Roger Hardy was working in e-commerce before it was cool. He founded Vancouver-basedClearly Contacts in 2000 — which was sold for $435 million to France’s Essilor last year — and is now the CEO of shoes.com, formerly owned by US-based Browns Shoe Co. The company also owns shoeme.ca and onlineshoes.com.
The Disruptors co-host Bruce Croxon sat downwith Hardy to talk about building shoes.com. “We’re not spending any time thinking about what the exit is, it’s more about how do you serve customers, how do you create value, and let’s do something big and exciting that’s never been done before,” Hardy said.
Croxon brought up a “gut feeling” that Vancouver is becoming the centre of startups (and he’s on to something — Vancouver took the top spot for entrepreneurial presence in a recent report). “There’s been a lot of money pumped back into the [Vancouver] ecosystem, and a lot of experience and talent that is helping these startups generate momentum and keep growing,” said Hardy.
To build a great e-commerce company, Hardy stressed the importance of the Net Promoter Score for measuring consumer satisfaction. “It allows us to focus on what we’re doing to wow consumers, and also the detractors. So when they tell you what’s not working, you hyper-focus on it as a management team, resolve that pain point, and create another promoter,” Hardy said.
Croxon, overall, was impressed with Hardy. “He is hyper-focused on the consumer experience, the culture is everywhere in the place that the customer always comes first, you heard him talking about net promotion score which every tech entrepreneur should be aware of,” Croxon said.
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