Cross-border e-commerce company eShopWorld (ESW) has created a retail advisory council of industry leaders who will help “support the company’s accelerating growth in the U.S. and internationally in the beauty, luxury and fashion categories,” the company said.
The announcement comes as online sales continue to expand at a rapid rate. Retail analysts expect double-digit growth of e-commerce to continue through the end of the year and that online sale will garner nearly 30 percent of total retail sales this year.
The executive lineup is described as an “A team” of retail veterans hailing from roles at Saks Fifth Avenue, Marks & Spencer, Li & Fung and Financo. Gilbert W. Harrison, chairman of Harrison Group Inc. and founder and chairman of Financo, helped recruit the council members and will chair the council, which includes Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, Sean Coxall, Marigay McKee and Martim Avillez Oliveira.
Tommy Kelly, chief executive officer of ESW, said the “globally respected retail experts” will serve as members of the council “to inform our growth strategy and help ensure we partner with enterprises that stand to benefit most by taking full advantage of our unique platform and expertise as they expand their businesses globally.”
“Our business has seen a pronounced acceleration as global e-commerce has become a necessity for retailers and brands navigating temporary and unpredictable lockdowns in their home markets,” Kelly said.
In a statement, the company said the group will provide “strategic guidance to ESW and amplify the company’s cross-border e-commerce proposition globally” while convening regularly to “present their unique market insights and analysis of global retail trends to the industry through digital conferences, interviews, and other private and public educational events.”
The company’s platform is an “end-to-end e-commerce solution” that enables retailers and brands to acquire and build “high-value, lifetime relationships with customers in international as well as domestic markets where their brands and products are in high demand.” The solution integrates with a retailer’s existing e-commerce platform and facilitates “fully localized shopping and checkout experiences” as well as allowing companies to design and build storefronts.
“In addition, demand-generation services, fulfillment and omnichannel capabilities such as click-and-collect, ship-from-store and return-to-store services are available,” ESW said.
Kelly told WWD that even as global online sales soar, retailers and brands often stumble in regard to offering the “proper shopping experience,” which means making sure brands and products are presented in a localized way. Kelly said U.S. brands often take a U.S.-centric approach to selling abroad, and may not facilitate localized checkout preferences. In Europe, for example, Kelly said less than 40 percent of products are bought online with a credit card.
“Localizing is also not just about language; it includes payment, and the entire checkout experience, which includes address validation, delivery, and logistics and fulfillment,” Harrison said. “Localization is full of various nuances that brands and retailers need to consider.”
In regard to the council’s role, Harrison said the members not only have “deep retail industry experience and knowledge but a long-term vision of how digital commerce will evolve. Kelly described the group’s vision as strategically important to ESW as well as the entire retail industry.
Looking at the council’s collective experience reveals executives with global industry leadership. Bousquet-Chavanne, for example, recently served as ceo of EMAAR Malls, which is the owner of The Dubai Mall. Prior to that he was chief marketing and digital officer for Marks & Spencer plc and was a group president at The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. Bousquet-Chavanne is an independent director of Brown-Forman Corp. and has served as a director of HSNi.
Coxall most recently served as president of Li & Fung’s Brands & Specialty Stores Group, “where he also oversaw global business development efforts,” ESW said, adding that earlier in his career, “Coxall spent 18 years at Marks & Spencer in store management and senior buying roles.”
McKee is cofounder and managing partner at Fernbrook Capital Management and runs MMLuxe Consulting, which she founded in 2015. Previously, McKee served as president of Saks Fifth Avenue and was chief merchant at Harrods in London. She launched her career at Estée Lauder in Europe.
Oliveira is a former Li & Fung executive vice president and currently serves as a managing director for Europe for Tiger Chark, which is a New York-based strategic consulting firm. Oliveira is also a member of the board of the Portuguese — Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Harrison is retired from Financo and runs the Harrison Group Inc. out of New York. He is considered one of the industry’s leading dealmakers, having spent five decades orchestrating various M&A transactions across the global retail, fashion apparel and footwear sectors. Harrison is a founder of the Retail and Apparel Leadership Group of UJA-Federation of New York and has served as a member of the board of directors of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania for 20 years.