1. Doug Gardner, CIO, River Island

"Bespoke is what makes a difference in the digital space – it's highly competitive, but you can be unique and win, but you have to keep on top of the speed of change."

With Oracle supporting the retailer's back-end infrastructure, River Island is looking at start-ups to provide it with bleeding-edge competitive technologies. But at the same time, the IT skills shortage in the UK is making it difficult for the retailer to implement the technology it needs to succeed.

Essential eCommerce sits down with River Island CIO, Doug Gardner, who explains how the retailer is tackling multichannel challenges by digitising its business from the ground-up.

Click here to read the interview.

2. Jay Wright, CEO, Virgin Wines

"We know what you like and can match your tastes, it's the idea that you will never get a bottle that is not to your liking."

CEO of Virgin Wines, Jay Wright, makes a strong claim to any wine lover, but being able to recommend the perfect bottle to customers, while also using feedback to inform wine buyers on how to create a new bestseller, is what makes the company stand out from other wine retailers.

In this interview, Essential eCommerce learns about the retailer's plans to overhaul its website and improve personalisation techniques in 2016.

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3. William Reeve, co-CEO, Hubbub

Online grocery delivery service, Hubbub, is everything the large supermarkets are not – local, personal, and most importantly, agile.

Hubbub customers purchase groceries online from as many of its participating local food stores as they like. Once an order is placed, the local shops are sent a message with the order and they pick the food from the shop floor during quiet times of the morning. The orders are then handed over to a van driver in the afternoon who takes the customer's entire order to their front door by the evening.

Essential eCommerce talks to William Reeve, co-CEO and technology lead at Hubbub, to learn how the online start-up is turning old fashioned food supply chains digital.

Click here to read the interview.

4. Steve Oliver, CEO, musicMagpie

Online recommerce expert, musicMagpie, has been buying people's second-hand CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray and games for seven years and it now has 3.5 million registered users. Essential eCommerce speaks to co-founder and CEO, Steve Oliver, to understand how the business is still afloat when the word on everyones' lips is 'digital'.

Click here to read the interview.

5. Julia Elliot Brown, CEO, Upper Street

Upper Street has a unique retail proposition, offering customers made-to-order luxury shoes which they can design themselves using a 3D customisation online tool. But in a world where customers are demanding online goods to be delivered the next day, or even sooner, Upper Street still manages to retain customers who understand that some luxury goods take a little more time.

Essential eCommerce speaks to Upper Street's CEO, Julia Elliot Brown, to talk about pairing together a personal luxury experience with online retailing.

Click here to read the interview.

6. Kris Bromley, MD, Firebox

After 17 years as an online retailer, this year Firebox ventured into physical retailing with three pop-up shops. Essential eCommerce speaks to MD, Kris Bromley, to learn about the retailer's ambitions to open a permanent flagship next year.

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7. John Perasco, assistant vice president of digital, Urban Decay

Customers today are more willing to spend longer engaging with brands and retailers online. Social media is one way to build a relationship with customers, but a blog can be even more immersive if the brand's tone of voice is correct.

Urban Decay launched a content hub earlier this year, where customers can interact with the brand through blogs, video tutorials and social media.

Essential eCommerce talks to John Perasco, assistant vice president of digital at Urban Decay, to learn how the retailer has effectively created a content cloud for managing its brand across the world.

Click here to read the interview.

8. Lucy Larkin, MD retail, Accenture

Retailers are constantly battling against the clock to satisfy their customers. As eCommerce has made consumers more demanding, retailers are finding it difficult to keep up with fulfilment as shoppers expect their goods to be delivered in the shortest timeframe possible for very little money – or even for free.

And as digital channels have matured, it is the retailer's supply chain and logistics which are being squeezed the hardest. Essential eCommerce speaks to Lucy Larkin, managing director of Accenture's retail practice, to learn how omnichannel is dramatically affecting the supply chain.

Click here to read the interview.

9. Ritu Mahandru, VP app delivery, CA Technologies

Traditionally, a software update would take six months to be created, tested and released. But in a world dominated by the latest technologies – whether the update is a back-end infrastructure improvement or the latest digital consumer-facing enhancement – this is just not quick enough.

Essential eCommerce speaks to Ritu Mahandru, VP of app delivery at CA Technologies, to learn how eCommerce has led to a culture change in software development and how retail tech developers need to work in a much more agile way than they used to.

Click here to read the interview.

10. Branden Jenkins, general manager of retail, NetSuite

While omnichannel has been debated for nearly a decade, many retailers have still not cracked the holy grail – seamlessly connecting multiple customer channels.

NetSuite's general manager of global retail, Branden Jenkins, talks to Essential eCommerce about streamlining the retail experience.

Click here to read the interview.