Article

A conversation with our VP of Product: Barry Grant

Rakuten Ready

Posted by: Rakuten Ready / February 26, 2020

Barry Grant is the Vice President of Product and Operations at Rakuten Ready.  Barry joined the team in November 2019 and brings close to three decades of experience in product management, operations, marketing, and UX design to the company, including former executive roles at Narvar, Eventbrite, Ticketfly, and ShareThis.

Welcome to Rakuten Ready. We are very excited to have you on the team. What excites you most about Rakuten Ready?

I’m very excited about the tremendous potential of our team and our technology. The folks I get the privilege of working with every day are incredibly bright, experienced, and passionate, and it makes coming to work every day so rewarding. And the culture we have created, centered around bias to action (GTD!), continuous improvement, teamwork, and humility, makes this a really special place. 

Given our industry-leading expertise in location and predictive arrival technology, Rakuten Ready is perfectly positioned atop the on-demand economy tidal wave, and the consumer behavior being driven as a result. Consumer expectations around brand experience have never been higher as the mobile ordering trend continues to grow at an extremely rapid rate.

So much of our success story is yet to be written. 

You’ve been at companies that assist customers with their retail experience – what familiar trends are you seeing?

Oh, this is an easy one. I continue to see the rise of omnichannel as brands realize consumers want choices. The economy is now on-demand and everyone wants things right here and right now. Even same-day shipping is not fast enough for some consumers. 

However, I’m also seeing an interesting shift back to physical contact between consumers and merchants as many brands realize brick-and-mortar is still critical and online retailers understand they need a physical presence. 

Consumers want a world catered to their unique needs: they want what they want, when and how they want it. No one size fits all anymore

Why is the Rakuten Ready platform unique?

With so many companies overstretching claims that they can differentiate their platforms by leveraging machine learning, AI and big data, it’s exciting to be at a place where this is actually very real and powerful.

You see a lot of the competition using geofencing technology because it is relatively easy to implement, but we know that it’s fraught with drawbacks. Our use of predictive arrival technology, fueled by data models that are constantly learning and improving, helps to establish a wide moat for Rakuten Ready.

And it will only get better, as we take into account more data points like dense/vertical cities, multiple forms of transit, and indoor locations.

Willing to share a little about what is next on the Rakuten Ready product roadmap? 

At our heart, we’re a data company. The uniqueness, quality, quantity, and accuracy of our data are a competitive advantage. While privacy is key to our values, our goal is to leverage our data advantage by providing even more analytics, tools, and products that can offer our partners opportunities to optimize their enterprises. Rakuten Ready wants to help brands understand the journey a consumer takes, from online to in-store and back again, and how they can use that knowledge to deliver the best possible customer experience. 

In your free time, what is your favorite thing to do?

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love being a dad to my 4-year-old, Amelie and 2-year-old, Aidan. When I’m not spending time entertaining them (and being entertained by them), I love hiking, backcountry camping, and building stuff!