SalesTechStar Interview with Cory Cummings, CEO at Pack Digital
Cory Cummings, CEO at Pack Digital chats about the benefits of low-code platforms and how they will play a key role in the future of B2B tech:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Cory, tell us more about Pack Digital, what inspired the platform?
Sitting beside brand founders and ecommerce teams for five years that were doing $10M to 150M per year, I noticed everyone was annoyed with two things — website speed and storefront lack of control. I took issue with the tools and time it took to build, manage, and redesign custom online storefronts. Back when I was a Senior Front-end Developer, I was either building unique storefronts from the ground up or inheriting others. Those teaching moments allowed me to see a lot, and I latched onto things that I believed would soon to be important for emerging brands selling online.
Those days inspired me to use flexible, headless architecture to build a front-end commerce platform that non-technical marketing and engineering teams at consumer brands could use. Pack is a platform that simplifies and de-risks headless commerce for merchants by providing an end-to-end infrastructure that helps them create and control unique customer experiences in a low-code environment, while integrating with existing backend commerce tools.
We’d love to hear about your new seed round and how it will be used to boost near future growth and development initiatives?
Our seed round, led by Alpaca, came after Pack grew year-over-year revenue by more than 100 percent for the last two consecutive years. We bootstrapped a successful product that consumer brands were telling their peers about, but felt it was time to gear up for the growth we have been experiencing.
The capital will accelerate the delivery of our low-code platform while also ramping up our sales, marketing, and partnership teams.
With so many changes to the eCommerce industry, how do you feel SaaS companies today need to keep up to meet smaller and mid-size business demands?
Many SaaS companies try to solve too much. I believe the mature SMB brands look for vendors with one great offering or capability instead of several good ones.
To meet the demands of SMB businesses, I see more and more SaaS companies taking a low-code approach to provide a service anyone can use that improves speed to market, even if they’re not technical. This allows brands to quickly push things to consumers, gather feedback, and iterate faster. Just as important, in some cases, low-code can help brands avoid the war for tech talent.
There’s another trend amongst the best SaaS ecommerce companies where they’re providing a strong user experience and clear path of what needs to happen rather than having users hit obstacles in the process and then forcing something upon them that requires programming. Using ecommerce landing pages as an example, the old way was to go through a dev team to stand them up. Today it’s easy for anyone to spin up a landing page on various platforms, and if edits need to be made the ecommerce or digital team can then pull in a dev.
If you could change 3 things about eCommerce today, what would they be?
I’d like to see standout brand identities from the start. I appreciate the look of Allbirds’ website but not every new brand needs to copy it.
I’d bust the myths around headless commerce. While building site infrastructure from scratch can seem intimidating, there are easy-to-use and affordable tools worth leaning on that can make headless commerce much more digestible and that de-risk the approach. I’d have everyone in the ecommerce industry — from ecommerce managers to investors — to know that going headless not only improves time to market and page load speed, it gives businesses scalability and complete control post-launch.
It’d be great to see more brand founders and executive teams give more attention to how employee retention is impacted by the ecommerce tech stack they provide employees. Leaders determine if tools and software help or hurt marketing, engineering, and design teams. Introducing forward-thinking tech boosts employee morale and can aid in preventing burnout.
Can you share a few highlights on the type of SaaS trends you feel will drive online marketplaces in the near-future?
I’m a developer by trade and have played crucial roles in building bespoke solutions that require a lot of overhead pre and post-launch. I believe those days are behind us and that “low-code” is the future.
Brands are switching over from standard websites to a progressive web app (PWA), not only for speed and performance, but to get more flexibility with their front-end from a marketing-sales standpoint.
Some last thoughts, takeaways, digital sales/eCommerce/customer communication tips and best practices before we wrap up!
I think combining headless commerce and low-code solutions will reshape ecommerce marketing. Without having to understand traditional code, marketers can move faster than ever when it comes to launching storefronts, adjusting to customer behavior, updating site content, running tests, telling stories, launching products, gathering customer insights, managing unique user experiences, and more.
Today there are too many similarities between consumer brand identities. All fledgling brands — from holding companies or first-time entrepreneurs — are more or less using the same ecommerce site design approaches and templates. While this can work for a bit, it doesn’t develop or improve brand recall or recognition. As early as possible, brand recall strategies should be executed by marketers, and designing a custom front-end presentation layer, which is what consumers see, is an early step in the process.
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