Inventory / Merchandising / Supply Chain - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints Retail TouchPoints provides the latest retail news and trends focusing on shopper experience, digital marketing, and retail innovation. https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/topics/inventory-merchandising-supply-chain 2018-06-24T08:41:42-04:00 RTP Pitney Bowes Launches SendPro Enterprise 2018-06-21T08:55:02-04:00 2018-06-21T08:55:02-04:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/solution-spotlight/pitney-bowes-launches-sendpro-enterprise Glenn Taylor feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/f07202b8037a7fc979257d8ac1745a49_XL.jpg" alt="Pitney Bowes Launches SendPro Enterprise" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>Pitney Bowes has introduced <a href="https://www.pitneybowes.com/us/shipping/outbound-shipping-products-and-solutions/sendpro-enterprise.html" target="_blank">SendPro Enterprise</a>, 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.</p> <p>SendPro&nbsp;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.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>With the solution, retailers can:</p> <ul> <li>Reduce overspending by providing each user with tools to select the right carrier option for each package;</li> <li>Increase visibility and control by consolidating all shipping activity and costs across the entire organization in one dashboard;</li> <li>Bring multi-carrier shipping and PC postage to every employee’s desktop, whether they are working in the office or remotely;</li> <li>Simplify shipping payments with consolidated billing; and</li> <li>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.</li> </ul></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/f07202b8037a7fc979257d8ac1745a49_XL.jpg" alt="Pitney Bowes Launches SendPro Enterprise" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>Pitney Bowes has introduced <a href="https://www.pitneybowes.com/us/shipping/outbound-shipping-products-and-solutions/sendpro-enterprise.html" target="_blank">SendPro Enterprise</a>, 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.</p> <p>SendPro&nbsp;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.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>With the solution, retailers can:</p> <ul> <li>Reduce overspending by providing each user with tools to select the right carrier option for each package;</li> <li>Increase visibility and control by consolidating all shipping activity and costs across the entire organization in one dashboard;</li> <li>Bring multi-carrier shipping and PC postage to every employee’s desktop, whether they are working in the office or remotely;</li> <li>Simplify shipping payments with consolidated billing; and</li> <li>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.</li> </ul></div> Quick Quotes From Retail Execs At IRCE And CRMC 2018-06-19T09:05:07-04:00 2018-06-19T09:05:07-04:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/trend-watch/quick-quotes-from-retail-execs-at-irce-and-crmc Adam Blair feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/cb3e60dde80c8829808ca53af10afe8b_XL.jpg" alt="Quick Quotes From Retail Execs At IRCE And CRMC" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>The educational programs at <a href="https://www.irce.com/" target="_blank">IRCE</a>&nbsp;and <a href="https://www.thecrmc.com/" target="_blank">CRMC</a>, both held in Chicago the first week of June, provided insights that went far beyond just the shows’ overarching topics of e-Commerce and customer relationship management (CRM). Industry leaders from retail companies including <strong>Lovesac, Warby Parker, Oriental Trading, Shoe Carnival, Jack Grace</strong> and <strong>Hilton Hotels</strong> shared tips and tactics covering <strong>global commerce, personalization</strong>, the move from <strong><a href="features/special-reports/from-warby-parker-to-sugarfina-former-pure-plays-discover-omnichannel-success" target="_blank">online to offline retailing</a></strong>, selecting the right <strong>solution provider partners</strong>, and ways to make <strong>returns a strategic part of the business</strong>. Following are quick quotes from some of the retail industry experts who spoke at the two events.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>{loadposition GIAA}<strong><em>“Amazon wants people to shop locally and buy globally.”</em> — Carly McGinnis, General Manager, <a href="https://explodingkittens.com/" target="_blank">Exploding Kittens</a></strong></p> <p>McGinnis explained that the decision by the humorous card game Exploding Kittens to sell globally with Amazon made sense given the retailer’s reach: It serves customers in 180 countries with 13 global marketplaces and 175+ fulfillment centers. However, Amazon’s “shop locally” directive means that a German customer needs to be able to buy the U.S.-produced game with euros, and get the product shipped to them within one to two days.</p> <p><strong><em>“With personalization, some is better than none, but it’s never good enough. That’s because as you start to personalize more, consumers expect more from you.”</em> — Sue Beckett, VP, Digital, Direct &amp; Ecommerce, <a href="https://www.lovesac.com/" target="_blank">Lovesac</a></strong></p> <p>The executive from the disruptive furniture company <strong>Lovesac</strong> added that “having infinite data available makes personalization more complicated to get right, especially if you don’t have the right systems in place to utilize it correctly.”</p> <p><strong><em>“Our first physical ‘store’ was one of the co-founder’s apartment in Philadelphia.”</em> — Dave Gilboa, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, <a href="https://www.warbyparker.com/" target="_blank">Warby Parker</a></strong></p> <p>Warby Parker began as a pure play alternative to brick-and-mortar eyewear retailers, but soon after its web site launched shoppers sought out a physical space to try on the glasses. The company established a showroom in its early office space, but it got so much traffic that the building’s landlord threatened to evict Warby Parker because they were monopolizing the elevators. “We learned so much from these face-to-face conversations, and got feedback that we would not have gotten from a purely digital relationship,” said Gilboa.</p> <p><strong><em>“When determining who to work with in changing your IT ecosystem, your new partner can change both your company — and your career.”</em> — Charles Hunsinger, SVP/CIO, <a href="http://www.orientaltrading.com/" target="_blank">Oriental Trading</a></strong></p> <p>Discussing the importance of selecting the right solution provider partner for an IT project, Hunsinger said the decision is a serious one: “Who you want to work with really means ‘Who do you want to marry?’” Due diligence is critical, and it’s helpful for IT professionals to use their network not just to talk to those that selected a solution, but those that didn’t — and to find out the reasons why.</p> <p><strong><em>“Returns are a multi-step process, and each step is a place where something can go wrong.”</em> — Bradford Smith, COO, <a href="https://www.jackgraceusa.com/" target="_blank">Jack Grace</a></strong></p> <p>While the ideal for retailers would be for consumers to keep everything they buy, returns are a fact of life, so golf shoe brand Jack Grace tries to turn them from a problem into a strategic advantage. Smith advised retailers that because they can’t fix their returns processes all at once, they should focus on “any step that involves a manual process or a human bridge.”</p> <p><strong><em>“Customers want control, so we send a preview email of the clothes we’re going to send them 48 hours before they’re shipped.”</em> — Sandro Roco, Director of Strategic Initiatives, <a href="https://www.bombfell.com/" target="_blank">Bombfell</a></strong></p> <p>The personal shopping subscription service for men applies machine learning to select items for customers; then a personal stylist applies the “last mile” human touch to finalize the selection. Members’ interactions with these emails are “a great opportunity to learn more about the customer,” said Roco.</p> <p><strong><em>“When you move from a mass media strategy, where the executive team can see the ads on TV or in print, to an audience-driven strategy, it becomes a challenge to explain to the C-level execs where the ad spend is going.”</em> — Kent Zimmerman, VP Digital, <a href="https://www.shoecarnival.com/" target="_blank">Shoe Carnival</a></strong></p> <p>Because Shoe Carnival wanted to more effectively reach its target shoppers, including those in higher income brackets, the retailer moved to a more targeted strategy for acquisition, retention and reactivating lapsed customers. A key challenge, however, was convincing upper management that ad dollars were being spent effectively, Zimmerman explained: “They would say ‘I don’t see the ads,’ and I would have to say to them ‘You don’t see them because you’re not our target customer.’”</p> <p><strong><em>“Purpose is the new currency.”</em> — Marc Kielburger, Co-Founder, <a href="https://www.we.org/" target="_blank">WE.org</a></strong></p> <p>WE.org is a cause-based retail program that allows consumers to track the impact of their donations via Google Maps, showing them the precise impact of their contributions. According to Kielburger, “without purpose, your business model is incomplete.”</p> <p><strong><em>“Loyalty begins with an irrational kind of love.”</em> — Danelle Williams, Senior Director, Global Loyalty Platform, <a href="http://www3.hilton.com/en/index.html" target="_blank">Hilton</a></strong></p> <p>According to Williams, retailers need to generate Apple-level loyalty, the “’I’ve got to have it’ type of loyalty that makes people queue up for a product when they don’t even know what it’s going to be.” The Hilton Honors loyalty program has 74 million members and is now growing at a rate of nine to 11 million members per year. The hospitality company’s goal is to reach 100 million members by the company’s 100<sup>th</sup> anniversary in 2019.</p></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/cb3e60dde80c8829808ca53af10afe8b_XL.jpg" alt="Quick Quotes From Retail Execs At IRCE And CRMC" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>The educational programs at <a href="https://www.irce.com/" target="_blank">IRCE</a>&nbsp;and <a href="https://www.thecrmc.com/" target="_blank">CRMC</a>, both held in Chicago the first week of June, provided insights that went far beyond just the shows’ overarching topics of e-Commerce and customer relationship management (CRM). Industry leaders from retail companies including <strong>Lovesac, Warby Parker, Oriental Trading, Shoe Carnival, Jack Grace</strong> and <strong>Hilton Hotels</strong> shared tips and tactics covering <strong>global commerce, personalization</strong>, the move from <strong><a href="features/special-reports/from-warby-parker-to-sugarfina-former-pure-plays-discover-omnichannel-success" target="_blank">online to offline retailing</a></strong>, selecting the right <strong>solution provider partners</strong>, and ways to make <strong>returns a strategic part of the business</strong>. Following are quick quotes from some of the retail industry experts who spoke at the two events.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>{loadposition GIAA}<strong><em>“Amazon wants people to shop locally and buy globally.”</em> — Carly McGinnis, General Manager, <a href="https://explodingkittens.com/" target="_blank">Exploding Kittens</a></strong></p> <p>McGinnis explained that the decision by the humorous card game Exploding Kittens to sell globally with Amazon made sense given the retailer’s reach: It serves customers in 180 countries with 13 global marketplaces and 175+ fulfillment centers. However, Amazon’s “shop locally” directive means that a German customer needs to be able to buy the U.S.-produced game with euros, and get the product shipped to them within one to two days.</p> <p><strong><em>“With personalization, some is better than none, but it’s never good enough. That’s because as you start to personalize more, consumers expect more from you.”</em> — Sue Beckett, VP, Digital, Direct &amp; Ecommerce, <a href="https://www.lovesac.com/" target="_blank">Lovesac</a></strong></p> <p>The executive from the disruptive furniture company <strong>Lovesac</strong> added that “having infinite data available makes personalization more complicated to get right, especially if you don’t have the right systems in place to utilize it correctly.”</p> <p><strong><em>“Our first physical ‘store’ was one of the co-founder’s apartment in Philadelphia.”</em> — Dave Gilboa, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, <a href="https://www.warbyparker.com/" target="_blank">Warby Parker</a></strong></p> <p>Warby Parker began as a pure play alternative to brick-and-mortar eyewear retailers, but soon after its web site launched shoppers sought out a physical space to try on the glasses. The company established a showroom in its early office space, but it got so much traffic that the building’s landlord threatened to evict Warby Parker because they were monopolizing the elevators. “We learned so much from these face-to-face conversations, and got feedback that we would not have gotten from a purely digital relationship,” said Gilboa.</p> <p><strong><em>“When determining who to work with in changing your IT ecosystem, your new partner can change both your company — and your career.”</em> — Charles Hunsinger, SVP/CIO, <a href="http://www.orientaltrading.com/" target="_blank">Oriental Trading</a></strong></p> <p>Discussing the importance of selecting the right solution provider partner for an IT project, Hunsinger said the decision is a serious one: “Who you want to work with really means ‘Who do you want to marry?’” Due diligence is critical, and it’s helpful for IT professionals to use their network not just to talk to those that selected a solution, but those that didn’t — and to find out the reasons why.</p> <p><strong><em>“Returns are a multi-step process, and each step is a place where something can go wrong.”</em> — Bradford Smith, COO, <a href="https://www.jackgraceusa.com/" target="_blank">Jack Grace</a></strong></p> <p>While the ideal for retailers would be for consumers to keep everything they buy, returns are a fact of life, so golf shoe brand Jack Grace tries to turn them from a problem into a strategic advantage. Smith advised retailers that because they can’t fix their returns processes all at once, they should focus on “any step that involves a manual process or a human bridge.”</p> <p><strong><em>“Customers want control, so we send a preview email of the clothes we’re going to send them 48 hours before they’re shipped.”</em> — Sandro Roco, Director of Strategic Initiatives, <a href="https://www.bombfell.com/" target="_blank">Bombfell</a></strong></p> <p>The personal shopping subscription service for men applies machine learning to select items for customers; then a personal stylist applies the “last mile” human touch to finalize the selection. Members’ interactions with these emails are “a great opportunity to learn more about the customer,” said Roco.</p> <p><strong><em>“When you move from a mass media strategy, where the executive team can see the ads on TV or in print, to an audience-driven strategy, it becomes a challenge to explain to the C-level execs where the ad spend is going.”</em> — Kent Zimmerman, VP Digital, <a href="https://www.shoecarnival.com/" target="_blank">Shoe Carnival</a></strong></p> <p>Because Shoe Carnival wanted to more effectively reach its target shoppers, including those in higher income brackets, the retailer moved to a more targeted strategy for acquisition, retention and reactivating lapsed customers. A key challenge, however, was convincing upper management that ad dollars were being spent effectively, Zimmerman explained: “They would say ‘I don’t see the ads,’ and I would have to say to them ‘You don’t see them because you’re not our target customer.’”</p> <p><strong><em>“Purpose is the new currency.”</em> — Marc Kielburger, Co-Founder, <a href="https://www.we.org/" target="_blank">WE.org</a></strong></p> <p>WE.org is a cause-based retail program that allows consumers to track the impact of their donations via Google Maps, showing them the precise impact of their contributions. According to Kielburger, “without purpose, your business model is incomplete.”</p> <p><strong><em>“Loyalty begins with an irrational kind of love.”</em> — Danelle Williams, Senior Director, Global Loyalty Platform, <a href="http://www3.hilton.com/en/index.html" target="_blank">Hilton</a></strong></p> <p>According to Williams, retailers need to generate Apple-level loyalty, the “’I’ve got to have it’ type of loyalty that makes people queue up for a product when they don’t even know what it’s going to be.” The Hilton Honors loyalty program has 74 million members and is now growing at a rate of nine to 11 million members per year. The hospitality company’s goal is to reach 100 million members by the company’s 100<sup>th</sup> anniversary in 2019.</p></div> Finish Line Centralizes And Streamlines Merchandise Planning 2018-06-05T08:00:00-04:00 2018-06-05T08:00:00-04:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-success-stories/finish-line-centralizes-and-streamlines-merchandise-planning Glenn Taylor feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/660453af966c7c9033f8ce01487e9607_XL.jpg" alt="Finish Line Centralizes And Streamlines Merchandise Planning" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>With 950 locations across the U.S., an e-Commerce site and a partnership with <b>Macy’s</b>, <a href="https://www.finishline.com/" target="_blank"><b>Finish Line</b></a>&nbsp;has plenty of ground to cover in delivering the right items to the right shoppers at the right time. To streamline its inventory and budgeting across one single platform, Finish Line implemented the Merchandise Planning Solution from <a href="https://www.txtretail.com/solutions/merchandise-financial-planning/" target="_blank">TXT Retail</a>, an <a href="https://www.aptos.com/" target="_blank">Aptos</a> company.</p> <p>With TXT Retail Merchandise Planning, Finish Line has:</p> <ul> <li><b>Centralized</b> its merchandise planning capabilities under one platform;</li> <li>Set global sales/margin targets for all products, brands and channels they serve, while <b>harmonizing buying decisions to expected demand</b>;</li> <li>Created budgets for <b>future merchandise planning cycles</b>; and</li> <li>Simulated and made course corrections to keep a firm handle on <b>margin and inventory investment targets</b>.</li> </ul> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>{loadposition GIAA}Previously, Finish Line would begin its merchandise planning process 10 months prior to receiving any products, according to Brad Eckhart, Senior VP of Planning and Allocation.</p> <p>“We’d begin with high level sales and margin targets by banner — referring to Finish Line as a banner and Finish Line in <b>Macy’s</b> as a second banner — and then channel plans within those for both stores and web,” Eckhart said in an interview with <i>Retail TouchPoints</i>. “Then we cascade that down to the product and vendor level, where we apply additional inventory metrics such as churn, receive and cost of products sold. Simultaneously, we created store sales plans, which take into account our real estate strategies and ultimately, we reconcile those product, vendor and store plans by month.”</p> <p>But even with this system in place, the Finish Line team recognized the need for a centralized planning system that would help transition the company away from “a spreadsheet environment.” One of the goals was to spend less time pulling data, and more time analyzing and forecasting. The TXT platform fulfilled Finish Line’s immediate needs related to merchandising and financial planning and is presently helping the company deliver on its longer-term assortment planning objectives.</p> <p>“It sounds very basic, but the automation of actualized data on the more than 100 planning metrics that we have in TXT was a key feature for us,” Eckhart said. “Having that data actualized on a weekly basis in an automated fashion, and available to the users first thing Monday morning, was something we never had in a planning system.”</p> <h2>Finish Line Divides Inventory With Macy’s Business, But Unifies Assortment Across Stores, Online</h2> <p>In the brick-and-mortar world, Finish Line runs approximately 950 branded locations in U.S. malls and shops inside Macy’s department stores. Digital touch points include finishline.com, the Finish Line mobile app and a presence on macys.com.&nbsp;Eckhart noted that Finish Line and Finish Line within Macy’s are two distinct businesses, each with its own customer and vendor bases. This separation requires Finish Line to divide its inventory into separate assortments for the core brand stores and the Macy’s stores. However, each business’ inventory is unified across its physical stores and e-Commerce sites.</p> <p>“Finish Line and Macy’s both have very established online businesses and we leverage our inventory assortments across both channels — stores and web — within each of those banners,” Eckhart said. “While we view [our various channels] as a competitive advantage, it does complicate the process of inventory management, allocation and replenishment. With more than 500 Finish Line core stores and almost 400 Finish Line Macy’s shops, identifying store characteristics to effectively enable us to cluster stores based on customer demand is a challenge. But [the process of] doing so would ultimately lead us to more advanced assortment planning and more localized assortments to meet our customers’ expectations.”</p> <h2>On To Phase Two: Individual Store Planning, Grading And Clustering</h2> <p>Finish Line completed the first <a href="features/mergers-and-acquisitions/uk-based-jd-sports-to-acquire-finish-line-for-558-million" target="_blank">phase of its deployment in partnership with Columbus Consulting in October 2017</a>. This included all aspects of merchandise financial planning, including strategic planning, preseason financial planning, in-season forecasting and open-to-buy management.</p> <p>During the next project phase, Finish Line is focusing on store planning, grading and clustering, key item planning and assortment strategy, to create customer-focused assortments that meet localized demand. Finish Line is leveraging the TXT AgileFit deployment methodology, which is designed to allow the project to be delivered on extremely tight timelines.</p> <p>“Those modules, combined with the output of the vendor and product plan as part of phase one of our implementation, will ultimately result in enhanced preparation for our go-to-market sessions with our key brand partners,” Eckhart said. “All of this lays the groundwork for implementing our long-term goal of assortment planning.”</p> <p>As of April 2018, the second phase has continued on schedule, with Finish Line in the user acceptance testing phase, conducting change management sessions with the buying and planning teams.</p> <p>“Our plan is for a technical go-live by summer, with a phased deployment and training through the fall of this year,” said Eckhart.</p></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/660453af966c7c9033f8ce01487e9607_XL.jpg" alt="Finish Line Centralizes And Streamlines Merchandise Planning" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>With 950 locations across the U.S., an e-Commerce site and a partnership with <b>Macy’s</b>, <a href="https://www.finishline.com/" target="_blank"><b>Finish Line</b></a>&nbsp;has plenty of ground to cover in delivering the right items to the right shoppers at the right time. To streamline its inventory and budgeting across one single platform, Finish Line implemented the Merchandise Planning Solution from <a href="https://www.txtretail.com/solutions/merchandise-financial-planning/" target="_blank">TXT Retail</a>, an <a href="https://www.aptos.com/" target="_blank">Aptos</a> company.</p> <p>With TXT Retail Merchandise Planning, Finish Line has:</p> <ul> <li><b>Centralized</b> its merchandise planning capabilities under one platform;</li> <li>Set global sales/margin targets for all products, brands and channels they serve, while <b>harmonizing buying decisions to expected demand</b>;</li> <li>Created budgets for <b>future merchandise planning cycles</b>; and</li> <li>Simulated and made course corrections to keep a firm handle on <b>margin and inventory investment targets</b>.</li> </ul> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>{loadposition GIAA}Previously, Finish Line would begin its merchandise planning process 10 months prior to receiving any products, according to Brad Eckhart, Senior VP of Planning and Allocation.</p> <p>“We’d begin with high level sales and margin targets by banner — referring to Finish Line as a banner and Finish Line in <b>Macy’s</b> as a second banner — and then channel plans within those for both stores and web,” Eckhart said in an interview with <i>Retail TouchPoints</i>. “Then we cascade that down to the product and vendor level, where we apply additional inventory metrics such as churn, receive and cost of products sold. Simultaneously, we created store sales plans, which take into account our real estate strategies and ultimately, we reconcile those product, vendor and store plans by month.”</p> <p>But even with this system in place, the Finish Line team recognized the need for a centralized planning system that would help transition the company away from “a spreadsheet environment.” One of the goals was to spend less time pulling data, and more time analyzing and forecasting. The TXT platform fulfilled Finish Line’s immediate needs related to merchandising and financial planning and is presently helping the company deliver on its longer-term assortment planning objectives.</p> <p>“It sounds very basic, but the automation of actualized data on the more than 100 planning metrics that we have in TXT was a key feature for us,” Eckhart said. “Having that data actualized on a weekly basis in an automated fashion, and available to the users first thing Monday morning, was something we never had in a planning system.”</p> <h2>Finish Line Divides Inventory With Macy’s Business, But Unifies Assortment Across Stores, Online</h2> <p>In the brick-and-mortar world, Finish Line runs approximately 950 branded locations in U.S. malls and shops inside Macy’s department stores. Digital touch points include finishline.com, the Finish Line mobile app and a presence on macys.com.&nbsp;Eckhart noted that Finish Line and Finish Line within Macy’s are two distinct businesses, each with its own customer and vendor bases. This separation requires Finish Line to divide its inventory into separate assortments for the core brand stores and the Macy’s stores. However, each business’ inventory is unified across its physical stores and e-Commerce sites.</p> <p>“Finish Line and Macy’s both have very established online businesses and we leverage our inventory assortments across both channels — stores and web — within each of those banners,” Eckhart said. “While we view [our various channels] as a competitive advantage, it does complicate the process of inventory management, allocation and replenishment. With more than 500 Finish Line core stores and almost 400 Finish Line Macy’s shops, identifying store characteristics to effectively enable us to cluster stores based on customer demand is a challenge. But [the process of] doing so would ultimately lead us to more advanced assortment planning and more localized assortments to meet our customers’ expectations.”</p> <h2>On To Phase Two: Individual Store Planning, Grading And Clustering</h2> <p>Finish Line completed the first <a href="features/mergers-and-acquisitions/uk-based-jd-sports-to-acquire-finish-line-for-558-million" target="_blank">phase of its deployment in partnership with Columbus Consulting in October 2017</a>. This included all aspects of merchandise financial planning, including strategic planning, preseason financial planning, in-season forecasting and open-to-buy management.</p> <p>During the next project phase, Finish Line is focusing on store planning, grading and clustering, key item planning and assortment strategy, to create customer-focused assortments that meet localized demand. Finish Line is leveraging the TXT AgileFit deployment methodology, which is designed to allow the project to be delivered on extremely tight timelines.</p> <p>“Those modules, combined with the output of the vendor and product plan as part of phase one of our implementation, will ultimately result in enhanced preparation for our go-to-market sessions with our key brand partners,” Eckhart said. “All of this lays the groundwork for implementing our long-term goal of assortment planning.”</p> <p>As of April 2018, the second phase has continued on schedule, with Finish Line in the user acceptance testing phase, conducting change management sessions with the buying and planning teams.</p> <p>“Our plan is for a technical go-live by summer, with a phased deployment and training through the fall of this year,” said Eckhart.</p></div> Exclusive CMO Q&A: How Inventory Transparency Builds Customer Loyalty For Industry West 2018-05-30T08:47:41-04:00 2018-05-30T08:47:41-04:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/topics/inventory-merchandising-supply-chain/exclusive-cmo-q-a-how-inventory-transparency-builds-customer-loyalty-for-industry-west Glenn Taylor feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/319f67fd2cac002d02999410d61472e4_XL.jpg" alt="Exclusive CMO Q&A: How Inventory Transparency Builds Customer Loyalty For Industry West" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="0aaianleslie" src="images/storiesv3/0aaianleslie.png" height="200" width="200" />As a growing business founded in 2011, <a href="https://www.industrywest.com/" target="_self"><b>Industry West</b></a> seeks to bring highly curated, innovative modern furniture to a diverse clientele that encompasses both B2B and B2C consumers. While the company has done furnishing jobs for the office buildings of <b>Google</b>, <b>Facebook</b> and <b>Airbnb</b>, it primarily sells chairs, barstools and additional upholstery for shoppers seeking to upgrade their home living spaces.</p> <p>In an exclusive Q&amp;A at the <a href="topics/e-commerce/forrester-paypal-execs-share-growth-mobile-strategies-at-magento-imagine" target="_blank">Magento Imagine</a> conference, Ian Leslie, CMO of Industry West, discussed what drives the e-Commerce retailer’s marketing and product strategies. Leslie started his career with the company in 2015, coming from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he served as the Director of Interactive Design.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>Leslie shared insights into Industry West’s success, including:</p> <ul> <li>How growing its accessories sales has helped Industry West start and build customer relationships;</li> <li>Why being transparent about in-stock inventory levels is so important to generate customer loyalty;</li> <li>How Industry West balances its B2B and B2C customer bases;</li> <li>The retailer’s brick-and-mortar ambitions, starting in New York City; and</li> <li>How the company plans to grow beyond a midsized business even as it faces off against home furnishings competitors like <b>Amazon, Wayfair</b> and <b>West Elm</b>.</li> </ul> <p><b><i>Retail TouchPoints: What kind of consumers does Industry West cater to?</i></b></p> <p><b>Ian Leslie:</b> Our bread-and-butter for both our consumer and B2B businesses revolves around the barstool. On the consumer side, we have the mom and dad who want to find the perfect four barstools for the kitchen counter. But then we also have the restauranteur who wants 100 barstools for their new restaurant that’s opening in New York. Just as an aside, our major markets are New York, Texas and California, most of it due to the B2B site.</p> <p>The introduction of new product is always very important. Founders Jordan and Anne England curate our catalog, and we don’t have a team of buyers. They’re the design directors. Now, we’re finding that the accessories market is doing amazingly well. We’ve introduced a lot of new accessories, and that helps makes us more of an inspirational brand to an extent. We’re not as expensive as some in the vertical, but I joke that “our AOV is a monthly home payment,” depending on where you live. <b>While someone may not initially be able to afford a $3,500 sofa, they can afford the $50 bowl, become immersed in the brand and start a relationship with it.</b> I think our accessories line has been amazing for us and has been a great gateway to extending the brand.</p> <p><b><i>RTP: How do you go about fostering customer loyalty with a retail and a B2B business?</i></b></p> <p><b>Leslie:</b> While we have our clients who design around the aesthetic we offer, one of our main differentiators is that if [we say] we’re in stock, we’re in stock. You’ll order online at a lot of sites and within 48 hours you’ll get, ‘Sorry, you’ll actually get this in six weeks’ and then in two weeks you’ll get, ‘Sorry, it’s actually 12 weeks.’ <b>We’re very transparent about our inventory.</b></p> <p>We have a loyal customer base. If they’re sourcing for a restaurant that’s opening in seven weeks, and they know that if we say we have 100 of something, we’ll have 100 of something. We don’t bait and switch. Additionally, we offer great services for larger products, like powder coating. We worked with an interior designer in New York City and we powder coated a bunch of items for SeatGeek’s headquarters in their brand colors. We’ve done some powder coating for Airbnb’s HQ as well.</p> <p>I’d like to think we’re closer to a midsized business now, instead of small. We understand what it takes to be an entrepreneur. We were bootstrapped by our founder, and we’re not venture-backed. Our motto is: <b>“We furnish modern creativity.”</b> This is everything from the guy who wants to open a pizzeria, to us furnishing Google, to the homeowner who wants to add a touch of color and something cool to their home. People come to us looking for that cool new stuff, and that works both on the B2B and B2C sides.</p> <p><b><i>RTP: Does Industry West have any brick-and-mortar plans in the near future?</i></b></p> <p><b>Leslie:</b> We’re opening our first brick-and-mortar store in SoHo. We hope to have the SoHo space open by the end of the year. Getting into the click-to-brick aspect in retail is our next big project. The two-square-block radius in SoHo that we’re looking at includes stores for <b>Casper</b>, <b>SmileDirectClub</b> and <b>Warby Parker</b>, and they’re all <b>e-Commerce brands that made the jump to brick-and-mortar.</b> This is for that client who wants the stools, but wants to sit on them before buying.</p> <p><b><i>RTP: How do you plan on growing beyond a midsized business, especially as you encounter larger competitors?</i></b></p> <p><b>Leslie:</b> We’re already up against companies like <b>Amazon</b>, <b>Wayfair</b> and <b>West Elm</b>. There’s always going to be a space for a relationship in this market, whether that’s a relationship with the web site, via chat as a channel or social media. Look at our social media feed and you’ll see “this stool,” “this bistro” or “this café,” and you’re building that relationship.</p> <p>I feel like people will want affirmation on a purchase like this. My CEO and myself will often have a chat to get a voice of what people are asking about, and what they’re shopping for. Some will ask, “How does this sofa hold up to heavy use?” and I’ll say “I have three kids and a dog, it holds up great. I have that exact one in my house.”</p> <p>I think the big boxes that come in and try to sell 100 bistro chairs to a restaurant, there’s going to be some friction if that relationship isn’t built out.</p> <p><b><i>RTP: What are you doing now at Industry West to bring personalized experiences to your consumers?</i></b></p> <p><b>Leslie:</b> Personalization and AI are the big talking points these days, but for now, it’s enough to start with <b>personalized search</b> and a <b>better product recommendation engine</b> on our site. I think personalization can increase conversation, but you still have to balance that line of being creepy. There’s still that sentiment where you don’t want to get too personal. <b>Let the shopper explore.</b></p> <p>I’m a little bit curious in our vertical what the thoughts are on chat, and how that could potentially help us. We’ve done a lot of testing on statements such as “Hey, just checking out my order,” and we may be able to automate responses to these via bots to take a lot of hours off our reps.</p> <p><b><i>RTP: What do you enjoy the most about working as CMO of Industry West?</i></b></p> <p><b>Leslie:</b> If I ever name-drop, it’s not a “look at me” to give myself a pat on the back, but it’s amazing that I can walk off a plane at LaGuardia and the first thing I see is our stools at a restaurant. How cool is it that the Creative Director for Oprah has our chairs in his dining room? For me, my good friends started this company, and I was blessed enough that they said, “Ian’s not just a friend, but someone we could trust with the marketing,” and brought me along for the ride.</p> <p>Of course, seeing the “hockey stick” growth of the company when I started was amazing, and for me now, the fun is in continued month-over-month, year-over-year steady growth.</p> <p><b><i>RTP: What did you learn from your higher education background that you could apply to retail?</i></b></p> <p><b>Leslie: </b>At the end of the day it’s inbound, lead gen, conversion marketing. Taking that to Industry West, the two biggest elements were:</p> <p><b>1.) The lead gen component</b>: We want people to create projects, and we retooled our wish lists for our interior design trade segment. It’s their opt-in game to get more information about us, and it’s more of a touch than getting them to sign up for a newsletter.</p> <p><b>2.) The e-Commerce conversions aspect: </b>When you’re looking at e-Commerce versus any lead generation, you have to look at it from the perspective of what’s standing in the way of that conversion. <b>Industry West has always stood as a “digital native”</b> — the web site is our catalog.</p></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/319f67fd2cac002d02999410d61472e4_XL.jpg" alt="Exclusive CMO Q&A: How Inventory Transparency Builds Customer Loyalty For Industry West" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="0aaianleslie" src="images/storiesv3/0aaianleslie.png" height="200" width="200" />As a growing business founded in 2011, <a href="https://www.industrywest.com/" target="_self"><b>Industry West</b></a> seeks to bring highly curated, innovative modern furniture to a diverse clientele that encompasses both B2B and B2C consumers. While the company has done furnishing jobs for the office buildings of <b>Google</b>, <b>Facebook</b> and <b>Airbnb</b>, it primarily sells chairs, barstools and additional upholstery for shoppers seeking to upgrade their home living spaces.</p> <p>In an exclusive Q&amp;A at the <a href="topics/e-commerce/forrester-paypal-execs-share-growth-mobile-strategies-at-magento-imagine" target="_blank">Magento Imagine</a> conference, Ian Leslie, CMO of Industry West, discussed what drives the e-Commerce retailer’s marketing and product strategies. Leslie started his career with the company in 2015, coming from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he served as the Director of Interactive Design.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>Leslie shared insights into Industry West’s success, including:</p> <ul> <li>How growing its accessories sales has helped Industry West start and build customer relationships;</li> <li>Why being transparent about in-stock inventory levels is so important to generate customer loyalty;</li> <li>How Industry West balances its B2B and B2C customer bases;</li> <li>The retailer’s brick-and-mortar ambitions, starting in New York City; and</li> <li>How the company plans to grow beyond a midsized business even as it faces off against home furnishings competitors like <b>Amazon, Wayfair</b> and <b>West Elm</b>.</li> </ul> <p><b><i>Retail TouchPoints: What kind of consumers does Industry West cater to?</i></b></p> <p><b>Ian Leslie:</b> Our bread-and-butter for both our consumer and B2B businesses revolves around the barstool. On the consumer side, we have the mom and dad who want to find the perfect four barstools for the kitchen counter. But then we also have the restauranteur who wants 100 barstools for their new restaurant that’s opening in New York. Just as an aside, our major markets are New York, Texas and California, most of it due to the B2B site.</p> <p>The introduction of new product is always very important. Founders Jordan and Anne England curate our catalog, and we don’t have a team of buyers. They’re the design directors. Now, we’re finding that the accessories market is doing amazingly well. We’ve introduced a lot of new accessories, and that helps makes us more of an inspirational brand to an extent. We’re not as expensive as some in the vertical, but I joke that “our AOV is a monthly home payment,” depending on where you live. <b>While someone may not initially be able to afford a $3,500 sofa, they can afford the $50 bowl, become immersed in the brand and start a relationship with it.</b> I think our accessories line has been amazing for us and has been a great gateway to extending the brand.</p> <p><b><i>RTP: How do you go about fostering customer loyalty with a retail and a B2B business?</i></b></p> <p><b>Leslie:</b> While we have our clients who design around the aesthetic we offer, one of our main differentiators is that if [we say] we’re in stock, we’re in stock. You’ll order online at a lot of sites and within 48 hours you’ll get, ‘Sorry, you’ll actually get this in six weeks’ and then in two weeks you’ll get, ‘Sorry, it’s actually 12 weeks.’ <b>We’re very transparent about our inventory.</b></p> <p>We have a loyal customer base. If they’re sourcing for a restaurant that’s opening in seven weeks, and they know that if we say we have 100 of something, we’ll have 100 of something. We don’t bait and switch. Additionally, we offer great services for larger products, like powder coating. We worked with an interior designer in New York City and we powder coated a bunch of items for SeatGeek’s headquarters in their brand colors. We’ve done some powder coating for Airbnb’s HQ as well.</p> <p>I’d like to think we’re closer to a midsized business now, instead of small. We understand what it takes to be an entrepreneur. We were bootstrapped by our founder, and we’re not venture-backed. Our motto is: <b>“We furnish modern creativity.”</b> This is everything from the guy who wants to open a pizzeria, to us furnishing Google, to the homeowner who wants to add a touch of color and something cool to their home. People come to us looking for that cool new stuff, and that works both on the B2B and B2C sides.</p> <p><b><i>RTP: Does Industry West have any brick-and-mortar plans in the near future?</i></b></p> <p><b>Leslie:</b> We’re opening our first brick-and-mortar store in SoHo. We hope to have the SoHo space open by the end of the year. Getting into the click-to-brick aspect in retail is our next big project. The two-square-block radius in SoHo that we’re looking at includes stores for <b>Casper</b>, <b>SmileDirectClub</b> and <b>Warby Parker</b>, and they’re all <b>e-Commerce brands that made the jump to brick-and-mortar.</b> This is for that client who wants the stools, but wants to sit on them before buying.</p> <p><b><i>RTP: How do you plan on growing beyond a midsized business, especially as you encounter larger competitors?</i></b></p> <p><b>Leslie:</b> We’re already up against companies like <b>Amazon</b>, <b>Wayfair</b> and <b>West Elm</b>. There’s always going to be a space for a relationship in this market, whether that’s a relationship with the web site, via chat as a channel or social media. Look at our social media feed and you’ll see “this stool,” “this bistro” or “this café,” and you’re building that relationship.</p> <p>I feel like people will want affirmation on a purchase like this. My CEO and myself will often have a chat to get a voice of what people are asking about, and what they’re shopping for. Some will ask, “How does this sofa hold up to heavy use?” and I’ll say “I have three kids and a dog, it holds up great. I have that exact one in my house.”</p> <p>I think the big boxes that come in and try to sell 100 bistro chairs to a restaurant, there’s going to be some friction if that relationship isn’t built out.</p> <p><b><i>RTP: What are you doing now at Industry West to bring personalized experiences to your consumers?</i></b></p> <p><b>Leslie:</b> Personalization and AI are the big talking points these days, but for now, it’s enough to start with <b>personalized search</b> and a <b>better product recommendation engine</b> on our site. I think personalization can increase conversation, but you still have to balance that line of being creepy. There’s still that sentiment where you don’t want to get too personal. <b>Let the shopper explore.</b></p> <p>I’m a little bit curious in our vertical what the thoughts are on chat, and how that could potentially help us. We’ve done a lot of testing on statements such as “Hey, just checking out my order,” and we may be able to automate responses to these via bots to take a lot of hours off our reps.</p> <p><b><i>RTP: What do you enjoy the most about working as CMO of Industry West?</i></b></p> <p><b>Leslie:</b> If I ever name-drop, it’s not a “look at me” to give myself a pat on the back, but it’s amazing that I can walk off a plane at LaGuardia and the first thing I see is our stools at a restaurant. How cool is it that the Creative Director for Oprah has our chairs in his dining room? For me, my good friends started this company, and I was blessed enough that they said, “Ian’s not just a friend, but someone we could trust with the marketing,” and brought me along for the ride.</p> <p>Of course, seeing the “hockey stick” growth of the company when I started was amazing, and for me now, the fun is in continued month-over-month, year-over-year steady growth.</p> <p><b><i>RTP: What did you learn from your higher education background that you could apply to retail?</i></b></p> <p><b>Leslie: </b>At the end of the day it’s inbound, lead gen, conversion marketing. Taking that to Industry West, the two biggest elements were:</p> <p><b>1.) The lead gen component</b>: We want people to create projects, and we retooled our wish lists for our interior design trade segment. It’s their opt-in game to get more information about us, and it’s more of a touch than getting them to sign up for a newsletter.</p> <p><b>2.) The e-Commerce conversions aspect: </b>When you’re looking at e-Commerce versus any lead generation, you have to look at it from the perspective of what’s standing in the way of that conversion. <b>Industry West has always stood as a “digital native”</b> — the web site is our catalog.</p></div> How A Digital Storefront Enhances The Physical Experience At Mizuno 2018-05-25T01:00:00-04:00 2018-05-25T01:00:00-04:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-success-stories/how-a-digital-storefront-enhances-the-physical-experience-at-mizuno Debbie Hauss feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/b9d6a498695be8a7bf5bd347369170b0_XL.jpg" alt="How A Digital Storefront Enhances The Physical Experience At Mizuno" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>Designed to “capture the new digital savvy customer and showcase Mizuno product cross-sport,” the digital solutions in place at Mizuno flagship stores are driving global customer engagement and loyalty. Mizuno operates one flagship store in the U.S., as well as others in key markets worldwide.</p> <p>The digital display merchandising solution, provided by <a href="https://www.perchinteractive.com/" target="_blank">Perch</a>, features self-serve technology that brings the digital online experience into the brick-and-mortar store. This technology is a key focus of the <a href="https://www.mizunousa.com/category/mizuno+experience+center.do" target="_blank">Mizuno Experience Center</a>, located in <a href="http://batteryatl.com/" target="_blank">The Battery</a>, the U.S. flagship store in Atlanta. Here, shoppers can immerse themselves in digital experiences to book custom fittings for golf clubs or running shoes, assess their baseball swing, get gloves steamed and more.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>{loadposition GIAA}The technology was designed for self-service, which enables store associates to focus on more customer-facing needs in the store, such as custom fittings and special events.</p> <h2>ROI Is Reflected In Loyalty And Repeat Customers</h2> <p>When calculating the ROI for the Perch solution, Mizuno looks beyond in-store sales. “We know that we have a unique consumer visiting our flagship store due its location just feet away from <a href="https://www.mlb.com/braves/ballpark" target="_blank">SunTrust Park</a> — the new Atlanta Braves stadium<span style="color: black;">,” said Amarena Diaz, Director of Digital Marketing at Mizuno.</span> “Our goal is to create brand loyalists via the in-store experiences and increase consumer engagement with our products.”</p> <p>To draw people into the store, Mizuno uses location-based marketing to deliver push notifications, and targeted ads on social media to users “within high traffic and interest areas,” Diaz said. Additionally, the retailer localizes its database to target promotions. For example, shoppers can frequently find limited edition gear, apparel and equipment at the Mizuno Experience Center at <a href="http://batteryatl.com/" target="_blank">The Battery.</a></p> <h2>Digital Display Data Drives Real-Time Merchandising</h2> <p>Mizuno also uses analytics from consumers’ interaction with the digital displays, as well as heat mapping, to inform merchandising and promotional plans. “We do thorough real-time merchandising based on that data,” said Diaz. “It helps to define how products are showcased across our Perch displays in-store and featured in our email campaigns specific to our target customer base.”</p> <p>Diaz added: “It is exciting data to share with the team. On a quarterly basis we share comparative product data across our online, email and in-store channels with our sport-specific teams to be able to best serve our consumers.”</p> <p>Using the Perch campaign management feature, Mizuno employees are able to complete real-time updates in-store, featuring the products current shoppers are most interested in viewing.</p> <h2>Digital In-Store Experience Integrates With Loyalty Program And App</h2> <p>Following the launch of Perch and other technologies into the Atlanta flagship store, Mizuno launched a mobile app that is being further integrated with the in-store experience. More recently, the brand added a loyalty program, which has engaged approximately 30,000 customers to date.</p></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/b9d6a498695be8a7bf5bd347369170b0_XL.jpg" alt="How A Digital Storefront Enhances The Physical Experience At Mizuno" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>Designed to “capture the new digital savvy customer and showcase Mizuno product cross-sport,” the digital solutions in place at Mizuno flagship stores are driving global customer engagement and loyalty. Mizuno operates one flagship store in the U.S., as well as others in key markets worldwide.</p> <p>The digital display merchandising solution, provided by <a href="https://www.perchinteractive.com/" target="_blank">Perch</a>, features self-serve technology that brings the digital online experience into the brick-and-mortar store. This technology is a key focus of the <a href="https://www.mizunousa.com/category/mizuno+experience+center.do" target="_blank">Mizuno Experience Center</a>, located in <a href="http://batteryatl.com/" target="_blank">The Battery</a>, the U.S. flagship store in Atlanta. Here, shoppers can immerse themselves in digital experiences to book custom fittings for golf clubs or running shoes, assess their baseball swing, get gloves steamed and more.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>{loadposition GIAA}The technology was designed for self-service, which enables store associates to focus on more customer-facing needs in the store, such as custom fittings and special events.</p> <h2>ROI Is Reflected In Loyalty And Repeat Customers</h2> <p>When calculating the ROI for the Perch solution, Mizuno looks beyond in-store sales. “We know that we have a unique consumer visiting our flagship store due its location just feet away from <a href="https://www.mlb.com/braves/ballpark" target="_blank">SunTrust Park</a> — the new Atlanta Braves stadium<span style="color: black;">,” said Amarena Diaz, Director of Digital Marketing at Mizuno.</span> “Our goal is to create brand loyalists via the in-store experiences and increase consumer engagement with our products.”</p> <p>To draw people into the store, Mizuno uses location-based marketing to deliver push notifications, and targeted ads on social media to users “within high traffic and interest areas,” Diaz said. Additionally, the retailer localizes its database to target promotions. For example, shoppers can frequently find limited edition gear, apparel and equipment at the Mizuno Experience Center at <a href="http://batteryatl.com/" target="_blank">The Battery.</a></p> <h2>Digital Display Data Drives Real-Time Merchandising</h2> <p>Mizuno also uses analytics from consumers’ interaction with the digital displays, as well as heat mapping, to inform merchandising and promotional plans. “We do thorough real-time merchandising based on that data,” said Diaz. “It helps to define how products are showcased across our Perch displays in-store and featured in our email campaigns specific to our target customer base.”</p> <p>Diaz added: “It is exciting data to share with the team. On a quarterly basis we share comparative product data across our online, email and in-store channels with our sport-specific teams to be able to best serve our consumers.”</p> <p>Using the Perch campaign management feature, Mizuno employees are able to complete real-time updates in-store, featuring the products current shoppers are most interested in viewing.</p> <h2>Digital In-Store Experience Integrates With Loyalty Program And App</h2> <p>Following the launch of Perch and other technologies into the Atlanta flagship store, Mizuno launched a mobile app that is being further integrated with the in-store experience. More recently, the brand added a loyalty program, which has engaged approximately 30,000 customers to date.</p></div> Sometimes It Is About Looks — Implementing Visual Merchandising In Your Online Store 2018-05-23T09:14:42-04:00 2018-05-23T09:14:42-04:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/sometimes-it-is-about-looks-implementing-visual-merchandising-in-your-online-store Jake Rheude, Red Stag Fulfillment feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="0aaJake Rheude Red Stag" src="images/storiesv3/0aaJake_Rheude_Red_Stag.png" height="179" width="200" />Most shoppers are visual deciders, and they react best when they can see what they are about to buy. In brick-and-mortar stores, visual merchandising is about how you set up your front windows and how your products look, so how can that be done in an online store?</p> <p>How do you replicate that split decision which often happens at the shelf?</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>You accomplish it with visual merchandising. It’s the same practice that brick-and-mortar stores use to showcase their goods. However, there are a few practices specific to e-Commerce. Let’s look at five.</p> <h2>Invest In Professional Photography</h2> <p>{loadposition GIAA}Nothing else you read will matter if you don’t have great photography. Take time to find a good photographer and spend on a professional who can help you take photos of products and style or stage them. If your goods need people, then ask the photographer to help you find a few models who can show off your products.</p> <p>Match models to your branding and your existing customers, and you’ll create a connected feeling where your customers can see themselves in what you offer. If the image looks and feels like you (or who you want to be), then you’re more likely to buy.</p> <p>High-quality, high-definition photos are a must-have as well. Better resolution will allow you to have images that can be resized dynamically based on the computer, smartphone or other device people are using to visit your store.</p> <p>Think about the real world. A poorly-lit store makes it hard to see the products and that bland feeling can harm sales. So, there are <a href="https://www.shopify.com/retail/let-there-be-light-lighting-strategies-to-boost-store-sales" target="_blank">amazing guides</a> about how to build lighting in a physical space to optimize sales. It’s good news for you too because you can follow these setups to create the right atmosphere to snap a few shots of your goods.</p> <h2>Create Collections</h2> <p>While you’ve seen it before for clothes, nearly all products can be grouped into related items and complementary items. Collections allow users to find what they want in two main ways: accomplish a related goal or find what “feels like them.”</p> <p>So, you can group products based on their utility. You’ll find this in home improvement stores where the weed trimmers are in the same grouping as the trimmer line/string, as well as hedge trimmers and chemical weed sprays. They’re all a little different but still connected.</p> <p>In the same way, you can base your collections on emotion, feeling or value so that it resonates with a customer on a more personal level. This might be housing all your organic products in a single collection, grouping your beach towels and bathroom towels separately, or creating and curating outfits based on a specific style.</p> <p>It helps site visitors browse and makes them feel like you understand them, which can help with sales.</p> <h2>Build Order Into The Store</h2> <p>Your collections will live across your site and not just on specific landing pages. They also may serve as product categories. When you’re creating these groups as well as your broader categories, keep composition in mind.</p> <p>You want a visual and categorical hierarchy to be present. That means images of individual items should be about the same size, while collections can be larger. Add-ons and coupons should be a distinct size. And that can be your order from the top down: category, product, bonus.</p> <p>It helps the user naturally move down to the thing they want. Reinforce this order visually by using just one color scheme, minimizing complimentary tones, so that there is less to distract or disrupt.</p> <p>If you want to drive someone to a specific item — whether a new best-seller or a big sale — you can easily change the color or size to draw immediate attention and emphasis.</p> <h2>Navigate Better Than A Supermarket</h2> <p>If you’re not sure about the layout you create, think of your site like a digital supermarket. Some people will come in for a specific set of items. Others will have a list but happily browse and deviate, adding other things to the cart. Is your site easy to use by both kinds of shoppers, or are there problems that make it difficult?</p> <p>Do the same thing with collections and categories with the marshmallow test.</p> <p>Depending on the supermarket, marshmallows may be on the “snack” aisle or the “baking” aisle; and sometimes they move to a specialty aisle when it’s hot chocolate season. If someone was looking for a specific item and they opened your list of “aisles,” would they be able to choose the right one?</p> <p>E-Commerce has a disadvantage here because if someone picks the wrong aisle and doesn’t find what they want, they can just head over to Google to find someone else. You don’t want any marshmallow confusion.</p> <h2>The Home Page Is Your Window Display</h2> <p>Just like you see the outside of a store before going in to browse its merchandise, most of your traffic is going to reach a home page before they click through to shop. Embrace the home page’s role in lead capture and qualifying by using it as a space to show off your brand.</p> <p>The good news is that you can make this window display as long as you want — though make it easy to click at any point to get to product pages.</p> <p>Here are a few elements that your home page needs to make a compelling case for your brand as well as your products:</p> <ul> <li>Great images and explanations if products need them;</li> <li>A clean, common story throughout. Start with the essential elements, whether that’s what makes your brand unique or the current specials you’re running;</li> <li>Highlight main product categories or collections;</li> <li>Reviews, testimonials and social proof of your company as well as popular products;</li> <li>Clear explanations of your product, what makes it different and how to use it. You can make the demonstration purely visual ( for clothing, simply have the models wear it); and</li> <li>Repeat call-to-actions for each section. If possible, make both buttons and all product images clickable to take you to a sales page.</li> </ul> <p>If you sell to a few different types of customers, consider using a longer home page that stacks these messages to each customer profile. Move top to bottom from most to least lucrative.</p> <h2>Don’t Forget About The Writing</h2> <p>Last but never least is the writing of product descriptions and ads. Here you’ll want to match the language your customers use about themselves while filling in the details that photos don’t give us. Include the basics like sizing charts as well as talking about how products make them feel.</p> <p>One important aspect of this, which might require some marketing help, is the inclusion of keywords and SEO practices on each page to make them more searchable.</p> <p>A final bit of advice, if you’re struggling here, is to rely on customer reviews and testimonials to fill in the emotional bit of the description. Write out a bit of the practical side of things and then, under the photo, have a few scrolling reviews that sing the praises of your products.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Jake Rheude </i><i>is the Director of Marketing for&nbsp;<a href="https://redstagfulfillment.com/" target="_blank">Red Stag Fulfillment</a>, an e-Commerce fulfillment warehouse. Rheude has years of experience in e-Commerce and business development.</i> <i>In his free time, Rheude enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experiences with others.</i></p></div> <div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="0aaJake Rheude Red Stag" src="images/storiesv3/0aaJake_Rheude_Red_Stag.png" height="179" width="200" />Most shoppers are visual deciders, and they react best when they can see what they are about to buy. In brick-and-mortar stores, visual merchandising is about how you set up your front windows and how your products look, so how can that be done in an online store?</p> <p>How do you replicate that split decision which often happens at the shelf?</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>You accomplish it with visual merchandising. It’s the same practice that brick-and-mortar stores use to showcase their goods. However, there are a few practices specific to e-Commerce. Let’s look at five.</p> <h2>Invest In Professional Photography</h2> <p>{loadposition GIAA}Nothing else you read will matter if you don’t have great photography. Take time to find a good photographer and spend on a professional who can help you take photos of products and style or stage them. If your goods need people, then ask the photographer to help you find a few models who can show off your products.</p> <p>Match models to your branding and your existing customers, and you’ll create a connected feeling where your customers can see themselves in what you offer. If the image looks and feels like you (or who you want to be), then you’re more likely to buy.</p> <p>High-quality, high-definition photos are a must-have as well. Better resolution will allow you to have images that can be resized dynamically based on the computer, smartphone or other device people are using to visit your store.</p> <p>Think about the real world. A poorly-lit store makes it hard to see the products and that bland feeling can harm sales. So, there are <a href="https://www.shopify.com/retail/let-there-be-light-lighting-strategies-to-boost-store-sales" target="_blank">amazing guides</a> about how to build lighting in a physical space to optimize sales. It’s good news for you too because you can follow these setups to create the right atmosphere to snap a few shots of your goods.</p> <h2>Create Collections</h2> <p>While you’ve seen it before for clothes, nearly all products can be grouped into related items and complementary items. Collections allow users to find what they want in two main ways: accomplish a related goal or find what “feels like them.”</p> <p>So, you can group products based on their utility. You’ll find this in home improvement stores where the weed trimmers are in the same grouping as the trimmer line/string, as well as hedge trimmers and chemical weed sprays. They’re all a little different but still connected.</p> <p>In the same way, you can base your collections on emotion, feeling or value so that it resonates with a customer on a more personal level. This might be housing all your organic products in a single collection, grouping your beach towels and bathroom towels separately, or creating and curating outfits based on a specific style.</p> <p>It helps site visitors browse and makes them feel like you understand them, which can help with sales.</p> <h2>Build Order Into The Store</h2> <p>Your collections will live across your site and not just on specific landing pages. They also may serve as product categories. When you’re creating these groups as well as your broader categories, keep composition in mind.</p> <p>You want a visual and categorical hierarchy to be present. That means images of individual items should be about the same size, while collections can be larger. Add-ons and coupons should be a distinct size. And that can be your order from the top down: category, product, bonus.</p> <p>It helps the user naturally move down to the thing they want. Reinforce this order visually by using just one color scheme, minimizing complimentary tones, so that there is less to distract or disrupt.</p> <p>If you want to drive someone to a specific item — whether a new best-seller or a big sale — you can easily change the color or size to draw immediate attention and emphasis.</p> <h2>Navigate Better Than A Supermarket</h2> <p>If you’re not sure about the layout you create, think of your site like a digital supermarket. Some people will come in for a specific set of items. Others will have a list but happily browse and deviate, adding other things to the cart. Is your site easy to use by both kinds of shoppers, or are there problems that make it difficult?</p> <p>Do the same thing with collections and categories with the marshmallow test.</p> <p>Depending on the supermarket, marshmallows may be on the “snack” aisle or the “baking” aisle; and sometimes they move to a specialty aisle when it’s hot chocolate season. If someone was looking for a specific item and they opened your list of “aisles,” would they be able to choose the right one?</p> <p>E-Commerce has a disadvantage here because if someone picks the wrong aisle and doesn’t find what they want, they can just head over to Google to find someone else. You don’t want any marshmallow confusion.</p> <h2>The Home Page Is Your Window Display</h2> <p>Just like you see the outside of a store before going in to browse its merchandise, most of your traffic is going to reach a home page before they click through to shop. Embrace the home page’s role in lead capture and qualifying by using it as a space to show off your brand.</p> <p>The good news is that you can make this window display as long as you want — though make it easy to click at any point to get to product pages.</p> <p>Here are a few elements that your home page needs to make a compelling case for your brand as well as your products:</p> <ul> <li>Great images and explanations if products need them;</li> <li>A clean, common story throughout. Start with the essential elements, whether that’s what makes your brand unique or the current specials you’re running;</li> <li>Highlight main product categories or collections;</li> <li>Reviews, testimonials and social proof of your company as well as popular products;</li> <li>Clear explanations of your product, what makes it different and how to use it. You can make the demonstration purely visual ( for clothing, simply have the models wear it); and</li> <li>Repeat call-to-actions for each section. If possible, make both buttons and all product images clickable to take you to a sales page.</li> </ul> <p>If you sell to a few different types of customers, consider using a longer home page that stacks these messages to each customer profile. Move top to bottom from most to least lucrative.</p> <h2>Don’t Forget About The Writing</h2> <p>Last but never least is the writing of product descriptions and ads. Here you’ll want to match the language your customers use about themselves while filling in the details that photos don’t give us. Include the basics like sizing charts as well as talking about how products make them feel.</p> <p>One important aspect of this, which might require some marketing help, is the inclusion of keywords and SEO practices on each page to make them more searchable.</p> <p>A final bit of advice, if you’re struggling here, is to rely on customer reviews and testimonials to fill in the emotional bit of the description. Write out a bit of the practical side of things and then, under the photo, have a few scrolling reviews that sing the praises of your products.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Jake Rheude </i><i>is the Director of Marketing for&nbsp;<a href="https://redstagfulfillment.com/" target="_blank">Red Stag Fulfillment</a>, an e-Commerce fulfillment warehouse. Rheude has years of experience in e-Commerce and business development.</i> <i>In his free time, Rheude enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experiences with others.</i></p></div> Sportsman’s Warehouse Boosts Sales, Customer Acquisition With ‘Back In Stock’ Emails 2018-05-22T15:55:38-04:00 2018-05-22T15:55:38-04:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-success-stories/sportsman-s-warehouse-boosts-sales-customer-acquisition-with-back-in-stock-emails Marie Griffin feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/2fa4adaccc213ce6cdb9293483513253_XL.jpg" alt="Sportsman’s Warehouse Boosts Sales, Customer Acquisition With ‘Back In Stock’ Emails" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p class="MsoNormal">Out-of-stocks (OOS) cost North American retailers roughly $130 billion each year, according to the <a href="http://www.ihlservices.com/product/inventorydistortion/" target="_blank">IHL Group</a>. To combat this problem, <a href="https://www.sportsmanswarehouse.com/"><b>Sportsman’s Warehouse</b></a>, an omnichannel sporting goods and outdoor products retailer, has deployed a solution that allows shoppers to sign up for an email alert that lets them know when the item they’re seeking is back in stock.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Sportsman’s Warehouse went live with the <a href="https://www.myalerts.com/" target="_blank">MyAlerts</a><span class="MsoHyperlink"> solution in November 2017. </span>Since then, the company has seen a “significant lift” in sales, with high open rates for the back-in-stock emails. “This demonstrates our consumers are very engaged and excited to know when our merchandise is available,” said Mike Van Orden, CTO of Sportsman's Warehouse in an interview with <i>Retail TouchPoints</i>.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p class="MsoNormal">{loadposition GIAA}He added that Sportsman’s Warehouse was “pleasantly surprised at the high open and click-through rates of the emails. The overall usage of the feature is higher than we anticipated.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Sportsman’s Warehouse operates stores in 22 states in the South and West, including Alaska. The MyAlerts dashboard gave merchants the information they needed to reach out to customers when the OOS products they wanted were available in a store.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">In addition, MyAlerts has helped generate customer leads. “We have been able to determine that approximately <b>20%</b> of the emails we gather from the MyAlerts program were unique,” said Van Orden. “Because we receive permission from these users to include them in future marketing, it has been a very cost effective and efficient way to acquire new customers.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The data from MyAlerts also has informed purchasing decisions at Sportsman’s Warehouse. “Our merchandising teams are using the data on a weekly basis to determine the key products within their categories that are most in demand,” Van Orden explained.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Based on its success with the OOS alerts, Sportsman’s Warehouse is considering expanding its use of MyAlerts functionalities. “We are considering leveraging the MyAlerts platform through a variety of use cases, including price drops and new product debuts,” Van Orden noted. “Timing will be determined based on internal resource availability.”&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Retail clients of MyAlerts, which was launched in 2014, include <b>Macy’s</b>, <b>Home Depot</b>, <b>Neiman</b> <b>Marcus</b>, <b>Cars.com</b>, <b>Target</b> and <b>JCPenney</b>. The company recently announced that its number of consumer users has surpassed 10 million, with more than 250,000 people signing up to receive personalized product alerts every month.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; line-height: 107%; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: black;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 11px;">&nbsp;</span></span></p></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/2fa4adaccc213ce6cdb9293483513253_XL.jpg" alt="Sportsman’s Warehouse Boosts Sales, Customer Acquisition With ‘Back In Stock’ Emails" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p class="MsoNormal">Out-of-stocks (OOS) cost North American retailers roughly $130 billion each year, according to the <a href="http://www.ihlservices.com/product/inventorydistortion/" target="_blank">IHL Group</a>. To combat this problem, <a href="https://www.sportsmanswarehouse.com/"><b>Sportsman’s Warehouse</b></a>, an omnichannel sporting goods and outdoor products retailer, has deployed a solution that allows shoppers to sign up for an email alert that lets them know when the item they’re seeking is back in stock.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Sportsman’s Warehouse went live with the <a href="https://www.myalerts.com/" target="_blank">MyAlerts</a><span class="MsoHyperlink"> solution in November 2017. </span>Since then, the company has seen a “significant lift” in sales, with high open rates for the back-in-stock emails. “This demonstrates our consumers are very engaged and excited to know when our merchandise is available,” said Mike Van Orden, CTO of Sportsman's Warehouse in an interview with <i>Retail TouchPoints</i>.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p class="MsoNormal">{loadposition GIAA}He added that Sportsman’s Warehouse was “pleasantly surprised at the high open and click-through rates of the emails. The overall usage of the feature is higher than we anticipated.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Sportsman’s Warehouse operates stores in 22 states in the South and West, including Alaska. The MyAlerts dashboard gave merchants the information they needed to reach out to customers when the OOS products they wanted were available in a store.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">In addition, MyAlerts has helped generate customer leads. “We have been able to determine that approximately <b>20%</b> of the emails we gather from the MyAlerts program were unique,” said Van Orden. “Because we receive permission from these users to include them in future marketing, it has been a very cost effective and efficient way to acquire new customers.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The data from MyAlerts also has informed purchasing decisions at Sportsman’s Warehouse. “Our merchandising teams are using the data on a weekly basis to determine the key products within their categories that are most in demand,” Van Orden explained.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Based on its success with the OOS alerts, Sportsman’s Warehouse is considering expanding its use of MyAlerts functionalities. “We are considering leveraging the MyAlerts platform through a variety of use cases, including price drops and new product debuts,” Van Orden noted. “Timing will be determined based on internal resource availability.”&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Retail clients of MyAlerts, which was launched in 2014, include <b>Macy’s</b>, <b>Home Depot</b>, <b>Neiman</b> <b>Marcus</b>, <b>Cars.com</b>, <b>Target</b> and <b>JCPenney</b>. The company recently announced that its number of consumer users has surpassed 10 million, with more than 250,000 people signing up to receive personalized product alerts every month.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; line-height: 107%; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: black;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 11px;">&nbsp;</span></span></p></div> NuORDER Debuts Online Visual Merchandising Tool 2018-05-17T11:54:37-04:00 2018-05-17T11:54:37-04:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/solution-spotlight/nuorder-debuts-online-visual-merchandising-tool Glenn Taylor feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/9262383d4d150a7eff2c9ba7058fdc6c_XL.jpg" alt="NuORDER Debuts Online Visual Merchandising Tool" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>NuORDER has launched Whiteboard, a visual merchandising tool designed to showcase brands’ product lines.</p> <p>Within the&nbsp;NuORDER&nbsp;platform, the new feature transforms static linesheets into interactive displays of a brand’s products. Viewing products in static spreadsheets or catalogs can make it difficult for retail buyers to visualize a complete product line, understand how products work together and select the right combination of products for their stores.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>Whiteboard’s features include:</p> <ul> <li><b>Flexible layout</b>, where users can arrange images, products and text in any way needed to tell the product’s story;</li> <li><b>Pre-built widgets</b> that enable sales reps and marketers to arrange products in multiple formats without a graphic designer;</li> <li><b>Stackable product images</b> that give a layered effect to showcase complementing products, as well as variations of a singular product — i.e. sweater and pants and different colors/patterns; and</li> <li><b>Collaborative workspace</b> to share whiteboards with retail buyers and collaborate on the ideal product assortment.</li> </ul> <p>Users can add products and images to Whiteboards and adjust the layout to achieve the perfect customized look, and then tap into their existing NuORDER product imagery, pricing and metadata to quickly input product data. Products can be added directly to an order or shopping cart for purchase.</p></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/9262383d4d150a7eff2c9ba7058fdc6c_XL.jpg" alt="NuORDER Debuts Online Visual Merchandising Tool" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>NuORDER has launched Whiteboard, a visual merchandising tool designed to showcase brands’ product lines.</p> <p>Within the&nbsp;NuORDER&nbsp;platform, the new feature transforms static linesheets into interactive displays of a brand’s products. Viewing products in static spreadsheets or catalogs can make it difficult for retail buyers to visualize a complete product line, understand how products work together and select the right combination of products for their stores.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>Whiteboard’s features include:</p> <ul> <li><b>Flexible layout</b>, where users can arrange images, products and text in any way needed to tell the product’s story;</li> <li><b>Pre-built widgets</b> that enable sales reps and marketers to arrange products in multiple formats without a graphic designer;</li> <li><b>Stackable product images</b> that give a layered effect to showcase complementing products, as well as variations of a singular product — i.e. sweater and pants and different colors/patterns; and</li> <li><b>Collaborative workspace</b> to share whiteboards with retail buyers and collaborate on the ideal product assortment.</li> </ul> <p>Users can add products and images to Whiteboards and adjust the layout to achieve the perfect customized look, and then tap into their existing NuORDER product imagery, pricing and metadata to quickly input product data. Products can be added directly to an order or shopping cart for purchase.</p></div> Exclusive CMO Q&A: Storytelling Drives Disruptive Apparel Retail Model 2018-05-16T09:06:18-04:00 2018-05-16T09:06:18-04:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-success-stories/exclusive-cmo-q-a-storytelling-drives-disruptive-apparel-retail-model Adam Blair feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/7cc0de102afe98596a72d272a1799985_XL.jpg" alt="Exclusive CMO Q&A: Storytelling Drives Disruptive Apparel Retail Model" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="Allison Flatjord MatildaJaneClothing" src="images/storiesv3/Allison_Flatjord_MatildaJaneClothing.png" height="300" width="300" />Two of the most important areas of responsibility at any retail company are Marketing and Merchandising, but at <strong><a href="https://www.matildajaneclothing.com/" target="_blank">Matilda Jane Clothing</a></strong> they are handled by one hard-working executive: <strong>Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer Allison Flatjord</strong>. At another company, this might be a tale of competing priorities and siloed departments, but that’s not the case here. Matilda Jane bridges the gap by maintaining an unrelenting focus on its customers and a commitment to a unified brand message.</p> <p>“Our whole brand revolves around storytelling,” said Flatjord. “Every season we tell a different story, and in order to effectively tell those stories, we have to be really tight on marketing and product — everything that supports that story. So, for us it makes much more sense to have marketing and merchandising combined, to ensure the product supports the story you want to get across.”</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>{loadposition GIAA}Matilda Jane Clothing sells girls’ and women’s apparel through a unique business model featuring a network of 1,700 “Trunk Keepers,” who host in-home trunk shows or facilitate online customer orders. In 2017, the Trunk Keepers held 70,000 shows in all 50 states. While the privately held company does not release specific sales figures, the company is on a growth path, according to Flatjord: “Since I started [in January 2014] we have three times the number of Trunk Keepers, and we’ve moved offices twice because we’ve outgrown the old ones. People have really responded to our brands, and feel emotionally connected to Matilda Jane even as we grow. That’s part of the storytelling and the personal connection that the Trunk Keepers provide.”</p> <p>In an exclusive interview with <em>Retail TouchPoints</em>, Flatjord explained that listening closely to both Trunk Keepers and customers informs brand and product development at Matilda Jane, as well as how the company integrates a multi-tier commitment to charitable giving into its business operations.</p> <p><em><strong>Retail TouchPoints (RTP): How important is customer feedback at Matilda Jane Clothing, and how has it influenced business decisions?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Allison Flatjord:</strong> Customer feedback is huge for us. I spent my first year or two on social media listening to what customers were saying, interacting with customers and going to trunk shows, and we still make a point to do that as a company. From both the customers and the Trunk Keepers, what we hear is always top-of-mind — for example the launch of our tween line, with clothing in girls’ sizes 8 to 16. We were hearing from parents that when their girls get into junior high school, they don’t want to wear the same clothes as their four-year-old sister. That inspired us to launch an entire brand, the 435 brand of age-appropriate tween clothing.</p> <p>Another element was being very inclusive with our sizing. Our women’s line goes from extra-small to 2XL, and we’re launching a petite line in the fall. Matilda Jane is for everybody, and what we heard from our Trunk Keepers, 100% of whom are women, inspired us to expand our size ranges.</p> <p>In fact, the Trunk Keeper feedback is really helpful to ensure we’re able to clearly bring our brand story across at the trunk shows. The Trunk Keepers act as our stores and they are also really personal stylists, helping customers pick things out and really getting to know them well.</p> <p><em><strong>RTP: What are some of your biggest challenges at Matilda Jane?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Flatjord:</strong> Speed to market is a big one. We launch 10 collections a year and use original prints in all of them. With the number of collections we do, and with making sure the story is really tight with all them of them, and that the collection works well together — it’s a challenge to be that nimble but still take the great care that we do with product, designs and marketing.</p> <p><em><strong>RTP: Your professional background includes working at some fairly traditional companies such as Procter &amp; Gamble and Limited Brands. What are some of the differences in working at Matilda Jane? Did it require a lot of adjustment?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Flatjord:</strong> I would say this is the most collaborative place that I’ve worked, both in terms of the processes and the people. The organizational structure is different from those companies, but the very tight focus on the customer and our creative goals really makes it work for us.</p> <p><em><strong>RTP: Who have been some of your mentors, either personally or professionally?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Flatjord:</strong> On the personal side there’s my dad. Some of his “dad-isms” were “Never take the easy way out,” and “Always make sure you can take care of yourself.” He was always encouraging me to take the harder class or the more challenging job, and those have been driving forces for me about working really hard and not shying away from challenges.</p> <p>Additionally there’s the founder of Matilda Jane, the late Denise DeMarchis. I worked with her for about a year, and she truly kept the Matilda Jane customers and the mission ahead of everything else with a fervor that I’ve never seen. That encompassed our mission of giving back, even if it required a lot of personal sacrifice.</p> <p><em><strong>RTP: How does the commitment to charitable giving intersect with the business aspect of the company today?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Flatjord:</strong> We give on three main levels. At the corporate level, we’re the diamond partner for <strong><a href="http://changingthefaceofbeauty.org/" target="_blank">Changing The Face Of Beauty</a></strong>, which inspires inclusion in advertising so that all children are represented in any kind of commercial images. When kids are able to see themselves in popular advertising, that fits with our mission of girls feeling great about themselves, as well as keeping kids little and including everybody in the joy of being a kid.</p> <p>There’s also the <strong><a href="https://www.mightyacornfoundation.org/" target="_blank">Mighty Acorn Foundation</a></strong>, which Denise had originally worked on setting up in 2012. It’s an orphanage in Kitale, Kenya that helps rescue children there from the slums.</p> <p>On a more local level, there’s our <strong><a href="http://matildajaneblog.com/janes-give-back-in-2018/" target="_blank">Janes Give Back</a></strong> program. Janes are what we call our party hostesses. Either a Trunk Keeper or a Jane can match a portion of a show’s proceeds to donate to any organization or cause that’s important to them. They’ve donated to schools, to put in an elevator for a child with disabilities who previously had to go outside in her wheelchair at the time classes changed. We’ve supported funds for adoption. Overall, we’ve raised more than $330,000 for 1,000+ organizations. That’s the grass-roots part that Denise started, and it’s been kept up through the Trunk Keepers.</p></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/7cc0de102afe98596a72d272a1799985_XL.jpg" alt="Exclusive CMO Q&A: Storytelling Drives Disruptive Apparel Retail Model" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="Allison Flatjord MatildaJaneClothing" src="images/storiesv3/Allison_Flatjord_MatildaJaneClothing.png" height="300" width="300" />Two of the most important areas of responsibility at any retail company are Marketing and Merchandising, but at <strong><a href="https://www.matildajaneclothing.com/" target="_blank">Matilda Jane Clothing</a></strong> they are handled by one hard-working executive: <strong>Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer Allison Flatjord</strong>. At another company, this might be a tale of competing priorities and siloed departments, but that’s not the case here. Matilda Jane bridges the gap by maintaining an unrelenting focus on its customers and a commitment to a unified brand message.</p> <p>“Our whole brand revolves around storytelling,” said Flatjord. “Every season we tell a different story, and in order to effectively tell those stories, we have to be really tight on marketing and product — everything that supports that story. So, for us it makes much more sense to have marketing and merchandising combined, to ensure the product supports the story you want to get across.”</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>{loadposition GIAA}Matilda Jane Clothing sells girls’ and women’s apparel through a unique business model featuring a network of 1,700 “Trunk Keepers,” who host in-home trunk shows or facilitate online customer orders. In 2017, the Trunk Keepers held 70,000 shows in all 50 states. While the privately held company does not release specific sales figures, the company is on a growth path, according to Flatjord: “Since I started [in January 2014] we have three times the number of Trunk Keepers, and we’ve moved offices twice because we’ve outgrown the old ones. People have really responded to our brands, and feel emotionally connected to Matilda Jane even as we grow. That’s part of the storytelling and the personal connection that the Trunk Keepers provide.”</p> <p>In an exclusive interview with <em>Retail TouchPoints</em>, Flatjord explained that listening closely to both Trunk Keepers and customers informs brand and product development at Matilda Jane, as well as how the company integrates a multi-tier commitment to charitable giving into its business operations.</p> <p><em><strong>Retail TouchPoints (RTP): How important is customer feedback at Matilda Jane Clothing, and how has it influenced business decisions?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Allison Flatjord:</strong> Customer feedback is huge for us. I spent my first year or two on social media listening to what customers were saying, interacting with customers and going to trunk shows, and we still make a point to do that as a company. From both the customers and the Trunk Keepers, what we hear is always top-of-mind — for example the launch of our tween line, with clothing in girls’ sizes 8 to 16. We were hearing from parents that when their girls get into junior high school, they don’t want to wear the same clothes as their four-year-old sister. That inspired us to launch an entire brand, the 435 brand of age-appropriate tween clothing.</p> <p>Another element was being very inclusive with our sizing. Our women’s line goes from extra-small to 2XL, and we’re launching a petite line in the fall. Matilda Jane is for everybody, and what we heard from our Trunk Keepers, 100% of whom are women, inspired us to expand our size ranges.</p> <p>In fact, the Trunk Keeper feedback is really helpful to ensure we’re able to clearly bring our brand story across at the trunk shows. The Trunk Keepers act as our stores and they are also really personal stylists, helping customers pick things out and really getting to know them well.</p> <p><em><strong>RTP: What are some of your biggest challenges at Matilda Jane?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Flatjord:</strong> Speed to market is a big one. We launch 10 collections a year and use original prints in all of them. With the number of collections we do, and with making sure the story is really tight with all them of them, and that the collection works well together — it’s a challenge to be that nimble but still take the great care that we do with product, designs and marketing.</p> <p><em><strong>RTP: Your professional background includes working at some fairly traditional companies such as Procter &amp; Gamble and Limited Brands. What are some of the differences in working at Matilda Jane? Did it require a lot of adjustment?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Flatjord:</strong> I would say this is the most collaborative place that I’ve worked, both in terms of the processes and the people. The organizational structure is different from those companies, but the very tight focus on the customer and our creative goals really makes it work for us.</p> <p><em><strong>RTP: Who have been some of your mentors, either personally or professionally?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Flatjord:</strong> On the personal side there’s my dad. Some of his “dad-isms” were “Never take the easy way out,” and “Always make sure you can take care of yourself.” He was always encouraging me to take the harder class or the more challenging job, and those have been driving forces for me about working really hard and not shying away from challenges.</p> <p>Additionally there’s the founder of Matilda Jane, the late Denise DeMarchis. I worked with her for about a year, and she truly kept the Matilda Jane customers and the mission ahead of everything else with a fervor that I’ve never seen. That encompassed our mission of giving back, even if it required a lot of personal sacrifice.</p> <p><em><strong>RTP: How does the commitment to charitable giving intersect with the business aspect of the company today?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Flatjord:</strong> We give on three main levels. At the corporate level, we’re the diamond partner for <strong><a href="http://changingthefaceofbeauty.org/" target="_blank">Changing The Face Of Beauty</a></strong>, which inspires inclusion in advertising so that all children are represented in any kind of commercial images. When kids are able to see themselves in popular advertising, that fits with our mission of girls feeling great about themselves, as well as keeping kids little and including everybody in the joy of being a kid.</p> <p>There’s also the <strong><a href="https://www.mightyacornfoundation.org/" target="_blank">Mighty Acorn Foundation</a></strong>, which Denise had originally worked on setting up in 2012. It’s an orphanage in Kitale, Kenya that helps rescue children there from the slums.</p> <p>On a more local level, there’s our <strong><a href="http://matildajaneblog.com/janes-give-back-in-2018/" target="_blank">Janes Give Back</a></strong> program. Janes are what we call our party hostesses. Either a Trunk Keeper or a Jane can match a portion of a show’s proceeds to donate to any organization or cause that’s important to them. They’ve donated to schools, to put in an elevator for a child with disabilities who previously had to go outside in her wheelchair at the time classes changed. We’ve supported funds for adoption. Overall, we’ve raised more than $330,000 for 1,000+ organizations. That’s the grass-roots part that Denise started, and it’s been kept up through the Trunk Keepers.</p></div> #RIC18: Adore Me And Bedgear Take Divergent Paths Into Brick-And-Mortar 2018-05-11T15:52:29-04:00 2018-05-11T15:52:29-04:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-success-stories/ric18-adore-me-and-bedgear-take-divergent-paths-into-brick-and-mortar Marie Griffin feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/78248a37df357ad8bbe0196485db6ea7_XL.jpg" alt="#RIC18: Adore Me And Bedgear Take Divergent Paths Into Brick-And-Mortar" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>In an omnichannel world, innovators can choose multiple avenues to break into an existing market. Because of its relatively low cost of entry, many upstarts gravitate to e-Commerce first. Other startups choose to work with existing retailers to take advantage of their brand recognition, customer base and operational capabilities.</p> <p>At the <a href="http://www.retailinnovationconference.com/" target="_blank">Retail Innovation Conference</a>, speakers from two companies that are less than 10 years old — <a href="https://www.adoreme.com/" target="_blank">Adore Me</a> and <a href="https://www.bedgear.com/" target="_blank">Bedgear</a> — explained why (and how) they took different routes to become players in the lingerie and mattress/bedding businesses, respectively.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <h2>Adore Me Leverages Rapid Online Growth For Offline Expansion</h2> <p><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="RIC18 RomainLiot" src="images/storiesv3/RIC18_RomainLiot.png" />Founded in 2010, Adore Me set out to challenge <strong><a href="https://www.victoriassecret.com/" target="_blank">Victoria’s Secret</a></strong> by starting as an e-Commerce pure play offering more affordable high-quality lingerie for a wider range of body types, from petite to plus-size, than the category leader. Adore Me also shook up the market by unveiling new styles much more often than the traditional two collections per year. Sales took off. The most recent <a href="https://www.inc.com/profile/adore-me" target="_blank">Inc. 5000 list</a>&nbsp;of the fastest-growing private companies reported that Adore Me grew almost <strong>1,400%</strong> from 2014 to 2016.</p> <p>With revenues in the $100 million range and a customer base of more than 11 million, Adore Me is now looking offline to catapult its business to the next level. Romain Liot, COO of Adore Me, shed light on the company’s plans in a session titled <em>Online To Offline: How Adore Me Is Rethinking Its Operating Model To Open 300 Retail Stores</em>.</p> <p>{loadposition GIAA}Looking ahead five years, Liot sees Adore Me as an omnichannel brand with 200 to 300 boutiques — even though it has no previous experience operating at retail aside from its New York City showroom, which provides a personal shopping experience by appointment only.</p> <p>Liot explained that the company launched into the physical world sooner than expected in 2017. When its U.S. distributor could not fulfill its orders, Adore Me decided to build its own warehouse and distribution center in Secaucus, N.J. It took 10 months and $10 million to get the facility up and running.</p> <p>Now, the warehouse will be the linchpin for retail expansion as Adore Me looks to open its initial three stores within a 45-minute radius. The first unit is set to debut in June in nearby Staten Island, N.Y. “We will open our next 20 stores in the Northeast, and after that we will expand opportunistically,” Liot said.</p> <p><em>Watch a video of the session <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxSksBJgevw&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p> <h2>Bedgear Seeks To ‘Wake Up’ Bedding Through Partnerships</h2> <p><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="RIC18 EugeneAlletto" src="images/storiesv3/RIC18_EugeneAlletto.png" />In a time of so-called retail “disruption,” Bedgear CEO Eugene Alletto eschews the term. “It might seem fun and exciting for a new brand to come in and disrupt an industry, but we didn’t want to do that,” said Alletto, who also goes by the title of Quarterback/Founder.</p> <p>In his presentation, <em>Wake Up, World: The Importance Of Global In-Store Experience And Being Additive To Your Industry</em>, Alletto shared his philosophy of adding value to an ecosystem rather than undermining the existing order.</p> <p>When he was launching Bedgear in 2009, Alletto found a “boring” and fragmented retail marketplace for bedding. Using advanced textile fabrication techniques, Alletto had developed an integrated system of mattresses, mattress toppers, pillows, sheets and blankets that work together to improve sleep quality by dissipating heat, wicking away moisture, and blocking dust and allergens. But how was he going to bring his innovative line of “performance sleep solutions” to the public?</p> <p>Alletto told the RIC audience that he could have boxed up the products and sold them to consumers directly, but he understood that customers needed to experience the Bedgear difference in tactile ways. “We decided to work with retailers that could provide a really engaged interaction between consumers and sales associates,” he said. That led him to form partnerships with furniture and mattress specialists such as <strong><a href="http://www.artvan.com/" target="_blank">Art Van Furniture</a>, <a href="https://www.ashleyfurniturehomestore.com/" target="_blank">Ashley HomeStore</a>, <a href="https://www.nfm.com/" target="_blank">Nebraska Furniture Mart</a></strong>, and <strong><a href="https://www.raymourflanigan.com/" target="_blank">Raymour &amp; Flanigan</a></strong>.</p> <p>Aside from one pop-up store on Boston’s Newbury Street, Bedgear isn’t going into the retail business. However, Alletto is strengthening his relationships with key retailers by rolling out a store-within-a-store concept that brings Bedgear sleep solutions together in ways that emulate the pop-up.</p> <p>At the same time, Alletto is ramping up globally. Bedgear products are sold in 70 stores in Russia and 36 stores throughout Asia, where Alletto plans to be present in 300 doors by 2020.His reason for this expansion is ambitious: “We believe that we can literally bring world peace, one pillow at a time, by selling a good night’s sleep,” Alletto asserted.</p> <p><em>Watch a video of the session <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaApmZM4oeM&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/78248a37df357ad8bbe0196485db6ea7_XL.jpg" alt="#RIC18: Adore Me And Bedgear Take Divergent Paths Into Brick-And-Mortar" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>In an omnichannel world, innovators can choose multiple avenues to break into an existing market. Because of its relatively low cost of entry, many upstarts gravitate to e-Commerce first. Other startups choose to work with existing retailers to take advantage of their brand recognition, customer base and operational capabilities.</p> <p>At the <a href="http://www.retailinnovationconference.com/" target="_blank">Retail Innovation Conference</a>, speakers from two companies that are less than 10 years old — <a href="https://www.adoreme.com/" target="_blank">Adore Me</a> and <a href="https://www.bedgear.com/" target="_blank">Bedgear</a> — explained why (and how) they took different routes to become players in the lingerie and mattress/bedding businesses, respectively.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <h2>Adore Me Leverages Rapid Online Growth For Offline Expansion</h2> <p><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="RIC18 RomainLiot" src="images/storiesv3/RIC18_RomainLiot.png" />Founded in 2010, Adore Me set out to challenge <strong><a href="https://www.victoriassecret.com/" target="_blank">Victoria’s Secret</a></strong> by starting as an e-Commerce pure play offering more affordable high-quality lingerie for a wider range of body types, from petite to plus-size, than the category leader. Adore Me also shook up the market by unveiling new styles much more often than the traditional two collections per year. Sales took off. The most recent <a href="https://www.inc.com/profile/adore-me" target="_blank">Inc. 5000 list</a>&nbsp;of the fastest-growing private companies reported that Adore Me grew almost <strong>1,400%</strong> from 2014 to 2016.</p> <p>With revenues in the $100 million range and a customer base of more than 11 million, Adore Me is now looking offline to catapult its business to the next level. Romain Liot, COO of Adore Me, shed light on the company’s plans in a session titled <em>Online To Offline: How Adore Me Is Rethinking Its Operating Model To Open 300 Retail Stores</em>.</p> <p>{loadposition GIAA}Looking ahead five years, Liot sees Adore Me as an omnichannel brand with 200 to 300 boutiques — even though it has no previous experience operating at retail aside from its New York City showroom, which provides a personal shopping experience by appointment only.</p> <p>Liot explained that the company launched into the physical world sooner than expected in 2017. When its U.S. distributor could not fulfill its orders, Adore Me decided to build its own warehouse and distribution center in Secaucus, N.J. It took 10 months and $10 million to get the facility up and running.</p> <p>Now, the warehouse will be the linchpin for retail expansion as Adore Me looks to open its initial three stores within a 45-minute radius. The first unit is set to debut in June in nearby Staten Island, N.Y. “We will open our next 20 stores in the Northeast, and after that we will expand opportunistically,” Liot said.</p> <p><em>Watch a video of the session <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxSksBJgevw&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p> <h2>Bedgear Seeks To ‘Wake Up’ Bedding Through Partnerships</h2> <p><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="RIC18 EugeneAlletto" src="images/storiesv3/RIC18_EugeneAlletto.png" />In a time of so-called retail “disruption,” Bedgear CEO Eugene Alletto eschews the term. “It might seem fun and exciting for a new brand to come in and disrupt an industry, but we didn’t want to do that,” said Alletto, who also goes by the title of Quarterback/Founder.</p> <p>In his presentation, <em>Wake Up, World: The Importance Of Global In-Store Experience And Being Additive To Your Industry</em>, Alletto shared his philosophy of adding value to an ecosystem rather than undermining the existing order.</p> <p>When he was launching Bedgear in 2009, Alletto found a “boring” and fragmented retail marketplace for bedding. Using advanced textile fabrication techniques, Alletto had developed an integrated system of mattresses, mattress toppers, pillows, sheets and blankets that work together to improve sleep quality by dissipating heat, wicking away moisture, and blocking dust and allergens. But how was he going to bring his innovative line of “performance sleep solutions” to the public?</p> <p>Alletto told the RIC audience that he could have boxed up the products and sold them to consumers directly, but he understood that customers needed to experience the Bedgear difference in tactile ways. “We decided to work with retailers that could provide a really engaged interaction between consumers and sales associates,” he said. That led him to form partnerships with furniture and mattress specialists such as <strong><a href="http://www.artvan.com/" target="_blank">Art Van Furniture</a>, <a href="https://www.ashleyfurniturehomestore.com/" target="_blank">Ashley HomeStore</a>, <a href="https://www.nfm.com/" target="_blank">Nebraska Furniture Mart</a></strong>, and <strong><a href="https://www.raymourflanigan.com/" target="_blank">Raymour &amp; Flanigan</a></strong>.</p> <p>Aside from one pop-up store on Boston’s Newbury Street, Bedgear isn’t going into the retail business. However, Alletto is strengthening his relationships with key retailers by rolling out a store-within-a-store concept that brings Bedgear sleep solutions together in ways that emulate the pop-up.</p> <p>At the same time, Alletto is ramping up globally. Bedgear products are sold in 70 stores in Russia and 36 stores throughout Asia, where Alletto plans to be present in 300 doors by 2020.His reason for this expansion is ambitious: “We believe that we can literally bring world peace, one pillow at a time, by selling a good night’s sleep,” Alletto asserted.</p> <p><em>Watch a video of the session <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaApmZM4oeM&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></div>