Aynsley Peet is the Head of eCommerce at Cox and Cox, a UK homeware retailer. The business was founded in 2001 and sales are close to £20m per year; selling online, mail order, and B2B.
Aynsley started his career as a scientist. He was actually a Research Chemist and began working for a business in Bath over 20 years ago when the internet was relatively new.
His role with the company was to understand search engines and data analysis. About the time he was doing that work, Google came along and transformed the space. Since then Aynsley has been working in a number of eCommerce sectors, optimizing search.
From ladies shoes to real property, Aynsley has been all over the map. For the past 4 years, he’s been at Cox and Cox, heading up their eCommerce department.
About Cox and Cox
- Ships 98% to the UK and some to Europe
- Sells primarily directly to consumer
- Growing into Trade Sales
- Magento2 Platform — Went live in August 2017
- ERP and WMS were on Magento1, but the company migrated in 2017
- Switch to NetSuite ERP system the same day they migrated to Magento 2
Migrating both the Magento site and the ERP the same day was wild, but Aynsley says it worked out since the team was able to focus entirely on the test.
Starting fresh really allowed them to test their processes and focus their attention on how everything was working together. They were able to then troubleshoot right away and get on with business as usual.
Since they did everything at once, they were able to do the entire migration in under a year. Had they done each piece individually, it would have taken closer to 3 years.
While scary to implement a new payments system, the team saw payments coming in from Klarna within just a few moments of being live.
Cox and Cox Teams
The HQ team operates at around 25 staff. Within the eCommerce team, there are 5 to 6 devoted people.
They have a social media manager, marketing assistant, head of marketing (who is partly involved in eCommerce, head of eCommerce, art workers, an email marketer, a merchandising team, a couple of buyers and a small in house customer service team.
They use an external customer service for most queries. As far as the website is concerned, they do outsource paid search and SEO to outside agencies.
Dedicating a Social Media Role
Cox and Cox has always had a PR person which in many ways evolved into the new social media role. Engaging with the customer base via these channels is important to the brand and they do well on them.
Weekly, the team has at least 3 photoshoots and spends a lot of time generating content. They also spend time pushing engagement and encouraging user created content by hosting styling contests etc.
They’ve been seeing their social numbers increase nicely and Aynsley says he can see the direct correlation between their posts on social media and what’s being searched for on the site. Even though they see traffic up after posts, Aynsley isn’t fixated on precision.
Unlike most eCommerce brands, Cox and Cox sends catalogs out and he says it’s difficult to know exactly what the revenue generated from these efforts is.
Regardless, Aynsley says it creates a holistic marketing strategy for the brand and is well worth the effort. They tend to mix up and prototype new types of catalogs they send and enjoy testing and playing in this area overall.
The catalog and online ping promotions back and forth and have a sort of symbiotic relationship. The catalog is online as well and the team can see how high the interest in catalogs really is just by how many people look through the online version.
Aynsley’s love of testing has opened the door for the company to be an early adopter of voice search. They’ve been testing it and Aynsley jokes that it makes a fun talking point in the office.
He’s always on the lookout for new techniques, features and technologies.
eCommerce Book Top Tip
- Tries to read as much on SEO as possible and highly recommends reading material that Magento releases.
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Social Media is an area that doesn’t get the press it deserves—great way to showcase the products and a great place to test. SEO and email marketing are really useful areas for the company as well.
Tool Top Tip
- Ownership in communication. The team uses short, couple minute phone conversations to move ideas forward.
Growth Top Tip
- Try to understand your customers—how will they identify with your brand when they come to your site? Understand demographics, devices and as much as you can.
- Building a 7-figure eCommerce business with Sustainable Furniture’s Margaret Larson
- Temples and Markets’ Judith Treanor on getting to $10k per month in year 1 w/ email and social enterprise focus
- Bisjoux Rose’s Rebecca Clements – Launching, Selling, Buying and the power of influencer marketing for launch
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