Barbara Garces – Vice President, Wholesale E-Commerce Strategy & Online Marketing at Ralph Lauren

Barbara Garces is playing a key role in the development of Ralph Lauren’s e-commerce strategy and overseeing the execution of the company’s online marketing plan.

She is a proven sales professional with more than 20 years of experience, during which she’s worked for notable companies like Nike, Liz Claiborne, and Berkin. With a deep understanding of digital marketing and sales, she leads a team of strategists, researchers, and marketers to provide comprehensive, actionable insights to drive business performance.

In this role, she works with Ralph Lauren’s Design, Marketing, and Merchandising teams to identify opportunities for online marketing growth and collaboration across platforms, devise strategy for maximising performance, and implement these strategies across digital touchpoints.

Barbara’s Career

Following her graduation from college, Barbara began her career at Liz Claiborne. After a year working in the bridalwear department, she moved to Berkin where she worked for five years in men’s accessories. She then made the move to Nike, where she worked for 12 years, rising to the position of vice president, marketing for the brand’s Women’s Sports Performance group.

While working at Nike, Barbara helped to grow the company’s activewear business by launching a digital marketing campaign and working with retailers to expand into the activewear market. She also helped to establish the company’s “Just do it” culture and was responsible for marketing strategy for the brand’s Performance Wear group.

An Evolving Role

In recent years, as businesses have shifted to an omni-channel approach, Barbara’s responsibilities have continued to evolve. She now helps to lead the company’s marketing efforts across all digital platforms, including its website, social media, and apps. She also manages the company’s SEO strategy and works with its product team to ensure it’s always providing fresh, high-quality content for its consumers.

Ralph Lauren began as a wholesale furrier and continued to grow rapidly due to its association with high profile clients. The company now operates in over 30 countries around the world and is considered one of the most reputable American designers. In 2018, it reported annual revenue of £24.9bn ($32.6bn) and an operating profit of £3.1bn ($4.2bn).

A Passion For Fashion

Barbara’s career in fashion was initially inspired by a love of luxury. She attributes this to her time working at Liz Claiborne, where she helped to introduce a luxury vibe into an already luxurious brand. Even today, as the company she works for continues to grow its presence in the digital world, she still regards her time there as a turning point in her career.

She also mentioned the brand’s designers as being particularly influential: “It was an amazing time learning from the masters, and being a part of the design team for CLAIRE NYC and DIOR Paris.”

Raising The Barons

Throughout her career, Barbara has worked for some of the biggest names in fashion. In 2018 alone, the company she now leads recorded £7.8bn in sales from its website and social media channels.

As a passionate advocate of the fashion industry, Barbara is acutely aware of the role social media plays in the industry and the huge influence the platforms wield. She’s always looking for ways to drive business growth through social media, and uses social media to promote the fashion brands she works for and to raise the bar for online marketing in the industry.

The Importance Of SEO

In 2018, approximately 81% of internet searches took place on mobile phones. This makes it essentially impossible for websites to stay relevant to their audiences if they’re not accessible on mobile phones. As a result, SEO is now an essential part of any digital marketing strategy.

Barbara helps to lead the SEO strategy for Ralph Lauren, ensuring the company’s weblog is optimised for maximum impact and that its campaigns are always driving business performance.

She also works with the company’s Product team to ensure it’s producing the best possible content and driving engagement with its target audience. SEO allows the company to monitor the performance of each of its campaigns and determine the effectiveness of each individual tactic, while enabling them to continually improve performance.

Raising Awareness

One of the primary jobs of a marketer is to generate leads and conversions, but this can often feel like a battle of numbers. Although this may be the case now more than ever, leading firms like Ralph Lauren have seen the value in raising awareness as a route to market, and are employing marketing tactics to accomplish this.

Barbara’s team works to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to the website, and develop lead generation for the company. In August 2018, the team conducted an awareness campaign on Twitter, incorporating a click-to-call-button, designed to raise brand awareness and drive website traffic.

The campaign reached nearly 600,000 people, with more than 80,000 clicks observed on the call button, leading to an 18% increase in website traffic compared to the previous month. The campaign was also responsible for a 19% increase in the number of leads, with 50% of those coming from people who’d never visited the company’s website before. This was measured compared to the previous month, and the number of site visitors increased by 36%.

Working With Global Brands

As well as overseeing the growth of the company’s online marketing plans, Barbara also helps to lead the global e-commerce strategy for a number of Ralph Lauren’s key accounts. She manages the implementation of this strategy, driving growth across web, social, and mobile channels for some of the world’s most renowned brands, including:

  • Burberry
  • Bulgari
  • Celine
  • Dior
  • Farfetch
  • Maison Margiela
  • Mikimoto
  • Mikolah
  • Moschino
  • Paris Saint-Germain
  • Prada
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Richemont

Barbara’s responsibilities at the company she now leads are incredibly diverse, and she sees this as a reflection of the ever-evolving nature of digital marketing and e-commerce. With her extensive experience, knowledge, and network, she’ll be sure to inspire other marketers looking to grow their own business.