Connect Magazine Technology Fall 2016 - Page 14

Technology Inside and Out With a passionate in-house development team, is able to keep ahead of the technology curve in order to improve existing technologies and prepare for shifts in the industry and consumer behavior. “Staying ahead really comes down to your team. You need a team that’s very passionate and very informed on technology,” Bohm explains. “Often people hire outside development teams, but they’re not living and breathing your core business. It might be somewhat cheaper, but at the end of the day, you’re not going to see that good and secure product.”’s technology department focuses on two main aspects of business: The experience and internal operations. Consumer Access & Protection Their e-commerce site, mobile-responsive app, and informative blog are some of the ways has streamlined their online experience for ease of use—while also delivering attractive design and useful information. With the shift to e-gift cards, Bohm’s team has also focused on fraud protection to ensure gift cards and payment methods are vetted and secure. This not only gives consumers peace of mind when conducting business on, but also protects the company’s inventory and assets. Internal Evaluation & Refinement In-house, Bohm and Ackerman have hired product developers to observe and interview each department. They explore tasks and technology to gauge whether or not existing practices are effective. If processes or practices are found to hinder productivity, they devise ways to improve and streamline them. Just this year alone, such operational evaluations have helped nearly double their volume from the previous year while cutting payroll costs by 10%. This practice of constantly evaluating internal and external systems, Bohm explains, follows’s 14 | SNB.COM // CONNECT TECHNOLOGY FALL 2016 intent to remove as much friction from the consumer experience as possible. That includes paying cash to customers up front. A Sterling Experience Unlike online auction sites, where customers wait for product bids and purchases, immediately pays once the transaction has been approved. This, Bohm explains, reduces friction in the selling process. In order to finance this policy and foster the rapid inventory turnover they see with their site (with some items purchased within minutes or others within the week), turned to Sterling National Bank’s inventory financing program. “They’ve been a great partner,” Bohm says. In addition to inventory financing, uses Sterling’s online banking services and Automated Clearing House program to pay sellers. “We’re very impressed with the online cash management side,” Bohm says. “Their online platform is easy to use and they’re also receptive to new ideas. If there’s something we can’t do, they try to figure out a way to accommodate us.” What’s Next? The Bigger Picture Moving forward, Bohm continues to focus as much on finding ways for consumers to save money as he does on supporting his team. Not only does aim to ensure that consumers are paid on time, but also that customers receive great service—getting what they want, when they want it— even with significant savings. “The rising cost of a living with our economy—it’s challenging. There are many people who have a hard