Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Ecommerce Hero: ChannelAdvisor MD EMEA, Vladi Shlesman

We ask ChannelAdvisor‘s newly appointed Managing Director EMEA, Vladi Shlesman who his ecommerce hero is.

Who is your ecommerce hero? 

Santiago Arteaga, Director and Product Manager for Global Marketplaces Commerce at VF Corporation. VF Corporation’s portfolio of global apparel and footwear brands include The North Face, Timberland and Vans.

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

Santiago’s heroism comes in the form of his power to help VF brands create clear ecommerce roadmaps to help them sell through online marketplaces, while still offering them choice.

By always allowing room for this flexibility, the solutions he has helped build have been well adapted to the harsh realities of this year. Even during the most tumultuous and uncertain times for brands, Santiago has helped drive innovation and transformation.

He has encouraged brands to think big and create ambitious and agile strategies that deliver results.

How has their heroism helped drive ecommerce?

Throughout the pandemic, brands have had to adapt rapidly to the changing reality they face. Marketplaces have offered a lifeline for brands as an avenue to reach customers while footfall to physical stores plummeted. During this marketplace gold rush, brands are faced with a multitude of options in how to sell their products online through marketplaces.

However, there are a number of hurdles that brands face, such as product visibility or inventory management, and rapidly evolving consumer behaviour has meant it has been extremely difficult for them to adapt to face these challenges.

Santiago’s approach is to use digital technology to create an agile, modern digital project that supports brands looking to sell online. By aligning internal IT teams with business stakeholders, the solutions remove the initial complexity of selling on marketplaces, while still being designed with a long term vision in mind. Investing in the early tech stack meant the solutions have remained adaptable, capable of adding in new solutions and partners while continuing to change with the e-commerce landscape.

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

Sustainability is not a new issue for e-commerce, but one we as a industry are yet to properly tackle. The pandemic has only highlighted our shortcomings, with e-commerce overwhelmed by high volumes of non-recyclable packaging and inefficient delivery routes for the sake of next day delivery.

Companies are making steps in the right direction, such as Amazon testing its delivery drones, and Zalando with its “Do More sustainability” strategy but I think we need a truly innovative thinker to help us tackle this global challenge.

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in ecommerce?

I took on the role of Managing Director EMEA midway through this challenging year, and a huge achievement has been continuing to shift the company into an efficient COVID operational mode. While this was happening, we also managed to support a significant growth in the team’s workload due to increased demand from both existing and new clients. I am also extremely proud that we managed to hire and onboard many new team members during the pandemic. Growing our team of e-commerce experts means we can continue to provide our customers with the personalised services they need.

During this time, we helped a number of brands through their accelerated digital strategies. While customer behaviour shifted overnight to using online marketplaces, in order to keep up, brands and retailers have had to carry out their five to ten year digital transformation strategies in a matter of months. Alongside the firefighting issues, like running out of inventory on marketplaces, we have been able to assist our clients in developing a diverse channel strategy, many of which are now selling direct to consumers on their own marketplaces and successfully using platforms such as Instagram for the first time ever.