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Oct 2, 2018

A guest article by Laura Hyland,
Vice President eCommerce Laundry, Home, and Beauty Care US, Henkel Consumer Goods

Building an “A” Team for eCommerce

Laura Hyland, Vice President eCommerce Laundry, Home, and Beauty Care US, Henkel Consumer Goods

Laura Hyland
"As the eCommerce world evolves, we have to be flexible in responding to new trends"

Consumer packaged goods companies have seen a number of disruptions in recent decades, from the rise of Walmart, to the popularity of club stores and the move to online shopping. Henkel has successfully adapted each time, thanks in part to our strategic focus on increasing agility. And nowhere is agility more critical than in eCommerce.

I recently had the pleasure of serving on a panel at Cleveland Research’s eCommerce Summit to share best practices. The experience gave me a chance to reflect on Henkel’s eCommerce journey – the pitfalls and progress we’ve made.

We’ve come a long way in just a few years. Like many companies, we moved pretty fast after figuring out the eCommerce landscape and how to integrate it into our business strategy.

Building your eCommerce team starts with high-level leadership buy-in. It also helps to be able to point to concrete business opportunities. In the beginning, you’ve got to get a few wins, collect data, and share it to get more support. We also laid out the case for a positive ROI by using simple frameworks and analogies to illustrate the value of taking a long-term view on eCommerce.

We went step-by-step, building our team a few layers at a time. We laid the foundation and then chose a few priorities to focus on each year. You tend to need the people growth early and then flatten out because the work in the first years is more challenging than in later years. It’s definitely not linear. As the eCommerce world evolves, we have to be flexible in responding to new trends — like the current move toward self-service “hands-off the wheel” with Amazon, the growth of click & collect models, and advancements in paid search.

One of our team’s most significant evolutions came with the convergence of retail and advertising. We started out completely siloed and directly managed our eCommerce media and search – which worked for speed.

Now just two years later, the digital media and marketing teams are key partners and stakeholders in our business and we work much more collaboratively across the organization learning from each other’s expertise as well as our own.

In this dynamic space, speed is much more important than perfection. Finding advocates throughout the organization greatly improves your ability to influence change. At the end of the day, we are all working in eCommerce together – it is the biggest growth opportunity we have for the foreseeable future.
 
Creating an “A” team for eCommerce was a critical milestone in Henkel’s evolution. Our goal today is to weave eCommerce into the fabric of the entire organization.

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