Q&A: Orla Power, Marketing Director, Luzern eCommerce
Orla Power leads global marketing for Luzern eCommerce, the leading European managed eCommerce platform provider.
With 20 years of experience, Orla is a seasoned business and marketing leader with a focus on creating strategies to help eCommerce brands grow profitably and sustainably online. Orla is well versed in the disciplines of eCommerce brand management, CX and go to market strategies using real world insights.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I’m based in the vibrant city of Dublin, Ireland, where Luzern eCommerce is headquartered.
My current role at Luzern eCommerce, Europe’s leading eCommerce accelerator for d2c brands, is to build and grow the company’s global footprint. This involves bringing together teams, vision and expertise to drive all aspects of the marketing function. Before that I’ve had the privilege of working with influential tech giants like Amdocs, Microsoft, and Sony Ericsson, gathering insights and expertise and always learning along the way. I love the saying “every day is a school day” as I believe there is always something new to learn every day! That’s a principle I carry with me. Talking of learning, aside from marketing and sales, I have a keen interest in psychology. I’ve studied and hold qualifications in counselling and psychotherapy. This blend has proven to be incredibly valuable in my marketing journey. An understanding of psychology helps when delving into the mindset of consumers and customer behaviours.
This is also true in the new world of Artificial Intelligence. I am a firm believer that the power of AI and data-driven insights need real-world experience from a human. While AI is undeniably powerful, it lacks one crucial quality: empathy. This is where the human touch comes in. No algorithm can truly grasp the depth of human emotions and experiences like a real person can. That is for now, who knows where it goes in the future!
What does your company do? / What is your USP?
Luzern eCommerce has been accelerating eCommerce for ambitious brands and helping them reach buyers where they like to shop on Amazon and other marketplaces, on a branded online store on their favourite social platform. As Europe’s leading eCommerce accelerator, we optimise sales, margins and inventory across channels and geographies for the companies we work with. Our technology, which is propriety platform which we’ve been building and investing in over the past 10 years, coupled with our team of experts, enables us to excel at the “messy” execution end of eCommerce. Using our deep domain expertise and technology, we extend our clients’ eCommerce capabilities and help them attract and convert buyers, boost margins and improve the customer experience of their brand.
What’s special about the platform and your approach?
Our journey spans over a decade, during which we’ve continually pushed the envelope of platform development and innovation. This experience has culminated in Channel Optimizer, our cutting-edge managed eCommerce platform. We wrap our technology with revenue generating services that bring speed and agility to the GTM strategies of our customers. Unlike other eCommerce platform providers in our space, we don’t just provide insights and analytics, we provide an expert team that partner with the brands and can take immediate action on the data driven insights provided, empowering active management and control of your brand across multiple sales channels.
Amazon is a key channel, and everyone knows that selling (profitably!) can be challenging, even for the most established brands with long standing relationships with the retail giant. Accelerating sales on Amazon is a big part of what we do for brands. In fact, we are in the top 1% of successful 3P sellers and this is why brands trust us to manage their 3P sales strategy. We assist brands in navigating the intricacies, from the basics to the development and implementation of complex growth strategies, route-to-market plans and we are particularly strong in supporting brands with the hybrid 1P/3P sales model.
What advantage does it add?
Luzern eCommerce has unique insights and in-depth knowledge of working with direct-to-consumer brands and helping them to drive sales, profitably. We are, therefore, uniquely positioned. We know so much about where our existing customers are on their journey with us, what their business objectives and goals are and drives their success. This focus on the customer journey has really helped us build trust and loyalty. This in turn provides the foundation needed when it comes to negotiations around expansion plans. We have learned to focus on the strategic decisions needed to recognise and drive opportunities with key accounts, to obtain and allocate the right resources to deliver industry leading eCommerce solutions to our customers. Our household brand name customers prove our ability to drive online sales and scale eCommerce brands around the globe.
What challenges and opportunities do you see in UK retail for 2023 / What challenges are retailers facing in 2023?
Selling online, particularly Amazon, can present various challenges for brands and retailers across the UK and Europe, resulting in profit erosion and loss of control. These main challenges we come across when working with customers include:
- Profitability: Amazon prioritises cash flow, meaning brands with low sales volumes or unprofitable products can face delisting. Unfavourable price adjustments are also often imposed on those selling direct to Amazon as 1st party (1P) vendors.
- Taxation Complexity: UK sellers looking to expand may need to register as VAT traders, leading to intricate tax obligations that vary by product and location.
- Out of Stock (OOS) Issues: No stock = No sales!
- Listing Problems: Suppressed listings can occur for various reasons, requiring sellers to reapply.
- Returns Challenges: Especially if returned products are damaged or not re-sellable.
- Duplicate Listings: Competing sellers may plagiarise listings, necessitating action to protect revenue.
How will you address these challenges and turn them into successes?
While Amazon sellers undoubtedly face numerous challenges, brands and retailers can still thrive on this platform! Running an Amazon-based business can offer the potential for sustained sales growth and improved cash flow, if you’re open to a different approach – specifically, a managed 3P strategy with a trusted partner, Like Luzern eCommerce.
Regardless of whether you already sell products directly to Amazon (1P) you can simultaneously leverage third-party sellers (3P) to distribute goods on the platform. This dual-pronged approach brings several advantages. Here’s my top Four:
- Enhances your online visibility and profitability.
- Sets your Amazon business apart in a highly competitive landscape.
- Mitigates the need to engage in price wars that drive prices down.
- Helps you steer clear of channel conflicts.
Brands and retails that embrace the 3P approach can align their pricing strategies with their specific business goals, regaining independence in a fiercely competitive environment.
Additionally, this approach offers protection against shipping delays, whether stemming from Amazon FBA or inventory issues. Instead, businesses can consistently meet consumer demand by adopting the fulfilment by merchant (FBM) or dropship model.
What is on the horizon for you as a company?
Luzern eCommerce has been growing steadily year on year but one company value we never lose sight of is our customer centricity. Our customer will always be king, and we take this very seriously. Our customer wins with big, household brand names like Fossil, Nestlé, Philips Lighting, Petsafe (to name but a few!) give us credibility and this is a major validation of our products and services as well as our ability to deliver. With each big win we listen to our customers, and we continue to develop unique insights. This feeds our roadmap and ensures we deliver product iterations that brands want and need. Our customers know we are solid and today we work with each client as an extension of their team. Our flexible platform and agile approach enable our big customers to move fast, to test and learn, and deliver the optimum go-to-market eCommerce strategy.
Any final thoughts?
The eCommerce industry is a dynamic arena with both opportunities and challenges. While competition and customer expectations are on the rise, it offers immense potential for growth and profitability. To thrive, adaptability and a customer-centric approach are paramount. Despite the hurdles, eCommerce remains a powerful force, and strategic, forward-thinking brands can carve out their place in this evolving landscape.
To find out how Luzern can help your retail operation contact us here.
So What’s next?