Welcome to Retail (R)Evolution 2019! We kicked off our three-day digital commerce thought leadership event here in Los Angeles, California Monday night with an old Hollywood reception. The paparazzi, Joan Rivers, Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe (or their lookalikes) joined Pitney Bowes CEO Marc Lautenbach to welcome guests. Marc thanked customers for their many years of support, in fact, nearly 100 years. With the average life cycle of a business tapping out at 20 years, Pitney Bowes is beginning its 100th year of business.
Tuesday, Lila Snyder, Executive Vice President and President of Commerce Services at Pitney Bowes set the tone for the day’s content with a keynote address that applies a technology lens to the world of logistics. With 30% of consumers shopping online at least once per week, it’s a great time to be an ecommerce brand, she said, but it’s no time for DIY logistics. The physical aspect of ecommerce is getting more expensive: labor costs are increasing; transportation costs continue to rise; and fuel costs are climbing.
On top of this, consumer expectations are high and there are significant threats to brands that get it wrong:
- 91% of consumers leave a site when shipping isn’t free or fast.
- 60% of millennials share their bad post-purchase experiences with others.
The smart move is to invest in technology that engages with shoppers throughout the entire post-purchase journey. And by using data and data science, Pitney Bowes is helping reduce the costs of post-purchase services.
Day one’s sessions continued with presentations from three innovative and diverse brands: Revtown, Digital Brands Group, and Zumiez. Starting with the story of 1-year-old denim startup, Revtown’s Co-founder and Creative Director, Courtney Powell, shared how a team of industry veterans managed to scale up this business so quickly in a saturated market:
- By cutting through the noise and focusing on simple choices.
- By fostering customer connections and treating customer service as an opportunity to establish and grow a relationship.
- By creating an “intentional and enjoyable customer experience” for buyers from unboxing to returns and exchanges.
- By scaling with experts. It’s not about finding the perfect partners; it’s about finding the right partners.
Our next presentation continued into the world of denim apparel as Hil Davis, CEO at Digital Brands Group, discussed the DSTLD brand’s hyper-growth of over the past 5 years and why this team decided to launch a portfolio strategy, the lessons learned, and how they are staying poised for further growth. Next up was a fireside chat with Paul Kisicki, VP Omnichannel & Development at Zumiez. Paul shared the strategy of this 40-year-old teen apparel & accessories retailer that has managed to grow a multi-national, multi-channel retail business without losing credibility with a demanding Gen Z customer base. “Culture wins over conversion.” Conversion is an outcome of culture.
The afternoon continued with our next session on digital transformation, featuring Kevin O’Brien, Head of IT at FitFlop, as he discussed the data-driven, ‘customer-first’ digital strategy that’s leading this brand to become the world’s fastest growing footwear brand. Our next session also highlighted the road to rapid digital growth with Alex Richardson, CTO at Fekkai Retail, as he discussed the operational strategy and the key components that power digital “rocket ships.”
Panelists from Aramex and Ebay, joined PB’s Rajeeb Mohapatra to discuss the emerging trends and challenges of Global Ecommerce Logistics, how consumer attitudes about the cost and speed of shipping are shifting globally, and how ‘on-demand’ models are driving innovation. Next, Quip’s Head of Distribution, Marlon Nepomuceno shared operational insights from this rapid-growth subscription service. He discussed how Quip has avoided the operational pitfalls of hypergrowth, and how they have capitalized on customer loyalty for sustainable growth.
The afternoon continued with revelations from the ‘Shark Tank,’ with two brands featured on ABC’s hit show ‘Shark Tank’, Ben Zvaifler of Pupbox, and Bob Stevens of Buttercloth. During this panel discussion, moderated by PB’s Patrick Allard, we took a behind-the-scenes look at how these Shark Tank pitches won over a show’s investor, how the national exposure only took them so far, and the challenges they still face for growth.
Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson delighted the crowd with his infectious smile and engaging keynote covering everything from his elementary school basketball championships to his PRO playing days with other sports legends Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. Magic recounted how he successfully parlays his drive to win from the court into the business world and how he's supporting infrastructure improvement and technology development for ethnically diverse and underserved urban communities. His message of play to win, know what your customers want and over deliver resonates in the demanding world of ecommerce.
Day 2 of Retail (R)Evolution continues tomorrow as we look ahead with retail futurists and dynamic discussions of the technology trends and retail predictions that will shape our industry in 2020 and beyond.