Ep 2: Leveraging No Code for Brands with Matthew

You don't have to go from all-in-one to all-at-once and that's one of the most beautiful thing about composable commerce.

- Matthew McQueeny, Konabos

Key Takeaways

  • Low-code and code-based systems are ready to use out of the box, making them efficient for commerce teams.
  • Transitioning from a monolith legacy to a composable business and low-code, no-code solutions requires education and reeducation of customers.
  • It is important to instill confidence in customers that the transition is not a lengthy project but can be accomplished quickly.
  • Composability and digital transformation are ongoing journeys rather than final destinations. Alignment with business goals and customer expectations should be a continuous focus.

Episode Transcript


This is episode two of the show, and I'm super excited to do a virtual Riverside coffee call with Matthew. We're both in New York, but we're meeting online.

Matthew McQueeney - He works in Leadership Accountable, and he focuses on relationships, marketing, and community. All three are super close to my heart. Matthew has worked on delivering digital experience projects for teams ranging from Fortune 500 to startups.

Today's conversation is all about no-code-low-code tools and why they're here to stay and take front and center and kind of take over the whole retail, digital communication, and commerce space. But before we dove into all those serious conversations, just a little bit about yourself.


I have been in this space, as they say. I couldn't believe it when I did the math. I think about 18 years now. A lot of my trajectory has been around, starting with content management and blogging and especially in sports.

And I had the opportunity to work for the NBA's New Jersey Nets at the time. Now they're the Brooklyn Nets, but the New Jersey Nets and I ran the website at a time when me and another gentleman ran an entire Web operations for an NBA team. So really learned a lot there.


The good old days.


The good old days where anybody could do anything. And you know what? Maybe there's a little bit of that that we should always get back to, because I think when there's too much of a command and control over everything, it can almost become a little bit you know, you kind of lose your breath from little constricting.

But there's a lot of common threads between all of the kinds of projects. Right. But in the last year and a half now, I've been at co-owner. And the real interesting thing as we start talking about no code and low code. Konobos was built on experience and expertise in the site core content management system, which, let's all be honest, was as far from no code as you could absolutely be.

You need experts to come in and help write for enterprises who pay quite a bit of money for these systems, help write what is what feels like an untenable situation and you get stuck from the technology. And so they really built their expertize on that. And interestingly enough, as the industry itself has changed and evolved, this week is actually Site Core's annual symposium.

And what were a lot of their announcements that they're going headless that they're going composable that they're going to be friends with other systems, you know, lower code, you know, maybe not full no code. But a lot of that is happening. And with that, me who has more of a marketing background, I always joke that at cornerbacks, the only thing I don't touch is code.

So I really am a part of almost everything and I think not having to touch code sometimes frees your mind to epiphanies and new ways of thinking. Because you don't you're not bound in some ways by we need engineers. We always do it right. But it gives you a view of things that you can get a lot done without having to program your way out of it.

I think that's one of the most interesting things with no code.


What are some of these challenges that you've seen over the years - young folks just playing on code and, you know, getting websites up and running for big names and actually kind of getting away with it.

And then over the years, moving towards larger teams, enterprises, you know, big names, bigger brands and systems and teams versus just a website.  How are you seeing it across marketing, communication, across commerce and digital experiences?


Well, I think the way that the challenge has evolved is about 20 years ago, Web was another channel. The real world was almost as important as anything, and the Web was kind of just, yeah, that's the place for this brochure where, as they would say, to live there. And so you would have very basic HTML websites. You would have remember flash.

And so you're almost going as an agency at the time against that. So that was the alternative, right? So it was de-emphasized just because of the time, because nobody had smartphone, really the whole experience was on desktop maybe during the day, right? So you could build to that one experience. And the real world was still massively important.

Now, funny enough, we're now at a time where everyone talks static websites with, you know, single-page applications and headless and decoupled front ends. And the real world is important again. So everything always comes back around again. But what you saw was that evolution then vendors for these platforms began to come into play and agencies would get aligned with certain vendors.

But then what starts to happen is if you're an all-in-one, it's really hard to be great at all. You know, we never think of analytics as one of the first kind of, you know, maybe headless composable forays, but Google Analytics takes over and nobody's really going to be able to compete with them, right? It's impossible with the resources that Google has to throw at that and how much that it's some crazy statistic.


And even with Composability, there's still that dependency. And, of course, the promise of no code and low code is that, hey, like a bunch of things you could do on your own. Do you see the ecosystem evolving to see products and solutions out there that are starting to think with this mindset of how one composable is definitely business first, but to be true business first, I got to make it simple to use and easy to implement.

And literally zero maintenance, almost. Right. Do you see that changes the ecosystem?


I really do. One of the roadmap plans we're doing with a large customer moving from the monolith legacy to this composable business and this low-code, no code is the education or the re-education is very interesting, giving them the confidence that this is not a 6 to 8-month project, and that's okay. Not tying the wool over the eyes or whatever the saying is, we're not just saying it to get a sale.

It literally goes that quickly. But there's a couple of things in that education that are critical. Again, configuration over customization. That lesson is enormous. These systems that are low code and code literally come out of the box ready to go. And the beauty of it in commerce is that you can always say to the customer, the longer we wait on the procurement and the discussions of this, the less we're getting it to market and letting it sell.

And it's it reminded me when I started blogging, we went from a world where in order to appear in in Web print, if you call it that, you wrote something maybe in Microsoft Word and you sent it to someone.


I love that.


That was unbelievable. And that's I think now commerce always felt like such a difficult thing to get to. Online e-commerce. There had to be these huge builds, the SKUs, the it was very legacy and they could control that with no code commerce. It's fascinating because if you have the goods, if you're ready to sell, you can use one of these platforms.

But it's the continual lesson of coming from a world where customization was the norm, where you had to customize everything to get the experience you wanted. And by the way, that was the experience you wanted as the company. Was it the experience that the customer, the end customer of that you'll be selling to wanted? And so you would spend so much time in those sessions to then customize a solution, which then whatever platform you're on might do updates and then the customizations you did have to be reconfigured or customized

You're going to put your logo, you're going to put your colors, you're going to have your hero images, and you're going to have your product display pages.

There's going to be the buy functionality and it's all there, maybe the 2% that in your mind you think you want to customize that will end up being, you know, we'll figure a way around it, but it's okay. And I think sometimes that's a barrier for the enterprise because we must have to customize. And the quicker you lean into the template, the quicker you're to market that quickly. You're seeing if it works, you're seeing if you get sales. And the minute you're getting sales in what is a front end react template matter, right?


Yes. And that leads me to a question. How do you decide whether this is the right time for me to take no for composable or think about changing literally the stack that I'm operating on, etc.?

And then I think a double click on that would be how do you decide, like is there a checklist, like a magic checklist in here?


So for me, the checklist starts with are you impeded from moving forward? Is the pain of the system so much so that you need to do some kind of crazy, you need to power lift or you need to, you know, go run a marathon and train for that. That is a key. Also understanding that the all-in-one is not an all at once thing.

We can pilot some low-code no code composable elements and ideas with a brand with a micro site there. A lot of these composable brands are happy to do trials and there's many price points too, and you can get into the market that way. But to me it really starts with with the pain points. What is the customer experiencing?

Are they we see this being, say, core specialists. A lot of those who come to us, again, are for rescue missions or they come to us because they're like this. Just this is not working. The customer service at the vendor is not great because it's a heavy sales org and we're stuck. Can you help us? We then help and you come to find out it's some gray area issue that's unclear what the fix is because was it because of a customization made? Was it because of the root of the system? Was it because we didn't upgrade? And all of that confusion and dissonance creates a need to not feel stuck. You're stuck.

And the other piece is this is this headless idea? I always joke headless is almost like gluten free where sure, there were people who had gluten intolerances. Right? We're back to health and they really needed to be helped. But then it became a whole thing. And I always joke, does does Fruit Loops really need to say it's gluten free?

You know what I mean? So I think a lot of the industry, a lot of the industry players, I actually the one thing I didn't notice, I'm a partner in a direct to consumer sports jersey pillow company called big league pillows and that's on Shopify and for me, Shopify is fine. Someone developed it, you learn how to manage it.

It's a good solution. But even Shopify, all of these competitors in this space are still seeing the market talking so much about this composable headless that they're coming out with headless offerings.

Do you have to lead with the fact that you're headless? But the fact that you're composable, that you're low-code no code? Is that us talking or is that the customer meeting? Or do you just lean in to start with? Like in any almost negotiation, start with less info, find out what the customer's pain is, figure out from that point what they need to know about the system, and why the system can answer their pain.

Let's try it out. You know, like a 30 day personal trainer, you know, try it out at a discount or something. Let's try it out. Let's see what it does. But we can rapidly launch and iterate and check, right? So at the end of those 30 days, we can see is the waist down in age.


Totally agree! I think just a very quick note. And I said to everyone, what are some of the trends – what is that one or two fundamental shift that you're seeing and how do you see that impacting the way people make decisions to be consumers?


I really think it's the idea of that composability and digital transformation is not an end. It's going to always be a journey, and that's okay. And that along that path, there might be a year where your transformation is very small. You know, we're in our exercise analogy. Maybe you added £5 to your bench press or something.

That's okay, because as long as you're staying vigilant to what you need from platforms, how platforms and how people are serving your business goals and that you are always aligning you're always aligning everything to the business goals and to what the customer the customer is looking for.

And if it is, it's okay. Stick with.


And on that note, that's it for today. Thank you, audience, for hanging out with us, and we'll hopefully bring Matthew back on soon and continue the conversation into Composability and no code.

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