Marty Ellis, eBay’s head of retail customer experience speaks to Retail Week about his first job and retail’s omnichannel future.
What was your first job in retailing?
I worked behind the counter in Subway as a teenager. It wasn’t easy but it taught me that the customer is always right.
Which retail company do you admire most and why?
There are many. Mountain Warehouse stands out for me at the moment. It’s expanding at home and abroad and we’re proud to have helped them with cross-border trade.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I can talk too much when I get excited about a topic.
Who have you learnt most from in your retail career?
I once worked with a manager who drilled into me the importance of having a steadfast customer focus.
What advice would you give someone starting out in retail?
Listen and act on your customers’ feedback. They want to shop any time, anywhere and on any device.
What keeps you awake at night?
The pace of technological change in our industry, definitely. But it’s also incredibly exciting.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Receiving positive feedback from customers and merchants.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Playing a part in the way eBay is changing and how it’s uniquely positioned to capitalise on the omnichannel future, partnering with retailers to help them compete.
What job would you have done if you hadn’t become a retailer?
I’m an engineer by trade and started out in electronic manufacturing. I like the feeling of building something, so think I would probably be building mobiles.
What’s your favourite shop and why?
Homebase. I’m a DIY junkie, and I love to wander around and look at all the tools that I could buy.
What was your last purchase?
Forty baby clothes hangers. We’ve just had twins so have had to do a lot of bulk buying.