Case Study: National e-commerce sales and marketing business

Restructuring for growth and profit of national e-commerce sales and marketing business

Business Profile

A national online division of a global telecommunications major. This business is one of the largest divisions in the Group’s main countries of operation (€5bn+ revenue), and contributes the lion’s share of revenues, and an even higher contribution towards profits. The online business is one of the largest e-commerce businesses in Europe, and is a major generator of new business for the Group, and is an increasingly important channel for customer care.

Business Challenge

The main challenges were to:

  • grow revenue
  • increase share of overall revenues vs other channels
  • improve the impact and efficiency of online marketing
  • put online at the heart of a multi-channel approach, combining the power of online, social media, stores, telesales and other channels
  • reduce development costs
  • slash development cycle times
  • benchmark as number one in the industry

What we did

In order to meet these challenges we:

  • deployed an interim manager as acting Vice President of the Division
  • restructured the operating team
  • transformed the sourcing strategy and adopted superior sourcing practices
  • built the business operation around the insights and metrics provided by a newly created web/online analytics capability
  • created a new online operation, funding through in-life operating cost reductions
  • the new online operation was also a leading example of integration of social commerce into a mature e-commerce operation

Business Impact

Traction was rapid, despite the norm within the host business for resistance to change. Overcoming localised scepticism, the following results were achieved within the 12 month turnaround:

  • absolute sales volumes increased quarter on quarter, on an increasingly sharp upswing. By the the third quarter, growth was 27%  vs the previous quarter
  • a multi-channel strategy was developed and implemented across all key channels with “online as the hub”
  • online channel share grew each successive quarter
  • cost savings of 15% were realised and reallocated to a new infrastructure and platform: eliminating the need for incremental CAPEX
  • unit profitability increased sharply by maintaining volumes in areas where careful price hardening was applied
  • a six times increase in the number of customers who chose to use online for customer care (rather than shoots or telephone channels), driving up the cost-effectiveness of the customer care operation
  • secured Industry Leader benchmark #1 position (independent multi-client, definitive industry benchmark annual study)
  • secured Google “category leader” accolade for most efficient online marketing


“I tasked them to turnaround my highest priority business unit and biggest problem child. They provided interim executive leadership and drove change in a highly consequential and professional way. By the third quarter stagnant revenues had been transformed into 27% growth, whilst costs were down and profits up. Even the 360 degree appraisals showed a marked increase in staff morale. Exceptional.” – CEO, European € Multi-Billion Telecoms Enterprise