The most magical time of the year at bol.com has started again, the peak season. A busy period for our bol.com’ers. Before and during these holidays, all disciplines work hard together. First in line, like every year, is Black Friday. And this year we made sure our customers could enjoy it for a whole week. But what is it like to work at bol.com during the peak season? And how do we all work together? We spoke two bol.com’ers from the commerce department, the so-called shops.
Each shop within bol.com has its own Promotion & Campaign Specialist. Laura Witteveen is Promotion Service Specialist for the Health shop. Together with the team, she is responsible for the implementation of promotions. These promotions are linked to campaigns. In this case, it was the Black Friday campaign. Corné Regnerus is Buyer for the sales channel of bol.com’s own products. Together with the team, he is responsible for purchasing. His job is to look for the best possible deals and best prices for products in the assortment. Every Promotion Specialist works together with a Buyer.
Preparation is key
Black Friday is an important and big campaign. Therefore, it’s necessary to start most preparation in September. It starts with a good planning and clear agreements. Laura’s responsibility is making an inventory of all the promotions that are planned. “Some promotions are given extra attention through TV, radio, display and social media.” The main job of Corné is to negotiate the best deals and estimate what they think they will sell. After the planning is done, they must make sure that the goods arrive at the warehouse on time. That is where most of the work lies, according to Corné. “After the estimation, they have to keep an eye on the stock situation. If something is sold faster than expected, it is necessary to remove and rearrange stock, so that there is still a possibility for customers to buy. In the meantime, you must keep an eye on your turnover and margin.”
Going for it together
Laura: “Black Friday is one of my favorite campaigns. This year, the common goal was to create the Best Week Ever, with great weekly and daily deals. I think it is awesome to strive for the desired target together, the whole team is focused on that. It is an important week of the year for the Promotion Specialists. There is a lot of pressure, and a lot is happening in the market. You work closely with various disciplines within bol.com such as Sourcing, Account Developers and Customer Journey Specialists. The team is constantly monitoring and pushing the right buttons to make sure everything runs smoothly. These are dynamic weeks. A lot of things happen that you cannot always predict in advance. That is what makes it so much fun. What I like most about Black Friday is that we really work together. Everyone is excited about it. The energy is high and that creates a great feeling of community. Together we want to achieve nice results, and celebrate the successes.”
Corné: “The whole period of Black Friday is a peak time. It can’t go fast enough. But Black Friday itself is THE moment. The moment we go live… amazing. Everyone is really hyped up. Then, at night, from 12.00 a.m. to 1.00 a.m. we sit together with a large team in an online call. This creates a fun atmosphere. We constantly keep an eye on everything, including the competition, and are optimizing all day long. Competing makes it feel like we are playing in the Champions League together, which is pretty cool. It is different from a normal working day because you are much more intensely involved with each other. We fire each other up with enthusiasm and guessing games. That’s the best part, the team spirit you get from working together towards a certain goal.”
Is it also challenging at times?
Laura: “Well, the most tricky thing is, that you don’t know what the market is doing. So it could be that a competitor is much lower in price, causing our range to drop out of promotion. Then we need to be quick in shifting our gears and switch to plan B. We always have different scenarios ready to go to achieve our goals.”
Corné: “Every job has its own challenge. With me, it is always an estimation. There is no such thing as perfection. Because you have either bought too much or too little and then you are empty. Ideally, the Monday after Black Friday you should still have some stock or just empty. The big challenge is always, are my expectations right about the deal I’ve come up with?”
It’s over! And now? Time to celebrate?
Laura: “At the end of Black Friday, we always have an (online) event with all our colleagues. Then it is really nice to look back on the magical week we had. We all worked hard and achieved our goals. That means celebrating together.”
Corné: “In addition to the (online) event, we have an online team day after Black Friday. That meeting is to have fun with each other. After such a busy period, it’s good to relax.”
At bol.com, we do Black Friday together, in which all disciplines have worked hard. We can be proud of the results we achieved and the hard work of our colleagues. On to the rest of the holiday season!