Quick Quotes From Retail TouchPoints Live!

The speaker slate for the initial Retail TouchPoints Live! at RetailX, held June 25-26 at McCormick Place in Chicago, included big-name retailers as well as a wide range of industry experts. From the organizational principles that powered rapid digital innovation at BJ’s Wholesale Club to Alibaba’s use of AI and personalization to supercharge its Singles Day event, presenters explored:

• The still-strong interrelationship of online and brick-and-mortar stores;

• The temptations of using price as a customer acquisition strategy;

• How Moosejaw maintains its brand identity and “edge” as part of the world’s largest retailer (Walmart);and


• The constantly evolving definitions of “omnichannel.”

Following are a few quick quotes that provide a taste of the presentations; more complete coverage will follow.

“[At BJ’s Wholesale Club], we took a page from Google’s playbook and embraced ‘OKRs,’ which stands for ‘objectives and key results.’ Just like a CEO of a public company has objectives and key results for a quarter and is reporting on that one metric that matters, earnings per share, everyone has that one metric that matters on the team. Everybody is the CEO of a work unit.”

Rafeh Masood, CDO, BJ’s Wholesale Club

Alibaba used AI to create 45 billion personalized shelves for Singles Day 2018, while they created 400 million ad banners for the event the year before that. For 2016, Alibaba remarked that conversion rates were 20% higher for these personalized pages on Singles Day compared to non-Singles Day pages. Alibaba also uses AI for customer support; their AI system handles 98% of customer inquiries for 800,000 merchants,”

John Harmon, Senior Equity Analyst, Coresight Research

“Price is what attracts the consumer, but not what keeps her. At Adore Me we have tried to be inclusive, and we have hit in the right time of #MeToo. We believe confidence is the sexiest thing there is, so we sell confidence with sex as a result.”

Steve Lovell, Head of Retail Development, Adore Me

“Part of the problem [with trying to get away from price competition] is that price works. You will get a short-term result. But what you don’t know, and can’t measure, is what you have given away off of your brand image by using the deep discount tool.”

John Greening, Associate Professor, Northwestern University

“I don’t like the term ‘omnichannel’ because there’s no consistent definition. I prefer harmonized retail, because there are no bad notes in a good musical performance — no friction, no pain points. For retailers, the point is not to be everywhere. The point is to show up at those moments with customers that really make a difference.”

Steve Dennis, President, SageBerry Consulting

“[Hibbett Sports has] a loyalty program that accounts for 60% of our sales, and when we went online, we saw a huge pickup in the number of new customers we were able to acquire. We also saw a lot of interesting dynamics with our inventory that we didn’t expect, selling a lot of clearance items that had been locked in our 1,000+ stores.”

Bill Quinn, SVP of Digital Commerce, Hibbett Sports

“It’s all about being relatable, and about being fun. It’s about experiencing the outdoors on your terms. If your experience in the outdoors is nothing more than grilling a hamburger or going to a soccer game with your daughter, that’s every bit as cool as scaling Mount Everest. Our first of four Moosejaw values is to be notable. The way we define notability is, ‘Is this campaign something that the average consumer would tell 10 friends about?’

Dan Pingree, CMO, Moosejaw

“Amazon tried really hard to put bookstores out of business, only to open bookstores itself. They are recognizing loud and clear that physical locations are valuable. Our data shows that if a known retailer opens a store, 95% of consumers will visit the store, and 33% will increase the frequency of their web site visits. Over 80% of consumers will visit a web site if an unknown retailer opens a store near a consumer’s home or workplace.”

Stephanie Cegielski, VP, Public Relations, ICSC

“Being consistent doesn’t always mean being ‘the same’ — what a consumer expects in China is more assistance, whereas in the U.S. shoppers would be more inclined to self-serve. Retailers need to find other ways to share their brand by choosing where they want to create those expressions for the brand.”

Kathleen Joyce, Lead Global Inventory Control, Under Armour

“The store is the only time you can manifest a brand promise into a sensory experience — what customers see, feel, hear, smell. These are the memorable, important ways to either connect with or lose people. You have to think about it like an orchestra director, and also be aware that 95% of these are efforts are not consciously felt by the shopper.”

Laura Davis-Taylor, Co-Founder, HighStreet Collective

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