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Jonathan Wall, Group e-commerce Director at Shop Direct Group
1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business?
We definitely see mobile as our greatest opportunity and, more specifically, using it to gain market share from other retailers by being connected 24/7 with our customers – especially while they’re browsing the high street.
2. What is the biggest challenge to your business?
The greatest challenge has to be high street retailers increasingly using mobile to improve their multi-channel offerings – particularly in-store. Having said that, as an online retailer, we see mobile far more as an opportunity than a threat.
3. With the benefit of hindsight what would you have done differently so far?
As a business, we’d have moved into mobile 12 months earlier if we had our time again. Personally, I’d have listened a bit more intently in 2005 when my previous CEO at dabs.com, David Atherton, predicted the boom in mobile retail!
4. What is the future of the physical store?
Ultimately, it has to be as the showroom of a connected world and the collection point for online.
5. What will the high street look like in a decade?
We see it being fully connected with a substantial social element. Land Securities’ recent agreements to put Wi-Fi into all of its shopping centres and to host Amazon Lockers show the future destination of the high street most emphatically. I predict that we’ll also see shopping become more of an experience, with a greater number of pop-up shops and other gimmicks.
6. Will mobile devices be the primary sales channel in the future?
Mobile will continue to be important for the foreseeable future as one of a variety of devices, as people gradually become connected 24/7 in a host of different ways and on differing types of devices.
7. What other retail business do you admire?
Amazon definitely gives us something to strive for – it’s basically Google’s checkout and the recent advance into web services has been really interesting to watch. The team there always seems to be ahead of the curve and unafraid to learn from their mistakes.
8. If you hadn’t been a retailer what would you have liked to do?
Photography was my first choice of career path. Knowing what we know now, I’d have pursued it, combined that knowledge with online, invented Instagram and retired!
9. What marks out of 10 do you give yourself so far for achievement?
I’ve always thought that I’ve been in the right place at the right time in terms of being in e-commerce from the start, which has helped my achievements somewhat! So when I say nine out of 10, I say that with the firm realisation that any success I’ve had has been inextricably interlinked with the success of e-commerce over the last 15 years.
10. Who would you place in the Top 30 Multi-channel/e-commerce Movers & Shakers?
I’m fortunate to be on the Movers & Shakers Advisory Panel so have added my views to the list. Having said that, there’s definitely room for Shop Direct’s Group Retail Director (and my boss), Gareth Jones!