Facebook. The Ecwid control panel supports performance marketing and advertising arrangements with Facebook and other social networks by allowing brands to track the referring URL prior to a sale. In this way, referral data can help brands better understand the value of, and better appropriate, their online advertising dollars.
Similar to how retailers need superior storefront technologies to promote conversions, the major brands advertising on Facebook can also drive purchases straight from Ecwid-enabled storefronts on Facebook fan pages. This is the “sell anywhere” approach in action: it’s all about the ‘now,’ driving customers to buy at the exact moment their interest is piqued, wherever they may be online. For e-commerce managers, it’s also about ease of administration, or being able to simultaneously and seamlessly manage multiple storefronts as one. This is precisely what Ecwid delivers.
In addition, the Ecwid storefront is tailored to different online environments (for example, our storefront supports responsive design for mobile, enabling a more convenient, visually appealing shopping experience for mobile customers). If you’re leveraging a mobile ad network, for example, you need to maximise those investments through mobile storefront technologies that ultimately help push mobile consumers over the conversion finish line.
Take us through what you get up to on a typical working Monday:
I start my Monday with a work-out. After that I do one of the following:
- On odd weeks - one-on-one meetings with my direct reports, allocating 40 minutes per meeting and 10 minutes for the follow-up.
- On even weeks I allocate time for a big task that needs full concentration, like planning resource allocation for the following year.
What top three websites can you be found browsing during your lunch hour?
I normally spend my lunch time eating out with my employees. I don’t browse, but might do a quick check on Twitter. Most articles I read are found via Twitter or Quora.
What are your top three tips for someone looking to get their hands on a job like yours?
- The best way to become a founding CEO is to have a team of people you have experience working productively with – on non-profit/fun projects.
- Never start your company until you have an idea that possesses you to the point you CANNOT avoid starting it.
- You don’t really need any funding to get started. Go create.
Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years’ time?
Serial entrepreneur – just as I am today. It’s fun.
Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
Every night before I get to sleep I ask myself did I deserve to be called a company CEO today.