For our latest Introducing article, we caught up with Martin Hjalm about his 2019 appointment to the role of Country Manager, Vaimo US.
Let’s listen in to hear Martin’s thoughts on the US commerce environment, Vaimo as a full-service partner in the region and his greatest achievement to date!
Can you tell us a little bit about your past experience and how this led you to the role at Vaimo USA?
I started my career in traditional marketing many years ago working with TV advertising, but did a quick career change in 2005 when the company I worked for asked me to lead a project to build their first eCommerce site. That switch took me down the eCommerce and digital marketing path, then the digital strategy and transformation path and a short stint in innovation before I came back to eCommerce when I joined Brown-Forman in 2015. That’s where I first got to know Vaimo, and together we launched a Jack Daniel’s site in the UK and Germany, and a Brown-Forman B2B and B2C site in Australia. I was really impressed with Vaimo and their approach, experience, capabilities and people, so when I got the opportunity to join their team it was a no-brainer.
What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently focusing on?
Since Vaimo is a global company with resources across multiple time zones, my typical day usually starts with catching up on emails from Vaimo team members in Europe. But after that, I don’t think I have a typical day, as each day is different depending on what is a priority. The one thing I spend most of my time on now is telling our story to partners and potential clients.
Although Vaimo has delivered online eCommerce solutions to brands, retailers and manufacturers in the US for several years already, we are still in the growth phase in the US and our name is not as well known as some of our competitors. What really helps us is that Vaimo has been around since 2008 and we have such deep experience, expertise, and an extensive list of client success stories. So when they see what we have helped other brands and retailers achieve, they want to know how we can help them be successful. We also benefit from being a well-established business with over 480 employees in 18 countries, which means we are exceptionally well-positioned to work with brands and retailers that have a multinational presence and operate in several markets with different languages and currencies.
What is your biggest achievement to date – personal or professional?
I would have to say that my biggest achievement to date is finding a good balance between my work life and being a present and engaged dad. I am a perfectionist and want to do everything I take on really well, so it is a constant balancing act. But it has been very rewarding and lately, I feel that I’ve done a pretty good job with it. I have a really good relationship with my kids, and work is going pretty well too.
The eCommerce environment is changing rapidly with the introduction of new technologies and shifting customer expectations. What do you think US businesses should be prioritising, and what role can Vaimo play in making that happen?
In the US there is a lot of buzz about voice shopping and virtual reality and I think it is important to keep an eye on how these technologies are evolving and how consumers are adopting them. But I think a bigger opportunity in the shorter term is for US business to figure out how Amazon and other large marketplaces like Wal-Mart.com fit into their overall eCommerce strategy. For example, Amazon has captured such a big portion of the online buying market here in the US that a high percentage of consumers start their product search on Amazon instead of Google. Businesses often think that if they sell on Amazon, they don’t need their own online store or vice versa. But for many businesses, it’s not a choice between one or the other. Instead, they need to think about how each one of these channels serves different stages in the purchase journey and different types of consumers. In other words, don’t just think of Amazon as a sales channel, but also a marketing platform that can increase your reach and visibility and bring in new customers.
The fact that we are a full-service B2B and B2C commerce agency with a really strong in-house strategy team positions us well to help our clients figure this out.
The Vaimo Team was for the 6th year in a row at the recent Magento Imagine event in Las Vegas. Maybe you can tell us about Vaimo’s strong partnership with Magento and what your takeaways from the event were?
One of the things I heard most from the Magento team at Imagine is how excited they are that we are increasing our presence in the US, bringing the strong and broad B2B and B2C commerce experience to merchants here. We have a strong reputation within Magento and they see us as a premier partner that knows how to work with small, medium and large organizations and deliver quality work. It also helps us that we have been 100% Magento focused since day one when delivering eCommerce solutions. And the fact that we also deliver Product Information Management solutions on the inRiver and Akeneo platforms and work closely with Adobe delivering Adobe Experience Cloud solutions to merchants and manufacturers around the globe makes us a well-rounded partner with the experience, skill-set and know-how to help our clients be successful.
From your experience, having worked with Vaimo as a client and now being part of the Vaimo team, what specific value does Vaimo offer B2C and B2B merchants in the US?
I think the key value Vaimo offers B2C and B2B merchants in the US is grounded in our full-service offering, our proven tools & process, and our long term focus on delivering value and results. Our full-service offering allows us to support our clients regardless of where they are in their commerce journey, whether they are just starting out or if they need help taking their commerce performance to the next level.
In other words, our strategy expertise helps our clients figure out where to start and what to focus on to get the most impactful results, our strong UX & Design practice knows how to design high performing shopping experiences, our implementation practice is experienced and our project process is mature which means we have a solid track record of delivering successful projects. And we are best when we are a long term partner and can connect everything to success metrics and provide value beyond the initial launch.
Add to this our extensive experience in both B2C and B2B. We have delivered complex B2B solutions for large companies like Würth Electronics Group and SLO, and we have delivered medium and large solutions for well-known B2C brands and merchants such as Helly Hansen, Jaguar, Dyson, Luhta Sportswear, Hylete, Pandora, and more.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we are one of the top three Magento global elite partners, focused 100% on Magento and also one of the top Magento 2 certified Magento partners.
If you had to describe Vaimo in just 3 words, what would they be?
Experienced, versatile and really FUN!
A huge thanks to Martin for joining us in our latest instalment of ‘Introducing’. Stay tuned to hear more stories from new Vaimoers across our offices!