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Author: Katy Logan

Introducing Our New Vice President Of Sales: Natalie Tarpinian

Introducing Our New Vice President Of Sales: Natalie Tarpinian

We’re pleased to announce the newest member of the StackCommerce executive team: Natalie Tarpinian. Natalie is a key addition at a timely moment here at StackCommerce, and a reflection of our success in Q1 and Q2 of 2018. Most notably, she will be spearheading our recently-launched media division, StackMedia, which provides brands yet another tool to reach highly-engaged audiences directly on the sites they visit most.

Natalie brings over 15 years of experience serving in leadership positions at a wide range of media and ad tech companies, including SitePoint and BuySellAds. Her proven track record in building and scaling sales organizations is the perfect recipe for taking Stack to the next level.

I sat down with Natalie to pick her brain on adtech, her very first job, and the future of StackMedia.

Katy: What inspired you to join StackCommerce?

Natalie: I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with StackCommerce over the years, and it’s been incredibly impressive to watch their offering evolve into a diverse portfolio of solutions for advertisers and publishers. When I was given the opportunity to join the team and build out the new media division, StackMedia, I jumped at the chance!

Katy: You have an impressive array of experience in the ad industry. What excites you most about our offering in particular?

Natalie: StackCommerce’s core strength is creating compelling content that moves readers to purchase products and services on their favorite websites. Extending that solution to include media is a natural progression.

It’s no secret that the shifting media landscape has created challenges for stakeholders on both sides of the business. Publishers must consistently create entirely new sources of revenue, and advertisers must find creative ways to reach their target audience. StackCommerce is able to provide a well-rounded solution that speaks to both sides.

Katy: What do you think is the “next big thing” for the industry?

Natalie: We’ve moved beyond surface metrics into an era of content marketing. Marketers will become laser-focused on reaching the right people, with an emphasis on quality over quantity. More specifically, they will be looking for relevant content that is custom-created for their target audience. This makes distribution and engagement strategies essential.

Katy: What was your first job, and what lessons do you still use in your day-to-day?

Natalie: My first job was actually in radio sales. When selling radio advertising, knowing your audience, the station, and your client’s needs is vital.

Katy: What keeps you up at night?

Natalie: Easy: the ever-changing media landscape. I’m excited to join a like-minded organization that isn’t afraid to evolve with the times.

 

The State of Native Commerce: Publishers Are Opening for Business

The State of Native Commerce: Publishers Are Opening for Business

The times are a’changing in the world of commerce for publishers. Just this May, Digiday held a Hot Topic Conference in New York City devoted to the subject of commerce alone. It’s clear that publishers are hungry to replicate the success of their peers like Gizmodo Media Group and Business Insider, and to fill the growing revenue gap caused by a shifting digital landscape ruled primarily by Facebook and Google. Commerce for publishers is no longer a foreign concept as it was only a few years ago when we first launched our white-labeled shop product. But let’s skip the nostalgia, and move right to the state of publishers and commerce today in 2018.

Affiliate Rules, But Proceed with Caution

As part of the above-mentioned Hot Topic conference, Digiday surveyed 53 publisher executives on commerce initiatives. Of those publishers, just over half reported that at least 75% of commerce revenue came from affiliate programs.

And for good reason. When it comes to harvesting a new commerce strategy, affiliate commerce is the most straightforward path to revenue. More and more brands are offering direct affiliate links, which leaves publishers tasked with a familiar role: producing content and linking to products that will interest their readers. Simple, right?

Not so fast. Affiliate revenue streams, while relatively easy to implement, can amount to pennies and dimes when you subtract the cost of an expanded editorial team. Affiliate margins are notoriously small; Digiday reports that Dotdash’s affiliate commissions were as low as 2 or 3 percent. In addition, there are well-documented issues with purchase attribution on mobile that further depresses effective commissions for publishers. And while producing a higher volume of content may appear to be the solution, publishers are then left with the cost of growing full editorial teams devoted to writing commerce articles. Buzzfeed reported a full-time commerce team consisting of 19 writers last November. Scaling commerce content in an efficient, revenue positive way — while remaining faithful and authentic to the core mission and voice of the brand —  is the needle publishers are attempting to thread.

Amazon Is Risky

Where does Amazon, the king of all e-commerce, fit into all this? While Amazon may be the most obvious choice for quickly scaling a commerce program, publishers are beginning to grow weary of depending on digital behemoths for consistent revenue. Just consider how much a single Facebook newsfeed algorithm change rocked the online publisher landscape this past January.

Instead, publishers are looking to lean into their strength: the readers, i.e. the fans. As Christopher Vollmer put it, “Fans watch more, listen more, participate more, share more, advocate more, and create more. Most important, fans spend more.“

This is where owned stores and proprietary merchandise come out to play.

PopSugar Shop
Beauty By PopSugar Branded Makeup Line

Developing Publisher-Owned Stores

Increasingly, publishers are opening their own online stores in hopes of forging an even tighter bond between themselves and their readers. Of the publishers surveyed, Digiday reported that 40% have an online store.

Proprietary shops not only allow publishers to sell products in line with their site ethos, but to engage their readers in a complementary manner. POPSUGAR recently announced a branded makeup line, doubling down on their time-earned reputation as a beauty expert amongst its readers. theCHIVE has owned the t-shirt game since 2011

But not all publisher shops have been Cinderella stories. A significant handful of publishers have tried and failed at the e-commerce game due to the high-cost and logistical nightmare of running an e-commerce shop. Merchandising, operations, customer service, shipping — opening a shop means essentially opening a new business, and new businesses can fail.

Mashable commerce shop
Mashable Shop Powered By StackCommece

Where Does StackCommerce Fit In?

The above challenge is exactly what drives our team to do what we do. We fill the gap. We offer publishers of all sizes the branded shop — and even the content — so they can scale their commerce efforts while focusing on their actual core business of creating great content. With seven years of experience in e-commerce, and extensive data, we’re able to provide a custom shop experience (site design, merchandising, operations, customer service, etc.) for our publisher partners with virtually no risk. And best yet, we’re able to offer much more attractive economics compared to typical affiliate, which can make a significant net impact on their monetization portfolio.

We’ve been riding the eb and flow of the commerce wave since the beginning, and are incredibly inspired to see the success publishers are having within the past year. There’s no place we’d rather be than helping publishers succeed financially so they can continue to provide valuable content to their readers every day. With all the rapid change, the question is: what will 2019 have in store for us?

StackCommerce’s Own Josh Payne Named Semifinalist for EY 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year

StackCommerce’s Own Josh Payne Named Semifinalist for EY 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year

Update: Josh Payne has been named a finalist in the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 Greater Los Angeles Awards program! Stay tuned for more updates on Twitter @stackcommerce.

Six years ago, Stack’s CEO and Founder Josh Payne put everything on the line to launch what’s now known as StackCommerce — and from his living room nonetheless. He inspires the StackCommerce team with his infectious entrepreneurial spirit every day, which is why we’re so pleased to announce that he was selected as a semifinalist for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2018 Greater Los Angeles Region Award! Josh was a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2017 Greater Los Angeles Region Award, making this his second consecutive semi-finalist nomination.

“I’m incredibly honored to be in the company of such inspiring entrepreneurs from across Los Angeles. There’s no shortage of awards to strive for, but celebrating and encouraging entrepreneurship is something I value to no end. My name may be on the nomination, but this is truly a reflection of the hard work of the entire StackCommerce team.”Josh Payne

As the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs, Entrepreneur Of The Year has been at the forefront of identifying game‑changing entrepreneurs for more than three decades. The program has honored the leadership of such entrepreneurs as Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Company, John Mackey of Whole Foods Market Inc., Pierre Omidyar of eBay, Inc., Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn Corporation and Mindy Grossman of HSN, Inc.

Learn more about the Entrepreneur Of The Year Greater Los Angeles program here and stay up-to-date on Josh’s journey on Twitter by following @StackCommerce and @jnpayne.

About Josh Payne:

Josh Payne is an entrepreneur, investor and startup advisor. He is currently the Founder & CEO of StackCommerce, the leading native commerce platform helping online publishers to monetize and engage audiences through the integration of content + commerce. Prior to founding StackCommerce, Josh managed business development for several leading technology companies including Yahoo!, Meebo (acquired by Google), and Intel. Previously, Josh was an investor in early stage technology companies as a venture capital associate at Aurora Funds. Josh earned his MBA from Duke and his bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Indiana University. He is a member of Young President’s Organization (YPO) Bel-Air Chapter and was named a 2017 Finalist for EY Entrepreneur of the Year for Greater Los Angeles. Josh is a startup mentor for venture firms Amplify.LA & 500Startups. Josh also currently serves on the board of Trubrain.com, a venture-backed biohacking startup. He is a husband, father of two daughters, triathlete, and avid-explorer having traveled to over 40 countries worldwide.

 

Want to Land a Job You Love? We’re Hiring!

Want to Land a Job You Love? We’re Hiring!

Fresh off our seventh company-wide Hack Day (pictured above), the team here at StackCommerce has never been hungrier for what’s to come. We played hooky from our normal tasks and spent the day indulging in company-sponsored meals — well that and thinking up out-of-the-box ideas to push StackCommerce to the next level. From a content showcase website for our in-house brand studio (the winning project!) to Slack hacks for coffee-making instructions, the day was a bona fide success.

Now is the time to get in the native commerce game — with virtually every online publisher and media company working commerce into their revenue strategy. In fact, Digiday recently reported that commerce programs account for a third or more of total revenue for some of the world’s largest publishers.

If you’re ready to dive in and help brands and publishers monetize via amazing products and content — take a look at our job openings below. From sales to creative to engineering, there’s a wide range of opportunity and we can’t wait to hear from you. Check out a recent piece on the StackCommerce story in DealCrunch — and read more about our job openings on Built in LA or on the StackCommerce career site.

Business Development

Director of Publisher Development

Manager of Publisher Development

Creative

Jr. Copywriter

Engineering

Head of Engineering

Finance

Staff Accountant

Product

Sr. UI Designer

Sales

VP of Merchant Sales

 

StackCommerce Acquires Joyus, Makes Bold Move Into Women’s Vertical

StackCommerce Acquires Joyus, Makes Bold Move Into Women’s Vertical

We’re thrilled to publicly announce our acquisition of Joyus, the first premium online video product discovery and shopping experience for women. We couldn’t be more excited to bring our native commerce solution to publishers in the women’s vertical, and the addition of Joyus will play a significant role in these efforts.

Founded in 2011, San Francisco-based Joyus created the first video-based shopping network serving consumers, publishers and brands across the fashion, beauty, home and health verticals. For years, we’ve been big fans of Joyus and its many achievements: over 500 brands featured on its platform, a reach of over 100m monthly users, and a patented shoppable video technology, to name a few.

The acquisition of Joyus allows us to immediately deliver curated and content rich shopping experiences tailored specifically to women—and we can’t wait to get started. Look out for the relaunch of Joyus in the coming weeks!

Find out more about the acquisition in a recent article from TechCrunch, or read the full press release here.

StackCommerce Company Update September 2017

StackCommerce Company Update September 2017

Summer is disappearing faster than we’d like here at Stack HQ (and the enormous beach-going Venice crowds along with it). While we’ve definitely found moments to step out and breathe the ocean air, the team’s been busy breaking company records, innovating new ways to serve our publishers and merchants—and preparing for what looks to be an unforgettable Q4.

Here’s a taste of what we’ve been up to:

1. We hosted the 4th annual Stack Olympics, and it was epic.

The in-house team celebrated the fourth annual Stack Olympics on June 23rd and, as always, it was a raucous, competitive affair.

This year’s theme comprised Hollywood classics, with teams based off of The Sandlot, Space Jam, Star Wars, and more ‘80s – early ‘90s classics. The day consisted of a variety of challenges, testing Stackers’ mettle in a range of disciplines. When the games were completed, and the “work” day came to an end, teams retired to the office for drinks and pizza and, once again, were friends, coworkers, and allies. Another rousing success in the books, it’s safe to say Stack Olympics is one annual tradition here to stay.

2. Our publisher family grew by 42, and MediaPost wrote about it.

We would love to brag about our successful first half of 2017, but luckily, MediaPost did the heavy lifting for us. We were thrilled to be featured in their PublishersDaily section, and share some of our latest wins with the community, including: onboarding 42 new publishers, reporting an impressive 20% average gross margin for publisher partners (for comparison’s sake, affiliate networks generally offer 4-8%), and jumpstarting an amazing partnership with Mashable, who saw over 18,500 transactions in the first 60 days alone.

Check out the full post here.

3. We gathered (and got ridiculously inspired) as a team for our annual off-site.

Our annual off-site is one of the team’s favorite events of the year—and 2017 was no exception. This year we welcomed Jason Jaggard and Jon Roberts of Novus , who dished some inspiring wisdom to help us grow and develop as individuals in our careers and lives. We returned to the office motivated, ready to blow our goals out of the water, and (some of us) even a little tan from a day at the pool.

4. We welcomed our new VP of Sales, Paula Campbell—and she’s awesome.

We were thrilled to welcome a new member of them team to sunny Venice Beach, Paula Campbell! Paula brings years of experience leading sales teams at an impressive list of companies, including: Touch of Modern, LivingSocial, and Verizon Information Services. We can’t wait to watch Paula take our Sales Team and product catalogue to new heights—just in time for the holiday season.

5. We made one more big, exciting company change that we can’t wait to tell you about….

I’ll say no more. Updates to come soon!