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One of the coolest VP Ecommerce Operations jobs around!

HARRY’S COMMENTS: We are working with maurices in their search for a world-class AVP of Ecommerce Operations based in Duluth, Minnesota. About Duluth: Outside Magazine voted it Best Town Ever. Got that? BEST … TOWN … EVER! According to the article, “You can find homes in the Riverside neighborhood for $140,000 (citywide median: $148,600).”

Fact is, Duluth is a strong reason FOR considering this role — not against it. I’ve written about maurices before, having placed Traci Warren there in 2013. Traci has since been promoted, and as far as I know she’s digging both maurices and Duluth.

For more info on Duluth, check out Garrison Keillor’s “Ten Things to Know Before You Move to Duluth.” Then enjoy a drone’s-eye view of this cool little berg on the shores of Lake Superior …

About the Role

Early last week I spent 82 minutes on the phone with this role’s Hiring Manager, Ali Wing. Brilliant lady. Insanely knowledgeable about this role. During that call I typed nearly nine pages worth of notes. By mid-week I had written a really hard-hitting posting for this position — but on Friday I decided to scrap it because I feared it was too transparent for its own good.

maurices’ business has begun to integrate aspects of “fast fashion” into its operating model — which means that ecommerce operations is now a STRATEGIC function. A juicy job posting about maurices ecommerce operations would say too much about its strategy, so I’m going to keep the rest of this post fairly generic …

You’re familiar with the term “fast fashion,” aren’t you?

Fast fashion refers to a business model designed to move products from the catwalk to the marketplace fast enough to capture current fashion trends. Example: Consumers see a trendy new dress on a fashion blog and want it online and in stores TODAY. Easy to say; hard to do, given that historically, apparel retailers have had months to know whether “brown is the new black” this fall and manage their buys accordingly.

Imagine a giant school of fish being led by one or two fish in front …

Suddenly, the trendsetting fish dart in one direction, and all of the other fish – as if by magic – immediately dart in that direction. From a forecasting and planning standpoint, that’s what retailers like maurices are dealing with.

Conceptually, which do you think is easiest:

  • Selling 360 days’ inventory 1 time?
  • Selling 30 days’ inventory 12 times?
  • Selling 7 days’ inventory 52 times?
  • Selling 1 days’ inventory 360 times?

Obviously, selling 360 days’ inventory 1 time is easiest. But that’s not how the world works. Given the difficulty of knowing what’ll be cool tomorrow, fast fashion retailers like maurices are under intense pressure to merchandise their inventories as fast as they can in order to 1.) maximize their responsiveness to trendy consumers, and 2.) minimize the inventory risk of being wrong about fashion trends.

(Being the fastest fish means packing light!)

In such an environment, new product must go on and off the site with incredible speed and accuracy. As maurices’ AVP, Ecommerce Operations, you will be responsible for influencing and managing maurices’ operations throughout its digital channels. You will take the lead in influencing and managing the team’s schedules, systems, processes, procedures, analysis and reporting while implementing, enforcing, and maintaining control over its digital channel operations.

As part of a billion dollar omnichannel specialty retailer, you will oversee and optimize a successful and growing ecommerce business, including product turnover, item level content, image management, site feature management, search, navigation, and promotions management. We’re looking for a business process standard operating procedure builder; someone who can run maurices ecommerce business on a week-to-week basis.

In a perfect world, you’d come from the planning and merchandising side of an apparel business. At maurices, you will be joined at the hip with the site merchants and buyers — helping them understand, for example, how to best receive inbound inventory with fewer touchpoints. It’s all about increasing the throughput of the organization.

This is the kind of role for someone …

… who can select and leverage the tools to answer questions like “What’s lead time between what’s being offered for sale on the site and what’s in inventory? Where do we stand in terms of what has shipped from our suppliers versus consumer demand?

… who can ask “How can we optimize maurices’ value chain — from product readiness, to receipt of product, to site merchandising so that we touch it less and less (and do it better and better)?”

… who understands the difference between managing SKUs and sales optimization (when most of what maurices sells, it will never have again after 10 to 12 weeks).

… who appreciates what it means to run a well-oiled fashion ecommerce site that is capable of telling great stories — while running with the speed, nimbleness and agility to make money in the fast fashion space.

… who can help the team merchandise a product mix that changes every day. Remember: new products are flying on and off maurices’ site based on their resonance with fickle consumers. In this role you will interact with a team of merchants, promotion managers, ops people, copywriters, and more — many of whom will report to YOU. How can you manage your people, products, and processes in a profitable, high-octane, low viscosity way? We need YOU to grease these wheels!

… who is not afraid to take charge in a way that’s hard on the issues and soft on the people. maurices will rely on you to define, build, and/or reengineer … fearlessly.

As usual, we have a massive amount of proprietary intel to share with qualified candidates. (My industry research for this assignment exceeded 50 pages.) If this kind of role excites you and you think you can rise to the task — then I’d love to speak with you.

To learn more about this role, please call or text Harry Joiner at (404) 281-2025. Or simply apply at the link below.

View Harry Joiner's LinkedIn profileView Harry Joiner’s profile

UPDATE: CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO OF MAURICE’S NEW HEADQUARTERS …

Key responsibilities of this position include:

  • Oversee all ecommerce operations to ensure optimization of maurices’ digital sites. Work with multiple internal and external teams and vendors to create and publish content, seasonal promotional campaigns, and product launches.
  • Define site merchandising strategy, tactics and end-to-end process to meet business objectives. Strategies, tactics and execution include but are not limited to: taxonomy, navigation, product placement, content, search, product information, product photography, etc.
  • Lead Site Merchandising team efforts to plan and optimize site and mobile content; own planning content of site and mobile pages to maximize revenue, navigation strategy & execution, and on-site search optimization. Act as a key partner for Digital Merchants in the planning and execution of product, pages, navigation and selling content.
  • Specifically develop and manage an on-going strategy and processes for item set-up and item launch.
  • Specifically develop and manage an on-going strategy and processes for landing page optimization.
  • Develop and manage an on-going strategy and processes for content optimization to drive conversion & maximize non-product, creative assets (aka, storytelling).
  • Work closely with technical SEO experts to ensure that the site and mobile experience are optimized for SEO.
  • Lead digital team process work to support quarterly and yearly site enhancements, including new site features and functions.
  • Partner with key business teams to create, manage and execute processes to achieve sales and profit goals.
  • Drive financial performance by optimizing data and process for the digital channels including: item setup, data quality, data structure, item enrichment, content management and hierarchy.
  • Work with creative partners to ensure the site appropriately communicates key messages, aligns with campaign creative, and highlights seasonally relevant merchandise.
  • Lead related item/cross selling strategy, execution, measurement and optimization.
  • Lead execution and measurement of promotional effectiveness; create and execute roadmap to improve promotions technology and executional process.
  • Serve as key point of contact for Fulfillment Center operations; partner with Fulfillment Center to communicate business dynamics related to units/orders expected; evaluate fulfillment expenses vs. customer experience; manages Fulfillment expense v. budget. Collaborate with CARE team and Supply Chain IT to identify and re-mediate fulfillment issues.

Education:

  • Bachelor’s degree required; MBA preferred; 7-10 years of overall ecommerce operations / site merchandising expertise (technology and business process).

Experience / Requirements:

  • Must have 10+ years of experience in building and leading teams involving extensive digital/mobile strategy development, user experience, and site merchandising.
  • Proven experience leading ecommerce process and optimization.
  • Rich experience in supporting business objectives through the development of process, tools, systems and teams.
  • Excellent analytical, management and communication skills, both written and oral, to synthesize key issues, develop strategies and process, communicate and persuade constituencies towards specific optimized processes and working partnerships.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and commitment to empowerment.
  • Quick study of complex problems and a highly organized approach to finding high impact solutions.
  • Team player with a collaborative approach who shares success.
  • Experience with ATG ecommerce platform / BCC management preferred.
  • HTML and strong information architecture (search, navigation, taxonomy).
  • Apparel retail experience (preferably in specialty) is preferred.
  • Strong management and leadership experience.
  • Ability to work actively with a team and cross-functionally to solve issues and/or create opportunities.
  • Strong team leader.

Applications for this position are being coordinated by Harry Joiner. To apply, CLICK HERE.  Candidates, please be sure to email Harry for additional information that will differentiate you in your candidacy. Due to the intensely competitive nature of this search, thorough preparation for these interviews with this proprietary material is strongly recommended.

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Harry Joiner

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