Jonathan Johnson, CEO at Overstock, couldn’t be more “stoked” to have Elizabeth Solomon join the company as CMO from Amazon, where she most recently held the position of head of global private brands.
Overstock has always been good at performance marketing, Johnson said -- something that Solomon can support at the company. “Brand marketing is something Overstock hasn’t always been good at, and that’s what Elizabeth brings to the company,” he said. “Who we are has changed over the years. We began as a liquidator, then became a merchandiser, and today we are a home furnishings company.”
More than 90% of Overstock’s revenue comes from home furnishings, Johnson said, and that’s the branding that Solomon will spearhead. In 2020, more than half of the company’s overall revenue came from the mobile channel, app and the website.
“The conversion in the app is higher than anywhere else,” Johnson said. “We just don’t have enough downloads.”
The plan is to increase app downloads and make the experience “sticky,” Solomon said, beginning with experiments to ensure the most frictionless experience for consumers.
“We will continue to innovate in performance marketing, but also have an opportunity to build and differentiate the brand by associating Overstock with home furnishings,” she said. “These are the initial focus areas, along with driving the adoption of the mobile app.”
Solomon will oversee marketing efforts, reposition the brand, drive customer acquisition and retention, and lead marketing communications and marketing technology efforts.
Prior to Amazon, Solomon held senior marketing leadership positions at Samsung Electronics and Walmart, as well as marketing roles early in her career at Cadbury, Nestlé, Unilever, and Eastman Kodak Company.
When asked to cite the best piece of advice she ever received and from whom, Solomon points to a mentor and former CFO at Walmart. “Approach the world with high levels of curiosity for everything you do,” she said. “Try to learn as much as possible.”
It is also important to be curious and learn, she says. Marketers must stay in tune with technology and all types of advancements.
Overstock is no stranger to technology, and has been offering customers new types of experiences since its founding in 1999. For example, the company began taking bitcoin as a payment option in January 2014.
Johnson said taking bitcoin works similar to a transaction where a consumer uses their PayPal account or credit card to pay for merchandise. When a customer has a bitcoin wallet and makes a purchase of a $200 rug on Overstock.com, the company converts half of the payment immediately into U.S. dollars and keeps half of the money in bitcoin, which its treasury department manages.
“Bitcoin customers are a little different, but it’s been a differentiator for us, and helped us to understand the underlying blockchain technology and how it can be incorporated into the business,” Johnson said.