Retail

‘Act Fast, Reap Rewards’, Top Buzzfeed Executive Tells World Retail Congress

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A senior executive at online content platform Buzzfeed has advised retailers to act fast when it comes to launching brands online, if they want to reap rewards.

Buzzfeed’s senior vice-president, Laura Henderson, told the World Retail Congress in Madrid that retailers and big brands should “resist the urge” to plan things too extensively and “deliberately spread [themselves] too thin” when experimenting with online platforms.

Developing New Brands

Henderson said that Buzzfeed had developed food brand Tasty from experimenting with food videos and reading online comments. Following its growth, it is now launching a range of cookware at some 4,000 stores across the US.

Other successful experiments undertaken by the group include the roll-out of a “multimillion-dollar” candle brand, which incorporates scents associated with the various scents found around the United States.

“Think: what is the smallest expression of your idea, and deliberately spend as little as possible on it,” Henderson advised. In large companies, bureaucracy and approvals often take over, she noted.

Use Insight Correctly

Also commenting on the ‘online challenge’ at the Congress was Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, executive director – customer, marketing and M&S.com – at Marks & Spencer, who was relieved of his role at the retailer yesterday.

Bousquet-Chavanne echoed Henderson’s words when he said that online operators benefit from a near real-time response to issues, which is something that legacy retailers should seek to emulate.

“You have to correlate information. It shouldn't just rest with one team. You need to bring metrics that bring end to end,” he commented.

Embrace ‘Dreamers’

Elsewhere, Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar, advised delegates to develop digital strategies that focus on what customers are feeling, translating that into additional traffic at stores.

“I realised my way of doing business is obsolete,” Alabbar said. “These e-commerce people will take over the world – they are young, they are bright – so think how fast you respond to phone calls, emails, WhatsApps. These people have beds in the office.”

As to where businesses can seek out such young visionaries, his advice to retailers was, “Spend 60% of your time on finding the best dreamers in the world.”

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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