Retailers that create an experience for the customer are going to win. You might think I sound like a broken record, but I can’t say it enough.
Everyone talks about “retail-apocalypse” right now, but that’s actually a really unfair analysis of the industry.
Yes, the industry is shifting, but that shift is allowing for new entrants to come in and make an impact.
91% of all retail sales still happen in the store.
Brick and mortar is not dead. The change in the industry is very exciting because it is turning a business that traditionally has been very transactional into something experiential and I plan to help with that.
The Beginning Of My Career
I started my career in technology and online marketing. Soon after, I joined Target on the track to become a buyer. I really never had an interest in retail before that (I left that to my wife:) ). I quickly fell in love with the strategy behind retail and how it meshed data analysis with psychological understanding to increase sales.
I spent some time as an internal consultant using all the data Target could get their hands on to drive strategy and merchandising opportunities for the buyer team. I eventually became a buyer but then left Target to pursue my MBA in Barcelona, Spain.
My goal was to go into a data-driven role on the supplier side of retail. But while in school, I started Giftry and I haven’t looked back.
Why I Started Giftry and Clientbook Retail
When I applied for the job at Target, I really did it because my wife wanted the discount :). But I knew after flying out there for the interview that it was something I would love doing.
I think the strategy behind retail is fascinating – specifically how you can use data and psychoanalysis to drive people to purchase more or increase profits.
Enter Giftry. I began to see that there was a disconnect between what was best for the retailers who provided the service of wishlists and registries and the consumers who used that service.
Retailers in the past have been very closed off to any type of partnership with other retailers, but in today’s digital age, everything is about integration. I saw an opportunity and ran with it.
Clientbook stemmed from Giftry when we realized what we really help retailers do is understand their customers (what they want to buy, when they want to buy it, and in some cases who will buy it for them).
My Favorite Brands
I don’t actually like to shop. My wife has to drag me to stores. But I LOVE the strategy of retail. So, some of my favorite brands might surprise you.
- Nordstrom: When I think of customer service, they are the first brand that pops into my mind. Most retailers are so concerned about the cost of things, that they create processes that make the experience worse (e.g. returns). Nordstrom understands that by actually having a liberal return policy, they are making more money from customers.
- Banana Republic: This one is all about the clothes. Whenever I wear BR, I feel like a million bucks. And as one of my favorite football players once said, “When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you play good.” You can’t beat that.
- Disney: If you’ve read any of my blogs, you will see that I use Disney as an example a lot. It comes down to experience. Disney is the absolute master at creating an all-encompassing experience for their customers.
- Apple: Experience and seamless connectivity. In a world filled with clutter and junk, they simplify and minimize. Walk into a Best Buy and then walk into an Apple store. Which one stresses you out more?
What I like to wear or use typically comes from how I feel when I interact with the brand. And all of these brands leave me with positive vibes.
How I Plan To Help Brick and Mortars
There will always be a place for a special brick and mortar experience. I hope to help those retailers bring that experience into the next generation of what retail looks like.
I want to help lead the fight back against Amazon, but in a way that actually provides a better value and experience for the customer.
Because that’s really the only way to beat Amazon.