In their quest for a healthier lifestyle, an increasing number of people are engaging in outdoor activities. Anyone from young people riding around the Ardennes on a mountain bike looking for adventure, to the less adventurous enjoying a peaceful stroll through the woods. What both have in common is the fact that they want high quality, reliable gear. A.S. Adventure Group gives them exactly what they’re looking for. They’re number 1 in Europe, and plans are to keep on growing in the years to come. It’s the Strategic Program Manager’s mission to realize that growth in a structured manner.
EUROPE’S #1 IN OUTDOOR
A.S. Adventure Group is Europe’s largest omnichannel retailer for outdoor clothing and necessities. They’re not just market leader in their home country Belgium, but also in The Netherlands and the UK.
In The Netherlands, A.S. Adventure Group has mostly gained recognition through the Bever stores. In Belgium, Luxembourg, and France, they own stores under their own name A.S. Adventure and under Yaya. In the UK, they have Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock, Cycle Surgery and Runners Need. Recently, they entered the German market by acquiring McTrek Outdoor Sports.
In total, they have over 250 stores and more than 4000 people working for them. Last year’s turnover amounted to around 650 million Euros. The company is profitable and shows both online and offline growth.
The pillars of A.S. Adventure Group’s success are specialized knowledge, high quality, and personal service. Their aim is to enlarge their footprint and increase their market share, in every country and through all channels.
AN AWARD-WINNING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
The state-of-the-art online platforms are another important driving force behind A.S. Adventure Group’s successful omnichannel proposition. This is evidenced by the numerous awards they’ve won: Bever won the award for Best Web Shop in The Netherlands in 2017-2018, in the Outdoor category. Bever also won the award for Retailer of the Year. This shows A.S. Adventure Group is more than capable of putting together a fantastic customer experience both online as well as offline.
Google recently named Bever the very best omnichannel experience in Europe, beating established names such as De Bijenkorf, MediaMarkt, Decathlon and Nike.
“Thanks to our lean & mean way of working, we get things done. Our clear focus and our pragmatic approach makes us one of the best in the field. If we concentrate on recruiting people with specific capabilities, I believe we can turn a good thing, into something fantastic.” – Hidde van der Louw, Chief Digital Officer A.S. Adventure Group
VACANCY: STRATEGIC PROGAM MANAGER DIGITAL
To maintain considerable growth across different countries and various channels, A.S. Adventure Group focuses on a consolidated digital strategy and approach. This offers customers a consistent purchasing experience and it increases both effectivity and efficiency.
The Strategic Program Manager Digital plays a key role in formulating and executing the overall digital strategy. The role was created to take on this specific challenge. He/she will be working at Group-level and will report directly to the Chief Digital Officer, Hidde van der Louw.
DEVELOPING AN OVERALL DIGITAL ROADMAP
The new Strategic Program Manager’s primary task is to establish an overall digital roadmap. Local needs will be used as input. Working closely together with the local digital teams (omnichannel, website, e-commerce, online marketing, etc.) is naturally very important.
The resulting roadmap will be more than a mere sum of the local needs. The Strategic Program Manager Digital quantifies the plans in business cases. He/she will also be carrying out analyses in order to come up with proposals for improvement. An example is the step-by-step analysis of the customer journey in different countries and channels; or having selected teams keep track of how much time they spend on their tasks to help identify inefficiencies.
The result is an integrated, prioritized, and extensive roadmap. An example of a project that could end up on the roadmap is the design of a universal approach to bring customer advice to the forefront consistently and explicitly, also online. Solutions here could be found in adding digital information labels, or QR codes connected to an app.
EXECUTING DIGITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS
The Strategic Program Manager Digital is also responsible for implementing an operating model to execute the roadmap. For example, implementing processes, planning scheduled meetings, designing templates, and even setting up new cross-functional or international teams.
Furthermore, The Strategic Program Manager Digital remains involved with the projects on the roadmap during its execution. He/she will provide support in setting up and managing the key projects. During the implementation process, the Strategic Program Manager Digital will communicate with the Head of Business Analysis to get from a business case to a product proposal, and subsequently incorporate the product proposal into the Digital Innovation Roadmap. He/she will monitor the implementation process and act as business partner in an RFP process. For example, when new technology must be acquired as part of an improvement project.
COOPERATION IS KEY
Evidently, cooperation is essential for this role. The Strategic Program Manager Digital must build and maintain excellent relationships with local stakeholders (M&O Directors, E-commerce Managers, CRM Managers, Online Marketing Managers). This professional will also have to cooperate well with the central teams working on digital development.
Working together with so many different layers in the organization, across different countries, the Strategic Program Manager Digital will spend about 65% of their time on the road. This allows them to build strong relationships essential to the success of this position.
- Master’s Degree in Business, preferable an MBA
- Minimum of 5 years as a management or business consultant
- Problem solver
- Strategic as well as hands-on
- Team player