Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Ecommerce Hero: Grant Baillie, Head of Customer Marketing, Post Office

Ecommerce and marketing consultancy Entropy, is our exclusive partner for the new series of Ecommerce Hero on ECA

Grant Baillie is Head of Customer Marketing at the Post Office Ltd which, in addition to its significant online business, has over 11,500 branches making it the largest retail network in the UK. Prior to joining the Post Office, Grants worked with leading brands across multi-channel and pureplay such as Marks & Spencer, Money Supermarket, Argos, and Barclays.

Who is your ecommerce hero?

David Baszucki co-founder & CEO of Roblox and Will Carmichael, CEO & co-founder of Rooster Money.

What has he/she done to win hero status in your eyes?

People with children or teenagers of a certain age will be very familiar with Roblox as its basically Catnip for kids. It’s an online community where you set up an avatar and can then take part in games or explore hundreds of worlds with other gamers. Unlike Minecraft, you don’t need a double PHD in Geology or Structural Engineering to figure out the basics. You can just pick up and play. 

My other hero company is Rooster Money. A company I came across in lockdown when trying to figure out how to give my kids their weekly pocket money but no longer having coins or notes in the house anymore. Cue Rooster Money to the rescue. Enables you to set up a ‘virtual piggy bank’ for your kids, supported by a debit card enabling your kids to transact both online and off-line, but with the security for the transaction, e.g. CVV code, all generated and managed through the app. 

How has their heroism helped drive ecommerce?

With my eCommerce business hat on, the thing that impresses me most about Roblox (apart from the simplicity of it) is the revenue-generating potential of it, where everything from your avatar, to the games, to the vehicles, adventures, equipment etc. all being customisable with Roblox, their online currency which you have to buy with real money. Never have I seen £10 disappear so fast once my children log into their accounts! With 80 million new users added in 2020 alone, you can really see the powerful business model that Roblox’s community of 199 million monthly active users drives.

For Rooster Money, in addition to them solving a very real problem of what to do in the absence of physical cash, everything about the UX of both the website and the App is really nice and child friendly. It’s clearly been designed with their end-users in mind as allows kids to see their in-goings and out-goings, plus even setting up their own little saving pots. There’s a parent account too so you’re always in control of what’s happening. With over 200,000 users, it’s clearly got some good traction and growing.

What are the biggest challenges in ecommerce we need another hero to solve?

Whilst there’s no one size fits all approach that works universally across any business with an eCommerce operation, one thing I’ve certainly seen over the last 20 years is never a need for yet more tools, toys or shiny systems as the top priority, but rather a need for inward facing simplification of teams, siloed ways of working, utilisation of existing systems and processes.

Get that right and it doesn’t really matter what tools you have at your disposal as I suspect most companies are probably only using 20% of the potential from the existing tech stack they’ve already got and unaware of the opportunity there vs. bringing in yet more stuff that will ultimately just suffer the same fate.

As my former esteemed colleague, Mr Jim Clear, noted in one of these earlier articles, “The right balance of ‘Tech and Team” can sometimes be overlooked or underestimated when developing your strategy but exciting shiny toys won’t work without anyone to play with them”.

How has your business changed its use of ecommerce over the Covid period? 

Being a multi-channel business with the largest retail network in the UK, I think there’s been a  definite step change within the Post Office in accepting the online channel as a core enabler and business partner for the retail estate vs. a possible cannibalisation threat as it was once seen.

Services like online branch finder are open 24/7 and are a useful tool for customers to find information, plus services like their local branch which in turn sends footfall to our Post Masters and their businesses.

Also better use of local marketing initiatives such as Google my Business and helping Post Masters manage their Social media accounts, help and support our network.

What’s an interesting eCommerce innovation you’ve seen as businesses have had to adapt?

How far businesses apps have come on and have improved to the point that you can now pretty much do the full, end to end purchase journey in an App without ever needing to go to the physical website. The McDonalds App in particular is pretty impressive, especially through COVID, where you can order from the App and choose to have it delivered to your car outside, without ever having to step foot out of it. 
Whilst this sort of ‘pick up’ service is not necessary a new concept, it’s always a bit chaotic in coffee shops whenever I’ve used it and you just end up waiting & queuing like everyone else at the pick-up counter, McDonalds seem to have perfected it during Covid and it’s a really slick process. The CRM man in me can’t resist an A/B split test, so I always enjoy picking a car in the drive-thru queue that arrives the same time as me and compare who gets their order first. The kids and I always drive away happy (and triumphant!) 😊