RetailCraft - digital retail, ecommerce and brands - Retail Podcast
RetailCraft 25 - “Never the same again” - Stephen Langford of Marks and Spencer

RetailCraft 25 - “Never the same again” - Stephen Langford of Marks and Spencer

July 28, 2021

After a number of attempts with our online studio system, we managed at last to catch up with Stephen Langford, Director of Ecommerce at Marks & Spencer. We appreciated his patience as we tried to connect and we benefitted from a wide-ranging discussion with him about e-commerce and the changes at the heart of M&S - an organisation that's simultaneously a permanent innovator and a national institution.

We trace Stephen's background - starting at Tesco, M&S, George, Asda... and now back to M&S. A 'boomerang' as he calls it!

Digital is clearly at the heart of the transformation plans at M&S, with support from the board, CEO and Chair. We learn how this process of renewal and focus is a step beyond the transformation around a decade ago, where M&S launched their 'dot com' commitment, and signalled their capability with a major platform, investment in a cutting edge DC and a talented team. It was the fruit of this work that saw M&S featuring in the RXUK Elite rankings of the Top500. However, Stephen notes that time and technology move on and that a new, renewed phase is underway. He cites the internal mantra of progress - "never the same again" - in recognition that as the world changes so do the capabilities and approaches necessary for success.

Along the way we touch on COVID, skills, projects, selling other brands and the M&S customer.

 

 

Run time: 26 minutes

INFORMATION:

Stephen Langford: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-langford-b388113/  

Ian Jindalwww.linkedin.com/in/ianjindal/ and www.twitter.com/ianjindal

Jamie Merrick: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamiemerrick/

Recorded remotely and at Spiritland Studios, UK.

Episode photo credit: Ian Jindal (https://www.instagram.com/ianjindal

RetailCraft 24 - “Partners are a key part of our strategy” - Chris Conway of the Coop

RetailCraft 24 - “Partners are a key part of our strategy” - Chris Conway of the Coop

March 22, 2021

Our first episode of 2021 continues our Grocery theme, with this in-depth and wide-ranging conversation with Chris Conway, eCommerce Director at the Coop.

We had recently interviewed Chris for our Grocery Innovation Report (https://internetretailing.net/groceryinnovation2021) and couldn't wait to bring his insights to life on the podcast. Sadly, the gremlins of the internet decided we'd had too easy a run over the last year and so it took several attempts, many disconnections, much patience and a fair wind to get this episode on 'tape'. Massive thanks to Chris for his humour and perseverance! Jamie and I were desperate to ensure that we (re)covered the same topics so that nothing was lost!

We hear about the Coop's response to COVID and how their existing plans were accelerated by the pandemic. Chris paints a clear picture of the values at the centre of the business, as well as key behaviours like partnership, openness and flexibility that have created an opportunity for the Coop's food business. Following on from our interview with Chris Poad of Tesco we can see that the Coop's path started in a different place and follows a different trajectory - yet equally innovative and illustrating why the UK's grocery sector is so varied and dynamic.

In conversation we cover their roll-out with Deliveroo and other local distribution partners, their blending working and hyper-local approach, the injunction from the CEO to be the "Transformer in Chief" and how partnership is a way of doing business.

 

Run time: 39 minutes

INFORMATION:

Chris Conway: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-conway-76ba2b19/ 

Ian Jindalwww.linkedin.com/in/ianjindal/ and www.twitter.com/ianjindal

Jamie Merrick: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamiemerrick/

Recorded remotely and at Spiritland Studios, UK.

Episode photo credit: Ian Jindal (https://www.instagram.com/p/CLGv5-JpCSU/

RetailCraft 23 - “Bring a smile to customers’ faces” - Pepsico Europe and Whittards of Chelsea

RetailCraft 23 - “Bring a smile to customers’ faces” - Pepsico Europe and Whittards of Chelsea

December 21, 2020

For our final episode of 2020 we 'beam into' the studio Rui Francisco of PepsiCo Europe and Dan Mahoney from Whittards of Chelsea. Rui and Dan remind us of a passion for products that bring a smile to customers' faces and their growing direct-to-consumer activities.

Rui is up first. He's the European Ecommerce Director for PepsiCo, and we hear from him about their pan-European team, the moves to selling direct, not to mention his own interesting career path to ecommerce.

From a global brand's regional team, we then chat with Dan about how a British heritage brand is operating globally and direct to consumer. Dan has extensive experience in ecommerce, but in his role as Customer Director at Whittards it's fascinating to hear of his own learning journey about tea and coffee, and how the lockdowns have increased their customer focus and digital activities.

Our thanks to Dan and Rui for sharing their experiences with us, and they bring to a close our 2020 podcasts. We look forward to picking up in 2021 but until then we wish all our listeners happy trading.

🎄 

Run time: 55 minutes

INFORMATION:

Rui Francisco: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rui-francisco/ 

Dan Mahoney: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mahoneydaniel/ 

Ian Jindalwww.linkedin.com/in/ianjindal/ and www.twitter.com/ianjindal

Jamie Merrick: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamiemerrick/

Recorded remotely and at Spiritland Studios, UK.

Episode photo credit: Ian Jindal.

RetailCraft 22 - “Circuitboards and Sofas” - Guy Magrath of RS Components and Graham Wilson of Sofology

RetailCraft 22 - “Circuitboards and Sofas” - Guy Magrath of RS Components and Graham Wilson of Sofology

December 9, 2020

Tales of transformation in the studio today. First up a conversation with Guy Magrath, recently Chief Digital Officer at Electrocomponents PLC (better known in the UK as the owners of RS Components, purveyors os millions of plugs, bulbs, suppliers for makers and menders around the world).

Guy talks us through many years of change and progress at this global, complex business, culminating in his 5 steps that are very persuasive indeed.

Along the way we pay tribute to the makers of the world, and a moving example is that of Ben Ryan who set out to create a new type of prosthetic arm for his 10-day old son. You can read Ben's story here: https://uk.rs-online.com/web/generalDisplay.html?id=fortheinspired/customer-ambionics and see the video story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOBVuy2FxoA

Graham Wilson joins us from Sofology, the specialist sellers of Sofas. Selling sofas at the best of times can be a challenge, with lead times, checking colour and seating options, envisioning the sofas in your own home... Graham takes us through some of the digital innovations underway that are enhancing the selling and service propositions and giving the stores a dynamic role during the lockdown(s).

 

Our thanks to Chris for giving us so much time, and we'll pick up with him again post-Christmas to see how the peak-upon-peak of trading turned out.

 

Run time: 55 minutes

INFORMATION:

Guy Magrath: https://www.linkedin.com/in/guy-magrath-ned/ 

Graham Wilson: https://www.linkedin.com/in/graham-wilson-b854594/ 

Ian Jindalwww.linkedin.com/in/ianjindal/ and www.twitter.com/ianjindal

Jamie Merrick: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamiemerrick/

Recorded remotely and at Spiritland Studios, UK.

Episode photo credit: Ian Jindal.

RetailCraft 21 - “One-way and two-way doors” - Chris Poad, Managing Director, Online at Tesco PLC

RetailCraft 21 - “One-way and two-way doors” - Chris Poad, Managing Director, Online at Tesco PLC

October 14, 2020

Chris Poad, Managing Director, Online at Tesco PLC joins us in the studio for a wide-ranging and extensive discussion. Fresh from a series of senior roles at Amazon (heading Fulfilment by Amazon, then Director, Amazon Business International), Chris has returned to the UK to take up the reins at Tesco's online activities - just in time to be in the eye of the COVID storm! 

We segue from his career to the Tesco response - an impressive and sustained activity at scale - and we learn about the values that drove the work, the decision-making approaches, and how the team runs under such great pressure.

The interview is chock-full of insights, expressed with clarity and openness - it's a privileged view inside Tesco at a defining time. There are too many quotable nuggets to list here, but the title of this podcast references a perceptive classification of decision-making - jump to 22m10s if you can't bear to wait! It's worth it.

Our thanks to Chris for giving us so much time, and we'll pick up with him again post-Christmas to see how the peak-upon-peak of trading turned out.

 

Run time: 38 minutes

INFORMATION:

Chris Poad: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrispoad/

Ian Jindalwww.linkedin.com/in/ianjindal/ and www.twitter.com/ianjindal

Jamie Merrick: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamiemerrick/

Recorded remotely and at Spiritland Studios, UK.

Episode photo credit: Ian Jindal.

RetailCraft 20 - “60,000 in 90 days” - Mark Wright of Fat Face and Murray Lambell of eBay UK

RetailCraft 20 - “60,000 in 90 days” - Mark Wright of Fat Face and Murray Lambell of eBay UK

August 15, 2020

A bumper edition for the stifling dog-days of August! 

We kick off with an in-depth chat with Mark Wright, Group Operations Director at Fat Face. Mark's got an incredible track record in retail - online, offline and multichannel - with stints as head of trading at M&S and as Managing Director, Omnichannel and Jack Wills. His role at Fat Face covers all operations and trading and so it was interesting to get his reflections upon the lockdown, recovery and impact. Mark's a direct and generous guest and so there's no holding back!

After Mark we hear from Murray Lambell, the VP of Trading at eBay UK. Murray's role is to help major retailers and brands get onto the eBay platform and there are some suprises here, with no hard sell. 27 million (yes, million) active customers on eBay are the "bait" for sellers, and Murray's team look at what they're are searching for, identify gaps, and then approach retailers and brands to take up that demand. Murray shares  with us the partnership approach and, as if a jolt were needed this year, points out that 60,000 sellers have joined eBay in the last 90 days! Busy, busy times indeed.

 

Run time: 53 minutes

INFORMATION:

Mark Wright: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-wright-74824b/

Murray Lambell: https://www.linkedin.com/in/murraylambell/

Ian Jindalwww.linkedin.com/in/ianjindal/ and www.twitter.com/ianjindal

Jamie Merrick: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamiemerrick/

Recorded remotely and at Spiritland Studios, UK.

Episode photo credit: Ian Jindal.

RetailCraft 19 - “Make your gran proud” - Lockdown with The Hut Group’s Aaron Winsloe and AO.com CEO and Founder John Roberts

RetailCraft 19 - “Make your gran proud” - Lockdown with The Hut Group’s Aaron Winsloe and AO.com CEO and Founder John Roberts

July 31, 2020

Still in lockdown limbo, we use the internet to speak with two guests from the beauty and electricals sectors.

 

First up is Aaron Winsloe, the Head of eCommerce USA for The Hut Group. We spoke with Aaron in his new office just before the group results were announced - an impressive 24% revenue growth to £1.1bn and a 22% increase in profits. With 66% of group turnover coming from the international operations, it was a timely moment to catch up with Aaron, and in particular the trading and learning experience over COVID.

 

Next up is John Roberts, founder and CEO of AO.com. John has some very pithy sayings, as well as a lovely 'origin story' for how 'Appliances Online' (as it was 20 years ago) was founded. This interview was recorded as a keynote for IRX Engage's inaugural digital event, and in discussion we hear about the 'pivot' to a direct-selling brand and the values that underpin the business' success.  The sound quality is more "phone line" than "BBC Studio" but John is such a compelling speaker that we had to share the interview.

 

 

Run time: 26 minutes.

INFORMATION:

Aaron Winsloe: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-winsloe-a0a30680/

John Roberts: https://twitter.com/johnrobertsAO

Ian Jindalwww.linkedin.com/in/ianjindal/ and www.twitter.com/ianjindal

Jamie Merrick: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamiemerrick/

Recorded remotely and at Spiritland Studios, UK.

Episode photo credit: Ian Jindal.

RetailCraft 18 - Lockdown with Gracia Amico of Pet Mate and Robin Phillips of The Watch Shop

RetailCraft 18 - Lockdown with Gracia Amico of Pet Mate and Robin Phillips of The Watch Shop

June 15, 2020

As Lockdown continued, we caught up with our guests 'over the web'.

Our first guest is Gracia Amico: chair, non-executive advisor and experienced CEO. In the past, she’s held senior digital and commercial roles at Burberry, TopShop and Hobbs, as well as CEO at Pets Pyjamas. After a period as Head of Digital Operations at Sun Capital, Gracia is now a non-executive Director at Stitched (the online curtains and blinds seller) and Chair of the pet technology company, Pet Mate.

With Gracia we learn about the dynamics of the 'pet' market, discuss the role of the CEO and the skills needed as Chair, and touch on an investor view of the skills needed to thrive as we emerge from lockdown.

Robin Phillips is our next guest. Robin is the CEO of The Watch Shop, but his career has seen him cover the gamut of ecommerce. He was Ecommerce Director at Waitrose, then Director of Omnichannel for Boots, before joining Kurt Geiger as Director of Digital. Robin’s experience then across fashion, food and pharmacy mean that he’s got a unique take on retail over the COVID lockdown, as well as some interesting insights on how The Watch Shop can be a brand platform for watch brands to sell. 

 

Run time: 40 minutes.

INFORMATION:

Gracia Amico: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gracia-amico-7aa9b0/

Robin Phillips: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robin-phillips-rgp/

Ian Jindalwww.linkedin.com/in/ianjindal/ and www.twitter.com/ianjindal

Jamie Merrick: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamiemerrick/

Recorded remotely and at Spiritland Studios, UK.

Episode photo credit: Ian Jindal.

RetailCraft 17 - Lockdown with Alexander Wang and De Bijenkorf

RetailCraft 17 - Lockdown with Alexander Wang and De Bijenkorf

April 15, 2020

Thoroughly grounded in London, I luckily had some interviews from the ’time when travel was allowed’ and so we hear from Rikard Frost, Chief Consumer Officer of Alexander Wang Inc, when we visited him in New York City in January 2020. Then, further back in time, we chat with Pieter Heij, Multichannel Director at De Bijenkorf, the Netherland’s premier department store (and part of the Selfridges group). We chatted with Pieter just before an autumn dinner in Amsterdam - such proximity is much missed as we socially distance!

 

Run time: 33 minutes.

INFORMATION:

Rickard Frost: www.linkedin.com/in/rikardfrost/

Pieter Heij: www.linkedin.com/in/pieterheij/

Ian Jindalwww.linkedin.com/in/ianjindal/ and www.twitter.com/ianjindal

 

Recorded on location in London, UK at Spiritland Studios and New York, USA and Amsterdam, NL. Episode photo credit: Ian Jindal.

RetailCraft 16 - “Hard-nosed thinking” - M&S International and NRF from New York

RetailCraft 16 - “Hard-nosed thinking” - M&S International and NRF from New York

January 20, 2020

Jamie and I kick off this episode with our thoughts on NRF2020 - the National Retail Federation’s "Big Show" in New York. Held in January each year, this 40,000-visitor-1000-exhibitor behemoth is gradually turning into a packed ’retail week’. Jamie and I cover our impressions of the show and what’s new and noteworthy, as well as giving a summary of the highlights of our store tour in which we visited Showfields (see RetailCraft 15 for an interview with one of the founders), Amazon 4-Star, Atelier Beauté Chanel, Glossier, The Real Real, Gucci, Camp and Neighborhood Goods.

 

You can see the details of the store tour here: airtable.com/shr6VPGFXHB4LNBoU/tblIQv68dVMxyALSJ

 

Next we travel back in time to NRF itself, when we were joined in the podcast studio by Laura Padfield, Head of Strategy and Business Development, International at Marks & Spencer. We cover a range of topics from the international growth and approach, differences between regions as well as hearing Laura’s reflections on the stores we’d visited.

 

Run time: 36 minutes.

INFORMATION:

Laura Padfield: www.linkedin.com/in/laura-padfield-1bb80b21/

Jamie Merrick: www.linkedin.com/in/jamiemerrick/

Ian Jindalwww.linkedin.com/in/ianjindal/ and www.twitter.com/ianjindal

 

Recorded on location in London, UK at Spiritland Studios and at the NRF Podcast Studio in New York, USA. Episode photo credit: Ian Jindal.

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