Debbie Hauss

Debbie Hauss

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2016 Retail Innovator Award Winners Announced

Retail TouchPoints is proud to announce the 2016 Retail Innovator Award winners. The 36 retail executives were selected after review of more than 100 nominations. In its third year, the Retail Innovator Awards honor business leaders who are embracing positive disruption in retail.

All 36 winners will be honored live at the Retail Innovation Conference, which will take place May 10-11, 2016 at the Apella in New York City. Attendees will hear from the winners and learn their success stories and insights into their winning strategies. Seats are limited; retail executives are invited to register while space is still available by clicking here.

Is The Convenience Economy Convenient For Retailers?

Just when retailers are finally getting up to speed on omnichannel, they face a new challenge: The Convenience Economy.  It's hard to argue with convenience, right? But for retailers that means finding new ways to get products and services to customers even faster, and finding the right partners to make this goal a reality.

Today, retailers can choose from a variety of partners that can help facilitate their convenience objectives, including UberEATS, Hurrier and GoButler, to name just a few. A number of other services, across industries, are outlined in this article.

1:1 With Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Talent VP

1patticlaus2Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Patti Clauss, Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition, for Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSI). She shared her inspiration, insights and best practices for all organizations looking to hire and retain great employees. Clauss has been with the company for more than 13 years and has her hands in every part of the organization, working to be up-to-speed on the goals and needs of each role she seeks to fill.

What are the key challenges you grapple with in your position as VP of Global Talent Acquisition?

The biggest challenges for me are around identifying talent with the drive, stamina, and aptitude to keep up with the rapidly evolving retail landscape of our culture. As quick as retail moves, we need people who are agile.

18 Retailers Honored With 2015 Customer Engagement Awards

Shadow RTP RT068 AWD 2015 Customer Engagement Awards Dec 2015Customer engagement has become a key focus for retailers striving for success in today's omnichannel world, and a number of innovative retailers are leading the pack in implementing successful customer engagement strategies.

The 2015 Retail TouchPoints Customer Engagement Awards honor 18 of these companies. The winners range from national department store, apparel and electronics chains to highly specialized fashion, lifestyle and gourmet consumable retailers. Despite their differences, what they all have in common is that across the organization — from the supply chain to the mobile screen — each winner has gone the extra mile to delight, surprise and satisfy shoppers.

Whole Foods CIO: Transparency Is Key Goal For New ERP

Jason Buechel Whole FoodsWhen Jason Buechel came on as EVP and CIO for Whole Foods less than three years ago, the business was not agile enough, flexible enough or transparent enough to move forward into a successful future. "Legacy products did not have the flexibility to support us across the business," Buechel told a small group of analysts and media during an event in the New York City offices of Infor.

Because Whole Foods is so much more than a grocery store, the business needs to collect and analyze a multitude of product attributes. The retailer also is a food preparation business, a quick serve restaurant, a soft lines business, a tap room and more. "There is probably no other company in the [retail] industry that wants to capture more product attributes than us," said Buechel, explaining the reasoning behind a long-term strategic partnership with Infor.

Did Retailers Overcome Their Greatest Challenges In 2015?

Debbie head shotIs your organization now truly channel-agnostic? Does data security continue to keep you up at night? Are you having more personalized conversations with individual shoppers?

These are just a few of the challenges outlined by 13 top industry experts in the Retail TouchPoints 2015 Outlook Guide, published back in January. Before we put our blinders on and head into 2016, let's revisit those challenges and see how far we've come.

Results Are In! Find Out Which Omnichannel Tactics Work Best

1omnichannelEffective omnichannel strategies are helping retailers improve loyalty, increase brand interactions and boost basket size, according to the 114 business leaders surveyed for the 4th annual Retail TouchPoints Omnichannel Survey.

Although the term "omnichannel" is now part of our everyday retail dictionary, many business executives are still trying to figure out the most effective strategies. While the brick-and-mortar store continues to be the most prevalent selling channel, online sites are now in relatively equal standing.

Has The Organic Food Market Outgrown Whole Foods?

Debbie head shotAdmittedly, I am a Whole Foods shopper.  My relationship with Whole Foods dates back to before the company acquired the Fresh Fields chain in the '90s. But most people probably don't know that Whole Foods actually was born in 1974 in New Orleans as a one-store business called Whole Food Company. It's grown from one store to more than 430 locations employing more than 90,000.

But with the expansion of "health food," organic products, gluten free items and the like, Whole Foods is facing unprecedented competitive challenges, not only from other supermarket chains, but from smaller specialty companies and larger retail outlets. Small formats like MOM's Organic Market and Sprouts, as well as businesses as large as Kroger, Costco and Walmart, are consuming some of Whole Foods' share of the organic food market.

Technology Is Important, But Trust Is Essential

2TrustWe talk a lot about omnichannel retail and giving today's shoppers every option when it comes to product ordering and delivery. But what is really at the heart of retail success is establishing a trusting relationship with customers. It sounds simple, but it's not.

This week I attended the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas, where there were a lot of discussions and questions around data security and payment innovation. Are retailers implementing EMV? How can we make mobile payment work at the drive-thru? What are the steps to speeding the checkout process, both online and in the store? These are all great questions and need to be addressed, but when it comes right down to it, they all lead to Trust.

How The Three P's Work For Bluemercury

He was told his business plan wouldn't work, by a key business strategist. A specialty chain focused on personalized service can't maintain the desired quality of service across more than five stores, the business strategist said. But Barry Beck proved him wrong.

Bluemercury has delivered consistent success as a "friendly neighborhood store" offering "expert honest advice," said Beck during the 2015 Texas A&M Retailing Summit in Dallas.

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