Sarah Sheffield joined eXPD8 in 2008, initially working on the Sainsbury’s entertainment account. In the years since, she has been involved in all the company’s entertainment account wins and in 2012 was appointed Entertainment Category Development Manager.
What made you want to join eXPD8 and work in the home entertainment industry?
Having spent years working on the shop floor, I grew up in a retail environment and so, when I relocated to Bristol, I looked for the ideal retail opportunity and eXPD8 presented itself.
What have been the highlights of your time with eXPD8 and what aspect of your job do you most enjoy?
I work with fantastic clients and product. I’m very proud that I have been involved in every single new release and catalogue promotion that we have delivered and I have seen first-hand the positive effect that our business has on clients and the products they sell. Over the years, as the company has grown, our team has gone from two people to 16. Our entertainment client base in 2008 was one client, this Q4 we supported 19 clients. To witness that growth and be involved in a passionate workplace every day makes me very proud. I have worked on some of the biggest titles of the last five years, such as “Jurassic World”, “Minions”, “The Dark Knight Rises”, “The Hunger Games”, “Paddington” and “The Amazing Spider-Man”. Another highlight has been meeting some fantastic people in the industry — there is so much passion, creativity and enthusiasm which makes it a fantastic place to be. I am delighted that by the hard work and effort of the team we have raised compliance in grocery by over 20%, meaning our focus now is drilling down to the final barriers to compliance.
What have been the biggest challenges?
One area of transition we had to conquer was the move to a tabletised workforce in 2012. This was a fantastic step forward for the business and has helped us evolve our service and offering, however it posed change for the field team. We moved away from PDA technology, meaning that many of our outputs and processes had to be adapted. We had to be really creative in designing a functional and engaging platform for the team and train it out to more than 2,000 people. While the move was technically complicated it went very smoothly and has since allowed us to add additional benefits to our clients while also offering a platform for training, communication and development for the team.
What frustrates you most about the home entertainment business and how do you think it could be changed?
We need to support the lifecycle of a product more in stores. Currently all the focus is on Day 1/Week 1, however if we were to track a title’s lifecycle versus its 16-week forecast we may be able to use a studio’s investment more strategically to ensure it hits its 16-week number. There needs to be more of a focus on replenishment, longevity of POS, seasonal events and first price moves.
What are you looking forward to most in 2016?
The fantastic slate we have this year and the cross-category working opportunities to raise awareness and drive sales. Exciting technological developments will give us greater stock and sales information to make our team more effective.[/private]