Scaling Retail on the Go: WWD Digital Forum

Last week, I was in NYC for NYFW and WWD Digital Forum. I also flew to Minneapolis for Target’s global conference. Here’s what went down…

What’s New

Every retailer on the lineup shared something new. Nordstrom announced The Nordy Club, their new rewards club with an experiential focus. Walmart announced local, customized experiences by Jet.com. They’ll start with Boston, launching a personalized experience that reflects the culture of the city.

Alicianne Rand, The Estee Lauder Companies – WWD Digital Forum 1
Alicianne Rand, The Estee Lauder Companies - WWD Digital Forum 2
Alicianne Rand, The Estee Lauder Companies – WWD Digital Forum 2

 

Experiential Strategies

When it comes to creating omnichannel footprints, it seems everyone is trying everything. A lot of top retailers in attendance spoke about their strategies, but they basically all had the same one. They have the budgets and they’re using as much data as possible. Everyone is pushing content and experiential.

However, there was an interesting point- the concept of experiential also being a digital experience. It’s achieved by incorporating a lot of AI tech. For example, the Levi’s Ask Indigo programming is using the same language as AI and incorporates half AR and AI tech. Of course there’s also IRL experiential. We’re in a land of acronyms all supporting the same goal.

 

Retail Inspiration: Stadium Goods

I’m impressed by Stadium Goods, funded by Forerunner Ventures and LVMH Luxury Ventures. The resale pioneer was the first to market as themselves as a resale luxury sneaker company before StockX and others. They launched with a SoHo flagship in 2015, only to struggle to keep up with high rent and slow foot traffic. So they flipped their business model to accommodate production and broadcasting at their brick-and-mortar store, becoming a more content-focused brand. They also partnered with eBay and China’s Tmall.com early on.

So what are the takeaways here? Get in good company with good partners, pivot quickly and use your space for multiple uses. It’s also a great idea to get into China as a new brand to take advantage of the growing economy.

Room for Improvement

There was a stark lack of diversity at the conference. Yes, there were a lot women in attendance and on stage, but there were very few people of color. We’d love to see the diversity at this conference evolve! We attend a lot of conferences, and believe gender and racial inclusivity are super important.

Target’s Global Conference

I also attended Target’s global conference last week, meeting with SVP of Marketing, Michelle Mesenburg. We talked collaborations and partnerships, and I uncovered a few surprises.

Cool Hunting

Target has a zeitgeist, on-the-ground, street team in NYC. A lot of their fashion collaborations are born from their findings.

Ramesh Srinivasan, Syama Meagher, Serena Williams & Alexis Ohanian at Target HQ
Ramesh Srinivasan, Syama Meagher, Serena Williams & Alexis Ohanian at Target HQ

Competing with Walmart & Amazon

Target has a lot of new strategies to compete with Amazon and Walmart. They have same-day delivery, order pickup, drive up (order with the Target app, the order is delivered to your car) and more. They also launched several new Gen Z & Millennial-focused in-house brands this week.

Target Delivery Options

True Diversity & Inclusivity

Finally, I’m impressed by their push for diversity and inclusivity. Target has different internal employee groups – an Asian group, an African-American group, expecting mothers, LGBTQ…. Their findings impact employees, marketing and product development.

Syama and Target CEO Brian Cornell
Syama and Target CEO Brian Cornell

I also met Target’s CEO Brian Cornell. He’s Chairman of the Board at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and nominated Target to spearhead their diversity group. The former Pepsico CEO is a shining example of trickle-down management and why leadership needs to stand for something important.

Need help developing an innovative experiential strategy that works? Give us a call. We assist brands like yours from concept to execution. Contact our office at 310.957.5264 or email hello@scalingretail.com.

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