Piper hosts 8th networking lunch

Piper hosts its eighth networking lunch, focused on the direct and e-commerce sectors.

Piper hosted its eighth networking lunch to discuss the challenges of growing direct and e-commerce based businesses. Guests included senior managers and owner managers from a number of highly successful companies within these sectors.

The speaker was Ajay Kavan, Vice President, Consumables at Amazon, where he is responsible for building businesses in large market segments (including Mother & Baby, Health & Beauty, Pets and Grocery) as well as for customer experience and strategic initiatives such as ’Subscribe and Save’. He previously launched the online businesses at Littlewoods and B&Q and was on the board of Homebase for several years.

In sharing his experiences of launching multi-channel retail businesses in the UK, Kavan argued that one of the keys to help drive innovation is to broaden benchmarking exercises outside of the retail sector and focus more on customers than competitors. He recalled how, by looking to the US airline industry, Littlewoods pioneered the first retail IVR execution in the UK in Index stores allowing customers to check stock in their local stores before the advent of the internet.

He also highlighted the importance of long-term thinking. He spoke of Jeff Bezos’s mantra “Be stubborn on vision but flexible on details” and explained how it led to the birth of Amazon Marketplace – initially in the face of much resistance. “Today it is one of the key drivers of our business model,” said Kavan.

Another useful tip for fast-growth businesses is to develop a strong set of principles. As Screwfix underwent massive expansion, Kavan told how a simple selection principle was established.

“They decided they would only sell tools and materials that tradespeople would use regularly on a job,” he said. ’So if a buyer suddenly got a big offer on thermoses, they knew that they didn’t need to engage. No meetings, no conversations.

“Principles like that empower teams in an organisation and are critical to support fast moving and resource constrained businesses.”

Community power – our latest virtual Geekmeet with 100 brands

[20 Dec 2020] - ‘We were weeks away from going bust, so we decided to be completely transparent with our loyal community of Snagglers and ask them for their…

Read more

Our first virtual GeekMeet – democratising ecommerce at Shopify

[13 Oct 2020] - At Piper, we love helping entrepreneurial brands grow. To do this, we are constantly reassessing what founders and businesses need from a partner in supporting…

Read more

Community power – our latest virtual Geekmeet with 100 brands

[20 Dec 2020] - ‘We were weeks away from going bust, so we decided to be completely transparent with our loyal community of Snagglers and ask them for their…

Read more

Our £7m investment into multi-award winning villa brand, The Thinking Traveller

[6 Dec 2020] - We are excited to have invested £7m into The Thinking Traveller, the world’s most thoughtful villa brand, backing founders and joint-CEOs Huw and Rossella Beaugié…

Read more

Mindful Chef finds new home with Nestle after 5x growth

[12 Nov 2020] - We are delighted to announce that Mindful Chef has been bought by Nestlé. In a wonderful two-year journey since we invested £6m in December 2018,…

Read more

Learn. Earn. And have fun: growing cultures in challenger brands

[25 Oct 2020] - If you come to our office and weave your way into the Cosy Room, you will find our library of business books, amassed over the…

Read more