Alexandru Băduț, Product Manager in Bucharest, Romania
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Alexandru Băduț

Verified Expert  in Product Management

Product Manager

Location
Bucharest, Romania
Toptal Member Since
April 18, 2022

Alexandru is a seasoned product manager with 10+ years of experience. He has led the design and development of awarded digital experiences and SaaS offerings in three markets: Romania, Hungary, and Cyprus. He has gained knowledge in retail, banking, telco, F&B, and hospitality industries in B2B and B2C contexts for large to early-stage companies. Alexandru focuses on discovering high-value problems and iterating relevant solutions using a lean and agile-based approach.

Project Highlights

Skip-the-queue and Rewards Mobile App for an International Food Chain
Led the design and development of a skip-the-queue ordering and loyalty mobile app that reached 10% market penetration in the first year and a more than 20% channel revenue ratio.
Retention CRM for Hotel and Restaurant Retail Chains
Raised funding, recruited, and led a product team for building a retention CRM application for hotel and restaurant chains.
Product Design and Development for a Toys, Games, and Children's Books Rental Subscription Startup
Increased visitor-to-subscriber conversion rate by two times leading the design and development of new subscription plans, the onboarding process, and the toys catalog.

Expertise

Work Experience

Product Management Consultant

2021 - 2022
Freelance
  • Defined a product strategy for a human resources management system (HRMS) SaaS company worth over €4 million.
  • Consulted for an early-stage startup developing a computer vision solution for garbage collector companies.
  • Worked as an advisory consultant for an early-stage startup developing a solution for capturing and running exploratory test cases.
  • Trained more than 60 early-stage tech startup founders in business model design, go-to-market, and growth and product development.

Head of Product

2020 - 2021
Soleadify
  • Contributed to training and testing multiple machine learning models for the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) profiling by website content, news article indexing, company and location entity recognition, and summarization.
  • Revised the revenue model to a freemium-based one and realigned pricing plans according to the competitive set.
  • Redesigned the user experience to help users better slide and dice the lead generation data and have a more positive perception of the volume of relevant data.
  • Documented specifications for integrating external systems, such as a white-label cold email platform or an email address scouting platform.
  • Performed a customer discovery for high usage trial, paid, and churned users to learn from their context and struggles using a jobs-to-be-done approach.
  • Implemented product metrics within Google Data Studio to monitor successful searches and sales data exports.

Product Manager

2014 - 2020
Expremio | Bit Soft
  • Grew SaaS yearly revenue five times by developing a SaaS offering including eCommerce, mobile platforms, and CRM for key accounts such as Pizza Hut, Burger King, City Grill, and other restaurant and hotel chains in three markets.
  • Designed and implemented different customer-facing products for food orders, including delivery, skip-the-queue, restaurant booking, and mobile loyalty.
  • Modeled business cases for different reward models for our key accounts’ customers.
  • Led the design and development of an omnichannel CRM platform focused on helping hotel and restaurant chains stimulate customer retention to stay competitive against food and travel aggregators.
  • Managed the redesign of an Android tablet-based restaurant point of sale (POS) that increased usability by shortening the duration of critical use cases.
  • Oversaw the migration of the entire infrastructure on AWS from a Bucharest-based data center.

Product Owner

2012 - 2014
Vodafone Romania
  • Led the technical implementation of the prepaid offering as an interface between the business and tech teams.
  • Headed the design and development of the digital capabilities for eCommerce, mobile video streaming, and customer self-service.
  • Aided the product strategy for value-added services with offerings relevant to the target market, such as multi-functional virtual currency or micro-lending through the prepaid balance.
  • Contributed to the go-to-market strategy for a youth innovation brand.

CRM Consultant

2011 - 2012
Freelance
  • Led the audit of Siebel CRM implementation in a large bank with more than 500 users and over 100 retail locations nationwide.
  • Consulted for the retail unit of a local bank to design and develop a consultative sales CRM application in Oracle APEX.
  • Assessed the technical documentation of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation for a financial asset management company.

Lead Project Manager

2006 - 2011
The Rompetrol Group
  • Led a multi-million euro implementation of Siebel CRM by coordinating the integration of more than five software vendors and an internal team of business analysts and technical peers.
  • Performed business analysis. Configured and implemented a management execution tool for business processes regarding order management, increasing visibility of credit scoring activities, and delivery planning for more than 100 daily orders.
  • Managed an operational efficiency project for the retail network, decreasing out-of-stock products for convenience stores, and technically implemented a purchase order proposal based on past sales and seasonal variation.

Software Developer

2004 - 2006
Smartree
  • Developed the core business logic for the payroll product regarding payroll calculation and employee data management.
  • Designed and developed a data check-in and check-out collaboration solution to increase coordination between the customer and internal operations users.
  • Created a UI patterns library for the development team.

Software Developer

2003 - 2004
Webstyler
  • Developed digital assets on the front and back end for international key accounts such as Beaufour-Ipsen, Ferrero, or vital local accounts like Altex, Zapp, and Tiriac Auto.
  • Launched the first eCommerce platform in Romania and contributed to its further development.
  • Configured and maintained the entire server infrastructure on Linux.

Skip-the-queue and Rewards Mobile App for an International Food Chain

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.expremio.burgerking

Led the design and development of a skip-the-queue ordering and loyalty mobile app that reached 10% market penetration in the first year and a more than 20% channel revenue ratio.

The mobile application enabled users to place and pay an order before reaching the restaurant to pick it up and earn rewards for skip-the-queue orders and retail transactions. The rewards model was designed to stimulate the order frequency of the restaurant chain customers.

Key challenges included:
• Scoping the project by documenting user stories and functional specifications and coordinating the product team throughout the implementation
• Designing a user experience that followed mobile design patterns while aligning it with digital brand guidelines
• Selecting and implementing a Bluetooth beacon solution for triggering orders when the user is in the restaurant's proximity
• Designing the process for the mobile orders (e.g., users had to know when the order was ready for pick up from a separate counter area)
• Documenting and implementing a user acceptance testing plan
• Stress-testing the AWS cloud infrastructure for high-demand conditions

The mobile application has exceeded one million downloads in a market with a total population size of almost ten million.

Retention CRM for Hotel and Restaurant Retail Chains

Raised funding, recruited, and led a product team for building a retention CRM application for hotel and restaurant chains.

The hotel and restaurant industry is heavily impacted by aggregators specializing in digital customer acquisition while commissioning revenues and owning the customer relationship.

I envisioned a product to help hotel and restaurant chains stimulate transaction frequency by following their previous guests' preferences regarding communication topics and past transaction content. This enabled the hotel marketing team to address the customer segments such as budget-conscious families or affluent couples by focusing marketing communication (email, SMS, and website) on their past stays data (type of room, nights, and season) and dining data and previous reactions to marketing communication.

The competitive set did not include software products that leveraged hotel stay data and restaurant checks data, which were equally relevant in profiling the customer.

Key challenges included:
• Performing customer discovery for learning about hotel and restaurant challenges
• Defining the product strategy for iterating in the market
• Estimating and budgeting the scope from the get-go to the first release delivery
• Documenting user stories and functional specifications
• Coordinating the design and implementation of the product

Product Design and Development for a Toys, Games, and Children's Books Rental Subscription Startup

http://www.evertoys.ro

Increased visitor-to-subscriber conversion rate by two times leading the design and development of new subscription plans, the onboarding process, and the toys catalog.

Evertoys is a startup in the Romanian market that promotes the responsible purchase of toys and books. They enable parents and children to try out expensive toys so they can decide if the child enjoys that particular item.

Key challenges included:
• Running discovery sessions to understand how their existing and past customers make decisions on buying the subscription
• Recruiting an external designer and front-end developer and coordinating with their back-end developer
• Performing wireframes for an improved UX covered: learning about available toys, the subscription benefits activating the subscription, and month-to-month self-service
• Documenting user stories and functional specs for overall front-end development and analytics integration
• Coordinating the design and development of the new offering and the improved onboarding flow
• Revising the revenue model from four different subscriptions to a more straightforward base subscription with add-ons, running projections of how to reshape the monthly revenue due to the disruption.
• Iterating the new experience based on funnel analysis and click-and-scroll heat maps for web and mobile

Pizza Hut eCommerce Platform and Mobile Application

Led the design and development of web and mobile app capabilities resulting in an eight-times revenue ratio increase in digital channels in two years for the Romanian market. Increased the same metric two times following go-live in the Cyprus market.

Led the design and development of a SaaS eCommerce platform for food ordering and delivery featuring a web asset, a mobile application for iOS and Android, and a call-center component using the same CRM database.

Following the success in the Romanian market, we were approached by the Cyprus franchisee to implement the same capabilities. At the same time, we addressed some local market requirements like particular up-sell rules, advanced discount capabilities, and reward model implementation.

Key challenges included:
• Tailoring Pizza Hut's design system for local market requirements
• Performing operational integration for each delivery center
• Integrating MICROS POS software
• Migrating data for delivery addresses and existing customer data
• Optimizing the conversion rate

UX Redesign for a Lead Generation Platform

https://app.soleadify.com/

Led the UX redesign for a SaaS-lead generation platform, increasing activation metrics for search-to-export.

Soleadify is a data-as-a-service startup providing company profiling services for Fortune 500 companies. Their software capabilities are entirely machine learning-driven.

The activation challenge we faced consisted of users filtering their data too narrow, so their first search experience was not great. Most of these users did not attempt to change the search terms and churned, unhappy with the low number of results.

I proposed different solutions and settled for the one that proved the most positive outcome: It involved gradually showing results for each new search term added and reorganizing the information architecture. This solution made apparent to the user that some terms were more critical than others and that fine-grain terms might result in a much narrower result dataset.

Key activities included:
• Configuring Google Data Studio to monitor activation rates
• Preparing wireframes for the revised UX
• Hiring and managing an external contractor for product design
• Documenting user stories and functional specifications
• Managing the iterative delivery
• Revising product marketing assets
• Drafting email campaigns and designing Intercom onboarding tours

Shopify Implementation for a Healthy Food Company

http://www.juiceit.ro

Increased the conversion rate from visitors to orders within 30% and contributed to a revenue increase of 40% after the migration from OpenCart to Shopify.

The company is a key player in Romania's well-being market that sells fresh liquid diet programs and vegetarian meals to an audience that wants to lead a healthier lifestyle.

They were using OpenCart, which had to be further developed to accommodate a custom delivery schedule selection. This custom development was not entirely mobile-friendly and was difficult to configure on the operations side. I proposed to migrate to Shopify after researching the required add-ons and customizations.

Key challenges included:
• Performing business analysis to learn about how demand is attracted and how orders are processed and shipped
• Configuring the product catalog, shipping rules, and payment integration
• Integrating Zapier to have an easier Google Sheets-based management of incoming orders
• Configuring a marketing automation app for cart abandonment and stimulating customer retention
• Projecting revenue vs. cost for a "free-shipping" experiment that ultimately resulted in a 10% net increase in sales
• Editing the theme to feature additional content promoting the products
• Using SEMrush to enhance the SEO ranking of the eCommerce website, leading to an increase in sales from organic search

Strategy, Design and Implementation of an Airport Traveler Mobile App

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.expremio.henriappport

Redefined the product strategy and led the design and development, attracting local recognition and multiple awards.

DNATA is a global company founded in 1959 in Dubai that operates catering and cargo services and ground handling in more than 50 international airports, including the Henri Coanda Bucharest International Airport.

The company was interested in delivering digital value to the Romanian traveler, ultimately seeking to attract them to purchase food in their F&B outlets.

After performing customer discovery throughout my network, I learned that the average traveler has a constant emotional pressure not to lose their flight.

Key challenges included:
• Designing, testing, and developing solutions that would allow the traveler to track any change made to their flight
• Delivering UX design that would attract users with enough time for their flight boarding to consider having a snack in any of the airport's F&B outlet
• Designing a rewards model that featured different discount tiers for the F&B outlets and rewarded past F&B transactions and in-app behavior
• Providing software integration to the airport's flight tracking system
• Briefing and coordinating with a brand agency to create a digital mobile brand and to design all the airport materials
• Training the operational personnel to apply discount codes to mobile app users

CRM Implementation for a Large Oil and Gas Multinational

Led a multi-million euro CRM implementation, integrating five different applications within sales and customer operation scope.

Siebel CRM was purchased as an enterprise solution to implement uncapped time and material (T&M) relationship projects. As a project leader, I avoided budget over-run and successfully delivered the entire scope.

Key challenges included:
• Phasing a vast scope in three releases to better manage the scope and deliver value iteratively
•Providing change management and adoption challenges because of the "big brother effect" within the sales organization. I became a change champion, always promoting the benefits while being honest about the cost with the business owners
• Started organizing prototype-based discovery sessions so that business owners could see the standard functionality and formulate requirements effortlessly instead of eliciting requirements
• Coordinating external vendors for the Siebel CRM integration with ERP accounts receivable, billing, credit collection, and fleet authorization through an IBM WebSphere middleware solution
• Cleaning and migrating data from the moment that the CRM became a master data system for business accounts
• Coordinating with Siebel consultants from different cultures, including the UK, Germany, Austria, Spain, India, and Italy
2009 - 2010

Master's Degree in Business Administration (MBA)

Central European University - Bucharest, Romania

2005 - 2008

Bachelor's Degree in Information Systems

Faculty of Cybernetics, Statistics and Informatics - Bucharest, Romania

JULY 2021 - PRESENT

Product Management Foundations Course

HTW Institute

SEPTEMBER 2019 - SEPTEMBER 2021

Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)

Scrum Alliance

MAY 2018 - PRESENT

Software Product Management Specialization

University of Alberta | via Coursera

DECEMBER 2012 - PRESENT

Gamification as a Business Practice

University of Pennsylvania | via Coursera

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