A big thumbs up to Global Ecommerce Leaders Podcast host Michael LeBlanc and Jenna Flateman Posner, Chief Digital Officer, Solo Brands, for firing up a smoking hot podcast at GELF NYC ’23.
A bunch of great topics ranging from the importance of failure as a learning experience – and a bridge to confidence – to why brands need to blur the lines between DTC and retail channels to meet global customers where they shop.
Have a listen but if you can’t spare an ear now, here is a quick summary of the conversation.
On Leadership: Jenna shares why test-learn-and-thrive has been a key theme on her path to success as a digital leader – and why there is no success without failure along the way. Without failure, teams don’t have the confidence to push the boundaries.
On Global Expansion: Solo Brands is relatively new to international ecommerce with digital practices today in Australia, Canada and in Europe. Global is not yet a significant percentage of the business (as a % of total sales), but there’s a really huge opportunity internationally from both a DTC and retail wholesale POV.
Why International is One of Three Key Strategic Pillars: Solo has important work to do to make sure that the brand is creating digital experiences internationally that can stand up to what the team has built for customers in the US. And building an equivalent experience for the global shopper requires investment. The upside is significant and Jenna sees lots of low hanging fruit; both dynamics are creating a lot of excitement about global expansion at Solo.
Finding Value Across the Solo Brand Portfolio: Jenna’s four years at SNIPES taught her a lot about integrating acquisitions. As Solo’s portfolio continues to grow, she will be focused on merging the equity and authority and value of the acquisitions back into the mothership and driving value across the brands.
Jenna points out that Solo didn’t just acquire a product or people or facilities; it also acquired a ton of customer data. From a data governance perspective, she sees a really cool opportunity to put that data to work to create better experiences for international shoppers across the board.
Omnichannel Execution: Solo has a thriving direct-to-consumer business. The brand also has a budding wholesale distribution channel that’s really growing quickly – primarily in the US but also globally. Jenna points out that historically, retail businesses have typically allowed DTC and wholesale channels to operate independently. But change is coming and its coming from an omnichannel perspective.
At SNIPES, Jenna helped the company expand to 308 stores and omnichannel was part of the fabric of growth. Some customers want to touch and feel product before they buy it. Some want it shipped directly to their home, some want it same day next day.
Innovations like buy-online/pick-up in-store and exposing inventory are all part of Solo’s commitment to meet the customer wherever they shop – at home or abroad. Jenna’s passionate in her belief that direct-to-consumer brands have an obligation to consumers expectations.
Blurring the lines between DTC and retail partner channels will be hard, but exciting!
Don’t Be Complacent! Parting advice from Jenna? In the last couple of years, digital has been on fire and retail has bounced back from the pandemic.
Have leaders gotten complacent with how they’ve been managing and running their retail ecommerce businesses? Should they just keep doing what they’ve been doing?
The industry may be normalizing, but it is not time to be complacent. We’re about to find out where the rubber meets the road. Jenna thinks that leaders need to really start driving innovation and seizing new opportunities within their digital practices.
Force yourself to evaluate if you’re sitting in a comfort zone. If you’re comfortable, don’t be – it is time to reevaluate. Look at how you’re doing things and rethink and remeasure. Dive back in and really make sure that your current practices are the ones that are best for your business and your customer. And don’t forget your international shoppers!
Also don’t overlook your tech partners! Lean into your vendor relationships – really really lean in and learn about the tech and all the implication on your infrastructure. Be willing to learn and share and help your vendors be awesome too!
Dive Deeper? Check out Making the Case for Global Omnichannel
The GELF Community got a great sample of some of Jenna’s thought leadership when she joined GELF co-founder Jim Okamura and Brian McAllister, Director of Operations – Consumer Direct at Burton Snowboards for the afternoon fireside conversation at GELF NYC ’23.
Check out the video recap on GELF’s YouTube Channel. Great stuff Jim, Jenna and Brian!
Until next time!