Brian Rainey came to work for Gooten as Chief Executive Officer at the moment the company made some dramatic changes. First, it had rebranded itself from Makeable to Gooten, and closed a bridge financing round of $1.35 million.
At Gooten, Brian Rainey oversees its process of realizing its ultimate goal, which is to “revolutionize product fulfillment.” Success came quick for the company after Brian’s appointment, too. After only 18 months since the release of Gooten’s e-commerce tech solutions suite, Gooten fulfilled its one millionth order, which followed a tremendous 2015 holiday season for the company.
Investors also raved about Brian Rainey’s work. According to John Frankel, founding partner of ff Venture Capital, “Brian Rainey combines an A+ game of experience, innovation, and leadership. He truly understands what it takes to meet the demands of the market and deliver the best possible solutions for Gooten’s partners.”
Brian Rainey joins a company that has built itself as a “custom print fulfillment service,” which allows businesses to “simplify product fulfillment through the world’s best manufacturers.” The company offers an “intuitive API, iOS and Android SDKs,” a Shopify app that “seamlessly automates product fulfillment,” and “B2B direct sales of merchandise and promotional products.”
At Gooten, Brian Rainey has steered the ship toward steady success. The company has already “processed and shipped over 4 million+ items,” incurring only a “less than 2% error rate,” but achieving a “95% ship-on-time rate.”
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Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Brian Rainey: Our customer support agents are the backbone of our company. During the pandemic’s height in April-May, our customer support team went above and beyond to communicate with our merchant partners and ensure their orders were being fulfilled and shipped.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Brian Rainey: Burnout happens when you are so in the weeds and you don’t give yourself time to zoom out and disconnect for a day. Taking that time off to see the bigger picture and celebrate your successes is incredibly important.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Brian Rainey: The first person that comes to my mind is one of my colleagues who recently celebrated his 6th year anniversary at Gooten. He started off as one of the first customer support agents and now leads our primary accounts and is the president of Gooten’s subsidiary company in Serbia. Because of him, we’ve achieved significant growth at Gooten as he is always advocating and innovating on behalf of our merchant partners.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The Pandemic has changed many aspects of all of our lives. One of them is the fact that so many of us have gotten used to shopping almost exclusively online. Can you share a few examples of different ideas that eCommerce businesses are implementing to adapt to the new realities created by the Pandemic?
Brian Rainey: There are several strategies our merchant partners have implemented to adapt to this new normal:
- Set expectations with your customers. During uncertain times, it is incredibly important to communicate uncontrollable delays or disruptions with your customer to lessen any concerns or frustrations.
- Improve user experience. Good UX is critical for eCommerce because it ensures your customers can easily navigate your website, find what they need, buy it, and move on.
- Don’t sell to everyone. In any business, online or not, if you try to sell to everybody, you end up selling to nobody. Especially in the extremely competitive world of print-of-demand, it is essential to find your niche target audience to stand out and be successful.
Jerome Knyszewski: Amazon, and even Walmart are going to exert pressure on all of retail for the foreseeable future. New Direct-To-Consumer companies based in China are emerging that offer prices that are much cheaper than US and European brands. What would you advise retail companies and eCommerce companies, for them to be successful in the face of such strong competition?
Brian Rainey: Make sure to connect with your customer and truly understand what they need. There are factors other than prices that customers care about, such as time, quality, and reliability. Recognizing what your customer cares about is how you can differentiate yourself.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start an eCommerce business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Brian Rainey: Two common mistakes are 1) trying to do too much and 2) not connecting with your customer. If something isn’t a part of your core business, then outsource it. As I mentioned before, connecting your customer is essential to standing out from your competitors.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running an eCommerce brand tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Brian Rainey: A common mistake that eCommerce brands can overlook is not focusing on a specific target audience. The eCommerce landscape is extremely competitive and finding the perfect niche will help you run a more efficient business in marketing and selling. It will probably make you more excited to get up and work every day in the long run.
Jerome Knyszewski: One of the main benefits of shopping online is the ability to read reviews. Consumers love it! While good reviews are of course positive for a brand, poor reviews can be very damaging. In your experience what are a few things a brand should do to properly and effectively respond to poor reviews? How about other unfair things said online about a brand?
Brian Rainey: There is a three-step process for effectively responding to negative customer feedback. First, research the incident to understand what went wrong and what can be done. Next, reply to the review by acknowledging the issue, assisting the customer with a solution, and assuring them that it’s resolved. Lastly, encourage them to update or revise their review if their concerns have been addressed.
Jerome Knyszewski: You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Brian Rainey: Individual civic duty is a priority at Gooten, which is why we are giving our team members a day off on November 3rd to vote, canvas, or work at a poll. Because we are a global company, we ask our non-US team to use that day to advance the causes they care about most. We encourage our team to be civically active because being inactive won’t bring any good to people.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Brian Rainey: You can follow me on:
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!