Benish Shah

Vice President, Marketing, Raised Real

How did you start working in eCommerce?

The first time I worked in eCommerce was with a womenswear company based in New York City. It was called Eva Khurshi, created by these two amazing young Muslim women, who were at the forefront of modest fashion at the time. Since then, I’ve worked in eCommerce in different ways, through affiliate and just being an immediate company, to being a direct-to-consumer brand.

What do you love most about your job?

I love the way consumers behave. It goes back to the fact that anything that I’ve ever done is very people-centricIt’s about understanding what makes people feel good, what makes them happy, what makes them feel like a brand understands them. It’s being able to provide something that makes them feel like their day is better. So really understanding the way that people think has always been something that interested me. eCommerce lets you do that from both the brand perspective and purchase behavior perspective.

What advice would you give to others looking to work in the industry?

Find the balance when it comes to data and empathy. You often see marketers that are either very data-driven or just very feeling-driven. But in this new kind of eCommerce world, you need to have both. You need to be able to look at the data and make smart decisions based on the knowledge that you have. I’m an ex-lawyer, so I’ve had to have both of these in my head at all times.

You also need to be constantly thinking about the consumer that you’re working with and what his needs are, so that you can find the best ways to access him. That may be different based on brand and based on a specific consumer. So that balance between data and empathy is critical.

What do you think is the next big trend that will define the industry?

I think it’s going to be social impact. Specifically, domestic social impact. With the domestic changes that we’ve seen in our policy and in our politics, people are moving inward. They’re looking inward at our country and saying, “Where can we help?”

It’s no longer going to be about, “Hey, give us accolades because we’re doing good for the world.” It’s going to be expected that what you’re doing is creating a positive impact in your community.

Are there other women in the industry that you admire & why?

From a marketing perspective, I want to name Susan McPherson. She owns McPherson Strategy, which does social impact advising for all types of companies. The way she has always thought about social impact is very inspiring. Also Audrey Gelman of The Wing is amazing. Her company is not eCommerce, but there’s huge potential there to turn into a commerce source because of the way that she’s bringing different people together from different companies.