“CRO is less about colors and more about ensuring smooth and fast customer experiences”

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 Martin Vad Jespersen

Q: Tell us a bit about your background and your journey to your current role and brand Skechers.

- I've been involved with e-commerce businesses for several years. It all started during my Master's thesis at Whiteaway.com, where I worked with various brands and e-commerce players. Over the past 7 years, I've held managerial and director-level positions in this field.

Q: How long have you been with Skechers, and what drew you to this company?

- I joined Skechers as Head of e-commerce in November 2020. I was attracted to Skechers not only because of the job opportunity but also because of the brand's dynamic growth and international expansion. My current role involves overseeing e-commerce platforms and performance in the Nordics.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

- When I'm not immersed in the world of e-commerce, I spend quality time with my family and friends. My wife and I recently purchased a house just outside Esbjerg, which keeps us engaged in various ongoing building projects. To unwind, I love watching movies and hanging out with friends.

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Q: Could you provide a brief overview into your Tech Stack Platform and your overall e-commerce setup.

- In short, our martech stack is built around a few key components. We use Navision, Shopify Plus, Klaviyo, and Plytix (PIM). Fortunately, this combination runs smoothly for us.

Q: What's the rationale behind your prioritization?

- Our prioritization is based on two key factors. Firstly, we aim to have a tech stack for e-commerce that is relatively simple to scale, and that's what we have in place today. Secondly, time-to-market is of utmost importance for us. The speed from idea conception to execution or implementation is critical in our market. The quicker we can put our ideas into action, whether it's optimizing conversions, enhancing user experience, creating content, adjusting pricing, or other strategies, the more likely we are to succeed. Given the rapid and often unexpected changes in the world, markets, and customer behaviors, the ability to adapt swiftly is a key aspect of our approach, and we believe we're keeping up with the pace.


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.

Q: In preparation for 2024, what trends and AI-related developments are you anticipating?

- The e-commerce landscape is constantly evolving, making it essential to stay attuned to changing behavioral patterns and adapt operations accordingly. Behavioral trends can shift over time, and what worked in the past may no longer be effective. This necessitates trying out new campaigns, offers, and CRO activities. Additionally, exploring new ways of using tools and AI remains a focus, with continuous testing. Technological disruptions also play a role, impacting CRM systems and relationships with consumers.

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?

- We currently use AI for various purposes, including idea generation, copy and content creation. Looking forward, we see AI playing a more significant role in customer service and chatbots, as well as providing insights about the market. The ability to leverage AI for improving customer service and gaining valuable market insights is expected to be a major focus in our future.

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?

- Prioritizing the digital field is crucial for ambitious e-commerce brands. This includes recognizing the value it can create for the entire company and brand, not just in marketing but across all aspects of the business.

When investing in digital business development, ensure that you have the right people and organization to execute and implement the strategy and plans, which is even more important than the technological aspects.

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

- Define your brand's strategy and organization, ensuring alignment with your vision and goals. This clarity brings focus to key performance indicators, audience targeting, and technology selection. Having a strong strategic foundation enables better decision-making and helps you choose the right tech stack for your organization. At least that is my focus going forward.

Three reads

Q: Can you suggest three books or podcasts that our readers should explore?

"This is Marketing" by Seth Godin

"How Brands Grow" by Byron Sharp

"Blue Ocean Strategy" by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

These resources provide insights into marketing, brand growth, and strategic thinking for both personal and professional development.