NYKG Meets: Kate Walmsley - Digital & Ecommerce Director, New Look

By Nikolai Lien

|

October 2, 2019

Hey Kate, we're thrilled to have you at the event! What are you most looking forward to at NY KnowGO?


Two things. I always enjoy being in a room with clever folks who can shed light on where the industry is headed – and I’m also really looking forward to discussing how we respond to those changes.

What were the most prevalent industry issues during your time at New Look?

I was at New Look for two years. When I joined, the business was really suffering; sales were in decline and they had lost sight of their core customer.  Our primary aim was to drive profitable growth. We quickly implemented a new operating model focused on incremental value; leveraging our existing assets whilst reducing our costs.

How did you go about A. driving incremental value and B. measuring that value?

The first thing we did was to significantly strip our budget back. We then introduced incremental revenue testing across all of our marketing channels to ensure budgets worked as hard as they could.

"We introduced incremental revenue testing across all of our marketing channels to ensure budgets worked as hard as they could."

The team began rigorous A/B testing for every program we had – paid search, retargeting, and (a first for me) the incremental value of email.  Then we reinvested in those channels and campaigns where we saw a positive return, building from the ground up.  

What is New Look’s attitude to the likes of Amazon? How did you react to the platform economy?

New Look sells across a wide range of third-parties, including Amazon, ASOS and Zalando – and these relationships have helped to grow top-line sales, especially when entering new markets or when promoting lesser known product ranges.  

"There's always going to be some level of cannibalization when selling on a marketplace. However, that might be an acceptable level of cannibalization – provided it also comes with broader growth."

My personal view is that there is always going to be some level of cannibalization when selling on a marketplace. However, that might be an acceptable level of cannibalization – provided it also comes with broader growth. Brands need to be clear about the relationship they want with their customer - and how that relationship differs when a customer shops their brand via a marketplace.

"Brands need to be clear about the relationship they want with their customer - and how that relationship differs when a customer shops their brand via a marketplace."


What do you feel represents the biggest challenge for brands?

Losing relevance. Changing market dynamics require self-disruption; one of the hardest things to do, especially for public companies.  Retailers are notoriously ‘gut-led,’ and reactive. That’s resulted in an over-expansion of stores and an excess of product, no one wants to miss a sale!  To succeed, retailers need to embrace data and shape their offer accordingly. If they don’t, well, it’s probably not going to end well.

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