Mark Shrives (pictured) has helmed the role of a field digital services director for Marriott International’s portfolio of over 55 hotels in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar. His duties include online travel agent strategy, customer acquisition activities, digital campaigns, hotel website content and optimisation, social media strategy and additional oversight of all online touchpoints for the hotels.
He was previously the director of eCommerce – digital and distribution at Movenpick Hotels and Resorts. Shrives spent three years with the hotel group, giving him insight into the retail landscape and the ability to drive brand and omni-channel strategies. Shrives also played a pivotal role in the growth of Movenpick in Asia, where the high performance of the brand ultimately led to an acquisition.
Prior to Movenpick, Shrives held several roles in eCommerce, sales and revenue disciplines, including VP of eCommerce for MBK Hotels and Resorts as well as group director of sales and marketing for Hansar Hotels and Resorts. Joining this year’s Asia eCommerce Awards as a judge, Shrives shares his views on the evolving eCommerce industry.
Marketing: What is your perspective of the eCommerce industry?
Shrives: I think the eCommerce industry is in such an exciting time, especially in Asia, where the tradition of buying, selling, and wanting to be your own entrepreneur is transitioning to the online space. The same access and accessibility to whatever is in trend, in-demand or being shared on social now reaches from mega-cities to the countryside, and it is spurring a host of new businesses to meet the demand.
From a travel perspective, we are seeing this incredible desire from all generations toward experiential living, and this is spurring aggressive growth in eCommerce.
Marketing: How have you witnessed the eCommerce industry evolve over the past few years?
Shrives: If we look at it from a travel perspective, I think what we are witnessing is along the lines of:
- More personalised content on websites, which in-turn spurs greater engagement and conversion as it is serving the customers interests.
- Apps and loyalty are speeding up the conversion process, and complicated and expensive transactions can now be done in a few clicks. However, the research cycle leading to that purchase decision is as long and varied as ever.
- An enhanced level of data and targeting has allowed us to understand the customer journey better and know when to send the right message at the right time in the purchase cycle, which has spurred increased conversion rates.
- As everyone moves online, the cost per acquisition and ad costs are moving online, which really forces eCommerce dependent businesses to enliven content and execute results driven eCommerce campaigns.
- Authenticity and trust are an absolute must to drive sustained eCommerce growth.
Marketing: What comes to mind when you think of eCommerce excellence?
Shrives: When I think of eCommerce excellence, I look to the ability of the business to unify and align its messaging across a multitude of touchpoints, and potentially even separate products or brands online. If the customer understands the value proposition, positioning of the product and how it meets their needs, then conversion based on price is less of a factor towards profitability.
I also look at how the experience breaks down the barriers and pain points in the purchase path to deliver an eCommerce strategy that leaves the customer feeling positive and excited by the experience.
Marketing: What qualities will you be looking out for in the entries for Marketing’s eCommerce awards?
Shrives: What I am really looking forward to seeing is a campaign that has broken down barriers in the digital space, and in turn unlocked new ways of driving eCommerce performance.
The winner should have started with an almost obsessive need to make the experience better and delivered results based upon the vision they had from the outset, no happenstance luck will cut it.
If they fulfill this, sales, profits and scalable success will be natural.
Marketing: Why do you think recognising eCommerce players is important to the industry?
Shrives: I believe that shining a light on the true innovators, leaders and teams that are evolving the eCommerce industry helps accelerate and lift the overall field to new heights. Everyone wants a spot on that podium and seeing what it takes to get there is a jolt of motivation to those of us working in the field. I am certainly inspired by my peers and seeing what they can achieve makes me want to be better.
Recognising talent, teamwork and innovation also has the ability to get the PR out about what interesting career opportunities exist in the eCommerce realm.
Marketing: Where do you think eCommerce will be in 5 years?
Shrives: I have been in this industry for a while, and while the last few years the pace of innovation has accelerated, I think there will still be challenges to bring the incredible technological advances taking shape into the mainstream, whether these are political or environmental factors. But with 5G truly on the horizon, the power we will have to access information, process incredible amounts of data and integrate AI further into people’s lives will be exciting to see play out.
I definitely believe eCommerce will become much less frictionless and embedded naturally into our lives, from how we engage with physical products, to how we move from social inspiration to purchase, it will be a seamless experience. I just hope technology enriches our lives and helps us solve big issues, not further divide us.
Last year, RedMart triumphed at Marketing magazine’s first-ever regional Asia eCommerce Awards, taking home the title of eCommerce Brand of the Year while IDOTYOU took home the top agency title of eCommerce Agency of the Year. RedMart bagged the awards for Best eCommerce Merchant – Consumer Goods, Best eCommerce Customer Service, Best Design, Best Platform Experience, Best AdWords eCommerce Campaign and Best Mobile eCommerce Campaign. Meanwhile, IDOTYOU brought home two trophies throughout the night for its collaboration with McDonald’s Malaysia on the latter’s app, and for the re-launch of McDelivery.