Let’s make a trip overseas today since we have the honor to meet Virginie de Malavois, in charge of Lengow’s Canadian office.
Hi Virginie, can you introduce yourself in a few words?
Hello, I joined Lengow in October 2011 to launch the North-American subsidiary. Since the 1st of October, we have been running an office in Montreal where we manage Lengow’s Canadian and American activities.
Can you tell us more about your missions at Lengow?
My job consists in launching, running and developing Lengow’s North-American activity.
Our office is located in the city center of Montreal (on McGill College for those who know). Our short and medium-term goals are dual: we have to build a local merchants network and meet local partners who act either as commercial partner (e-commerce solution, web agencies) or as distribution channels (comparison shopping sites, marketplaces and affiliate platforms).
What about your career?
I began my career in France in 2003 at Kelkoo, leader of the French comparison shopping sites at the time, as an Account Manager. Then, I took advantage of the purchase of Kelkoo by Yahoo! to evolve within a big American group.
In 2007, I decided to join the subsidiary of eBay – Shopping.com – as a Key Account Manager. Shopping.com had just been launched in France and had to develop its e-retailers network. I was then in charge of purchase and fostering key accounts loyalty.
In 2009, I was appointed as the Sales Director at Shopping.com. I took part in the local strategic reflection, in commercial strategy set up and managed a team of accounts managers and sales managers. I am also the one who decided to raise the merchants’ PPC (Pay per Click).
At the end of 2011 I decided to join Lengow. You know what happens next.
How has the new Canadian office launch been going?
As for every company creation (Lengow Inc. is a Canadian company), time is precious. Last October has been mainly dedicated to the research and set up of the office, to the first recruitment phase and to the organization of our first fair in Canada – http://webcom-montreal.com/.
This event allowed us to test our offer with a new audience and to meet potential partners.
As a matter of interest, I started to canvass our first clients in a big apartment quasi empty where there was a terrible echo when I spoke. It is quite like the cliché of businessmen who launched their business in their garage!
Since November, several employees have joined us and we are all fully prospecting merchants and taking part in partnerships. We are already working with Shopbot.ca and Shoptoit for the Canadian part.
What would you advise to merchants who begin in e-commerce?
In this crisis period, e-commerce makes dream. A lot consider this field of activities as an Eldorado and think that they can become a millionaire just by creating a web site.
Reality is completely different. Merchants have to work hard to make the web users enjoy their website. It is difficult to make people want to get back and therefore generate incomes. Beyond the ergonomy of the site, which is maybe the most important part of the creation, it is necessary to plan out above a online communication strategy and to ask the right questions:
• Is my site a window with a few loss leaders or a real transactional site?
• On which tools should I communicate? Sponsored links, comparison shopping sites, affiliate platforms, social networks…
• What are the KPIs that I can follow (turnover, conversion rates, profit margin…)?
Lengow gives e-tailers solutions to these issues and a support in their strategic reflection. Lengow offers an efficient tool adaptable to every distribution channel. Our solution is made for every e-merchant, whatever their size. They have 10 products or 1 million? Our solution will always fit to their specific needs!
Many thanks Virginie !