Digital Commerce Re-Tales: Chayse Joubert
The Digital Commerce Re-Tales series highlights personal and professional stories from the people and brands defining the direction of digital commerce. While each profile is as unique as the figures themselves, they share common themes such as learning to navigate the ever-changing nature of the eCommerce industry.
Officially, Chayse Joubert is the Director of Digital Commerce for North America for a Leading CPG Food Company, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to add the title ‘jack of all trades’ to his LinkedIn profile.
“In digital commerce you touch sales, you touch marketing, you touch supply chain, you touch sales planning, you touch category management, you touch customer success, and you touch literally every facet of the business.”
Chayse, on the field of digital transformation…
“And that’s just with the channels that we have today. You think about where things are headed, right? Connected commerce can literally be from anything you’re doing. There’s social commerce, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence. And there’s ways for suppliers and manufacturers and retailers alike to monetize each one of those components now. It’s really interesting.
Talking about what we really do, this digital transformation, I think it’s really future proofing organizations because if you don’t make necessary investments and decisions today, even some of the larger organizations will struggle in the near future if those basically enhanced are not made.”
Chayse’s initial field of study was sports management, a natural major when he began at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where he played wide receiver (Go Stangs!). Although a torn ACL may have ended his NFL dreams, the skills he learned during his time as a student athlete proved invaluable to his future professional success in corporate America.
On the value of his college experience as an athlete…
“I loved my college experience. The reality is sports teach you life skills. It taught me a leadership style. In theory, when you play football or a sport in college, you’ve got 90 to 150 guys that are coming from all different walks of life coming together to attain one common goal. That to me sounds very similar to what you have in corporate America, where you work with people from all over the globe, all working together to attain one common goal.
You learn a communication style, leadership style, the ability to handle conflict, the ability to respectfully disagree with a team member, but also not let that be detrimental to your relationship or to the detriment of the team. Those are all things I learned in classes for sure, but also dealing with conflict as an athlete. So yes, my college experience was great.”
Growing up in Dallas, Chayse was taught the value of hard work from his parents and his grandmother.
“Working hard was always something that was instilled in me. This idea that nothing in life comes free, and if it comes free, you probably don’t want it, right? Those are some of the foundational principles that I was always given, and I will still hold true today, which is how I kind of approach things with how my perspective has been shaped from early childhood.”
Chayse started meeting some goals early during his time at SMU by working several internships that allowed him to explore technical environments and also brought a professional mentor into his life to help him navigate what he wanted to do with his career.
On mentors, mothers, and grandmothers…
“It’s been great to have, you know, a life coach, father figure, somebody to really depend on and lean on. You get insight into a world that you’re just not privy to. And it has been and I’m really grateful for his leadership and grateful for the time he spent with me and invested in me because I feel like a lot of that has matriculated into what I’ve been able to accomplish over my career so far. I would not be where I am, even at the smallest capacity had it not been for him.”
A good bit of advice Chayse followed early was that the first role he picked post-graduation should be something to set him up for success over the course of his career.
“I had a couple different offers coming out of college, and AT&T just kind of felt like the right move to make. I enjoy technology a lot and they talked about being on the forefront of technology, and I felt like it was something that I could use long term. I always felt like tech would be the way of the future. My initial thought was why not go work for a company like AT&T that’s willing to teach me the inner workings of how the “Internet” works? That for me was a key decision maker or key driver.”
As his career in digital commerce progressed, Chayse jumped right into the retailer world when he moved into a position at H.E.B. “In my first couple of weeks on the job, we sat in a room one day and our leader at the time said that we were going to pivot our focus into this thing called click and collect, and we’ll call it curbside. We don’t know if it’s going to work, but we’re going to make this transition. And literally overnight, my life and my work changed tremendously.
My job transitioned from ‘can we put it on the Internet?’ to ‘let’s develop a strategy, invest, actually drive a strategy to bring the brick and mortar concept to life in the business space’. We had an opportunity to do things that I think I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”
On learning from buyers…
“It was incredible. I mean, I can’t talk enough about how valuable that was. And it was also great to learn from people that understood it. I think sometimes in digital commerce today, because it moves so fast, unfortunately there’s not really a ton of time for a true education because most of us are caught up in meetings, 8 to 5 every day. So that time for me was invaluable.
The other part that was pivotal was the time I got to spend with our buyers. Our buyers at that time had done such a great job on building schemas, planograms and building strategies that the consumers really bought into. For me, instead of trying to recreate the wheel, I spent probably 75% of my time engaging with my buyers and really understanding why they built, who they were trying to target, what they were trying to get accomplished, and really identifying ways to digitize some of these thoughts and processes. My role transitioned away from just putting it on the website, to almost bringing a new perspective to the business that the team hadn’t seen before.”
As with several of the other leaders we’ve interviewed in this series, Chayse’s eCommerce journey hasn’t followed a strictly linear path. When he got a call to join an alcohol distributor as the Director of Digital Marketing, he took advantage of the new opportunity.
“At that point I had only worked for retailers, but being with a distributor, you are literally the middleman between a supplier and a retailer, so you get access to both, right? You get the strategy from the retail side, and you get the strategy from the supplier side, and you have to find a way to merge the two. That was also a very eye-opening experience and pivotal to my growth because at this point I had been promoted to Director and so my strategic conversations were a lot different.”
In his current position as Director of Digital Commerce for a leading CPG food company, Chayse has welcomed another opportunity to expand his experience in eCommerce, now from the brand perspective.
“I’m on the brand side and I think it is really interesting too. I mean, it has provided a different dynamic, I have to really understand my portfolio, I have to understand my targeted consumer for each one of those portfolio roles that we’re prioritizing, and then also understand how to have that conversation in the digital space.”
On the changing role of the brand in the digital space…
“It’s a different beast, but it’s also really fun because you get to influence the way that the market moves. With the emergence of B2C, with the emergence of social commerce, as things like VR, and AR, and AI continue to become more applicable to how people go to market, the role of the brand now has a heightened influence, especially in the digital space than what it had in the past. Because now I can come to you with persona data, now I can come to you with proven data and statistics that talks about our social listening capabilities. I, as a brand, can go to retailers with more of a definitive story of who I am and why I matter.
I think that is what can help us to drive the category versus coming in and saying, ‘can you update your packaging?’ I think we are in the midst of digital transformation and kind of fundamentally shifting the way that we think about the market. So it’s been really interesting.”
At the end of the day, work is not the only thing on Chayse’s mind. What makes it worthwhile is his family, which includes his wife, six-year-old daughter, three-year-old son, and a new baby girl who will join them any day now.
“I love being a dad. I love everything about my kids. The work that I do and why I work as hard as I do is to be able to give them things that I didn’t have growing up.
It is really hectic, but it is probably the best part of my life. Shout out to my wife because even as I’m in here grinding at 10:00pm or 1:00am, when I’m working on presentations or taking calls, she’s taking care of the kids and making sure that they’re squared away. I want to make sure I give her a shout out. Hopefully she knows that.”