Interview with Magento’s VP Strategy Peter Sheldon on the Mobile First Podcast
- Digital Transformation /
- Mobile /
- Podcast /
How Ecommerce Is Making Life Simpler, Removing Friction, and Making Experiences Seamless and Intuitive (Ep. 41)
Peter is a well-known industry expert in eCommerce and omnichannel technology, having previously held the role of Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research where he spent 5 years leading Forrester’s global research on digital commerce technologies, helping to challenge the thinking and lead change for eCommerce executives undertaking major digital transformation and commerce technology programs. Today, Peter leads corporate strategy and business development for Magento.
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Here are the highlights of our conversation with our guest:
Peter is passionate about digital disruptions so he gets excited if he has opportunities to deliver innovations that completely disrupt the way we do things. It’s all about making life simpler, removing friction, and making experiences seamless and intuitive as there are still a lot of day-to-day things which we really do not need to go through. What gets him up in the morning is thinking of new ways to leverage technology to make lives more efficient.
Peter had a Bachelor’s Degree in Manufacturing, Engineering, and Control Systems so he left the university thinking that he wanted to be a mechanical or manufacturing engineer and build things. However when he walked through the Ford plants, it became clear that manufacturing wasn’t for him. E-commerce was emerging and Peter involved himself into a big, high profile project at Ford to attempt to sell cars online. This took him out of the factory, and prompted him to learn to code.
Joining Forrester was game-changing for Peter and for his career as it got him into a unique position to do research. For him, it was a privilege and a unique opportunity to have conversations with senior leaders and to be able to try to predict where things are going, drive insights and make recommendations to these leaders.
Magento is a global market leader in the enterprise e-commerce platform with over a quarter of million merchants globally to power their e-commerce sites. The platform transacts over $100B annually and a fun place to be because of their diverse, global clients. As VP Strategy at Magento Commerce, Peter is focused on the key technologies that will change the way consumers shop and interact.
Peter believes that mobile has probably been the single most disruptive thing that has happened in the industry and where we are today is a transformational shift. We are now rapidly moving beyond mobile first to mobile only. With the right mobile experience, it will be far easier to shop in a mobile device than a laptop or a desktop so we can rapidly going to a world where the vast majority of e-commerce transactions are done through a mobile device.
In his research, Peter shares that innovations that we should expect includes having a better ‘check out’ experience wherein we do not need to key in credit card information to complete a purchase because of digital wallets, Apple Pay, multiple payment options, or use of finger print or digital identity. The navigation of moving to pages will also move to become voice-based or maybe even, making a purchase may just be as simple as a thought – a thought will trigger a delivery at our doors two hours later. These examples are a bit far-fetched—but we may be closer to it than we know.
Accepting the fact that we are moving to a mobile-only world is a must so when you must think about the investments that you are going to make in the coming months, it should all be focused on how do you get to mobile only. You need to look at the ways that you are interfacing with your customers and rank them on how you compared to a mobile experience. Make sure that you are obsessing about the reality that we are rapidly moving towards a mobile-only world so if your desktop site does things which your mobile sites are not, you are in the wrong place as it should be the other way around.
Rapid Fire Questions
- What is your definition of innovation?
Innovation is something which causes and creates disruptions.
- Would you put more emphasis on the idea or the execution? How would you weigh each of them and why?
It all comes down to the execution as often, the idea is relatively easy to come up with. It’s how you drive the execution and how you come up with the details. 70% execution, 30% idea.
- What is your biggest learning lesson on your journey so far?
You got to obsess in the space that you are in. If you do not get excited coming to work every day or wake up in the middle of the night with something that you have been dreaming about at work, you are probably in the wrong career.
- What is your favorite business book?
Richard Branson Biographies
Elon Musk Biographies
- What is your favorite digital resource?
The Jason and Scott Show
- What is your favorite app and why?