The new wave of sustainability in eCommerce with Corinne Watson

Season #
Episode #

Eco-conscious business is a hot topic right now, but what does that really mean for DTC brands? How do businesses adopt sustainable practices and remain competitive in the market? As a writer and researcher for BigCommerce, Corinne Watson is all about understanding the ways that brands build sustainability into their processes. She and Kristen talk about the larger cultural and economic trends shaping the conversation right now, as well as simple, actionable steps brands can take to lower their footprint. Bonus: what changing demographics mean for the DTC space.

Show Notes

  • Want more from Corinne? Connect with her on Twitter (@corinnejuliette) and check out her work here:
  • How sustainability can become a retention tool
  • By the end of 2020, brands that don’t have sustainability programs in place are going to be differentiated- but not in a good way
  • DTC brands are much nimbler than large retailers and can pivot in new directions with a lot less work
  • Introducing eco-friendly initiatives gradually
  • Figuring out better approaches to shipping (and reducing return rates)
  • Sustainable practices can become a great source of user-generated content and organic conversation around your brand
  • Wait, but what’s greenwashing?
  • Thriving in the upcoming shakeup of DTC brands


Kristen: (00:06)

Hey guys and welcome back to Playing For Keeps. Today I am so excited about who I have on. I have Corinne Watson from BigCommerce. She's a writer and researcher for BigCommerce. Also, just happens to be one of my favorite people that I have ever met in the D2C space. I got to go to their office not too long ago in Austin, do some video work with them, meet the whole team. It was so much fun so I know this conversation is going to be a ton of fun. Hey Corinne, how are you doing today, and thank you so much for coming on the show.

Corinne Watson: (00:31)

Thanks Kristin. I'm super-excited to be here for Playing For Keeps. I love the podcast. I've been following you for quite some time and you're definitely one of my favorite people to work with as well. You kind of gave the perfect intro to me, but basically I am a content marketing manager over at BigCommerce. My average day here looks like writing content for our blog, writing our newsletter that goes out to our subscribers and merchants. I'm doing a lot of research, digging my heels into who's publishing what, and then networking with folks like yourself in the e-com community.

Kristen: (01:02)

Yay. It's going to be so fun. Basically what Corinne just said is she's an e-commerce expert, and that she's deep in content and research all day, which means she knows what she's talking about. And today we're going to talk about something I'm stoked to talk about and dive really deep into. It's going to be a huge focus for 2020. I've already talked to a couple of brands this season about this, and it's clearly going to be a big trend, not only in acquisition and marketing, but also retention, customer loyalty, which we will get into. And that topic is going to be sustainability in e-commerce.

Kristen: (01:37)

First off, Corinne, can you define what does sustainability in e-commerce even mean, because that's a whole thing that we can open.

Corinne Watson: (01:45)

Yeah. It's a huge question. What is sustainability? And I feel like this is the perfect time of year to be chatting about it, after the holidays where everyone has the huge pile of boxes of the shipping returns that they have to do. And then driving to the store and making returns and like "Oh, is this package actually sustainable? What is my impact here?" It's like I said, it's hard to define sustainability, but I'll boil it down and describe it the way that I see it, which is basically that it's the set of practices that anyone, people, businesses, teams, can put into place to make their personal and professional habits more conscious of the environment. That goes from having best recycling practices in your break room, through to your return policy and the way that you're shipping items out within your fulfillment. So anything and in between that as well is the larger scope of sustainability. And it's something that, like I said, we're holding a lens to, especially for 2020 as retail continues to shift online. And the big question mark of, what is shipping, what is the impact that shipping is having on sustainability?

Kristen: (02:57)

Yeah, so just expanding on that. As we're talking about, 2020 really is like you said, holding a lens to this and figuring out what does sustainability actually mean, what does it look like in businesses and then why is it important for customers in the long run? So why do you see these specific opportunities for D2C sustainability, and why do you think there's been this really big explosion of brands starting to focus on it?

Corinne Watson: (03:21)

Yeah, and I know we chatted about this a little bit before the call, but I feel like there's a little bit of a misconception around this explosion of sustainability. It's something that companies have been doing for a really, really long time. I would be remiss if I didn't mention Patagonia. I feel like anything that has to do with sustainability, we'll mention that brand. But there are also other folks, especially in the outdoor space, who have been using sustainability in their practices since the '60s and '70s. Right now, D2C is, really, it's turnkey. If you have a D2C brand, it's really easy for you to make adaptations to your fulfillment, to your product line, to do your marketing, to your team ethos. Which I think is why it's so easy for D2C brands to become sustainable.

Corinne Watson: (04:05)

The comparison that I always like to use is a Kmart or a Target. Imagine the lift that it would take for them to become baseline sustainable. It would take a very long time versus a D2C brand that maybe has 15 to 20 skews, five team members, they're either dropshipping or they have control over their fulfillment in a warehouse. There's just no comparison between how easy it would be for D2C versus a large legacy brand.

Kristen: (04:32)

Yeah, and just mentioning that, I hadn't even really thought about that. When you think of the big companies like Target, Walmart, Amazon, for them to even get to break even, sustainability is going to be a massive undertaking. So it actually is a pretty big opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves from those big players that are the biggest competition than I would assume, yeah?

Corinne Watson: (04:52)

Yeah, and you look at those larger brands and they're trying, right? But they're also the most subject to greenwashing or fake sustainability, where they'll try and we'll be able to segment one business unit and make that sustainable. The example that I like to use a lot is H&M, and they have their conscious line of clothing, but that's just one small... I think there's maybe 20 to 50 skews in that particular line. And people have researched where the fabric and the textiles come from that line and it's... You market yourself as conscious and sustainable, but it's not the same as making your entire business revolve around that like Everlane for example, or a lot of other smaller D2C brands that are making it their number one marketing message.

Kristen: (05:35)

Yeah, so really what is greenwashing? I've heard that before, greenwashing, fake sustainability. What does that really look like in practice?

Corinne Watson: (05:43)

Yeah, there are a few ways that I like to look at it. First off with greenwashing, it's basically the worst that you can be, where you're acting as though you're sustainable. You're marketing your brand as though it's sustainable, but there is nothing sustainable about it. So you're saying, "Oh, our clothing is made with hemp fibers. Our clothing is made out of recycled textiles." But maybe there's like 5% of your clothing line that actually comes from those recycled materials, or none of it does and you're just absolutely faking it.

Corinne Watson: (06:16)

And there are also a number of brands that make the decision to become sustainable but don't really realize what all that means. That happens a lot in D2C space too, where they're like, "Oh let's be sustainable. Let's just take a look at our shipping practices." It's clearly the easiest thing to make more sustainable. So they just get a recyclable poly mailer. But that's not it. That's not all of it. You have to look at your actual return policy. Are you marketing your products in a way where you're not encouraging people to buy multiple sizes, and then return the ones that don't fit?

Corinne Watson: (06:51)

You look at brands like ThirdLove, the bra and lingerie brand. And they have all of this enablement material online that makes you understand what size you are before getting it shipped to you. And so that hopefully reduces the return rate and then makes it easier for people to actually be sustainable. I'm getting a little bit off-track here, but there are a lot of brands that'll introduce a little bit of sustainability but not fully dive into the deep end of it, which isn't necessarily greenwashing or fake sustainability. You just have to watch yourself when you're marketing yourself as a fully sustainable brand, but not everything is sustainable.

Kristen: (07:27)

Yeah, and I think with this rise of conscious consumerism, that this goes hand-in-hand where at first when sustainability started coming out, it was a buzz word, and you could really dive into it as a brand and say, "We're going to market to the zero waste people who are very engaged with it." They're going to look at every single piece of the business. Those people are going to be investigating the brands that they work with.

Kristen: (07:51)

And then there's another segment of consumers who are, you see the recyclable materials, it feels good, you're going to buy just based off that feeling. But I think, as it's shifting, we're getting a lot more of these conscious consumers who are saying, "Okay cool, you have recycled boxes, but what else are you doing?" And they're actually going to start looking into these things and digging deeper. So really just doing one piece of it is, yes good, like you said, like get it started with one little piece, but also understand that you have to balance the messaging around it so that you're not saying we're fully sustainable when you're not, because that can really deter a big subset of customers I think.

Corinne Watson: (08:29)

Yeah, absolutely. You're so right. There are customers that either like the look and feel of things that are sustainable, and then there are also customers that live and breathe sustainable. They have made a vow. They are using a capsule wardrobe method. They are very, very into saving the planet.

Corinne Watson: (08:45)

And something for 2020 that I've chatted with a number of people about is, we have yet to get to the point where consumers are demanding sustainable practices from brands, but that's something that is around the corner. You look at Gen Z and you look at Millennials and how they're interacting so much more with brands and getting to know the heart of brands; they've already rejected fast fashion. We saw that towards the end of 2019, and actually in the beginning of 2019 as well. They no longer are going to associate themselves with those types of brands, and we have to listen to them. They're the people who are rising into purchasing power. So we clearly need to start listening to what they're demanding from brands. And that will become easier shipping practices, more sustainable, everything.

Kristen: (09:31)

Following up on that, especially on the shipping side of things, how do you then balance the argument of free two-day shipping will turn into conversions much quicker than maybe... Bite Toothpaste business is really a good example of this. I talked to them last season and they don't do rush or fast shipping unless it's specifically asked for from a customer. They only stick to existing postal routes, so that they are not adding anything to what's already existing in the sustainability and shipping and all that. So how do you balance as a brand looking at, "Okay, do we do this fast two-day shipping that might not be sustainable, but we'll get us quicker conversions? Or do we think longer term and think, okay, if we're moving into sustainability, at what point do we shift shipping practices?"

Corinne Watson: (10:16)

Yeah. Oh that's so tricky. And I think it has a lot to do with just what category your products are in. Fashion has been molded into the faster you can get it, the better. But people also abuse the system of shipping in fashion. And when Amazon rolled out with their one-day shipping last year, everyone kind of got upset at that and immediately called them out as not being sustainable. And, I'm sorry, what was the original question? Finding the balance between the two?

Kristen: (10:47)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Between fast shipping and sustainable shipping.

Corinne Watson: (10:51)

I know this is a cop-out answer, but I think that it starts with just serving your customers and seeing why they are demanding the products that quickly. And if they're not doing it quickly, then don't offer it. I don't think that it's going to be a race to the bottom with free shipping or with fast shipping, especially if you are tailoring your products to a buyer persona that is more conscious of being eco-friendly, if that makes sense.

Kristen: (11:17)

Yeah, and I don't think that is a cop-out answer at all. I think that is the perfect answer to that question, which is do best by your customers. So figure out what your customers actually want and what they actually care about. Again, going back to Bite Toothpaste, they know that their customers are very, very committed to zero waste. They're very into sustainability. Because they knew their customers and they knew that, okay, the founders that I was talking to, they were saying, "We know we're the ideal customer and this is what we care about. We don't care about two-day shipping." And then they learned that from their customers.

Kristen: (11:46)

And then went against the grain of every D2C advice of, "Get your shipping faster. Two-day shipping, two-day shipping."

Kristen: (11:54)

And they said, "We're going to slow down shipping," and their customers love it. So it really does come down to what do your customers want and then how can you tailor your processes around what they want and also the values that you're living by.

Corinne Watson: (12:06)

Yeah, yeah. And the story of Bite Toothpaste Bits reminds me of this symposium that I was at a few months ago where Hap, who is the founder of The North Face, well he bought the brand from a couple that started it. Anyway, back in the 1970s they were looking at their fulfillment practices and how they were interacting with customers, and he decided... They're a very sustainable brand. They made most of their first line of products out of recyclable tents that they found in nature, which I thought was really interesting. He decided that instead of focusing on getting the product to the customers, he made it so that every single tag and every single item that they created had the name of the person who created and sewed the piece together, so that when there were issues in fulfillment or issues with the product... That had I think a lifetime guarantee at that point, which was insane. That they would be able to trace it back to who created it so that they could repair it. It goes in line with obviously... e-comm wasn't something that was really happening that often in the '70s or at all. But it goes in line with tailoring things to what your customers want and what will delight them, which is something that is increasingly important when there's more and more competition happening in retail.

Kristen: (13:19)

Yeah, for sure. And I know it's such a buzzword, but I love the word "delight." It's not just serving your customers what they want, but serving them what they want and then some. And then really wowing them. And I think sustainability is a way that you can really wow a lot of customers when it's done well and authentically, which I think authenticity really plays into this. Can you feel from the brand that this is an authentic mission or did they tack it on at the end [crosstalk 00:13:45] to do. So since you've been really... I know you've been interviewing and doing a lot of research on this. What are you seeing as the how you do that? How do you do it really genuinely and authentically so customers actually connect with it and believe it?

Corinne Watson: (13:59)

Yeah. I want to say start small. And start with shipping since it is just such an easy win. I would say also be careful before you make a large declaration of going green, or going plastic-free or going sustainable. I would say just start to sneak in those practices into your normal business operations at first. And then say, "Hey, this is something that we've been doing for a while and here are our next steps for the next quarter, the next half year and the next year." And that way you've already gained a little bit of trust from consumers.

Corinne Watson: (14:29)

But I definitely think the easiest way is to just take a look at your shipping and fulfillment practices. If you're working with a 3PL, make sure that they actually can work with vendors that supply recyclable packaging. If you have your own warehouse operations, take a look at what kind of waste is going into packaging, do you really need the padding? Do you really need the filler? Do you really need to package really small T-shirts in large boxes? I'm looking at you, Amazon. There are a lot of different issues that can be quickly solved with a small internal audit of, again, your shipping and fulfillment practices.

Corinne Watson: (15:04)

And then from there and make a plan. Is it taking a look at your break room and looking at partnering with people who can recycle snack bar wrappers? Is it looking at the actual textiles that are creating the clothing? You know me, I'm obsessed with Everlane. I think that they are the cornerstone brand that has done sustainable initiatives really, really well and woven it into those other brands. And they started with that model. They started with their fulfillment and their product first and then have woven it into everything else later.

Kristen: (15:44)

Yeah. And something... I actually really loved the idea that you had of start small, but then instead of just making some big declaration when you feel like it's all said and done and you're now this sustainable, gone-green business, I really liked the idea of taking your customers on the journey with you, saying... You can almost open it as a case study in to yourself, as a brand and say, "Hey, we understand that this is important to you guys. These are the steps we're taking." And that is going to come off massively genuine to a customer because you're basically saying, "Look, we don't have it all but we've listened to you and we're going to work on it and here's what we're going to do, and you guys hold us accountable for it."

Kristen: (16:19)

It's a really good way I think to approach it for brands who are listening to this and going like, "Oh God, we didn't start with this. How do we add it on." Adding it on in a really open way is a great idea to keep customers engaged.

Corinne Watson: (16:31)

And Kris, and like you said earlier, it really does just boil down to knowing your customer. I mean there are, as much as I would like to say every single brand on the planet should become sustainable, it's not actually a good business practice for certain types of brands. If you're not catering to a generation that cares about sustainability, although we all should, maybe there are other things that you need to look at in your business before you actually go into a sustainable movement. And I know I'll get flack for saying that, but if you want to scale a business you have to understand what are your customers caring about, what's going to actually turn the wheels, and what's going to keep them shopping. What's going to make them return. It's all about retention. That's what this podcast is about, and it's about, sustainability can be a super-intentional and subconscious retention method.

Kristen: (17:16)

Yeah, so let's dig into that a little bit. Talking about something like sustainability and going green as a retention play. I think some people don't always see the connection. Because it's a little bit high level, it's a little bit broad. It's very like, "Well, these people love your mission. They're going to keep coming back." But what does that actually mean? What does this mission and having such a strong stance on something like this, and really doing it in a genuine way actually impact, how does it impact retention and return rates as you're seeing?

Corinne Watson: (17:47)

Yeah. It's interesting that a lot of people are questioning it because I see it as really simple. If you survey your buyers and your buyer personas include people who are eco-friendly shoppers, then being a sustainable brand will inherently make it more likely for them to shop with you again. And that's the intentional, the very conscious way of making sustainability a retention play.

Corinne Watson: (18:08)

There is also a huge subconscious retention method at play as well. Where even though the customer doesn't necessarily know that their going through the experience of shopping at a sustainable brand, they're still so pleased with either the way the clothing feels, the quality of the clothing, we're talking fashion here. If it's not fashion, if it's CPG or what have you, they like how quickly the... Not quickly, but they liked how the shipping arrived, and the packaging that the shipping was in and how easy it was to return. It makes them automatically happy, if that makes sense.

Kristen: (18:38)

Yeah, just thinking about things in terms of both conscious stories that your customers are living in, subconscious stories that your customers are living. So the conscious decisions that they're making of, it could be somebody who's like, "I will only buy from sustainable businesses." They come to your business, they see it. That's a very conscious decision that they're making. Most likely going to return if they liked the product, they liked the rest of the experience, because you're living out a value that they agree with.

Kristen: (19:04)

I think it's really interesting to talk about the subconscious part of it as well, which, some people may not realize that they really care about that stuff, but then when you get a box that you open and there's not 18 air pockets of plastic and everything's wrapped four times in plastic and you're opening it, and you're like, "Wow, this is so great. This is amazing. Why did they do this?" Those subconscious things really do play into the story and being able to, again, just going back to delighting, like sustainability doesn't mean it has to be ugly packaging. A lot of the times it's actually really nice packaging. It's a different feel than what you're normally getting from an Amazon company.

Kristen: (19:40)

And so looking at it that way too, of saying, "Okay, we're doing these things that are very conscious decisions for our customers," that they like, but, "What else is happening subconsciously? What else do they enjoy that they might not be able to express to us, that we could delight them in that way?" And I think that's a really cool way to also look at sustainability, that it doesn't have to always be about how much you're yelling about it, but how your customers are experiencing it.

Corinne Watson: (20:04)

Mm-hmm (affirmative) absolutely. And I'll use myself as an example here because it's something that I realized, especially over the holiday season when I was shopping for gifts, I am a Prime Member of Amazon, which a lot of people would hate to hear me say. But I-

Kristen: (20:17)

That's okay. I am too.

Corinne Watson: (20:17)

... used to shop at Amazon a lot. I used to shop with them a lot. And now I've tried to optimize different areas of my life, and one of them is how often I have to take the recycling out in my condo. And so I will shop at an e-con brand with, and determine, I'm going to shop here because I know that they're not going to send me a large box. Because if they send me a large box, then I'm going to have to take an extra trip to the recycling bin in my condo unit. And so I'm like, I've stopped, I've inherently, like subconsciously stopped shopping at Amazon because I know that if I order a small Bluetooth speaker that's smaller than my phone, they're still going to send me a huge box. I can't be the only person who's thinking in that way.

Kristen: (21:04)

Right. And those are just... And digging into the very, very personal stories your customers are living. That's a perfect example. I can just imagine if you were on an email list and there's a company you're interested in but you haven't bought from, and they specifically write an email to you that says, "We use less packaging so that you don't have to walk three flights of stairs down to your recycling bin every other week." Something as simple as that, but actually connects very personally to the stories your customers are living, is not only going to drive the first purchase, but then every purchase therefore after.

Corinne Watson: (21:36)

Right. Right. And that's why a lot of brands have returned, or not returned, but they've implemented BOPIS, buy online pickup in store, or Click & Collect in the U.K. where you can actually order and pick it up by driving to the store. But there are also some kid of questions around sustainability with that as well, which I think is really interesting.

Kristen: (21:55)

Yeah. Going into the, is it actually more sustainable if you're still getting in your car and driving to pick it up is then another question to go into, which I'm sure is another whole can of worms.

Corinne Watson: (22:06)

Yeah. And the genesis of this is, I was chatting with a BigCommerce merchant called EcoEnclose a few weeks ago. Saloni Doshi is the CEO there and she is just this wealth of information around sustainability. And she was talking about how sometimes when you order an item to pick up in-store, the store doesn't actually have to, they don't carry it in their store. And so you're paying not only with the gas it takes for you to drive to and from the store, but you're also paying for the warehouse to ship that product to the store for you to pick up. So you're actually doubling your environmental impact that your order has. And that probably wouldn't be the case if you're shopping at Walmart or Target because they usually have good inventory in their stores. But if it's something smaller, like a D2C brand or a smaller boutique that's doing BOPIS, there is something to be said about just getting it shipped to your house.

Kristen: (23:00)

Yeah. So again, I think that's just per business, you have to look at how are you running things? How are your customers acting? How are they behaving? What do they want? And then connecting it back to, "Okay, how do we make what the customers want, sustainable?"

Corinne Watson: (23:13)

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep. Absolutely.

Kristen: (23:16)

I love it. Well, we've mentioned a few companies now that, you know, we love Everlane. ThirdLove does a pretty good job with their sizing stuff. Bite Toothpaste Bits is another one that I brought up. Is there any other company that you're seeing who's just doing it so well right now and is really a place for D2C brands to go look and say, "This is how, not only do you create a sustainable business but then how do you market and communicate that story too?"

Corinne Watson: (23:41)

Yeah, my boilerplate answer to this is always going to be Everlane. And I like to use them as an example. And then Patagonia too. I think Patagonia, I think this is maybe, I might be incorrect here, but the seventh or eighth year they've forgone their Black Friday sale. And they always get press for that, every single year. And Everlane also, I feel like every single quarter I'm seeing some kind of PR activity come out around how they're doing something new in the sustainability place. And that's good, free, inherent advertising for them.

Kristen: (24:13)

Yeah. That's another-

Corinne Watson: (24:15)

Those are my go-to examples.

Kristen: (24:17)

Yeah, and I mean they're the most perfect examples you can bring up. That's also something I hadn't really thought about. There's another added benefit of being genuinely sustainable and being really authentic about it, is you're also getting free press coverage. It's a newer thing coming up, or not newer, but it's a noteworthy thing when big brands are doing it. When people are doing it in a really cool and different way, you're going to get some press coverage for that. So that's another bonus to it, if saving the planet is not a big enough one to convince you, press coverage might be.

Corinne Watson: (24:50)

It's not just PR that they're getting too. If you look at Gen Z and the way that they interact with social media, you're getting a ton of user-generated content. If you have a nice recyclable unboxing experience or you're showing videos of your warehouses, or you're linking every single product to the person who created it, those are really just organic opportunities for customers to start talking about you. And people are definitely seeing that as a new form of PR, that no longer are you going to issue any press release if you have a new introduction of a line that's eco-friendly. Instead you're going to place it with influencers. You're going get user-generated content. There are so many other things you could do instead that will probably have a larger return.

Kristen: (25:36)

Yeah, yeah. Amazing. Okay, so we've gotten pretty deep and I feel like we've covered this really well, so just wrapping with three questions.

Kristen: (25:44)

First, really, in the name of sustainability, what do you want to see more from D2C brands this year? Is it more of them actually doing it? Is it them doing it in a better way? Is it the storytelling aspect of it? What are you most excited in 2020 for this mission to transpose into how D2C is going to approach it?

Corinne Watson: (26:04)

Yeah, I think that I would, I think every single D2C brand, or not every single one, but the majority of D2C brands are trying to introduce sustainability if it makes sense in their business practice. So I am interested to see the ways that they're going to differentiate themselves. We were chatting about this before, but sustainability is going to have to be a given. It's going to be boilerplate. What they have to actually create... I'll start that over again. Wait.

Kristen: (26:30)

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Corinne Watson: (26:38)

What was I saying? Okay.

Kristen: (26:39)

Yeah, how to differentiate themselves.

Corinne Watson: (26:39)

I definitely think that a lot of D2C brands are going to introduce sustainability in 2020. What I'm really looking forward to is the way that they're going to differentiate themselves. Right now there are the few, 5 to 10 stand-out D2C brands that are doing sustainability well but as the other ones catch up, they're going to have to get competitive about it in a way. Which is partially exciting but also partially disheartening because I think sustainability is something that everyone, if you're doing it, it's a win.

Corinne Watson: (27:10)

But yeah, seeing the ways that they can either do more in-person activations to get people active and recycling. If it's actually changing your return policy to make it so that you can't purchase multiple sizes of an item. There are a lot of small experiments that I think D2C especially is really primed to run on customers, again, versus those larger legacy retailers that just can't keep up.

Corinne Watson: (27:38)

So yeah, like I said, I'm just looking to see who's going to make it really funky. Who's going to do the new, like, "Ship us 50 shirts and we'll make you a quilt." Or, "Ship us 15 shirts and we'll give you a free shirt." I know there are folks that are doing that already, but I want to see how that's interwoven into inaugural voices or smaller brands like that.

Kristen: (28:00)

Yeah, that's really exciting to think of. Like we talked about, right now it's kind of this, sustainability is something that differentiates businesses right now, just having it. I think by the end of 2020 it's not going to be, you're going to be differentiated if you don't have it and not in a great way. And so it's becoming, the next step is, okay, you get it implemented. You're looking at it, how are you going to be different? How are you going to connect this to your customers in a way that's deeper than the next brand, or that will get customers to really jump on it or feel the genuine authenticity of what you're doing? I'm excited as well to see that it's a big challenge for D2C, especially since we're already struggling to differentiate each other on things as simple as ads and websites and checkout experiences. But this gives such a fun opportunity to think outside the box I think.

Corinne Watson: (28:52)

Yeah. And I'm not the first person to say that there's definitely going to be a shakeout of D2C brands in 2020. And I think those that are left standing are going to be the ones that have, not necessarily the most effective advertising, which is taboo for me to say. I think the ones that are going to be standing at the end of this bubble burst are the folks that actually have really well-made products, because we're going to catch those that don't. And then outside of that, the people who have really given their fulfillment and shipping practices a second, a third, a fourth look over the year.

Kristen: (29:28)

Yeah, I totally agree.

Kristen: (29:30)

Next question. On the BigCommerce side, what are you guys most excited for in 2020?

Corinne Watson: (29:35)

Can I answer this from me in particular?

Kristen: (29:40)

Yes, you can.

Corinne Watson: (29:42)

Okay. I'll start that again.

Corinne Watson: (29:48)

There are some really cool things coming into play with BigCommerce. We are continually working on our international expansion and our suite of tools that make it easier for people who want to sell internationally to do so. I am personally really excited about new formats of customer and consumer communication. Kristen, I think something that we spoke about a few weeks ago, was SMS messaging and introducing that as a communication channel. I'm really interested to see in what brands do that well and how some don't. I've already seen brands work through and figure out how to do that. So I'm excited about that.

Corinne Watson: (30:27)

And then just constantly seeing the new and exciting brands that we can bring onto the BigCommerce platform. We're continually growing. We're digging our heels into the D2C space. We have a number of customers that we're really excited to be bringing on to BigCommerce and paving our way in that space in the next few months and quarters.

Kristen: (30:46)

Yeah, SMS is going to be not only a huge thing in 2020, but a huge thing I'm going to be talking about in 2020. Because it is a dangerous channel, and also a really exciting channel, which makes it a very unique opportunity for brands. And we've seen a couple brands kind of womp womp on it. And so I'm excited to see people who figure it out and do it really, really well.

Corinne Watson: (31:10)

Yeah. Yeah, me too.

Kristen: (31:12)

Well perfect.

Kristen: (31:13)

Last question, where can people find you? I'll link to BigCommerce. guys, it's not too hard to find. But where can people find you if they want to follow along? I know you are creating a bunch of really cool content on this stuff in 2020 so I want to make sure the followers can go keep up with you.

Corinne Watson: (31:30)

Yeah, absolutely. Three places you can follow me. One is physically. I'm located in the awesome Austin, Texas area, so if anyone's here for [inaudible 00:31:38] this year, or they're just stopping by for awesome Austin activities, come say hi, come visit the BigCommerce office. If you wanted to keep up with all of the phenomenal content that the BigCommerce team is releasing week over week, just hop over to the blog at And then if you want to keep up with me, I am on Twitter, as we all are-

Kristen: (32:01)

As we all are.

Corinne Watson: (32:02)

... @corinnejuliette, and you can slide into my DMs.

Kristen: (32:04)

Perfect. And I will link up to all those things. And yes listeners, if you are ever in the Austin area, like I said, I got to stop by the BigCommerce office last month and it was so much fun. They let me do a little video shoot and everything. I felt just like way out of my league there but in the most fun way. So absolutely stop by and hang out with the team. They're so much fun. The office is so cool. Thank you again for being on today, Corinne. This is such an awesome topic to talk about, and I'm really glad we were able to dive into it.

Corinne Watson: (32:30)

Yeah thanks Kristen. I appreciate the opportunity to chat and it's always so fun to connect with you.