Here’s a short interview on the Practical E-Commerce website with Jay Steinfeld of blinds.com.
I loved the (one and only) comment at the end (emphasis mine):
This seems to me like a variant of the “Follow The Money” technique deployed in a rapidly evolving environment. It works quite well but it does require nimble thinking and a willingness to step into the unknown and experiment.
The merchandising side requires a very flexible ecommerce system, one that can be changed rapidly with minimal costs. On the marketing side it requires some careful risk management and superb data analysis. You try something and measure if things got better or worse, also called A-B Testing. Then you do it over and over and over, sometimes making incremental improvements while mostly abandoning the things that don’t work.
The most difficult aspects I see when employing this method is people have great difficulty dealing with the intensive data throughput, the rapidity of change, the impermanence of everything and an overload on their decision making apparatus. People look for “stable” solutions that don’t require such heavy demands on their mental processing. The constant bombardment of data and decisions frequently overloads the individual.
There are some very good ways to deal with a business at this level but all require a change in tradtional thinking. Not everyone can accomplish this.
I have a suspicion that Mr. Steinfeld is quite bright and has developed his own methods for handling and processing huge amouts of data and making an inordinate number of daily key decisions without overstressing his systems. It’d be very interesting to learn how he does it.
Posted by: Steve Strickland
Thursday, September 20, 2007