Aliza Polkes
Copywriter & Editor @ Yotpo
October 20th, 2020

Welcome to the first installment of our “You Asked, We Answered” series, featuring members of the AWIE community.

At our Amazing Women in eCommerce Online event this past August, we asked viewers to submit their most burning questions — on everything from growing a online brand, finding space in a male-dominated industry, navigating the challenges presented by COVID-19, and much more — to be answered by past AWIE Honorees, event speakers, and other members of our community.

At our UK event on October 21st, we brought your questions directly to our speakers and panelists. Read on for tips, advice, and words of wisdom from Anna Teal, Global CEO at Aromatherapy Associates; Dalbir Bains, MD & Creative Director at Aligne; Laurel Wolfe, VP Marketing at Klarna; Sophie Thomas, Digital Marketing Manager at Grenade; and Ntola Obazee, Trading Director at Emma Bridgewater in the first installment of our new “You Asked, We Answered” series.

Once you’ve gotten your daily dose of inspiration, be sure to nominate an incredible woman in your life as a 2021 Amazing Women in eCommerce Honoree!

“I’ve worked for a myriad of brands across different product categories. I think my transition into eCommerce was sort of a natural progression from various roles where the focus was shifting from bricks-and-mortar sales to clicks-and-mortar sales. And, of course, customer behavior was changing. It meant any growth or business development strategy that I was working on had to include some form of eCommerce business. So that’s how I transitioned into being in the digital space. – Ntola Obazee, Emma Bridgewater

“I actually fell into digital marketing and eCommerce, to be honest, I spent the early years of my career in organic social, which is still a channel that I hold close to my heart. But I was always intrigued about all of the other digital channels, and eCommerce itself. I love that eCommerce isn’t just about selling a product online; it’s about giving people that unforgettable experience from start to finish.” – Sophie Thomas, Grenade

“I’ve been in fashion my whole career, and I started working in eComm in 2014 when I joined Zalando and I became the Vice President of Product and Assortment. I love eComm because, for me, it’s really about the democratization of fashion. I think that what eComm brings is an equal offer to everyone who wants to consume it. So whether you’re living in a small sleepy village miles away from any retail, or you’re in a bustling city like London, you’ll see everything at the same time and you’ll get the same offer and the same experience and the same communication.” – Dalbir Bains, Aligne

“Prior to coming to Klarna, I spent many, many years at a payments company called Verifone. So I come at it from the payments tech angle, but I have been working with retailers all that time. The common denominator is that I just love working with retailers and brands. I like helping them to improve their business, do better, and find ways to optimize. That’s what really drives me and makes me excited.” – Laurel Wolfe, Klarna

“Throughout the pandemic, we knew that people’s need for mental wellbeing products was higher than it ever has been. Searches on Google for sleeplessness and insomnia have grown by over 300%.  And given that stores were closed at that time, what we introduced was a one-to-one wellbeing consultation service. And that’s been incredibly successful — so successful that we’ve actually expanded the range of digital consultations that we’re offering and bringing in experts to talk about wellbeing topics, as well as having larger set-piece masterclasses.” – Anna Teal, Aromatherapy Associates

“It’s forced us to really look at the way we’ve been doing things, and try and reinvent a new way of working. And that’s been such a positive thing. We actually have digital showrooms now so that we can actually show the entire collection digitally. We’ve been forced into pushing ourselves forward into what I would say is a better and actually a much more sustainable way of working. And even when we are in a place where life feels a little bit more normal than it does now, there are things that we will never go back to.” – Dalbir Bains, Aligne

“It was inevitable that COVID was going to have an impact on our top-performing trading channels. It’s just been about giving consumers the best online experience with it becoming more difficult to go out and shop. I think we’re going to be seeing more and more customers now preferring to shop online as opposed to when they’re out and about anyway.” – Sophie Thomas, Grenade

“I think representation — whether it’s women, whether it’s diversity — is very important because it fosters creativity, builds an innovative workforce, and empowers people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different. It develops the culture of, of a brand. It’s so important to not just reflect that in our daily lives, but actually in the workforce, in different centers and different industries. We have to be the change that we want to see. And each of us has to play a role in that.” – Ntola Obazee, Emma Bridgewater

“I feel like eCommerce is just going to become mobile Commerce. We’re already almost there with most traffic being mobile anyway. But we’re really going have to step up our game in terms of mobile experience and UX. I think voice search devices are becoming more intuitive. I think apps are going to become more prominent, where push notifications are going to come into play, and SMS marketing is going to be important for traffic driving and conversion.” – Sophie Thomas, Grenade

“People are having a very broken journey from how they might interact with your brand. They might find you on social. They might come online, do some research. They might come into a store and look at the stuff in-person, and then actually complete the transaction back at home. So you have to provide that kind of unique and consistent brand journey regardless of channel.” – Laurel Wolfe, Klarna

“I think digital services will continue to grow and expand. And as tech improves and as innovation improves, businesses will find different ways to keep adding personalized advice and information. I still personally feel that there is definitely a role for bricks-and-mortar stores, and I would love to see there being a greater connectivity being reintroduced between the relationship between eCommerce and bricks-and-mortar shopping.” – Anna Teal, Aromatherapy Associates

“I think that one of the things that will happen is that a lot of eComm sites will become real destinations. And the expectation from those sites will be far greater than what we have today. I also think conversational commerce will be such a key part. And I think that as we move forward, we’ll want the brand to be talking to us in our space as opposed to us talking to the brand in their space.” – Dalbir Bains, Aligne

To learn more about Amazing Women in eCommerce and to get involved, visit our site, join our social community, and be sure to nominate an incredible woman in your life for the 2021 Amazing Women in eCommerce class of Honorees!