Iván Hernández Of KIT Global: 5 Things You Need To Know To Build A Highly Successful eCommerce Website

An Interview With Rachel Kline

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine

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Let’s not overlook the importance of payments. It’s not just about offering various payment methods; it’s about ensuring efficiency and profitability. We must guarantee that our payment processes are seamless, efficient, and adaptable to different regions and business units. After all, acquiring customers is essential, but ensuring they contribute to our company’s efficiency and profitability is equally critical for sustained success.

It has been years since eCommerce has changed the face of commerce. The pandemic pushed businesses away from the traditional model even more. The unfortunate reality is that most eCommerce websites will still fail. What are some things to keep in mind to build a highly successful eCommerce website? In this interview series, we are talking to leaders of eCommerce businesses who can share their strategies on creating a very successful eCommerce website. As part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Iván Hernández.

Iván Hernández is a seasoned executive professional with almost two decades of experience, distinguished by his exceptional achievements in business development. His extensive skill set encompasses critical areas such as business plan design and execution, strategic goal setting, team leadership, subsidiary establishment, and expansion plan execution.

In his role as the Chief Operations Officer at BYHOURS, a leading hotel inventory booking platform, Iván demonstrated exceptional leadership and strategic prowess. His accomplishments include consistently delivering remarkable sales increments, and achieving impressive fourfold growth. Iván’s proactive approach extended to securing funding from various investors through active participation in forums. He also played a pivotal role in successfully expanding BYHOURS into several international markets such as Germany, Italy, France, the UK, Mexico, and Colombia, showcasing his strategic vision and execution capabilities. Furthermore, Iván improved profit margins by fostering strong relationships with suppliers and ensuring the delivery of 24/7 services.

During his tenure as the CEO of Washrocks, Iván proved his ability to lead and transform businesses. His strategic acumen and leadership skills resulted in substantial sales growth, with an impressive increment every four times. Iván actively engaged with investors and adeptly secured financial backing through participation in funding forums. Under his leadership, Washrocks expanded its operations to Madrid, underscoring his proficiency in geographical expansion and market penetration. He further improved profit margins by optimizing relationships with suppliers and ensuring round-the-clock service delivery.

Iván currently serves as the Country Head of Spain at KIT Global, a leading player in the performance marketing industry. Leveraging his extensive experience and expertise, he is at the helm of KIT Global’s expansion and success in the Spanish market. His visionary approach and results-driven mindset continue to make a substantial impact, ensuring KIT Global’s dominance in the industry.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we begin, can you please introduce yourself? 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?

I have a background in aerospace engineering, which has always been a significant part of my journey. Upon completing my degree, I made a conscious decision to immerse myself fully in the technical industry. Initially, I spent a considerable amount of time working with a reputable parachute company, a role that spanned over several years. However, during this time, I recognized a growing desire to explore avenues beyond the confines of traditional engineering.

Motivated by a keen interest in digital innovation and entrepreneurship, I made a deliberate choice to diversify my skill set. This led me to pursue studies in marketing and public relations, a decision I made to strike a balance between my technical expertise and effective communication strategies. After completing my studies in these fields, I embarked on a transformative journey, which included pursuing an MBA in Australia.

Upon my return, I transitioned into a role with SENER, an engineering firm renowned for its prestigious clientele, including NASA. My time at SENER afforded me invaluable experience working with globally recognized brands such as Embraer, further solidifying my passion for the intersection of technology and business.

However, a pivotal moment in my career trajectory occurred when I attended a networking event in Barcelona focused on entrepreneurship. It was here that I had the opportunity to meet Christian Rodriguez, the founder of a dynamic startup within the tourism industry. Impressed by my background and skill set, Christian extended an offer for me to join his team, a decision that ultimately steered me toward the vibrant world of startups and digital enterprises.

Reflecting on the past twelve years in the digital industry, I’ve remained steadfast in my commitment to its evolving landscape, continuously seeking opportunities to collaborate with diverse industries and pioneering ventures. For me, the allure of marketing and public relations lies in its dynamic nature and pivotal role within the digital realm. It’s a space where innovation thrives, and the ability to effectively communicate and engage with audiences is paramount to success.

In essence, my journey has been defined by a relentless pursuit of growth and adaptation, guided by a firm belief in the transformative power of embracing new challenges and opportunities within the ever-evolving digital ecosystem.

It has been said that sometimes our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Well, let me share some amusing anecdotes from my early days in business. One memorable mishap occurred during my time with a company called Washrocks. The irony lies in our choice of name, originally intended to be catchy and humorous, yet it unexpectedly presented challenges. You see, the pronunciation of “Washrocks” in Spain often confounded our audience, especially during radio advertisements where we encouraged people to download our app, Washrocks. It became apparent that our clever branding was causing confusion rather than generating interest.

However, every mistake presents an opportunity for growth, and we grab this chance to turn this issue into a creative solution. In a subsequent radio spot produced in-house, we addressed the issue by purchasing another URL: do-not-wash-anymore.com. This allowed us to showcase our self-awareness and problem-solving skills. The opportunity lay in crafting a humorous narrative that resonated with our audience, leveraging our spelling problem. The URL merely served as the vehicle to deliver this narrative, rather than being the opportunity itself.

Another valuable lesson learned relates to the importance of thinking globally, even when starting small. In the world of e-commerce, it’s easy to focus solely on local markets and suppliers that cater to immediate needs. However, this narrow perspective can hinder future expansion efforts. When venturing into new markets such as Germany, it’s important to prioritize aligning with local payment methods and features to ensure there will be no costly setbacks.

Most importantly, every mistake has acted as a valuable teacher, reinforcing the need to approach challenges with creativity and foresight. By harnessing our errors and embracing a wider viewpoint, we managed to navigate the intricacies of business expansion more effectively, emerging stronger as a consequence.

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?

I had a chance encounter with Christian Rodriguez who completely transformed my career trajectory. Christian, who now serves as the Chairman and CEO of Mutter Ventures, a prominent venture builder with various startups, played a pivotal role in reshaping my perspective and approach to work. His dynamic leadership style and penchant for innovation captivated my attention, inspiring me to embrace a fast-paced environment filled with groundbreaking ideas.

Throughout different stages of my career, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with Christian, and I’m immensely grateful for the invaluable lessons and opportunities he’s provided. His professionalism and expertise have been instrumental in my growth and development.

Moreover, I firmly believe in the power of continuous learning and growth, regardless of who I interact with. Whether it’s a high-ranking executive like Christian or a colleague in a different role, I strive to glean insights and knowledge from every encounter. This open-minded approach to learning has been pivotal in my journey toward success.

He is a well-respected figure within the Spanish business landscape, and you can find him on LinkedIn for further information.

Ok, fantastic. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. What does your eCommerce company do? What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current eCommerce business? Can you share that story with us?

Currently, I serve as the Country Manager for KIT Global, overseeing operations in the Spanish region. What initially drew me to KIT Global was its innovative approach as a marketplace, rather than just another digital marketing agency. This distinction is crucial, as it allows us to offer a comprehensive range of services tailored to our clients’ needs.

At KIT Global, we pride ourselves on being a customer-centric digital marketing agency, offering a holistic suite of 360° services. Central to our offerings is our disruptive marketplace, which leverages artificial intelligence to connect advertisers with tailored solutions efficiently. This platform represents a significant leap forward for the European market, streamlining the process of finding the right solutions amidst a sea of options.

One standout feature of our marketplace is its ability to assist in website development, including e-commerce sites. From initial web development to SEO services and launching campaigns, we provide end-to-end solutions to ensure our client’s success in the competitive digital landscape.

The creation of our solutions platform/marketplace stands as the “aha” moment for our company, which represents a game-changing innovation within the industry. What sets us apart and positions us at the forefront of industry innovation is our commitment to simplifying the advertiser experience through AI-driven solutions. We are dedicated to staying at the forefront of artificial intelligence advancements and forthcoming cutting-edge technology solutions. Our continued pursuit of innovation underscores our commitment to delivering value to our clients and solidifying our position as leaders in the digital marketing landscape.

What was your original vision for your company? How does it help people? What pain point(s) were you trying to solve for your customers?

I appreciate your inquiry into the challenges we face in the market. While I can offer insight from our perspective, I want to underscore our primary mission: to elevate our customers’ outcomes through cutting-edge digital marketing solutions.

With a robust infrastructure already in place, our focus is clear. Every digital company encounters unique goals and challenges in driving sales. We aim to address these challenges efficiently and effectively. Through our platform — also known as our marketplace — we streamline processes, saving our clients valuable time and resources.

Firstly, our marketplace eliminates the need for multiple agency agreements. Instead of navigating through various contracts and data-sharing processes, our clients can secure all necessary services with just a few clicks. This simplicity is invaluable, offering a streamlined experience without compromising on quality.

Secondly, our platform keeps our clients updated with the latest solutions in the market. Rather than spending time researching new strategies or technologies, our clients can access a curated selection of top-tier solutions tailored to their needs.

There are more than 12 million eCommerce businesses out there. What do you think makes your company stand out? What are you most proud of? Can you share a story?

What makes us stand out is our in-depth understanding of the challenges surrounding data confidentiality. We recognize the frustrations inherent in sharing sensitive information across multiple providers. With our marketplace, our clients enjoy a distinct advantage — they only need to entrust their data to us, ensuring maximum security and confidentiality, without the risks associated with sharing it across various entities.

In contrast to platforms relying on third-party services, our marketplace is proprietary, offering a heightened level of security and control. By consolidating all services under our banner, we provide a seamless experience, eliminating the inconvenience of engaging with multiple entities. This unique approach empowers our clients to pursue their goals with unparalleled confidence and efficiency, setting us apart from the competition.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things you need to know to build a highly successful eCommerce website?

1. The primary focus lies in identifying our Unique Selling Proposition (USP). It’s crucial to pinpoint what sets us apart from our competitors and align every aspect of our business — from creation and pricing to design and customer communication — with this USP. Our USP should be the guiding star for every action and decision within our e-commerce realm.

2 . Next, let’s talk about user experience (UX). It’s imperative that every user navigating our e-commerce platform feels guided and empowered. They should never feel lost or uncertain about their location or next steps. Clear calls to action, minimalistic design clutter, and intuitive navigation pathways are essential for enhancing retention and conversion rates.

3 . Now, onto design. Yes, it’s part of UX, but it’s also much more. Design isn’t just about pretty colors and fancy images; it’s about communicating our brand’s essence, values, and vision to our customers. Whether we’re conveying a sense of calm, disruption, or innovation, our design choices should echo our USP and resonate with our target audience.

4 . A robust tracking system is another key component. From day one, we need to implement sophisticated tracking tools to monitor user behavior, analyze trends, and make data-driven decisions. Understanding how users interact with our platform is crucial for continuous improvement and optimization.

5 . Lastly, let’s not overlook the importance of payments. It’s not just about offering various payment methods; it’s about ensuring efficiency and profitability. We must guarantee that our payment processes are seamless, efficient, and adaptable to different regions and business units. After all, acquiring customers is essential, but ensuring they contribute to our company’s efficiency and profitability is equally critical for sustained success.

If there were one part of the eCommerce website development process you would have spent 50% more time on, what would it be and why?

In my experience with various e-commerce projects, I’ve come to realize the paramount importance of the user journey. It’s crucial that customers feel secure and confident at every step, knowing precisely what actions to take. Each page should offer clear and intuitive choices for moving forward or backward.

The decision pillars within our websites must be meticulously crafted and efficient to enhance conversion rates and drive effective call-to-action. Simplifying the user journey is key; the fewer distractions and the more strategically placed the options, the better. Clarity is paramount — confusion can be a significant deterrent. By streamlining our user journey, we can achieve higher retention, improved conversion rates, and enhanced customer loyalty.

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?

I’ve compiled a list of four essential tools for launching and optimizing your e-commerce venture:

1. Shopify: Ideal for startups with budget constraints, Shopify offers a user-friendly solution to create your online store quickly and efficiently. Within hours, you can have a professional-quality website up and running. However, it’s worth noting that SEO capabilities may not be as robust compared to other solutions.

2. Canva: It is a widely recognized platform for graphic design, offering a plethora of templates and design elements. It’s an excellent choice for those looking to enhance the visual appeal of their website without significant costs. From headers to creative designs, Canva provides versatile options to elevate your brand aesthetics.

3. ChatGPT (AI): Leveraging AI technology, ChatGPT proves to be a valuable asset for e-commerce endeavors. It aids in various tasks, including competitor analysis, content creation, and decision-making processes. With its ability to generate high-quality SEO-friendly copies tailored to your industry keywords, ChatGPT serves as a reliable guide to kickstart your journey.

4. Google Analytics: A robust tracking system is imperative for any e-commerce venture, and Google Analytics offers a comprehensive suite of tools to track key performance indicators (KPIs). With valuable insights into user behavior, such as average session duration, page popularity, retention rates, and conversion metrics, Google Analytics empowers you to make informed decisions and optimize your online presence effectively.

While these tools are widely known, they’re invaluable resources readily available to enhance your e-commerce journey.

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?

As a former CEO, I’ve encountered various mistakes and learned invaluable lessons along the way. One of the pivotal errors I recognize is the tendency to narrow our focus solely on one region or market segment at the outset. It’s imperative to adopt a global perspective from the start, rather than confining ourselves to local boundaries. I’ve experienced firsthand the frustration of having to retrofit our e-commerce platform to cater to different regions after neglecting this global outlook initially.

Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for CEOs or founders to undergo radical shifts in mindset or direction frequently. Whether influenced by a course attended or a chance encounter, the temptation to pivot abruptly can be enticing. However, I’ve learned the importance of maintaining alignment and ensuring that all stakeholders are on the same page. When presented with a new idea, it’s prudent to allow time for reflection, at least 3–4 days, before making any decisions. This approach facilitates thorough consideration and often leads to a more nuanced perspective or even a reevaluation of the proposed idea.

Moreover, I’ve observed that some CEOs or founders, particularly in the startup phase, tend to fixate solely on budget concerns when selecting suppliers. However, it’s crucial not to overlook the broader benefits that a supplier can offer beyond just payment terms. Instead of focusing solely on payment methods, it’s essential to assess the supplier’s capabilities, prospects, and potential for collaboration. Building strong, mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers yields far greater value in the long run than simply prioritizing short-term financial considerations.

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

One aspect of e-commerce that I believe is often overlooked is the potential for upselling and cross-selling directly on the website itself. The opportunities here are truly limitless, with countless possibilities to encourage additional purchases through strategic calls to action. By simply adding an extra step to the shopping cart or implementing various approaches, such as transactional images, companies can effectively stimulate further transactions and increase revenue.

Moreover, I find that many companies underestimate the importance of customizing transactional email templates. It’s crucial to design these templates thoughtfully, incorporating compelling calls to action that streamline the purchasing process. With tools available today, like buttons that directly add items to the shopping cart, companies can significantly enhance user experience, reducing unnecessary steps and friction in the purchasing journey.

Another underrated aspect, in my opinion, is soliciting feedback from customers. Implementing surveys or pop-ups on the website allows companies to gather valuable insights into customer sentiment and preferences. Customers are often the best source of guidance for improvement, and by actively listening to their feedback and making necessary changes, companies can foster a sense of trust and loyalty. Additionally, it’s crucial to communicate these changes to customers, showing appreciation for their input and demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement.

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. :-)

I have two ideas in mind. Firstly, imagine a gym that harnesses the energy generated by its members during workouts. Gyms are bustling hubs of energy, with people expending considerable effort. Why not capture and utilize this energy to power the gym itself or even contribute to the local grid? It’s a concept that could revolutionize the fitness industry and make a significant environmental impact.

Secondly, I firmly believe in the potential of replicating successful business models from one country to another. It’s a strategy known as “copycatting,” and it’s not only legal but also highly effective. For example, I once lived in Australia and was impressed by their approach to selling real estate through auctions. This method could be replicated in other countries, like Spain, where traditional real estate practices differ. By adopting successful ideas from one market and applying them elsewhere, entrepreneurs can tap into proven concepts and fill gaps in local markets effectively.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

For more information, readers can follow me via KIT Global’s website and my LinkedIn profile.

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

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