#RIC19: Quick Quotes From The Retail Innovation Conference

The fifth annual Retail Innovation Conference is now in the books, and Retail TouchPoints will be providing complete coverage of the Store Tours, sessions, sponsors and more during the coming days. But to start, the RTP editorial team wanted to provide a rapid-fire recap of some of the smartest quotes from the 50+ speakers who informed, provoked and entertained the attendees at New York City’s Convene May 6-8.

Relevantly Reaching Today’s Consumer

“Consistency and spontaneity drive brand love.” — Jeff Fromm, President, FutureCast

“When you force mobile users to go through a journey that mimics ‘Web 1.0,’ consumers feel anxiety, stress and incredible impatience. Why are we still creating digital catalogs in an era when you can just swipe right for a date?” — Brian Solis, Principal Analyst, Altimeter Group


“Today’s options packages are tomorrow’s standard equipment.” — Deb Gabor, CEO/Founder, Sol Marketing

“I think there’s too much content out there. There’s too much noise. The way to cut through that noise is to tell your own story.” — Brandon Bryant, Founder, Wall Street Paper and Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Harlem Capital Partners 

“It’s all about engagement. It’s about feeling and it’s about immersion, ‘Oh my god, I wish I was in that ad with those guys.’ But it’s not about the product anymore.” — Brian Smith, Founder, UGG 

“Some of the best brands aren’t necessarily rocket ships. We wanted to focus on acquisition but more so, we wanted to create an authentic experience and high-quality product.” — Rachel Bentley, Co-Founder, The Citizenry

“Gen Z are not our customers, but they will be. So it would be foolish for us as an organization to just focus on our sweet spot customers and to not pause and take time to constantly assess what’s coming up.” — Monika Tockstein, Sr. Manager PMO & QA, RTW Retailwinds

Building Blocks For Today’s Top Retailers

“Data is the fuel to drive the engine of change, but it should not be misused to validate a point of view. It should not validate someone’s opinion, but it should inform the process.” — Ruth Crowley, former Head of Customer Experience Design, Lowe’s

“You have to be found, so it’s all about winning search: how do you win organic search, how do you win paid search? If you don’t do that, it’s like not being on the shelf in the physical world.” — Tony Southard, Senior Director of e-Commerce Sales, The Hershey Company

“We wanted to build our brand as THE reliable source for men’s wedding wear, so we’ve written hundreds of blogs: how the suit should fit; how to find the perfect pant leg; where to pin your boutonniere. We provided a countdown to the wedding date with what should be accomplished by the number of days out you are. At a wedding, the suit is the only thing the guys are allowed to touch, because it’s all about the bride.” — Diana Ganz and Jeanne Foley, Co-Founders, The Groomsman Suit

“Don’t expect an immediate ROI or say, ‘If this is what you’re doing, I need to see a return in three months.’ We have to show some sort of roadmap of where we want to go.” — Jason Stutes, Director of Analytics & Design, BBQ Guys

“The most important thing in changing the customer’s experience is the product experience they have after they buy. For us to get that right is essential to our brand and who we are.” — Dave Finnegan, Customer Experience Officer, Orvis

“At the end of the day, you can have the best e-Commerce capabilities and the best innovation, but if your product sucks, no one is gonna want it.” — Mickey Chadha, VP & Senior Credit Officer, Moody’s Investors Service

How Women In Retail Are Succeeding

“I never let people tell me what my strengths are. I know my strengths.” — Ekta Chopra, VP of IT, e.l.f. Cosmetics

“If you’re a boss you think that means you can dictate, but it does not mean that at all. Being a leader is different than being someone in power that can tell people what to do.” — Vicki Cantrell, Principal, Transformational Business Strategies

“When you’re a startup, you fail every day. Leadership is about being open when I fail.” — Cynthia Sandall, CEO/CMO, ROAM Fitness

Lessons In Leadership

“If everybody else around you is moving and changing, and you’re staying the same, you’re actually getting worse.” — Frank Malsbenden, VP/General Manager, e-Commerce, Berkshire Hathaway Shoe Holdings 

“The simple fact is that happy workers do more and achieve more. It’s not rocket science, but getting people there is the hard part.” — Amanda Tygart, Program Manager for Data of Global People Analytics, Walmart 

“95% of innovation is inside our own heads. The reason we struggle with innovation is companies are made of people and people struggle with change. They are a product of their own environment and these disruptors and innovative startups think differently.” — Tim McMullen, Founder and CEO, redpepper

“For every entrepreneur, you get to a place where you just have to either do it or not. I think doing it is often really uncomfortable and you don’t know what the future looks like.” —  Zak Normandin, Founder and CEO, Iris Nova

“Care as much about your team as you care about the outcome you’re trying to achieve. If you’re really trying to make a change, the process is intimate and it’s intense. It’s all going to be won or lost by the team.” — Mike Cairnes, President and COO, Kirkland’s 

At The Cutting Edge

“We are not in the retail business anymore…We’re a venue, we’re in the entertainment business, so our restaurants are going through the roof. We basically bring together the culture, the entertainment and the retail into these bespoke experiences for customers.” — Katherine Bahamonde Monasebian, Chief Digital and Technology Officer and EVP, Barneys New York

“We’re working on turning homes or residential spaces into a distributed store. The idea is that some day you might be able to go to the house across the street, down the corner or around the block and be able to walk in and buy things from people’s closets or shop things from their fridge or open up the bathroom cabinet and peruse the beauty products within.” — Lindsay Meyer, Founder and CEO, Batch

“Think of the mobile evolution…draw that trajectory out as screens are getting smaller and computing interactions are getting a lot more natural. The next step is spatial computing. That means you’re doing the same things as before — checking emails, browsing web pages — but you’re doing it on your walls and on top of your coffee tables. Your ‘space’ becomes available in your shopping experience.” — Shrenik Sadalgi, Head of Next Gen Experiences, Wayfair

“Historically, a lot of what Macy’s did was really thinking in silos, not interacting across the company with our stakeholders. Today it’s about embracing that startup mentality.”  — Parinda Muley, VP Innovation and Business Development, Macy’s

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