We chatted with Tom Jeffrey, who is Head of Ecommerce with award-winning retailer Jules B about his career to date, his views of fashion and retail, and, what the future holds.
Q. How long have you held your current job?
Tom: I started with Jules B 10 years ago, in the fledgling ecommerce department. There were just two of us in those days, now we have a team of 25, which is a reflection of just how important ecommerce is to the business.
Q. What attracted you to a career in retail?
Tom: Retail can be fun and at the time, ecommerce was very new and exciting. These days fashion retail has become much more volatile and competitive, but it is always fast moving and constantly challenging, which keeps me on my toes.
Q. How do you see the future of retail?
Tom: As shoppers become ever more savvy and demanding, and the market gets even more competitive, the successful retailers will be those that stand out from the crowd. To do this you need a point of difference, something that is unique to your brand. It is the very essence of retail, you need to have a nose for what people what, you need to be able to spot trends and the up and coming designers that can deliver on those trends. When you pick your brands you need a mix that is unique to you, some commercial and some that are niche but avoiding the brands that are over-saturated.
Q. How can technology help?
Tom: It is important for retailers to focus on what they do, and do it well across all the different channels. They need to ensure that the customer experience is good and consistent both instore and online. There are a lot of gimmicky tools and apps out there, but most of them simply aren’t viable. My advice is to not get carried away with fancy technology but make sure that your back office systems can manage your stock efficiently, so that you are able to meet your customer demand and have the information available to your staff to deliver a great customer experience.
Q.What piece of tech couldn’t you live without?
Tom: Without doubt my iPhone X. As well as all my personal stuff, thanks to the iPhone I can do my job pretty much from any location.