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Salvos Stores paving the way to a digital future



Salvos Online sat down with Lucas Ferrier, who was recently featured in the Top 50 People in E-Commerce Report, to discuss his journey to the Salvos, his nomination, and his vision for Salvos Stores’ digital future.

 
By MATT ALLENSBY, Internal Communications Coordinator

Lucas’ journey with the Salvos began after he returned to Australia from the United Kingdom. Having worked for the British Heart Foundation’s retail division for two years, Lucas was invited to speak about his experience in the UK at a conference on Charitable Recycling in Australia. Matt Davis, Director of Salvos Stores, happened to be in the audience and was keen to hear more.

“One of the big things that I was talking about was the shift to online retail and how it was proving really successful [for the UK market],” Lucas said. “Matt recognised the growth of e-commerce in Australia and was in a position to consider what this might look like for Salvos Stores into the future.”

Shortly after the conference, Lucas was invited to Melbourne to meet with both Matt and Edwina Morgan, General Manager of Customer and Strategy at Salvos Stores, to explore the opportunities for Salvos Stores’ digital growth. Lucas describes it as a ‘full circle’ moment for himself – having begun his journey in Melbourne and now returning there.


Since joining the Salvos Stores team in January 2018, Lucas has played a pivotal role in launching Salvos Stores’ online strategy, allowing customers to search, view and purchase products that are available at stores across the territory.

“I’m really driven by a love of working with people at the heart of The Salvation Army. Whether that’s our volunteers, our customers, or our community, I love working with them,” Lucas said. In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic shut the retail industry down in most states, driving sales to online platforms. Salvos Stores followed this trend by immediately launching their online strategy, providing a lifeline to keep their store teams and customers engaged.


“We were in a position where there had already been some thinking behind the scenes around what [the online strategy] would look like for Salvos Stores into the future, with COVID accelerating that strategy,” Lucas told us.


“I visited the Salvos Store in Abbotsford one day, and talking to the team there, you can just feel the passion and the drive. I think at that moment I knew the Salvos was the right fit for me.” – Lucas Ferrier

What typically would have taken five months’ worth of development happened in the space of five weeks, with the team now having to launch their strategy early. This enabled Salvos Stores to continue operating throughout each state’s subsequent lockdowns, and more so continues to be a resounding success. Over 50,000 products are listed online at any one time, raising significant funds to support vital Salvos programs that serve the most vulnerable in our community.


Whilst discussing his nomination in the Top 50 People in E-Commerce Report, Lucas expressed his surprise when he discovered he would be featured in the report, describing it as another ‘full circle’ moment in his career.


“It was a huge surprise to me. I remember when I first started the role in 2018, Edwina took me to the Top 50 in E-Commerce event to connect and network with others in the industry and told me one day she could see me being featured,” he recalled.


When asked about Salvos Stores’ future in digital strategy, Lucas expressed excitement about their current projects, explaining one of their recent successes in implementing AI-driven search on the Salvos Stores website. This search function recommends similar products to visitors, leading to increased sales.

Lucas highlighted none of Salvos Stores’ recent advancements would be possible without the support of the leadership team. “We have a really progressive and forward-thinking executive leadership team who have an appetite for change, providing unique contributions around creating positive impacts within our communities,” he said.

This support has contributed to developing a website that is class-leading among all the international territories, with teams from the USA, UK and New Zealand territories interested in what Salvos Stores Australia is achieving with their online strategy.

Why not visit the Salvos Stores website today and treat yourself to a sustainable shopping spree?

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