Jessica Ip, Head of Commercial and Transformation at CouriersPlease, believes adapting to the way consumers purchase products is imperative to remain agile and survive in today’s unpredictable retail climate.
In this article, Jessica recounts her retail journey and explains how retailers need to adopt an interconnected presence across all channels to create a cohesive buying ecosystem for consumers.
Please provide some background of your retail history, i.e., when you started, the stores/start-ups/brands you’ve been involved in.
My love for retail began at an early age when I started my first job at Bakers Delight. I was 15 years old and loved the interaction with customers. Before starting at CouriersPlease (CP), I worked for an iconic high-profile consumer brand, Qantas, for over a decade.
What made you want to work in the industry? What is the best part of your job?
I came to love the retail industry when I realised there were so many opportunities to help and evolve the industry. Retail affects everyone and touches every part of the global economy. One of the most rewarding parts of my role involves using my background in technology to develop innovative solutions and improve operations, to create a better online retail delivery experience for retailers and their customers.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? And what have you learned about yourself?
In five years, I want to be still doing what I love: innovating and transforming. Sustainability is a crucial focus of mine, and I hope to be able to incorporate this into my work. Throughout my career, I’ve learned that I’m not easily demotivated, and once I have my mind set on a project, I’ll be determined to see it to the end. I’m also very passionate to drive change and improve efficiency.
How has your vision changed since you first started?
My trajectory has entirely changed from when I first started my career. Now at CP, I’m spearheading transformations, with significant changes occuring both internally and for our customers. We hope to bring Australia a premium service unlike anything we have ever seen, making CP the premium courier choice for all retailers.
What has been the most challenging point in your career?
The biggest challenge in my career has not been a single moment, but it’s the unknown path that I’ve always found to be the most nerve-racking. Moving out of my comfort zone and leaping into something new is difficult for me, though I enjoy the plunge.
What do you see as your future obstacles?
The retail industry changes rapidly and things move in three-month windows. Keeping up with technology innovations and customer demands is a continuing obstacle for anyone in the industry. The key to success for any retailer is to keep a pulse on what is relevant.
What advice would you give young people in the industry who are passionate about making a career in retail?
My advice to anyone starting in industry is to love what you do. Being passionate about your product will help you succeed. If you genuinely believe in what you do, that’s when you can drive efficiency and affect change.
How can the retail industry better support you as a leader in your field?
It’s vital to the success of any industry to connect its leaders more frequently. At CP, we could learn a lot from the leaders in the retail industry, and vice versa. We would also greatly benefit from retailers sharing materials online, revealing trends in the market, and customer demand – utilise those social media channels!
What is one challenge or issue affecting retailers today?
Retailers, even more so in logistics, also need to provide just enough information to manage the customers’ expectations but not to bombard them with too much. It’s a delicate balance between transparency and overwhelming your customers with an explosion of data, but those that get it right will keep their customers with more than just a cheap price tag.
How do you think retailers can engage better with customers?
Your brand becomes your personality, so retailers should keep it authentic. Customers are more likely to stay loyal to your brand if they like your brand personality. Retailers can also engage with their customers through technology. Those that are first to market or leaders in innovation will also keep customers loyal to the brand.
The Australian Retailers Association’s (ARA) Women in Retail Series celebrates the extraordinary achievements of female retail leaders in the industry by sharing stories behind their success. This collection of anecdotes looks to build confidence in females working across the sector, inspiring them to achieve their personal and professional goals. To read more inspirational stories like Jessica’s, visit the Australian Retailers Association’s Women in Retail series at info.retail.org.au/womeninretail