Insights from a Growth Expert: Unlocking the Potential of E-Commerce Platforms With Revolutionary API Technology

Kisum Chan
Photo courtesy of Kisum Chan

Advancement is the currency of success in e-commerce - this is something Kisum Chan lives by. As the head of growth at Rye, an e-commerce infrastructure startup, Chan is a notable figure in the industry, recognized for his refreshing approach to revamping the digital shopping landscape.

Chan's journey is marked by an early foray into agriculture technology, co-founding Rice, Inc., a social enterprise for smallholder farmers in Southeast Asia. Recognizing the power of technology to benefit society at scale, Chan sought to tackle challenges that could impact the lives of even more people. This realization led him to explore e-commerce startups and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). In this interview, we explore his insights as a growth expert, focusing on how to drive transformative change in digital commerce through API technology.

Your journey has taken you from agriculture technology to e-commerce and SaaS. How has your diverse background influenced your approach to driving growth and innovation at Rye?

KC: My diverse background has been so important in shaping my methodology on growth and innovation at Rye. Having started my career in agriculture technology, I learned firsthand the importance of taking advantage of technology to solve real-world problems and drive social impact. This experience instilled in me a deep appreciation for the power of innovation to transform industries and improve lives.

When I transitioned into e-commerce and SaaS, I brought a unique perspective on how technology can be harnessed to create value and drive change. At Rye, we're changing how businesses integrate and monetize their products and services.

My background has taught me to look at growth and innovation through the lens of customer-centricity, always asking how we can use technology to create seamless experiences that truly benefit both businesses and consumers.

Q: Rye's API-driven solution revolutionizes how e-commerce platforms integrate shopping capabilities. Can you explain how this technology disrupts the traditional build-versus-buy decision for businesses?

KC: Absolutely. Traditionally, businesses looking to integrate e-commerce capabilities into their platforms have faced a difficult choice: build their solution from scratch or buy an off-the-shelf product.

Building in-house can be time-consuming, resource-intensive, and often requires significant technical expertise. On the other hand, buying a ready-made solution can be inflexible and may not fully align with a business's unique needs and goals.

Rye's API-driven solution disrupts this binary by offering a third option - a flexible, scalable, and customizable infrastructure that enables businesses to integrate commerce capabilities into their existing platforms seamlessly.

This perspective empowers businesses to focus on their core competencies while delivering exceptional shopping experiences to their customers.

Contextual commerce is a key focus area for Rye. How do you define contextual commerce, and what role does it play in shaping the future of e-commerce?

KC: Contextual commerce is all about delivering seamless, personalized shopping experiences that are deeply integrated into a consumer's everyday life. It's about meeting customers where they are, whether that's on social media, in a messaging app, or even in a physical store, and enabling them to make purchases without friction or interruption.

This setup represents the future of e-commerce. Consumers are becoming accustomed to hyper-personalized experiences and brands that can deliver this will be the ones that thrive.

Contextual commerce also creates a unified, omnichannel experience that meets customers where they are and enables them to shop on their own terms. Soon, this will become the norm.

Can you share some examples of how Rye's API technology is enabling businesses to create seamless, contextual shopping experiences for their customers?

KC: Certainly! One great example is how we're enabling businesses to integrate shopping capabilities directly into their content experiences. Another example is how we're empowering businesses to create personalized, data-driven shopping experiences.

We're also seeing a lot of excitement around our API's ability to enable businesses to create new shopping experiences.

For example, one of our clients is using our API to build a virtual try-on feature that allows customers to see how products would look on them before making a purchase. Another client is using our API to create a subscription-based model for their products, enabling customers to receive personalized selections on a regular basis. These are just a few examples, but the possibilities are truly endless.

As the head of growth at Rye, what strategies have you found most effective in driving adoption and scaling the business?

KC: I really want to identify and execute strategies that drive engagement and ultimately, revenue. One of our most effective schemes is a customer-centric line of attack on growth. We start by deeply understanding our customers' needs, pain points, and goals, and then we work backwards to develop solutions that address those needs in a meaningful way.

Another key strategy has been to focus on building strong partnerships and ecosystems.
To that end, we've invested heavily in our developer community, providing them with the tools, resources, and support they need to build innovative solutions on top of our API.

Finally, we've placed a strong emphasis on building a culture of experimentation and iteration. We encourage our team to take risks, try new things, and learn from both successes and failures.

Q: How do you identify and prioritize growth opportunities for Rye, and what metrics do you use to measure success?

KC: Identifying and prioritizing growth opportunities is critical to my role as head of growth at Rye. We take a data-driven take on growth, constantly measuring and analyzing key metrics to identify areas of opportunity and optimize our strategies.

Some key metrics we focus on include adoption rates, engagement levels, retention rates, and customer lifetime value. We also closely track our acquisition costs and revenue per customer, as well as industry trends and emerging technologies, always looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve.

Ultimately, our goal is to focus on growth opportunities with the greatest potential to drive meaningful, sustainable impact for our business and customers.

The e-commerce landscape is always evolving. What trends or shifts in consumer behaviour do you believe will have the greatest impact on the industry in the coming years?

KC: I agree, the e-commerce landscape is indeed changing every day. We're already seeing the rise of mobile commerce. Consumers spend more time on mobile devices and this means investing in responsive design, fast load times, and intuitive navigation to create a frictionless mobile shopping experience.

There is also a growing importance on personalization. Consumers today expect highly relevant, tailored experiences catering to their needs and preferences. We're also seeing a shift towards more immersive and interactive shopping experiences. Brands are exploring new ways to engage customers through virtual and augmented reality, live streaming, and other formats.

E-commerce is a dance of interaction, not just a mere transaction, and Kisum Chan's direction and oversight positions Rye as a leader in shaping the future of the industry. Without question, his perspective underlines the importance of technology serving customers with seamless grace. Through Chan's ideas, the potential of platforms will be unlocked not by the technology itself, but by the human ingenuity that wields it.