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Marc Millstein

Seeking Superior Shopper Experience? Look No Further Than the White Coat

Good morning! I thought you may be interested to see what we’ve got cooking for the next Summit this coming February. We’d love to see you there…and in the meantime, all of us at RetailConnections wish our traveling friends safe journey and to everyone — a wonderful Thanksgiving! ~ Marc

 

Target’s Elliott Sogol to reveal the right Rx to engage customers at RetailConnections Summit Feb. 24-26, Miami

MIAMI, Nov. 14, 2012 — Informed. Collaborative. Gifted listener. Effective communicator. Trustworthy. Attuned to personal preferences. High integrity. Solid work ethic. Creative problem-solver.

Most would agree these attributes describe a “good friend,” “good colleague” and “good leader.” In the demanding store (and online) environment, it’s a challenge to credit associates with these qualities. However, it is possible to create a culture in which people rise to their best to serve customers. If in doubt, ask a pharmacist. Better yet, ask a “Good Pharmacist” from Target.

Elliott Sogol, PhD, RPh, FAPhA, and Group Manager of Professional Services at Target, will deliver a keynote on this lofty objective during the RetailConnections Business Executive Summit Feb. 24-26, 2013, in Miami. Summit attendees can expect eye-opening insights and parallels to be drawn between the pharmacist-patient relationship and associate-shopper interactions.

A key driver of systemwide improvements in the customer experience is what Sogol terms “visible patient-centered care” that extends beyond hushed medical consultations that occur between the pharmacy counter’s privacy panels. The “visibility” is essential out on the store floor, where shoppers are actively engaged, whether that means assistance in locating items or making product suggestions. When purposely visible to all on a consistent basis, such behavior is infectious and becomes a habit engrained across the entire store team.

In short, the winning techniques espoused in “The Good Pharmacist,” co-authored by Sogol, are highly relevant for engaging shoppers in all classes of trade. Following his presentation, Sogol will meet with attendees for a book signing session.

“RetailConnections Summit seeks to present fresh ideas that retailers can put into action immediately,” said Marc Millstein, President of RetailConnections. “Elliott’s approach to hiring and developing staff whose personal characteristics, virtues and habits serve customers exceptionally well represent a unique approach worth emulating.”

At Target, Sogol oversees clinical pharmacy services, education and professional development programs, Millstein said. “And as a science officer, you can bet he insists on empirical data that validates cause and effect.”

Sogol is among a powerful roster of speakers and presenters at the RetailConnections Summit, which draws senior retail executives from all classes of trade and all operational areas from marketing and merchandising to e-commerce, store operations, supply chain, IT, payments, finance and more. Business topics to be explored in general sessions, workshops, panel discussions and roundtables include omnichannel, customer engagement, mobile, social, RFID, analytics and brand-building. RetailConnections Summit presenters include:

  • Stephen Jackson, CIO, Harry Rosen
  • Elliott Sogol, PhD, Group Manager, Professional Services, Target
  • Steve Light, Group VP, Merchandising Operations, Meijer
  • Adam Holyk, Group VP, Insights & Analytics, Walgreen
  • Tiffany Tocco, VP, Marketing, The Bon-Ton Stores
  • Deanna Steele, VP, IT Applications, Express
  • Lisa Kranc, SVP, Marketing, AutoZone
  • Girisha Chandraraj, EVP, Marketing & Sales, Blick Art Materials
  • Lonnie Lawton, CFO, Helzberg Diamonds Shops
  • Butch Jagoda, VP of IT, Helzberg Diamonds Shops
  • Bryan Tatoff, CFO, Danier Leather
  • Phil Cutter, CIO, Danier Leather
  • Serge Azadian, VP, IT, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company
  • Richard Hastings, Macro Strategist, Global Hunter Securities LLC

Registration for the RetailConnections Business Executive Summit Feb. 24-26, 2013, is complimentary for qualified retail executives and attendees can sign up via www.retailconnections.com. Discount rates at the Turnberry Isle Hotel & Resort are available for a limited time, after which point reservations will be accommodated on an as-available basis. Sign up now for this once-a-year senior leadership Summit.

For more information, contact Marc Millstein (914) 620-5947 marc@retailconnections.com or visit our web site. For sponsorship opportunities, contact LuAnn Hallberg, (814) 516-4965 luann@retailconnections.com.

RetailConnections serves senior retail executives by hosting events that provide exceptional learning and networking. We believe the value of establishing new business relationships in person far outweighs other forms of communication. In this era when knowledge from all retail departments is intertwined, events that bring together top-level management from every function area deliver the greatest business 

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Denise Power

Harry Rosen CIO to Divulge Inner Works of Advanced CRM at Summit

Luxury menswear retailer boosts conversion rates with advanced clienteling system that facilitates ongoing shopper-associate dialogue

A multifaceted clienteling system pioneered by menswear retailer Harry Rosen exploits digital, mobile, imagery, e-learning and multichannel to amplify customer loyalty while igniting sales associates’ productivity via portfolio management and friendly, in-house competition.

Early results of the advanced initiative will be shared at the RetailConnections Business Executive Summit Feb. 24-26, 2013, in Miami. “Stephen Jackson, chief information officer of Harry Rosen, shared some details with us and I was just knocked out,” said Marc Millstein, president of RetailConnections. “This sophisticated CRM program incorporates all the ‘wish list’ items of retailers seeking to optimize omnichannel and the customer experience.”

Jackson is among a powerful roster of Summit presenters that also includes executives from Meijer, Hudson Group, AutoZone, Walgreen and more.

Harry Rosen’s clienteling initiative incorporates a unique blend of customer-facing tools that invite shoppers to engage with sales associates who know their wardrobe needs, style preferences, budgets and what their closets contain (and lack). Likewise, an arsenal of tools, such as “e-pics” and a companywide image gallery, enable Harrry Rosen salespeople to send clients photos of suggested ensembles to keep the dialogue going between store visits.

At the Summit, Jackson will divulge enhancements that have been made to the CRM program that won Harry Rosen the Gold Sales Effectiveness Award in Gartner and 1to1 Media’s 2012 CRM Excellence Awards.

Behind the scenes, the CRM program features sales productivity tools that enable associates to track their own sales, conversion rates and other metrics to benchmark against top performers in the company. “We are trying to train them in portfolio management,” said Jackson.

“We are also trying to ignite that competitive spirit among associates, comparing them to the next guy up,” said Jackson. “If you are a $750,000 guy, [we’re] showing him what the million-dollar guy is doing — perhaps he is contacting 80% of his client base and you are contacting only 68% of your client base.” Harry Rosen offers e-learning as a method for sales associates to ramp up areas in need of improvement.

Other speakers joining Jackson on the RetailConnections program, include:

• Steve Light, Group VP, Merchandise Operations, Meijer

• Adam Holyk, DVP, Loyalty & Insights, Walgreen

• Gary Macrae, SVP, CIO, Hudson Group

• Deanna Steele, VP, IT Applications, Express

• Lisa Kranc, SVP, Marketing, AutoZone

• Dan Smith, former CIO, Hudson’s Bay Company

• Richard Hastings, Macro Strategist, Global Hunter Securities LLC

Registration for the RetailConnections Business Executive Summit Feb. 24-26, 2013, is open to qualified retail executives and registration via www.retailconnections.com. Discount rates for accommodations at Turnberry Isle Hotel & Resort are available for a limited time, after which rooms at the hotel will be on an as-available basis. Sign up now for this once-a-year senior leadership Summit.

For more information, contact Denise Power, (773) 573-3939 denise@retailconnections.com or Marc Millstein (914) 620-5947 marc@retailconnections.com or visit our web site. For sponsorship opportunities, contact LuAnn Hallberg, (814) 516-4965 luann@retailconnections.com.

RetailConnections serves senior retail executives by hosting events that provide exceptional learning and networking. We believe the value of establishing new business relationships in person far outweighs other forms of communication. In this era when knowledge from all retail departments is intertwined, events that bring together top-level management from every function area deliver the greatest business insights.

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Merchandising Tips to Win at the Holiday Season

By Kit Sim

Once again, it’s time to bust out the tinsel and deck the halls for your November-December holiday sales season.

For retailers, this truly is, in the words of that holiday song, the most wonderful time of the year and can account for upwards of 20% – 30% of annual receipts. If you’re counting on a black Christmas, you need to be well-prepared and fully optimized to come out a winner at the holiday season.

As you plan your holiday season, here are some essential merchandising tips and cadences that most of you could really leverage for making the most of your holiday season.

  1. In October, she shops first for herself. Get the season rolling by encouraging self-purchases starting in mid to late October. Be the fashion source she’ll rely by advising her with authority what’s hot and trending for the season. Pull together all your merchandising, creative and marketing strengths to build the momentum into the peak of the holiday season.
  2. In November, she’ll combine shopping for herself with early gift buying. Get her in the mood with your most dazzling holiday looks. Surprise her. Inspire her. She is always more likely to buy for herself first. Her earliest gift purchases are likely to be the most important gifts for the most important persons in her life. Be sure you propose her to best-of-brand gifts that shows you know her, you understand her and that you are relevant. This will ultimately maximize your average unit price and margin.
  3. In December, the main event. By now, she’ll be shopping for gifts in earnest. But she must also meet a budget. Offer her can’t-go-wrong gifts by price point. Also propose gifts of your key product categories such as the sweaters gifts. Make gift buying with your brand as easy as possible.
  4. Gift cards when it’s down to the wire. As the holiday looms closer and you your shipping cut-off date nears, encourage gift cards and e-gift cards as the perfect gifts. Remind customers that they can still choose e-gift cards until the last day of the holiday. Let her know she can personalize her gift card by strongly promoting the ability to send a greeting card with a gift card or message with an e-gift card — this is a key selling point.
  5. After your shipping cut-off, direct her footsteps to your store. Besides choosing gift cards, late shoppers can still find great gifts at your brick-and-mortar locations. In all your customer communications — your Web site, emails, tweets and social media presence — give prominence to your store hours. This is a clear omnichannel winner. Best of all, customers are likely to spend more during in-person shopping visits.
  6. The season doesn’t end when the holidays are over. Post-holiday, invite customers back to spend their gift cards or make exchanges. Hint about that cute little item she was disappointed not to find under the tree — and remind her that it won’t be long before the hottest styles are gone.
  7. Let them know you care. On Christmas or just prior, make sure you thank your customers for a year of patronage and wish them a happy holiday. It’s a little thing, but it means a lot. Customers like knowing that you’re not “all business.” Also, it doesn’t hurt to give a shout-out to Hanukkah (December 8-16) on your Web site or in your emails. Everybody likes it when you make them feel included.

If you need yet more suggestions, check out these tips on winning the holiday season from seasons past:

I hope this is helpful. And here’s wishing all of you a happy and successful holiday season!

Now it’s your turn. How do you win at the holiday season? How do you make holiday shopping fun, inspiring and easy? Please share with us.

— Kit Sim is Founder & President at KSL eConsulting Inc.

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Denise Power

Square-Starbucks Deal Sets Stage for Luria Talk at Fall Summit

The news that Starbucks teamed up with Square to push mobile payments on a broad scale signals a milestone for retail in embracing m-wallet.

When it was announced this week that mobile payments startup Square partnered with Starbucks to power the chain’s U.S. debit and credit transactions, the implications were clear: “Wow. Wow. Wow. Square just arrived in mainstream,” wrote one online poster. In the spirit of adding a triple shot of espresso, Starbucks will invest in Square and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will join Square’s board.

For many retailers, though, the path forward with m-wallet remains far from clear. Choosing the right technology remains a challenge.

Gil Luria, Managing Director, Equity Research, Wedbush Securities, will size up the m-wallet marketplace and share insights about the players, attributes and potential winners and losers in the space at the RetailConnections Fall Business Executive Summit, Sept. 23-25 at Hotel del Coronado, near San Diego.

Luria, who presented earlier this year at RetailConnections Mobile Summit, is renowned for “following the money” as well as for his keen insights into how the m-wallet marketplace may shake out.

In his talk next month titled “Hottest Growth Sectors in Mobile,” Luria will also explore decision-making from a retail standpoint that includes issues like shifting promotional budgets toward mobile, leveraging internal development versus external services and tools, using retailer-owned devices versus shoppers’ handhelds, and NFC (near field communication) or cloud-based wallet.

The RetailConnections Fall Business Executive Summit Sept. 23-25, 2012, is an intense interactive think-tank experience focusing on business-critical topics. In addition to m-wallet, presenters and attendees will delve into customer engagement, mobile marketing/commerce/payments, measuring ROI, branding, leadership and strategies to heighten the shopper experience across all channels. Speakers include:

  • Ed Jankowski, SVP, GM, North America, Godiva Chocolatier “Are You a Serial Communicator?”
  • Dan Smith, former CIO, Hudson’s Bay Company “Redefine ROI: Recapture Millions”
  • Bill Bass, Co-President, CMO, Orchard Brands “Baby Boomer Opportunity”
  • Tom DeCaro, EVP, Supply Chain, Michaels Stores “Rethinking Leadership: A Diverse Formula for Success”
  • Leeann Fecho, Marketing Manager, Emerging Media, Loyalty Marketing, Follett Higher Education Group “Loyalty, Engagement & Other Omnichannel Challenges”
  • Michael Cairnes, President, Artistree (division of Michaels Stores) “Innovate & Take Your Custom Business Global”
  • Aashish Chandra, DVP, Application Modernization, Sears Holdings Corp. “Building an Agile Enterprise”
  • “Retail Top Issues” Panel featuring Ed Jankowski, SVP, GM, North America, Godiva Chocolatier, Charlie Cole, VP, E-Commerce, Schiff Nutrition plus one more retail panelist
  • Dave Remer, CEO, Creative Director, remerinc “What’s Wrong with Retail & Branding?”
  • Gil Luria, Managing Director, Equity Research, Wedbush Securities “Hottest Mobile Growth Sectors”
  • Gary Preston, Managing Partner, Preston | Reffett (former CAO, Ahold USA) “Retaining Critical Talent”
  • Stuart Silverman, Founder, Impact Simulations “Staff Turnover: Problem to Fix? Or Baked into the System?”
  • Bob Graham, VP, IT, BevMo!Pricing, Promotions & Loyalty”

Complimentary attendance for the Fall RetailConnections Business Executive Summit is limited to qualified retail executives and registration is via www.retailconnections.com

For more information, contact me  (773) 573-3939 denise@retailconnections.com or Marc Millstein (914) 620-5947 marc@retailconnections.com or visit our web site. For sponsorship opportunities, contact LuAnn Hallberg, (814) 516-4965 luann@retailconnections.com.

RetailConnections serves senior retail executives by hosting events that provide exceptional learning and networking. We believe the value of establishing new business relationships in person far outweighs other forms of communication. In this era when knowledge from all retail departments is intertwined, events that bring together top-level management from every function area deliver the greatest business insights.

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Denise Power

Do You Know How We Devour Digital, Mobile?

Quiz time!

Ethnic groups consume media and use mobile phones in different ways. Do you know how things trend? Test your aptitude and match the ethnic group with its distinctive digital behavior:

Which activity — a) text b) talk c) view — is dominant among African Americans? Asian Americans? Hispanics?

Not sure? Nielsen CEO David Calhoun would not be surprised. In fact, he is a little perplexed. Me, too. Here’s why:

The marketing and advertising research company is frequently asked about cultural attributes of consumers in other countries. “We hardly ever get asked what African Americans are doing in this country,” he said at a conference earlier this month. “I find that fascinating because the size and scale is significant.”

Calhoun says he is a big believer in the alignment of retail, brand and media. And yet, when he examines the last 54,000 new product introductions that Nielsen tracked or help plan and forecast, less than 1% of them were targeted to any multicultural interest. That’s opportunity lost, he told attendees at this month’s Global Retailing Conference, hosted by the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing at University of Arizona.

And now, quiz answers, courtesy of Calhoun:

“Talk” is a top activity for African Americans using their mobile phones. On average, this group burns through 1,300 minutes a month. That’s 2 times the norm. Among Hispanic consumers, “Text” is the right answer; Hispanics text more than any other ethnic group — 940 times a month. For Asian-Americans, “View” is the correct answer. Asian-Americans log 80 hours on the Internet each month and view some 3,600 web pages. That’s 3.5 times more than any other group. Asian-Americans are big on streaming video, too. Check out Nielsen’s full report on the New Digital American Family.

Consumers’ digital behavior and media consumption habits are going to be hot topics at the upcoming RetailConnections Mobile Impact Summit, June 24-26, at Hotel Palomar in Dallas. Attendance is complimentary for retailers. Executives from J.C. Penney, Safeway, New Balance, Dots, AAFES, BJ’s Wholesale Club, H-E-B Grocery, Bare Necessities, Kroger, Whole Foods Market are among those who’ll join us.

You can view Mobile Impact Summit agenda, speaker and session descriptions here. And register here. See you there!

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Denise Power

‘People Are Watching’

Wood The Cat illustrates (illuminates?) a key point driven home yesterday by Sandra Schwan on the topic of leadership in times of change: “People are watching.”

People (and quadrupeds) are watching

As closing speaker at RetailConnections Business Executive Summit this week in Miami, Schwan emphasized the importance of monitoring your actions, and choosing words carefully. She presented real examples of two executives who failed and excelled at this. The first, a Jekyll and Hyde character — beaming smile and glad-handing one moment, grousing and unaccessible the next. Words and actions did not align. The second executive welcomed the opportunity to clarify confusion about strategic direction. He wanted to talk about the new business model and celebrated small and big wins. The Jekyll and Hyde character lost clients, overworked his team and was moved from a leadership position to a role as individual contributor. The executive mindful of the impact of words and actions improved cross-selling; his team felt empowered and clients viewed him as a trusted adviser.

“You have to model the behavior that you are asking others to do,” said Schwan, managing partner at Chicago-based Evolving Strategies.

Other sound bytes from the RetailConnections Summit….

• “Don’t be mean” and “communicate hope” and resist devolving into a “no vendor left behind” policy — Michelle Garvey, Global CIO, Warnaco Group

• Targeting and personalization can bring value. Don’t overcomplicate it. — Mahender Nathan, VP, Direct, Godiva Chocolatier. Godiva will have more than 100 points of personalization in place by the end of this quarter.

• “Convenience is important to our customers because they are ….men. They want to get the hell outta there as fast as they can.” — Dennis Hernreich, SVP, CFO, COO, Casual Male Retail Group.

• “The customer experience simply reflects the way that companies are organized internally, and the patterns of interaction within the company…. The complexity of e-commerce is on the people side of things.” — Katherine Bahamonde, VP, E-Commerce, Juicy Couture. She went on to address organizational structure. What’s best? Centralized? Decentralized? A hybrid model?  ”A stand-alone, e-commerce business unit, which mirrors a pure-play online business, is the right model for organizing e-commerce going forward.” Shared services is not the best business model, Bahamonde said.

That stirred up lots of dialogue. Intriguing debate that carried through the rest of the Summit. Katherine knew not everybody would agree…and it sure got the room buzzing in a great way! Thanks, Katherine. Thanks everybody!

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Denise Power

A Force on the Course: Congrats on Your Ace, Butch!

It was an otherwise typical Monday. For most of us.

For Orlando “Butch” Jagoda, one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, it was an exceptional day. The VP of IT at Helzberg Diamonds got a hole in one at RetailConnections Business Executive Summit in Miami on Feb. 27, 2012. The feat was witnessed by golf companions Ryan Lester of Intel, Ravi Bagal of Verizon and Jim Munoz of Kronos.

The whole team at RetailConnections sends congratulations to you, Butch. And thanks to Epson for hosting a wonderful day on the Soffer Course at Turnberry Isle Hotel & Resort. Hope to see you all here again next year, Feb. 24-26, 2013.

Soon after this shot was taken, Orlando "Butch" Jagoda, far right, would get his Ace. Witnessing the feat, from left, was Ryan Lester of Intel, Ravi Bagal of Verizon and Jim Munoz of Kronos.

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Denise Power

SRO Turnout Expected for Mobile Workshop

“We need more chairs!”

Those four words are inevitably bellowed whenever Bernie Brennan and Lori Schafer convene senior retail executives for a group discussion on retail strategy. The room is packed to capacity.

A standing-room-only crowd is expected again next month, when these social media/mobility seers team up Feb. 26, for “Mobile-ize! Mobile Priorities for 2012,” a workshop offered at the Fifth Annual RetailConnections Business Executive Summit in Miami.

We need more chairs!

Bernie Brennan

Brennan and Schafer, co-authors of “Branded! How Retailers Engage Consumers with Social Media and Mobility,” are astute observers of social and mobile strategies deployed by the industry’s most successful retail companies. Their encyclopedic knowledge of what’s working today (and what’s not) will serve as the launchpad for an unscripted, lively group discussion among senior retail executives from across all verticals.

“Based on anticipated turnout for this workshop, we are trying something a little different this year,” said Marc Millstein, president and founder of RetailConnections. The Brennan/Schafer workshop will be featured twice during the Summit, to accommodate all attendees who want to participate. “We don’t want to shut anybody out of this popular session due to space limitations,” he added.

Lori Schafer

The RetailConnections Summit workshops are offered on the opening day of the Summit, Feb. 26-28, 2012, and serve as an effective jumpstart to a series of keynotes, panel discussions and networking activities.

For more information about the Summit workshops and full agenda, and to register, visit our site.

The Summit gets under way at the Turnberry Isle Hotel & Resort in Aventura, Fla. (Miami). Rooms are nearly sold out, so call me if you haven’t booked your room yet.

See you there!

Denise

 

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