PROFILE

Xavier Lederer

Business Growth Coach, Founder & CEO of Ambrose Growth

I work with mid-market CEOs and business owners who are frustrated because their business is not growing as fast as they want. As a business growth coach I help them identify and remove growth roadblocks, so that they can grow faster and with less pain.

I leverage my experience over the last 20 years as a high-impact, action-oriented entrepreneurial executive with successful track record of delivering profitable growth in retail, e-commerce, consumer goods, food, and energy:

  • Turned around a food business to deliver +10% growth within 6 months.
  • Grew a stagnant $70M ecommerce/franchise category +70% in 2 years.
  • Increased sales of an energy retailer +25% to $100M in 2 years.

Key characteristics:

  • End-to-end leadership from strategy development to company-wide execution in a multi-channel environment, including e-commerce, retail, key accounts/B2B, call center, direct mail, and other non-traditional sales channels.
  • Recognized as a creative and tenacious problem-solving change agent, driving change through vision, teamwork, performance management, and people development. Experienced leader of cross-functional teams, creating effective bridges across the organization.
  • Skilled at improving organizational effectiveness through talent development/coaching and team restructuring.
  • Full P&L responsibility and executive team leadership experience.
  • Able to team up with a visionary founder, who needs help to structure the business in order to fulfill their vision. Low ego, collaborative leadership style, calm under pressure, strong prioritization and strategy development skills, knows when to be assertive or accommodating.

To learn more, visit: ambrosegrowth.com

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  • Posted on: 01/15/2021

    Would a Not-Amazon.ca-like effort help indy retailers compete with the online giant?

    Independent retailers are amazing: they resisted the rise of department stores in the 1800s and of big box retailers in the 1900s -- among others thanks to their adaptability and focus on a very specific, local community. Internet is a tough nut to crack though because it has created a giant shopping mall where being heard is challenging and expensive. Many had no or a sub-par website moving into the pandemic and, just like big box retailers 10 years ago, are struggling to define their online strategy. They still hold a key advantage that this initiative might be able to leverage though: they are much closer to their local customer than Amazon will ever be, both from a physical and from a marketing perspective. The next few years will be extremely insightful.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2021

    Retailers give customers refunds and tell them to keep items

    Great point Gene! We had exactly the same thought when our online sales of handcrafted chocolates took off several years ago. We couldn't accept returns (who would buy fine chocolates returned by another customer)? We had the exact same fear as you describe: what would prevent the customers who have just got chocolates for free, to do it again indefinitely? The reality is: none of our loyal customers did. What we noticed is, the tiny minority of customers who want to cheat the system and complain just to get free products are often annoyingly transparent about it. Their orders therefore become easy to identify and to handle separately.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2021

    Are local retailers ready to flex their omnichannel muscles?

    Great point Katie, I totally agree with you. The question is: how will local retailers remain competitive in the long run? A small retailer's main competitive advantage is often its location and physical visibility within the local community. When consumer behaviors shift online, small retailers lose part of their competitor edge - and now have to compete with much larger brands from across the country, with much larger marketing budgets. The shift to online will force many local retailers to refine who their core customer is, and which specific problem they solve for them.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2021

    Albertsons ditching in-house drivers to deliver online orders

    I agree. The impact on brand experience may be even more significant during a peak period. If the number of peak orders is such that some have to be prioritized over others, a third-party provider may focus on the most profitable orders for them (e.g. orders delivered to customers living close to each other) -- which may not necessarily be the best customers from Albertsons' point of view. The risk is that a key element in the customer experience may be sub-optimal for some of the best customers.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2020

    Is it time for retailers to reconsider Instacart?

    The pandemic has forced grocery stores to quickly expand their online and delivery services, without much time to think about the business model of these new services. Yet the sharply increased volume of these new activities makes their costs very visible: grocery stores now take over part of the job of many of their customers, for free. Will COVID-19 be the realization that online activities are not necessarily more efficient, and that convenience comes at a cost that the customer needs to pay for?
  • Posted on: 12/25/2020

    Will online delivery go more eco-friendly post-pandemic?

    One possibility in the future is that brands/grocery stores/consumers will have to pay extra for their "traditional" packaging to be disposed of. China, which is a major importer of US waste, has announced a ban on trash imports. Unless other countries decide to play this role in the same capacity and for the same (huge) volume, this move may over time increase the cost of disposing of garbage in the US. At some point, a zero-packaging option may become more affordable than traditional packaging for some categories of products.
  • Posted on: 12/22/2020

    Is free at-home pick-up of online returns practicable?

    Free returns might be a very smart way for Walmart to leverage its competitive advantage vs. Amazon. If returns are shipped to the nearest Walmart location and processed inside the store, the shipping and processing costs may be fairly reasonable -- much more reasonable than Amazon, which would need returns to be shipped to a remote distribution center (at a higher shipping cost) and/or to a Whole Foods location, that would need to re-ship it to an Amazon distribution center -- since Whole Foods doesn't sell the myriad of products available on Amazon.
  • Posted on: 12/17/2020

    Are retailers facing a no-win decision in mandating vaccines for workers?

    Vaccination should be a no-brainer indeed -- and yet, only 50% of the adult population is vaccinated against the flu on average, which is a pretty common, affordable, and very low-risk vaccine. By comparison vaccinating 70% of the population against Covid will be a long, uphill battle. Making it mandatory for retail employees would be pretty challenging.
  • Posted on: 12/15/2020

    What if Barnes & Noble had produced ‘The Queen’s Gambit’?

    Great point Neil, I agree. I ran a business where the founder starred in a Netflix show (and several years ago on PBS shows). Retail and producing shows are very different business: the ways to appreciate and mitigate risks are totally different, the way to fund activities is different, and so are the client base/go-to-market strategies and the key success factors. Partnering with established production players, e.g. Netflix, makes a lot of sense.
  • Posted on: 12/12/2020

    New York City is trying to kick stores to the curb

    Great point Rick! This initiative requires dedicating a full-time employee outside, which is prohibitive for most small stores. However: this might be a viable option in the busier days leading to Christmas.
  • Posted on: 12/08/2020

    Is IKEA making a dumb mistake ending its catalog?

    Great point Mark! Similarly, 10 years ago some people believed that paper books and paper newspapers would be soon gone. And yet they are holding their ground -- even among the younger generations. It will be interesting to see how the content of IKEA's smaller (paper) book will evolve, and how many customers will request it.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2020

    Are endless aisles more trouble than they’re worth for retailers?

    Although utilizing endless aisles through drop shipping sounds tempting, it leads to a number of issues around quality and availability of goods. I have worked on the drop shipping side of this business and, like in any other business, you tend to prioritize the partners that bring you more volume. During peak seasons, or when resources have to be prioritized towards a limited number of retailers, the natural tendency is to de-prioritize retailers that bring less volume - which can be retailers with endless aisles, since they tend to bring less business to their third-party drop shipping partners. One consequence is that third-party products can be out of stock when retailers most need them.
  • Posted on: 12/01/2020

    Does COVID-19 provide retailers with new opportunities to bond with customers?

    This report provides an interesting perspective to the question: "Over the long run, which retailers will win or lose from COVID?" Between 2019 and 2020 the brand intimacy quotient of big retailers like Target, Costco, Whole Foods, and even Amazon, slightly declined. The big exception is Walmart, which saw its score increase by 29%! Who would have thought, 5 years ago, that Walmart would teach Amazon a lesson during a boost in online purchasing?
  • Posted on: 11/24/2020

    Target CEO points to one-stop shopping as key to chain’s success

    The pandemic had a weird impact on marketing fundamentals: since one-stop shopping brands (e.g. Amazon, Walmart, Target) have grown successfully, it can create the feeling that "offering everything to everyone" is the right approach. Other brands like Sears have tried this before, and were eventually bypassed by newer, more focused brands that better met the needs of their specific target group. A clear brand promise that solves a key problem of a well-defined core customer will remain fundamental to business success.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2020

    Will pop-up e-commerce fulfillment centers help Walmart manage demand?

    Great point indeed. Some of these aspects can rely on existing resources (e.g. training). The new level of complexity implied by this move though, is the decision-making system to allocate individual orders to the right pop-up e-commerce distribution centers (based on inventory, shipping time to final destination, availability of UPS/Fedex shipping trucks at each location...). Implementing this without much time to practice, and without the experience of a peak season with this new network of eDCs, is a real challenge. Kudos for tackling it.

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