Steve Denning, who writes about 21st Century leadership, Agile and innovation, has said, “Agile’s emergence as a huge global movement extending beyond software is driven by the discovery that the only way for organizations to cope with today’s turbulent customer-driven marketplace is to become agile. Agile enables organizations to master continuous change. It permits firms to flourish in a world that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.”
This most certainly describes the business environment today. Agile is more than tools and techniques, it’s a state of mind, requiring an iterative approach and collaborative problem solving. But many teams struggle with the necessary teamwork to make Agile happen.
Swedish beauty and hair care provider Lyko is a story of a successful Agile ecommerce approach, and the successful foundation for Agile teamwork behind it.
Lyko has become the Nordic region’s leading player in the segment. Some reasons why this has happened aren’t surprising — the company offers a huge range of quality beauty and hair care products, has attentive and personable in-store and online personnel, and provides fast and reliable delivery.
Key to its growth has also been a commanding digital commerce presence – the company has over 79 million visitors to its websites, offers a product range with over 55,000 products from more than 1,000 brands online, and handles over 3.1 million orders. Lyko’s ecommerce business today accounts for over 80 percent of sales but does so much more.
The company’s resilient and stable mobile website supports consumers on the move, offers a rich digital platform with a look and feel reminiscent of Lyko’s stores as well as their attentive and skilled in-store staff, as well as a booking system integrated with the e-commerce platform, allowing customers to use the site for both shopping and treatment bookings. Its digital prowess extends also to create frictionless experiences with consumers in store, via modern POS solution that empowers store associates to better serve customers from inventory search and loyalty program integration to check-out.
But all of this wasn’t built in a day, in fact, the digital commerce deployment required thousands of hours and couldn’t have happened without a few key ingredients. Chief among these was an environment of trust and teamwork along with an agile ecommerce development strategy. This combination fostered a shared understanding of goals, the means to anticipate issues, and the ability to formulate dynamic responses.
The CEO of Lyko, Rickard Lyko, set out to establish an agile ecommerce team – and this included my group, at ecommerce consultancy and technology provider Avensia. Lyko wanted a collaborative partner; one that would challenge its ideas and give feedback on the company’s goals. The company felt these were critical aspects to helping achieve significant growth through an ecommerce strategy with a long-term vision.
Andrew Laudato, COO of Vitamin Shoppe, has written extensively about how organizations can embrace agile thinking and doing in his book, Fostering Innovation: How to Build an Amazing IT Team. He underscores the need for trust and communication as well as other guidelines for agile innovation. These include the understanding that priorities will change, so teams must continue to evangelize their purpose for existing: their “why.” Laudato also emphasizes that team leaders place a particular emphasis on ensuring their team’s psychological safety, so they know it’s ok to try and to fail. Innovation means risk and risk means failure; for teams to be comfortable with failing, they must first feel safe.
The most important aspect of an e-commerce alliance is one built on trust. When a business engages with an e-commerce solutions provider, it’s essential that everyone on the team understands the vision so that they can work toward a common goal. The best clients come to their e-commerce partner with a challenge, while giving them the autonomy to decide upon the best strategy and solution to support that strategy.
Since its new digital commerce presence was launched, Lyko has seen growth stronger than the industry average and sales of more than three items per second during the busy holiday shopping week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. What’s more, it’s immersive digital commerce has cultivated an engaged customer base that keeps coming back for Lyko’s social platform tips, shared experiences, discussion posts and photos.
A digital commerce deployment requires the best technology; however, the single greatest determinant of success is the teamwork around the technology. Lyko had a healthy respect for the value of both.