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Rick Watson, of RMW Commerce Consulting on AI, Hero SKUs, and Audience Research

Rick Watson is the founding CEO of RMW Commerce Consulting, a New York-based strategic ecommerce firm. He’s been active in ecommerce for more than 20 years and has been a featured speaker on news programs such as Bloomberg Surveillance and Bloomberg West, as well as retail-focused industry events, including NRF Shop.org, ECommerce Europe, ETail West, and others.

I wanted to get Rick’s views on important issues facing ecommerce merchants these days, including the rise of AI. We discuss compound marketing, which Rick notes will not be effective when you have a “me too” product. As he notes, “Everything goes back to what is your brand promise? And what are your set of hero SKUs? What is the promise of those items? And how is it merchandise in a way that can be disruptive? Are you the lowest price, best performing product? And if not, there needs to be another niche.”

Rick is passionate about leveraging market research to discover as much as one can about one’s customer, including how they search and the kinds of problems that each is trying to solve. As he notes, “You need to conduct first-party primary research on people who don’t buy from you. And it needs to start with the problems that you’re trying to solve as a company, and what problems those consumers are trying to solve in your general universe.”

Rick and I trade notes on recent moves in the marketplace, including Overstock.com’s acquisition of Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and about movers in ecommerce software. We close with his remarks on what has gotten him excited in ecommerce for 2023 and beyond.

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