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The evolution of ecommerce post-COVID: Expert perspectives with David Cost on Signifyd’s podcast

In a recent episode of The Fearless Commerce Podcast, Adam Silverman and Mike Cassidy from Signifyd sit down with David Cost, vice president of digital and ecommerce at Rainbow Shops. This insightful discussion revolves around embracing technology and fearlessness in the evolving landscape of ecommerce and digital marketing. Cost stresses the importance of innovation and learning from failures, drawing on his experience of launching an internet company in the 1990s.

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Reviewed, revised and approved by Signifyd humans.

He sheds light on the shift towards privacy-centric attribution technologies in digital marketing and the transformative impact of generative AI in ecommerce. Cost points out how generative AI, from creating ad text to editing product images, and the role of “prompt engineers” are revolutionizing ecommerce by boosting efficiency and unlocking new solutions.

The discussion also explores ecommerce’s evolution post-COVID-19, highlighting a balanced coexistence of online and offline shopping. The pandemic has led businesses to rethink their shipping strategies and fulfillment methods, shifting from reliance on discounts and freebies to more sustainable practices.

On the topic of fraud management, Cost notes the transition from manual checks to advanced technological solutions, which enable retailers to combat fraud effectively while focusing on other business areas. This shift underscores the critical role of technology in navigating the complexities of modern retail fraud.

For those aiming to grow in the ecommerce field, Cost emphasizes the need for a deep understanding of technology. He points out a trend towards diminishing technical knowledge in the industry and argues for a broad understanding of technology’s role across various business domains. This comprehensive knowledge is vital for evaluating vendor proposals, understanding their impact on business and fostering informed decision-making based on strategic assessment. Besides being good for the business, these attributes will go a long way in advancing an ecommerce career.

Podcast chapters


The Fearless Commerce Podcast, co-hosted by Adam Silverman and Mike Cassidy from Signifyd, features David Cost, vice president of digital and ecommerce at Rainbow Shops. In this episode, they discuss leveraging technology in ecommerce, avoiding distractions from “shiny objects” in technology and embracing fearlessness in retail.

What does it mean to be fearless?

David Cost, with his extensive experience in ecommerce, talks about being fearless in the business world. Fearlessness, according to him, is about trying new things without worrying about the consequences or the fear of failing. He emphasizes the importance of organizational support for innovation, where failure is seen as a part of the learning process rather than a setback. Cost shares his journey of starting an internet company in the 1990s, reflecting on how taking risks and trying new things is vital for growth and success.

What’s the next big thing in digital marketing

In digital marketing, Cost highlights the emerging trend of attribution technologies that don’t require personal identification. He predicts a shift towards more nuanced ways of evaluating the effectiveness of digital advertising as privacy becomes a central concern. Additionally, Cost discusses the importance of understanding the customer’s journey and the role of various touchpoints in that journey. He also emphasizes the potential of generative AI in ecommerce for tasks like generating ad text and changing product image backgrounds, pointing out its rapid growth and impact.

Generative AI

Discussing generative AI, Cost reveals its rapid integration into ecommerce practices. From generating ad text to altering product images, generative AI is making significant strides. He shares a personal example from that very day, when his team used AI to transform a product image, yielding impressive results. Cost also touches on the emerging role of “prompt engineers” who are skilled in eliciting desired outcomes from AI. The conversation highlights the potential for AI to revolutionize ecommerce by improving efficiency and offering innovative solutions.

How has ecommerce changed post-COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly altered the ecommerce landscape. One key change is the balance between online and offline shopping. Despite initial beliefs that brick-and-mortar stores would become obsolete, a healthy equilibrium between online and in-person shopping has emerged. Most businesses will continue to operate primarily in the physical world. The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of grappling with the rising costs of shipping products. Companies are reassessing their strategies, with some increasing their free shipping thresholds and others exploring new fulfillment methods. The trend indicates a shift away from the model of offering excessive discounts and freebies to attract customers, focusing instead on sustainable operational practices.

How is fraud management evolving in retail

Fraud management in retail has evolved significantly from its earlier, more manual approach. Previously, fraud management involved crude filters and manual order inspections in fulfillment centers, a method not feasible for the scale and speed of current business operations. Modern solutions like Signifyd offer technological expertise and mastery in staying a step ahead of fraudsters. Such services are invaluable for retailers, allowing them to focus on other aspects of their business without constant worry about fraud. This evolution highlights the importance of sophisticated technology in managing the complexities of modern retail fraud effectively.

Growing your ecommerce career

For individuals aspiring to grow their ecommerce careers, understanding underlying technology is crucial. The industry is seeing a trend where individuals are becoming less technical, which could be problematic. Relying solely on vendors can lead to misjudgments and ineffective strategies. It’s essential to have a comprehensive understanding of technology to critically evaluate vendor proposals and understand their impact on business. This technical knowledge should extend beyond just coding; it should include a broad understanding of various business aspects like fulfillment, analytics, and marketing. This holistic understanding enables better decision-making and critical evaluation of business strategies, contributing significantly to career growth in ecommerce.

Kevin Boyd

Kevin Boyd

Kevin Boyd is the web development manager at Signifyd. When not leading his team in crafting captivating digital experiences, he experiments with prompt engineering using ChatGPT and other generative AI systems, as well as writing and optimization.