eShopWorld | Strategy

Strategy-setting on twin tracks

In internet commerce, it’s usually an unseen hand that makes each purchase as quick and convenient as possible. Ireland’s eShopWorld is one of them. The Dublin-based company helps some of the world’s best-known brands offer a seamless e-commerce experience whether their customers are in Canada or Katmandu. In a split second, eShopWorld’s technology solutions show every price in the customer’s local currency, adjusting for real-time exchange rates, and adds relevant cross-border taxes. But eShopWorld’s services extend well beyond individual transactions – it uses the data at its disposal to help brands build website traffic, acquire new customers, optimize promotions, and manage inventory, among other tasks.

“The big advantage we provide for most brands is that we give them global reach without any brand dilution,” says Chief Executive Officer Tommy Kelly. “And a major part of that is keeping up with consumer expectations when it comes to their digital experience.”

The company’s intake-infused strategic planning process helps keep it on the leading edge of that change. It starts with the five to 20 eShopWorld employees that are involved in every brand account. They communicate daily with the client to obtain customer feedback, product requirements, and generally what’s driving their growth. These insights are combined with real-time information on customer behavior being generated by eShopWorld’s internal data team, and feed into a biweekly strategic review held by the company’s top executives. At those meetings, the executives bring in outside advisers to challenge their views and provide different perspectives. In the US, for example, eShopWorld has an advisory board of retail and luxury goods specialists, with whom it confers regularly.

“…a major part of that is keeping up with consumer expectations when it comes to their digital experience.”

All of this information is incorporated in an annual strategic review held by the board at the start of each year, but material changes to the plan occur regularly in the intervening months within each of the 25 teams that represent different parts of the business. “We have a three- to five-year strategic plan but it’s being updated on a quarterly basis,” Kelly says. “Our strategy largely depends on our clients’ needs, so we’re constantly operating on twin tracks.”

A 2017 strategic decision to invest heavily in a cloud-based microservices platform illustrates the point. The company added more than 150 new staff over a two-year period to support the effort, which enabled eShopWorld to continuously deploy large, complex applications to meet new demands in individual markets, rather than have to outsource their development. When Mexico started requiring shopper identification at virtual checkouts in 2020, eShopWorld introduced a new application for its clients to collect that information – in a matter of weeks. The company has the ability now to deploy up to 30 applications on its platform each day.

“As an organization, it’s imperative that we can maintain flexibility in our strategy,” Kelly says. “We can’t be restricted to waiting for the next board meeting, because if waited that long we wouldn’t be responsive to our clients’ needs.”

Learn more