Erica Berchtold from The Iconic: Pushing the Limits of eCommerce | #261

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Hear how Erica has taken The Iconic to the top.

Erica Berchtold from The Iconic
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Nathan Bush is a director at eCommerce talent agency, eSuite. He has led eCommerce for businesses with revenue $100m+ and has been recognised as one of Australia’s Top 50 People in eCommerce four years in a row. You can contact Nathan on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.

Erica, CEO of THE ICONIC is passionate, high energy, high impact female Executive with the ability to build, lead and motivate high performing teams to achieve outstanding results. Previous success includes her role as Managing Director of the Sports Division (rebel and Infinite Retail) at Super Retail Group, growing top line sales from $600m to $1 billion whilst maintaining EBIT margins of ~10%. She believes her greatest accomplishment however is to be able to realise such growth against market trends whilst growing team member engagement from 43% to 70%+ and customer engagement (NPS) from 19% to over 60%. Erica is passionate about supporting women in business and women in sport and actively mentors in this area. She is an accomplished keynote speaker on a variety of topics, whether it be leadership journey for women in business or the future of retail. Having graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Erica also has previous board experience as President of the Australian Sporting Goods Association, director of Western Sydney Wanderers Football Club, director of Sydney FC Football Club and is currently a Councillor for the Australian Retailers Association. Erica values courage, humility, resilience and curiosity, and her attitude towards change is best summed up by a favourite quote: “the illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Erica Berchtold, CEO of The Iconic. Erica is one of the most influential leaders in the retail landscape and Add to Cart’s most requested guest, the one person you all want to hear from!  The Iconic is Australia’s very own online fashion powerhouse, committed to customer and at the forefront of technology and innovation.  Despatching from a 28,000sqm fulfilment centre in Sydney, with almost a thousand staff, they continue to redefine the future of retail in Australia and New Zealand. Formerly GM at Rebel Sport, Erica joined The Iconic as CEO in 2019.  In this chat she shares the secrets to an 8 minute delivery turnaround – from order placed to ready to ship, the achievement she’s most proud of and the strategy tips that have taken The Iconic to the top.

1500 brands on site, 20m visits a month, 5m app downloads, we’re dealing with scale, big sets of eyeballs and traffic”

Erica Berchtold

The shop floor

“I used to love a shop floor when I worked in bricks and water. I used to love just going out, talking to customers and talking to the team in store and just hearing what was happening. So I’ve had to find my own way of being able to replicate that sort of experience for myself here in this business.  So I’ll sit in and listen to customer service courts just to hear how they’re having to, pacify or satisfy our customers.

I read every single customer comment that comes through in an NPS survey. That’s how I could try and hear what they’re saying. I love it. There’s some customers that just make me laugh so much.

There’s some that make me cry cause I’m like, oh my God, we stuffed up so badly. But then there’s some that just make me laugh just the comments they’re making about the items that they’ve bought or, or the sort of models that we use or what have you. Yeah. So I do love to give a random gift voucher to some people just with a little note from myself saying, hey, you made me laugh with your comment, I really do read this stuff, here’s $50.”

The cool kids

“When I started here that was the area that actually terrified me the most. I’d never, Nathan, you worked at Super Retail group with me, I don’t think we even had a job title in that tech team called product.  It just wasn’t a function that existed in that old sort of world.

And so coming into this business and suddenly having a team of engineers and product people, I was like, oh my goodness, what am I going to do? How am I gonna relate to these people? They’re from a different world. They’re the coolest dresses in the building. They’ve always got the funkiest sneakers and the funkiest outfits, I am just out of my depth. 

But then when I actually sat down and started talking to them, We were really all talking the same thing, like about solving customer pain points or improving their experience. They just had a different sort of language that they used to describe that.  Once we actually found out our way of understanding each other I realized I didn’t have anything to be so scared of.”

The juggle

“I believe not having to make a choice between family or career, that I actually was able to do both.  I have three young children. I have a eight year old, a five year old, and a three year-old. There are some people have these sayings, and they only target these sayings towards women where they say, oh, women can have it all, just not at once.  And I’m like, oh, that is such BS. 

Who does have it all at once? Life is a constant recalibration of, work a little bit at the moment, okay, down a bit, family, whatever. But the fact that I could have three kids as well as a career, I think is my proudest achievement.”

Questions answered in this episode include
  • How do you stay profitable while providing such a high bar customer experience?
  • Why do you have a focus on driving customers to your app over the website?
  • What drives The Iconic’s workplace culture?

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