In this career series presented by Thread Hunters, Superdry eCommerce manager Brendan Gillen details what his day-to-day looks like heading up Superdry's eComm operations.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I started my career within the IT industry if all places! Supporting a company’s IT network.
As part of that role I was asked to build a website to help market their business.
I loved this so much, that it led me on to study multimedia at university, then starting my own agency that helped small brands get online.
From there, I got my foot in the door with Pacific Brands helping them build and market their E-commerce business and took on the role as digital marketing and eCommerce manager.
What does your day-to-day look like?
First thing in the morning I make myself a strong coffee, then open up the prior day’s trade results to see how we tracked overnight vs what we forecasted. That then tells us whether our current plan is on-track or we need to adjust.
Once the trade plan is underway, I then look into what our marketing activity is that’s coming up, any promotions that we might need to set up, or any website changes that are needed.
From there, I will check in to see the status of orders being sent out, make sure if there are any delays that I follow them up with the warehouse or the stores.
I would then chat with our customer service team to understand how our customers are going, if we have any complaints or problems that need addressing.
Next up would be product and merchandise. Working with the product team, we would check in to see if any new products need to be loaded to the site, photographed or enriched for the site.
Then finally I would work with the project teams around any new features that are being rolled out, need to be tested or any optimisations that we may need to make to improve the site’s performance.
What is one piece of business advice you’ve been given that sticks with you today?
Focus your attention on the things that matter, set objectives and put in place plans that will help you achieve those objectives.
In our space we can easily get distracted by the shiny objects, new technology and cool software that is always coming out.
While it’s important to stay on top of new tech, don’t get distracted unless it can really help you achieve the objectives you have set.
What are the challenges in your role and how do you overcome them?
Technology is getting much more sophisticated and integrated across the entire business; which means the bigger the ‘tech stack’ gets, the harder it is to be agile and change things quickly, when you make a change it can impact the entire business positively or negatively.
To overcome this, we make sure we prioritise what it is we want to achieve, set realistic timelines and ensure that we focus on delivering the outcome that we want.
What project stands out as a highlight in your career?
I have many highlights for each of the brands I have worked with, however one of the most rewarding was working with the team on the migration of the Superdry eCommerce business recently into Australia and seeing how quick we were able to achieve such amazing growth in such a short period of time.
The team all worked relentlessly to migrate the platforms, from our technical team, our customer service teams right the way through to our retail and store staff.
It was warming to see how much the teams were personally invested in its success, and the results showed!
What were the biggest challenges in the early days of your career?
The biggest challenge was trying to learn how everything works and trying to do it all myself.
The eCommerce industry has so many facets to it, from digital marketing, to coding, to creative design, customer service, right through to supply and logistics and it is physically impossible to know how to do all of it.
It’s important to understand how it works and how it all comes together, but not necessarily being a ‘subject matter expert’ in all of the areas, lean on others who are experts to help you.