wnDirect underlines the importance of innovation by giving it a seat at the table

Sep 25, 2015

Known for doing things a bit differently wnDirect has done more than pay lip service to 'innovation' but has underlined its importance to the business by creating the role of Innovation Director.

Chloe Harris, previously Head of Innovation, has been promoted to Innovation Director joining fellow female Amy Collins, Global Marketing Director on the board.

A lot of businesses talk about being innovative, in fact it has become the must-have descriptor featuring in mission statements around the world. However, there is a big difference between using the phrase and having it at the heart of everything you do. At wnDirect innovative thinking has driven a number of exciting product and service launches and keeps everyone in the business on their toes as they aspire to look for the next game changer.

Chloe joined wnDirect in August 2013. Her initial role focussed on the management of wnDirect's country portfolio with a view to expanding the number of destination lanes. It quickly became apparent that the best way of working was to integrate the various teams at wnDirect so Chloe was promoted to Head of Innovation. It quickly became apparent that this cross-functional way of working was incredibly beneficial to the business and the Director of Innovation role was developed. Chloe has a birds-eye view of all projects and initiatives at wnDirect enabling her to understand and direct the functional teams so that these new initiatives are not only brought to market quicker but are also market ready. A good example of this is the speed with which wnDirect was able to bring wnCollect, the world's first worldwide click and collect solution, to market.

Speaking about the role Chloe said: "At wnDirect we recognise the role everyone in the business has to play. For each new project we consolidate project resource from around the business and from multiple disciplines. IT, international as well as new recruits. The staff at wnDirect have wide ranging, broad experiences which spans logistics and retail. This mix means that we really understand the implications of each new initiative and how its development and launch will 'touch' each of the business units as well as the potential pitfalls for those departments. By assuming this birds eye view from the outset we have been able to expedite the development and launch of some really exciting innovations. That's not to say we rush, we don't. We have simply created a knowledgeable team of people that work really well together and understand and embrace this way of working. This approach has afforded us speed and agility but we also ensure everything we do is robust. This was a big part of why GeoPost invested in us. They view us as innovative in the true sense of the word, a critical factor in the fast paced world of eCommerce".

Chloe has her work cut out for her over the next few months as wnDirect continues to focus on overcoming the various challenges that retailers face whilst either launching or expanding their international offerings.

Continuing Chloe said: "Online marketplaces continue to play an important role in international expansion. Our Tmall offering, our route to China, has proved incredibly successful and we are focussed on developing other solutions which enable retailers to access other international marketplaces. For many countries these are a vital route to success as they offer a platform where retailers can instantly access large numbers of consumers who are already familiar with international purchasing.

"We are also finding that fashion retailers are interested in expanding their offerings abroad and allowing their international customers to purchase cosmetics and nail polishes, for example. These products are not only often in liquid form they are also often flammable and, therefore, labelled as hazardous, so not as easy as this may sound! But a solution that could manage such items would offer significant value to our retailers. We have found that the best innovations are actually those that offer simple solutions to common problems."

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