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5 Digital Transformation Tips From The Experts

  • Written by  Debbie Hauss
5 Digital Transformation Tips From The Experts

Debbie head shotThe vibe at the 2016 eTail East show last week in Boston was invigorating. Each speaker was proud and enthusiastic about telling their own digital transformation story. Here are five top tips from execs at the conference, including:

  • Rose Hamilton, Chief Digital Officer, Vitamin Shoppe
  • Nick Taranto, Co-Founder and CEO, Plated
  • Wayne Duan, Director of Digital Commerce, Walgreens
  • Thoryn Stephens, Chief Digital Officer, American Apparel
  • Sandep Varma, VP, Enterprise CRM, Loyalty and Analytics, 1-800-FLOWERS

Move from a retail business to an experience business: Rose Hamilton, Chief Digital Officer, Vitamin Shoppe

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During her presentation, Hamilton talked about the transformation that’s taking place at the 770+ store traditional health products retail chain. In fact, she is the first Chief Digital Officer at the company. “We’re moving from the retail business to the experience business,” she explained. To inspire the troops to embrace digital technology, the Vitamin Shoppe recently took 1,000 employees on a trip to Disney. “Our goal is to become more deeply connected to customers” by leveraging technology and data to increase engagement, Hamilton explained.

Address the 5 P’s of Innovation: Purpose, Process, People, Product and Platform: Nick Taranto, Co-Founder and CEO, Plated

When Taranto and his co-founder launched Plated in 2012, the meal kit business was a new concept. To get the concept off the ground, “At first we focused on maximizing learning versus mitigating risk,” said Taranto. At the beginning, it was “OK to fail,” he explained. Plated also was keenly focused on hiring the best employees. “We only hired A+ people. And we worked to transform managers into mentors.” Of course, it didn’t hurt that the co-founders appeared on Shark Tank in 2012, which resulted in a 100X site traffic increase. “We had more revenue in the month after Shark Tank than we had for the overall business to date,” Taranto noted.

Make sure the shopper can complete her journey, even if the initiative isn’t intuitive for the business: Wayne Duan, Director of Digital Commerce, Walgreens

Many of the initiatives employed by brick-and-mortar retailers these days are focused on keeping the customer in the store. That’s why adding a drive-thru pharmacy pickup seemed like a counter-intuitive idea to many Walgreens store executives, according to Duan. “Stores didn’t like it but it was the best thing for the customer.” Duan also contributed one of the most Tweet-able quotes during the event: “Abandon FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. Embrace JOMO – Joy of Missing Out.”

We will not launch a single thing if we can’t measure it: Thoryn Stephens, Chief Digital Officer, American Apparel

Amid tough times, including diminishing sales, employee layoffs and a possible acquisition, American Apparel is focusing on digital transformation in an effort to drive traffic through the omnichannel experience, according to Stephens. The retailer’s first Chief Digital Officer, Stephens also has worked as a molecular biologist and is dedicated to data science analytics. “We will not launch a single thing if we can’t measure it,” he stated. In an effort to understand customer value and align products and services to meet their needs, Stephens and his team are studying four deliverables: Realized Customer Value (RCV), Remaining Lifetime Value (RLV), Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and Net Promoter Score.

Identify the problems shoppers are trying to solve: Sandep Varma, VP, Enterprise CRM, Loyalty and Analytics, 1-800-FLOWERS

“We are looking at how data is driving day-to-day business,” Varma explained. Working with RetailMeNot, the flower and gift retailer is improving the speed and simplicity of checkout and helping shoppers find gifts faster. “It’s a frequency and recency problem: How do you get customers back one more time?”

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