My Ecommerce Hero is a series celebrating brilliance in ecommerce, in association with eCommerce-speakers.com, an initiative from Entropy‘s Alex Tait to encourage more female speakers at industry events.
Rachael Jones is Ecommerce & Digital Strategist at luxury ecommerce agency Studio Rotate.
Who is your ecommerce hero?
Sandrine Deveaux, Executive VP, Store of the Future at Farfetch.
What has she done to win hero status in your eyes?
I indirectly worked with Sandrine for a short time when she joined Harvey Nichols to turn around their online operations and create a joined-up multichannel retail experience.
Even to a junior employee it was immediately evident that she was incredibly knowledgable, not afraid to take risks and speak her mind. The team that she built and the technology foundations that she put in place made a huge difference to a retail business flighting with outdated legacy operating models and systems.
She always had time for even her youngest, most inexperienced staff and that human element – as well as the handwritten Christmas cards – always left an impression.
The groundbreaking work that she’s now leading at Farfetch fusing AR, technology and digital commerce is exciting and inspiring and yet she remains humble and dedicated, and not in the lest bit self-serving.
She is probably the single-most formidable woman in the fashion ecommerce space at the moment but rather than keynotes and LinkedIn posts, she’s got four kids and a family that take priority in her spare time. And that’s why she’s my hero!
How has her heroism helped drive ecommerce?
Sandrine is a pioneer. At Matches fashion and Harvey Nichols she led ecommerce turnarounds, building teams and structure that would allow for the birth of truly multichannel retail experiences.
Her forward thinking means she’s always finding ways in which digital retail can excite the consumer and how for luxury fashion ‘ecommerce’ can be something much more interesting than simply the process of buying an item online.
What the biggest challenges in ecommerce we need another hero to solve?
For me it’s a software hero that we need. Measurement and attribution are becoming increasingly difficult!
The cross-device, cross-channel tie-up is impossible, but I’d love it if there was tech that could pull in all available data around product, site and ad interactions, build an attribution model and then also tell me if this logged-in website visitor also bought something in the brand’s physical store.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in ecommerce?
It was probably at Seedlip and setting up the US ecommerce business. Being able to launch an ecommerce offering from the very beginning, without legacy systems, corrupted data or retail restrictions was incredibly exciting.
In the US, alcohol isn’t sold online due to the different state laws so to be able to behave like an alcohol brand, but selling ‘non-alcoholic alcohol’ was quite digitally disruptive.
Is there a diversity problem in ecommerce and how can we best address it if so?
Day to day I don’t think there is. I look around at colleagues and tech partners who are from so many different backgrounds and at events it’s often a pretty diverse group of attendees.
The problem is the experts or thought-leaders that are most visible are often older, white men. I think that events and white paper authors need to look at slightly younger or slightly less senior people within the ecommerce space to address the imbalance that makes our industry ‘appear’ less diverse than it actually is.