Passing the Mic: Introducing ZigZag’s Implementation Manager Julia Newell

We took five minutes with Julia for another ZigZag Chinwag

Julia Newell Implementations Manager at ZigZag

2021 was not only a big year for eCommerce, but also for returns. Returns were up a staggering 129% the week following Black Friday, with peak season returns eventually levelling out at a still impressive 24% increase on 2020 figures.

With so many retailers now understanding the importance of providing a dependable, convenient, and cost-effective returns service to their customers, we had plenty of onboarding to do in 2021. Enter Julia and the Implementation Squad…

The Implementations Team are responsible for setting up the retailer on our award-winning portal. That means quickly establishing priorities, providing integration options, and mapping carrier lanes, before rigorously testing order feeds and getting them live. The team is paramount to a successful launch and setting retailers up with a portal that perfectly meets their customers wants and needs. Julia joined us with plenty of prior logistics experience from her time at Whistl UK, and as the ZigZag Implementations Manager, Julia oversees the onboarding process and heads up key & enterprise tier implementations.

Julia is used to interviewing retailers to determine the best onboarding approach, I think it’s time the shoe was on the other foot…

Tell us a bit about your background, where have you worked previously?

Digital illustration

I am a mum of two gorgeous boys and enjoy being a digital illustrator in my spare time. My early work life started with trainee floristry, followed by complaint handling for an insurance company!

My technical career experience began working for Wokingham Local Authority for Children’s Services where I worked as Technical Support and Trainer for their Social Care Framework platform. I then spent 5 years with Whistl as an Implementation Manager which introduced me into the world of Logistics!

What was your first ever job in the industry, and did you enjoy it?

My first technology job was as Technical Support & Trainer for Children’s Services at Wokingham Borough Council – I really enjoyed the role, and it was good to know it was for a good cause, seeing that it was heavily involved with the Child Protection team. The role involved ensuring the safest technical workflow methods were being implemented to allow the Social Care teams to be as efficient as possible. I also enjoyed the classroom training aspect of this role.

What is the best thing about leading our implementation team?

The team itself! All the guys within the Implementation/Projects team are so team-oriented and ready to help each other, as well as being able to have a laugh – it’s a great environment to work in.

Which retail, logistics or tech companies do you most admire and why?

Apple innovation

Tech – Apple – its products are always head and shoulders above other brands, the UX of the product and customer journey is always second to none. Most importantly though they are (maybe surprisingly) carbon neutral and have promised that by 2030 all their products will be too. Apple’s innovative use of alternative materials such as recycled tungsten is also admirable!

Logistics – ZigZag – whilst strictly ZigZag is a SaaS company, we are obviously heavily logistics based – I may be biased but in my 6 months with ZigZag I have been continually impressed by the company’s ethics and value put upon employees and the general company ethos & concept. I’m super proud to implement new retailers into the ZigZag family so they can enjoy the benefits too!

Retailer – ASOS – because; clothes!! Also, I admire the brands they sell as the ever-changing choice and expansion are very impressive…

What are you most excited about to be working on at ZigZag?

The growth potential and to truly feel like you are a noticed part of a young, thriving business, you really feel like you make a difference.

What do you think is the best retail innovation and why?

I think the first lockdown in 2020 led to an acceleration of innovations such as ‘shoppable ads’ on socials to allow easy product selection and purchase, and retailers became very smart with their click & collect options and remote commerce.

Also, the development of AR-assisted online shopping experiences (for example cosmetics) is incredible and is really helping build a seamless transition for eCommerce to provide a very similar retail experience for the customer, as if they were in store. Great for COVID times but also just our busy lives where perhaps we cannot always get to a store!

You’re organising movie night, what are we watching and what are we eating?

Movie Night Popcorn

We are watching My Best Friend’s Wedding & we are eating Twix’s, popcorn & dark mint chocolate!!

So, I’m guessing that movie night starts After Eight (ba dum tss). And finally, what kind of returner are you?

I’m definitely the “I buy 6 things and always return at least 5, returns problem, who me?!” type of returner.