This week we have been talking to Rob Wood, Head of Online and Digital at The Entertainer to find out about his career journey and what tips he would give to students who are keen to develop careers in ecommerce.
What did you study at university and what impact did it have on your career path?
English. I started my ecommerce career focussing on online content so it gave me a good grounding in how audiences respond to language.
What work experience did you undertake per landing a permanent position?
I did lots of odd jobs – silver service waiting, accounts payable, reporting on non-league football matches. I didn’t have a master plan for what I wanted to do but it gave me a good flavour of different workplaces and cured me of any interest in working in accountancy.
Did you take part in any societies while at university, and if so, did you learn any valuable skills from your time?
I played a lot of sport which develops great skills for most career paths – teamwork, communication, competitiveness.
What advice do you have for those who are just starting university right now?
You’ll never have so much spare time again so make the most of it. And enjoy yourself.
How important is a brand’s culture when choosing positions to apply for?
Really important and it’s definitely worth asking lots of questions about it when you interview. There are advantages and disadvantages of working everywhere – understanding what they are and adapting to them is the key to succeeding. So ask the person interviewing to talk you through the culture as it will help you decide whether it’s a place you will do well.
What is the most challenging part of your current role?
Deciding where the priorities are. There are 1000s of possible ways to grow our online sales and my job is to decide which ones are the most time and cost-effective. Because technology is changing so quickly it’s impossible to predict how customers will shop in a couple of years’ time, so our strategy is to find low risk projects that keep us up to date with the latest trends in online shopping and communication but allow us to react quickly if things change.
Has your role changed, or have your responsibilities evolved, as you’ve worked for The Entertainer?
My role has changed a lot. When I joined The Entertainer I was running a small online content team. Over the last five years I’ve gradually taken on responsibility for user experience, commercial performance and online marketing and I now lead a team of 15.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting career interviews with some of Rob’s colleagues: a Copywriters, an Online Merchandiser, and a Content and Social Media Assistant. The interviews are all about what they learned at university, the impact it had on their careers and their advice for current students. Watch this space!