Oxfam’s Head of Ecommerce & Retail Innovation on Digital Transformation & Selling Online
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Oxfam’s Head of Ecommerce & Retail Innovation on Digital Transformation & Selling Online

In this episode we sit down with Andrew Ostcliffe, Head of Ecommerce & Retail Innovation at Oxfam, whose job is to extend the business’s reach to connect with supporters, donators and shoppers using every BIG RETAIL design and technology available now and in the future, to make the brand the sectors go to online retailer of their choice.

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  • Oxfam’s ecommerce product assortment and product management approach
  • The logistics and fulfilment set-up for Oxfam’s omnichannel model
  • The technology evolution path
  • Oxfam’s approach to selling via 3P marketplaces

Ecommerce in the charity space is pretty damn interesting! Many charities have invested in their own ecommerce infrastructure and you’ll find a surprising amount of retail innovation thrown in for good measure.

Oxfam is one of the UK’s largest and longest serving Charities and has a challenging omnichannel model to manage, with 23,000 amazing volunteers running 560 shops nationwide, all adding inventory to the ecommerce site. What you probably don’t realise about their product catalogue is that they sell premium brand items worth thousand of pounds.

Tune in to learn what makes Oxfam’s ecommerce operation roar like a finely-tuned engine.

Discussion notes

  1. The obvious first question, what does the assortment of product look like that you’re selling online? What is the split between items that have been donated or stock you’ve purchased?
  2. What does the process look like for getting the donated items listed, what work do the local shops do vs. what’s centralised?
  3. The products are listed by local shops, what tools are you using to avoid OOO issues where the online shop sells an item but it’s also been bought in store, or is the stock ring-fenced?
  4. Many charities we’ve worked with rely on drop shipping to minimise stock overhead. What does the logistics and fulfilment side look like for Oxfam, how do approach own warehousing vs drop ship for certain products or categories? 
  5. I’ve worked with vintage clothing brands in the past and it’s always been hard to justify investing in content when items go permanently OOS so quickly, how do you approach this challenge?
  6. Oxfam is a large organisation and technology probably isn’t at the core, so how have you found getting to this point? Has ecommerce been part of a transformation project or has it just been incremental changes over time?
  7. What does your core ecommerce tech stack look like, as you’re currently on an Oracle back-end – what are some of the key tech partners you work with?
  8. Let’s talk about your strategy for marketplace commerce: eBay & Etsy are a focus, why are marketplaces so important, is this about new customer acquisition or simply being where people shop?
  9. You also have Retail Innovation in your title, can you talk us through some of the cool things you’ve been working on on the physical retail side? 
  10. How do you handle your ecommerce roadmap, do you have a product manager or do you run it directly yourself + what’s next on your digital roadmap that you’re excited about?
  11. What does your ecommerce team structure look like: how many inhouse, what roles do you prioritise and why, as there’s a lot of admin involved in onboarding and managing the product catalogue?
  12. What new digital / retail tech are you most interested about and why?

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