Retail Executive

SEP-OCT 2017

Retail Executive is the trusted advisor to top retail executives from the industry’s most profitable retailers. We help retail executives succeed in their job role and grow their business via exclusive, actionable, peer-driven content.

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Q According to RSR's recent research, what's the one stat that shocked you the most and why? A THIS YEAR, I WAS MOST SHOCKED by how much retailers have lost their way around brand value to customers. It's no wonder stores are in trouble when 40 percent of retailers say their biggest internal strength is powerful brand marketing, and yet their primary value proposition to customers in stores is low price and convenience. Only one retailer can win in a fight for low price, and that's either Amazon or Walmart. Retailers need to have more confidence in their brand value — and need to do a lot more to bring it to life in stores. NIKKI BAIRD is a managing partner at Retail Systems Research, an industry market intelligence firm specializing in retail and technology. She focuses on trends impacting the consumer-retailer relationship, along with their marketing and operational implications. A THE COO, BECAUSE HE OR SHE understands all operational initiatives and challenges facing the folks in the trenches — what's working, what's not working, and the inevitable impact (i.e., customer satisfaction, cost, inventory turns). In my experience, the COO "lives the brand" and understands all the moving parts of the business. Staying close and attuned to the COO means you are directly and positively impacting sometimes thousands of associates and millions of customers annually with IT efforts. THOMAS J. SCHUETZ is currently CIO of hhgregg. Prior to joining hhgregg, Tom was chief technology officer for Luxottica's Americas & Asia-Pacific enterprise. Tom has 30 years of retail and healthcare technology experience with companies such as Macy's, Hudson's Bay, Lord & Taylor, and more. Q Other than the members of your own team, what other C-level executives (and departments) do you learn from most and why? Q As CFO of Cavender's, what is your number one goal for the remainder of 2017? A WE HAVE SEVERAL KEY GROWTH INITIATIVES in progress in operations, marketing, and business development. Our number one goal is to bring them to completion as soon as possible. We don't like to have too many things undone as we head into the fourth quarter. Second, there is a road map of initiatives for 2018 that we need to begin planning for as we bring 2017 to a close. With all of the uncertainty in retail, our teams have to be focused on strategy execution, knowing that things may change fast. Our goal is to give them the information and tools they need to be nimble but stay on course. JIM THOMPSON has been CFO of Cavender's since 1998. He has over 30 years of financial professional experience in public and private company environments and has worked in retail, wholesale distribution, and public accounting. Q What is the most promising retail technology and why? A IF YOU ARE A RETAILER faced with operating and growing your business today, you may think that technology may — at best — address only some of your moves. That's where you would be mistaken. The technology and retail worlds are colliding, and new retail startup technology is emerging and making its way into the marketplace. Getting the most out of your store is no longer about location, location, location, but rather community, community, community. The challenge is how to engage with your community through physical and digital (and even virtual) channels. Today you can find physical store technology that uses data-driven techniques such as intelligent and interactive mirrors and displays. Technology like actiMirror gives a real-time, content-powered, personalized experience for shoppers. Oak Labs has started transforming the in-store experience starting in the fitting room. Retailers like Bonobos and Warby Parker are using their understanding of their communities as they enter physical markets, and new omni- channel technologies like Bulletin are emerging to provide e-tailers with a real-world solution. Today retailers are faced with a post-retail world, and it's no simple task to take advantage of the opportunities, but the emerging technology from Silicon Valley will be found in stores soon and will help retailers make a lasting impact in their stores and communities from Main Street to High Street. SAEED AMIDI Saeed founded Plug and Play, the ultimate startup ecosystem, in 2006. Since then, the Plug and Play portfolio has raised over $4B and created thousands of job opportunities in the tech sector. Q Overall, is retail's C-suite tackling digital transformation? Why or why not? A ALTHOUGH OVUM HAS SEEN RETAILERS APPLY their digital strategies to existing business processes, they often do so without assessing the interconnected omni-channel nature of the deployment throughout all facets of their enterprises. Retailers that can evolve their business processes to fully leverage digital technologies to deliver seamless cross-channel, cross-device customer engagements will establish a foundation for revenue growth. In doing so, they must also not overlook the importance of culture in successfully digitally transforming their enterprises. True digital adoption means that employees, partners, suppliers, and customers clearly understand their individual roles and potential in helping to facilitate digital change. MILA D'ANTONIO is a principal analyst in Ovum's customer engagement practice. She specializes in enterprise customer experience, omni-channel engagement, as well as digital marketing and customer service. RETAILEXECUTIVE.COM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 9

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