Below are more highlights from the Global E-Commerce Summit, which was held October 26-28 in Monaco and where digital retail executives from more than 20 countries convened to learn, explore and network.
Click here for pictures from the event.
Kate Terry, EVP Global Ecommerce, Tommy Hilfiger USA. Kate, who has deep e-commerce experience from companies such as Coach, Polo and Kate Spade is in a newly created position, EVP, Global E-Commerce, based in Amsterdam. This new role combines global e-commerce and marketing for the direct business, which had been separate prior to Kate joining. The goal is to grow the e-commerce business to 20-25% of the store business.
Kate has overseen the creation of a new structure, which adjusts the mixture of functions being centralized vs. de-centralized. The object is to centralize areas to gain efficiency and brand consistency, but to keep the local flavor where it’s most important. And, to separate ego-authorship from local expertise. I love the term, ”ego-authorship,” which is meant to describe situations where people are given decision-making authority as a way to give them a voice, which Kate believes is not the right reason to give someone decision-making authority. Below is how some of the functions at Tommy are distributed:
- E-Commerce Platform – de-centralized, there is a different platform in the US than Europe
- Merchandising – 65% overlap / 35% local
- Service – 65% overlap / 35% local
- Marketing – 55% overlap / 45% local
- UI – 100% overlap
Cyriac Roeding, co-founder of MOBshop, made a bold statement about mobile that captured the audience. “The future of online, is offline.” He first made the case for the massive growth of mobile Web usage – particularly in the U.S. and primarily due to the iPhone. He then discussed how the mobile Internet will change the in-store experience forever including the ability to drive foot-traffic to the store, close sales and increase loyalty.
Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten. He is the founder of Rakuten and built the company without any venture capital. It was the first time most people in the audience heard the story of Rakuten, which is the #1 e-commerce company in Japan. Amazon in Japan is 20% the size of Rakuten, a rare spot for Amazon, as it is the market leader in most other parts of the world. The Rakuten business model is to be a selling platform mainly for SMEs. They currently have revenues of nearly $4 billion (and facilitate much higher gross merchandise revenue). He gave an extreme example of an egg farmer on the Rakuten platform that sells $300,000 in fresh eggs per month. The eggs he sells are fresher because selling directly to consumers is weeks faster than using the traditional distribution system, which, also addes a 70% mark-up after they pass through the various distributors. The farmer’s margins are so high that if the eggs arrive broken, he will resend them with no questions asked. Mr. Mikitani also described how the Rakuten Eagles, the Japanese professional baseball team he purchased, supports the Rakuten business model by creating ongoing brand mentions due to the media coverage of the team.
Mr. Mikitani also spoke about the future of e-commerce. He believes that Southeast Asia is poised to bloom and will be a bigger market than China.
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