12 Nov The Next Big Thing in E-Commerce – Guild.com CEO comments on Wisconsin's technology vision
WTN Interviews Toni Sikes of Guild.com
WTN: What’s the next big thing in technology? E-commence?
Toni Sikes: In my opinion, it will be the continuous improvements in CRM tools and software. The opportunity for technology and e-commerce companies lies in better connecting customers with companies and institutions. All of us in the business and technology communities must improve every element that surrounds our customers. Doing so will result in deeper relationships with our customers and, ultimately, increased sales.
WTN: What will next generation e-commerce offer that we do not have today?
Sikes: For GUILD.com, the next generation will be providing our customers with greater content and knowledge supporting our products. Some of those selling tools will include 3D images, videos of artists making the products and supporting online content. All of these capabilities exist today, however, broadband is not yet feasible for the general population. When it is, we’ll be ready.
WTN: What interesting applications of technology do you see in Wisconsin and how can that model help other communities or businesses in the state?
Sikes: GUILD’s proprietary technology allows us to operate a non-inventory business model with hundreds of suppliers in North America. Every spectrum of the customer experience, from the initial order being placed to the shipping tracking number, takes place without human interaction. We feel that this technology has applications for other companies in Wisconsin.
WTN: What are the hot technology jobs for the next 12-36 months? Where are the new employment opportunities?
Sikes: Search engine technology is a growth area. For e-commerce companies like GUILD.com, search engine optimization has become an important part of our daily technology efforts in growing our business. And other companies who have committed resources to search engine technology will have a leg up in the marketplace.
WTN: Looking at a crystal ball, what will Wisconsin’s technology community look like 10 years from now. 20 years?
Sikes: The Wisconsin business sector will view itself as the technology sector. Business leaders will view themselves as technology leaders. Right now, technology is an integral part of every business trying to compete today, but the business and technology aspects of commerce are not seen as one. In ten or 20 years, this will no longer be the case. Technology will be pervasive in every business leader’s decision and in every business sector.
Toni Sikes is GUILD’s CEO and founder. An international expert on the marketing and advocacy of original art and artists, Sikes has dedicated her professional life to the advancement of the arts. Identifying a need for artists to reach new audiences, she founded THE GUILD in 1985 as a critical resource for connecting professional artists with architects, interior designers and art consultants. Recognized as the art industry standard, GUILD sourcebooks have spurred thousands of new art commissions. In 1998, Sikes launched GUILD.com as another way for artists to market their work. Since then, the website has become the premier Internet destination for original art. Toni can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.