How to become a… Head of eCommerce
If you’re wondering what it means to become an eCommerce expert, how to set your dream role in motion and how to stay on top of the game, here, some insightful tips from Matthew Curry, Head of eCommerce at Lovehoney.
Matt has worked in Digital Marketing for 18 years and now heads up the eCommerce side of the Lovehoney team. It’s his job to continuously improve the sites and proposition with regular analysis, strategic reporting, direction of internal teams and the management of external agencies.
We caught up to discuss the role from his perspective and to collect key pieces of advice to give you the best chance at thriving as a professional in this industry. So, Matt, what nuggets of wisdom could you share with those that would like to work their way up within this area?
I vaguely fell into eCommerce. I came from an accounting background, but with that came an understanding of data and statistics. I was reasonably technical, and in the early days of eCommerce, I built a couple of transactional websites. I then moved into Digital marketing, running early PPC campaigns and what you would call SEO back then (it’s a very different beast now!). For me, the key thing tying all this together was data and technology. You need to understand the importance of data, and don’t shy away from code. You should know how websites work.
Rely on your data.
Your job relies on data, as you’re making data-driven decisions on a daily basis. This means you need to have data that you trust, that you can verify, that you understand. I learned early on that simple, reliable statistics matter the most. Don’t be complex, don’t you proxy statistics, and get the truth. Boil down your KPI’s to a suite of stats that you can refer to at a moment’s notice when you want to make a decision.
Learn from your team.
When you work in an eCommerce Business, you’ll learn that your role doesn’t exist in isolation and affects every single department in the business. Buying, Logistics, Customer Care and obviously Finance. Spend time with them, learn what they do and learn what data and processes they have that you can present in experience to the site user. Customer Care is particularly useful in understanding the concerns of your users, make sure you get a log and transcripts, or even better, spend time answering the phones and emails yourself.
You’ll learn in this industry that a lot of software essentially does the same thing; Recommendation engines are ten a penny, Platforms all involve getting products into a basket and turning that basket into an order, Campaign Management Tools are just fancy interfaces for tracking parameters. It’s going to be your job to look beyond all that and apply your brain to how to get the best out of a system. Remember – humanity landed a probe on a moving comet this decade, I’m sure you can figure out a way to get a tool to do something you need it to. Break rules and be inventive!
When you can’t be inventive, steal good ideas. What eCommerce sites do you like? Go outside of your vertical and look beyond your competitors. You’ll be surprised at how many features of the Lovehoney website are stolen from consumer electronics and shoe websites. Once you have an idea, test it, iterate it, and test it again.
Get involved in the industry, attend conferences, join in on #ecomchat on Twitter, and gather a large circle of eCommerce experts who can give you advice. Find people you trust and are good and work with them often.
Thanks so much for sharing, Matt!