It’s been almost three years since Claire Davenport was appointed the managing director of VoucherCodes.co.uk, and she’s loving every minute of it.
With an illustrious career that saw her start off as an investment banker before eventually working for Skype as chief of staff, Davenport reflects on her time at the bargain-hunting online retailer, from the highs and lows and her thoughts on a post-Brexit climate in UK retail.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background before VoucherCodes.co.uk.
I started my career as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, before taking leadership roles within fast-moving businesses, including Head of Strategy for RTL Group, Chief Commercial Officer at Bigpoint and Chief of Staff at Skype.
It’s been such an exciting journey, with the internet creating so many new businesses and opportunities. It’s hard to pick out one particular highlight, although I do love to see the team’s success at VoucherCodes.
What got you into the retail sector in the first place?
Retail is an industry that touches every person in the UK. It is also one of the industries most disrupted by the move from pure bricks-and-mortar to multichannel, online and mobile, which means that a career in retail presents plenty of exciting opportunities and interesting challenges as brands adapt.
Describe your responsibilities as VoucherCodes.co.uk’s Managing Director.
I’m responsible for leading the business – articulating our strategy, making sure we have the right team to create compelling propositions for our partners and consumers, and ensuring that everyone is motivated and collaborating well together.
How has your previous experience aided your current job?
I have been lucky to have worked in industries during the time when they were going through their biggest disruptions; from TV when YouTube was taking off, to telecoms when Skype was becoming a true mass market proposition, and in online games when mobile gaming was on the rise.
With this experience, I’d like to think that I can bring an understanding of how the established players in industry need to react to disruption, and in retail, how a proposition like VoucherCodes.co.uk can help industry leaders grow, share, test and learn.
I have had the experience of leading teams in fast-moving industries for several years, in different circumstances – that allows me to bring best practice gained from other start-ups as well as the larger companies operating under different types of management teams, to create a culture where we can innovate and execute.
Can you explain the concept behind VoucherCodes.co.uk?
With more than 50,000 vouchers for over 5000 brands and retailers, we are the number one destination for British shoppers looking for savings when making buying decisions, both online and in store. In 2015 we facilitated more than £555 million worth of retail sales.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Firstly, prioritising the product roadmap. We have a lot of ideas we’d like to take to market and we can’t possibly do all of them so we have to choose the ones we think will have most impact.
Secondly, making sure I never have an “off” day. As the managing director, it’s important that I am always on, making sure people have what they need, that decisions are made, blockers get unblocked, that people feel motivated.
If I have a lower energy day, I notice the effect it has on the people around me so I try to look after myself, get enough sleep, decompress with my family and make sure I am able to give my best and be available