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Interview with Roy Rubin

It’s an exciting time to be in the B2B eCommerce space. After years of using outdated processes, more and more B2B merchants are finally beginning to realize the benefits of eCommerce and are taking their business online. In fact, Frost & Sullivan predicts that B2B eCommerce future sales in the U.S. will reach almost $2 trillion dollars by 2019, or more than double the online B2C market.

Recently, we caught up with the co-founder and former CEO of Magento, Roy Rubin, who joined as a board member of Oro’s advisory team last year. Under Rubin’s leadership, Magento was used by over 250,000 merchants and generated $26 billion annually. His vision and business acumen helped give Magento one of the most vibrant ecosystems in the market, although he still considers himself a technologist at heart. With more than a decade spent on the cutting edge of the eCommerce industry, however, he had some interesting observations to make on the B2B eCommerce future.

Roy Rubin Interview

Oro: At OroMomentum earlier this year, you mentioned that the current B2B eCommerce opportunity is huge. Can you elaborate on this?

Rubin: There are a number of factors that indicate the B2B market is ripe with opportunity. The first is the pace of technology, where eCommerce platforms have become a critical part in most companies’ growth strategy.

The second thing is that, as eCommerce continues to become more prevalent, consumers and buyers expect an unprecedented level of user experience and accessibility, regardless of whether it’s a B2B or B2C application. That’s unprecedented. The market is really changing, like how businesses operate and use technology to their advantage, as well as how businesses interact, communicate, and engage with their customers. These trends are still evolving, and will benefit B2B eCommerce in meaningful ways.

Oro: It seems like B2B businesses are somewhat behind on online technology and productivity tools offered to sales teams and customers. Do you see that at all?

Rubin: Yes, I do. Because the level of sophistication in the market has increased, consumers now have different expectations for engaging with a supplier or a vendor. They expect to do business in a different way, in a technology-enabled way, where the user experience is optimized. Unfortunately, B2B merchants, as a category, have been behind in their technology investment over the years. I think a platform that helps B2B merchants use technology to optimize their business, workflows, and customer experience will be critical to compete and stay relevant.

Oro: It seems like you still view open-sourced products as an advantage, especially when you’re talking about an ecosystem.

Rubin: If the goal of the company is to accelerate product adoption, I think that an open source model is highly effective. Leveraging an open-source model allows the business to offer a lower cost of ownership, it lowers the friction for consumption of the product, and an opportunity to build an ecosystem. It also gives the community an economic incentive to participate in the ecosystem. This often creates a flywheel effect that has been proven to work very effectively in terms of distribution and community-building. So if the goal of OroCommerce is to get as wide of a distribution as possible and to build an ecosystem around the solution, I think the open-source model and approach is highly relevant.

Oro: You have been on our Board for nearly a year ago now. What do you think is most exciting about what Oro is doing?

Rubin: I think, for me, it’s the fact that the people at Oro are highly committed to delivering world-class technology solutions driven by customer needs. And while that may seem trivial, a lot of times that’s not the case. The proven management team that built Magento, the domain expertise they have working with merchants, their experience working with the dynamics of an ecosystem — those are all things that are very exciting and relevant to the B2B eCommerce opportunity.

I’m looking forward to when OroCommerce is released, and am super excited to see the ecosystem begin to play a role in what I hope is a thriving B2B technology opportunity.

Oro: Would you have any advice for merchants or companies that want to implement a B2B commerce platform?

Rubin: When selecting a platform, there are a number of things that are critical. One is to select your implementation partner effectively. Do all the due diligence and make sure your partner really understands the dynamics and needs of the business.

Second, make sure you articulate, as a company, the problems you’re trying to solve. This includes identifying what’s working and what’s not working, as well as where you want the business to be in 3-5 years. Try to assess what you need from a technology platform in order to deliver that. Make sure you are aligned with your partner and are thinking about how to launch the platform not just in the short-term, but also as you continue to grow your business and maintain it in the long-term.

Every technology product and implementation evolves over time, so make sure you are selecting a product that will continue to be agile. Position the project for success by articulating your business’ needs, as well as the opportunities that you want the technology platform to help you take advantage of.

Oro: One last question. You’ve been involved with a very successful and thriving ecosystem with Magento. Do you have any advice for technology partners and solution integrators interested in becoming a part of the Oro ecosystem?

Rubin: As an entrepreneur myself, the first thing I would think about is: Is this a big market? And there’s no question that the B2B market is a big, untapped market right now. It’s ripe for technology disruption. That’s really exciting. Taking into account the openness of the technology platform, the quality of software that Oro is developing, and the size of the market, all three of those things point to how big this opportunity can be. That’s super exciting.

We hope you enjoyed this Roy Rubin interview on the B2B eCommerce future. As always, if you have any additional questions about this topic, feel free to leave a comment or reach out to us.