We talk to Laura Bradbury, Ecommerce Manager at DOMU Brands, a leading retailer of home, kitchen and garden products with brands that include VonHaus, VonShef and BTFY.
How did you get started in the ecommerce industry?
I originally studied Fashion Buying at university but accidently fell into ecommerce in 2008. The boutique I worked for at the time opened during the recession so footfall and demand for high-end goods was low and the ecommerce store helped generate a new source of traffic to products.
During this time, I was eager to learn as much as I could about ecommerce, as my original career path was fashion buying - so I attended a lot of events and workshops in Manchester & London. I then worked on ecommerce sites for a men’s fashion retailer, and a fast fashion brand before joining the team at Domu Brands.
What are your main responsibilities?
Currently, I lead the full ecommerce trading and marketing strategy at Domu. I help develop an optimised user experience, not only on-site but off-site, across all marketing channels too to ensure that the full customer experience is cohesive.
I work closely with our marketing channel owners such as CRM, CRO, SEO, Social & PR to create roadmaps, and with leaders across the business to deliver a best-in-class digital consumer experience, with a focus on driving sales and maximising commercial opportunities where possible.
I regularly evaluate the performance of third party plug-ins, optimising where possible and I manage all third-party relationships.
I regularly report on ecommerce, marketing and KPIs to understand the efficiency of strategies and suggest tactics to help continually improve performance.
Finally, I manage and develop the full ecommerce & marketing team and help all team members deliver what has been set out on their roadmaps.
…Ecommerce is a continually evolving, fast-paced and exciting industry to work in!
Are there any challenges or pain points you face in your role?
Since the pandemic, there is more competition than ever in the home & garden retail market so we have to be on top of our game at all times.
Finding time to step back and count the small wins is important, things can move pretty fast but it is always worth taking the time to do this.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
Our customers are at the heart of everything we do. We’re always analysing and improving our website for customers.
Currently we are doing a lot of work on improving on-site merchandising and searchandising by analysing customer journeys and seeing where the customer pain points lie.
In terms of marketing, we are already planning for Christmas 2022!
Besides increasing revenue, what is your focus for the year ahead?
We have learnt that in order to “move the needle”, we don’t have to always be looking for new things. Sometimes it’s just about revealing the opportunities we already have.
I use data to help make decisions and focus on tasks that add value, it is also good to question why you are doing something and if it will add value.
If you had 10x the budget you have now, what would you spend it on?
Improving site performance, Google launched Core Web Vitals in May 2020 which measures a site’s health in terms of providing a fast, stable user-friendly experience.
Not only does scoring well for CWV provide SEO benefits but if the front-end site experience is fast the UX is better and thus conversion will be higher too.
What are your thoughts on product imagery?
It is extremely important! Product imagery needs to be clear and concise to help customers make a purchase decision. Annotations also help and for functional items and video can help showcase how products can be used.
We have run tests on imagery to see if cut-outs or lifestyle imagery works better but we have found there is not one singular form of imagery that works better, it varies by SKU.
We feature user-generated content on our site. This helps our customers see our products in real customers homes which helps to build trust in the brand.
In your opinion, what makes an amazing ecommerce experience?
A customer can always tell straight away if a site is not for them. The main signal that you are a trustworthy brand by offering transparency and authenticity. For example, address and contact details should be available, offer transparency on pricing, and showcase customer reviews.
Having a sleek site aesthetic which runs quickly also helps build credibility and trust.
What upcoming opportunities and challenges do you see in the year ahead for ecommerce?
I expect to see a shift in what people are spending their money on. During the height of the pandemic, people were heavily investing in their homes. Now that the world has opened up again, we are starting to see people spending on travel, fashion and socialising.
In terms of opportunities, I think it’s important to keep up to date on ecommerce & marketing trends. That said, having an awareness of trends but remaining focused on our end goals at all times is important.
Where do you go to find inspiration and the latest industry news and trends?
I attend a lot of our partner events such as IRX and smaller local industry events in Manchester. Industry events helps build stronger relationships with third parties and leaders from other retailers too
I read Prolific North and Retail Gazette weekly, focusing on articles about emerging ecommerce & marketing trends and tools.