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Top 50 Q&A: Anna Samkova, PAS Group

Welcome to our weekly Q&A with Internet Retailing’s 2019 Top 50 People in E-Commerce. You can find this year’s Top 50 report here, and see our previous Q&As here.

This week, Internet Retailing interviews Anna Samkova, PAS Group general manager for digital and loyalty. Anna ranked 44th on our list this year.

Short on time? Here are the three key takeaways from the interview:

  • When it comes to engagement, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, you need to approach it on a brand-by-brand basis.
  • The loyalty space has changed dramatically, and now requires personalised content to establish and drive loyalty.
  • The best advice is to show up every day and commit to becoming better.

Internet Retailing: What does an average day look like for you? What are the daily concerns? 

Anna Samkova: I start my day at 5am and have a strict morning routine that consist of exercise, journaling and meditation. 

I approach each day with an intention to complete up to 3 priorities that are not negotiable, and need to happen no matter what. These are mainly around current projects, people and strategies.

I’ll have a few meetings which normally are short and sharp, spend time with our customer service team, to check if there are any issues, or opportunities I should be paying attention to. 

IR: What are the challenges involved in creating a cohesive digital and loyalty program that functions across multiple brands? What are the lessons you’ve learned in terms of servicing multiple audiences? 

AS: There is no one fit for all, and you need to approach it on a brand-by-brand basis, understand what drives customer’s engagement with the brand, take their purchase history into consideration, and potentially predict what they are going to purchase. 

To service multiple audiences requires a lot of attention and focus because you need to create more content across all channels that creates relevancy to a particular audience.

We use Lexer to give us actionable insights – the more you analyse, the more you understand customer behaviour. 

IR: You’ve held loyalty positions at various businesses over the last 15 years. How has the space changed in that time? 

AS: It has changed dramatically. 

In the past, it was enough just to be loyal to the brand and the story behind it, now, to boost loyalty, you need to offer a more personalised customer experience in order to establish a stronger relationship and trust between brand and consumer. 

IR: What are some of the trends you’ve seen cropping up during that time and where is the space headed?

AS: With the new emerging technologies like AI and Voice, customers get what they want faster and drive better brand loyalty.

Another tool that is becoming increasingly popular amongst the marketing teams is a customer data platform (CDP) that can unify all the customer records into a single source of truth, which helps them to deliver a more personalised and relevant experience. 

IR: What advice would you give women who want to rise through the ranks in the retail industry? 

AS: The same advice I would give to anyone else: show up every day, commit to become better, practice resilience, be action oriented rather than delaying until everything just perfect (it never is!), be nice to people, and just be ‘human’. 

It has been scientifically proven that if you can commit to getting 1% better each day for one year, you’ll end up 37 times better by the time you are done.

Imagine the difference it could make to your career and your life!

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