Welcome to Carryr's Q&A Sessions, where we give the spotlight to the people behind the magic of e-commerce and retail to hear about their thoughts and experiences.
We're here with Daniel Baker, E-Commerce Manager at Beyond Retro — a vintage clothing retailer for men and women.
Q: Hey Daniel, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey at Beyond Retro?
Daniel: Hi! I joined Beyond Retro as Head of E-Commerce right at the beginning of lock-down so it's been a very strange time! My background is mostly buying and merchandising in fashion but I have worked in E-Commerce at TK Maxx and some other brands.
Q: What does fashion mean to you?
Daniel: Unique, different, sustainable.
Q: How did you first get into the e-commerce world?
Daniel: I was on the team that launched Tkmaxx.com over ten years ago, after working in Merchandising before that. It was a real challenge, with the volume of SKUs and low inventories on everything.
Q: What have been your biggest successes at Beyond Retro?
Daniel: Improving conversion and opening marketplaces. We had great SEO before I joined, and well above our competitors on all the vintage search terms, but our conversion was really low, so we worked on some simple UX fixes, cross selling, abandoned browse and cart flows and improving the speed, especially on mobile. Having 30,000 products on the site at any given time does affect the performance of the site. Selling our stock on marketplaces has helped grown sales but also awareness of our brand amongst younger customers.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
Daniel: The start of the day normally involves speaking to my production team in India (where our stock is processed and photographed), then will work with my London team on website updates, email marketing, social media plans. Working with buying and merchandising on stock plans. We add 2,000 new items a week to the site. I also review marketplace performance, product listings and CS issues. Every day I am looking at further developments to the site, so I speak with agencies and app developers to see what opportunities we might have to enhance the site.
Q: If you could change one thing to make your day more productive, what would it be?
Daniel: I wish Shopify was quicker sometimes! Also, the manual nature of managing marketplaces with excel sheets and CSV imports is very repetitive.
Q: What do your customers love the most at Beyond Retro?
Daniel: The uniqueness of our product and that they feel like they are making a difference by shopping sustainably.
Q: What gives you the greatest satisfaction as an E-Commerce Manager?
Daniel: I'm obsessed with metrics, so seeing the conversion improve because of the changes I have made has been really satisfying.
Q: When it comes to the delivery experience, what do you think is most important for your customers and why?
Daniel: Customers want to track their item, and want to know it will show up within the expected number of days, which with Hermes during lock-down has not always been the case. I don't think they mind paying for delivery as long as they know it's tracked and will be safely delivered
Q: What changes would you like to see implemented to improve the overall delivery experience for your customers and why?
Daniel: We'd like same day delivery in London, and time slot deliveries, but we are a way off from implementing those.
Q: In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, what do you think the "new normal" looks like for both e-commerce and retail?
Daniel: I worry about what working from home means for our London stores, and if the future of bricks and mortar retail is local stores in communities rather than city centres. I think e-commerce sales will not go back to the pre-COVID levels, but with that comes the added complexities of higher expectations from customers around delivery, and of course higher returns than in stores.
E-commerce retailers should be able to use their growth to leverage better prices from warehouses and carriers, so hopefully helping cover some of the losses from stores. There should also be a focus on being as omnichannel as possible; encouraging online customers into stores wherever possible. Our stores have thousands of vintage items available, which is a big part of our brand and customer experience, and e-commerce benefits from that, so we need to help the stores wherever we can.
Q: Lastly, if you could share one bit of advice to someone wanting to be successful in e-commerce, what would it be?
Daniel: Behave like you don't know anything, otherwise you'll make too many assumptions. Ask lots of questions, and most importantly, try things and see what works.
Thanks Daniel! I am always fascinated with the "Treasure Cove" experience as it gives customers the opportunity to seek a unique find. It really does give them a reason to make a visit both online and in-store — even better with a sustainability element tied to it as well! When you're ready, we'd love to take a look at supporting London with you.
If you're in e-commerce, omnichannel/multichannel or retail and would like to feature in our In The Spotlight series, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.