By Rob Garf

Today was a great start to XChange 2014 in Miami. Tom Ebling, our CEO, and Jeff Barnett, our COO, set the tone for the week with their opening keynote addresses. Both executives focused on our vibrant community that is setting the tempo, change and innovation for unparalleled opportunity in the retail industry. Here are some highlights.

Four Unique and Critical Tenets

As Demandware approaches its 10-year anniversary, Tom recalled that our mission hasn’t wavered. We are just as focused as ever on empowering our retail community to effectively engage and inspire shoppers anywhere — on any device — while enhancing their brand and enabling growth. This is possible because of Demandware’s four unique and critical tenets that have guided us since day one:

  • Cloud: Our model makes speed and agility into a certain reality so retailers can operate their businesses while we keep all the drums beating. Our single platform is updated throughout the year without having to worry about any new hardware, software, licenses or infrastructure. He talked about how CLARINS, a customer since 2010, had plans for global expansion – including China – and leveraged our cloud to quickly launch sites without the typical costs, complexity or risk. They now operate 13 sites in the Demandware Cloud and achieved 500% year-over-year online sales growth in China.
  • Openness: Our open architecture means that retailers can efficiently integrate core data, functionality and third-party technologies. This allows clients to access the innovation of our vast LINK ecosystem to extend our functional capabilities. Our LINK partners – comprised of roughly 180 technology and 50 solution providers – continually feed an integrated ecosystem that offers flexibility and, more importantly, choice to extend your commerce platform. Tom gave a preview of the keynote from Andy Laudato, CIO from Pier 1, who extended our platform into the physical store. Their successful 1Pier1 initiative connects the store to the online experience so customers can shop online and pick up in the store or vice-versa. The results are pretty amazing – 35% of online orders are now picked up at the store which has, in turn, increased foot traffic and the potential for incremental purchases.
  • Community: All Demandware customers leverage the same software, open architecture, tools and solutions, and benefit from shared innovations and best practices. But even while benefitting from being on one platform, they still have the flexibility to customize and express their unique brands. And our community has thrived’; our industry has noticed. Tom shared accolades for sOliver, Tommy Hilfiger and Crocs who all received recognition for omni-channel excellence in 2013.
  • Scale: The Demandware Cloud has the ability to support operational and technical scale as clients grow across channels, geographies and brands. We have already demonstrated over the past 10 years that we can deliver 99.99% uptime to support your anticipated growth. And, as our history has shown, when clients grow, our cloud, our platform, is pre-designed to scale with them. Carter’s is a great example that Tom shared with the audience. In 2010, they began their ecommerce journey. By 2013, they forecasted more than $200 million online. During the same earnings call when they made that projection, their CEO said they “saw strong ecommerce sales and profitability in the third quarter with total sales up 50% and earnings up 100%.”