‘Tick Tock Retailers: It’s Wake Up Time’: A Retail Symposium

robin report tick tock

On June 23, the Fung Global Retail & Technology team had the opportunity to attend “Tick Tock Retailers: It’s Wake Up Time,” a breakfast program hosted by The Robin Report and The Fashion Group International. The breakfast was moderated by Robin Lewis, CEO of The Robin Report, and Paul Charron, Chairman of American Apparel. At the event, a panel of retail executives discussed how omni-channel shoppers demand that retailers deliver what they want—when and how they want it.

The panelists were Robert B. Harrison, Chief Omnichannel Officer at Macy’s; Dr. Nadia Shouraboura, CEO of Hointer; and Dr. Matt Wood, GM, Product Strategy, at Amazon Web Services. They covered a number of tech-driven omni-channel strategies for distribution, operations, logistics and innovation.

Below, we paraphrase the panelists’ thoughts and comments on the key topics covered in the morning’s discussion.

 

Personalization

It is happening now. On a scale of 1–10, we are at a 2–3 and Amazon is at an 8.
– Robin Lewis, CEO, The Robin Report

Personalized websites have much higher conversion rates.
– Dr. Nadia Shouraboura, CEO, Hointer 

Personalization can be achieved with data analytics. Companies such as Stitch Fix are using technology to understand products and personalize offerings.
– Dr. Matt Wood, GM, Product Strategy, Amazon Web Services

Netflix has a direct link to customers and the programs they have watched. Therefore, it has great data on what will resonate with customers, which allows the company to customize show content, design, length and delivery modes. It has been highly successful.
– Dr. Matt Wood, GM, Product Strategy, Amazon Web Services

 

The Customer

Source: www.marketingland.com

Source: www.marketingland.com

Customer trust is hard to earn and easily lost—Amazon takes customer service very seriously.
– Dr. Matt Wood, GM, Product Strategy, Amazon Web Services 

The status quo is the enemy. Customers have more agility.
– Robert B. Harrison, Chief Omnichannel Officer, Macy’s

In the 1990s, the product could carry the day. Today, the product is important, but it is not the only part. Today, the risk is that a competitor can eliminate you if they understand your customer better through technology.
– Paul Charron, Chairman, American Apparel

Source: www.hointer.com

Source: www.hointer.com

Nadia Shouraboura shared a funny story about overhearing her husband speaking to one of his tech devices in a tone that she described as “tender.” She said it was an “Aha!” moment for her that highlighted how we sometimes relate to avatars and objects differently than we relate to people. It also made her think about how technology affects how we feel and shop. She said she later drew on that insight in her own business, when she decided to place a very simple chip into a pencil-like wand that customers could use instead of their phone to scan merchandise—she said that customers felt like “princesses” when they waved it.
– Dr. Nadia Shouraboura, CEO, Hointer

 

Retail Landscape in Five Years

In five years, retail will have many components—meeting basic needs, shopping for pleasure and even providing camaraderie. Brands will be global, and devices will be a key part of the shopping experience. Retailers will have to listen to their “merchant gut” when deciding which trends they think consumers will appreciate, and then be sure to use data to inform their decisions.
– Robert B. Harrison, Chief Omnichannel Officer, Macy’s

 

Big Data

A “data flywheel” can be used to create a better customer experience as retailers collect more data. This information can help retailers eliminate impediments and attract new customers.
– Paul Charron, Chairman, American Apparel

 

Innovation

Amazon is looking at new ways of reaching customers, including through an invisible cart that automatically knows when you are out of laundry detergent and can order a refill on your mobile device. The company is already using an innovative new camera that automatically reads the number of inventory items in a box, which saves Amazon hours in fulfillment and operations.
– Dr. Matt Wood, GM, Product Strategy, Amazon Web Services

 

Managing

Put people in charge, and let them be creative and thrive.
– Robert B. Harrison, Chief Omnichannel Officer, Macy’s

 

Emotional Connections

In talking about the importance of emotional connections to product strategy, Shouraboura said, “I come with something in my life I feel passionate about and connect it to my store.”
– Dr. Nadia Shouraboura, CEO, Hointer

 

Role of the Merchant

Technology enables small merchants to curate small segments, providing the building blocks for merchants to target consumers.
– Dr. Matt Wood, GM, Product Strategy, Amazon Web Services

Source: Amazon Books, University Village

Source: Amazon Books, University Village

 

Clicks to Bricks

Amazon opened its first store in Seattle at University Mall with 5,000 titles based on Amazon.com. It was a customer-driven experiment based on the needs of customers who do not know what they want, but want to browse. A second store will open in San Diego.
– Dr. Matt Wood, GM, Product Strategy, Amazon Web Services

 

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