Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Ecommerce Hero: Louisa Nicholls, Former Head of Marketing & Strategic Projects, John Lewis Partnership

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

Who is your ecommerce hero?

Ben Francis, founder of GymShark

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

At 19 he founded Gymshark  – an online fitness brand by raising money from drop shipping fitness supplements and working at Pizza Hut – he made the products himself. 10 years on it’s now a £1bn brand and one of the UK’s leading Unicorn businesses that’s made the likes of Nike and Adidas sit up and take notice!  Mind blowing example of tenacity, drive, vision and self-belief. At a young age he showed significant self-awareness, he knew as the business scaled that he needed to step aside and bring in a seasoned CEO and go off and learn more about other areas of business leadership….awesome example of thinking long term and knowing and owning your strengths and development areas.

How has his heroism helped drive ecommerce?

Aside from inspiring future generations of entrepreneurs, Gymshark was one of the first brands to use Social Media Influencers as their main marketing strategy – since then many other brands have adopted this strategy more and shifted their marketing spend into these channels

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

There are the obvious ones such as data, privacy etc.. that have already been covered.  Not sure if it’s the biggest challenge but an area that is still underdeveloped for mass adoption is voice search on retail platforms…Voice is the buzzword of the moment (move over AR/VR)  and thanks to Alexa and Siri already forms part of our daily lives, be it setting a timer to settling an argument, to asking about the weather, but trust and user experience take a nosedive as soon as there is a sales transaction involved. Perhaps Ben Francis can turn his attention to this next…