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An Interview with Brian Rainey, CEO of Gooten

Brian Rainey runs Gooten as the Chief Executive officer, where he oversees the company’s work to transform how online brands make their products and then send them to their customers. Known as a “big picture thinker,” Brian steers the ship through his “pivotal leadership and strategic direction,” and through his assistance as the company expands its initiatives on hiring, financing, and other global strategies.

Before joining Gooten, Brian Rainey has already amassed years of experience in accounting and finance. Formerly, he was the Chief Financial Officer of Buzz Points Inc., an Austin, Texas-based FinTech company that provides rewards for community banks and credit unions. He also worked at Deutsche Bank in New York, and he also spent time in Washington DC working for Deloitte, at the Venture Capital Services Practice.

Brain Rainey served Deutsche Bank clients active in the industrial technology and global diversified subsectors. On the other hand, Brian focused his efforts at helping “venture-backed early-stage growth companies,” where he delivered accounting and auditing services before they could do “public market share offerings, private sales, or further growth capital raises.”

Now, Brian Rainey brings his unique perspective as an entrepreneur to Gooten. Because he sees every challenge as an opportunity, he can solve problems easily through assembling and hyping up his exceptionally skilled team. His team executes processes seamlessly, cooking up business strategies to advance their short-term and long-term goals.

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Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Brian Rainey: Before Gooten, I served as the CFO of a fintech company that delivered local rewards for community banks and credit unions. Before that, I primarily worked in the financial services industry at companies like Deloitte and Deutsche Bank. One of the reasons I wanted to move away from the finance industry is because it is a zero-sum game — meaning, for me to give something to someone, I have to take it away from someone else. Instead, I wanted to create efficiencies within inefficient processes so that everyone can win. That is what drew me to Gooten because we only succeed when our partners succeed. It’s one of the reasons why we call our customers partners because at the end of the day, we are their business partner and our goals are 100% aligned with theirs.

Jerome Knyszewski: What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

Brian Rainey: When I took over as CEO of Gooten, I went on a listening tour with both sides of our business — our merchant partners and our manufacturing partners — in order to distill what our true value proposition was as a company. Throughout those conversations, I learned that Gooten provided a fundamental service that was incredibly difficult for each side of our business to deliver. This created a technological solution for merchants to easily access the world’s manufacturing network in a transparent and scalable way. Because of the product and service we provide, over the past 5 years, we’ve been able to power the businesses of 50,000+ merchants.

Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Brian Rainey: One year there was a snowstorm in St. Louis at one of our manufacturing partner’s locations four days before 2500 items needed to be shipped out in order to arrive by Christmas. The orders we fulfill aren’t run-of-the-mill, everyday products you can pick up at your local Target. They are personalized and customized. One of the core benefits of Gooten is that we offer redundancies — meaning our product SKUs are available in more than one facility. Even though the St. Louis location was out of commission, we were able to move all those orders to one of our partners in North Carolina, and they were able to produce, ship, and deliver all those items in time for the holidays. We were not only able to persevere because of our production capability and network, but also because of the strength and dedication of our team members.

Jerome Knyszewski: So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

Brian Rainey: While the path to understand what our merchant partners needed wasn’t always a straight line, I am extremely proud of how much we’ve grown. Our recent recognition by Inc. 5000 as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the US is certainly a testament to the number of merchant partners that rely on Gooten to power their storefronts. One of the driving forces of this growth is the best-in-class service our team provides. In the past six months, we’ve been able to double the size of Gooten virtually. Our team members and the culture of our team is what is driving the success of Gooten. One of our internal core values is to improve every single day. We can provide best-in-class service because our team is always working together and challenging themselves always to do better.

Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a few examples of tools or software that you think can dramatically empower emerging eCommerce brands to be more effective and more successful?

Brian Rainey: Of course, I have to mention Gooten! We founded Gooten to help eCommerce brands reach new heights. Other eCommerce platforms that empower brands and pave the way are Big Commerce, Shopify and Etsy.

Jerome Knyszewski: As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies an eCommerce business should use to increase conversion rates?

Brian Rainey:

  • Offer free shipping. Over 50% of customers abandon their shopping carts because of extra shipping costs.
  • Make sure your checkout process is user-friendly and easy to understand.
  • Give detailed product descriptions. For online stores, consumers can’t check out your products in person, so product descriptions are crucial to help them make educated purchasing decisions.

Jerome Knyszewski: Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that an eCommerce business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?

Brian Rainey: ECommerce businesses can build brand trust by encouraging user-generated content and asking for user reviews. Both of these strategies are an effective way to build social proof and customer loyalty. At the end of the day, your business has to provide a valuable service that your customer needs and cares about.

Jerome Knyszewski: Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful e-commerce business? Please share a story or an example for each.

Brian Rainey:

  1. Understand your customer. This will help you shape your business’ core value proposition and help you stand out from the competitive marketplace.
  2. Be honest about your goals. Are you running a business as a side-hustle or a full-time job? Truly understanding your purpose for running an eCommerce business will help you establish achievable goals.
  3. Drive traffic. Simply put, more traffic means more sales opportunities.
  4. Increase the average cart value. This is a critical metric for all eCommerce businesses because it will help them scale their profits and revenue growth.
  5. Optimize your conversion rate. You can have all the traffic in the world, but if no one is purchasing your products, there is a problem. Optimizing your conversion rate allows you to increase revenue per visitor, acquire more customers, and grow your business.

Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?

Brian Rainey: You can follow me on

Twitter

LinkedIn

Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

 

The post An Interview with Brian Rainey, CEO of Gooten appeared first on Tekrati.

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