How I Succeeded: Doddle's Justin Dery

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How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Justin Dery, CEO at Doddle Asia-Pacific.

Current gig: CEO Doddle Asia-Pacific

Current location: Sydney, with a second office in Melbourne

Current mobile device: iPhone 7 Plus

Current computer: MacBook Air

One word that best describes how you work: Collaborative

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?

Zoom is an important one for video-conferencing and meetings across global locations, What’s App for team messaging on the go and Google Translate, we’re developing businesses around Asia-Pacific so Google Translate is becoming increasingly important! On a personal level, AFL Live and Cricket Australia!

What social network do you find the most useful?

Less is more for me when it comes to social media but LinkedIn’s the most important for us to stay connected to people and the industry, as well as sharing news. Instagram and Twitter for keeping up with friends, family, trends and news.

What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?

A key step in establishing Doddle locally was to talk to the industry and develop relationships with other businesses ⁠— friends, foes and frenemies. It’s a small market and we’re all in it together. If the market grows, there’s opportunity to share.

Assembling the right team as quickly as possible ⁠— the right people in the right roles. Fortunately we’ve been able to assemble a great team and it’s been instrumental in enabling us to get up and running so quickly.

We’ve been very fortunate that we haven’t had to reinvent the wheel. Doddle has an established business in the UK and we’ve developed real expertise in the area of final mile fulfillment, e.g. click & collect. This has given us a strong foundation to apply learnings from our own business and the UK industry more broadly, and apply it to the Australian and SE Asian market.

What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?

Perhaps not so much a surprise but a continued challenge is around changing behaviour and perceptions. An example of this is the approach to returns policies for online shopping. Returns are perceived as a necessary evil and something that customers should be dissuaded from doing, often the process is deliberately difficult.

In our experience, if you make it easier for the end consumer to return an item, the retailer gains a lot more in terms of customer loyalty. This is why we see so much potential in Australia, local retailers have a huge opportunity to learn from the experience of other markets to make returns a driver of loyalty instead of a drag on the bottom line.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

Convenient delivery experiences. The world has evolved to the point where home delivery isn’t the most convenient option for most people. Giving consumers choice, convenience and control over their deliveries & returns, is our sweet spot.

Speaking for myself, I can proudly say that I’m the office table-tennis champion! I’m not sure if they let me win! But for the moment I’m holding the title.

What's your sleep routine like?

I have a very active and inquisitive 18-month old son, so combined with late night meetings with our London headquarters, I’d say there’s not much of a routine ⁠— I take it where I can get it!

What advice would you offer to other businesses on how to succeed?

When I’ve cracked it I’ll let you know! For businesses starting out on their journey, I can say the things that have set us up for success are having a clear strategy and vision, the right resources in place to execute that vision, identifying the right partners to help you grow your business and being able to draw on expertise and support when you need it.


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