Steve became a chartered accountant in 1995, leading him to Analyst roles at Kingfisher and Superdrug, where he rose rapidly through the ranks, becoming Group Chief Analyst and Head of Strategy for General Merchandise. In 2001, after six years at Kingfisher, he joined catalogue and retail outlet Argos as Finance Director.
In 2005 Steve joined Tesco to front their Tesco Direct business. As CEO he took the company from a rough business plan to launch, all in less than a year. He also helped make Tesco Direct’s online business one of the top UK retail websites in its own right.
In October 2007, Steve joined the UK’s leading discount branded fashion and sportswear e-tailers, MandMDirect.comas CEO, hired as part of the secondary buyout of the company by TA Associates.
MandMDirect.com launched in 1998 initially as mandmsports.com. It is now, having expanded its product offering, pitched as the number one discount branded online store in the UK selling branded goods at up to 75% off RRP. Majority owned since October 2007 by US based private equity firm TA Associates, MandMDirect.com remains headquartered in the Herefordshire market town of Leominster and is continuing its ambitious growth plans with recent improvements to its transactional website and the opening of an 80,000 sq ft warehouse this summer to accompany the 200,000sq ft distribution centre and new Call Centre launched last year.
Questions answered by Steve Robinson
- What trends as strategies do you see as key to successful execution of online trading for companies who pursue a non discount based format.
- How much use is Google pay per click? Is it worth it when using it alongside seo (search engine optimisation)?
- Design can chew up money fast from previous experience, what should I do in the future to ensure my site design bill doesn’t go through the roof?
- Does the panel think interactive catalogues are something that marketers should be considering in their marketing plans?
- Contraction of the media and reduced pagination in fashion magazines make it increasingly difficult to gain traditional press coverage - how can a website gain a higher profile editorially and how should this fit into the marketing mix?
- I would welcome any advice that you have from your experience in order fulfilment when operating online.
- I am wondering whether offering free p&p is of benefit to an ecommerce site or are reasonable postage charges a better way to go?