We’re just coming up to our second birthday, wow it’s gone quickly already.
The concept behind vvast (always written with a small v, an idea borrowed from howies, thanks guys) is the fusion of my agency and client-side experiences. I worked agency side at Yucca (founded and sold) for 11 years and then did 5 years client side.
Having observed life on both sides of the fence vvast is a reflection of the learnings gleaned, I’ve taken the best bits, spotted the huge gaps and am hoping to avoid the pitfalls.
I’ve been asked occasionally, especially by my former agency colleagues and friends who know that I’m prone to a tease if I’ve set up another agency.
I honestly believe I haven’t (mild denial) but, I’m aware that there are components to what we do that are an agency like such as our acquisition capability.
But, fundamentally we look to replicate how a client-side ecommerce team functions.
In no particular order here are the key components that make up the vvast proposition, cherry-picked from my marketing, agency and retail experience.
- Brand first, revenue second.
- Focus resolutely on Direct to Consumer.
- Only work with brands you believe in.
- Only work with brands that don’t use discount as a way of acquiring customers, be in it for the long game – it’s where the best things happen.
- Welding together Onsite, acquisition, merchandising, buying and warehouse in one cohesive offer. I’m still aghast of the number of ecommerce websites, D2C or retail that operate without a solid Merchandising team behind them for example, it’s crazy and costing dearly from a missed opportunity point of view.
- Adopted a percentage of revenue performance model to avoid the increasingly obsolete retainer model agencies are forced to impose of their clients to justify their overheads. We pioneered the performance model in the early days of PPC at Yucca and I always respected the operators when I was client side that offered performance and short contract periods as it was evident they obviously believed in what they did – stand up Nosto (love you guys).
- Adopt the same trade planning (use trade plans and revise incessantly based on market conditions), retail maths/terminology, reporting phasing and approaches as brands. We. Are. The. Brand.
- Defined and still defining a culture of curiosity, collaboration and genuine respect for each other and the mission we are on. Our sales data both onsite, merchandising and from our buys means we can innovate for our brands really quickly. See a product category being searched a lot for onsite but has a poor user experience on landing? Build a landing page, er, that week, curate a product collection around if needed – whatever you need to do to improve that brand experience.
- Standardised working practices across multiple brands, our ‘vvast playbook’ means not only do we not reinvent the wheel every time we launch a new brand in EU / EMEA it also means that the value gleaned from many more thousands of user sessions and buying habits are applied to our learnings.
- Adopting a brand name that always gets people talking, probably for the wrong reason. We’ve observed that people from north of Birmingham tend to say it in the best possible way “vuur vuur vaaaasst” you say and other ‘Veeevasst’. “Why ya call it that?”.
- If we need to dev, build it so it can be productised.
- Define a stack tech that works and replicate… Brightpearl, Shopify, Nosto, Klaviyo.
- Use Macs, they work.
Bad bits, we didn’t adopt
- Revenue first, brand second.
- Looking at acquisition channel performance in pure channel silos – a HUGE pet hate of mine and I was guilty of it when I was agency side. I shudder to think how many times I used to quote whimsical conversion rate increases without considering a new season had just launched or the reverse a site could have been at the end of season and therefore riddled with understandable stock fragmentation.
- Trying to charge for peoples time as the sole revenue source, be this site builds or optimisation of channels. Why? It’s a form of madness and doesn’t leverage the true worth of the intellectual property, knowledge and wise experience in the people in the business.
- Ignoring the warehouse team. Never ignore the warehouse team, they are the cogs that keep everything turning and deserved to at the core of everything we are doing (especially in peak).
Really bad bits
- Avoided the common disconnect found internally between Merchandising, brand, store (HQ & instore), buying and ecommerce at all costs.
We’re on an exciting growth trajectory as more and more US brand realise they can get fast, capital free D2C entry into the EU market with a trusted and highly experienced partner.
So if you are looking for a change in your role do get in touch with us, we are hiring!