CEO Stevens on the Inspiration Behind Shopatron
Published March 03, 2011 Share
As he does a couple times a year, Shopatron Founder and CEO Ed Stevens sat down with a handful of new employees this week and shared his vision about the company and the story behind Shopatron’s retail-integrated eCommerce system.
It was an interesting discussion for the newcomers on hand, with some company history that’s worth sharing with branded manufacturers and the hundreds of clients that have joined the Shopatron Network this past year.
Stevens started the discussion talking about his first job, dusting furniture as a 14-year-old boy in his family’s retail furniture store in Akron, Ohio.
“It was a great job for me,” he joked, “because there was always lots of furniture to dust.”
Stevens went on to study Russian literature at Stanford before traveling overseas to work in the marketing department at Pirometer JSC, a producer of aviation components in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The Ohio native eventually returned to the U.S., where he founded NORVEL, Ltd., an American importer of model airplane engines and other components for the toy and hobby industries.
Stevens began selling directly to consumers, but over his eight years with NORVEL realized the importance of networking with retailers and allowing his trusted dealers to fulfill the orders placed directly with NORVEL.
“I wanted retailers to be partners of my fulfillment,” he said. “I wanted to build an online system to partner with those guys.”
And the idea for Shopatron’s retail-integrated eCommerce system was born.
Stevens spent the next couple years working with friends and colleagues like Sean Collier, now Shopatron’s Chief Product Officer and Senior Vice President of Client Services, to create an eCommerce system based on his experiences as a retailer, brand and end consumer.
“Most people told me it was impossible. They said it wasn’t going to work,” Stevens said. “I’m one of those people who is motivated by the naysayers, so we built the workflow, programmed it and launched our first store in August 2001.”
It’s hard to believe Shopatron launched nearly a decade ago. Today, the Shopatron Network remains true to that retail-friendly mission and is the only eCommerce system that satisfies the needs of branded manufacturers, retailers and end consumers. It’s a model that’s withstood the dot-com bust, multiple recessions and is growing stronger than ever.
As the company continues its 50%-plus growth into the future, Stevens also made it clear that building a world-class customer experience is the next evolution for Shopatron.
“One of my proudest accomplishments is being part of a company and team that has grown at an aggregate rate of 50%, even through recession,” Stevens concluded. “We’ve managed to do that with strong leadership, a great product and outstanding service, and we’ll continue to focus our efforts on creating a world-class customer experience for our merchants, partners and end consumers as we move forward.”
To learn more about Shopatron, be sure to visit our new Company section with general background on retail-integrated eCommerce, management profiles and media features that tell the story of Shopatron’s history and unprecedented growth.
Have a comment or question about Shopatron or how retail-integrated eCommerce works? Email Brian Milne, and we’ll include our response in an upcoming blog post.