Sally Middlemiss is Ecommerce Director at Rutland Cycling, an independent, family-run bike and accessories retailer. We asked Sally about the business and its challenges, the future of ecommerce and what she does for fun. Here is what she told us.
What does your company do?
We’re an independent bike shop, selling premium bikes and cycling gear. We also hire and demo bikes and are a leading e-bike retailer. As a family business, we are passionate about delivering excellent customer experiences and going the extra mile to inspire more people to get out cycling.
What were you doing before you joined Rutland Cycling?
I worked for Reuters in London and the US, then UK Trade & Investment.
What's your favourite part of your role?
I love the challenge of leading my team and driving growth in a fast-paced, ever-changing sector. And as a cyclist, it’s great to be immersed in the cycling world – I love being part of an organisation that helps people get fitter and enjoy cycling like I do!
What's your biggest challenge?
Cycle retail is fast moving and online, it’s fiercely competitive. For an independent retailer like us, it’s crucial to keep innovating and offer something genuinely different and better than the bigger players.
What's your view about where ecommerce is going?
The big trends in ecommerce are around data, personalisation and delivering an omnichannel offer – the millennial generation have come of age and increasingly there’s an expectation among consumers that you’ll use the insights you have about them.
Of course, knitting together all the data, building the single customer view and then using it to predict what the customer wants now or next, is a big challenge and this is still an emerging science. Over the next decade, we’ll definitely see artificial intelligence and augmented reality play a key part in ecommerce, and this offers exciting potential for ‘experiential’ retail, like cycle – how can we use these technologies to bring online and in-store experiences closer together?
What do you do for fun at the weekend?
This year I’m riding a number of sportives, including the Fred Whitton Challenge in the Lake District, which I’m pleased to say I completed in early May; Women v Cancer Ride the Night; and the Dunwich Dynamo.
I’m also a volunteer British Cycling Breeze Champion, so I’m often leading women’s rides both on and off road. Away from the bike, I enjoy spending time with my family – we love to escape for the weekend and go walking or camping.
Favourite business book, quote or speaker?
I’m currently reading Sir Alex Ferguson’s book, ‘Leading’, and it’s the best business book I’ve read for a long time. Some fascinating insights and experiences to draw from and many words of wisdom.
Visit the website at www.rutlandcycling.com
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