April 2, 2020
eObuwie.pl – Redefining Omnichannel, Ignoring Limitations

eObuwie.pl – Redefining Omnichannel, Ignoring Limitations

two years ago in seven-day delivery or
something normal and that was the expectation. Now 24 hours is something
which customers demand. We wanted to go further. Customers don’t know how we do it
but we are doing it. We are simplifying Every process for them I try to make my team feel inspired by knowing they’re part of something amazing are so brave to do it this is CIONET TV. my name is Hendrick
Deckers. I’m here today in Gdansk with Konrad Jezierski, who’s the head of
retail at eObuwie, which is the largest e-commerce shoe retailer of Poland
and which is active in 15 countries all around Europe. welcome Konrad. Konrad studied marketing and management in Poland and also studied business and
administration at the University in Sweden. He has more than 10 years of
experience in fashion and retail and is now responsible for omni-channel and
retail in this very interesting and dynamic ecommerce business here in
Poland So Konrad could you tell us a little bit about your digital storefront
program that you have developed in this company? When I started with with eObuwie, it was a pure e-commerce company So we can say as you mentioned it’s the
largest e-commerce company but now we can say it’s one of the first leaders in pure omni-channel When I joined the company we were operating on 10-11 markets Really successful, but we start to think how to reach to a wider audience to grow faster than the other ecommerce competitors. So it started purely online? yes the company has a background more than 10 years as a pure online retailer. So it was an idea how to grow faster, how to reach to the wider audience. As you know, all over the world ecommerce has only about maximum 20% of …reach in the market. correct and you’re active in 15 European countries. Spain, Italy, Hungary, Greece almost like in every major country in Europe you were
active but on the local brands so 15 different brands and 15 different
countries. Correct. All only in e-commerce. But online e-commerce
it was only like 20% of the market and you wanted more It’s global tendency
that e-commerce is growing really rapidly but still brick-and-mortar
stores or the retail brick-and-mortar retail is about 80-85 percent of the
income so we wanted to reach out to those customers who somehow
they still prefer the traditional model of purchasing, making our purchases. And
you know, so we try to figure it out how to reach to them but still keep our core
identity plus also our vision, mission and goal to be our customer centric and
not over-promised but whatever we we we promised we are delivering it so your
company took the other way than traditional companies who are like
brick-and-mortar stores who put a web shop in front of it and you come from
the online the e-commerce and now you’re putting in place real jobs yes that’s
right but in absolutely different way okay so we are not competing with
traditional retailers we don’t want it to be the same we don’t want it to have
a stores and I don’t know our logo above the entrance first we try to understand
our customers and understand the potential customers why they are not
buying online the first reason the most specially in
in the in the shoe business is that you are not buying online because you cannot
write earlier before the purchase so that was the main main reason for for
the test group that we asked the main questions regarding why why not above
yeah why not ecommerce why not buying why are you not buying online why are
you not spending your money with us Korea was the question correct and what
did I say because I cannot try earlier the shoes I don’t know if they will fit
me I don’t know if the color looks the same there were many factors but those
are most of the customers said that this is the main factor
so the idea was okay let’s give those offline customers let’s give them
unlimited choice like he’s in Europe ova fast purchase everything which is very
what what is what is the success factor of your movie in e-commerce take that
and put it a brick-and-mortar plus what is the best from
brick-and-mortar that I have production place I can try it I can see it I can
experience it and experience it yeah plus I can always ask for a service
someone can always advise advice yeah so there is so you wanted the best of both
worlds that were a purpose that was really I can combine the unlimited
choice that you have online correct and the ease of use of purchasing with
traditional service and experience and try before you buy of a traditional
store correct so how did you fix that
challenge we started to create a normal store normally the retail space where
there was a huge shop front with a tiny stockroom
when we tried to – to work with the shoes with the deliveries we visual
merchandising we couldn’t because of the choice which movie has more than 500
brands so it’s more than 50 thousand different styles of shoes 50 thousand
different shoes then I can order with your company yes
different style of shoes so what we started to do is how to display your
shoes without showing them and how to deliver them in the normal way that
customer when when it is in stork and grab it touch it right so we decide to
to change the balance between the stockroom and between the store front so
we made a tiny storefront about 25-30 percent of the store of the of the of
the surface is only a storefront yeah everything back is a warehouse
we can even say our logistics Center I will I will explain later why
to stock a massive amount of shoes so compared to the normal mono brand we
have in one store about 50 mono brain stores okay show me the shopping center
where you have 50 different brands styles 50 different brands mono stores
where you can buy a shoes so the Nike is the other dolls and so on and so on so
you have 10 15 that’s all so in our store you have more than 50
the options modern from from more than 50 brands ok 50 mono brands so many
styles so we let’s say thick an option where ok unlimited choice BAM done ok
then how to show those those choose those products to the customers so we
decide if we are pure e-commerce let’s based on that so let’s give a customers
the same feeling the same experience as buying at home in front of the computer
on in front of the smartphone so we just adjust our web page create an
application in store application which is very similar to our webpage and gave
that as a search finder with all those so the interview is in the shop for the
people is digital everything is digital we even remove the physical products so
there is no shows there is no physical products in the shop ok there’s only
this place yes and screens only screens correct on this crazy downsized is this
color this type and then and then what happens so step back when you’re coming
to a normal store you asking services I would like to buy you know brown shoes
that that size please show me I don’t know dark color or
then you see our two or three models on there on the shelves but you don’t know
what is behind probably they have another few models which they have only
one size so they don’t show it on display but they still have it so sales
assistants need to be aware of the stock and we know that they will never show
you the maximum options because we are only human otherwise you have the the
the the stress of choice you only want to give these are the two or three pick
one of these dream that equals that closed closed the deal there we use the
same filtering as on the webpage you can decide either you wanted to filtering
only your size type of shoe color and you are not disappointed because I’m the
on the screen you see exactly the shoes which we have in our offer you can try
them now here in the in the store now also we are using digital screens so not
only tablets for a choice but a digital screens all over the store what we are
showing our offer showing promotions showing the best sellers so everything
is connected and we are gathering data to show the proper shoes in proper
places in the proper time so this pure digital storefront is quite a unique
concept it is okay and I can imagine that from different angles it’s also
quite a challenge to organise that you have logistics you have the marketing
you have IT that’s this digital so there’s many many challenges that you
need to address before you can make that into a success and it’s omni-channel
because the same talk which we have all over the place in stores we are calling
them as a small hubs our customer in Spain you don’t know where is the the
product which for example his order in via our web page we need to deliver it
on the same time exactly as we are delivering from our warehouse in the
Indian Agora which company is based so logistic is crucial but also all the
digital and information that was really important because
everything is online everything is life there is no option for being food to
have an arrow to show the product which was already bought and as you mentioned
we are we are operating on so many countries that is need to be live all
the time very fast but digital is in the DNA of your company yes you’ve been a
digital company from the start correct yeah but still this was an extra
challenge because you had to link the the store from the web from the web
interface also with the with the specific stores that you were developing
there to specific location specific store to specific customer yes also
prepare a proper offer which is on place what we also commit is that if you are
in store and you are ordering a shoe for trying we will deliver it to you to your
place where you are sitting in front of the tablet in less than three minutes
okay it’s our commitment if we if we want to
do that we are giving you a discount okay cool so this is our commitment to
our customers you don’t need to see the product you will have them in three
minutes because people are so spoiled the
expectations of the customer for a very quick experience is their immense right
yes that’s why we made this unique concept
because you don’t need to be in a store to reserved to try those shoes you can
use our mobile app you can use our webpage you can reserve the shoes which
you would like to try on due to the more stores and those logistic centers hubs
we are able to deliver it to you your order in less than three hours so you
can sit on your lunch and you will have in three hours shoes will deliver it to
your office to your home so for example if you need a new shoes for the evening
you can order it even at 4:00 clock and you will still have it at 7:00
correct 147 okay so expectations customers expectations are rising
drawing few years ago seven-day delivery was something normal and that was
expectations now 24 hours is something which customers demand we wanted to go
further we wanted to so where is this gonna end
I know maybe there will be us you know we we trying to do our best we trying to
put a customer in the in the center we trying to listen to the customers and we
are developing this concept omni-channel which we create one and a half year ago
it’s different today than it was when we opened the first store because it’s a
something that you need to always improve imagine how many of these stores
do you have operating today 12 12 in one year time we open our 12
stars and we are rapidly opening more so till the end of the year we are planning
to have more than 20 okay and what are the results I mean what’s the are you on
target are you within the expectations of of revenue and profit that you make
from this let’s say we open our one store the first store in February 2018
we are now in 2019 in the middle of the year and we have 12 stars and planet to
open dinner on tail end of the year more than 20 in total so yes it’s very
successful traditional customer who never tried to buy online or which they
never have an occasion to to visit web page or to buy in your bouvier now we
have our contact with them we are recruiting let’s say customers we we
never which we never targeted them via cell Sam and all other marketing tools
and if we talk numbers I mean what you can disclose or I don’t know but what is
the target is that the target that you would like get the same revenue from
from the stores and from online we’ll be difficult because online we are
building for more than 10 years plus we are on 15 markets now we are talking
about one market with the stores but now as for today and turnover from the
stores from this omni-channel omni-channel store storefront is more
than is between five and seven percent of the of the e-commerce total but
comparing commonly Poland is more than 10 percent in between 10 and 15 and did
you see also an effect on the online business because I can imagine that it
has a synergy effect as well it is it’s difficult to measure because you know we
we gave an option to to our new customers or to existing customer
customers the new way of buying yes the model which which we call drop off
result research online purchase offline we gave that opportunity we search
online purchase offline purchase of an opal correct we but in a little bit
different way your old brick-and-mortar the companies which have online stores
now ecommerce platforms you are able to buy purchase or and order via click and
Collect so they treat stores as a clickable collect points we treat them
more other showrooms where you are able to come the products will wait on you
you can try them they are reserved for you you can try them and then decide
either pay for them or not so we are not working your money we are done working
your cash on your credit card you can order whatever amount of shoes you want
your just coming trying and say that that I want I’m paying I’m leaving so
this program started like two years ago the development of this omni-channel how
do you organize a new strategy layer it was difficult because we set up our
let’s say irrational goal we said we will do it in a in less than half year
it took a little bit longer but it was from from the perspective from the idea
to the the opening of the of the absolutely new concept it was about
eight to ten months so usually companies are doing researchers analysis and all
of that for more than that to make a decision we knew it will be successful
we knew what is our goal we we listen to our customers so we know them but it was
very difficult in in organization which were where was pure online to add this
name let’s say another brick of the competences yes and so how do you look
at in the IT the digital team that delivered this because there was a they
did an important part of the delivery as well of course you have logistics and
assure the stories and so on but digital is an important part of that how do you
look at this collaboration what is important in a successful collaboration
between business and an IT to be honest I the first you know the the starting
point was quite tough because it was more like we have an idea guys but you
need to deliver it but it was a partnership relation when we started to
dig to go through all the processes to create the processes so without that IT
background without the IT this idea I wouldn’t be able to exist to to but when
you talk about creating a partnership how do you do that I mean because lots
of hours of meetings lots of workshops different ideas tests so we it was
challenging time really challenging time especially for for IT team because IT
typically it’s not I mean you need to have some patience business want to go
faster as fast yes and I did I need some time to come up with to deliver proper
solution you know which is safe which is tested which is so of course the idea
was to you know open a stable business as I mentioned in the beginning we are
pure online so every every display point every tablet every skin is online 24
hours a day so we are not able to sell without the infrastructure IT
infrastructure so it need to be stable it need to support cover the business
needs so yeah so your colleague Yaroslav Hoffman is the CIO of of a Oh Bouvier in
your organization how do you see his role what is the strength of of the IT
team and IT leadership in your organization what makes them special
our team IT team is very flexible so they they’re they were open for a new
ideas and they are very creative we bring the idea it was only you know like
let’s do this we never gave the tools it was like more ok so now we expect a
tools or the way how to how to deliver the idea but also I can imagine it’s
really a team play it’s not something that you can just throw over the wall to
IT and then wait and see what happens what comes back it is also people from
the business that need to sit together with the IT on a daily basis almost we
create new service so it was of course for example we say ok we wanted to
deliver something in two hours we made the test we made you know or all of the
the workshop we said ok now with the current environment or current let’s say
ingredients which we have how to combine them we are not able to do that so it
was like a little bit maybe not a little bit but a play with with all the
department from the organization when I to made a crucial role because it was
business idea but it need to be delivered from not only from IT but from
logistic from operational department at the end covering the idea or the
business it need to be profitable so let’s talk a little bit because and in a
moment we’ll we’ll bring on Yaroslav let’s talk a little bit about you as a
person as a business leader what is it that drives you because obviously to do
a challenge and to do a project like this you need a
certain personality so how what does it that makes you happy in the morning or
in the evening what is it that really drives you in
doing this what I’m doing so I love my work I never feel that time what doing
is it that you love when are you happy in your work when I’m able to deliver to
create something unique something innovative which sometimes it’s not a
game changer but something which improve the way or speed up some processes that
at the end you know as a yobbo Vee I think we are something some like I think
about the company like we are a little bit like wizards we could make a magic
the customer don’t know how we do it but we are doing it we are simplifying every
process for them when you’re buying you need to be a fun you need to be you
don’t think about okay am i how I will pay it
do I need to pay like that do I need to have a special account no we are
simplifying we do it for you it’s absolutely simple so if I
understand it correctly focus of your company and your organization is really
about customer satisfaction that’s the number-one value I can question and it
drives you to be creative and it’s what I understand it’s an ongoing process
processes the sales and logistics and IT wherever we are able to be to be better
mm-hmm yes we are now I think we are even more brave because we already made
something which we see it’s very successful so it gives us also as I
mentioned we are more brave to do another very demanding very innovative
processes things because I can imagine that it’s it’s a pretty tough market
that you’re in I mean there’s there’s big big retailers no not to mention the
German company that starts with a set but I mean they’re they’re really really
big I can imagine that they’re bigger than your organization maybe of course
and so to challenge them and to to beat them you have to be
agile and creative and be better than them right yes but it’s also because we
have a great team on the directors or CEOs or the board members we are really
a team which which want to achieve a goals and as you mentioned we are
focused on the customer either is our improvement in logistic in some services
create a new new service or the new idea we’re just you know focusing on that and
we are trying to achieve you know someone told me a few years ago that you
know if you wanted to be creative into if you want to achieve something which
is unachievable you cannot know you don’t know that it’s not achievable you
are too stupid to know that and you are so brave to doing that so I think this
is something positive we don’t know you know
theories are gone you think that if my CEO of the president was thinking that
the German company with that in the name wow it’s so big are we able to challenge
them know we knew that we are able to challenge to beat them we even didn’t
look on them because we try to do something better way better your company
is a Polish company is there anything special about Poland about your
organization that made this success possible we grow as a from a small
company based in Jalan Agora which is on the south west of Poland and we are now
international we are operating on so many markets but we still keep this
factor so we have we are family company we are still thinking as a small company
because we have very flat structure and because of that we are able to make a
decisions very fast and so that allows for creativity and there’s an engagement
of the CEO and family in the business and so they allow you to explore and to
innovate yes but not only the family not only the CEO but everyone are involved
they treat it as their own company and wanted to to deliver
one hundred fifty two hundred percent okay
yeah poles are known to be hard workers right correct
okay so let’s talk about the one of the Polish factors as well
you mentioned Rd the local partners that you work with to talk about that a bit
correct we we started few years ago we weren’t so successful we’re so so so big
company we started with polish local companies which we are working with them
now so it’s partner relationships that we
have very very close relations we are able to operate fast and go together
grow together and we are not using of the Shelf solutions it’s more customized
solutions so that’s why we are successful because we can make those
decisions and work very fast together let’s talk about each size me which is a
follow-up program on the digital storefront talk about that yes so as I
mentioned we create omni-channel store fronts from for the first reason is that
to try the shoes on because people don’t know which size is which size order yeah
so we gave this opportunity but still we wanted to go further and the idea was
okay how am I able to provide you the
information about the proper size it needs different models indeed different
brands there is a huge variety between the same size in one company and the
other sometimes is more than three sizes Wow yes okay we see that people who are
buying online they buying their brands which they know which they are which
they are pretty sure which size suits them fits them science is a big thing
now correct so it wanted to solve that problem and we create a service which we
are able to which we are making a 3d scan of your feets we have 3d scans of
each model of the show which we have in an offer and we are able to combine them
until recommend you the proper size or the
proper models suits to you okay and does it work it is because typically I mean
people tend to buy or to order three sizes try them on and then send two
sizes back Karem that is an a huge logistic cost and an overhead not good
for the environment and so on and so on so is this going to solve this problem
it is gonna solve this problem but it also gave each customer an option to buy
from the brand which never take into consideration because what is my size I
never tried on of course the the option with the reef ounce it’s a huge
ecommerce problem not every ecommerce player has wanted to reduce that that
amount we also so that was one of the idea but what we achieved making that is
that we see more engagement from our customers
conversion rate is much higher average holder value is much higher so we see
only a benefit from this from this project are there any other things that
you wanted to share on your company about your organization about your
collaboration with IT in in this conversation I would like to again tell
you that omni-channel is an ongoing process so we are still trying to to
achieve goals to solve the customers problems now for example if you a few
weeks ago we added a service for our customers that we are able to produce
personalized insole and your soul is the thing that you put inside your shoe or
ready to make the fit complete to make a show more comfortable fits better and
all of that so so we are only one company in Europe which is able to
create insole based on your kind of your feet but also dedicated to the model of
the shoe which you choose so there no cutting sitting trying and all of
that thank you very much for this conversation was a very enlightening
very inspirational as well and so we’re gonna continue and talk a little bit
with your colleague Yaroslav of mom and talk a bit about how
he has built the IT team and and and how he leads them to achieve the success
together with with the business teams in in your organization thank you very much
come out thank you so in the second part of the
conversation we’re going to talk to Jarek Hoffman, the CIO of eObuwie. Jarek has a degree in computer science from a university here in
Poland. He started his career as an IT director at Max Electronic and at Signity Group and since 2013 he is the CIO of this leading e-commerce shoe company. So welcome to this conversation Jarek. So the first thing I would like to
know, we’ve spoken to your colleague from the business side, he gave you quite a
challenge to to do this digital storefront project. So how did you handle this, because how do you handle complexity and how do you
organize teams to deliver the high demands that come from business? The new business concept brought a lot of challenges for IT It required a change in how IT used to be organised It used to be focused on the e-commerce business, as in, online stores. It required us to build structures and competences needed to addresssuch demanding new projects. Crossing from online to offline in the new concept where the retail concept is strongly digital there’s a lot of technology in various locations aside from the technology solutions for those locations, it demands high availability These were big challenges Together with my team we designed solutions that are still fulfilling their function And it seems, it made the success of this concept possible, so we keep developing them. At this moment, the team is focused both on online and offline business So what I wanted to know is: How is IT organized in your company and how do you make sure that you work closely together with the business? IT competences at eobuwie are aligned with various business departments at the company. My role is consolidating and managing them all efficiently. We have a Basis IT department which I manage directly There’s the department that develops the e-commerce applications and their integrations. There’s a department that manages system applications including particularly the ones for retail: PoS and in-store applications. Let’s talk about you as a manager How is it that you build teams
and how do you make sure that your teams are successful? What is your management style? I build mixed teams which means a team based on people with senior competences and at the same time I try to develop new talent, so I add juniors as well usually the juniors are students in their last year of a computer science degree. The senior people bring in knowledge and competences. I try to motivate my teams in a way that facilitates knowledge exchange with the employees who are still learning. I want the team to work together without divisions into junior and senior fractions. And how many people do you have in IT? The IT team is not very big. We use the potential of our external partners through detailed analysis and interviewing we pick partners that help us develop our business. We keep the core competences in-house The IT team dedicated to Basis, applications and e-commerce is several dozen people right now. You have around 40 people in your direct team and more than a hundred people that work for you with your partners, outsourced and so on… So what is it that makes your team want to follow you? what makes you a good leader? I try to show that you can achieve great things through hard work, find accomplishment in your professional life by taking on difficult, innovative projects. Personally, I’m inspired by professional challenges. My work is my passion and I try to pass it on to the team to show that, first of all, work-life balance is possible, that it’s possible to find personal accomplishment. I try to make sure my team feels inspired, that they’re taking part in something remarkable Let’s talk about your MBTI profile that we’re using as a common thread in these conversations that we have for digital leaders around the world your MBTI profile is ESTJ and ESTJs
are representatives of tradition and order, they utilize their understanding of what
is right and wrong, what is socially acceptable and they would like to bring
families and communities together. They embrace the values of honesty, dedication and dignity and people with this personality type are valued for the
clear advice and guidance and they happily lead the way on difficult parts How does that resonate with you? Yes. Executives engage in extremely difficult projects And being in eObuwie is a project like that, being involved in this organisation’s business development. Of course, IT brings challenges at the junction with business that don’t leave room for compromise And I think my personality traits meet those needs: To simultaneously follow the trends and innovations and requirements of business and implementing it in an ordered, structured way on a clearly defined schedule, according to plan, to deliver what needs to be delivered. With your personality, working in a very innovative changing ecommerce company could be a challenge because working with an unconventional
situation with a lot of change and so on is not necessarily an easy thing for
your personality so how do you deal with that? First and foremost, I’m open to change I do realize that change is inevitable in innovation which requires a dynamic approach to accomplishing goals because the winner takes it all. So I try my best to negotiate with business towards realistic schedules that can both meet their goals and the demands of IT work such as availability, security and a certain order of steps in the project It’s a dialogue, not my monologue I have partners like Konrad who can sit down with me and come up with an optimal plan that will contribute to the project’s success. So I can imagine that with Conrad and from the business and and and and his personality and your personality, together
it’s a very strong team okay so let’s talk about what makes you
happy in your personal life and in your professional life when do you really feel very good? In my professional life I have an opportunity to fulfill my ambitions to be part of incredible, innovative projects. I’m the kind of person who enjoys hard work So every day spend at my job is fully used towards developing projects. It makes me feel accomplished professionally and it’s my passion, as well. And at the end of the day knowing that the result of my work is a product that will be used by consumers to help make their shopping dreams come true is personally satisfying to me Jarek, you have three children: two daughters and a son What are the values that you want your children to take over from you? I don’t impose any self-development direction on my children I let them pursue their passions My oldest daughter is an artist she’s passionate about photography My son – about sport as well as hard sciences. And my oldest daughter is still developing. What I do prioritise is my children’s education. I try to help them see that hard work put into education will pay off in the future that they will be using this knowledge in their careers. I let them figure out on their own what extracurriculars to choose My kids know and see that I work hard I try to make sure my personal values are passed on to my family I mean: integrity, hard work – because that brings results not just in their careers, but in private life as well, it will let them follow their passions, their hobbies. To end this very interesting conversation I would like to know from you Jarek: What would you advise people that are ten years younger and then have the aspiration to become a digital leader in the future to become a
CIO what would your advice for them be? Most importantly: courage. Don’t be afraid of the challenges that today’s business world brings Learning new technologies exploring the new possibilities brought on by IT and delivering business solutions that are the answer to their expectations – as precisely as possible. With this, Jarek, I would like to thank you for this conversation. I think it gives a very nice overview of both the business parts and how IT works very closely in your organisation as a driving force of innovation and how you as the leader are very well positioned to make sure that everything is well
organized and delivered on time and that you can innovate in this company
where the customer really is comes first where customer experience is number one
value Thank you very much, Jarek.

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