Takeaway: Not every day does someone with over 20 years of ecommerce experience share their lessons learned. We listened into a recent podcast as Bob Land and Jamie Dooley of the Dorel Juvenile Group shared insights from the strategic wins and losses for their baby and childrens safety products.
Recently, Bob Land (VP Consumer Engagement) and Jamie Dooley (Head of E-Commerce) of Salsify customer Dorel Juvenile Group shed insight from their ecommerce careers, which span just about as long as ecommerce itself interviewed on the Jason & Scot Show podcast. A few highlights from the pair are below.
Tip 1: You can (and should) sell on mulitiple sites and avoid channel conflict issues
Jamie: “We still absolutely grapple with channel conflict issues every day. I wouldn’t say it’s a huge obstacle for trying to run ecommerce, but we’re certainly mindful of all our retail partners as we’re managing DTC (direct to consumer). We don’t want to actively compete with our major retail partners. Certainly in my career experience, taking on Amazon is never a good idea, or Walmart, or any of the other major retailers we sell into. Our goal is to provide the product regardless of the channel the customer purchases from. We sell into brand sites, market retailers, through the marketplaces, our call centers, and in B2B. Our goal is ultimately to have all those channels work in harmony and not try to compete against each other for the same customer.”
Tip 2: Your core digital team must go beyond DTC by providing content and assets to retail partners
Jamie: “Part of how we tried to sell the vision [of our ecommerce plan] to our retail partners, and throughout the organization, is that what we do from a content perspective and everything that we’re doing to enhance the customer experience online is going to affect brick and mortar sales and help the overall company.”
Tip 3: Good content takes time; Get off legacy systems to free your time and money
Bob: “The journey to this point has taken awhile, three or four years now. It’s like we’ve been on a data liberation movement where we had seven or eight product catalogs spread all over the world and across all these different databases. We used something called Salsify to bring it all together. And really once we took moves like that and didn’t rely on legacy systems anymore, we completely rebuilt the marketing technology stacks and retrained the product managers to develop content the way it should be developed for online.
“The barriers have been knocked down, not to say that we don’t find new barriers every week placed in front of us, but the level of agility that the systems now have really empowers everybody. We’ve also taken a lot of cost out of the business by getting off these legacy systems.”
Tip 4: Build traffic by sharing products on major marketplaces
Jamie: “From a traffic perspective, it was easiest to go after online marketplaces. And that was one of the major factors I thought about when we were trying to decide, which do we focus on first? We couldn’t focus on all of them right away, because there’re only so many resources in the beginning. We look at our products in six buckets. We look at it from a new product launch perspective, existing catalog perspective, online exclusives or what we call aisle extenders, parts, accessories, and then excess inventory. It gives us the flexibility to go in and decide how we’re going to approach each one of those product buckets for each one of our brands in our portfolio and gives us a lot of options for how we want to drive sales for each of those product categories.”
Tip 5: Internal change to digital is often most effective when its incremental
Bob: “Digital transformation from the inside is the most difficult method in my opinion and experience. I don’t recommend it, because you have to evangelize quite and bit and that slows you down. The key to our success so far has been lots of quick wins and constant wins. Not just setting this massive goal, but really understanding the importance of setting small goals like, ‘Let’s get all of our product data in one place so we can actually use it. Let’s go with Salsify. We can quickly scrap a system together, then build agile processes around that.'”
Be sure to listen to the whole podcast for more insights from Bob and Jamie on smoothing out data flow hiccups, overcoming the challenge of shipping costs, how to get the most bang for your digital advertising buck, and the future of ecommerce envisioned by these industry veterans.