As principal at Gorilla, Brian has used his deep sales and management experience and understanding of direct-to-consumer and b2b ecommerce strategy to lead the company through a period of tremendous growth. Under his leadership, Gorilla has tripled in size, recording a 3 year growth rate in excess of 360% and being named to the 2011 Inc. 500|5000 list of fastest growing U.S. companies.
Gorilla is an award-winning, full-service ecommerce solutions provider, combining website design, development and strategy under one roof. Gorilla works with leading multichannel retailers, brand manufacturers and b2b companies to solve their toughest ecommerce challenges and innovate solutions that elevate their businesses across channels. In addition to its inclusion on the Inc. 500|5000 list, Gorilla has won 2 Webby Awards, 2 Interactive Media awards and was named 2010 Magento Partner of the Year.
MO: Your company and site strike me as elegant and sophisticated. Where did you come up with the less than elegant name, Gorilla for your company?
Brian: The company was originally founded as Guerilla Marketing, but the simple fact was people had trouble remembering how to spell the name of our URL. So, we made the change to Gorilla, a name that at once differentiates us from our competitors and conveys the strength, intelligence and caring nature associated with these amazing animals. And whether by design or by accident, the Gorilla name has really come to embody the culture we’re trying to create.
MO: You say that you’re ‘striving to be the go-to ecommerce agency for mid-size businesses.’ Why are you specifically interested in the mid-size business market? What makes it so appealing?
Brian: Several years ago, we identified mid-size businesses as an underserved market segment and decided to pursue it aggressively. There have long been firms focused on serving the biggest multichannel and web-only retailers, and numerous pay-as-you-go offerings for small merchants, but as Internet Retailer points out in their most recent issue, mid-size web retailers represent the fastest growing segment of the ecommerce industry. This has worked to our advantage. We saw the need to equip mid-size businesses with the design, user experience and functionality to compete with their competitors, regardless of size. And unlike many other firms in our industry, we chose to build our design and development practices entirely in-house, which has proven to be a competitive advantage.
MO: How did it feel to be named one of the fastest growing private companies in 2011 by Inc. 500/5000? Were you surprised to be recognized among millions of other businesses?
Brian: We’re very gratified by the honor, but I wouldn’t say we were surprised. We did our homework during the selection process and had a pretty good idea of where we might fall. We have a defined growth plan in place, are profitable and fully expect to move up this list in coming years.
MO: How are you going to keep the momentum going?
Brian: By continuing to hire great people and delivering exceptional work to our clients, along with expanding our product and service offerings. We recently launched Gorilla Enhanced Managed Support, aka GEMS, a unique proactive support and monitoring offering for web merchants, which has been very well received in the marketplace. And we’ll soon be unveiling In Store, a line of fully supported software modules to enhance the Magento platform. And word of mouth marketing never hurts. Good work has a way of attracting good clients.
MO: How important is an alluring, well designed website to gain conversions and keep customers coming back? Are there any specific design trends that you’re seeing emerge?
Brian: Site design is essential in establishing user trust, which directly relates to driving conversions, attracting repeat customers and creating brand advocates. It’s important to remember that user experience is brand experience, and site design plays a major role in that.
Some of the design trends we’re seeing involve the need to create richer customer experiences with more functionality, without sacrificing site performance—page load speeds weigh heavily on user satisfaction and search engine results. These include the fusion of commerce and content, deep social media integrations, faceted site navigation to create multiple paths to product discovery, and robust search capabilities within the ecommerce site itself.
MO: You have an impressive portfolio with some great clients. Are you about to launch anything in the near future that you’re specifically excited about or proud of?
Brian: We’re excited for every client site launch, but in particular we have an upcoming launch for Amerock, a division of Newell Rubbermaid, that promises to be a great site. And we just completed the first phase of a project to create an ecommerce channel for Clad, a new concept in men’s retailing that is a collaboration between Esquire magazine and JC Penny Inc.’s Growth Brands Division. It’s an excellent example of blending content and commerce that’s a peak into the future of internet retailing.
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