Boden’s Head of Online Trade and eCommerce Nick Stragnell discusses everything eCommerce (episode 236)

Nick Stragnell, is the Head of Online Trade and Experience at UK fashion business Boden, he owns the digital customer journey and is responsible for online annual sales revenue of £670m+ globally.

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About the Business

236 shownotes
  • Offices located in North Acton North London with logistics hub in Leicester
  • Team in Boston to support US market
  • UK and US are Boden’s largest markets—now about the same size, but sell to other countries as well
  • Bespoke platform migrating to Adobe Experience Manager

How Nick got Started

Nick started out in creative agency’s who needed to give their clients something online. He worked for some time building web designs and then evolved to video streaming and ended up in digital marketing, acquisition and finally eCommerce.

He says he wanted to be nearer to the numbers and really see the impact of his actions. Besides the numbers and measurability, Nick also loves that eCommerce connects directly to the customers and the psychology that goes along with that.

Boden is a British fashion brand that is primarily catering to women. Well known for its color and joyful prints, the Boden brand has a distinctly British feel that Nick says drives the brand everywhere they sell.

Awareness is extremely high in the UK and Nick and his team are growing that same awareness in other markets. The brand has a handful of retail locations in the UK and in the United States.

While a lot of those experiences are in bigger stores like Nordstroms, Nick says it’s good to get the product in hand. 97% of the business remains online, which was an easy transition because Bodon started out as a catalogue business. 

Nick says that growing the brand experience is easier in person, but that it’s an interesting challenge to grow it online with a small handful of physical touchstones. 

Boden is in the process of moving to a third party platform and Nick says that it’s been exciting to maintain flexibility and ownership but without the challenges of having to build everything out in house. 

CMS

The new platform Boden is using would be considered a headless CMS which is a good fit for the company. CMS is the primary tool used to build the pages and therein the customer journey.

Nick says that they use many different tools to put the site together but CMS is the primary tool for the structure the site. 

Search and Merch 

The company is using Blue Reach and Nick says it’s a fantastic tool for being able to scale properly and work at speed.

He says that tools like Blue Reach with a machine learning component can really only work as good as the data they have and that the team has been able to see areas where they need to improve.

Nick is careful with how the team spends their money, time and investment and they keep an ever-evolving priorities list. Nick says that looking at things in sprints.

He recognizes that there is always an element of needing to carry on as usual just to keep everything going. Roadmapping out those special projects is important and understanding that there will be impacts whenever pushing and pulling resources. 

Team Structure

  • Legacy/catalogue side with a massive creative team which delivers all of the eCommerce stories regarding collections
  • In house Development has several scrum teams augmented by some third parties for very specific areas
  • eCommerce trading team has content coming in and has to interface with an agile scrum team who are delivering different experiences to the site. Nick thinks of his team as the central services agency. 
  • Everything is pretty much in house from digital marketing to CRM teams and design and copywriting. The Boden brand is all in house itself—they don’t resell other peoples designs and Nick says the digital side needs to reflect that.

What’s the Most Awesome Thing about Boden?

Spending time doing very traditional conversion rate optimization. Experimenting and testing is what makes Nick tick and he says that the migration to the new platform is the perfect time to check in on these baselines.

There are a lot of emerging technologies, especially when it comes to personalization, and Nick understands that while that is possible, it’s not what he’s focused on. He remains focused on doing the basics right.

Nick gets really excited about how looking at data can tell you so much about your business and your customers.

Seeing how people react is the place that the team comes from in order to develop better content. 

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Organic search every time. Put your effort there and get it right to make everything easier.

Tool Top Tip

  • There are so many tools, but Chris says that the BEST thing is face to face in their open office.
  • Power Reviews

Growth Top Tip

  • Hire good people and listen to them…if you can’t afford that then fail fast and move on. Experimentation makes a business accelerate at a much faster pace. 

Interview Links

Related episodes

  • Tesco’s Tamara Duschl talks brand, customer, and how the challenges are the same for a global retailer
  • The Kewl Shop’s Charles Fitzgerald on how to get to 50,000 visits per month, using content and customer service
  • Studio 15’s Jia Wertz masterclass on fashion startups inc popups and social media (10,000 customers in 12 months)

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