First Movers: Carlos Ferreira

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CARLOS FERREIRA is currently the US eCommerce Director leading the Vitamins, Minerals & Supplements business at RB (Reckitt Benckiser).

Outside of the typical: 14 years of CPG experience, 9 in RB, 4 different countries, 5 cities, lost count on the # of roles, Business Management undergraduate, across possible sales channels…what matters is the following:

He’s from Lisbon, the most beautiful city in the world. He’s happily married to his beautiful and intelligent wife Diana. They have a 3-year-old ‘savage’ George. And like his son and the famous books from Margret and H. A. Rey, he’s curious… actually very curious – the #1 strength in eCommerce!

Why did you choose to pursue eCommerce in your career? I didn’t. I was convinced to do it by 3 very intelligent gentleman: Ryan Schemmel, Kevin McAuley & Buster Arnwine.

What is your biggest strength, and how have you used it for your success in eCommerce? I’m curious, I’m agile, I don’t give up* and I believe in the people I work with – I do this daily there is so much free information out there!

*“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Fail Again. Fail better” – Samuel Beckett

What is the weirdest skill or talent to come in handy in your eCommerce experience? Working in food while managing Walmart Inc (in my case in the condiments category) taught me everything….velocities, supply chain and seasonality are everything in this part of the industry. If you miss a peak, you are a goner. If you don’t forecast enough/deliver supply on time/full, you are a goner. If you don’t track daily run rates, you are a goner!

That’s eComm in a nutshell + obsessing with search!

How have you most successfully influenced change within your organization (or with your clients)? Results – delivering on what you promise and on what you say you are going to do!

What was your most “valuable” career failure, and why? “‘If everything seems under control, you are not going fast enough!” – Mario Andretti!

There was a year on March 1st, after 2 months of massive commercial over-delivery, we thought the full sales year was “in the pocket,” everything was under control….it made us complacent when we should had been on our toes. Guess what? Everything that could go wrong happened and we ended up not hitting the Sales Target by Dec 31st ….Never Again!

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior or habit has most improved your life? Several: Marriage (belief), Reading (refreshing habit), Instacart (yes Instacart!!!), being even more authentic (we are just people, shoot straight), remain kind and put myself in other people’s shoes – understand what they are going through and what might drive/be behind their behavior!

What are you learning right now? How to successfully influence a toddler (and how to understand how they see the world), how to sit properly (back pain – pandemic is killing me), how to crack algorithms!!!

What are the 1-3 songs that would make up your career soundtrack today?

  • Oh mate this will be cheesy.… “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey!

What are the 1-3 books you’ve gifted the most or that have greatly influenced your life, and why?

  • Shoe Dog by Phil Knight: It reminds of 3 things: RB, my entrepreneurial father and grandfather, believing!
  • AI SuperPowers by Kai-Fu Lee: Because it took me to the future or ‘woke me up’ let’s say it that way.
  • Os Maias by  Eça de Queiroz: Portugal in a nutshell to the date, although it was written more than 100 years ago – it also makes me think of my Dad!

If you could have a gigantic billboard for the world to see with anything on it, what would it say, and why? 

Life: Be kind and love one another.

Work: Never forget! It’s all about search!

What are the worst recommendations or advice you have heard related to eCommerce? It’s probably something related to how eComm people are modern day pirates and just spend trade $ and how eComm is P&L decretive to overall P&L yada yada yada!

What advice would you give to a future leader of change about to enter business, or specifically the eCommerce field?

1) eComm is not just a channel it’s an ecosystem – it’s critical you understand this!

2) Change is daily, hourly, keep up, embrace it, don’t be afraid and always trial n’ learn – if you fail, it’s ok just fail & learn fast!

3) Search, Search, Search – you crack this you are rollin’!

4) The most important – Build a diverse team, diversity of thought is critical as it will provide you different ways of approaching a problem, and therefore different & richer solutions!

5) Even more important, empower you people and let them aim and dream big – “if you can dream it, you can do it!” – Walt Disney

What specific, industry-related change do you believe will happen that few others seem to see? In-Platform Chat functionalities! Everybody talks about Voice in the US, obvs super important, but Chat will be big! It’s all about customer service and experience!

What is the last thing you bought online, and why? 2 Books (as a gift for a peer) and our new Airborne Elderberry Chewables 120 count (because they are good for you and yummy – Same Basket!

First Movers is a change leader interview series featuring select industry pioneers who are boldly driving the evolution of digital commerce, the consumer and everything in between.

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