Life as Head of Online Trading

If you are wondering what it takes to become Head of Online Trading or if you are wondering about what life as a Head of Online Trading is really like…

We caught up with Alice Little, Head of Online Trading at Lovehoney, to get her perspective…


If you are working towards this or are thinking of adding one to your team or are wondering what one might look for in an employer: We have gathered all the facts for you.

ADLIB: In a nutshell, what has been your career journey so far?

Alice Little

Alice Little: I started my career making use of my English degree in a fairly traditional way. I was a Secondary School Teacher and later an Editor in a traditional publishing house.

I didn’t set out to work in eCommerce, but when I discovered that Lovehoney were based round the corner from me and looking for someone to look after their editorial content it seemed like an opportunity I just had to go for. I joined Lovehoney when the entire company sat in one room and was brought on to “do words” – product descriptions, blogs, press pieces, social media etc.

As the company grew and felt the need to establish an online trading team, I was the right person for the job. The business now employs over 230 people, with a turnover of £58 million. I’ve been with the business for 7 years (no itch yet) and I’m proud to be working for such a market-leading, ambitious company.

ADLIB: What (soft and/or hard) skills do you see as most valuable for those wanting to become a leader within your field?

Alice Little: Commercial acumen, insatiable curiosity, an analytical mind, conceptual thinking and planning are the key skills that allow a Head of Online Trading to develop and deliver an effective sales strategy.

Having the flexibility to put your findings into action – and to know when to adapt your plan – is the next challenge. The lack of “rules” in a young industry like eCommerce is massively liberating, but the flipside is you have to stay on your toes – what you thought you knew 6 months ago (or even 2 weeks ago) will have changed.

As Lovehoney continues to expand globally, there’s the additional challenge of finding out what surprising differences there are between markets like the US and the UK. Make no assumptions!

ADLIB: What 3 tips would you give someone to ensure that their skills and knowledge remain top notch?

Alice Little:

  1. Keep an open mind: soak up information from a diverse range of sources. Google alerts, Podcasts, webinars, even census data all help you to identify the macro environment(s) you are trading in.
  2. Continually work on your communication skills: keeping a team, especially one scattered around the globe, focussed and confident when strategy changes does not happen by magic.
  3. Care about the details: retail is about providing the perfect solution to a customer’s needs. Not something there or thereabouts – the customer will go elsewhere. The minor details really matter, so keep paying attention!

ADLIB: What do you see as the most important things to consider when choosing an employer?

Alice Little: I believe the size of the business, and the scale of its ambition, is vital to deciding whether you’re going to be a good match. People have different expectations and comfort levels relating to how corporate the company culture is, the level of personal freedom and capacity to enact change in your role. Lovehoney allows a lot of autonomy and space for creative thinking and kicking off new initiatives, which is perfect for me.

Aligning your expectations with what your employer can offer you will have a massive impact on your day-to-day job satisfaction.

Thank You Alice for sharing!

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