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We are working with VILLA in their search for a Director of Ecommerce based in Philadelphia, PA 19103. VILLA (formerly known as Sneaker Villa), is specialty retailer of urban-inspired apparel and footwear products. In this highly competitive market, VILLA is considered the premier urban fashion retailer in its current markets, because it provides the best of fashion in a high energy environment. VILLA is also guided by its obligation to give back to the community and become a valuable resource to make a difference in the world.
VILLA strives to be the premier fashion retailer by fusing the best of fashion and music into a high energy shopping experience. The company is committed to delivering superior customer service along with financial support and volunteer service to the communities it serves.
The company seeks a world-class Ecommerce Director to drive long-term profitable growth and increase levels of customer satisfaction through its online channels. This position is responsible for optimizing VILLA’s direct to consumer initiatives in terms of revenue, conversion rates, social networking reach, ROI, usability, and functionality.
The role’s key focus will be on deepening VILLA’s direct interaction and relationships with consumers while supporting an omnichannel view of DTC. The Ecommerce Director will oversee site infrastructure development, technology recommendations and enhancements, and drive data-driven business decisions based on Web Analytics, CRM, A/B testing and competitive intelligence tools.
HARRY’S COMMENTS: Whenever I’m offered a new search, I ask myself several questions about the business. The first two questions I’ll ask the potential client are …
- “What is the business ABOUT?” And,
- “Who is the business FOR?”
You’d be amazed at how many entrepreneurs and VPs of Marketing can’t answer those two questions. There’s an old maxim in direct marketing that “the tighter the message-to-market match of a given campaign, the higher the response rate will be.”
But here’s the kicker: In today’s omnichannel retail world, very often “the business is the message” — so having excellent answers to my first two questions is more important than ever. Truly, it’s the only way to compete with the Amazons and Walmarts of the world. Your business must actually stand FOR something (and ideally, AGAINST something else), and everyone in your firm must know these answers and buy in to them completely.
Such is the case with VILLA.
VILLA is the premier urban lifestyle fashion retailer with 70 stores in 7 states, including New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. What makes the business special is that it’s not just about the product, it’s ABOUT a movement: It’s about reimagining urban America. VILLA is FOR young dream chasers in urban communities. The company gives these dream chasers resources to achieve their dreams, whether it’s through products that help them achieve self-actualization, through economic empowerment in terms of employment, or through providing these dream chasers with exposure to things that will broaden their horizons.
It sounds abstract, but it’s actually very concrete.
VILLA’s target customer is between the ages of 15 and 25. These “dream chasers” want more out of life, but they can’t always articulate what it is. Many of these dream chasers live in the inner-city. If you see these communities on CNN, they can look pretty bleak. But the reality is very different. Dream chasers see hope in these places, and they are working to pursue a dream, whether it’s as an up-and-coming DJ, an up-and-coming rapper, an aspiring lawyer, an up-and-coming fashion designer, or web developer, or whatever. These are VILLA’s customers … VILLA’s community, and VILLA celebrates and supports their dreams.
VILLA thinks of its stores as the “New Age Barbershops.” Its stores, websites, and social media channels serve as hubs for the sharing of information on fashion, sports, community empowerment, entertainment and other topics shaping our community. VILLA partners with schools, local governments, community groups, and individuals to improve its community through community service, educational initiatives, anti-violence programs, and economic investment.
I’ve worked on hundreds of searches, and it’s very unusual to see a retailer this tightly integrated into its community of customers. This integration is one of VILLA’s key strengths. In fact, it’s less of an integration then it is a codependency. These Dream chasers depend on VILLA for the things it does for the community as much as VILLA depends on these Dream chasers for revenue.
For example, VILLA has a program called Home Zone where VILLA works with local designers to give them an opportunity to sell their product in VILLA’s stores. VILLA will even give them corporate support to make sure they are successful. Additionally, VILLA has programs to teach kids how to write software and create apps, and it even sends them to Silicon Valley for exposure. The company takes a huge personal interest in the community, which gives it the street credibility to act as a gatekeeper of style. This dynamic allows VILLA to create world-class partnerships with its vendors, who rely on VILLA for exposure to this subculture.
VILLA’s close relationships with its suppliers like Nike, Reebok, Timberland, Levi’s, Puma, and New Era give it an outstanding opportunity to become a national brand, primarily through ecommerce. Certainly, you can appreciate the magnitude of this opportunity: The US shoe store industry includes about 28,000 stores with combined annual revenue of about $27 billion.
Buried in that mountain of revenue is a subculture of “Sneaker Heads,” a young, urban male who is in many ways defined by their sneaker collection. The first thing a Sneaker Head’s friend will do is look at what’s on their feet, and they are always on the hunt to grab the coolest sneakers that will allow them to gain a higher status within their peer group. This is not an imaginary market niche. It’s very real, it’s self-referencing, reachable, and very motivated to buy every time a hot new sneaker is released. In a very real sense, they are like gamers – and VILLA has built an extremely credible brand among these people.
About the job …
Naturally, selling to consumers who are 15 to 25 creates enormous pressure for VILLA to keep up with the changing landscape of retail. Its customers use multiple devices to engage with the brand, and the company has a lot of work to do to improve the omnichannel nature of its marketing mix and CRM capability. Additionally, VILLA is growing very rapidly, and that creates issues as well.
But it’s also an opportunity.
My kickoff call with VP of Marketing, Patrick Walsh, lasted more than an hour, and I was taking notes as fast as I could type. I have several pages of notes on the most critical areas of expertise VILLA’a new Ecommerce Director will need to succeed in the role, including (but not limited to) ecommerce platform integration; mobile commerce; and multichannel customer acquisition. All told, there are 11 critical areas which need to be understood in order to knock out Patrick’s punch list of 100 day Key Initiatives for this position. I’m delighted to share this intel (and supporting research) with highly qualified candidates.
Overall, this role is perfect for someone who has an entrepreneurial approach to their work, and who is looking to build something great. You must be goal oriented and love solving big problems in addition to wanting to coach, mentor, and build a world-class team.
Football coaching legend Lou Holtz used to tell his players “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. And attitude determines how well you do it.” VILLA is all about attitude. It’s all about confidence, drive, and a passionate determination to bring your A-game to the job every single day.
If that appeals to you, then I strongly encourage you to apply below.
PRINCIPLE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
- Champion development of ecommerce capabilities and marketing programs which will drive business growth and stimulate consumer engagement
- Core metrics traffic and conversion analysis. Monitor results and Improve conversion.
- Omnichannel focus to optimize inventory turnover in warehouse and stores
- Recap weekly product performance: selling by class, major events that drove business, trending attributes
- Work with merchandise and planning team to ensure that markdowns/email cadence is synchronized with the stores
- Oversee site infrastructure development, technology recommendations and enhancement
- Track and share ecommerce and retail trends as well as competitive landscape information. Leverage this data to drive recommendations.
- Oversee the digital marketing budget/plan; forecast 4 months out to ensure that investments are driving demand as planned
- Recommend reallocation of budget or shift in investment as necessary
- Manage online merchandiser, ecommerce marketing manager, and social media manager to create effective consumer communication campaigns to increase open rates, conversions, new customer acquisition, and retention
- Project management of any new products or enhancements to online environment (i.e. loyalty programs, affiliate programs, search engine marketing and optimization)
- Measures customer satisfaction through online satisfaction surveys, focus groups, etc. and make recommendation for modifications based on that customer feedback
- Experiments with natural and paid search methodologies; test and recommend optimal search engine optimization strategies for website
- Manages vendor relationships
- Drive & Commitment – Demonstrates initiative, self-reliance and a strong sense of urgency. Starts work quickly demanding the highest possible quality while constantly improving personal standards of performance. Drives Innovation by discovering alternative approaches to resolve obstacles.
- Adaptability / Flexibility – Works constructively under pressure, responds resourcefully to change and maintains a confident and constructive outlook despite difficulty, frustrations or ambiguity. Stays focused and maintains quality when handling multiple tasks at the same time, knowing when to consult others with critical viewpoints or experience to help make key decisions.
- Excellent Collaborator – Works with a wide variety of internal & external partners to develop deliverables and gain consensus.
QUALIFICATIONS/SKILLS & KNOWLEDGE REQUIREMENTS:
- 6+ years experience in an ecommerce environment, multi-channel retail experience is a plus
- Strong business acumen
- Strong project and resource management skills
- Strong analytical/modeling skills with ability to convert raw data into actionable business insights
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Proficient in MS Excel, Access, Word and PowerPoint required
- Experience with web analytics tools
- Strong understanding of ecommerce technology, including platform, payment process, content management, etc.
- Experience with A/B testing
- A Bachelor’s degree is required
UPDATE: THIS SEARCH IS CLOSED.
PS – If you’re thinking about changing jobs this year (though us or anyone else), you might want to check out this post on why even TOP candidates get rejected.