Meet Vickie Jensen, Director of DK Company Online, who, among other topics, has personalizations on her marketing agenda as we enter 2024. Gain insights into her perspectives on DK Companies' e-commerce and tech priorities, whether it pertains to headless solutions or navigating the challenges of a data-driven approach.

This is just one of the e-commerce perspectives you will get from diving into the interview with Martin Vad Jespersen, Head of E-commerce at Skechers Nordic. Learn about Martins view on AI and which advices he would give an ambitious CEO and E-commerce Director.

Meet Vickie Jensen

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your background and way into e-commerce?

- From 2008 to 2014, I held various leadership positions at IC Company in the Retail sector. When the group of brands I worked with was acquired by DK Company in 2014, I continued my tenure, eventually serving as Retail Director in the last years. In 2019, I transitioned to the online world. In total, I have worked in the fashion industry for 15 years.

Q: How long have you been working with e-commerce businesses?

- I have been in my current role as Director at DK Company Online A/S for 4 years.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

- In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. To stay active, I engage in running and swimming. Additionally, my 13-year-old creative daughter and I run a small e-commerce shop where she sells the tools and items she creates. This keeps us busy and provides a shared interest.

Q: Could you provide a brief overview of your setup?

- At DK Company Online, we manage 25 online brands, with multi-brands centrally controlled and single brands operating within their entities. Logistics and customer service are part of the central team. Our largest brand is Bon’ A Parte. We operate all our brands on a shared platform.

Q: What's the rationale behind your prioritization?

- For us, it makes sense creating understanding and closeness by having single-brand e-commerce operations located close to the brand while managing our commercial multi-brands and several shared functions centrally. We are aware that we are stronger together, and that's why we primarily implement the same tech stack.

Challenges and Success Factors of data-driven E-commerce

Q: What's the most significant challenge you've encountered regarding data and tracking setup for e-commerce businesses?

- The most significant challenge in operating a data-driven business is the ever-evolving tracking options and the ever growing limitations to data provided by various marketing channels. And attribution and data retrieval from sources have become more complex as informations are no longer available from the source.

Q: What, in your opinion, are the key success factors when working with data-driven e-commerce marketing?

- We are fortunate to be skilled at utilizing first-party data and efficiently leveraging it through various channels - back and forth. I would say that managing data within our own systems stands out as a crucial success factor today. And, of course, you need to know how to make the best use of your knowledge so that your marketing, which is becoming more and more expensive, becomes personalized and, as a result, effective.

Q: Could you share your approach to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) at DK Company across different channels?

- To ensure reasonable Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), it begins with attracting potential customers to the various online shops. In this regard, we strongly believe in the consistency in DNA, which can be encountered in, for instance, social channels, so that it is recognizable when you are directed to a shop. Once we have a potential customer on the site, other factors come into play as well. For instance, navigation needs to be easy and quick and we still believe in the importance of the option for personalized service.

Q: What are your primary focus areas in ensuring an efficient e-commerce operation on a daily basis?

- The approach varies based on the shop's size, but for Bon’ A Parte, a relatively large shop, having a solid plan is crucial. Effective communication and alignment across all channels are essential, considering the diverse competencies both internally and externally that must collaborate. Drawing from my experience in managing physical retail stores, the online aspect is not vastly different as online also need flexibility to align activities with market demands, just like we need to adjust according to the weather. Yet, effective execution relies on a well-established foundational plan.

About DK Company

Since its inception in 2001, DK Company has grown to become one of Europe’s leading suppliers of fashion and lifestyle brands catering to men and women.

Today DK Company is 2,400 employees, and the business offers fashion based on value for money and luxury for less covering a wide range of fashion brands market all over the world.

Read more about DK Company

Challenges and Opportunities

Q: What do you consider the challenges and success factors of working with data-driven e-commerce marketing businesses?

- The most significant challenge regarding data and tracking setup for e-commerce businesses is the increasing anonymization and privacy of data. While this is great for customers, it poses a challenge for marketers who seek insights to understand what efforts are effective. We believe that data holds significant value, but unlocking it requires a substantial investment of time and resources. However, the benefits of data insights are worth the effort, and we prioritize this area at Skechers. From an operational perspective, daily attention, staying up-to-date, and collaborating closely with internal and external partners are crucial for success.

Q: What, in your opinion, are the key success factors when working with data-driven e-commerce marketing?

- At Skechers, our approach revolves around being customer-centric. We use data to gain a deeper understanding of customer journeys, touchpoints, and behaviors, from initial interest over purchase to post-purchase service. We recognize that conversions can take time, so we focus on critical touchpoints, such as checking warehouse status and ensuring item availability. Effective data integration, both internally and with partners, is also essential. We work diligently on various projects to maintain control of our data, and this will be an ongoing journey. Thirdly, traffic generation is also a priority for us. We use data to understand demand generation across multiple channels, allowing us to drive the right traffic and make informed decisions about website changes, A/B testing, user experience enhancements, and overall conversion optimization.

Q: Could you share your approach to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) at Skechers across different channels?

- We adopt an always-on approach to CRO and conduct systematic A/B testing. We prioritize product availability in the correct size, color, and location as it has the most significant impact on our conversions. We believe that CRO is less about the color of a CTA button and more about ensuring smooth and fast customer experiences. Therefore, we conduct extensive testing, including payment solutions and delivery options, to optimize the entire customer journey.

Q: What are your primary focus areas in ensuring an efficient e-commerce operation on a daily basis?

- Our daily focus revolves around gaining a deeper understanding of customer needs and demands, aligning our operations with growth, and ensuring a seamless supply chain. Attention to the tail end of the supply chain, including availability, delivery, and post-purchase support, is vital for maintaining efficiency.

Q: What are the top 2-3 trends or success factors that e-commerce brands should be attentive to right now, in your view, and why?

- Firstly, e-commerce brands need to be agile in response to ever-changing behavioral patterns. Staying adaptive and refining operations based on evolving customer behaviors is essential. Secondly, the continuous exploration of tools and AI is important to remain competitive and efficient. Lastly, the rapidly changing tech landscape requires e-commerce brands to stay tech-savvy and adapt to technological disruptions, ensuring their business and consumer relationships remain resilient.

Q: What are the 2-3 challenges that e-commerce brands, particularly in the fashion/lifestyle industry, will likely need to tackle in 2024, and what's driving these challenges?

- In 2024, convenience will be paramount, with consumers demanding more rapid and efficient service throughout their journey with e-commerce brands. E-commerce brands need to adopt an omnichannel approach to meet these demands, both online and in retail. Meeting these convenience expectations will be a key challenge, driven by consumer preferences for seamless interactions.

Trends, Future and AI

Q: What are the top 2-3 trends or success factors that e-commerce brands should be attentive to right now, in your view, and why?

- I believe the predominant trend is personalization, tailoring content to individual customers in a relevant matter. Achieving this requires the utilization of various tools. For instance, we have implemented a Customer Data Platform (CDP) to facilitate the customization of our messages.

Another emerging trend involves working with headless platforms. Depending on the size of your shop, it can make sense to start thinking in a headless approach. We are progressing towards an even more headless CMS than our current setup, empowering our brands to stand out more effortlessly and allowing us to adapt to developments even faster than our current capabilities. The digital landscape is evolving so rapidly that an all-in-one provider may struggle to be excellent in all the technical functions you need.

Q: What are the 2-3 challenges that e-commerce brands, particularly in the fashion/lifestyle industry, will likely need to tackle in 2024, and what's driving these challenges?

- Distribution and handling costs are on the rise, and environmental considerations are an expectation. Consequently, when it comes to textile products, most textile companies are dedicated to minimizing returns, a challenge when customers desire the option to buy and try items at home.

- Fashion items are usually short-lived, and this conflicts with the open market and brief seasons we see online. Hence, we are actively working to align our purchasing and production processes as closely as possible with the seasons to address this challenge

Q: How do you envision Artificial Intelligence making the most significant impact on e-commerce marketing in the future within your industry, and what's your current use of AI?

- AI serves as a significant help for many tasks, yet I believe it's important not to overlook the personal touch and intuition, that AI cannot provide. There are several challenges with AI, or deep learning, as it is technically known, that revolves around the ethics, climate concerns, and regulations. I think a potential development we will likely see in 2024 is AI pricing, posing a challenge for an already competitive e-commerce industry.

- Even though there will be challenges, I firmly believe that you shall not put restrictions to the progress, and there are more opportunities than limitations in AI. It's probably about trying to get an overview of what's coming soon, figuring out what can benefit your business, and then placing your bet accordingly.

- In 2023, we took the first steps towards implementing generative AI, with plans to expand on this in 2024. And yes, it's often considered a buzzword, but it genuinely simplifies everyday tasks when it comes to text generation, translations, and image generation.

Advices to the ambitious CEO and E-commerce Director

Q: What advice would you offer to the CEO of an ambitious e-commerce brand in today's landscape?

- Just like in all sorts of other businesses, most e-commerce ventures require long-term investments, and it can be challenging measuring precise channel attributions. But one thing is certain; it has become even more expensive to market in the most well-known channels.

Q: What advice would you extend to the Director of Online / Director of E-commerce of that same brand?

- Stay adaptable and updated on new technology. That is one of the most important things. What was right a year ago may have been surpassed since then.

Q: If you could pose a question to the next Director of Online / Director of E-commerce, what would it be?

- What would you do differently tomorrow if you could regarding your business?

Recommended Reads

Q: Could you recommend interesting books or podcasts that our readers should/must explore?

- “FACT FULNESS” at Hans Rosling

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