Client Story

When a leadership gap jeopardizes holiday sales

Christmas was coming, and a big-box category killer was counting on its $1-billion-plus US e-commerce business to deliver the robust holiday-season profit and revenue gains that investors expected. The company had begun building a new digital platform for that critical e-commerce website and ramping up its holiday-season planning. Then the chief digital officer suddenly resigned. With the countdown-to-the-holidays clock ticking, the company turned to AlixPartners to plug the leadership gap and help turn its e-commerce vision into reality.

An e-commerce team steps up the pace

AlixPartners quickly dispatched a team to assume de facto leadership of the e-commerce unit. We went straight to work on several crucial fronts, including forging good working relationships with the heads of marketing, merchandising, and supply chain. At the same time, we launched an aggressive testing regime for the US e-commerce website to fix usability issues—such as error messages, missing product-detail pages, and other shopper pain points—and convert more online visits into sales. We also redirected digital marketing investments to get more from advertising expenditures, upgraded the website search function to boost sales effectiveness, and cleaned up localized store data to help steer visitors to the nearest brick-and-mortar outlet.

We monitored the entire effort from a war room, meeting daily with representatives from various company functions to triage and tackle operational problems. We also stepped up the pace, heightened the intensity, and multiplied the frequency of performance measurements to make sure that the operational and commercial improvements stayed on track.

When it really matters

It’s no exaggeration to say that Christmas was saved for this retailer. The company reported double-digit revenue increases not only for the all-important holiday season but also for the full year, as well as gains in EBITDA. What’s more, thanks to the e-commerce team’s focus on bridge building, the digital unit now has a closer, more productive relationship with its colleagues in marketing, merchandising, and supply chain—thereby setting the stage for more online success in the future.