Let’s Hear from Benjamin Pipat, Co-founder of Seelk

Computer science engineer Benjamin Pipat came together with ex-Amazon manager Raphael Guedj Pignol to start their company Seelk in 2016. Benjamin began as the company CTO and rose to the position of CEO in 2020. At the company, they focus on “bringing brands’ e-commerce in Europe to a whole new level by combining expertise and cutting-edge technology.”

When Benjamin Pipat and Raphael Pignol started Seelk, they shared a dream about their ideal company. They dreamed big, which covered the “markets [we] could be disrupting, the incredible technology we could be building, the biggest clients [we] could be serving.” However, they soon realized that the journey mattered more to them. They wanted to build a company that would bring joy and excitement to everyone every day.

At Seelk, Benjamin Pipat and his team want to “build the future of e-commerce with a unique and cohesive team, composed of the brightest minds, joining excellence with passion.” They want to build a team “willing to innovate and learn every day, and have fun trying.” In their vision, every “future Seelker” will be “part of a company at the forefront of innovation and change the way businesses operate on Amazon.”

Benjamin PIpat saw their hard work rewarded in 2018, when Seelk won the Fevad competition. A couple of years later, Seelk joined the Jellyfish group, in December 2020.

Check out more interviews with e-commerce innovators here.


Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Benjamin Pipat: We were the first company to address Amazon consulting from a technological standpoint. Our conviction was that without a deep understanding of eCommerce search engines, we would soon hit a glass ceiling in the relevance of our advice to brands. This is why we built our entire value proposition on a data and analytics platform which was initially supposed to be an internal tool.

But in a training session we were conducting at BIC’s global headquarters in early 2018, some of the eCommerce executives present in the room asked if they could have access to the platform we were showing. We launched a pilot with BIC’s eCommerce team, and they became our first SaaS client. Two years later, the Seelk Studio is now a fully-fledged software used by dozens of brands to pilot their Amazon business globally.

Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Benjamin Pipat: 2020 has been crazier than ever and we’ve had our share of team members losing their A-game due to a lack of focus or social interactions. What’s great is that this year taught most of the world that a good share of our work can be done from anywhere, at any time of the day. My advice is to find your own flow so you can be “in the zone” as many hours a week as possible. On my end it’s a mix of boxing workouts, long train rides with no internet and after-hours work sessions.

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?

Benjamin Pipat: So many people to be grateful towards, focusing on a single one would go against the idea that you don’t succeed overnight.

The main philosophy I’d like to share is the “pay it forward” mindset I was taught at The Family, the French startup accelerator which I joined with my first startup. That, mixed with an optimistic state of mind, is what creates positive value-creation loops and leads to sustainable success.

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?

Benjamin Pipat: Consumption habits have been forced to change and are now here to stay. More customers are accustomed to buying online, and the ones who already did now buy a wider range of goods (including grocery and daily needs).

Some brands didn’t wait for the pandemic to structure their Amazon strategy, operations and tooling, and have come out on top of this e-commerce frenzy.

Performing on Amazon isn’t dark magic, it’s the outcome of a continuous equilibrium including great content, always-available products and retail-driven advertising strategies. Digital-native brands have understood this and have invested the necessary tools & resources to maintain what is often called the flywheel effect.

So, for brands who are behind:

  • Build compelling & trustworthy product pages (content & reviews)
  • Elevate their supply chain to Amazon’s standards (in-stock)
  • Drive growth by leveraging an agile mix of Amazon’s media levers (search & display)

This is one of the reasons we’re excited to be a part of Jellyfish. The pandemic has brought years’ worth of change in a matter of months. Digital transformation isn’t an option, it’s an imperative, and e-commerce is central to the new reality for everyone. Our approach has always been to help brands we love to thrive in the new environment, and the need for a digital partner with broad capabilities, deep expertise and global reach is greater than ever.

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?

Benjamin Pipat: When we talk about our mission, we explain that we aim to help our favorite brands fight on equal terms with digital native brands. This means creating agile dedicated teams, sitting between Sales and Marketing, to address these channels and investing in the necessary tools to make data-driven decisions.

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?

Benjamin Pipat: If we talk about Amazon and other eCommerce platforms, the main mistake we see is to consider a strong setup as an operational expense rather than a capital expense. Our recommendation is to invest considerably today to build performance-driven organizations to address Amazon and its likes, which will enable these channels to grow sustainably and profitably.

Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running an eCommerce brand tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?

Benjamin Pipat: Unlike offline commerce, which has been operated for centuries with few structured data tools, eCommerce is data-rich by design. This creates the opportunity to create much leaner models, from product marketing to logistics.

One great example is how we combine Amazon’s forecast data and our proprietary tools to optimize brands’ inventory planning and reduce out-of-stock, which is one of the most impactful issues in search-engine ranks.

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?

Benjamin Pipat: It’s no secret that Amazon’s algorithm is impacted by reviews. Bad reviews will decrease the visibility of the product on the platform. Conversion rate will also suffer as people will have less trust in your products.

Effective review management can help mitigate bad reviews and combining that with specific programs like Vine or automatic requests for reviews can drown unfair, damaging ones.

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.

Benjamin Pipat: I sometimes wonder that if we could combine programming as a natural second language and teach environmental and societal ethics in all schools across the world, kids of today would have all they need to build a sustainable future.

Jerome Knyszewski: What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

Benjamin Pipat: I wish I could say something as fun as TikTok but I’ll go with good old Linkedin.

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


The post Let’s Hear from Benjamin Pipat, Co-founder of Seelk appeared first on Tekrati.


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