A No-code Route to the Ideal E-commerce Platform: Interview with Liam JE Gerada, founder and CEO of Krepling

Liam JE Gerada

If all goes according to plan, there will come a point when an e-commerce business will outgrow the possibilities offered by some of the big-name e-commerce platforms, for example requiring greater flexibility, automation or scalability. Enter Krepling, with their no-code, “composable” platform for e-commerce. Co-founder and CEO Liam Gerada gives us the background.   

It’s great to have you on board, Mr Gerada. Thank you for your time. Firstly I’d like to ask you a bit about yourself. How did Krepling come about and what makes you passionate about your company?  

In early 2017, my co-founder and I sold our e-commerce startup to start Krepling. Having worked in the e-commerce space, and having worked and built stores on platforms like Nacelle and Shopify, we developed a deep passion and unique world view on e-commerce driven by deep non-technical insights.  

E-commerce has evolved to something far more than simply buying and selling on the web. For us as merchants, e-commerce was really centred around our own making and vision for the products we wanted to sell and the brand we wanted to create. This meant us building a presence that was beyond a simple store front and utilising complex purchasing flows and integrations and services from across the web. 

Unfortunately for us, when we had our own online site, e-commerce enablement was not incentivised, nor could it lend this degree of flexibility to merchants. With other platforms, integrations are often tightly coupled to individual e-commerce services. Merchants are forced to go the engineering route to compete in the modern markets, and most engineers also understand the challenges that tight coupling presents. 

That’s why we decided to build the world’s first no-code, composable platform for e-commerce. No code and automation fundamentally enable merchants (and developers) to build their ideal e-commerce from scratch with clicks instead of code.  

You started your company with your brother. What was that like and what advice do you have for others going into business with their family?  

Merchants are forced to go the engineering route to compete in modern markets, and most engineers also understand the challenges that tight coupling presents.

My brother and I were always closely working on projects together. We had built a startup together and worked closely on solving problems even prior to that. My advice for any builder or early-stage founder when hiring or finding a co-founder (be it family or not) is that there is no future in working with individuals who do not identify with the mission, the product, and the problem one is looking to solve. People who care a great deal about a problem are usually inclined to do great work. 

As technology advances, particularly in Web 3.0, what has changed and will continue to change for e-commerce merchants?  

Today, merchants continue to maintain complex ecosystems leveraging many integrations and services. The reason for this is simply the fact that consumers have evolved their purchasing behaviour; we now buy products through social media, the web, email, and even SMS. How a purchasing decision is made has also changed drastically. We now rely on a multitude of factors that may impact how we decide to purchase a product or not. As a result, merchants need to keep up, and they are doing that through a larger ecosystem of integrations from across the e-commerce stack in order to reach their customers more effectively. This includes things such as newsletters, complex marketing operations, improving conversions, offering more payment solutions, expanding to new markets and making the most relevant buying options available to their customers, loyalty and rewards programmes, shipping calculations, and many, many more. 

This presents an enormous challenge in today’s market. How do merchants take complex, dynamic, and ever-evolving strategies and translate these into beautiful and centralised e-commerce experiences? Well, the answer is they don’t and they tend to make major compromises or pay a fortune in development fees. 

Big names in the e-commerce space, such as Shopify, have taken up quite a lot of space for quite some time. What sets Krepling apart and what makes Krepling different?

We view platforms like Shopify and co. as the first big step to a wider world of online selling. In a world that has continued to evolve over time, one thing has become very clear: one platform can’t solve all the needs of a merchant. The needs of a merchant have become far too complex over time, simply because the consumer of today has evolved drastically since 2004. 

At Krepling, we have embraced this concept, and so have many other headless and developer-focused platforms in recent times. What sets us apart from all other players in the space is how we are tackling the very problem. We have bet heavily on “no-code”, automation, and integrations as a means to reach broader consumer demographics, expand to bigger markets, grow bottom-line revenue, and many other problems, some of which I have already mentioned. 

We’ve split Krepling into three core product areas to solve the most varied and sophisticated e-commerce flows, and unified them to allow brands to solve these problems and compete with the billion-dollar brand of the world with a few simple clicks.

Being an employee is changing. With labour shortages, flexible working, and countries trialling the four-day work week, many are saying that the power is now in the hands of the job seeker. What is Krepling doing to stay competitive in the job market, seek the best talent, and retain its current staff? 

To be candid and to the point, we’re hiring people who care and giving them the means to make a difference. We’ve also adopted the idea of becoming cult-driven instead of credential-driven. We hire people based on what they care about. If someone applying to Krepling has never really been deeply obsessed about something before, it would be a pretty bad bet to think that Krepling will be their first. 

The reality of the current work environment at big tech is that engineers come in at 9 a.m. and finish at 6 a.m. The result is that very little meaningful work is carried out at large corporations. The culture is simply not what it should be. 

The reality of the current work environment at big tech is that engineers come in at 9 a.m. and finish at 6 a.m.

We offer most perks that live up to the trends of Silicon Valley, such as flexible work hours, open desk layout, lack of office attire, etc. But it’s not what our culture is built around. No perk should give talent a meaningful indication of the company’s culture. We strive to have our company culture centred around people who care about a product and mission, and that is what we look for when hiring. 

The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly had an effect on retailers. However, it had some positive effects on e-commerce. How has COVID affected Krepling and the online marketplace? Do you think it’s had lasting effects on this space?  

We were just coming out of pre-product when the pandemic hit. As you can imagine, the result was almost instantaneous hyper-growth, but we were sceptical about how the industry would respond post-pandemic. The result was pretty interesting and is still playing out today. There is no doubt that the pandemic was an accelerator of what we would consider “baseline trends”. These were trends that most could predict, such as an increase in consumer expenditure online, and greater adoption of online selling. However, the direct effect on consumer behaviour was something we also as a team overlooked. The next few years are going to be very exciting for the industry, and I remain a firm believer that consumer behaviour is going to heavily affect business adoption patterns online.              

You started your company at a young age. How has this shaped you into who you are as a leader? What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?

The best piece of advice I can offer to young founders is to focus on things you are excited about. I think it’s a tried and true method. In any industry, there are old-school problems, which in turn present bottlenecks. Focus on the bottlenecks.  

What are you most proud of about Krepling? Do you have a particular moment that you feel most proud about? 

I am very proud of the connections and culture we have built as a company. I think it’s something that we often overlook, but that gives meaningful attributing factors that even have a direct effect on elements like growth and revenue.

Lastly, what do you see as the next steps for Krepling, and how are you going to make this happen? 

I think everything is going to get faster and things are going to begin happening faster. The technology in our industry is improving faster than anyone could imagine and we’re really excited about the future. We think that automation technology and the application of AI in commerce are going to change the daily lives of consumers as much as the act of purchasing a product online did. It is our goal to keep very close to these exponential change curves. 

Executive Profile

Liam JE Gerada

Liam JE Gerada, founder and CEO of Krepling. Krepling is a no-code platform that enables merchants and retailers to build and scale their e-commerce operations through a microservice-based approach. Krepling’s platform enables merchants to build their front and backend e-commerce operations and integrate with the ‘best-of-breed’ applications to create rich buying experiences, automate marketing-based operations, and sell products in a borderless environment.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.