The premise of e-commerce is staggering in its simplicity. Instead of being limited to what’s in stock at a brick-and-mortar store, shoppers can order practically anything they want from across the globe.
While that offers even the smallest mom-and-pop a degree of global presence, it also leads to a nagging question: “Where’s my stuff?” A shipment’s journey can involve air transport, sea lanes, and overland drivers in numerous combinations. With so many moving parts, it’s difficult to determine the location of a given shipment other than to say, “In transit.”
Enter Utah-based Route. The company acts as an information gateway between buyers and sellers, providing real-time tracking information for deliveries, while giving merchants an opportunity to promote related products that tie directly to users’ interests.
Route isn’t quite a household name, but it’s on the way—at least, that’s one of the goals of Nick Warner, vice president of growth.
Helping small companies scale to size is in his DNA. While at San Diego State University, he was accepted as a Lavin Entrepreneur Scholar, a program that mentors and develops promising students. Warner gravitated to the program—an odd choice, he says, for someone pursuing an art degree.
“I recognized the creativity needed in business to overcome challenges,” he explains. “In a way, it’s like creating art—you take many components and assemble them into an amazing composition.
“Thanks to the Lavin program,” he continues, “I was exposed to many perspectives on what entrepreneurs really are, and what business is like in America. I also learned about the wealth of opportunities in taking companies from zero to go.”
Warner officially entered the entrepreneurial space in his senior year, after becoming associated with developing various new apps for ParentsWare. But he struck gold in 2016 as vice president of marketing at Eturi, helping develop and launch OurPact.
Eventually reaching number one globally, the app allows parents to monitor, guard, and control their children’s screentime on mobile devices. “I was vice president of marketing by then, and it was awesome to see it blossom from a niche consumer product to a 2.5 million-user presence in nearly every country, and in twelve different languages,” he adds.
Since then, he cofounded the Atom Collective, a performance marketing agency that scaled software and mobile apps. There, he served as the senior manager of user acquisition and performance marketing at Fair Technologies, a digital car-shopping and ridesharing platform.
Warner joined Route in 2019. “We have an e-commerce network that directly connects and empowers both consumers and brands,” he says. “Route gives consumers a single place to track everything they buy online, so they can know exactly where their packages are at all times. They also have the opportunity to explore new brands and products that are relevant to their purchases.”
He adds that most internet advertising is intrusive and repetitive, but Route’s platform enables merchants to integrate their brands and products into the order journey. “It encourages you to explore new products and brands on your own, rather than having ads thrust at you. Our ten thousand merchants have found that this approach leads to more engagement and more revenue over time.”
Route also works with merchants behind-the-scenes by offering loss/damage protection and feeding real-time tracking information. “We take care of everything post-purchase, allowing merchants to concentrate on growing their business,” Warner says.
Internally, he partners with Route’s business departments to identify new areas of opportunity, such as analyzing data and user experiences, interacting with research and development on new products and concepts, and constantly tweaking and fine-tuning the apps to enhance customer experience.
“Lots of work streams operate with their own road maps, but they need a sort of ‘connective tissue’ to ensure that everything and everyone is working toward a common goal, so a key part of my job is ensuring that we’re going in the right direction,” he says.
Warner explains that Route will identify a key metric for improvement—a conversion rate or engagement, for example—and then introduce a variety of subtle changes to the user experience to move that key metric in the right direction. “Even things as simple as different screens or button colors can be influential,” he explains. “We then test those changes to determine which will optimize the customer experience, and then apply the highest outcome across the platform.”
His fifteen-person team covers product management, lifecycle marketing, product insights, and analytics. “I give them a tremendous amount of autonomy, essentially letting them function as CEOs of their domains,” he explains. “My goal is to put everyone in positions of impact and visibility, setting them up for success.”
How to Grow Your Company
Route’s Nick Warner on how to innovate from your seat:
- “Take a step back and look at all components of your business and how they intersect. If you’re hyperfocused on just one area, then you miss the big picture—and that can set you up for problems.”
- “Be aware of the landscape of the competition. Pay attention to the areas where real innovation is taking place (i.e., products, operational tactics). Then look at your own company to see if you’re keeping pace.”
- “Cross-pollinate with other teams. It’s a good way to avoid bumps in the road.”