Movers & Shakers Q&A: Phill Burton, COO, Bloom & Wild

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Phill Burton, COO, Bloom & Wild


1.What is the greatest opportunity for your business?

There is an opportunity to be a truly global flower gifting company which customers love. I think we’ve made a great start in the UK, and latterly France and Germany and our offering has really resonated with customers but there is still so much opportunity to grow further in those markets, and elsewhere, and continue to improve our offering to provide a truly joyful experience for customers and recipients alike.

2.What is the biggest challenge to your business?

One of the biggest operational challenges is seasonality, in particular the peak trading periods of Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Therefore, we are always building processes, both internally and externally with our partners, which will scale for these periods. This extends from our flower packing operation to our carrier network to our tech stack to our customer service operation.

3.With the benefit of hindsight what would you have done differently so far?

I think we’re getting better at prioritising what we work on as a business and not simply reacting to every inbound opportunity but I think for the first few years we tried to do everything and I’d probably give my historic self the advice that it’s okay to sometimes say “No”.

4.What is the future of the physical store and the high street?

Omnichannel is one of the buzz words of the moment but it’s clear there’s an opportunity to marry the physical store experience with an integrated digital experience. Even as a digital native, we appreciate the opportunity that physical retail provides us to get closer to the customer and for them to experience our product in the real world and we’ve experimented with various forms of retail pop-up as a result. Therefore, I don’t believe in the death of the high street, I simply think it’s transitioning to a different type of experience.

5.What technology-related plans have you got for the next 12 months?

We have some really exciting plans around how personalisation can impact multiple elements of our experience which I’m excited to launch.

6.With the issue of digital wildfire how do you understand and control your growing digital landscape?

Not yet an issue we’ve really encountered (I suspect because of the nature of the category we play in)

7.What other retail business do you admire?

I love it when you see brands which are driven by values and purpose, I think the guys at Mindful Chef are executing really nicely and tick that box.

8.If you hadn’t been a retailer what would you have liked to do?

Would loved to have done something around education. I love the mentoring I’ve had the opportunity to do and I think I would have enjoyed being a teacher (although not sure I have the patience!).

9.What marks out of 10 do you give yourself so far for achievement

Personally? That’s a tough one, my wife says I’m my own biggest critic. I’d summarise it as I feel privileged to be doing impactful things at a company I love but there are always things I could be doing better.

10.Who would you place in the Top 25 Movers & Shakers in Retail?

I’m going to cheat and call out someone already in there – Andrew Robb at Farfetch has been a mentor to me for many years and has been hugely impactful on my career and is a great example of someone who has put a lot back into the startup community in London.

This is one in an ongoing series of profiles with individuals that are featured in the annual ‘Retail Insider Movers & Shakers in Retail Top 100‘.