Consider the customer.
Kirsten Green, who runs the early-stage venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures, has established herself as one of the best pickers of the next generation of successful e-commerce and consumer brands. Green has invested in companies like Warby Parker, Dollar Shave Club, Outdoor Voices and Glossier.
How’d she pick them — and how has she avoided some of the notable recent flameouts? The key, she said at the Code Commerce Series event in Las Vegas: A strong focus on the customer experience.
“You increasingly cannot compete just on product,” Green said. “To have a product that the consumer is willing to exchange money for is table stakes.” Competing on price alone, meanwhile, is a “crappy” business, she said. “So the thing to compete on is delivering a great experience.”
What have some of the winning entrepreneurs had in common?
“All of those founders pitched me a customer experience. All of them led with: ‘Here’s the guy. Here’s the girl. Here’s what’s wrong with the shopping experience.’”
In many cases today, that means building a direct-to-consumer e-commerce business. But it could also include relatively traditional components like physical retail stores. Many of Green’s investments, such as Warby Parker, Outdoor Voices and Bonobos, have some variety of brick-and-mortar presence.