Features - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints https://www.retailtouchpoints.com Fri, 22 Jun 2018 14:55:24 -0400 RTP en-gb MomentFeed Expands Yelp Partnership With Knowledge Database https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/momentfeed-expands-yelp-partnership-with-knowledge-database https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/momentfeed-expands-yelp-partnership-with-knowledge-database MomentFeed Expands Yelp Partnership With Knowledge Database

Building on a partnership that began in March 2016, MomentFeedhas added Yelp Knowledge to its offering. Brands can now manage their Yelp presence directly through the MomentFeed platform, using reviews to gain unique business insights.

With access to Yelp’s database of trends, reviews and performance data, businesses can gain a better understanding of the customer experience, and respond with tools to:

• Analyze business location-specific data;
• Analyze historical trends; and
• Respond directly to customer reviews.

“Combining the abundance of Yelp’s local business data with the easy-to-use MomentFeed platform makes for a strong partnership,” said Robert Blatt, CEO of MomentFeed in a statement. “Brands can see, sort, respond to and understand reviews so they can truly engage with the valuable information they contain.”

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Adam Blair) News Briefs Fri, 22 Jun 2018 14:40:11 -0400
Sugarfina Expands Globally, Will Open First Hong Kong Store https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/sugarfina-expands-globally-will-open-first-hong-kong-store https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/sugarfina-expands-globally-will-open-first-hong-kong-store Sugarfina Expands Globally, Will Open First Hong Kong Store

Sugarfina, a luxury confections boutique, will expand to Asia this summer, opening its first Hong Kong store in the Harbour City mall. The Beverly Hills-based company will partner with Upper East Holdings, an operator of food and beverage franchises, to introduce its gourmet sweets for the first time outside North America.

The new 900-square-foot store is the first step in Sugarfina’s larger global expansion strategy. Through its partnership with Upper East Holdings, Sugarfina plans to open additional locations in Hong Kong and continue expanding internationally through similar partnerships.

"We've been dreaming of expanding Sugarfina globally since the early days of the brand," said Rosie O'Neill and Josh Resnick, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Sugarfina, in a statement. "Hong Kong is the window into Asia and Upper East Holdings is the ideal partner to establish our brand in the region. We're excited to partner with them to bring Sugarfina to life in one of the most vibrant cities in the world."

In celebration of the opening, Sugarfina is drawing inspiration from the Hong Kong Tram to create an exclusive two-piece Candy Bento Box that includes the company’s signature Rosé All Day Bears and Fuji Apple Caramel candies. Other established favorites and new seasonal collections will be available for shoppers.

Sugarfina has more than 50 locations across North America in major cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago and Vancouver.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Fri, 22 Jun 2018 09:56:21 -0400
Supreme Court Sales Tax Ruling Hits Small Online Players, Boosts Brick-And-Mortar https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/trend-watch/supreme-court-sales-tax-ruling-hits-small-online-players-boosts-brick-and-mortar https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/trend-watch/supreme-court-sales-tax-ruling-hits-small-online-players-boosts-brick-and-mortar Supreme Court Sales Tax Ruling Hits Small Online Players, Boosts Brick-And-Mortar

eliminating one of their biggest advantages — pricing. Online-only retailers will now be required to collect sales taxes even in states where they don’t have a physical presence, the Court ruled.

In a 5-4 ruling against WayfairOverstock.com and Newegg, the justices overturned a 1992 Supreme Court precedent from Quill Corp. v. North Dakota. Quill had barred states from requiring businesses with no "physical presence" in that state — such as out-of-state online retailers — to collect sales taxes.

Retailers that still make the bulk of their sales in-store have long argued that they operate at a disadvantage by having to charge sales taxes, while many of their online competitors do not.

For smaller pure play retailers, the issues are about both cost and complexity. SMBs that aren’t familiar with operating under sales tax rules across multiple states and jurisdictions will have to implement tax compliance software and train themselves to use it. In his dissenting opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts agreed that the burden would “fall disproportionately on small businesses.” Roberts wrote:

“People starting a business selling their embroidered pillowcases or carved decoys can offer their wares throughout the country — but probably not if they have to figure out the tax due on every sale," Roberts wrote. "And the software said to facilitate compliance is still in its infancy, and its capabilities and expense are subject to debate.”

Retail TouchPoints has compiled insights and opinions from industry analysts and trade association leaders on the ruling, including who are the biggest winners and how this will affect e-Commerce retailers going forward.

Bryan Gildenberg, Chief Knowledge Officer, Kantar Consulting

“The biggest winners are Amazon and large brick-and-mortar players.  The ruling impacts large scale and pure play online operators that don’t have operations in multiple states...those are the retailers affected.

“Amazon’s third-party seller network should not be affected. The Supreme Court clearly states that the law needs to have a safe harbor for small businesses. In the end, the big challenge is not so much absolute price but complexity — it’s now harder for those retailers to communicate price to customers as clearly as they used to.”

Lee Peterson, EVP of Brand, Strategy and Design, ‎WD Partners

“Clear winners? The states who collect the taxes now of course, but also huge companies like Amazon and Walmart, that are already charging taxes in many places and can ‘low-ball’ prices on a grand scale and make up for any consumer injury on the tax front. Another winner is physical stores. There certainly was/is a percent of the online customer base who avoided paying sales tax in any way possible, and buying online has certainly enabled that. No more.

“Clear losers? Smaller retailers — it used to be, you could sell your goods anywhere and at a fair price, now, if your operation sells mostly to New Yorkers or Californians, big downside. Unlike huge retailers who can take from one big kitty (or AWS) and save the day when they compete in high tax states, no such advantage will happen with smaller retailers. It’s a big company bonanza.

Jack O’Leary, Senior Analyst, PlanetRetail RNG

“The biggest winners in this ruling are scaled, online retailers already collecting taxes across most of the country. Amazon, with its 140 fulfillment centers and various other business operations was already collecting taxes across the entire U.S. It is also well prepared to start levying taxes on behalf of its third-party sellers if laws related to taxes on marketplaces become more widespread. While some 3P sellers may feel the effect of that type of new legislation, Amazon is insulated as the marketplace operator. This decision really only hurts smaller online retailers or marketplaces who are unprepared for it, and have to start collecting taxes in vastly more states than previously due to their more limited operations.

“I think the ruling could be somewhat disruptive to the relationship any online retailer with larger ticket items has with consumers. Sales tax can make a big difference in the shopper’s decision-making process on an expensive purchase, like a television or appliance. These high consideration purchases were already challenging to convert online, and new costs for some shoppers will only increase this challenge.”

Matthew Shay, President and CEO, National Retail Federation (NRF)

“Retailers have been waiting for this day for more than two decades. The retail industry is changing, and the Supreme Court has acted correctly in recognizing that it’s time for outdated sales tax policies to change as well. This ruling clears the way for a fair and level playing field where all retailers compete under the same sales tax rules whether they sell merchandise online, in-store or both. 

“While today’s decision is a major victory, there’s still work to be done. Congress must now follow the court’s lead and pass legislation implementing uniform national rules that provide consistency and clarity for retailers across the country.” 

Deborah White, General Counsel, Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and President, Retail Litigation Center

“Today’s decision culminates years of tireless work by the retail community to reverse a pre-Internet era rule that distorts free markets and puts local brick-and-mortar stores at a competitive disadvantage with their online-only counterparts. This was the right case and the right time for the Court to act, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. For the consumer, this means an increasing array of options both in-store and online, with competition for their business based on price, service, selection and value — not special tax treatment."

Charlie O’Shea, VP and Lead Retail Analyst, Moody’s

“Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision permitting states to force online shoppers to pay sales tax for their purchases is a victory for brick-and-mortar retailers. In the case of Amazon, its proprietary sales will be largely unaffected as it is already collecting sales tax in ‘sales tax’ states in which it operates a physical presence. However the impact on its growing third-party business could be meaningful as, up until now, a chunk of these sales have not been taxed.

“As Amazon has continued to thrive despite losing the obvious pricing benefit it used to have from not collecting sales taxes in its proprietary business, it remains to be seen if this new ruling will have any real impact on its third-party sales, or if the convenience for shoppers and growing benefits to Prime members will mitigate the pricing shift.” 

Charles Maniace, Global Head of Regulatory Analysis, Sovos

“We are officially in a new era of sales tax. What we have considered to be foundational principles that define where businesses must collect and remit sales tax, are now entirely out the window. States now have almost a blank state on which to write, and businesses will face a wave of new rules for tax compliance.

“Any business that sells through e-Commerce should pay close attention to state rules, especially in the 20 states that have introduced the same or similar rules as South Dakota. Businesses that sell through e-Commerce channels will need watch each state into which they sell goods for new laws that are sure to come quickly, and they will have to monitor whether those states’ will be litigated under this revived standard set by Complete Auto Transit, Inc. v. Brady and Pike v. Bruce Church Inc.

Overstock.com Urges Congressional Action After Ruling

Overstock.com released a statement in the wake of the ruling, indicating that while the retailer is prepared to comply with any changes, it still calls on Congress to intervene and legislate a solution that would lessen possible impacts on innovative Internet startups.

“Today the U.S. Supreme Court has re-shaped the interstate commerce landscape in a move that could impact small business innovation on the Internet, which has been a driving force behind our nation’s economy for the last 15 years,” said Jonathan Johnson, a member (and former Chairman) of the Overstock.com Board of Directors. “The framers of the Constitution intended Congress to regulate interstate commerce by thoughtful legislation. To lessen the potential impact of today’s ruling on Internet innovation, Congress can, and should, pass sound legislation allowing states to accomplish their aims while still permitting small Internet business to thrive.” 

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) Trend Watch Fri, 22 Jun 2018 09:20:12 -0400
Kmart-Within-A-Sears Concept Adds Groceries To Department Store https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/kmart-within-a-sears-concept-adds-groceries-to-department-store https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/kmart-within-a-sears-concept-adds-groceries-to-department-store Kmart-Within-A-Sears Concept Adds Groceries To Department Store

Sears Holdings is testing a new initiative to reverse its fortunes by putting small, Kmart-branded convenience stores inside Sears locations, according to CNBC. The new layout will let customers purchase items such as groceries, health and beauty products and cleaning supplies while shopping for traditional department store merchandise.

The debut store is a 10,000-square-foot Kmart inside a Sears store in Brooklyn, N.Y. With this move, the retailer seeks to build on the strengths of each brand, making Sears a one-stop shop similar to Target or Walmart. The company believes its loyal base of shoppers will welcome the changes.

"There are common things that everyday customers came into the Sears store looking for and unfortunately we had to turn them away," said Pearl Thompson, Manager of the new Kmart convenience store told CNBC in an interview. "Our existing customers have been asking for these products, and we are also seeing new customers as part of the [grand opening].”

The store-within-a-store concept has proven successful at other retailers, such as Nordstrom’s partnership with Sugarfina. Both retailers share a similar customer base, and Nordstrom draws additional traffic from customers curious about goods it might not otherwise stock.

Sears has been working with Amazon as well. Shoppers can order tires from the e-Commerce giant and have them installed at 118 Sears Auto Centers in 21 states for a small fee, and Alexa-powered Kenmore products have been available at Sears stores since summer 2017.

The retailer also is looking at other initiatives, including the addition of appliance shops with higher-end merchandise at some Kmart locations, and small-format Sears stores that sell only mattresses and appliances. A company spokesperson told CNBC that the immediate goal is to test the new concepts to see what works.

However, it remains to be seen if these efforts will be enough to give Sears the boost it needs. The retailer’s total revenues were approximately $2.9 billion during Q1 2018, down from $4.2 billion in Q1 2017, with store closures accounting for nearly two-thirds of the decline. Overall same-store sales declined 11.9% during the quarter, with a 9.5% decline at Kmart and a 13.4% decline at Sears.

The company has continued divesting stores and brands to raise capital, most recently putting 16 profitable stores up for sale via an online auction platform. CEO Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments, has offered to purchase the Sears Home Improvement and PartsDirect businesses for $500 million, and to make a bid for Kenmore.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Thu, 21 Jun 2018 12:18:10 -0400
Using Digital To Drive Footfall: The Power Of Getting The Basics Right https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/using-digital-to-drive-footfall-the-power-of-getting-the-basics-right https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/using-digital-to-drive-footfall-the-power-of-getting-the-basics-right

0aaMark Cummins PointyIn a world where people use their phones for almost everything, retailers need to be visible where their customers are. But even in 2018, many brick-and-mortar retailers are still falling down on some very basic issues around online visibility.

Consumers consult their phones for information dozens of times per day. Some of this activity is e-Commerce related, but huge numbers of consumers are also looking for information about local businesses. Google reported a 900% increase in searches for products and services “near me” between 2015 and 2017. Many retailers are still failing to take full advantage of this behavior.

When a consumer wants to buy something, their most basic question is “Where can I buy it?” Sometimes this question is easy to answer. If the consumer knows which retailer is likely to have the product, they might just want to look up the retailer’s location and opening hours. Most retailers do a good job of making this information easily accessible.

However, some items can be harder for consumers to find, and this area represents a major area of failure for brick-and-mortar retailers. If a shopper can’t easily find a product, they are likely to search online. In this case, they can find dozens of e-Commerce options within seconds, but local retailers are largely invisible. Even if the product they’re seeking is available half a block away, the consumer might struggle to discover that fact.

The reality is that many local retailers don’t have their in-store product availability listed anywhere. To capture long-tail consumer demand, local retailers need to make in-store inventory and local availability easy for consumers to find. Google has some initiatives in this area, but it’s historically been too hard for retailers to engage.

The opportunity here is not small. It’s important to remember that brick-and-mortar stores still represent the dominant channel. 91% percent of retail spending in the U.S. is still going through brick-and-mortar stores. However, it’s also worth recognizing that the most likely path to purchase is increasingly “research online, buy offline.” If local retailers can’t supply consumers with key information about in-store availability, the consumer is pushed to buy online. Ultimately this favors Amazon and erodes the key advantages of proximity and in-store experience that retailers have invested so heavily to develop.

The fact that traditional retailers are so far behind in this area is largely due to the technical difficulty of surfacing the data. For large retailers, the data may be trapped in a legacy IT system. Smaller retailers can be hampered by a lack of systems integration or technical expertise. However, the retailers that do adapt have a large prize to capture.

An increasing number of retailers are now tackling the problem, and Google also is putting increasing focus on it. Improvements will enable brick-and-mortar to recapture some of the demand that has leaked away to e-Commerce. When shoppers can quickly and easily find a local store that has what they need, local stores can win against Amazon, at least some of the time.

Retail is complicated these days. The future is not purely about e-Commerce. Retailers that succeed in adapting to consumer behavior and seamlessly surfacing relevant information in the right channels can use the Internet as a powerful tool to enhance their existing brick-and-mortar stores.

Mark Cummins is CEO of Pointy, a startup that helps brick-and-mortar retailers make their local inventory information available online. Retailers just plug in a Pointy device and the technology does the rest. The system is used by thousands of retailers across the U.S. Cummins previously worked at Google on the search team. Pointy is his second company, his first company having been acquired by Google in 2010. Cummins holds a PhD in Robotics from Oxford.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Mark Cummins, Pointy) Executive ViewPoints Thu, 21 Jun 2018 09:13:24 -0400
Yieldify Offers Customer Journey Optimization, Conversion Platforms https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/solution-spotlight/yieldify-offers-customer-journey-optimization-conversion-platforms https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/solution-spotlight/yieldify-offers-customer-journey-optimization-conversion-platforms Yieldify Offers Customer Journey Optimization, Conversion Platforms

Yieldify, a Customer Journey Optimization (CJO) platform designed to help e-Commerce businesses deliver customer journeys that convert, integrates into existing workflows and leverages proprietary data to recognize what actions will generate the greatest impact before creating CJO campaigns for every customer. The scalable, customizable platform enables brand marketers to insert personalized touch points and gives them full control of the online customer experience.

The data-driven solution takes a holistic approach to the customer journey, enabling brands to identify how consumers interact with a brand, discover causes of cart abandonment and encourage customers to spend more.

In addition to boosting customer loyalty with its personalized approach, the solution can help brands reduce customer acquisition costs. The platform includes a campaign builder that enables brands to deliver a customer experience that generates measurable value through behavioral triggers, flexible formats and dynamic content.

Empowered by 10 billion data interactions across more than 50,000 customer campaigns, the Yieldify Conversion Platform provides e-Commerce marketers with the tools to acquire, convert and retain new customers.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) Solution Spotlight Thu, 21 Jun 2018 09:09:08 -0400
Pitney Bowes Launches SendPro Enterprise https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/solution-spotlight/pitney-bowes-launches-sendpro-enterprise https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/solution-spotlight/pitney-bowes-launches-sendpro-enterprise Pitney Bowes Launches SendPro Enterprise

Pitney Bowes has introduced SendPro Enterprise, a cloud-based multi-carrier and PC postage software solution designed to give enterprises greater visibility and control over rising carrier costs and parcel shipping volume.

SendPro Enterprise is designed for organizations with multiple locations and remote employees. The platform includes an operational dashboard that consolidates a view across the entire organization.

With the solution, retailers can:

  • Reduce overspending by providing each user with tools to select the right carrier option for each package;
  • Increase visibility and control by consolidating all shipping activity and costs across the entire organization in one dashboard;
  • Bring multi-carrier shipping and PC postage to every employee’s desktop, whether they are working in the office or remotely;
  • Simplify shipping payments with consolidated billing; and
  • Deliver reporting with a clear analytics dashboard that informs shipping decisions to reduce operating costs and speed delivery. The platform enables users to pinpoint how much an enterprise spends and sends with each carrier.
feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) Solution Spotlight Thu, 21 Jun 2018 08:55:02 -0400
Net Neutrality Repeal: Can SMB Retailers Survive In An Internet 'Slow Lane'? https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/trend-watch/net-neutrality-repeal-can-smb-retailers-survive-in-an-internet-slow-lane https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/trend-watch/net-neutrality-repeal-can-smb-retailers-survive-in-an-internet-slow-lane Net Neutrality Repeal: Can SMB Retailers Survive In An Internet 'Slow Lane'?

Six months after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal Obama-era net neutrality regulations, the ruling officially took effect June 11. With the end of net neutrality, retailers will have to navigate through an uncertain online environment. If the Internet is divided into “slow” and “fast” lanes, retailers — particularly SMBs — will be faced with a stark choice: pay more to stay in the express lane, or adjust their e-Commerce business to minimize the impact of slow load times and other performance issues.

Key predictions for the post-net neutrality era include:

  • Retailers, particularly small- and medium-sized businesses, must continue their focus on product differentiation and e-Commerce optimization;
  • Data-driven customer loyalty programs and other marketing programs may be harder to implement; and
  • Despite the repeal, it’s still possible that retail will remain largely unaffected by ISP accessibility and speed changes.

The net neutrality rules, formalized and enacted in 2015, prohibited ISPs such as Comcast, Spectrum, Verizon and AT&T from charging more for certain content or from giving preferential treatment to certain web sites. Many argue that a deregulated Internet will mean that ISPs won’t be required to treat all data and online traffic the same. Therefore, they could charge additional fees for better services or even censor certain content from being posted online.

SMBs, Startups Would Feel Biggest Brunt

While these are all hypothetical scenarios, it’s best for retailers to understand the potential precautions they must take. SMBs and startup retailers will likely be the companies affected the most, given the costs that could be associated with paying to partner with ISPs for improved services and faster speeds. While major retailers likely will have the capital to enter the “fast lane” of the Internet, the same cannot be said for most smaller businesses. Additionally, in a competitive, tight margin business like retail, it could be difficult for companies to pass along cost increases to customers.

More than 1,000 U.S. SMBs shared their concerns about the uncertain future of the net neutrality repeal in an open letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in 2017, writing: “Without net neutrality, the incumbents who provide access to the internet would be able to pick winners or losers in the market.” The companies asserted that the repeal would “directly impede an entrepreneur’s ability to start a business, immediately reach a worldwide customer base, and disrupt an entire industry.”

Brand Differentiation, Web Site Optimization Recommended For SMBs

Even as SMBs and entrepreneurs try new sales channels, such as larger third-party venues for sellers, 66% of SMBs still sell products on their own web sites — well above the total on Amazon (24%) and eBay (22%), according to data from Insureon and Manta. With the potential of their web site traffic taking a hit, these retailers must focus on product and brand differentiation as well as web site optimization. In the case of the latter, retailers must improve their personalization and product search capabilities, so consumers can find what they need without experiencing slow site load times. Experts also recommend minimizing steps in the checkout processes.

“If they can maintain that competitive edge from a product perspective and then make engaging with that digital property easy and seamless, that will help them on all of the different transaction areas,” said Jess Hilton, SVP of Client Partnership at Ansira in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Ultimately, the consumer is going to drive this. Millennials aren’t going to be satisfied with only having the Amazons and Walmarts of the world as the options. They’re going to still want that smaller, organic local, ‘can’t afford to join an ISP bidding war’ option.”

Customer Loyalty Programs May Take Hits Amid High ISP Costs

With data serving such a significant purpose within retail today, particularly in understanding the consumer and continuing to build a relationship with them, any potential changes to an ISP’s accessibility and speed could be costly for retailers that implement loyalty and marketing programs. These programs traditionally rely on purchase behavior or repeat customer behavior data to thrive, along with giving consumers access to additional perks that incentivize them to return. If these programs lag in convenience, consumer participation would surely dip, leading to less engagement and overall revenue.

“If you have a heavy e-Commerce business and all of a sudden the bulk of customers can no longer get to you with ease, and your guest base dramatically shifts, your program no longer has any value,” Hilton said. “Those marketing efforts would potentially need to be reevaluated and redone. I just see some major red flags in those areas that we’ll definitely need to keep eyes on as we go through this shift, to make sure that those programs are still benefitting the businesses that they support while this all shakes out.”

Net Neutrality’s E-Commerce Impact Could Be Minimal

If the slowing or even blocking of Internet traffic does take place, the biggest impact is likely to be within the online content space. But not everyone believes that such changes would significantly affect retail. Telecom companies aren’t likely to implement significant pricing model changes for retailers given the significant consumer backlash that would certainly ensue, according to Glenn O’Donnell, VP and Research Director at Forrester Research.

“Most e-Commerce traffic is lightweight,” O’Donnell said in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints. “If carriers are going to risk a fight, this traffic isn’t worthy of such a risky PR battle.”

Additionally, since social networks and search engines generate the most traffic daily, and streaming media sites such as Netflix take up more bandwidth, ISPs would be likely to focus any service changes on these categories rather than retailers. In a blog, O’Donnell said that while carrier pricing models will change, the consumer is still impacted far more than businesses.

“Most believe (as do I) that carriers will offer premium bundles to support certain types of traffic (e.g., streaming video) that won’t be allowed on the cheap basic Internet packages they will offer (similar to what the airlines offer on their planes and hotels in their guest rooms),” said O’Donnell. “One idea floated around was a ‘shopping package’ of some sort. I don’t see that as a viable offering from the carriers because again, the traffic is relatively light. Basic Internet can support this just fine.”

Consumers Still Drive E-Commerce Direction Despite Repeal

Regardless of whether the post-net neutrality era has a major or minor effect on e-Commerce, retailers, particularly SMBs, should still educate themselves to take proper precautions — such as optimizing their web site, differentiating their product and harnessing their consumer data — to deal with potential changes that lie ahead,. Either way, the consumer’s preference is going to be the determining factor in who continues to thrive.

“If you’re an SMB it can feel a little insurmountable, but at the end of the day, I still think there’s a lot to be said that the consumer is probably going to drive the next viable solution based on their buying needs and demands,” Hilton said. “When the retailer is promoting the product and letting the consumers continue to push what it is they are needing and wanting, then the solution will continue to rise to the top.”

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) Trend Watch Thu, 21 Jun 2018 08:43:09 -0400
Sam’s Club Creates New Chief Member Officer Position https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-movers-and-shakers/sam-s-club-creates-new-chief-member-officer-position https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-movers-and-shakers/sam-s-club-creates-new-chief-member-officer-position

Tony RogersWalmart has named Tony Rogers, SVP and CMO at Walmart U.S., to the newly-created position of Chief Member Officer at Sam’s Club, according to Supermarket News. He will start this new role, where he will oversee membership, marketing and member experience, in late July.

Rogers will report directly to Jamie Iannone, CEO of SamsClub.com and EVP of Membership and Technology, and also will serve as a member of Sam’s Club President and CEO John Furner’s leadership council.

Rogers has been with Walmart since 2005, when he joined as Director of Brand Strategy. He later spent two years as CMO of Walmart China, where he oversaw traditional, digital and social media efforts as well as the retailer’s branded omnichannel initiatives.

“Strength in our membership offering and base is the foundation of a successful warehouse model,” said Iannone in an internal memo to Sam’s Club employees. “We’re excited to bring together these functions into a single team led by Tony.”

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) Retail Movers & Shakers Wed, 20 Jun 2018 17:47:17 -0400
J.Crew Appoints New Chief Design Officer, Adds Mack Weldon Brand https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-movers-and-shakers/j-crew-appoints-new-chief-design-officer-adds-mack-weldon-brand https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-movers-and-shakers/j-crew-appoints-new-chief-design-officer-adds-mack-weldon-brand J.Crew Appoints New Chief Design Officer, Adds Mack Weldon Brand

J.Crew Group has named Johanna Uurasjarvi as Chief Design Officer, where she will be in charge of overall design direction for the J. Crew brand along with Crewcuts and Mercantile. The company’s growing Madewell chain has its own design team.

Uurasjarvi is tasked with winning back shoppers to a brand that has done poorly in retaining them in recent years. J.Crew sales decreased 7% to $391.9 million in Q1, with comparable sales dipping 6% following a decrease of 11% in Q1 last year.The fashion retailer has struggled for the past few years due to a slow reaction to changing trends and a perception that prices were no longer in sync with quality.

Turnover at the C-level accompanied the declining sales and traffic. Longtime CEO Mickey Drexler, who helmed J.Crew during its rise in popularity in the 2000s, stepped down in June 2017, two weeks after admitting that he underestimated the role technology would play in retail.

Much of this turnover has occurred at the top design spot, leading to Uurasjarvi’s hiring. J.Crew saw its then President, Executive Creative Director and second-in-command Jenna Lyons step down from her role in April 2017. Lyons was considered the creative mastermind behind the brand’s rise during Drexler’s tenure. Only five months after Lyons stepped down, her replacement, Somsack Sikhounmuong, left the company as well.

Uurasjarvi has a rich background running design teams. She previously was Creative Director of West Elm, where she was the concept builder of its successful "New Modern" assortment, a lighter and brighter interpretation of classic Mid-Century Modern with layered textures and material innovation that incorporated the company's signature interest in global artistry. The efforts helped West Elm reach $1 billion in revenue.

Prior to her time at West Elm, Uurasjarvi served as the Executive Creative Director of Product Design at Anthropologie for 10 years, where she built the company’s first in-house design team. At both companies, she worked with Jim Brett, who became J.Crew Group’s CEO last year after Drexler’s departure.

This is Brett’s second major hire as CEO: in February, he hired Adam Brotman, the Starbucks executive who played a crucial role in turning the coffee chain into a retail tech leader, to improve customer service as J.Crew’s Chief Experience Officer.

But attempts at a turnaround appear to go beyond C-level hires. The retailer also has been adding new brands to its offering, including exclusive Prime Cotton men's underwear designed by direct-to-consumer essentials brand Mack Weldon. Recently, J.Crew debuted an intimates line, a swim line, and a “Heritage” collection of its classic styles as a way to diversify its apparel offerings.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) Retail Movers & Shakers Wed, 20 Jun 2018 17:44:51 -0400