Women drive the significant majority of consumer spending in the US, however, they only represent about five percent of CEO positions and 29 percent of executive or senior management positions at retail organizations. This year ShopTalk pledged to have an all-women speaker lineup, addressing many of the mission-critical issues required to continue pushing the industry forward, from marketing, digital efforts, in-store operations and consumer experience.
While sadly the event has been postponed until September due to rapid escalation of the Covid-19 outbreak, we don’t want to miss the opportunity to highlight some of the dynamic women who are making an impact in an industry that generates more than $4 trillion in sales annually.
Jennie Weber, VP of Customer & Employee Experience, Best Buy
Weber has more than 20 years of consumer marketing experience. She’s spent her career as a customer advocate, ensuring that consumer experiences are seamless, easy and built with the customer top of mind.
Weber is part of a team that helped Best Buy rebound in the wake of its competitors’ folding. With ecommerce nipping at brick-and-mortar heels, her strategy is to give consumers what Amazon can’t — store associates trained to help customers. She’s also part of the larger brand push to build a seamless digital-to-store connection, with opportunities for customers to buy online and then schedule opportunities to come into retail locations to use how to better use their purchases.
“We all knew that we absolutely had to get closer to the customer; understand, predict and anticipate what the customer wants, and that takes quite a cultural revolution,” she said at Advertising Week 2019.
Bridget Dolan, SVP New Ventures, Sephora
In the hyper-competitive beauty world, Dolan has helped ensure that personalization is prioritized and that all consumers feel their individual needs are being met, both online and in-store. Part of that strategy includes enabling consumers to easily book appointments or classes across channels, including its website, directly from email, digital ads, organic inbound search or social media.
In an interview with Forbes, Dolan discusses how Sephora chooses to use technology, “not because we thought it would be [new or] cool.” Instead, the brand chooses technology based on what it brings to the customer experience. She notes that it’s critical to put the consumers’ needs first, always considering, “What does she need? What would really be helpful to her?”
Melissa Collins, Chief Marketing Officer, The Container Store
Collins exemplifies today’s busy and diversified CMO. She wears multiple hats in a position that needs to flawlessly execute creative while also driving technology decisions, analyzing data, and being responsible for brand awareness, reputation, sales and culture (both inside and outside the organization).
She spearheaded the 2018 campaign that drove home the emotional connection between consumers and their space. Most recently, Collins helped unveil the retail brand’s new store design, using tech to facilitate an easier, more approachable shopping experience — an extension of the brand’s offering which prompts online visitors to set a time to meet with a space designer at their local store
According to Collins, the Container Store “took a lot of cues from its online business” to determine where to invest within brick-and-mortar locations so that shoppers will have a continuous experience online and off.
Stefanie Tsen, SVP Omnichannel Customer Experience, Neiman Marcus Group
Tsen has spent her career getting to know customers on a deeper level. She previously worked as VP of Omnichannel Experience at Sephora and VP, Country Manager, Canada at Louis Vuitton before coming to Neiman Marcus Group. In that time she developed keen insights into building and driving world-class customer experiences.
In discussing today’s digitized retail world where brands need to create an enriched in-store experience that feels convenient and relevant, she told The Zoe Report, “As retailers, it’s up to us to curate meaningful assortments that engage customers both online and in-store.”
Cheryl Friedman, VP of Innovation, Lowe’s
Lowe’s has made significant investments in its in-store service and consultation experiences, letting online shoppers use Intelligent Appointment Scheduling to book in-store consultations or installation appointments.
Friedman’s team has implemented virtual reality training for associates, empowering them to better serve customers when they show up for those in-store appointments. In addition, the team has tested robotics for greater efficiency in stores and participated in hackathons exploring how technology can reinvent the customer experience.
Heather Braddock, Director, Store Innovations & Operations, David’s Bridal
Braddock has significant knowledge of the bridal consumer, and that has shaped how she approaches store operations. After rising through the ranks at David’s Bridal, first as a store manager and now leading 330 stores through a period of transformation and process improvement, she is focusing on fine-tuning alignment between in-store and online customer experiences.
She was part of the team that created Zoey, a messaging concierge service. After research showed how important mobile messaging is for the bridal consumer, David’s Bridal unveiled the platform that provides an omni-experience, seamlessly combing automated technology with employees, allowing customers to book appointments, text with stylists and even place secure orders. David’s Bridal was also one of the first brands to leverage Engageware’s Reserve with Google, converting search traffic into in-store appointments.