Hey everyone, Tom Raftery here, and you're not going to want to miss this episode of the Digital Supply Chain podcast! We're diving deep into the ever-changing landscape of e-commerce, and there's no better person to help navigate these waters than Paul Pritchard, Group CEO of Overdose Digital.
Paul shares golden nuggets on how digital innovation and AI are not just buzzwords, but essential tools for modern businesses. Are you wondering how to get the most value out of every dollar spent? We talk about that too! Plus, we cover why business process evolution isn't a luxury—it's a necessity.
But wait, it gets better! 🎉 We explore how new technologies can bring some 'disruptive' changes, but in a good way. Ever thought about switching your old legacy systems for something more efficient? We discuss why now is the best time to take that plunge and how doing so might even change your entire workflow for the better.
We also dive into the training aspect. How do you get your team up to speed with new systems? Paul has some eye-opening insights into the value of youthful curiosity and the need for continuous learning in the fast-paced digital world.
And for all you well-established merchants wondering "where to next?"—we've got you covered. We talk about the exciting possibilities of international growth, what it means to 'put boots on the ground,' and why standing still is the same as being left behind.
🌏 Ready to expand your horizons? 🌏
Don't miss out on this jam-packed episode full of actionable advice, whether you're just starting your digital journey or looking to take your e-commerce game to the next level.
For more about Overdose Digital, be sure to check out their website—trust me, you'll love the unique design.
That's it for now, folks. Tune in (or watch the video version of this episode) and let’s geek out on all things digital supply chain!
Support the show
I'd like to sincerely thank this podcast's generous supporters:
And remember you too can Support the Podcast - it is really easy and hugely important as it will enable me to continue to create more excellent Digital Supply Chain episodes like this one.
Podcast Sponsorship Opportunities:
If you/your organisation is interested in sponsoring this podcast - I have several options available. Let's talk!
If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - feel free to just send me a direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn.
If you liked this show, please don't forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover it.
Thanks for listening.
Businesses or, or platforms like Shopify are a prime example where it started out as a, you know as a free to implement tool for garage businesses or mom and dad businesses to, to stand up something. And now it's an enterprise platform that can service brands around the world who trade in multiple locations with multiple warehouse sources and, and inventories to currencies and, you know, geographic requirements that we've just never seen beforeTom Raftery:
Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, wherever you are in the world. This is the Digital Supply Chain Podcast, the number one podcast focusing on the digitization of supply chain, and I'm your host, Tom Raftery. Hi everyone. Welcome to the Digital Supply Chain Podcast. My name is Tom Raftery and before I kick off, I just want to alert you to the fact that I have changed the recording platform for this podcast. So if this podcast sounds different from the usual, if it sounds better, great . If not, Uh oh, I may have to change back, but just to let you know, this is a, a new platform I'm using for the recording, and if you have any comments or questions about it, feel free to get in touch. Reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn or my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. So yeah, do please let me know if you think the audio. The audio quality is supposed to be better from this, so you know, love to hear from you. With that outta the way, I'd like to introduce my special guest today, Paul. Paul, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for agreeing to be a Guinea pig., would you like introduce yourself?Paul Pritchard:
I appreciate having me on Tom, and absolutely appreciate being the Guinea pig as well. My name is Paul Pritchard. I'm the group CEO of Overdose Digital. We are a complete commerce consultancy. We bring together local talent, entrepreneurial expertise, and global experience to help merchants that we work with grow in a digital way.Tom Raftery:
Okay, superb. First question, Paul Overdose, where does that name come from?Paul Pritchard:
It's usually the second question, but yeah, I'm happy to tackle that first. So it, it can be a it, it can cause some interesting conversations, particularly when we're working with new merchants for the first time and in certain locations as well. The name came from one of our founders was watching a, a morning breakfast show on TV and was listening to the, to the host, talk about his daughter being glued to her mobile phone. And, and he was worried that she was suffering from a, a digital overdose and it kind of stuck. So we talked about it a lot and we realized that there would be some you know, a, a little bit of tension maybe around the name, but it was a good talking point and, and it stuck with us because fundamentally our mindset is to overdose our services on behalf of our merchants. And it kind of made sense. So seven years later, we're still going strong. We haven't had to change our name and yeah, it still feels right.Tom Raftery:
Good. Good, good. And where are you guys based? Because that isn't a, an English accent, it's not an Irish accent. not an American accent. So are you guys, I mean, you're, you're obviously, based in the Southern Hemisphere,Paul Pritchard:
Yes. Yeah, about as far south, I think as you can go without without meeting penguins. So we're based, we were founded in Auckland in New Zealand. But we now operate throughout apac, so we're across Australia and up into Southeast Asia. And also operate on the west coast and the east coast of the US as well. We've had a couple of forays into Europe, and we have a lot of merchants who we work with who obviously do business in with and across borders in Europe as well. But yeah, home base for us, New Zealand.Tom Raftery:
Nice. Nice. And what are, or who are typical customers?Paul Pritchard:
So we work with, wow, if you had to ask me this seven years ago, it would've been your typical high street retailer. You know, there would be fashion or electronics or anyone selling a product, typically from a store on the high street who was looking to really accelerate the growth in their online stores, and they would think of their stores as, as one store amongst many. Obviously we've gone through some of the most interesting, challenging, chaotic, tumultuous, you there's many, many words, but a lot of change. And through the periods that we've seen, our customer base has spread broadly, and and geographically quite far as well. So now we work with anyone who sells a product or service to a consumer, to another business, to another business that sells to consumers. And we're finding more and more now, our client base is becoming far more diverse than just that typical retail environment. So we're working with companies that sell minerals on an open market. We're working with truck parts on a, you know, the, the ones that do the big mining in in Australia, right? Where you've got tires as big as houses. Working with companies that supply the parts to them and, and really well known fashion brands like Patagonia you know, other product brands like Goodyear. Still the, the home chainsaws and, and whatnot as well. So it's such a vast portfolio of accounts. And I guess the one thing that's common in all of these is that they have ambitions to grow in their online space and they have ambitions to become more and more relevant for a customer that spends more time looking for them in their online space.Tom Raftery:
Okay. And what is it you do for them?Paul Pritchard:
So well, we call it complete commerce, and the reason we call it complete commerce is 'cause we believe that the services that we offer surround a merchant in the online space. Now it's not just digital websites. So we do design build websites and we do that on multiple technology platforms. We don't have our own. You know, we work with Adobe, we work with Shopify, we work with ah more modern technologies like commerce tools and in the composable space, but we also work with retailers to understand, or merchants to understand how to connect up their technological, technological architecture to ensure that not only are they be able to sell a product with a Buy Now button, but they can also start to understand how their business should operate for that environment as well. So, you know, I know the title of this podcast is the Digital Supply Chain. I think more and more for our merchants, how to manage that end of their business is becoming as important as the the end transaction and the customer that they have.Tom Raftery:
Okay. And obviously we've had a lot of changes in the last couple of years last three, three and a half years now, particularly. You've seen, as you alluded to, changes in the types of companies that you are interacting with, but what about the, have you seen a lot of technological changes as well, or is that pretty much the same as it was?Paul Pritchard:
I think, I think we've seen a much faster rate of change than we've ever seen before. And I think the benefit, particularly to our client base and and to most people who are doing anything with technology is it's becoming more accessible, more cost accessible, and also more, easier to implement as well. So, gone are the days when you would spend, you know, a year trying to build out something very bespoke to plug into legacy systems and solve a whole bunch of problems that the business had created over time. Now it's, it's a lot easier and a lot faster and a lot more cost effective to build out new ways of presenting your, your, your business in the online space. And I think, you know, businesses or, or platforms like Shopify are a prime example where it started out as a, you know as a free to implement tool for, know, for garage businesses or mom and dad businesses to, to stand up something. And now it's an enterprise platform that can service brands around the world who trade in multiple locations with multiple warehouse sources and, and inventories to currencies and, and you know, geographic requirements that we've just never seen before. And the pace at which this is happening, I think is the most exciting thing. And for a business like ours and for the people that we work with and that work for us as well, this has to be the most exciting period. And, and the, the technology landscape that's been so far. So we're pretty excited about it. We think that the accessibility and the new technology that's coming through to make it more smart, I think is probably one thing. The topic of choice at the moment and and beyond everyone's lips is AI. I think gonna have a massive impact and it already is having a massive impact in that space. And you know, I, I think if, if we're not breeding curious and excited, passionate people in this space and we're doing something wrong, soTom Raftery:
I think it's good.Tom Raftery:
sure. And, and talk to me a bit about the AI since, since you brought it up. What kind of changes have you, are you seeing that are coming from AI and where do you see it going?Paul Pritchard:
Well, this morning I was at a presentation with Google for a, a portfolio of our accounts. And that was the number one topic. And there was one stat that, that they pulled out, which blew me away. In the last five years, Google's AI products have increased in capability, power, and output by 5,000 times. So the pace at which it's grown and the pace of usage and implementation, I think is, you know, as I said, it's been around for a long time. But now the accessibility of it and the intelligence that's sitting behind it is starting to really show some quite powerful outputs. I think the other side of it is is the pace at which it's expanding. So think about, you know, AI back in the day was really about crunching numbers, right, and outputting a result. It is now about predicting, analyzing providing new forms of content. If you look at generative AI and the power that that has. And I, I watched one of your previous shows on, and there was a conversation around ChatGPT. I mean, you know, just something like that, that's so accessible for anyone you know, and that isn't that what technology really is about, the democratization of intelligence and accessibility. So I think AI is gonna, you know, it's not only here to stay, it's gonna fundamentally change the way that we interact and use technology.Tom Raftery:
Sure, sure. What about though the fact that, I mean, what you're saying makes a huge amount of sense. There's lots of technological change happening and the the pace of change is picking up all the time. I mean, we've been saying this for 20 years now , but it's, it's, it's become even faster and faster. How do you see people dealing with that? Because typically people are not good with change. How do you see, I mean, if the pace of change is changing that much, how do you, how do, how do, how do your companies, how do your, your customers and how do their teams deal with this increasing pace of change?Paul Pritchard:
Well, I mean, it's funny that you talk about 20 years ago. I remember, I was alive and studying when the internet became relevant. Right? And I remember social channels coming out, Facebook and, whatnot, and MySpace and all that, and I think back then, change was determined by some form of quite robust catalyst, right? Like for, for in the retail space that we're in now, usually you would have a new player coming into the market that was doing something completely different and everyone would flock to it. And so you had to do something to catch up.Tom Raftery:
You had some breakdown somewhere in your architecture that meant that you had to change, and it was something that wasn't in control that always led to that change. But I think now you know, the merchants that we work with and some, you know, big and small, have so much more control and so much more choice, that really the, pace of change is only determined by the willingness to lean into it and be curious enough to want to try something new. And the risk factors are so much lower now as well. So, you know, we've, we've all experienced the pandemic and in very different and, and unique ways right around the world. But what that's taught us as human beings is that we are adaptable, we are flexible. We can survive, you know, these different environments that are uncomfortable and and forced upon us. And I think people have come out of that now, particularly businesses who had to survive. They've come out now looking at ways to thrive in this space. Right? And we're not out the woods, you know, globally, the economic environment is pretty unstable and and we're facing some pretty chaotic and complex times, but we've got choice. And if you're a, you know, for our staff that work for us, they've got choices. They can learn new things, they can be curious for our merchants, they've got choices as well. And I guess the job that we now have as trusted partners in that space and, and anyone who's talking about this, our job is to help our merchants, our clients, our, the people that look to us for advice. We have to help them navigate their way through this, find their way in this new world and look like anything. It's one step at a time. Try something, do one thing, and then that will lead onto the second thing. You know it's the age old adage, right? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time? It's the same thing.Tom Raftery:
Sure, sure, sure. And , the, the changes we're seeing, I mean, you, you, you talked about the fact that we're in. changing economic times, or not even changing economic times, but nervous economic times, I wanna say. How is that impacting your customer's decisions? Are they, you know, are they backing off on spending or are they saying, now is the time to spend because now we can get an advantage by shifting to some new form of commerce, or changing our e-commerce system. You know, w how is that all playing out for you?Paul Pritchard:
Yeah, so I guess we typically look at it through two lenses. One is a CapEx and one is an opex lens right? So their operating cash is pretty tight, and so what they're looking for is the biggest impact for spend. So typically return on ad spend or return on investment or sales are the things that make the most impact month to month. But that CapEx spend, I think is being put forward because they realize that the accessibility of technology and the pace of change, they can do stuff now that will be platform setting for the future. So you can make choices now to not just completely eliminate what you had in the past, but actually start to strangle out some of the technology that you have there. So long gone are the days when you had to completely decouple from your backend and your front end, and. All of the different inputs that are coming into your technology now, you can just do one part, right? You could focus on your search or your AI driven personalization. Your merchandising. You could focus on how to input data from your warehouses or bring in live data from, know, your, your product source, right? If you're shipping, for example, time to land that sort of information's becoming more accessible, which means as a merchant, When you're thinking about where you spend your money, you can spend less, but have more impact than you used to do as well. That being said, there are still many, many businesses out there that are, you know, they're just starting out on that journey. So there's no I think there's no end of ambition, and I think wisely businesses should consider and consistently look at the value that they extract from the dollar they spend.Tom Raftery:
That's fair enough. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I'm going through a, a similar thing here at the moment. As I said at the start, I'm shifting from an older system, an older almost legacy system, to a new system for recording the podcasts. And it took a bit of ruminating, I guess is, is is the, the right way to put it. I had to think about it for a while and now it's, it's, quite a disruptive change because I'm changing a lot of the processes of my editing, based on the new recording platform that I'm using. So it has, it is gonna completely change my editing format, but on my editing workflow. But hopefully the outcome will be better. So I gotta think there's, there's parallels there with what your customers are going through as well. A lot of thinking about it beforehand and then taking the plunge. And I assume in your customer's case it's not a question of crossing their fingers, I mean, I've done, I, I've done a bit of testing as well before, before, you know, I, I had a couple of tests, recordings and ran through the process and my editing software and everything seems to be fine. But at the end of the day, you know, the, the proof will be in the pudding when this show goes live.Paul Pritchard:
I, I, look, I couldn't agree more. I think that parallel is a perfect example of, you know, the process that we have to all go through, which is new things happen. Um, If we talk about AI, for example, I remember two years ago when. Google launched P Max, right? Performance max. It's the AI driven basically bidding tool, right? It helps distribute the right message to the right person at the right time type thing. That's the theory. Two years ago, if, if we had to stopped, then, you know, if, or if we had to taken the, the state of that product, then we probably would've never gone back to it. But like anything you, if you take the plunge, and you commit to it, right the output may not be perfect, but it's a step forward and you can evolve. And what I love more, Tom, about what you said was you evolved the way that you were doing things, You looked at platform, it made perfect sense to go down this route. And at the end of it, you know, you have to change some of what you do. And like a lot of our clients, you know, business process has to evolve all the time as well, right? And you, you can either choose to do that or it can be forced upon you. So choice is a good thing.Tom Raftery:
Yeah. Yep. What about the, the training aspect though as well? Because you, you, you obviously then need to train up your, your people on the new systems.Paul Pritchard:
Yeah, I, I mean, I think that's probably gonna be one of the biggest challenges that we face, right? Is a, is a a landscape that has no experience in it. So you, you've got a bunch of people who are coming out, and to be to perfectly honest, we employ a lot of people who are under the age of 30. So that comes with two things. One youthful curiosity. So a willingness to dive in and try and, and learn. And it teaches some of our, some of the older dogs in the business, you know, the, the need to try and keep up. So I think much, much like the way that we have to evolve our business, I think all of the merchants that we deal with have always had to be on that constant journey. The, you know, we, we faced that and I don't know what it was like in the Northern Hemisphere, but in the Southern Hemisphere we had this great post covid resignation. And what it did, and it was a very short lived thing because, you know, I, I look at our salary costs and they've, they've relatively stabilized, but what it did is it made this big migration of talent go around. So people were moving all the time and, and they were looking for new homes. And I think the best thing that it did is it, it reinvigorated businesses with new talent looking to come in and try something different and that try something different thought, you know, that that's the basis. It's one of our five founding behaviors. Curiosity, right. Always be learning, always be interested in something new. So I think if we look at supporting our talent with time, that's probably our biggest currency that we, we value at the moment is time. Giving them the space and the support and the safety to try things new maybe fail, but figure it out and fix it and move forward. Those are probably the things that we look at first and foremost for our team, and that's what we encourage with our clients as well because, you know, perfect takes time. So why wait for perfect when you can do something that's halfway there or three quarters of the way there.Tom Raftery:
Sure, sure, sure. And for, you know, customers who are embarking on an e-commerce project, you know, what would you say would be first steps.Paul Pritchard:
It would be sitting down and talking with your partner. So, spending the time up front to investigate what your business looks like first and foremost, because, and, and we do this right, we have a, like a four to six to eight week discovery process that really dives into what has been asked of us and whether or not the business can deliver to that, or if there are any things within the business, like, their pricing models like their product attributes or their distribution locations or some of the risks around, you know, geo delivery, right? You know, in the states you've gotta account for floors when you do your shipping pricing as well, right? If it's on the fifth floor, you pay more than it it's on the second floor. All of these things are known, but they're not documented. And so typically when we are working with a merchant, there's like, three or four people who deal with different parts of the business and they know exactly what's going on, but they don't talk, they don't document it. And so when we're doing our work, we need to know this stuff. So we spend the time asking questions, using our experience of delivering that type of technology implementation. And we dive in and try and challenge them on what they're doing. And to your point around, you know, process, business process change as well, are they willing to do things differently or are they pretty set in the way they're doing things now? And invariably, you know, everyone's got some kind of skeleton in the closet that that never comes out in a, in a, five page well-written, RFP type document. So I think having that conversation first is, is best, and also not being wedded to an outcome that you perceive as the best, being willing to discover something that might be different, and open to it.Tom Raftery:
Okay, and where to next for Overdose?Paul Pritchard:
That's such a good question. I mean, we're, we're seven years old. We've gone from, you know, literally two, two guys sitting in the back office of a merchant trying to help them with their digital strategy to, you know, we're now about 400 plus people in nine offices and. Is it eight countries? So I think that the, the geographic spread is, is pretty good. I would like to see us be more consistent in our delivery of service through the encouragement and support of our talent. So, you know, we've seen so much disruption. I think a lot of people are looking for stability and composure, and that's probably our biggest thing. And with that comes a very clear approach for our merchants to help them navigate their way through this as well. So while we are learning a lot, you know, I, I talk about the, you know, the session we had this morning, it was two hours listening to Google talk about behavioral science and AI driven technology, and combining the both for merchants to be able to win in the peak sales time which is coming up to to, you know the crazy time of sales. You know, helping our merchants understand what's there, helping them be educated, and then helping them have an appetite to, to do things differently. That's, that's composure for me.Tom Raftery:
Nice. Nice Cool. Cool. We're coming towards the end of the podcast now, Paul, is there any question I haven't asked that you wish I had or, any aspect of this we haven't touched on that you think it's important for people to think about?Paul Pritchard:
I think probably the biggest thing at the moment for merchants, particularly well established ones who are seeing growth in their digital channels is where next.Tom Raftery:
And, and coming from New Zealand, we've got 5 million people. You know, there's only so much growth you're going to get out of this market. So the biggest next phase is, is international growth. And if I look at how our business has grown, the appetite to, to put a foot down somewhere, and understand what that landscape looks like, and try and put yourself into the, the boots, the, the shoes, the skirt of the, the customer there and the end user, is an exciting thing. So I think that the one question that I think we could tackle is where does commerce grow once you outgrow your current business?Tom Raftery:
And for me, it's an appetite for growth, right? If you know, we're, we're fundamentally of a belief that if you don't, if you're not growing, you're standing still and, and as soon as you start standing still, you get left behind. So there's gotta be some appetite to continue to push forward That could mean being better at what you do, it could mean thinking about your product set and tweaking it for a more discernible consumer. It could mean taking a plunge and tackling new markets. And you can trust me when I say this, there's a lot to learn by putting boots on the ground in a new market. A lot of good lessons, you know, some of them tough, but all of them worthwhile.Tom Raftery:
Good, good. Paul, if people would like to know more about yourself or any of the things we discussed in the podcast today, where would you have me direct them?Paul Pritchard:
It's really simple. Overdose. digital in your browser. And that'll take you to our website. There's some great case studies there, obviously lots of contact information and it's a, it's a great portal into who we are and how we operate.Tom Raftery:
And your sense of humor, because it's a very cool website. I love the background of the opening page, it's awesome.Paul Pritchard:
Well, that's a good teaser, so you definitely want to go and check it out now.Tom Raftery:
There you go. There you go. Cool. Paul, that's been fascinating. Thanks a million for coming on the podcast today.Paul Pritchard:
I appreciate it, Tom. Good to talk.Tom Raftery:
Okay, thank you all for tuning in to this episode of the Digital Supply Chain Podcast with me, Tom Raftery. Each week, over 3, 000 supply chain professionals listen to this show. If you or your organization want to connect with this dedicated audience, consider becoming a sponsor. You can opt for exclusive episode branding where you choose our guests or a personalized 30 second mid roll ad. It's a unique opportunity to reach industry experts and influencers. For more details, hit me up on Twitter or LinkedIn or drop me an email to tomraftery at outlook. com. Together, let's shape the future of the digital supply chain. Thanks. Catch you all next time.