Life in Luxury | Dominic Parfitt, Head of e-Commerce, William Grant & Sons

With necessity forcing the world to go rapidly (fully) online during 2020, eCommerce has taken on more significance than ever before, and luxury brands have made a 10-year leap in terms of their digital businesses. But how have Walpole’s members adapted to the new virtual normal? We spoke with William Grant & Sons’ Dominic Parfitt who gave us his take on the future of e-Commerce, as well as his ‘life in luxury’: his big break, what inspires him, and his advice to anyone looking to join the sector in 2020…

Dominic has 17 years of experience in FMCG; the vast majority of which is within commercial roles. Over the last six years Dominic switched his focus into e-Commerce and has built up a variety of experience including defining a winning online strategy, development of brilliant basics, management of global retailers, channel development, optimising conversion based media, building teams capability, delivering e-Commerce revenue and market share growth. In his current role, Dominic heads up the Global e-Commerce team at one of the world’s largest family owned distillers, William Grant & Sons. The luxury portfolio includes Glenfiddich, the world’s most awarded single malt scotch whisky; The Balvenie, the handcrafted single malt; and the iconic Hendrick’s Gin.

 What does British luxury mean to you?

Craftsmanship, culture, heritage and citizenship – with talented people at the heart.

What do you see as the future of luxury e-Commerce?

In six months, Covid-19 has accelerated the growth of e-Commerce by years and this trend will continue. New luxury platforms will launch to market and existing online players will expand their offerings into luxury: Amazon with Luxury Stores, Instagram with its check-out experience are great recent examples. China has been driving social commerce and retailers such as TMALL and are offering luxury brands the opportunity to live stream educational and interactive content to a consumer’s home, this trend will expand across the globe.

Gen Z, a digital first generation, are the future of luxury and will fuel the ever changing needs of a strong content strategy to win. Expect to see brand ambassadors playing a larger role in delivering virtual luxury experiences, as well as e-Commerce players taking a more localised approach to targeting a luxury consumer. A supporting CRM programme is essential for relationship building and retaining consumers, as well as delivering a seamless end to end experience.

What inspires you to do your job?

I thrive off any challenge in my personal and professional life and will only take on a project that I can develop from start to finish. I rarely take on the finished product!

And what was your big break?

Whilst being promoted in a previous role, my manager said to me, “you have three parts to your job. The first is managing a large P&L for a variety of big retailers, the second is coaching on commercial capability, and the third is a small part that will probably only take up 5% of your time, something called e-Commerce. There’s a small retailer within that called Amazon, take a look at it.” I haven’t looked back since!

What piece of advice would you give to someone entering the luxury e-Commerce sector now?

 Always put a relentless focus into ensuring the right fundamentals are in place.

 In a parallel life, what would you be doing?

 A rock star – touring the world and living the dream

What’s your favourite luxury?

Spending quality time with my family.