Experience is where everything grows from, and with 30 years of learning and applying those learnings.
Strong, rolling, strategic plans have always been key to building an online business, and they were central in the Confectionery, Perfumery and Sleep propositions that I have launched. Long term business growth is always achieved through strategic investment, adding capability and awareness to support the plan.
Success always comes through engagement and experimentation, your existing teams and assets allows us to understand what assets you already have, and to understand what needs to be designed or implemented.
The mattress marketplace has dramatically altered over the last couple of years, with the arrival of a host of challenger brands, changing how the consumer engages with the category. Understanding the competitor activity allowed us to prepare for changes the challenges ahead presented. A constantly changing marketplace requires detailed ongoing research, challenger brands are free to experiment and change direction at will, it is useful that a range of online tools are available to minimise the workload.
From experience, creating new channels within an existing channel structure, are best launched as part of a marketing and promotional strategy that supports all of the channels equally. New channels are always feared by the existing workforce, worrying that they will lose their consumers, whereas a more dynamic marketing approach can offer a broader customer base.
Taking your eCommerce site into new markets can be achieved simply or successfully, we sometimes consider ourselves the originators of process and form when building our sites. The experience proves otherwise, the custom and preference of consumers is different in almost every country. Simple things like understanding how Japanese consumers expect their names to be entered and displayed, and seeing how Chinese consumers like to chat before making a purchase, changes your approach very quickly.
Creating a great gift solution drove us at Thorntons, extending the range to include wines, flowers and at one stage perfumery. Our research proved that consumers would send a confectionery gift to a friend once, and needed something extra to use a service a second time.
I am pleased to say we broadened our offering to give the consumer a service they trusted, and reasons to keep coming back and ordering. I was never happy with the Gift Cards we offered, although we spent a lot of time making the design attractive, they missed something. Then I saw Moonpig, this was back in 2000, and at launch they had a great rage of cards, with a great service. So having already added Interflora and Chateauonline to my partnerships, I approached Nick visiting him in his small office in Chelsea. Although there was a will to find a solution, the logistics simply did not work with a perishable product.
After a few weeks' thinking, I was introduced to a local printer who had just introduced a digital on demand printing service. The printer was keen to find solutions that used their new printers, so in a couple of months a range of cards, the tools needed on the website, and a system to submit the card to to the printers was developed. We went as far as to embed tracking, so the printer sent real time tracking of the progress of the order, and a systemic way of accurately merging the cards with the correct order. All down to great project management and a dynamic development team.
One of the most dynamic projects I have been involved with was when I was tasked with creating an end to end eCommerce operation, to support a Christmas catalogue the Post Office were publishing. Only six weeks to create a call centre, logistics processes and deliver the site. The added complication was working for the Post Office, who required documentation of everything that touched the consumer.
eBusinesses are built from their processes, allowing clarity of responsibility from the start; designing your team to support an end to end eCommerce solution requires an open mind within the traditional silo management. Whilst you need each of the traditional disciplines: finance, marketing and operations; finding new ways of working together benefits the business quickly. Exploring the boundaries between normal fiscal controls and the benefits the consumer wants.
Analytics and a focused marketing program
Data can drive different understandings throughout your marketing activity, efficient digital programs can now be data driven. Understanding the customer journey in such detail can allow the role and effect of social media to be included demystifying the effect.
Lookalike social advertising is a current focus of advertising agencies; the rich data feeds social sites offer which allow them to dynamically alter the direction of companies' advertising spend. With so many steps in a consumer's normal journey, understanding the effect of each requires the adoption of attribution tools. These do however require significant volumes of transactional and consumer data to make them effective, their cost of use currently makes them prohibitive.