Ingrid Milman is back, and she has some really exciting news to share with our audience! Some retailers are opening more stores, and somehow, Brian has never been to a Burlington. Plus- So many legacy brands are overusing terms like "data-driven," and both Glossier and Lively have figured out (in different ways) how to create communities around both their products and their customers! Listen Now!
Ingrid Milman is guest hosting this week, and she's got some pretty big news to share: she's joining e.l.f cosmetics as their new Vice President of E-commerce and Customer Experience!
Isn't everyone pretty much exhausted of the buzzword bingo from legacy brands?
Glossier and Lively are both really fantastic at building a community around their customers.
In-store + online traffic can help retailers figure out where to put their stores, how to design their stores, and what to sell in their stores.
Back to Buzzword Bingo For Brands: Utilize Data With Care:
First thing's first: The entire team at Future Commerce would like to congratulate Ingrid on her new role as the Vice President of E-commerce and Customer Experience at e.l.f Cosmetics!
Ingrid says that the best part of e.l.f is that it's the perfect mix of value and prestige, and they are expanding their digital presence, especially as they move further into e-commerce.
Ingrid points out that 2-3 years ago legacy brands were consistently hyper-focused on the term data-driven, focused too much on gathering the information, and not enough time connecting the data points into actionable insights that would be framed around how to introduce the customer to the brand properly.
Brian points out two Future Commerce episodes that are reflective of this point: episode 96 with Chris Homer CTO of thredUP, and episode 103 with Rachel Swanson from Method + Mode, both of which are centered around the best uses for data.
thredUP is doing precisely what Ingrid is talking about by building cross-functional teams that take ownership of the data being collected and utilized.
And of course, Rachel Swanson (from Method + Mode) collected invaluable data for Future Commerce, giving our team real insight into what our listeners wanted from our show.
Community Building Around Customers: Lively and Glossier Win Gold:
One of the most critical challenges for brands (legacy or D2C) is developing relations with their customers that goes beyond just products, that allows these brands to reach their customers in a positive organic way.
D2C brands seem to have a leg up on legacy brands when it comes to social media, especially, and they've changed the marketing game.
Lively, who's CEO and Founder Michelle Cordeiro Grant (MCG) Future Commerce had the opportunity to interview at Shoptalk, has built an incredible community around their products and customers by hosting community events like "Founder Friday's" in which Female entrepreneurs can come to Michelle's office and ask her all the questions that founders have at the beginning.
As Michelle told us during her interview, seven companies have been formed because of the community events that Lively puts on.
And Ingrid points to Glossier as an example of a D2C company that has formed a community around its customers: Glossier even has a Slack channel for their top 100 superfans.
Glossier uses this channel to announce new product launches, engage with these super-users (and let them engage with each other), and create a community around their products.
Some Retailers Are Openings Stores: You'll Never Guess Who:
There's been plenty of store closings going on, with many experts pointing to the Retail Apocalypse as the source, but some retailers are opening more stores.
Two pretty shocking things: 1) Burlington is opening 50 new stores, and 2) Brian has never been inside of a Burlington.
Brian says that Burlington hasn't over-retailed and that's why they have been able to expand.
Brian says that he has a new theory about companies that have gone out of business: many of these companies on this CBI Insights list aren't relevant anymore.
Ingrid points out that a lot of these companies just got "fat and happy" and in-so didn't bother to innovate.
Simplicity Is a Great Way to Display Your Value Proposition to Customers:
Ingrid makes a great point that many newer D2C brands have figured out that simplicity is a great way to display their value proposition to their customers.
Harry's is an excellent example of this: "we have a razor, it's good, you should buy it," it's uncomplicated and makes the customer feel at ease with the brand's simplicity.
Mattress firm is awful at retailing, Walmart is much better at it.
Ingrid's recommendations for retailers: Make sure you're not over-retailing (competing with yourself) and make sure you're offering simplicity and solving an actual problem for a customer, and that you're able to inspire your customers.
Brian says you have to have a clear value proposition for the customer that makes them feel connected back to the brand.
In-Store Data Can Tell Retailers What Their Customers Want:
As we've spoken about on the show before, Walmart is killing the retail game, and they're using actionable in-store data to do it.
It was announced recently that Walmart is closing some stores, but they're opening 46 new stores.
Brian says that as retailers get better as using data, they can get a much better picture of where stores should exist, how they should look, and what the experience in-store should be.
Outdoor Voices is an excellent example of this, they are updating their stores based on their in-store and online data, which is precisely the right thing to do: combining in-store and online data is essential for retailers.
Ingrid says that Google is a great example of a company doing this right: They've created maps based on footsteps for qualified customers: because they have all of that data.
As always: We want to hear what our listeners think! Do you think legacy brands are doing a poor job keeping up with D2C brands on social media? What brands do you think are doing the actual work in connecting with their customers and keeping them engaged?
Have any questions or comments about the show? You can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or any of our social channels, and we love hearing from our listeners!
Want to reach out to Ingrid? Reach out on Instagram →
Retail tech is moving fast, but Future Commerce is moving faster.