1. Tell us in a few words the story and objectives of the VTEX company.
Founded in Brazil in 2000, VTEX is one of the largest digital commerce solutions companies worldwide, offering a complex ecommerce platform that helps brands and enterprise retailers find new growth opportunities, reach customers through any channel and to streamline their operations so as to increase their profitability.
Currently, the VTEX platform is used by over 2,600 companies, including Carrefour, Colgate, Motorola, Sony, Stanley Black & Decker and Whirlpool, companies that have over 3,400 active stores in 38 countries.
Regarding our goals in Romania, we continue to focus on educating the market through strategic projects, such as the e-commerce course at the Polytechnic University, the partnerships we have with the big local players in retail, as well as through local events and multiple actions marketing. All our activities are aimed at increasing the client portfolio in the region and educating the market for sustainable and sustainable development.
2. What experience do you have in the field of digital commerce and what results have you obtained in previous projects?
I have over 15 years of experience in building online business lines for large Romanian and international companies. I have been passionate about e-commerce since the time when, in Romania, online was used as a product catalog.
My professional training in software engineering was very useful for me to understand in detail the businesses I contacted and managed, as well as the market trends regarding the implementation of new technologies.
I was always curious to develop new business lines and build from scratch, which helped me to launch and coordinate top online and omnichannel projects in Romania and in the region in the cosmetics or fashion sector for market leaders, such as Coty or Otter.
Practically, I laid the foundations of digital departments in large companies, but I also learned many lessons from the entrepreneurial period, when I launched my own projects. We had two startups, also in the field of digital commerce, and in one of them we worked with an important Romanian player in the optics market and we even managed to penetrate international markets. All of this contributed to my path to the position I am in today.
3. How do you describe your leadership style and how do you adapt it according to the context and the needs of your team? For example, you have to manage a team that works in different countries and time zones.
When we built the local team, we were working like a start-up. Everyone was responsible for their own projects and thought of ways they could help grow the company in the region, without a clear role delineation. Thus, I realized what each person’s strengths, personal goals and abilities are.
Practically, everyone built their own role in the company and developed in the direction they wanted and for which they were suitable. I don’t like to tell them exactly what to do, I prefer to guide them so that they become independent. Also, everyone, regardless of position, needs to know the basics of digital commerce and I encouraged them to study for the CMX certification, a commerce exam of the EICOM Institute, in the UK.
As for the skills of an ecommerce manager, I think the best managers are those who have worked for a retailer and understand how the operations of a physical or online store work and have very good technical knowledge. The fact that I am basically a software developer helped me a lot, but also that I had the opportunity to increase online business lines for various retailers.
I always trust the skills of the people in my teams and know that the projects I manage are in the best hands. Even if we work in different time zones, we manage to adapt so that we use the time as efficiently as possible.
4. How did you address time-to-market challenges and what strategies did you use to increase market share?
Our solutions are developed for enterprise customers, that is, for retailers and brands with large operations, which have a much more complex back-end architecture than it seems, with multiple middleware systems, WMS, ERP CRM, mobile applications and many other platforms that must be integrated to had a successful online store or marketplace.
In these conditions, the time-to-market period is essential for them, and we ensure that we deliver the technology in a timely manner. This also depends a lot on the company’s internal team, which provides us with all the necessary information and works together with us to achieve our common goals.
Although time-to-market can vary depending on complexity, we have also had record implementations of only 15 days. Of course, here we are talking about an online store with all the operations and integrations well set up, which needed a more efficient ecommerce platform, and the approach for go-live was in the direction of an MVP (minimum viable product), to be customized and improved later.
In order to increase our client portfolio, in addition to launching new functionalities and improving existing functionalities, we invest in market education and effective strategies to promote VTEX products and services.
5. How would you ensure that the brands you work with benefit from the freedom and flexibility offered by the VTEX platform and that they convey their vision?
Flexibility is an important point of the VTEX business strategy, that’s why we offer customers personalized experiences, not just simple functionalities, always adapted to their current and future needs. When we start a collaboration, we make sure that the services offered are adapted to the client’s business objectives, taking into account their uniqueness.
For example, we offer customers composable commerce technology, which allows companies to personalize their operations by combining different services and applications to create a personalized shopping experience for their customers.
This approach has become increasingly popular in recent years due to the increase in the number of applications and services available on the market and the need to personalize shopping experiences. The biggest advantages of composable commerce are flexibility and scalability, thus having the possibility to adapt more easily to changes in the market.
6. How did you manage crisis or conflict situations, both internally and externally, and what communication and negotiation skills did you implement?
In general, we do our best to prevent internal crisis situations through rigorous planning. When they exist, we establish an action plan through which we come up with solutions to minimize or eliminate any risk. Our focus is always on solutions, and a calm and results-oriented approach in crisis or conflict situations is the most effective method of resolution.
7. What trends and changes do you see in the digital commerce industry and how do you adapt to them? How do you keep up with the latest technologies and solutions in the field of commerce and how do you integrate them into your strategy?
Digital commerce has benefited a lot from new technologies and we can even talk about an accelerated rise in the last 5-10 years. Of course, after the strong growth, following the pandemic, now the dynamic has changed, but it remains a positive one and we believe that in 2023 we will still have a positive trend.
The digital commerce market in Romania is characterized by several main trends, including the implementation of the omnichannel strategy, the increased interest in opening marketplaces, the desire of online stores to enter international markets, along with the increased appetite of Romanian consumers for online purchases , especially from mobile devices.
Looking at all these trends, we not only adapt to them, but make efforts to anticipate them, constantly developing functionalities that simplify the management of stocks and orders and the entire buying process.
We can say that the e-commerce industry is closer to maturity, and many online stores in Romania will focus more on consolidation this year. And this focus on efficiency, on profitability will mean investments in automation, in new technologies, rather than in expansion.
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