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We are working with Jack Wills Ltd who seeks a Regional Manager, Ecommerce to be based in Greenwich, CT. And my teenage daughters could not be more impressed …
Jack Wills is a British clothing brand aimed squarely at university students. The original Jack Wills store opened in Salcombe, Devon in 1999, before expanding to include a current chain of 54 stores throughout the UK and Ireland, five of which are outlet stores. Nine stores are located in London, with the remainder typically found in university towns and seaside resorts.
Jack Wills’ first stores in the US opened in Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Boston in 2010. Today, the firm has a total of 13 stores in the US, having opened eight stores in 2011 and another two in 2012.
HARRY’S COMMENTS: My project kickoff call included Graham Morrell (Head of Ecommerce) and Jim Hardy (Jack Wills’ President, North America), both of whom are totes dialed-in to multichannel ecommerce. And it shows: Jack Wills had excellent results on Cyber Monday that blew away its plan.
Jack Wills plans to open six stores in 2013, with the expectation of opening 6 to 10 stores per year thereafter. Primarily for logistics reasons, Jack Wills’ expansion is focused in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. For now.
Hardy, who has enjoyed a 25 year career with Ralph Lauren both in the UK and the US, came aboard as President, North America a year ago when the business was being run out of the United Kingdom. Since Hardy’s arrival, the firm has opened two stores and increased the infrastructure in the United States. Having come a long way in the last 12 months, the corporate office team is now based in Greenwich, CT – where it maintains functions in marketing, merchandising, visual merchandising, store operations, finance and business development.
Running lean. Hitting their stride.
There is a tremendous opportunity to grow in the United States, and there’s no reason that geography will have any effect on Jack Wills’ ecommerce growth. In fact, their core consumer not only buys digitally, but Jack Wills’ products are becoming woven into today’s youth culture through relationships with musical artists such as British band, One Direction.
Strictly speaking, Jack Wills designs and markets to college and grad students, age 18 to 25. That’s the target. Yet according to Hardy …
“In the US, we are realizing there’s a lot of updraft in the market. It’s culturally different than the UK. Many times, American moms of college aged kids are just as interested in our clothes as their daughters. Very often, a 45-year old mom will see her daughter in a beautiful Jack Wills Tweed jacket, and that becomes the basis of our acquisition of her as a customer. With a little finessing, we can market to this older demographic without making the brand less appealing to its target market of college kids. It’s an interesting situation.”
Plus: High schoolers love Jack Wills, too.
Which makes the brand similar to J. Crew. And like J. Crew, Jack Wills shows enormous potential online. Currently, Jack Wills’ US ecommerce business is just $2 million, but the company knows the business can be much greater. In fact, J. Crew’s online business is currently $445 million.
So, what will it take to get there? Clearly, customer acquisition and subsequent retention is critical in this role. In particular, you gotta “have game” in the areas of affiliate marketing, CSE, eCRM, SEO, SEM, and of course, analytics.
Indeed, in your first 100 days you can expect to develop an order acquisition strategy that “hits the numbers:” The client will give you the numbers, and then they’ll expect you to build the plan, test a variety of different media, and bet on the channels most likely perform. Can you do that?
But: All candidates must have proven commercial experience in a direct-to-consumer ecommerce environment. You will have dual reporting lines to the President, North America and the Head of Ecommerce who is located in the UK, and you’ll also work with a UK based web manager.
Your job will be to develop an ecommerce plan and overall digital vision for the US, ensuring that the online agenda is appropriately aligned with key commercial drivers and that all brand-building opportunities are fully exploited through a flexible, integrated multi-channel strategy.
This means you’ll increase the level of effectiveness of online activity to establish Jack Wills’ pre-eminence as a consumer brand that actively engages customers. Increasing the usability, functionality, conversion and overall appeal of the website.
- Focusing on driving traffic (new and repeat) to the website and stores as Jack Wills is a multi-channel retailer.
- Working with the UK based team to drive online conversion, and optimizing the customer’s journey while driving relevant enhancements in functionality via the in-house web dev team.
- Being an active stakeholder in determining the overall Group Ecommerce Development Roadmap.
- Using analytics to understand customer behavior and effectiveness to digital marketing activity.
- Managing the support of the customer services team and web team in resolving issues.
- Working with the UK based team who completes website content updates, quality assurance checks on content, pricing updates, imagery and general content coordination of the company’s websites.
- Providing reports to the business on ecommerce.
Qualifications & Experience
- Strong track record of managing an ecommerce function and shaping and delivering online strategy, as well as a strong commercial, business understanding of retail economics.
- Able to manage and report on the operational performance of the ecommerce offering(s) as well as the metrics of conversion, usability price setting and over trading.
- Extensive experience and knowledge of the US market – particularly in terms of customer acquisition and retention.
- Be product focused, with preferable experience in retail apparel.
- Commercially astute and with a broad understanding of business disciplines, can deliver against short-term goals while ensuring that long-term objectives of the business and stakeholders are met.
- Demonstrable experience of innovating and setting new agendas; taking a broad view of possibilities and considering potential impact of activities on other business areas. In addition, you will have an understanding of the implementation of next generation technologies and tools to engage US customers in brand discussions.
- Proven ability to build consensus and work effectively within a cross-departmental team, developing strong working practices between marketing, creative, merchandising and operations.
- Excellent communication skills at all levels of the organization.
- Open-minded and curious – ready to learn and adopt new business models.
- Takes personal responsibility for making things happen. Is prepared to take a stand and to drive what is right for the business.
- Strong customer focus, with demonstrable insight into what customers and potential customers want and need, now and in the future to ensure that the overall US ecommerce function is positioned to capitalize on potential opportunities.
- High energy and resilient, with the flexibility and pragmatism to thrive in a fast-paced, high pressure environment, where the ability to respond positively to market volatility is essential.
- Entrepreneurial spirit, not afraid to roll up sleeves and work with limited resources
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