The Weird Fish name has been around for longer than you might realise, having first started selling clothes back in 1993. Its first shop opened in 1999 and by 2005 it was selling online. Gerald Dawson, director of finance and operations at Weird Fish will be EDC2105 to share ideas, to look for potential partners, and to learn – as he puts it – from the best.
eD: Tell us about your role.
GD: I’ve been at Weird Fish for 18 months as director of finance & operations. I also ‘own’ e-commerce, but have so far failed to conjure up a nice acronym that covers my full remit. In practical terms it is a mix of getting things done (sleeves up, shovel in hand) and deciding what needs to be done (determining the best way to skin the cat in the knowledge that you only get to skin it once). There is no such thing as a typical day.
eD: What’s the best thing about your job?
GD: The best thing is working with an amazing group of people who really care about our customers. The next best thing is having a fundamentally great brand, and putting the two together makes a great business, with happy customers and rapidly growing sales and profits.
eD: What do you think the rest of the e-commerce sector might learn from the experiences of the fashion sector?
GD: Fashion and grocery have been at the forefront of the race to omni-channel convenience over past five years, so it continues to be worth closely watching both. That said, the ‘right answer’ for each business is unique to its brand and target customer group, so never be afraid to march to a different drummer.
eD: What’s the biggest issue you’ve faced with returns and how have you solved it?
GD: All returns are free and we don’t bother enforcing the 21 days returns limit, so it’s plain sailing from a customer point of view. The issues we have are the usual ones: returns spike after Christmas, but we plan for it, and sometimes we receive a return that was purchased from a wholesale stockist, but we just resolve it from a customer point of view and let the paperwork fix itself.
eD: What do you think are some of the biggest challenges currently facing the retail delivery sector?
GD: Retail gross margins have been declining for years whilst multi-channel has been laying on cost, and customer expectations have been soaring. That’s a pretty tough backdrop. From a delivery point of view there are several challenges:
- Figuring out the correct place for stock to sit in an omni-channel era
- The impact of click & collect on store layout
- The ability of the carriers to cope with spikes in volume
eD: Why are you attending the EDC2015?
GD: To meet potential new partners and learn from the best.
eD: What will you be speaking about?
GD: Leveraging omni-channel inventory.
eD: What do you hope to learn, and are there any of the other speakers you are looking forward to hearing from?
GD: There are some amazing speakers and businesses at the conference and some of them will have some very relevant ‘war stories’. As a relatively small business we need to learn from other companies’ experience avoid taking too many punts.