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Interview

Interview: People, Process, and KPIs: Using a Competitive Mindset to Win the Digital Shelf, with Rachel Tetreault, Vice President of Sales and Marketing Digital Commerce at EastPoint Sports

From P&G, to global confectioner Ferrero, and now to helming digital commerce at PE-owned Eastpoint Sports, Rachel Tetreault brings a competitive mindset and a fierce commitment to continually refining the organization, the processes, and the key KPIs it takes to win. Rachel joined Peter to share her key learnings and best practices from across her adventures in ecommerce.

TRANSCRIPT

Peter:

Welcome to unpacking the digital shelf where we explore brand manufacturing in the digital age. Hey everyone, Peter Crosby here from the digital shelf Institute from P and G to global confectioner Ferrero, and now to helming digital commerce. Of PE owned East point sports, Rachel Tetreault brings a competitive mindset and a fierce commitment to continually refining the organization, the processes, and the key KPIs it takes to win. Rachel joined me to share her key learnings and best practices from across her adventures in commerce. So, Rachel, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast and sharing your, your expertise and experience with us. I'm really grateful

Rachel:

You too. And thanks for having me. This is really exciting. Of course,

Peter:

It's going to be fun. Uh, you know, and one of the reasons I wanted to have you on is that you have such a breadth of experience. You Rose up through the ranks at P and G. You ran e-commerce and then strategic sales at, at global confectioner Ferrero. And now you've taken the e-commerce reins at East point sports, a PE owned company with some of the best sport licenses in the world. That is a, that is a flip, um, I mean a lot of the same motions, but it's such an interesting category change. So I was wondering what led you there? Like what experiences and what experiences from the consumer goods world are you bringing to sporting goods?

Rachel:

That's a great question. So I think, you know, I'll address the first question by saying that, you know, what led me here is really trying to round out all of my experiences and skills across the different sizes of the company. So you have a Procter and gamble, that's, you know, public big company then Ferrero privately owned and then having a PE owned company under my belt really speaks to the different types of businesses that I can, you know, say that I've led and manage. And so from that sense, you know, my experiences in a fast moving consumer goods world, um, is my expertise in e-commerce and digital in nature, leading premium brands. The second piece is, you know, my experience in driving sales led executions across the different types of channel within e-commerce. So you have pure play omni-channel intermediaries, like last mile delivery, as well as DTC capability to reach and engage loyal consumers.

Rachel:

The third piece is delivering a best in class digital processes that really enables the broader organization to achieve, you know, what they define success online. How do you convert traffic into dollar sales and capture consumers wherever they're shopping? The fourth pillar that I always talk about with any companies that I join or partner with is building e-commerce and the digital infrastructure, and to end, because it's really important to infuse across the different function so that we can, um, have a much more seamless output when it comes to our business. So for instance, supply chain, how do they, how do we make sure that they understand and connect the dots in driving revenue versus just making sure that we have the right case still rate, for example, like what is the implication of that to either e-commerce world and last but not least. And I would say probably one of the most important aspect of my experience and what I bring to the table is developing top talent and high performing organizations without it, you know, you can build the best strategy in the world, but if you don't have the right people to execute, it would, it would be meaningless.

Rachel:

And so empowering organization and evolving existing talent within the company to think digital first mindset as consumers are using online as their gateway to making a purchase is very, very important in these, uh, e-commerce journey. Yeah.

Peter:

I mean, that list of, of pillars is sounds exactly right. And, and I can imagine, you know, we start out with, with your beginning premise, which is sort of being at each site sort of size and complexity of company or the way in which they are financed and led, it must have an impact on, on sort of how they go to market. I would imagine. And so I was wondering, you know, in addition to going to a PE led firm, you change categories, like, what are those, you know, you've been there since last October, so not, uh, not, not, uh, uh, you haven't passed a year yet, but I'm sure already you're seeing sort of those, those moments of congruence and then those moments of Holy moly, this is different. And I've got to shift my mindset maybe a little bit. Can you talk about that?

Rachel:

Yeah. So I'd say, you know, first of all, it's so much fun to be part of an industry that is accelerating and growing super fast and e-commerce is already growing fast, but being in the sporting goods, obviously COVID absolutely helped in that regard, but seeing the full potential of this industry is just exhilarating. And so sporting goods in comparison to some of the FMCG categories that I've led before, it's really quite different since many of the products and the brands that we sell online require some planning purchase planning. And the challenge is how do we capture those consumers at point of entry as they're planning to purchase this and drive conversion as quickly as possible? You know, interestingly, um, confection was no different in terms of the import process on how do we get products into the U S as many of the premium chocolates that we, that Ferera has sold really came from overseas.

Rachel:

So from the East point, sports, our business today is import driven as well. And which means that, you know, planning, sales, planning, and making sure that we have the right discipline within the organization is very critical. Um, and we need to make sure that goods are flowing in so that we can avoid disruption in the full cycle of the sales funnel. So I'll give you an example. If you're out of stock on your digital shelf, you can have the most robust marketing pointing traffic onto the product detail, but if it's out of stock because you can't support the demand, guess what the algorithm breaks. And so then now you have to start all over again in order for you to get the flywheel effect going. And so that's additional effort to the organization or to whomever is running the business. And so I would say that, um, you know, fundamentally it's important for us to make sure that we get all of that correct. Um, and that's something that, you know, it's fun to be around, cause it's part of building the infrastructure, you know, when you, and you talked

Peter:

A bit about, um, it's a planned purchase on the part of the consumer, like it's not an impulse buy. I want that truffle in my mouth right now. Uh, it's, it's really more of a, wow, this is something that I'm going to want at some future point in time, or I'm starting to think about X. How do you, um, how do you enter them when they're early in their journey? Like, what are the signals that you're looking for to start that conversation with consumers and are there some channels that are better than others? Or how do you

Rachel:

Think about, so a lot of it really stems now to driving the awareness. So in this world, there's, there's gonna be, um, a lot of non-branded keywords search terms as consumers are entering and spear fishing within the ecosystem of whether that's Amazon or Walmart or target. And so how do we make sure that we're, you know, popping up on top of the search page in that regards, but also at the same time, developing platforms or avenues to teach consumers on how to shop within the category. So as an example, um, the billiards table or the table tennis table category, you know, how do we make sure that when they are in store from an omni-channel perspective, that they have the right packaging in aisle, that's going to help direct them to online to expand on the breadth of the assortment, um, because bill your tables and table tennis tables, you know, depending on this, it could be a seasonal timeframe where they have it, you know, in the aisle, but for the most part, it's all online, it's a planned purchase. So how do you nudge that so that you are showing consumers and one educating them about the category and then to showing them the breadth of the assortment so that they can convert easily and shop within the aisle.

Peter:

That's so interesting because you really are then trying to make sure that the consumer is able to connect both their physical shopping experience to their digital shopping experience. And how are you finding, you know, I would imagine, and tell me if this is true that your, your retailers range from the mom and pop store all the way up to the Walmarts, the targets, the, so tell me a bit about sort of that experience of kind of, um, I imagine you have to approach them in somewhat different ways.

Rachel:

I would say that it's similar, not necessarily different. Um, I would say it's similar in a sense that the, the journey begins in that wherever they're shopping. So if say they started their journey in social media, we want to make sure that we are providing a link or a shop now capability where they can click and direct them to a site, whether that's a mom and pop Walmart target Amazon, or our own DTC platform, it's important for us to make sure, making sure that we're connecting them to, again, either educate if that's the, if that's the goal, right. To learn more about the details and the mechanics or the specification of an example that we've used a table tennis table, um, conversely, if they are already have done their research and they're ready to shop, we want to make it easier for them as well, so that they can have that click to conversion and add it to the cart and also make their purchase.

Peter:

That's that's, I mean, that makes perfect sense. And it also, it, it, in, in a lot of ways, it does point to the complexity of needing to kind of show up and understand context, which I think is such a crucial part of what everyone to a certain degree is trying to learn relearn today in a way as like the cookie, this world is approaching and the things that we used to know, we have to find out in different ways. And, uh, it's, it's never a dull moment right. In e-commerce at all.

Rachel:

That's what makes it fun. Yeah.

Peter:

Yeah. So, I mean, one of the, one of the central questions that we get from, from any executive when they're trying to put their strategy together is how should I structure my e-commerce or have you talked about it earlier that it's the people working together? It's sort of the people in the process thing that is so important, um, and that evolves can be relatively quickly over time as, as the importance of e-commerce to the organization changes. And so I was, I was wondering how you answered that question today. Um, how are you organized and, and what models, you know, sort of, what, what stands out to you, how do you make a decision as to how you're gonna, as you've been at different companies, how you want to approach that, that issue,

Rachel:

Uh, the answer there is, it depends. And while that sounds so nebulous, uh, it really depends on a few factors. So categories, um, that, you know, we play in penetration of the businesses by channel and priorities, what are the goals, the objectives, and existing strengthened resources within the organization. And so I look at it more as a puzzle puzzle piece, and we really have to match all of those key factors to determine the right structure. Uh, the one important piece of my experience is really the mindset of the people within the organization. And, and, and I go back to the same that you can build the best structure, but if it doesn't align with where the overall vision is of the company from up top, then organization could see some headwinds. And in many instances, you know, change management is important and you have to have the right level of support from up top, um, on how, and when, you know, uh, organizations are structured because we really need to make sure that we put the PNL, um, in that equation and in protecting the top and bottom line, because at the end of the day, we're here, um, you know, to run a business.

Rachel:

And so, you know, you know, with that in mind, um, I like to always approach the organization to make sure that I bring in talent and balance that out with existing one, but from a cultural perspective, I'd like for all of the people within the organization to have, um, the revenue in mind, so revenue generation mindset, and what really that means is, you know, have a strong sales background, um, not for all of the functions, because there are some that, you know, that needs to be more of a digital marketing in nature. Um, but really the connected commerce piece is going to be very critical. Um, you know, it's important to have the teams understand the connection between how do you drive and convert traffic into dollar sales. And that's something that, you know, I'm constantly pushing within the organization. Um, and that they're not just running each of the functions in silo, but it's, again, going back to the connection, that

Peter:

Whole journey. Yeah. Wherever the consumer goes. Yeah. Um, you know, you, you talked a bit there about, um, the, the importance of having alignment from the top. So I want you to talk a little bit about that if you can, cause I'm, I'm imagining, and I don't let me put words in your mouth, tell me if I'm crazy, but when you were evaluating what opportunity you're going to take your leadership skills and your experience to one of the things must be sniffing out, you know, will I have a leadership team that is, that we can be aligned on, on sort of how the whole business works and you chose, I'm imagining you chose East point sports for reasons. So tell me what you found there that, that insight that said, this is a place where, um, they need me and, and I know I can be successful here because we share a vision.

Rachel:

Yeah. So I would say that digital first mindset, and I have seen in my experience, um, leaders where, you know, they put in a head of e-commerce and they think that that's checking a box and that's it, the job is done. Or the reality is, you know, putting in, I head of e-commerce, it's just the start of a new journey in building the infrastructure of how to go to market. And so it's very important to make sure that, you know, in this case, I report to the CEO for, um, the leadership to have a clear understanding of the impact of e-commerce to the organization and to the business. And that makes, um, you know, my job so much easier because then what I need to focus on are the executional components and strategies and the tactics that's going to enable us to, you know, how to capture sales within the channel.

Rachel:

How do we make sure that we're leveraging the channel to drive awareness of the products and the platform? Um, and then also, how do we make sure that we are thinking about not just, you know, from a commercial side, but also on the, um, on the back end, whether that's operations, whether that's, you know, product development and how do we look up into look into the future and develop the right products and assortment that again, um, speaks to the consumers that are going on this that are starting their journey in e-commerce and also finishing their journey in commerce and serving their needs. Yeah,

Peter:

Yeah. You know, I mean, of course, you know, Molly Schonthal, who runs the executive forum of, of DSI and Chris Perry who, uh, runs first mover, a great educator and an e-commerce. And, you know, we, we've been talking a lot and thinking about the DSI about the real, almost business beliefs that need to shift in order for the, in order for a total growth accountability to happen, where what the business focuses on is what are the combination of consumer engagement and messaging and, and, uh, promo video, the whole sort of you were talking about kind of the texture of the entire journey that leads to the sale, wherever that sale happens. And it takes, it's a difference from the early days when e-commerce was kind of a testing channel. Now it's really the growth driver, and that must change the way in which you have to interact with the entire organization. Cause now it's it's front and center, it's that digital first mindset. Right?

Rachel:

Absolutely. And so, you know, it's, it's in the forefront and again, that's one of the, um, one of the things that gravitated me towards, you know, joining an organization like East point, because, you know, it should be on top of mine at any organization. It, it should not be an afterthought anymore, regardless of the size of the business. And again, in my experience in the past, there are some, you know, organizations that are still using as a percentage of sales to determine if a, when they should even be focusing in e-commerce yes, what e-commerce is here to stay. Uh, COVID obviously accelerated it. Um, however, even if you look at the traditional business, you know, Walmart, Walmart is pushing, you know, omni-channel strategies across all of the brands and the products and partners that they have. Um, and it's, uh, you know, a Testament with them condensing and consolidating their buying teams.

Rachel:

So if that's not enough proof that, that says that, you know, e-commerce is here to stay. I don't know what else, right? Like, to me, that's like in your face, you know, this needs to, you know, this needs to be a focus and a priority. Um, you know, over 80% of the shoppers, you know, starts their journey online, whether that's, again, going back to my world where most of it is planned or making a grocery list or pinning, you know, a recipe, um, you know, and I, again, I go back to my belief, uh, when it comes to an end to end outlook of the business, because every function should be living and breathing e-commerce, and that is that's, that's not even the future. Right.

Peter:

Right. And so often I I've seen, you know, from the leaders, we talked to that a person in your role tends to be somebody that is therefore needs to drive the conversation about coordination between all of those, um, one siloed, or maybe even still siloed pieces of that, of that commerce puzzle. And is that, is that true? Like, uh, uh, the, the sort of, how do you coordinate across all of this for that end to end view of performance on the digital show?

Rachel:

That's absolutely still the, uh, the goal in some companies, it's just the way the organization is structured. Um, and so, you know, you have to be a change agent and you have to, you know, make sure that you're constantly influencing each of the different functions within the organization to make your objective happen. Um, in my, uh, experience today at East point, that was one of the things that I've, uh, I've done when developing the organization structure is I want to make sure that I look, I oversee the sales and marketing, uh, side of the, of e-commerce so that I can help manage and control how we go to market in terms of reaching consumers across the different funnels.

Peter:

Yeah. That makes sense. And, and, um, and w when you think about that, I would imagine that some of that having that control means having the right KPIs, driving the right incentives, uh, set up. Can you, can you talk to me a little bit about sort of, what are the numbers that you're using to manage the business on your, on your digital shelves?

Rachel:

So I go back to what I considered basic KPI. So your sales, your gross profit share versus competition to see how you're performing a typical KPIs on what I would consider sales side, you know, for marketing digital shop with content score is very important, as well as ratings and reviews. I use click to conversion. That's also a good indicator. If your shelf is engaging, blends views, I would say is just as important, um, as well, to determine the traffic that's going to the product detail pages. Um, and then lastly, I would consider media roll with gross profit dollars associated with the revenue generated from the investment. And that's again, another good outlook to determine whether or not the two payout is, um, you know, good and also understanding the incrementality of the investment

Peter:

That makes, that makes perfect sense. You know, it's the, the, uh, the journey to, to control or to influence in some cases, the digital shelf, it just varies depending on the retailer partner that you're working with and how that works. But do you have, how do you, um, how do you run and think about your, your best in class digital shelf program? What are the things that you think about there?

Rachel:

So there's a couple of ways we approach it. There's, I would say striking a balance between the retailer scorecard, because that's also important. Um, and then also, how do we make sure that we are delivering, um, our internal KPIs as well? That goes back to what I mentioned earlier, which is top-line glance views, click to conversion, et cetera. So I would say that we are, we approach it as an organization on a case by case basis, retailer, by retailer. So we have the standard, uh, scorecard that the retailer provide us. So I'll take target as an example, they generate their own scorecard on a monthly basis. That's how you, where they are in terms of what they believe is the right approach separately. We look at it to make sure that it's cohesive across all of the different platforms, so that if you're shopping table tennis table category, in this case at target, you want to make sure that you are seeing the same exact information, and there's no inconsistency.

Rachel:

If you went to Amazon and shop at the, and, you know, shop at the same, you know, product, um, within that category. And so that we want to make sure that it goes back to consumer experience, positive consumer experience, and it, it really comes down to the basic, um, expectations of consumers. So if you are online and you're looking at a product detail page, and you read all of the details, whether that's ratings and reviews, or, um, a product specification, you want to make sure that you are receiving that same exact thing when it shows up at your doorstep. Yeah. So that's, that's positive CX.

Peter:

Yeah. It's about confidence and trust. And do you deliver on the promise and you don't get a lot of chances at that. So, uh, there's, there's, uh, you know, that big need to, to, to have that consistent experience across, and it's, it's getting more and more expensive, you know, every day, the number of channels that you need to be thinking about and control

Rachel:

That's right. And that's why it's important to get the fundamentals, right. Um, the first time, and there's going to be some iteration and some, you know, test them learn, and that's the environment that we live in today. And then of course, like new development within the retailer and how to convey the message. I mean, I, I'm getting tactical here, but, you know, 250 characters on a title as an example, you know, things of that nature, and then making sure that you're speaking to the seasonality of the product as well, so that you're pinging in on the right keyword terms, uh, depending on, you know, the campaigns that you're running or the season that you're selling, selling in. Um, so that, that those are critical pieces that, that allows us to really play within the space

Peter:

And, uh, you know, where it's astonishing to think, but we're halfway through almost, uh, 2021, which is, seems crazy. Yes, very fast and, uh, holiday season coming up. And I'm sure that's a big time for, for all of you as well. Uh what's on your mind, what are you, what are you thinking about sort of playing with what, uh, where, where are there areas that you're really thinking about that are going to be critical for you in the upcoming season that you can share?

Rachel:

Yeah, well, prime day is a two week. We have to get that right. Amazon putting it back in summer again.

Rachel:

No, but, but Q4, um, definitely, you know, as a very, is a very important, um, you know, season, I mean, really for a lot of companies, not just sporting goods, right. Even I remember when I was, you know, a Pampers and then even a Ferrero. I mean, these are big seasons, right. That we need to win. Uh, for, from my standpoint today, it's important to make sure that you have your ducks in a row relative to, um, you know, product availability. That's going to be very important and crucial, uh, because, you know, we are, we're not just fighting for space within the sporting goods category, but we're also fighting for space with, you know, other categories that are trying to get into the FC. So that's really important for us to plan really well, um, and make sure that we have enough inventory to support the demand that we're going to generate.

Rachel:

That's one, the second piece is, uh, making sure that our campaign strategy is intact and, and, and quite frankly, it locked very, if not locked now lock very soon, um, because, you know, ad placements are going to be, uh, very important to make sure that you, you get the prominent space and placements across the different platforms that you choose. And then certainly making sure that, you know, the team in anticipation of the event, um, is keeping all of the basic blocking and tackling, you know, intact, um, because we don't want things to break. And granted there are going to be things that are going to break it's e-commerce and that's, you know, the nature of the beast, but if you get the fundamentals, right, the relevancy is driving and it's going, then we just need to focus on the execution part come Q4.

Peter:

Yeah. I just, I love just hearing you talk one, you just sound so passionate about you love doing this stuff, which I really great to hear. And I also sense you may have a bit of a competitive streak in you. I do.

Rachel:

We're here. We're here to win. We played away. Yeah. Yeah.

Peter:

And, and did you arrive into an organization that felt the same way, or if you all, have you sort of amped up that competitive spirit when you arrived?

Rachel:

It's it's, it's the ladder. We can't can't do status quo. We have to go beyond the status quo and it's just, it's non-negotiable we have to win or otherwise, why else are we doing it? If we're not going to play to win,

Peter:

I love it. I love the mindset. I love your breadth of experience, and I'm really grateful that you've chosen to share it here on the podcast. So I have to close with, with one very important question. Um, what East point sports product would you recommend to a middle-aged podcaster? You know,

Rachel:

Let's, let's focus on the outdoor season cause it's can jam all the way camera. It is so much fun. Um, you know, you can share it with a lot of your friends and family. And then most importantly, for those who are still on the fence about hanging out with family and friends, because of COVID, you know, you have the distance, which is fantastic. Did you do SEO off of that? And then I add, you know, just a little plug in it's made in America. I mean, you know, you can't beat that

Peter:

These days. I love it, Rachel, thanks again for, for joining us and for sharing your knowledge with us. We really appreciate

Rachel:

Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.

Peter:

Thanks again to Rachel for sharing her experience and strategies with us. Please share the episode with your colleagues and thanks for being part of our community.