This week, Product School hosted Victor Duran, Product Leader at FARFETCH, for a special #AskMeAnything session. Victor talks about how to choose a product framework, the challenges and opportunities in luxury fashion e-commerce (like AI and ML!), and how he and his team at FARFETCH create products.
Victor is an experienced Product professional in the areas of Business, Technology, and User Experience. Currently, he is a Lead Product Manager at FARFETCH. Prior to his current role, Victor was a Product Manager at Telefónica Innovation where he led three internal startups related to bot technologies, MarTech, and AdTech products.
Victor has been progressively attaining higher managerial positions, from a Junior Digital Consumer Marketing Manager to ultimately serving as a Lead Product Manager. According to his colleague, Víctor is a very focused guy and is able to understand the business objectives and how he can contribute to achieving them. He is proactive and creative with the ability to think out of the box and deliver results while creating huge value for the Company in the execution. In addition, Victor has excellent digital skills, which he combines with a deep entrepreneurial spirit to work and deliver differently.
Besides the obvious (Slack, Google Docs, etc) what’s the one tool you couldn’t do your job without?
On tooling, I’m quite a fan of Confluence for product documentation purposes. It has helped me a lot in the last months, especially working asynchronously with my team.
What are the main requirements needed for a solid tech stack?
I’d say end-to-end visibility on your tech tooling is critical. You need to ensure the machine is well oiled from the data generation to the operationalisation part. I see some companies investing lots of resources in some parts of the tech tooling, but losing consistency in the overall stack. This is critical!
Do you follow any frameworks?
Lots…check out mental models online. I did a session on mental models with Product School some months ago, check it out! I’m a fan of Farnam Street mental models resources, quite useful for any decision-making process, not only related to Product.
How does one get good at choosing the right prioritization framework?
Prioritisation frameworks…there are lots! To me, these are very related to mental models: no golden bullet here, the trick is to know when to apply each one. Try different frameworks and adjust them based on the problem you are tackling. Identify why a framework is good/bad for certain situations to fine-tune your ability to implement them.
Worth reading: The ULTIMATE Guide to Prioritization
How would you go about creating a visual for stakeholders to see all the value that a product can provide? And how would you convert that into a product roadmap?
There are different ways you could tackle this depending on the type of product and industry you are in. You could leverage the ‘value chain’ framework and place in a slide the value chain of your product and call out the different parts producing value.
Alternatively, you could also use a customer jobs to be done framework to highlight the value your product delivers. Then from here, try to identify the pieces of work required to deliver this value which will translate into a product roadmap.
Is PM going to be worth it in coming years? and how to you feel about the rapid change going on with the low code || no code industry?
I work in London for FARFETCH. Based on my experience, Product Management is currently in very high demand, and will be in the future!
Why? Because every industry is getting digitised and is in need of technical teams. Hence Product Management is critical in my opinion. By the way, we have lots of open Product Management positions at FARFETCH, check them out!
What tips and tricks would you share that can accelerate my product journey from engineer to PM?
I’d suggest trying to identify a problem space currently related to your field, i.e Data Quality, which you can own and use to showcase how you can develop into Product Management. For instance, try to scope the problems and identify solutions following a product framework. This will help you learn and show internally/externally how you can transition into Product. You can use this as a success story in your interviews as well.
I’m assuming there are PMs for particular parts of FARFETCH—checkout, supply, etc. How does a roadmap encompass these areas on a wider business level?
Very interesting question. We do indeed have different Product Management areas within the FARFETCH technology team. Having a joined roadmap between areas is a challenge. We leverage JIRA for roadmap management, as it enables us to have a high-level overview of all roadmaps via a single tool. We use the concept of ‘dependencies’ to reflect the work which is dependent on other teams as well. However, a high-level overview is always difficult and I’m still exploring tools for this. Ideas are welcome!
Besides time in the market, what do you build into FARFETCH‘s product and user experience to make customers completely confident about authenticity of items listed?
As you mention, authenticity is key in the luxury fashion industry. We mainly work with boutiques, which take care of ensuring the product sourcing is authentic. In the FARFETCH group, we also have Stadium Goods where our sneakers experts ensure the products are authentic. I’ve heard of blockchain solutions trying to do something similar as well.
What’s the product design process at FARFETCH like? And what are good practices for designers to implement?
We involve Product Design in those initiatives in need of design in the scoping phases, so not all of them. For instance, they might work on building user artefacts to help us explore business opportunities by understanding our customers better. So they currently have a huge role in the ideation parts of our product development process.
When it comes to designing the visual experience of our customer journey, they are also involved, but I’ve not been involved in these parts.
Good practices: customer-centricity is so key! You guys are the experts on the customers, so as much customer-centric you can be, the better for all the squad.
Read next Being a Product Design Scientist
What was your process of collecting data for FARFETCH? What tools helped you gather the data?
Data gathering starts implicitly in your first touchpoints with the user, i.e app visits. Then, you can plan for ad-hoc data gathering via sign-up portals, for instance, or by asking for further data from the user in different parts of the customer journey.
Regarding tools, these are built internally, mainly on how to gather data on initial web/app visits.
With privacy laws, it’s harder to get newsletter signups. Do you have any thoughts on how to use product to encourage newsletter signup in this context?
Privacy regulations are forcing us to be more creative, a challenge for all! Product Management can help look at the bigger picture, i.e do you need sign-ups for CRM channels, or should you change your retention/acquisition strategy? If you really need to pursue a CRM acquisition strategy, you can revisit the benefits of signing up to ensure a subscriber is incentivised to do so. Use A/B testing to optimise this.
What emerging technologies do you think are going to have the biggest impact on FARFETCH products? AR, Blockchain, ML? And which do you think will be adopted the fastest?
Interesting…I come from an innovation background, so I love questions like this.
First of all, a huge disclaimer to say I don’t really know and other teams at FARFETCH are taking care of this. However, if you look at the future of e-commerce and luxury fashion, we can see how AR is going to be quite interesting for product sizing and metaverse-type of use cases. ML for sure, we are already using it very extensively for personalisation, anything related to AI will be and is key!
Check out: Cracking the AI/ML Product Manager Interview
What’s one creative thing you did or risk you took that paid off during product discovery/implementation?
There’s a lot of discussion around data-driven vs. following your product instinct. I currently work in the Data organisation within FARFETCH, so I lean more towards being data-driven. But you can also be creative without losing rigour.
Wondering what B2B Solutions solutions are advisable to synchronise inventory with partner boutiques? Asking as I’m advising an emerging market player in luxury e-commerce.
We have a business dedicated to B2B services, FARFETCH Platform Solutions. You will find content and services which might be useful to what you are looking for
Any final advice?
My only advice: focus on the most impactful piece of work and ensure end-to-end ownership. Then, work hard to deliver and use it as a success story to keep growing internally within your organisation or elsewhere!