Article

Learning By Doing At Hobbycraft

27 April 2017 | Sandra Falque | About a 3 minute read
Tags: Academy, Agile, clients, consultancy, Consulting, Development, Digital, Digital Marketing, hobbycraft, Learning, multichannel, practice, prof d, professionalising Digital, services, tech


After two years helping clients set up the right organisation structure and ways of working to build best in class digital products, I wanted to develop my e-commerce and Digital Marketing expertise to understand:

  • What are the different functions needed in an end to end digital capability?
  • How do these functions work together and exchange data on a day to day basis?
  • Which KPIs do they use to track and improve the performance of each team?

More generally, I wanted to understand the main challenges that retailers face with their online business and how AND Digital could help them.

When I shared this ambition with my manager, who leads our Professionalising Digital practice, I had no other expectation than raising his awareness in case of a future client opportunity related to e-commerce or Digital Marketing. Working in consulting, I’m used to learning by reading and attending training sessions but mostly “by doing” on client projects, not before.

I was forgetting that I was working for a remarkable company where learning and development is the focus of the management team — AND Digital has just been awarded best small company for Learning and Development by the Sunday Times, amongst more than 1,000 that applied in the UK.

My manager came back to me the next day with the idea that the best way to learn would be “by doing” in a real e-commerce team but not on a client project. A few days later it was agreed that I would work one week in the high performing e-commerce team of Hobbycraft, the superstore multi-channel UK retailer. The wife of Our Chief Technology and Talent Officer is Hobbycraft’s Customer Director and managing the entire e-commerce and marketing function for the company. The agreement was that I would create a benchmark of their competitors in exchange of being able to observe and interview them in their day to day job activities.

A few weeks later I was in their head office near Bournemouth, occupying the seat of a multichannel manager who was on leave; attending the main governance meetings; asking questions and job shadowing members of the e-commerce team to see how they were working; what tools they were using and how and also learning about their challenges.

During the week at Hobbycraft, I had the opportunity to interview not only the management team (including the Customer Director, Head of Marketing, Head of Online, Head of Trading & International and Head of Knitting) but also key people in the Supply Chain team, SEO & Paid Search, CRM, Social Network and UX functions among others.

Thanks to the help, agility and trust of both AND Digital and Hobbycraft’s management teams I could learn and develop a real expertise and knowledge of how e-commerce companies operate in a safe environment.

Once back in London, I created an end to end Digital Capability Model for e-commerce including all the key functions and tools needed in a digital capability, covering not only Digital Delivery and Product Management, but also digital marketing and Digital Operations. I now have a clear idea of how these functions work together, share data and information, what their main challenges are and how we can help them.

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